“No one has permission to sell any property of the Church,” South Sudanese Bishop Cautions

Bishop Stephen Ameyu of the South Sudan’s Torit Diocese

At the closure of the weeklong Annual Diocesan General Assembly meeting last Friday, February 14, Bishop Stephen Ameyu of the South Sudan’s Torit Diocese cautioned members of the clergy to guard themselves against disposing of Church property.

“No one has a permission to sell any property of the Church, whether it is movable or immovable, unless through a permission,” Bishop Ameyu said and clarified, “The land of the Church belongs to the Church as a whole. Even as a Bishop, I have no right to sell any single land of the Church, I have to ask permission from Rome in order to sell the land.”

In an interview with ACI Africa correspondent in South Sudan about the directive, Bishop Ameyu whose last December’s appointment as Archbishop of Juba was met with resistance through defamatory letters signed by some clergy and lay people, said he meant to caution the clergy in his diocese.

“Many of our priests elsewhere have always decided as they want, to sell cars, to sell even land. I gave the directive to caution them against such acts,” the South Sudanese Prelate told ACI Africa correspondent Tuesday, February 18 and added, “We have had incidences of priests selling cars without permission from the Bishop, from the ordinary.”

Asked whether selling of Church property could have been occurring in his jurisdiction, the 56-year-old said although he did not have reports yet to that effect, “we must be strict and we must follow the Canon Law if there are problems.”


In a news report, Juba-based Catholic Radio Network quoted Bishop Ameyu as saying in reference to Church property, “These assets belong to the Church, belong to the diocese, belong to the parish, belong to the community.”

It is important for the clergy, religious men and women to commit themselves to the protection of land and properties because those assets exist to facilitate the evangelization ministry of the local Church, the Prelate instructed.

Addressing priests, women and men religious and catechists at the Annual Diocesan General Assembly, Bishop Ameyu expressed the need to reach out to the lay faithful at the grassroots through the creation of more parishes and “Eucharistic centres” in the South Sudanese Diocese of Torit.

“It is important for us to expand, we have never talked of pastoral expansion,” Bishop Ameyu said and added, “We must expand in a way we create new parishes in order to serve the people. We need to look into these places and examine the population so that we can elevate them to be Eucharistic centres.”

He emphasized, “We need to commit ourselves with a zeal to serve our people.”

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The Bishop also hinted on the administrative changes in his office saying, “We have important changes in the administration of the Curia. I have appointed at least many people in the Curia.”

“We have eliminated the office of the secretary general and, instead, introduced the office of the Chancellor and the office of the program manager in the Bishop’s office,” he announced.

The new structures, Bishop Ameyu explained, “are necessary changes because we would like to follow the Church structures. These offices were there already that is why it is a matter of re-introduction.”

He encouraged collaboration among Church personnel in the diocese.

“No one is independent, all of us must have this interdependent attitude, dependence attitude and independence attitude,” Bishop Ameyu said and emphasized, “These are the attitudes which we have to adapt in order to be completely cooperative to others. We cannot succeed unless we work together.”