The Gambian Catholic Church supports celibacy of priests
APA-Banjul (The Gambia)
On the question of the marriage of priests, the Vicar general of the Catholic Church Father David Jarjue said the church in The Gambia was opposed to proposals for Catholic priests to marry. He said the Gambia church was in line with a decision by the Vatican barring priests from marrying.
He remarked, “If one says that priests in Africa should marry, it raises the question whenether we are we less human or what? We are not. We are equally human beings who have feelings and intellect like any human being”.
He added that the Catholic Church has a uniform policy on marital issues that applies to all priests. Father Jarjue said before one becomes a priest, oneis quite aware of what it means to be a priest.
He explained that one becomes a priest after a vigorous training process, adding that Canon law requires that one is not ordained before the age of twenty four.
The Vicar General remarked, “One goes into priesthood fully aware of what it means to be a priest, and therefore this issue of whether a priest can get married is not something that we (Catholic priests) wish to elaborate on. The stance of the church is quite clear”.
Catholics in The Gambia used to perform pilgrimages in other countries such as in Poponguine in Senegal. However, according to the Vicar General, they now have their own place of pilgrimage; Kunkujang Mariama in the Western Region of the country which he said was identified as a sacred site in 1987, and since then Christians now go there on pilgrimage on the first Saturday of every December. He however said Poponguine still attracted several Gambians.