Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a Nigerian bishop who was long opposed by the priests in his diocese.
Bishop Peter Okpaleke had been appointed to the Ahiara diocese in southern Nigeria in 2012, but local clergy objected to a priest from outside the region and he was forced to reside outside the diocese.
In a pastoral letter putting forward his resignation on February 14, Bishop Okpaleke referred to “violent reactions and resistance” to his appointment. The Vatican confirmed the Pope’s acceptance of Bishop Okpaleke’s resignation in a statement released on February 19.
In June 2017, Pope Francis warned dissenting clergy that a refusal to accept Bishop Okpaleke as bishop would lead to their dismissal. The Pontiff gave each priest 30 days to pledge their obedience.
According to a statement from the Vatican, the Pope received 200 letters from individual priests in the region “in which they manifested to him obedience and fidelity.
The statement continued: “Some priests, however, pointed out their psychological difficulty in collaborating with the bishop after years of conflict.
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