Father Musaala; A hypocrite or Redeemer of the Catholic Church?
The past has been full of headlines about the Catholic Church, being brought about by Fr. Musaala whose letter ‘leaked’ to the media and has opened up lots of controversy about his integrity, personality & approach to the issues rather than the message.
The Arch Bishop of the Uganda Catholic Church suspended him 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”. For those who may have missed the two stories, a blogger put the letter on his site http://www.sebaspace.wordpress.com/2013/03/16/father-musaala-blows-the-lid-off-priestly-sexual-abuse-in-uganda-africa/ and here is Arch Bishop’s responce http://www.newvision.co.ug/news/640841-church-suspends-fr-musaala-over-sex-claims.html as published in the New Vision.
Let me first clarify that I am not a catholic and any view of mine is purely mine and not based on any religious denomination.
I disagree with Father Musaala when he calls for removal of chastity for priests. This is because the shortcomings of one individual should not have a negative impact on the whole Church. The Church is much bigger than Fr. Musaala and it even existed long before he joined it. Taking the celibacy vow was purely on his free will and I would like to think that no one forced him to (Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong).
However, some of the issues he raises in his letter have gotten me thinking. Is there some rot in the Church that needs to be corrected? Has the Catholic Church done enough to prevent this rot or they are either deliberately ignoring it, or aware of it but sweeping it under their carpets?
Below is a comment, by a Justine Mugisha, I read on one of the blogging sites;
“Father Anthony thank you so much for bringing this up. It’s time that the catholic religion faced up to its failures. I am a Catholic woman, who is battling the love i have for my church against the ill feelings against the catholic priesthood for their sexual immorality that we Ugandan catholics feel obliged not to talk about. When I’d just left S.6, I was affronted by the sexual advances from several priests – so called family friends – that made me turn against the church for a while. I’m back in the church but i don’t go for confession. I don’t believe that the hype that the catholic church preaches that even if the priest is a transgressor – Christ is present in that sacrament. Recently there was a case at a catholic uni where a nun gave birth to a baby, fathered by a priest, and threw him into a pit latrine! Only by the grace of God did that child survive. And guess what; When the police came in, they had left out the nuns’ abode in the search for the mother. It was the young girls, who after their hostels were searched, insisted that the nuns be searched too. Lo and behold the culprit and her 4 nun helpers were caught. It’s little wonder that this Redpepper material story never reached the public – you can imagine how much of our Tithe was used in shutting up the story. If the Catholic church does not style up and accept marriage among the priests – then it might as well say it promotes promiscuity, irresponsible parenthood and believes that the unborn child has no rights.
Well, let us not hide from reality. there is evil all around us. This evil may not be spiritual but it is affecting people we know including our very own sons and daughter. Our young people are being taken advantage of regardless of where they are. Even in Churches where we go to for redemption, we can never be sure. Children are being abused, Fathers engaging in sexual behaviour e.t.c. This raises a question whether it is any of my bussiness. Well, if you claim to be a spiritual leader, I expect you to be exemplary and you must live to the standard expected from you by the public. If you take a vow, then live by it, especially if no one forced you to take it. That is where I challenge Fr. Musaala on his views of celibacy in Church.
I admire how the papal elections were recently conducted. Despite the changing times, the Catholic Church has managed to maintain it’s traditionalism in all it’s actions. Even the security around the vatican is proof of this, So, why should one ‘disgruntled & frustrated’ priest call for modernisation of traditional beliefs?
My problem comes when these spiritual leaders take oaths and break them. Just like in any country, company, organisation, bussiness, group e.t.c, once you sign a contract, you are legally bound to uphold it. Any breach of that contract is liable to consequences. A Priestly vow is a matter between that individual and their God. I would be wrong to support him if he breaks that vow, especially if he took it on his own free will.
As for the allegations he makes against the Catholic Church; His only credibility will be when he is able to mention the names of his mates who have broken the celibacy vow. If he has no names, then his integrity will have totally been lost. It is common knowledge to very many people that these celibate priests are not celibate in real life. The difference between Father Musaala and these other people is that Fr. Musaala has opted to go public while these others opted for silence. I pray he doesnt succumb to any intimidation he is receiving from the different people who hold different views and instead he comes out and helps in cleansing his Church. I support him when he says thus;
I am therefore compiling cases from all over Uganda.I believe that if all the victims of molestations were to come out and sue the church in civil courts, such abuses would sharply decreased. 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
which clearly shows he has good intentions for his Church and wishes them good.
Many commentators have decided to attack the messenger and ignore the message which is totally wrong. Yes, Fr. Musaala may have heard his shortcomings in life (The Bible clearly says that all have fallen short of his glory) but that shouldn’t be a reason to ignore his message. I would like to believe he thought hard about this before coming out and weighed out the consequences which (in his view) were worth it. He is an adult of sound mind, and has never been proved insane, so his message (or ‘grievances & frustrations’, as some people would prefer to call it) shouldn’t be ignored!
What if there is some truth in his allegations? What if the Church has been knowing the evil actions of their members and ignoring them? What if we have Fathers who took their Celibacy vows but instead are molesting Children, fathering secret children and even having wives? Many of us have heard these allegations levied against them, I’m sure some of you can even name specific individuals! There is no smoke without fire.
For those who call Fr. Musaala a disgruntled and frustrated person, I say these are the best people to unearth the dirt in their groups despite their ulterior motives!!!
It is in this regard that I didnt like the responce from the Church. They seemed to concetrate more on the Canon law than the Bible when deciding his fate (suspension). I would like to think that just like the supremacy of any Country’s constitution, the Bible is the supreme book of law for even the Catholics. Therefore, I expected the responce to quote much more of the Bible than anything else. Quoing the Bible would have given this a whole new angle! Well, assuming Jesus was still around, or rather assuming it was during his time, would he have suspended Fr. Musaala from the community? Or he would have said, “My son, come & talk to me. Your sins are forgiven”. Let the Church look upto Jesus & God as they deal with this situation lest the administrative policy will overshadow the spiritual law.
As for Fr. Musaala, he should engage in dialogue with his team, or rather Church members. He may have a point (and yes, he has the right to voice his views) but let him concetrate on much more of the Church than the media & the public (who may not even be part of the Catholic Church and dont give a damn!). His membership to the Church is of paramount importance, just like any other Catholic, and he should aim at integrating the Church rather than the causing divided belief among the members. He was right to voice out his concerns but let them be aimed more to the Church than to the non-Church members
May God bless the Catholic Church and hopefully, this will help them come out stronger than ever before.
For God & my country
@jobaze (on twitter)
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