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

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened 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.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid