Rev. Fr. Charles Onen the former director of Radio Maria was on the 23rd -September-2020 suspended from exercising sacramental ministry by His Grace John Baptist Odama the Archbishop of Gulu Archdiocese following his pronouncement to run for the Gulu East Parliamentary seat.
In a letter to all diocesan priests dated 5th-October-2020, the Archbishop explains how he had painfully duty to communicate the suspension “a divinis” of Rev. Fr. Charles Onen and making it clearly that he is forbidden from exercising all acts of the power of order, all the cats of the governance and any right or function attached to any diocesan office (c. 1333 §1)
“For the last three months, I have had several meetings with Rev. Fr. Charles Onen who has been requesting for a release by the Archbishop of Gulu from active priestly ministry to be involved in active politics. In all these instances, I tried very much to dissuade him from taking such a step and I told him that the Law of the Church does not permit a priest to be involved in active politics and that a priest who does so would be suspended.” The letter reads.
However he turned this down and went on making choices contrary to the nature and requirements of his priestly status and law of the church. Eventually because of public scandal caused by this serious offense, a formal canonical process of warnings was started. He added.
The Archbishop went further to explain how he wrote two formal Canonical warning letters to the defiant priest on the 7th-August and 7th-September-2020 requiring him to desist from his active involvement in politics without the permission of the Local Ordinary as stated in (c. 287 §2) and asking him to reform his life according to his priestly vocation.
Since time prescribed by Canon Law to answer warnings and to have recourse against the decree of suspension had abundantly expired and no written answer or reaction from Rev. Fr. Charles Onen had reached the Archbishop, He had no alternative left but to obey the Law of the Church which asks pastors to try disciplinary measures like suspension from exercising sacramental ministry as a last resort and attempt to correct those who go astray in order to make them reflect, repent and reform their life.
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In conclusion, the Archbishop asked all the faithful of all parishes to duly inform with discretion and prudence to pray for Rev. Fr. Charles Onen so that the Lord may help him to reflect on his situation, repent ad reform his life according to the gifts and demands of thecommon priestly vocation.
Rev. Fr. Charles Onen (independent) will be battling it with four other contenders who include Mr. Emmanuel Mwaka Lutukumoi the former RDC of Lira running on a DP ticket, NRM’s Nancy Atimango, FDC’s Andrew Ogwetta and Francis Uhuru JB (independent) and he will be joining other defiant priests including Rev. Fr. Simon Rukodo the Ethics and integrity Minister.