Kampala- Archbishop of Kampala Cyprian Kizito Lwanga yesterday announced the suspension of controversial priest Jacinto Kibuuka, withdrawing all his priestly duties, including celebrating the sacraments, preaching the word of God and pastoral care of the faithful.
This means that Fr Kibuuka, whose Mamre Prayer Centre – Uganda at Namugongo, has also been banned, is not allowed to celebrate Mass, until his suspension is lifted.
In a five-page missive dated July 12, Archbishop Lwanga said the Kampala Archdiocese tribunal had recommended the suspension of Fr Kibuuka due to disobedience, including resisting a transfer to Ggoli Parish, and operating an unauthorised prayer centre - Mamre Prayer Centre – Uganda, at Namugongo which is outside of his jurisdiction.
“It is therefore with regret that we wish to inform the general public that after several months of tedious pastoral and canonical attempts to salvage the situation, we have been obliged to suspend Rev Fr Jacinto Kibuuka from the Roman Catholic Priestly ministry,” reads part of the statement.
Fr Kibuuka could not be reached for a comment by press time as his phone was off.
Fr Kibuuka, who is popular for his prayer and exorcising sessions, previously served as Chaplain of Lubaga Hospital. He had misunderstandings with his superiors and was transferred to Mt Sion Catholic Prayer Centre, Bukalango. While at Bukalango, he was accused by one, Winfred Nantongo of sexual impropriety.
However, in a dramatic move, the accuser made a public apology to Fr Kibuuka and the Church for the allegations. This time, the investigations of the Catholic Church exonerated the priest. Fr Kibuuka was then appointed to Uganda Martyrs’ Catholic Shrine, Namugongo, to coordinate the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the canonisation of the Uganda Martyrs as well as coordinate the activities for Pope Francis’ visit last November.
But according to Archbishop Lwanga’s notice of suspension of the cleric, during this period, the priest “committed a serious diplomatic error at the Apostolic Nunciature and was asked to step down from his office”.
It is during this time that the troubled priest then started conducting prayer services without jurisdiction and harmony with local parish authorities, and later set up Mamre Prayer Centre - Uganda, which the statement claims, is fracturing the unity of the Church.
Archbishop Lwanga says Fr Kibuuka had been offered numerous chances for dialogue and reconciliation, with the latest being on July 11, but he did not show up before the Kampala Archdiocese tribunal.
“Neither did he give a reason for his absence,” said the letter, which is copied to all Catholic bishops in Uganda, the clergy in Kampala Diocese, the Uganda Episcopal Conference, and the Apostolic Nuncio to Uganda Archbishop Augustine Micheal Blume.
Archbishop Lwanga has also announced the banning of activities of Fr Kibuuka’s Mamre Prayer Centre and instructed the clergy, religious people, and laity who still adhere to the communion of the Roman Catholic Church that it was forbidden to participate in an event held there. He also calls upon all Catholics to pray for Fr Kibuuka so that God assists him to rediscover the bonds of communion.