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An Advent Family Prayer

God of Peace, we take refuge in You.
Behold our family here, listen to our prayer and grant us Your perfect peace and protection.
Every act of violence and fighting in our family, our home and our community destroys Your reign of love and peace. Strengthen in me a renewed sense of respect, love and ..................

Eshaara Y’okwija Kwe’ka Yaitu

Ruhanga ow’obusingye, nituhungira omuriiwe.
Reeba eka yaitu hanu, hurira okushaba kwaitu kandi otuhe obusingye bwawe obuhikiriire hamwe n’oburinzi. Buri kikworwa eky’okuyomba n’okurwana omubanyabuzare baitu, omu maka gaitu n’omubantu abu tutwire nabo nikisheenya ......................

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Reflection on Domestic Violence

Today the Church comes together to launch this Advent initiative for Peace to tackle the scourge of domestic violence in our land. Domestic violence is widespread in our country. 60% of Ugandan women have experienced violence and in certain areas of our country the percentage of women who experience violence goes up to over 70%. A wide number of studies .........Download full text

 

 

CATHOLIC CHURCH REACTS TO TERRORIST ATTACKS IN KAMPALA

In the wake of this tragic loss of innocent lives, I wish on behalf of the Catholic Church in Uganda, convey my sincere condolences to all the people of Uganda and most especially to the families of the victims that lost their lives in the deadly explosions at the Ethiopian Village in Kabalagala and Kyadondo Rugby Club in Lugogo on Sunday. We are all deeply saddened by this senseless act of violence and we strongly condemn the act that indiscriminately killed and injured innocent people. This barbaric act reveals the evil and ugly nature of the perpetrators who do not value the sanctity of the human life.


We appeal to all aggrieved parties in our society to renounce violence as a means of solving conflicts and whenever there are misunderstandings, let people embrace dialogue in the resolution of conflicts. As we pray for the victims, we implore God's gifts of courage and strength for the injured and those who mourn. On Sunday 18th July 2010, in all our Parishes and Sub-Parish Churches we request the Parish Priests to organize special prayers for the victims of this tragic event.
The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has also received the sad news and is deeply saddened to learn of the 16ss of lives caused by bombings in Kampala, The Pope conveys his heartfelt condolences to the civil authorities and to those afflicted by the attacks. He prays for the victims, the injured and for the bereaved families.

 

A JOINT MESSAGE OF CONDOLENCE BY UJCC AND IRCU RELIGIOUS LEADERS

We the religious leaders in Uganda comprising the Church of Uganda, the Roman Catholic Church, the Uganda Orthodox Church, the Uganda Moslem Supreme Council and the Seventh Day Adventist Church wish to extend our heartfelt condolences to the victims of the bomb attacks that were carried out at the Ethiopian Village Restaurant in Kabalagala and Kyadondo Rugby Club at Lugogo in Kampala on the night of Sunday, 11 July, 2010 in which about 76 people have so far died. We do strongly and unequivocally condemn these cruel, heartless, cowardly and indiscriminate attacks that targeted innocent Ugandans and foreign nationals who were watching the World Cup Final Game that was being played in South Africa on that day.

The twin bomb attacks at Kampala have plunged this country into a state of grief and mourning that has not been witnessed before in the recent past. What is certain is that the perpetrators of the attacks have committed serious crimes against humanity. They stand accused in the court of public opinion and will individually continue to carry the burden of a guilty and bloodstained conscience until they confess and seek forgiveness from God and reconciliation with those they have grievously wronged. As people of faith, it is at a time like this that we need to remind ourselves about the value and sanctity of human life. This is our common message to all the victims:

To the bereaved families we do offer you our heartfelt sympathy, love and prayer. To the victims of the attacks who are undergoing treatment in various hospitals and medical centres, including Mulago Hospital and International Hospital Kampala which we have visited, we do offer you our love and prayer for quick recovery. To all relatives and friends of the victims who are traumatized by the attacks, we encourage you to be strong, for with God nothing is impossible. We assure you of our love and spiritual support.

As we listened to the views of a cross-section of people on these attacks through the media and through various conversations we have held, we sensed that Ugandans are deeply troubled. The attacks have raised many questions regarding our security, immigration and foreign affairs policies, including our role in peace-keeping operations in Africa. These are weighty matters that will have to be reviewed by the relevant arms of government including Parliament in the light of this tragic development.

