Pope backs down, OKs resignation of divisive Nigerian bishop

By: NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press, Feb 19, 2018, KIRO 7

VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Francis backed down Monday and accepted the resignation of Nigerian bishop who had been rejected for years by the priests of his diocese, setting a precedent that could have repercussions in Chile and elsewhere when papal authority is challenged.

The announcement came after Francis in June issued a harsh ultimatum to the priests of Nigeria's southern Ahiara diocese, warning they would lose their jobs if they didn't obey him and accept Monsignor Peter Okpaleke as their bishop. Francis gave each priest 30 days to pledge their obedience.

The Vatican said Monday that 200 priests obeyed, but some still expressed problems in working with Okpaleke.

Pope Benedict XVI had appointed Okpaleke to Ahiara in 2012, but the local clergy rejected him. Ahiara is in the Mbaise region, and its faithful objected to  . . . 

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  • John Nesbella
    commented 2018-02-19 12:21:05 -0600
    So francis will threaten to fire 200 priests for refusing to accept a difficult bishop as their boss. But will never threaten or fire a single priest who molests 200 children. It’s ok to molest children as long you’re a priest who pledges obedience to the SUPREME PONTIFF and his appointed henchman. Dare to challenge the SUPREME leader’s authority and you are gone!

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