The Catholic Bishops join with all the people of Zimbabwe in thanking God for the attainment of independence one year ago and for all that has been so successfully accomplished since then. Under God, our thanks are due also to our Government and its leaders who after many years of bitter struggle put aside the temptation to revenge and instead gave a truly Christian example of magnanimity by calling for reconciliation among all the people of this country. Their action has evoked the admiration and praise of the civilised world.
As a result of all these blessings a truly remarkable degree of peace has already been achieved throughout. Zimbabwe although there are many disgraceful acts of violence which call forth our total condemnation. Thankfully, however, there is growing understanding between the diverse racial, tribal and political groups wherever they are found. With the continuation of such mutual understanding and trust Zimbabwe can look forward with great confidence to becoming a strong, united and peaceful nation.
In addition to this priceless and fundamental achievement of peace many important developments in the fields of education, health services, land distribution have taken place, wages have been greatly increased, opportunities for employment hitherto denied to the masses have now been opened up and new commercial enterprises have already been initiated with considerable success and with much hope for the future. In this regard the people of Zimbabwe newly admitted among the community of free nations must be particularly grateful to the Governments of many countries which in a spirit of brotherly concern have recently provided most generous financial assistance so that this country may soon become truly independent and enable all its people to attain integral human development.
Bearing in mind that culture is the supreme manifestation of the spiritual values of a people we call on all Zimbabweans to examine and integrate with the teaching of the Christian Faith and into public worship where possible the rich spiritual inheritance of the local population so that, the Gospel of Our Lord may not appear to them as an alien thing but what it truly is, the supreme revelation of God's love for His children of every age and nation.
Finally we pray that with a renewed consciousness of God's presence guiding each of us and the affairs of our country, with a dedicated concern for personal integrity through the preservation of basic moral values, the whole public and private life of Zimbabwe may be revitalised and merit even greater blessings than those already given by God our Father, the Giver of all good things.
+ Donal R. Lamont, 0. Carm., Bishop of Umtali
+ Patrick F. Chakaipa, Archbishop of Salisbury
+ Ignatius Prieto, S.M.I., Bishop of Wankie
+ Henry Karlen, C.M.M., Bishop of Bulawayo
Helmut Reckter, S.J., Prefect Apostolic of Sinoia
+ Tobias W. Chiginya, Bishop of Gwelo
+ Patrick M. Mutume, Auxiliary Bishop of Umtali