(Anglican)Archbishop of Uganda urges women to use contraception during lockdown

Family planning group hails Stephen Kazimba Mugalu’s break with Anglican tradition, but Catholic officials brand advice immoral

The new archbishop of Uganda has become the first primate of the country’s Anglican church to embrace the use of modern contraceptives after urging women to be “very careful” to avoid getting pregnant during the Covid-19 lockdown.

The ninth archbishop of the church of Uganda, Stephen Kazimba Mugalu, said in a televised Sunday sermon he is “really concerned” that many women will get pregnant during the nationwide shutdown. On Tuesday, President Yoweri Museveni extended the initial 14-day lockdown for a further three weeks.

“I am really concerned [that] after [this] coronavirus situation we will have many, many women who will be pregnant. Actually we need to be careful. I want to call upon you women don’t forget to use your contraceptives because we don’t want [you] to have unwanted pregnancies,” said Kazimba, who was enthroned as archbishop on 1 March.

“These guys are there; they are eating and doing things [having sex]. Be careful because these men they don’t care. You women [must] be careful.”

Women in Uganda have an average of five children, but just 30% of women use a modern form of contraception.

Simon Richard Mugenyi, advocacy and communications manager at Reproductive Health Uganda, welcomed the archbishop’s comments.

“We are happy with the church of Uganda stand on certain areas of reproductive health, including the use of contraceptives. For a long time, the church of Uganda has been progressive on these matters.

“On his installation service, the archbishop spoke in support of sexuality education – one area that has received mixed reactions. And when he comes up and speaks about the reality – encouraging women who are sexually active not to forget their contraceptives – it show that the church is not living in denial,” he said.

“We applaud the archbishop for speaking out on an issue that is being left out in the Covid-19 messaging, yet is so crucial.”

Alain Sibenaler, the country representative for the UN population fund (UNFPA) in Uganda, said: “The call is a reflection of the daily realities and the ‘new normal’ [of] life in Uganda and elsewhere. Couples, women and men still have sex during outbreaks and crises, but forgetting that can be deadly.”

Sibenaler added that the UNFPA had worked with the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda to tailor messages about sexual and reproductive health to suit respect different religious teachings.

However, Asia Russell, executive director of the Health Global Access Project, said: “Archbishop Kazimba attacked abortion and LGBT Ugandans during his first chance to address the country as archbishop – fuelling hate and stigmatising women for seeking essential health services such as abortion, [which] is extremely troubling. His latest comment doesn’t change that.”

Kazimba’s comments have not been universally accepted by other members of the Christian community.

“That is his [Kazimba’s] view. It’s immoral to do that. The stand of the Catholic church is clear. No artificial use of contraception,” said John Baptist Odama, archbishop of the Gulu archdiocese.

“We don’t support any form of modern family planning methods. They are not right. It’s unacceptable. Let them [women] learn to follow their cycles. Let them use natural family planning and spacing of children, which will not interfere with their [birth] systems and will not cause harm.”

Russell added that before the outbreak, Ugandan women were facing “tremendous barriers” to access safe, quality, comprehensive sexual and reproductive healthcare services.

“The government’s Covid-19 lockdown policies are twisting the knife in, leading to new crises. There has been a massive and egregious failure by the government to protect pregnant women who need health care services,” said Russell.

Civil society is calling on the government to declare a blanket exemption on the travel ban for pregnant women, so they can seek proper obstetric care and prevent avoidable maternal deaths.

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Pope to celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday in Rome church

Originally Published by:

Vatican news

This year, the feast of Divine Mercy, which is celebrated on the Sunday after Easter, turns 20. Pope Francis will mark it on Sunday with a Holy Mass at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Sassia, the centre of the devotion to Divine Mercy in Rome.

By Robin Gomes

Some 200 meters from St. Peter’s Square is the Church of the Holy Spirit, the sanctuary and centre of the devotion to Divine Mercy in Rome, where Pope Francis will mark Divine Mercy Sunday, April 19. The Mass that will be streamed and televised live, will have only a handful of faithful because of the coronavirus lockdown in Italy and the Vatican.

Saints Faustina and John Paul II

The devotion to Divine Mercy was popularized by the 20th-century Polish nun, Saint Faustina Kowalska, as requested to her by Jesus in visions and conversations..

