VATICAN CITY (CNS): Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of Zimbabwean Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo, the most outspoken critic of the country’s leadership who is also facing allegations of adultery.
In an undated letter written by the archbishop and released by the Vatican press office on September 11, the archbishop wrote that he offered his resignation to Vatican officials in July to spare sullying the image of the Church.
The Vatican announced that the Pope accepted the archbishop’s resignation under Canon 401.2, which covers resignations for illness or some other grave reason.
Archbishop Ncube, 60, is being sued for adultery and his case is before the High Court of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo.
The adultery lawsuit was made public in July.
Archbishop Ncube’s resignation “is not to be seen as an admission of guilt” to the adultery charges and it “shouldn’t have any bearing on the court case”, Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference secretary-general Fr Frederick Chiromba said in a September 11 telephone interview from the capital, Harare.
Archbishop Ncube said in his letter that although he has stepped down as head of the archdiocese “I remain a Catholic bishop in Zimbabwe and will continue to speak out on the issues that sadly become more acute by the day”, such as the country’s grinding poverty and severe food shortages.”
(Copyright Catholic News Service/USCCB. All rights reserved.)