The Parish Priest of Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Ewu-Owa Gberigbe in Ikorodu, Lagos, has been suspended by the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos for banning Igbo songs in his parish.
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When Rev. Fr. James Anelu officiates Mass in any parish in the South-South and South-West, he has been known to punish choristers who sing Igbo songs.
The argument he gives during these Masses is that Igbos aren’t the only ones who go to Catholic churches, and the Igbos’ excesses must be reined in.
He recently yelled at choristers who were singing an Igbo chorus during the second collection, claiming that Igbos cannot continue to dominate other people in Catholic churches in non-eastern countries.
He is said to have referenced the situation of his Benin Diocese, where Igbos had taken over to the point where an Igbo cleric has been appointed Bishop.
He allegedly justified his position by arguing that the spirit of God only recognized the parish’s geographical languages.
The Archbishop of Lagos, Alfred Adewale Martins, has now issued a “disclaimer,” ordering Rev. Fr. James Anelu to take “an indefinite leave of absence” beginning today, February 8.
“It has been brought to our attention that Rev Fr James Anelu, the priest-in-charge of Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Ewu-Owa, Ikorodu, made some completely unacceptable comments about Igbo songs being sung in the Church, as well as some unsavoury remarks that do not represent the Catholic church’s position on the common brotherhood of peoples of all tribes and religions,” Martins wrote in the letter dated February 7.
“As a result, he has been ordered to take an indefinite leave of absence to allow for a comprehensive assessment of all problems concerning his ministry on the parish.” The leave of absence will begin on Tuesday, February 8, 2021, and will last until further notice.
“As a result, we implore all Catholic faithful to maintain their faith and continue to worship God as one giant family, united and not divided by language, culture, or ethnicity.”
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