CISA reports that the Catholic bishops of southern Africa have called for tolerance and reconciliation between the government and the people of Zimbabwe in dealing with the country's crisis.
The bishops in their statement signed by Archbishop Buti Tlhagale, President of the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference, noted that "the people of Zimbabwe are suffering".
"They are frustrated and hungry. An elite of their own people is oppressing them and denying them the most basic human rights," the bishops say.
While expressing their faith in the potential of Zimbabweans, the bishops regretted that several million had fled their homes for neighbouring countries, further robbing their own country of important skills and social cohesion.
"We believe that this potential can still be realised by those in authority sitting down in the same room with representatives of all sectors of Zimbabwean society to develop a new constitution.
"This constitution will form the basis for a new democracy. Totally free and transparently fair elections will then be possible."
The bishops support the efforts of the Church leaders in Zimbabwe to bring about dialogue, negotiation and reconciliation and call for special prayers to save the country from total collapse.
"We plead with all Catholics and people of goodwill to make this their special prayer during the Easter season so that the joy of Easter may be shared by all the people of Zimbabwe," they said.
"We did this in the final years of apartheid and we know how God worked a miracle for us."
The bishops also urged that charity, tolerance and compassion be extended to all Zimbabweans who have sought refuge in neighbouring countries.
Southern African Bishops Call for Reconciliation (CISA News Africa, 3/4/07)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Pius Ncube (Wikipedia)
Zimbabwean bishops denounce Mugabe's "lawlessness" (CathNews, 3/4/07)
"Ready to face bullets", Zimbabwean archbishop says (CathNews, 23/3/07)
Zimbabwe Church accuses S Africa over failure to act (CathNews, 21/3/07)
Zimbabwe prayer meeting crushed (CathNews, 13/3/07)
Millions facing starvation in Zimbabwe , Archbishop warns (CathNews, 28/11/06)
Archbishop's report exposes Zimbabwean homelessness debacle (CathNews, 1/9/06)
Zimbabwe's anti-terrorism bill threatens freedom, says Justice and Peace director (CathNews, 28/7/06)
Bishops denounce Zimbabwe "clean-up" (CathNews, 20/6/05)
4 Apr 2007