Devil worship is a reality in Kenya, a Kenyan bishop has said adding that he hoped Pope Francis’ declaration of the Year of Mercy would help Catholics remain strong.
Bishop Emanuel Barbara of Malindi said that along Kenya’s Indian coast, “Young people are being lured into the issue through promised educational scholarships.”
“And they include the Christians and non-Christians,” he added.
At a recent theological symposium on the occult and satanism, Bishop Barbara said devil worship was growing quickly in this East African country and that it had global implications.
During the question-and-answer session afterward, some appealed to Kenya’s bishops to move from “talking about the issue to acting on it.”
“Education on how to battle out this issue is lacking among us, the Catholic faithful,” said one participant. Another asked the bishop for literature on the issue.
In an interview with CNS, one participant who did not want his name disclosed was quick to mention those behind the recruitment of people into devil worship as effectively exploiting the areas of unemployment, illiteracy and influential minds of the young people.
“No wonder the issue is more pronounced in schools and colleges, for example,” he explained.
Fr Clement Majawa, currently lecturing at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa, said the church and government had to sensitise the public to the reality of devil worship.
He suggested introducing courses on secret religious societies and traditional African religions. He also suggested Catholics work with Kenya’s Ministry of Education to develop curriculums and to have a team of chaplains and counsellors on hand for challenging situations.
In 1999, a presidential inquiry into devil worship in the country, chaired by the late Archbishop Nicodemus Kirima of Nyeri, concluded that devil worship could be found in schools, churches and even government offices.
Archbishop Kirima, who chaired the commission of senior religious leaders, told the BBC the investigation was launched to find out whether devil worship was linked to ritualised killings or other unlawful activities.
The report was presented to the government in 1995, but has still not been released publicly and was only recently made available to religious leaders.