Catholic Church leaders have reacted to the recent suspension of Rev. Fr. James Anelu, the priest-in-charge of Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Ewu-Owa, Ikorodu, Lagos State.
The Catholic leaders, in separate interviews NAN in Lagos, called on the faithful to pray for God’s guidance for the clergies in order not to derail in their obligations to the public.
Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos on Wednesday suspended Rev. Fr. James Anelu for banning the singing of Igbo songs during mass in the church.
However, Mr. Onyema Onyemankeya, Coordinator, Catholic Deanery of the Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC), FESTAC chapter, said that there should be no discrimination in the house of God.
Onyemankeya described the incident as unfortunate, urging people to always pray for God’s continual direction of the Levites saddled with the sacred role of leading the church in various communities in order for them to remain on track at all times.
“I thank God his grace the Archbishop is handling the matter there is no cause for alarm. everything will be settled in no distance time.
“One thing is sure as humans we are not infallible; the priest’s state of mind at the time of the incident may have been manipulated by the devil to cause disaffection in the church for normally the clergy cannot say such knowing the brotherhood and one family posture of the church,” he said.
National President, Catholic Women Organisation (CWO), Dame Mary Asibi-Gonsum, said that over-familiarity of priests with the faithful could cause distractions in the management of the church.
The women leader condemned the incident, saying that God understands every language.
” Therefore, there should not be room for discrimination in the house of God for the worship is for God and not for man,” she added.
According to her, some overzealous people close to priests might want to influence preachers’ thoughts and actions for selfish ends that were at variance with the church’s tradition.
She called on the clergies to draw a line between the church tenets and peoples’ opinions in the administration of the church in order not to give room for misconception, misinterpretation, and misapplication of the norms of the church.
She added that prayer as a key solution to problems should be made for the preachers to be above board in the discharge of their obligations.
Also speaking on the incident, Chief Stephen Nwaiku, Pastoral Council Chairman, Holy Spirit Catholic Church Onireke, Lagos, said that such incident had led to disharmony in other churches.
The church had on Wednesday sanctioned Rev. Fr. James Anelu, the priest-in-charge of Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Ewu-Owa, Ikorodu, for going contrary to the church’s tradition.
The church said that the priest made “some completely unacceptable comments” about Igbo songs being sung in the church during Mass.
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