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Article by Marc Aupiais
--29 / May / 2009- Central African Republic- Priests go on strike--
An investigation into the Catholic priesthood, in the Central African Republic, by the Vatican's: Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, has lead to the resignation of Archbishop Paulin Pomodimo (aged 54, appointed in 2003), of the Archdiocese of Bangui. Priests in the Central African Republic (CAR), have subsequently gone on a one day strike. A Vatican report, had noted that many priests were leading promiscuous lives under the aforementioned Bangui Archbishop.
According to the investigation, done by Archbishop Robert Sarah, the Congregation's Secretary: the prior mentioned: Bangui Archbishop: Paulin Pomodimo, has had:
"a moral attitude [...] not always in conformity with his commitments to follow Christ in chastity, poverty and obedience."
(Catholic Cutlure (Catholic; independent; American) 29 / 05 (May) / 2009 ).
This investigation was reportedly shortly followed by the investigated Archbishop's resignation from his post in the Central African Republic. Reporting on the findings: the news service branch of laity initiative Catholic Culture notes: that the Vatican's investigation reported that many CAR priests:
"have homes and children"
(Catholic Cutlure (Catholic; independent; American)27 / 05 (May) / 2009)
And that a local newspaper had noted: that most Catholic Priests in CAR, have girlfirends, and children.
The resignation, was hot on the heals of the (16th / (05) May / 2009) resignation of: the Diocese of Bossangoa's Bishop: François-Xavier Yombandje of Bossangoa (aged 52), who in 2007 lead the CAR Bishops' Conference.
The Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples's report, attacked not only the single bishop who most recently resigned, but noted varying levels of the "cupability", among all levels of the hierarchy in CAR.
It is not unique for Clergy and Bishops to be involved in scandals in recent times. With local hierarchies of The Church: increasingly apposing the Vatican, in both the Developing and Developed world, and the open ignoring of various aspects of Catholic Dogmas and morality, among many members of the hierarchy. The Vatican, of late: has found its representatives increasingly hard to govern. The power exerted, to successfully gain the resignations of the two bishops, has certainly been a larger exertion of force, by the hierarchy, than has been seen recently.
Following the resignation, the report, and its demand that they change: local priests in CAR, have decided to go on strike for a single day, and have done so.
While the Vatican views those in the priesthood, to be servants of a vocation, many African cultures, according to one published opinion on the issue, spurred on by a stronger group identity, and family solidarity than in the west: increasingly have yielded many priests, which are encouraged to enter the clergy, by families which gain esteem from the position. Much like policemen in some countires, priests hold an esteemed position: meaning that the priesthood is not a sacrifice, but a gain for many in Africa: socially and economically.
Celebacy, is part of the vows of poverty and obedience, that are associated with the priesthood, however: even in Developed Countries, the Church has had some trouble inforcing various aspects of priests' committments. This has been enhanced by a shortage of priests, and a decline in actively practicing Catholics. In addition to the seemingly forsaking of their vows involving celibacy, the Vatican report, also claimed that the priests had ignored their vows to poverty, in that they had their own houses.
Whatever the motivation of the priests, who went on strike for a single day, the decision to strike over the replacing of Bangui Archbishop: Paulin Pomodimo : has again broken with the official Church regulations.
Canon 1373 of the 1983 Codification of Canon law: forbids persons from inciting their "subjects" to disobedience against the "Ordinary" or "Apostolic See", due to an act of "Ecclesiastical Authority".
CAR, according to Catholic Culture, is 21% Roman Catholic, and has 9 Dioceses. In June 2007, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, visited CAR. According to Catholic Hierarchy (link): Bangui Archdiocese, in 2004, was 21.95% Catholic, Bossangoa Diocese, was 25.00% Catholic.
Summary words and phrases:
Central African Republic; Archbishop Paulin Pomodimo; Archdiocese of Bangui; investigation by Archbishop Robert Sarah, leads to resignation of CAR Archbishop, strike by local priests.
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