We, the Catholic Bishops of Kenya, under the Kenya Episcopal Conference strongly object to the contents, tone, message and intentions in an article, which appeared in Daily Nation Newspaper of Friday July 13th , 2012 under the title Kenya Joins Global Birth Control Push.
The drive by foreign agencies, whose motives we hardly comprehend to target millions of girls and women in Africa for the artificial family planning programme by the year 2020 is unimaginable, dangerous and could lead to destruction of the human society and by extension the human race.
We cannot allow our country to be part of an international agenda, driven by foreign funds and by so doing, losing our independence and our African values of the family and society. The same foreign forces are dedicating billions of shillings promoting same sex unions while millions of women across are dying due to lack of proper maternal care facilities.
Furthermore, the use of contraceptives, especially as radically proposed in the article is both dehumanizing and goes against the Teaching of the church especially in a country like Kenya where a majority of the people are Christians and God fearing. It already threatens the moral fabric of the society and is an insult to the dignity and integrity of the human person.
We would like to remind the Government of Kenya that many countries, which took such decisions, are now regretting with declining populations and nobody to consume or enjoy the much hyped development. This obviously means that strategies were drawn to develop countries without consideration of the centrality of the human person, the reason for any development.
We the Catholic Bishops in Kenya warn all Kenyans and the government that any development which does not protect the human person is meaningless and in vain. What is the use of development without all people and visions without values?Any development must be for the common good of people, as their security and protection.
It is not clear why such a large amount of money (Ksh 356 billion) is being used for contraceptives while many women are dying daily due to lack of proper medical care, food and housing. If such money or a portion of it was used to develop the under-developed parts of Kenya, the so-called threatening population of 64 million people in the year 2040 would be too low.
At a time when our people are greatly affected by HIV/AIDS and preventable road carnage, we cannot go further to condone efforts at reduction of life.
The Catholic Church in Kenya believes that 64 Million people are not too many, with proper planning where corruption, nepotism and individual egoistic trends are absent and a responsible government is in place. There are other efficient ways of proactive and Responsible Parenthood through the practice of Natural Family Planning.This of course demands discipline through abstinence, which is a necessary value in married life. This should not be rubbished as impossible.
We appeal to all Kenyans, men and women of good will to reject this Plan and to join forces in the liberation of women following the example of Christ’s own esteem for them. Nobody should be forced to abuse his/her dignity through contraceptives.
We pray that wisdom and love for all may prevail in our Country, especially as our Leaders make crucial decisions affecting our people and their future.
The Diocese of Kakamega on 3rd March 2012 held a colourful music festival to promote Abstinence and Behaviour Change among the Youth. The festival was organized by the Diocesan Education Office led by the Education Secretary Mr. Chalres Mbalilwa with the aim of picking the best three compositions which would be entered into the ABY National Anthem competition.
The Guest of Honour at the function was Rt. Rev. Philip Sulumeti, the Bishop of Kakamega. In his address, the Bishop emphasised the important role that the presence of parents played in the bringing up of children. The bishop called on the pupils to concentrate on their studies if they wished to have a bright future. I urge you to work hard in and out of school, said the bishop. Obey and respect your parents, your seniors and those in authority. Always desire to do good for a bright future.
The presentations were curtain raised by a parent‚ choir which performed two songs one on peace and reconciliation and the other a call to parents to take greater responsibility in bringing up their children. The best three schools were St. Joseph Academy Primary School, St. Teresa Isanjiro Primary School and Albertos Primary School respectively.
Each of the winning schools was presented with a trophy and ABY training materials. All participating schools were issued with certificates of participation and a token of appreciation from the Catholic Bishops in Kenya.
In total, 19 schools took part in the competition. In all the entries, the ABY key messages came out clearly. It was evident from the songs, that ABY was being implemented in all the participating schools. ABY stands for Abstinence and Behaviour Change for the Youth. The ABY project is implemented by the KEC-Commission for Education Religious Education. It targets primary school pupils in classes 5-8, the age at which they are most vulnerable to start indulging in early sex, drugs and substance abuse.
The Bishop of Homa Bay, Rt. Rev. Philip Anyolo has called on the Catholic faithful to love their Church with passion and courage. ‚ The bishop called on the faithful not to be shy about the Universal Catholic Church but to stand firm in its teachings.
Bishop Anyolo noted that the Church is an important unit of the family. He said the Church as a Family of God is on a pilgrimage to Him. This pilgrimage, he said, is not easy as there are many challenges on the way that threaten to destroy the family.
