African bishops say UN Nairobi Summit will be destructive of pro-life agenda

Religious and clergy at meeting with Pope Francis at St Marys School in Nairobi Kenya on Nov 26 2015 Credit Martha Calderon CNA 11 26 15 Kenyan bishops prepare to meet with Pope Francis at St. Mary's School in Nairobi, Nov. 26, 2015. | Martha Calderon/CNA.

Bishops in Africa have raised concerns about the agenda of the Nairobi Summit, a United Nations gathering being held next week, saying the meeting will be destructive to humanity and the values around human life.

Sponsored by the UN Population Fund and the governments of Kenya and Denmark, the Nairobi Summit marks the 25th anniversary of the Cairo Conference on Population and Development. It will be held in Nairobi Nov. 12-14.

Its program includes five themes, among which are "Universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights as a part of universal health coverage" and "Upholding the right to sexual and reproductive health care even in humanitarian and fragile contexts."

Bishop Alfred Rotich, Bishop Emeritus of the Military Ordinariate of Kenya and chair of the Kenyan bishops' family life office, told ACI Africa: "We find such a conference not good for us, (and) destroying the agenda for life."

"There will be about 10,000 people here and we know what they are for, they are not pro-life but they are 10,000 abortionists. They are practitioners of what is against life. Their coming here is to endorse a wrong policy," Bishop Rotich stated.

The bishop described Kenya as a country "always open and ready and receptive to all manner of discussion and things," and wondered why the Kenyan president has offered the country as a market where the pro-choice agenda can be be sold.

"We are looking at it from the African culture and we are asking the nation through the president, have we no values?" Bishop Rotich asked.

He continued: "What is the constitution saying about the respect of God? What is our interpretation, we as independent and sovereign nation? Are we aware of the enemy that is continually interfering with our tradition and culture of protecting life?"

He described the summit as an intrusion that is a "dragon against our agenda for life" and affirmed, "We must protect our borders, which (are) in this case the life of this country – now and in the future."

Archbishop Martin Kivuva of Mombasa described the summit's agenda as "unacceptable according to our teaching of the Catholic Church" and, like Bishop Rotich, he cautioned president Uhuru Kenyatta to be wary of the forum.

"Be warned Mr. President, these (ICPD25 agenda) are the issues you should watch out," Archbishop Kivuva said, adding: "We need to say no, we cannot take this."

Referring to the organizers of the summit, Archbishop Kivuva said that "It is not the first time they are doing this, and they have a hidden agenda."

"Remember most of this is about population reduction and yet in Europe there is zero growth yet they tell us we are many," Archbishop Kivuva said, adding that the foreign organizers of the summit "tell us we are poor because we are many. That is a lie! We are poor because they took and still take our resources. Look at DR Congo, with all the minerals it should be the richest country."

Bishop Charles Kasonde of Solwezi, chairman of the  Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa, described Africa's population as "doing good" and "moderate".

"In terms of population, it is poverty that drags us down otherwise as the population for Africa we are sparsely populated," Bishop Kasonde of Solwezi told ACI Africa.

To counter the agenda of the Nairobi Summit, the Kenya Christian Professionals Forum, with the backing of Kenya's bishops, has organized a parallel convention to be held Nov. 11-14.

A version of this story was initially reported by CNA's sister agency, ACI Africa. It has been adapted by CNA.

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