However, we would like to caution all people concerned to guard against the temptation of engaging in blame-games. We need to discuss these matters but in a sober manner so that, as a country, we can come up with a united stand. Our efforts must now be directed at rallying all Ugandans in rejecting terrorism and taking all appropriate measures to fight this global menace which historically thrives on propaganda and the ideology of hatred. In that regard, we would like to share the following message with the people of Uganda, the security agencies, the government, the international community and faith-based communities in the country.

1. People of Uganda: The terrorist attacks are part of evil plans that Satan, the enemy of humanity, has lined up against you, the people of Uganda, regardless of your ethnic, religious, social or political affiliations. The attackers have inflicted severe pain upon us and it will take many years for us to recover from the impact of these evil deeds, but they must not be allowed to divide us. We urge you to join forces in rejecting terrorism. You need to guard against being consumed by anger and hatred. Instead, you should strive to conquer evil with good. Let us all be vigilant and cooperate with our security agencies so that the perpetrators of the evil attacks and those that may be planning similar attacks are apprehended and brought to justice.

2. Security Agencies: Some people think that the attacks could have been prevented if we had better security alert system. We need to listen to such people even if they may not be wholly right. We hope that you, members of our security forces, who are in charge of detecting and preventing crimes, will learn and draw appropriate lessons from the 11 July Bomb Attacks in Kampala. In the meantime, you have the challenge of bringing the perpetrators of the attacks to justice. We urge you to work relentlessly to ensure that this is done.

3. Government of Uganda: The role of the Government is to protect the life and property of every person in this country. These attacks have tested the capacity of the government in meeting this obligation. What is important now is to focus on the future. In this regard­

  • We urge the government to do whatever is necessary to ensure that the perpetrators of the attacks are speedily brought to book and made to answer for the heinous crimes they have committed;
  • We urge the government to take all necessary measures to ensure that similar evil deeds are not again unleashed against our people;
  • We urge the government to urgently revisit Uganda's role in peace keeping in Africa with a view to sharing this concern with the Heads  of State of the African Union during the forthcoming Summit in Kampala and in particular emphasizing the point that peace-keeping in Africa is a collective obligation that must be equally shared among all member States of the African Union; and
  • We urge the Government to engage civil society organizations and Ugandans from all walks of life in discussing the role of various stakeholders in matters affecting the security of our country. ..

4. International Community: We acknowledge the messages of sympathy and solidarity that our country has received from various world leaders following the twin bomb attacks. In that regard­

  1. We commend all countries that are standing shoulder to shoulder with Uganda at this dark moment in the history of our country;
  2. We urge the United Nations to show greater commitment towards helping Africa in finding a lasting solution to the problem of instability which is affecting the continent, especially the prolonged and devastating conflict in Somalia which appears to have received little attention in the recent past.
  3. We urge the African Union to re-visit the mechanisms for the implementation of its peace-keeping policy with a view to ensuring that all member States contribute troops to undertake peace-keeping missions on rotational basis instead of leaving a few countries to shoulder this burden;
  4. We urge the developed countries to commit more resources in peace­building in Africa and encourage and support peace-building initiatives including dialogue and mediation; and
  5. We express solidarity with the victims of insecurity in all parts of Africa, especially those from Somalia who have been uprooted from their countries and have sought refuge in Uganda.

5. Faith-Based Communities: Religious leaders have a crucial role to play in peace-building and conflict resolution. In that regard:

  1. We urge our fellow religious leaders to spearhead the fight against all forces who are seeking to sow seeds of hatred among our people, especially through perverted use of religious ideologies;
  2. We undertake to engage our communities in ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue meetings with the aim of fostering the values of love, uprightness, compassion, mutual respect and peace; and
    • We affirm the dignity and the equal rights of all people including their right to worship God and to live in peace and freedom.

 

 

STATEMENT OF THE CATHOLIC BISHOPS ON THE CURRENT SITUATION IN UGANDA
(Press Release)

We, Catholic Bishops of Uganda, gathered at St. Augustine’s Institute for our Annual Plenary Meeting from 4th to 11th June 2010, wish to express our appreciation for the endless effort by all people in this country aiming at building lasting peace, democracy and good governance.
Aware that the common good requires respect for the principles of democracy which include, among others; equality among persons, the sovereignty of the people and respect for the rule of law, the current events in the country indicate that there is a lot of fear and anxiety about the social, economic and political future of this country.

