Mbaka: Pope Francis speaks on social media attack on Enugu Catholic Bishop

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Pope Francis

His holiness, Pope Francis has condemned the social media attack on Bishop of Enugu Catholic Diocese, Most Rev. Callistus Onaga by followers of controversial priest and Spiritual Director of Adoration Ministry, Enugu, Rev. Fr. .

Following a warning to Catholics in the Diocese to cease going to Mbaka’s Adoration Ministry in Enugu, the bishop was attacked.

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Following the ban, Mbaka closed the adoration area till further notice, prompting protests from the Adoration members who attacked the bishop for barring Catholics from the Ministry.

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In a popular video, one of the demonstrators, going by the name Elijah, boldly vowed to kill the Bishop wherever he found him.

However, during the installation of Most Rev. Lucius Ugorji as the new metropolitan Archbishop of Owerri Ecclesiastical Province in Owerri, the capital of Imo State, Pope Francis denounced the protest at the Adoration ground, citing an online video of the death threat on Bishop Onaga, and describing it as unacceptable. Pope Francis was speaking through his representative in Nigeria, Papal Nuncio, Antonio Guido Filipazzi.

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Filipazzi, who delivered a homily at the Maria Assumpta Cathedral in Owerri, denounced what he called growing sectarian tensions and other types of unrest instigated by churchgoers, emphasizing that these were stunting the development of the family, the economy, and other areas as well.

“I must caution God’s people against disobeying established church leadership. As followers of Jesus Christ, you must not put the laws in their hands.

This reminds me of the Adoration Ministry Enugu demonstration that happened. I was shocked to witness a protester threaten to assassinate Bishop Callistus Onaga, the bishop of Enugu, in an online video. In the church of God, this is unacceptable.

The misuse of social media to spread church scandals must be avoided by God’s people. Keep in mind that the Church is One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic and not a place where individuals can enact laws at will, Filipazzi advised.

He asked the devout Catholics to observe the rules of the church and to be aware of their relationship with their bishop.

He exhorted the Catholic priesthood to consistently preach the pure gospel and uphold church teaching.

The Papal Nuncio used the occasion to pray for peace to return to Nigeria while denouncing the violence and murders occurring there.

Most Rev. Lucius Ugorji, the new archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri, urged individuals who are fomenting unrest in Imo State and other areas of the Southeast to put down their weapons.

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According to Ugorji, the only way the area could grow was via peace.

“Peace occurs when people are free from oppression, exploitation, unemployment, and injustice,” he declared. The church and the government will keep working together to improve society.

“Development rests on a foundation of peace. We must work together to save our people from the current scourge of violence and insecurity that has caused unimaginable grief, trauma, and fear to our fellow citizens in the State, according to Ugorji. There is no sustainable development without peace, and peace takes root when people are free from hunger, poverty, unemployment, suppression, and exploitation.

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But he urged the gladiators in the Southeast to put down their swords because “violence breeds violence.” You must make your swords into ploughshares, I beg you. I implore you to leave all disputes, division, and rancor behind for the sake of growth in our State rather than getting involved in needless fights that result in wanton killing, self-destruction, and damage of property.

Ugorji praised Most Rev. Anthony Obinna, the archbishop emeritus of the province, as a learned, ardent, and consummate missionary who made significant sacrifices for the expansion of the province and the church as a whole.

The archbishop acknowledged that Obinna left a shoe that was large enough for everyone to squeeze into, but he insisted he was entering the position of provincial leader with a “customized shoe.”

He requested the help and prayers of the clergy and laypeople while pledging his unwavering allegiance to the church.

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