Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Uganda media challenges catholic celibacy in the wake of Fr. A. Musaala’s Missive: Catholic Church leadership on trial




Catholic Cover up: Catholic church to set up an Ad hoc Committee to Investigate alleged sexual abuses by priests : Findings of the investigations, according to Archbishop Lwanga, would not be made public because the Church has a cocooned mechanism of resolving such slip-ups.

What kind of repentance is this!!! Sorry Sexual abuse victims but it is not the catholic church at fault but rather catholic priests who had failed in their celibacy vows: Bishop says sorry to sexual abuse victims


Caution: Peter the Apostle is called the first Pope in this article. This is an error. The word Pope is not is the bible and Peter did not have anything to do with the papacy.


Catholic Church leadership on trial

Thursday, 28 March 2013 14:32 By Ian Katusiime

Vatican is watching how Archbishop Lwanga deals with the Fr. Musaala saga
“It is a good point for reflection but it will not change the fundamentals of the church.” That is how one practicing Catholic assessed the impact of recent revelations by renowned celebrity Catholic priest, Father Anthony Musaala of sexual impropriety in the church. That belief in theinvincibility of the old Catholic Church might be similar to the Biblical house built on quick sand, without a foundation.

What one hears in conversations on the street and in the media across the country is that Fr. Musaala’s letter has sparked unprecedented public debate of what some have called the “double standards and hypocrisy’ of the Catholic Church that the letter points out.

It is without doubt that depending on how the leadership of Uganda’s biggest religious congregation of 14 million Catholics in four archdioceses and 19 dioceses handles the Fr. Musaala saga, the church could be changed; perhaps irrevocably. The man on whose shoulder lays the task of steering the church through the storm is Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga of Kampala diocese.

A stocky man, with a disarming smile and unusual aggressiveness for a clergyman, the 60-year old Archbishop has in the past shown he is not one to shirk the sometimes tough calling of his office. He has spoken out firmly against bad governance, child sacrifice and corruption.

Few were surprised when within days of Musaala’s letter going public, Archbishop Cyprian Lwanga, who is the head of the church, suspended him from all priestly duty.

Critics have said it is unlikely that the highest ranked priest in the Catholic Church in Uganda, the mild Cardinal Emmanuel Wamala who has not commented on the Musaala saga yet, would act so swiftly.

Archbishop Cyprian Lwanga, like his predecessors, has eyes set on being ordained cardinal. That process has been almost automatic. Depending on how he handles this saga and how his performance is judged by his superiors in the Vatican, his fate and that of the Catholic Church could shift.

Part of the problem is that since Father Musaala on March 12 released a letter addressed to bishops, priests, and laity, the Catholic community can no longer shrug off  tales of priests in Uganda fondling penitents in the confessional, bishops molesting young women, paying for abortions, and fathering children.

Fr. Mussala describes in the letter how, as a 16-year old boy, he had his first sexual encounter with a `brother’; one of the hierarchies of priests in the Catholic Church vowed to celibacy. He describes how many other boys in his school were similarly molested in a practice called `jaboo’.

In the letter entitled, “The Failure of celibate chastity among diocesan priests”, Father Musaala described the Catholic Church in Uganda as a “sick system which has lost its integrity in this one area but won’t admit it.”

“A campaign for optional married priesthood in the catholic church is now required,” he writes, “This campaign is primarily a form of education and purification. It is not to be construed as a rebellion against established doctrine but a reading of the signs of the times.”
Archbishop Lwanga will not make the allegations disappear by suspending Fr. Musaala and banning priests from discussing them. He needs to do more.

Fr. Musaala’s letter is perfectly timed to coincide with the weeklong Easter season that ends on March 31 when Christians mark their belief in the ultimate sacrifice in the crucifixion and resurrection of the founder of their religion, the Biblical figure, Jesus Christ.

Although over 90% of Ugandans profess to be Christians, many of them rarely visit churches and some attend mass only twice a year; on Easter and Christmas. Musaala’s campaign is likely to be the topic in conversation around, if not inside, the churches. Christians across the country will be seeking guidance from their priests. Silence cannot be the answer.

It also appears significant that the letter, published just a day before the Vatican announced Pope Francis I as its new leader, is likely to get maximum attention in Rome.

In the letter, Musaala says he has engaged a human rights lawyer and warns of pending lawsuits against the clergy and church. He also announced that, with support from groups in America and Europe, he is setting up a Victims Support Group.

“Join me in this exciting challenge to bring fundamental change to the Catholic Church,” he ended.