Do not be shy about your church and its teachings,‚ said the Bishop. ‚ Have faith in Christ and his Church. Stand firm in its teachings. The Catholic Church is at war in the world and there is need for you to remain deeply rooted in your faith. Time has now come for you to have faith not just to move the mountain but to stand above it. Stand up for your Church wherever you are working. Love your Church with passion and courage.‚
The Bishop, who is also the Chairman of the KEC Commission for Pastoral, Lay Apostolate and Family Life was speaking when he presided over mass to mark the official closing of the Natural Family Planning Training and graduation of instructors at the Little Daughters of St. Joseph Retreat Centre in Karen on 3rd November 2011. The training was organized by the Family Life National Office of the Kenya Episcopal Conference Catholic Secretariat, led by the National Coordinator Mrs. Theresa Mera Abuya.
Bishop Anyolo urged the graduands to be militant in their faith and work. ‚ As Christ said, be strong and courageous on the way. You are assured of victory because, by qualifying to graduate today, you are already triumphant.
The Bishop emphasized the importance of upholding what he called the Family Instinct.‚ Quoting from the Gospel of John, he urged the graduands to stay together in Christ: ‚ Jesus said to the Apostles‚ Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me (John 15:4)‚ This is the instinct of the family which is today threatened with extinction said the bishop. If God returned today, He would save the family. God has a strong instinct for the family. To remain militant in the pilgrimage to God, one needs the instinct of the family. Even animals depend on the instinct of the family. As human beings, we must also go back to this instinct. In the face of challenge, call on the instinct. The family is the mother of all aspects of evangelization and this is what the Catholic Church emphasizes.
Bishop Anyolo encouraged the graduands to promote family life programmes at the Parish Level as this is the only way to save the family and make it strong.
In her address, Mrs. Abuya thanked the Kenyan Bishops for their continued support to the National Office, especially by providing funds and facilities for monitoring the implementation of its programmes in the country.
The graduation mass was concelebrated by the AMECEA Secretary General Very Rev. Fr. Ferdinand Lugonzo. During the ceremony, 17 graduands took their vows to support natural family planning and were awarded with certificates.
We are at a point in our country where we need to re-build our nation and especially all that will reconcile us as Kenyan people. After the post election violence, our nation has continued to bleed from the wounds of this scourge. We as the shepherds of the Catholic Church, wish to strongly appeal to all Kenyans to be ready to live with each other in a spirit of forgiveness and to make practical steps towards true reconciliation and not just political re-alignments and re-groupings. We do not have a choice. We must take up reconciliation as our agenda. This should be done and experienced from the lowest to the highest, including the victims of violence, IDPs and our political leaders. We can no longer ignore or postpone this call for reconciliation without at the same time putting the search for true peace in jeopardy. We need to put aside all vengeance and bitterness and seriously embark on the reconstruction of our nation for a better tomorrow. We wish to encourage ongoing efforts for peace and reconciliation in some parts of the country; these initiatives should be supported by all. Now is the time to show our patriotism!
In view of this, we are concerned about the current situation in the country and wish to address some issues that are of paramount importance and profoundly affect us as a country.
1. THE CHIEF JUSTICE AND DEPUTY CHIEF JUSTICE
We are deeply concerned about the nominees and the nomination process for the positions of Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice, given the crucial role they will play in the implementation of the Constitution. Besides, being the senior most offices in the Judiciary, they will have a strong impact on the judicial philosophy that will guide the interpretation of the Constitution of Kenya in the future. Who the future officers shall be will also determine the trust and collaboration they will enjoy in order to effectively bring about positive reforms desired by Kenyans in the Judiciary.
The Chief Justice and the Deputy Chief Justice are officers who enjoy the security of tenure once appointed. Therefore there is need to ensure that those to be appointed to these esteemed offices satisfy all Constitutional criteria, including ‚high moral character, integrity and impartiality‚ (cf. Article 166 of the Constitution of Kenya). We need people with a judicial philosophy that reflects natural law, the Kenyan religious and African cultural values, including our universal respect for life, our recognition of the importance of family wellbeing and our appreciation of the role of religion in public and private life.
It is also necessary that the nomination process should respect the power and integrity of the Executive as the appointing authority. By presenting single individuals to the two Principals, the Judicial Service Commission abrogated the power of the Executive. Now that the names of the nominees have been presented to parliament, it is upon our parliamentarians to defend and protect the interests of the people of Kenya.
We the Catholic Bishops, conscious of the great role the Constitution will play not just in ensuring justice for all but also in enhancing the moral order of society as a whole are convinced that only candidates who meet the criteria of integrity should be considered. The excessive emphasis on academic excellence and radical reformism is not sufficient. Justice fundamentally involves moral order.
