Clad in a striped shirt, grey trousers and sandals, I asked Fr Anthony Musaala why he was not wearing a cassock or white collar. He answered, “Even if I was an active priest, I’m not compelled to wear it all the time.” Speaking in an American accent, if looks were anything to go by, the 58-year-old could be mistaken for someone in his mid-30s. His sitting room has a shelf full of books and wall hangings of Mary and Jesus.
Explaining his post
Two years after his indefinite suspension from Catholic priesthood Fr Musaala says he feels it is time to move in a different direction. “I will move on, I want my energies to be spent productively. Not in a bad way because I will continue being a minister for Christ,” he says.
But he is quick to say that he is not resigning because according to Psalms 10:4, once one is ordained a priest, nobody can take away that priesthood from them.
“The priestly character and identity will always be mine but the priestly ministry and office is decided upon by the Archbishop who is the chief priest,” he says.
Defending the new ministries he will be doing, the vibrant pastor said he does not have to be a priest to continue offering spiritual guidance. “With or without the priesthood I have to carry on. They have had enough time to think and may be my services are no longer needed,” he says.
Right now, he can continue to follow his passion for music but as a priest, he is relegated to non-sacramental roles. In other words, he cannot perform baptism rites, give Holy Communion or conduct Holy matrimony.
“I’m going to continue ministering as I was doing before like preaching, healing and deliverance, dancing and singing and acts of charity to the poor,” he said.
He quotes 1Peter 2:9 which ordains everyone as a priest to justify the direction taking. “I am going to use my priestly right as a baptised person to do ministry.”
But on probing him further on whether he won’t clash with the authorities, he looks pensive. The two years on suspension seem to have had a great impact on the man of God. Unlike the previous times when he would freely express himself, this time he is more reserved about his response especially if it is about the authorities. At one time says, “I have to be careful here, a good person thinks about what he says first.”
What his case was
Fr Musaala was suspended on March 19, 2013 for advocating for marriage among Catholic priests. “I expressed a view that was scandalous and contrary to the teaching of the church regarding celibacy of priests,” he says.
Speaking about the incident seems to revamp the pain “I never knew that it was going to have that impact. I was devastated and regretted that it leaked through email and became a matter of public discussion,” he lowers his voice as if whispering to himself. One can’t help noticing that the priest wishes he had thought twice before acting.
Though he admits to writing the dossier, he says he sent it to the respective authorities. His disappointment was that he is not the one who put it on the Internet but was accused of the act.
Until now, he maintains that he feels he was illegally suspended because, according to the current law, the church needed to warn him thrice before suspending him. The other is that he was suspended through the media because he learnt of his suspension in the media before he got the letter.
What he has been up to
Asked about what he has been doing, “During the two years away from office, I have been reading, reflecting on the word of God, writing and composing songs. Somehow, I’m grateful for this time because I have had time to think about life and I can no longer stay quiet.”
On whether he wants to get married, he is cagey, but says as long as he is still legally a priest, the matter is closed. He quickly emphasises that he has not formally resigned or been officially dismissed from priesthood.
Who is Fr musaala?
Born in Ireland but came to Uganda at nine years. He attended Savio Junior School for primary and completed O’level at St Charles Lwanga, Koboko after an expulsion from St Mary’s College; Kisubi.
At 30, he got ordained at Allen Hall Seminary School, London in 1994. He became popular for performing gospel music. He plays the keyboard and guitar.