ARCHBISHOP CYPRIAN KIZITO LWANGA’S MESSAGE FOR CHRISTMAS AND THE NEW YEAR 2014
- 1. INTRODUCTION
Dear Brothers and Sisters, once again I have the pleasure to joyfully proclaim this message of this year’s Christmas and that of the New Year 2014, to you all. On Christmas we remember and spiritually realize the words of the Gospel that “God became man”; He came to dwell among us (Jn 1:14). With this, God is not distant: he is “Emmanuel”, God-with-us. It is with joy and excitement that I present my message for Christmas 2013. I send my cordial greetings to all of you fellow citizens of Uganda, and to all those who live in Uganda.
We are thankful to God who has given us this opportune moment to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I also take this opportunity to thank all people of God who have worked tirelessly to maintain peace in our Country and have lived by our motto “For God and my Country” in spirit, word and action.
On a sad note, we feel sorry for the instabilities that are in Southern Sudan, where our people have fallen victims. We pray for those people in Southern Sudan who have lost their lives, property and those who have sustained injuries for a quick recovery from the insurgence as we also pray for a quicker solution to end the violence knowing that another name for development is peace as Pope VI said in his Encyclical “Populorum Progresio”, On the Development of People. I also appeal to the International community to assist in restoring peace in the region.
- 2. Purpose and meaning of Christmas:
The Birth of Jesus (Christmas) is a feast of trust and of hope, which overcomes uncertainty and pessimism. The reason for our hope is this: God is with us and God still trusts us! (Is 7:14). Think well on this: God is with us and God still trusts us. God our Father and Creator is generous, loving and caring. He comes to abide with mankind, He chooses earth as His dwelling place to remain with His people and to be found where man passes his days in joy or in sorrow.
Therefore, earth is no longer only “a valley of tears”, rather it is the place where God Himself has pitched his tent, it is the meeting place of God with people, of God’s solidarity with humanity.
Because of His love and care for us, God willed to share in our human condition to the point of becoming one with us in the Person of Jesus, who is true Man and true God. However, there is something even more surprising. The presence of God among men did not take place in a perfect and idealistic world but rather in this real world, which is marked by so many things both good and bad, by division, wickedness, poverty, arrogance and war. He chose to live in our history as it is, with all the weight of its limitations and of its tragedies. In so doing, He has demonstrated in an unequalled manner his merciful and truly loving disposition towards the human creature. He is God-with-us. Jesus is God-with-us. The Birth of Jesus reveals that God “sided” with man once and for all, to save us, to raise us from the dust of our misery, from our difficulty, are from our sins.
- 3. Some Special Concerns that need Attention:
As we come to this year’s Christmas celebrations, Uganda has several concerns that pose many questions in our minds. They may seem to be obvious to many of you but they may also be “a time bomb” to our country. These concerns must draw the attention of all the citizens of this country including our leaders at all levels and the entire population.
These concerns are:
a) Good Governance that every Ugandan longs for:
From time immemorial people have yearned for good governance, which allows them to live as human beings. To have good leaders who respect their human rights, who enable them to have the basic necessities in life. Once these are not in place, people will apply all means available to them in search for them. What is unfortunate is that many of these means have resulted into violence, promiscuity, and murder, all of which ultimately cause a certain amount of insecurity.
b) The Moral and Ethical concern:
Domestic and social violence are on the increase, sometimes resulting into murder, trauma, high blood pressure, physical injuries, discomfort in homes, torture etc. In our local press, we see and listen to so many cases of Domestic, Political and Social violence in our society! This is a tragedy for our country. Just watch Bukedde T.V “Agataliko Nfuufu Programme and you see it all!
Prostitution is on the increase. Recently it was reported in the press that in Kampala alone, there are over 6,500 prostitutes, 900 of whom are men! HVI/Aids is also on the increase resulting mainly from the irresponsible immoral sexual behaviors. All this calls for a serious moral and ethical concern in our Country which exposes our children to the risk of developing wrong moral attitudes. We also have the moral challenge of abortion and the use of contraceptives! Some activists now want condoms to be distributed in schools as a way to stop early pregnancies! If this is done, our children’s’ future is at stake. Another ethical challenge comes from the fact many people have wrongly misinterpreted the “utilitarian philosophy”, where emphasis is put on the end as a way of judging the rightness or wrongness of human action. For example, many now, so long as the end of an action is good, they totally ignore the means used to arrive at such a precarious end. Yet good moral principles must emphasize that both the end and the means must be good and correct if an action is to be ethically right.
c) The issue of corruption: This also continues to increase in our country. Let us try to fight this habit that is eating our society, our homes, institutions and in government. A lot has already been said on this evil but I think we need to see more some real concrete ways of fighting it.
Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual, are going on which is also a current concern!
