Kenya: statement from archbishop and priests of Mombasa

 Archbishop Boniface Lele and 54 priests of the Catholic Archdiocese of Mombasa issued the following statement from the Holy Ghost Cathedral grounds on Saturday. Towards a Tolerant and Inclusive Nation "Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart all you hope in the Lord Psalm 31: 24 We, the Archbishop and Priests of Catholic Archdiocese of Mombasa, having prayed and reflected on the current crisis facing our country resolved to share a message of hope and encouragement with our Christians and all people of good-will at this difficult time. We speak as one family and stand in solidarity with all who mourn for those who have lost lives and livelihoods. We are particularly concerned with the plight of innocent children who are missing education and parents who struggle to keep families together in most difficult situations in camps. We are very concerned about the recent wave of revenge and counter-revenge and anonymous threats to people perceived to be strangers in different places to leave or face the consequences. Yet, we are appalled that some of our Christians participated in acts of rigging, looting, destruction of property and killing, indicating that the Christian faith has not permeated the entire way of life of our Christians. We call upon them to be reconciled to themselves, the community and to God. We acknowledge that the flawed election result brought turmoil and triggered off anger, death and destruction all over the country. However, the context has radically changed as election protests have given way to ethnic conflicts, destruction of property and a senseless series of revenge killings. We condemn in the strongest possible term these acts of violence and killings. Christ came that we may have life in its fullness (Jn. 10:10) not to destroy it. Life is sacred (Genesis 2). In the face of the above, we encourage our elected leaders all religious and civic leaders at grass roots to visit and pacify the warring function encouraging them to reclaim peace knowing that in war all is lost. We face a crisis that goes way beyond mere election results that questions our very identity, values and vision as a nation. We fully support mediation efforts that are currently going on and urge both parties to accept that Kenya is greater than their political interests and ambitions. We support a win-win situation that will facilitate a return to normality, stability and harmony. While the mediation initiatives continue, we call upon churches and all people of good-will to compliment those efforts by organizing forums at regional and grass root levels to diffuse tension and reconcile our divided communities. When Parliament is reconvened, the Constitutional Reforms Process should be restarted as a matter of urgency to address the underlying issues that sparked off the chaos namely historical grievances, the land question and the blatant inequalities in our society. We commit ourselves as priests to be ambassadors of reconciliation and we appeal to all to act responsibly and courageously in protecting the lives and property of our fellow Kenyans, and resist all temptations and threats to one another. Finally, at this sensitive stage in the negotiations, we ask individual Christians to desist from making statements that may represent their ethnic interests and obscure our collective prophetic message. We remain committed to speaking as one, united, caring Catholic family under the guidance of all our Catholic Bishops of Kenya. Source: CISA

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