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Another Luther facing Catholic Church

By Vision Reporter

Added 31st December 2009 03:00 AM

EDITOR—I must admit that I had never heard of the Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church! The church is now recognised and has been registered in Uganda. The issue of celibacy in the Roman Catholic Church simply won’t go away and depending on how the Vat

EDITOR—I must admit that I had never heard of the Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church! The church is now recognised and has been registered in Uganda. The issue of celibacy in the Roman Catholic Church simply won’t go away and depending on how the Vatican will handle it, I believe it has started hurting the church severely. We are used to the schism which took place in the middle ages. People often wrongly refer to Anglicanism as Protestantism.

Anglicanism was socio-political and was born of the excesses of King Henry VIII who was denied permission to divorce Catherine of Aragon by Pope Clement VIII. Henry wanted to divorce Catherine because he had fallen in love with Anne Boleyn and wanted a male heir. After defying the Pope, Henry VIII made himself head of the Church in England. Briefly, that is the beginning of Anglicanism.

Protestantism sprung from a direct protest by a Catholic priest and professor, Martin Luther. Luther took on the Pope for pardoning people’s sins in exchange for money. At that time the Bible was only read and interpreted by priests which Luther did not agree with. He argued that people needed to read and understand the bible themselves. At that time the bible was written in Greek and Latin. Clearly, there are glaring differences between Protestantism and Anglicanism. Luther had a point and his views gained support and momentum and gave birth to Protestants or Lutherns.

Against that background, we see the Roman Catholic Church facing another crisis today as it did during Luther’s days. This crisis is sparked off by married Anglican priests who want to join the Catholic Church and now by the Brazilian Catholic Church. What is alarmingly significant is that the Brazilian Catholic Church is crammed with former Roman Catholic priests! Its African archbishop, Mbewa Anzanga, was a Roman Catholic priest. Its Uganda’s first bishop, Leonard Lubega was also a Roman Catholic priest. He will soon be in the country to ordain some 10 priests. The founder of the Brazilian Catholic Church in 1945, Dom Carlos Duarte Costa, was a Roman Catholic bisshop.

William Obonyo, formerly of the Roman Catholic Missionaries of Africa White Fathers in Tororo now belongs to the Brazilian Catholic Church. Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo needs no introduction. Now, this rebellious behaviour on the part of so many Roman Catholic priests who are intimately conversant with the tenets, doctrines of their church and the Pope’s authority points to something fundamentally wrong in the administration of the Church.

It is no longer possible to shut them up and scare them with excommunication because they know they can be Catholics and Christians outside the authority of the Pope as Protestants did. The Church is no longer powerful enough as in the days of the Inquisition and excommunication means nothing anymore! In other words, we are seeing another schism and reformation playing out Luther-style before our very eyes! This is not going to stop because a lot seems to be amiss at the Vatican. A revolution that takes place from within cannot be underestimated.

I think the Vatican needs to go back to the drawing board and assess what reforms should be done to prevent the Roman Catholic Church from fragmentation as is the case with Protestant churches. It is easy to face this challenge with disdain, theological rhetoric and haughty grandstanding but I see a bleak future for my Church. Something is definitely wrong within the Catholic Church.

The formation of The Brazilian Catholic Church is an eloquent protest against the status quo at the Vatican and we are seeing another form of Martin Luther and Protestantism. How else would one explain the defection of so many priests? Is it a coincidence? Is it impossible for the Vatican to take a trip in soul-searching and humbly and honestly identify what has gone wrong? Say what you will, the Roman Catholic Church is at a crossroads.

Matthias Ssentongo
London

Another Luther facing Catholic Church

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