Five priests in the Nnewi Diocese in Anambra State have been fired by the Catholic Bishop, Right Reverend Jonas Benson Okoye, due to alleged insubordination.
Five Catholic priests are fired by the bishop for alleged insubordination
According to reports, the bishop and the five priests of St. Martin of Tours, Ihiala, were engaged in an ongoing dispute regarding their residence in the parish.The priests, who were said to have claimed that their order had been in possession of the parish for over 100 years, refused the bishop’s order to vacate the parish in order to send new priests to the church, according to reports.
This was when the bishop ejected the priests from the parsonage of the church, which was the result of an administrative reorganization aimed at creating a new parish in the area. A former director of communication for the Nnewi Diocese, Reverend Father Hyginus Aghaulo, told journalists in Ozubulu in the Ekwusigo local government area, “The Spiritans claim that Archbishop Heerey gave it (parish) to them in 1967.” This was in response to their refusal to leave the parish.
The Bishop then wrote a letter withdrawing their canonical faculties (authorities to perform acts or function in the parish).That was in accordance with the 1917 Code; however, Canon 6 of the 1983 Code repealed the 1917 Code unless such matters were renewed in the 1983 Code, but there is no evidence that this occurred.
Thirdly, the 1983 Code ended the practice of making a religious person into a pastor.Now, a person must be a real person and hold the priesthood in order to be appointed a pastor.
The diocesan bishop must appoint the proper pastor even if a parish is given to a legal person even in soliduum.Fourthly, in accordance with the Code of 1917, when this grant was established, apostolic indulgence was explicitly required for its perpetuity.
In accordance with canons 368 and 381, the 1983 Code grants diocesan bishops and those equivalent to them in law the discretion and right of free conferral in the spiritual task of appointing pastors.
As a result, the diocesan is free to appoint and fire.He does not have to use any existing customs, grants, or centennial or immemorial bequests or grants to create or suppress parishes.
Bishop sacks five catholic priests over alleged insubordination
Aghaulo maintained that, in contrast to diocesan or secular priests, whose destiny and nativity was to administer parishes, religious institutes were, by virtue of their juridical personality, not specifically and naturally destined for parish administration but rather for the living of evangelical counsel in their communities and convents.
“Bishop Jonas Benson Okoye is a successor of Archbishop Heerey and so, has power to interpret or alter the perpetuity clause in such a convention because “salvation of souls is the supreme law,” he stated in the Ihiala case.
Aghaulo made it clear that the incident had been brought to the attention of the Superior General, whose job it is to keep an eye on the priests.