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MUKAI - V UKANI No. 65 Sept/Oct 2013 it our Vis
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Active Evangelization On 25 January 1959, Pope John XXIII announced his intention to call an ecumenical council of more than 2,00 bishops from six continents, stating its objective to be a new Pentecost, a means of spiritual and apostolic renewal, and an aggiornamento of the Catholic Church. After four session which produced sixteen documents, the Second Vatican Council can be said to have covered every facet of renewal, including the renewal of the Church’s mission theology. This renewal was first introduced in the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium(21 November 1964) and further developed in Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non Christian religions, NostreaAetate (28 October 1965), the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et Spes (7December 1965), and the Decree on the Church’s Missionary Activity, Ad Gentes (7 December 1965). It was Pope Paul VI who popularized the expression New Evangelization in the encyclical of “Evangelization in the Modern World”, as a response to the new challenges that the contemporary world creates for the mission of the Church.” Later, Pope John Paul II, re0direted and re-focused the Church’s priorities “the moment has come to commit all
her deepest identity. She exists in order to evangelize. . .”
of the Church’s energies to a new evangelization and to mission ad gentes”. For at the moment, no believer in Christ, no institution of the Church can avoid this supreme duty; to proclaim Christ to all peoples. However, the reality is that the vast majority of Catholics (clergy and laity) are not inclined to evangelization. A p p a r e n t l y, P o p e P a u l V I in his apostolic exhortation EvangeliiNuntiandi states, “We wish to confirm once more that the task of evangelizing all people constitutes the essential mission of the Church. It is a task and mission which the vast and profound changes of present day society make all the more urgent. Evangelizing is in fact the grace and vocation proper to the Church,
When Pope John Paul II uses the term “a new evangelization” he does not mean a new message. “Evangelization cannot be new in its content since its very theme is always the one gospel given in Jesus Christ.” In its writings about evangelization the Church means most fundamentally the proclamation of the basic Christian message: salvation through Jesus Christ. On this foundation of the basic message of eternal life in God, John Paul II extends the notion of evangelization. He notes that there are a diversity of activities in the Church’s one mission. He states that evangelization should not be limited to individual unbelievers but also addressed to non-practicing Christians and to entire cultures (those that need re-evangelizing and those who do not yet believe in Christ). When the pope talks about evangelization that is new he states “evangelization can be new in its ardour, methods and expression.” It must be adapted to the people of our day. In this Issue therefore, writers discuss the very basic concepts of new evangelization to the understanding of the local church. The article on What happened at the Second Vatican Council gives a synopsis of the foundation of evangelization. Later, other writers discuss evangelization for the youth and their crucial role in the church, so is the role of the laity is evangelization. Of course there are limitations and challenges posed in this attempt to be “our own evangelizers”. Amongst the greatest challenges is formation of Catholics in true faith, through catechesis, and theological study.
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EDITORIAL New Evangalization
MUKAI MUKAI VUKANI VUKANI
NEW EVANGELIZATION Weapons against witchcraft available in the Church The Year of Faith: Why and how we should celebrate Fr Edward Bingari Vatican ll, the unfinished Council Fr David Harold-Barry SJ Catechesis in the Light of the year of Faith Paul Mutero Faith and Reason Fr Oskar Wermter SJ Models of faith for the church Fr Cylde Muropa SJ Faith and History The Challenge of Faith Br James Langlois FMS Its Election time :Lord “Increase our faith” John Chitakure The lost gift of faith Brain Nyagwaya Thanks Mum for the faith Theresa Mangoma BOOK REVIEWS “What shall l do with my life now that it has been given back to me?” Fr David Harold-Barry S.J Faith with Works Fr Oskar Wermter S.J
Jesuit Journal for Zimbabwe
No. 65 Sept/Oct 2013 Published by the JESUIT COMMUNICATIONS office of the Jesuit Province of Zimbabwe as an in-house magazine for Jesuits and Friends.
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The Synod on The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith of many movements within the Church. Added to these in some parts of the world, the scandals that happened in the Church has diminished its credibility. Quite many faithful have lost confidence in the Church and its ministers. The traditional respect for the Church and clergy is not there as it used to be. These realities have to be taken into serious consideration and responded to in an appropriate way.
Right from the beginning stages of this synod, especially during the Lineamenta and Instrumentum Laboris the repeated question was; Why this synod now? Quite many thought that there was some sort of crisis in the Church because all the other synods were always for precise topics like, the Word of God, the Eucharist or for certain continents etc. During the synod, Pope Benedict XVI explained very well the feeling of certain urgency on this topic, which was a feeling all over the Church that there is decline in faith, there is decline in evangelical and spiritual enthusiasm, there is decline in the spirit of evangelization itself among evangelizers. That means there is a decline in the quality of faith and the quality of evangelization. This is quite true without any doubt as we ourselves see in our places. There are also many challenges from within and from outside the Church towards this. There is the rise of Pentecostal movements, the rise of militant Islam, secularism and secularisation, relativism, materialism and the open media which offers instant answers to many questions that one needs. There are also radical changes in socio economic and political fields. Due to this, the quality of religion and faith has diminished to a great extent. Some people do not even feel the need for religion or God. These factors have affected the Church and more so the evangelizers themselves. There is surely a laxity towards the traditional missionary approach. One can communicate with anyone at the press of a button. Direct contact with others has become very much limited. Everything has become virtual. Even liturgy, prayers, preaching, sacraments are becoming virtual. All these things are available at the comfort of your own home or room on the internet or TV. The fact is that the Church was founded to evangelize
and it exists to evangelize. Evangelization is the only agenda of the church. The question would be what is evangelization? It is all about personal and communal witnessing to faith. It is not an activity but a way of life of the whole Church. No member of the Church is exempt from this task. Accordingly, Pope Benedict wants the Church to have an evangelization “new in its ardour, in its methods, in its expression”. It is not NE or re-evangelization. But new in its ardour, method and approach. The keen interest of the Pope was very inspiring and motivating. Why New Evangelizaton? There is a changed social, cultural, economic, civil and religious scenario in the world. There is the mushrooming of Pentecostal movements which focus on miracles, healing, casting away demons and prosperity attracting many unassuming believers. There is the rise of militant Islam in many parts of the world and relativism in thinking and life styles. The rise of freedom culture in every sphere of thinking and behaviour has seen a significant number of people drifting away from faith. There are many who do not feel the need for God anymore. There are many who drifted away from the Church due to various reasons. There are many who do not fully subscribe to the teachings of the Church. There is the rise
What do people seek today? Like the Samaritan woman at the well, (Jn 4; 5-42) people are seeking to encounter Christ personally. Having encountered Jesus personally the woman went out saying; “He told me everything I have done”. She brought many people to Christ and they said; “We no longer believe because of your word; for we have heard for ourselves and we know that this is truly the saviour of the world”. This is the sort of experience people are looking for today. This image of the Samaritan woman was used very powerfully during the synod. As she encountered Jesus she asked; “give me that water”. NE is to create a stronger thirst for God and to open the well of salvation to others more dynamically. NE is leading men and women of our time to Jesus, to encounter him personally. Church is the space offered by Christ in history where we can encounter Him because He entrusted His Word to us. The church of today should sit beside the men, women, youth and children of today like Jesus at the well of Sychar to drink from it. NE is to enable people to discover the beauty and value of their faith. This has to be done by celebrating the liturgy in a community of love and fellowship. It is precisely in liturgical celebrations that the Church reveals herself as God’s work and makes the meaning of the Gospel visible in word and gesture.
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NEW EVANGELIZATION 1. There is a need to evangelize the evangelizers. 2. There is ignorance of faith among the evangelizers and the faithful. 3. There is the need to empower the laity to be co-responsible. 4. There is the need for the priests and religious to be genuine witnesses of the Gospel.
NE is to form welcoming communities where each can find a home and experience communion in a fragmented world. NE is to empower the laity to live their faith and to be agents of that genuine faith. Each baptised person must be an evangelizer. After having encountered Jesus personally, the Samaritan woman went around telling people about him and many more came to believe in Jesus. NE is to lead people to a metanoia (a change of heart). It is to confront one’s own life based on gospel values. Procedures at the Synod: First was the presentations by delegates from countries, conferences, continents and experts chosen by the Pope. This was followed by interventions and group discussions which led to the formulation of propositions. These propositions were read, discussed and voted upon. From the presentations one thing that emerged clearly was that the understanding of evangelization, pastoral care and missionary work is very different from continent to continent.
5. There is the need to address the inner spiritual needs of the people. (Movements & Associations) 6. Need to make our educational and health institutions means of evangelization. 7. There is an urgent need for the special pastoral care of the children and youth. 8. There is the need to use the modern media in evangelization. 9. There is the need to bring back the traditional practices of the Church like devotions, benediction, adoration etc. 10. There is a need for appropriate pastoral plan in each place eg. Parish, deanery, institution, diocese. This also includes inculturation, publications of literature in local languages etc. Way Forward as the Church in Zimbabwe:
I should say there was quite a lot of similarity between Africa and Asia where the church is growing due to their deep religiosity. Then there was the Latin American approach which is more community based around social justice issues. One thing that was clear to me is that there is a lot of laxity among the evangelizers of today all over the world. The missionary zeal of the past 50 years is much different from that of today despite the better communication means.
Evangelize the Evangelizer: The formation of clergy and religious should be for an inner conversion (metanoia). Mere intellectual training does not make one ready for evangelization today. Therefore there is a need to re-look into the seminary curriculum, formation programme and motivation of the formandi. According to my observation of our evangelizers of late, we also need to form our formandi on new ways of evangelization, zeal for the real mission and zeal for the Word of God. The training in seminaries and convents has to be ‘to experience God personally’. From that, we should be skilled to witness to Christ.
