in Stories

Papal Nuncio says Mugabe is pretending to be a Catholic

The Papal Nuncio for South Africa James Green said the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe was embarrassing because Mugabe “pretends to be” a practicing Catholic.

“Mugabe carries around a rosary, which he pulls out and shows people,” a cable released by Wikileaks says.

Green, who is an American, was commenting on whether the Pope, the head of the Catholic Church, should intervene in Zimbabwe or not.

A papal nuncio is a permanent diplomatic representative or head of diplomatic mission of the Holy See, the Vatican.

Green’s counterpart in Zimbabwe Edward Adams said he was deeply concerned about the situation but he believed his phone was tapped.

Green and Adams spoke in code -“some Latin, some Italian”.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 07PRETORIA1096, ZIMBABWE: CHURCH LEADERS CAUTIOUS ON VATICAN ROLE

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

07PRETORIA1096

2007-03-28 15:00

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Pretoria

VZCZCXRO7936

PP RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSA #1096/01 0871500

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

P 281500Z MAR 07

FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8919

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA PRIORITY 2044

RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS PRIORITY 1050

RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1149

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 1041

RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 1168

RUEHTN/AMCONSUL CAPE TOWN PRIORITY 4102

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

RUEKDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PRETORIA 001096

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR AF/S S. HILL, EUR/WE LARREA

ROME FOR VATICAN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/27/2017

TAGS: PREL PHUM ZI VT SF

SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE: CHURCH LEADERS CAUTIOUS ON VATICAN ROLE

 

REF: A. STATE 036885

B. VATICAN 0064

C. PRETORIA 0957

 

Classified By: Ambassador Eric M. Bost. Reasons 1.4(b) and (d).

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: The Vatican shares U.S. concerns about the

deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe, but will be cautious

about speaking out publicly, according to Papal Nuncio Green.

Public comments by the Pope are the final card to play, and

the Vatican will want to save that step for the right moment.

Durban-based Cardinal Napier recently spoke with Harare

Archbishop Ndlovu, and said the Catholic Church was

considering a pastoral visit from regional church leaders

and/or a public statement. While Catholic Church leaders in

South Africa are concerned about the deteriorating situation,

they are reluctant to get too far in front of the bishops in

Zimbabwe. A clear signal from Archbishop Ndlovu in Harare

might free Napier and other Catholic leaders to speak out

more forcefully. Senior Catholic and Anglican leaders from

South Africa are planning a pastoral visit to Zimbabwe after

Easter; organizers wish to keep this visit quiet, for the

time being. END SUMMARY.

 

——————————————–

Papal Nuncio Says Papal Statement Final Step

——————————————–

 

2. (C) Ambassador delivered Ref A points to Papal Nuncio

James Green, who is an American, on March 28, highlighting

the continued suffering of the Zimbabwean people. Green

confirmed that the Vatican shares U.S. concerns and is

following the situation closely. Green noted that a public

statement by the Pope is the final card to play, and the

Vatican wants to save Papal intervention for the right moment

(“you don’t want to swing at every pitch”). Once the Pope

speaks out, there is little else the Vatican can do except

repeat his comments.

 

3. (C) Green noted that the situation in Zimbabwe is

particularly embarrassing because Mugabe “pretends to be” a

practicing Catholic. Mugabe carries around a rosary, which

he pulls out and shows people.

 

4. (C) Green said that he recently spoke with his counterpart

in Zimbabwe, Edward Adams. Adams is deeply concerned about

the situation. He believes his phone is tapped, and Green

and Adams spoke in code (“some Latin, some Italian”). Green

also expressed his surprise and frustration with the South

African Government’s lack of public support for democracy and

human rights, a stance he finds ironic given the

international support for the anti-apartheid struggle.

 

—————————————

Cardinal Napier Discusses Interim Steps

—————————————

 

5. (C) Drawing on Ref A points, Consul General Durban

informed Cardinal Wilfred Napier on March 26 of Embassy

Vatican City’s meetings with Vatican officials, noting that

the Ambassador would be calling on the Papal Nuncio. Napier

reported that he had spoken with Archbishop Buti Tlhagale,

president of the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference

(SACBC), and Archbishop of Harare Robert Ndlovu following his

March 13 meeting (Ref C) with the CG and PolOffs. (NOTE: The

SACBC covers South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, and

Swaziland — not/not Zimbabwe. END NOTE.) During these

conversations, they discussed two options: (1) a pastoral

visit to Zimbabwe to include unnamed senior clerics, and/or

(2) a public statement condemning the situation in Zimbabwe.

Napier said his colleagues were inclined to move forward with

a pastoral visit, likely to take place after Easter, but had

made no decision about a public statement. Ndlovu and

Tlhagale were concerned that a public statement might

“jeopardize the current discussions” and the long-term

prospects of constitutional change. Napier commented that

they were too focused on the long term and not enough on the

immediate situation, which needed a response now.

 

6. (C) Napier said he had also spoken with Anglican Bishop

 

PRETORIA 00001096 002 OF 002

 

 

Peter John Lee in Cape Town about the situation in Zimbabwe.

Lee had spoken to DepForMin Aziz Pahad to offer any

assistance the SAG deemed useful, but he did not have

anything substantial to report from the meeting. Napier said

he had not yet been successful in reaching Archbishop of

Bulawayo Pius Ncube but said he would continue to try. He

thought that the Archbishop sounded “desperate” in his “very

strong” statements. Napier said he had been in regular

contact with Selvan Chetty of the Solidarity Peace Trust, who

was in frequent contact with church officials in Zimbabwe.

 

7. (C) Napier agreed that the situation in Zimbabwe was

getting “desperate” and required immediate action in addition

to the long-term process of changes currently being

discussed. He said he would contact his counterparts again

to discuss the situation.

 

—————————————

Solidarity Peace Trust Organizing Visit

—————————————

 

8. (C) PolOff spoke separately to Selvan Chetty of the

Solidarity Peace Trust (SPT) on March 28, who said he was

organizing a visit to Zimbabwe for senior South African

church leaders (NOTE: likely the same visit referred to by

Napier in para 5). SPT is a South African organization,

co-chaired by Archbishop Pius Ncube and Anglican Bishop Rubin

Phillip, that assists victims of human rights abuses in

Zimbabwe. The three-day visit would take place immediately

after Easter, possibly Easter Monday, and would include

Napier, the SACBC’s Tlhagale, Phillip, and possibly Anglican

Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane. Chetty said he was

struggling with Church politics in Zimbabwe since Harare

Archbishop Ndlovu had some reservations about the trip, but

that Napier was willing to “run over” Ndlovu if necessary.

Chetty cautioned that he is trying to keep the visit quiet,

because he fears that Mugabe might try to stop it if he

learns about the trip in advance.

 

——-

Comment

——-

 

9. (C) Catholic Church leaders in South Africa share U.S.

concerns about the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe, but

are reluctant to get too far in front of the bishops in

Zimbabwe. A clear signal from Archbishop Ndlovu in Harare

would go a long way toward freeing Napier and other Catholic

leaders to speak out more forcefully about the tragic

situation in Zimbabwe. Napier, who expressed public concern

about the situation March 14 following our last meeting with

him, is devoting considerable time and energy to Zimbabwe

issues and will likely continue to work on Ndlovu. While

Green did not explicitly say that he would raise the matter

with Vatican officials, Zimbabwe is clearly on his mind, and

we suspect he will do so.

 

BOST

(13 VIEWS)

Don't be shellfish... Please SHAREShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePrint this page

Write a Comment

Comment