Zimbabwe archbishop prepared for martyrdom

Zimbabwe archbishop prepared for martyrdom

Here’s an example of episcopal courage. Archbishop Pius N’cube of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe has said he is ready to lay down his life in passive resistance against the dictatorship of Robert Mugabe. Zimbabwe has become one of the worst dictatorships in Africa under Mugabe, which is saying something, and Ncube has been among his staunchest opponents.

“I am ready to stand in front,” Archbishop Ncube said. “We must be ready to stand, even in front of blazing guns.’

Often in the past the archbishop has often called upon citizens to oppose the authoritarian tactics of the Mugabe regime and demand effective government leadership to ease the nation’s severe poverty. But he spoke with unprecedented urgency on March 22, after a series of incidents in which government supporters have arrested, beaten, and killed leading political opponents.

“The biggest problem in Zimbabwe are cowards, myself included,” the archbishop said. “We must get off our comfortable seats and suffer with the people.”

Wow! Now that’s a bishop with courage and guts, especially since making a stand in his country could cost him his life. A similar stand in the US might just cost some invitations to fancy dinners.

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
1 comment
  • Thank you for sharing this story.  I know Archbishop Ncube, and I’ve watched things building up to this for a long time.  He has been pushing and fighting Mugabe for many years, and the last time I saw him I told him to be careful, to protect himself.  He laughed a little.  I asked, “Aren’t you worried that Mugabe is finally going to retaliate, that you’re going to push too far?”  He told me he was only scared that when the time came, he would not push far enough.  At that point, I knew this man would end up a martyr, and it was doubtful I would ever see him again once he returned home.

    The order I work with and have been discerning with has many houses and parishes in Zimbabwe (it’s a missionary order), including in Bulawayo.  Many of our priests and brothers are very close with the Archbishop, and I’m sure when he stands before the blazing guns, they will be right there next to him.

    It’s easy here in the states to focus on and complain about boring homilies, bad music, apathetic clergy, etc.  And that in itself isn’t bad; we have a duty and obligation to correct these problems and the various abuses here. But we have to be sure not to forget the Church in the parts of the world where things like modern music or having too many extraordiny ministers of Holy Communion are truly the least of their problems.  We need to remember those places where our priests and bishops are staring into the face of tyranny to spread the Gospel, and who are putting their lives on the line by standing up for Christ.

    We need to pray for the Church in Zimbabwe.