LUSAKA Catholic Diocese Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu has missed an opportunity to set the record straight on the relationship between his sister and Patriotic Front (PF) leader Michael Sata in which two children have been sired.
Just when the nation was waiting for the archbishop to clear the air and rest the matter regarding Mr Sata's relationship with his sister, this was not to be.
While Archbishop Mpundu admitted during a Press conference attended by PF and United Party for National Development Members of Parliament that Mr Sata had sired children with his sister, he failed to state categorically the nature of the relationship.
The nation was waiting with bated breath to know whether the bishop approved or disproved of this relationship even though it involved his adult sister who is at liberty to engage in any relationships with or without her brother's approval.
Instead, the Catholic prelate was quick to absolve himself of blame or even responsibility, preferring to call the "contracted marriage" as "speculative in the extreme, as it was highly reprehensible".
Call it by whatever name, but how possible is it that Archbishop Mpundu would not be in a position to know if his own sister was married or not?
By creating a murky picture about a relationship involving his own sibling, he has only succeeded in building on the speculation.
As a senior member of the clergy, Archbishop Mpundu has a duty to uphold the rites of the Catholic Church.
The Catholic Church is strict and guards jealously its doctrines, and the archbishop himself yesterday stated that the church "believes in and teaches marriage between one man and one woman which once freely contracted and in accordance with all laid down procedures is indissoluble".
Even the question of Holy Eucharist is common knowledge that not just anybody can partake of it, and sanctions apply to members who fall into sin.
Outsiders are excluded from it completely and it is not negotiable.
Former Republican president Frederick Chiluba sampled part of the venomous backlash when he took the Holy Eucharist.
Therefore, it is rather a feeble attempt by Archbishop Mpundu to evade the real issue and try to pass the buck to the local parish priest to deal with.
And even to accuse Dr Chiluba of waging an orchestrated campaign against the Catholic Church by raising issues of marriage and the Holy Eucharist lends credence to the saying that attack is the best form of defence.