OUR CONCERNS


The current situation
We note with great concern that as we move towards 2011, we see a lot of fear and pessimism in many people’s hearts. The causes of fear are many and we wish to mention some of the most widespread such as: land and work insecurity, the widening gap between rich and poor, growing tension among ethnic groups, a poor health service, and other social issues. It is, therefore, of paramount importance that all those preparing themselves to stand as candidates in the next election be ready to face with determination the issues mentioned in the present statement, having always in mind the common good of the people.   
We generally recommend that the current political environment is handled with maximum care as one of the tools towards building long term democracy in the country.

On Election Management
We observe that the current events in the country indicate that there is a lot of fear and anxiety about the political future of our country especially before, during, and after the forth-coming elections. We, therefore, call for a smooth and fair electoral process managed by a credible electoral body that will guarantee transparency and impartiality of the process.
There is a current need to continue strengthening the capacity of the Electoral Commission to serve as a credible electoral management body in which all people can have trust and confidence that it is able to organize free and fair elections. While we appeal to the various candidates to keep always in mind the common good of the people by practicing issue-based politics, we also appeal to the electorate to be active and exhibit a high degree of patriotism and love of one another through peaceful co-existence with those who hold different political views. The Church is committed to give people hope that the elections will be guided by the values and principles of democracy in the name of the Almighty God. We are further committed to promoting electoral democracy and always remain the voice of the voiceless, without compromising our impartiality.

On Mass Media
Information plays a vital role in society.  We invite the media practitioners of the press, radio, and television, to exercise self-control and a sense of responsibility in their work, providing truthful and objective information respectful of the legitimate plurality of opinions. 
At the same time we appeal to Government and Parliament to ensure that the Information Bill under discussion, while preventing and correcting abuses, may not stifle and infringe on the freedom of expression, a right of all citizens and groups in a truly modern and democratic society. 

On the Tension between the Buganda Kingdom and the Central Government
The question of Buganda is well known in the history of this country. Understanding that no government can fully meet the demands of the population, where there is dissatisfaction, government should always open its doors to early dialogue.
Recalling the September 2009 riots in Kampala which climaxed into violence where life and property were lost and some radio stations closed, and aware that these kind of tensions go beyond Buganda to other parts of the country, we recommend that a lasting solution be sought through a wider forum composed of different groups and individuals who should dialogue and develop strategies which could lead to a peaceful conclusion.

On the Northern Uganda Situation
We, the bishops of Uganda, thank the stakeholders who helped to bring peace in Northern and Eastern Uganda through different interventions including the Juba Peace Talks. We thank, among others, the Government of Uganda, the Acholi Religious Peace Initiative, the Government of Southern Sudan, and the U.N. for their active participation in the peace process.
Most of the people of Northern as well as Eastern Uganda have returned to their homeland.  However they have many new challenges that need government’s support. They need support to resettle in their villages. This can be in form of farm implements, building materials and so forth.
The Government of Uganda needs to work towards a lasting peace in Northern Uganda. There is need to pursue the Juba Peace Talks to its peaceful conclusion. 

On Land conflicts
We realize and take serious note of what is going on with the relationship between the land lords and the tenants in Uganda. The new Land Law seems not to be the solution.
Despite the many good things that the land amendments were intended to achieve, the same are not attainable due to the fact that evictions are still going on in many parts of Uganda. This means that evictions have not been as a result of absence of laws but the non implementation and lack of compliance from citizens.
Land management and administration requires that the interests and rights of both the land lords and tenants are protected. We still believe that we must have a system that can accommodate both tenants and landlords to the satisfaction of both parties. The national land policy should be put in place to guide the land laws.

On the Environment
A key aspect for the survival of the human being and development is environmental protection. However, depletion of forests in the recent times is threatening this bio-diversity and causing other environmental effects. Destroying forest not only causes economic loss but it also deprives humanity of other essential needs necessary for human life.
The destruction of the environment is happening under the eyes of all those who should prevent it.  We appreciate the government’s effort to make electric power available to more people. But this seems not to be enough to prevent the on-going destruction of forests and of the environment.  Pollution caused by second hand cars sold off by rich countries to Third-World countries, inefficient rubbish collection resulting into the growing bulk of garbage in towns, uncontrolled encroaching on wetlands and water pollution are already threatening the health of many people, the bio-diversity and the environment as a whole. This jeopardizes the livelihood and health of future generations. 
Much as we may need development, we must always bear in mind that any development divorced from environmental protection is not sustainable development. Environmental protection requires enforcement and implementation of environmental Laws. This necessitates not only public awareness but also it requires political attention and action.

