Bishop Paul Kariuki of the Catholic Diocese in Wote has banned all priests under his leadership from blessing same-sex marriages a week after Pope Francis directed priests worldwide to do the same.
In a statement issued Wednesday, the bishop gave a justification as to why he will not align with the Pope’s directive holding that blessing such unions would set a dangerous precedent which he described as unacceptable.
“I hereby prohibit all priests in the Catholic Diocese of Wote from blessing couples in irregular situations or same-sex sex-couples,” he stated.
A photo of Pope Francis addressing an audience
He further gave his interpretation of the Bible which he claimed states that each person is given the right to judge what is right in God’s word. According to him, this meant that church leaders were not obligated to follow the Pope’s directive blindly.
Bishop Kariuki further averred that from Pope Francis’ directive, it was unclear what was going to be blessed.
The man of cloth further directed the priests under his leadership to lead individuals planning same-sex marriages to repent and believe in the gospel.
“When a sinner repents, he changes his or her mind about sin, the savior, and salvation. This is exactly what these couples, like any other Christian, should look for in the blessings,” he stated.
He added that blessing same-sex couples contradicts the scripture and supports what he described as the “ungodly gender ideology”.
Bishop Kariuki called for all churches to reject the proposal and uphold the traditional Catholic teachings that call for marriage between man and woman.
Kariuki is among the various Kenyan religious leaders who have opposed the directive from Pope Francis with some arguing that blessing same-sex marriages goes against African traditions.
Nairobi Archbishop Philip Anyolo on Sunday directed leaders in the archdiocese of Nairobi not to bless same-sex marriages.
“The word of God also strongly condemns such unions. The African cultural traditions equally detest it as it is dearly against transmission of life,” he stated.
The declaration made by the Pope last week has elicited mixed reactions among the Christian community in Kenya and globally.
Archbishop Philip Anyolo of the Nairobi Archdiocese