KENYA: Church urged to Participate in Protecting Environment

NAIROBI AUGUST 4, 2015 (CISA) – Fr Charles Odira, Pastoral Coordinator Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops has called on the Church to play its role in protecting the environment.

“Pastoral work and evangelisation is not just talking about God but actually participating in protecting the great deeds that God has done for us… because you can only speak about God through his creation,” he said.

Fr Odira was speaking during a panel discussion on the Laudato Si, Pope Francis’s encyclical on “the care of our common home” at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) on July 31.

According to Fr Odira, Pope Francis’s encyclical which tackled; pollution of the environment, inaccessibility of clean water, loss of biodiversity and decline in quality of human life was written “to change the poor attitude that most people have towards the environment.”

Speaking on the challenges the Laudato Si poses to the institutional Church Fr Odira said that the clergy, religious and laity all have the opportunity to implement the encyclical.

“The Church has numbers; Kenya has about 12 million Catholics. We have many institutions, power to network with other ecumenical groups and bishops write pastoral letters which are very powerful tools. We also have publications including books for catechesis and Sunday sermon.”

“This is the way to bring down through institutional structures this beautiful message of the Pope,” he said.

Fr David Kamau Mbugua, OFM Cap on his part said Pope Francis in his encyclical challenges the religious to be responsible and take action since the poor that the religious opt for are the worst affected by the environmental crisis.

“We have God given responsibility to be the custodians of the earth,” said Fr Mbugua adding that the religious are urged to adopt human ecology and need to be aware of the theological and cultural elements that are causing the destruction of the  earth.

“As a solution the pope calls for a dialogue on policy at international, national and community level. He calls for dialogue for everybody starting from politicians, the Church,” he added.

Ecological crisis is essentially a spiritual problem and Laudato Si is an appeal to all of us Christians and non Christians to cultivate the spirit of understanding that together we can solve it said Rev Prof Juvenalis Baitu of CUEA.

“We need to unite… we should go beyond the groups of the church and join the civil society institutions,” he said in the panel discussion that was organised by CUEA’s Center for Social Justice and Ethics and Office of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Franciscans African.

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