I write to express my contrary opinion to Pilirani Gondwe’s article on My Turn of December 9 2016 edition as well as the views of Gift Trapence in an earlier edition.
The churches, and not just the Catholics, have a right to demonstrate like any Malawian.
Whenever the church comes together regardless of its differences, it means there is something worth communicating to the public.
This was the case when the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) and Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM) agreed to march together for a common cause.
Even the Muslims who joined in the peaceful demonstrations for a just cause are in themselves not contrary to the faith.
Our Lord himself led a march into Jerusalem. He arrived late at the temple. The next day, he accomplished his mission by cleansing the temple against the various abuses it had been subjected to. Read Matthews 21:1-9, Mark 11:1-10, Luke 19:28-48 and John 12:12-15.
Among many prominent Christians in history, Martin Luther King Jnr conducted marches that helped emancipate his black people in the United States of America. God manifested himself through those marches.
The children of Israel marched around the city of Jericho until it fell (Joshua 6:1-5) .
On attacks against individual priests who conduct themselves immorally, the church knows and acknowledges that there are some bad apples in the basket. It therefore allows confessional prayers to a forgiving God, (1 John 1: 8 – 10).
The church, however, does not condone such sin nor does it conceal it. It rather denounces it while appealing to the sinner to repent.
This was what the march was all about that day. That was a united church joined by other faiths against what is considered a sinful threat against what is good.
The church has therefore not “diverted from spiritual means of achieving its goals to secular ones,” as Gondwe claims in the article.
It is wrong to assume that the very fact that Christians in churches sin, then the principles and values in the belief systems are wrong.
There are at the same time very godly religious persons who live their faiths in truth and deed.
These ones do not attract the attention of people like Pilirani. It is the scandalous ones that do.
Otherwise, the church should have already lost its influence 2 000 years down the line. It keeps on growing against all odds.
The church stands for the very best in society. I hereby do not mean that it is infallible.
In most cases, the church, even when it speaks as a united force, does so to benefit society.
Throughout the history of this country and indeed the world over, the church has stood for the good of the society. If the church had not done what it did on that day it marched, it would have lost its saltiness (Matthews 5:13).
It is unfortunate to note that whenever the church stands out to speak the truth there are stern critics who use abusive language against it.
That was the case in 1992 when ECM issued the pastoral letter that changed the country’s political landscape.
Certain quarters fiercely attacked the Catholic Bishops in a party convention; and yet the good prevailed.
Most pro-life articles too have a lot of similar attacks over the church’s stand. Posterity will judge if the church acted wrongly.
But my own conviction is that the church has acted within its mandate. n