Corruption is a morality issue

– By Rev. Fr. Peter Kamomoe-           

Morals and morality are familiar words in our daily talk. Morals as the acceptable ways of behaving; good, right, proper or acceptable.
Morality on the hand, more so, according to St. Paul is the work of something natural in man possibly the expression of innate knowledge of right and wrong. This is evident in his address to the people of Corinth. It involves notions such as rightness and wrongness, guilt and shame; the voluntary action that does not necessarily depend on factors external to the person, but on the person himself. We can conclude that morality is the moral institution of humanity.

Any individual brought up naturally with well-defined social instincts would inevitably acquire a moral sense. Ironically, some of whom are believed to have grown up in the normal and most natural and social paths portray the contrary behavior because natural ways are not enough without God’s graces and Spirit.

Today’s society is full of corruption and the society ignorantly tolerating and validating it, citizens deliberately electing leaders who are obviously known to be immoral and corrupt, spouses who cheat on their partners, domestic violence, spouses killing their partners so that they can take charge of the family wealth, children lying to their parents about their illegal activities, doctors selling patients’ drugs, teachers helping learners cheat in examination, engineers approving substandard buildings because of bribes, managers and administrators using their positions to manipulate the decisions of the institutions, lecturers exchanging grades for sex, companies polluting the environment, business owners deliberately not disclosing or submitting the correct taxes, employers mistreating their employees, politicians embezzling public funds. These are a few examples among many that you have been a perpetrator or a victim of.

But the big and common question is, as a Christian, are you convinced that people need to be morally upright? Has your faith influenced your morality? Have you resolved to pursue good in life and avoid evil which is a basic moral principle for all Christians and the people of God?

Surely, there is the erosion of moral frameworks in ‘modern’ society. And this, in my mind, seemed to raise the question of “why?”

Borrowing from Kohlberg’s theory (1958) on moral development, it is essential for parents, caregivers, teachers, church, society and those in authority to impact morality and closely monitor its development. Raise the child in such a way that the child is aware of the consequences of certain negative behavior such as disrespecting the authority, dishonesty, lying, etc.
As a child or rather a person interacts with society, he/she borrows the negative and bad morals. Living in societies where domestic violence, separations, and divorce (single parenting), pornographic content, tribalism, bribery from those in authority and politicians, gambling/betting, drug abuse, and prostitution can be a trigger to the spread of similar vices among the youth.

What worsens it, is when people justify such behavior by giving irrelevant reasons. An alcoholic says that nobody should advise how he/she drinks because the money is his/hers. A driver over speeds because he is late for work. A prostitute using the proceeds to educate her children or voting a particular leader not based on his/her ability to deliver but because he/she is a relative or a tribesman.
I feel that most of us lack moral guidance and genuine role models. The Christian formation is also in a downward trend with ‘Christians’ forming a chunk of the immoral in the society.
Why blame your son or your daughter for ignoring the teachings of the church or using vulgar and abusive language or beating up his wife/husband or having multiple love partners outside marriage or hating his neighbors or smoking or overly drinking, or land grabbing or betting/gambling? Or dressing inappropriately?

Look at yourself, how often do go to church? Are you honest in your relationship or marriage? Are you a ‘mpango wa Kando’ daddy or a sugar mummy? How easily do you forgive? Do you smoke? Do you drink? Have you been accused or even convicted for land grabbing? Do you participate in gambling/betting? Are you decent in your dressing?

Having expressed these dire concerns, I encourage you to isolate yourself from the rest and become an example and an advocate of a moral transformation in our families and the entire society. Do not be that person who regularly goes to church without Christ in his life.
Before criticizing that corrupt policeman, stop giving out the bribe. Before you point a finger to that one neighbor who did not forgive you, first forgive the ten people who wronged you. Before lamenting about your political leader, remember the bribe you took from him/her during campaign and election. Before laying a hand to your wife, first, denounce that ‘mpango wa Kando’
Stop blaming others for the evil happening in our societies, in your small way, help bring moral sanity to where it belongs. Make the line between good and bad, right and wrong bold, clear and conspicuous.

I understand that religion and Christian faith is not the only determinant of a person’s morality, but genuine faith can transform it. The church provides us with guidelines from which many of us have been able to derive a sense of right and wrong. Studies show that children attending church have more morals than those who do not.

God perfects nature and human nature and behavior for that matter. So, our moral life requires God’s guidance through the Gospel teachings and satisfaction through the satisfying mission of Christ. E.g. through sacraments; Baptism, Penance, and Eucharist. In Psalms 127, we are reminded that unless the Lord builds and guides us, we cannot be fruitful.

Join our Pope, cardinal, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops and priests to spread the message of moral transformation. Recently the Bishops made a declaration on corruption and swore to ensure that all the Christians follow the teachings of Jesus Christ of truth and honesty. Be part of the moral ambassadors.

The writer is a Priest in Charge/Administrator at Holy Family Basilica