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Truth, they say is immutable. This “dictum” underscores the fact expressed recently by Papal Nuncio in Kenya when he said that the Church in Africa Growing “stronger”. Going further he Faults Church in Europe for Losing “its inner compass”.

Details of the message as reported by the Correspondent of RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA based in Nairobi, the political capital of Kenya has it that the Church in Africa, which for many years was considered a missionary territory has evolved and is growing “stronger” compared to the Church in Europe that seems to have “weakened”, the representative of the Holy Father in Kenya has said.

Archbishop Hubertus van Megen, who was preaching during the Episcopal Consecration of Mons. John Kiplimo Lelei as Auxiliary Bishop of Kenya’s Catholic Diocese of Eldoret highlighted some of the weaknesses of the Church in Europe, which reflect an orientation towards secularism.

Archbishop van Megen cited the President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conference of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), Fridolin Cardinal Ambongo of the Catholic Archdiocese of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), on the progress of the Church in Africa.

“As the Archbishop of Kinshasa, Cardinal Ambongo said some months ago, ‘The Church in Africa has always been considered a daughter of the Church in Europe. However now, with good reason, one can call them sisterly Churches’. The Church in Europe is weakened, the Church in Africa ever stronger,” he said during the May 25 celebration at Mother of Apostles Seminary Grounds in Eldoret.

The Dutch-born Vatican diplomat added, “The teachings of Western Society on abortion, euthanasia, gender theory, are clear symptoms of a society that has lost its inner compass and is helplessly floating on the tempestuous sea of human desires, shaken and weakened in every respect.”

“It is evident for everybody to see how the West, a secular society, has lost its vigour and is evermore self-absorbed,” he further said, adding that the Western society has shifted “from being a light for the nations” to putting “its lamp under the bushel, its light ever dimmer.” Archbishop van Megen underscored the relevance of the Gospel message to contemporary society.

Jesus’ teachings on holiness and perfection “are not a dream,” he said, and emphasized, “The teachings of Christ are indispensable; they are the only acceptable measure for all human beings, like the compass is the only reliable and indispensable instrument for a captain, finding his way through the dark and tumultuous seas.”

Turning to the Bishop-elect, the Apostolic Nuncio in Kenya since March 2019 said, “The Bishop is in many ways that captain who sails the ship of the Church through the choppy waters of our times.

“Dear Fr. John, you will be criticized in many ways, and people will try to destroy you for the simple reason that you are upholding the teachings of Christ,” he told the Bishop-elect.

To contemporary society, the Nairobi-based Vatican diplomat said, “the teachings of the Church are a scandal, a stumbling block.”

Yes in “applying the teachings of Christ in our lives we come to understand our shortcomings and sins,” he further said.

“On the rock of Christ our pride is crushed, our vanity revealed. People find that hard to accept,” he went on to say, and continued, “People speak a lot about humility but very few people are able to live it. The teachings of Christ are for many a stumbling block instead of a light for the nations.”

The Nairobi-based Vatican diplomat, who has also been representing the Holy Father in South Sudan highlighted the need to seek God’s mercy as important, and implored, “Let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.”

“Dear John, in dealing with the sheep, think of your own history, a history of holiness but also a history of temptation, like Christ himself. However, Christ was without sin, while none of us can claim to throw the first stone,” he said.

In dealing with the people of God under your pastoral care, Archbishop van Megen told the Bishop-elect, “keep in mind your own need for mercy, and recall how Christ has been merciful with you over the years.”

“Recall your own sinfulness, so as to show mercy with the sheep who run away from the flock. Bind their wounds and carry them on your shoulders,” he told Mons. Lelei, and added, “Listen to Christ, the Supreme Shepherd who said: Learn from me, I am meek and humble of heart.”

“May you then be pleasing to God by your gentleness and purity of heart, presenting a fragrant offering to the Father, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen,” he implored in reference to the prayer of ordination.

Born in August 1958 in the Catholic Diocese of Eldoret, Bishop Lelei was ordained a Priest for the same Diocese in October 1985 after completing his philosophical and theological studies at St. Augustine’s Mabanga Senior Seminary in Kenya’s Bungoma Diocese, and St. Thomas Aquinas Major Seminary in Nairobi Archdiocese, respectively.

At the time of his Episcopal appointment, the newly Consecrated Bishop was serving as the Vicar General of Eldoret Diocese.

Erected in June 1953 as the Prefecture Apostolic of Eldoret, the 9,254 square-kilometer Episcopal See was elevated to a Diocese in October 1959.

The Kenyan Diocese, which is part of the Ecclesiastical Province of Kisumu has a population of 892,000 Catholics representing 35.8 percent of the total population in the Episcopal See, according to 2021 statistics.