Kenya: Married Priests May Be Expelled

Nairobi, Kenya — The Catholic Church will consider taking further disciplinary action against priests who defied the vow of celibacy.

At the same time, the Vatican will not change the rule of celibacy for Catholic priests, the Pope's representative in Kenya, Archbishop Paul Lebeaupin warned on Sunday.

He said Catholic priests who had joined the "Married Priests Now" sect could be declared lay men by the church, which is just a step from being excommunicated.

"These priests have another chance of coming back to the church if they denounce their current stand. But if they continue that way, the church could take a further step and make them ordinary lay men," he said.

The Apostolic Nuncio said the priests, some of them already married, and Zambian Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, were outlawed by the church to celebrate Eucharist and were not recognised as ministers by the Vatican.

Archbishop Lebeaupin warned Catholics against being deceived by the runaway priests saying the sacrament given by these clergy were invalid.

The Archbishop made the remarks at St Anthony Cathedral in Malindi where he ordained six clergy into priesthood at the weekend.

Great significance

Peter Kamau, Elijah Kinyua, Constantine Kimondo, Bernard Malasi and Anthony Kitema took their vows and were ordained priests in a colourful ceremony also attended by Malindi bishop Francis Baldacchino and 26 priests.

"Being a Catholic priest is not a right, it's a calling from Christ. It's not a job and it is not for riches, big post, honour or prestige. It's a lifetime commitment with the mission of Jesus Christ," he said.

The Archbishop maintained that there was great significance in celibacy in serving God and all priests must fully commit themselves and be faithful to it.