From the discussions what emerged was that;
Secondly, spiritual renewal is the most important element of NE. It
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involves the renewal of the whole person. Our formation should focus on this aspect a bit more. Mere intellectual formation alone in our seminaries is a bit of a tragedy especially in Zimbabwe. A true evangelizer should be a person of spiritual depth. The NE means giving the reason for our faith, communicating the Word of hope to a world which seeks salvation. This can come only from an evangelizer who is of deep spiritual depth and heritage. Form our formandi to live their faith. To evangelize well, we need to be evangelized first. To be evangelized means to be totally changed by the Gospel values, not mere baptism alone. Evangelizers have to live the faith. Living our faith then, is deeply a profound process touching our hearts at their core, where God’s Spirit reaches us at the very essence of our being. Proposition 49 states; “So that priests will be adequately prepared for the work of the NE, the synod wishes that in their formation, care is taken to form them in a deep spirituality, solid doctrine, the capacity to communicate in catechesis and an awareness of modern cultural phenomena. Seminaries should take as their focus the NE so that it becomes the recurring and unifying theme in programmes of human, intellectual and pastoral formation”. The church needs a new Pentecost. The Church on the day of Pentecost demonstrates with utter clarity this public dimension of believing and proclaiming one’s faith to every person. The spirit gives us the strength to publicly give witness with courage and conviction in our daily lives. Ignorance of faith has to be minimised by proper catechesis. We need to evangelize by catechising properly. During formation learning of catechism and catechetics have to be part of it. Social Teachings of the Church and major documents of the Vatican II have to be known by all Catholics. This has to be part of the curriculum for seminaries and religious formation. There should be appropriate ways and means to provide correct faith formation to
NEW EVANGELIZATION the laity. Evangelization basically is faith formation. Extra care should be taken to train as many catechists as possible in every parish and mission. Proper catechetical training should be a serious task of every diocese. Our various associations have to be properly catechised. Each and every priest must take extra care for their catechists and catechumens. Supervision of catechism is a serious responsibility of every priest. Proposition 50 speaks of Consecrated life as follows. “In this moment of NE, the synod asks all men and women religious and members of the secular institutes to live their identity as consecrated persons radically and with joy. …. Consecrated life fully evangelical and evangelizing, in profound communion with the pastors of the local church and in coresponsibility with the laity, faithful to the respective charisms will offer a significant contribution to the NE. The synod asks religious orders and congregations to be fully available to go to the geographical, social and cultural frontiers of evangelization. Because the new evangelisation is essentially a spiritual matter, the synod also underlines the great importance of the contemplative life in the transmission of faith.” In proposition 49 on Pastoral Dimension of the ordained ministry says; “People are looking for authentic and credible witnesses in their bishops and priests who live and model the faith and the NE”. The Church of today requires credible evangelizers. Role of Catholic Institutions in Evangelization: This once again was a great concern of the synod fathers. In the recent past,
Catholic institutions have become mere institutions without any role played towards the spiritual and faith formation of the students and staff. Striving for mere academic excellence alone at the cost of faith formation has made our institutions irrelevant to its name Catholic. Accordingly, proposition 27 reads; “Education is a constitutive dimension of evangelization […..] Education needs at the same time, to promote everything that is true, good and beautiful that is a part of human person, that is to say, to educate the mind and the emotions to appreciate reality. The synod urges particular churches, religious families and all those who have the responsibility in educational institutions to be means of evangelization”. We h a v e m a n y e d u c a t i o n a l and health institutions here in Zimbabwe. Whatever we do there, our institutions should be real agents of evangelization without any compromise. Youth and modern media in evangelization: In the NE, youth are not only the future but also the present in the Church. They are not mere recipients but also agents of evangelization especially with their peers. As the youth search for truth and meaning in their life, we have to accompany them very closely. YouCat have to be popularised among our youth in parishes and schools so that they know and understand what they believe and practise. As the media greatly influence the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well being of the youth, we have to catechise and influence them to discern between good and evil, to choose gospel values over worldly values and to form correct conscience and right convictions. In this area, I think we should be at an advantageous position due to our youthful priests and religious. We have lot to do for the youth and cannot miss this opportune age and time. Devotions: There was lot of interest to get back to the traditional devotions and practices
of the Church which have become dormant. The Catholic Church has a tradition of these devotions right from our beginning and getting back to them will be once again to get back to our roots. Devotions evoke in us the awe for God and His presence. Through these, the faith can surely be strengthened and deepened. We need to get back to them. Stewardship of creation: The earth and all in it belongs to us. Stewardship of creation is a witness to our faith in the goodness of God’s creation. To take good care of it and protect it as God entrusted it to our first parents is part of evangelization. In Zimbabwe, like the rest of the world, we are faced with climatic changes, shortage of food, water, abuse of resources etc, including the right use of the limited resources of the Church itself. We are the stewards of the Church and we have to be faithful in this task. Conclusion: Going through the 58 propositions of the synod on new evangelisation and reflecting on the situation of the Church in Zimbabwe, I can envision ourselves in NE. By the grace of God, we have flourishing vocations. In Africae Munus No. 13, Pope Benedict XVI called the African church as the ‘spiritual lung’ for a humanity that appears to be in a crisis of faith and hope. Also in Africae Munus No. 7, the Pope said; “To deprive the African continent of God would be to make it die a slow death, by taking away its very soul”. Let the Church of Zimbabwe not miss this unique opportunity and a new Pentecost the church offers us here in Africa, so that we become true witnesses. “You will be my witnesses” (Acts 1;8). For this reason, NE for the transmission of faith calls all believers to renew their faith and their personal encounter with Jesus in the Church, to deepen their appreciation of the truth of the faith and joyfully to share it with others. The challenge is in our hands. So let us do our duty faithfully with genuine witness. +Rev Alex Thomas (Archbishop of Bulawayo)
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“TRENT : WHAT HAPPENED AT THE COUNCIL?” In an earlier Issue of “Mukai” appeared a review of “Vatican ll Council:What Happened at the Council?” by John W O` Mlley S.J. He has followed that most interesting book by another, just as interesting, on the Council of Trent. Both books should be on every Seminary and Religious house library shelf. Here are few glimpses of this illuminating book. The council was opened in 1545 and sat in three stages – from 1545 to 1547, from 1551 to 1552 and from 1562 to 1563.So the Fathers at the Council spent seven years discussing the needs of the Church over a period of 17 years. That in itself is remarkable. There was also a decision to continue the Council at Bologna from April 21, 1547, to September 17th 1549 after sickness swept over Trent. The Pope was in favour of this, but Emperor Charles V was very much against the move. Fourteen Bishops remained in Trent. Business went on there (at Bologna) but the Pope ordered a momentorium on its deliberations being published until he had approved of them. The Council covered the Pontificates of five Popes: Paul lll (1534-49) who opened the Councils` first Session Julius lll (1550-55) who after Bologna, opened the Second Session Marcellus (1555-1555) who died within a year and had no part in the Council Paul IV (1555-1559) Did not take part in the Council, though interested in its Proceedings Pius IV (1559-1565) Opened Session Three and Closed the
Council The first question which comes to mind is,(What did the Council Achieve?” Gratifying we can say, “much was achieved.” A gradual improvement in the reform of Bishops and priests, not so much by what the Council decreed but by the example of pastors, Bishops or priests, who took the Council to heart. St Alphonsus Ligouri comes to mind. Residence of pastors and Bishops in their dioceses or parishes; the sacrifice of multiple Benefices which only lined the pockets of individual pastors and Bishops and contributed to their absence from their responsibilities to one benefice rather than to many. The encouragement given to pastors and Bishops to preach regularly & instruct their faithful, as well as seeing to the maintenance of Church property. This also led to the publication of many Scriptural Commentaries and Cathechisms. Martin Luther himself produced a “Great Cathechism” and others followed, including the one by Peter Canisius S.J. Of course this was also discussed and, slowly, standards improved. The Council left behind “The Cathechism of the Council of Trent” and the “Tridentine Profession of Faith “which, the later, was required to be made by pastors and Bishops well into the 20th century. The decree “Tametsi” was discussed and promulgated at the Council. It dealt with the problem of clandestine marriages, unions made between couples with no witnesses. This decree required the couple to marry in Church before a priest and three witnesses. This decree was long overdue and protected wives, especially.
Council which should be cleared up. It did not discourage the translation of the Bible into the vernacular though it did have some reservations concerning some versions. Even in Holy Mass the Council was not wholly against the administration of the Eucharistic cup to the faithful and was not unfavorable to the Vernacular being used in the liturgy, again with reservations and a certain wariness. It encouraged frequent Communion, however often that was to be interpreted-weekly, monthly or just “often”. (Obviously Pius X`s document on Frequent Communion went as far as daily communion and these days if a person attends Mass twice the person might receive twice in a day!) Little was discussed or promulgated about the Inquisition in various countries; heresies were “anathematized” rather than persons being condemned. Little was said about indulgencies, contrary to popular belief, and relics and religious art were not condemned. Original Sin and Justification were thoroughly discussed and obviously were one of the main topics to be so at the Council, asthe Reformers waded into these questions, beginning with Martin Luther. It was felt that these matters were too complicated for the faithful to digest and there was a great concern in the Council to find a mean between too Pelagianistic views, where the individual was credited with too much power over his spiritual life, and Luther`s stress on “Faith rather than Good Works” which took too much away from a person`s freedom and sense of
The Tridentine Canon of the Mass was promulgated and only in the latter part of the 20th century were further adaptations made. The sacraments were reviewed, much helped by the work on the Sacraments by the Scholastic theologians in past ages. Many myths exist concerning the
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NEW EVANGELIZATION responsibility for his or her life. It is interesting to notice that at the Council, the Missions were not discussed; the proceedings were very Eurocentric; Confraternities were hardly alluded to. War was not on the agenda even though the Council was the victim of the ‘dogs of war’ and the Turks were at our frontiers. Very little was said about indulgencies, one of the topics you might think would be, because of the objection to them by the Reformers. Not high on the agenda. The Canon of Scripture was hardly looked at. There were no personal “anathemas” where heresy appeared but the doctrine was anathematized. Vatican ll anathematized nothing at all. Most surprising, though a great deal of discussion had taken place at what were called the “Congregations” of the Council (the main discussion periods which were followed by ceremonial “Sessions” when decrees were announced),on Original Sin and the Problem of Justification. Little found its way into the decrees of the Council. It was felt, rightly, that these subjects were too complicated for such definite statements and the Bishops were left with the task of preaching on what was so important for the faithful to grasp. The broken years between the sessions of the Council give us the clue to struggle which went on and which, on more than one occasion, almost caused the conclusion of the Council rather abruptly. The chief source of trouble came from the camp of the Princes and Kings trying to influence the Council for their own ends. The French monarch was very sensitive to France`s own position. Any attempt to lose what power they had with the Papacy was opposed- the Royal power to appoint Bishops, for example. At first the French Bishops did not attend the Council. Francis was also opposed
to Bible Translation. There were other attempts to assert what would become known as ‘Gallicanism’, the desire of the French to maintain their own spiritual ways. The German Emperors, Charles followed by Ferdinand, wanted German problems to be paramount. The very place of the Council was a matter of debate and only the fact that Trent was in northern Italy, and somehow historically linked with Germany, made it possible to open the Council there. France was not so pleased nor were others. As mentioned above war disturbed the proceedings over that period,between the Christian nationsand with the Turks at the gates of Europe.Princes took sides in the debates and tried to influence the proceedings. In matters of reform, there were two groups to contend with. The Papacy which,whilein theory was not against reform, was very careful not to surrender its powers. On the other hand there were those who were convinced that a Bishop`s power came de iure from God. The Papacy did not accept this and their group was known as the “Zelati”. On matters like the number of benefices, the morals of the highest in the Church and the lowest, the need to require Bishops and Pastors to reside in and work for their one area of responsibility and so on were sensitive matters and not too popular with some who did not look forward to the surrendering of ‘wicked ways’. An attempt was made to invite the Reformers themselves to attend the Council.That was not too successful. Apart from anything else, though
they were assured that if they came, they would have “safe conduct” in reaching Trent and taking part in the Council they had bad memories of a previous Council when that was granted but Jan Hus was arrested, tried and burned as a heretic. Even the wording of the ‘safe conduct’ this time made it clear that if an individual was accused of a heresy he would ‘be granted all legal facilities’. Not very reassuring. Such are some thoughts about the Council of Trent which Fr. O`Malley treats of so well, with clarity and great interest. Much of what he wrote was very illuminating and dispersed the myths about the Council. The fact that it came to a close to the satisfaction of the satisfaction of the participants and with a growing influence over the many years that followed until Vatican l and ll,was very impressive. It had an influence on peoples` lives, both those pastors whose life was devoted to them and the faithful, who needed clear guidelines to live Christian lives. The fact that the Papacy did not call another Council for so many years reveals the tensions it felt between itself and Bishops and Princes. But Leo XIII and John XXIII showed the way to successful Councils, even though the first was itself disturbed by the Franco-German war of 1870. Synods, encouraged by Trent, do now take place. The matter of Collegiality, though another sensitive issue between a Council and the Papacy, is on the agenda and we are not afraid to discuss it. Fr.O` Malley should be thanked for this great effort to bring the Council of Trent alive to us after Vatican II. Anthony Bex S.J
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New Evangelization Fr Emmanuel Gurumombe SJ Evangelization is the transmission of the Christian faith to people of different generations so that by recognizing the light of the Revealed Truth, which comes through the continuing teaching of the Church/Catechism they may abandon the mundane path while choosing to accept and follow Jesus Christ. The deeds and words of Jesus Christ in themselves and the teaching of the Twelve Apostles are inseparable and they form the basic content of evangelization that provides the rule of faith and human conduct. Naturally, the light of the Holy Spirit promised by Jesus Christ continues to assist the Church in transmitting faith within the changing context of the world. It is therefore vital to understand as well as engage the world and yet remaining able to give it the Word of Life. So what is new to the work of evangelization? A) The intensity of the threats to faith in Jesus Christ is particularly new; B) new methods of evangelization. Key threats include the increase of secularism and the consequent notions of sexual freedom or revolution, indecency, and the heightened regard of carnal pleasures at the expense of truth and virtue. Subsequently, ignorance of catechism due to abandoning faith practices, indifference, a lukewarm attitude to faith or lack of proper teaching has taken its toll. The promotion of some types of human rights that are inconsistent with the truth of faith and the repressive exercise of politics as the sole basis for societal organization as well as the misconception that sciences by themselves provide the meaning of life or the lack of it are also among some of the reasons forthe need of a new kind of evangelization. Hence the primary task of new
what these liturgies are intended to achieve in the life of the believer. Hence St. Anselm considered the exercise of theology as an act of faith seeking understanding, an understanding that the Holy Spirit endows the mind, notwithstanding the necessity of teaching and the disposition to learn that is required.
