To whom do bishops answer?
February 3 to February 9, 2010 No 4661
Who pays Archaeologist: when Father ‘Turin Shroud is not real’ falls ill?
New head for Jesuit institute
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SOUTHERN AFRICA’S NATIONAL CATHOLIC WEEKLY SINCE 1920
New bishop for Tzaneen
Inside Family reflections for Lent A new booklet of reflections for Lent published by a Johannesburg-based family ministry looks at “the trouble with Catholics”.— Page 3
Pope praises Haiti response Pope Benedict has praised the world’s response to the Haiti earthquake while South African Catholics are raising funds for the disaster relief and reconstruction.—Pages 3 & 4
A vocation for everybody A modern Catholic foundation called Heart’s Home includes priests, nuns, consecrated lay people, and young volunteers hoping to make a difference.—Page 6
Why the world needs religion In his monthly column, Mphuthumi Ntabeni argues that a world without religion would be barbaric.—Page 9
New books reviewed We review Thomas Friedman’s best seller Hot Flat and Crowded and a novel on life in a 16th century Italian convent.—Page 10
What do you think? In their Letters to the Editor this week, readers discuss married priests, Anglican converts, feminism, repentance, contraception, and legal immunity.—Page 8
This week’s editorial: Health of mind and body
Lay woman gets Vatican position BY CINDY WOODEN
OPE Benedict has named a laywoman undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, marking the first time in more than 20 years that a woman has served as undersecretary of a pontifical council. Flaminia Giovanelli succeeds US Bishop Frank Dewane, who held the position until 2006. The post has been vacant since then. Ms Giovanelli, 61, is a political scientist, who has worked at the council since 1974. As a council official, she had been responsible for issues dealing with development, poverty and labour from the point of view of Catholic social teaching. The last woman to serve as undersecretary of a pontifical council was Rosemary Goldie, an Australian, who held the position from 1966-76 at the Pontifical Council for the Laity. Ms Giovanelli will not be the highestranking woman at the Vatican, though. Salesian Sister Rosanna Enrica serves as undersecretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. In a statement, Cardinal Peter Turkson, the Ghanaian president of the Justice and Peace council, said the appointment of Giovanelli “demonstrates the concern of the Church for the promotion of the dignity and rights of women in the world”, which is one area of special concern to his office. Ms Giovanelli has served on the Joint Working Group of the Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches since 2006.—CNS
SA CUP: South African pilgrimage operator Val Tangney presents Franciscan Brother Florian of the Mount Nebo sanctuary in Jordan with a chalice as Fr Michael van Heerden (left), Archbishop Buti Tlhagale of Johannesburg and Fr Vincent Brennan SMA look on. The sanctuary—which marks the spot from where Moses saw the Promised Land—had lost a chalice it had lent to a South African tour group and which was supposed to be returned by a tour guide. Hearing of this, Mrs Tangney investigated which group of pilgrims might have been involved with a view to tracking down the guide. While her enquiries were fruitless, Franciscan Father Tony Thouard of Boksburg offered to donate the chalice which Mrs Tangney took to Mount Nebo during a pilgrimage with the three churchmen.
OPE Benedict has appointed Fr João Noé Rodrigues as the new bishop of Tzaneen. He succeeds Bishop Hugh Slattery MSC, who has retired after reaching the canonical retirement age of 75. Fr Rodrigues was born in Cape Town on March 8, 1953, and ordained priest for the diocese of Witbank on July 4, 1982. After his ordination Fr Rodrigues was appointed temporary rector of Christ the Priest minor seminary in Witbank, served as army chaplain, and vice-rector of St John Vianney seminary (1991-93). He served Sacred Heart parish in Ackerville, where he is currently based, and as Witbank’s cathedral administrator. He is the dean of the Highveld deanery, coordinator of the diocesan catechetical programme in Witbank and a part-time lecturer at St John Vianney seminary. The bishop-elect has a licence in dogmatic theology from the Pontifical Urbaniana University in Rome and a master of arts degree in Spirituality from Santa Clara University in California. Bishop Slattery had headed the diocese of Tzaneen since 1984, its second bishop since being established in 1972. The diocese serves about 50 000 Catholics.
