CONGO: Cardinal Raises Alarm on Religious Violence, Urges Restraint among Politicians

KINSHASHA FEBRUARY 24, 2017 (CISA)-Cardinal Monsengwo Pasinya has expressed concern over frequent attacks on Catholic Church premises in the country.

According to Vatican Radio, the Cardinal believes the attacks are deliberate and links them to the Church’s role as a mediator between government and opposition parties.

“I believe the Church is being targeted deliberately in order to sabotage her mission of peace and reconciliation,” he said in a message sent to Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) posted on February 22.

He described the situation in the country as marked by resurgence of fear, anger and insecurity among the population.

The church played a crucial role as a mediator in negotiations that led to a December 31, 2016 agreement that will see President Joseph Kabila step down after elections late 2017.  This agreement brought the country back from the brink of renewed civil war.

Arson attacks have been common in Catholic Church installations. Arsonists attacked the Major Seminary in Malole in Kananga city, in Central Kasai on February 18.

On February 19, they attacked St. Dominic parish in Kinshasha and vandalized properties belonging to the church. Congolese government condemned the attacks.

Parishes of Mubinza, Ngwema ,Lubi, Kamponde and Mikele have also been attacked and looted in early February.

Pamphlets distributed in the region incited attacks against Catholic schools, churches and convents.

Cardinal Pasinya also called on the country’s politicians to assume their responsibility of leadership.

“It is now down to the men of politics to acknowledge with humility, both before the nation and before the international community, their political weakness and turpitude of their selfish choices that have led to political impasse and paralysis of the institutions,” he said.

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