We have witnessed unprecedented insecurity throughout the country. The situation of Turkana, for instance, is of grave concern, seeing the seeming negligence of our people in the face of constant attacks. These are Kenyan people and it is the duty of the State to protect and take care of all its citizens. This helplessness is compounded by the drought and famine suffered by these and other people in the country. In the same vein, reports of the anxieties of some of our brothers and sisters living in other areas where the sovereignty of our country appears to be under threat cannot pass unheeded. We are pained by this apparent negligence and the slowness of the State to act. The government must seriously seek lasting solutions to these issues and reassure the people of their safety and security, which includes addressing their dilapidated infrastructure.
We are also equally concerned about the increase in internal insecurity, particularly burglary and thuggery, some of which have targeted our Catholic institutions, leading to losses of lives and property. We are also concerned about the recruitment of Kenyans into militia groups as reported in the media. This situation cannot be tolerated anymore and it needs to be arrested immediately.
The Christian roots of education in this country have never been in doubt. In fact, the Catholic Church has always been involved in the education and formation of leaders. This formation of good leaders both intellectually and morally has always been our mission.
We are therefore greatly perturbed by the current trend to alienate the Church in the education system for this would greatly jeopardise the moral and human formation of future leadership in this country. We need to bear in mind that the Church has always been at the service of all and especially the poor in the area of education. We are opposed to the attempt to push the Church out of the schools and to water down its role in their management. We are also strongly opposed to our Church sponsored schools being converted into national schools because we want them to remain within the reach of the common mwananchi. In any case, the fees currently charged in national schools are prohibitively high.
4. FAMINE AND HIGH COST OF LIVING
Our hearts and concern go out to the plight of the common mwananchi, who has been affected so much by the high fuel and food prices. We are especially concerned about those in marginalized areas where the cost of living is even dearer. Currently, certain areas are facing famine due to the failed rains and in some cases people and livestock are dying.
It is the prerogative of the government to prioritize issues and urgently deal with those problems that affect Kenyans most. We call on the government to take charge of the situation in order to safeguard the stability of our nation. Further measures need to be taken to lower fuel and food prices. We feel too much energy is being spent on political in-fighting and re-alignments rather than addressing the concrete problems that threaten to lead this country into a deeper crisis. We also appeal to other stakeholders to move with speed and supplement the efforts of the government in order to avert crisis levels going any further than they have reached already.
Dear Kenyans, even in these difficult times, we place our hope and the future of our nation in the hands of the Almighty God. We invite all of you to sincerely pray for the unity of our country and to make efforts for reconciliation. ‚If there is any encouragement in Christ, any solace in love, any participation in the Spirit, any compassion and mercy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing. Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vain glory‚(Philippians 2: 1-3). May our Blessed Mother, Queen of Peace intercede for us.
His Eminence John Cardinal Njue
Archbishop of Nairobi
Apostolic Administrator of Ngong
Chairman, Kenya Episcopal Conference
- Rt. Rev. Philip Sulumeti Vice Chairman Kakamega
- Most Rev. Zacchaeus Okoth Kisumu
- Most Rev. Boniface Lele Mombasa
- Most Rev. Peter Kairo Nyeri
- Rt. Rev. Paul Darmanin Garissa
- Rt. Rev. Cornelius K. Arap Korir Eldoret
- Rt. Rev. Joseph Mairura Okemwa Kisii
- Rt. Rev. Philip Anyolo Homa Bay
- Rt. Rev. Alfred Rotich Military Ordinariate
- Rt. Rev. Maurice Crowley Kitale
- Rt. Rev. Norman Wambua King’oo Bungoma
- Rt. Rev. Peter Kihara, IMC Marsabit
- Rt. Rev. David Kamau Ng’ang’a Aux. Bishop of Nairobi
- Rt. Rev. Anthony Ireri Mukobo, IMC Isiolo Vicariate
- Rt. Rev. Virgilio Pante Maralal
- Rt. Rev. Salesius Mugambi Meru
- Rt. Rev. Luigi Paiaro Nyahururu
- Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Okombo Kericho
- Rt. Rev. Martin Kivuva Musonde Machakos
- Rt. Rev. Anthony Muheria Kitui
- Rt. Rev. James Wainaina Murang‚a
- Rt. Rev. Paul Kariuki Embu
- Rt. Rev. Maurice Muhatia Nakuru
- Rt. Rev. Dominic Kimengich Lodwar