Legalised prostitution ‘a difficult choice’ BY MICHAIL RASSOOL
HE decision on whether to decriminalise prostitution will be difficult to make, and the debate—which began many years ago—will most probably continue well beyond the Football World Cup, according to Janine Ogle, a researcher with the bishops’ Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office (CPLO). Ms Ogle downplayed the widespread idea that the government was attempting to force through legislation legalising prostitution in time for the Football World Cup in June. The suspicion was aroused by a call for submissions on adult prostitution by the South African Law Reform Commission. At present prostitution is totally criminalised under the Sexual Offences Act 23 of 1957 and the Sexual Offences Amendment Act 32 of 2007, which criminalise prostitution, brothel owning and operating, procurement of women to work as prostitutes, soliciting by prostitutes, and benefiting from the profits of prostitution. It is also an offence to have “unlawful carnal intercourse” or commit an act of “indecency” with another person for profit. The Act also defines “unlawful carnal intercourse” as that between two people not married to each other. Ms Ogle in a briefing paper said it is important to note that while the Act criminalises the “work” done by prostitutes, it does not criminalise being a prostitute. The 2007 amendment provides for the liability of the client as a participant in the criminal act. Noting that prostitution offends the values of most citizens, especially those who have religious beliefs, Ms Ogle said that oth-
The red light district of Hamburg, Germany. A Church researcher has discussed the potential for legalising prostitution in South Africa. ers view prostitution and other forms of sex work as valid options, especially for women trapped in a cycle of poverty. They feel it is not the government’s business to make laws that impose one group’s morality on the population as a whole. The Catechism of the Catholic Church condemns prostitution as a “social scourge” which “does injury to the dignity of the person who engages in it”. The Catechism adds: “While it is always gravely sinful to engage in prostitution, the imputability of the offence can be attenuated by destitution, blackmail, or social pressure.” Vivienne Lalu, advocacy programme
coordinator for the Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT), which lobbies for the decriminalisation of adult sex work in South Africa, told The Southern Cross that her organisation proposes that sex work be regulated, not criminalised. She said sex workers do have rights under the Constitution, and should be the object of law enforcement attention only when in breach of regulatory provisions. For this reason, Ms Lalu said, “sex workers” must participate in all significant public debates surrounding the criminalisation or decriminalisation of their work. The CPLO’s Ms Ogle said the South African Law Reform Commission has proposed four possible models for legislating on adult prostitution. Total criminalisation, in which all aspects and role players involved in prostitution would be criminalised, which is close to the current model whose main aim is to eliminate prostitution. Partial criminalisation decriminalises the selling of prostitution, while the buying of prostitution indoors and/or outdoors and some or all prostitution related acts would be criminalised. Non-criminalisation removes all criminal sanctions on prostitutes, clients, and prostitution-related acts. Regulation, a form of employment which criminalises only those acts that breach specified regulations. The prostitution debate goes beyond what we may believe is morally right or wrong, said Ms Ogle. “The reasons why so many women, and some men, enter prostitution, and the difficulty they encounter in trying to exit the profession, need particular attention.”
The Southern Cross, February 3 to February 9, 2010
New Jesuit thrust to connect business and religious values BY MICHAIL RASSOOL
AYMOND Perrier, new director of the Jesuit Institute of South Africa (JISA) in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, wants it to be a place where the Church and the wider society can meet, to discuss the world and the way it works, and assess God’s role in it. Mr Perrier, an Englishman who has been closely involved with the Jesuits for a number of years, including a two-year stint with the Jesuit Refugee Service in Uganda, worked in London for the Catholic Agency For Overseas Development (CAFOD), overseeing a department of 75 people working with Catholic schools and parishes across Britain. His background before was in business consulting, and he had several significant clients in South Africa. “It is, I think, a very exciting time to be starting in such a role, as the institute is developing a unique position in the country,” Mr Perrier said. “South Africa is facing new challenges and opportunities, and the Church has the insights of the African Synod to absorb and implement.” He said a particular area he wishes to develop is finding ways in which Church and business can work more closely together for the common good. Mr Perrier called JISA a “Monday to Friday organisation” interested in “Ignatian Spirituality” (named after Jesuit founder St Ignatius of Loyola) that deals with spiritual application to everyday life.
