Saturday, June 13, 2009

The African Schism: 2. Zambia

Vatican excommunicates former Catholic priest from Zambia
By Mwansa Pintu
Catholic News Service
June 13, 2009

LUSAKA, Zambia – A former Catholic priest from Zambia who is an advocate of optional celibacy for clergy and the ordination of women has been excommunicated from the Catholic Church.

Bishop George Lungu of Chipata, president of the Zambia Episcopal Conference, announced the excommunication of Father Luciano Anzanga Mbewe June 9.

The bishop said in a statement that the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith took the action because Father Mbewe entered into schism for establishing the Catholic Apostolic National Church of Zambia.

“This decision to excommunicate Rev. Luciano Anzanga Mbewe is motivated by two main facts, the foundation of a schismatic church, Catholic Apostolic National Church of Zambia, and his declaration to have received a so-called Episcopal ordination by clergy linked to the old Catholic Church of Europe,” Bishop Lungu said.

The bishop said Father Mbewe is no longer a member of the Catholic Church and any religious ceremonies he leads are being done outside of the church.

“Even if signs and symbols as well as attire being used during the services resemble those of the Catholic Church, the services conducted are not part of the Catholic Church,” the bishop said.

Bishop Lungu urged Catholics to continue praying for Father Mbewe even though he is separated from the church.

Father Mbewe, 54, formerly of the Ndola Diocese in Zambia, was forced to resign from the priesthood in 2001 by Bishop Dennis DeJong, now deceased. At the time, Bishop DeJong said Father Mbewe was “having difficulties in being faithful to mandatory celibacy” after the former was discovered to have fathered two children while serving as a priest.

However, Father Mbewe still continued to perform pastoral duties and advocated for what he termed “the restoration of a married priesthood in the church” as well as the ordination of women to the priesthood.

In 2006, Father Mbewe was ordained bishop by excommunicated Zambian Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo. Together they founded a splinter church, known as the Catholic Apostolic National Church of Zambia, which they launched in December 2007 with a call for more Catholic priests to join them.


Photo: Bishop Luciano Mbewe with his wife


Anonymous said...

Accurate facts please!

1) +Luciano Mbewe was NOT consecrated a Bishop by ++Emmanuel Milingo
2) +Luciano does NOT support the ordination of women
3) +Luciano did NOT found the Catholic Apostolic National Church of Zambia with ++Emmanuel Milingo
4) ++Emmanuel Milingo has NO connection to the CANC Zambia whatsoever

5) +Luciano Mbewe was consecrated a Bishop by +Andre Queen, Vicar General of the Catholic Apostolic National Church of the USA and +Dennis Beevers OSJV, Metropolitan Bishop of the Old Catholic Church in Europe; the Holy See was notified of the consecration by communication directly from the principal consecrator, +Andre Queen
6) +Luciano founded the CANC Zambia with support from the CANC USA and the Igreja Católica Apostólica Brasileira

Rebel Girl said...

Oh, dear. You are undermining my faith in Catholic News Service as a reliable source...;-) But your correction is much appreciated!

Anonymous said...

Do you have any right to reproduce the photograph? I know who took the photograph and he did not give you permission to use it.