Resigned Priest wants to retain Fr. title but….
For a priest of over a decade vocation and devotion to just throw in the towel, sonetnung must have gone wrong. Even that he still wants to be addressed as a priest speaks volumes…Read more:
Since last week when the news of a popular Catholic Priest, resigning from the church hit the airwave, many reactions have trailed his action.
A popular Uyo-based Catholic priest and radio preacher in Akwa Ibom State, Reverend Father Patrick Henry Edet, has resigned from the Catholic priesthood.
The founder of the Grace Family Global Outreach broke the news during his Grace and Inspiration radio show on Planet Radio 101.1F.M, Uyo. According to him, it was time to move on and serve God in a different capacity.
But he put a kind if humour in this when said said he should be addressed simply as Reverend Patrick Edet and on a lighter note, he said he can still be called Father.
“From today henceforth, I cease to be a Catholic Priest in my spirit and in my soul. I forgive those who will criticize me, I live for God. I seek freedom for my soul. As I leave, I leave smiling, I am so happy that I am free,” he said.
But as expected, many reactions have trailed this his action. Some have not minced words in offering olive branch to the quit priest to join their denominations.
Others have elected to assist him have his personal ministry equiped to hit the ground running So, only Fr. Edet could tell why he had taken the action he did.
Perhaps, he would disclose that later in life.
However, here is a piece that Rev. Fr. Akan Amos titled:
A REFLECTION ON REV FR. PATRICK HENRY EDET’S RESIGNTION
The problem of change vis-a-vis the problem with change. ANYTHING TO DO WITH CATHOLIC PRIESTHOOD?
Every change occurs with a surprise and every surprise about any change goes with news. Sometimes bad, other times Good! Sometimes private, other times public!!
Regarding Nativity, growing out of childhood to adulthood is often with surprises. Puberty is often responsible. Most times we handle the change privately. Boys and girls alike.
Regarding education/knowledge, we discover lots of surprises as we graduate from primary to high school and to tertiary institutions. We feel much better and quietly tend to see the past levels of studies as inferior.
In religion, we oftentimes infer that those who left a particular religion tend to accuse their former religion as lacking the divine attraction compared to their current religion.
In Christian denominations, a similar accusation seem to arise again. For instance, a sister or brother who left ‘mountain of fire’ for the ‘Redeemed Christian Church’ or another church will immediately see the former as lacking divine substance and connection.
In the Catholic church, those who leave for other denominations will always accuse the former as being in darkness and the current church as being their light. And they often end with this aged long statement, ‘I have seen light now. I no longer live in darkness. I am now living in freedom’.
There are many questions to ask here. The first is, is the problem first and foremost with the church or with individuals?
Secondly, what is the nature of freedom that he or she who left the Catholic church suddenly enjoys? If it has to do with freedom, is it freedom to obey or freedom to disobey the authorities of the Church?
Thirdly, what is that happiness that is found among non Catholics if a Catholic priest suddenly changes his denomination. Am I to presume that what runs in their head is something like, ‘We just won. Even one of their ‘rabbai’ just left to be like us?
We should be careful with how we rejoice over any news like this because only the person directly involved in the change knows why he has made the change.
We should recall how brave Peter was during Christ passion such that in trying to fight for Jesus by using his sword to cut Marcus ears, Jesus rebuked him to shield his sword. Sometimes we are caught in the web of pride and thinking that we have all it takes to fight for Christ, end up actually fighting for our personal interest.
The background of this piece is to refresh our Thoughts following the recent saga in a diocese in Nigeria.
First, a priest is simply a messenger of God called to minister for the people of God. He does not own any parish as his personal property. So, if along the line he decides to leave the Church for whatever reason, that’s personal to him and with his God. The church continues.
Secondly, the priest is not God and must not be worshipped with so much sentiments. He is another Christ (alter christus) in the context of his ritual and becomes in persona christi only when he celebrates the sacraments. If the sarcedotal office automatically accords him reverence and respect, it should not be abused and misplaced with pride to stylishly mislead the people of God with our spiritual gifts for personal entertainment. The story of Lucifer should be fresh in our minds.
Thirdly, a priest is human called and chosen among men. As human as a priest may be, he is a bundle of possibilities. If his possibilities are not guided, it could bring about negative effects. We should not forget that even among the 12 Apostles, one left the forum out of his personal desire.
Heraclitus had posited that the only thing that doesn’t change is change. So change is constant in our changing society. But in my deeper reflection, change could change because it is under the authority of the creator. Therefore, the only thing that doesn’t change is God. He changes change and still remain unchanged.
Any human person can change to something good or bad. Any administration can change. Life itself exchanges change from living to dying.
But Catholic priesthood has her bond directly from God. From her origin with the hierarchical succession, Jesus exclaimed, ‘You’re Peter and on this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not overpower it’.
The priesthood is a ‘forever thing’!
If a priest leaves the Catholic church because he feels he has another or a ‘higher’ calling, what actually will he be doing that he was not doing before?
Oh except being accountable which is rooted in absolute obedience to the Church? Establishing a new lifestyle that is unchecked? Could this be the freedom our fallen brethren mean each time they leave us?
Also, if God’s grace and mercy is boundless, what makes a priest who leaves or rather who claims to have ceased being a priest think he can develop another ministry that will be ‘more full of grace and breakthrough?’ Does God operate based on denominations? Why jumping from something to nothing? Could it be identity crisis or the quest to attract attention to oneself instead of the universal church? I don’t intend to judge here. Am only thinking aloud
To be free- Free to do what? At this point Jean Rousseau comes to mind. He says, “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains. One man thinks himself the master of others, but remains more of a slave than they are.”
I think there’s no absolute freedom for anyone. If there’s any, then it should be freedom to do the right thing, at the right place and in the right believe.
And I end with this…..”I believe in the Holy spirit, the Holy Catholic church, the communion of saints…..I believe in One, Catholic and Apostolic church” I believe in the priesthood of Christ!
Please, pray for your priests!!!