methods of evangelization is to enable knowledge of faith to permeate all aspects of life. Secularism has largely hit Europe and the United States while syncretism (a confused mix up of Christian faith and traditional religions) is predominant in other parts of the world. This is not to underestimate the value of genuine inculturation that has and still is taking place in Africa. However, both secularism and syncretism undermine Christian faith perhaps to the same effect, i.e., the truth of the faith in the former case faces stiff rejection and in the latter it is obfuscated by compromise. Hence the need to polish up the faith from the corrosion inflicted by secularism and to remove the layers of dust deposited by syncretism so that faith is better known and made visible in action. The Catholic faithful are aware that there is a good deal that needs to be known and understood concerning the faith in order to practice it properly. Those who have a deep love for the faith are continuously searching for better understanding. However, this understanding is not solely achieved through the act of the mind. It is gained through prayer and a devout participation in the liturgies of the Church, mindful of
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However, there are those who, for reasons not founded on the joy and love of the truth, treat matters of the faith simply as manual instructions, which they can twist around. With the exception of baptism in danger of death, regrettably, there are cases in which people have been baptized without catechetical instruction of the parents of infants. Similarly, some adults have been simply ‘smuggled’ into baptism because they are friends with catechists or priests. Such malpractices do harm to both the faith and the intended believer who is not properly rooted in basic knowledge of the truth of faith. Knowledge of the truth is an important milestone in the journey towards salvation because love and practice of the truth guides us on the path of faith (cf.1 Tim 2:4). The ultimate purpose of knowledge and practice of the truth is to enable us to “reach unity in faith and knowledge of the Son of God and form the perfect Man fully mature with the fullness of Christ himself. Then we shall no longer be children, or tossed one way and another, and carried hither and thither by every new gust of teaching, at the mercy of all the tricks people play and their unscrupulousness in deliberate deception. If we live by the truth in love, we shall grow completely into Christ…” (Eph. 4:13-14). An increase in knowledge of the truth is the basis for growing into Christ through the continuous teaching of the Church and
NEW EVANGELIZATION devoutly participating in the liturgies of the Church. The family as the domestic church is a vital environment in fostering love for the faith. Faith groups and guilds alone without healthy family life may not achieve this end. We must not forget that the teaching of Christ and the Church, which form a single unit, is a gift that God has given us for our salvation “so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing this you may have life through his name” (Jn 20:31). This is not something of human making or invention, “not the word of any human being, but God’s word, a power that is working among you believers” (1 Thess. 2:13b). Therefore, a catechist, religious man/woman or priest who shortchanges the teaching of the Church betrays the believer and robs the believer of the foundation stone for growth towards Christ. Any seed that is not sufficiently interred in the soil of truth can be easily robbed by the evil one (cf. Mk 4:3-4). If knowledge of the truth is marginalized or compromised then evangelization becomes a sham religious activism that does not achieve its intended purpose. The Church is also aware that there is a whole range of human rights, which are good for human social, economic, political, religious and cultural development. But some of the so-called rights, especially those of a sexual nature, are simply contrary to the truth about both human nature and human sexuality. That too is an area where evangelization, patience and prayer are required in order to avoidmaking inappropriate or erroneous conclusions. The political sphere the world over has become treacherous in many respects because it is dominated by the powerful. They call the shots. We have just had our own experience of the intrigues of politics in the 31 July elections. It
is dangerous to associate civil government with divine ordination. Some people easily quote Romans 13:1 which reads “Everyone is to obey the governing authorities, because there is no authority e x c e p t f ro m God and so whatever authorities exist have been appointed by God. So anyone who disobeys an authority is rebelling against God’s ordinance….” It is easy to quote this verse and justify any political set up. But we must remember that civil authority is legitimate only when it comes into existence without contradicting both divine and legitimate human law consistent with divine law. Only such authority reflects something of God.In fact Roman authority oppressed early Christianity. So Paul in Romans 13 and elsewhere was trying to ask Christians to follow the general principles enacted by civil authority because they are citizens of another world, not primarily because civil authorities were an expression of God’s will. Christians cannot endorse civil authority that contradicts divine law by any measure. Effectively, God does not rule through civil authority, although legitimate civil authority can be at the service of God’s kingdom if it does not contradict divine truth. Otherwise it is just human authority with no divine merit. Jesus never associated himself with civil authority. He warns his disciples not to lord it over others: “You know that among the gentiles the rules lord it over others, and great men make their authority felt. Among you this is not to happen” (Mt 20:25-26). It is
in this spirit that Peter remarkably challenged the mistaken Sanhedrin who rejected the teaching of Jesus Christ: “Obedience to God comes before obedience to men” (Acts 5:29). As such the guidance of the Church in matters political is important because it is quite possible for some of the faithful to aid and abet political evil. Passion for political affiliation can also be confused for direct service of one’s faith such that Scripture is interpreted to suit one’s political stance. A clear distinction needs to be made between passions that emerge from human hormones and the work of the Holy Spirit. If we know the truth, it sets us free from error and from sin against God and against others. Evangelization itself requires an environment of freedom so that the truth of faith may be proclaimed and practiced. Besides the new methods of evangelization, which include electronic transmission of catechesis and modern ways of using the media in promoting the faith of the Church, the dimension that needs new and renewed attention is the explanation and proclamation of the truth of the Christian faith in the face of these intense challenges. Teaching using modern means remains important as long as the truth is transmitted with the dignity that inheres in itself. Fr Emmanuel Gurumombe SJ
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NEW EVANGELIZATION IN THE CONTEXT OF THE MUSHROOMING OF INDIGENOUS CHURCHES By Fr Joseph Mugara African Independent Churches’ (AICs) is the most suitable description of those churches that have originated in Africa and have no foreign financial or ecclesiastical and doctrinal control. These churches were started as a result of African initiatives, in African countries but some are gradually becoming affiliated to wider bodies that include non-African members. Other designations such as African Initiated, African Instituted churches are often used to express that the initiative in the founding of these churches is by African people. In the context of the new Evangelization, AICs do not only give a serious challenge, but also provide a new opportunity for dialogue, discernment and learning for the Church in Zimbabwe. There are several factors that led to the rise of AICs. During the colonial era, fundamental causes can be identified in the social, political and economic injustices that arose from policies of segregation, alienation of tribal lands and racial tensions generally. The presence of the color bar within the Christian church, the tightening squeeze on the Africans through land-legislation became immediate factors in the breakaway and founding of AICs. The churches were characterized as movements of political protest against the background of colonial paternalism and the rise of African nationalism. This gave an opportunity to transfer to the spiritual and ecclesiastical plane the opposition to white authority, which could be made effective only by reconstructing the African community under African leadership. Since Africans led no political an economic authority, inevitably the Church became the
only sphere of exercising power and separate governance. That Christianity came to Africa as a divided phenomenon led to easy divisions among the converts. Missionaries preached the same Christianity but maintained their distinction and often attacked one another. Missionaries also provided the people with a translation of the Bible into vernacular, unrestricted access to the Bible provided the African with an independent standard of reference where they read and interpreted for themselves the correspondence between biblical and traditional African experience and independently created a sort of biblical-African alliance against the rather more rationalist missionary approach. On many issues the Old Testament appeared to justify both African traditions such as polygamy and African Christian aspirations against missionary regulations. The pursuit of a Hebraic model within an African context was as clear in the Vapositori religious movements. The name ‘Vapositori’ means taking key factors of the New Testament, but in practice, the taboos, attitudes and creeds are a conglomeration of OT customs and traditional ways of marriage and relationship with the spirit world.
