Malawi Catholic Bishops make resolutions over contemporary issues

Malawi Catholic Bishops make resolutions over contemporary issues

The Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) has taken bold steps in its efforts to respond to different needs and challenges it is facing as the Conference seeks to move the body of Christ forward.

In its communication signed by the conference’s secretary General Fr Henry Saindi, the Permanent Council of the ECM which is an executive arm of the conference, met and made decisions on the implementation of resolutions from the plenary of bishops.

First, is the child and vulnerable adults safeguarding policy. Issues to do with rights and abuse of minority groups have become very prominent and part of every life endeavor. The Church in the West is under untold duress now as it tries to address cases of abuse by the church and its agents in the past, to the point of some institutions almost running bankrupt. To avoid going the same path, the bishops have moved quickly to arrest a would be catastrophe. Having already held consultation meetings as the policy was being formulated, through the council, the bishops have reviewed and approved the policy and so resolved that a new department called the safeguarding department be established at the catholic secretariat, headed by a national coordinating officer who shall oversee the effective coordination and implementation of the policy. The department shall be guided by a board which will be put in place with a bishop president for the same giving them proper insights from the conference.  Each diocese will have a Safeguarding officer who shall be responsible for such matters on diocesan level.

Just like abuse of vulnerable groups in the society, issues to do with gender and in particular women, are equally sensitive. Backed by different movements and organizations, the world is now advocating for equal rights among genders especially women. The bishops, have therefore, reviewed and approved the gender policy and so resolved that its secretariat should have a gender department headed by national gender focal person to ensure proper implementation of the policy. The focal person will be guided by the bishop president for the same.

While seeking to save souls and spiritually nourish its flock, the Church as an organization carries out its mission though the help of other cooperate organizations and donors. By receiving aid from these, the church is bound to account for every penny it receives for carrying out its mission. To effectively do this, the Church needs to put in place systems to make sure that all Church property and assistance is put into proper use by its agents. Through the permanent council, the bishops have reviewed and approved the Finance and Administration manual comprising the Procurement and disposal of assets manual, anti-fraud, whistle blower, risk management, and the cyber security policy, among others.

The council acting on behalf of the whole episcopal body approved statutes or legislations for the conference to be submitted to the apostolic see for review and approval.

Apart from these, the bishops have made the following resolutions;

On the Catholic University, the bishops have decreed that a new campus should be constructed at Nanjiri once designing and architectural work is done. That a College of Health Sciences and a Teaching hospital be established at St John Institute for Health in Mzuzu. Finally, that construction of residence for priests teaching at Catholic University should commence.

Fr Henry Saindi; Secretary General of ECM

Falling under general matters, the council has resolved that; This year’s ordination to diaconate be shifted to 4th September 2021 and 28th August be reserved for episcopal consecration in Dedza.

The bishops have also resolved that this year’s Communication Sunday be celebrated on 29th August reserving 25th July as World Day for the elderly.

furthermore, the conference has directed the Pastoral Commission and Family apostolate should collaborate so that the Church can conjointly celebrate the Year of St Joseph and Amoris Laetitia family year.

The bishops have also directed the Secretary General to identify three contractors to be considered for the renovations of Kachebere and St Peter’s Seminaries.

Currently, the church in Malawi is struggling to sustain its two major seminaries. As such the council has resolved that a modern and magnificent office complex be constructed in Lilongwe to be source of funds for the running of these two institutions.

The bishops have resolved to shift a developmental project which is been done together with Broll Malawi Limited to a yet to be compensation plot.

The council has resolved to invite to Malawi the Laudato Si movement to open a chapter in Malawi for the implementation of its goals.

The permanent council of the episcopal Conference of Malawi is an executive arm of the body of bishops responsible for overseeing implementation of resolutions that bishops make during their plenary meetings. recently, the bishops held a plenary meeting in Lilongwe at the end of June 2021. The council is composed of Archbishop Msusa, the president, and Bishop Mtumbuka, his vice, and other two bishops namely; Bishop Tambala and Bishop Sitima.

The council held its meeting from 13th to 15th July 2021 in Mangochi.