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Synod of bishops opens in Rome and in Nairobi scribes need prayers

We have ours going on at the Bomas of Kenya co-chaired by Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka and National Assembly Majority Leader and Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wa. A similar dialogue commenced last week at the Vatican.

The process leading to the synod started two years ago. “On October 10, 2021, Pope Francis formally opened a two-year process called a Synod on Synodality,” NTV Uganda reported.

Under this arrangement, bishops from around the world will consult everyone from parishioners to monks, to nuns as well as academicians in Catholic universities, before coming together for a discussion later on in 2023.”

That is the event Pope Francis opened in Rome on October 4. Ahem, The Standard that day reported that, “A section of Catholic archbishops from around the world are meeting in the Vatican with Pope Francis to discuss social and cultural concerns affecting the church.”

Section of Catholic archbishops only? Social and cultural concerns affecting the church? Surely, it shouldn’t be difficult to know all one wants about a process that has been going on for the two years including right here in Kenya.

Mombasa Road went on: “The Synod of Synodality takes place every five years and brings together bishops from around the world and chaired by the pope to discuss ways to grow the church.”

Stori za jaba.

The Standard even has a columnist who is a Catholic priest. Why not ask him to clarify things?

Fr Gabriel Dolan wrote in his column on October 7 that, “It is the culmination of a process that involved every parish in the world and now some 400 delegates from the globe will deliberate on the result of that consultative process.”

Certainly not a gathering of “a section of Catholic archbishops from around the world”.

What makes this synod unique is that some 50 lay men and women delegates will vote on the final proposals alongside bishops and cardinals. Kenya will be represented by Archbishop Anthony Muheria of Nyeri and Mombasa Archbishop Martin Kivuva,” Dolan wrote.

What is the synod about? “Social and cultural concerns affecting the church”? Does it take place “every five years”? Nah.

An AFP report stated that, “The general assembly of the Synod of Bishops gathers in the wake of an unprecedented two-year global consultation that also broached contentious topics such as women deacons and priestly celibacy.”

Fr Dolan wrote that, “In his opening homily the Pope said the two-fold purpose of the synod was ‘to refocus on the gaze of God and be a church that looks mercifully on humanity.’”

And who wrote that Nation story about the new Catholic diocese of Wote? Bishop Paul Kariuki was installed first head of the diocese that covers Makueni County. “Until his appointment, Mr Kariuki had served as head of Embu diocese for 14 years,” Nation reported (October 2, p.8).

Catholics reading the story must have rolled on the floor with laughter. Mr Who? You don’t call a Catholic bishop “Mr”. He is Bishop Kariuki or Rt Rev Kariuki.

People take titles seriously. Or try confusing military ranks and titles and you would get an earful from the soldiers. Or academic honorifics such as doctor and professor.

Catholics form about 20 per cent of the Kenyan population. The media gives the church usually excellent coverage. If you are stuck about something, just ask. The Catholic Church has a national communications office at Waumini House, Westlands. Any Catholic priest, bishop, or lay official would be happy to answer your questions about their faith and the church. Speak to them.

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