22 August 2017

Kenya: Catholic Bishops Urge Kenyans to Embrace Personal Integrity

Nairobi — Integrity was the central theme message in the opening address of the ongoing Catholic Schools Principals Association (CaSPA-K) Conference being held at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA).

Delivering the key note address, Rev Moses Makumba, Chairman Commission for education and religious education (CERE) emphasised the need for personal integrity as a cure to different moral diseases that afflict the nation.

"Integrity is not about positions, or social status," Makumba emphasised. "It is about being true and authentic to your inner self and your belief in God expressed through your thoughts, words and actions. It means a willingness to sacrifice any relationship, situation or circumstance that violates God's truth," he said.

Corruption, the gangrene which has paralysed the nation and threatened the very survival of the Kenyan State did not escape the Bishops who emphasised the need for individuals to carry their own integrity cross as the only lasting way to cure the country of the demon.

"We have serious issues of integrity in this nation. People are accused of plundering the nation but they don't seem to butt an eyelid," he lamented.

"Integrity is personal and cuts across all aspects of our lives as Christians, parents, principals, citizens, leaders and opinion shapers," he added.

He urged a curative approach to deal with the menace of graft in this nation noting that long lasting cure will only come when the root cause is addressed.

"First of all, as you can see, we are trying to heal from the root where it matters most-in the school. What we are doing here in this conference is long term and not just responding to symptoms. And how do you cure it from the root? By going to the schools," he noted.

"We have to go back to the children and ensure that they grow in an environment of respect for themselves, other people, other people's property and even respect for public property," Makumba added.

During the just concluded General Election, some pundits accused the Kenyan church of being partisan instead of being the candle in the dark alleys of the world of politics.

Makumba, however, disagrees with any assertion that the Kenyan church's voice as a moral compass has been weakened noting that they work tirelessly hard behind the scenes because times have changed.

"The church has achieved its goal. It has prepared society to respond to issues of democracy and politics, people to do it themselves," he noted adding that "Very many things go on behind the scenes in this nation. Sometimes we facilitate negotiations that should not come in the public eye because it might scuttle the negotiations. And many of the players in politics prefer it that way."

"These things never see the light of the day because they are done in the secret place but the church still plays a crucial role which the public might not know," Makumba noted.

Speaking at the same event, Rev Philip Anyolo, Chairman - Kenya conference of Catholic Bishops reinforced the message of Makumba that the church never abdicated her role as the salt and light of the world.

"With a lot of turbulence in politics, the church played a nonpartisan role. The church is not a partisan to take one side or the other but to bring two opposing sides together," he said.

The bishop, however, lauded the ministry of education for recognizing the need for structured spiritual guidance in learning institutions.

"The Ministry of Education has now embraced the reality that we need pastoral and spiritual care for our children in institutions of learning. It's now a requirement for schools to have chaplaincy services," he said.

The Bishops committed that the Catholic Church will continue to lead the dialogue in a bid to heal the country.

They were speaking at the opening day of the 4th edition of the Catholic schools Principals Conference (CaSPA - Kenya) themed "A Catholic School - A hub of integrity."

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