Tuesday, June 13, 2017


Tribalism is a problem in Nigeria. If a traditionalist pope exerted such authority, His Holiness would be applauded.

Obey Or Be Suspended "A Divinis." The Pope's Aut Aut For Rebel Priests

That of Ahiara, in Nigeria, is not the only African diocese whose bishop, appointed by the pope, has been rejected by the local community because he belongs to an outside ethnicity. Less than a month ago Settimo Cielo documented a similar case in the diocese of Makeni, in Sierra Leone:
But for the diocese of Ahiara he did not delegate the solution of the conflict to anyone else. He himself came to grips with the question. He set up a debriefing in Rome with the parties in the dispute - the unwelcome bishop, Peter Okpaleke, a representation of the local clergy and faithful, the leaders of the Nigerian episcopate - in the presence of cardinal secretary of state Pietro Parolin and prefect of the congregation “de propaganda fide" Fernando Filoni. And he decided to take action himself, immediately after listening to them.
The meeting (see photo) was held at the Vatican on June 8. At the end of the meeting a statement was released with the announcement that the pope “has reserved it to himself to take the appropriate measures.”
In reality Francis has taken those measures, and how. Right away. Two days later, on June 10, the official transcription of the words he said at the end of the meeting was sent out.
Words that are very severe, scathing. Francis has ordered the rebel priests to surrender in writing, in a letter addressed to him personally. On penalty of suspension “a divinis.”
Here below, word for word, is what the pope ordered and threatened against the delegation of the diocese of Ahiara. An instructive example of the leadership style of the Jesuit Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who evidently does not agree with those progressives who want bishops to be elected by the local communities.

I cordially greet the delegation and thank you for coming from Nigeria in a spirit of pilgrimage. For me, this meeting is a consolation because I am deeply saddened by the events of the Church in Ahiara.
In fact, the Church (and excuse the wording) is like a widow for having prevented the Bishop from coming to the Diocese. Many times I have thought about the parable of the murderous tenants, of which the Gospel speaks (cf. Mt 21:33-44), that want to grasp the inheritance. In this current situation the Diocese of Ahiara is without the bridegroom, has lost her fertility and cannot bear fruit. Whoever was opposed to Bishop Okpaleke taking possession of the Diocese wants to destroy the Church. This is forbidden; perhaps he does not realize it, but the Church is suffering as well as the People of God within her. The Pope cannot be indifferent.
I know very well the events that have been dragging on for years and I am thankful for the attitude of great patience of the Bishop, indeed the holy patience demonstrated by him. I listened and reflected much, even about the possibility of suppressing the Diocese, but then I thought that the Church is a mother and cannot abandon her many children. I feel great sorrow for those priests who are being manipulated even from abroad and from outside the Diocese.
I think that, in this case, we are not dealing with tribalism, but with an attempted taking of the vineyard of the Lord. The Church is a mother and whoever offends her commits a mortal sin, it’s very serious. However, I decided not to suppress the Diocese. Instead, I wish to give some indications that are to be communicated to all: first of all it must be said that the Pope is deeply saddened. Therefore, I ask that every priest or ecclesiastic incardinated in the Diocese of Ahiara, whether he resides there or works elsewhere, even abroad, write a letter addressed to me in which he asks for forgiveness; all must write individually and personally. We all must share this common sorrow.
In the letter
1. one must clearly manifest total obedience to the Pope, and
2. whoever writes must be willing to accept the Bishop whom the Pope sends and has appointed.
3. The letter must be sent within 30 days, from today to July 9th, 2017. Whoever does not do this will be ipso facto suspended a divinis and will lose his current office.
This seems very hard, but why must the Pope do this? Because the people of God are scandalized. Jesus reminds us that whoever causes scandal must suffer the consequences. Maybe someone has been manipulated without having full awareness of the wound inflicted upon the ecclesial communion.
To you brothers and sisters, I would like to express my sincere thanks for your presence; and also to Cardinal Onaiyekan for his patience and to Bishop Okpaleke, whose patience and humility I admire. Thank you all.
"L'Osservatore Romano" of June 11 has also revealed that “the cardinal prefect of the congregation for the evangelization of peoples, Fernando Filoni, has asked Francis - who has accepted - that at the conclusion of this affair the diocese of Ahiara, with its bishop, may make a pilgrimage to Rome and meet with the Pope.”
(English translation by Matthew Sherry, Ballwin, Missouri, U.S.A.)


James said...

"Don't mess with this pope" if you're African, more like. I'd love to see him show this much authority with the German bishops.

Servimus Unum Deum said...

I'd love him to issue this kind of directive to the SSPX who do the EF but show disobedience to the Church and the Pipe with their "Catholic Tribalism." The
Y have still not retracted calling Francis a modernist to this day

Anonymous said...

Well I think these priests should follow the example of the holy Father himself.......just remain silent. And if it causes a mess, well didn't Francis ask for that.

All these rules and commands, after all Francis isn't some renaissance prince.

Like the ENTIRE conference of German bishops said, regarding the Synod on the Family, they aren't subservient to the bishop of Rome and they will do what they think best. And Francis was silent. Why can't these priests follow that example? Hummmmmmm

Mordacil said...

