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Zimbabweans Speak Out on Catholic Traditions As Pope Francis Visits Cuba, USA

  • Thomas Chiripasi

Pope Francis leads a mass for Catholic faithful in the city of Holguin, Cuba, Sept. 21, 2015.

Pope Francis leads a mass for Catholic faithful in the city of Holguin, Cuba, Sept. 21, 2015.

The head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, will be on a three-day visit to the United States starting Tuesday.

Studio 7 visited the Budiriro parish of the Catholic Church where parishioners listened to the teachings of their local preacher and sang praise and worship songs.

After the service, one church-goer, Martin Munetsi, said the Pope’s visit to Philadelphia, New York and Washington DC in the United States, was a consolidation of a new world order spearheaded by America and the clergy.

Miriam Rukobo praised the Pope for advocating for women to take up leadership positions in the governance of the Catholic Church saying women were lagging behind in taking up leadership roles.

Rukobo said women should be pro-active in all positions of authority like their male counterparts inside and outside the church community.

Another worshipper, Gilbert Ngwarai, said Pope Francis, who has hinted that he would resign if he fails to carry on with his duties, should use his visit to the United States to push for all leaders who have failed their nations to step down.

CHURCH VS STATE

Ngwarai said the Pope should not stop at anything to call on Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to step down for allegedly pushing the country’s economy into the abyss and failing to protect and promote the rights of the Zimbabwean people.

After taking over the leadership of the Catholic Church from Pope Benedict XVI in 2013, who resigned because of ill-health, Pope Francis, who was elected on a mandate to restructure the outdated Vatican bureaucracy and reform the scandal-marred Vatican bank, named nine cardinals from around the globe to advise him and created commissions of inquiry, including outside experts and consultants, to propose a more efficient, transparent and accountable administration for the church and its assets.

Gibson Govero said such actions are a lesson to all people in positions of authority that corruption should be nipped in the bud.

Another Harare worshipper, Garikai Mbofana, said the Catholic Church has to come up with a clear position on same sex marriages.

President Mugabe, who is devout Catholic, has criticized gays and lesbians saying there are “worse than pigs and dogs.”

‘WHO AM I TO JUDGE’

Pope Francis famously uttered "Who am I to judge?" when asked about a Vatican monsignor who had allegedly had a gay lover in his past.

Mbofana said it appeared as if the church had no clear position on same sex marriages.

Pope Francis is expected to make his first visit to Africa in November this year. The Vatican announced that during his six-day visit to Africa, the pontiff would visit Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic.

Meanwhile, Pope Francis left Cuba's capital and headed to the eastern part of the island nation Monday, one day after meeting with the Castro brothers who have ruled Cuba since 1959.

The pontiff traveled to Holguin, which is the home province of Fidel and Raul Castro. The city of Holguin, more than 800 kilometers east of Havana, is known for a cross that has overlooked the town for centuries.

The Roman Catholic leader will celebrate mass in front of tens of thousands of people in Holguin before heading on to Cuba's second largest city - Santiago - where he will visit the shrine of the virgin of charity.

Studio 7’s Marvellous Mhlanga-Nyahuye spoke with 31 year old Zimbabwean clergyman Father Tafadzwa Kushamba of the Roman Catholic Church, who said he is looking forward to the papal visit.

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