Congo: tension between Church and government, desecrations

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“These are deliberate acts of desecration, despicable and particularly repugnant,” Bishop Bernard-Emmanuel Kasanda Mulenga of Mbujimayi said.

Newsroom (03/08/2021 20:30, Gaudium Press) Tensions between the Church of Congo and the government are leading to attacks on the Church.

It so happens that the Independent National Electoral Commission, with a view to the presidential elections of 2023, wants to elect a president, who – in a sui generis fact – must be designated by the main Congolese religious denominations.

The Conference of Bishops of that country and the “Église du Christ au Congo” (Church of Christ in the Congo) are opposed to the candidacy of Denis Kadima, who is the one proposed by six other religious denominations, and who is too close to President Felix Tshisekedi.

Fr. Donatien Nshole, spokesman for the religious confessions, denounced that “some members of the platform of the religious confessions were suffering pressure, intimidation and threats of all kinds to prevent us from freely carrying out our work”.

Consequence of the Church’s position?

Acts of vandalism were perpetrated against the Kinshasa archbishopric headquarters, the archbishop’s house and a dozen churches were desecrated in the Mbujimayi diocese, including the cathedral.

“These are deliberate, despicable and particularly repugnant acts of desecration,” said Bishop Bernard-Emmanuel Kasanda Mulenga of Mbujimayi in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

For the past four months, places of worship in Kasai, the region where Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi hails from, have been the objects of a “progressive and systematic desecration”.

“They have stolen tabernacles, sacred vessels, stones and altar cloths, ciboriums, furniture and statues of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Virgin Mary,” Bishop Kasanda denounces.

Furthermore, on Sunday 1 August, demonstrators threw stones at the Archbishopric of Kinshasa.

With information from Aica

 

 

 

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