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Tuesday, 19 November, 2002, 09:48 GMT
Liberia's church strike ends
Catholic mission in Tubmanburg
The Catholic Church delivers much-needed services
Church representatives in Liberia have called off a protest that closed schools and health centres run by the church.

The decision was taken after a meeting with President Charles Taylor to discuss accusations made against the head of the Catholic Church, Archbishop Michael Francis.


The malicious attack on the renowned bishop is tantamount to attacking the body of Christ which is the church

LCC statement
The Reverend Pelessant Harris, secretary general of the Liberian Council of Churches said that President Taylor had promised to bring the parties to the current dispute together, to examine the evidence over claims made.

"I think very soon the whole issue will be resolved," he told the BBC's Network Africa.

Nuns

The church and the government have been trading accusations since Archbishop Francis launched an investigation last week into the murder of American nuns 10 years ago.

Bishop Michael Francis (Pic: allaboutliberia.com)
Bishop Francis has often criticised the government
At the time fighters loyal to Mr Taylor were accused by the Archbishop and the United States of carrying out the killings.

A member of parliament - Sando Johnson responded by accusing the Archbishop of failing to address homosexuality in the Catholic Church.

Activities at all church-related health and learning institutions throughout the country were seriously disrupted on Monday - the first of three days of planned disruption.

Distanced

Archbishop Michael Francis has often criticised President Taylor's government saying it has a poor human rights record.

In a statement on Monday, the government urged church leaders to call off the protest in the interest of education and the health of the of Liberian people.

The government maintained that Sando Johnson's allegations against Bishop Francis were his personal views.

But the Council of Churches disagreed. It said that "when an official who holds such a high office speaks, he cannot separate himself from his office."

Mr Johnson has shown no regrets for his allegations despite mounting criticism.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Reverend Pelessant Harris
"It was resolved after an appeal from the president"
News, analysis and background from Liberia's conflict and escalating refugee crisis

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21 Oct 02 | Africa
14 Sep 02 | Africa
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