Bishop Ncube puts the Pope straight

BY TREVOR GRUNDY LONDON - Highly informed sources, tell The Zimbabwean that the Vatican and the Mugabe regime are engaged in talks and that this could open up future dialogue between the beleaguered Zanu (PF) government and Britain and the USA. But Catholics are staying silent for the time being. On

e highly placed Catholic source told this paper: “Perhaps the only people left in the world that Mugabe will listen to are the Catholics in Rome – but even that’s doubtful. The man seems to be happy to listen to the sycophants who surround him.” Recently, The Zimbabwean reported on how terrified most church leaders in exile are of the CIO. Some say that it is operating in the UK. Meantime, Archbishop Pius Ncube has admitted reprimanding the Pope about the positive remarks Benedict XV1 made to Zimbabwe’s new ambassador to the Holy See last year. An article in the 14 January 2006 issue of the Catholic magazine The Tablet was headlined Archbishop upbraids Benedict over Zimbabwe and was written by correspondent Ellen Teague. Ncube told the Pope on June 17: “Seeing that you were so optimistic in your speech, it may be that you don’t know what’s happening: when I left (Zimbabwe) they were smashing houses.” In a recent interview with the publication, Ncube said he had also given the Pope details of the Zimbabwean situation from the perspective of the majority of the population. It referred to demolitions, the stealing of traders’ goods, political repression, galloping inflation and a worsening food crisis. The Tablet report concluded: “Archbishop Ncube was concerned that Pope Benedict, who in June had been in office for only two months, had been badly briefed by his Secretariat of State. He acknowledged that there was a positive role to maintaining good diplomatic relations between the Church and the Mugabe Government but ‘for me, every tacit approval is driving one more nail into the coffin of many Zimbabweans’.”

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