Letter to editor

The Pope Should Hear This

25 March 2013 at 16:10 | 2304 views

I wonder where this world of ours is leading us to as the writings of those we consider as spiritual advisers and chancellors. They are becoming deceitful and misleading. In this his particular case I want to refer to our blessed Chancellor and Lawyer of the Freetown Diocese, Fr. Alphonso Alphaeus Carew.

He labelled me as a crass and ignorant about the teachings of the Catholic Church, but I am happy that I am a lay faithful and Pastoral communication scholar from the one of the world’s best university – The Gregorian University Rome. I can boast of educating him in the area in which he claims to be a professional. I was conveniently able to pick out his lies and deceitful canon commentaries which do not apply in the case of my argument. I am referring to his articles in Global Times Newspaper dated 13 and 14 March 2013, respectively.

In his opening paragraph of his article ‘Has it degenerated to a racist, tribalistic rhetoric’? (13th March 2013) Fr. Carew cannot even tell the exact number of the college of Cardinals that entered the Sistine Chapel for the secret conclave but for correction it was not 150 as he wrote but 115. To say that Pope Francis is the 267th Pope is another disgraceful error on the side of a man of his calibre. Fr. Carew has indeed confirmed to me that he didn’t complete his study of the canon law. The present Pope is the 266th. Even my mass communication students know this.

In Fr Carew’s opening paragraph he wanted to impress his sympathisers that he knows the different roots of the word conclave. However in Italian Con Chiave means without key, not with key as he said. While his next example Cum Clavum does mean with key, the proper example was Con Clavum, which means without key. Conclave really means without a key. Fr. Crew, learn this.

If a church authority of Fr. Carew’s claimed status begins to make statements that are later proved to incomplete or false, then it may be impossible to recover credibility of the diocesan leadership. Our people must be helped in a pastoral way to grow in their faith even at this difficult moment.

The Bible says in Psalm 101:7: No one who practices deceit shall dwell in my house; no one who utters lies shall continue before my eyes.

Fr. Carew, do you know that journalists respect a diocesan press officer that makes available reliable information that is absolutely complete, accurate, balanced and which responds to the usual questions of the journalist? They lose respect for people of your calibre when the information given is patently false or very improbable.

I studied at the Gregorian university in Rome and can boast of a diploma in Pastoral communication but I want to challenge you to publish your licentiate awarded to you from the same university as a canon lawyer. I challenge you do so to prove me wrong. You left half baked and travelled to the USA.

There is no person who does not have weaknesses that can affect their family, professional or other obligations, but if a person can face these disorders honestly and take steps to handle this, then like St. Paul says, their weaknesses become their strengths. This requires a great deal of humility, honesty and transparency.

See the two communiqués attached from the Bishop of Bo Diocese and the Apostolic Administrator of Makeni Diocese, Rev. Fr. Natalio Paganeli and let’s analyse them.

The letter of the Apostolic Administrator of the Makeni Diocese is focused on encouraging members of his diocese to participate in the scheduled Easter programmes, especially priests, who have to renew their priestly promises. Most interestingly the Chrism Mass that will be presided over by Bishop Patrick Koroma, the President of the Episcopal Conference. This message is appealing and encouraging to both religious and lay faithful in renewing their baptism in Christ.

But the Letter to all Priests, Religious and Catholic Laity of the Catholic Diocese of Bo signed by Most Rev. Charles Campbell is of hatred, creating division, provocative and even insulting during a holy month like this. He describes fellow believers as ‘so-called Catholics of the Diocese of Makeni (clergy and laity)...’ what signal does this decree make to you?

I need not tell Fr. Carew that these are trying and challenging moments in the history of the Catholic Church the world over compounded with so many issues which I believe he should be well grounded in. But what does the scripture say about this? As we confront trials and weaknesses, our victory and reward will come as we seek the companionship of our Saviour. For he has promised: “… for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them” (Esther 12:27). Only those with weak faith like Fr. Carew will not exercise restraint for God’s providence.

In Fr. Alphonso Carew’s article as a religious, catholic lawyer for that matter he supported Bishop Campbell’s decree saying ‘Bishop Charles Mathew Allieu Campbell Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Bo is absolutely right and in fact has done what Rome could in the immediate future do...’.

Fr. Carew, I wonder if you were part of Jesus’ followers at the time he was wining and dining with tax collectors, lepers, prostitutes and sinners in general what would have been your position? At a critical moment like this when the Catholic Church is facing so many challenges including but not limited to gay marriages, use of condoms, priests to have wives, abortion, etc, you are busy castigating your fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, wards, etc. in the Makeni diocese with meaningless adjectives that spin in your brain. You call yourself a chancellor and lawyer?

