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Catholic Church Wahala: Vatican to Impose Bishop on Makeni

 - Tuesday 4 December 2012.

By Our Correspondent.

Sources close to the Catholic Bishops conference of Sierra Leone have disclosed that that the Apostolic Nuncio of Sierra Leone, Most Reverend George Antonysay, has communicated to the Bishops and Dioceses of Sierra Leone that the congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples has confirmed the date of the Episcopal Ordination of Msgr. Henry Aruna(photo), Bishop elect of Makeni, for Saturday 5th January 2013 in Freetown.

According to the letter addressed to the Bishops, the Consecrating Prelate will be the Most Reverend Prostase RUGAMBWA, Adjunct Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples and President of the Pontifical Mission Societies, accompanied by Msgr. Hyacinthe Dione from the same Congregation.

The Priests and people of God in the Diocese of Makeni welcome this news of the ordination of another Sierra Leonean brother being ordained as Bishop to fulfill the pronouncement of the Holy See. But the lay faithful and their Priests in the Diocese still maintain their stance that the calling and stewardship of Msgr. Henry Aruna is not for the Diocese of Makeni and cannot be imposed on the people of God.

The Spokesperson of the laity council, Mr. Alysious Kanu said they rejoice that the Sierra Leone Catholic Church has come to this age as its four dioceses should have Sierra Leonean Bishops as Shepherds of God but he lamented that the Bishops conference failed to take into consideration the regional sensitivity and diversity in their selection due to what he described as an appointment not spiritual but personal.

Amidst several appeals from both priests and lay faithful the Territorial Catholic Bishops Conference of Sierra Leone and the Gambia dictated the imposition of Msgr. Henry Aruna on the people of God in Makeni,.

"I think he will be a standby Bishop in Freetown and not Makeni," Kanu said angrily.

"How can you come to a place that he is not welcome?, asked a disgruntled parishioner who wants to remain anonymous. She called on the Vatican to rethink.

Meanwhile the Diocese of Makeni is being overseen by the Apostolic Administrator, Fr. Natalio PANGANELI.

Sources close to the Bishops conference in Sierra Leone revealed that that the ordination of Msgr. Henry Aruna as Bishop should have taken place earlier than the above date but due to the political atmosphere it was postponed to after the elections.

The source further disclosed that the Bishops Conference will use President Ernest Bai Koroma as mediator to convince his brothers and sisters in Makeni to accept the newly appointed Bishop so as to create a model of tolerance during his tenure of office.

One of the people involved in the crisis told PV that they expected a mediator at least to pay attention to the concerns of "the people of God in the Diocese" but he described their non compliance (Bishops Conference in Sierra Leone)as not working in the interest of the church but rather their personal interest.

"Msgr. Henry Aruna as Bishop should not expect any cooperation from us and I wonder who will kiss his feet, " he added.

"A Bishop with no Diocese, " said another clergyman