English Africa Service – Vatican City
In a recent publication, Mozambique’s weekly, “O Jornal O Público” made wide-ranging claims accusing Bishop Luiz Fernando Lisboa, of inciting division and racism in his diocese; promoting violence and hatred as well as disrespecting the country’s national symbols while in Capo Delgado, a resource rich but troubled northernmost province of Mozambique.
Church says accusations are misleading and biased
The Catholic Church in Mozambique has repudiated the allegations in the article dismissing them as “misleading and biased…false and defamatory.” A statement from the Episcopal Conference stated that the Church in Mozambique is committed to ‘peace, reconciliation and hope’ following the theme of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Visit to Mozambique, in September, this year.
Diocesan Priests of Pemba stand with their Bishop
At a Press Conference called by Priests of the Diocese of Pemba, the spokesperson, Father Dinis Gabriel, defended the Bishop and said the article against Bishop Luiz Fernando Lisboa contained many falsehoods.
“We reaffirm our unconditional support for and stand in solidarity with our Bishop and Pastor during this time of persecution and slander,” Father Gabriel told members of the press.
The Bishop is a voice of the voiceless in Cabo Delgado
The Brazilian-born Bishop of Pemba has been outspoken about the deteriorating security situation in Cabo Delgado Province and is a known critic of the Government.
The Bishop has in the past said with the discovery of offshore gas fields, the people of Cabo Delgado have become the target of a real invasion of all manner of people from different backgrounds, companies and projects. The Bishop stresses that the wealth of Cabo Delgado should generate employment and hope for the youth of the area and an equitable sharing of benefits resulting from the gas discovery.
He has the support of the local people who see him as speaking on behalf of the poor and voiceless.