The Catholic Archdiocese of Lusaka has refuted social media reports suggesting that Priests are not happy with Archbishop Alick Banda’s stance on homosexuality and alleged gay rights promotion in Zambia.
Archbishop Banda last week released a pastoral statement in which he noted increased promotion of gay rights and rising cases of sodomy in Zambia in the last one year.
Archbishop Banda said President Hakainde Hichilema and the law enforcement agencies seem to be paying a blind eye to the rising incidents related to homosexuality in Zambia.
The Archbishop said homosexuality and promotion of gay rights is slowly taking root in the Zambian society, albeit complacency from the State and the law enforcement agencies.
Archbishop Banda’s pastoral statement which has been read in all parishes under Lusaka Archdiocese as per Catholic tradition, has angered UPND supporters.
Some pro-UPND social media platforms have gone on to publish negative remarks against Archbishop Banda, whom they have accused of being a PF supporter.
On Monday, a lengthy social media article went viral in which people said to be Priests in Lusaka said they were not happy with Archbishop Banda.
“We the CATHOLIC PRIESTS of the LUSAKA ARCHDIOCESE are alarmed at BISHOP ALICK BANDA’s departure from his role as a shepherd of the flock of the Lord. We cannot keep silent any more. We have watched with great pain BISHOP ALICK BANDA anointing himself as a spokesperson for an OPPOSITION POLITICAL PARTY, PF, and speaking about anything he thinks will discredit the RULING GOVERNMENT. His ACCUSATIONS that the GOVERNMENT was behind the STEALING of TV SETS from EDGAR LUNGU’S Ibex hill residence and now his recent rants that the GOVERNMENT was ENCOURAGING homosexuality were all messages lifted up from OPPOSITION PF blogs.A BISHOP should be above partisan politics and look at greater social justice and faith.As CATHOLIC CLERGY, we believe our bishops have a prophetic role to play by denouncing injustice, as was the case with old testament prophets and as did our Lord JESUS CHRIST. This was beautifully stated in paragraph 1 of the Vatican II’s Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern Word (Gaudium et Spes) promulgated by Pope Paul VI as follows: “The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ. Indeed, nothing genuinely human fails to raise an echo in their hearts.” This entails that the CATHOLIC CHURCH and its LEADERSHIP cannot abandon the matters of SOCIAL JUSTICE, especially matters affecting the POOR. But to have a BISHOP ANOINT HIMSELF as SPOKESPERSON for the ELITE and FORMER RULING PARTY, PF, is to ABDICATE this CATHOLIC MANDATE,” read part of the article.
But Lusaka Archdiocese Vicar General Fr. Solomon Tembo, who is the second in command in the Archdiocese, had released a media statement backing Archbishop Banda.
Fr. Tembo said no Priest in the Archdiocese was against Archbishop Banda.
Fr. Tembo said he was astonished by the social media reports suggesting that Priests are against their Archbishop.
The senior Catholic Priest said he doubted the authenticity of the article that quoted anonymous priests.
Fr. Tembo said Priests in Lusaka Archdiocese have disassociated themselves from all sentiments and views expressed in the said article circulating on social media.
“I have read an article on social media entitled, “Catholic Priests speak against Bishop Alick Banda,” with astonishment and disbelief. I would like to inform the general public that this is not a collective effort or work of the Catholic Priests of the Archdiocese of Lusaka at all as alleged by the author of the said article. I doubt whether it is even the work of a priest. Catholic Priests of Lusaka are equally concerned and distraught by the said article. As Vicar General, I express displeasure and discontentment, and on behalf of all Catholic Priests in the Archdiocese of Lusaka wish to disassociate ourselves from all sentiments and views expressed in the article circulating. May Mary Mother of the Church continue interceding for the Archdiocese of Lusaka,” Fr. Tembo stated.
Meanwhile, Archbishop Banda had warned that if nothing is done to raise awareness among people, LGBTQ+ will become an acceptable norm in Zambia, despite the existence of laws that criminalises these activities.
He called for action from all Zambians against offensive tendencies like homosexuality that is being manifested through sodomy.
