VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has laid down an ultimatum to Nigerian priests: be fired if you don’t obey me and your bishop.
Francis met June 8 at the Vatican with a delegation from the Ahiara diocese, where priests have been refusing to accept the 2012 appointment by then pontiff, Benedict XVI, of the local bishop.
Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, reporting the pope’s unusually harsh order, said Sunday that Francis was acting “for the good of the people of God” by threatening to suspend the priests from the ministry if they didn’t pledge in a letter, by July 9, “total obedience” to Francis and accept Bishop Peter Okpaleke’s appointment.
Francis told the visiting delegation he was “very sad” about the priests’ refusal to obey and ruled out tribal loyalties as causing the refusal.
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.