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Another factor is that the attack on polygamy and the ancestral cult by Christianity implied an attack on the very foundations of tribal and family structure and led Africans to seek something that accommodated ancestral practices and traditional family structures. That Christianity did not refer to the spirits or provide solutions to some crisis left the Africans with no choice but to start their own that would attend to this very complex phenomenon. The handling of health and healing, is one of the key aspects that challenged the satisfaction of Africans by mainline spirituality. African religion was to a very large extent health oriented and the new religious movements capitalized on that. A dramatic turnaround in the economic and social well being of Zimbabweans experienced from the year 2000 gave rise to a new wave of Pentecost type mega churches. After suffering the devastating effects of the land reform program, Murambatsvina, HIV/AIDS, the brain drain, the near collapse of delivery systems in health, education, roads and other structures, many people turned to all forms of spiritualities for spiritual and social alleviation. Many have been duped to believe that the prophet and traditional healer can deal with HIV/AIDS related ailments.The rise of many churches witness to the quest for solutions to the present crisis. Opportunities for learning There are several expressions in the AICs that provide opportunities for learning and dialogue. The Theology of a prophetic church is functional, not ontological, and, like much traditional religion, it can vary according to context and to whom one is speaking. AICs express a belief in God like all
NEW EVANGELIZATION Christians. The liturgy of AICs is purely a liturgy of the Word of God. They interpret the word of God literally, hence their proneness to Biblical fundamentalism, but they love the Bible. Healing, visions and dreams, a holy city, the sacralized figure of the founder, certain kinds of rituals, food taboos just as you find them in the OT are prevalent. The prophet’s staff is a symbol of authority, perhaps connected with that of Moses (Ex 14:16,17:5, 17:9 or apostolic precept Mk 6:8) or even the motif of African tradition whose retention is justified by the Mosaic example. The churches usually stress symbolic apartness. They tend to maximize taboos and to retake the Levitical laws of the clean and unclean. Here too, there is a frequent fusion between taboos of African traditional custom and the taboos of the OT, where the two differ, the OT/Levitical rule/ provision prevails. Where biblical prescriptions reinforce traditional ones, they are embraced with enthusiasm. From the inception of an Independent church, the prophetic leader gainsrenown as faith healer, a miracle worker or a performer of some wondrous deed that attracts attention. The attention that they give to the sick is personal and leaves impressions on new recruits. Speaking in tongues and prophecies indicate the presence of the Holy Spirit. Some have replaced the reading of the Bible with direct messages that come from the Holy Spirit. They have a strong sense of community and solidarity; they emphasize their identity and ensure that the new recruits feel that they are part of their family. AICs are also called ‘Churches of the Spirit.’ Some think that they regard the Holy Spirit in the light of the traditional territorial spirits, believing him to use their leaders and prophets as his mediums.
Belonging to AICs is often preceded by baptism in the ‘Jordan’, as a precondition for beatification and subsequent possession by the Holy Spirit. Even the Jordan theme can be shown to fit into the traditional Shona religious lore and practice. One need only remember the importance of the concept of the mythological pool (dziva) in the traditional religious thinking. Power-conferring beings (njuzu) are believed to emerge from madziva, some are associated with the most powerful territorial spirits. In some cultures, there are purification rites that could resemble baptism. Challenge to the New Evangelization Three key problems already identified in this phenomenon include a syncretistic fusion of the Gospel with traditional cultural elements. It is not the Gospel that has evangelized culture, but the other way around. In the wake of poverty, people have turned to religion as opium and sought to alleviate suffering through escapism. In fact some have found Christianity to be a form of employment, a rich source of
revenue. Political leaders have also found some AICs their political campaign platform because some have remained attached to nationalistic politics since their foundation. Some have brought a new Gospel of prosperity which appeals to the unemployed and underpaid. Founders of AICs are strategists who scratch where it itches, directing our attention to pertinent issues in the new evangelization. EvangeliiNuntiandi states that evangelization includes preaching, catechesis, liturgy, the sacramental life, popular piety and the witness of the Christian life (cf EN 17, 21, 48). It is new in its methods, ardour and expression. It is primarily addressed to those who have drifted from the Church in traditionally Christian countries. But the phenomenon described above shows us avenues that need attention for new evangelization in Zimbabwe. To address what keeps some Catholics on the margins of Christianity thereby becoming prey to new movements, the following needs to be born in mind: The new evangelization must be
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founded on the person of Jesus Christ and His gospel. According to John Paul II, new evangelization is not a matter of merely passing on doctrine but rather of a personal and profound meeting with the Saviour. In the past (and even presently), for most Catholics evangelization is perceived to be the work of a special group within the Church, missionaries or priests. In the new evangelization, however, it is clear that the call is to the entire people of God. Pope John Paul II teaches that not only individuals but whole cultures need to be transformed by influence of the Gospel. In her
missionary activity the Church encounters different cultures and becomes involved in the process of inculturation. By inculturation, the pope means the intimate transformation of authentic cultural values through the integration in Christianity and the insertion of Christianity in the various human cultures. The New Evangelization is not limited to the presentation of the basic Gospel message (kerygma) but is a comprehensive process of Christianization.The proclamation of the Gospel is the essential first step. It is the foundation of a life long process. Evangelization according to the pope also involves
catechetical instruction, moral doctrine and the social teaching of the Church; these should be part of a lifelong program in Catholic Education. In conclusion, these new circumstances in the Church’s mission make us realize that new evangelization requires finding new approaches to evangelization so as to be Church in today’s ever-changing social and cultural situations. The Church must not lose her missionary freedom, she must remain close to the people to animate their lives and guide them to the Kingdom to come. Catholics need to begin to be bold in proclaiming the Gospel.
Mukai-Vukani (“Rise”) Jesuit Journal for Zimbabwe serves as a Bulletin for Theological Reflection among Jesuits in Zimbabwe and their friends. It tries to help us answer the question, “What direction do we have to follow in the light of the Word of God at this moment in time?” (Mukai 23, p.2), facilitating dialogue among Jesuits and their friends based on study, prayer and discernment.
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ENCOUNTER WITH THE ‘GOD OF SURPRISES’ Preface: ‘New Evangelization’ – I must be honest with the reader: I do not like that expression. ‘Evangelizing’ sounds to me like a mechanical process a person has to endure passively, whether or not he is personally involved, it just happens to him. A bit like brainwashing. Needless to say, that is NOT what the Church has in mind. We do not use trickery or force. Christians should be people who have encountered the “God of surprises”. “We cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). Unless we are genuinely amazed at our God we have no business talking about Him By Fr Oskar Wermter SJ
Encounter In the beginning, God called everything into being, sun, moon and stars, the entire universe, water and land, mountains and the sea, plants and animals, finally man and woman. He continued speaking to them. “….and God said to Noah …and to Abraham…to Jacob” (Genesis). He called Moses out of the burning bush (Exodus 3). “The Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend” (Ex 33: 11). He called Samuel who answered, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening” (1. Samuel 3:9). The Lord showed himself to the prophet Elijah, not in a violent, rock-splitting storm, not in the earthquake, or in the fire; He made his presence known “in a sound of silence” (1 Kings 19: 12). The word of the Lord goes out to Jeremiah, “I have put my word in your mouth” (Jeremiah 1: 9). The Lord calls Isaiah, “Whom shall I send?” (Isaiah 6: 8). Ezekiel is sent to the House of Israel, “Stand up on your feet, and I will speak with you” (Ezekiel 2:1). Eventually His messenger speaks to the Virgin in Nazareth, “Do not be afraid, Mary. ..You will conceive and bear a son…“In the beginning was the Word,….and the Word became flesh and lived among us” (John 1). The Virgin bears a son, the Word that was
there even before Creation, and through whom everything was created. “The Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1).God is Word. He speaks to us. In Jesus of Nazareth, son of Mary, the Word of God has come to live among us once and for all. In Him the dialogue has been opened between God and Man. God called Mary by name for her special mission. Humanity emerges. The Gifts and the Giver Over time people have taken God for granted. They no longer know that their human dignity is the dignity of the children of God. They no longer see their personhood as sheer gift; they think they are their own creation. God is truth. God is love. That is why we have the light of reason and hearts capable of love. That is why His Word can reach us and give us light and His love kindle the fire of love in our hearts so we can love others.
People treat all these divine gifts as of their own making and as their own property. They enjoy the gifts and forget about the Giver. They think they can do without Him. H i s Wi t n e s s e s “ t a k e n b y surprise” We must share our surprise with those people. Even that we are scandalized by Him and cannot understand why God made Man is not the big Boss we expect Him to be, but our servant. Scandalized by His “offering the other cheek”, loving even his enemies, forgiving his executioners, dying without hatred, putting an end to the vicious circle of violence and counter-violence by shedding his own blood, not the blood of his accusers (In Europe they are so scandalized by the Cross, they are barring it from classrooms and public places). We must confess that we too cannot understand how the Son of
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NEW EVANGELIZATION God always does the unexpected. “Law and Order” as we know it does not work in His Kingdom, “tooth for tooth” and “eye for eye” strikes us as just and fair, but it is not the way of the “Son of Man”. He told us, “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you” (Mat. 5: 44). And he was not just talking, he actually acted like that! The laws of nature make everything in this world completely predictable. People think of the universe as one huge, well-oiled machine running smoothly, utterly predictable and regular. That is of course an illusion. Our unique gift of freedom upsets everything. We can develop God’s creation in a creative, unexpected way, or we can destroy and abuse it. Which is another cause for amazement: why did God let go of his control of the world (or so it seems sometimes), why did He give us this exceedingly dangerous gift of freedom? And yet He does not wipe us out as a bad job (think of the Flood, Genesis 6 - 9)to start all over again, even now that “progress”gives us the power to destroy all creation and commit global suicide. Instead He is infinitely patient with us, and confident that “all will be well”, and will lead to His Kingdom, the reign of Justice, Love and Compassion for which He is prepared to suffer, and we with Him. This God of ours is the “ever greater God”, always exceeding our puny human minds and our plans and designs we are so proud of. The crucial step we as “evangelizers” (people so
“surprised by God” they cannot keep silent) must take is from talking about God who seems to be somewhere out there, to talking to God whose quiet voice is in our hearts. This dialogue has its origin in Him who is the Word. He is just waiting for us. We can talk about Him endlessly: our listeners will regard Him as an object, a thing like other things in this world and part of it. We must help people discover where and how they have already met the Lord, felt hunger and thirst for Him, and were called by Him in their hearts. Faith is not just learning the Catechism by heart, but is an encounter with Jesus’ Abba/Father.Only the God of
Jesus is life and love, not the one who is a construct of philosophers. Only in Christ can we say, ‘God is Love’, only in Him do we begin to understand what love is. This encounter is not an act of taking possession of God, but of surrendering and giving ourselves
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to Him, together with the Son to the Father, in the Spirit who “blows where he chooses” (John 3: 8). The path each one follows in order to reach God is unique. There are as many pathways to God as there are people seeking Him. So each has his/her own way. That is why He is the “God of surprises”: no one can tell us beforehand exactly what and whom we shall find. Each one has to make his own discovery, discover God as his or her own. So we are people “surprised by God”. Listening to the Word, before Preaching It When the risen Christ called Mary of Magdala by her name, she was his once and for all, just asPaul never forgot Jesus’ voice on the road to Damascus. Similarly, the great saints had unique encounters with Christ, which marked them as Christ’s own forever. Faith is not learned from books. God is not an object of cold scientific enquiry. We must meet Him on the mountain where Jesus used to pray all night and allow ourselves to be taken into that relationship with the Abba/Father. God ‘happens’ in a threefold personal relationship, God is communion and community; as triune God He is Family. We learn the truth about God by being called and carried away by His love, being consumed by it, suffering for it, and being led “where you would rather not go” (John 21: 18). If the Faith is to be planted afresh it needs witnesses who marvel at what they ‘have seen and heard’. Fr Oskar Wermter SJ is a writer, at present working for the Bishops of Southern Africa, IMBISA, pastoral department.
