Religion: Mobutu as Messiah

It sounded like something out of Stalin's Russia or Communist China: a head of government threatening to shut down Roman Catholic churches in his nation. But that warning comes this month from Zaïre's President Mobutu Sese Seko, a baptized Catholic whose nation has the largest Christian population in Africa. Mobutu says he will close any church whose priest does not stick to spiritual matters and keep silent on public issues, and there is little reason to doubt that he means it. His words follow some very specific works.

Since Mobutu decreed his African "authenticity" campaign three years ago, Zaïre's Christians have...

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