Pope’s Envoy Admits Rot in Church

By Raphael Kahaso
Sunday Standard [Kenya]
February 1, 2004

The Pope’s representative in Kenya, Archbishop Giovanni Tonnuci, yesterday admitted that immorality had creeped into the church’s vicarage.

The Archbishop said some Catholic clergy had fallen to immoral urges, thus denting the church’s image.

Tonnuci, who fell short of naming names, urged those involved in the vice to "repent and return to the life of chastity".

He said there was no room for evil among the clergy, as they had surrendered their lives to God.

Immorality among a few elements, the Pope’s representative said, was hurting the whole church.

"When one part of the body is sick, the whole body suffers," Tonnuci told hundreds of Catholic faithful who attended a Eucharist celebration to mark the World Day of Consecrated Life for the Nairobi arch-diocese at Consolata Shrine in Westlands.

The celebration was also attended by priests, nuns and brothers.

Holiness among Catholics was not optional, the archbishop reiterated.

Yesterday, Tonnuci said the clergy’s vow of chastity, poverty and obedience must be visible to the community they led.

He said it was the obligation of the clergy to inspire the masses through leading exemplary lives.

"By being obedient," Tonnuci said, "the clergy will inspire the general public to be obedient to their superiors at work."

On the vow of poverty, the Pope’s representative said although the clergy must survive, they should not engage in businesses but dedicate their work to the Lord.

Tonnuci said the life of a priest was not smooth sailing, noting that it had occasions of sorrow and happiness.

"Yesterday I was at Nyumbani attending the funeral of an Aids child and today I am here with you celebrating the World Day of Consecrated Life," he said.

The mass started with the blessing and lighting of candles and a procession of the clergy to the church, which was dedicated to Mary Queen of Consolation.

Novices of the Daughters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, who dedicated their lives to the life of chastity, poverty and obedience, were received by the envoy.

Meanwhile, Anglican bishop Peter Njoka will soon be grilled by a Parliamentary Committee on Security and Administration over Sh1.5 million he was paid by City Hall for chaplaincy.

The Committee’s chairman, Mr David Mwenje, said the bishop’s grilling was put off when Local Government minister Karisa Maitha recently appeared before the committee over the same issue.

Mwenje said his committee would unravel the circumstances under which Njoka was paid the hefty package to offer prayers to the Nairobi City Council.

Mwenje, who is also the Embakasi MP, was speaking at the PCEA Mutembe church in Chuka town after attending the burial of Harun Nderi, who was a prominent farmer in the area.

Mwenje did not however disclose the actual date the prelate is expected to appear before his committee, only saying "very soon".

Bishop Njoka’s Anglican church has also indicated that it would summon him over the issue.


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