ALL AFRICA REPORT: John Cardinal Njue on Saturday urged newly ordained priests to take religious life seriously.
And he warned that those who were not ready for the serious ministry ahead of them should not try it.
"For those who have not yet decided, the door is open," he said.
Cardinal Njue spoke in Nairobi a day after Pope Benedict XVI said in England that the Catholic Church had dropped its guard on paedophilia and had failed to deal with the issue quickly enough. The Pope spoke as he began a historic state visit to Britain.
During the flight to Edinburgh, the Pope told journalists on board his plane that the Catholic Church "has not been vigilant enough" on the issue of priests who abused children.
The revelations of child abuse that have shaken the church "were a shock to me", he said, shortly before landing in Edinburgh, adding that it was "difficult" to understand how such actions could be "possible".
The Pope admitted that the church authorities "did not act quickly or firmly enough to take the necessary action" to deal with the problem.
Cardinal Njue was presiding over a mass at Nairobi's Holy Family Minor Basilica, where he ordained five priests and elevated 12 to deacons.
He warned them against disrespecting the vow of celibacy.
He said the Church takes this vow seriously and expected those entering the religious ministry to follow it to the letter.
"The Church has not changed its strong stance on the issue, and this you must adhere to," the Cardinal told the newly ordained priests and deacons.
He said the church was currently witnessing a shortage of priests.
He told parents to encourage their children to join religious life as priests and religious men and women.
The Cardinal thanked the parents of the new priests and deacons, describing this as a great contribution to the church.
"As we congratulate the newly ordained priests and deacons, we urge more parents to see the need to have some of their children join religious life," he told the congregation who had turned up to witness the occasion.
The Cardinal said religious life called for serious commitment.
"This is why not everybody is dedicated to this ministry," he said.
The Cardinal was assisted during the mass by Auxiliary Bishop David Kamau of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Nairobi.
More than 200 priests and nuns attended the occasion.
The newly ordained priests and deacons were presented to the Cardinal by the Rev Fr Stephen Karin's wa Mutonga