By Odogwu Emeka Odogwu
The Primate of All Nigeria (Anglican Communion), and Archbishop of Abuja, the Most Rev'd Nicholas Okoh, has appealed to bishops not to be in a hurry to ordain priests since dismissal of a priest is not a good testimony no matter who is involved.
Okoh who said it was the only panacea to the alarming dismissal and suspension of priests in the dioceses, urged bishops to be painstaking in assessing those coming to priesthood so as to guard properly their point of entry.
He made this appeal in his message at the closing formalities of the just concluded 8th Divine Commonwealth Conference (DIVCCON) at the National Christian Centre in the Central District of Abuja.
The Primate recalled how in 1979, he wrote the deacon thesis in Asaba Diocese on who was at fault for the rate of dismissal and suspension of priests and concluded that the fault was at the point of entry.
He reiterated that if the Church was thorough in the assessment of those coming to the priesthood, the rate of dismissal and suspension of priests would be drastically reduced, even as he noted that priesthood was a serious matter and when priests fell, there was no spirit of repentance because it was a case of a dry fish that could not be bent.
He advised bishops that in the interest of their lives they should not be in a haste to ordain or send them to the seminary. He reminded those who wanted to be ministers in the Church that there were powers in the Church that included money power, political, women, witchcraft and other powers that were ready to claim lives.
According to the Primate, a clergyman must possess power that would override all those powers, noting that that power was the power of the Lord.