Vanguard (Lagos)

24 June 2013

Nigeria: Crisis Rocks Catholic Church in Benin

Benin — A group in the Catholic Church in Benin,Edo State, Edo Liturgical Group, has demanded the removal of the Archbishop of the Metropolitan See of Benin, Most Rev. Augustine Akubeze and a Benin Priest, made a Bishop in his place for the true evangelization of the people of the kingdom.

The group, which addressed newsmen in Benin, weekend by its Chairman, Mr Andrew Ayemwenre, also accused the Archbish op of punishing Benin people for demanding for a Benin Bishop to help achieve proper evangelization in their land in accordance with the recommendation for the church by Pope Benedict XV.

"In less than two years of Archbishop Akubeze's coming, there appears to be a design by him to replace our people, priests and laity in the Catholic Church. The Edo Liturgical Group visited him on more than four occasions to find the way forward.

"Among issues raised were one Edo Mass for parishes at primetime in the entire diocese, copies of Edo Bible and Missal be made available in the Church, use of Edo songs at Mass, Priests in the Archdiocese to learn to celebrate Mass in Edo language, the re-instatement of Pa Vincent Osakue to the knighthood, which was withdrawn by Akubeze and Mr. Chris Aghimien as Secretary of the Laity Council of the Archdiocese of Benin and the retention of the name, Edo Liturgical Group."

He insisted that despite peace moves by the group, the Archbishop failed to accede to any of their requests and refused to approve the one Mass on Sunday for the indigenes in all parishes in Benin-City.

"Holy Cross Cathedral as a Parish has 28 Sunday Masses in a month while only one Mass is said in Edo language for her indigenes. This means that of the 364 Sunday Masses in a year, only 12 is in the native tongue. Meanwhile, in Onitsha and the entire Eastern Nigeria, the reverse is the case. The use of Edo language as part of the Mass is a taboo to Archbishop Akubeze," the group said.

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