Facts about Catholic Priests and Marriage
  • In the Catholic Church a few married men, converted ministers from other faiths, have been ordained to the priesthood.
  • Catholic priests are believed to serve in the place of Christ and therefore, their ministry specially configures them to Christ who was not married. By remaining celibate, they are expected to devote themselves to the service of the Church at St. Paul makes clear (1 Cor 7:32–35). He recommends celibacy to all (1 Cor 7:7).
  • Catholic Priests cannot marry if they belong to religious orders that take vows of celibacy or make a promise of celibacy.
  • Once a Catholic priest is ordained,he cannot validly marry even if he leaves the Church.

Married priests
Although the Musaala saga has shed light in a dark chapter of the church, the clergy and laity in interviews with The Independent says what he is talking about is “nothing new”.

Many Ugandans do not know that the Catholic Church allows married people to serve as priests in some places such as Ukraine.

Many Ugandans also do not know that the requirement for Roman Catholic priests not to marry is relatively new, from 1123 when the First Lateran Council introduced it. Since 1980, the Catholic Church has allowed married priests from the Anglican Church who joined to stay with their wives.

Father Stephen Msele, the head of the Jesuits in Uganda, says the issues Fr. Musaala points out are pertinent and that a priest found to be with children should be ex-communicated.

On the issue of priests marrying, he takes a completely different view.

“It has to be an order from the Pope but still then that means we have to send a delegation to Rome to have clear deliberations about the subject,” he says.

Pope Francis has been quoted in international media saying the celibacy rule could change although he stated that he would still vouch for it on a personal note. That view is based on an interview the Pope gave when he was still Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the highest ranking Catholic prelate in England, recently resigned over tremendous pressure about sex related accusations. Cardinal O’Brien had expressed empathy and was circumspect about the issue of celibacy in the church. He felt for the many priests whom he had related with that expressed desires to have normal lives living as married people with children.

Perhaps O’Brien’s views represent a shift taking shape in the once extremely conservative organisation that the Catholic Church has always been known for.

History of celibacy in the Catholic Church
First Century
Peter, the first pope, and the apostles that Jesus chose were, for the most part, married men.

Fourth Century
306-Council of Elvira, Spain, decree #43: A priest who sleeps with his wife the night before Mass will lose his job.

325-Council of Nicea: Decreed that after ordination a priest could not marry. Proclaimed the Nicene Creed.

385: Pope Siricius left his wife in order to become pope. Decreed that priests may no longer sleep with their wives.

Fifth Century
401: St. Augustine wrote, “Nothing is so powerful in drawing the spirit of a man downwards as the caresses of a woman.”

Sixth Century
567-2nd Council of Tours: Any cleric found in bed with his wife would be excommunicated for a year and reduced to the lay state.

580-Pope Pelagius II: His policy was not to bother married priests as long as they did not hand over church property to wives or children.

590-604: Pope Gregory “the Great” said that all sexual desire is sinful.

Seventh Century
France: documents show that the majority of priest were married.

Eighth Century
St. Boniface reported to the pope that in Germany almost no bishop or priest was celibate.

Ninth Century
836: Council of Aix-la-Chapelle openly admitted that abortions and infanticide took place in convents and monasteries to cover up activities of non-celibate clerics.

St. Ulrich, a holy bishop, argued from scripture and common sense that the only way to purify the church from the worst excesses of celibacy was to permit priests to marry.

Eleventh Century
1045- Benedict IX dispensed himself from celibacy and resigned in order to marry.
1074-Pope Gregory VII said anyone to be ordained must first pledge celibacy.
1095-Pope Urban II had priests’ wives sold into slavery, children were abandoned.

Twelfth Century
1123-Pope Calistus II: First Lateran Council decreed that clerical marriages were invalid.

Sixteenth Century
1545-63-Council of Trent states that celibacy and virginity are superior to marriage.

Twentieth Century
1930-Pope Pius XI: Sex can be good and holy.
1951-Pope Pius XII: Married Lutheran pastor ordained catholic priest in Germany.
1962-Pope John XXIII: Vatican Council II; vernacular; marriage is equal to virginity.
1966-Pope Paul VI: Celibacy dispensations.
1978-Pope John Paul II: Puts a freeze on dispensations.
1980: Married Anglican/Episcopal pastors are ordained as catholic priests in the U.S.; also in Canada and England in 1994.

Archbishop Lwanga criticised
Archbishop Lwanga has banned priests from discussing this subject but the Canon law of the Catholic Church on which Archbishop Lwanga based his suspension of Fr. Musaala has also come under scrutiny. According to knowledgeable interpretation, it is not clear about the issue of clergy speaking out and raising issues within the church.

