It is unfortunate that a section of the press in Owerri, Imo State, has developed a penchant to picking on the Anglican Church each time they get the urge to become mischievous. The latest of their naughtiness is a publication in an Owerri-based newspaper which contained unprintable things about the Diocese of Owerri, its leadership and some of the priests serving in the Diocese.
Issues raised in the publication can, at best, be described as frivolous, portraying the writers as unprofessional and lacking in news judgment.
Insinuations that the Bishop’s overseas trips had been responsible for the alleged misdemeanor of one or two priests gave the publication the hue of a job done by hacks out to satisfy a few disgruntled and fallen Anglicans who may have paid them.
It might not be proper for true Anglicans to join issues with the mischief-makers. Our concern, however, is to draw the attention of those behind such attacks – the writers and their sponsors – to the spiritual implications of their actions. It is in their own interest to desist from commenting indecently on matters concerning God, the Church and the ordained people in His vineyard, for, it has been stated, “Touch not my anointed and do my prophet no harm.”
Serious journalists display wisdom when they refrain from destructive journalism and uphold the ethics of the noble profession which demand balanced and objective reporting. They seek information and are properly educated on issues they wish to go to press with.
We have not known of the gates of any diocese that is shut against journalists in the course of their genuine duties. No matter how hard the writers tried to cover up, it was obvious that the publications had sinister motives behind them.
It is global knowledge that evangelism these days know no territorial boundaries. In deed, the West has begun to beckon on Africa to come on missions to them and re-evangelize their people who are fast losing grips to the faith. Anyone who, therefore, questions a Bishop’s trip overseas is displaying his or her ignorance to global trends. Let it be stated that the Bishop of Owerri Anglican Diocese does not embark on “uncontrollable trips” abroad. Perhaps the writers did not sit down to count the spiritual and material benefits of his trips to the faithful in the Diocese and beyond. Of course, bishops travel abroad when the need arises and nobody has the right to question them.
The sacred order of priesthood must be insulated from the machinations of ill-intentioned men who do not understand the workings of the faith and theology, for, public administration and Church administration are worlds apart and do not conform strictly to the same principles.
We must, necessarily, warn that grave consequences await those who relish in attacking the church just for the fun of it.