A sect that broke away from the Roman Catholic Church nearly 20 years ago has opened a mission in Nairobi.
The Catholic Mission of Our Lady, Help of Christians - Holy Cross Church on 9 Amboseli Road, Lavington, is led by followers of excommunicated Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.
In a letter to all parishes, chaplaincies and religious houses, the Catholic Archbishop of Nairobi, Raphael Ndingi Mwana 'a Nzeki warned Catholics to keep off the new church.
"This church is staffed by members of the schismatic Lefebvrite group which refuses to acknowledge and accept the authority of the pope and that of the local bishops," the archbishop said in a letter dated January 9.
In 1988, Archbishop Lefebvre chose four priests among his followers and ordained them bishops without the necessary authorization of the pope. That was done in conscious and direct disobedience to the Holy Father, Archbishop Ndingi's letter says.
"The sad result of the 1988 consecrations was the excommunication from the Church of both Archbishop Lefebvre and the four bishops he consecrated. I would like to stress that this excommunication was not a subsequent decision taken by the Pope but, as legislated in canon 1382 of the Code of Canon Law, an automatic consequence of the illicit ordinations."
The renegade archbishop died in 1991.
Archbishop Ndingi says many members of the Lefebvre group have returned to communion with the Church. "Others unfortunately, including those at the Amboseli Road church, have not."
"I therefore ask and expect that all Catholics, if they wish to worship within the Church established by Jesus Christ and to give witness to their full communion with the pope and the hierarchy, will abstain from frequenting this newly opened church. May they also join me in offering fervent prayers for the return of all of the Lefebvrites to the fullness of the faith."