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Bishop Donal Lamont; battled racism

DUBLIN -- Roman Catholic Bishop Donal Lamont, who was expelled from white-ruled Rhodesia in 1977 for opposing its policies of racial discrimination, died Aug. 14. He was 92.

Bishop Lamont was ordered out of Rhodesia after receiving a 10-year prison sentence. The bishop had pleaded guilty to a charge of allowing nuns to provide medical attention to black rebels fighting to overthrow Rhodesia's last white leader, Ian Smith.

The bishop argued in his defense that Christians must not act as "informers" to the state nor refuse medical aid to anyone "regardless of religion or politics."

Bishop Lamont came to Rhodesia in 1946 to establish a Carmelite mission. He was appointed bishop in 1957. In a 1972 open letter to Smith on the rebel uprising, Bishop Lamont wrote, "Your administration, by its clearly racial and oppressive policies and by its stubborn refusal to change, is largely responsible for the injustices which have provoked the present disorder." Bishop Lamont was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1978. Smith was defeated by rebel leader Robert Mugabe in 1980 and the country was renamed Zimbabwe.

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