Sunday, June 11, 2017

Pope Gets Tough with Defiant Nigerian Priests; Will Fire Priests Who Do Not Obey Him, Bishop

In a rarely used self-righteous display of the power he holds by virtue of his position, Pope Francis has laid down an ultimatum to defiant Nigerian priests: lose your job if you don't obey me and your bishop, the ABC News website reports today (June 11, 2017).

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 unusual harsh order, said today 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.

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