By Jude Kafuuma
CARDINAL Emmanuel Wamala has slammed the newly registered Catholic Apostolic National Church, describing it as a group of â€˜false prophetsâ€™.
Cardinal Wamala also said he has not received any information indicating that the groupâ€™s top leaders were ever priests in the Catholic Church in Uganda.
â€œI donâ€™t know these so-called priests and the Church should not be scared,â€ the cardinal said yesterday.
The New Vision on Wednesday reported the emergence of a new religious sect that claimed to be linked to the Catholic Church, based in Jinja, eastern Uganda.
The Catholic Apostolic National Church, also known as the Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church, is an independent church established in 1945 by Brazilian bishop Dom Carlos Duarte Costa, who originally was a Roman Catholic bishop.
Costa, started the church after falling out with the Catholic Church and he was excommunicated. The church allows divorce and can marry divorced persons. It also allows its priests to marry.
â€œMany such people have emerged in Uganda and gone. I advise Ugandans neither to follow nor listen to them because they intend to divide the church,â€ Wamala said.
The retired Archbishop of Kampala said for the past 2,000 years, the Catholic Church has stood the emergence of such groups and has not been shaken.
He cited apostle Paul, who wrote that such false prophets would rise but the world should not listen to them.
Throughout the Bible, Wamala said, there are warnings of false prophets and Messiahs. â€œThey come putting on sheepâ€™s clothes but inwardly they are wolves who want to snatch the good values in the Church,â€ he warned.
Information has emerged that the leader of the sect, Fr. Leonard Lubega, was never ordained a Catholic Church priest in Uganda. Also another sectâ€™s priest, Fr. Matovu Seguya, has until recently been serving as an Orthodox priest in Mityana and was not previously a priest in the Catholic Church.
Asked about his background, Fr. Lubega told The New Vision that he previously was a Catholic Brother before he joined the St Mbaaga Seminary in Kampala. But he admitted that he left Uganda before he was ordained a Catholic priest and went to Cameroon, where he reportedly became a priest in the Apostolic National church.
Born on May 3, 1972, Lubega said he joined the Bannakaroli Religious Brothers in Masaka, where he had two years of postulancy and novitiate, after which he was reportedly posted to Kabuyanda parish in Mbarara diocese for pastoral training.
Lubega says he became a Munnakaroli religious brother in 1994 in Kiteredde, Masaka, before he went to pursue a diploma in Business Administration at Nile Institute of Management and Accountancy in Kampala.
Lubega says he joined St. Mbaaga Major seminary in Ggaba in 1998 and later left the mainstream Catholic Church and joined the Apostolic National Church in Cameroon.
He also claims he went to St. James Theological Seminary in Florida, US. â€œIt is from this seminary that Archbishop Cyril Tonye sent me to Alexandria in Virginia in 2001 for pastoral work,â€ Lubega said.
From Alexandria, Lubega said, he joined Uganda Christian University in Mukono where he did a Masters degree in education administration and planning before he went back to Florida for a PhD in Biblical Theology and Counselling.
He said he was ordained a priest of the Apostolic National Church in 2002 by Archbishop Cyril Tonye in Florida.
Lubega is named on the website as belonging to the Catholic Charismatic Church and Holy Resurrection Parish in Uganda.
Lubega on Wednesday held a meeting with the Deputy RDC of Jinja, Apollo Bwebale, during which he said their sect has no intention of fighting other religions in the country.
(Additional reporting by Tonny Nsoona in Jinja).