Rome Newsroom, Aug 20, 2020 / 09:45 am
The Vatican’s representative in Zimbabwe met with a senior government official Wednesday amid tensions following a pastoral letter issued by the country’s bishops.
Archbishop Paolo Rudelli, the apostolic nuncio to Zimbabwe, spoke to Sibusiso Moyo, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Aug. 19, days after another government official issued a strongly worded attack on Archbishop Robert Ndlovu of Harare.
Monica Mutsvangwa, the Minister of Information, described Ndlovu as “an errant and evil bishop” in response to a letter issued by Zimbabwe’s bishops Aug. 14 accusing government forces of committing human rights abuses.
Mutsvangwa claimed that Ndlovu was seeking to lead Zimbabwe’s Catholics into “the darkest dungeons of Rwanda-type genocide.”
Rudelli visited Ndlovu Aug. 16 in what Vatican News, a service provided by the Holy See’s Dicastery for Communication, characterized as a “solidarity visit.”
Ziyambi Ziyambi, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Justice, said Aug. 19 that the bishops’ pastoral letter was “an outright insult” to the President Emmerson Mnangagwa and “decidedly unbecoming of an institution such as the Catholic Church.”
“Government is compelled to engage the Vatican in order to ascertain whether or not such statements reflect the official attitude of the Holy See towards Zimbabwe’s leadership or whether these are merely the views of the various individuals concerned,” Ziyambi said, according to Reuters.
Bishops throughout southern Africa have rallied behind Ndlovu.