Sticks and stones

mugabevigilaPresident Robert Mugabe (pictured) has been casting aspersions against the Roman Catholic clergy, accusing them of nailing their colours to the mast of a foreign power.

At the same time he has been heaping praise on indigenous apostolic sects, some of which are led by convicted rapists. He praises them because they now preach the Zanu (PF) doctrine.

The Catholic Church, on the other hand, has been consistent in its teachings on social justice and respect for human rights.

The Smith regime took a very dim view of the Catholic Church for its fearless exposure of his minority regimes human rights abuses at that time. The Catholic Justice and Peace Commission was relentless in highlighting atrocities committed by Smiths forces, despite threats to its staff. Many of them, as well as a number of priests and nuns, were arrested and jailed or deported.

The current Bishop of Chinhoyi, Dieter Schultz, was one such casualty, while Bishop Donald Lamonts name is engraved on the hearts of all those who strove for justice and equal rights during the Rhodesian Front era.

Mugabe himself was assisted to flee the country by Catholic nuns. At no time did he or Zanu (PF) criticise the Church for its involvement in politics back then.

On the contrary, he is on record as having praised the Church for its uncompromising stand for justice and respect for humanity.

The bishops then always spoke out on behalf of the oppressed majority. It is the same today.

The Churchs record of providing and running excellent schools and hospitals for the masses throughout the country since the early 1900s speaks for itself.

Mugabe himself is a beneficiary of a good Catholic education. His own village in Zvimba boasts one of Zimbabwes best Catholic-run hospitals and colleges Kutama.

We applaud the Catholic bishops and clergy for their unwavering stance in siding with the people. Theirs is not a comfortable position to be in but that is the nature of their calling.

The bishops may be vilified by Mugabe, but the people of Zimbabwe appreciate the significant role they have played, and continue to play, in our lives.

Post published in: Editor: Wilf Mbanga

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