Last year, the archdiocese had said a ten-person committee of clerics and lay Christians would hold consultations with the pope’s envoy in Kenya on the procedure of opening the cause for beatification of Cardinal Otunga.
Specifically, the committee - headed by Otunga’s long-serving secretary, Fr Dr Lawrence Njoroge - was to explore, with the papal nuncio, Archbishop Alain Paul Lebeaupin, the possibility of commencing the beatification process earlier.
Archbishop Ndingi today said the request was declined, adding that Otunga’s beatification would be on the agenda when the bishops of Kenya make their five-yearly visit to the Vatican in November. The bishops would then seek information and advice on the matter.
Archbishop Ndingi spoke to reporters after celebrating a memorial mass for Cardinal Otunga at the basilica.
Cardinal Otunga died on September 6, 2003, aged 80. He had served as archbishop of Nairobi for 26 years. His remains are interred in a special chapel at the Resurrection Garden, a retreat centre in Nairobi.
Today’s memorial mass was attended by the papal nuncio, Bishop Alfred Rotich of the Military Ordinariate, Auxiliary Bishop David Kamau of Nairobi, members of Cardinal Otunga’s family and thousands of city Christians.
In his homily, Fr Dominic Wamugunda said Cardinal Otunga was “a true Christian and a good priest” who lived the Beatitudes. He was a peaceful man who did not believe in his own strength or intelligence, but relied on God.
“Even in death, he continues to be a role model for each one of us.”
But the cardinal’s faith in humanity and civic institutions was shaken, Fr Wamugunda said, by the cruelty of the politically-instigated ethnic clashes of the early 1990’s in the Rift Valley during which many people were killed or injured and many more lost their property.
Otunga saw the enormity of evil when he visited the victims, Fr Wamugunda recalled.