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Donal Lamont, 92; Bishop Spoke Against Racism in Rhodesia

September 03, 2003|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Donal Lamont, 92, a Roman Catholic bishop expelled from white-ruled Rhodesia in 1977 for opposing its racial policies, died Aug. 14 in Dublin, Ireland, of causes associated with aging.

Ordained a priest in 1937, Lamont moved from his native Ireland to Rhodesia in 1946 to establish a Carmelite mission. He was appointed bishop of Umtali in 1957. After rebels in 1972 launched their seven-year campaign to wrest Rhodesia from white control, Lamont publicly blamed white leader Ian Smith and his "clearly racial and oppressive policies" for the bloodshed.

Lamont, nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1978, was ousted from Rhodesia in 1977 after receiving a 10-year prison sentence. He had pleaded guilty to a charge of allowing nuns to provide medical attention to black rebels fighting to overthrow Smith. Christians, Lamont said, must not act as "informers" for the state or refuse medical aid to anyone "regardless of religion or politics."

Lamont returned in 1980 to what had been renamed Zimbabwe and served as bishop for two more years. His likeness appeared on a Zimbabwean postage stamp.

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