VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis has backed down and accepted the resignation of Nigerian bishop who had been rejected for years by the priests of his Ahiara diocese.
The announcement Monday came after Francis in June issued a harsh ultimatum to Ahiaran priests that they would lose their jobs if they didn't obey him and accept Bishop Peter Okpaleke as their bishop.
It wasn't clear how many of them obeyed and pledged in writing to accept Okpaleke. But on Monday, the Vatican announced that Okpaleke was resigning and that Francis had named Monsignor Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji as Ahiara's temporary administrator.
The case was a test of papal authority, and has echoes with another divisive bishop appointment in the news concerning Chilean Bishop Juan Barros. Barros has been rejected by many faithful and priests.