19 July 2006

Kenya: Catholic Bishops Cannot Bar Me, Says Priest

Nairobi — A rebel Catholic priest, who recently got married, has dismissed the move by Kenyan Catholic Bishops to excommunicate him.

Fr Godfrey Siundu claimed 26 priests from the mainstream Catholic Church had crossed over to his Reformed Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church (RRC&AC).

"The bishops should know that I have no war with them but they have no power to nullify my authority to exercise priesthood," Fr Siundu said in an interview with The Standard and KTN in Eldoret on Tuesday.

Siundu tabled the names of the 26 priests he alleged had defected to his church.

"The priests who have joined me are from various dioceses including Kitale, Kericho, Bungoma, Nairobi, Eldoret, Kakamega, Machakos, Kisumu, Homa Bay and Nyeri," said Siundu.

Siundu wed Stella Nangila on May 14, 2006, at the Kitale Showgrounds in a ceremony presided over by the head of the church, Archbishop Dr Karl Raimund Rodig, who flew in from Germany. The highly publicised wedding was covered by the local and international media and attended by hundreds of members.

Shortly after the wedding, Catholic bishops led by the chairman of the Kenya Episcopal Conference, John Njue, excommunicated him from the church for breaking the priestly vow of celibacy.

Siundu said although the bishops had the power to ordain priests, they had no authority to withdraw their ability to preside over church functions such as weddings, baptisms and burials. He said some Catholics were on a campaign to soil his name.

Copyright © 2006 The East African Standard. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.