■ Secret unveiled when wife took child to Archbishop
■ Church disrobes, banishes him
■ Archbishop: We’re shocked, pained
Very Reverend Father Peter Zuni, 54, the Parish Priest of Queen of Apostles Catholic Church, Kakuri parish, Kaduna State, Northern Nigeria has been recently disrobed and sacked from the priesthood following his secret marriage with two women that resulted in their having children for the Priest.
One of the wives is already late according to reports and it is the surviving wife who reported the affairs to the Archbishop about three weeks ago.
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.
Archbishop of Kaduna Catholic Diocese, Bishop Ndagoso Manoso who was almost in tears when he spoke on the matter, said Father Zuni actually committed the sin. He said that what the priest did, brought a sad moment and embarrassment to the entire archdiocese.
The embattled priest was his classmate in the seminary more than 30 years ago. Bishop Manoso said that he could imagine the spiritual and psychological torture the priest could be going through over this sinful act.
The Archbishop also expressed worry over the health condition of the disrobed priest who is known to be diabetic and dependent on daily injection of insulin.
Archbishop Manoso said the woman at the centre of the storm confronted him with a baby said to belong to Father Zuni, and after due investigation by his office, it was confirmed that the priest was her secret husband.
Bishop Manoso said, “It is very unfortunate that this thing had to happen in my diocese. It is not an easy thing for me; if I tell you what I have been going through in the past few weeks over this issue; it has not been easy for me. Father Zuni was my classmate; we spent seven years in the seminary. At a time he proceeded to Kaduna Polytechnic and read Accounting, this thing happened and nobody knew. He has to face the sanction, we sacked and disrobed him because what he did is no longer compatible with his vocation as a priest.”
“It is true that he had affairs with two women and they both had children for him, but one of the women is late already. We are not God, we did not know on time until now that he was having affairs with two women” said the Archbishop.
He spoke further: “The church said the priest has to go because the church doesn’t allow priests to marry. So he had to go and look after his children and his matrimonial home.”
“You can now imagine what the priest is going through, either spiritually or psychologically. He must be going through hell on earth. This is my concern for him now. The woman and the kids will be going through trauma also.”
“I have been trying to see how I can help him, but I don’t think I have the skills to help him. But he needs help to come to terms with reality.”
“By December he will be 30 years in the priesthood, and he is now 54 years old, so at this age what can he do with his life. Nobody can employ him now. He spent seven years in the seminary and 30 years in the priesthood, and that is 37 years, so what can he do with his life at 54? The church too is going through a lot of trauma, so we need everybody’s prayers for us to put this incident behind us.”