Zimbabwe: freedom-fighter priest named Bishop of Chinoyi

 A Jesuit priest detained twice and then expelled by the British colonial government in the 1970's has been named the new bishop of the diocese of Chinhoyi. Father Dieter Scholz SJ, 67, succeeds the late Bishop Helmut Recktor as shepherd of the more than 84, 000 Catholics in Chinhoyi. The diocese, established in 1985, has 28 priests and 94 religious. The date of Bishop-elect Scholz's installation is yet to be announced. Until his elevation, the German-born missionary was director of Silveira House, a centre of education and formation for leadership and development in Harare. While working with the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace from 1972 to 1978, first as vice-president and then president, Fr Scholz was arrested under the Official Secrets Act and the Law and Order Maintenance (Emergency Power Regulations) Act and imprisoned twice. He was deported from Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) on 12 August, 1978. While in Europe, he was director of the Zimbabwe Project in London and the Jesuit Refugee Service in Rome, as well as visiting professor at the Gregorian University. Fr Scholz returned to Zimbabwe in 1990 and served as parish priest at Marymount Mission, Rushinga, before he became director of Silveira House in 1995. Bishop-elect Dieter Scholz SJ was born on 2 June, 1938, in Bingen, Germany. He entered the Society of Jesus on 15 April, 1958. He studied philosophy in Chantilly (France) and theology in Frankfurt (Germany). He obtained an honours degree in African Languages and Social Anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. He was ordained a priest on 13 July, 1969. On coming to Zimbabwe, he worked as assistant parish priest at Marymount Mission, before he pursued postgraduate studies at the Centre for Inter-Racial Studies at the then University of Rhodesia. The Catholic Church in Zimbabwe still awaits the appointment of bishops for the dioceses of Gweru and Hwange that have been vacant since 2004. Gweru became vacant after the death of Bishop Francis Mugadzi, while Hwange has had no shepherd since Archbishop Robert Ndlovu was transferred to Harare to succeed the late Archbishop Patrick Chakaipa. Source: CISA

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