Bishops lead Zimbabwe prayer meetings, renew calls for change

.- Catholics in Zimbabwe, supported by Archbishop Pius Ncube and other prelates, have helped to organize two prayer meetings this past week. The meetings, held in Catholic churches, were organized to express opposition to the government of President Robert Mugabe, which has been under fire for its human rights abuses.

Zimbabwe police allowed the prayer meeting to take place on Saturday at St. Patrick’s Community Church in Makokoba despite earlier threats to stop the gathering as an illegal anti-government protest.

Police officers, in uniform and in plain clothes, reportedly watched opposition figures, labor and student leaders, rights activists, and clerics filing in and out of the prayer meeting from a distance.

Organizers of the vigil, the Save Zimbabwe Campaign, said in a statement they were determined to defy any attempt to stop the prayer meeting despite fears of a police crackdown.

"The leadership of the campaign once again reiterates its commitment to the resolution of the Zimbabwean crisis in total defiance of the brutality being perpetrated by the state security agents," it said. "We deplore the use of violence by those that are in power."

The meeting was co-organized by Archbishop Pius Ncube, who has been very critical of Mugabe's government. Zimbabwe's Catholic Bishops' Conference last week joined Archbishop Ncube in accusing Mugabe and his officials of running a corrupt government and abusing the political rights of Zimbabweans.

At the prayer meeting on Thursday, the archbishop was joined by two South African bishops, who were active in the struggle against apartheid. According to the Harare Herald, the "Candles for Peace and Prayer" service, held at St. Mary's Cathedral in Bulawayo, started at 5:30 p.m. It was attended mostly by civil activists, including members of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign and officials from the opposition party.

Archbishop Ncube told the crowd that the meeting was organized to "pray for peace and denounce oppression.”

Archbishop Buti Tlagale of Johannesburg likened the situation in Zimbabwe to the "apartheid era in South Africa" and said the Church had a duty to provide "mediating leadership in the case of a leadership vacuum.”

Bishop Kevin Dowling of Rustenburg attacked Sadc leaders for criticizing the West, for imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe, and for not committing to help improve Zimbabwe's economy.

The Harare Herald made reference to accusations that the protests are being sponsored by the United States and Britain to illegally remove the Mugabe government from power.

Mugabe accuses Zimbabwe's former colonial power, Britain, of leading a Western campaign to oust his government as punishment for seizing and redistributing white-owned commercial farms to landless blacks. London denies there is such a plot.

Mugabe, a practicing Catholic, and his officials have not responded publicly to criticism from Catholic officials. Some analysts believe could have a greater influence in persuading him to discuss political reform than attacks from elsewhere. Catholicism is the largest Christian denomination in Zimbabwe.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Synod on the Family October 2014
Preferential option for the poor
God is alive, even in sport
'A forbidden God' named Best Film at the International Catholic Film Festival
Vatican backs a 'Pause for Peace' during World Cup final
The effects of religious violence in Sarajevo 
The origin of Corpus Christi 
Corpus Christi at the Vatican 
Homage to an Indian Cardinal
Train of the Child's Light
New book explaining gestures of the Mass
Encounter between Pope Francis and the Charismatic Renewal in the Spirit Movement.
Religious tensions subside amid Balkan floods
John Paul II Center for Studies on Marriage and Family
Saint John Paul II on cartoon
Syrian Christian refugees
Papal Foundation Pilgrimage
Exorcism or prayer of liberation?
First meeting of Commission for Protection of Minors

Liturgical Calendar

July 22, 2014

Saint Mary Magdalene

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 13:24-43


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Mic 7: 14-15, 18-20

Saint of the Day

St. Mary Magdalene »


Homily of the Day

Mt 12:38-42


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: