The idea of a whistle blower has always caused a great discussion for governments. But having the same concept in the Catholic Church is much more difficult as most church attending people are still brainwashed that the church is a saintly one, and all those who challenge its authority must be nuts; desperately looking for money; or some other odd idea!

Obviously, the priest who sees all this imagines and feels how difficult it is to expose everything. As in other spheres of life, the one who talks, would bring about public attention and most probably he would lose his high esteem. He would be under suspicion. In this light we understand that most priests, especially those who have fallen in love, would prefer to keep everything under the carpet and remain silent as they would feel terrorised if their love story would be published! Now let’s go to East Africa.

Throngs of Roman Catholics greeted Pope Francis when he visited East Africa this week. But the Rev. Anthony Musaala wasn’t part of the official welcoming delegation.

Two years ago, Ugandan Archbishop Cyprian Lwanga suspended Musaala indefinitely – barring him from administering the sacraments- when Musaala wrote an open letter that challenged his priestly vows of celibacy, condemned sexual abusers among the clergy and criticized priests who father children and abandon them.

In practical terms it’s the same treatment received by a government who prefers to silence one whistle blower than facing reality and doing something about it. If what Musaala is saying is true, than what will happen to the church? It’s the same mistake which happened with sexual abuses where the general approach was that of putting everything under a nice carpet!!

The obvious question would be: is it right to shut up and let things as they are? Is silence ok in the conscience of a priest or an active Catholic in a parish? This is the right question to be asked to most of the clergymen who are ready to condemn divorced, gay etc… but not the criminal acts done by themselves! On what grounds did we allow a paedophile priest to celebrate and receive the Holy Communion but not a divorced person?

Since then, Musaala, a popular gospel singer and LGBT activist, has become a champion of efforts in Uganda to overturn church celibacy rules and oppose anti-gay laws.

“We will ensure the pope hears our voices on the issues of celibacy,” said Musaala before the Pope’s visit.

The petition drive advocating marriage for priests comes as the Ugandan Catholic Church has been cracking down on Musaala and his fellow activists. Last month, Lwanga suspended several other priests for suggesting that Catholic priests should marry.

Again: is suspension the right answer for people nowadays? Does it silence once for all the call for married priests?

By denying priests permission to marry, the church is rejecting thousands of young men who otherwise would heed the call to holy orders in Africa, home of the world’s fastest-growing Catholic population, Musaala is convinced. Meanwhile, he added, numerous Ugandan priests now live openly with wives and families anyway. Again, by turning a blind eye to these events, will it remain a secret or known to just a few?

At the shrine in Namugongo, where Francis addressed around 1,000 lay Catholics on his visit to Uganda, Vincent Ogalo elicited cheers as he spoke before a crowd of petition supporters.

“I prefer priests to marry to avoid cases of adultery in our churches,” he said. “My wife was snatched by one of the local priests after having stayed together in marriage for five years.”

Religious women are especially targeted by sexually frustrated priests, Ogalo continued. He believed the solution was properly satisfying the priests’ desires.

“We have always trusted them with our wives and daughters, who usually help them with various work in churches,” added Ogalo. “They’re not good people if allowed to stay without marrying. They are a threat to us.” He is the first one who puts forward this expression: that they are a threat to the rest of the parish!!!

Catholics in Africa hold on to traditional societal values that are at odds with some church doctrines, said Zacharia Wanakacha Samita, of the department of philosophy and religious studies at Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya.

“People who choose not to marry, whether for religious reasons, as celibacy in the Catholic Church, or other practical reasons, do not easily find social acceptability in African society, largely because marriage and having children remains a core value,” he said. Now is it just Africa who sees the church in this light? What about European and world wide experience?

Are the women who have love/d a priest aware of their special role in the church by walking alongside a whistle blower?

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