On the Oil Exploration and Extraction
We further note that in Bunyoro region there is an increasing demand for land after the discovery of oil. The people’s concern is that a large number of land ‘grabbers’, from both inside and outside the region are a source of conflict. Besides the above, there have been negative consequences as a result of environmentally insensitive exploration methods already applied in the areas where oil wells exist. There are a lot of dangerous bi-products deposited in both water and agricultural land making it unfit for both animal and human settlement. For example, in Ngwedo village in Buliisa, the oil well is in an area near the Church while other wells are near people’s homesteads. 
In our view, policies governing the oil exploration and extraction should be made public and the citizens especially people in Bunyoro region should know them and be enabled to participate in processes of implementation.  Let the people be allowed to own the process and feel they are benefiting and are part of the gains. 

On the on-going Killings and human sacrifice
 Human sacrifice is against Christian teaching and morals.  This vice however reached an alarming proportion in 2009. This has been mainly as a result of superstition, poverty and greed.
We, therefore, continue to ask why this inhuman practice continues to persist in our country. Human sacrifice is on the rise in Uganda making the practice one of the leading cruel and dehumanizing acts.
Our pronouncement on this issue remains that human sacrifice is evil and contrary to what we cherish as God’s people to always protect and preserve human life which is a sacred gift from God.

On Domestic violence
Domestic violence continues to challenge the social order of families in our society today. It has been partly as a result of the differences between public life and personal freedom. Intolerance and mistrust in homes, alcohol, jealousy, greed, poverty, to mention but a few, are some of the major causes. It has disrupted social order and comes to affect people’s performance outside homes.
We, therefore, presuppose having domestic-violence-free-homes to deter the future generation from doing the same. In effect, continued domestic violence negates the aspect of stability in families.
Today, there is an urgent need to address domestic violence given its diverse effects on the social, political, religious, and economic developments of the family. It requires redress   and the building up of responses in our society. Our homes should be places for growing together in trust, love, justice, honest, dedication, mutual concern and tolerance of differences.


On Government Health services
The Church is happy to continue providing good health services to the population. At the sometime we bishops are concerned that the services offered by the government institution are sub-standard and in many instances violate the basic humanright of our citizens to proper treatment. 

On Corruption
We continue to address the country on the evil of corruption. This needs urgent attention from all of us. Government has established different institutions against corruption but the question remains as to what has been the effectiveness, positioning, and usefulness of these institutions?
Government must take a central role in the struggle against corruption. It should join us to always indicate to the people the expected behaviors. Corruption is a cancer that needs serious and urgent attention.  We believe that the State should be more committed to fight corruption since it has the machinery to eradicate this evil practice. What we need now is the putting in place all the necessary laws, policies and messages to fight corruption by training for the transformation of people’s hearts. However, all these strategies should come with well planned and well facilitated coordination.  We further appeal that Government itself should give an example of good stewardship. 

On Disarmament in Karamoja
The complex situation in Karamoja needs to be addressed with particular care and sensitivity.  The breaking down of traditional structures and the presence of illegal weapons cause great insecurity and hinder the development of Ngakaramojong people. The disarmament should continue in dialogue with the local people and with greater attention to what can favour the development of the area, overcoming the perception that Karamoja is a forgotten part of Uganda. 

Conclusion
In conclusion, we uphold our role as Church leaders to continue exercising our stewardship and to uphold the common good over the interests of family, clan, ethnic group or political party and to protect and promote the social, economic, political and religious rights of every citizen, as enshrined in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the Constitution of Republic of Uganda 1995. 

PEACE BE WITH YOU ALL.

Given at St. Augustine’s Institute, this 11th day of the Month of June 2010, the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. 

 

+Matthias Ssekamanya,
BISHOP OF LUGAZI & CHAIRMAN OF UEC.

