Friday, April 25, 2008

Plea to the Catholic Bishops of Zimbabwe: Prayer Can Save Zimbabwe...

I am posting here below a copy of a letter that was sent last weekend to the Zimbabwean Catholic Episcopate.

In last Thursday's news report from the Rome-based Zenit News Agency, reference is made to a joint statement issued by a variety of Church Groupings in Zimbabwe "voicing a desperate appeal for a solution to the escalating crisis in the country". The signatories express "deep concern over the deteriorating political, security, economic and human rights situation in Zimbabwe, following the March 29, 2008 National Elections".

There are also increasing reports of enormous injustices taking place. One reads heart-rending letters of appeal - the situation is explosive and catastrophic.

It is my humble impression that the only way out of this impasse is a determined prayer effort - hence the letter below. May I beseech every one who reads this to pray earnestly and boldly for a solution to the diabolical madness in which that country is gripped and to encourage as many others as possible to follow suit.


Your Lordship
The Most Rev. Archbishop Robert Ndlovu
Archbishop, Archdiocese of Harare

Permit me, writing to you as a simple Catholic layman to make a suggestion about the situation in your dear country. Millions of us are watching the unfolding events there with a great deal of trepidation and anxiety and a sense of absolute helplessness. It is quite clear to concerned observers that there are terrible intrigues absorbing the life of the nation, fuelled by wild rumours and worrying reports of this or that incidence of bloodshed and violence.

It is equally clear to all of us that Zimbabwe is hovering on the brink of a humanitarian crisis, fruit of a near meltdown of the national economy. No country can sustain this level of unemployment, hunger and despair without catastrophe.

A solution is urgently needed. Humanly speaking it is quite clear that the odds are heavily stacked in favour of the status quo. At this stage it seems that only Divine Intervention can change the course of history. I believe the best recourse we have is to a Rosary Crusade: A National call to prayer, launched by the ZCBC, beseeching the Blessed Virgin to free Zimbabwe from all her problems and give speedy solutions to all the crises assailing her. This could take the form, for example, of a daily Rosary by every Catholic, private or public, perhaps processions, united in love for the Holy Church, for the beloved country and for the relief of the suffering people of Zimbabwe.

Many would join me in believing that it is the only thing that can help in this 11th hour. Our own Episcopate, the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference could be relied on to rally South Africans in a joint prayer effort with their suffering neighbours. Such a Crusade could also rally the brother Bishop Conferences of the entire world and seek to make this initiative global. The Holy Father himself must be particularly anguished by events in your homeland and would certainly lend his enormous weight to such a noble campaign.

There are many historical precedents allowing us to place absolute trust in the victory of Our Lady in such instances - one of these was the enigmatic, sudden withdrawal of Soviet communist forces from occupied Austria in 1955. Another was the stunning victory of Catholic forces over the Turkish fleets (threatening Europe and the Church) at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. Both these triumphs were attributed to the direct intervention of the Blessed Virgin Mary through the power of the Holy Rosary.

The promise of "The Memorare" is infallible. Our Lady will not abandon her children - she will not despise a humble and contrite heart. There is no way out and virtually no lower to sink! The country is at a crossroads, a dangerous crossroads for all of us! Can we not turn to Our Lady and with the childlike confidence of St Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort place Zimbabwe in her hands?

With Sincere Good Wishes, united in Prayer and beseeching Your Lordship's Blessing,

I am yours in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

Bernard Tuffin.
P O Box 38765
Pinelands, Cape Town

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