The bickering between Church of Uganda northern diocese Bishop Johnson Gakumba and Catholic priest Fr Charles Onen, which has dragged in hundreds of Christians could soon be over.
Gulu Catholic Diocese Archbishop John Baptist Odama on Saturday morning stepped in to reconcile the two priests who have been at war of words after Bishop Gakumba reportedly burnt rosaries.
Archbishop Odama went live on the Catholic-owned Radio Maria, Gulu branch on a Saturday morning programme issuing a press statement indicating that the two men of God had reconciled after engagement at different levels.
“Some statements in the clip and the sharing of the clip on social media were very unfortunate, we regret the inconvenience, anguish and tension caused to the individuals and to the general public,” Archbishop Odama stated.
On February 11, Fr. Onen, the parish priest of Holy Rosary catholic church in Gulu town, during a Sunday homily broadcast on Radio Maria, accused the Rt Rev Gakumba of burning rosaries during a prayer crusade organized by Pentecostal pastors of northern Uganda at Kaunda Ground in Gulu town.
Recording of the homily were recorded and shared on social media by a Gulu based journalist, attracting the wrath of members of the public.
In the press statement Archbishop Odama reported that after the incident, dialogue was immediately initiated at various levels where the mixed feelings were addressed.
The press statement further reiterated that the Catholic Church preaches love, peace, unity, forgiveness and reconciliation among themselves and with members of other Christian churches and believers’ in line with the teaching of Jesus Christ.
Bishop Gakumba who was in attendance during the talk show said he has forgiven Fr. Onen, who is also the general manager of Radio Maria, for all the allegations that had been made against him. He added that the Catholic Church and Church of Uganda have to work hard for a long time to coexist.
“Whatever allegation Fr. Onen made against me, I have forgiven him and I want us to continue praying for peace and reconciliation and to spread the Gospel in Acholi land.” Bishop Gakumba said “We have come a long way working together and let us not allow anything contrary to the teaching of Jesus Christ and love destroy our fellowship.”
He said he would receive Catholic faithful and their leaders to participate in the Way of the Cross, which always unites all Christians.
Fr Charles Onen on his part thanked Archbishop Odama for convening a reconciliation meeting and thanked Bishop Gakumba for forgiving him, adding that he regretted the statements he made.
He advised that public to first verify information before sharing it on social media.