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Bishop of DR Congo’s Kabinda Diocese Condemns Church Desecration in “the strongest terms”

Bishop Félicien Ntambue of DR Congo's Kabinda Diocese. Credit: Kabinda Diocese

The Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Kabinda in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has condemned the desecration of a Parish church in his pastoral jurisdiction.

In a statement circulated Monday, August 30, Bishop Félicien Ntambue says the desecration of the church of St. Paul Kamende Parish, causes “great harm” to the people of God.

“We castigate, protest and condemn in the strongest terms these acts of vandalism and sabotage that are damaging the church and the sacred objects, causing great harm to the faithful of this Parish and to our entire Diocese,” Bishop Ntambue says. 

On the night of Sunday, August 22, the Congolese Bishop says, unknown people broke into St. Paul Kamende Parish and made away with the big cross of the tabernacle, the altar cross, the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the statue of Jesus, a Bible and the altar stone.

The desecrators also made away with the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary that is in the grotto, he adds.

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In his letter dated August 27, Bishop Ntambue says, “We are deeply saddened and we do not understand why people would dare to desecrate in this way the places and objects of our church which has rendered and continues to render so many services to the population.”

The Diocese has filed a complaint “with the competent authorities with the hope that justice will be done as soon as possible,” he says.

“We urge the political, civil, military, intelligence and customary authorities of the Kamende Territory and the Lomami Province to become actively and diligently involved in identifying these desecrators, putting them out of action and demanding from them just reparation to restore the rights of the Diocese,” says the 50-year-old Congolese Church leader. 

The member of the Religious Order of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Scheutists, who was appointed Bishop of the Congolese Diocese in July last year expressed his solidarity and closeness with the Parish Priest and the people of God in the desecrated Parish. 

Following the desecration, parishioners have been invited to take part in the Eucharistic celebration at a different venue within the Parish premises.

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Bishop Ntambue has also directed parishioners of St. Paul Kamende Parish to “organize morning or evening prayers for the upcoming reopening of the church daily.” 

He has also called upon Christians in all the Parishes of Kabinda Diocese “to join this chain of prayer in the manner that their Parish Priests will determine.” 

The Congolese Bishop also urged the people of God under his pastoral care to “redouble our vigilance to protect our sacred places and objects, to denounce any desecrator, any suspect and any accomplice.”