Nigerian Catholic Bishops Suspend Knight Of St. John Activities Indefinitely

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Following the unresolved crisis among members of the Knight of St. John’s International, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) has placed suspension on activities of the order nationwide.

The decision is contained in a memo issued on Wednesday, February 16, 2022 by the bishops signed by President of CBCN, Most Rev. Augustine Akubeze, Archbishop of Benin City and Most Rev. Camillus Umoh, Bishop of lkot Ekpene Diocese, Secretary, CBCN.

The Bishop’s Conference said it was aware of the efforts of Bishop Michael Apochi of Otukpo Diocese in handling the crisis and appreciates that.

The CBCN stated that it was aware of a new leadership in the KSJI but do not recognize the elections because of some reasons; one of which is that its directives given during a conference it held at Enugu requesting for genuine reconciliation of the opposing sides within the KSJI has not been adhered to.

It also stated that the bylaws of the organisation submitted to the CBCN have not yet been approved, and called for a concerted effort toward genuine reconciliation which should be independently undertaken by members of the KSJI themselves without supervision by the bishops, and thereafter inform the body that a true reconciliation has been achieved.

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According to the CBCN, it is only on this condition that it will begin to recognize the new leadership of the KSJI.

The Bishop’s conference also urged the KSJI members to exhibit the spirit of humility, honesty and mutual forgiveness.

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The statement reads, “The CBCN appreciates the efforts of Bishop Michael Apochi in handling the crisis in the Knighthood of St. John’s International. His sacrifices and unrelenting efforts at working for peace within the order are well noted with gratitude.

“The Bishops of Nigeria are aware of the elections held and the new leadership team put in place within the KSJI.

“The Bishops, however, do not recognize these elections based on the following: The directives given at the CBCN in Enugu requesting for reconciliation between the opposing sides within the order have not been heeded; the bylaws submitted to the CBCN have not yet been approved.

“In light of the above, the Bishops call for a concerted effort toward reconciliation. This should be undertaken by members of the KSJI themselves (without episcopal supervision). Let the past be permanently laid to rest.

“All aggrieved members should be called to the reconciliation table. The CBCN should be duly informed that a true and genuine reconciliation has been achieved. It is only on these grounds that the CBCN can begin to take steps toward recognising the elections conducted.

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“In the meantime, the CBCN has declared an indefinite suspension of the KNIGHTS OF ST. JOHN’S INTERNATIONAL at the national, provincial, Diocesan and parish levels. The said suspension will be in place until the Bishops are convinced that the order has actually achieved a genuine reconciliation.bu

“The Bishops are unequivocally calling for a spirit of humility, honesty and mutual forgiveness among and within the membership of the KSJl.”

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