The Catholic community and indeed the entire Akwa Ibom State and beyond were shocked beyond words, when one of the finest and best known priests in the state, Rev. Fr. Patrick Edet, renounced his stewardship as a priest of the Catholic church. He remains a priest however, albeit, not in the definition professed by the Catholic church. Dropping the bombshell, Edet said, he should be addressed as, Reverend Patrick Edet. He added that, he could also be addressed as Father. He said:”From today henceforth, I cease to be a Catholic Priest, in my spirit and in my soul…
I forgive those who will criticise me, I live for God…I seek freedom for my soul. As I leave, I leave smiling, I am so happy to be free.” As the dust of anxiety, worry, and fear over his future loom large, he stated he had achieved inner peace after making the move as he was somewhat bound by certain laws in the church to the detriment of his ministry. On a lighter note, he stated people were still free to address him as ‘Rev Fr.’ though the title was no longer valid. He said he resigned because he does not want to submit to any human authority but to God’s.
According to New Telegraph, prior to his resignation, speculations have become rife in Catholic circles. The resignation was long overdue, people saw it coming. Rev Patrick Edet wanted to leave when Bishop Joseph Ekuwem was the Bishop of Uyo Diocese. When Bishop John Ayah came to Uyo Diocese, he gave him (Fr. Edet) so much hope.
The Bishop also gave him the Pastoral Centre for his Grace Family Ministry. Many people were shocked when he gave him Pastoral Centre for his Ministry. The cabals which consist of mainly old priests have been agitating against Rev Edet since Bishop Ekuwem’s time.
It was because of that agitation that Bishop Ekuwem sent him (Fr. Edet) to Police Chaplaincy, Abuja, from 2011 to 2012. On returning since the chaplaincy did not work for him, Bishop Ekuwem kept him until the new Bishop came and gave him so much hope. The former Reverend Father who announced on his programme “Grace and Inspiration” on Planet Radio on Wednesday that he had resigned as a Catholic Priest said he lived in perpetual fear, pain, self-rejection and depression because of several factors which he explained thus.
He said: “26 years ago, at the age of 22, I had a personal experience of God for the first time. An experience of forgiveness, of personal experience of salvation and knowledge that there is God beyond just an idea and made covenant with God that since He had saved me, used me to save others.
And that I will do everything I can to be a blessing to others. That is the foundation of my seeking to be ordained a Catholic priest, just for one thing. What motivated me was never the love of robe, of being different from others, what motivated me was not to be better than others in status or title, what motivated me was not honour.
“It was greatest passion and what got me incensed and forced me to resign from the little job I had and forfeit the admission I had in the university, a process that would lead me to the ordination as a catholic priest. There was just one motive, to tell others about grace, that God saves, that God can heal, that God can change lives.
I have heard people talk about my weakness, I have heard people talk about my rubbish, my humble beginnings, my poverty, my struggle, my struggling with sin, struggling with issues. I have shared my story to tell someone else that in your story and in the middle of your story there is a grace that speaks and that God is a God of grace.
“More than 11 years ago I started preaching on radio and television. I had a vision of preaching on radio and television in the seminary. I wrote it down, I knew my whole life I will live it in the media, I will reach out to people. But I had thought I would first of all go abroad, get Ph.D, learn a lot and be grounded before I would be qualified to teach and preach on radio.
I was barely two years as a priest when God gave me the opportunity to start a ministry on radio. “And it has brought me incredible blessing. It has changed my life, brought me to studying the bible, and to seek to know God, to understand how God works with us. And to understand the call, what it means to be called by God and to walk with God.
It has also brought me a lot of challenges, a lot of opposition. In 2006, around June/ July, we started Night of Grace in collaboration with the Catholic Charismatic Renewal of Nigeria in Uyo Diocese. “My whole calling to the priesthood was inspired by those moments, of standing before people to demonstrate the mercy and the grace of God, to bring people’s heart to God and to cause people to hope in God and to let them know that God can do what man cannot do. “It also brought me a lot of fame, a lot of opposition, antagonism, blackmail.
All I hear every time is that I am not truly a Catholic priest, I am not good enough as a Catholic priest. It has been in conflict in my heart because the reason I accepted not to marry and to have children was not just to be a Catholic priest but to do the things that I do. To be naughty on radio and shout and laugh and inspire somebody.
Cry when I want to cry, console somebody who cries, to live my life out in my faith and in the process be a human being who can make mistakes. “The very things that I believe brought me to priesthood have been the reason that peace has been taken away from me for years.
I lived in fear, in doubt, sometimes I doubt myself and say am I really right, am I really in the right place. I hear people say he is too arrogant, he is trying to say he is different, he is pretending, he is looking for money, he is looking for fame. I have heard all sorts of things. And it has brought me a lot of pains in the process, sometimes self-rejection, sometimes doubt, sometimes depression, sometimes I don’t know but peace has been taken from me.” Reverend Edet said.
Resigned priest may soon get married
But a family source who craved anonymity said: “Having gone through his resignation, it was a reflection of the discussion I had with the then Rev (Fr) Patrick Edet on one of his visits to my office recently. I can remember the two pertinent questions I asked him. First was, if he will leave the Catholic church and second, if he was contemplating marriage.
These questions came as a result of the discussion we had where I personally noted the spiritual gifts God has blessed him with which may place him at variance with his Catholic doctrines. “I am not surprised that Patrick Edet has taken this decision.
If anything, he should be applauded for his gut and honesty. Yes, people are picking on him when he said he is free…. So what? If anyone has understanding of the things of spirit, you will understand him. When the spirit of God tells you to do one thing and you are prevented from doing that thing, either because of doctrine that governs where you are operating from or the punishment that follows when you go against the rule (s); brethren, that is enough captivity.
For me, I think Patrick Edet should be celebrated for still staying in the faith, believing in God and His son, Jesus Christ. He is just changing a denomination but still serving God. It hurts as well as sad to see and hear those he shared communion with a few days ago, shouting crucify him, calling him names just for changing a denomination whereas, shortly before today, they were hailing him, proud to have him as a Catholic Priest among them “Reverend Father Patrick Edet’s resignation as Catholic Priest does not come as a surprise to me. I expected this long ago. I’m sure he will soon announce his marriage. I wish him good luck in his future endeavours.”
The desire for sex theory
Sources close to Edet in the Catholic Church have dismissed insinuations that the need for sex is the reason he left the Catholic Church. “Father Edet is not a man whose decisions could have been ordered by such carnal things as sex. We have known him for so long to know that he is principled and has been dedicated to the Catholic faith for so many years without breaking the celibacy that defines the Catholic priesthood.
People especially Catholic faithful are saddened by his exit, but he had made his decision,” a source close to the church told Saturday Telegraph yesterday. But in the words of the former Uyo Diocese priest, founder of the Grace Family Global Outreach and radio preacher, “I am leaving not because a woman has enticed me.” He added: “From July 31, 2017, I ceased to be a Catholic priest in my thinking, in my spirit, in my soul, and in my body.
I didn’t just wake up one day to take that decision. I have fasted, I have considered and prayed about this for years. I take it as a personal decision. “No man is out there enticing me to come out, no woman is out there inviting me. No offer, nothing elsewhere. I have only God in my heart. I have His love in my heart.I have his spirit in my soul. I have hope only in God”. According to the priest, the resignation mark the beginning of ‘freedom’ for his spirit and soul. He said: “I pray for all those who are heartbroken, those who will condemn me. I don’t even have to say I forgive you, you are right in your thinking; but just that you don’t know everything. I live for God. I seek freedom for my soul. As I leave, I leave smiling I am so happy that I am free.”