Mugabe faces ‘excommunication’

President Robert Mugabe faces possible ex-communication from the Roman Catholic Church for allegedly violating a standing doctrine governing the conduct of its members when he wore a Vapostori robe at a gathering of a Johanne Marange Apostolic Sect in Manicaland last weekend, church leaders have said.
Rod in hand, President Mugabe preached polygamy to the congregation of more than
200 000 worshipers who had gathered for their annual Passover at Mafirarikwa in Marange communal lands, further compounding his “transgressions”.
“Our Constitution allows for polygamy. We will not force people into monogamous marriages. Inga muBhaibheri chaimo zvirimo. Solomon haana kungopihwa upfumi chete asi nevakadzi vakawanda”(It is written in the Bible that King Solomon was not only blessed with riches but with many wives as well) President Mugabe said.
Father Oskar Wermter, the social communications secretary of Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference, said through this gospel of polygamy and his involvement in Vapostori spiritual rites, President Mugabe reduced himself to a “schismatic” knowingly.
The 86-year-old leader was baptised and confirmed as a full member of the Catholic Church when he accepted Holy Communion.
Wermter said Catholic rules would not bend because of President Mugabe’s political status and profile.
“Reuben Barwe calls President Mugabe a devout Catholic on national television.
First of all, he (President Mugabe) went to a church that has no links with the Catholic Church and when a Catholic person goes to such a church he is referred to as schismatic because they have breached their contract with the Roman Catholic Church.”
Barwe is ZBC’s chief correspondent.
a person who is doing that has excommunicated himself or herself from the church. (President) Mugabe has in the past been very keen to attend public events of the Catholic Church to show that he is a loyal and faithful Catholic, how can we interpret this now?”
“What President Mugabe is trying to say by that gesture is that he is a member of the Vapostori sect.
“The Catholic Church collaborates with other churches, but differs in ideology with the Vapostori sect.”
“The Vapostori sect are traditionally polygamists and mainline churches, including the Catholic Church believe in monogamy,” he added.
However, the power to excommunicate President Mugabe lies with Bishops who would have to ask him if he still wants to be a Catholic. Brother Alphonse Kugwa, spokesperson of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference and director for Social Communication in the Archdiocese of Harare, said Catholic “sinners” could repent and be received back into the church.
“A person can do whatever they want. There is a saying that if you are in Rome you do what the Romans do. As a person he (President Mugabe) was just trying to identify himself with the Vapostori, but when a person moves out of the church they can be allowed to come back again,” Kugwa said.

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