Catholic bishops slam corrupt African leaders

Catholic bishops say Africa needs "saintly politicians who will clean the continent of corruption."

Politicians 'betray and sell out their nations'

Roman Catholic bishops have blasted corruption among politicians in Africa.

The region needs "saintly politicians who will clean the continent of corruption," the bishops declared Friday at a meeting about Africa at the Vatican.

"Many Catholics in high office have fallen woefully short in their performance in office," the bishops said in the communique following their meeting

They called on "such people to repent, or quit the public arena and stop causing havoc to the people and giving the Catholic Church a bad name."

The bishops did not single out any political leaders by name, but Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe and Angola's Eduardo dos Santos are both Catholic. Mugabe has been internationally criticized for political repression and his handling of the economy, while dos Santos has been accused of election fraud and corruption.

The bishops praised African countries that are "on the route of genuine democracy," but called the situations in Somalia, northern Uganda, southern Sudan, Darfur, and Guinea Conakry a "great shame."

"Whatever may be the responsibility of foreign interests, there is always the shameful and tragic collusion of the local leaders: politicians who betray and sell out their nations," they said.

The prelates also took aim at business interests in Africa.

"Multinationals have to stop their criminal devastation of the environment in their greedy exploitation of natural resources," they stated. "It is short-sighted policy to foment wars in order to make fast gains from chaos, at the cost of human lives and blood."

With files from The Associated Press