Excommunication, Catholicism and celibacy

Like Louise, I hope the Rwandan Roman Catholic priest Father Athanase Seromba will be excommunicated for betraying 2,000 Tutsis to their deaths after they sought shelter in his church, on top of his 15 years jail sentence, which is far too lenient.

It made me wonder how many excommunicated priests there are and the reasons why. And that’s how I stumbled across the free-spirited excommunicated archbishop who ordained two married priests in America as bishops in the full glare of the media spotlight on Monday. Yes, married priests, and their wives assisted during the service.

Zambian Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, 76, has called celibacy “outdated”, he was married in 2001 to a Korean acupuncturist chosen for him by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon in a mass wedding performed by Moon’s Unification Church. It all sounds very bizarre.

Doesn’t the voice of the Vatican mean anything any more? How is it these priests can flout centuries of Catholic tradition and impose their own rules? Will these two new bishops be acknowledged as such by the Catholic church? And did Milingo have the authority to conduct such a service in the eyes of the Catholic church?


  1. Archbishop Milingo is quite right in his view that celibacy is outdated. many people seek advice from thier priest over marriage problems. How can a man who has never experienced marriage give sound advice on it?

    The orthodox church does not impose celibacy, yet it does not affect the performancce of thier priests. In fact when was the last time the orthodox church was embroiled in a molestation scandal?

  2. Culturally catholicism is a travesty. I suppose there is intellectual satisfaction if you’re into mythology.

  3. As you know, Ellee, I am not religious but my sympathies are towards Catholicism for many cultural and intellectual reasons. I think the Vatican is appearing to be ignoring, but is watching, this bizarre situation. They have a lot more to worry about at the moment!

  4. The pope is infallible of course. After Pope John Paul II’s assassination attempt in 1981 he attributed his survival to the intervention of Our Lady of Fatima: “A maternal hand guided the bullet” he said. One wonders why she didn’t guide it to miss him altogether. No credit given to the team of surgeons who worked on him for six hours. Perhaps their hands were maternally guided too. Note that he was specific about it being Our Lady of Fatima. Where were Our Ladies of Lourdes, Guadaloupe, Medjugorje, Akita, Zeitoun, Garbandal or Knock that day? Maybe busy on other errands at the time.

    Read Richard Dawkins on this topic.

  5. Ellee, I’m not Roman Catholic and yet this excommunication business which was abused in past centuries – I see today that they take a long, hard look before they go that far. It’s like a company policy and objectives. “Here they are,” [in this case – unchanged in centuries]. “If you can accept them – welcome. If you can’t, bye bye.”

    This excommunicated man can run his own splinter church from prison if he wants. He’s no Catholic.

  6. Will these two new bishops be acknowledged as such by the Catholic church?


    And did Milingo have the authority to conduct such a service in the eyes of the Catholic church?

    No, again.

    Of course, one of the great advantages of being a Catholic is we know exactly what rules we’re not obeying!

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