Reports that outspoken priest, Ejike Mbaka has been removed as the spiritual director of the Adoration Ministry, Enugu has been debunked.
The Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN) made the clarification through its National Director of Social Communications, Mike Umoh.
Umoh speaking in a statement on Monday said the CSN is the administrative headquarters of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, responsible for the administration and promotion of the Catholic Church in Nigeria.
Mr Mbaka was reported to have been removed as the spiritual director of the ministry days after the leadership of the Catholic Diocese of Enugu lifted a three-month-old ban on church members from attending service at the ministry.
The ban followed scathing remarks against Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, by Mr Mbaka, who is the spiritual director of the ministry.
During a service on Sunday at the ministry, Mr Mbaka was said to have announced his removal as the spiritual director of the ministry and subsequently introduced Anthony Amadi, another Catholic priest, as the new spiritual director of the ministry.
The cleric was also quoted by Vanguard newspaper as saying that he had been directed to “proceed to a monastery” as part of the disciplinary measures against him by the church.
“So, while I proceed to the monastery to continue with the remaining disciplinary exercises, as directed. I wouldn’t know how long; but the church has appointed Fr Anthony Amadi, one of us, to be overseeing all affairs of the ministry, to be assisted by other priests, pending my return, by the grace of God,” Mr Mbaka had said. But Mr Umoh said the outspoken priest was not removed as the spiritual director of the ministry.
The CSN spokesperson stated that the Director of Communication of the diocese, Benjamin Achi, confirmed to him that Mr Mbaka was only asked to “take time away in solitude to listen to what the Spirit of God has to tell him.” He said the cleric was allowed to propose a priest who would administer the ministry on an interim basis.
“With the approval of his Bishop, on Sunday, 2 October 2022, Fr. Mbaka introduced Fr. Anthony Amadi to the worshippers (as the new spiritual director of the ministry),” Mr Umoh said.
He said Mr Mbaka will return after his period of solitude at the monastery, but did not give details of the time and the monastery where he has been scheduled to go.
Mr Amadi, the new spiritual director, escaped being lynched by angry worshipers after Mr Mbaka announced him as the new spiritual director of the ministry during the Sunday service.
Mr Umoh criticised the worshippers for attacking the priest and insisting that Mr Mbaka should remain in the ministry.
He said rather than attack the new spiritual director of the ministry, “every true Catholic” should, at this moment, commit Mr Mbaka in prayer so that he might encounter God and become better and stronger to carry out his priestly duties after the trip.
“The church loves Fr. Mbaka and cherishes him as an illustrious son,” he added.
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