CATHOLICS say the Association of Catholic Parliamentarians is an illegal organisation that is not registered in the Church records.
The rebel group is led by livestock minister Nkandu Luo, as Archbishop of Mandahill and Given Lubinda as Bishop of Kabwata East. The rebel group attacked Catholic Bishops for opposing the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019.
But the Zambia National Council for the Catholic Laity (ZNCCL) said there was no record of such an association in the Catholic books.
The ZNCCL has since asked the two ministers to apologise to the Church.
“…While we appreciate the reforms that have been witnessed over time since the Second Vatican Council of Bishops (1962-1965), the laity have emerged as a greater source of leadership in various aspects of the Church’s life. However, we have noted with disappointment the ‘so-called’ Association of Catholic Parliamentarians outburst and the accusations leveled against the [Zambia] Conference [of Catholic Bishops] on Bill No. 10 of 2019 by accusing the Conference of not consulting the organization,’’ national chairperson Clement Chinama said in a statement dated June 24 and released yesterday. “First and foremost, we wish to make it clear that for any organization of the laity or association to fully exist and operate under the name of ‘Catholic Organisation’ it has to be sanctioned by ZCCB and be affiliated to ZNCCL. Unfortunately, our office has no records of the so-called Catholic Parliamentarians and there is no approval of its establishment anywhere…If you are really Catholics with a conscience which is alive, you need to apologise and seek reconciliation with the Church and God. Your action was aimed at nothing, but on intent of outing the Conference in ridicule and tarnish its admirable image both at regional and international levels respectively.”
Chinama stated further that it was also wrong for Lubinda and Luo to accuse the Bishops of not having read Bill 10 when in fact they did.
He stated that Bishops read and understood the bill, and that the laity fully supported their statement.
“We the laity in Zambia under the umbrella body of the Zambia National Council for the Catholic Laity (ZNCCL) wishes to strongly support the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops’ position on various national issues in Zambia and particularly the recent press statement the Conference issued on 9th June 2020 which contained a number of issues affecting the general citizenry and among them peace building and reconciliation efforts, human rights abuse, erosion of traditional, religious and moral values of our society…” stated Chinama. “ZNCCL is happy to note that whenever the Conference speaks about something of national interest, it is done within its jurisdictions guided by its values, faith, unity, justice, integrity, love and service, commitment and solidarity.”