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Priest fired over initiation

A Roman Catholic priest, Reverend Tlotliso Khabo, has been fired as a priest for attending an initiation school. Reverend Khabo, who was stationed at St Theresa Mission in Bela-Bela, angered the church after he went for initiation in December 2022.

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His dismissal letter, read at the Leribe dioceses on Sunday during Mass, said he could no longer be a Catholic priest until Pope Francis decides otherwise.

The letter was read by Maine Phenethi, the Vicar General in Leribe Diocese, who confirmed to thepost that it has been sent to all Catholic churches in the Leribe district.

“The letter was addressed to all RCC missions in Leribe Diocese,” Phenethi said.

The letter came from Bishop Tumaole Bane of the Leribe Diocese headquartered at Saint Monica’s.

Father Khabo did not specify any reasons in the letter but merely said “Father Khabo would no longer be considered as a Priest due to unavoidable reasons”.

It said Father Khabo had been stripped of his priestly entitlements and should not be seen at any church appearing as a priest until the Pope decides his fate.

Phenethi told thepost last night that Reverend Khabo “is accused of infringing church norms by going to the initiation school”.

“He knew that they are not allowed to take that route as Priests,” Phenethi said.

He said Christians do go to the initiation school “but they are given some form of disciplinary action before being welcomed back into the church”.

He however said priests are strictly prohibited from attending initiation schools.

Phenethi said he was not sure if Reverend Khabo had already received his letter.

Reverend Khabo told thepost that he is yet to receive the letter.

“I won’t say anything until I get a copy of the letter,” he said.

“To the best of my knowledge, I am still a priest.”

He argued that whatever has been said in the church should be supported with a copy of the letter.

“I am very happy to talk to you. I want you to build a true and valid story,” Reverend Khabo said.

“I’m a philosopher by nature. Do you know what makes a Priest?” he asked before confirming that he had been to an initiation school.

But when probed about other details of his soured relationship with the church, Reverend Khabo said he was not willing to comment any further.

Archbishop Tlali Lerotholi, the head of the Catholic Church in Lesotho, could not discuss the matter last night, only saying “perhaps those in Leribe will tell you their basis for banishing the priest”.

Majara Molupe

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