Archbishop Lwanga who said Fr. Musaala’s allegations “tarnish the image of the church and threaten to derail believers from their spiritual journey” has been criticised for his speedy action. Tough action from the Catholic Church is not unheard of in Uganda. The Minister for Ethics and Integrity, Fr. Simon Lokodo, was ex- communicated from the Catholic Church by the former Pope Benedicto XVI when he joined politics.

Fr. Musaala’s letter has also sparked public debate of the “double standards and hypocrisy’ of the Catholic Church that the letter points out.

Grace Agabamagara, a former seminarian, says whether priests should be allowed to marry and have children has been mooted before the highest organs of the church.

“I don’t see the reason for all the fuss caused by Fr Musaala’s letter. The whole issue has been blown out of proportion; the problem in Uganda is that when you try to break with tradition, you meet a lot of resistance especially when your ideas are reformative.”

Agabamagara agrees with Fr Musaala’s views and cites the example of married Anglican priests who are allowed to maintain their status even after they join the Catholic shade.

“People who serve in the church are as human as anybody else. They have their own views and perceptions and many of them would have loved to say what Fr Musaala said but perhaps out of fear, they contained themselves.”

According to a person familiar with the Catholic Church’s practices, the vows of celibacy are arranged in such a way that clergy that find difficulty in keeping them, can opt out.

“Catholic priests and nuns first sign contracts of five years and renew them only if they want to. Those who don’t want to continue leave and some of them get married,” the source of the information said, “That is what Fr. Musaala should have done if he wants to get married.”

Fr. Musaala, who was ordained after the age of 30 in England, has said he has no interest to marry.

“The only reason Father Musaala is attracting attention is because he is a celebrity,” one observer noted, “Martin Luther did the same thing in the 16th century but the church did not change. That is how the protestant church started.”

It is undeniable that Father Musaala’s letter became public at a time of tempest for the Catholic Church in Uganda.

Popes who were married
St. Peter, Apostle
St. Felix III 483-492 (2 children)
St. Hormidas 514-523 (1 son)
St. Silverus (Antonia) 536-537
Hadrian II 867-872 (1 daughter)
Clement IV 1265-1268 (2 daughters)
Felix V 1439-1449 (1 son)
Popes who had illegitimate children after 1139
Innocent VIII (1484-1492): Several children
Alexander VI ( 1492-1503): Several children
Julius (1503-1513): 3 daughters
Paul III (1534-1549):     3 sons, 1 daughter
Pius IV( 1559-1565):     3 sons
Gregory XIII (1572-1585): 1 son
Source: The Internet

Break-away Catholics
Two years ago, in 2009, a breakaway faction calling itself the Catholic Apostolic National Church broke away and started ordaining married priests.  Prominent among them is Rev. Fr. William Obonyo. The faction is allied to the Brazilian Catholic of former Roman Catholic Bishop Dom Carlos Duarte Costa of Botucato.

Fr. Musaala is a man no stranger to controversy. He has said publicly that he was twice expelled from school and consistently faced criticism from his peers for hobnobbing with secular artistes at the peak of his gospel music career.

When Fr. Musaala hit the limelight more than eight years ago, the Ugandan music scene was greeted by an unconventional, cheery and free spirited priest who did not feel inhibited to share the stage with secular artistes. He became a celebrity with songs such as endongo ya Yesu, Tuli mu lugendo  receiving massive airplay. In 2009 he faced a major setback when allegations of sodomy were levelled against him with reports circulating that he was hosting gay parties at his residence.

Although he was cleared by the ensuing investigation, the public started to see a new image of Fr Musaala that had been kept in the dark.  According to informed sources at Rubaga Cathedral, the seat of the Catholic Church, Fr. Musaala who had developed a habit of engaging his superiors in open debates on ecclesiastical matters ceased to engage them. He reportedly realised that his sessions with his superiors would change little in the church’s ways.

That is perhaps why he opted to put his view formally in writing. In interviews, however, he has said he did not intend for his letter to be public. He wanted, instead, that it forms a basis for reform in the church.

Fr Musaala: Catholic priests’ celibacy is a fallacy

Friday, 22 March 2013 00:12


On March 12, the celebrity Catholic priest Anthony Musaala wrote an open letter to bishops and the laity, in which, among other things, he calls for the abolition of celibacy.

Musaala’s major thesis is that celibacy is not working anyway, as the men of the robe are involved in affairs and fathering children. The church has responded by suspending Musaala, but the priest insists his concerns should be addressed.

The issue has raised impassioned debate with many faithful apparently torn between facing an unpleasant reality and trying to preserve the dignity of their religion.

