Catholic Christians across Cameroon were shocked when they learnt Arcbishop Victor Toney Bakot had resigned suddenly yesteday monday July 29th 2013. Nobody expected that to happen. Until his resignation, he was head of the Yaounde metropolitan cathedral, the most important diocese in the country. Resigning is not a common practice among Catholic officials.
In the Monday, July 29 2013 memo from Pope Francis in Rome, Mgr. Tonye Bakot, voluntarily, ceases to oversee the management of the Archdiocese of Yaoundé, in conformity with Canon 401 of the Canon Law and appoints Mgr. Jean Mbarga, Bishop of Ebolowa as the Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Yaoundé.
In the spirit of Pope Francis’ letter, the case of Archbishop Tonye Bakot is renunciation and not resignation. Canon 401 provides that a Bishop can give up the management of his Diocese in the situation of a serious health problems or personal reason(s).
Observers of Archbishop Tonye Bakot have been quick to recall the 2008 ghastly motor accident he was involved in, saying despite the best medical attention he has been receiving, the prelate has not been the same since then.
Archbishop Bakot most probably resigned for health reasons.
Reactions to the resignation were swift. Scholars in the Catholic Church like Prof. Jean Paul Messina, lecturer on Church History at the Catholic University in Yaoundé has been telling journalists that a renunciation could be motivated by tiredness from a Bishop.
According to Prof. Messina, Mgr. Tonye Bakot will be remembered for his vigorous fight against homosexuality in Cameroon.
The varsity don explained that Mgr. Tonye Bakot remains a Bishop but without a Diocesan jurisdiction to manage and he (Mgr. Bakot) will choose where to spend the rest of his life.
Following the designation of Mgr. Jean Mbarga, the Bishop of Ebolowa, as the Apostolic Administrator of the Yaoundé Archdiocese the former is expected to manage the Archdiocese of Yaoundé until a new Bishop is appointed by the Pope.
Mgr. Tonye Bakot was appointed Archbishop of Yaoundé in October 2003. He took over from Archbishop Andre Wounking following his death