The required reading for this item is yesterday’s item “A troublesome bishop,” which discusses a meeting among Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Bernard Malango, the Archbishop of Central Africa and Nolbert Kunonga, bishop of the Harare diocese in Zimbabwe, a crony of Robert Mugabe who has incited murder from his pulpit. Following the meeting, the two archbishops put out a statement so obtuse that I suggested a casual observer would never have known that Kunonga has been accused of serious human rights violations, or that Malango has protected him from prosecution.
Well, it wasn’t only casual observers who were fooled. Have a look at this Reuters story. (Hat tip to Ann F.) The reporter clearly knew nothing of the circumstances that occasioned the meeting, so Kunonga and Malango get a free pass.
Stephen Bates of The Guardian has caught the absurdity of this situation. He writes:
Inspiring news from South Africa where Rowan Williams, our beleaguered Archbishop of Canterbury has had a meeting with the Bishop of Harare. You might think that on the scale of things Nolbert Kunonga, a crony of the Mugabe regime -who has been accused by his black parishioners of inciting murder against his opponents, embezzlement, seizing a white farm for his own use and demanding that Zimbabwe’s starving churchgoers should all contribute to a wedding anniversary present for him and his wife – might be considered a little beyond the pale even for the famously inclusive Anglican communion, on a par, say, with Gene Robinson, the American gay bishop, about whom African archbishops are constantly critical. But no: Dr Williams merely asked Kunonga “to encourage the development of an independent voice” in Zimbabwe. So that’s all right then.
(Hat tip to Simon)