KENYA: Bishop Joya Calls for Protection of Family Amid Debate on Blessing of Same-Sex Unions

By Arnold Neliba

NAIROBI, OCTOBER 9, 2023 (CISA)-As the Synod on Synodality in Rome enters its second week, Bishop Hieronymus Joya IMC of the Catholic Diocese of Maralal has weighed in on the controversial subject of the blessing of same-sex unions, a response of Pope Francis to five dubia (doubts) questions sent to him by five cardinals, describing it among the challenges destructing the Church in the present world.

Five Cardinals who sent a set of questions to Pope Francis.

In July, Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, Cardinal Raymond Burke, Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, SDB, Cardinal Juan Sandoval Íñiguez and Cardinal Robert Sarah sent a set of questions to Pope Francis to express their concerns on the Synod on Synodality.

In responding to the five cardinals who challenged him to affirm church teaching on homosexuality ahead of the Synod assembly where LGBTQ+ persons are on the agenda, the pope suggested there could be ways to bless same-sex unions.

This agenda alongside the ordination of women and the challenge of ideologies risks altering the tradition of the Catholic Church according to Bishop Joya.

Bishop Hieronymus Joya IMC

“The issue that very many people are propagating today is that men should marry men, that women should marry women and they are asking the church to validate it. Dear brothers and sisters, the stand of the Catholic Church and your shepherds is this is a no-go zone,” he stated during the priestly and diaconate ordination of Consolata Missionaries at Resurrection Garden, Nairobi, on October 6.

“It is something incomprehensible that you and I were born in a family and some people with perverse ideologies want us to do and live contrary to what God gifted us, which is the sacredness of life through our parents and which is the source of all vocations in our religious and secular society,” said Bishop Joya.

The vice chairperson of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) Commission for Pastoral and Lay Apostolate and chairperson of Family Life National Office called on the newly ordained religious men to nurture the family; appreciate the vocation of marriage and a need to encourage young people to see the value of choosing a vocation, either of marriage or consecrated life.

“And I think that is the will of God when he created man and woman and that is a challenge that we are currently facing that I appeal to you dear brothers to be ordained to take note and be vigilant against this pervasive ideology,” he said in his homily.

On issues of clergy mismanaging Church finances, the former regional superior for the Consolata Missionaries Kenya-Uganda region, suggested that some responsibilities need to be delegated to the laypersons, averring that ordained persons should focus majorly on the spiritual care of Christians.

“Today, many church leaders are destructed by financial affairs. Settling complaints of the people on the behaviour and way of living of some the clergy…,” he said while urging the faithful to help solve and not contribute to the crisis of alcoholism among priests.

Bishop Joya charged the new clergy to protect Christians from “the emerging churches that are influencing the people and giving hope for prosperity, which is not realistic and miracles that deny that we are human. We have only to suffer by accepting to carry the cross as Jesus did due to our human frailty.”

During the Friday, October 6 ordination, Deacon Mutinda Josephat IMC was ordained a priest and Seminarians Jacques Lwanzo IMC, Jean Sadiki IMC, Cyprian Omuri IMC, and Peter Masaga IMC ordained deacons.

(Bishop Joya with the newly ordianed priest and deacons)