Uganda Catholic Bishops Want Vatican to Clarify on Pope’s Gay Union Stance

The Secretary-General of the Uganda Episcopal Conference Msgr. John Baptist Laura has contacted the Vatican Ambassador (Apostolic Nuncio) to Uganda ,Archbishop Luigi Bianco urgently seeking an official statement from Rome to guide the flock in Uganda on the Pope’s stand on homosexual unions, ugandaupdatenews has learnt.

The International media has this week been flooded with news that Pope Francis has declared support for civil unions for same-sex couples. In a new documentary ‘Francesco’, produced by Russian filmmaker Evgeny Afineevsky, that premiered on Wednesday at the Rome Film Festival, the Pope indicates that gay couples should be accepted in society and in Law.

“Homosexual people have a right to be in a family. They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out or be made miserable over it,” the Pope said in the film. “What we have to create is a civil union law so that they are legally covered.” 

Now the Ugandan Catholic Bishops, under their forum, the Episcopal Conference, are seeking urgent clarification from Rome. Obedience is the hallmark of Catholic priesthood. The bishops in Uganda can therefore not take any stand different from that of the Pope, who is deemed to be infallible when communicating on a matter of the Faith.

But homosexuality being regarded by most Ugandans as objectionable and repugnant no normal human conduct, the bishops and priests are not sure how the ordinary Catholics would react if they sold the Pope’s attitude in the country. Hence their request for an official position.

The church’s situation is faced with another complication – the threat of the Pentecoastal balokole movement which is intolerant of whatever is regarded as immoral. The Pope’s position, if it gets (mis)interpeted to mean that homosexuality  (derogatorily called ‘bisiyaga’ in local lingo around Kampala) is no longer condemned by the church, will provide potent ammunition for the balokole who are competing with traditional churches for the congregations.

Both the Catholic and the Anglican Church in Uganda have in the past condemned the act of same-sex marriage saying that it is against biblical teachings.The NRM government also used to frown upon gay relationship and President Museveni caused an international stir when a couple of decades back he called for arrest of gays. He clarified that that what he opposed and is also banned by the law was the public display of intimacy, whether heterosexual or homosexual.

He also told a delegation of European envoys that if he was ever caught kissing his own wife in public, Ugandans would stop voting for him.However Parliament Speaker Rebecca Kadaga refused to be cowed and has maintained the normal stance of Ugandan communities against homosexuality. She daringly opposed a big Commonwealth conference in Canada that homosexuality is against African morality and told the wealthy national to take her position or leave it.

The Catholic church is usually quite clear and explicit in its communications to the congregation, usually read in on Sunday in form of an apostolic letter from the archbishop. The public now awaits the clarification, as observers wait to hear how this time the church will manage to avoid confusing the faithful with a vague philosophical statement.

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