We The Catholic Bishops of Uganda

  1. His Eminence Emmanuel Cardinal Wamala - Archbishop Emeritus , Kampala & Patron of UEC
  2. Rt. Rev Matthias Ssekamanya  - Ordinary of Lugazi & Chairman, UEC 
  3. Most Rev John Baptist Odama - Archbishop of Gulu
  4. Most Rev Cyprian K Lwanga - Archbishop of Kampala
  5. Most Rev Paul Bakyenga - Archbishop of Mbarara
  6. Most Rev Denis Kiwanuka - Archbishop of Tororo
  7. Most Rev James Odongo   - Archbishop Emeritus of Tororo
  8. Rt. Rev Robert. Muhiirwa - Ordinary of Fort Portal
  9. Rt. Rev Deogratias Byabazaire  - Ordinary of Hoima
  10. Rt. Rev Charles Wamika   - Ordinary of Jinja
  11. Rt. Rev Callistus Rubaramira  - Ordinary of Kabale
  12. Rt. Rev. Paul Ssemogerere   - Ordinary of Kasana-Luweero
  13. Rt. Rev Egidio Nkaijanabwo   -  Ordinary of Kasese
  14. Rt. Rev Joseph Antony Zziwa - Ordinary of Kiyinda-Mityana
  15. Rt. Rev Fillip Giuseppe   - Ordinary of Kotido
  16. Rt. Rev. Franzelli  Giuseppe - Ordinary of Lira
  17. Rt. Rev John Baptist Kaggwa - Ordinary of Masaka
  18. Rt. Rev Henry Ssentongo  - Ordinary of Moroto
  19. Rt. Rev Martin Luluga     -  Ordinary of Nebbi
  20. Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Obbo -  Ordinary of Soroti
  21. Rt. Rev. Sabino Ocan Odoki -   Apostolic Administrator of Arua
  22. Rt. Rev Lambert. Bainomugisha  -  Apostolic Administrator of Hoima
  23. Rt. Rev Christopher Kakooza -  Auxiliary Bishop of Kampala
  24. Rt. Rev Joseph Sabiiti Mugenyi -  Auxiliary Bishop of Fort Portal
  25. Rt. Rev Frederick Drandua -   Bishop Emeritus of Arua
  26. Rt. Rev Paul Kalanda -  Bishop Emeritus of Fort Portal
  27. Rt. Rev Edward Baharagate - Bishop Emeritus of Hoima
  28. Rt. Rev Joseph Willigers  -  Bishop Emeritus of Jinja
  29. Rt. Rev Barnabas Halem’Imana  -  Bishop Emeritus of Kabale
  30. Rt. Rev Robert. Gay  -  Bishop Emeritus of Kabale
  31. Rt. Rev Joseph Oyanga  -  Bishop Emeritus of Lira
  32. Rt. Rev J B Kakubi  -  Bishop Emeritus of Mbarara
  33. Rt. Rev Erasmus Wandera -  Bishop Emeritus of Soroti

 

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His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, in his solicitude and desire to keep close to the people of Bududa in the Archdiocese of Tororo, has donated US$ 30,000 [United States Dollars Thirty thousand] through Cor Unum Pontifical Council.

The funds shall be used for assistance of victims and rehabilitation of the displaced peoples of the areas affected by land slides. The Holy Father is sympathetic with all those affected and keeps them in his prayers.

The Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Paul Tschang-In-Nam, will travel to Bududa Catholic Parish accompanied by the Archbishop of Tororo, Most Rev. Denis Kiwanuka Lote, to celebrate Holy Mass on Friday, 26th of March 2010 at 11.00 a.m. for the victims, their families, friends, and well-wishers.

The Apostolic Nuncio will use this occasion to deliver the Pope’s Message and donation.

+Cyprian Kizito Lwanga
Archbishop of Kampala and
Spokesperson of Uganda Episcopal Conference

Thursday 25th March,2010

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Chairman of Uganda Episcopal Conference Addresses the Holy Father During Ad Limina

Most Holy Father,

This is the first “Ad Limina Apostolorum” visit the members of the Uganda Episcopal Conference pay to you since the commencement of your pontificate. It is, therefore, appropriate that at this juncture we reiterate our congratulations on your being elected the supreme Pontiff, the successor of St. Peter, and the Bishop of Rome.

You have been our leader for almost five years.  During this period you have demonstrated your paternal solicitude for the universal Church and in a special way for the Church in Uganda. The recent Second Synod of Bishops for Africa in 2009 is another land mark in the history of the Church in Africa.

Your encyclicals and other documents as well as speeches are a tribute to your personal involvement in the affairs of the Church and her patrimony.

As far as the Church is concerned in our country, we are grateful for the appointments of Shepherds for the dioceses of Kasana–Luweero, Kotido, and Soroti, also for the Archdioceses of Kampala and Tororo.

We, however, regret to report the deaths of our Brother Bishops Joseph Mukwaya [4th September, 2008] and Adrian Kivumbi Ddungu [30th December, 2009]

The various Reports presented by the Ordinaries give a true picture of the state of the Church in Uganda.  We have some success but nonetheless, we have many challenges to meet for the spiritual, pastoral and material needs of our people. The Conference Report outlines the common national activities carried out by our Secretariat, its commissions, and departments.

