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Oyakhilome's divorce and celibacy in the Catholic priesthood

09 January 2015, 19:34 Chika Ugwuodo

The brewing crisis rocking the household of Pastor Chris and Anita Oyakhilome, the founding pastors of Christ Embassy is no longer news to any watcher of societal trends. There is an air of intending divorce and to all concerned, indicators of a looming calamitous climax seems to be waxing stronger. The media has followed the development with keen eagerness and reported same in pursuance of achieving their marketing interests and not informing the inquisitive public. This premise has been made judging from the biased, one-sided and objectionable news articles which have constantly been churned out for consumption by their vulnerable readers.

Apologists of Chris have argued endlessly in favour of the charismatic man of God, presenting him as the victimized. Anita has been adjudged by them to be the initiator of the imminent separation, out to deliberately tarnish the esteemed image of her partner. On the contrary, Anita's fans have stoutly defended her on the grounds that Chris' alleged infidelity and unresponsiveness must have pushed her to the walls. They posit that her demand for the divorce was the last recourse in a bid to escape the union which had only brought her undeserved pains and regrets.

Also read: 'Cheating' prophet files for divorce

I choose not to identify with any side in this raging argument but to rather raise pertinent questions predicated on the escalating controversy. Has divorce suddenly gained acceptance in religious circles such that even custodians of faith- pastors now entertain it comfortably? What happened to the biblical admonishments which clearly promotes the sacredness of the marriage institution? What does this current trend portend for the growth of Christianity in a world in dire need of evangelism? And finally, will pastoral celibacy currently enshrined in Roman Catholic orthodoxy ever be a consensual solution?

I do not deny a strong inclination towards my beliefs as a Catholic over other contradicting religious dogmas but I can guarantee an open-minded approach towards addressing all issues of concern to the general public. When Rev. Okotie, the musician turned preacher divorced his wife openly, I had reasons to condemn him but chose to wave it as a case of human weakness triumphing over reason. To be sincere, even prior to that incidence, I never held him as a seasoned man of God worthy of commanding respect judging from perceived questionable characters and faulty ministerial background. Oyakhilome is a sharp contrast to Okotie's person and has always been admired by me as a quintessential shepherd of the flock; the reason why I am discussing his personal life.

If this divorce pulls through in defiance of concerted efforts by many towards an amicable resolution, what will happen to the faith of the couple's global audience who look up to them as role models. Do you think divorce would still remain in their perspective as a repugnant course of action which should be non existent among Christ's followers? I seriously think the fabrics of the most revered and oldest institution in life has been weakened by this latest detestable theatrical display by Pastors Chris and Anita.

The world should now take a second look at the long standing law of celibacy in the catholic priesthood with objective eyes in view of reassessing its importance. It is still vital for man to have a soul mate but never has it been a binding command. Paul is a biblical example of someone who never married as a means towards actualizing his destiny of an unperturbed evangelization.  No wonder the authority of the Roman catholic church has continued to turn deaf ears to incessant global calls towards jettisoning this age- long, controversial tradition.

If we agree that Christianity has suffered immense defamation in the face of these high profile divorce cases and that such distractions are inimical to the growth of the religion, we can also endorse a call for church leaders to consider the adoption of celibacy as a binding law on all intending shepherds of the fast derailing flock.

- MyNews24

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