S+L logo

Kenyan Catholic Bishops Urging For Peace as Political Violence Rises - Perspectives Daily

Noel Ocol

October 17, 2017
Earlier this summer, we brought you the story of the embezzlement indictment against the former President and the ex-Treasurer of the Vatican-owned, Bambino Gesù Children’s hospital.
Back in July, Vatican magistrates formally indicted Giuseppe Profiti and Massimo Spina on charges of illegally diverting more than 400,000 euros to help finance the remodeling of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone's apartment. It turns out that the Vatican court found the former hospital executive guilty of abuse of office, for using donations belonging to the hospital's foundation.
Originally charged with embezzlement, Profiti was sentenced to one year in jail and fined 6,000 euros on the reduced charge, however, the sentence was suspended. The tribunal dismissed charges against Massimo Spina, the hospital's former treasurer. The judgments were handed down last week.
This is not the first time Profiti faced criminal charges for financial crimes. In 2008, he was sentenced to six months of house arrest while still president of the hospital, after being found guilty of taking bribes and kickbacks at a different job.
To Kenya now where the Kenyan Catholic bishops are urging citizens to guard the country's peace, as a prolonged election standoff is taking its toll on the country's economic and social conditions.
The situation in Kenya is grave, the bishops say,  highlighting the growing anxiety among the people caused by increased polarization along political and ethnic lines. A statement issued by the conference president, Bishop Philip Anyolo, said that "God has given us only one country, our nation Kenya, and it is upon every Kenyan to stand firm and say no to everything that will take away from the peace,"
The crisis started in early September when the Supreme Court nullified the election of President Uhuru Kenyatta over irregularities and illegalities. The court ordered a repeat election in 60 days, but political positions have hardened, as the repeat election date of Oct. 26 looms. Growing political violence over the upcoming election has forced police to use tear gas to disperse the protesters, who have been blocking roads, attacking civilians and looting properties. At least 33 people have been shot dead by the police. I will provide you with updates as this story unfolds.
Let’s go to Asia where the Vatican has asked Indonesian Bishop Hubertus Leteng to return the Church funds he is accused of stealing.
Bishop Leteng recently resigned as bishop over allegations of theft and having an affair. The request to return the missing money, however, was not mentioned in the Oct. 11 resignation announcement by the Vatican. It simply stated that the Pope has accepted the Bishop’s resignation.
The Pope approved the resignation of the 58-year-old bishop following the investigation into allegations that he secretly borrowed $94,000 from the Indonesian Bishops' Conference and $30,000 from the diocese, without providing an accountability report. In protest against Bishop Leteng'sactions, 68 priests in the diocese resigned as episcopal vicars and parish priests. They suspected the missing money went to a woman with whom they allege the bishop was having an affair.
Bishop Leteng has not responded to a request to comment on repayment of the missing money and officials at the Indonesian Bishops' Conference have also respectfully refused to comment, saying only that the case is now under the Vatican's authority.
Finally, here in Toronto, Cardinal Thomas Collins invites you to attend the 3rd Annual Father Boulad Dinner for Christians in the Middle East. Have a look.
This event takes place on October 28th, at the Transfiguration of Our Lord Parish in Etobicoke. Funds raised at this event will help to fund projects supported by CNEWA in Syria and Iraq and by Fr. Henri Boulad in Egypt. For tickets and more information, you can visit their website listed below.
That's all for today. Join us again tomorrow when we bring you more news and stories from the Perspective of a Catholic lens.