By Joseph Kizza
The Catholic doctrine demands that priests lead celibate lives during their time of priesthood.
Celibacy refers to a state of being unmarried or abstaining from sexual intercourse.
However, Fr. John Ssepuya, a Catholic priest in Uganda, is said to have fathered a child with the wife of a one Martin Okumu.
Media exposure of Fr. Ssepuyaâ€™s act had created substantial attention within religious circles, from the public and also within the judicial domain. Today, the implicated priest is expected to face the family division of the High Court for disciplinary action.
Fr. Ssepuyaâ€™s case is not the first in the Catholic Church. Several previous scandals around the world have triggered criticisms from within and from external forces against the religious denomination.
Incidents of pedophilia [sexual feelings directed toward children], sexual manipulation and covering up involving church ministers, church heads and sections of the congregation have rocked the Pope Benedict IX-led church over the past decades.
In a statement read out by Archbishop Silvano Maria Tomasi in September 2009, between 1.5 and five per cent of the Catholic clergy had been involved in sexual abuse cases in the previous 50 years.
Dr Thomas Plante of Stanford University and Santa Clara University, in his 2009 book, A Perspective on Clergy Sexual Abuse, states that four per cent of priests during the past half century (mostly in the 1960s and 1970s) have had a sexual experience with a minor.
Earlier last year, the Archbishop of Kampala, Dr. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga acknowledged the shame and damage sexual scandals by priests had brought on the Church.
Celibacy not to be blamed
The cleric however did not agree that celibacy was the root cause of these crimes, arguing that even married clergy, pastors, politicians, teachers and employers had also been reported to have committed such crimes.
The reputation of the Catholic Church yet again lay in balance in April 2010 as allegations of sexual abuse involving priests within the faith pivoted global attention.
Most of the clerics implicated in the scandalous acts were reportedly from Europe, including Pope Benedictâ€™s home country, Germany.
Most of these crimes involved church ministers allegedly sexually abusing minors belonging to the churches they served.
Resignations and cover-ups
In Belgium, the Bishop of Bruges, Roger Vangheluwe, resigned in April 2010 after admitting that he had sexually abused a boy for years when he was a priest after being made a bishop.
In the USA, there was public outrage after abuses in the 1990s by two Boston priests, Paul Shanley and John Geoghan, came to light. There emerged suspicions that Church leaders had sought to cover up their crimes by moving them from post to post.
Still in the USA, Fr. Lawrence Murphy, who died in 1998, was suspected of having abused about 200 boys at St Johnâ€™s School for the Deaf in St Francis between 1950 and 1974.
In a media interview last year, Deacon Adrian Byomuhangi of Ggaba National Major Seminary in Uganda expressed strong views as regards sexual acts committed by priests.
According to the Deacon, priests also live in the age of a sexual revolution, where sex is the talk everywhere. In his own words, sex is glorified in the media and secular songs are also laden with sexual messages. As such, Byomuhangi thought that out of human weakness, some priests succumb to such forces.