Raymond Perrier He said part of its task is to reconnect the secular and spiritual realms, whether it involves engagement between the Church and academia or any other cultural sphere. He decried the tendency in the developed world to separate actively the two realms, even away from the idea that many of the positive aspects of secularism may well have their roots in the spiritual. Around for a few years, JISA provides spiritual training and convenes forums and debates on current socio-political, mostly from a faith perspective, and religious issues, with a view to stimulating critical reflection, research and dialogue. It has presented programmes involving individuals from the business, political and educational spheres, from diverse faith backgrounds. Although the institute’s approach is unapologetically
Wings of Hope school gets toddlers off streets BY MICHAIL RASSOOL
Catholic or Ignatian, Mr Perrier said, it doesn’t mean its doors are shut to the contributions that other faiths can make to such aims, or that they cannot be forces for good. Regarding engaging the business sector with religious values, he told of the strides being made by Muslim businessmen in discussions surrounding this topic. He said he was amazed that South Africa does not have a concrete theology of business, a sphere that can be an enormous force for both good and ill. He pointed out that many Catholic executives or Catholics serving on corporate boards tend not to integrate their spiritual sensibilities and their business acumen, in which the values of one can reinforce those of the other. The JISA director says the fact that religion enjoys prominence in South African national life is fortuitous, because it opens up space for dialogue. “I am keen to encourage Catholics to think and encourage them to a deeper engagement with their faith,” Mr Perrier said. He is looking forward to the visit to South Africa of former Rome-based Australian Jesuit Fr Gerald O’Collins, a Christologist, who will tour the country with his lecture, “The Many Faces of Jesus”. Mr Perrier spoke of a rich tradition of reflective faith, one that integrates all sectors of the created world, which is a process he sees JISA facilitating, in the process “enlarging the horizons of hope.”
Tswana name “Kgosi“. The Kgosi Neighbourhood Foundation came HEN the Kgosi Neigh- about in August 2004, bourhood School in She said the school, from Grade Jeppestown, Johannes- 0 to R for children of 3-5 years, burg, was founded in 2004, a long- starts at 07:30 with breakfast held dream came true for King before lessons start. The children William's Town Dominican Sister also receive lunch, so by the time Natalie Kühn, who founded it. they return home, body and soul The former principal of the have been nourished. Dominican Convent School, BelShe said that since many of the gravia, across the street from the parents cannot pay the fees, the Kgosi school, said she had been school has to fundraise. It costs distressed to see the many neigh- more than R40 000 a month to bourhood children, some as young run the school. as two and three The school years, uncared for employs two qualon the Jeppe ified teachers and streets, a reflection two assistants of the extreme who were sent by poverty of the area. the school for speUntil her 2004 cial Grade R trainretirement she saw ing. the social composiSr Kühn said tion of the area that whenever poschange as well as sible she seeks to the wellbeing of empower the residents, too poor women of the to send their chilneighbourhood dren to any school. especially, holding She started self-help workexploring possibilishops facilitated ties of founding a by Sr Ann Wigley school to give hope OP of the to these children. In Bohareng Spiritualthis she had the ity Centre in Sr Natalie Kühn help of a bank execTroyeville. They utive, through whom an advertising learn the importance of using the agency ran a competition as a mar- local library and reading newspaketing exercise among artists, who pers. Some have been sent for were required to come up with a training as caregivers for the corporate illustration for the project- elderly as a source of employed school's chosen motto, “Wings of ment. Hope”. “By the time they reach Grade The aim was also to come up 1 at a local school, the children’s with a name that denoted the idea educational wings have already of servant leadership, thus the started growing.”
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The Southern Cross, February 3 to February 9, 2010
SA appeal for Haiti relief tops half-million mark T BY MICHAIL RASSOOL
Praying and singing together are (from left) Fr Phillipe Docq, YES Southern Africa spiritual director; Fr Tiziano Marian, Mauritius spiritual director; Anne Campher, Southern Africa board member; Mark Moodley of Port Elizabeth; and Clayton Noah, Southern African board member.
