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South African bishops rebuke nation’s president for not repenting of adultery

February 15, 2010

The Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference has publicly rebuked President Jacob Zuma for not repenting of his adultery. The president, who took office in 2009, is a non-Catholic with three wives.

“The Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference expresses its strongest concern of the scandalous behaviour of leaders who shamelessly flout the norms of morality and decency, accepted and expected by the vast majority of people,” Cardinal Wilfrid Napier of Durban said in a February 12 statement.

“While we note President Zuma's expression of regret for engaging in ‘unprotected sex,’ we are nonetheless appalled that for the second time in as many years he does not express regret or show remorse for his adultery,” Cardinal Napier added. “We are equally appalled that irreparable damage that such immorality has done to the nation's efforts to slow down or even to reverse the rampant spread of HIV and AIDS.”

Cardinal Napier continued:

Accordingly, we urge all followers of Christ, all men and women of goodwill, but especially our youth and young adults, to obey and live by the teaching of the Lord, which sets out the behaviour that is necessary for a sound and healthy society: "For out of the heart come evil ideas, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are the things that defile a person." (Mt15:19-20). "The body is not for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body" (1Cor 6:13)

Therefore we call on the whole Church community to fulfil its vocation and mission to bear witness to Christ's life and teaching by rejecting all immoral behaviour, especially sexual immorality and instead commit itself to keeping the Maker's instructions for a sound and healthy society.


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  • Posted by: Cornelius - Feb. 15, 2010 8:39 AM ET USA

    Gosh, I wish the U.S. Bishops would be so courageous and plain-spoken in the face of scandalous words and behavior by our national and state leaders, not to mention our noxious celebrity culture.