.- Bishop Filomeno do Nascimiento Vieira Dias of Cabinda, Angola, has issued a statement denounce the acts of violence and vandalism carried out in his diocese by groups that reject his episcopal authority.
In his statement, the Angolan bishop denounced groups and individuals that are “disturbing the normal functioning of the Catholic community of the Diocese of Cabinda, threatening priests and the laity who participate in liturgical celebrations.” Priests and laity alike have been attacked with rocks and verbal assaults in recent weeks. Radical groups have occupied some parishes and committed acts of vandalism as well.
Bishop Vieira Dias exhorted Catholics to be courageous witnesses of fidelity to the Pope and to the Church, by “denouncing the authors of such acts to the competent authorities, as we are dealing here with persecutors of Christians and disturbers of the public order.”
The bishop concluded his statement underscoring that “Catholics are those who serve the People of God according to the norms of the Church, because the opposite is to improperly take advantage of the name Catholic for purposes inconsistent with the life of the Church.”