Africa: Controversy over married Reverend Father deepens

The leadership of the Catholic Diocese of Kaduna is now trying to rebuild confidence among parishioners, especially those at Queen of Apostles Catholic Church, Kakuri and other parishes in Kaduna State, after the stunning revelation of how the former Parish Priest, Rev. Father Peter Zuni, was discovered to be involved in secret marriage to two women and with children. At the church premises recently, the parishioners were still bewildered about the whole scenario and the sacrilegious act of their 54-year-old former priest, who, despite his religious education and Catholic teachings still went ahead to maintain the secret marriage with the two women. But the immediate challenge facing the new parish priest is how to rebuild confidence on the parishioners who continued to gather in groups within the premises to discuss the unbelievable involvement of their former priest in family affairs, with two women for that matter. Some of them who spoke with The Guardian wore sad looks immediately the matter was raised and were yet to fully come to terms with the shocking revelations.

“We are still trying to overcome the shock we received from the news of the abominable act of the former priest who has been suspended,” one of them ventured. Another added: “Since the coming of our new Parish Priest, we are still feeling this problem and that is why most of our members gather together every time after Mass to discuss. “Most of us have even agreed to watch out and study the lifestyle of any priest sent to us and we have agreed to monitor their Christian lifestyle and ensure that history does not repeat itself in this parish.” When The Guardian approached Fr. Makama for an interview on the situation in his new parish following the banishment of the former priest, he said: “Please, I am just two weeks old in this parish. “I don’t really know anything about what the former priest did before he was asked to go.

“The only person that can give you detail information is the Archbishop. He will speak better on the issue.” At Bishop Manoso’s office located directly opposite the Kaduna State University (KASU), he was holding a meeting that stretched for about two hours. When The Guardian was ushered into the office, Bishop Manoso was tensed up on the introduction of the subject, saying: “What has happened is very unfortunate and I have spoken on it and don’t want to go back on the issue again.” Bishop Manoso was almost in tears when he spoke on the matter, saying Fr. Zuni had been found to have actually committed the offence and that has brought a sad moment and embarrassment to the entire Archdiocese. He disclosed that the embattled priest was his classmate in the seminary over 30 years ago; hence he could imagine the spiritual and psychological torture the priest could be going through over this act. Manoso was concerned about the health condition of the disrobed priest, who is known to be diabetic and dependent on daily injection of insulin.

On how the secret marriage came to the open, he said the woman at the centre of the storm confronted him with a baby said to belong to Fr. Zuni and after due investigation by his office, it was confirmed that the priest was her secret husband. He dismissed reports that the priest has been transferred to another village. Meanwhile, an ardent Catholic, who is not a member of the parish, Mr. John Yusuf La’ah, in his reaction, said: “This unfortunate incident is an eye-opener, because there is now need for the church to look inward and do a stock-taking to fish out other priests who are still within the fold. “It is the case of Fr. Zuni that has come to the open, but I still want to believe that there are still more of such people presiding over the affairs of other parishes, which we have not heard of or come to the open.” According to La’ah: “It is time the church takes stern measures, open up investigations and ensure that the entire system is purged to preserve the name and dignity of the church. “It is the intervention of God that allows the incident at Queen of Apostles Parish to be exposed. And this is a lesson to our leaders and parishioners. “Ultimately, God is telling the church to look inward and purge itself of such affairs of this world,” he added.


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