We know much remains to be done. Still we thank the Lord for what has been achieved, albeit little. The members of the Conference are determined to work in unity “with one heart” to utilize available resources to the maximum potential.

Your Holiness, currently our country is facing problems of landslides in the Archdiocese of Tororo [Eastern Uganda], and the dioceses of Kabale and Kasese [Western Uganda]. There is a great need to help those who are victims.  Material and spiritual support are needed.

We could not carry on our ministry without your support and that of many benefactors–the Congregation for evangelization of people etc. To all gratitude is due.

On behalf of all the Bishops of Uganda, we are most grateful for the opportunity you have accorded us to meet with you.

We ask for your prayers and apostolic blessing.

†Matthias Ssekamanya,
Bishop of Lugazi and
Chairman - Uganda Episcopal Conference.

Friday, March 5th, 2010

 

Read the Full text of the Pope's address below...

HOLY FATHER'S ADDRESS TO BISHOPS FROM UGANDA DURING AD LIMINA

Your Eminence,
Dear Brother Bishops,


I am pleased to greet you, the Bishops of Uganda, on your Ad Limina visit to the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul. I thank Bishop Ssekamanya for the gracious sentiments of communion with the Successor of Peter which he expressed on your behalf. I willingly reciprocate and assure you of my prayers and affection for you and for the People of God entrusted to your care. In a particular way my thoughts go to those who have been affected by the recent landslides in the Bududa region of your country. I offer prayers to Almighty God, the Father of all mercies, that he may grant eternal rest to the souls of the deceased, and give strength and hope to all who are suffering the consequences of this tragic event.


The recently celebrated Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops was memorable in its call for renewed efforts in the service of a more profound evangelization of your continent (cf. Message to the People of God, 15). The power of the word of God and the knowledge and love of Jesus cannot but transform people’s lives by changing for the better the way they think and act. In the light of the Gospel message, you are aware of the need to encourage the Catholics of Uganda to appreciate fully the sacrament of marriage in its unity and indissolubility, and the sacred right to life. I urge you to help them, priests as well as the lay faithful, to resist the seduction of a materialistic culture of individualism which has taken root in so many countries. Continue to call for lasting peace based on justice, generosity towards those in need and a spirit of dialogue and reconciliation. While promoting true ecumenism, be especially close to those who are more vulnerable to the advances of sects. Guide them to reject superficial sentiments and a preaching that would empty the cross of Christ of its power (cf. 1 Cor 1:17); in this way you will continue, as responsible Pastors, to keep them and their children faithful to the Church of Christ. In this regard I am pleased to learn that your people find spiritual consolation in popular forms of evangelization such as the organized pilgrimages to the Shrine of the Ugandan Martyrs at Namugongo, where the active pastoral presence of Bishops and numerous priests guides the piety of the pilgrims towards renewal as individuals and communities. Continue to sustain all who with generous hearts assist displaced persons and orphans from war-torn areas. Encourage those who care for people afflicted by poverty, Aids and other diseases, teaching them to see in those whom they serve the suffering face of Jesus (cf. Mt 25:40).


Renewed evangelization gives rise in turn to a deeper Catholic culture which takes root in the family. From your Quinquennial Reports I am aware that programmes of education in parishes, schools and associations, and your own interventions on topics of common interest, are indeed spreading a stronger Catholic culture. Great good can come from well-prepared lay people who are active in the media, in politics and culture. Courses for their adequate formation, especially in Catholic Social Doctrine, should be provided, taking advantage of resources at Uganda Martyrs University or other institutions. Encourage them to be active and outspoken in the service of what is just and noble. In this way, society as a whole will benefit from trained and zealous Christians who take up leadership roles in the service of the common good. Ecclesial movements also deserve your support for their positive contribution to the life of the Church in many sectors.
Bishops, as the first agents of evangelization, are called to bear clear witness to the practical solidarity born of our communion in Christ. In a spirit of Christian charity Dioceses that enjoy more resources, both materially and spiritually, should assist those that have less. At the same time, all communities have a duty to strive for self-sufficiency. It is important that your people develop a sense of responsibility towards themselves, their community and their Church, and become more deeply imbued with a Catholic spirit of sensitivity to the needs of the universal Church.


