“Bishop Onah mandated me to build a museum where I would keep the deities I remove from villages. I spent 2.8m to build the museum upstairs inside the cathedral and reported to my bishop. The only ‘thank you’ I got from my bishop was that he asked me where did I get the money to build it when he has banned me from selling olive oil. Yet, I endured it. “
While perusing the social media posts were Fr. Okunelere voiced his grievances against Most Rev. Dr. Godfrey Onah, his bishop, I came across the quote above. This quote shed light on the underlying issue at hand. I do not need to address other issues one after another. Even when I have not heard our Lord’s side, it appeared that the bishop’s intention was to encourage conformity, and in this inadvertent revelation, it became clear that Fr. Obasi had shown a propensity to deviate from established Catholic practices rooted in the Bible, tradition, and consistently expounded upon by the “Magisterium.”
One could infer from his complaint that the Bishop prevented him from selling the olive oil. The question is: are priests supposed to sell olive oil? In the Catholic tradition, only three oils hold canonical significance: the oil of catechumens, the oil of the sick, and the Sacred Chrism. I am sure the priest knows this better than we do, so why abuse it? While there may be special cases, did they encounter any unique circumstances that warranted the production of liters of “blessed olive oil”?
Interpreting the bishop’s perspective, it appears he has been disheartened by actions he believes Father has taken. Just as our faith is upheld and guided by proper direction, the bishop, in his role as the father of the diocese, is diligently overseeing and steering Father’s apostolate in the right direction.
For those of us who have closely observed the Bishop of Nsukka, it’s evident that he embodies the essence of Catholicism at its finest. He has been making every effort to ensure the church’s well-being. We are not taken aback by the possibility of embarrassment befalling him. Instances like this serve as a reminder that some of the most significant challenges faced by the Church since she was founded by Christ, have originated from within. Figures like Arius, Nestorius, Luther, Jan Hus, Thomas Cranmer, and more were either Catholic priests or bishops who caused disruptions within the Church. Lest you are disturbed that such take place in an institution Christ Himself founded, may I remind you that her affairs are piloted by the fallible sons of Adam.
Numerous priests excel in their apostolic work. Do we not pay attention to Fr. Blessed Njumeh from Cameroon? Do we not applaud the apostolate of Fr. Oluoma that is canonically guided? Do we not tune in to Fr. Ehusani’s teachings? These priests, along with many others, set remarkable examples of what it means to be a Catholic priest. However, whenever I witness priests delivering sermons with their bank account details prominently displayed on the screen, it fills me with embarrassment.
Clearly, Bishop Onah is intent on preventing the resurgence of figures like Luther and his followers.
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