By Tata Mbunwe
The Bishop of Buea, Michael Bibi, has lashed out against people he says are causing disorder in the Diocese, as he commemorated his first anniversary as Bishop of the dioceses yesterday
In a sermon during the anniversary held at the Divine Mercy Co-Cathedral in Buea on February 25, Bishop Bibi warned there are no “untouchables” in the diocese and people who are trying to feed fat from the church will be brought to book.
“We are all aware of the trials that we have experienced as a diocese within this short time of my stay here. The so-called many attacks on the person of the Bishop and concentrated ecclesiastical authorities over social media, over some newspapers, over some TV stations,” he said.
“I am not going to give room to any mediocrity in this diocese and all those who want to feed fat from the resources of the church, and run the affairs of the church as their personal properties must be brought to order.”
“I will not give chances to any disorder in this diocese and there shall be no untouchables when it comes to the aspect of proper administration in the diocese,” he said.
He dismissed recent reports of scandals rocking the diocese as attempts to sow disunity and discord among Christians, urging Catholic faithful “there is only one Bishop”.
“Looking forward, I am hoping to have a more united diocese, with priests, religious, laity, and Bishop working together in a spirit of unity as one family to build this diocese of Buea,” he said in a later interview with the press.
Bibi took over from his retired predecessor Bishop Immanuel Bushu amid, not just a security crisis in the English-speaking regions, but also internal challenges in the Diocese.
One of the controversial decisions he took in his early days as Bishop was replacing the former administration of the Catholic University Institute of Buea with a new one. He dismissed Rev Fr Nkeze as President of the university and replaced him with renowned history Professor, Julius Ngoh. But a furious Nkeze refused the backdown and launched a court case against the Bishop, something which many had considered a blow to the Catholic Church.
In a more recent decision, Bibi suspended six lay catholic associations he said were causing rivalry among Christians in the Diocese.
Bibi said many people in the Diocese are yet to forgive him for taking these two decisions which they have classified as “mortal sins”. “These considered mortal sins have haunted me and are still haunting me till today,” the Bishop said.
“I will like to use this opportunity to remind all of us that we must stand for the truth and work for the truth and at all times despite the challenges we must go through. If I were asked to make these decisions again, I will take them and even take them harder.”
The hundreds of Catholics who witnessed his first-anniversary celebration applauded Bishop Bibi’s statements with cheers and clapping.
Many rich Catholics also pledged over 40 million to support him in the construction of the Divine Mercy Co-Cathedral, an over two billion-franc project which has been going on for almost 13 years now.
The occasion marked exactly one year since Michael Bibi, 51, after serving as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese for close to a year, took over as Bishop of the Buea Diocese.
He says his first year in office has been rocked by several challenges, including rivalries among some Catholic faithful, some of who have challenged his authority.
Earlier this month, the Bishops who constitute the Bamenda Ecclesiastical province issued a letter condemning people who were challenging the Buea Bishop’s authority and reaffirmed their solidarity with Bishop Bibi.
Talking to the press at yesterday’s first-anniversary celebration, the Bishop said Christians should “be more committed on their faith. To make sure that, despite the challenges, the difficulties they do encounter and witness in their faith, they should be able to persevere, because their perseverance, at the end of the day, will win them their lives.”