Church in Zambia Protests Harassment of Bishop

U.S.-born Prelate Known for Speaking Out About the Poor

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LUSAKA, Zambia, NOV. 1, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The Church in Zambia is dismayed by what it says is the continued harassment of a U.S.-born bishop by immigration officials.

Coadjutor Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu, president of the Zambian episcopal conference, said in a statement that a pattern had emerged in the way government officials maltreated Bishop Paul Duffy, 73, of Mongu.

«Each time Bishop Duffy has spoken out on one or another topical issue affecting the nation, especially on the Constitution Review process, he has been subjected to unfair and rude treatment by Immigration officials at the international airport when he returned to Zambia,» Archbishop Mpundu, 58, said in a statement to the Catholic Information Service for Africa.

Bishop Duffy had spoken out on several occasions on behalf of Zambians, particularly the poor of Mongu Diocese and the Western Province, the poorest in the country, the statement said.

The Church said that the government seemed to have no regard for the fact that the Massachusetts-born Bishop Duffy holds a resident’s permit.

«It is shameful that our government should treat this gallant missionary in such a cowardly and unseemly manner, so obviously intended to silence and intimidate him and the leadership of the Catholic Church in Zambia,» Archbishop Mpundu’s statement said.

It added: «We challenge and urge the Ministry of Home Affairs to get to the bottom of this matter and bring to book the officers responsible for harassing Bishop Duffy as well as other officials who violate people’s rights with impunity.»

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