Reports reaching this news website indicates that four days to the deadline given to Ahiara Diocese priests by Pope Francis to recognize Mr. Okpaleke as Bishop of the Diocese, “priests of the Diocese are believed to have expressed willingness to comply”
The Priests and laity had rejected Okpaleke on the basis that he is not from Mbaise.
Pope Francis had threatened sanctions if they fail to comply and tender an apology letter.
A top member of the Diocese was quoted to have said that those who thought they would be ex communicated from the mother church have failed as they would not disobey the directives of the Pope.
On June 8, Pope Francis had issued a seemingly unprecedented threat giving the priest of the Diocese marching orders to write him within 30 days. The Pope was also reported to have told an audience of Nigerian Catholics that “the people of God are scandalized by the rejecting the papal appointment”
The Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Jos, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama was quoted in a national newspaper that Ahiara Diocese priests risk excommunication as they would incur what is called suspension a divinis.
Suspension a divinis means the affected priests could no longer function as Catholic Priest, administer sacrament or occupy any ecclesiastical office.
Several appeals have been made to the priests and laity of Ahiara Diocese to accept Okpaleke who was appointed Bishop of the Diocese since 2012.