Should thy lies make men hold their peace? and when thou mockest, shall no man make thee ashamed?

4 For thou hast said, My doctrine is pure, and I am clean in thine eyes.

5 But oh that God would speak, and open his lips against thee (Job 11:3-5 KJV)

Fr. Carew, you described me as a crassly ignorant journalist in the catholic teachings, but all those following our articles have their respective views about our analysis on the issue in question. I have used the above quotation using the King James Version for you to reflect on it. God will surely shame you which he has already inflicted upon you as a liar (Proverbs 6:16-19). You mole don mix up.

Please allow me to ask you a few questions for which I require an answer. Why did the Creoles at St. Anthony’s parish in Freetown march out of a mass when ‘shegbureh, local drums (sangba) and ‘Kaylain’ were played?

What was behind the marginalisation of the Creole priests including Fr. Joseph Pelligrin and Fr. Labor (former Chaplain and lecturer FBC) during the reign of Arch-Bishop Ganda? Why did the Bo/Freetown diocese only publish a Mende missal without the Krio version? Why your long stay overseas only to be brought for rehabilitation by the present Arch Bishop Edward Tamba Charles? Why have you been banned from celebrating mass? Please see a psychiatrist.

Rev. Fr. Carew, please note that all your canonical vibes or quotations and commentaries have nothing to do with the catholic community you are dealing with as your canon laws do not imply any thing at this stage. You are really missing the point. If I may ask you this personal question again ‘how many marriages have you caused to disintegrate? What will be your answer? I well know your mind has taken you slightly aback... a big laugh. But my issue here is do you try to bring this family together or do you apply all the laws you have partly studied with insults on the couples?

Let’s look at the area of ‘ defying the ecclesiastical governance of the successor of Peter and the Bishops in communion with him’. How have the priests and laity defied your claim when you (Bishops) maybe through your advice did what was ungodly thinking you can pass your canonical sentence on them if they disagree? Is Makeni the first case of such in the world? What happened in other parts of the world like Nigeria? Can you explain? You have really shown your stance to the world through your writings using provocative language that is not helping the situation, Mr. Carew.

In bullet number 4 of your article published on Thursday 14th March in the Global time (pg2), ‘if Makeni Diocese cannot facilitate the canonical possession of Bishop Henry Aruna before the holy week in the year of faith.... Christian initiation of adults’ celebrated mainly on Easter vigil, baptism, confirmation and holy orders, the fullness of which Bishop Aruna shares and possess, these sacraments could be stalled’. The last paragraph of that bullet reads, ‘those faithful and obedient priests, religious (male and female) and lay faithful who would like to celebrate Chrism Mass could go to one of the other dioceses and fulfill their sacramental obligation’.

Look at this major error in your thinking and personal opinion (which is not Godly). In the first place can you recall that in your previous articles it is this same people of the diocese of Makeni that you described as recalcitrant, rebellious, contumacious priests, religious and laity. Meaning that they are not in communion with Rome (as confirmed by Bishop Campbell)? A fallacy of generalisation. Now you begin to distinguish them? Which priests, religious and lay faithful are you referring to? Cause they are all awaiting excommunication as you proposed. This is another deceitful statement by a self-proclaimed canon lawyer. So where will you leave the church? Meaning no church in Makeni?

Let me educate you once more that we (the people) are the church (1Cor. 3:16-17). If what Fr. Carew claims is anything to go by, Rome will prefer to deal with those who bear the greatest responsibility and allow the people of God to renew their baptism in Christ in their locality. I don’t think any considerable Bishop or shepherd will leave his flock unattended like this based on your insinuation. "Woe to the worthless shepherd, who deserts the flock! May the sword strike his arm and his right eye! May his arm be completely withered, his right eye totally blinded!"(Zachariah 11:17). To educate you more on this penalty, the Arm means - the secular power; right eye - the ecclesiastical state.

But to cut long matters short because you lack that understanding and you have a mad and hateful mind of your own, you prefer this to happen, but on the contrary, the people of God will celebrate the chrism mass with a Bishop and not Bishop Aruna.

Fr. Carew mentioned in the Wednesday edition of Global Times (13th March 2013-pg 2) that ‘... Some have even threatened to kill Bishop Henry Aruna, should he step his feet in Makeni’. This statement is unfortunate Fr. Carew, why should a man of God fear death by carrying his cross? Rome has spoken and he has every right to come. But he has never attempted to do so, why? Is he afraid of death as you claim? Yet you preach martyrdom? Take the example of Paul, the establishment of the early Christian church (Acts 1:9), Jonah, Moses, Jeremiah, to name but a few. Even our constitution gives him the right of freedom of movement and association.

