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Catholic Church clarifies on Ugandan priest’s wedding

THE New Vision front page story on the Ugandan priest’s wedding

Archbishop John Baptist Odama has issued a statement explaining the circumstances under which a Ugandan priest was allowed by Pope Francis to get married, and what is expected of him thereafter.

Odama said that while Paul Nyahanga recieved dispensation from the obligations of the clerical state, he is expected  carry on his new life in a penitential spirit and “avoid the kind of publicity that was unfortunately given by New Vision twice in the past week.”

The full statement below

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CLARIFICATION ON THE SUNDAY VISION STORY OF JUNE 11, 2017 ENTITLED: “POPE ALLOWS UGANDAN PRIEST TO GET MARRIED”

We would like to state that Paul Nyahanga, who was a priest of the Comboni Missionaries and wedded Dr. Sylvia Owor in Mbuya Parish on May 29, 2017, officially requested and received a dispensation from the obligations of the clerical state and religious life.

This special permission, popularly called “laicization,” is provided by Canon 290 of the Code of Canon Law. It can be followed by dispensation from the obligation of celibacy, as in this case. Though it can be imposed, laicization may be requested for grave personal reasons, namely that the cleric is no longer able to fulfil the obligations he assumed at ordination.

The Church as a merciful Mother and Teacher is aware that some of her priests may have no other choice but to request dispensation from their obligations. There have been such cases in Uganda. At a worldwide level, thousands of such dispensations have been given since the late 1960’s.

Priests who have benefitted from such an act of mercy may no longer perform any action that is proper to the priesthood, with the exception of sacramental absolution of a person in danger of death. They are expected to carry on their new lives in a penitential spirit and avoid the kind of publicity that was unfortunately given by New Vision twice in the past week.

Wishing you God’s blessings.

On behalf of the Catholic Bishops of Uganda,

John Baptist Odama
Archbishop of Gulu, and
Chairman of Uganda Episcopal Conference
Kampala, June 16, 2017

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