Why Catholics have no tent churches, mabati parishes

Church under construction
A structure of a podium that is under construction at the university of Nairobi,the podium will be used by Pope Francis for the mass during his visit to Kenya. Photo: BEVERLYNE MUSILI

When the late Pope John Paul II came to Kenya on August 16, 1985, he told the country in his address: “I have the pleasure once more of looking with joy upon the smiling faces of your children, the strong and eager faces of the young people, the welcoming faces of the whole family of Kenya.” And to mark the spot where Pope John Paul II held mass at Uhuru Park, a conical pyramid structure was erected and it’s still there...next to the smoking zone!

When he comes here on November 25, Pope Francis will notice nothing much has changed in 30 years. The people of Kenya still sport “strong and eager faces” despite a tanking economy

Pope Francis is head of a sovereign State; the 110-acre Vatican City, which unlike Kenya, has no ‘cash flow problems.’ The Vatican Bank controls Sh700 billion in cash and over Sh600 billion in assets, according to Bloomberg.

The Vatican Bank was established by Pope Pius XII in 1942 to skirt US ban on wired money transfers out of ‘axis nations,’ of which Italy was part during World War II, when it accepted smuggled gold and money from Hitler’s henchmen which Gerald Posner calls ‘blood money’ in his book, God’s Bankers: A History of Money and Power at the Vatican that was published in 2015.

Gradually, the Vatican Bank - as a tax haven immune to nosy external investigators - became a playground of corrupt politicians, cocaine smugglers, crooked businessmen, shadowy shell companies and organised crime syndicates, notes David Yallop in his widely acclaimed effort of 1984, In God’s Name.

Have you ever seen a Catholic church fashioned out of a tent, like the many prosperity gospel outfits littering open spaces in Kenya? Nuh!

Any mabati Catholic parish even in remotest North Eastern?

Nuh! Any coercion into giving 10 per cent tithe or ‘planting a seed’?


Even when you donate coins, the priest and his parish survive: The Vatican Bank!

It only takes deposits. Only a Catholic body, charity, clergy or Vatican employee can open an account. Pope John Paul I tried overhauling the scandal-ridden bank. He was murdered, after 33 days - one of the shortest Papal stints.

Pope John Paul II hardly upset its intricate applecart. He reigned for 26 years, the second longest after the 31 clocked by Pope Pius IX in 1879. Exit Pope John Paul II, enter Pope Benedict IX in 2005.

He initiated the first anti-money laundering law besides appointing a regulator in 2011- the first time in ages the Vatican books were being externally scrutinised. Pope Benedict IX resigned, the first Pope to do so in 600 years, after years at the helm in 2013 - also the year the Vatican Bank made its annual returns public!

The actual reasons for ending his Papacy after just eight years can only be speculated, since secret Papal papers will only be released 75 years after his death!

Pope Francis has flirted with the idea of closing down the Vatican Bank since “St Peter didn’t have a bank,” but was prevailed upon, since the Holy See depends on its profits, besides bankrolling any poor Catholic diocese in Asia and Third World Africa, Kenya included. Indeed, as scandal-soaked Paul Marcinkus, President of the Vatican Bank for 18 years to 1989 observed: “You can’t run the church on Hail Marys!”



The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Sde.co.ke