The Catholic Church on Monday clarified the recent transfer of Father Ejike Mbaka, saying the controversial priest was merely being sent to where he would be more useful to the church.
Addressing the issue for the first time since the strife over the transfer broke, the catholic church stated that the posting was not meant to serve as a punishment.
In an exclusive interview on Monday, the Secretary-General of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Rev. Fr. Ralph Madu reiterated that transfer of priests within the catholic church is a “normal church procedure.”
Mbaka’s own is not an exception. The Bishop has the right to post any priest wherever he feels his service would be more useful to the church.
Public criticisms had greeted the Enugu Diocese’s recent decision to transfer Mr. Mbaka out of Christ the King Parish, GRA, where he had served for over 10 years and had established the popular the Adoration Prayer Ministry.
Plus the South East zone of the APC had alleged that the Bishop’s decision was influenced by external sources due to his prophesy of Goodluck Jonathan’s failure at the 2015 elections which came true.
But Fr. Madu said that “such frivolities have nothing to do with the posting.”
His posting should have been a privilege, not a punishment – which the Bishop can do because he has the power.
If he (Mbaka) says it’s a punishment, then it’s open for further investigation. Posting is a regular thing, a priest can be transferred after two, three, four, or more years, it depends on the discretion of the Bishop.
That ministry (Adoration Ministry) is his private ministry, it does not belong to the church. Overseeing a parish is a full time job. Overseeing a ministry is a bigger task. If the church decides to take him somewhere where he’ll have more time to carry out his ministry, how is it punitive? That should not be the language.
Fr. Madu said Fr. Mbaka had done things that were unacceptable to the church in the past but received no punishments for them.
He is supposed to be a missionary, What if the Bishop had closed down the ministry, which is within his power to do? Sometimes, transfers can be for the good of the priest as something can be going wrong which he might not be aware of. The Bishop is free to move any priest at any time, it is his prerogative.