Church must avoid partisan politics

The Church should not engage in partisan politics but ensure that it plays a critical role in which the message it preaches becomes the basis on which those in politics operate, says Vatican’s Secretary for relations with the states Archbishop Richard Gallagher.

He said politicians should be motivated by the gospel taught by the church because there was a close relationship between politics and religion.

Archbishop Gallagher said this yesterday on arrival at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport from Italy to attend the 50 years of diplomatic relations between Zambia and the Vatican.

He said it was not possible for religion and the politics to be separate entities because life had a political inclination adding that those who separated the two did not understand the existence of politics.

“You know that Mahatma Ghandi said if people should say that religion and politics have nothing to do with each other, then that indicates that they do not understand the religion. Life is a little bit political and so, whatever we do has consequences to it but that is not to mean that men and women in church should engage in politics. In summary, politics have a high dimension to what we do and what we say but politics must be motivated by the ideology of the gospel taught by the church,” Archbishop Gallagher said.

He said the church had a moral obligation to supplement Government’s efforts in various sectors of development as demonstrated by the Catholic Church.

“My visit here is to encourage the church to always remain committed to making a social composition to the church to help in development in the areas of health, education and other institutions. We feel we can do that and always to offer moral example and authority and to try and move Zambians towards a common goal,” Archbishop Gallagher said.

He said the Vatican had enjoyed a cordial bilateral relationship with Zambia since independence and that he was happy that he would be part of the Catholic Church’s celebration of 50 years of existence in Zambia.

“We are here to celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations between Zambia and the Vatican as you may be aware that historically, we have shared very good relations since independence and ever since, the church has continued to grow and so, we need to participate in the celebration.

“We are also here to renew our understanding of Zambia as you know that it is not obvious that we have the opportunity of someone coming here with a special message from Pope Francis to our nuncio here in Lusaka. I come in the name of Pope Francis to greet all Zambians and to wish this country and the church here well,” Archbishop Gallagher said.

He also noted that there was nothing wrong with declaring Zambia as a Christian nation as long as the country portrayed values that identified itself as a Christian nation.

“The question is does what is imbedded in the constitution faithfully reflect the aspirations and ambitions of Zambians? For me, it should be by the enjoyment of the Christian network that should be a source of inspiration,” Archbishop Gallagher said.

Archbishop Gallagher is accompanied by His Excellence Vatican Nuncio Jurio Murat and his assistant Marco Fumika