Pope Francis has told a group of Nigerian priests to pledge obedience to him or face suspension from the church.
The row is over the refusal by clergy in the diocese of Ahiara to accept the appointment of a bishop made in 2012.
The pontiff told an audience of Nigerian Catholics in Rome last week that the “people of God are scandalised” by what has happened.
It is unusual for the pope to issue this kind of threat, says the BBC’s religion correspondent Martin Bashir.
He gave the clergy until 9 July to each write a letter declaring their obedience to him and asking for forgiveness.