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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Is The Catholic Church In Kenya Divided Along Tribal Lines?

Clear evidence is now emerging that there are senior bishops within the Catholic church who do not agree with Cardinal John Njue on the issue of a devolved government usambazaji wa mamlaka and that the statement he read may not in fact be the view of the Catholic church in Kenya after all.

Archbishop Zacchaeus Okoth of Kisumu said on Sunday that as far as he is concerned the views stated by Njue are personal views. And he even gave a very good reason for his position. He said that there was no pastoral letter (the usual instrument used to state the church’s official position on any important matter.)

In fact the cardinal has put “jimbos” of the Catholic Church into some serious problems with his careless remarks and many of his colleagues are hard pressed on what to tell faithfuls, especially in regions that strongly support Majimbosim.

Cardinal-designate John Njue’s position calls for lots of wisdom and many times it is not wise to declare a personal stand on sensitive national issues when you know very well that they will affect some of your members and divide the faithfuls. Yet Njue went ahead and did just that, for reasons better known to him.

One wonders whether the cardinal has any advisors and if he does whether he gave them a hearing. This is because what may appear to be a minor issue could have a far-reaching impact. To start with it may now appear in certain circles that the Catholic Church in Kenya is split along tribal lines with Kikuyu leaders within the church rabidly against devolution while most non-Kikuyus appear to be strongly for it. If this is true, it could spell disaster for Kenyans who often look up to some of these churches for direction in issues that are not clear cut like this one.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Someone once said, "If I don't live it, I won't teach. I won't try to export what I don't possess."

That's why it's easier to teach what is right than do what is right.

"Is the Catholic Church in Kenya Divided Along Tribal Lines?"

Unfortunately, it is certainly so! Look no further than the church's current system of selecting new bishops to fill diocesan vacancies or dioceses that don't have a bishop.

For instance, the Catholic clergy and their respective members are whole-heartedly in favour of the following;
- a Gikuyu bishop to be appointed for the Murang'a diocese,
- a Kamba bishop for Kitui diocese when a name is soon passed onto to Rome,
- a Gikuyu bishop for Nyeri arch-diocese when Kirima retires for whatever reasons,
- a Luhya bishop for Kakamega diocese when Sulumeti finally accepts to walk into his sunset years that are overdue,
- a Luo bishop for the Kisumu arch-diocese, when and if Okoth should religuish his reins sooner or later,
- a Kipsigis bishop for Kericho diocese, should the current beshop get transfered some where else, let's to Bungoma or Kakamega.

So far, the current dioceses that have been exempted from the traditional appointments of native sons are Kericho, Homabay and Bungoma.

How does the leadership of any church community manage to exhort its members to follow a teaching of ethnic tolerance, social cohesion and national/peaceful coexistence if they always fall short of it themselves?

Another very embarrassing case scenario is the continuous appointments of European (foreign) bishops to manage several Kenyan dioceses after hundred and twenty some years of Catholic faith in Kenya.

Where are the so called native sons (clergy)? Is it a question of lack of the highly required leadership qualifications, or is it the usual lack of the financial resouces and outside connections to ran the so called 'unique dioceses' in Kenya of 2007.

The issues doesn't appear to be the case in present day neighbouring Catholic church in Tanzania. I wonder why? May be, God knows the real answer.

Well, naivete is not the issue here, after all, the Catholic Church in Kenya is a microcosm of the larger Kenya society.

When what I am and what I do match up, I have both character and credibility. If they don't match up, I'm in trouble as a leader. - Fred Smith, Learning to Lead.

Anonymous said...

Yes and no for some tribes!Mombasa is Kamba,homabay is from Bungoma, Bungoma is Kamba,Eldoret is from Kericho? the rest I leave to you to complete the list but good thought!!! Mombasa to date they do not have their own to fit the leadership!?May be for muranga/Kitui will come from Kiambu ,MBSA,Nakuru then For Nakuru to come from Kisumu,MBSA,Kitui or Eld then we are really serious about Unity and no tribalism in the Church!! Otherwise it continues as before!

Anonymous said...

Why the three Dioceses only! Kericho, Homabay and Bungoma????!! What about the rest of the country!
why this part of the country have the Bishops from the other tribes!!! Oh yes they do not have clergy to fit the positions too sad if this is the reason given to Vatican report every five year'
God will provide good for his people too.

Joanie said...

I live in the United States and I am reading this because we are blessed with a priest-administrator in our Parish, who is from Kenya.

I would like to share with you a resource that is faithful Catholic teaching for the whole family.

You can even click on a button that will show explanations by Francis Cardinal Arinze for each question.

Please, read this resource, and pass it on to all you know. It will help all of us all over the world to grow in unity in the truth and love of the faith.

www.familycatechism.com

Thank you.

All my love in the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
Joan Haselman

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