Parishioners at Queen of Apostles Catholic Church, Kakuri parish, Kaduna State, are still in shock following revelation that the parish priest, Very Reverend Father Peter Zuni, 54, was engaged in a secret marriage to two women, an act that led to his being disrobed and sacked from the priesthood.
According to reports from Sunday Sun one of the wives is already late, while the surviving one who blew the whistle about three weeks ago over the secret marriage is said to be nursing a child for the embattled priest.
According to the doctrine of the Catholic Church, only unmarried men are ordained into the priesthood as they are obligated to swear to an oath of celibacy and observe perfect and perpetual service for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. This, it is believed, would enable the priests to easily remain close to Christ with an undivided heart, and dedicate themselves more freely to the service of God and the congregation.
At the premises of the Queen of the Apostles parish, some parishioners confirmed the report, which they said was initially thought to be mere rumour.
The parishioners who spoke on condition of anonymity said they were shocked and surprised to learn of a petition to the Bishop of Kaduna Archdiocese, Bishop Ndagoso Manoso, that two women had children for their parish priest, an act considered to be an abomination and grave sin against the Catholic doctrine.
They pointed out that in order to cover up the priest’s ‘sin’ from spreading to the larger public, the Archdiocese allegedly organised a send off for the embattled priest to a remote village in Jaba Local Government Area of Kaduna 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, Sunday Sun reported contacting the disrobed priest on his telephone line, and sought comments on his alleged controversial transfer from the city to a remote village, 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.”
On the allegation of his involvement in secret marriage to two women who bore children for him even as a Catholic priest, he neither denied nor confirmed the allegation. Rather he said:
“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 Sunday Sun.”