Ms. Noluthando underlined the need to reexamine the relationship between the Clergy and Laity and to create open spaces in which the two can journey together as the body of Christ.
“We need to create open spaces where elements of the Church are not seen as mystical figures that do not allow everyone access. The Church has to be a home where everyone is welcome, where everyone feels safe,” she said.
Sr. Katunge said that she had researched widely on the listening element of the Synod on Synodality and realized that the particular element is missing in the Church today.
“Pope Francis is telling us to listen keenly to what the Holy Spirit is telling the Church. Unfortunately, we are living in a Church where listening has been forgotten. Many people have been complaining that they have been left on the peripheries,” Sr. Katunge said.
She added, “We need to listen to the poor, the youth, the women, the widows and widowers. We need to listen to mother nature which has been neglected.”
(Story continues below)
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“Earth has been terribly abused. The flora and fauna have no one to take them. That is why we are having the crisis of climate change. We need to rethink the gift of creation in which God gave us nature to enjoy. But with all the abuse that is going on, there isn't much to enjoy anymore,” the member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Mombasa (SSJ Mombasa) said.
According to the Catholic Nun who has been recognized for academic excellence by former Kenyan Chief Justice David Maraga, not listening, especially to the marginalized, denies them justice.
“Justice is a right. It is supposed to come naturally. But people are no longer listening to one another and the justice that is supposed to be inherently rendered is no longer available. This has caused a lot of problems where people that feel aggrieved for lack of justice are taking the law in their hands,” Sr. Katunge said.
He added, “It is time the Church became the voice of the voiceless, especially those who are denied justice.”
The Kenyan Catholic Nun noted that key among factors suffocating the element of listening to others is egoism.
“It’s about me and myself. As long as I am comfortable, I see no need to listen to others. We don’t easily create spaces for others because we are always in a hurry, not for others, but for ourselves,” she said.
In an interview with ACI Africa, Fr. Anthony Makunde, the Secretary General of AMECEA, described the colloquium with theologians that ended on Friday, March 11 as enriching.
“This event has brought theologians together to listen to whatever the Holy Spirit is telling us. With the tools we are getting here, we will be able to discern the direction of the Church in Africa,” Fr. Makunde said during the March 10 interview.
The AMECEA Secretary General added, “It is high time we revisited our understanding of being a Church in Africa. We need to identify areas that need to be improved and to be ready for a conversion of heart in the Synodal journey.”
Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.