The Church’s teaching on marriage and on the complementarity of the sexes reiterates a truth that is evident to right reason and recognized as such by all the major cultures of the world. The Church believes that marriage is not just any relationship between human beings. It was established by God the Creator with its own nature, essential properties and purpose. No ideology can erase from the human spirit the certainty that marriage exists solely between a man and a woman, who by mutual personal gift, proper and exclusive to themselves, tend toward the communion of their persons.
In this way, they mutually perfect each other, in order to cooperate with God in the procreation and upbringing of new human lives.
There are three fundamental elements of the Creator’s plan for marriage, as narrated in the Book of Genesis.
i) In the first place, human beings, in the image of God, were created “male and female” (Gen 1:27). Men and women are equal as persons and complementary as male and female. Sexuality is something that pertains to the physical-biological realm and has also been raised to a new level – the personal level – where nature and spirit are united.
ii) Marriage was and still is instituted by Creator.
Marriage was instituted by God as a form of life in which a communion of persons is realized involving the use of the sexual faculty. “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife and they become one flesh” (Gen 2:24).
iii) The Purpose of Marriages is procreation and not pleasure:
God has willed to give the union of man and woman a special participation in His work of creation. Thus, He blessed man and woman with the words “Be fruitful and multiply” (Gen 1:28).
Therefore, in the Creator’s plan, sexual complementarity and fruitfulness belong to the very nature of marriage. We shall always ask ourselves what are two men going to do in regard to these three elements? Do you see any sensible reason where homosexuality fits in God’s plan of creation? Animals belong to a lower category of God’s creation and yet they don’t practice homosexuality. If so why do human beings created in God’s image lower themselves to such a degradable level.
I call upon parents to take seriously this negative attitude being promoted by some interested groups, be taken seriously and help to protect your children from such mal-practices if we are to build a save society for our country.
Our National Constitution in Article No. 13/ (2a) stipulates that “marriage between persons of the same sex is prohibited!” and in Article 31(3), says that “Marriage shall be entered into with free concent of the Man and Woman intending to marry” Now we are consuming our calories debating on issues that are very clear. In the very National Constitution which our government swore to uphold! Are we not off-side?
All that having been said, there are absolutely no logical and strong grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and the family. Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law. Homosexual acts “close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved”, especially in a country like Uganda whose majority are believers namely the Christians and Muslims.
a) The Holy Scriptures’ Teaching on Homosexuality.
Both the Holy Bible and the Koran Speak against homosexuality as evil. The Koran in the Al-SHU’ARa 7, Al-A-Ref No.81-83 and in AL-SHUA’ARA 26, Ruka 9 No. 166-167, all speak against homosexuality. The Bible speaks of sexuality as related to human Procreation and physical attraction of people of different sexes. The Bible also speaks against several detestable sexual relations.
In the Old Testament, in the Book of Leviticus 18:1-29, Several abominations or wicked actions are listed ( Leviticus 18:6-27). These are:
a) Having homosexual relations; “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman, that is detestable” (Lev. 18:22)
b) Having sexual relations with close relatives
c) Committing adultery
d) Offering children as sacrifices
e) And having sexual relations with animals
The New Testament also condemns homosexual acts “as a serious depravity… (cf. Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10). This judgment of Scripture does not of course permit us to conclude that all those who have from this anomaly are personally responsible for it, but it does attest to the fact that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered”. This same moral judgment is found in many Christian writers of the past centuries.
These practices were common in pagan religions and cultures and God dealt harshly with those who practiced them. Remember what happened to Sodom and Gommorah. Those who would like to see what happened there, please travel to the Middle East and see what took place. Go to the place between Jordan and Iraq, you will see what took place! Total devastation as a result of immoral behavior!
People should be aware that such evil and promiscuous practices lead to disease, moral and psychological deformation and death. They disrupt family life and society and they reveal a low regard for the value of oneself and of others.
Society today takes some of these practices lightly, even trying to make them acceptable! But they are sins in both God’s eyes and also in the eyes of all normal and sane human beings. If you consider them acceptable, surely there is something wrong with you. You are not judging by God’s standards
b) But now, what to do with Homosexuals?
Although Homosexuality is indeed a troubling moral and social phenomenon, homosexual persons, should be helped to overcome this anomaly in their lives, through counseling and Spiritual formation. The Catholic Church teaches that the existence of homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behavior or to legal recognition of homosexual unions! The common good for society requires that laws recognize, and promote marriage as the basis of the family which is the primary unit of society. The word “marriage” is only between a man and a woman! Legal recognition of homosexual unions or even planning for them on the same level as marriage means not only the approval of wrong or deviant behavior but also obscures basic values which belong to the common sane inheritance of the human society. The Church cannot and will not fail to defend these human values for the good of men and women for the good of our society. This message is intended to give proper direction to both Christians and Non-Christian politicians and members of Parliament by indicating the proper approach to the proposed legislation in this area. If homosexuality is allowed to be practiced in our country, this would be inconsistent with both our conscious as believers in God and also with our National Constitution which outlaws it! (Art. 31)
e) Another concern are the laws that need to be made clear by our Parliament: Article 5 and Article 178 of the National Constitution.
i) Article 5 talks about Kampala City Council Authority
Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA): Our minds can hardly forget the unfortunate events that resulted from the power struggles in Kampala, our Capital City.
