ROME, June 14, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Pope Francis has ordered priests in Africa to either accept a Pope-appointed bishop or be suspended from exercising their priesthood.
On Saturday, Pope Francis ordered priests from the Diocese of Ahiara in Nigeria to write him a personal letter within 30 days promising “total obedience to the Pope.” The priests must promise their willingness “to accept the Bishop whom the Pope sends and has appointed.”
Any priest who refuses to comply by the deadline will lose their office and be automatically suspended a divinis, meaning they would be unable to exercise any priestly ministry in the Catholic Church.
Conservative priests are praising the move. It takes a harder line than did Francis’ predecessors who also had to deal with priests rejecting bishops appointed by the pope.
For Vatican watchers, it “confirms a key insight about Pope Francis,” as Crux’s John Allen writes. “Popularly, he’s seen as a lovey-dovey man of dialogue and peace…. always counseling restraint and ‘tenderness’’ yet, “when the time comes for obedience, he fully and completely expects to get it… If he doesn’t, he’s also prepared to make heads roll.”