Monsignor Joseph Akonga Essomba of the Catholic Diocese of Bafia on Aug. 4 made the comment during a homily he gave in memory of Bishop Jean Marie Benoit Balla.
“The bishop was killed because he stood up against homosexuals in the church and the priesthood,” said Essomba, who is the current apostolic administrator of the diocese.
Balla was declared missing when he disappeared from his home on the night of May 31.
The late 58-year-old prelate’s body was found on June 2 floating in the Sanaga River, just four miles from where his car was discovered on a bridge. Since his death, there have been allegations as to how he was killed with the police alleging suicide.
While pointing towards the front pews during the church service which was attended by senior government officials, Catholic bishops and priests, Essomba further said, “Shame to all those people in black suits and black spectacles always sitting in the front rows of the church.”
“Shame to all those priests who have come here, pretending to sympathize,” added Essomba. “These are the people who killed our bishop, because he said ‘no’ to the homosexuality perpetrated by those priests.”
“The same reasons for which Christ was crucified apply to the killing of the bishop,” Bishop Andrew Nkea of the Catholic Diocese of Mamfe told Crux, a Catholic news site. “He was killed because he stood for the truth. Any pastor, any bishop, any priest who stands for the truth should be ready to face the sword. It’s a beautiful way to die.”