In its first reaction since the controversy over the transfer broke, the church said the posting was not meant to be punitive. In an exclusive interview with PREMIUM TIMES Monday, the Secretary-General of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Reverend Father Ralph Madu said the transfer of priests within the catholic church is a “normal church procedure.”
“Mbaka’s own is not an exception,” Mr. Madu said. “The Bishop has the right to post any priest wherever he feels his service would be more useful to the church.”
“His posting should have been a privilege, not a punishment – which the Bishop can do because he has the power.
“If he (Mbaka) says it’s a punishment, then it’s open for further investigation. Posting is a regular thing, a priest can be transferred after two, three, four, or more years, it depends on the discretion of the Bishop.
“That ministry (Adoration Ministry) is his private ministry; it does not belong to the church. Overseeing a parish is a full-time job. Overseeing a ministry is a bigger task. If the church decides to take him somewhere where he’ll have more time to carry out his ministry, how is it punitive? That should not be the language.”
Mr. Madu said Mr. Mbaka had done things that were unacceptable to the church in the past but received no punishments for them.
“He is supposed to be a missionary,” Mr. Madu said. “What if the Bishop had closed down the ministry, which is within his power to do? Sometimes, transfers can be for the good of the priest as something can be going wrong which he might not be aware of. The Bishop is free to move any priest at any time; it is his prerogative.”