Leave Fr Chilinda alone, Catholic leaders told

Catholic Church bishops opposed to the inter-denominational National House of Prayer set up by President Edgar Lungu in Lusaka should leave Father Charles Chilinda alone, the Zambia Direct Democracy Movement (ZDDM) has said.

ZDDM Vice president Charles Kafumbo told the Daily Nation yesterday that the Catholic Church should disown what he termed as disgruntled bishops opposed to Government’s initiative to build an inter-denominational church because they painted a bad picture of what the church stood for.

Mr. Kafumbo said Lusaka diocese Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu’s statement that Fr.  Chilinda could not represent the Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC) on the Government church board because he was not a bishop was an indication that there were leaders in the church who did not mean well for the people they were leading.

He said there was no need for church leaders to be jittery over the inter-denominational church that Government was building because it would serve the same purpose that the existing churches across the country were serving – as a place of worship.

Mr Kafumbo said squabbles among church leaders, especially in the Catholic Church, was unfortunate, adding that there was need for leaders to save the image of the church from people such as  Archbishop Mpundu who were personalising Christianity. He said it was wrong for the archbishop to attack his fellow leader on matters that bordered on Christianity which Fr. Chilinda was advancing by serving on the Government church board.

Mr Kafumbo said ZDDM was particularly concerned with the exchange of bitter words among church leaders on issues they did not agree on when they were supposed to be the ones providing guidance to their congregations.

He accused Archbishop Mpundu and all those opposed to the construction of a house of prayer and discouraging their members from accepting positions on the Government church board of having a hidden agenda over the matter.

“ZDDM is wondering the agenda of our brothers, the Catholic bishops, especially His Grace Archbishop Mpundu, who are opposing the construction of the national Tabernacle and harassing Fr. Chilinda for accepting to sit on the Government church board.

“Really, it is not normal for the biggest faith to deny its membership representation on the board. These attacks are very misplaced and misconceived. Archbishop Mpundu and his clique have a hidden agenda on this matter. Please, let us leave Fr. Chilinda alone,” Mr. Kafumbo said.

Last week, Archbishop Mpundu disowned Fr Chilinda over his appointment to represent ZEC on the church board, saying he did not qualify because he was not a bishop.

He said that ZEC could only be represented by a bishop because it was made up of Catholic bishops in Zambia, to which Fr. Chilinda was not a member.