Priest suspended for joining Benue governorship race

The Catholic Diocese of Gboko in Benue State has announced the suspension of the Reverend Father, Hycainth Alia, for showing interest in running for the governorship of the state.

Alia is among 12 gubernatorial hopefuls who purchased expression of interest and nomination forms from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to contest the party’s primary election.

But, a viral suspension letter addressed to all priests, religious and laity of the Catholic Diocese of Gboko, dated May 20, 2022 and signed by the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Gboko, Bishop William Avenya, who is also the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese Kastina-Ala Catholic, said the priest concerned had been warned earlier in accordance with the church’s rule on partisan politics.

The letter read: “I am writing to inform you of the suspension of my priest, the Rev. Jacinthe Iornem Alia of the Public Prosecutor’s Office after a series of warnings against her.

“The parent church does not allow its clerics to become involved in partisan politics on their own. 285, 3 CICs. You know my son, your brother and your priest bought the party form to run for Governor of Benue State under the All Progressives Congress which is generally against our calling.

“Therefore, to meet the spiritual and pastoral needs of the Church of 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 in absentia.

Reacting to the suspension, Head of Media and Publicity, Alia 2023 Gubernatorial Organization Kula Tersoo said it was normal church practice.

He noted that, as made clear in the suspension letter, Alia has only been suspended from celebrating public Eucharistic Masses, but remains a priest of the Catholic Church forever, adding that when his tenure ends ends up in the public service, he will resume his public masses. and ministry.

Tersoo said his director remained resolute as he urged his followers not to worry because the cleric was well-prepared and focused, stressing that he had seen the genuineness of the unrest for him to step in and help save the situation in the state.

He recalled that a former governor of the state, the late Reverend Fr. Moses Orshio Adasu, who served as the second civilian governor of the state, went through the same process.

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