Nairobi, 09 May, 2022 / 8:45 pm (ACI Africa).
The representative of the Holy Father in Kenya has cautioned church members including members of the Clergy against the tendency to refer to authority saying, “The church of Christ does not build on power or on imposition.”
In his homily during the Saturday, May 7 Episcopal Ordination of Bishop George Muthaka, Archbishop Hubertus van Megen also reiterated his previous call for an end to clericalism in the Church.
“Dear George, dear colleagues in the episcopate, brothers in the Priesthood, Religious men and women, dear Christians, let us be humble of hearts,” Archbishop van Megen said.
He added, “That humility of heart we can only acquire when we are able to see our own poverty and insufficiency in the eyes of God.”
Addressing himself to the candidate for the Episcopate, a member of the Order of Friars Minor, Capuchin (OFM Cap.), Archbishop van Megen said, “Dear Fr. George, as a follower of the poor man of God, St. Francis, you are fully aware that we cannot do without the grace of God. In fact, each and every day we are in need of Him.”
“The man who holds an office, a responsibility in the Church, a Bishop, a Priest, a Religious Superior, is even more in need of that grace,” the Apostolic Nuncio in Kenya who doubles as the representative of the Holy Father in South Sudan said during the Consecration event held at Our Lady of Consolation Cathedral of Garissa Diocese grounds.
“We the teachers of the Gospel are many times blind to it,” he said in reference to the awareness about the need for God’s grace, and posed, “How often are we leaders of the Church not deceived by the things of this world? How many times do we not fall for the lure of money and power?”
Pope Francis appointed Mons. Muthaka as the third Local Ordinary of Garissa on February 17.
Consecrated on May 7, Bishop Muthaka has succeeded his 77-year-old confrere, Bishop Joseph Alesandro, who first served as Coadjutor Bishop of Garissa Diocese since his Episcopal Ordination in September 2012 and as Local Ordinary of the Kenyan Diocese from December 2015.
In his homily during the Episcopal Ordination of the 47-year-old Bishop who, before he was appointed Bishop, was serving as Vicar General, Diocesan Financial Administrator, Director of Caritas, and President of the Diocesan Commission for the Protection of Minors in Garissa Diocese, Archbishop van Megen also cautioned members of the Clergy against the tendency to appeal to power, ruling Christians “with an iron fist”.
He bemoaned the fact that many time Catholic Church leaders have acted as if “we are our own god, as if we are the highest judge, as if we can rule the Christians with an iron fist on behalf of Christ.”
“Let us move away from a clerical Church where it seems that the clergy is a separate caste,” the Apostolic Nuncio in Kenya who doubles as the representative of the Holy Father in South Sudan said.
He added, “We Priests, Bishops, Superiors are one with the entire people of God; we are the one Body of Christ.”
“We commend ourselves to the conscience of everyone in the sight of God. We are one body of Christ, taking responsibility for each other as Christians, as members of that body, praying for each other, encouraging each other,” the Nuncio said referencing the letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians.
He continued, “Let us pray to the Lord that He will make his light shine in our hearts so that we may understand the true condition of our soul, of our human existence.”
The Apostolic Nuncio who doubles as the Permanent Observer to the United Nations Environment Program and Human Settlements Program further said, “To be a leader in the church bears many challenges. Any responsibility for that matter is filled with obstacles and frightening choices.”
“As a leader you may have to put your nets into the deep and that responsibility may weigh heavy on your shoulders. We may even be apprehensive or filled with doubts. We may be called to do things that we would rather avoid,” the Dutch-born Archbishop said May 7.
He implored, “Let us entrust ourselves to the prayer of our fellow Christians.”