Saint Pope John Paul II instituted Divine Mercy Sunday on the occasion of the canonization of St. Faustina, April 30, 2000, the Second Sunday after Easter, thus opening the devotion and the feast of Divine Mercy to the Universal Church.

From his early years, Pope John Paul II had an ardent devotion to Divine Mercy, as promoted by Sister Faustina, who died in 1938 at the age of 33 in Krakow, where Karol Wojtyla was to become archbishop, cardinal and was later elected Pope in 1978.

Pope John Paul II who beatified Sister Faustina on April 18, 1993, Sunday after Easter, died on April 2, 2005, the eve of the Sunday after Easter.

John Paul II himself was beatified on May 1, 2011, Divine Mercy Sunday, and declared a saint on April 27, 2014, also Divine Mercy Sunday.

In an Apostolic Letter issued on the occasion of Divine Mercy Sunday, April 7, 2002, Pope John Paul II granted indulgences to Catholics who go to confession, receive Communion and recite specific prayers on that day. Subsequently, this was formally decreed by the Apostolic Penitentiary.

Popes John Paul II and Francis

During his general audience live-streamed on Wednesday, Pope Francis told Polish pilgrims that on Sunday, April 19, he will celebrate the feast of Divine Mercy, established by St. John Paul II, in response to the “the request of the Lord Jesus to St. Faustina”. “Jesus said: ‘I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls.’ Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to My Mercy.”

The Holy Father urged that prayers be said with “confidence to Merciful Jesus for the Church and for all humanity, especially for those who suffer in this very difficult time”.

Divine Mercy is certainly a strong, common bond between the Popes John Paul II and Francis. “Dives in Misericordia” (Rich in Mercy), the 1980 encyclical of the Polish Pope is often cited by Pope Francis, the hallmark of whose pontificate has been mercy.

In this regard, we particularly recall the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy that Pope Francis called from December 8, 2015, to November 20, 2016.

Both the pontiffs are known for their sensitivity to human dignity, poverty, disease and suffering, and the need to show mercy.

Pope Francis envisages the Church as a “field hospital” that particularly reaches out to the least, the lost and the last. On the eve of his election, he said that “the Church is called to come out of herself and to go to the peripheries, not only geographically, but also the existential peripheries: the mystery of sin, of pain, of injustice, of ignorance and indifference to religion, of intellectual currents, and of all forms of misery.”

Today, the devotion to Divine Mercy is widespread across the world. Churches and shrines dedicated to Divine Mercy have sprung up across the world, most importantly the Divine Mercy Shrine in Krakow, which houses the remains of Saint Faustina. Built between 1999–2002, the sanctuary has been visited by 3 popes. Millions of pilgrims from around the world visit it every year.


Waking up on such a bright morning, I can hear the birds singing for me, and the sun rising to display my majesty. Today feels like the most blessed day I’ll ever experience, for is one of the most important holidays of the year. I am ready to share it with the close people in my life because they have played such a big role in helping me get here. Thank you all. As the new year starts for me, I am thankful for the past experiences and the hope for a better tomorrow. All I wish is to spend the rest of my life with the closest people next to me. For this birthday, I want to celebrate on a grand scale. Brace yourselves for an endless party full of dancing, eating and drinking, because a star was born. Peace, bliss, and smiles are all I wish for myself this year. As I let all the bad energy and bad vibes slide away, may I overcome the challenges lying ahead and finish the race diligently. Happy birthday, dear self.

A Catholic leader, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano is calling for a mass exorcism amid the coronavirus pandemic, as Christians around the world celebrate Holy Week in isolation.

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano of Rome called on his fellow clergy to perform a mass exorcism on Holy Saturday, the day between Good Friday, Jesus’ crucifixion, and Easter Sunday, celebrating his resurrection.

“In these modern times of terrible tribulation, when the pandemic has deprived Catholics of Holy Mass and the Sacraments, the Evil One has gone into a frenzy and multiplied his attacks to tempt souls into sin,” Viganò wrote in a letter shared by LifeSiteNews. “These blessed days of Holy Week, which used to be the ideal time to go to Confession to prepare ourselves for our Easter Communion, now see us locked inside our houses, but they cannot stop us praying to Our Lord.

The archbishop called on fellow bishops and priests to join him, noting there is strength in numbers, and recommending they wear a “stole, the sign of your priestly power,” along with having holy water accessible.

