According to reports, Jonas Benson Okoye, the bishop of Nnewi catholic diocese has sacked 5 holy ghost priests due to insubordination in the church…‘Read full article’

Five priests in the Diocese were removed of their duties by the catholic bishop of Nnewi, Anambra State, Jonas Benson Okoye, due to suspected insubordination…‘Read full article’

The five Spiritan priests from St. Martin of Tours, Ihiala, are said to have been engaged in a long-running dispute with the Bishop over their right to live in the parish.

This dispute is said to have culminated in Bishop Okoye ordering them out of the church’s parsonage after an administrative restructuring intended to establish a new parish nearby.

Why The Catholic Bishop Sacked The Holy Ghost Priests

The Bishop’s order for the priests, sometimes known as “Holy Ghost Priests,” to leave the parish so that new priests could be sent to manage the church was rejected by the priests, who asserted that their order had controlled the parish for more than 100 years.

The Diocese withdrew their canonical faculties, often known as “authorities to perform acts or functions in the parish,” in response to the alleged disobedience of the Bishop’s order.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday in Ozubulu, the seat of the Ekwusigo Local Government, Rev. Fr. Hyginus Aghaulo, a former director of communication for the Nnewi Diocese, asserted that the Spiritan Priests’ assertion that Archbishop Heerey who was formely in charge of Nnewi Diocese gave them the parish in 1967 was untrue.

Aghaulo stated that the Spiritans claimed that Archbishop Heerey gave it to them in 1967, but that was under the 1917 Code, which was subsequently repealed by Can. 6 of the 1983 Code, unless such matters were renewed in the 1983 Code, but there is no proof that this renewal has occurred.

Aghaulo added that the 1983 Code eliminated the practice of appointing a pastor from a moral to a legal person. The person must be a corporeal person and a member of the priesthood in order to be named a pastor.

The Diocesan Bishop is required to designate one of them as the appropriate pastor even if a Parish is granted to a juridic person even in soliduum.

Fourthly, such a grant required an express apostolic indult under the 1917 Code at the time it was established in order to have the quality of perpetuity.

In accordance with canons 368 and 381, “The 1983 Code grants Diocesan Bishops and others comparable to them in law the discretion and right of free conferral in the spiritual task of selecting pastors.

The Diocesan Bishop is thus allowed to nominate and dismiss candidates. Without using existing traditions, grants, centennial or immemorial bequests and grants, he is free to construct and suppress Parishes.

Rev. Fr. Hyginus Aghaulo further Stated…
Aghaulo argued that unlike diocesan or secular priests, who have parish administration as their destiny and nativity, religious institutes were by virtue of their juridic personality uniquely and organically intended for the living of evangelical counsel in their communities and convents.

Because there is a shortage of secular clergy and in order to support missionary efforts, the bishop has the discretion to grant the religious with the privilege of becoming pastors. As such, claims about this practice should not be made.

“Even if they are given a Parish, a written agreement must specify the specific staff and the Bishop of the Diocese’s approval of the right pastor.

Pastors are only presented to the Bishop by religious institutions; they are not appointed. This presentation is subject to the Diocesan Bishop’s approval and confirmation.

“Since the salvation of souls is the supreme law, Bishop Jonas Benson Okoye, who is the successor to Archbishop Heerey, has the authority to interpret or modify the perpetuity clause in such a convention.

He Added…

“That portion of God’s people in the parochial jurisdiction of St. Martin Ihiala is a legitimate part of Nnewi Diocese under the pastoral care of Bishop Jonas Benson Okoye, and as such, he has immediate, full, and proper power of order over it (Can. 129) without prejudice to any existing laws or conventions.

Aghaulo noted that the Superior General, whose responsibility it is to oversee the “Holy Ghost Priests,” had been informed of the development.

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