Reprimend for S/Leone rebellous Catholic Priests not ruled out
By Frank Sainworla, Jr/WADR News
The Catholic Archbishop of Freetown, Edward Tamba Charles has frowned on “some people who are bringing the church down the tribal line,” amidst internal feud over the appointment of a Bishop from the east of Sierra Leone to head the diocese of Makeni in the north.
Some Catholic priests have been leading a group of laymen in the church to rebel against Pope Benedict XVI appointment of a priest from the eastern town of Kenema as Bishop of Makeni.
Despite efforts being made to resolve the rift in the Catholic Church in Sierra Leone, Archbishop Charles told West Africa Democracy Radio that tensions remain high.
The priests and other Catholics last weekend barricaded the church building in Makeni to prevent the introduction of the Rev Father Henry Aruna, because he does not hail from Makeni. The Archbishop was compelled to have read out the citation of his appointment from the Pope from an email at an event in Freetown last weekend, because of the rowdy protest in the diocese of Makeni.
“We are waiting for tension to cool down so that we could go and talk to the priest and laity, because appointment of a Bishop is not a thing that is done locally. It goes through a process and eventually the Holy Father (the Pope) sanctions the name of a particular priest,” said the Freetown Archbishop who himself does not hail from the Sierra Leonean capital.
When asked whether disciplinary actions would be taken against rebelling priest, Archbishop Charles did not rule out the possibility of some of them being reprimanded for their action.
“My hope and prayer is that we will not reach that point,” the Catholic cleric warned.
The rift in Sierra Leone’s Catholic Church has raised eyebrow, with many wondering: what example are Priests and other members of the the Church setting for the secular world as regards fanning the flames of tribalism?
Click audio below to listen to Archbishop Charles’ interview with WADR’s Frank Sainworla.