Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Church Hails President’s Directive on Death-row Sentences

Kenyan Government took one step closer to what many see as doing away with death penalty after President Mwai Kibaki ordered all the current sentences for 4000 death-row inmates in Kenya prisons be commuted to life imprisonment.

However the president was categorical that this did not abolish the death penalty as a punishment for capital offense.

A statement released by the Presidential Press Service (PPS) on Monday 3rd August, 2009 stated that: “In exercise of powers conferred upon him by the Constitution sections 27 (C) and 29 (2) President Kibaki, upon the advice of the Constitutional Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy, said that the decision was necessitated upon consideration of many prevailing facts”

President Kibaki said that by commuting these sentences to life imprisonment, the affected inmates will be able to work. As per law, those sentence to be executed are not supposed to work, and are usually secluded, under 24 hour watch from prison authorities.

According to the President, this led to idleness, which in turn affected discipline in prisons. It also impacted on the prisoners' mental health.

Since 1987, no inmate under death penalty has been executed.

This announcement by the government has been lauded by the Catholic Church in Kenya and other human rights activists as a ‘step in the right direction towards abolishing death penalty from our statutes’.

Even more heartening is a direction from the President that the government is to assess whether the punishment was having any impact on the fight against crime.

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Monday, August 3, 2009

Cardinal Njue Now Okays Charismatic Group Activities

The movement to undertake its activities under supervision from Parish Priests

His Eminence John Cardinal Njue, the Archbishop of Archdiocese of Nairobi has given a nod for the charismatic movement in the archdiocese to continue with its activities, but under the supervision from the parish priests.

Lifting a suspension imposed on the movement in February, on Friday July 31st, 2009, Cardinal Njue termed some of its activities as more protestant than catholic.

During the Pentecost Sunday Mass this year, as he clarified the purpose of ‘putting on hold’ the charismatic movement’s activities in the archdiocese of Nairobi in February, the Cardinal had said that ecclesial movements (such as Charismatic movement) even if approved by the Holy Father must operate under the close eye of the ordinary under whose jurisdiction they are operating.

“There are some areas that I must say, need keeping, and I needed to look into that,” he had said, adding that Catholic Church has structures of doing things, which must be respected.“As the shepherd here, if there are some activities that are contrary to the doctrine of the church, I have the right to stop that. There are some things that I can not just say ‘it does not matter’. That is why I told them to hold on,” he said, stressing that these movements are meant to be instruments to deepen faith of the faithful and not to destroy it.

Following the lifting of the suspension, the leaders of the movement present during the Friday July 31st meeting promised to work under the guidelines specified by the cardinal.

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Bishop Schilder Retires as Ordinary of Ngong Diocese

Cardinal Njue appointed the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of Rt. Rev. Cornelius Schilder (Pictured) as the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Ngong.

According to a statement released by Fr. Martin Wanyoike, the Communications Secretary at the Kenya Episcopal Conference- Catholic Secretariat, the Apostolic Nunciature in Nairobi communicated on August 1st, 2009 (1300 hours, Kenyan time) that the holy Father also appointed His Eminence John Cardinal Njue, the archbishop of Nairobi, as the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese as from August 1st.

Bishop Schilder, 68, who has recently suffered from poor health, the grounds that necessitated his request to the Holy Father to release him from his duties, has been the shepherd for Ngong diocese since November 6, 2002.

He was ordained priest in 1968.

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