SA features in world meeting of YESsers
HE Youth Encounter Spirit (YES) Board in Mauritius recently hosted its 25th Anniversary Convention, to which YESsers (persons who have done the YES experience) from all over the world, including South Africa, were invited. The celebrations began with a Mass celebrated by the YES spiritual leaders. The South African delegation was led by the spiritual director and chairman of the YES Southern Africa Board, Fr Phillipe Docq, and the rest of the board. Present were YESsers representing branches throughout the country and delegates from Namibia, where South Africa is doing an outreach. The main activities included the YES Mauritius Games, an international board meeting, and the convention meeting itself, which included presentations from the YES Mauritius ministry and the South African Board and its branches. Johannesburg YESser Manny de
Freitas said that it was a lifechanging experience where YESsers from many cultures and countries met as one in God. The founder of YES, Dr Tom Hedberg, sent his good wishes from Australia. “New bonds have been created and both YES Ministries in Mauritius and South Africa intend to intensify their relationship,” Mr de Freitas said. He is available on 082 788 6824.
r Townsend said this appeal being launched by Caritas Internationalis, the Vatican-based umbrella body for Catholic charities, was deemed appropriate in several quarters owing to the organisation’s solid reputation as a development agency and its constructive response to disaster management in various parts of the world. “Financial support is still the best way to help as getting aid into Haiti is still a problem, despite both the airport and port being functional,” the bishops’ spokesman said. “Caritas International is grateful for all assistance received and is particularly happy with the South African support given by the Gift of the Giver
Foundation”, a local Islamic charity. Regarding the amounts collected, he said it signifies that all are touched by what has happened in Haiti, giving rise to this practical response, and is grateful especially to those who could afford to give only small amounts. The bishops’ spokesman also said there is an element of trust, some assurance that the monies they donate will reach their destination. The Caritas target was reached in the same period that former First Lady Graça Machel launched the “Africa for Haiti” campaign which aims to identify, in partnership with Haitian civil society organisations, initiatives through which Africans can demonstrate solidarity and support for the people of Haiti, with a view to medium- and long-term reconstruction of communities there. Fr Townsend said he believed non-governmental organisations involved in disaster management and reconstruction initiatives in the island country, ones that are likely to have fairly lengthy engagement there, would be grateful for the support as the reality of the situation became clearer to the rest of the world.
‘The Trouble with Catholics’ Lenten booklet BY MICHAIL RASSOOL
NEW booklet of Lenten reflections is now available from the Johannesburgbased Marriage and Family Life Renewal Ministries (MARFAM). Entitled “The Trouble with Catholics”, the reflections are loosely linked with the Lenten and Easter seasons, and can be used in families during a special “family
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HE Project Caritas Haiti Appeal has hit the half-million rand mark since its launch locally, using the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference’s (SACBC) networks, in mid-January in the aftermath of that country’s earthquake. By late January the appeal had raised more than R500 000 and the response had come from every Catholic quarter — parish special collections, religious communities and individuals, with donations of R50 and upwards, said SACBC spokesman Fr Chris Townsend. He said many dioceses had launched parish appeals. The archdiocese of Durban was running the appeal for three weeks, as did the diocese of Manzini, Swaziland. The archdiocese of Johannesburg had also called for a special collection, Fr Townsend said. He said it is part of the National Church Leaders’ Consultation’s (NCLC) appeal to local Christian generosity, to provide food and water and for each community to consider a special collection for disaster relief in Haiti. Due to transport difficulties, it would be better that
immediate contributions from South Africa be financial, the church leaders pointed out. At the time, the NCLC also appealed to the International Monetary Fund and World Bank to cancel Haiti’s considerable international debt, allowing the country to make a new start, which would be a significant act of compassion. The church leaders also appealed to President Jacob Zuma to drive an African response at the African Union summit.
