Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (KEMSA) Chairperson Irungu Nyakera on Sunday criticised Pope Francis for his declaration allowing Catholic Priests to bless same-sex marriages.
In a statement, the Farmer’s Party leader questioned why a church leader of Pope Francis’ stature would go down that route. He, however, steered clear of criticising the LGBTQ+ community holding that such a move would result in donors withholding funding for his political outfit.
“I no longer speak much about LGBT issues because I don’t want my organization to lose its global funding. But these two men are pushing many Africans away from churches and back to their traditional settings,” Nyakera remarked in a statement.
Asked by a follower why he was shying away from his freedom of speech due to funding, the KEMSA Chairperson stated that he wasn’t doing it for himself.
Kenya Catholic Bishops
“I was more outspoken when I was only protecting my money. Now I also have to protect yours hence the caution,” he responded.
His sentiment came after Pope Francis allowed the Catholic Priests to bless same-sex marriages.
“It is precisely in this context, that one can understand the possibility of blessing couples in irregular situations and same-sex couples without officially validating their status or changing in any way the church’s perennial teaching on marriage.” the Head of Office on Doctrine, Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández indicated in a declaration of the new rule.
Catholic bishops in Kenya came out on Wednesday to issue a clarification claiming that the Pope did not allow priests and bishops to bless same-sex marriages.
Led by the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) Chairman Archbishop Martin Kivuva, the clergymen stated that the Pope only referred to simple blessings that are not given in a liturgical setting.
“This document, Fiducia Supplicans, states that “The value of this document, however, is that it offers a specific and Innovative contribution to the pastoral meaning of blessings permitting a broadening and enrichment of the classical understanding of blessings,” Kivuva maintained.
The statement by the Pope had elicited debate from Kenyans both in the religious as well as political spheres prompting the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops to issue a clarification.
“We know that often, even in our own African Culture, a Father or Mother can give a blessing to their children. This also applies to Christian Parents who can give a blessing to their children without any reference of their conditions or circumstances. This is understood as an invocation to God to look upon them and their needs,” the statement further explained.
Pope Francis (left) greets Cardinal John Njue.