Dear Friends of the Kolbe Center,
Wednesday, June 3rd, was the Feast of the Holy Uganda Martyrs, when millions of pilgrims normally converge on the Martyrs Shrine in Namugongo, in Kampala, Uganda, to honor their sacred memory. The Shrine at Namugongo has become the most frequented Catholic place of pilgrimage in all of Sub-Saharan Africa, drawing pilgrims not only from all parts of Uganda but from many other countries in Africa and throughout the world.
One of the reasons why there is clearly such an anointing upon Uganda through the intercession of the Holy Uganda Martyrs is that the Martyrs received the Faith from the first Catholic missionaries on the foundation of the true Catholic doctrine of creation. Having received the seed of the Faith in all its purity, the Holy Martyrs actually died for the literal historical truth of the sacred history of Genesis, just before modernism began to taint the formation of seminarians and missionaries at the end of the nineteenth century, eroding or destroying the foundations of their apostolic Faith.
One Man for One Woman for Life from the Beginning of Creation
God revealed to Moses that on the sixth day of creation God created one man - Adam - body and soul - for one woman - Eve - whom He created from Adam's side: One man for one woman for life from the beginning of Creation. This is what Fr. Simeon Lourdel and the first missionaries to the "Pearl of Africa" believed and taught St. Charles Lwanga and the Holy Uganda Martyrs. Thus, the Martyrs understood that Marriage can only exist between one man and one woman, that sexual relations can only be sanctified within Holy Marriage, and that once God joins a man and a woman in Holy Matrimony, that bond can never be broken as long as husband and wife remain alive.
When the Holy Uganda Martyrs received this teaching, St. Charles Lwanga and most of the martyrs were serving at the court of the Kabaka, or King, of Buganda, where they were surrounded by false teachings and evil examples in regard to marriage. On the one hand, the people of the kingdom maintained a memory of their ancestors who had worshipped the one true God who created all things. They recalled that their ancestors had practiced monogamy and had followed a strict code of modesty and sexual purity. On the other hand, that ancient code had devolved over the centuries into a debased culture of polygamy and polytheism, including witchcraft and human sacrifice.
More recently, Muslim traders had introduced homosexuality into the court of the Kabaka, who had become addicted to homosexual vice. Anglican missionaries had also just arrived from England where divorce and remarriage were legal and where the Anglican Church had been founded by a king who rejected the constant teaching and discipline of the Church on Holy Marriage to divorce his lawful wife. Finally, almost at the same time as the first Catholic missionaries, German explorers had arrived at the court of the king, convinced that man had evolved from the apes, and that marriage was but a man-made institution, the product of men's efforts to protect their offspring in the "struggle for existence" that had transformed an amoeba into a human body over millions of years of "survival of the fittest."
The Spark that Began the Holocaust
Because the Holy Uganda Martyrs believed that God had created one man for one woman for life from the beginning of Creation - and that any use of the gift of human sexuality outside of Holy Marriage was a grave sin and a sacrilege - by the grace of God they were able to withstand the wiles of many of the Kabaka's numerous wives who tried to lead them into sin as well as the sinful demands of the Kabaka himself who was addicted to homosexual vice.
When did the Kabaka begin the massacre of the martyrs? According to eyewitnesses, King Mwanga returned from a failed hunting expedition to find 16-year-old St. Dennis Ssebuggwawo teaching the Catholic Faith to Mwafu, the son of the king's chancellor Mukasa - Mwafu who was the Kabaka's favorite for homosexual abuse. King Mwanga understood very well that the Catholic Faith did not allow homosexuality or polygamy. Beside himself with fury, King Mwanga shouted at Ssebuggwawo:
"You constantly take [Mwafu] the son of my vassal along to Kisuule's [the priest's] place to instruct him in religion! Haven't you heard me forbid the teaching of religion here?"
"Yes, I have been instructing him in the Christian religion," replied Ssebuggwawo.
The Kabaka responded by ordering all of the Christians in the court to identify themselves before condemning them to death. Thus, it is no exaggeration to say that the Martyrs were tortured to death or burned alive at Namugongo because of their faith in the sacred history of Genesis.
"We Record What Is Known to All and Cannot Be Denied by Anyone"
Pope Leo XIII who reigned as Pope when the Holy Uganda Martyrs died for their faith saw that the enemies of the Church were trying to destroy the foundations of Catholic civilization by introducing legal divorce into Catholic countries where it was prohibited by law. To sound an alarm, Pope Leo wrote an entire encyclical letter on Holy Marriage and told the Bishops of the whole world to defend it on this foundation. He wrote:
The true origin of marriage, venerable brothers, is well known to all . . .We record what is to all known, and cannot be doubted by any, that God, on the sixth day of creation, having made man from the slime of the earth, and having breathed into his face the breath of life, gave him a companion, whom He miraculously took from the side of Adam when he was locked in sleep . . . And this union of man and woman . . . even from the beginning manifested chiefly two most excellent properties . . .namely, unity and perpetuity (emphasis added) (Pope Leo XIII, Arcanum, 5).
That is what the Holy Uganda Martyrs were taught; this is what they believed; and this is what they died for. Moreover, in recent decades, as Catholic leaders throughout the western world have rejected what Pope Leo XIII said was "known to all" and "cannot be doubted by anyone," Almighty God has seen fit to confirm the importance of their witness by making their shrine the most frequented place of pilgrimage in all of Sub-Saharan Africa.
