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Makueni County bishop opposes Pope Francis’ LGBTQ ruling

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Makueni County bishop opposes Pope Francis’ LGBTQ ruling


Pius Maundu

December 28th, 2023 2 min read

A Bishop from Makueni County has joined a growing list of clergy in the country who have opposed a landmark ruling approved by Pope Francis saying that Roman Catholic priests can administer blessings to same-sex couples as long as they are not part of regular Church rituals or liturgies.

Bishop Paul Kariuki of the Catholic Diocese of Wote termed the December 18 declaration by the Pope a set up by individuals determined to rope in the church in promoting homosexuality. He has directed priests under his jurisdiction not to bless same sex couples and other couples in irregular unions.

“Since this declaration contradicts what Pope Francis himself approved in 2021 concerning same sex unions, that may not be blessed because the church cannot ask God to bless sin, I therefore prohibit all priests in the Catholic Diocese of Wote from blessing of couples in irregular situation or same-sex couples,” Bishop Kariuki said on Wednesday, December 27, after presiding over a special mass attended by priests, brothers and sisters drawn from across the diocese in the country.

“The Vatican declaration should be rejected in totality, and we faithfully uphold the Gospel teachings and Catholic traditional teachings on marriage and sexuality,” the cleric added.

Bishop Kariuki’s stance follows a similar one by Archbishop Phillip Anyolo of the Nairobi Archdiocese and his Mombasa counterpart Martin Kivuva, who is also the chairman of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Also read: Pope Francis says homosexuality is ‘not a crime’, criticizes ‘unjust’ anti-gay laws

They have mounted pressure on the Vatican to revoke the December 18 declaration which has divided the church. The ruling approved by Pope Francis said priests “should not prevent or prohibit the church’s closeness to people in any situation in which they might seek God’s help through a simple blessing”.

This declaration has triggered heated debate which has put the church in an awkward position, with many priests opting to remain silent regarding the matter.

On Christmas Day, Archbishop Kivuva moved to play down the concerns raised by Catholic faithful in the country following the Vatican’s declaration, saying it was meant to encourage accommodation in the church even of people whose lifestyle is not in line with the doctrine.

However, Bishop Kariuki said the declaration “opens a new dangerous door that is totally unacceptable for it gives the possibility of approval of quasi-ritual blessing formulae that will lead the Catholic Church to bless these couples in irregular situation and same-sex couples in liturgical set up in the future”.

The Catholic bishops have, however, maintained that the Catholic Church should reach out to homosexuals and those in unconventional marriages with a view of persuading them to abandon the lifestyle.

“When the Pope made the declaration, we who know our culture and values understand that he means we should wish good for others regardless of their sexuality. We cannot judge anyone but cannot say we want to marry them in church. It means we are willing to associate with anyone and help them live a God-fearing life,” Bishop Kivuva said, adding,

“For pastoral reasons, I therefore exhort my priests to invite those (same-sex couples) couples to a life of conversion by the words of the Gospel “repent, and believe in the Gospel. This is exactly what these couples, like any other Christian, should look for in the blessings,” Bishop Kariuki added.


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