By: KWAMCHETSI MAKOKHA
Forgive us, Holy Father, for we have sinned. It has been many years since our last confession as the Catholic Church in Kenya.
When we lay our heart open to you in this act of contrition, you will understand that no confessor would have been able to give penance before your arrival.
Holy Father, you must appreciate that even though the church works in the spiritual realm, it must be grounded on a firm foundation here on earth.
How the church came into possession of its various land holdings around the country is a matter that should not be revisited flippantly as happened with the report of the Commission of Inquiry into Illegal/Irregular Land Allocations in 2004.
That report, unfortunately, has caused the Church great distress as it names the Catholic Archdiocese of Nairobi, among others, as beneficiaries of land grabbing.
In fact, it claims that much of the land the Catholic Church stands on in Kenya today was obtained miraculously.
In one particular instance, the Catholic Church in Baraka, Nakuru, is cited for buying 1,040 acres of land at Sh13 each.
These claims have caused the church to be quick to anger and slow to forgive because they have encouraged others to come forward.
Clans in Mathari, Nyeri, claim that people doing the Lord’s work took 2,500 acres of land on which they built cathedrals, schools and houses.
Now, as you are aware, Holy Father, the rules of sub judice forbid the church from addressing the details of a matter in court, so a blind absolution on this account — as well as many others not stated here — would be right and fitting.
Many servants of the church have been at the forefront of campaigns to stop land grabs, speaking up for squatters, the landless and the dispossessed, and this should count as acts of contrition.
The other venal sin has been the little matter of not being careful with the environment.
Twice or thrice, the princes of the church have gathered the flock in open public grounds to burn condoms.
The noxious smell of burning latex is not as pleasant as incense, but again, you need no instruction to understand that condoms are in direct competition with the business of the Catholic Church.
Condoms threaten populations, and this affects church numbers — which have an impact on collections.
Again, the church has more than atoned for its failed attempt to produce black smoke in an open area by advancing the interests of the faith.
When you read the Constitution of Kenya, 2010, Holy Father, you will find a little clause therein to the effect that life begins at conception.
That, is the work of our hands.
The church has compounded this big missionary act with little acts of charity such as offering regular advice on the safety of vaccines against poliomyelitis in children.
Many people who do not understand our faith will say the church opposed the Constitution, but they do not know that the Lord works in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform.
The little lies about the Constitution are venal sins, and it is in your power and discretion to prescribe appropriate penance.
Oh, our God, we are sorry for our sins with all our heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, we have sinned against you, whom we should love above all things.
We firmly intend, with the help of your grace, to do penance, to sin no more and to avoid whatever leads us to sin.
Our Saviour, Jesus Christ, suffered and died for us. In his name, O Lord, have mercy.
SOURCE: DAILY NATION