Sabino Odoki, the Bishop of Arua Catholic diocese has banned Christians in the diocese from donating alcohol and other gifts to priests and other church leaders without notifying his office. Odoki announced the ban during the celebrations of the chrism mass for priests and other church leaders on Wednesday.
The ban follows reports that some priests and church leaders are soliciting support from catholic faithfuls without the knowledge of the Bishop, which has turned them into a public nuisance. According to Bishop Odoki, offering alcoholic drinks and other gifts to priests can make them indulge in evil act, in breach of their celibacy vows.
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At least three Catholic priests in West Nile region have been implicated in sex scandals. One of the priests has already been sentenced to jail for defilement, while two others are waiting their judgement on similar offenses. Apart from the sexual scandals, the Bishop also clashed with Rev. Fredrick Drandua, the Bishop Emeritus of Arua diocese after it emerged that some Christians were collecting money to buy him vehicle tires after they found him stranded.
The ban on the donation of gifts has not gone unchallenged by some priests who have asked Christians to ignore the directive. Fr. Ceaser Dralega, the head of priests in Arua diocese says Christians offer gifts to priests out of love, which the Bishop should embrace. Martin Andama, the chairperson of the Laity in the diocese says the Bishop should encourage Christians to be more generous to priests instead of discouraging them. He urged the priests to accept the gifts presented to them by Christians saying it is a sign of their love for the church.