Again we sympathise with those who have lost their lives and properties in these struggles. However, like I said in one of my earlier statements, the main challenges that really cause these struggles are basically the many power centers that we have in our Capital City, Kampala.
a) We have an elected Mayor who has the mandate of the people.
b) We have an Executive Director who is appointed by the Government
c) We have a Minister for Kampala who is at the same time the Minister of Presidency.
d) We have 5 RDCs all governing and advising the President on Kampala.
When do the 4 power centres of Kampala meet to discuss issues concerning Kampala? When those people go to the President, do they go together as a team or individually? And if individually, why?
Such wide multipurpose power centre has to cause conflicts. Even if the Mayor were elected from the ruling party, still there would be conflicts.
In order to solve the power struggle of the above mentioned officials, Article no. 5 should be amended by Parliament. If Kampala retains its constitutional position as one of the districts in Uganda, the provision of the National Constitution apply as provided by the Constitution on the Districts.
ii) Article 178 on Regional Government
Regional Governments deserve also some reflection and debate. The National Constitution stipulates that the Regional Governments should have been in place by January 2006 and yet we are completing 2013 which means that 7 years have elapsed without parliament fulfilling their obligation.
Some people in Uganda are advocating for a federal system of governance but the Uganda Government is advocating for a regional tier system of Governance. Unfortunately none of the said the positions is to be found anywhere in the current Uganda Constitution!
The Uganda Government is advocating for the East Africa Federation which is described as a good arrangement for our sister countries in the region. However, if such an arrangement is good for the East African Region at the top level then it is also good at the lower level in each country. There is also the misguided concept that “Federal” refers to Kingdoms which is not true! Let us examine countries like Nigeria, USA, Germany, Ethiopia etc, which have a federal system of government but no kingdoms are referred to in the said countries!
Nigeria for example is a Federal Republic with Federal States. Each state is governed like the other federal states with powers from the Federal Republic. Each state is headed by an elected Governor and the Capital City is governed by a state minister whose powers are similar to those of the State Governor. Both the federal states and the capital city have fundamental objectives and direct principles of state policy. For the sake of peace, stability and reconciliation and good governance, let Parliament start debating real issues that will help this country come out of a bottleneck of articles in the constitution which are stipulated but have not been seriously debated and agreed upon. However such a debate requires objectivity, serenity and should not at all be manipulated by anybody. It would also be wise and prudent to involve other stakeholders in such serious affairs of our country namely the Religious Leaders, the Cultural Leaders and Civil Society. With cool heads, National concern, stability and continuity we can reach an equitable solution to our challenge in order to develop our country in the right direction.
f) The National Assembly
The National Assembly with over 300 MPs is too big for a small country like Uganda. The demands of members of Parliament are also escalating surpassing the needs of the other stakeholders in this country. This year, we had a crisis among teachers of our schools who made a strike demanding a just wage. We should all remember that teachers have contributed a lot to both our national development and that that of individual citizens. We are what we are because of the education which our teachers imparted on us. I kindly and humbly request those concerned to solve the teachers’ plight.
Now with the so high demands of the members of our National Assembly who are quite many, shouldn’t we examine deeply the composition and staff of our National Assembly? There are so many Members of Parliament that there is hardly enough time for each one to speak! Consequently, some Members of Parliament can spend a year or so without uttering a word in Parliament and yet they are supposed to air the concerns of their electorate. Now that they are so many, shouldn’t the National Assembly consisting of two Houses: a Senate and a House of Representatives? The Senate should consist of 3 Senators from each Region and one from the Federal Capital of Kampala, if a new legislation is passed to clear the power struggle mess we are experiencing.
The House of Representatives should consist of an agreed number of people from each district. If this is agreed upon and put in place, Uganda’s National Assembly shall assist this country from a number of salient issues of corruption and bad governance.
- 4. Conclusion
Next year, in October 2014, we shall be celebrating 50 years since the canonization of the Uganda Martyrs. The Holy Father, Pope Francis has been invited to come and grace the occasion. Let this Golden Jubilee Year be a moment of renewal, reconciliation, unity, justice and peace as we emulate the good lives of the Uganda Martyrs.
I wish a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to His Excellency the President of the Republic of Uganda Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and his dear family and his cabinet. The Kabaka of Buganda His majesty Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II with the Royal Family and his Government, all our traditional Leaders in Uganda, my fellow Religious leaders and all people of Uganda. God bless you all.
+Cyprian Kizito Lwanga
ARCHBISHOP OF KAMPALA