The Ugandan martyrs

The Ugandan martyrs

Today is the feast of St Charles Lwanga and companions.

Between 1885 and 1887, King Mwanga of Buganda (in modern-day Uganda) executed several dozen royal pages for who refused to renounce their Christian faith.

The king nursed many grievances against Christianity, but one of them stands out. Mwanga was a pedophile and ephebophile who resented the sexual mores of the new Christian religion. The Christians among his court — which was basically intended to be a harem — consistently refused his sexual advances. In the months leading up to the ‘Namugongo holocaust,’ Charles Lwanga is reputed to have protected several boys from the predatory king.

On the morning of Thursday 3 June 1887 — the Feast of the Ascension — Charles was cruelly burnt to death. Several dozen young men and boys joined him in death, though the means of execution varied: some were burned alive, some speared, and others hacked to death.

A photo of many of the martyrs

A photo of many of the martyrs

In light of today’s feast, I offered all my prayers and sacrifices for the survivors of clergy abuse.

When I sat in the gallery of the Parliamentary Inquiry a few months ago, one of the most heart-rending testimonies I heard came from a man who grieved his loss of faith. He cited two reasons for this loss:

1. The Catholic religion had become repugnant to him, because it was so closely related to the abuse he suffered from ‘men of God.’

2. Even more tragically, in his darkest hours, he is still susceptible to the lie that the abuse he suffered is his sin. The rapes he endured are his crimes, which causes God to turn away from him in disgust.

Would that he and others survivors had a Charles Lwanga who could have shielded them. But I am sure St Charles’ prayers, and the prayers of Charles’ companions, intercede for him and other survivors.

Bad Catholic; good sport

Bad Catholic; good sport

I’m not one to rant and rave myself. I mean, I am moved to rant and rave occasionally, but I wait on it and pray on it first, and the desire passes.

That doesn’t mean, though, that I don’t think ranting and raving isn’t good sport. When it’s done well, it’s also intelligent and informative. But the real thrill is something similar to bloodlust. Call it a guilty pleasure. There ain’t nowhere like the Internet to indulge in a good rant.

Marc Barnes, also known as “Bad Catholic,” has recently obliged with a real doozy. It all started with an article in The Guardian by Jill Filipovic. The author proposes Benedict ditch his iPad and reach out to the mordern set by updating (as in, changing) Catholic dogma. (You can read it if you like, but it’s not really necessary to enjoy Marc’s rant: The disgrace of papal blessing for Ugandan homophobia.)

Here’s how Marc starts:

Jill Filipovic has put out her neck for the chopping. She is willing to speak the unspeakable, to forsake the usual orgy of intellectual self-pleasure, cast aside the shallow paradigm of unexamined vitriol, and say something the Internet has not the wherewithal to whisper: The Pope should — wait for it — modernize Catholic dogma.

Oh, how she will be opposed! She’ll have to wade through thousands upon thousands of thought-out responses articulating the reality of the Church’s teachings on homosexuality and the political role of the Roman Pontiff to find the one, lonely piece of agreement claiming that “Pope is pedophile catholic church most oppressive institution ON THE PLANET. Can’t believe people still believe dogmas #fightthepower”

If you, too, indulge in a good rant, follow the link and read the rest.

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