THE Vatican Embassy and all Catholic Bishops in Zambia have expressed complete solidarity and support to Lusaka Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu.
In a statement yesterday, The Pope's representative in Zambia Archbishop Nicola Girasoli stated that the Vatican together with all Catholic Bishops of Zambia, the clergy, the male and female religious congregations, the Catholic Laity Institutions of Zambia, in this moment of spiritual suffering of the Archbishop of Lusaka expressed complete solidarity and support to him (Archbishop Mpundu) in his pastoral ministry as Archbishop of Lusaka.
Archbishop Girasoli stated that he had never met anybody or any group of the 'Catholics' claiming to have delivered a petition to The Pope against the Catholic Archbishop of Lusaka.
The Zambia Daily Mail on Friday carried a story entitled 'Pope given ultimatum' where they quoted one Edmond Zulu, group spokesperson for 'some members of the Catholic church' giving an ultimatum to the Vatican to respond to their request to remove Archbishop Mpundu as head of the Lusaka Diocese for allegedly tarnishing its image.
Zulu was quoted as having said that if the Pope failed to discipline Archbishop Mpundu within seven days, they would go ahead and demonstrate at the Vatican Embassy in Lusaka.
But Archbishop Girasoli stated that the so-called petition against Archbishop Mpundu was delivered to the Apostolic Nuncio by the officers of the police service who were doing their appreciated job of protecting the premises of the Vatican Embassy and not directly by the so-called 'concerned Catholics'.
"The people who gathered before the Apostolic Nunciature-Vatican Embassy on Friday, March, 19, 2010 are not known to any Catholic Institution of Zambia," Archbishop Girassoli stated.
He said the Catholic Church as a Universal Church has its own rules and norms based on more then 2,000 years of tradition and were duly collected in the Code of Canon Law.
Archbishop Girasoli stated that any kind of genuine action or claim in the Catholic Church should be sustained by the procedures indicated by Canon Law.
"The Apostolic Nunciature-Vatican Embassy at the beginning of the Holy Week, invites all Catholics of Zambia in union with their Bishops to pray more so that in this beloved country of Zambia can be strengthened the unity through diversity and the mutual respect and dialogue with all different beliefs, cultures and opinions," stated Archbishop Mpundu.
The Lusaka Archbishop has in the recent past come under attack from the government, the MMD and some quarters of society including former president Frederick Chiluba for speaking out on various issues.
In a letter of petition presented to the Vatican Ambassador to Zambia, the alleged concerned Church members from Chainda and Kamanga parishes called for the immediate removal of Archbishop Mpundu for allegedly issuing alarming statements in the press.
They also called on the Pope to issue a public apology on behalf on Catholic Church over Archbishop Mpundu's attitude towards the government.
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