To err is human – Mukonori

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As sex scandals continue to rock the Catholic Church at home and abroad, a well-known priest Father Fidelis Mukonori, has warned men of the cloth to guard against this ‘weakness’.

Speaking to his congregation the outspoken priest also took a swipe at journalists who exposed such stories “as if they too did not do the same”.

Mukonori said:“We are all sinners. Those who find pleasure in writing about other peoples’ sins are also sinners themselves. They write and say such and such a priest has been chow-chowing small children – are they not also chow-chowing too?”

Mukonori is a Jesuit priest who is also the chaplain to President Robert Mugabe and his family.

The priest made his remarks while conducting mass at the Holy Name Catholic Church in Mabelreign last Sunday.

Mukonori chastised religious figures who succumbed to temptations and broke their vows of chastity.

He warned them that the media was watching and “ready to make money out of their sexual escapades”.

A few years ago, the then Archbishop of Bulawayo Pius Ncube, was exposed by newspapers and television stations.

In what some believed was a sting operation, Ncube was photographed and video-taped while being intimate with different women.

In the past six months Bulawayo has had three scandals involving priests.

A priest at a parish in the Nkulumane Suburb of Bulawayo was said to have caused the death of a man. The man committed suicide after his wife’s alleged affair with the priest came to light .

An irate woman Sakheni Nkomo has sued Fr Cephas Gumbo of St Bernard’s Catholic Church in Pumula, for $50 000 for allegedly cheating on her and infecting her with an STI.

Disturbingly none of the offending priests have been disciplined.

The recently ordained Archbishop of Bulawayo Alex Thomas has been criticised for being too soft on offending priests.

Mukonori said the clergy’s failings had become so rampant they were tarnishing the good name of the church.

He said the church could not deny all the media reports because many of them emanated from courts, where some of the clergy had been convicted of sex crimes.

“It is happening, we cannot deny that,” Mukonori lamented.

Indeed there was no denying the shame, which has become commonplace in the Catholic Church throughout the world.

In Germany, the birthplace of Pope Benedict XVI, homosexual scandals in which priests have abused young boys have shaken the church and its followers.

Reports from Europe say the young generation has abandoned the Catholic Church and recent polls confirmed that overall trust in the Roman Catholic Church had hit an unprecedented low.

The Forsa Institute’s April poll of more than 1 000 German Catholics, found that 23% of all church members were considering quitting.

In Zimbabwe the scandals have not been limited to the Catholic church – the Apostolic Faith Church which has seen a proliferation of sects in the past decade may have, however, outdone the catholics if police reports and subsequent court cases in Zimbabwe were anything to go by.