Here we reproduce Musaala’s letter.

It is an open secret that many Catholic priests and some bishops, in Uganda and elsewhere, no longer live celibate chastity. From the numerous cases on the ground one might be forgiven for saying that most diocesan priests either don’t believe in celibacy anymore, or if they do, have long since given up the struggle to be chaste.

In any case it still seems important for priests to vow even a woefully imperfect celibacy, if only for the sake of the hallowed ‘priestly image’. The church, however, still maintains the fable that most Catholic priests persevere in celibate chastity fairly well, which fiction begs belief.

All is not well

All is definitely not well with what I call ‘administrative celibacy’, in the Catholic church. It is a celibacy which is more forced than consented to, and its effects are anything but good.

I suggest that now more than at any other time, we must begin an open and frank dialogue about catholic priests becoming happily married men, rather than being miserable and single, either before or after ordination.

Although this may be quite a shock to many but the alternative may be far worse. What do you think happens when lapses and scandals by priests, sisters, brothers and bishops continue unabated , whether hidden or not?

My forecast is that we will have a few more years of catholic self-deception; perhaps ten, telling ourselves and the world that everything is Ok, nothing serious. Then more scandals will surface.

As people become more enlightened (as in Europe) there will be a crisis of faith, perhaps a sudden collapse, with many leaving the church, either to join other churches (whose pastors may be no better, but who appear to be less hypocritical about it), or to become agnostics, especially the middle classes.

One must remember that there are other challenges facing the church, such as general weakening of faith, loss of sacramental life, low incomes, dull liturgies, and the challenges of the media. Many of the youth ( not the children) are already alienated from Catholicism and are easy prey to proselytizing groups.

Naked truth

The number of catholic priests and bishops who are sexually active in Uganda is unknown, but almost everywhere unedifying stories of priests ‘sexploits’, are not hard to come by. These stories are told in counseling or as anecdotes or by the media. They are told within the parishes and beyond. They are told at home in families, in taxis, in hair salons and in the markets.

What is talked about? Priests’ secret and not so secret liaisons with girls and women, coerced sex with house-maids, with students, with relatives; priests ‘wives’ set up in well established homes; priests involved with a parishioner’s wife; of priests romantically involved with religious Sisters; priests offering money for sex, and so on…

If you add to this, a fair number of priests’ and bishops’ children scattered around the nation, who are carefully hidden from view (and not so carefully!), not to mention children who are aborted at priests’ behest, we begin to get the true picture of human weakness, whose consequences are nothing less than catastrophic both for the priest and his partners, and which cannot be concealed by taking a vow of celibacy, or by retreats and more prayers.

Lessons from America

While in Europe and the States, the scandal of numerous pedophile priests, whose victims are rightly suing the catholic church is widely reported in the media, very little by contrast is heard about priests and bishops in Africa who continue sexually abusing female minors (or vulnerable women) with no legal action taken.

Obviously time has come for serious measures to be undertaken, similar to those in Europe and America. Apart from legal action in civil and ecclesiastical courts against offenders, strict ‘child protection’ codes and practices, must be enforced, by the state which for instance should prohibit young or vulnerable females from residing in parish houses, where some of the abuses occur.

Deception, silence

Thus the unnecessary and unpalatable deception about celibate priests, that they are chaste when they are not is clearly contradicted by what is on the ground. The deception is of course not tenable for much longer. Surely we must first tell ourselves the truth as a church, that is to say, that celibacy has failed or is failing us, and then also tell the world which we have been deceiving the naked truth, before we are completely overtaken by events.

Unfortunately there is an ominous unhealthy conspiracy of silence about these matters among the Ugandan clergy and faithful alike, probably because priestly celibacy might be seen to be a hollow shell, which it mostly is nowadays.

The laity for all their good will, are also co-opted into this unwholesome silence, sometimes for lack of information, sometimes because they believe that they have some ‘moral’ duty to be loyal to an imperfect church. In truth their silence shores up the sins of priests and the destroys many lives.

Wrong reasons

When I ask lay people whether catholic priests should have the option to marry the answer is always NO; since they say, that would make catholic priests like Anglican reverends! As if that was the worst possible fate, yet Anglican clergy who are married certainly do not have the same levels and same kinds of sexual lapses as their catholic counterparts..

Most lay people in Uganda would not like their priests to have the option of marriage, yet it is their very own children, sisters, wives who are being used and abused by the clergy!

