Catholic church suspends priest for engaging in partisan politics

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From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi

For venturing into partisan politics, a Catholic priest, Rev Fr Hyacinth Alia, has been suspended by the Catholic Church.

This is contained in a letter dated May 20, 2022 and signed by the Catholic Bishop of Gboko, His Lordship, Most Reverend William Avenya, to all Priests, Religious and Laity.

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Father Alia is one of the 12 gubernatorial aspirants who have purchased the APC intent and nomination forms to contest the governorship seat of Benue State.

The letter which was titled: “suspension of Revd. Fr. Hyacinth Iornem Alia from sacred ministry explained that the church does not allow her clerics to get involved in partisan politics on their own.

“Greetings of the Paschal Season from The Chancery, Gboko. May I begin by acknowledging and appreciating you for your commitment and dedication to the work of spreading the Good News of Christ.

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“I write to communicate to you the suspension of my priest, Revd. Fr. Hyacinth lornem ALIA from public ministry after series of admonitions to him Ex can. 1371, 2° CIC.

“The Mother Church does not allow her clerics to get involved in partisan politics on their own Ex can. 285, 3 CIC. You are aware that my son, your brother and your priest has purchased the party forms to contest for the office of the Governor of Benue State under the All Progressives’ Congress (APC), which is totally against our vocation.

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“Therefore, to respond to the spiritual and pastoral needs of the Church in the Catholic Diocese of Gboko, I have suspended him from the exercise of sacred ministry.

“This canonical suspension takes effect from the moment it is communicated to him and lasts until he ceases from contumacy. Be assured of my prayerful best wishes,” the letter read in part.

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But reacting to the suspension,


Alia 2023 Gubernatorial Organization said the Catholic church had only by the suspension, freed Alia to go on fully with his strides to rescue Benue from total collapse.

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A statement by the Head of Media and Publicity, Alia 2023 Gubernatorial Organization, Kula Tersoo said the gubernatorial aspirant is only suspended from celebrating public Eucharistic Masses, but he remains a priest of the Catholic Church forever.

“The Benue APC frontline gubernatorial aspirant for 2023 general polls, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Iormem Alia, wishes to inform members, stakeholders and leaders of the APC family in BENUE state that the suspension order pronounced on him by His Lordship, the Bishop of Gboko Catholic Diocese, William Avenya, is a normal practice of the church. He is implicitly officially freed to go on fully with his strides to rescue Benue from total collapse.

“Recall that Rev. Fr. Moses Orshio Adasu of blessed memory who served as the second Executive Governor of BENUE state went through the same process. His footprints are visible for all to see.”

Quoting Fr. Alia on his suspension, Tersoo stated that, “He said that as stated clearly in the letter of suspension, he is only suspended from celebrating public Eucharistic Masses, but he remains a priest of the Catholic Church forever. After his tenure ends in public civil service he shall resume his public Masses and ministry.

“He said from the day I took the decision to answer the overwhelming calls of my people to contest the Governorship of Benue with the aim to rescue our people from the shackles of maladministration, I was fully aware of the sacrifice I was going to make. And I am convinced that it is worth the cause I am fighting to serve the souls of Benue people and the State. I have a freer leverage to give more time to achieving this pursuit.

“I remain resolute and please don’t be anxious either because I am well prepared and focused. More importantly, I am more charged because I have seen the genuineness in the agitations for me to step in and help salvage the already sorry situation the state has found itself for sometime.”

“As stated in the last paragraph of the suspension letter, I shall return to the public pulpit after I must have served out my mandate as the Governor of Benue state”.

Tersoo called on all the teeming supporters, fans and admirers of Fr. Alia to remain steadfast, continue to pray and work in order to actualize the Alialization 2023 project.

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