Priests who deserted the Roman Catholic Church to have liberty to marry have lauded a move by the Pope’s advisory body to vote in favour of married men to become priests in the Amazon region.
The decision which is awaiting approval by Pope Francis was made last month by the Synod of Bishops during a three-week assembly where 128 bishops voted in favour of the proposal to address a shortage of priest in the region.
The Archbishop of the Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ Africa Dr. Godfrey Siundu described the move as a critical step in the journey towards scrapping of the celibacy condition for priests.
“I am happy that there is a step initiated by the Roman Catholic Church to consider Married priests in some countries hit with shortages,” Dr. Siundu spoke at the Church’s headquarters at Namototoa area in Bungoma County.
He was ordained in to priesthood within the Roman Catholic Church in 1994 where he served within the Diocese of Kitale until 2006 when he exited to marry Stella Nangila who was a nun.
Archbishop Siundu said it is very important for the priests within the church to have freedom to marry saying this will address cases of sexual violations putting priests within the church.
“The shortage of priests within the Catholic church within the Amazon countries is as a result of celibacy which is fast becoming unpopular. The church has to embrace change,” said Dr. Siundu.
Bishop Celestine Eurum from Nigeria said there are priests within the Roman Catholic Church who have secretly sired children and are taking care of them secretly which he termed as the hypocrisy of the highest level.
“I know several priests within the Catholic church in Nigeria who have families. To me I find this hypocritical that’s why some of us back the scrapping of the celibacy rule,” said Bishop Eurum.
The Ecumenical Catholic Church borrows much of the style of worship from the Roman Catholic Church has a slight difference in the lack of celibacy as a requirement for those who wish to serve as priests.
“Our services are very liberal since we have incorporated healing and deliverance sessions where we cast out demons. We also allow women to minister within n our church,” said Dr. Siundu.