From Emmanuel Uzor, Abakaliki
Catholics in Abakaliki Diocese in Ebonyi State are now divided into two camps.
A faction has formed a new church known as Reformed Catholic Church (RCC).
Daily Sun also gathered that more priests ordained in the Catholic faith by the emeritus Bishop of the Diocese, Rev Michael Okoro are leaving the church in droves with the defection of Rev Fr. Ben Agbo Benjamin to form his own church, the RCC.
However, there was confusion among the Catholic faithful of Holy Family Parish, Ekebeligwe, St. Lazarus Parish, Ojiegbe and St. Joseph’s Parish Odomoke all in Ishieke-Izzi, Ebonyi Local Government Area, over Benjamin’s decision to establish a church t.
Daily Sun investigations indicated that Fr. Benjamin has been having a running battle with the church leadership following his charismatic activities which led to the bishop withdrawing his sacramental faculties, a means employed by the church to punish priests.
Such measure means that the person being punished would not be allowed to celebrate Holy Eucharist anymore until an episcopal pardon is granted him.
Rather than obey the suspension slammed on him by the bishop, Fr. Benjamin allegedly moved on with his ministry and left the church to a permanent site he called “Holy Ground Adoration Centre” where he is currently pulling great crowd.
A Catholic faithful who gave his name as John Igwe said “apart from the incident, Fr. Benjamin now calls himself ‘Messiah,’ a miracle working priest, second to Fr. Mbaka and even claims he would become more powerful after Mbaka’s death.”
At the time of this report, many catholic faithful from the three parishes where Fr. Benjamin had served as catholic priest have indicated interest to join him in his new found faith.
His suspension is against the backdrop of the suspension and transfer of a fiery, outspoken priest, Rev Fr. John Odey, who was also stripped of his faculty to exercise his priestly duties by the bishop.
All efforts to speak with the Secretary to the Catholic Bishop of Abakaliki Diocese, who doubles as Vocational Director, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Obuna were unsuccessful as calls to his mobile telephone lines were not answered.