A Catholic priest in Kenya has been suspended for one year after rapping in church.
Father Paul Ogalo, 45, of St. Monica Catholic Church in Rapogi, Migori County, south-west of Nairobi, was suspended for alleged misconduct by the Homa Bay Diocese.
After the daily masses, Ogallo would change from his vestments into a white shirt, black shorts and a red bandana in which he could begin rapping for the congregation.
Not left behind, the congregation also danced along to the tunes.
Ogallo said the rap music is taking care of the interests of youths in our churches.
“We need to change the way we do things,” he said. The church had been closely monitoring Ogallo’s new found style of attracting the youth and was not pleased with his dressing code.
Judicial vicar of the inter-diocesan tribunal of Kisumu, Father Charles Kochiel said Ogallo’s rap music brings mixed signals to the congregants.
“People could be looking at it from the social point of view, like bringing people on board, gathering and entertaining people. But people could also be looking at this from the spiritual point of view: Does it promote spiritual values or is it sending a wrong message?” Kochiel said.
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, however, elicited sharp reaction on social media with many describing the act as backward and conservative.