Catholic secretariat asks Enugu bishop to caution Mbaka

By The Citizen

The Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria on Monday expressed concern over the 'excesses' of a Roman Catholic Priest, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka, whose recent comments on the 2015 general elections have continued to generate ripples.

Mbaka had in his New Year message slammed President Goodluck Jonathan, asking him to quietly resign from office.

While calling on the Catholic Bishop of Enugu Diocese, Bishop Callistus Onaga, to caution the priest, the CSN said Mbaka's comments concerning the President and the forthcoming general elections were his personal opinion and not that of the Catholic Church.

Secretary-General of CSN, Rev Fr. Ralph Madu, in an interview with The PUNCH in Abuja, said there were better ways for Mbaka to pass his message across 'considering the explosive nature of this country.'

He said, 'With the way the Catholic Church operates, he (Mbaka) belongs to a Diocese and it is the responsibility of his Bishop to draw his attention to that; the name of the Bishop of Enugu Diocese is Bishop Callistus Onaga. The Bishop of Enugu Diocese should draw his attention to it; the (Catholic) Church doesn't ignore such excesses because there is a procedure.

'If I get a vision to go and kill somebody, will I go and kill? That is what I am telling you, that people like him (Mbaka) have many followers and all over the world, they are the same. When they claim that the spirit is telling them something, who are you to question the spirit? But if the Holy Spirit is telling you something, you must say it in a manner that will forestall confusion and trouble. That is how things are done, it is not the Catholic Church that is speaking; it is just an individual, just one priest. I think if it is taken that way, it will be properly understood.'

According to him, some charismatic leaders 'say so many things and most times, they claim they are getting their inspiration from the Holy Spirit or from God.'

He added, 'Fr. Mbaka is a popular guy and not like the rest of us and what makes him popular are these prophecies and that is why people are following them. So, I think his Bishop can draw his attention to it.

'You know people like him have many followers and they celebrate them and they visit them for healing and many other spiritual pilgrimages. That is why they attract such type of crowd. Even though he doesn't make much noise like us, they are the people who have their own followers, and that is why everybody is concerned.'

When asked what the Catholic Church says about visions and prophecies and whether the priest has not been deviating from the Catholic dogma, the CSN scribe said there were better ways of passing across such messages.

He said, 'People get messages in visions but if you are talking of the sensitivity of what you are saying, that is the issue. Most times, even when people have the truth, you don't open your mouth wide. You can be saying something that is true, but there are some ways of passing across that message in a way that it will be acceptable, considering the explosive nature of this country and many other factors.'

Before he 'fell out' with Jonathan, Mbaka was one of the President's supporters and was said to have endorsed him for re-election.

In November 2014, during the annual thanksgiving and bazaar organised by his church, which had many dignitaries, including the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu and wife of the President, Patience Jonathan, in attendance, Mbaka had reportedly said the President had 'done well' and deserved another term in office.

He had said Jonathan could have accomplished more if not for 'distractions,' adding that 'campaigners have no reason asking the President to return the (Chibok) girls home since Mr. Jonathan was not keeping them. Jonathan is not a kidnapper.' Punch