The Catholic Bishop of Enugu, Most Rev. Callistus. Onaga has rejected the recent apology tendered by Fr. Ejike Mbaka to former Governor Peter Obi for the embarrassing episode the priest created during a church bazaar sales.
Onaga, under whose jurisdiction and supervision Fr. Mbaka’s Adoration Ministry Enugu operates, said the apology by Mbaka was no apology but apologetics that did not comply with what the Bishops directed him to do.
The bishop said this during the weekend at a diaconate ordination mass celebrated at the Holy Ghost Cathedral, Enugu.
He said: “Before we met Mbaka, he had already apologised to Obi but when we listened to the apology, we realized it was no apology but apologetics, so we mandated him to do a written apology to Obi which he agreed to do and actually did it in our presence.
“He was remorseful and regretted his action. We believe he would do the needful by sending across the written apology.”
Bishop Onaga also bemoaned the deep involvement of clerics in partisan politics and mandated henceforth, in line with the directive of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, that priests of the Catholic Church must not make political prophecies or endorse any politician or political party. He urged priests under his control to maintain strict neutrality in matters of politics and focus of their mandate as priests.
He, however, noted that Fr. Mbaka is gifted but should not allow himself be led into disobeying the directives and authority of the church.
“I urge you all to pray for Fr. Ejike Mbaka. This man has added value to the church through his work. I have on several occasions told him that he is gifted but we must not allow anybody railroad us into disobeying the directives of the church. I therefore urge you all to pray for him so that the church can maximize his gift to the glory of God,” he said.
The bishop also warned that priests were becoming meddlesome even in matters that does not concern them.
He said: “I have heard such cases in some community where the contention was that the priest said that a certain person or the other should be the traditional ruler of a community and the community was in crisis. This is beyond your mandate as priest. Priests are not king makers, just preach and pray for them and let the counties run their affairs. In the same way, we should also allow politicians to play their politics and steer clear from the endorsements of candidates. Nigeria operates a democracy and not theocracy. We must therefore be mindful to preserve the integrity of the Catholic church.”