Catholic Church priest, Father Frank Bwalya, has been put on a one-year sabbatical leave and removed from Ipusukilo Parish as parish priest.
Ndola Diocese Catholic Church Bishop, Noel O’regan, said during the sabbatical leave, which starts on May 1, Fr. Bwalya would not be allowed to serve mass, but would be free to express views on national issues as long as they were non-partisan.
“I have approved the application from Fr. Bwalya to go on sabbatical. During this period he can either go for further studies and speak on national issues for the good of the church and the country,” Bishop O’regan said.
Speaking on Radio Icengelo’s `Face to Face’ programme in Kitwe yesterday, Bishop O’regan said Fr. Bwalya would also be allowed to host some programmes at Radio Icengelo.
He said the Catholic Church removed Fr. Bwalya from Radio Icengelo as station manager because the Catholic Church was not in agreement with the manner in which Fr Bwalya expressed his sentiments on national issues.
Bishop O’regan said although Fr. Bwalya’s sentiments were in line with the Catholic Church’s social teachings, the church were not in support of the manner Fr. Bwalya was expressing his sentiments.
“He was removed because we wanted to clear the air that some of his personal views did not represent the church’s position but were being said in his personal capacity as Fr. Bwalya,” Bishop O’regan said.
Bishop O’regan also dispelled assertions that the removal of Fr. Bwalya from the radio station was aimed at silencing the priest.
“There are no attempts to stop Fr. Bwalya from speaking on national issues because during the sabbatical, he is free to express his sentiments on the radio as long as they are not political but those to benefit the church and the nation at large,” Bishop O’regan said.
And speaking, on the same programme, Fr. Bwalya commended Bishop O’regan for approving his sabbatical.
[ Zambia Daily Mail]