Catholic Archbishop of Monrovia Resigns

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the Archdiocese of Monrovia (Liberia), presented by Archbishop Lewis Jerome Zeigler upon reaching the age limit. Pope Francis has therefore appointed Rev. Fth. Charles Edmund Boyce, Vicar General of the Catholic Archdiocese of Monrovia, as Apostolic Administrator.

Zeigler was born on January 4 in Harrisburg in 1944 and was ordained in 1974 before he was appointed in 2002 as the Bishop of Gbarnga. He was later named as the Coadjutor Archbishop of Monrovia in 2009 and ascended to head the diocese in 2011 after his predecessor died in office. Zeigler is a conservative prelate who has railed against same-sex marriage and abortion in Liberia.

He was incardinated in the Gbarnga diocese just over a decade later on 17 November 1986. Pope John Paul II appointed Zeigler as the Bishop of Gbarnga and Zeigler received his episcopal consecration on 9 November 2002 from Michael Kpakala Francis at the Gbarnga Cathedral.

He later was transferred to Monrovia in 2009 after Pope Benedict XVI appointed him as the coadjutor bishop to Francis which also meant he would succeed Archbishop Francis at once following the latter’s resignation or death. In 2011 he became the Archbishop of Monrovia after Francis resigned and he was installed at some point after. On 11 June 2018 he made his first “ad limina apostolorum” visit to Pope Francis.

In 2015 at the Chrism Mass the Archbishop called on priests to desist from activities that distract them from their ecclesial duties and said that most priests seemed to chase wealth and material goods involved with the world rather than focusing their lives on the Church. Zeigler said: “It is my appeal to all of you, my fellow priests, to serve and not to chase things of the world like iPhones, iPads and whatever.”

Zeigler also called on the faithful to pray for their pastors whenever they do wrong since it would “help to strengthen and put them on the right path.”

Zeigler has referred to corruption as the major foe to nation building in Liberia and has said that corruption hinders national progress. The archbishop said that “our society is sick” due to greed and selfishness which has swallowed the nation. He also called on Liberians to fight against corruption by focusing on defeating individual greed.

In an address at an official service at the Providence Baptist Church as a guest speaker on 11 April 2014, the archbishop railed against homosexuality and same-sex marriage, observing that Liberian culture was being denigrated by calamity due to Liberians “ignoring their creator” and entering into “unwholesome activities that continue to annoy God”. Zeigler also said that such national crises such as the Ebola outbreak came about due to the dissolute ways Liberians lived that displeased God. Zeigler further referred to same-sex marriage as an “abomination.”

 

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