hour”, in groups or by individuals. The issue is presented as a statement and a discussion by the “accuser” and “defender”. Some scripture references are provided and readers are invited to reflect, discuss, reach a conclusion, decide on any necessary action and end with prayer, for the Church and for themselves, MARFAM coordinator Toni Rowland said. Several “troubles” with
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Catholics, or accusations levelled at them, are presented for reflection. These include not knowing their faith, understanding it, practising or living it, that at Mass they’re just benchwarmers. Moreover, Catholics are said to believe in or worship saints, especially Mary, and they still worship their ancestors even though they are Christians, that they do not integrate their spirituality into
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The Southern Cross, February 3 to February 9, 2010
INTERNATIONAL John Paul II Turin Shroud ‘not How punished himself from Jerusalem’ P R BY CINDY WOODEN
OPE John Paul II always took penitence seriously, spending entire nights lying with his arms outstretched on the bare floor, fasting before ordaining priests or bishops, and flagellating himself, the promoter of his sainthood cause has said. Mgr Slawomir Oder, postulator of the late pope’s cause, said Pope John Paul used selfmortification “both to affirm the primacy of God and as an instrument for perfecting himself”. Mgr Oder spoke at the launch of his book, Why He’s a Saint: The Real John Paul II According to the Postulator of His Beatification Cause. “When it wasn’t some infirmity that made him experience pain, he himself would inflict discomfort and mortification on his body,” Mgr Oder wrote. He said the penitential practices were common both when then-Karol Wojtyla was archbishop of Krakow, Poland, as well as after he became pope. “Not infrequently he passed the night lying on the bare floor,” the monsignor wrote, and people in the Krakow archbishop’s residence knew it, even if the archbishop would mess up the covers on his bed so it wouldn’t be obvious that he hadn’t slept there. “As some members of his closest entourage were able to hear with their own ears, Karol Wojtyla flagellated himself both in Poland and in the Vatican,” Mgr. Oder wrote. “In his closet, among the cassocks, there was a hook holding a particular belt for slacks, which he used as a whip and which he also always brought to Castel Gandolfo,” the papal summer residence south of Rome.—CNS
BY JUDITH SUDILOVSKY
A child and a dog walk past a mural depicting St Isidore on an earthquakedamaged building in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Pope Benedict has praised the world’s response to the devastating earthquake in January. PHOTO: SHANNON STAPLETON, REUTERS/CMS
Pope lauds Haiti response BY CAROL GLATZ
OPE Benedict has praised the rapid and generous response from the international community towards the people of Haiti and the bravery of all those who engaged in on-the-ground rescue efforts. He also pledged that the Catholic Church would continue to help those in need build a brighter future. In a telegram addressed to Archbishop Louis Kebreau of CapHaitien, president of the Haitian bishops’ conference, the pope praised “the extremely rapid mobilisation of the international community” and the Church in response to the crisis. The Church was going to continue to bring emergency relief to those in need and help “patiently rebuild devastated areas”, he wrote. The pope prayed for all those who lost their lives, including men and women religious, priests and seminarians.
He asked that in this “moment of darkness” Mary would guide everyone to overcome any sense of “isolation and ‘every man for himself’ with solidarity”. In a telegram to Haitian President Rene Preval, Pope Benedict assured all those struck by “this frightening catastrophe” of his prayers. He assured Mr Preval that the Catholic Church, through its various organisations and institutions, “will remain at the side of the people struck by this adversity” and will help them rediscover the possibility of a better future. Meanwhile, the Vatican will donate to the people of Haiti profits from the sale of a stamp commemorating the Shrine of Our Lady of Grace in Mentorella, Italy. The initiative, promoted by the Vatican stamp and coin office and the office governing Vatican City State, could reap about 150 000 euros (R1,6 million) for those affected by the earthquake, the Vatican said in a press release.— CNS
