Archbishop in Malawi Cautions against “Catholic” Social Media Engaging in Malpractice

Archbishop George Desmond Tambala presiding over the launching of the Archdiocesan Day of the Laity and the 2022-2023 Archdiocesan Mini Synod in Lilongwe Archdiocese. Credit: ECM

The Local Ordinary of Lilongwe Archdiocese in Malawi has cautioned against “mushrooming” social media platforms that bear the name “Catholic” and are used for malpractices, including defamatory posts and unorthodox soliciting of funds.

Archbishop George Desmond Tambala who was presiding over the launching of the Archdiocesan Day of the Laity and the 2022-2023 Archdiocesan Mini Synod under the theme, “Discerning with the Holy Spirit” on July 30 called for responsible engagement with contemporary means of communication.

“We have noted the mushrooming of so many WhatsApp and Facebook pages and groups bearing the name Catholic,” Archbishop Tambala said during the event held at Our Lady Queen of Africa Maula Cathedral of his Metropolitan See.

In his July 30 message that the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) published on Facebook on Monday, August 1, the Malawian Archbishop expressed his concern about social media malpractice.

“Much as we appreciate the desire to share Good News and other beneficial teachings of the Church, we have noted that some (social media groups/pages) have turned these initiatives into gossip zones whose main agenda is to destroy each other’s character and reputation,” the member of the Religious Order of Discalced Carmelites (OCD) said.


He added, “We have noted that others are soliciting funds in the name of these social media Church groups yet lack accountability and transparency in how the funds are used,”

“Let anybody soliciting funds be accountable and seek permission, especially here in the Archdiocese of Lilongwe, otherwise stop tarnishing the Ecclesiastical name,” the Malawian Archbishop who started his Episcopal Ministry in January 2016 as Local Ordinary of Malawi’s Zomba Diocese said.

Archbishop Tambala urged Catholics to console relevant Church authorities before establishing any social media group or page bearing the name “Catholic”.

In his July 30 message, the Archbishop who has been at the helm of the Archdiocese since November 2021 also spoke on the ongoing preparations for the Synod on Synodality and urged the people of God under his pastoral care to walk together in the synodal path.

He said that the Synodal process provides a platform even for the marginalized to share their thoughts and be heard.

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“During this Synodal process, all Catholics are invited to listen with open hearts and minds, to share from their own lived experiences, and to make space for the voices of those often marginalized or excluded,” the 53-year-old Archbishop said.

He described the Synodal journey as an opportunity for healing. He said, “Just as the first assembly in Jerusalem healed the tensions among members of the early Christian community, a synod like this one should fundamentally be a process of healing, both from wounds suffered inside the Church, and those experienced in other areas of our lives and relationships.”

The Synodal journey, the Local Ordinary of Lilongwe Archdiocese who doubles as the President of ECM said, “should be a platform where the people of God see the new ways of experiencing and practicing those supreme virtues of unwavering faith, hope and love in their own situation.”

“We should find ways of binding ourselves to Christ as the ‘Way, the Truth and the Life’ and to one another”, Archbishop Tambala further said referencing the Gospel of John.

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.