We’re not rebels, Catholic splinter group says

North Rift, Kenya - The splinter church of the Roman Catholic has demanded respect from the latter’s faithful.

Its head, Archbishop Karl Raymond Rodig, said they had evolved from a breakaway into a fully-fledged church. He maintained that his members are not a renegade group, but a respected Church of Christ with more than one million members worldwide.

Rodig disclosed that the church has since been renamed the Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ from the Reformed Catholic Church.

"You should therefore desist from calling us rebels or renegade. We are not a group, we are a big church now getting recognition worldwide," he said.

He accused the Roman Catholic Church of creating the impression that the church is out to "steal priests and faithful from it". "We are not here to attack or take away the Roman Catholic Church. Instead we should be viewed as an equal member of the body of Christ," he added.

Alternative to priests

Rodig said the Catholic creed does not bar the establishment of more splinter churches. "It (creed) believes in one holy apostolic Catholic church and not one Roman Catholic church. We are therefore equal members of this one holy apostolic church," he explained.

He said the church is simply providing an alternative to Catholic priests and faithful who do not wish to abide by the celibacy doctrine.

The archbishop was addressing the Press in Eldoret yesterday flanked by Bishop Hermogenes Rizo of the church from United States.

Rodig termed calls by some Roman Catholic Church leaders asking their faithful to rebel against the new church as unwarranted.

He was reacting to Bishop Maurice Crowley of the Diocese of Kitale who was quoted in the press calling on the Church "a new sect".

Crowley urged members of Catholic Church to boycott this Sunday’s ordination of Fathers Godfrey Siundu and Benedict Simiyu as bishops of the new Church.

Siundu accused some Roman Catholic Church leaders in the North Rift of planning to influence the Kitale ASK showground management to deny them the venue of the ordination.