THE proclamation of Zambia as a Christian nation is a non-event, says Lusaka Catholic Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu.
And the Catholic Church will continue to speak on wrongs committed by the government whether they want to listen or not.
In an interview yesterday after the Palm Sunday march in commemoration of Easter, Archbishop Mpundu said people were supposed to live and operation in accordance with principles of God.
"That is why for me and the Catholic Church, the proclamation of Zambia as a Christian nation is a non-event. It's a useless proclamation because not everyone who says 'Lord, Lord!' will enter the Kingdom of God. How Christian are we? Just take a look at what happens when we have a simple by-election. Corruption, intimidation, fighting, thieving…is that Christianity?" Archbishop Mpundu asked.
He said Zambia was a rich country, yet a larger part of the population was poor due to mismanagement of resources.
"This is the case with the rest of Africa. We are supposed to operate according to the principle given to us by God: 'I was hungry you fed me, I was sick you visited me, I was naked you clothed me'…that is the only way we can change Zambia to a better place," Archbishop Mpundu said.
The clergyman said Catholics had a belief that the statements of those that professed the Christian faith ought to match their deeds as well.
And Archbishop Mpundu said contrary to the perception that the Catholic Church had gone into hibernation following the ushering in of the new government led by a staunch Catholic fundamentalist, President Michael Sata, the church would continue advising the government on national issues whether they wanted to listen or not.
"We will warn the government again and again even if they do not listen. We are not resting because the President is a catholic," Archbishop Mpundu said in an interview in Lusaka yesterday after a Palm Sunday march.
"So it is not true that we have gone quiet. We have always spoken. In the second Republic during Kaunda's era, Kaunda accused us of being in the opposition because we spoke. We will continue to speak but only when it's necessary. We will continue to speak whether people want to listen to our voice or not. We may be quiet now but really when there is something to be said we will say it."
He said the church would not go into hibernation or on holiday, as speaking for the voiceless was a God-given command.
"We are not partisan at all; partisan politics is none of our concern. We do not need political power, the church is powerful enough. Even as a small minority the church is still powerful," Archbishop Mpundu said.
"In Nigeria, there are about 20 million Catholics and the rest are not but when bishops there speak, everyone listens. It's the same with the Vatican. The Vatican is about 14 acres, but when the Pope speaks, the world listens. People do not like the Catholic Church because they have something to offer to humanity."
And speaking shortly after the Palm Sunday march past, Archbishop Mpundu said Esther should be used by leaders and the rest of Zambians to reflect on the need to be humble through embracing the life of Jesus Christ as their model.
"There is need for leaders to be humble. They were once ordinary people like everybody else. Great leaders are those who are humble. Jesus washed the feet of his disciples to show how humble he was and so every leader should humble themselves," said Archbishop Mpundu.
"Those who usually say they are the mighty are not usually the mighty because God says the greatest must be the smallest. We need to socialise and love each other; we should imitate Him (Jesus). This is the message that is evergreen. So we were marching to show that we are united as Christians and as people, so that we can send out a signal to the world to show that we belong together and also send a message to people in Zambia to be one despite having different tribes and clans."
Thousands of Christians gathered in different parts of Lusaka yesterday to commemorate the Psalm Sunday.
Palm Sunday is a day when Christians around the world commemorate Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem before he was crucified on the cross later in the same week.
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