Rebel Catholic church opens in Uganda
Tuesday, 29th December, 2009
By Tonny Nsoona
A Catholic sect that allows its priests to marry has registered and opened a branch in Uganda, with its headquarters in Jinja.
The Catholic Apostolic National Church, which does not allow women to become priests, has attracted a few Roman Catholic priests.
Its African archbishop, Mbewa Anzanga, a former Zambian Roman Catholic priest, has appointed Leonard Lubega the first bishop-elect for Uganda.
Lubega, a PhD graduate in Biblical Counselling from a US university, has already received an apostolic mandate for his election as Uganda’s first bishop.
Lubega, who is also a lecturer at Kampala International University, was formerly a Charismatic Catholic Church priest.
Mbewa is due in the country in January to ordain over 10 priests and officially launch the new church in Uganda.
In an interview with The New Vision in Jinja, Lubega clarified that the Catholic Apostolic Church is not under Pope Benedict XI but it recognises him and prays for him during its daily masses.
Lubega said in order to avoid confusion, it is best to use the Brazilian Catholic Church when referring to their church, adding that their priests can marry before or after ordination.
The Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church is an independent Catholic church established in 1945 by Brazilian bishop Dom Carlos Duarte Costa, a former Roman Catholic Bishop of Botucatu.
Costa started the church after falling out with the Catholic Church and he was excommunicated.
The Brazilian Catholic Church acknowledges divorce as a reality of life and permitted in Holy Scripture, and will marry divorced people.
Asked whether they are real Catholics, Lubega answered in the affirmative. “We are Catholics but not Roman Catholics. Just remember that every Roman Catholic is a Catholic but not every Catholic is a Roman Catholic.”
The Catholic Apostolic Church has over 25 priests in Uganda. This includes William Obonyo, a convert from the Roman Catholic Missionaries of Africa White Fathers in Tororo. It currently has about 10,000 followers in Busoga and Buganda.
Uganda Catholic Priests Form New Church
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: December 31, 2009
Filed at 3:26 p.m. ET
KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) -- Twenty renegade Catholic priests who are either married or want to marry have broken from the mainstream Roman Catholic Church here and formed a new church where celibacy is not required, members said.
The Ugandan government said Thursday it was investigating the breakaway Catholic Apostolic National Church in Uganda and would ban it if found to be illegal. Vatican officials said the priests were now considered ''outside'' the Catholic Church and would likely be excommunicated.
The creation of the splinter church underscored the increasingly vexing problem of enforcing celibacy for Roman Catholic priests in Africa, which has the world's fastest-growing Catholic population but where there have been several cases of priests living openly with women and fathering children.
Earlier this year, the Vatican summoned African bishops to Rome for a three-week meeting on problems of the church in Africa, and celibacy was a key topic of discussion. The Vatican, however, has remained firm that priests must not marry, although there are exceptions for priests of the Eastern rite and for converts from Anglicanism.
The breakaway Ugandan church has as its head a former Zambian Catholic priest, the Rev. Luciano Anzanga Mbewe, who was excommunicated earlier this year for having founded what the Vatican called a schismatic church, the Catholic Apostolic National Church of Zambia, which allows for a married priesthood.
The Ugandan offshoot is located in the eastern town of Jinja. Mbewe is expected to visit soon to officially launch the church and ordain new priests, said Rev. Leonard Lubega, who says he has been appointed bishop-elect by Mbewe.
Mbewe has said he was inspired by the former Zambian archbishop, Emmanuel Milingo, who was married in 2001 to a South Korean woman by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon of the Unification Church.
Milingo was excommunicated in 2006 after installing four married men as bishops in the United States. Two weeks ago, the Vatican defrocked Milingo entirely, stripping him of his priestly functions so any future ordinations by him would be invalid.
Lubega said the Catholic Apostolic National Church in Uganda already has over 12,000 followers.
''We are Catholics but not Roman Catholics,'' Lubega said, adding that the new church -- while not under Pope Benedict XVI -- recognizes him and prays for him.
At least three of the priests have said they are married. One is Rev. Henry Mutto, who said he recently got married. ''Some of us already have wives. Others will get (one) soon,'' he said.
Uganda's vice president, Gilbert Bukenya said authorities were investigating the church, which he called a sect.
''We want to know its roots. If we discover that it is illegal we will ban it,'' he said.
Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Kampala, called on the government not to allow such renegade religious groups to operate, saying they might cause confusion among Ugandans.
''I call upon government to avoid registering such new churches,'' he said. ''They can bring about religious conflicts.''
Winfield reported from Rome.
Catholic sect has received support – Bishop
Thursday, 31st December, 2009
By Tonny Nsoona
THE elect bishop of the Catholic Apostolic National Church of Uganda, a break-away sect, said he has received overwhelming support from priests and Christians worldwide.
Leonard Lubega said the church did not want to fight any religion, and was simply welcoming willing converts.
“I can confidently tell you that one Catholic bishop from one of the African states will join our church and is willing to open a branch in that country,” Lubega said, without naming the bishop or his country.
Lubega was presenting his registration papers for verification to the Jinja deputy resident district commissioner, Apollo Bwebale, on Wednesday.
He added that he was glad that the Government accepted freedom of worship as provided for in the Constitution.
Bwebale said he was willing to work with priests and other religious leaders to promote government programmes, especially in the education and health sectors.
He criticised religious leaders who bar their followers from attending school and receiving medical attention.
The Catholic Apostolic National Church has over 10,000 followers and 25 priests countrywide.
The church’s archbishop, Lunciano Mbewe Anzanga, is expected to visit Uganda early this year to ordain 10 priests.