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A critique of the relationship between the Catholic Church and the state in Zimbabwe : towards an empathetic dialogical method.

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This study serves to evaluate the effectiveness of the Catholic Church‟s prophetic voice in the post-independence Zimbabwe. It also serves to show that being prophetic is not enough unless this prophesy engages with the other. This study proposes a dialogical prophetic voice, which engages with the one to whom it is challenging. For the prophetic voice to be dialogical it has to be empathetic and being empathetic in this case points to the ability to understand the other party‟s perspective. Understanding in this context does not mean to sympathise or compromise but to be able to see through the eyes of the other party in dialogue in a bid to constructively challenge or criticize the other. This study suggests an Empathetic Dialogical method as central and foundational to an effective dialogical process. It also proposes Bonhoeffer‟s Church-State model as a conducive ground for an Empathetic dialogue. The study ultimately wants to show that the ineffectiveness of the Catholic Church in Zimbabwe to dialogue with the State is due to its predominately non-empathetic dialogical model. It (the study) specifically points to two trajectories: the first trajectory points to the Catholic Church‟s unwillingness to consult the State, while it has a tendency to prescribe for the State. The second trajectory lies in the failure of the Zimbabwean Catholic Church to speak with one voice, which consequently led it to compromise with the State. This study is informed by the suffering Zimbabwean people at the hands of a ruthless regime and a Church whose prophetic voice is ineffective.


Thesis (M.Th.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 2010.


Theses--Theology., Catholic Church--Zimbabwe., Church and State--Zimbabwe--Catholic Church.