By Ndi Cherrylane
The incident is headline in all the beer parlours and drinking spots in Wum, Divisional capital of Menchum Division. It was on January 14, 2014 that the corpse of late Ma Susana Nsi, inherited wife of Fon Bahmbi III of Aghem clan was to be buried at the fon’s palace. According to the funeral programme, a funeral mass was to hold at the St. Martins De Porres Church but traditional authorities had an entirely different burial programme. When the corpse of Ma Susan arrived Wum, after the laying in state at her compound, church elders were taken aback when the programme was altered. Instead of taking the corpse to the church as planned, grave diggers took the corpse away to Naikom for burial whereas Christians have been waiting since 9 am for the funeral mass. Informed about this, Father Janvier and some church leaders stormed the palace and disrupted the traditional rites. They seized the corpse from the traditional authorities and drove it to the church for a funeral mass. Addressing mourners, the Priest said that only prayers can ensure the entry of the departed Christian’s soul into heaven and not tradition. This view sharply contradicts those of the Aghem people who believe that the spirit of the dead go to join the ancestors and not the Angels and Saints in Heaven. This explains why traditional rites were still performed when the corpse was brought back for burial. While Christians hailed the Reverend father for upholding the teaching of the Bible and for his courage for defying the traditional authorities, his critics see a mercenary motive in his action. Many say the church was ignited by the money they make during funeral masses are conducted given that funds are needed by the church and another way is by organizing funeral masses many say.
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