“Corroding the fabric of our society. A call to action – against offensive tendencies
Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all!My dear brothers and sisters in Christ and people of good will. I hereby wish to
address a thorny issue inter alia other issues that seem to be slowly taking root in our society, albeit complacency from the State and the law enforcement agencies. In the last 12 months, we have witnessed an increase in the number of incidents and events that promote LGBTG+ tendencies contrary to the Laws of Zambia and our Zambian culture. Additionally, there has been an increase in the number of incidents of sodomy where boys and men are raped by fellow boys and men with impunity.On Tuesday the 17th May 2022, the Swedish and Finnish Embassies in Lusaka flew gay pride flags, contrary to the provisions of article 20 of the Vienna Convention which allows foreign missions to only fly the flag and emblem of their country of origin on their premises.On Saturday, the 3rd September 2022, a company called PR Girl Media Limited hosted an event dubbed “Lusaka July 2022” at Lusaka Polo Club. Pictures and videos that emerged from this event showed attendants double dressing in attires of the opposite sex and appearing to promote LGBTQ+ behaviour,” Archbishop Banda said.
“Subsequent to the above events, we have witnessed several cases of sodomy and homosexuality on the increase in our society much to the displeasure and disapproval of the general public. Unfortunately, the law enforcement agents and the President who took oath to protect the Constitution seem to be paying a blind eye. The question that begs an answer is: Is it by design or by default?However, on Friday, the 16th September 2022, when a group of concerned citizens decided to undertake a peaceful protest in order to raise awareness to the ever escalating cases of homosexuality and sodomy in the country, the Police were quick to apprehend them together with journalists who were covering the event. These were detained, arrested and charged with unlawful assembly.The above events are alarming. If nothing is done to raise awareness among our people, LGBTQ+ will become an acceptable norm in Zambia, despite the existence of laws that criminalises these activities and worse still being offensive to our Cultural and Christian values,” Archbishop Banda said.
Archbishop Banda said it is necessary that Zambians act against the proliferation of LGBTQ+ and other vices which are averse and seem to be on the increase corroding the fabric of society such as abuse of authority, abuse of state institutions and arbitrary disrespect of the rule of law.
He announced that the Archdiocese of Lusaka, through its Directorate of Integral Human Development, is embarking on raising awareness against offensive trends which seem to be on the increase in society.
“From the foregoing, it is necessary to act against the proliferation of LGBTQ+ and other vices which are averse and seem to be on the increase corroding the fabric of our society such as abuse of authority, abuse of state institutions, arbitrary disrespect of the rule of law, the hounding of the opposition members and constitutional office bearers perceived not to toll the line, the rise of nepotism, hybrid hypocrisy, deception, and lies, etc.During His memorable sermon on the Mount, our Lord, Jesus Christ declared to His disciples that: “You are the salt of the earth…” (cf. Mt. 5: 13). The primary use of salt in ancient times among other things was to avert decaying of foodstuff. So, when Jesus says, “You are the salt of the earth”, He is calling us to avert moral degeneration. We are therefore, invited to manifest in person and give witness to our Christian calling – to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.The Archdiocese of Lusaka, through its Directorate of Integral Human Development, is embarking on raising awareness against these offensive trends which seem to be on the increase in our society. To this effect, ADL – IHD will communicate an action plan in the next couple of days, spelling out the way forward. In the meantime, we are inviting all our faithful to pray and fast against all these vices that seem to be accepted by the authorities that be.May Mary the mother of the Child Jesus, intercede for us that our lives may become salt to avert moral degeneration and light to illuminate the world from the darkness of evil,” Archbishop Banda concluded.
Meanwhile, President Hichilema, who was cited by Archbishop Banda has denied allegations that his government supports gay rights or homosexual rights.
The President said Zambia should discuss more important matters than issues of gay rights or homosexuality.
“Zambia is a Christian nation. It is clear you will all agree but some times we want to extract sections of our communities and say these are not Christians. Yah, religion in diversity, Churches in diversity but one body of Christ. And I want to say it is not right, I am following what is going on in our country today. To say the New Dawn government is promoting lesbian rights, gay rights, that is not right. We have said it before in opposition and now in government that we do not gay, lesbian rights as a government. The records are there, the media houses carry those records from years back but today, in recent days people are propagating in church preaching about lesbian rights and UPND Government. New Dawn government doing this and that. That is divisit, you know it is not right. Let’s focus on unity, let’s focus on materiality. Things that matter for this country. Keeping our children in school matters more than the petty matters,” President said in the video.
“Good morning fellow citizens Our position on this issue has been very clear and consistent from our days in opposition. We must focus our energy in addressing pressing issues affecting our people and not be detracted,” he stated in the text accompanying the short video.