In Defence of Ahiara Diocese: From an anonymous contributor.

By an Anonymous Author

Published: June 15, 2017

The people of Ahiara make so much out of the fact that Mbaise has produced a lot of priests and religious.

They have not yet realized that their behavior here puts into question the quality of the clergy and religious they have given the Church. Quantity is their criterion, not quality.

Nobody is entitled to a diocese or a bishop, let alone the right to determine who their bishop would be. The Catholic Church is not and has never been a democracy.

These people make their case on issues that have never been relevant to the appointments of bishops.

The fact that they’re doing this, clergy and lay faithful alike, makes one ask what kind of Catholic faith these people of Ahiara are practicing.

It's very clear that they see the office of bishop as nothing but a political appointment.

This 'Fr' Mmakwara (I say 'Fr' because I have reservations for his conduct so far, first on the grounds that he doesn't seem to know what it means and secondly, based on his own argument: he's not from my village) lays out his arguments why his duly appointed boss does not qualify for his office (what brazen insurbordination! !). Now which of these reasons border on spirituality? Has the bishop betrayed his priestly vows? Is he an intemperate man? Is his character unChristlike? Because if he's talking about educational qualifications or managerial qualifications, then point blank this Fr Mmakwara doesn't qualify to be a Catholic priest (pardon me, but you must see my point)

While holiness counts, even that is not a necessity (in the sense that nobody is born holy, holiness is a graduated spectrum in which today's less holy man can become a great saint tomorrow).

It is an understanding of the teachings of the Catholic Church and to uphold it to and for his flock that counts. 'Fr' Mmakwara and his fellow dissenting Ahiara priests may think that one of their number is qualified for the Seat. Yet they’ve made it obvious that they neither understand the teachings of the Church on which their authority presently rests and will rest on as bishops, nor are they ready to uphold those ones they find unpalatable.

Since this appointment has been politicized and we know how politics is played in Nigeria, let us now ask a very Nigerian political question: these Ahiara priests or their ringleaders, WHAT ARE THEY HIDING THAT THEY FEAR THEIR NEW BISHOP WOULD EXPOSE? Are they embezzling church funds? Are they living large? Are they being unfaithful to their priestly vows? Maybe the time has come to shine the light on their lives.

One really can't understand how it got to this.

Does it matter where your bishop is from so long as he fulfills his obligations to his flock?

Is ‘place of origin’ an impediment to the office? Does it render his duties invalid? Is an Ahiara priest ordained by him somehow less of a priest? Are the sacraments he celebrates somehow less adequate? Where does his place of origin factor in this equation?

Will a homegrown or kinsman bishop guarantee the people of Ahiara a place in heaven?

What’s next? They’ll reject a Pope because he’s not from Ahiara? Or they’ll reject Jesus because he was not from Ahiara?

By what they’ve done, the people of Ahiara, who thought so highly of themselves as catholics based on the 'quota' they have contributed to the Church, actually proved beyond doubt that they are not ready to be led by one of their own. Not only that, it might be dangerous, not just for its ripple effect on the rest of the country, but to their very souls and their salvation, which would be at risk if this mentality of theirs is reinforced. And THIS is what matters. This is what a bishop is appointed to do: to safeguard their souls for eternal life. And the fact that the Ahiara priests don’t understand this and are putting the souls if their own kinsmen at risk is the clearest evidence that no priest from the place is presently qualified to be bishop.

Let people of Ahiara keep in mind the parable of the man rejected as king by his people.

We stand by St Peter, we stand by the Holy Father!