Plymouth: Bishop Budd condemns treatment of priest in Zimbabwe

 Bishop Christopher Budd today strongly condemned the treatment of Fr Patrick Kelly - a priest of the Plymouth Diocese currently working in Zimbabwe. Fr 'PJ' Kelly has been interrogated on three occasions by President Mugabe's security organisation - the Central Intelligence Organisation - for alleged promotion 'of opposition politics.' Subsequently, he was visited by so-called war veterans who ordered him to 'stop spreading subversive politics' or leave his parish, St Gabriel's, Nyanga, in the Diocese of Mutare, eastern Zimbabwe. Bishop Budd said today: "Fr PJ has always been on the side of the people and would not agree to stop speaking the truth about justice in Zimbabwe. Therefore, he has been forced to leave his parish for his personal safety. "I have spoken to Fr PJ on the phone and he told me that a member of his parish was beaten up by the Central Intelligence Organisation after being interrogated." Bishop Budd stressed: "These events have nothing to do with white farmers in Zimbabwe occupying most of the good land and everything to do with the fundamental attitude of the Mugabe government to its own people which is an unjust one." Fr PJ was ordained in 1967 and worked in the parish of St Peter's, Crownhill, Plymouth, for four years before going to the Diocesan African Mission in Kenya in 1971. He was assigned to Zimbabwe in 1998 where he worked in the St Gabriel's Parish, Nyanga, until he was forced to leave on Wednesday (August 21). Fr PJ was first detained by the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) in March this year and accused of promoting opposition politics. He was later questioned again by the CIO on two consecutive days - August 14 and 15 - when the same accusation was made. Fr PJ, 60, was born in Tubbercurry, Co Sligo, Ireland, and educated at St Nathy's College, Ballaghaderreen, Co Roscommon, and at All Hallows Seminary, Dublin. He is now in a safe house. source: Plymouth Diocese

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