The remains of His Lordship Bishop Balla of the Bafia Diocese were discovered by a Malian fisherman at a place known as Tsang in Monatele in the Lekie Division. Under the supervision of a Biya appointee passing for an Attorney-General, an investigation was opened in the Mbam-et-Inoubou and Monatélé in the Lékié Divisions where the body of the bishop was recovered. Mbam-et-Inoubou and Lékié are two of the ten divisions of the Center region.
The late Bishop disappeared on the night of May 30, 2017 and his body was found lifeless on June 2nd off the Sanaga River after a traditional ceremony led by the patriarch of Mbam who pleaded to his ancestors for the Bishop’s body to be made available to the living. For almost 72 hours, efforts made by sea divers from the Cameroonian Navy and local fishing community proved futile.
This is just one of the many shocked crimes against the Roman Catholic Church in Cameroon under the watchful eyes of a Roman Catholic head of state who is quietly destroying everything Christianity stands for and President Biya is possibly the greatest tragedy to befall the Cameroonian Catholic church in the period of the Second Vatican Council.
Most tragically for Roman Catholic Christians in Cameroon, the responses from the Cameroonian bishops have been hopeless mindful of the stipulations of Vatican II.
Cameroon government army soldiers kill revered fathers, they kill bishops, they even killed revered sisters who had special relationship with the late first lady Jeanne Irene Biya but the Episcopal Conference continues to uphold the policy of secrecy and silence on every scandal revealed in Cameroon under President Biya-a man with a conscience nurtured in the Cameroonian Catholic family, school and Jesuit seminary.
Each time a true Christian raises a finger, the Cameroonian bishops will remind the said believer that he/she had forgotten their place in the chain of command and that the laity should allow issues concerning the CPDM government to a higher authority that is ruling the church. It is therefore left to the Cameroonian bishops to identify the root cause of both the Southern Cameroons crisis and the French Cameroun political problem.
The Cameroonian bishops have the same modus operandi like the ruling CPDM regime and it is hard to say if the Roman Catholic Church in Cameroon is badly in need of the principle of ‘synodality’ and if Cameroonian bishops are truly committed to that principle. They issue press releases for everything including murder, rape, gun crimes and ghost town operations. Cameroonian bishops have never clarified their position on the proper role of plain speaking – of conscience – in the church itself – or on the atrocities of the Biya Francophone regime. We of the Cameroon Concord News and the Cameroon Intelligence Report are of the opinion that our much respected bishops have denied to Cameroonian lay Catholics all means of raising a voice of conscience within the church itself, as promised by Vatican II. As Chairman and Editor-In-Chief of the Cameroon Concord News Group, I hold this opinion mindful of my strong commitment to the Diocese of Mamfe and to the Bamenda Ecclesiastic Province.
If Cameroonian Catholics – lay people and clergy – are ever to walk together in mutual confidence Cameroonian bishops must finally say where they stand on the role of conscience and the case of this evil man in Etoudi known popularly as His Excellency President Paul Biya. If there is room for all CPDM criminals and killers to receive Holy Communion in the church, then there is no room for conscience either – and the Holy Spirit of truth must remain stifled.
To say that the 86-year-old Biya should continue as head of state because the Church does not trust any other young political figure in Cameroon – is to be utterly naive. The reluctance of too many revered fathers to facilitate open discussion on the issue of Cameroon as a nation after Biya is in itself a nurturing of the secrecy that is perpetuating the war in Southern Cameroons and killings currently going on in French Cameroun – which will in turn inevitably lead to the complete collapse of Cameroon as a nation.
And, as the ruling CPDM government directly controls the financing of nearly all Roman Catholic Diocese in French Cameroun, no Francophone Bishop can be called truly independent either. The situation in Southern Cameroons is even more intractable! No diocese can be audited without the giving of notice to the bishop, and no audit diocesan report can be published without the bishop concerned having first sight of it. In all of this there is far too much room for the maintenance of the culture of whatever you say, say nothing.
Until Cameroonian bishops show respect for the principle of the primacy of conscience – and the freedom of the Holy Spirit – they can never stop the multiplicity of Pentecostal churches.
By Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai