Re: Anglican priest defrocked
Friday, September 05, 2008
Please, allow me space in your widely read newspaper to clarify certain points raised in your front page story of your Monday, September 3rd, 2008 edition, captioned: 'Anglican priest defrocked.'
As an Anglican who has served and represented the church in various manifestations, I strongly believe that it is fit and proper for me to set the record straight.
What has really happened is that the priest in question, Rev. Jacob Okeki Cole, was not in anyway defrocked as per your headline. What happened is that the Bishop, Rt Rev. Telewa Johnson had asked Rev. Jacob Okikie Cole to surrender his license by the 1st of September, 2008.
I do not in anyway challenge the veracity of the story but the headline comes in conflict with the act.
I do hope you will take due consideration of the matter and be guided accordingly.
Thank you Mr Peters for your opinion, which we respect and which you are entitled to.
However, the fact remains that our headline was the most fitting description to capture the essence of the story.
The issue at hand seems to be a lack of understanding of the word "defrocked". According to the Illustrated Oxford Dictionary it means to "deprive (a person) of ecclesiastical status".
Furthermore, the Longman Contemporary English Dictionary - please underline contemporary - defines defrock as "to officially remove a priest from his or her job because he or she did something wrong".
From these two definitions, it is quite evident that Rev Cole was defrocked. Asking a priest to surrender his license tantamounts to depriving him of his "ecclesiastical status" because he no long has powers to serve in that congregation as a priest.
Additionally, the second definition also clearly elucidates the accuracy of our headline because it is obvious that in the opinion of the person who defrocked the priest (asked for the surrender of his license), the priest had done something wrong.
We are not in anyway trying to be judgemental in accentuating the facts. Our duty as journalists is to present the facts impartially and this we have done.
In fine, it is unacceptable for Mr Peters to vacuously challenge the impeccable infallibility of our headline.
Leave journalese to journalists.