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Vatican, Mbaise Face Off Take Global Dimension

By CoalitionofIgboCatholics CIC
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December 20, 2012:
Washington DC: About half a dozen representatives of the Coalition of Igbo Catholics (CIC) today, during a press conference held at Howard University in Washington DC, called on the Vatican to appoint a priest of Mbaise origin as Bishop of Ahiara Mbaise Diocese. It should be noted that Pope benedict XVI recently selected Rev. Fr. Peter Okpalaeke of Awka Diocese in Anambra State as the Bishop-Elect of the Episcopal See of Ahiara Diocese, Mbaise. Fr. Okpalaeke will replace His lordship, beloved Late Most Rev. Dr. V.A.Chikwe, who passed away on the 16th of September, 2010. The presence of Prof. Edward Oparaoji, the well known community leader, philanthropist and fearless champion of the Pro-Democracy movement at this conference, portends a significant shift and widening of this battle to a global dimension. Also of note is that the panel consisted of representatives from different South East States and one from Bayelsa State. Addressing the media Engr. Dan Eze, the group's Outreach Director said “We just posted a petition on line for anyone who wishes to show solidarity with the people of Mbaise. The Mbaise community has been there for the catholic community in Nigeria through thick and thin, it is only fair we have their back now…I may not be from Mbaise but fiar is fair”. Rationalizing their demand the group's petition stated that's “Mbaise has embraced, enhanced the growth of and sacrificed for the Catholic Church, has more priests per capita than any other Diocese in Nigeria and certainly more than enough pool of priests qualified to become the next Bishop of the Episcopal See of Ahiara Diocese, Mbaise.”

It further stated that “Against this background, therefore, we the undersigned appeal to your Holiness to reconsider your decision and for fairness and balance appoint an Mbaise Priest as Bishop of the Episcopal See of Ahiara Diocese, Mbaise.”


In response to a question Professor Oparaoji said “I know my people, we are only trying to avoid unnecessary headache for everyone, our faith is our industry and this move if not rescinded can lead to the decline of the catholic church in Mbaise…that's all I can say at this stage.” The group released copy of the petition (below) which they plan to deliver to the Vatican once enough signatures are obtained. Here is the link to sign the petition; http://www.change.org/petitions/his-holiness-pope-benedict-xvi-appoint-an-mbaise-priest-the-bishop-of-ahiara-diocese?utm_source=guides&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=petition_created

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Apostolic Palace
00120 Vatican City State, EUROPE
E-mail: [email protected]

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI,
APPOINT AN MBAISE PRIEST AS BISHOP OF AHIARA DIOCESE

Your recent announcement of the selection of Rev. Fr. Peter Okpalaeke of Awka Diocese in Anambra State as the Bishop-Elect of the Episcopal See of Ahiara Diocese, Mbaise, while overdue fell short of expectations. Not on the qualifications of Rev. Fr. Okpalaeke but on the disqualification of a vast pool of qualified priests of Mbaise origin. The criteria for qualification as a Bishop as per the Code of Cannon Law, Can. 378 §1 requires that the candidate is:

1/ outstanding in solid faith, good morals, piety, zeal for souls, wisdom, prudence, and human virtues, and endowed with other qualities which make him suitable to fulfill the office in question;

2/ of good reputation;
3/ at least thirty-Five years old;
4/ ordained to the presbyterate for at least Five years;

5/ in possession of a doctorate or at least a licentiate in sacred scripture, theology, or canon law from an institute of higher studies approved by the Apostolic See, or at least truly expert in the same disciplines.

That no priest of Mbaise origin is a Bishop today, based on these criteria is mind boggling. Mbaise has embraced, enhanced the growth of and sacrificed for the Catholic Church, has more priests per capita than any other Diocese in Nigeria and certainly more than enough pool of priests qualified to become the next Bishop of the Episcopal See of Ahiara Diocese, Mbaise.

Against this background, therefore, we the undersigned appeal to your Holiness to reconsider your decision and for fairness and balance appoint an Mbaise Priest as Bishop of the Episcopal See of Ahiara Diocese, Mbaise.

Signed:
On Behalf of Coalition of Igbo Catholics (CIC)
Engr, Dan Eze – Outreach Director
Prof. Edward Oparaoji- Global Liaison