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Lukudu rejects papal choice

Author: Emmanuel Akile | Published: Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Archbishop Emeritus Paulino Lukudu | File photo

Archbishop Emeritus Paulino Lukudu has disapproved of the papal appointment of Bishop Stephen Ameyu, saying his installation “will not work” – echoing what the clerics wrote earlier.

On 12 December 2019, Pope Francis appointed Stephen Ameyu metropolitan archbishop of the Archdiocese of Juba.

But a group of clerics and laymen within the Archdiocese rejected the appointment.

In two damning letters, the group accused the newly appointed Archbishop of fathering at least six children in secret, and that some government officials and priests influenced a Vatican diplomat to appoint Ameyu for their personal interests.

The defiant group also warned that Bishop Ameyu, who comes from Eastern Equatoria, will have to work from Torit as “there is no chance for him to serve as Archbishop of Juba,” adding that they will not cooperate with him.

They also raised concerns over Bishop Ameyu’s knowledge of local language and the culture of the indigenous communities of the Archdiocese of Juba.

This resulted in a fistfight at Kator church last Sunday, whereby some faithfuls sustained injuries.

Archbishop Paulino Lukudu, who called for calm and restraint in a press statement issued on Tuesday, now sides with the rebel clerics, saying the appointment process of Bishop Ameyu was “not transparent”.

“The way our Nuncios have been dealing was not transparent to us to the Church here,” Archbishop Lukudu told reporters in Juba on Tuesday evening.

“From down here, the process that was conducted has not been transparent. So, I think the laity probably are believing that the Pope has been given wrong information.

“If the Pope was made clear of what really the situation is, he will not do if it is wrong, he cannot. We are innocent people. I believe you need good priests’ not bad priests; you need good bishops. Certainly if the Vatican is bringing somebody by force, it will not work. That is very clear.”

The retired archbishop went on to say that he has advised Rome against rushing the installation of Bishop Ameyu.

“The advice to the Church in Rome was, let us go slowly until we put things in order,” he stated.

The Office of Nuncio in Juba is yet to comment on the matter.

The church leaders are pushing for appointment of Santo Lako, from Central Equatoria.

Some South Sudanese online believe that the rejection of Bishop Ameyu is as a result of tribalism and hunger for power in the church.




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