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Catholic And Anglican Bishops Diverge On Zimbabwe Crisis Resolution

The Roman Catholic and Anglican churches in Zimbabwe find themselves at odds on how best to resolve the country's festering political, economic and social crises.

Catholic bishops recently distributed a pastoral letter entitled “God Hears the Cry of the Oppressed,” urging President Robert Mugabe to step down. But their Anglican counterparts issued a pastoral letter supportive of Mr. Mugabe which called on the United States and European Union to lift sanctions they say hurt the poor.

Efforts by church leaders to mediate the crisis have yielded mixed results in the past. Mr. Mugabe has at various times accused church leaders of being Western puppets, and there has been discord among church leaders over engaging Mr. Mugabe.

Reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyelye of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe sought perspective on the Catholic-Anglican division from Rev. Emmanuel Hlabangana, head of the advocacy and diaspora desk of the South African office of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, and Bishop Peter Nemapare, head of Zimbabwe's Methodist Church and an executive member of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches.

Bishop Nemapare said every church is entitled to hold and express its viewpoint.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...