The Council of Churches has criticized Juba Diocese clerics for objecting to installation of the new archbishop, saying he was appointed to serve the lord, not a community.
On 12 December 2019, Pope Francis appointed Stephen Ameyu metropolitan archbishop of the Diocese 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 Bishop 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 would 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.
“Look at that priest as a South Sudanese my dear brothers and sisters , don’t look at him as an Acholi, don’t look at him as a Bari, don’t look at him as a Dinka, but look at him as a priest ordained for the services of the Lord,” said James Oyet, secretary general of SSCC.
The rejection resulted in a fistfight at Kator church on 8 March, whereby some faithfuls sustained injuries.
His predecessor Archbishop Emeritus Paulino Lukudu, also sided with the ‘rebel’ clerics – questioning the papal choice, and saying Ameyu’s installation “will not work”.
Father Oyet called on the clerics to work out the differences because people trust the church.
“People trust the church. If the church starts fighting itself, it causes big problems,” he stated.
“We, in the Council of Churches, look at everything ecumenically. We work in ecumenical sense – in global ecumenical spirit. We work ecumenically in service to the people of God in South Sudan.”
Last weekend, the Vatican Embassy in Juba for the second time announced that the installation of Archbishop Stephen Ameyu will proceed as planned by the see of Rome.
The ceremony has been scheduled to take place in Juba this Sunday, 22 March.
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