To the issue of Arch Bishop AnthonySamy, this is your assignment; if Arch-Bishop Edward Tamba Charles is appointed as the Pope’s representative to East Africa (Diplomat) and you Fr. Carew (God forbid) is appointed to replace him, who is the senior or superior? Even the okada rider can answer this. He is the Pope’s diplomat in a whole region that is larger than your diocese. If for any reason he his brought back to serve in the diocese, and not even posted to another region or promoted to a cardinal, then something is wrong somewhere. I encourage you to do a research on this Fr. Carew.

Back to your article’s headline ‘Has it generated to a racist, tribalistic rhetoric?’ I don’t know from which planet you are insinuating this headline from. This is because from all my articles published I clearly mentioned that the diocese of Makeni is requesting and protesting for a representation of a local in the Episcopal conference of Bishops considering the current representation. They are also asking what is wrong with their priests of the diocese since the establishment of the church over 60 years now? Are you more sacramental than them? God Knows. What is the racist issue here? I am a catholic hailing from a Mandingo background from Kono. So what?

The Episcopal conference of Bishops in Sierra Leone is Mende-dominated so who is more racist than you if the definition (a person with a prejudiced belief that one race is superior to others) is anything is go by?

You mentioned the issue of successors since the reign of Bishop Azzolini and later Bishop George Biguzzi in your article dated Wednesday 13th March 2013 (Global Times – pg 2),...no one cried foul...until most of these priests have chosen to become contumacious and recalcitrant because a Mende man – Bishop Aruna- who may not speak the languages of the north of Sierra Leone...’. This is a mere inciting statement by a canon lawyer. Do you recall what the African Synod was all about that led to the organisation of the Diocesan synod in the Makeni Diocese? The theme of that synod was growing as a local church. This mean empowering the local and lay faithful to become self reliant and be able to gradually take after the missionaries. I believe the Kenema diocese also went through this after Bishop Oriodan. Why not Makeni?

Speaking to the African Bishops of Africa in Kampala, Pope John Paul II said: You may and must have an African Christianity... It will require that your African soul become imbued to its depths with the sacred charisms of Christianity, so that these charisms may then overflow freely, in beauty and wisdom in the true African manner’.

From my pastoral studies, I am made to understand that those working in in the formation of clergy and other church leadership often cannot imagine that what they do could have impact on the public image of the church. Most of the scandals and lies of Fr. Carew could have been avoided by a better formation that is aware that personal problems almost always become public image problems in one way or another. A clear manifestation of this is his article of excommunication of priests and laity of Makeni Diocese. Nonsense.

If the people have better understanding of the church in general (which is your responsibility) with a sense of both its weak and strong points, and a general positive attitude toward the church, then the people of the community are more willing to accept the weaknesses of the church.

This is what the African synod says: ‘the synod encourages all Christians who are so gifted to become engaged in the political field, and we invite all without exception to educate themselves for democracy. The sanctification of the temporal order is a characteristic proper to the secular vocation of the laity (cf LG 31). By this I mean asking yourself at this moment ‘how can a catholic intellectual like me (Lawyer Fr. Carew) make my impact felt in Freetown with the present Agenda for Prosperity as a canonist? In which way can I promote help to the less privileged in our midst? These are food for thought to a clergy but alas..You are imitating Lucifer.

From my personal research in this country, the day Sierra Leoneans consuming NPA power in Freetown and its environs know the names of the Power generators this is SULZA IV, V, etc, that was the beginning of total blackout in the city for decades. Most Catholics including Priests, religious and the lay faithful only studied catechetic and canon law for those priests to serve as advisers to their respective communities. But now we see priests like Fr. Carew waving the canon law on TV screens, radio station, etc. What is happening in the church that this legal document should be raised against the lay faithful? What is our hope then for a communitarian church? Or do you still practice the hierarchical model?

Pope Francis during his inaugural homily said, ‘Let us not allow omens of destruction and death to accompany the advance of this world! But to be “protectors”, we also have to keep watch over ourselves! Let us not forget that hatred, envy and pride defile our lives! Being protectors, then, also means keeping watch over our emotions, over our hearts, because they are the seat of good and evil intentions: intentions that build up and tear down! We must not be afraid of goodness or even tenderness!

Looking forward to read more lies and canon commentaries from Fr. Carew.

By Emmanuel Turay – Catholic Lay Faithful, Makeni, Northern Sierra Leone.