Planned Youth Chastity Conference in Kenya to Address “homosexual orientations”

Poster of the planned Youth Chastity Conference 2020 to take place on February 8 at the Kenya-based Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA)
Credit: CUEA

The 2020 edition of the annual conferences that seek to address reported stigmatization of young people in institutions of higher learning who decide to embrace chastity will see participants deliberate on “people having homosexual orientations,” the convener of the event told ACI Africa.

Organized at the main campus of the Kenya-based Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) under the theme, “Understanding Same Sex Attraction and Gender Deviance,” the February 8 event will seek to underscore the teaching of the Church on same sex orientations.

“The catechism of the Catholic Church is of the stand that people having homosexual orientations should strive for perfection and it also says that these acts are intrinsically disordered,” Richard Kakeeto, the convener of the planned conference told ACI Africa in an interview.

The conference will seek to clarify the teaching of the Church and provide orientation to the young people participating in the conference because “there is an increasing push to define what the Church has taught as disordered to define it as right,” Kakeeto, a lecturer at CUEA said.

Facilitators will tackle the theme from a scientific and psychological perspectives, he said.

“We will raise the issue of whether same sex is natural or it is out of socialization,” Kakeeto said, adding that the sessions will see facilitators guide participants in probing “the common pattern among people living with same sex attraction.”

Guided discussions around the background of people with same orientations will be conducted, facilitators and participants probing whether or not such people “have a history of abuse and dysfunction in their families so that we understand where this attraction is from,” he said.

After the conference, Kakeeto said, “Young people could be able to introspect and figure out that maybe I feel like this because of something else then they figure out how they can get help.”

The conference which targets high school and university students is usually held the Saturday just before or on Valentine’s day, Kakeeto disclosed.

He explained, “In this country, when you read the newspapers around Valentine’s day, so many articles are released, showing young people who are involved in orgies and all that. We choose to do it at that time to show that it is possible to enjoy a chaste valentine.”

Kakeeto further shared the general theme of the annual youth chastity conferences saying, “there are quite a number of young people in the Universities who are both virgins and chaste but get stigmatized by the environment they are in because of the increased sexualization of our young people.”

Chastity, known to be the virtue of abstaining from sexual intercourse, whether within or outside marriage, is “largely unknown word limited to religious communities,” Kakeeto observed.

For this reason, Kakeeto said referencing the overall theme of the annual conferences that have been organized five times previously, “we decided to start pulling together young people and promote this virtue of chastity.”

Previous conferences have been a success judging by how high school students are relating to chastity than before, he noted.

“Many times, people used to respond to HIV/AIDS with the word abstinence but now, young people respond with chastity as the word, so that is progress,” Kakeeto said and added, “At least you can find it (chastity) on the lips of high school students, which never used to be the case.”

Organised by CUEA in collaboration with Vita et Familia, CitizenGo and Franciscan Agencies, a social enterprise that supports youth ministry, participants are expected to pay Kshs. 100 (1US$) are registration fee.

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ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.

Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa
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