Why the Martyrs of Uganda were killed

martyrs of UgandaDuring his recently concluded trip to Africa (HERE), for whatever reason, Pope Francis chose not to speak about the reason why many of the martyrs of Uganda were viciously killed: they resisted the homosexual advances of the ruler, a ritual abuser.

However, this is a good opportunity to fill in the blank with this important historical information about these important members of our Catholic family, St. Charles Lwanga and companions.

I have written about them before.  HERE  There are also ecumenical reasons to remind you of this.  The sodomite king also killed Anglicans.

As I wrote before:

St. Charles Lwanga and many other martyrs died between 1885 and 1887 in Uganda. They were beatified in 1920 and canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1964.

In 1879 the White Fathers were working successfully as missionaries in Uganda.  They were, at first well received by King Mutesa.

Then there came a new pharaoh, as it were.

Mutesa died and his son, Mwanga, took over.  He was a ritual pedophile.

Charles Lwanga, a 25 year old man who was a catechist, forcefully protected boys in his charge from the king’s sodomite advances.

The king had murdered an Anglican Bishop and tried to get his page, who was protected by Joseph Mukasa, later beheaded for his trouble.  On the night of the martyrdom of Joseph Mukasa, Lwanga and other pages sought out the White Fathers for baptism. Some 100 catechumens were baptized.

A few months later, King Mwanga ordered all the pages to be questioned to find out if they were being catechized.  15 Christians 13 and 25 identified themselves.  When the King asked them if they were willing to keep their faith, They answered in unison, “Until death!”


Let the Germans, and others, belittle that!  HERE and HERE

I saw some of the coverage of Pope Francis’ visit to Africa.  I am not a fan of the dancing and so forth and some liturgical choices (HERE etc.), but I will say this: African bishops still know the difference between a boy and a girl, they still know what male/female sexual organs are for and what they are not for, they still know that marriage is between one man and one woman, and now the they really know how to scare German bishops.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. tgarcia2 says:

    That’s one thing that I don’t understand, objections to traditional dance. Are they supposed to imitate the classical European mode and stay silent while Motzart plays?

  2. Benedict Joseph says:

    The witness of the Ugandan martyrs has been much on my mind the last couple years, as well as the fortitude of the martyrs of England, Wales and Ireland. That it can be contemplated that their fidelity be debased is unconscionable, even during the age of demythologizing and deconstruction.
    God spare us from cowardly priests, religious, theologians and ecclesiastics with clay feet.

  3. acardnal says:

    This is a photograph taken of St Lwanga and the other martyrs circa 1885. He is identified as number 13 in the photo. HERE Photographs like this of modern day saints help to put a face on reality so to speak.

  4. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    Waltham Mass. has the largest number of Ugandan Catholics in the U.S. Each summer a bishop from Uganda comes to St. Mary Parish to celebrate the feast of the Ugandan Martyrs. The faith of that congregation of immigrants is an inspiration. The Ugandan ministry is one of the things the Boston archdiocese does right.

  5. juergensen says:

    The synod itself was plagued by sodomite wolves, pushing for communion for heterosexual adulterers not because they give a wit about heterosexual adulterers, but because they see communion for heterosexual adulterers as a stepping stone to communion for sodomites, and eventually to sacramental marriage for sodomites.

  6. JARay says:

    Thank you acardnal. It is indeed wonderful to see photos of such heroic martyrs.

  7. Andrew D says:

    Let God’s will be done but I pray that if it is within God’s will, our next pope will be an African. There’s a lot of damage that’s going to have to be un-done.

  8. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    Wait, the pope did NOT mention why they were killed? I have not been following his trip closely, but, really, he left that out?

  9. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    What Andrew D said.

  10. Ed…

    Unless I missed it, Pope John Paul II also left out why they were killed when he visited Uganda—and paid tribute at the same shrine—in 1993.

    His homily:


  11. MAJ Tony says:

    I have Catholic friends in Uganda who were our base security force in Afghanistan in 2010-11. I met them at the base chapel. One of them whose name is a very Catholic “Innocent” reported on Facebook that he and his wife represented his parish in Kabale when the Pope was in Uganda. BTW, if anyone has advice on how to help a church in Uganda (specifically parish pairing) let me know.

  12. Konichiwa says:

    Reverend Mister Kandra, I think context really matters.

  13. robtbrown says:

    It seems that if certain bishops and theologians had been there with Charles Lwanga, they would have said: “So what’s the big deal? You must be open to new and different life styles.”

  14. Kennedy says:


    For once I have to disagree very much with what you have written. The Pope didn’t have to say why the martyrs were killed because all of the congregation knew why. Why belabour the obvious? He was speaking to a Ugandan congregation that knew the story, not to the ignorant masses of the so called developed world. I’m writing to you because I love your work. I’ve been living on these sides for over thirty years due to the mistake/God’s gift of meeting a Kenyan woman at an Ash Wednesday reflection back when I was young. It took me a long time to get used to the dancing and hand waving at Mass, but it is us Father. I was one of those who went to see Pope Francis when he said Mass in town. When we were waving our arms while we were singing “Hosanna juu mbinguni” (Hosanna in the highest), I noticed a couple of the police joining in waving their AK 47s or whatever it is that they carry. On a further point of the dancing, I suspect that you are reacting to the atrocities being committed in some churches in the USA. Have you seen what Cardinal Arinze once said on the subject:


    Father, I’m Irish. Our priest, Fr. Francis, gave us a great sermon on the Uganda martyrs on their feast day this year. I felt so small as the week before the people of the country of my birth had voted to change the constitution to allow “homosexual marriage”. Honestly Father Z. Father Francis didn’t go soft on the reason why the Uganda martyrs died. We all know. Pope Francis didn’t have to go into details.

    Other than that, and many apologies for the rant, thanks for the nice comments on Africans and orthodoxy. Honestly Father, I was on the European continent last year and couldn’t wait to get back home. It is a lot easier to uphold what seem like obvious truths when those around you do so. I admire people like you who try to do it in the face of the relativism that Pope Benedict condemned. My experience was that my old friends, relatives etc. saw me as the reactionary old uncle who’d emerged from the backwoods and would soon go away again.

    Once again Father, apologies for the rant, but my eyes are drawn to the right hand side of the page where it shows “Papal airplane presser. Wherein Fr. Z rants”. What’s good for Fr. Z’s goose is good for Declan Kennedy’s gander.

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