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Malawi: priests, religious defend prelate following criticism by president

Catholic World News - September 06, 2011

Malawi’s priests and religious have rallied to the defense of a prominent prelate after the nation’s president accused him of being influenced by the political opposition.

Bishop Joseph Mukasa Zuza, the president of the nation’s episcopal conference, recently called upon President Bingu wa Mutharika to “stop suffocating civil society, the press, the judiciary power and democracy.” The nation’s president, in turn, accused the prelate of being influenced by the political opposition.

“Some people are suggesting that Mgr. Zuza has been influenced by opposition elements, while others say that he wanted to attack the president of the republic,” associations representing the nation’s priests and religious said in a joint statement.

“The bishop’s office and the Catholic Church should not be identified with any political party or type of government,” the statement continued. “It is therefore unwarranted for politicians to insinuate that the chairperson of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi was inspired by some opposition elements.”

“Any attempt to attack the clergy is an attack on the Church.”

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