Diamond Fields Advertiser - - OPINION -

SIR – Out­rage as Ramaphosa ‘hi­jacks’ church ser­vice . . . this was the head­ing in your pa­per edi­tion on 12th Septem­ber 2015. There are so many things that are not cor­rect with this head­ing and some of the things men­tioned in the ar­ti­cle.

The word “hi­jacks” gives the im­pres­sion that, as the lead­ers of the Church, we were in­no­cent vic­tims and had no con­trol what­so­ever.

Mr Cyril Ramaphosa did not hi­jack the church ser­vice. It was on 8th Septem­ber that we were in­formed that Mr Cyril Ramaphosa wished to join us dur­ing our cel­e­bra­tion of Mass.

We were con­scious of sev­eral things. We made the or­gan­is­ers aware that while in all the Catholic Churches through­out the world there is no sign that reads “ad­mis­sion re­served”, the doors are al­ways open for any­one to join our cel­e­bra­tion.

We made the or­gan­is­ers aware that Mr Ramaphosa is free to join us on Sun­day morn­ing in his per­sonal ca­pac­ity. On Sun­day be­fore the start of our cel­e­bra­tion I made it clear to Mr Ramaphosa that we were go­ing to have a cel­e­bra­tion not a po­lit­i­cal rally.

I also men­tioned that he must be aware that some peo­ple are go­ing to be un­happy that he has joined us on this day and there will be dif­fer­ent in­ter­pre­ta­tions given to this visit. I men­tioned that the church is apo­lit­i­cal, yet we are called to pray for our po­lit­i­cal lead­ers. This we find in Ro­mans 13.

I was up­front with Mr Ramaphosa about th­ese mat­ters when I had a con­ver­sa­tion with him be­fore the start of the cel­e­bra­tion and I also re­peated this mes­sage to all who were present at the be­gin­ning of the cel­e­bra­tion.

The bless­ing one gives is not re­stricted to Catholics. There are peo­ple of var­i­ous faiths who now and again come to my house and ask for a bless­ing, I have not turned any­one away be­cause she/he is not a mem­ber of the Catholic Church.

Per­son­ally, I am not a card-car­ry­ing mem­ber of the ANC nor do I wish to be one. I have not aligned my­self with any politi­cian.

Per­haps the “sins” we com­mit­ted, ac­cord­ing to some of the peo­ple who were in­ter­viewed, in­clud­ing Mr Boi­tumelo Babuseng (DA MPL), is that we al­lowed Mr Ramaphosa to greet the peo­ple and re­ceive a bless­ing.

Once again to echo the words of Pope Fran­cis, “Who am I to judge?”

In my ca­pac­ity as a bishop, I have no pow­ers to judge any­one. I am not God.

Abel Gabuza Bishop of Kim­ber­ley

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