GOD IS MYSTERY “In turning to God we must first acknowledge that whatever and however he is, he is mystery. We can never, with our finite minds, adequately grasp who he is. If you are searching for a clear and precise notion of who God is, you will not find him in reading this book. And if ever you do find a neat and clear definition, you may be sure that it is false. God is mystery: but that does not mean he is totally unintelligible. We can come to know a mystery and grow in knowledge of it, but the more we enter into the mystery of God, or more accurately, the more the mystery of God takes hold on us, the more we realize that he is mystery. The truth about God, that he is mystery, is of fundamental importance. Being fundamental, any religion which ignores this truth will certainly lead us astray. We may construct a most elaborate
home and country, but we remain in control. God is uncontrollable, beyond anything we can think of or imagine. ‘God’, I once heard someone say, ‘is a beckoning word.’ He calls us out of ourselves and beyond ourselves, he is our God of surprises, “always creating anew.”
and ingenious religious system, but if it is not grounded in this basic truth that God is mystery, then our elaborate system becomes an elaborate form of idolatry. We are constantly tempted to make God in our own image and likeness. We want to control and domesticate him, giving him perhaps a position of great honour in our hearts,
“In speaking of our relationship to God and to Christ we have to make use of analogies, but no analogy is ever adequate. We speak of ‘Christ living in our hearts’ and ‘making his home in us’, and such analogies are useful, but it is more true to say, ‘We must live in the heart of God, we must make our home in Christ,’a heart which is always greater than anything we can think or imagine, a home that embraces the whole Universe.” (From : Gerald W. Hughes SJ, God of Surprises, Darton, Longman and Todd, London, 1985, pp. 31 and 161)
Lord, increase our Faith (Luke 17:5)
and it would obey you’ (Lk 17: 6). This
Ours is a scientific world and so we are
We believe in a God who does not have
seemingly quantitative response, albeit
found of using quantitative terms even
an email address or a phone number and
a figurative one, must have prompted
for things which cannot be measured.
yet we expect very prompt responses
the disciples to re-phrase their request
Faith is such a thing! As we get closer to
to our prayers. We cook our food using
from ‘Lord, increase our faith’ to ‘Lord,
the end of the year of Faith, some of us are
microwaves – everything is done at a
give us faith’. You need Faith before you
still asking the Lord to increase our Faith.
supersonic speed. Consequently, we
can ask for its increment. The response
This prayer request presupposes that we
have become an impatient humanity, at
must have also led the disciples to the
at least have some faith which, if the
least unconsciously! We have become
understanding that they actually did not
Lord so permits, needs to be increased.
impatient with ourselves, with our
have to have faith the size of a mountain;
In other words, before I should ask the
neighbours, and with God, and our
only faith the size of a mustard seed
Lord to increase my faith, I probably
impatience has in one way or another
would be enough to move mountains!
need to think of how much faith I have.
impacted on our faith. Thus, instead of
We all have faith in one thing or another;
How much faith do I have and how much
asking the Lord to increase our faith,
we believe that the bus driver will take
more do I need from the Lord?
shouldn’t we be asking Him to ‘reduce
us to our destination even though he
When the disciples requested the Lord
our impatience’? Remember the year of
has not shown us his driving licence; we
for an increment in faith, the response
Faith will soon be history – everything,
believe that, that man is our dad even
they got was rather confusing, ‘If you
even time, goes very fast these days!
though we do not have the scientific
have faith the size of a mustard seed,
results of a DNA test! And some of us
you would say to this mulberry tree,
believe in God. However, our faith in God
Be uprooted and planted in the sea,
needs to be strengthened in order for it to
endure the scientific whims of our times.
Fr. Lawrence Kyaligonza, SJ, Vocations Promoter, Jesuits Eastern Africa
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Youth Ministry Then and Now By Dominic Fungai Tomuseni SJ The Catholic Church in Zimbabwe has all sorts of activities that cater for youth in different stages and circumstances. One finds the church present among the youth not only in parishes, but in schools, tertiary institutions and in society at large (so called “munyika”). Gone are the days when we would only think of uniforms when we think of youth in the church,(uchapfekedzwa rinhi or wava mustage yachingani?”) We now live in the era of T-Shirt. A new symbol that is easy to distribute and to market one’s conviction cheaply and to show one’s identity with more clarity. One needs not go through stages and make promises before a priest any longer to wear a Chita uniform. However, in spite of these developments I would like to highlight some important lessons that any new initiatives in youth ministry has to take from the devotional uniformed youth groups that have been around for a while. The lessons are a response to issues that I encountered during my time as a chaplain to National Movement of Catholic Students (NMCS). A major debate in NMCS was about what should be given priority, ‘spiritual’ or socio- economic and political issues in NMCS activities. There was a big group that felt that most of NMCS activities were too political, we were becoming a political entity and neglecting faith that had brought us together in the beginning. There was a strong feeling that the ‘C’ in NMCS was being overlooked, yet it is what had brought us together in the first place. We were busy engaging with political, social and economic issues and not doing enough to develop our Catholic faith, as alleged by some students. There was a demand for retreats, pilgrimages, days of prayer and reflection and
discussion on Christian ethics especially in the area of sex and relationship because that is what affected young people. There was a smaller group that argued that the “church had stayed in the sacristy for too long.” It should not exist as if there is no political world outside its structures; after all it has a duty to evangelise beyond its boundaries. That group often reminded us that the constitution explicitly state that NMCS’ objective was to facilitate Catholic Social Teaching. Thus it was its Christian duty to engage in political and social issues. Implicit in this debate was the issue of evangelisation of insiders and outsiders. Should the Church devote its energies in developing its own life or should it be reaching out to the life beyond church structures. A superficial way of looking at is to view the group that demanded ‘spiritual’ activities as focusing on the insiders and to view those who wanted more engagement with political powers of our time as making a case for outsiders. However, the issue cannot be neatly categorised as such because the insiders are also the outsiders. The very people who are insiders, those who constitute the life of the church are also actors in the political and social life in
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the wider society, beyond the church structures. Thus, either way the two positions did not reject each other’s passions. Those who favoured a spiritual development were as concerned about political issues as much as those who advocated for a programing that engages political structures. All they were asking for was to seek the kingdom of God first (Mathew 6:33) in the hope that the rest will follow. The latter were not disparaging the spiritual activities, but thinking of nuanced way of living the gospel’s exhortation “Go into the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15). Thus the issue can be summarised thus: what is the best way of evangelising to young people so that they cannot only become better but they can make a difference in the society. In this regard the devotional groups such as AA can show us a way to respond to this question. These groups made it clear in all they did that God was paramount and they unashamedly prioritised ‘spiritual’ activities. They did not pretend that the young people were living in a special place outside the everyday political challenges, but they made it clear that when we enter into our “church space” we have to make a genuine search of God’s will in those circumstances. Such search required a deepening of one’s spirituality. Liturgy, sacraments and retreats occupied a central place in the lives of these groups. All other activities had to build on these traditional pillars of faith. There were programs and activities that incorporated political and social ills, but it was made clear all was done to prepare good actors in the world and beyond. It does not mean that there were only preparing young people to engage in the political arena, but whatever one did outside the church, political
MINISTERING CHURCH life had direct effect in the life of the church. One would not be able to participate in the life of the church if he is not in good standing in public life or in private life that became public. Thus the church space was not free of political issues, but at least it was clear of its mandate and what it could do best. It did not give prescription to young people, neither did it purport to know how to set up the best possible government. What they did was to equip the young people to discern the will of God in whatever situation they find themselves. That is why Agnes and Alois and Simon Peter or Magareth Mary became powerful role models. They are representatives of what it means to search the will of God. They were not role models based on their skills such as strumming a guitar or riding the rhythm as is the case with celebrities that some church groups would like to place before young people as the best models. An appropriate role model for our young in the church is someone whose life is centred on God. Such a person is the best ambassador from a faith perspective. The long and short of this rambling is that any youth ministry in the church should prioritise God. Faith formation should take a priority otherwise we can be just like the scouts or some other youth groups whose existence is defined by a cause. Another area of concern that complicated matters in NMCS was that of financial resources. Most of our activities were funded by agencies. It was difficult to find agencies who were keen on funding spiritual activities, hence those activities played a second fiddle. Again AA can give us a way of going around that problem. The young people who were members valued what they were doing so they paid for it. They paid their subscriptions for
most running costs and sometimes they devised ways of fundraising. When time for retreats came they paid for transport and all other costs. Once in a while the parish priest or a well wisher would give them something for their activities, but they did not plan activities in view of donor generosity. These young people were not working and they got money from their parents who valued what their children were doing at church in the same way they valued what they did in school, where they paid for their needs. An argument can be placed that the economic situation has changed and the people do want to pay for these things but they cannot afford. My short answer is where there is will there is a way. I also underscore the fact that there is never a time when resources are adequate, but financial independence is possible. The donor regime is unsustainable. AA survived and achieved a lot with very little financial resources and that is still possible with the
upcoming youth movements in the church. If they are convinced of the value of what they are doing they will find funding that allows them to do what they consider to be very important. In fact if they do what they do well, well wishers will be abundant because they will be convinced by their good work. “Where your heart is, is where your treasure is” (Mt 6:21). If the young people are convinced of what a group is doing, they will invest in it. I am confident that though many of our young people are economically challenged they can afford to invest in their spiritual development. In summary three great lessons from our old youth groups in the church. God is no 1; faith formation should be given priority. The church has a rich tradition to help in this regard. Work with what you have, before you think of changing the superstructure, what can be done to help those who come to us. Financial independence is possible if the people value what they are doing. The donor mode of operation requires a lot of revision to support home grown initiatives. It is possible to empower the local. If the church’s youth ministry is to continue to be relevant, these three points have to be taken seriously. DFT
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DISCIPLESHIP! In life many people look at the difficulties of our world and ask themselves; “Is there anything I can do to change the world?” Yes there is. Evangelize the world, preaching the good news to the people in which the good news is Christ the Lord himself. To make Christ known is the most precious gift that you can give to others and to the world. Like the twelve disciples, Jesus is inviting us to be his follower’s spreading the good news to all the people. In our dairy life, Christ is saying to us;“As I was sent by the father, I also send you” (Jn 20:21). Equally, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” (Mt 19:28). If there is any change we can bring to the world, the only means of doing so is by being missionaries who always evangelize the world. Following Christ (discipleship) means leaving your desires and responding tothe instruction of the master (Jesus). It is an act and matter of faith and trust in the Lord. Our church calls everyone to be a disciple and witness of Jesus Christ through partaking in the communion of brother and sister bonded with love. The Holy Eucharist is asign of the love of Jesus to us, therefore every time we eat and share the Eucharist, we are sharing the love of Jesus which then enables us to go out into the world and draw people closer to God through making Christ known by all nations. Discipleship does not only mean following Jesus but it also means worshiping him. Like a car on the road, on our journey of making disciples,we also need fuel to keep us going, prayer, meditation, doing charity works, and love are vibrant elements of followers of Christ.
