Five Catholic priests from Metropolitan Archdiocese of Blantyre in Malawi are on suspension for breaking the church’s celibacy law after it was discovered that the priests had fathered children while some are cohabiting with their women.
The revelation on the suspension of the five comes soon after the church went against its own standing procedures to allow another priest who had fathered a child and was leaving with his ‘wife’ to be accorded all Christian burial procedures such as a mass, prayers and was buried at Limbe Cathedral Cemetery a place reserved for Priests.
During a news conferenc Head of the Archdiocese of Blantyre Archbishop Thomas Msusa disclosed that the concerned priest father Graciano Kunkeyani was not the only one as currently the church is investigating five other priests for similar offences and it has since suspended them.
“When one is on suspension, it means they have been given time to choose what they want whether to continue as a priest or not. The time one stays on suspension depends on the nature of the issue in question as there is need for thorough investigations,” he said.
The Archbishop was however quick to point out that everyone makes mistakes in life and priests are no exception.
“It’s not in our place as human beings to judge each other but fulfill God’s wishes of loving and forgiving one another,” he added.
According to Msusa, it is very rare that after suspension, a priest decides to abandon priesthood vocation as most of them repent and serve God actively through priesthood.
“I’m glad that most of the priests on suspension have shown remorse and are ready to come back. If during the suspension a priest is in need, the diocese is obliged to help since he is still our priest,” he said.
The Archbishop said depending on what mistake has been made, the diocese has several ways of helping the priest such as involving a Psychiatrist to assess him. When a priest is on suspension, they are at times sent somewhere to attend a course whilst the diocese is investigating the issue.
Msusa dismissed allegations that the church conceals sex scandals and denies that priests could engage in such acts saying suspensions are an indication that the church recognises that these things are real and happening.
The Archbishop could not be drawn to reveal the identities of the five suspended priests.
In father Kunkeyani’s case, he was suspended in 2010 over allegations that he fathered some children.
He fell sick while still on suspension and the church took care of him during the time he was admitted in hospital and was still under the church’s care whilst at Saint James home for the sick and retired priests situated at Limbe Cathedral, until his death.
Msusa explained that late Kunkeyani had been going to him telling him that he wanted to get back into priesthood.
When he died, he was granted all Christian burial procedures a thing which attracted a lot of criticism from many people.
However, Msusa backed the church’s action saying that Father Kunkeyani was granted burial according to what the Pastoral Directives on Christian Burial guides the church to do.
He said the guidelines have been there all along and they have also applied to other suspended priests before.
“A Christian burial is a right not privilege and whoever is baptised in the Catholic church requires a Christian burial,” Msusa said.
He could not, however, explain why the suspended late priest was buried at a site where only priests are buried.
Many men of the cloth in Malawi have been siring kids, with some keeping affairs.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :