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AHIARA, THE POPE, AND A TIME FOR HEALING
By Rev. Fr. Anthony Shawuya
 

"Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life" (John 6:68)

The words of St. Peter the first Pope were said in response to Jesus' passionate question to the disciples will you too go away? The reason why many left Jesus was because they considered his teachings as hard and untenable. A Bishop was appointed for Ahiara much to their dislike and disdain which for some it was a hard thing to accept as reality. For the Ahiarans rather than accepting the will of God, they chose to go their way.

The disposition of the Ahiara people gave vent to the takeover of their collective reason and faith by the master of rebellion himself - Lucifer. Two things that came handy as tools for the devil's manipulation were:

1. Son of the soil syndrome

2. Appeal to justice

At the first instance, these two tools would seem plausible. Yet the way of rebellion actually starts with something attractive. The ancient serpent told Eve she will not die after eating from the tree at the centre of the garden. God's command was replaced with something seemingly good not knowing the implication.

Our brothers in Ahiara have knowledgeable priests and ex priests who championed their cause based on the two attractive narratives of son of the soil and injustice and manipulation done to them. They wrote volumes of highly intelligent synopsis that produced the modicum of initiating many into the ark of rebellion. So many other evils crept in leading to a defiance and total disdain for the Church's hierarchy in Nigeria.

Today, however, Pope Francis finally laid to rest all the agitations and squarely addressed the intrinsic evil in disobedience to the Church which he described as a mortal sin. Pope Francis could not hide his pains that the manipulations of a few would lead to the suffering of the faithful in Ahiara diocese and injure the mother Church.
Pope Francis' words were filled with "compassionate rage" that is often expressed by a mother to an erring child. A mother would not disown her child but would discipline him appropriately. Pope Francis would not suppress the diocese of Ahiara typical of a mother who does not disown her child no matter how spoilt he is.

Urging all the priests of Ahiara to write personally to the Pope is the window of grace Pope Francis gave to every Ahiara Priest home and abroad. It is the opportunity for the good people of Ahiara to initiate healing in their local Church.

Ahiara priests ought to take opportunity of this window of grace to deeply reflect on their calling and their oath of obedience at ordination. In her wisdom, the Church at ordination asks the candidate "Do you promise obedience to me and MY SUCCESSORS?" IT didn't say my successors from Anambra, Mbaise, Dunukofia etc.

Ahiara priests ought to allow total faith and trust in the will of God to take presedence rather than fanning division based on some perceived injustice. Remember, the Bible did not tell us of any tantrums from Esau having realised that his blessing was stolen through the manipulation of Jacob's mother. In the long run of things, God's ways are not our ways and he uses whom he chooses and makes worthy.

While the whole imbroglio lasted, we must thank God for those He used to bring about the solution to the issues. Like Peter, we must all declare "Lord, to whom shall we go? For you have the words of eternal life." All hands should now be on deck because it is time for Healing.

Shalom!

 

By Rev. Fr. Anthony Shawuya,
Assistant Director,
Media Centre, Kaduna.

 

 


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