“I should like to ask you all to pray together, using the form given by Leo XIII, the Exorcism against Satan and the apostate angels…on Saturday, April 11, 2020, so we can fight together the common enemy of the whole human race,” Viganò said.

He concluded: “The great Mother of God, Mary Most Holy, terrible as an army set in array, and Saint Michael the Archangel, Patron of the Holy Church and Prince of the Heavenly Host, will help all of us.”

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Pope Francis establishes new commission to study women deacons


The Vatican announced Wednesday that Pope Francis has created a new commission to study the question of a female diaconate in the Catholic Church, after some members of the 2019 Amazon synod requested the pope re-establish a 2016 commission on the subject.

Among the 10 theologians making up the new study commission are two permanent deacons, three priests, and five lay women. They hail from Europe and the United States.

Pope Francis first created a 12-member commission in 2016 to examine the historic question of the role of deaconesses in the early Church.

In May last year, he said that the commission had not reached any consensus which would soon lead to a plan of action, but would continue its study.

Speaking aboard the papal plane returning from North Macedonia and Bulgaria, the pope said “for the female diaconate, there is a way to imagine it with a different view from the male diaconate,” but added that “fundamentally, there is no certainty that it was an ordination with the same form, in the same purpose as male ordination.”

Some say there is doubt, let’s go ahead and study,” he said in May 2019.

The institution of the new commission also follows the discussion of the female diaconate during the 2019 Amazon synod.

At the end of the Oct. 6-27 meeting, synod members recommended to Pope Francis that women be considered for certain ministries in the Church, including the permanent diaconate, which is an order within the sacrament of Holy Orders.

Pope Francis said in his closing remarks for the Amazon synod Oct. 26 that he would re-open the 2016 commission, possibly adding new members, based on the synod’s request.

But in his apostolic exhortation on the Amazon, published Feb. 12, Pope Francis called for women in the South American region to be included in new forms of service in the Church, but not within the ordained ministries of the permanent diaconate or priesthood.

Francis wrote in Querida Amazonia that when considering the role of women in the Church, “we do not limit ourselves to a functional approach.”

The subject of women deacons has previously been studied by the Church, including in a 2002 document from the International Theological Commission (ITC), an advisory body to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).

In the document, the ITC concluded that female deacons in the early Church had not been equivalent to male deacons, and had neither a “liturgical function,” nor a sacramental one. It also maintained that even in the 4th century “the way of life of deaconesses was very similar to that of nuns.”

According to the April 8 Vatican announcement, Cardinal Giuseppe Petrocchi, the archbishop of L’Aquila, Italy, has been named president of the study commission. Fr. Denis Dupont-Fauville, a CDF official, was named secretary.

One of the two US-based members is James Keating, a permanent deacon and the director of theological formation at the Institute for Priestly Formation (IPF) based at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.

A theologian, he leads the IPF’s retreats for seminary faculty and seminary formators. Keating is also the author of several books and articles on holy orders and the diaconate.

The second American member of the commission is Dominic Cerrato, a permanent deacon and director of diaconal formation in the Diocese of Joliet, Illinois.

In the past Cerrato has taught theology at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, where he established the Distance Learning Masters in Theology program. In 2014, he published a book on the theology of the diaconate based on the personalist thought of Pope St. John Paul II.

Other members of the commission include Fr. Santiago del Cura Elena from Spain and Fr. Angelo Lameri from Italy.

Barbara Hallensleben is a professor of dogmatic theology at the University of Freiburg in Switzerland and a former member of the International Theological Commission. She is also a member of the Pontifical Ecumenical Council.

Fr. Manfred Hauke is a German priest teaching theology in Lugano, Switzerland. He has published articles on the possibility of female ordination and feminist theology, among other subjects.

Catherine Brown Tkacz is a professor at the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv. Her research includes women in the Bible and Christian tradition.

Caroline Farey is a diocesan mission catechist for the Diocese of Shrewsbury in the United Kingdom. In the past she has taught at St. Mary’s College, Oscott. She was also one of three lay women to take part in the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization as an expert in 2012. Farey has also worked in the past in the Pontifical Academy for the New Evangelization and Catechesis.

Anne-Marie Pelletier is a French biblical scholar, who was chosen by Pope Francis to write the meditations for the Stations of the Cross at the Colosseum on Good Friday 2017. Pelletier was also a 2014 recipient of the Ratzinger Prize.

Rosalba Manes is also a bible scholar, teaching in Viterbo, Italy.

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