We’re not at war, say splinter Catholics

Friday May 29 2009

By BARNABAS BII

A splinter group of the Catholic Church in Kenya on Friday said it was not at war with its mother church.

The splinter group, calling itself the Ecumenical Catholic Church of Christ, instead said it was open to dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church on universally acceptable church doctrines.

“We are not out to steal priests from the Roman Catholic Church and they should respect our rights instead of launching unnecessary attacks against us,” Dr Karl Rodig, the primate archbishop of the church, said in Eldoret Town.

He cited the issue of celibacy as the main cause of differences between the two churches.

Ready for dialogue

“We respect the rights of other churches, the Roman Catholic Church included, since we serve one God and we are ready for any dialogue with them,” added archbishop Rodig, who is in the country to preside over the ordination of Gabriel Shiundu as bishop. Mr Shiundu is the leader of the Kenya chapter of the church.

The ordination will take place on Friday at the Kitale showground, where Benedict Simiyu will also be ordained as auxiliary bishop.

“Celibacy is not the divine way of Christian life and we are ready to work with married and unmarried priests. In any case, early Roman Catholic Church priests were allowed to marry,” explained Dr Rodig.

He disclosed that the church had half a million followers in the world, 5,000 in Kenya.