LUBAGA – The hitherto renegade Catholic Priest Anthony Musaala on Thursday morning ended his years of prodigy by publicly apologising to his Archbishop, the clergy and the Christians for “greatly sinning” by rebelling Church Authority.
The charismatic priest was on the same day, after the Chrism Mass at Lubaga Cathedral re-admitted to the Catholic Church by the Archbishop of Kampala, Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, the man who suspended him five years ago on March 19, 2013.
On Thursday, Fr. Musaala appeared together with another renegade priest Dr. Fr. Deogratius Ssonko who also made a public apology, with both greeted with deafening cheers by the congregation at Lubaga.
Fr. Ssonko, one of the most educated priests in the Catholic Church and former Rector of the Uganda Martyrs Shrines, had himself reneged in 2016, in the aftermath of the Church’s fallout with another renegade priest Fr. Jacinto Kibuuka, who continues to run the Mamre Prayer Centre at Ssonde in Namugongo.
Fr. Kibuuka broke way after he rejected disciplinary sanctions for gross misconduct, recruiting other disgruntled priests to his ranks.
The Uganda Episcopal Conference has since declared Kibuuka and his colleagues as living in “self excommunication”, but Fr. Ssonko crossed over again last year, seeking for forgiveness.
Fr. Musaala who had joined Fr. Kibuuka’s group, on Thursday told the congregation at Lubaga that he was a reformed man and citing the prodigal son verses in the Bible, said:
“I was a false prophet in whatever I was doing all along”.
Why he was suspended:
Archbishop Lwanga on March 19, 2013 announced the suspension of Fr. Musaala from priestly duties after the maverick priest had published a document criticising his Catholic Church colleagues in Uganda, accusing them of sexual crimes among other things.
The Archbishop said then that Fr. Musaala had been suspended for the document, which “damages the good morals of the Catholic believers and faults the Church’s teaching”.
“The law prescribed by the Church in Can. 1369 takes its course. This law states that: “A person is to be punished with a just penalty, who, at a public event or assembly, or in a published writing, or by otherwise using the means of social communication, utters blasphemy, or gravely harms public morals, or rails at or excites hatred of or contempt for religion or the Church,” said Archbishop Lwanga.
By that suspension order, Fr. Musaala was barred from celebrating sacraments and sacramentals, also stopped from the powers of governance in accordance to the law of the Church Can.1335 and1336, as he was placed under investigation.
In his dossier, Fr. Musaala alleged sexual abuse among Catholic clergy in Uganda and sought open debate on allowing priests to marry instead of pretending to be celibate.
Fr. Musaala also confessed in the document, to being sodomised at 16 while at the Seminary and implicated colleagues/bishops in having undisclosed children as well as secret children, accusing them of living a hypocritical life and hoodwinking a gullible flock.
Fr. Musaala first sought to write to the Vatican to stem his suspension to no avail, but matters were not helped when he in 2016, joined Fr. Kibuuka’s renegade group.
However, after years in the cold, he last year sought to reconcile with the Catholic Church, and has been undergoing rehabilitation. Archbishop Lwanga will now decided on where and when to deploy Fr. Musaala
Archbishop Lwanga’s Full Statement issued on March 19, 2013 suspending Fr. Musaala:
Dear people of God,
I deeply think of the immense suffering caused by the article produced in the media authored by Fr. Anthony Musaala, that seems to be casting a dark shadow of suspicion over all priests.
Above all, the Church takes seriously the allegations in this article. On behalf of my fellow Catholic Bishops in Uganda, I wish to assure the public that as leaders of the Catholic Church in Uganda; we are committed to the protection of the minors and rights of everyone. Investigations about these allegations are to begin immediately with of course cases that are proved.
It should however, be clear to everyone that the value of the choice of priestly celibacy according to the Catholic tradition still stands, and the need for solid human and Christian formation is underlined, both for seminarians and for those already ordained.
The Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law states the stand of the Catholic Church on celibacy in Canon 277, which mandates clerical celibacy that: “Clerics are obliged to observe perfect and perpetual continence for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven and therefore are obliged to observe celibacy, which is a special gift of God, by which sacred ministers can adhere more easily to Christ with an undivided heart and can more freely dedicate themselves to the services of God and mankind.”
This Church law is embraced willingly as prescribed by Can.1037 which states that: “A candidate for the permanent diaconate who is not married, and likewise a candidate for the priesthood, is not to be admitted to the order of diaconate unless he has, in the prescribed rite, publically before God and the Church undertaken the obligation of celibacy, or unless he has taken perpetual vows in a religious institute”. This means therefore that no one is forced to embrace this discipline before or at ordination.
Everyone should once again remember that until Christ came along (Mt 19:12), and then Paul (1 Cor. 7:32-35), the only state of life known was marriage but when Christ came, He made it clear that some people would remain celibate (“eunuchs”) for the sake of the Kingdom of God (Mt 19:12). St. Paul further recommended it for those who would be dedicated to serving God in this world (1 Cor. 7:7, 17, 32-35), for the salvation of souls and it is totally a freedom of choice as the above biblical quotations suggest.
If one fails to comply with this discipline, he does it on his own and not on behalf of the Church. Consequently personal failure in this regard is not an offence sanctioned by the Church. However we as Bishops deeply regret such failures and seek forgiveness from those who have been victims.
I indeed applaud all the many religious men and women who have remained faithful to this promise and there is nothing we can offer but our prayers for them.
It is very unfortunate that the author of the published document stands to call for suspension of this discipline through his proposed forum that has no Church legitimacy and yet the Church’s legislation and practice is clear on this point. None-the-less we are going to investigate into the allegations in the article with people concerned together with certainty of the author of this document.
As per now, after the acceptance of Fr. Musaala that he authored this document, the law prescribed by the Church in can. 1369 takes its course. This law states that: “A person is to be punished with a just penalty, who, at a public event or assembly, or in a published writing, or by otherwise using the means of social communication, utters blasphemy, or gravely harms public morals, or rails at or excites hatred of or contempt for religion or the Church.”
This means therefore that Fr. Musaala because of the publication of his article in the public media which damages good morals of Catholic believers and further expresses a wrong teaching against the Catholic Church’s teaching and that this stirs up hatred and contempt against the Church, he incurs a Ferendae sententiae penalty as prescribed by Can.1314. This means that Father Anthony Musaala is suspended from celebrating sacraments and sacramentals, from the powers of governance in accordance to the law of the Church Can.1335 and1336§1n.1, 2and3 as investigations are being carried on.
Once more I feel sorry of the inconveniences caused by this article and let us entrust the whole matter to our Lord the most chaste, for the conversion of hearts to do good.
Yours Sincerely in Christ,
+Cyprian K. Lwanga
ARCHBISHOP OF KAMPALA