A Catholic priest in Kenya has reportedly been suspended from serving his church after rapping to his congregation as a way of preaching the gospel, according to local media.
Father Paul Ogalo of St. Monica Catholic Church in Rapogi, Migori County, was suspended this month on a misconduct charge. The Nation reports that “Church officials took issue with Fr. Ogalo’s style of preaching and suspended him for a year to ‘reconsider his manner of preaching.'”
“I use the rap music to bring … youths to the church. Thereafter, I bring them to Christ,” the 45-year-old priest told the outlet, adding that he used rap to encourage young people to abandon the “evil deeds of the world and turn to Christ,” while educating them on issues such as the danger of taking drugs, the environment, and the importance of promoting social justice.
The head of the Homa Bay Diocese, Bishop Philip Anyolo, confirmed that Ogalo had been “suspended from doing liturgical duties in public but he remains a Catholic priest” and would also be allowed to continue attending church services.
“It is true the church has taken a disciplinary measure against him. He is suspended because the use of rap music in preaching is not allowed,” said Anyolo on Sunday.”We have just stopped him from preaching using rap to accord him time to change his ways.”
The judicial vicar of the Interdiocesan tribunal of Kisumu, Father Charles Kochiel, added that Ogalo had been released in order to “reconsider his ways.”
“There are ways of doing things. There are certain things the Church promotes in the society. If we mix what the secular and church institutions do, then definitely people are going to read different messages,” he told The Standard. “People could be looking at it from the social point of view, like bringing people on board, gathering and entertaining people.”
Christianity remains the predominant religion in Kenya, with around 85 percent of people identifying as Christian and 23 percent of people as Roman Catholic.
The Kenyan Catholic Church has previously clashed with former President Barack Obama after he urged the church to promote greater acceptance of homosexuality. Sodomy is still illegal across the country.
Last year, the Catholic Archbishop of Nairobi chastised Kenyan men for demanding unreasonable dowries from possible female partners, claiming the money was getting in the way of successful relationships.