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July 12, 2024
Kampala Daily

Ntinda Parish Priest Apologises After ‘Car’ Driven In Church

Rev. Fr. Edward Muwanga, the parish priest of St. Charles Lwanga Ntinda Catholic Parish, has issued a public apology for an incident in which a young girl drove a toy electric car down the church aisles.

Fr. Muwanga, notes that what happened was uncalled for and not right but it was done by the child’s parents without his or church leaders approval.

“I’m deeply sorry for this strange style of riding into the Church for baptism that happened last Saturday in our Parish Church. It did not happen with my knowledge. I only got to know when the celebrations had ended… In no way could I have accepted this. I apologies to you all,” the priest noted in an apology to the parishioners and general public.

In an interview with URN, Fr. Muwanga emphasized that the “unacceptable” incident was initiated by the parents during a period when the priests were not yet present in the church.

He further stated that they would exercise greater vigilance in the future to prevent a recurrence of such incidents. Various videos circulating on social media depict a baby “operating” a toy electric ride-on car, moving from the church’s main entrance toward the altar. The device appears to be remote-controlled, with a cameraperson capturing the moment, presumably for posterity.

Onlookers who had taken their seats in the church were left astonished as the toy car navigated down the aisles. Meanwhile, others, likely the parents or relatives, seemed to be happy with the action.

The incident has sparked widespread condemnation from Catholics across the country, with many criticizing the parents for “defiling the sanctity of the church” and others blaming the church management for not providing proper guidance.

The Kampala Archdiocese has yet to release a statement regarding the incident. Attempts were made to contact the Director of Communication in the Archdiocese, but he could not be reached. Later, it was discovered that he is currently attending a retreat in Arua.

However, one individual priest contacted by our reporter condemned the incident, describing it as “madness.” He expressed concern about the growing secularism and populism infiltrating church affairs for personal satisfaction.

The priest, who preferred to remain anonymous as he is not the official spokesperson of the archdiocese, emphasized the importance of respecting the sanctity of the church, stating, “The house of the Lord should be respected.”

Crispus Musoke, a lay faithful in Kampala, partially attributed the incident to the church ushers, whom he believes should have prevented it from occurring.

“We might not blame the priests at the parish as they might not have been physically present at the time. There is usually only one priest at a time in the church, and I am told he was in the vestry. As for the parents, who seem to be behind the idea, I don’t even have enough words for them, but they need a full session on the sanctity of the church. However, where were the ushers? To my understanding, every church has such people whose role is to guide the faithful on how and when to enter the church. They slept on the job,” he said.

Similar incidents have been recorded in different parts of the world, involving both lay faith and clergy who did actions which are seen unacceptable in the church. For instance, in 2015, a Catholic diocese in the Philippines suspended a priest for welcoming parishioners to a Christmas Eve mass on a hoverboard.

Catholic practices, teachings, and regulations hold paramount importance regarding sacred places and times. Canon 1210 of the Catholic Church emphasizes that only items and activities conducive to the practice or enhancement of worship, piety, or religious devotion are permissible within a sacred space. Anything contrary to the sanctity of the location is prohibited.

Actually, in extreme cases where sacred places are violated by severely injurious actions, causing scandal to the faithful, and deemed by the local bishop to be gravely contrary to the holiness of the location, worship is suspended until the damage is rectified through a penitential rite according to the liturgical norms.

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