From the persecution of local priests to an assassination order against Pope John Paul II, signed by former Society Union president Mikhail Gorbachev himself, lifetime journalist and advisor to President Reagan, John Koehler wrote a startling history of the Soviet Union’s espionage and violence against the Catholic Church in his book, The Spies in Vatican.
With never before seen documents and transcripts, including the order against the Pope allegedly signed by Gorbachev and nine other Politbureau members, Koehler shows how large a threat the Soviets perceived the Catholic Church to be to stability in Eastern Europe. Even today, some leaders have similar fears against the Catholic Church.
This book came to my mind when the (The late) Archbishop of Kampala, Cyprian Kizito Lwanga revealed how the regime had employed Spies including Priests to spy on him and relate him to treason. The man of God in his homily on Easter Sunday in 2018 told the congregation on how security people went to a convent at the death of one Priest to claim the gun and espionage gardets which were indeed found in the late’s room!
In 2017, I was one of the 12 MPs honoured by Vatican to sit in the International Catholic Parliamentarians Assembly and also meet the Pope on a one to one. Indeed this is a very rare occasion. Uganda had spent eight years without being allowed to send delegates in this great Assembly. The Assembly took place in August 2018 but the Government took us as enemies instead of looking at us as its ambassadors.
Ever since we returned our leader Hon Lucy AKELLO and us were blacklisted by the regime and we had reports of a meeting that sat in Gulu barracks chaired by the Commander in-chief to assess the problem we pose to Uganda after getting access to Vatican without going through Government.
In what would be laughable, it’s said that Vatican sends money here through us to destabilise government. Imagine some of the 12 MPs are Nrm but they can’t be trusted by their regime either. By the way how would the whole of Vatican be interested in Museveni’s downfall?!
Now that the regime had spies around the Archbishop and knows all about him, let me confirm it that he is my Son, him having been born by my Aunt who now went to be with her Lord. In the Buganda culture I am his mother and I know of many others related to him, who used to access him as a matter of kinship. Some of his relatives are in the Opposition like me while others are in Nrm.
The Archbishop also administers to all without first vetting their political affiliation. So when spies used to see faces like mine near him they captured them to confirm their Lugambo that he hobnobbed with the opposition.
The Church also has responsibility to talk for the vulurnable and the oppressed, if you happen to be the oppressor you will definately look at it as an enemy. Milton Obote hated the Church. He castigated Cardinal Emmanuel Nsubuga because the Church sided with Rebel Yoweri Museveni.
To put security people in the Church as spies is to attack its very foundation because, it survives on trust between the Priests and the lay Catholics. The Sacramento of penitence for example entails telling secrets to Priests to seek God’s forgiveness, now Catholics are not sure which Priest is for Jesus and which is for Museveni.
I know that given the sophiscation of the Catholic Church and restraint always exercised by Priests before making public statements the Archbishop must have been through alot of soul searching and meetings must have taken place involving the top most organs of the Church before he came out to make this statement.
Everybody must know that what the Archbishop revealed was not an attack on his person but an attack on my faith, OUR CATHOLIC CHURCH and we are supposed to defend our faith.
The author is the Mukono Municipality Member of Parliament
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