Then We caused Our Messengers to follow in their footsteps; and We caused Jesus, son of Mary, to follow them, and We gave him the Gospel. And We placed in the hearts of those who accepted him compassion and mercy. But monasticism which they invented for themselves — We did not prescribe it for them — for the seeking of Allah’s pleasure; but they did not observe it with due observance. Yet We gave those of them who believed their due reward, but many of them are rebellious. (Al Quran 57:27/28)
‘A more open way of being’: Catholics in Kenya rebel against clerical celibacy vow
Source: Washington Post
By Max Bearak
He was a priest just out of seminary. She was a nurse. They were both from the slopes of Mount Kenya, but their paths improbably crossed in Rome.
He became unshakable in his desire to marry her, even though he had taken the Catholic Church’s mandatory vow of celibacy for priests.
When he returned to preach in Kenya, Peter Njogu was shocked when fellow priests told him that many of them had broken that vow, marrying and having children. In hushed tones, they spoke of their “secret families,” kept hidden in distant homes. The thought of doing so pained him.
As the Catholic Church goes through a global crisis brought on in part by the revelation of widespread sexual misconduct by its clergy, self-proclaimed Bishop Njogu says he has figured out how to save Christianity’s largest church from its own sins: Let priests marry and raise families.
Njogu’s breakaway faction, the Renewed Universal Catholic Church, is Catholic in every way except in having optional celibacy for its priests. Its growth in Kenya is rooted in opposition to the practice of keeping secret families but reflects a growing worry among some Catholics that the celibacy requirement — to many a nonnegotiable tenet of the priesthood — creates a harmful culture of sexual secrecy.
The Vatican has shown no interest in reexamining the issue for all priests, and Pope Francis has called celibacy a “gift to the church.” But the pontiff has also signaled that he is open to ordaining married men in remote parts of the world with a severe shortage of priests. More radical voices in the church have called for it to rescind the requirement altogether.
“Most of our members are ex-Catholics,” Njogu said. “They are tired of the hypocrisy. Some of our people call us the ‘Church of the Future.’ ”
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