We are called Christians because we try to live the life which is similar to that of our master, Jesus Christ. Therefore, as Christians, we have a diet which makes us true Christians and this diet comprises of the Holy Eucharist, prayer, forgiveness, confession and love. However the world we live in always presents to us another diet which is very sweat whilst it moves us away from the grace of God, this diet is made up of worldly things, ignorance, selfishness, peer pressure etc. As disciples of Christ,we should not live by the things of the world but only on that which comes from the Father. Also Christians have to be more aware of the language of Christ, what language do we speak as Christians. Pope BenedictXVI has this to say “Christians know when to speak in words, in silence, in prayer and meditation and to be silent at all letting love alone speak”. A true follower and worshiper of the Lord does not necessarily use words when evangelizing but use actions and only use words when necessary. If we are ever going to communicate about Jesus Christ,
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what we say must be exactly what we do, for the world we live in today does not need teachers of the Bible only, but witnesses of our Lords word and life. Every action and decision we make in life as Christians must be a true reflection of what the holy word says, hence an anonymous writes says “be careful the way you leave your life for you may be the only bible some people read”.Inspired by Pope Benedict XVI’s words “I encourage you to think of the gift you have received from God so that you can pass them on to others in turn”, let us never forget that we have a responsibility ofliving and passing on the faith of the Church to generations’ to come through the word and our testimonies. One of ourdesires as Christians is to grow spiritually and have our faith uplifted time and again; it is by sharing with others the life of Jesus Christ that we ourselves are also uplifted. Blessed John Paul II once said “faith is strengthened when it is given to other”. Jesus challenged us to be his followers both in the spirit and the in the truth, he overcomed hurt and suffering so as to free us from sin hence us (his disciples) must also carry the burdens of this world so as to free it from all the challenges it is facing. Jesus once prayed “if it possible, the hour might pass” meaning that what he was experiencing was difficult but he never gave up, the same to us it’s never easy to evangelize the world without facing obstacles. But if we are determinedto achieve our goal of drawing people closer to God,we should find strength in the life of Jesus Christ himself, knowing that the task at hand was hard he then said to us carry your own cross follow me.
NO LONGER “STUNTED”, BUT LIBERATED BY LOVE A reply to “Atheist”
By Fr Oskar Wermter SJ
potential, by being for others, living for others. That is different from the current western ideal of “self-realization” ,meaning “doing one’s own thing”.
“Atheist” (letter to S Cross, 30 May 2013) has raised, at least indirectly, a very challenging question: how do you become a fully grown person? How do you realize your potential and become fully human? St Paul wants us “to come to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ” (Eph. 4: 13). What is maturity? Or, in terms of the Gospel, “the full stature of Christ”? The opposite would be “stunted growth”, like that of a spiritual dwarf, disfigured human being, retarded in his personal development. Having tried it and found it was not for him, “atheist” is convinced that celibacy is “stunting” the growth of people. In other words, not being “sexually active” is deforming people and stopping them from fully developing their humanity. That is, of course, a very common view these days. Every tabloid paper and most talk shows are selling sex as the most vital elixir of life. No doubt, celibacy, like marriage, can go wrong. Pope Francis
recently had something to say on this when addressing a group of women religious superiors who had come to meet him. He mentioned “chastity as a precious charism, which widens the freedom of the gift to God and to others, with the tenderness, the mercy, the closeness of Christ….in the Church. The consecrated woman …must be a mother. But, please, a ‘fecund’ chastity, a chastity that generates spiritual children and not a ‘spinster!’…..Be mothers, as the figure of Mother Mary and of the Mother Church. “ A mother has found fulfillment as a woman. She lives for her family. She is a person-for-others, and as such she realizes her very self. We realize ourselves, and our
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Jesus put it paradoxically, “For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it” (Mark 8; 35). What do we live for? The answer is simple: Love. Which is exemplified and realized once and for all in Jesus’ self-giving. He did not live for one woman, for one beloved wife, he was celibate, but he lived to do the will of the Father and to live for his brothers and sisters, members of his Bride the Church. “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, … Be perfect therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5: 44 – 45, 48). “God is love” and perfect love makes us perfect humans. Love, not a lived out sexuality, makes us fully human is our full maturity and fulfilled humanity. Love for the tabloid readers is
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sex. Not quite. There is loveless, exploitative sex. Love, whether or not it finds sexual expression, is life-giving. There was a little baby-boy dumped on the streets of a big city. Police picked him up and took him to a hospital. The nurses fed the baby, bathed and clothed him dutifully. They came and went, on and offduty. The baby remained very tiny and did not grow. Then a children’s village took him in. One of the “housemothers” accepted the little one as her own. He responded to her love, and after a few months he was a heavy, healthy, happy little boy. Love gives life and growth. Sexual intimacy should be an expression of the love of man and woman for each other; their mutual
self-giving as husband and wife should be fruitful in giving life and love to children. But love is not confined to this intimate union, though marriage will be forever the most obvious symbol of love (which is why Scripture compares God and His people, Christ and the Church with a loving couple). In that same address to women religious Pope Francis said also, “Christ […] has called you to follow him … and this means to continually engage in an ‘exodus’ from yourselves to centre your existence on Christ and on his Gospel, on the will of God, divesting yourselves of your plans, to be able to say with Saint Paul: ‘It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me’ (Galatians 2:20). This ‘exodus’ leads us to a path of adoration of the Lord and of service to Him in our brothers and sisters.” A loving person is not centred on him- or herself, but on the beloved. A loving person is forever engaged in an ‘exodus’, in going out of himself or herself, is habitually a ‘person in relationship’, a person reaching out in love to the loved ones, forgetting self. We need a lifetime to complete this ‘exodus’, this leaving ourselves behind and becoming ‘people for others’, in
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perfect love with their Father, in conformity with the Son and driven by the Holy Spirit. It’s a pity that “atheist” left the seminary under the impression that he had escaped from a “stunted” life. Celibacy just was not meant for him. There are countless ways to God. If one door is closed that does not mean that the door to God is closed altogether. There are the spinsters and bachelors among celibates who still need to be freed from Egypt and its’ fleshpots’, undertake their ‘exodus’ and reach the ‘promised land’ of God’s love. But most, I dare say, who have heard the Lord’s call to a life of consecrated chastity want to love the people to whom they are sent as much, or even more so if that is possible, as their parents loved them, or rather as the Lord loves them which is without limit. Nothing can “stunt” or cripple us as long as we walk with Christ. His love is the fullness of life (John 10: 10). Fr Oskar WermterSJ assists the Bishops of Southern Africa, IMBISA, in theological and pastoral matters, based in Harare/Zimbabwe.
The Church Must not be Left Behind By Kudzai Kwangwari In this day and age where the business has moved to e-commerce, education to e-learning, governments to e-government, the church must not be left behind. Technological advancement particularly in the area of communication has been so fast that communities must respond accordingly. In other words the church must restrategize on how it reaches its ‘constituencies’ so that it is in sync with where people can be reached. Otherwise evangelization may become a difficult engagement with little results realised. While the church has made attempts to utilize the traditional media such as radio, television, print and direct word of mouth, the emergence of the new social media and modern Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) means that the church has no option except to embrace these media in order to maximize reach and result. Many young and middle-aged communities are found on social media such as Face book, Twitter, YouTube, whassup, sms,and g-chat. Instead of the church trying to dissuade young people, for instance, from interacting on these platforms, the church must actually follow them. For example cellphone penetration
and social media platforms to evangelize our communities. While many Pentecostal churches have been quick to adopt modern communication technologies, the Catholic Church has not been very active on these platforms. Our parishioners must not move away from church in order for them to access modern communication technologies. It must be possible in the church so that people can interact with the Creator in an easier and exciting manner especially for the young communities. in Zimbabwe is estimated to be more than 80% in the 15 years old to 65 year old age group. Most of these gadgets come with internet facility which enables these people interaction with broader communities worldwide. For instance, if a parish maintains a database of its parishioners, it will be possible to send the liturgy of the coming Sunday on a Friday so that parishioners can read and understand before Sunday mass. Some of these gadgets especially the latest I-phones come with facilities such as even the Bible which can be useful for e-evangelization. The bulk sms platform has become a very useful communication tool which even the Ministry of Home Affairs is now using through the Registrar General’s office. For instance, they now sms you that your passport or any other document is ready for collection thereby avoiding unnecessary queues and expenses. Why is the church not interacting with its constituency through these platforms where many of our people can be reached with relative ease? This is the time for the church not to lag behind in a world where all sectors are adopting a modern way of doing business. Let’s embrace an e-church and utilize all the modern ICTs
In advocating for the adoption of these communication technologies, we are not pushing for a situation where parishioners no longer congregate because this remains critical and cannot be substituted by internet or whatsapp, or sms, or twitter. We are only saying, unlike thirty years ago when communities could only be reached on Sundays, now we can evangelize and preach the word of God anytime using the referred platforms. Even in rural and other marginalized communities, there are platforms that can be used including the Bulk sms system. If business communities are now able to advertise on facebook, sms, and YouTube, the church can only alienate itself with its constituency if it shuns this development. This development is no different from the coming in of the voice amplifiers such as Public Address (PA) systems that have become a norm in the church. F i n a l l y, p a r i s h i o n e r s a r e discouraged to resist and fight techno-phobia so that the word of God cannot only be preached and shared easily, but also many more people can be brought to a big family of Christ where through his love we are one in Him. Let us not avoid innovation in this area as we continue to labour in enhancing our relationship with Christ. Kudzai Kwangwari Email: email@example.com
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Jesuit Province of Zimbabwe “Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is ready but the labourers are few. Ask the harvest master to send out labourers to gather his harvest.” Mt. 9:37-38
Our Mission – Serving the Catholic Church for the Greater Glory of God Men for Others - It generally takes four years of law school to become a lawyer, five years of medical school to become a doctor, and roughly the same length of time to be a dentist, vet doctor or a teacher. Jesuit training is different. It is less a course of study than a journey through several distinct stages of formation, beginning with two years of spiritual formation in the novitiate, followed by philosophy and theological studies, special studies then years of fulltime ministry. That is what it takes to produce men who are trained in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola, with the skills to minister to God’s people in a diverse and changing world. Through it all, Jesuits immerse themselves in the spiritual practices and learn to live in God’s presence. Jesuits serve where needs are greatest -- from rural missions, to urban neighbourhoods, in education and social works, in spirituality and parishes and are renowned as spiritual directors. Jesuits minister to people in the hard-to-reach places of the heart. As religious priest and brothers, Jesuits are men whom the Pope They are doing so as ministers of the Eucharist, experts in education, parish pastors, spiritual directors, administrators, university and prison chaplains, hospital visitors, academics in institutions of higher learning, collaborating with the universal Church for the greater glory of God! Each Jesuit is called to be “a fire that kindles other fires”. Do you feel called to serve Christ and the Church as a Jesuit brother or priest? Contact The Vocations Director 52 Mt Pleasant Drive, Mt Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe. Tel: +263 773314466; 04-744506 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
