. . . breakaway church emerges?
Desmond Munemo, H-Metro Reporter
ROMAN Catholic Church in Zimbabwe has raised the red flag following the emergence of an alleged movement recruiting former priests and seminarians.
This follows reports of one Bishop Jacinto Kibuuka who was excommunicated from Uganda Catholic Church and is reportedly recruiting fired priests and seminarians in Zimbabwe to the alleged Evangelical Orthodox Church (EOC) that subscribes to the Antiochene rite commonly known as the Eastern rite – one of the 23 rites in the Catholic Church.
Prior to the visit in Zimbabwe, reports say in 2017, Bishop Kibuuka entered into a consent agreement at the High court with Catholic lawyers in Uganda over religious rights infringements and as the applicant he was ordered to desist from vilification and mimicking of Roman Catholic Religion and making hate speech against its leaders.
“The Roman Catholic Church has no pertinent rights over the vestments, not even the Bible.
“We are Catholic only that we are not Roman, and can ably use the vestments,” Kibuuka is alleged to have said.
Images believed to be of Bishop Kibuuka celebrating Mass with the recruited clergymen along with one former seminarian from Bulawayo identified as Levison Banda have since gone viral.
There is a message circulating on social media believed to be from the EOC vocations director who is responsible for recruiting clergymen, it reads:
“Are you a gifted baptised Christian (Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian) who wishes to serve God as an ordained minister (a Priest and a Deacon). You can inbox your number for more information and send your email application letter to The Vocations director”.
H-Metro spoke to an EOC priest who preferred anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter. He refuted claims that the church is a breakaway formation from the Zimbabwe Catholic Church and they are not renegades.
“The name is Evangelical Orthodox Church which has been in existence for centuries and here in Zimbabwe we have about two churches in every province, so how can that be a breakaway church?
“The problem could arise from the fact that there are Catholic priests who were excommunicated and have now joined the Orthodox Church.
“The bishop was sent by the patriarch to ordain priests here in Zimbabwe and he has since gone back.
“The headquarters for Africa is in Uganda and the major one in Canada, so that’s not any issue and people should not make a fuss out of nothing,” he said.
Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference (ZCBC) secretary general Father Fradereck Chiromba spoke to this publication and issued a statement regarding the Church’s position on the EOC.
“The Roman Catholic Church does not have anything to do with this Church and does not yet have any opinion on its formation.
“Nevertheless, the Roman Catholic Church will follow closely
any developments to avoid confusion among the faithful, as some of the leaders of the new movement are said to be former Roman Catholic priests.
“The Church is not in a position to take any measures towards the developments but will monitor the situation as it unfolds,” he said.