What the church says is for your own good, Bishop Phiri tells govt

CHIPATA Diocese Auxiliary Bishop Benjamin Phiri says the church does not speak because it has ill will. And Eastern Province minister Makebi Zulu says the government will ensure it does not suffocate the efforts of the church but rather supplement them.

Speaking during mass that followed a week-long retreat for Catholic Bishops in Chipata on Saturday, Bishop Phiri said it was the wish of the church that it should work in harmony with the government.

“While thanking you, I would still like to say that when the church speaks, it is not speaking because it has ill will or because it has something against somebody. Our task is to ensure the welfare and the wellbeing of the flock which happens also to be your constituency,”

Bishop Phiri said.

He said the government should take in good faith what the church says.

“It is for our own good, for your own good and for the good of the people whom we speak (for). So please tell his Excellency the President [Edgar Lungu] that we thank him for allowing you to come and be the guest of honour on this occasion,”

Bishop Phiri said.

He said the church would continue praying for the government.

“And we hope that you will continue to listen to us, especially in this time when people are waiting for inputs and things like that, that you will not forget that we are a farming community so that our people can have a good crop, a good market and good roads,”

said Bishop Phiri.

Earlier, Zulu commended the bishops for doing their retreat in the province two years in a roll.

“Eastern Province is really blessed, every time there is confusion everywhere even in the minds of the presidents in this country from Kenneth Kaunda through to President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, they come to Eastern Province to recover, then thereafter there is change in the country and we hope that your visit will spiral into a great change in the church,”

he said.

Zulu said the government was collaborating with the church in many areas. He said the government depended on the church to supplement its efforts in health, education and other social programmes. Zulu said he was aware of the challenges the church was encountering in trying to help people.

“Government will ensure that we don’t suffocate the efforts of the church but rather support and supplement them,” he said.

Zulu also said the government could not legislate for or against morality but will depend on the church to help in that regard. Zulu said the politics of the country should be a reflection of what people are taught in the church. Archbishop Ignatius Chama gave insights of how the seven-day retreat was, saying its mission of the retreat was to thank God for the gift of faith.

The mass was attended by nine bishops, former chief justice Ernest Sakala, former Zambia’s ambassador to Russia Solomon Mbuzi, among other notable individuals.

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