Father Paul Ogola of St Monica Catholic Church in Rapogi, Migori County, south-west of Nairobi, Kenya, has been suspended for rapping in the church as his own unique way of preaching the gospel. Fr Charles Kochiel, the judicial vicar of the inter-diocesan tribunal of Kisumu, confirmed the priest’s suspension.
The 45-year-old priest was suspended on June 3 for alleged misconduct by the Homa Bay Diocese. The church officials took issue with Fr Ogalo’s style of preaching and suspended him for a year to “reconsider his manner of preaching.”
It was revealed that Father Ogola liked entertaining his congregation with rap music, which he said he uses to urge the youth to abandon the “evil deeds of the world and turn to Christ.”
“I use the rap music to bring … youths to the church. Thereafter, I bring them to Christ,” Fr Ogalo said during a recent interview.
He also said he used rap music to persuade young people to shun drugs and turn their attention to environmental and social justice issues.
Bishop Philip Anyolo, who heads the Homa Bay Diocese, said the priest has been suspended from public liturgical activities.
“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 Bishop Anyolo on Sunday.
But the bishop said Fr Ogalo has not been barred from attending church services.
“We have just stopped him from preaching using rap to accord him time to change his ways,” said Bishop Anyolo.
The priest’s suspension has been met with mixed reaction on social media. Some social media users support the church’s decision, but others argue it would drive young worshippers away from the church.