Archbishop Stanley Ntagali suspended from priestly duties over adultery

Retired Archbishop Stanley Ntagali

Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Retired Archbishop of Church of Uganda, Stanley Ntagali has been suspended from performing priestly duties after getting involved in an extra-marital affair with a married woman.

Ntagali’s suspension was confirmed in a January 13 letter by Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, the Most Rev. Dr Stephen Samuel Kaziimba Mugalu to the Anglican Bishops under the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON).

The letter reads in part: “It is with a very heavy heart that I inform you that my predecessor, retired Archbishop Stanley Ntagali, has been involved in an extra-marital affair with a married woman, which he has acknowledged. This adultery is a grievous betrayal on many levels. Retired Archbishop Ntagali has betrayed his Lord and Saviour, his wife and their marriage vows, as well as the faith of many Ugandans and global Christians who looked to him to live the faith he proclaimed.”

Kaziimba further notes that his predecessor betrayed the Office of Archbishop, his ordination vows, and the moral commitments he championed. 

“The Church of Uganda has approximately 13 million members, all of whom have ‘sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,’ as the Bible says in Romans 3.23. At the same time, the Church holds its leaders more accountable to the same standards we are all called to uphold.” 

He reveals that he has informed Ntagali that he is not permitted to function sacramentally, preach, or represent the Church of Uganda in any way until further notice. Kaziimba assures the Church that they are committed to transparency as well as pastoral care for those who have been affected by this situation. 

“This is not a time for us to gossip. This is a time for repentance; a time for prayer; a time to examine our own sin and failings in humility; and a time to make all our relationships right before God. Please pray for the spouses in both relationships, for repentance and healing in those who have committed adultery, and for justice and forgiveness to flow throughout our land,” said Kaziimba 

The Archbishop says that Church of Uganda continues to uphold marriage as a lifelong, exclusive union between one man and one woman and that adultery is as immoral as homosexuality and that they will not shy away from their commitment to this moral standard. 

Kaziimba further warns that if there are any church structures that have enabled such behaviour to be covered up, they are committed to identifying them and repenting of systems that protect abusers and harm victims. 

“No one is above God’s law. We call on all who have fallen short of this standard to go before the Lord in prayer and confess your sin, repent of your ways, and make restitution to those you have hurt,” Kaziimba advises. 

Ntagali, 65, served as 8th Archbishop of the Church of Uganda and handed over office to Kaziimba on March 1, 2020 after clocking the retirement age. While serving as Archbishop, Ntagali was also the Bishop of Kampala and earlier served as Bishop of Masindi-Kitara Diocese from 2004 to 2012. 

Following Kaziimba’s letter, the Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, the Most Rev. Foley Beach issued a statement yesterday Monday regarding Ntagali’s suspension.

Beach is the Chairperson of the GAFCON Primates Council.   These are leaders of the conservative Anglican communities that among others, regard homosexuality as a sin. This is their fundamental difference with Canterbury.

Part of Beach’s letter reads:  “As many of you have heard, the Church of Uganda has just shared that their recently retired archbishop, Stanley Ntagali, has admitted to having an affair. Stanley is a brother in Christ with whom I have appreciated working beside in years past, and it grieves me profoundly to hear of this moral failure. It is my prayer before the Lord that he will continue down the path of repentance and that the Lord will comfort all those impacted by this sin.” 

He applauded the integrity with which Archbishop Kaziimba and the Ugandan House of Bishops have handled the matter.  

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“They have modelled Godly leadership and discipline for all of us in the GAFCON movement, please join me in keeping the whole Ugandan Church in your prayers,” Beach says.

During his reign as archbishop, Stanley Ntagali served with distinction for seven years and resolved disputes in various dioceses. He consecrated 21 new Bishops and oversaw the opening of three new dioceses. He is also remembered for his stance against homosexuality, land grabbing and corruption.