18 June 2009

Kenya: Homosexual Catholics Back Celibate Priests

press release

A Statement by Nouwen Catholics-Kenya, an organization in the service of homosexual Catholics

The Ecumenical Catholic Church, or the Reformed Catholic Church, headed by Archbishop Karl Raymond Rodix, made what can only be described as an open attack on the Roman Catholic Church by ordaining Fr. Geoffrey Shiundu as a bishop and five priests. They claim allegiance to the Pope and differ only on clerical celibacy, citing Scripture's scant reference to some, if not all, of the apostles as married men. They dispute the stand of the Church which several centuries ago imposed celibacy on its clergy in imitation of Christ, head of the Church, and as an expression of a priest's commitment to Christ.

Meanwhile, Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, previously one of the most charismatic leaders in the Church and now excommunicated, is set to fly to Kenya to ordain five priests as bishops of his Married Now Priests! movement.

There have been numerous media reports of the conduct of certain priests engaged in diverse apostolic ministries, which have caused shame to the image and dignity of the priesthood. Not only is it clear that their misconduct has been ongoing, even spanning decades and resulting in children, but it looks as if it is a widespread phenomenon.

Heterosexual priests and bishops, with their sexual peccadilloes, are living a lie: gaining emotional access to women under pretense of virtue, using and abandoning them because they cannot make a true and open commitment to a woman, or consigning them to a life of deception.

We, as Nouwen Catholics-Kenya, strongly condemn the behavior of these priests who have abandoned their vocation and life of service to the faithful in order to get married. In doing so, they are causing a rift and confusion among Catholics. They have also caused untold mistrust about the faithful priests. Their action goes against the most fundamental tenets of their calling and church law.

We highly recommend that the hierarchy stems this tide by:

1. Opening and strengthening the channels of communication with those in formation and between priests and their bishops. Openness will ensure that any pressing or tensive issues are handled in an atmosphere of trust and confidentiality.

2. Having a holistic formation that tackles all aspects of a person. This will ensure that one's the decision to accept ordination is made freel, and maturely with full knowledge of the demands and requisites of the clerical state. Ongoing formation is highly recommended to rekindle fervor in prayer, a sacramental life and community sharing. This is also to be done in view of 'firming up' the person while engaged in active ministry that may drain a priest both physically and emotionally.

3. Issue a statement forthwith that will assure the faithful of sound handling of this matter and ensure due process in tackling the problem of those who seem not quite ready to embrace the demands of their calling. Damage control is important in any crisis.

We support any action, disciplinary or otherwise, that the hierarchy will undertake to vigorously deal with this threat to the dignity of the priesthood. The Church, to which we owe our full allegiance and obedience, has our full backing as it undertakes to heal this rift.

Finally, as homosexual Catholics, we are deeply angered and saddened at these and many other divisions in the Church - doctrinal, moral, or otherwise. We strongly advocate for a celibate priesthood and whole heartedly support the Church's move to uphold this evangelical ideal in all its servants as exemplified in the life of Christ.

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