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Tsiga and the Year of Faith I met a school teacher recently who described her students’ grasp of their religion as “catastrophic.” By this she meant they did not know what they believed and seemed little inclined to find out. When Pope Benedict called for a “Year of Faith” he was picking up on this teacher’s concern. “The ‘door of faith’ (Acts 14:27) is always open for us,” he wrote, “ushering us into the life of communion with God and offering entry into his Church. It is possible to cross that threshold when the word of God is proclaimed and the heart allows itself to be shaped by transforming grace. To enter through that door is to set out on a journey that lasts a lifetime.” Pope Benedict’s invitation was to deepen the gift that we have received and let it permeate our lives. What then can we hope for? Do we rejoice in seeing our churches packed, our seminaries full and our laity compliant? Is it likely that we will return to a situation which those of us who are older remember? I suspect we know in our hearts it will never be like that again. It is more likely we will see smaller numbers going to church and fewer applying to seminaries and religious communities. But I do not think we should lose heart because of this. If trends in other parts of the world are indicative, Christians will be fewer in number but greater in commitment. Christians will be more visible, more engaged and more nourished by their faith. They will be fewer but Karl Rahner, the great theologian of the Vatican Council of fifty years ago, said they will be mystics. I say this not to disparage the great numbers who call themselves Christians. I have this image of a marathon. Thousands begin the race but after a while those out in front are few. The good thing is most finish the race even if they take their time. We think of the growth of the church in terms of numbers and may have a hidden agenda that
in the future all the people of the world will come into the church. That looks pretty unlikely. Jesus speaks of the mustard seed but he only expected the birds of the air to “shelter in its branches.” He speaks of small things having a big impact, of hidden things permeating the whole, like the leaven. That word ‘permeating’ comes in the Second Vatican Council’s document on the Church: “the world is permeated by the spirit of Christ” (#36). Jesus wants the world to reflect the will of his Father and that all people will “find shelter”. While many do not feel drawn to enter the visible community they do in fact share many of the gospel values. They know that the truth makes us free and that there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for others. The newspapers and the TV are full of examples of heroic people risking their lives for the truth and giving themselves for others. Some of them go to church but not many. Through the coming of the Word into the world, the human and the divine are moving closer together like two tectonic plates. In the beautiful words of Irenaeus (died about the year 200), “He who did this is the Word of God, who dwelt in man and became son of man in order to accustom man to receive God and accustom God to dwell in man.”These thoughts came to me recently as I read Tsiga, a novel by the late Wilson Katiyo, who
was also the author of A Son of the Soil. Tsiga was a freedom fighter and when he came home he “could have applied for any high civil service post which I knew nothing about and got the job, but I had qualms about that sort of thing” (p.81). Instead he found himself homeless and destitute until he met Twoboy whom he strongly believed was his unknown halfbrother. They become great friends and share an abandoned car body as their home. All is well until a town official implies that vagrants often have money on them and a hunt for homeless people begins in which those who disappoint the attackers are often killed. But let Katiyo speak: Tuesday arrived with clear blue skies and brilliant sunshine but for some reason I (Tsiga) woke up with a thick lump in my throat. Before he went out to his new meetings for the homeless, Twoboy wondered if I was sick or something. I told him I was alright and not to worry about me. As the day wore on I felt more and more depressed.… When he came home … he brought a small mountain of sausage and French bread … and two bottles of cheap wine. I had never seen Twoboy in a stranger mood. He looked quite happy but I could also feel some internal rage going on inside him. He had never spoken to me so slowly or so deliberately. He told me the political situation in the country had to change”(p 105). They talk about their relationship, about Mara (the love of Tsiga’s life) and about politics. We finished the last bottle … there was fear in his (Twoboy’s) eyes. He looked hopelessly distressed…. The next day Twoboy goes out to buy cigarettes and is set upon and stabbed repeatedly by three youths. … “They have killed your friend,” said Mrs Gore, the kind lady who ran the kiosk, “they showed him no mercy, the vicious hounds.” When she got close to him she said, “he wore a half smile over which blood trickled to the ground and after he was gone, it
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OPINION remained there. There was no pain on his face. And there was no fear in his eyes. She would always remember him like that. As the car sped off, Mrs Gore sang ‘Amazing Grace’ for Twoboy.” As I read this passage I suddenly realised all the elements of the paschal mystery were present. It was a human tragedy the like of which we often hear of, but it is a story that “shelters in the shade” of the mustard tree. Twoboy was ‘hopelessly distressed’ in his own garden of Gethsemane and in great fear. He goes and blows his scarce money on a last supper with his friend and then he goes to his death. Tsiga understands no more than the disciples did but it is Mrs Gore (Mary Magdalene) who glimpses the ‘resurrection’ of Twoboy. Was Katiyo aware of what he was doing? Did he realise that he was describing Jesus’ passion endured again in our streets? Whatever the
answer to this question, what we are left with is the realisation that the death and resurrection of Jesus are clearly embedded in the daily life of people, particularly those who suffer. The last days of Jesus were not some tragic story that only happened to him.His story has become our story. His life and death have ‘permeated’ our lives and deaths in a way that we may not even be conscious of. Katiyo may have had Jesus in his mind but I suspect he didn’t. It is more likely he was telling a story that was true in the sense that it mirrored the reality in contemporary Zimbabwe.The gospel,in other words, has become so much part of us that it is like the leaven and the flour- or the brandy and coke. You can’t separate them once that they are mixed. So it is with God. He is with us; he is mixed up with us. You cannot say, ‘Look he is here. Look, he is there,’ in the sense of seeing a visible reality that you can label. But he is there.
So, am I saying it is not important whether you belong to the church of the future or not? Many of our contemporaries see no reason for seeking baptism and becoming visible members of the church. If you are reading these words it is likely that you share my view that there have to be some people who keep the fire alive.The visible church is to my mind the hearth (choto) which “kindles other fires.” It may be criticised and mocked until cows come home but it remains the reference point, the anchor, the rock, the fire and the leaven which transforms society. So this year of faith poses questions for me. What do I mean when I say I am a Christian? What is my place in the Church? What do I want? (John 1:38) Who am I looking for? (John 20:15).
Academic Distance and Human Closeness Ross Parsons, One day all this will be over – Growing up with HIV in an eastern Zimbabwean town, Weaver Press, Harare, Zimbabwe, 2012, pp. 196. The Zimbabwean author is clearly committed to very high standards as a scholar and researcher who keeps interrupting his narrative by reflecting on methodology which is complicated by the fact that he is both a psychotherapist and an ethnographer (social anthropologist?) who has to mediate between two disciplines. The non-academic reader may be overawed by the sophistication of these reflections, even discouraged from going on reading this scientific study. He will be amply rewarded if he perseveres. The object of this study is HIV and AIDS in children in Mutare, the researcher’s home town. Or that is what he set himself as his aim. He formed a psycho-social support group with affected children, and soon finds that more is asked of him than scholarly distance and scientific objectivity. He gets drawn into the lives of these children who live on the
margins of s o c i e t y. And the children, t h e i r parents and families, guardians and carers, regard him as kin – substitute father, uncle or elder brother.Which triggers off a detour into the Shona kinship system (relying on anthropological work by Michael Bourdillon and J.F.Holleman). Parsons’ study covers the years 2005 – 2010, the most critical years of the “failed” Zimbabwean state when the economy collapsed under astronomical inflation, political violence was rampant and health services as well as the educational
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system provided by government broke down; unemployment forced parents and care givers to seek a livelihood beyond our borders, disrupting family life and hitting these vulnerable children hard. The researcher is not content with narrow clinical findings; he feels obliged to put them into their wider social context and describe the impact the “failed state” and its failing services have on the children in their precarious state. Surprisingly, some dedicated health workers still maintain medical services: at hospital “outpatients” the children and their carers meet and find support in each other’s company. Traditional healers are also sought after. But it is the (mostly charismatic or Pentecostal) churches and African independent churches (e.g. vapostori) which are most relied upon for “healing”, more especially “faith healing”.
BOOK REVIEW The sick children find themselves in a cruel dilemma. They are told to have faith and rely solely on God’s intervention (‘The best way to show that I believe would be to stop these pills’ p. 137), and yet feel they cannot do without the medication they are offered as life-saving, sometimes by the very churches who preach ‘faith and prayer alone’. If they take the medicines does that mean they have no faith (in God’s healing power)? The author would like to free the afflicted children, his children by now and friends, from this dilemma, but sees no way out given the stance of these churches which he views critically. The reviewer suggests that this cruel dilemma – faith in God’s healing power orreliance on the human ingenuity of modern medicine, but not both - is the tragic result of bad theology. God the Creator is greater than the whole of his creation. He does not rival human factors. He is not in competition with human agents, e.g. with medical doctors. He is greater than all these and he makes use of them. We may ask God for healing which He may bring about by using the skills of medical workers. Christ the Healer continues his work with the hands of dedicated doctors and nurses. Prayer and medical science are compatible: a surgeon who has faith may pray for the success of theoperation he performs while using all his intellectual gifts and skills in the process. We thank God for ARV drugs through which He has given new hope to HIV/AIDS patients. Parsons also questions the attitude of churchestowards the use of condoms.
While fully aware of the great variety of “Christianities” in Zimbabwe, in this instance he sees only uniformity. In fact, the debate (and practice) has reached a level of sophistication and discernment among Christians concerned with AIDS which I do not see reflected in the author’s remarks. Even within Christian communities, HIV-positive people do not “come out” about their status. Within families where the status is well known and children may show physical signs of being acutely ill with AIDS (weight loss, emaciation, rashes, open wounds, loss of hair etc) secrecy is preserved. Only secondary illnesses are talked about. While the stigma is being preserved the stigmatized live in terrible isolation. Clearly this is a challenge to Christians to create a space where people living with AIDS may “come out” and be fully accepted. What can “HIV positive, poor children living precariously in a failing state” hope for? Many long for being together with their loved ones who have passed on before them in a state of heavenly bliss, freed from their present misery. Parsons seem to regard such expectations as “an opiate of hope”. One has to admit that some of the dreams the children have facing their end seem to be escapist. Christian faith and hope are more profound. In a footnote, the author declares (to us his readers, maybe not to the children): “I have come to hold a view of ‘hope’ that is deeply critical, less than optimistic, and certainly not in keeping with Christian notions of ‘hope’ as a cardinal virtue. It seems to me that hope is best understood as a form of protective denial against unbearable emotional pain, pace
Freud”. It is the psychoanalyst speaking here. Christian hope is based on our dying with Christ so as to rise with him too. We do not deny, let alone ignore, human suffering and death. Nor do we deny the hope of meeting up with the Risen One and sharing in his life, either. This is a deeply personal encounter, “seeing God eye to eye”. Dreams of paradise, of bliss and enjoyment have nothing to do with this. “We are already God’s children, but what we shall be in the future has not yet been revealed…we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he really is” (1 John 3: 2). The imagination of children of course is not satisfied with this relatively abstract statement. Other researchers and writers have described the rituals surrounding death objectively. Parsons accompanies the dying,trying tounderstand the subjective dimension, the feelings, emotions, fear and anxieties the children in their “failing state” go through. They do not protest. They do not blame the “failed state”, there is no anger. One child left a note to be given to the author: “My loving father, I have struggled a long time. I have tried. I am very sick. Read Psalm 23. Remember my mother’s family. Your loving son.” This is not an easy book to read and understand. This review is hardly doing justice to it. It certainly does not dispense from undertaking the labour of actually following in the footsteps of the author as he takes us along the path he has walked painfully with these suffering, dying children of Mutare.
