9, February 2017
Buea Catholic Education Secretary, the Bishops and the strike: Love the sinner, hate the sin approach 2
If “actions speak louder than words,” as the saying goes, the message from the Anglophone Roman Catholic Bishops on reopening of schools is increasingly confusing. On the one hand, the Bishops had reiterated the Church’s stance on the Anglophone problem and even repeatedly condemned the rapes, killings and arbitrary arrest going on in Southern Cameroons. However both in their recent deeds – most notably the press release from the Catholic Education Secretary in Buea, have left an impression in many minds that the Roman Catholic Church in Anglophone Cameroon is badly in need of new leadership.
It is not only the leaders of the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium and their majority following who have observed these mixed signals but the entire nation including even Francophone political elites. The statement from the Catholic Education Secretary in the Dioceses of Buea has also raised the issue of legitimate authority.
Roman Catholic schools and colleges belong to the Bishops and only the Bishops have legitimate authority to open or close those institutions. For an Education Secretary to have come out strong during this difficult period in Southern Cameroons history is very disturbing. Many Roman Catholics can’t help but suspect that the recent shift in position has been orchestrated from the presidency of the republic via its brutal Secret Service. It will be hard for West Cameroonians to uphold Catholic traditions if the Bishops fail to come out clean.
This editorial is presented with love and respect for the Bishops in answer to their call for open dialogue to resolve the Anglophone problem. President Biya has chosen to remain silent at key intervals, most especially in the aftermath of the historic memorandum sent to him by the Anglophone Bishops. This significant shift in the earlier position regarding the Anglophone problem is completely unacceptable to both the detained and interim leaders of the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium.
Although the Consortium has not asked for comment from the Episcopal Conclave, we of this publication think that it would be proper for the Bishops to clarify their current decision. But if it is true that the Anglophone Bishops have ordered Roman Catholic academic establishments in Southern Cameroons to reopen their doors, then it is indeed a defeat for humanity.
The Anglophone Roman Catholic Bishops may as well be following the Holy Father Pope Francis “who am I to judge” comment leaving Biya and his Francophone Beti Ewondo regime to ride over Southern Cameroonians. Equally concerning is the fact that the Bishops of Cameroon Conference that recently held in Mamfe, the chief town in Manyu Division failed to condemn the rapes, extra judicial killings and arbitrary arrest going on in Southern Cameroons. This is the “love the sinner, hate the sin” approach.
By Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai