Eight years ago, he annoyed the Catholic headquarters in the Vatican by breaking the code of celibacy. On Wednesday, controversial Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo arrived in the country and slapped the Catholic Church in Kenya in the face.
At a secluded centre in Karen, Nairobi, Bishop Milingo ordained Fr Daniel Kasomo bishop of the Married Priests Now in Kenya. He also ordained several deacons.
The Zambian-born archbishop is the overall prelate of a group with 150,000 married priests worldwide. He was ordained as a parish priest in 1958. He was consecrated as archbishop of the archdiocese of Lusaka in Zambia in 1969 by Pope Paul VI.
In 1983, he was recalled from Lusaka to Rome over a controversial “non-conventional healing ministry” he led.He broke his celibacy vows in 2001 and married 43-year-old Korean acupuncturist Maria Sung in a classical wedding where 62 couples dressed in bridal gowns and tuxedos were married in the Moon Unification Church.
On Wednesday, Bishop Kasomo said at Sasamotor Centre that he married his girlfriend, Mary Ann in 1993, a year after becoming a priest. They have four children. Also present was Fr Peter Njogu, who said he has been married for 20 years and has three children.
Archbishop Milingo said many more priests had declared their marital status and the group’s membership was growing in Kenya. The prelate said it was time the Catholic Church changed its doctrine on celibacy and allowed priests who wished to marry do so.
He said his group will not secede from the Catholic Church but will champion its interests from within. “We are not there to play champion,” he said, adding that celibacy had resulted in priests falling by the wayside. He said that in America, many churches were facing bankruptcy due to cases dating years back.
Accompanied by wife Maria, Archbishop Milingo said he received a message to marry from Virgin Mary who asked him to also “go and do something for married priests.”He said married priests were suffering as they were punished and never forgiven.
The priests also denied employment wherever they went after being ex-communicated from Catholic Church, a situation he likened to a mother giving her babies to lions after birth.
The archbishop said it was wrong for the Catholic Church to cut links with married priests. He said celibacy was “based on a lie as a woman is equal to all of us.”
“A woman is not only a sex object. It is wrong for the church to expect a priest to pretend to close his eyes or not look closely at a woman,” he said. He urged the Catholic Church to stop referring to married priests as renegades.