ZAMBIA: Bishop Phiri Admonishes the Use of Churches as Political Platforms

By Odiwuor Opiyo

NDOLA, AUGUST 12, 2022 (CISA) – “Whenever the politicians visit our churches, they should be treated like any other ordinary Christian coming to worship. At no time should they be accorded a chance to speak to the gathered faithful during mass at the pulpit nor should they be given an audience outside mass to speak to the parishioners within the parish premises,” rebuked Rt Rev Dr Benjamin Phiri, JCD, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Ndola in a memo dated August 8, to all vicars forane, priests, men and women religious as well as all lay faithful of the diocese.

He noted that some parish priests and their assistants were overlooking all previous directives and granting politicians consent to address the faithful within the Church and its premises.

“Our churches are not political platforms of whatever political pronouncements our brothers and sisters from the political sphere wish to make known to the public,” said the prelate who, through the memo, affirmed an earlier directive on the conduct of all during the visits of politicians to churches in the diocese.

Bishop Phiri also reprimanded priests in the diocese asking them to adhere strictly to his directive without fail.

“I am aware that some priests out of courtesy have in the past accorded an opportunity to politicians to speak (to) the gathered faithful to greet them during mass. This is not permitted at all,” sustained Bishop Phiri.

“Furthermore, I wish to admonish all the faithful to work for unity in the one church of Christ as we all belong to the one family of Jesus Christ our saviour. Our churches must stand as a sign of unity,” he urged adding that, “let us also not forget to pray for our political leaders that they too, may work for unity and the betterment of human lives.”