One of the key church figures in the struggle against Robert Mugabe's abuses in Zimbabwe, Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube has indicated that he may soon return to the country, still reeling from post-election conflict, hunger and economic chaos.
The archbishop has been in England since June 2007, following accusations about his personal life. He had long been an outspoken critic of the Zimbabwean regime.
Speaking to parishioners on Sunday, reports Jo Siedlecka on Independent Catholic News (http://www.indcatholicnews.com/), Ncube said that he had been in England in order to "pray, study and rest" but that: "a shepherd must be with his flock, even if it means death".
The congregation, which included a number of Zimbabwean refugees, burst into spontaneous applause at the news.
Archbishop Pius told churchgoers who greeted him after Mass that since he has been here, he only eats one meal a day since "in Zimbabwe many eat only once every three days."
In his sermon, which focussed on humility and resistance, he declared: "God comes close to the vulnerable. People who cry they live much longer then those who don't cry. Women cry a lot. That's why they live longer than men. I'm not much of a crier. I wish I was. We must ask God for the gift of tears."
Ncube added: "[T]hose people who crucified Jesus were not ready to listen.... It is the proud who are destroying this world. It is proud people who have killed millions. Hitler was a terrific orator. When Hitler spoke he shook up people. But what did he bring? War. 40 million people perished in the Second World War, because this man was so full of himself and so full of pride. Stalin was a proud man. Mao Tse Tung a murderer responsible for the death of 70 million people... During the war in China. He use to say in order to spread communism we must kill more we haven't killed enough."
He continued: "Pol Pot. Mugabe. Our president who got into power by hook and by crook, and this time we hear during the election he changed the results, and went around beating up people, shooting some of them. And he has forbidden the Non Government Organisations to give food to those people who supported the opposition. That's pride."
Archbishop Ncube concluded: "Let us all walk in the way of humility. Only that way can we bring peace and happiness to our world.... So often I hear about Africa - in so many places, in Darfur, Rwanda I was sick for three days after reading what was going on there. In Zimbabwe too. There are so many problems in the world. We must pray. We must be humble."