Pope to priests: You’ll be fired if you don’t obey

The Washington Times Daily - - WORLD -

Pope Francis has laid down an ul­ti­ma­tum to de­fi­ant Nige­rian priests: Lose your job if you don’t obey me and your bishop.

Francis met June 8 at the Vat­i­can with a del­e­ga­tion from the Ahiara dio­cese, where priests have been re­fus­ing to ac­cept the 2012 ap­point­ment by the then pon­tiff, Benedict XVI, of the lo­cal bishop. Vat­i­can news­pa­per L’Osser­va­tore Ro­mano, re­port­ing the pope’s un­usu­ally harsh or­der, said Sun­day that Francis was act­ing “for the good of the peo­ple of God” by threat­en­ing to sus­pend the priests from the min­istry if they didn’t pledge in a let­ter, by July 9, “to­tal obe­di­ence” to Francis and ac­cept Bishop Peter Ok­paleke’s ap­point­ment.

Francis told the vis­it­ing del­e­ga­tion he was “very sad” about the priests’ re­fusal to obey and ruled out tribal loy­al­ties as ex­plain­ing the re­fusal.

Africa has been one of the con­ti­nents where the Catholic Church is grow­ing. The faith­ful and clergy there of­ten im­bue their prac­tices with lo­cal cul­ture in dy­namic con­trast to more tra­di­tional rou­tines in Europe or North Amer­ica.

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