The Catholic Church on Monday, spoke on the recent transfer of Father Ejike Mbaka, saying the posting of the controversial priest was not meant to be punitive.
The recent transfer of Mbaka to a new parish had generated speculations indicating that the priest was moved to another parish because of his support for a Muslim candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari, over his Christian predecessor, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
However, the Secretary-General of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Reverend Father Ralph Madu during an interview with Premium Times said that transfer of priests within the Catholic Church is a normal church procedure.
Madu said, “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.”
“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.”
According to Madu, 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.”