FIERY HOMILY SPARKS CRIMINAL CHARGES AND ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT

Fiery Homily Sparks [Criminal Charges and] Assassination Attempt

Msgr. Essomba: “Our church is given over to the forces of darkness … These are the people who killed our bishop because he said “no” to the homosexuality perpetrated by those priests … I address myself to those who, hidden in the shadows, always want to do evil. In what way does the Catholic church get in your way?”

by Anita Carey • ChurchMilitant • August 7, 2017

YAOUNDE, Cameroon – Scathing accusations at the funeral for a bishop, many believe to have been brutally murdered, have sparked criminal charges and an assassination attempt against the homilist.

Monsignor Joseph Akonga Essomba, a lifelong friend of Bp. Jean Marie Benoit Bala, accused government officials and high ranking clergy, attending the funeral, of killing the bishop for rejecting homosexuality, saying “those who actually killed the bishop were people in positions of power, but it was homosexual priests who betrayed him.”

Shortly after the funeral, the Cameroon government opened an investigation against Essomba, accusing him of making “inappropriate accusations” and wanting to “destabilize Cameroon.”

On Saturday, sources close to the Yaounde diocese reported an assassination attempt on the life of Essomba. A number of masked men allegedly broke into his apartment looking for him, but he was not home.

Bishop Bala went missing on May 31, and his car was found on a bridge with a note that read, “I am in the water.” Four days later, his body was found floating in the river. Two autopsies conducted by local doctors found evidence of beatings and electrocution.

The government-ordered autopsy performed by German doctors, identified drowning as the most likely cause of death, conflicting with the two other autopsies.

The Episcopal Conference of Bishops in Cameroon filed a lawsuit, alleging the Cameroon government “mishandled” the case. Samuel Kleda, the archbishop of Douala and president of the Episcopal Conference, appealed to the government to “tell the truth about His Lordship’s death. That’s all we ask for. We need to know who assassinated him.”

While one bishop said the real reasons for the murder can only be explained by the assassins, Bp. George Nkuo from Kumbo said in an interview, “The same reasons for which Christ was crucified apply to the killing of the bishop. He was killed because he stood for the Truth. Any pastor, any bishop, any priest who stands for the Truth should be ready to face the sword. It’s a beautiful way to die.”

The funeral for Bp. Bala was held on Wednesday at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Victories in Yaounde. During the 30 minute homily, in front of 800 priests, 50 bishops and thousands of faithful, Essomba pointed tellingly to the front pews, saying, “Shame to all those people in black suits and black spectacles always sitting in the front rows of the Church.”

Bala said, “Shame to all those priests who have come here, pretending to sympathize. These are the people who killed our bishop because he said ‘no’ to the homosexuality perpetrated by those priests.”

Essomba told a story, illustrating that Bala was an excellent swimmer and could not have drowned, asserting instead that Bala was killed for power sought by “some false members of this church.” Essomba explained that “true power ignores violence. True power builds peace. True power promotes the development of the whole man.”

“Our church is given over to the forces of darkness … to deliver to the forces of darkness on the one hand by Satan’s suppliants, on the other hand by some false members of this church.” Bala decried. He continued to say that they are “innumerable benefactors and sympathizers who want to destroy from within. We have many false brothers.”

Essomba mentioned that 14 priests have been killed in recent years, asking, “Who kills the priests of this country. … I address myself to those who, hidden in the shadows, always want to do evil. In what way does the Catholic church get in your way?”

He concluded his homily with the assurance that “the Catholic church will always remain strong.”

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