Written by MANENO CHIMULALA
MZUZU--Malawi Catholic bishops have condemned homosexuality, abortion and artificial birth control measures, saying they’re sinful practices which shouldn’t be tolerated in a God fearing nation like Malawi.
The views are contained in letter that will be read in all Catholic churches Sunday. The statement comes hot on the heels of Malawi parliament passing a gender bill allowing women to choose whether to have a baby or not.
On homosexuality, the bishops say “as a loving mother and reflecting the unconditional love of God, the Church understands that for most of the homosexual persons, their condition is a trial. As such “they must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity.”
They say promotion of homosexuality is a threat to the institution of marriage as God planned it.
“It must be noted that defending marriage as a unit of man and woman should not be the responsibility of churches alone but also of conscientious civil authorities and any serious member of society.”
The pastoral statement has been signed by all the bishops in the country.
The bishops are: Joseph Suzan, chairperson of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi and bishop for Mzuzu Diocese; his deputy Thomas Msusa, Zomba Diocese; Tarcisius Ziyaye, Blantyre Archdiocese; Remi Ste-Marie, Lilongwe Archdiocese; Peter Musikuwa, Chikhwawa Diocese; Emmanuel Kanyama, Dedza Diocese; Alessandro Pagani, Mangochi Diocese; Martin Mtumbuka, Karonga Diocese and Montfort Stima, Auxiliary Bishop of Blantyre Archdiocese.
Catholic bishops in Malawi are influential. The country’s march to democracy in 1992 was started by the Catholic Church after its bishops issued a pastoral letter critical of late dictator Kamuzu Banda’s style of leadership.
Taking the cue from the bishops, trade unionist Chakufwa Chihana challenged Banda, who had been in power since independence in 1964, to allow Malawians to have a say in their own governance.
A referendum on whether to continue with the one party state or introduce democracy was held in 1993 and the country held its first multi-party elections in 1994.
Since 1992, the Church has remained the conscience of Malawi society.
© The Maravi Post 2013