By Mathews Ndanyi
More than 40 priests have in the last two years defected from the Catholic Church in Kenya seeking freedom from celibacy. The priests have joined the Ecumenical Catholic Church headed by Bishop Geoffrey Shiundu who also quit the Catholic church after he married against rules of priesthood.
Shiundu says his church is growing stronger and more priests were seeking advice from him on the celibacy issue. He, however, said that his church was ready to work with the Roman Catholic Church if Pope Benedict agrees to change the constitution to make celibacy optional. Shiundu said many priests are under pressure to marry and have families. He was speaking in Kitale during the ordination of a priest from Uganda, Fr John Angelo Msaazi. Said Bishop Shidundu: “It’s right to allow those who want celibacy to remain so but for those who want to marry let them also enjoy their rights," said Shiundu.
Meanwhile, Shiundu has criticised a proposal to change the constitution to remove the clause providing that women take a third of elected positions. Bishop Siundu said that together with his priests were among the first group of church leaders to have endorsed the new constitution because of the provisions that favour marginalised groups especially women.