Parishioners at Queen of Apostles Catholic Church, Kakuri parish in Kaduna state were left in shock when they got to know that their 54-year-old parish priest, Very Reverend Father Peter Zuni, was married to two women.
NAIJ.com gathered that this case negates the doctrine of the Catholic church. Only unmarried men are ordained into the priesthood and they are to swear an oath of celibacy.
The Sun reports that although one of the two wives was late, the second wife who is still alive and has a baby for the priest, blew the whistle about three weeks ago. When some of the parishioners were interviewed, they confirmed the report, which they said was initially thought to be mere rumour. One of them who spoke on the condition of anonymity revealed that the case of the priest who had children from two women had gone to the Bishop of Kaduna Archdiocese, Bishop Ndagoso Manoso. And that in order to help cover up for the embattled priest, the Archdiocese allegedly organised a send off for him to move to a remote village in Jaba local government area of the state.
“During the send off, the priest was not allowed to make a farewell speech, and many people refused to take photographs with him. There was little or no felicitation with him because most of the time he was seen standing aloof under a mango tree without anybody going close to him.
“Nobody can say when the priest committed the alleged sinful act. If it happened before his ordination, he wouldn’t have been ordained, so probably it was after his ordination, and you know, God does not sleep, no matter the length of cover up, one day the bubble will burst. And the bubble has burst now,” the parishioner said.
However, when The Sun contacted the embattled priest on his telephone line, he said:
“Nobody is ordained to remain and work in the city. I have spent five years as parish priest of Queen of Apostles, so I can work anywhere, city or village. I find it difficult myself to believe what people are saying about me. I will not comment on it now. I will follow due process to invite you for an interview, but I am afraid, the newspaper of the archdiocese, The Cross News, may carry this story before you (Sunday Sun).”
Rev Fr. Zuni further said he is currently based in Suleja, Niger State. But Sunday Sun gathered that parishioners were made to believe that the embattled priest was transferred to Gumel village in southern Kaduna, while he was actually sacked from the priesthood.
When contacted, the Archbishop of Kaduna Catholic diocese, Bishop Ndagoso Manoso also confirmed the report. The bishop said Father Zuni actually committed the sin and it's an embarrassment to the entire archdiocese. He said:
“It is very unfortunate that this thing had to happen in my diocese. It is not an easy thing for me; if I tell you what I have been going through in the past few weeks over this issue; it has not been easy for me. Father Zuni was my classmate; we spent seven years in the seminary. At a time he proceeded to Kaduna polytechnic and read Accounting.
“But this thing happened and nobody knew. But he has to face the sanction. We sacked and disrobed him because what he did is no longer compatible with his vocation as a priest. It was not true that he was transferred to any village. He was about to be transferred on normal routine, but when I heard of this story, I had to cancel the transfer and sacked him.
“It is true that he had affairs with two women and they both had children for him, but one of the women is late already. We are not God, we did not know on time until now that he was having affairs with two women. The church said the priest has to go because the church doesn’t allow priests to marry. So he had to go and look after his children and his matrimonial home.
“You can now imagine what the priest is going through, either spiritually or psychologically. He must be going through hell on earth. This is my concern for him now. The woman and the kids will be going through trauma also. I have been trying to see how I can help him, but I don’t think I have the skills to help him. But he needs help to come to terms with reality.
“By December he will be 30 years in the priesthood, and he is now 54 years old, so at this age what can he do with his life. Nobody can employ him now. He spent seven years in the seminary and 30 years in the priesthood, and that is 37 years, so what can he do with his life at 54? The church too is going through a lot of trauma, so we need everybody’s prayers for us to put this incident behind us.”
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