The campaign

A campaign for optional married priesthood in the catholic church is now required. This campaign is primarily a form of education and purification. It is not be construed as a rebellion against established doctrine but a reading of the signs of the times

Since there are no fundamental theological arguments against a married priesthood (there are already some married priests in the UK and Uniate Catholic Churches) but only arguments from tradition and church discipline, I believe that it is a matter of time before common sense prevails and marriage for the clergy in the Latin rite (i.e. catholic) church is accepted..

I am aware that there is a big struggle ahead. Unfortunately celibacy also serves certain vested interests in the power structure of the church, and of course celibate priests are cheaper and easier to deal with, even to manipulate, by ecclesiastical authority, but I believe that in time we will be freed from this unnecessary yoke, unhelpful as it is, which is all the more severe in Africa where family and family ties are so crucial to one’s psychological equilibrium..

Personal interest

One factor which has prompted me to take up this campaign is my own biography. I am one of a handful of several priests who had the misfortune of appearing in the press for supposed sexual trespasses In my case, which was 2009, it was cited that I must be a homosexual, because I had homosexual friends and went to homosexual gatherings. Not that I cared much whether or not someone thinks that I am homosexual. Certainly I have been called worse things than that.

In my defence I tried to point out that I didn’t actually recall having had homosexual relations with any of my rabid accusers, neither did they; which meant that hearsay alone became the evidence . What I found troubling is what followed. Apart from all the pain and scandal caused to all concerned, I found that even though all the allegations were based on hearsay, I was being treated, by my superiors as the biggest sinner in Nineveh.

Up till now judgments are being made against me by ecclesiastical authority in the light of those events, which I suppose is to be expected. I wondered about this and came to the conclusion that priests who ‘get caught.’ like me, have to pay for the sins of all those who don’t get caught. In other words failed celibacy requires scapegoats.

Some clergy are able to get away with the grossest behaviour because of their age, position, influence or even because of financial inducements.

So while I appear to have little moral authority to talk about celibacy as a priestly virtue because of what may or may not have happened to me in 2009, nevertheless I can point out the systemic immorality of the institutionalized hypocrisy called celibate diocesan priesthood, which severely punishes lapses when they appear, but condones the secret crimes of many more.

I believe that there must be a new openness at whatever it takes. The point is not that diocesan priests should leave the priesthood and get married, but compel the church to offer the option of a married priesthood. This will put an end to the double lives so many priests are forced to live.

Cases heard:

I spoke with a 21 year old young man last week. He is one of seven children of a catholic priest who happens to still be serving within the Province of the Archdiocese of Kampala. The young man, who is willing to testify, lived in a parish house with his father priest, even serving on the altar with him, but having to pretend to be a visiting nephew.

At times he was assisted by his father to go to school, but was later abandoned. On one occasion he drank poison in order to end his life, due to the trauma, but was taken to hospital before he died.

Case one
Another is a personal friend. He was fathered by a missionary priest of the White Fathers 58 years ago but is still suffering the trauma of no real identity or home.

Although he has since received some minimum compensation from the White fathers , he still feels that there was an injustice to his mother who is still alive , who was sexually assaulted by the said White father priest in his office when she was only sixteen. He wishes to sue.

Case three
Another case is of a priest who seduced a member of my youth group who happened to be in need of school fees, at Old Kampala, She soon became pregnant by the said priest, disappeared from church activities and from her home to be established in a ‘home’.

Case four
Another lady tells of how she went to confession, only to be sexually molested by the priest, who fondled her breasts during confession

Case five
When I was at secondary school, it was common knowledge that various Brothers were having sexual activity with the boys. It was called ‘jaboo’. As a pubescent teenager, my first sexual encounter was actually with one of the brothers who invited me to his room on the pretext of doing some extra chemistry equations. I was sixteen at the time. Later

I heard that several others had been through the same thing..with the same Brother and with other ones..Some are still alive to this day.

Action required

I do not believe either that these cases are just a few ‘bad apples’ in the barrel, but rather they are symptomatic of a sick system which has lost its integrity in this one area, but won’t admit it. Some of these cases are clearly criminal in nature, especially those of sex with children. They should be dealt with in a normal fashion and legal action taken in civil courts either against the church, or against those priests who offend.

I am therefore compiling cases from all over Uganda. I believe that if the all the victims of clergy molestations were to come out and sue the church in civil courts, such abuses would sharply decrease. I am also helping to set up a Victims Support Group, independent of the church for obvious reasons, with guidance and help from similar groups in Europe and the States.

I have also engaged a human rights lawyer to advise on the wider implications of clergy abuse on the basic human rights of individuals, especially women.
Join me in this exciting challenge to bring fundamental change and renewal to the Catholic Church.

Happy Easter.