Nairobi, Kenya, Nov 20, 2006 / 22:00 pm America/Denver (CNA).A Kenyan sect, opposed to mandatory priestly celibacy in the Roman Catholic Church, is quietly wooing former and suspended Catholic priests to join it, reported the Catholic Information Service for Africa.
They are also targeting former Catholic seminarians with promises of formation overseas and ordination to married priesthood in the Reformed Roman Catholic Church.
The group is scouting for female candidates for the priesthood as well. The sect’s Nairobi-based coordinator, John Karimi, told CISA that two women have been accepted for formation in the United States to date.
Karimi is a former Catholic priest of the Diocese of Murang’a. He renounced his vows in 2004, after 15 years as a Roman Catholic priest, and joined the Reformed Church. According to CISA, he described celibacy as one of the “archaic laws” of the Catholic Church that should be scrapped.
He claims that “97 percent of priests live a hypocritical life” and they therefore should be allowed to maintain a sex life.
Karimi works with Godfrey Shiundu, a former priest of Kitale Diocese, whose automatic excommunication from the Catholic Church was announced in May by the Kenyan bishops, after he married in a much publicized ceremony.
In February, Bishop Maurice Crowley of Kitale wrote to all bishops of Kenya alerting them of the new sect headed by Shiundu.
Fr. Francis Moriasi, former vicar general of Eldoret Diocese, told CISA that the group had recruited at least three ex-priests from his diocese.