The Social Doctrine of the Church helps the people to translate charity into effective plans aimed at the common good of all. Bishop Alexio Muchabaiwa expressed these words during the Launch of the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, at St Mary’s Cathedral in Bulawayo. The launch took place on the 12th of May 2009.
The colourful Ceremony was preceded by Holy Mass at 10:00 am that was celebrated by His Lordship Bishop Alexio Muchabaiwa the Bishop Chairman for Justice and Peace Commission in Zimbabwe. Co-celebrating were Bishops Albert Serrano of Hwange diocese, Martin Munyanyi of Gweru diocese and Rev. Fr. Martin Schupp the Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Bulawayo and over 40 priests from all the dioceses in Zimbabwe.
The parishioners of St Mary’s Cathedral showed their high degree of appreciation of their cultural values and this was shown by the way they blended song, dance and poetry during the entrance, gospel and offertory processions. This was accompanied by melodious hymns, drums and marimba as hundreds of people flowed into the Cathedral to witness the launching of the Social Doctrine of the Church.
In his homily Bishop Martin Munyanyi who is the Chairman of IMBISA Justice and Peace Desk emphasized that our peace should be built on Christian Principles and that the peace that Jesus gave to his followers is different from the worldly peace.
Quoting from Pope Paul XI’s Encyclical, Development of Peoples, Bishop Munyanyi equated peace to development and went on to say whenever there is exploitation of each other, violence of any nature and when problems are not addressed there is no peace. The people should achieve peace through the Social Teachings of the Church contained in the Compendium. He said in order to understand the Compendium we need to take everybody as the image of God. True peace should aim at working towards justice. True justice should not be based on human interests, for true justice is above human law and should involve forgiveness and mercy. He concluded his homily by inviting the people to sing with him the hymn “Make me a channel of your peace.”
Launching Ceremony; which took place after Holy Communion was introduced by a poem recited by a young man dressed in a Ndebele traditional garb. The poem whose them was that of unity, called the Church and the State to work together for the benefit of the people of God. After the poem, Bishop Alexio Muchabayiwa talked on the History and purpose of launching ceremony and he also talked about some aspects of the Compendium.
In his speech Bishop Muchabaiwa defined the word “Compendium” as a “collection’ or a brief summary of a larger work or of a field of knowledge.’ This collective work comes from Encyclicals, Bishops and scholarly thoughts that contributed to a deeper understanding of the Church’s social doctrine representing fundamental stages of Catholic thought. He went on to say that this collection was compiled systematically by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace to come up with the “Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church” we are gathered here to launch. He also informed the gathering that the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church was published by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace in October 2004. The compendium was then presented to America in November 2005, Asia in January 2007 and to Africa in August 2008. It was at the presentation to the African continent in Tanzania that the Vatican through Cardinal Renato Raffaelle Martino the President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace expressed his wish to have the Compendium launched to all the local Church faithful.
The Bishop told the people that he was pleased that since the presentation of this Compendium to Africa, Zimbabwe was the first country to launch the book in the IMBISA region. The purpose of launching the book is mainly to make it known to all the faithful and encourage them to use it as a guideline for social life.
Bishop Muchabaiwa concluded his speech by encouraging training of all pastoral agents on the aspects and teachings contained in the Compendium on the Social Doctrine of the Church for their apostolate of evangelization. Each person according to their state of life should be specifically trained to know their rights and duties, the meaning and service of common good, honest management of public goods and the proper manner of participating in political life in order to be able to act in a credible manner in the face of injustices”.
After the Speech 165 copies of the Compendium were distributed to the Bishops and to the different arms of the Church in Zimbabwe.