Obispos con Cajones

In Zimbabwe, where President-for-life Robert Mugabe seems not to know the meaning of human rights, the nine Catholic bishops took a bold step on Easter Sunday.

HARARE, Zimbabwe - In an Easter message pinned to church bulletin boards around the country, Zimbabwe's Roman Catholic bishops called on President Robert Mugabe to leave office or face "open revolt" from those suffering under his government...

"As the suffering population becomes more insistent, generating more and more pressure through boycotts, strikes, demonstrations and uprisings, the state responds with ever harsher oppression through arrests, detentions, banning orders, beatings and torture," the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference said in a pastoral message pinned up at churches throughout the country.

The majority of Zimbabwe's Christians — including Mugabe — are Roman Catholics. Several thousand worshippers who packed the cathedral in Harare clustered around the bulletin boards to read the message after morning Mass on Sunday.

"Many people in Zimbabwe are angry, and their anger is now erupting into open revolt in one township after another," the nine bishops wrote.

"In order to avoid further bloodshed and avert a mass uprising, the nation needs a new people-driven constitution that will guide a democratic leadership chosen in free and fair elections," it said. MORE

How often do we see this kind of backbone in church leaders today? People who oppose Mugabe like this are routinely subject to arrest, torture, and imprisonment. These bishops are risking life and limb to protect their flock.

I know, I know, separation of church and state, etc etc. Tell it to this guy. We're not talking about whether to post the Ten Commandments or not. Zimbabwe is way past that point. But not all church leaders are in agreement:
The Anglican church has been more muted, with its leaders generally toeing the ruling party line.

Why am I not surprised?

UPDATE: Here is an excellent blog post comparing the Church in Zimbabwe to the role of the church in overthrowing communism in Poland. Hat tip: Mark Shea.

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