What If the First Missionaries to Uganda Had Proclaimed a "Cosmic Christ"?
It is sobering to realize that most Catholic missionaries today no longer proclaim "Our Lord Jesus Christ who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow." Instead, many proclaim a "cosmic christ," a christ who is evolving. The cosmic christ is not the transcendent "Word of God through Whom all things were made." The cosmic Christ is identified with the cosmos. The cosmic christ is not the Eternal Word who spoke the heavens and the earth the seas and all they contain into existence. He is the christ of evolution, using billions of years of death, destruction, and disease to evolve the various kinds of creatures. The body of the cosmic christ is not the Mystical Body of Christ, comprised of all baptized believers who have become "partakers of the divine nature." The body of the cosmic christ is the cosmos itself and everything that exists can be considered one of its members.
Thus, the missionaries of the cosmic christ would have taught St. Charles Lwanga and the Holy Uganda Martyrs that Genesis is not a "sacred history," but "an exalted myth." They would have told the Martyrs that "science" has given us a "new understanding" of the origins of man and the universe. They would have told the Martyrs to be "respectful" of local customs, including polygamy, witchcraft and, perhaps, even human sacrifice (as some Catholic missionaries in South America have been wont to do). They would have told the Martyrs not to be "judgmental" of the King's disordered inclinations but to sympathize and support his freedom to determine his sexual orientation.
They would have told the Martyrs not to follow the example of Fr. Lourdel who offered to walk through a bonfire with the Holy Gospel while an Imam walked through the same fire with the Koran to allow God to judge between the false revelation and the True. And, assuredly, the missionaries of the cosmic christ would have told the martyrs that there is no necessity to be baptized to become a member of the Mystical Body of Christ, because the body of the cosmic christ embraces all, Christian and pagan, Muslim and atheist. Needless to say, if the missionaries of the cosmic christ had brought the gospel to Uganda, there would have been no martyrs, there would be no shrine, there would be no glorious commemoration of their triumph on earth or in heaven, no millions of pilgrims whose faith is renewed by their example each year.
When we travel in Africa and meet priests or lay people who have heard or read good things about Fr. Teilhard de Chardin and the cosmic christ, we have a very simple way to expose the ugly reality behind the smokescreen of spiritual-sounding Teilhardian verbiage. We merely quote Fr. De Chardin's own account of his life-changing mystical encounter as a young man with "the cosmic christ," which manifested itself to him as "the Thing":
the Thing swooped down. . . Then, suddenly, a breath of scorching air passed his forehead, broke through the barrier of his closed eyelids, and penetrated his soul. The man felt he was ceasing to be merely himself; an irresistible rapture took possession of him as though all the sap of all living things, flowing at one and the same moment into the too narrow confines of his heart, was mightily refashioning the enfeebled fibers of his being . . . And at the same time the anguish of some superhuman peril oppressed him, a confused feeling that the force which had swept down up him was equivocal, turbid, the combined essence of evil and goodness . . .
"You called me here: here I am" [said "the Thing"]. "Grown weary of abstractions, of attenuations, of the wordiness of social life, you wanted to pit yourself against Reality entire and untamed . . . I was waiting for you in order to be made holy. And now I am established on you for life, or for death . . . He who has once seen me can never forget me: he must either damn himself with me or save me with himself."
Through the prayers of the Mother of God, of St. Joseph, and of the Holy Uganda Martyrs, may the Holy Ghost grant us the grace to "discern the spirits whether they be of God" and guide us into all the Truth!
P.S. On our first trip to Uganda several years ago, we were able to rehearse and produce a play on the Holy Ugandan Martyrs a stone's throw from the Martyrs' Shrine in Namugongo. A religion teacher and choir director at a local Catholic high school organized a group of about thirty young people to perform the African parts in the play while Kolbe advisor Eric Bermingham's son Joseph Bermingham, Dr. Thomas Seiler and I played the parts of the Europeans in the play - Bishop Livinac, Fr. Lourdel, the protestant missionary Alexander McKay, and the German evolutionist, Herr Schneider. If you would like to see a video of the play "Pure Offering," which faithfully tells the story of the Holy Uganda Martyrs, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you a private link and a password so that you can watch the video.
P.P.S. Let us not forget that today is a First Saturday. In an apparition of December 10, 1925, in Tuy, Spain, Our Lady told Sister Lucy of Fatima:
I promise to assist at the hour of death, with the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, shall confess, receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary, and keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me.
The purpose of this practice was to establish devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and to make reparation for...
- Attacks upon the reality of Mary's Immaculate Conception
- Attacks against her the reality of Mary's Perpetual Virginity
- Attacks upon Mary's Divine Maternity and the refusal to accept her as the Mother of all mankind
- Those who try to publicly implant in children's hearts indifference, contempt and hatred for Immaculate Mary
- For those who insult Mary directly in her sacred images.
The devotion involves the following practices on five consecutive first Saturdays with the specific intention of making reparation for the offenses (above) against the Blessed Virgin.
- Go to Confession (within 8 days before or after the first Saturday)
- Receive Holy Communion
- Recite five decades of the Rosary