Mr. Commissioner Sir, Catholic Priests do go on Sick Calls!



The Commissioner of police,
Akwa Ibom State Police Command,
Ikot Akpan Abia, Uyo.

Mr. Commissioner Sir,

I observed, with a heart bleeding sense of awful disappointment, that many of your employees in the Nigeria Police Force do not know (and do not want to know!) that Catholic Priests [Reverend Fathers], as part of their official Canonical responsibilities, having been dully trained to dispense same, do go on Sick Calls which is not only for Catholics but for all ‘those in danger of death’ or ‘who spontaneously request the Sacrament’ (Canon 884; Subsection 4).

Sir, Sick Calls provide the opportunity for patients to receive the Holy Communion, confess their sins, and be anointed with Oleum Infirmorum (Oil of the Sick). Please, it is good that you know that this Spiritual treatment, which has a history of maximum efficacy (me, a beneficiary of one in December 2018), cannot be properly administered in absentia because there are physical substances involved.  

Let me quickly add, Sir, that there are thousands of old men and women, whose bones have been broken by age and arthritis and they cannot go to church anymore or commune in the social environment, some, even abandoned by their families for one reason or the other. Sir, it is also the official responsibility of a Catholic Priest serving in a particular jurisdiction to visit them daily and administer the Holy Communion. If the Police prevents the Priests from attending to this responsibility, then our state will be littered with corpses after the lock-down.

Mr. Commissioner Sir, it is also very pathetic to hear a policeman ask a Catholic Priest if he (the Catholic Priest) is a medical doctor. Sir, I would wish you sensitized your men that not all patients need a medical doctor. Some simply need an opportunity to talk to someone else; to unburden their mind that has infirmed their body.

Sir, as a counsellor-in-training, I remember treating patients of chronic ailments, with  disappearance of physical symptoms, simply by sitting in front of them and giving them my listening ear for some hours, for some days.

Sir, it is rather unfortunate that a police officer will harass, humiliate and insult a Catholic Priest who has been called by a family member of a dying faithful to administer this Sacrament.

Sir. I do hope you take the content of this letter to heart and act immediately.

Idiongo Ebong,
Formator, Cardinal Ekandem Seminary, Uyo
7th April 2020

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