Today30 June, 2022

2023: Catholic Priest suspended for joining Gubernatorial contest

2023: Catholic Priest suspended for joining Gubernatorial contest

Reverend Father Hycainth Alia has been suspended by the Catholic Diocese of Gboko in Benue State for displaying interest in the State’s governorship election.

Alia is one of the 12 governorship candidates that purchased APC expression of interest and candidacy forms in order to compete in the party’s primary election.

However, according to a viral suspension letter sent to all priests, religious, and people in the Catholic Diocese of Gboko on May 20, 2022, and signed by Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Gboko, Bishop William Avenya, who is also Apostolic Administrator of the Catholic Diocese of Kastina-Ala, the affected priest was previously warned in accordance with the church’s partisan politics rule.

The letter read, “I write to communicate to you the suspension of my priest, Rev Fr. Hyacinth Iornem Alia from public ministry after series of admonitions to him.

“The mother church does not allow her clerics to get involved in partisan politics on their own Ex can. 285, 3 CIC. You’re aware that my son, your brother and your priest has purchased the party’s form to contest for the office of the governor of Benue State under the All Progressives Congress which is usually against our vocation.

“Therefore, to respond to the spiritual and pastoral needs of the church in the Catholic Diocese of Gboko, I have suspended him from exercise of sacred ministry. This canonical suspension takes effect from the moment it is communicated to him and last until he ceases from contumacy.”

Kula Tersoo, Head of Media and Publicity for Alia 2023 Gubernatorial Organization, responded to the suspension by saying it was standard church procedure.
He clarified that, as indicated in the letter of suspension, Alia was only barred from celebrating public Eucharistic masses, but that he remains a priest of the Catholic Church in perpetuity, and that when his public civil service contract expires, he will resume his public mass and ministry.

Tersoo said his principal is steadfast, urging supporters not to be anxious because the priest is well-prepared and determined, emphasizing that he has witnessed the sincerity in the calls for him to intervene and also help salvage the situation in the state.

He recalled that a former governor of the state, the late Rev. Fr. Moses Orshio Adasu, who was once thehe state’s second civilian governor, went through the same process.

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