A WOMAN’S NONVIOLENT STRUGGLE AGAINST WAR The Duty of Delight, The Diaries of Dorothy Day, edited by Robert Ellsberg, Marquette University Press, Milwaukee, USA, 2008, 669 pp.. Dorothy Day grew up in a very warm and caring family. But there was hardly any interest in church or religion. What she knew about Scripture was largely self-taught. She was the daughter of a journalist, and became a journalist herself. The struggle of the poor for survival and of workers for justice was her
main concern as a reporter and a young writer. She would have been delighted about the “Church of the Poor” Pope Francis hopes to see. At first, her engagement in the struggle for social justice together with leftist friends, even Communist party members, was not motivated by the Gospel. Together with suffragists
(radical feminists) she was arrested and imprisoned. Later in life she said about herself, “Apart from drug addiction, I committed all the sins young people commit today”. She called her life-style as a young woman “promiscuous”. She fell pregnant and had an abortion. And yet she was a person seeking the
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BOOK REVIEW truth. In 1927 she converted and was received into the Catholic Church. She had her daughter Tamar baptized a Catholic. The child’s father, Dorothy’s common law husband Forster Batterham, an agnostic, refused to live with her in a Christian marriage. So Dorothy left him, though she still loved him and felt deep pain over the separation. This radical decision stamped her life. She continued her struggle for social justice, seeking a spiritual basis for it in her newly found faith. Her struggle as a pacifist, an activist for nonviolence and disarmament, and her active support for striking unions was for her the practical consequence of Catholic Social Doctrine. In 1933 she started The Catholic Worker, her and her movement’s mouthpiece for the rest of her life (it is still being published even today). She decided to live a life of voluntary poverty in community with the poor. So the Houses of Hospitality and the farming communities sprang up. She loved the poor, the abandoned, neglected, and the mentally and physically handicapped with all her heart, but it was hard. “To love is to suffer,” she learned soon. The worst aspect of poverty was to her, a writer who appreciated music and literature, the lack of privacy. And yet she also experienced the “joy that goes with loving “as well as the “joy at sharing of Jesus’ passion”. Her mentor, guide and co-worker Peter Maurin, of French peasant stock, philosopher, worker and peace activist, taught her “To give and not to take….That is what makes man human”. With Peter she strove “to make the kind of society where it is easier to be good.” “Where there is no love put love and you will find love.” “You love God as much as you love the least.” These three sayings she keeps repeating in her diary. They were a summary of the great struggle in her life. Whenever she lost her temper with one of the “guests” in her houses of hospitality, some of them deeply traumatized persons, psychopaths, prostitutes and exconvicts, she was deeply dismayed, “You love God as much as you love the least…” The great economic crisis of the early thirties left millions jobless, homeless, hungry and sick. Dorothy and her growing number
of helpers and companions responded with soup kitchens and shelters for the homeless. At this time, in 1934, she started her d i a r y, n o w published in this volume, resuming a habit she had as a child. The daily entries (but there are large gaps) allow us to observe her and her communities in action, in short scribblings of only a few words, followed by longer reflections and meditations. We meet her countless friends, some famous and prominent, others the rejects of society. The editor explains in footnotes who thes e p e o p l e w e r e a n d w h a t relationship they had to Dorothy. Her conversion to the Catholic Church may have alienated some of her old comrades-in-arms, but for Dorothy they remained much loved and respected friends. She wrote about Hiroshima (6th August 1945) and the atomic bomb that killed 318 000 Japanese. “Our pilgrimage will be in thanksgiving [for the end of the war] as well as in penance for having used the atomic bomb”. Dorothy saw everything with the eyes of God, reflected on it in prayer, sought radically, going to the very roots, its meaning in the light of the Spirit. It is necessary, she noted, “to pray always, to create the propitious atmosphere”. Being continuously in the Presence (of God), was one of her great concerns. The “Jesus-Prayer” of the Eastern Church recited silently at all times sustained her at the most stressful moments of her busy life. Against the spirit of the times Dorothy insisted on the daily Eucharist, even when she was travelling, as she did often by bus right across the US to give talks and lectures. Is this just boring routine? “One could point out that breathing was routine, and eating was routine…We go to eat of this fruit of the tree of life because Jesus told us so. ….We are nourished by his flesh that we may grow to be other Christs. I believe this literally, just as I believe the child is nourished by the milk from his mother’s breast.” Dorothy Day was not only a spiritual
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genius; she was also one of the most brilliant women of her day. She observed with sharp eyes, and wrote with great clarity, penetrating complex issues. So she was inclined to deliver devastating judgments about people and events. But she was struck by Jesus’ command, “Do not judge”. She admonished herself of the “need to be unjudging of injustice. A greater control of the tongue - less criticism”. And this came from a woman who used to take actively part in the great anti-war, anti-nuclear armament demonstrations of her day for which she and her friends were frequently imprisoned (together with Fr Daniel Berrigan SJ, to name but one) . But the outward show was not everything. What counted for her even more was the solidarity with the poor, the victims of war and violence sacrificed on the altar of brutal power. And all this was accompanied by “prayer and fasting”. Fasting she turned once more, not just into a political, but a spiritual weapon. In her youth she mixed with anarchists. Her distrust of the State never left her. “He who governs best governs least,” she said from her Gospel perspective. “The less you have of Caesar the less you have to render to him”. With her friend Peter Maurin she emphasized personal responsibility and did not want to rely on the State for everything, thereby giving the State too much power. “How obey the laws of the State when to man’s conscience they run counter to the Divine Law? Thou shalt not kill.” This insight fired her resistance to the Vietnam War. But she still had sympathy for socialism, and travelled as journalists to Cuba at a time when US hostility did not encourage this. Once she bluntly noted, “The Church is corrupt”, despite her undoubted love of the Church. The relationship of the Church to the State was a great problem to her. She opposed conscription into the army and went to prison for her support of conscientious objection. Some of her companions in the Catholic Worker movement spent years in prison for burning their draft cards and refusing military service. She advocated civil disobedience and tried “to inform their consciences, to heed the still, small voice, and to refuse to participate in the immorality of the war.”
BOOK REVIEW At the end of Vatican Council II, she was by then 68 years of age, she demonstrated together with a group of women in front of St Peter’s Basilica in support of a complete condemnation of war. Gaudium et Spes no. 82, does in fact do that by demanding “to spare no effort in order to work for the moment when all war will be completely outlawed by international agreement”. In the
meantime all “must work to put an end to the arms race and make a real beginning of disarmament”. In her last days, she noted, “If I did not believe profoundly in the primacy of the spiritual, the importance of prayer, these would be hard days for me, inactive as I am”. She died in 1980, 83 years old. Her many friends and followers
hope she will be beatified soon, even declared a saint. The struggle for peace and against war will then have two patron saints, Dorothy Day as well as Blessed Franz Jaegerstaetter, the Austrian farmer who died for refusing to serve in Hitler’s army, whom Dorothy admired. Journalists will also want to look at her as their model and guide. Reviewed by Oskar Wermter SJ
THE HEALING MISSION OF THE CHURCH Dr J.F Davis: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED- Her Life Work in Zimbabwe, An Autobiography, 2013 Bulawayo, Ilizwi Publications. This small book (80 pages) is a very important contribution to the writing of the history of the Church in this country. “Just an ordinary girl from a working class background” Hannah Davis (her German family name was Ziegler) calls herself. Early in life she felt called to be a mission doctor and pursued that aim with singular determination. She wrote this book in the hope that it would motivate others to accept such a calling and offer themselves for this work of love. She spent all her active life as a medical doctor in Northern Matabeleland, Fatima Mission and St Luke’s Hospital (1948 – 2002). She saw herself as a lay person, though she was a member of an association of mission doctors; she was committed for life, so she never married. “She lived a very religious life, participating very actively in the Holy Mass every day.” (Foreword by Archbishop A Thomas SVD of Bulawayo).She followed Jesus the healer and did his work. Without a life of prayer, she could not have done this. ‘Ma Khumalo’ as she was affectionately known writes with great warmth and tenderness about the people of Matabeleland. She started her medical work under primitive conditions, but gradually, with the help of many benefactors, she built up the mission hospitals, especially St Luke’s Lupane, and made them centres of medical care for the whole province, reaching out to many out-clinics. She is quite open about difficulties the Church had at times with government officials though she was always
church medical workers made the same decision.
willing to have a good working relationship with them. This of course is a general problem: can the Church regard her hospitals as her own? Or is she merely tolerated, government regarding itself the owner and controller of all health care facilities? – She trained her own staff and ran a training school for nurses. The severest test of her life as a medical missionary came during the war years before and after Independence, the “war of liberation” and “Gukurahundi”. Her friend, colleague and neighbour DrJ.Decker was killed by “freedom fighters”, also (retired) Bishop Adolf Schmitt CMM, Father Possenti Weggartner CMM and Sr M.F. van den Berg CPS were murdered while travelling in the region. “We were, of course, very frightened, but we made up our minds just to stick to our vocations and stay there, how could we desert our people in their hour of need? Surely it was only by Divine Providence that we were in fact able to keep our hospital open right through the course of the war,” Dr Davis writes about this crucial decision during the “war of liberation”. Many other
Even some of her very loyal local staff became victims of the criminal madness of war.The paragraph “Fifth Brigade Produced a Saint” (62) is the story of an ambulance driver who “laid down his life for his friends”, trying to save the life of the injured, while disregarding his own. It is very good that these heroic deeds are put on record and preserved for future generations, especially since “the media was systematically silent about the atrocities of the Fifth Brigade” (64). It is very necessary that the rest of the country is reminded of these crimes against humanity. She records also that she herself and Bishop Henry Karlen, in an attempt to stop the madness of “Gukurahundi”, tried to meet the Prime Minister in Harare to give him the facts. They were only able to speak to Simon Muzenda. A year after the end of “Gukurahundi” the Prime Minister came to Lupane and she was able to meet him and speak to him (“In 1984, ten years after the atrocities had ended in our area…” it says in the book. This error needs to be corrected in a revised edition.) It is good that we have this record of her life and work (she wrote and published such an autobiography in German already some years ago). Hopefully it will motivate other workers in the“vineyard of the Lord”, whether of foreign origin or locally born, to use their retirement to write their life stories for the benefit of future generations. DrJ.F.Davis , now 95 years old, is living in retirement in Bulawayo.
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