Cape Coast: 'Roman father' suspended for refusing to go on transfer
The Cape Coast Archdiocese of the Catholic Church has suspended a priest, Rev Father Robert A.K. Oduro for refusing to go on transfer and establishing a personal prayer camp.
Rev Father Robert A.K. Oduro had been transferred on January 1, 2022 from St. Paul’s Parish, Assin Jakai to the Archdiocesan Secretariat, Fourth Ridge, Cape Coast, but he failed to honour the transfer.
Graphic Online's Edith Mensah reports from Cape Coast that, the suspension followed multiple warnings to Rev Fr. Robert A.K. Oduro who had refused to respond to any call extended to him by the Metropolitan Archbishop of Cape Coast, Most Rev Charles Gabriel Palmer-Buckle for a dialogue on the issue.
Suspension per the Catholic Church's canon law, is a censure by which a cleric is deprived, entirely or partially of the use of the power of orders, office, or benefice.
According to a statement sent to the Catholic community in the Cape Coast Archdiocese seen by Graphic Online, and signed by Archbishop Palmer Buckle, the priest's suspension which took effect on June 3, 2022 would be held in effect until the Archbishop revokes it at his discretion.
Per the statement, the action was taken after his refusal of transfer effective January 1, 2022, from St. Paul’s Parish, Assin Jakai to the Archdiocesan Secretariat, Fourth Ridge, Cape Coast and his subsequent acts of establishing and managing a “Prayer Camp” on his own.
According to Archbishop Palmer-Buckle, the suspension was necessary since the priest's actions were deemed to be in breach of the church's standing order.
The letter to him stated: "I have closely followed the events of your refusal to respond to my invitation to you for further discussion on your Ministry as a Roman Catholic Priest of the Archdiocese of Cape Coast."
He said that he had personally visited the Priest on April 24, 2022 and had later dispatched an official delegation to his Prayer Camp to invite him for further talks on the "discernment on his Ministry as a validly ordained Minister of the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church and member of the Presbyterium," he however failed to honour the invitation.
“You have, however, persisted in your obstinacy and refusal to respond to any call extended to you for a dialogue on the matter. Given these acts of disobedience, I hereby write to suspend you with immediate effect from Ministry as a Roman Catholic Priest and accordingly, I bring this to the notice of the Priests, Religious and the Laity of the Catholic Archdiocese of Cape Coast and to the general public to the effect that you cannot function as a Catholic Priest until this suspension is revoked,” Archbishop Palmer-Buckle stressed.
The decision to suspend the Priest has elicited conflicting opinions from the Archdiocese's Catholic community, with some calling the suspension as punitive, while others believe it is in line with the Church's standing command.
A parishioner of St. Paul's Parish, Beverly Arhin stated that the priest had been absent for almost two months and that, "I heard he has his prayer camp in Mankessim."
"I was surprised to learn that a Catholic priest had established a prayer camp, but I believe the suspension is intended to dissuade other priests from going rogue," she added.
A priest who requested anonymity said Rev Oduro's actions were disrespectful and unwarranted from someone who has benefited so much from the Catholic Church.
He said "this is someone who has been in Rome for over eight years and when he returned, has had virtually everything at his beck and call. When it comes to serving God, we all have our imperfections, but you must not do it in a disrespectful way," he added.