Followers of controversial priest and Spiritual Director of Adoration Ministry, Enugu, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka have been warned by Pope Francis after they threatened Bishop of Enugu Catholic Diocese, Most Rev. Callistus Onaga.
Pope Francis frowned at the insults they hurled at the Bishop over ban placed on Mbaka's Adoration Ministry.
Recall that Mbaka's followers had gone beserk, threatening and calling for the removal of the Bishop.
One of the protesters, who identified himself as Elijah, in a viral video openly threatened to kill the Bishop anywhere he finds him.
But speaking through his representative in Nigeria, Papal Nuncio, Antonio Guido Filipazzi, during the installation of Most Rev. Lucius Ugorji as the new metropolitan Archbishop of Owerri Ecclesiastical Province in Owerri the Imo State capital, Pope Francis condemned the protest at the Adoration ground, citing an online video of the death threat on Bishop Onaga, describing it as unacceptable.
Filipazzi, who spoke in a homily at the Maria Assumpta Cathedral, Owerri, condemned what he called growing divisive tendencies and other forms of trouble fomented by members of the church, stressing that these were lowering the growth of the family, education and economy, among others.
“I must warn the people of God against disobedience to the church’s constituted authorities. You must not take the laws into their hands as followers of Jesus Christ.
“This brings to mind the protest that took place at the Adoration Ministry Enugu. I was surprised to see an online video where a protester threatened to kill Bishop Callistus Onaga, Bishop of Enugu. This is unacceptable in the church of God.
“The people of God must be mindful of the abuse of the social media to cause the church scandals. You must bear in mind that the Church is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic and not a place where people take laws into their hands,” Filipazzi said.
He urged the Catholic faithful to be conscious of their relationship with their Bishop and respect the laws of the church.
He urged the Catholic clergy to always proclaim the undiluted gospel and stand by the doctrine of the church.
The Papal Nuncio, who decried the violence and killings in the land, used the occasion to pray for peace to return to Nigeria.
The new Archbishop of Owerri Catholic Archdiocese, Most Rev. Lucius Ugorji, called on those fueling insecurity in Imo State and other parts of the Southeast to cease fire.
Ugorji said that peace was the only way the region could develop.
He said: “Peace comes when people are free from oppression, unemployment, exploitation and injustice. The church will continue to partner with government in making the society better.
“Peace is the bedrock of development. There is no sustainable development without peace, peace takes roots when people are free from hunger poverty, unemployment, suppression and exploitation, we have to work together to save our people from the prevailing scourge of violence and insecurity that have brought unimaginable grief ,trauma and fear to our fellow citizen in the State”, Ugorji stated.
He however called on the gladiators in the Southeast “to sheath their sword for violence begets violence. I implore you to turn your swords into ploughshares. Rather than engage in senseless conflicts that lead to wanton bloodshed, mutual self destruction and destruction of property, I urge you to put all squabbles, division and rancour behind for the sake of progress in our State”.
Ugorji described the archbishop emeritus of the province, Most Rev. Anthony Obinna, as an erudite, zealous and consummate missionary who made great sacrifices for the growth of the province and the church as a whole.
The archbishop submitted that Obinna left a shoe big enough for anyone to fit into, but maintained that he was coming to the headship of the province with his own ‘customized shoe’.
He pledged unalloyed loyalty to the church while calling for support and prayers from the clergy and the laity.