2016-03-31 13:41:00

Uganda announces new guidelines for Charismatic worship

According to an article by Uganda’s Daily newspaper, “New Vision,” the Archbishop of Kampala, Cyprian Kizito Lwanga has emphasised that only ordained priests have the authority to administer Holy Oils. This observation will be widely seen as an attempt to rein-in on abuses by some lay persons associated with the Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement in Uganda.   The Metropolitan Archbishop of Kampala says the new guidelines have been formulated by the Uganda Episcopal Conference. The Archbishop announced the guidelines during the celebration of Chrism Mass.

The Kampala prelate explained that the new guidelines had been formulated by the Uganda Bishops to prevent the emergence of controversies associated with the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement.

Catholic Charismatic Renewal is a spiritual movement within the Catholic Church that incorporates aspects of both Catholic and charismatic practice. It places an emphasis on having a personal relationship with Jesus and expressing the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

The Charismatic Renewal as a movement within the Catholic Church is acknowledged in its right. Several Popes, starting with Pope Paul VI to the present Pope Francis have recognised the importance and significance of the Movement within the Church.

Archbishop Lwanga ha salso said it was not right for anybody to bless or sell Holy Oils.

According to Church teaching, the oils blessed at Chrism Mass are of three kinds: the Oil of Catechumens, Chrism and the Oil of the Sick. Each of these is oil extracted from olives. Chrism Oil is distinguished from the others by having balm or balsam mixed with it. The Oils can only be blessed by the Bishop with a particular form of prayer, expressing the purpose for which it is to be used, during Chrism Mass each year.

The new arrangement in Uganda, also provides for Charismatic prayers to be held only in places of worship or centres approved by a Bishop. The “New Vision” quotes Archbishop Lwanga as saying, Charismatic prayers will also be conducted only by an ordained priest or deacon, and not by anyone else.

According to the Archbishop, falling, rolling on the ground, or shouting will also not be allowed during Charismatic prayers. In unfolding these guidelines, Archbishop Lwanga took the time to remind the faithful that it is the responsibility of the Bishop to choose exorcists.

In the Catholic Church, only an exorcist officially appointed by the Bishop has the mandate and special permission to perform exorcisms. In the Archdiocese of Kampala, Msgr. Expedito Magembe, Fr. Athanasius Musajjakawa, Fr. Lawrence Mubiru and Fr. Dominic Mwebe were introduced as the official exorcists of the diocese.

Charismatic preachers who want to use the media will now be required to seek the approval of their Bishop. The Archbishop of Kampala also said parish priests need to be notified about any Charismatic activities taking place in the parish before such events happen.

Clarifying the need for these new measures, Archbishop Lwanga said the diocesan Bishop has the pastoral responsibility to ensure that whatever is being done in the diocese is in conformity with Catholic traditional practice, Doctrine of the Church and Canon Law. He stressed the need to protect the vulnerable lay faithful from self-styled preachers.

In attendance, at the Chrism Mass, were the Apostolic Nuncio to Uganda, Archbishop Michael Blume; Kampala Archbishop Emeritus, Emmanuel Cardinal Wamala and the Hoima Bishop Emeritus Edward Albert Baharagate.

(sources: “New Vision” - Uganda; Archdiocese of Kampala website; Additional reporting -Vatican Radio, English Africa Service)


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