Dar es Salaam. Polycarp Cardinal Pengo yesterday attacked what he said were tribalistic sentiments within the Catholic Church, reiterating the need to maintain unity and avoid tribalism.
Cardinal Pengo made the remarks in Sumbawanga, Rukwa Region, during the consecration of Fr Beatus Christian Urassa as the new Bishop of the Diocese of Sumbawanga.
Pope Francis appointed Fr Urassa in April to succeed Bishop Damian Kyaruzi, who has retired.
In his message during the consecration, Cardinal Pengo said the church is united by the Blood of Jesus Christ, and not by tribes of bishops who lead the Church.
“Bishops entrusted to lead the Church in Tanzania should remember that we are obligated to emphasise the need to maintain the country’s unity. Blood from a leader from any tribe shouldn’t disrupt our unity,” he said in a live broadcast.
Cardinal Pengo cautioned the newly-installed bishop not to be ashamed of his tribe, noting that tribal origins have nothing to do with people’s liberation.
Representing President Magufuli at the event, the Minister for Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development, Mr William Lukuvi, urged Tanzanians to support clerics in making Tanzania the true Haven of Peace. “While we support their prayers that have a significant role in the country’s peace, unity and solidarity, people should make better use of the extant peace to work harder,” the minister said.
He also noted with deep appreciation the social services and development projects that are routinely implemented by the church, including schools whose students have been performing extremely well in examinations – stressing that the government does indeed commend the efforts.
The Tanzania Episcopal Conference president, Tarcisius Ngalalekumtwa, noted the readiness of the new bishop to serve Tanzanians.
Apart from church and government leaders, the consecration was attended by the Holy See representative in Tanzania, Archbishop Marek Solczyński, as well as several other bishops, including bishops Paul Ruzoka, Damian Kyaruzi, and Anthony Banzi.
Others were bishops Titus Mdoe, Eusebius Nzigilwa, Tarcisius Ngalalekumtwa, Juda Thadeus Ruwai-ichi, Telesphore Mkude, Severine Niwemugizi, Methodius Kilaini, Ludovick Minde and Liberatus Sangu.
The newly-installed Sumbawanga Bishop was born in Rombo District, Kilimanjaro Region on August 2, 1965.
A member of the Apostolic Life Community of Priests in the Opus Spiritus Sancti (ALCP/OSS), Bishop Urassa undertook philosophy studies at the Lang’at Seminary.
Later, he joined the regional theological seminary, Saint Charles Lwanga Senior Seminary, located in the Segerea area of Dar es salaam for further studies.