By MICHAEL DUGGAN Bishop Donal Lamont of Umtali, Rhodesia, who recently supported allegations of brutality against Rhodesia's security forces, has denied in London that he is "rocking the boat" at a time when there is talk of a possible settlement by the illegal regime.
The Bishop said, during a brief stopover in London on his way to Washington, that any settlement in Rhodesia would come once it was established that the terms would be founded on justice. "There is a more urgent need for the establishment of the rule of law in Rhodesia than for calculating the niceties of a settlement."
In two signed statements dated January 27 Bishop Lamont, President of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Rhodesia, gave his backing to eight black Rhodesians who have taken out summonses against the Rhodesian Minister of Justice and of Law and Order, Senator Desmond Lardner-Burke.
The cases involve allegations of assault by shackling, blindfolding, whipping and the use of electricity. Bishop Lamont also said the Justice and Peace Commission was "greatly alarmed" at the compulsory movement of 6 8,0 0 0 Rhodesians into "protected villages" where living conditions are unsatisfactory. On the commission's behalf he also protested against the deportation of two Methodist missionaries. His position in Rhodesia was "very tenuous." "I have been described in Parliament as a Communist." But anyone who disputed with the regime was automatically dubbed a Cornmunist, and his response to such charges was: "Don't be silly."
Bishop Lamont criticised white Catholics in Rhodesia who failed to uphold social justice. "How can they be regarded as loyal to the Church?"
The Irish-born bishop agreed that there were parallels between Rhodesia and Northern Ireland, in that there was "a refusal to share power" in both cases. Catholics in Britain could help by ensuring that there was "no silence about the whole thing" and by looking at the injustice under their noses.
At the end of 1974 the African Catholic newspaper "Moto" was banned by the Salisbury Parliament. It is believed that Rhodesia's Catholic hierarchy is contemplating a vigorous protest against the ban on this and other publications.