Your priests, as committed ministers of evangelization, already benefit greatly from your fatherly concern and guidance. In this Year for Priests offer them your assistance, your example and your clear teaching. Exhort them to prayer and vigilance, especially with regard to self-centred, worldly or political ambitions, or excessive attachment to family or ethnic group. Continue promoting vocations, providing for due discernment of candidates and for their proper motivation and formation, especially their spiritual formation. Priests must be men of God, capable of guiding others, through wise counsel and example, in the Lord’s ways.
Religious men and women in Uganda are called to be an example and a source of encouragement to the whole Church. By your advice and prayers, assist them as they strive for the goal of perfect charity and bear witness to the Kingdom. Priests and religious require constant support in their lives of celibacy and consecrated virginity. By your own example, teach them of the beauty of this way of life, of the spiritual fatherhood and motherhood with which they can enrich and deepen the love of the faithful for the Creator and Giver of all good gifts. Your catechists likewise are a great resource. Continue to be attentive to their needs and formation, and place before them, for their encouragement, the example of martyrs such as Blessed Daudi Okello and Blessed Jildo Irwa.
Dear Brother Bishops, with the Apostle Paul, I exhort you: “always be steady, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil your ministry” (2 Tim 4:5). In the Blessed Ugandan Martyrs you and your people have models of great courage and endurance in suffering. Count on their prayers and strive always to be worthy of their legacy. Commending you and those entrusted to your pastoral care to the loving protection of Mary, Mother of the Church, I affectionately impart to all of you my Apostolic Blessing.

From the Vatican, 5 March 2010


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PRESS RELEASE

PILGRIMAGE OF BISHOPS TO ROME

From the 28th of February to 9th March 2010, 26 Catholic Bishops of Uganda will be in Rome. This is a very important event for our Church in this country.

You may remember that in 1992, 1997, and 2003, similar pilgrimages of your Bishops took place. Such events are known as “VISIT AD LIMINA”. They are pilgrimages to the TOMBS of Sts. Peter and Paul, two apostles who are teachers and symbols of Authority and Faith in the Church founded by Jesus Christ.

The visit Ad Limina is a long–standing practice in the life of the Catholic Church. Its deeper meaning is the expression of communion and solidarity which exists within the Church members and in a special way communion and solidarity with the visible head of the Church, the Holy Father.

During their stay in Rome they will concelebrate Masses in the four Major Basilicas, namely, St. Peter’s, St. Paul’s, Mary Major, and John Lateran. They will be received as a group and individually by the Holy Father. They will share their experiences as leaders of the Church in Uganda with members of various Congregations (ministries) and Commissions/Councils which assist the Holy Father in serving members of the Church and the World. Evidently they will seek advice from leaders of those organizations.

The Bishops wish to assure you of their prayers for each and all and for our country; but they also ask for yours. 

 +Matthias Ssekamanya
Bishop of Lugazi & Chairman,
Uganda Episcopal Conference

Dated: February 24, 2010

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PRESS STATEMENT
ON THE ANTI-HOMOSEXUAL BILL

We, the Catholic Bishops of Uganda, appreciate and applaud the Government’s effort to protect the traditional family and its values.

The Catholic Church is clear in its teaching on homosexuality. Church teaching remains that homosexual acts are immoral and are violations of divine and natural law. The Bible says that homosexuality is strictly forbidden [Lev. 18:22] “Do Not lie with a man as one lies with a woman, that is detestable”, “Furthermore, the Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “Homosexual acts are contrary to the natural law, and under no circumstances can they be approved” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No: 2357).

However, the Church equally teaches the Christian message of respect, compassion and sensitivity; The Church has always asked its followers to hate the sin but to love the sinner. Considering the fact that all are called by God to fulfill his Will in their lives and to repent of their sins (Mk 1:14-15)“After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the Gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfillment.  The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” Homosexuals have the need of conversion and repentance. They also need support, understanding and love as all strive to be members of the Kingdom of God.

The recent tabled Anti-Homosexuality Bill does not pass a test of a Christian caring approach to this issue.  The targeting of the sinner, not the sin, is the core flaw of the proposed Bill. The introduction of the death penalty and imprisonment for homosexual acts targets people rather than seeking to counsel and to reach out in compassion to those who need conversion, repentance, support, and hope. The Bible says in Luke 6:36-37 “Be merciful just as your Father is merciful.  Do not judge and you will not be judged. Do not condemn and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.”

