Archbishop Edward Tamba Charles
A sacristy is a room in a church where a priest prepares for service and where vestments and articles of worship are kept. It is originally a French derivative from ‘sacristies’ and adopted in Latin as ‘Sacer’, meaning ‘sacred.’
But is the ‘Sacristy’ any more a sacred place with accusations of disproved nuptiality, not least by the highest canonical head of the Catholic flock in Sierra Leone?
A worrying discord within the rank and file of the Catholic Church hierarchy in Sierra Leone over church principles and doctrines of the Vatican faith seems to have taken a dimensional twist with the Archbishop caught at the center of the dispute.
The allegations against the Archbishop are strong, and they emanate from a discord linked to the Coordinator, Archdiocesan Office for Safeguarding Minors and Vulnerable Persons, Rev. Fr. Alphonso Carew. The two senior officials of the Diocese are currently at each other’s throat in disagreements over church principles that threaten global blackmail for the Catholic Faith. The disharmony between Bishop Edward Tamba Charles and Rev. Fr. Alphonso Carew has not only brought out series of damning pieces of church information in the public domain but that that information hinging on reports of immorality have now reached the Vatican for Independent Investigation.
Reports are that things came to a head when on the 2nd March 2020, the Archbishop’s office released a public notice informing ‘all Priests, Religious Men and Women, and the entire Lay Faithful of the Archdiocese of Freetown’ that Rev. Fr Alphonso A. Carew has been disrobed and stripped of his position as Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Freetown. The circular sought in particular, to remove the Right Reverend Father of all canonical duties in the Church effective date of publication of the said notice. The reason stated in the letter of notice for the high-handed action against the Reverend Father was for him ‘to get professional medical attention.’ Within church circles, the Father is being accused of mental imbalance.
In complete flagrance, however, Fr. Alphonso Carew ignored the notice, and in total disregard to the directive, continued to serve in his position.
Not stopping at dishonoring the notice from the office of the Archbishop, a week later on Monday, March 9, Rev. Fr. Alphonso Carew wrote to the Dicastery for Communication, Editorial Direction-The Roman Observer in Vatican City calling for Archbishop Edward Tamba Charles to step down.
In his conundrum of accusations levied against Bishop Tamba Charles, the aggrieved Father cataloged a list of misdemeanors or misconducts he alleged being perpetrated against the Faith by the Archbishop. In the letter, Rev. Fr. Alphonso Carew accused Archbishop Tamba Charles of “desecrating the Sacred Heart Cathedral by having sex with a Catholic sister named Sister Jane Alpha in the sacristy. According to the letter, when acts of immorality were pointed to Tamba Charles, the Archbishop reportedly gave in to the accusations levied against him by the priests when they threatened to reveal the secrets. The accusations included having immoral affairs with the Sister and others and his shady deals with donor funds and projects.
Sister Jane Alpha is said to have left the Diocese and now working in Nigeria after being rejected in Sierra Leone in 2010. She was dismissed after being caught parading as the Archbishop’s ‘mistress’ and for quarreling with other women she suspected eying her sweetheart Archbishop.
In his letter to the Vatican, Rev. Fr. Alphonso Carew prays that the Dicastery for Communication duly “informs Pope Francis of the moral situation in the Archdiocese of Freetown and the Catholic Church in Sierra Leone.”
Rev. Fr. Alphonso Carew’s letter also touched on “lies openly told at the sanctuary about previous marriages of President Julius Maada Bio thereby mortgaged the integrity of the Holy Roman Catholic Church for his gains and deeds.” He also accused the Archbishop of being callous over “the welfare of priests,” saying such heartlessness “contributed to the deaths of Fathers Yimore, Labor, Yambasu, and Garrick,” among many other allegations.
Concluding his epistle, Fr Carew pointed out that the Catholics in Sierra Leone would not allow a morally bankrupt Archbishop to undermine the Church. In reminiscence, he wrote that the “Catholics miss the moral rectitude of Archbishop Emeritus, Joseph Henry Ganda.”
Reacting to the purported letter sent to the Vatican by Rev. Fr. Alphonso Carew, Secretary to the Archbishop yesterday, Fr. Joseph D. Miller told Gleaner News at Santano House in Freetown that the allegations were bogus, having no substance. He said Rev. Fr. Alphonso should find a better way to channel his grievances other than going to the Newspapers. He, however, stopped short of commenting on the veracity of the allegations.