News / Africa

Sierra Leone Parishioners Protest Naming of New Bishop

Catholics in northern diocese of Makeni complain new leader comes from outside the area

Last Friday, priests and church members in Makeni held an overnight bonfire in the compound of Our Lady of Fatima Cathedral. They also barricaded the building in protest of the naming of a new bishop, which was to take place on Saturday.

At 11am on Saturday, the metropolitan Bishop of Freetown Reverend Tamba Charles gathered a small group of Catholics at Sacred Heart Cathedral in the capital Freetown and read out a statement e-mailed to him by the papal representative to Sierra Leone Reverend George Antonysamy.

Sierra Leone Parishioners Protest Naming of New Bishop
Sierra Leone Parishioners Protest Naming of New Bishop

In it, he said, “Today as Apostolic nuncio in Sierra Leone, I have the honor and duty to communicate to all of you that His Holiness Pope Benedict the XVI has appointed Reverend Father Henry Aruna, a priest from the diocese of Kenema and the Secretary General of the Inter-Territorial Catholic Bishops Conference of the Gambia and Sierra Leone, as the Bishop of Makeni.”

At the time of the announcement, church members in Makeni went to the main cathedral with the intent of delaying the naming of the new bishop:  they barricaded the doors of the compound, said the rosary and sang songs of praise.  But they soon learned the new bishop had been named, instead, in the capital Freetown.

Secretary General Gerald Alex Sesay of the Laity, or church members of the diocese, said defiantly over the phone from Makeni, that they were not going to recognize the new bishop who had been attached to the Kenema diocese in eastern Sierra Leone.

The reason, he says, is that they consider it an insult for the church hierarchy to bring in an outsider to lead them. He says over the years, a good number of priests have been ordained in Makeni and now have the qualifications and experience to hold the position.

Gerald Sesay says tribal affiliation is not important to the laity.  What matters, he says, is that the bishop is local.

Journalists in Makeni say protesting youths in the church compound were addressed by senior priest Monsignor John Tarawalli. He reportedly told the youths not to take part in violent acts. He said they will open the church and conduct normal services on Sunday but they will not accept the new bishop.

Meanwhile in Freetown the metropolitan Bishop Reverend Father Charles said, “The appointment of a Bishop is purely a Church matter. It is not done on a political basis, [nor] in recognition of tribal boundaries or geo-political divisions. It is done according to the criteria established by the Church, and that is what has been followed in this particular case.”

On Sunday, the cathedral was opened and mass was held though the priests and laity were still adamant they will not recognize the new bishop.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs