The Zimbabwean Catholic Bishops’ Conference issued a pastoral letter on 14 August 2020. Its title, “The March is not Ended”, echoed the words of the late American civil right activist and politician John Robert Lewis. In the introduction, the bishops reminded their fellow citizens that “Peace building and nation-building are never completed tasks. Every generation has to establish national cohesion and peace”. In using the biblical text from Micah 7:1–6 where the prophet denounced corruption and oppression in his own days, the bishops took a swipe at Zimbabwean political leaders. African politicians never take responsibility for their misrule of the continent, which has kept Africa largely underdeveloped. The perplexity of the situation in Zimbabwe is reflective of similar situations in other parts of sub-Saharan Africa where leaders look the other way and shift blames. This research undertakes to explore how the Catholic Church in Africa has fared in its prophetic mission in relation to the political-cum-socioeconomic questions on the continent. It will acknowledge instances where the Church, through certain prelates, has proven itself to be a moral conscience. It will also indicate how the efforts of African bishops closely align with those of Pope Francis in relation to the prophetic mission of the Church as a defender of truth, human rights and social justice. Contribution: Africans, like most people in the world, have a very simple vision of the good life: to live in reasonable material comfort and in peace. This research is essentially anchored within Catholic social teaching. It underscores how the Catholic Church in Africa has defended and continues to uphold the rights of the people to actualize their aspiration of a simple good life in a hostile and self-serving African political and socioeconomic context. It notes that the Church cannot take the place of political leaders because its role is basically the promotion of the common good, which includes public order and peace, development, equality, justice and solidarity.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.