Milingo ordains Nyeri bishop in elaborate ritual

Saturday April 9 2011

Former Roman Catholic Archbishop Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, right, who is now the head of the Restored Universal Apostolic Church of Christ, chats with the newly ordained Mt Kenya Bishop Peter Njogu Kibutu at Ruring'u stadium in Nyeri on April 9, 2011. Bishop Njogu is married to Mary Karimi Njogu and has three children. Photo/ JOSEPH KANYI

Former Roman Catholic Archbishop Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, right, who is now the head of the Restored Universal Apostolic Church of Christ, chats with the newly ordained Mt Kenya Bishop Peter Njogu Kibutu at Ruring'u stadium in Nyeri on April 9, 2011. Bishop Njogu is married to Mary Karimi Njogu and has three children. Photo/ JOSEPH KANYI 

By CHARLES MWANIKI

Controversial clergyman Emmanuel Milingo on Saturrday consecrated a Bishop of the Restored Universal Apostolic Church in Nyeri.

Father Peter Njogu Kibutu was elevated to a bishop of the church at a ceremony at Ruring’u stadium, attended by his family, including his wife, Mary Karimi.

Archbishop Milingo, who is Zambian, hit the headlines when he renounced celibacy and married Maria Sung in 2001. As a result, he was excommunicated from the church.

During Saturday’s ceremony, the new bishop was taken through a consecration similar to what mainstream Catholic bishops go through.

He lay prostate before Archbishop Milingo and four other bishops, who went through elaborate prayer rituals that culminated in his elevation to bishop.

He was later given a mitre, ring and cross, similar to the ones given to Catholic bishops.

Addressing the congregation, the new bishop said they should not be seen as renegades but as priests who have decided that celibacy is not the way for them.

Archbishop Milingo defended his church against accusations that they were operating parallel to the Catholic Church.

“We are still a part of the church, and we don’t need to be invited back by anybody. We celebrate our mass the same way as the Catholic Church, and we consider ourselves a part of the church of Christ,” he said.

Bishop Peter Kaloki, himself a married priest, described the situation that priests were facing as having been brought about by an error of judgement.

“We went into celibacy but now realise that we were meant to marry,” he said.