The resignation of the Archbishop of the Cape Coast Archdiocese of the Catholic Church, Most Rev. Matthias Kobena Nketsiah, simply means he has retired, a Catholic priest in Accra has explained.
Pope Francis on Friday May 11,2018 accepted the resignation of Most Rev. Nketiah and accordingly appointed Most Rev. Charles Palmer-Buckle as the new Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Cape Coast.
The announcement of his ‘resignation’ has since been viewed as bad for the Catholic Church and raised questions as to why he resigned from the Church.
But catholic priest, Father Anthony Agnes, who is Secretary to Most Rev. Palmer-Buckle, took to Facebook Friday to explain the meaning of ‘resignation’ as regards the case of Most Rev. Nketsiah.
He explained that bishops in the Catholic Church are required by the Code of Canon Law to retire at age 75, and that, retirement in the Catholic Church is known as resignation.
“No bishop is appointed for life… if a bishop does well and is nearing 75, the law says that he has to send his letter of resignation; we don’t call it letter of retirement,” he clarified.
Father Agness added: “In the Catholic Church when you say the bishop has resigned, actually it means he has retired but the word they use is ‘resignation’”
Canon law is the system of laws and legal principles made and enforced by the hierarchical authorities of the Catholic Church to regulate its external organization and government and to order and direct the activities of Catholics toward the mission of the Church.
He said the law mandates all bishops who turn 75 years to send “letters of resignation” to the Pope and wait for same to be accepted, as has been the case with Most Rev. Matthias Kobena Nketsiah.
Explaining the processes, he said once the the Pope receives a “letter of resignation” from a bishop, he initiates processes into getting another bishop to replace the retiring one before accepting the resignation.
According to Fr. Anthony, the process usually takes a while.
Making specific reference to the case of the Cape Coast Archbishop, he said the bishop sent his resignation letter two years ago when he turned 75 years and it was only today that the Pope accepted his resignation.
What the resignation means for Cape Coast Diocese
He further explained that, the acceptance of the resignation, Most Rev. Matthias Kobena Nketsiah ceases to be the Archbishop of the Cape Coast diocese.
Consequently, the Cape Coast diocese will need the approval of Rev. Palmer Buckle who has taken over, to be able to do anything that requires the approval of the Archbishop.
Most Rev. Palmer-Buckle will however need to take “Canonical possession of the diocese” in two months’ time after his inauguration or swearing in.
What the appointment of Rev. Palmer Buckle means for Accra diocese
Fr. Agnes said the appointment of Rev. Palmer-Buckle as the Archbishop of the Cape Coast diocese technically means he is no longer an Archbishop of Accra Diocese.
He only remains an apostolic administrator, which means he is only taking care of a diocese.
He said Rev. Palmer-Buckle will continue to be an apostolic administrator until he is inaugurated (Canonical possession) at Cape Coast.
According to him, if by that time an Archbishop is not appointed to take over the Accra diocese, then Accra will become “an orphan diocese”, in which case the Pope will appoint a priest to be a Diocesan administrator or the priests in the diocese will elect a senior priest to take charge.
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By P.D. Wedam|3news.com|Ghana