Succession: Catholics at war

SHARE   |   Monday, 15 January 2018   |   By Staff Writer
Succession: Catholics at war

The adage that ‘still water runs deep’ could best describe the political and religious situation within the bishop less Diocese of Gaborone after the resignation of Bishop Valentine Seane who is currently in Rome. Highly placed sources within the Gaborone–Roman Catholic Church have revealed the fight for the control of one of the richest dioceses in Africa has intensified. The fight has pitted the local priests commonly known as Diocesan priests with some Sisters of Calvary (local nuns) against Stigmatine priests, Apostolic Administrator Bishop Franck Nabuasah and Vicar General Father Andrew Makgetla. At the centre of the fight is the control of the parishes (churches) within Gaborone which local priests allegedly want to administer, especially the Christ the King Cathedral and St Bernadette which are currently under the Stigmatines. The business community within the church are also allegedly interested in the control of the land that is currently owned by the Stimatines in Notwane. Stigmatines are a congregation of priests that some have accused Bishop Seane of favouring against the local clergy who had felt side-lined. Things took a nasty turn in November last year when one of the Stigmatine priests fell into an alleged honey trap in which one lady accused him of attempted rape. “She called the priest on Friday evening and asked to see him regarding her intention to become a nun and they sat in the living room at the church house and later he dropped her at home only for him to be arrested on Saturday after church service but was later released,” said the source within the echelons of power in the Catholic church.

The case, which was reported at Gaborone West Police Station on the 4th of November 2017, was later dismissed after it was discovered that there has never been an attempted rape. “Though the case was dismissed after the alleged victim informed the police that the priests didn’t try to force himself on her, some senior members of the sisters of Calvary congregation tried to push for the priest to be charged with rape,” revealed highly placed source. The priest was later transferred to South Africa but appealed to be sent to either Malawi or Tanzania as he feared for his life. He was sent to Malawi. The plea by the priest (known to this publication) to be sent to a faraway country is said to have been motivated by the attempted poisoning of Bishop Seane during a priestly ordination in Thamaga last year. “The end result of the case was to force the church to remove the Stigmatines from Botswana. This will have strengthened the case against Bishop Seane that he together with Stigmatines, they were abusing women,” revealed the source, adding that the priest caught in the honey strap was just a collateral. The insistence by some of the sections of the Sisters of Calvary to have the priest prosecuted is said to have infuriated Bishop Nabuasah who has arranged a meeting with the leadership of Sisters of Calvary to address the issue next week.The meeting was supposed to have taken place in December last year but was postponed as the Mother Superior for the Sisters of Calvary was outside the country thus scheduling it for January this year.

We have been infiltrated
One of the sisters of Calvary, who spoke on condition of anonymity, has revealed that they have been infiltrated by some powerful business people who are interested in the church land. “The clergy is just being used by this powerful business people – some with some influence in government – to try and push their agenda,” said the worried nun. She said some of them have realised that they have been used to fight wars that they know nothing about. The problem emanated when they were planning their 50th anniversary and some business people within the church pledged thousands of Pulas towards the event. “During the preparations we felt that Bishop Seane was not supporting us enough and that is when some sections of the laity with interest in the church land stepped in and this has created problems within the congregation,” revealed the nun. She revealed that currently the clergy is divided which is impacting negatively on the church as the laity can see that.