Catholic Priest in Kenya Suspended for… Rapping at Church? Here’s the Unusual Story

James Emery, Flickr, CC BY 2.0

This is an unusual story.

Last month, many parishioners at St. Monica Church in western Kenya were dismayed to hear their priest Fr. Paul Ogalo had been suspended from priestly duties for a whole year. His offense? Rapping at church.

Here’s what he would do: He would celebrate Mass the normal way in his vestments, but immediately afterwards he would change into regular clothes and perform rap songs he had written to the congregation.

He said he did it to attract young people to church – and it was working. Hundreds of young people were coming.

I use the rap music to bring… youths to the church,” Fr. Ogalo told Catholic News Service. “Thereafter, I bring them to Christ.

“Ah! Ah! Yeah! Youths enjoy your youth while you are still young,” one of his lyrics went. “But remember that God is going to judge you for whatever you do … Ah.”

But his superiors weren’t pleased. A spokesperson for his bishop said Fr. Ogalo should have checked with his bishop first “to find out if what he was doing was in accordance with church doctrine.”

“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.”

Several parishioners, upset at what they see as an injustice, have said they won’t return to church until Fr. Ogalo is reinstated.

You can read a fascinating fuller account of the story by Doreen Ajiambo at Catholic News Service.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments!

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