Museveni’s real age gets exposed by Church of Uganda
Before the 70’s most children born out of wed-lock COULD not get baptised until they were 8 years old and beyond.
INFANT BAPTISM AND THE CHURCH OF UGANDA
It was certainly in the mid-1970s that the House of Bishops of the Church of Uganda changed the old policy of denying baptism to infants born out of wedlock.
Such children must grow up and “read for themselves” – that is, learn the Catechism before being baptised.
Thus, most children did not get baptised until they were 8 years old and beyond.
Preparation for baptism included learning to answer questions found in the Catechism, learning by heart the Lord’s Prayer and the Apostles’ Creed.
It was not easy to learn these at the age of 6. The candidates also learned about the Bible – like the stories in the book of Genesis, some of Jesus’ parables, and knowing the names of the four Gospels, among other things.
The parents of children born out of wedlock or cohabiting parents were regarded as “living in sin”. And that applied to monogamous couples who had not been married in Church or at least at the District Administrator’s office (the DC’s marriage).
My parents got married in Church long after I was born, so I went through the experience of most children at the time, learning the Catechism and all the necessary things.
There are at least three reasons why the House of Bishops changed the practice of the Church regarding infant baptism.
The first reason was that in the mid-1970s the Church of Uganda had many bishops who had undertaken some significant theology study and had a questioning attitude. They wondered whether by refusing to baptise an infant born out of wedlock, the Church was stigmatizing the infant in question and whether baptism had to be administered not as an act of grace, but as something merited.
The second reason, actually related to the first, was that when he was Bunyoro-Kitara and before he became Bishop of North Kigezi, Bishop Eustace Ruhindi, started a movement that he called GARUKA (Runyakitara for “return”).
The GARUKA mission initiative targeted those – some of them Balokole (saved)- who had fallen away (Luganda: okugwa) or become lukewarm (Luganda: okunyogoga).
It was also bold and invited Christians who had been baptised and confirmed but could not receive Holy Communion on account of their not being “right” (Luganda: abatuufu) for not having married in church to receive Communion.
The third reason, which was not made explicit, was concern over the rising number of Anglican Christians who were converting to Islam. There was a surge in high public visibility of Islam during the Amin regime, and there was a feeling that Islam was a more accepting religion than Christianity. After all, it was generous to polygamous marriages and in that regard was close to African traditional culture and religion. So, the decision to scrap the old Christian practice was to open up some moral space in the Church.
The decision to allow the baptism of infants born out of wedlock provoked controversy among some sections of the Church of Uganda, especially the Mothers’ Union and the radical section of the Balokole Movement called “Abazuukufu” (English: the Awakened; Runyankore-Rukiga: Abasisimukyi).
Some Bazuukufu clergy decided to resign from the priesthood rather than disobey their conscience. Before candidates training for ordination at Mukono were ordained, the Bishop asked them to sign a document consenting to baptise children born out of wedlock. Some Bazuukufu relented.
But I remember one who refused to sign the consent form. Asanasio Lubwama had studied for the 4 year University of Makerere Diploma in Theology & Religious Studies, which was very prestigious then.
He was an extremely polite and humble man – in fact the most humble student I met at Mukono. He told the Bishop of Namirembe humbly but firmly that he would not in good conscience baptise children born out of wedlock because he felt it was theologically wrong and because of the authoritarian way the House of Bishop had chosen to impose it on the clergy.
Lubwama would go and work for the Uganda Bookshop in Kampala. In later years, he was to be found at the new Mulago Hospital selling Christian literature.
THE SPEAR NEWS
By rev Kasibante Before the 70’s most children born out of wed-lock COULD not get baptised until they were 8 years old and beyond. INFANT BAPTISM AND THE CHURCH OF UGANDA clerg It was certainly in the mid-1970s that the House of Bishops of the Church of Uganda changed the old policy of denying baptism …