The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. Dr. Alfred Adewale Martins has suspended a catholic priest, Rev. Fr. James Anelu for banning the use of Igbo songs and choruses during worship in his parish.
Fr. Anelu who before now was the parish priest of Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Enu-Owa Gberigbe in Ikorodu had outlawed the use of Igbo songs and choruses in his parish.
According to the report, the priest had angrily stopped a soul lifting chorus during the second collection on the ground that Igbos cannot keep dominating other people even in his Church.
He sighted the case of his home diocese, the Catholic Archdiocese of Benin where he allegedly accused the Igbos of dominating to the point of an Igbo man, Most Rev. Dr. Augustine Akubueze becoming the Archbishop of the Benin Ecclesiastical Province.
Rev. Fr. James Anelu was alleged to have said that the spirit of God in any place recognises only languages indigenous to that geographical location, a development which forced the entire congregation to protest leading to abrupt dismissal as people massively walked out of the Mass.
However, the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. Dr. Alfred Adewale Martins, in a bid to remedy the situation, issued a disclaimer on Monday where he condemned the statement of the priest describing it as completely unacceptable.
Archbishop Martins informed that following the development, the priest involved in the imbroglio had been asked to proceed on an indefinite leave of absence to allow for a thorough investigation of all matters relating to his ministry in the parish.
The disclaimer reads in part, “It has been brought to our notice that Rev. Fr. James Anelu, the Priest-in-charge of the Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Enu-Owa, Ikorodu, made some completely unacceptable comments about Igbo songs being sung in the church and unsavory remarks that do not represent the Catholic Church’s position on common brotherhood of all tribes and religion.
“For this reason, he has been asked to proceed on an indefinite leave of absence to give an opportunity for a thorough investigation of all the matters relating to his ministry in the parish. The leave of absence takes effect from Tuesday, 8th February, 2022 till further notice.
“We therefore urge all Catholic faithful to hold on to the faith and continue our worship of God as one big family united in love and not separated by language, culture or race.”
Photo: Most Rev. Dr. Alfred Adewale Martins, Catholic Archbishop and Metropolitan See of Lagos.
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