I AM not a Catholic but have been to some of their high-profile gatherings, one of which was the Episcopal ordination of a bishop of Gweru diocese. Well, I could not help noticing the kind of mayhem the presence of His Excellency caused.
=justify>In a country like ours, with peace-loving people who are determined to keep it so, who could honestly touch him?
Mr President is a simple Christian like many others. He has to believe in the Lord who preserves his going out and coming in. God who has assured his people that he is a God of the hills and the streets (Psalms 121:8).
There is absolutely no need, I believe, for him to take his special tactic troops and Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) agents just to guard him as he prays. If he must they should stay outside if not stay away completely.
In Gweru I felt the people of God were disturbed a lot. Just how can one honestly pray when soldiers and CIO agents are moving all over and keeping a hawk’s eye on them?
I felt the ceremony was just a celebration devoid of its prayerful character. Poor Christians took various postures used by Catholics during their services while he sat there like a Herod, neither kneeling nor standing as if he was being worshipped. His soldiers too could be seen chatting away.
One may wonder how I noticed all this: praying was next to impossible. How could anyone pray? The prayerful atmosphere was stolen from the people.
Since all possess a rational soul with the same nature and origin, enjoying the same calling and destiny, the essential quality of people is equality and this must receive greater recognition. Granted, we are not the same from the standpoint of varying physical power, diversity of intellectual and moral resources.
I still have to hear of another president who, during a liturgical celebration, has his own stage decorated in the national colours with the flag flying high just above him as if he was representing his people in another country. One could be forgiven to think that there was another altar for him there.
In church there is no class distinction. We are all the same.
I found it even harder to think of the reason of giving the president a chance to say “a few words”, rather another sermon. Does he have to say anything at all after mass?
I think worshippers have to choose between inviting him — obviously earning ourselves media coverage and then prepare to be ridiculed by him in his so-called “few words” — and not inviting him and be able to pray without robbing the occasion of its prayerful character.
I could not go to Chinhoyi where another Catholic bishop was being ordained so I won’t comment.
The Hwange diocese will be the next one soon since I gather they have no bishop. How will they go about it should a bishop be appointed sooner or later? That’s a question for Hwange.
Ferguson P Matabisa,