Furthermore, the proposal to prosecute those who fail to disclose information regarding homosexual acts puts at risk of the breach of confidentiality and professional ethics of persons such as Parents, Priests, Counselors, Teachers, Doctors and Leaders, at a time when they offer support and advice for rehabilitation of homosexuals. The proposed Bill does not contain clauses encouraging homosexuals to be rehabilitated. As a Catholic Church, we have a mission to reach out to all of the people of God as Christ showed no one is beyond God’s mercy and love, “In Mt. 9:10-13, while Jesus was at  table in his house, many tax Collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus…. Jesus saw this and said, Those who are well do not need a Physician, but the sick do.  Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire mercy not sacrifice, I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

The criminalizing of such outreach is at odds with the core values of the Christian faith.

Additionally, in our view the proposed Bill is not necessary considering that acts of sodomy are already condemned under section 145 of the Penal Code.

+Cyprian K. Lwanga
ARCHBISHOP OF KAMPALA AND SPOKES PERSON OF UEC
Dated: 23rd December, 2009

Solutions:

Attitude: God hates sin, but loves the sinner. Jesus died to redeem sinners. We ought to show mercy to homosexuals as God does (Luke 6:36). Homosexual tendencies are combined with or linked to other psycho-pathologies; whereby therapy must be oriented to the deeper causes.

Actively promote ex-‘gay’ ministries for the treatment of homosexuality. Homosexual persons are entitled to pastoral care and respect but that care must make clear the Church’s position, which is that homosexual acts are immoral and cannot bring happiness.

 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom. Let them access counseling, prayer and trust in the grace of God for conversion.

Human sexuality must be seen as an essential dimension and expression of bodily existence that communicates with God and with fellow humans in reverence and friendship.

Hope and example for recovery of the sacredness of the human body have been ushered in by the sacrificial offer of the body of Christ and by his resurrection. He lives with a spirited, glorified body. [cf. the Transfiguration: (Matthew 17:1-13)

Establish laws that reaffirm family life. e.g. a policy that requires schools to teach children age-appropriate lesson about thinking about marriage and how to be the best husband or wife possible so that the generation coming up will be immune to the homosexual agenda.

Parenting by both parents is a must for a balanced maturity.

While we appreciate the homosexual agenda to be a direct attack on human values and morals, we differ with the anti-gay bill in those sections where the sinner is demonized. Capital sin militates against the inalienable right to life from womb to womb. The bill is also wanting in those sections where failure to report a homosexual cast attracts imprisonment. Such clause jeopardizes pastoral ministry and contravenes the priestly oath of confessional secrecy. The same objection applies to medial ethics. Without addressing those sensitive areas, the bill might polarize society or even end up exonerating advocates of homosexual agenda.

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The Catholic Clergy and Political Offices

As Bishops of the Catholic Church in Uganda, we would like to remind our clergy, Religious and the Laity, and to inform the public at large, that a cleric, i.e. a Deacon, Priest, or bishop, is forbidden to take on political office.


We refer to the Church’s Code of Canon Law, Canon 285, paragraph 3, which states: “Clerics are forbidden to assume public office whenever it means sharing in the exercise of civil power.” In addition, Canon 287, paragraph 2, reiterates that clerics “are not to play an active role in political parties or in directing trade unions…”


The Second Vatican Council, in its document on the Church, called Lumen Gentium, no. 31, carefully distinguishes between the role of the laity and that of the clergy. It declares that those in holy orders, by reason of their particular vocation, are principally and expressly ordained to service in the sacred ministry. In so far as the clergy are men of the Church, their engagement in politics could cause confusion regarding the religious mission of the Church.


The 1971 Synod Bishops in Rome urges priests to keep their distance from politics so as to remain free to proclaim the Gospel without compromise or prejudice. In order to avoid causing division among the faithful and in order to remain a valid sign of unity, the priest must remain free from political involvement.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2442, also states that it is not the role of the pastors of the Church to intervene in the political process and organization of social life. This is particular to the laity.


If a cleric contravenes these laws and directives, he faces Canonical penalties, as, for example, the case is with Fr. Simon Lokodo of Kotido Diocese. He stood for parliamentary elections in 2006 and entered Parliament. When he refused to withdraw from this engagement, his Bishop suspended him on 16th October, 2006. That is, he was prohibited from exercising priestly functions e.g. saying Mass, and administering other Sacraments.

†Rt. Rev. Matthias Ssekamanya
Bishop of Lugazi & Chairman, Uganda Episcopal Conference

Dated: Thursday, March 12, 2009

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