Kenya’s ‘true church’ annoys mainstream Catholic leaders

Kenya’s ‘true church’ annoys mainstream Catholic leaders

Legio Maria members do many things that Catholics do, except they claim to do them a whole lot better – and this annoying mainstream Catholic leaders.

Said Geofrey Omondi, a catechist of the Nyatike Catholic church in Migori:

This is worrying because leaders from this church (Legio Maria) have their own selfish agendas, which they achieve by making people believe that they have power to heal and provide solutions.

Founded in the early 1960s by Catholics who claim to to have received regular visits from the Virgin Mary, Legio Maria members believe they have received special messages about the reincarnation of Jesus as an African. Often, they deify the sect co-founder Simeo Ondeto, a catechist who died in 1992.

The sect’s “cardinal”, Raphael Midigo said:

We, as the followers of Legio Maria, believe that Messiah Ondeto is the Christ and resurrected to heaven with God. We are only waiting for his third coming to take his faithful to heaven.

Members of Legio Maria pray and speak in tongues or profess prowess in performing miracles, which drives some local Catholics to choose the sect and abandon the main Catholic Church, which
has expelled Legio Maria members, saying they were practicing “illegitimate” exorcisms and other rituals.

In its early days, it had around 90,000 members, mostly Catholics from the Luo tribe. Today, the sect claims around 4.3 million members in Kenya, Sudan and beyond.

In Kenya, they take orders from their “pope”, Romanus Ongombe, above. They also claim to have 58 cardinals throughout the country.

Midigo added:

We are the true church, not the Catholic. We experience the power and work of the Holy Spirit, which cannot be found in the Catholic Church. That’s the reason why people are coming to Legio Maria church and leaving Catholicism. We have a huge following.

Many local Catholics said they remain confused, years after the formation of the sect. Legio Maria conducts the same types of services as the Catholic Church. Its members sing hymns. They have what they describe as a traditional Latin mass. They recite the rosary and even have nuns.

Said Peter Ogola, a member of the sect who left the Catholic Church in May after he said he saw the image of Mary and baby Jesus engraved on a rock in the area.

We are sometimes confused to decide which church to go. Both churches look the same in the way they conduct their services. But Legio Maria church does it differently. They have the power to solve problems through prophesy and miracles.

Local Catholic leaders say the church confuses and lies to congregants. Said Omondi:

They have been lying to people who are seeking divine intervention in their lives, (telling them) that they are the official Catholic Church. That’s a pure a lie.

But Msgr  Nicholas Moses Omollo, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Kisumu, said he does not see the sect as a threat.

We have had a lot of converts from them coming back to Catholic Church again. How can they be a threat to us, and we are the ones who expelled them from the Roman Catholic Church?

They are not original, because what they have comes from the Roman Catholic Church.

Kenyans’ cultural attachment to witchcraft has lured them to churches where visions, dreams and superstitious beliefs are explained in religious terms by church elders, said retired Bishop Elvis Otiendo of the Pentecostal Church of Kenya.

It will be suicidal for the Catholic Church to ignore the influence of the African church which has strong roots in western Kenya. They are telling people and their followers what they want to hear. The Catholic Church should start educating their followers about the values of the church and what they stand for as a church.

14 responses to “Kenya’s ‘true church’ annoys mainstream Catholic leaders”

  1. H3r3tic says:

    So the “orthodox” Catholic heriarchy are concerned about this bunch of numptys because they “have their own selfish agendas, which they achieve by making people believe that they have power to heal and provide solutions.” I trust I’m not the only regular visitor to this site to appreciate the irony in this statement.

  2. Broga says:

    I don’t suppose either base their claims on evidence. No, the religious don’t do that.

  3. Johan says:

    They cannot claim to have replaced the RCC until they have a long history of child rape, worked ceaselessly to protect the rapist priests from the law, stolen children from unmarried mothers and then sold them to rich people, enslaved the unmarried mothers in hostels and myriad other crimes. Name the crime and the RCC is guilty of it. This subsect of the RCC cannot claim prior rank until it to has at least equalled the RCC in the diversity and horrors of its criminality.

  4. CoastalMaineBird says:

    We are sometimes confused to decide which church to go. Both churches look the same in the way they conduct their services. But Legio Maria church does it differently.

    Both look the same, but one is different.
    You’re confused, alright.

  5. barriejohn says:

    Local Catholic leaders say the church…lies to congregants.

    Wow – who’d have thought it? You can see how they might confuse the two, though.

  6. StephenJP says:

    Hang on…doesn’t the Big Book of Magic Stuff say something about what should happen at JC’s second coming? It doesn’t say anything about his third (or subsequent) appearances. Why didn’t Messiah Ondeto work the trick while he was around?

    Still, nice green hat their Pope’s got. That must have cost a bob or two.

  7. sailor1031 says:

    JC’s second coming? That happened according to the christian scriptures on the morning of Easter Sunday 33CE or thereabouts. The first coming having been on December 25th 0CE. Anybody still waiting for yet another coming is wasting their time and mental energy. I’m not making this up, It’s all in the bible you know!

  8. RussellW says:

    What a bunch of cream puffs the modern Catholic Church is these days. Earlier Church leaders would have used the Inquisition vigorously, problem solved.

  9. 1859 says:

    Looks like just another business model to me. It’s easier, I guess, to fleece the gullible than till the fields in the blazing sun.

  10. Broga says:

    sailor1031: You have to read the bible “prayerfully.” When I pointed out some contradictions to a Christian she told me that if I read the bible “prayerfully” I would understand that they only seem contradictions.

    Another time I was told the contradictions were deliberately placed as a test of strength for “people of faith.”

  11. Laura Roberts says:

    At this point I’m convinced one could generate perfectly legitimate headlines using a random number generator, a few lists of adjectives and nouns, and the phrase “annoys mainstream Catholic leaders”.

  12. Ate Berga says:

    Jebus can’t come soon enough, and as a fellow African do not care what his ethnicity is.When he was “white”, his proponents caused a lot of problems in the Mother Land, mentioning only one; total disregard for local culture.
    The sooner thinkers are delivered from these morons, the quicker we can get on with the job of leaving the solar system.
    Still waiting.
    Still waiting.

  13. sowa says:

    Two gangs of frauds fighting over territory and profit. The best bit is this one:

    “(…) leaders from this church have their own selfish agendas, which they achieve by making people believe that they have power to heal and provide solutions.” – either your self-awareness equals absolute zero or you just don’t give a damn how it ridiculous it sounds in Catholic’s mouth and simply want to smear competition. You suck either way.

  14. Robster says:

    Could be quite a fun thing watching the various, incompatible versions of the Jesus munchers facing each other at 10 paces. Thing is, poor old blighted Africa is about the only spot on the planet where Jesus belief is growing, to have the Frank followers v the home grown versions will no doubt be an entertainment.