Pope excommunicates Father Ezinwanne Igbo for breaching confession secrecy

Pope Francis has excommunicated Father Ezinwanne Igbo for breaching confession secrecy

An Australian priest, Father Ezinwanne Igbo has been excommunicated by the Pope after a two-year investigation.

He was excluded from the Catholic Church after a complaint was made that he breached rules of confession secrecy from 2016.

Originally from Nigeria, Fr Igbo had a number of allegations made against him during his time at the Stella Maris parish in Maroochydore, Queensland, according to The Courier Mail.

The Archbishop of Brisbane, Mark Coleridge released a statement saying Fr Igbo was alleged to have committed a canonical (church) offence however it was not a criminal offence under civil law.

“In 2016, the Archdiocese received a number of complaints concerning Fr Ezinwanne Igbo,” the statement said.

“In one of those complaints, he was alleged to have committed a canonical offence which resulted in automatic excommunication.

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“This was not a criminal offence under civil law. An investigative process was authorised by the Holy See and conducted by senior canon lawyers. The process confirmed the allegation unanimously.

“The Archbishop then submitted the judgment to the Holy See, who subsequently requested that the excommunication be made public.

“The excommunication will remain in force until Fr Ezinwanne seeks and is granted remission by the Pope, who alone can grant it.

“While the excommunication remains in force, Fr ­Ezinwanne can have no ministerial part in the celebration of Mass or any other public worship; he cannot celebrate or receive the sacraments; and he cannot exercise any office of ministry in the church.”

The priest’s lawyer Terry Boyce said 12 charges were brought against Fr Igbo but all of them were ‘not proceeded with after Fr Igbo defended them’.

Fr Igbo is planning to appeal the decision after he was found guilty by the church.