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Chimananda Ngozi Adichie
The Catholic Church has been called out over financial demands made during burial and other ceremonial rites, especially in the South-Eastern region of Nigeria.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie expressed her feeling in an interview with TVC, narrating how she and her family were humiliated and extorted by a Catholic Priest at St Paul’s Abba Catholic Church, Anambra State, during her mother’s funeral.
The author said the Priest during her mother’s Thanksgiving Mass, called her out over an interview she granted months before, pointing out how the Church sometimes makes a lot of monetary demands on members.
Said the Americanah writer: “This Priest at the mass called me out during my mother’s funeral with a hostile tone saying I’m against people giving money to the Church, I don’t want Church to give to the widows who had people upset and the place rowdy.
“I was shocked by his utterances and needed to address the Church; I got the microphone and told villagers that I’m not against supporting the Church but priests ambushing/forcing people to give and make them feel they don’t get special blessings if they don’t give money. Why ambush poor villagers who can’t feed themselves?
“To do this at my mother’s funeral who devoted her life in that Church, I was sad the Priest lacked compassion to give my mum the last respect. My mother deserved better, that Priest failed at his duty to comfort us but increased our pains. I’ve not been able to mourn my mother in peace because this man has not faced any action for his irresponsibility nor apologised.
“This Priest bullied my family about money when my father died, he was upset we gave a cow, and didn’t monetise it, even for bazaar I had to withdraw cash because he does not want cheques or transfers.
“I’m saying this publicly because I don’t want this to happen to people anymore.
“There’s so much that happens during burials in Igbo land, especially Catholic Church in the South-East which shows the Priest is lacking in compassion, they make all sorts of demands and may refuse to bury someone because of rites that can’t be fulfilled.
“This needs to be addressed and stopped. So far no one has faced any consequences and we have not received any apologies”.
She added that she and her family never got justice or an apology following the embarrassing incident, but she was speaking up publicly to prevent something of the sort from happening to other families.
She also set up a movement to end the issue on her Instagram, encouraging those with similar experiences to share their stories.
Said she: “The wrong we suffered has not been corrected, there are people who have experienced humiliation just to give their parents a befitting Catholic funeral, and this is wrong”.