NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 25 – “The Gospel tells us that from those whom much is given, much will be demanded (Luke 12:48),” was the message Pope Francis had for Kenya’s leaders Wednesday when he held talks with them at State House Nairobi.
That message couldn’t have come at a better time, as it comes barely hours after President Uhuru Kenyatta reshuffled his Cabinet in what is seen as an opportunity to institute much needed reform and provide an impetus to good governance.
Pope Francis reminded the leaders that they have a a great responsibility, a true calling, in serving the Kenyan people.
“I encourage you to work with integrity and transparency for common good, and to foster a spirit of solidarity at every level of society,” Pope Francis said in his remarks.
He particularly asked Kenya’s leaders “to show genuine concern for the needs of the poor, the aspirations of the young and a just distribution of the natural resources with which the creator has blessed your country.”
His visit comes days before global environmental talks in Paris and he set the tempo in Kenya saying the grave environmental crisis the word is facing demands an ever greater sensitivity to the relationship between human beings and nature.
“We have a responsibility to pass on to beauty of nature in its integrity to future generations and an obligation to exercise a just stewardship of the gifts we receive.”
The 78-year-old Pontiff made it clear there is a distinct link between protection of nature and the building of a just and equitable order. “There can be no renewal of our relationship with nature, without renewal of humanity itself.”
He said society is experiencing ethnic, religious or economic divisions and there is need for “all men and women of goodwill” to work for reconciliation, peace forgiveness and healing.
“Experience shows that violence, conflict, and terrorism feed fear, mistrust, and the despair born of poverty and frustration. Ultimately, the struggle against these enemies of peace and prosperity must be carried on by men and women who fearlessly believe in, and bear witness to, the great spiritual and political values which inspired the birth of the nation.”
Pope Francis who is due to meet with thousands of youths at Kasarani on Friday, reminded Kenya’s leaders that young people are any nations most valued resource.
“To protect them, to invest in them and to offer them a helping hand, is the best way we can ensure a future worthy of wisdom and spiritual values dear to their elders, values which are the very heart and soul of a people.”
Kenya’ role in the region did not escape mention by Pope Francis who noted that the country’s experience in shaping democracy was one shared by many African nations.
“Like Kenya, they too are working to build, on the solid foundations of mutual respect, dialogue, and cooperation, a multiethnic society which is truly harmonious, just and inclusive.”