Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe (ACCZ) President Johannes Ndanga reportedly called upon Catholic priests to get married saying God only consider married people as holy.
The much-cherished and sometimes loathed Ndanga told 263Chat that priests should get married so that they receive blessings from God.
“A Catholic priest seeks to bless a marriage when he himself does not believe in marriage, the bible is very clear when it says when God created Adam, he looked at him and said it’s not good for a man to stay alone. That’s when you see a Catholic priest taking a vowel not to marry when God says it’s not good for men to stay alone. Therefore we want to revisit completely all those things and see where we are lost, the bible says God created men in his own image, he made them men and women, bless them and told them to multiply,” he said.
He added that some priests should also get married and stop adultery because marriage is sacred.
“So when you are not married, whatever you do will not multiply and fill the earth until you are blessed. We are saying they should get married and stop adultery with some sisters out there, they should know that marriage is sacred whereby for one to be considered holy, he or she should get married. If you are not holy you remain single and it’s abominable in the bible for a man not to marry,”said Ndanga.
Considerably, placing denominational divide aside, Ndanga could be making an appurtenant point. There is a terrible argument for chastity which has reared its head throughout the Catholic tradition and even presently justified by some.
It goes like this: married life is morally and spiritually suspect; priests, as religious officers, should be spiritual athletes above reproach; therefore, priests shouldn’t be married. It is harsh to refute that this kind of argumentation finds back in some of St Augustine’s more unfortunate reflections on sexuality (original sin as a sexually transmitted disease; sex even within marriage is venially sinful; the birth of a baby associated with excretion, etc.).
One formidable author once presented a version of this rationalisation, appealing to the purity regulations in the book of Leviticus. His implication was that any form of erotic contact, even within marriage, would make a minister at the altar impure.
This approach to the question is not just ridiculous but precarious, for it leans on inferences that are revolting to good Christian metaphysics.
Expressing the same view with typical scholastic understatement, Thomas Aquinas commented that “being” and “good” are convertible terms.
Catholic theology, at its farthest, has ever been firmly anti-Manichaean, anti-gnostic, anti-dualist and this means that matter, the body, and sexual activity are never, in themselves, to be despised.
Peter Steinfels in his book A People Adrift, indicates that the post-conciliar reaffirmation of this aspect of the tradition effectively undermined the dualist justification for celibacy mentioned above.
Everything in this world, including sex and intimate friendship, is good, but impermanently so; all finite reality is beautiful, but its delicacy, to put it in explicitly Catholic terms, is sacramental and not ultimate. This is why the Church is convinced, God chooses certain individuals to be celibate.
Granted that celibacy is a healthy thing for the Church, but why must all priests be celibate?”
The medieval communities distinguished between arguments from necessity and arguments from “fittingness.” Those in support of the latter contends that even its most steadfast defenders concede that celibacy is not fundamental to the priesthood. After all, married priests have been, at numerous times and for various reasons, accepted from the outset of the Church to the present day.
The propriety of linking priesthood and celibacy comes from the priest’s identity as a Eucharistic person. All that a priest is radiates outward from his unique capacity, acting in the person of Christ, to transform the Eucharistic elements into the body and blood of Jesus.
For years, Andrew Greeley contended that the priest is fascinating and that an immense part of the charm comes from celibacy. The compelling element of the priest is not a matter of superficial celebrity or charm; that gets us precisely nowhere. It is something much stranger, broader, and more esoteric: the fascination for another world, for that mysterious dimension of existence hinted at sacramentally by the universe here below and revealed to us, however tantalisingly, in the breaking of the bread. Such eschatologically fascinating persons are not simply in monasteries, cloistered convents, and hermits cells, but in parishes, on the streets, and in the pulpits, moving visibly among the people of God.
Though we can establish a claim for it, celibacy is just incomprehensible, unnatural, and yet alluring, for it is a form of life embraced by people in affection with Jesus Christ. We, just like any other concerned parties, appeal that the Vatican makes clergy celibacy voluntary instead of indispensable.
Now, back to the denominational divide, why is a non-Catholic Ndanga telling Catholics what to do? What happened to the doctrinal custom of tolerance even in our disagreements?
We can all concur that Catholicism has its own celibatic-related issues bedevilling it, and our desires are high that the Vatican under Pope Francis is playing at their best to deal with those disturbing issues. It is, however, also mother wit that Apostolic Faith Sects have their entire proportions of muddles which, in the name of courtesy, we believe Ndanga as their collective head should deal with. There are pending suits of violence, infringement of women and children’s rights and many cases of minor marriages, to touch on just a few.
And setting a green light on his tabloid appearances, he is rather indeterminate for people to earnestly take whatever proceeds out of his mouth. Just a Google search about him will unearth myriad of scandals and reckless talks.
In 2011 Ndanga was accused of politicising church business. He reportedly requested ZANU-PF to furnish cars and allowances to church leaders who were spearheading party business. This drew attention from locals who felt that the church should not be aligned to any political bloc.
In 2013, Ndanga declared that former president Robert Mugabe would rule Zimbabwe until his death, an issue that earned him a false prophet title with The Zimbabwe Ministers’ Fraternal.
In December 2014, Ndanga was part of the strife between ACCZ and a local apostolic sect headed by Madzibaba Ishmael Chokurongerwa. The quarrel between the two parties involved the abuse of women and children. Ndanga as the overseer of the religious body which regulates local churches went to their Budiriro shrine to address the issue. This resulted in the Vapostori under Madzibaba Ishmael responding combatively by beating up members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, media practitioners and some ACCZ officials.
In May 2015, Ndanga besmirched prophet Walter Magaya, founder and leader of PHD Ministries saying he was “…an agent of the devil…”. Ndanga made allegations that Magaya had travelled to Nigeria to get satanic powers which had resulted in various misfortunes such as the death of congregants in Kwekwe in 2014.
In November 2017, Ndanga is alleged to be one of the main organisers of the Super Sunday, Church Interface Rally which former first lady Grace Mugabe used to attack then Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, making many accusations against him.
In December 2017, The Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe recalled Archbishop Johannes Ndanga as president of the ACCZ on allegations of egregious infraction of the organisation’s constitution and making unilateral appointments, among other charges.
So, the big question is, should he meddle in other churches business which he is by no means affiliated to, or should he rather put his house in order first?