A Catholic priest in Nigeria stunned radio listeners when he announced on a live programme that he was quitting the Catholic Church.
Patrick Edet, who served under the Catholic Diocese of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, has been a popular voice on radio in the state through his weekly live programme called Grace and Inspiration.
On Wednesday, on Planet 101.1FM, Uyo, instead of airing his usual inspirational message which has over the years endeared him to thousands within and outside the state, Mr. Edet dropped the shocking news.
“Having submitted my resignation letter to my authorities in the Catholic Church, in my spirit, soul and body, I am free from every law that guided me. I submit myself to one authority – God,” he said.
He said he prayed and fasted for seven months before he took the decision to leave the Catholic Church.
He said he had gone through a lot of opposition, antagonism and blackmail for the years he has been running the fellowship.
“All I hear every time is that I am not truly a Catholic priest.
“It has been in conflict in my heart because why I actually accepted not to marry and have children was not just to be a Catholic priest, but to do the things that I do – be nutty on radio and shout and laugh and inspire somebody. And cry when I need to cry and console somebody who cries and to live my life out in my faith openly and in the process make mistake.
“The God that I have discovered in life is a God that cannot be fully known. That God is a God that cannot be fully predicted and cannot be fully captured in human expression otherwise he will cease to be a mystery. That is a God I have come to accept as my God.
“I have come to realise that serving that God you need freedom. When that freedom is limited you cannot fully serve that God.
The priest said he was aware that his action would bring along some unpleasant consequences, like rejection, for instance, and that he was ready to face them.
He said God would judge him, not by the words or actions of the Catholic Pope, but by his own life on the earth, and therefore he accepted responsibility for his action.
“The reason I am doing this is that I want to be right with God first. I want to go to heaven when I die.
The cleric prayed for those who will condemn him for leaving the Catholic Church, adding that “I don’t even need to say I forgive you; you are right in your thinking, but just that you don’t know everything – you don’t know what has been in my life, you don’t know my motive, you don’t know why I leave, you don’t know who called me, how I was called and the covenant I have had with God, you don’t know where I am going to.
“It is not the Church that called me, it is God who called me that is above the Church, and my interest is to be right with Him first and have peace with Him first.”
Mr. Edet, who said he would continue to build his fellowship, promised never to ask or encourage people to leave the Catholic Church.