Kenya: bishop issues strong message at funeral of slain priest

 The funeral of Fr Michael Kamau who was killed by youths in the current political clashes was held on Friday in Nakuru. Bishop Peter Kairo conducted an emotional Requiem Mass at Christ the King Cathedral, attended by over 100 priests, consecrated men and women, members of the family, and government officials. Christians filled the cathedral. Bishop Kairu appealed to Christians to not seek revenge, but pray for conversion of those who had killed their relatives and friends and robbed them in the ongoing clashes. Fr Michael was buried in the diocesan cemetery at Bahati. Bishop Kairu delivered the following message to all Kenyans at the end of the Mass: Peace, My Peace I give to you (John 14: 6) My dear brothers and sisters, our beloved country is emerging from contested election whose effects have led to the death, injury, loss of property and displacement of many innocent people especially in our diocese and the larger Rift Valley and Nyanza provinces. I strongly condemn the brutal killings that are going on during the current clashes. People must now remember the fifth commandment of God that states that "you shall not kill. The seventh commandment also tells us that "you shall not steal. The death of Fr Michael Kamau is an indication of the current state of people,s mind not to respect human life and its sacredness. Being a servant of God, he served all peoples without regard to their language, culture, religion, or race. Fr Kamau represents many of our innocent dead victims who have been killed without reason. May their blood plead for us at the right hand of God and lead to peace and repentance by the perpetrators of this violence. In the current political crisis, while I agree that both sides of the debate have issues that need to be addressed, I plead with you to stop torching people's houses and looting their belongings, end the hostilities and suffering subjected upon one another in a merciless way especially to women and children. Thousands of people are sleeping out in the cold; children are not going to school, while the sick do not have access to medical care. The onset of rains could see an outbreak of serious diseases that will lead to more deaths. My dear brothers and sister, we are all children of one God. Are we going to continue killing and stealing from one another and plunge our country into further anarchy? Don't we believe in the sanctity and sacredness of life anymore? What future are we laying for our children? I ask the politicians who were elected by the people to put aside their differences and hard-line stance and quickly expedite the differences in order to restore peace and order in our country. It is only by their coming together that we can be able to reconcile Kenyans. Joining my fellow bishops in supporting the efforts of international mediators, I ask both parties to give these personalities a chance to arbitrate in the crisis. I urge the government to ensure that Justice and truth are followed to get to the root cause of the matter and prevent any future deaths, displacement of people and destruction of property. It is important to note that we as a country cannot have lasting peace without justice, truth and reconciliation. I wish to remind the government that is has a duty to protect all Kenyans and their property in accordance with the constitution. Furthermore, the state should take it upon itself to provide a lasting solution to the current crisis by providing permanent re settlement of those displaced. Since the issue of land has led to many ethnic clashes and deaths since the 1990,s, it is the duty of the government to come up with a clear national land policy that will address the issues of settlement, proper housing, schools and other social amenities. The land policy should address the historical injustices of land and bring an end to this incessant fighting once and for all. I call upon all Christians and people of good will to stand aside from the crowd and be counted as promoters of the much needed peace and healing. There is also need to accept each other positively and to trust one another regardless of the ethnic divide. I urge our Christians not to participate in meetings where hostilities, revenge, and counter attacks, or anything evil is being planned. Such are the times when we are called to stand by Christ, however hard the times of pressure. At the end of it all, we will be judged whether we stood by our Christian values and teachings, or we were carries away by the wind. Finally, I urge you all to come out and offer any assistance to our suffering brothers and sisters who have been affected by the clashes. It is a moral Christian duty to help the needy, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and house the homeless (Matthew 25:31 45) In conclusion, I urge you to continue praying for our country that a lasting solution may be found soonest. Source: CISA

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