Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church worldwide, has condemned the social media attack on the bishop of Enugu Catholic Diocese, Most Rev. Callistus Onaga by followers of controversial priest and Spiritual Director of Adoration Ministry, Enugu, (AMEN) Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka.
SaharaReporters had reported that following Mbaka's vituperation against the person of presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, that he was “stingy man,” Bishop Onaga had imposed pastoral injunction on the ministry.
It had been reported that barely 24 hours after Mbaka's followers thronged to the adoration ground and protested against the pastoral injunction, calling the bishop unpredictable names.
One of the protesters, who identified himself as Elijah in a viral video openly threatened to kill the bishop anywhere he found him (bishop).
But Pope Francis who spoke Thursday, 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, condemned the protest at the adoration ground.
He described the online video of the death threat on Bishop Onaga, as unacceptable, while condemning what he called growing divisive tendencies and other forms of trouble fomented by members of the church.
Filipazzi, who stated this in a homily at the Maria Assumpta Cathedral, Owerri, said, "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."
He urged the Catholic faithful to be conscious of their relationship with their bishop and respect the laws of the church, and 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."