Congo’s Catholic bishops denounced attempts to discredit their Church’s leaders and demanded the government lift a ban on peaceful demonstrations.
The world ‘is witnessing poisonous campaigns of denigration and defamation, designed to weaken our Church’s moral force,’ said a statement from the bishops’ conference.
‘Unswerving in our faith in Jesus Christ, king of the universe, and faithful to our prophetic mission, we will never abandon our engagement for the advent of a state of law.’
In a statement, carried by local newspapers on 20th February after a plenary meeting in the capital, Kinshasa, the bishops condemned the ‘bloody violence’ used by government security forces to suppress marches by mostly Catholic protesters on 31st December and 21st January. They also pledged support for Kinshasa Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo after media and politicians loyal to President Joseph Kabila attempted to discredit him.
‘Why were so many killed, injured, arrested and abducted, so many churches profaned and so many prayers interrupted? What crimes had been committed by these Christians and Congolese citizens?’ the bishops asked.
Picture: Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya of Kinshasa, Congo, right, concelebrates Mass on 9th February at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Congo in Kinshasa for demonstrators killed in recent protests. (CNS photo/Robert Carrubba, Reuters).