Ejike Mbaka, spiritual director of Adoration Ministries Enugu Nigeria (AMEN), has apologised to the Catholic church over his mistakes in recent times.
While delivering his sermon on Sunday, Mbaka asked Callistus Onaga, bishop of Enugu diocese, to forgive him and his followers for their actions which have rubbed off negatively on the church.
The priest also cautioned his supporters against violence, after some of them broke into the diocesan cathedral on Wednesday when his whereabouts was unknown for some hours.
“I can’t disobey the church — who am I? How can somebody who has been serving the church for 25 years come out to begin to fight the same church. Everything in my life is for the church,” he said in the sermon.
“In all honesty, Father Mbaka here has no problem with the church. I don’t have any problem with my bishop; people want to achieve it but they cannot allow it. Because I have something in me that will conquer all this problem — the gift of humility and the obedience of the church.”
Mbaka recalled how thousands of his followers invaded the premises of the Catholic cathedral and the residence of the bishop while searching for him.
Having been summoned before the protest, he said the church leadership immediately directed him to go and bring the protesters out as they had vowed that “things will get bad” if they don’t see him.
“I never knew that even a glass was broken. What I was praising you for was not for what was destroyed, but for your ability to search for your missing pastor,” he said.
“There was a lot of mixed information. The devil entered the story; the church did not kidnap me.
“I wish to apologise for whoever that misunderstood my statement. I did not clap for anybody for destroying anything. I heard that the search for Father Mbaka was hijacked; people joined and started breaking things.
“I am here standing on your behalf and I render my sincere, unalloyed apologies to the Holy Catholic church where I belong, and say, may the mother church forgive us in any way we didn’t do it well.
“Even in all that I said, where I didn’t say it well, I pray for forgiveness. I am on your (the worshippers) behalf, kneeling down for the church and I tell the church, forgive.”
The cleric said he has no problem with the church and restated that he remains loyal to the bishop.
“We are to save the image and face of the church, and the souls of the children of God. I am here for soul-saving, the church is not my property because I belong to the church,” he said.
The Catholic church in Enugu had declared one week of prayer over the violent protest about the priest’s whereabouts.
The protest heightened the tension that was caused by Mbaka’s recent clash with the presidency over a controversial contract.