Open letter to Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu

Dear Sir,

I write to seek clarification on your utterance in the Post news paper about the declaration of Zambia as a Christian Nation. In a brief quote below, you argued that Zambia can not qualify to be a Christian Nation due to corruption, intimidation, fighting and thieving.

“That is why for me and the Catholic Church, the proclamation of Zambia as a Christian nation is a non-event. It’s a useless proclamation because not everyone who says ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of God. How Christian are we? Just take a look at what happens when we have a simple by-election. Corruption, intimidation, fighting, thieving…is that Christianity?” Archbishop Mpundu.

If indeed Zambian can not be declared a Christian Nation due corruption and other things you mentioned; may I ask you a question? Why should the Catholic Church be a church with so many reported abuses, corruption and scandals at the increase? If the absence of corruption can qualify Zambia to be a Christian Nation, why should the Catholic qualify to be a church with so many shortcomings? If it is required for a society to attain certain qualities to be civilized what more about the church?

MORALITY

The Church should support morality; but this is contrary to the Catholic Church that is in forefront brewing beer as reported by Lusaka Times and times of Zambia.

“The Catholic Church Mansa Diocese in Luapula Province is embroiled in disagreement with a business executive over shareholding in an alcohol business from which the Church has been planning to withdraw. The Mansa Diocese has been in the business of brewing opaque beer through a company called Top Star Breweries, in which it has a strong ordinary shareholding that stands at two million, representing 20 per cent since 2004.”

SEXUAL ABUSE as reported by BBC

In Austria: “A series of claims of sexual abuse by priests has emerged in the Vorarlberg region. Some 16 people have reported 27 alleged incidents there, spanning half a century.”

SWITZALAND: “A commission set up by the Swiss Bishops Conference in 2002 has been investigating allegations of abuse involving the Catholic Church there. A member of the commission, Abbot Martin Werlen, said in a newspaper interview this month that about 60 people have said they were abused by Catholic priests. The alleged incidents are reported to have occurred over the past 15 years”

ITALY: “In June 2010 a high-profile former priest was charged with sexual abuse. Pierino Gelmini, 85, is alleged to have abused 12 young people at a drug rehabilitation center he founded. Meanwhile, a number of deaf men have come forward to say they were abused as children at the Antonio Provolo Institute for the Deaf in the northern city of Verona between the 1950s and the 1980s.

CNN reports: As the Vatican announced Friday that Pope Benedict XVI has signed a pastoral letter about Ireland’s abusive priests, it became increasingly clear that the church abuse crisis has entered a new international phase, with allegations spreading across a half dozen countries — including the pope’s native Germany.

“Now we have obvious confirmation that this is a global crisis,” said John Allen, CNN’s Vatican analyst and senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter. “Anywhere there is a substantial Catholic population there is the potential for this type of scandal.”

FINANCIAL SCANDAL BY THE CHURCH as reported by National Catholic reporter

“It has been said that the next scandal to hit the Catholic Church after the sexual-abuse crisis in the priesthood would be financial.

Jason Berry has turned now from the former to the latter in his Render Unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church (Crown, $25).

The two problems are, of course, connected. The church in the United States alone has already paid out almost $2 billion to victims of clergy abuse, just as Dominican Fr. Thomas Doylehad predicted. At least some of this amount was made larger because of the truculence of certain bishops, who stonewalled and moved predatory priests from place to place before the law and lawyers caught up with them.”

 

In 2010 the Vatican moved to meet international demands for more financial transparency following an investigation into the Vatican bank for violation of money-laundering rules. It put in place laws that bring it in line with international standards on transparency, prevention of terrorism, counterfeiting and fraud. BBC

THE POPE as quoted: During a visit to Israel the Pope expressed sorrow for the history of anti-Semitism within the Catholic Church. Pope Benedict XVI says the clerical child abuse scandal shows that the greatest threat to Catholicism comes from “sin within” the Church.

He made his comments in response to a question while en route to Portugal.

Critics have previously accused the Vatican of attempting to blame the media and the Church’s opponents for the escalation of the scandal. But the Pope made clear its origin came from within the Church itself, and said forgiveness “does not replace justice”.

‘Need for penance’. “Today we see in a truly terrifying way that the greatest persecution of the Church does not come from outside enemies, but is born of sin within the Church,” the pontiff told reporters on a plane bound for Portugal.

His comments were his most direct response to media questions, and some of his strongest words yet on the abuse scandal, says BBC Vatican correspondent David Willey, who is travelling with the Pope.

Benedict said the Church has “a very deep need” to acknowledge that it must do penance for its sins and “accept purification”. BBC

The Pope himself has been accused of being part of a culture of secrecy, and of not taking strong enough steps against paedophiles when he had that responsibility as a cardinal in Rome.

 

Speaking in Rome at his weekly general audience, he referred to his weekend meeting with abuse victims in Malta.”I shared with them their suffering and, with emotion, I prayed with them, promising them action on the part of the Church,” he said.

Direct reference

The Pope met eight men, during his visit to Malta on Sunday, who have complained of abuse during their childhood at an orphanage.

“I wanted to meet some people who were victims of abuse by members of the clergy,” he said.

One of the men, Lawrence Grech, said the meeting was “very emotional” and that “everybody cried”, and that it had given him huge spiritual courage.

Sexual abuse of minors by priests receives significant media attention in Canada, Ireland the United States the United Kingdom Mexico Belgium France and Germany while cases have been reported throughout the world

In addition to cases of abuse, much of the scandal has focused around members of the Catholic hierarchy who did not report abuse allegations to the civil authorities. In many cases they reassigned those accused to other locations where they continued to have contact with minors.

Which of these reports qualifies the Catholic Church be a Church? Should the church abuse the deaf, children, women and the less privileged in society? Not all is rosy in the Catholic Church worldwide. So condemning the sins of Zambia and justify the wickedness of the Church is a miscourage of justice.

No society is perfect, but that should not the base to deny a people the right of identity. Zambia is declared Christian, not because all citizens are Christian; but like in any other democratic society; the majority wins. In Zambia not all Zambians are PF supporters, but the party is in government by popular vote. So the majority of Zambians are Christians, why should you and the Catholic Church deny them their right to be a Christian Nation? First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

Nkisu Gerald Katayi

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