Vatican sacks Tanzanian bishop

Bishop Koda

Bishop Koda

The Vatican has removed from office Bishop Jacob Koda of Same Catholic Diocese in Kilimanjaro region for alleged violation of church moral teachings.

The Vatican Apostolic Nuncio to Tanzania Archbishop Joseph Chennoth told the 'Daily News' in Dar es Salaam yesterday that Bishop Koda has now been ‘advised to take time for rest, reflection and personal study.’ Following Bishop Koda’s removal, Archbishop Chennoth said that the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Father Rogath Kimaryo CSSp to be Apostolic Administrator of the Same Catholic diocese until the diocese gets a new bishop.

Father Kimaryo, who was until recently the parish priest of Kipawa Parish in Dar Es Salaam will be ‘authorised’ tomorrow during Holy Mass at Same Cathedral Church, to be presided over by Cardinal Polycarp Pengo.

Archbishop Chennoth will also attend the liturgy. Without elaborating, Archbishop Chennoth said that the Catholic Church normally grants such occasion to its leaders ‘when necessary.’  "We have advised him to leave the Diocese, and Father Kimaryo will lead the See for a short while, until the Holy Father announces (the appointment of) a new bishop" he said.

Pope John Paul II nominated Koda as the new bishop of Same in September 1999, to succeed Bishop Josaphat Louis Lebulu who had been transferred to Arusha Archdiocese the previous year.Father Kimaryo who is a member of the Holy Ghost Fathers’ congregation holds a doctorate in Law, obtained from the Rome-based Pontifical Gregorian University. He has also worked at the General House of his Order in Rome for six years as Counsellor.

According to the Catholic teachings, an Apostolic Administrator in the Roman Catholic Church is a prelate appointed by the Pope to serve as the ordinary. He can either be in an area that is not yet a diocese (a stable apostolic administration) or for a diocese that either has no bishop (an apostolic administrator sede vacante) or, in very rare cases, has an incapacitated bishop (apostolic administrator sede plena).

Strictly in Canon Law, An Apostolic Administrator is equivalent to a diocesan bishop, meaning he has essentially the same authority as a diocesan bishop, serving in their role until a newly chosen diocesan bishop takes possession of the diocese. However, he is restricted by the Canon Law in what he can do to the diocese he temporarily administers. For example, an administrator may not sell real estate owned by the diocese.

The Daily News has asked the Church to explain to parishioners why their bishop has been removed. "We think we deserve some explanation" a spokesman said.

Source: CISA

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