Pope Francis uses papal authority to stamp out tribalism and prejudice in the church and all we can do is condemn him for not using it elsewhere where these is dissent. I agree he should be stronger on the other types of dissent as well but we shouldn't overlook the good example of exercising papal authority here.

John Nolan said...

This is a salutary lesson for those who look to Africa for some kind of orthodox Catholic renaissance. Tribalism is a fact of life and efforts by old-style missionary priests to emphasize the universality of the Church were undermined by mistaken post-Vatican II notions of 'inculturation'.

However, when a German diocese rejected the appointment of a bishop who was deemed not 'liberal' enough, the pope (Benedict XVI) backed down. So, however Francis may like to dress it up, the issue is not one of principle; the Nigerian bishop was rejected on ethnic grounds, which violates the creed of Political Correctness.

I would remind Julian Barkin that the founder of the SSPX knew Africa and the Africans far better than does Pope Francis and his Secretary of State, and to suggest that Lefebvre or the Society he founded espoused some form of 'Catholic tribalism' scales the heights of absurdity and plumbs the depths of ignorance.

rcg said...

I basically agree with this action and strongly agree with the reason. What I am not sure about is how this will be recieved and responded to by the African clergy. I sense that this is composed in a frame that is aimed at the cultural sensibilities of the addressees. I hope it is successful. I had a thought similar to John Nolan concerning the response of the German bishops to Pope Benedict and believe it is important for the message to be composed for the bishops and clergy in question. The individual pope will manage that in his own way. In this case there is a significant need to address real violence and civil war even between Catholics of ethnic tribes in Africa. By comparison the European political battles are trivial.

Servimus Unum Deum said...

John I'll just say straight up, I'm not ignorant on the general situation. I am anti Radical Traditonalism/Radical Misrepresenting Traditonalism. I will continue to be as long as I live and want to see the Latin Mass movement be rid of this foul spiritual poison from Hell. I won't change for you and I'll leave it to Fr AJM to kick me off his blog.

Gene said...

Julian has been plumbing the depths of ignorance on the blog for a long time. He has now reached bottom and has begun to dig.

Anonymous said...

"...the Nigerian bishop was rejected on ethnic grounds, which violates the creed of Political Correctness."

No, it's not about Political Correctness.

It's about the explicit racism.

John Nolan said...

Julian, the things which you oppose so vehemently have no existence outside your own imagination. Since you were not around in the 1970s, I suggest you do some research into the genesis of the SSPX - Michael Davies's 'Apologia pro Marcel Lefebvre' is a good starting point. On any objective assessment Paul VI, Cardinal Villot (who dripped poison into the pope's ear concerning SSPX) and the French hierarchy come out of the affair with little credit. The worst thing that can be said of Lefebvre was that he was stubborn and inflexible - and, pace Bergoglio, rigidity in defence of truth is no vice.

To invent a category of people, demonize them and then move to exterminate them is redolent of Stalin's war on the 'kulaks'. I can just see you in OGPU uniform circa 1932.

rcg said...

That is an interesting response, John, because I would not expect people to think to emulate the Africans As a group but rather to seek inspiration from the successful indivual struggles and affirmations of Faith those struggles have produced.

John Nolan said...

Anonymous @ 11:52

It's a hallmark of PC to stretch the nebulous term 'racism' so far as to cover virtually everything. Tribalism in an African context has a specific meaning, which has little to do with race.

Carol H. said...

I heard on EWTN last night that the bishop in question was appointed by Benedict XVI. That means this has been dragging on for far too long, and I agree with Pope Francis' decision to put a stop to the nonsense.

Anonymous said...

It's a hallmark of those in error to redefine words so as to cloud their meaning.

Tribalism isn't racism, Racism isn't political correctness, racism isn't about race but "everything."

And you have the effrontery to say, "On any objective assessment Paul VI, Cardinal Villot (who dripped poison into the pope's ear concerning SSPX)..."

So much for valuing objectivity...

John Nolan said...


The situation regarding Lefebvre and the Vatican is well documented. So is the Vatican's treatment of Cardinal Mindszenty, which was coterminous. An objective analysis of the evidence does not support the contention that the Vatican, in both instances, always acted in good faith. And Villot did deliberately misrepresent the SSPX to Paul VI.

If you wish to argue otherwise, then by all means do so, and provide evidence in support. Indulging in 'yaa-boo' invective is not intelligent debate, although if your other comments on this blog are anything to go by, it appears to be your stock-in-trade. Julian Barkin can perhaps be excused on account of his youth. I doubt this applies in your case.

Adam Michael said...

I wish our churchmen would concentrate as much on preserving the internal unity of Faith in the Church as they do on maintaining the external institutional unity of the Church.

Anonymous said...

"If you wish to argue otherwise, then by all means do so, and provide evidence in support."

By the by, you've provided none.

It was once "well documented" that hysteria was a "women's problem," that the moon was the cause of "lunacy," and that no American wine was superior to French wine.

Boo Yaa

John Nolan said...

Anonymous, you're pathetic. To an historian, 'well documented' has a specific meaning. It does not equate to 'received opinion'. It means that there is enough evidence to enable reasonable conclusions to be drawn.