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Life of Celibacy: Are Catholic priests in bondage?

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IT was one fine late evening, after the bustle and hurdle of the day carrying on this journalism job of chasing news around, and filing stories on time to beat deadline, that I went to a popular pup then at Awka, the newly created or better said, “made capital” of the new Anambra State that came on board on 27th August, 1991.

The pup was called “Lady “B” Restaurant and my aim was to “catch” a bottle of cold beer and as well, discuss with my colleagues for we usually converge there after the day’s job for at that time, there was no functional Press Centre for the state was newly created and things were being harmonised between Anambra and Enugu States, respectively.

On entering the pup, I exchanged banters with my colleagues, selected a seat, sat down and pronto my usual brand of beer was served me by the waiter who needed not ask my brand, (for) after all I was among the regulars that do not go for “ACB”, that is “Any cold beer”.

After a sip of the cold beer and belching due to its coldness that calmed my hot temperature down, as I was about asking a colleague after one of us who incidentally was and is still my close pal, Mr Chibuike Nwabueze, who later went into legal practice, he sauntered into the pup holding a cellophane bag.

He sat in a seat beside me smiling and in a jiffy, the waiter supplied him his usual choice of larger. We exchanged pleasantries and in his playful character, he tossed the cellophane bag to me “Anchorman” he yelled, sipping his beer, he said, “inside this cellophane bag are latest films in town called “Living  in Bondage”, I bought them for you to watch and do a review of the film. Yes, my friend and colleague was dame right for then, I was deep-neck in entertainment reportage.

The film, Living in Bondage was the first home video film produced in Nigeria (Nollywood) and was marketed by NEK videos; that was in 1992. That very night, I watched the film, wrote a review of the film and by the next two days, Daily Star Newspapers where I was trading my profession by then carried the review.

It is on record that I was the first journalist, East of the Niger to do the review on the first home video film produced in the country. Whether the producers, marketers, etc rewarded me, is a story for another day. Years after watching the films, I went back to the archives and re-watched them. After watching the films, many thoughts came to my mind, especially the title “Living in Bondage’.

A brief reminder of the background of the film – it was Polo, a childhood friend of Andy who lured him to join a secret cult in order to amass wealth as he (Polo) did, without revealing to Andy what it takes to be a “billionaire”.

Andy unknowingly agreed to join the devilish secret cult and in the process sacrificed his loving and caring wife, Merit. At a point, the spirit of Merit started hunting Andy and Andy discovered that in spite of his sheepdogs wealth that he was “Living in Bondage” and said, “I can’t bear this alone, I am living in Bondage”, the rest of what followed are now stories.

This brings me to my focal point, why live in bondage? A lot of people, groups, organisations, associations, to mention but a few still live in bondage. The posture and or doctrine of the Catholic faith that our dear ordained priests should continue living the life of celibacy, to my mind, is no longer in tune with the trend of the day. After all, the only thing that is constant in the world is change and as things change, some old-paged norms, traditions, culture and even folkways have passed under the bridge; they are no more in vogue and are not being practiced again.

Examples abound: The stoppage of killing of twins, abolition of slave trade, abolition of the osu and ohu caste system. I am not holding brief for anybody. I may not be an authority to decide, but I am a very serious stakeholder for I am a Catholic and that is why some of the things happening now in the Catholic family is paining and disturbing some of us who hold the Catholic religion in a very high esteem.

In those good days when some of us served mass, it was a glory and people like us, who served late Archbishop Emeritus A.K. Obiefuna, Monsignors Aaron Ekwu, Achebe, Ezenduka, Jude Okafor, etc never witnessed any abuse by them.

Their exemplary lifestyles and respects they received from the people, both Catholics and non-Catholics alike made some of us to take to the seminary. Some are priests today, some of us did not make it to priesthood, after all, “many are called but few are chosen”.

As at then, those old mission trained priests lived low profile life, driving the least cars. Even, some drove bicycles and motorcycles before cars.  Some lived in non-air-conditioned thatched mud houses without even generators or fridges.

This was the system of living and things that were in vogue then. But as days went by, things started changing with the time including lifestyle of everybody. Even the clergy of various religions and that of the Catholic faith started metamorphosing too; after all, they are humans who live in the same environment with others and need to be in tune with the current trend in the society.

And here is the crux of the matter and stand point upon which I rest my (call it) argument, reasoning and or conviction that the toga of celibacy for our Catholic priests should be thrown to the garbage bin so that they can move in consonance with the trend of events in the country today without “pretending” and discontinue to live in bondage.

That is why today unlike in the olden days, places of worship both Catholics, Pentecostalism, Judaism, Islam and others have befitting architectural edifices where they offer supplications to God, Allah or whatever name they refer to the Almighty.

Today, Priests of all denominations no longer ride bicycles, motorcycles or even trek on feet, rather they now drive exotic cars, live in ultra modern houses highly furnished and equipped with modern technological appliances. They now wear sandals, trendy shoes and canvases unlike before when the highest feet wear was sandal called “Sandalet”.

Many instances abound and these changes are in tandem with the current tide in the society. If Catholic ordained priests should put aside the old ways and move on with the tide, why should the toga of celibacy not be for the waste paper basket?

After all, Apostle Paul made it clear that it is better to get married than to pretend to live a life of celibacy when in the actual fact, the person is not able to do so. Furthermore, the Bible in Mathew chapter 19, verse 12, said,

“for there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He, who is able to receive this, let him receive it”.

Here, Christ did not make it compulsory that ordained priests must be eunuchs for them to perform their duties conscientiously.

I strongly and passionately appeal to the Vatican to convene a conference on this issue of celibacy and I bet that majority of Catholics and even priests themselves would want the life of celibacy to be optional, for if Catholic priests start marrying, it is normal for they are humans who are prone to succumb to temptations.

I also think that the wives of the Catholic priests will equally complement and help their husbands in their onerous tasks of evangelism.

I know and do believe that academics impart a lot on an individual. I also do agree that Catholic Priests are avaricious readers, but a popular saying has it that “Experience is the best teacher”. Another adage also says that “the age of Methuselah has nothing to do with the wisdom of Solomon, and another still says that “you cannot give what you don’t have”.

Therefore, it stretches my imagination how our dear Catholic priests  teach intending couples marriage courses without experiencing the processes involved in marriage and management of the family.

Frankly speaking, they may teach marriage and family management orally without vivid life experiences to lay emphasis on the theoretical aspects of their teachings unlike their fellow counterparts from other religions who teach and talk authoritatively from the matrimonial experiences.

Those that live in glass houses need not throw stones, so our young ladies and mothers alike should desist from tempting these men of God.

They should realise that they are humans. Our women should bear it in mind that anybody that tempts an ordained priest of God will receive double punishment from the Almighty God, not to talk of the lake of fire that awaits the person when she involves herself in sexual atrocities with the ordained. Confession or no confession will never erase the ‘lake of fire from burning the person’. Chikina.

Igboanugo, a journalist, wrote from Okija, Anambra State.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. O-money

    October 31, 2019 at 5:36 pm

    In Support Of It Because The Society Is Now Digital One So Is Better To Succuum To The Trend Of My Generation.

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