I am writing my assessment after my shocking observation of the above social media post by the Ethiopian Catholic Church. I have made some my own assessment about the process of developing the statement and how all Catholics are feeling about it. The statement indicates, the Catholic Cardinal and the Church in Ethiopia seems very happy, congratulates Mr. Abiy for his election and wishes him well. However, it is so obvious some Catholics are deeply resented not only with Mr. Abiy but also with all religious leaders that support the genocide of Mr. Aby and Isayas of Eritrea on Tigray. Against this backdrop, without minimum sense of responsibility or even sensitivity the church’s social media site emerged carrying the statement of endorsement!
The religious institutions and their leaders openly or tacitly endorsed Mr. Abiy’s and Isaias genocide camouflaged under the cover of ‘law enforcement’. The most of religious leaders in Ethiopia have been being used by Mr. Abiy and Ministry of Peace to save face of the war. Some religious leaders like the grand Mufti, many Orthodox Tewahido and Evangelical leaders such as Dr. Eyasu Elias, who is the president of the Protestant Churches’ Council and doubles as a prosperity parliament member elected in one of the constituencies in Addis on the Prosperity Party ticket. So, he, many of the Council’s officials, has been on full support of genocide on Tigray for example. Some of the Orthodox Church leaders have been on record for their unbecoming acts not only in support of war but also in harassing of their fellow Tigrayan religious leaders. These include bishop Yosief, aba Histan, and those in Diaspora such as abune Fanuel. Some of Orthodox Church’s bishops and leaders such as Daniel Kibret have been promoting genocidal profiling of Tigrayans at every occasion. They have been lobbying to mobilize diplomatic support Abiy Ahmed’s campaign of Tigray systematic deprivation of life saving support in the name of supporting war. Generally, the genocidal war on Tigray by alliance of forces left the so-called religious leaders in Ethiopia morally naked. They are tested and failed. Eritrean Catholic Church stand out as a moral giant in comparison to Ethiopian religious leaders who masquerade as religious leaders but act as petty cadres promoting profiling of Tigrayans – that way effectively becoming agents of genocide.
It is shame to see religious institutions and leaders absconding their responsibilities. One fears not for himself and for Tigrayans alone but overall situation of moral decadency and the emptiness of these leaders; there is no where people can have hope! In this piece, I want to bring to the attention of readers this week’s Ethiopian Catholic Church’s callous act of sleeping with the high priest of genocide – Abiy Ahmed and by implication endorsing the role by the overall supreme leader of genocide– Isayas Afework. And remember for a second that Ethiopian Catholic Church or any other religious institution never condemned the Eritrean army’s presence and geocide in Tigray – but they make periodic noise against Egypt or Sudan with regard to the Nile water!
Back to the Catholic Church of Ethiopia particularly Cardinal and the national secretariat are openly endorsing Abiy’s acts whether they are destructive or not. The whole mission and vision of the Catholic Social Teaching is to side with the oppressed, with the voiceless, and with the victims of aggression but not with the oppressors. The worst show of the Catholic leaders such as Birhaneyesus (Cardinal) and his agents sent a good wish and congratulating Mr. Abiy in the name of all Catholic faithful in Ethiopia, Catholic bishops, and congregations. They lacked conflict sensitivity, responsibility to their own people and all Catholic bishops. It is known some Catholic Bishops are against what is happening on Tigray. Now, I communicated with several sources and confirmed that there was no consultation and many religious leaders, and Catholic bishops in Ethiopia were not consulted. Therefore, this hugely sensitive endorsement to the genocidal government is not taken well neither by all the bishops nor by all Catholic faithful in Ethiopia. There was no meeting of bishops’ conference members, nor was there any consultation whatsoever on matter as sensitive as this. That is why some of the Ethiopian Catholic leaders and faithful are shocked to see Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat and Cardinal Birhaneyesus writing such an irresponsible endorsement. The children and mothers dying of Aby and Esayas made famine in Tigray and Catholic church’s endorsement against this backdrop………This statement is abhorred by Catholic leaders and faithful from Tigray and in some other areas in Ethiopia. Catholic social teaching and Catholic faithful, many of Catholic bishops are betrayed by this statement! We kindly ask the Ethiopian Catholic Church to rectify this act, and apologize for all the subservient position to the genocidal region that has been taken by words and silence of Cardinal Berhaneyesus. This particular position of Ethiopian Catholic Church and its present Cardinal’s endorsement does not represent the Catholics in Tigray. It cannot; and I say this without fear of contradiction!
The end point is – not all bishops knew or endorsed this statement, not all priests, nuns, and the faithful accept the statement. In fact, most of them I know and talked to are shocked and eagerly want to distance themselves from such leaders and groups. Let them continue their endorsements and public prayers for consolidation of genocidal regime, but people of Tigray, Wolega, parts of Amhara, Afar and others, will not take these religious leaders seriously anymore. So all must know that is the statement by few leaders particularly Cardinal Berhaneyesus and his agents. Cardinal Birhaneyesus, some of other Catholic leaders, have effectively endorsed and now have become agents of genocide as opposed to their supposed vocation – to be agents of peace, justice, option for the poor, and reconciliation. When Adigrat Diocese Catholic bishop – Abune Tesfaselassie Medhin wrote letters of moral urgency twice to the world about dire situation of the man-made famine; on the contrary the Cardinal Behraneyesus Surafiel Demirew endorse the father of famine and genocide. Therefore, the endorsement of Mr. Abiy by the Catholic Church on their Facebook doesn’t represent the Catholic teaching nor the catholic bishops and faithful in many parts of Ethiopia. Let all and sundry know.
Now, is the Vatican Ambassador in Addis Ababa to remain just quiet? Are all the faithful and bishops and congregations of the Church just to keep quiet about it? Well one thing is clear. The Church has divided itself at the alter of Mr. Abiy and with the spiritual leadership of Isayas Afework. We stand in need of moral leadership! Save us Lord. I am writing this letter as an individual and as part and parcel of the Catholic Church in Tigray and on behalf of all people who are suffering.