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ESULTS from studies on the remains of a first-century shroud discovered on the edge of the Old City of Jerusalem prove that the famous Shroud of Turin could not have originated from Jerusalem of Jesus’ time, a prominent archaeologist has claimed. The first-century shroud was discovered in a tomb in the Hinnom Valley in 2000, but the results of tests run on the shroud and other artifacts found with it were completed only in December 2009. “This is the first shroud from Jesus’ time found in Jerusalem and the first shroud found in a type of burial cave similar to that which Jesus would have been buried in and [because of this] it is the first shroud which can be compared to the Turin shroud,” said Britishborn archaeologist Shimon Gibson, basing his conclusion on the full study results, which are scheduled to be published in a scholarly volume within the next year. There are two clear differences between the current shroud fragments and the Shroud of Turin, Dr Gibson, head of the department of archaeology at the University of the Holy Land in Jerusalem, told Catholic News Service (CNS). While the Shroud of Turin is formed from one full piece of cloth, studies on the fragments of the shroud discovered in Jerusalem show that two burial cloths were used for the burial—one made of linen, used to wrap the head, and another made of wool, which wrapped the body—in keeping with Jewish tradition of the time, Dr Gibson said. It is likely that Jesus would have been wrapped in a similar manner with two separate pieces of cloth, he said, as described in the gospel of St John. In addition, Dr Gibson said, unlike the complex twill weave of
The Turin Shroud: new findings suggest that it cannot have come from Jerusalem the Shroud of Turin that, according to archaeological finds, was unknown in this area during Jesus’ time, the discovered shroud fragments have a simple two-way weave. Dr Gibson said he and Boaz Zissu, professor of archaeology at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University, coauthor of the upcoming monograph, “didn’t set out to disprove the Turin shroud”. Partial details of the molecular research were published in December in the online journal PloS ONE. Gibson told CNS that he and Dr Zissu will include discussion of the Shroud of Turin in the upcoming monograph. He noted that the research had been conducted only on the Jerusalem shroud fragments and not in comparison with the Turin shroud. The first-century excavation site also contained a clump of the shrouded man’s hair, which had been ritually cut prior to his burial. The hair and the shroud fragments are unique discoveries because Continued on page 11
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The Southern Cross, February 3 to February 9, 2010
Nigeria violence: ‘Blame politics, not religion’ BY JOEUN LEE & PETER AJAYI DADA
NIGERIAN archbishop has said the cause of recent violence between Muslims and Christians in the country was more ethnic and political than religious. More than 200 people were believed dead after clashes in midJanuary in the central Nigerian city of Jos, where similar riots in 2008 killed about 300. Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Jos said the origin of the current conflicts, like those of 2008, was a struggle for political control of the city between the Hausa people, who are predominantly Muslim, and the indigenous residents, who are mostly Christians. Media reports describing the violence as a religious clash between Muslims and Christians were inaccurate, Archbishop Kaigama told the Vatican missionary
news agency Fides. The archbishop has met with several Christian and Muslim leaders to clarify the situation, assess the damage and ascertain the exact number of victims. “The spread of false information incites the people and increases the violence,” he said, adding that authorities need to be impartial and honest in presenting data on casualties and damage to structures.
After 25 years, great Jesuit’s cause reopens
ORE than 25 years after the Vatican approved opening the sainthood cause of 16th-century Jesuit missionary Fr Matteo Ricci, the diocese of his birth formally reopened his case. Bishop Claudio Giuliodori of Macerata said that although the cause stalled almost immediately after it was opened in 1984, “these 25 years have not passed in vain because the Lord has given us clear signs of a deeper understanding of the prophetic intuitions of Fr Matteo Ricci”. The bishop presided over a Mass in the Macerata cathedral, which was followed by the solemn swearing in of the promoters of Fr Ricci’s cause. Fr Ricci entered the Jesuits in 1571, was ordained a priest in 1580 and entered China in 1583. He immersed himself in Chinese language and culture and in 1593 began writing a catechism in Chinese. His insistence on respecting Chinese culture and customs,
and even tolerating forms of ancestor veneration by Chinese who had been baptised, placed him at the centre of a huge Church debate on culture and religious practice. In a message to the diocese of Macerata inaugurating commemorations of the 400th anniversary of Fr Ricci’s death in Beijing in 1610, Pope Benedict wrote that it was Fr Ricci’s great respect for Chinese traditions that “distinguished his mission to search for harmony between the noble and millenary Chinese civilisation” and the Christian faith. Francesca Cipolloni, a spokeswoman for the diocese of Macerata, said Fr Ricci’s cause did not run into any substantive difficulties in 1984; its stagnation was simply a matter of no one pushing the cause and prodding those involved to do the work. The task should be easier now, she said, since several long, serious studies have been made of Fr Ricci’s life and work.—CNS
Archbishop Kaigama said the situation in Jos had calmed. He said police and army troops were patrolling the streets of the city and enforcing a curfew imposed soon after the violence broke out. The archbishop said most of the Christian churches that were set on fire were not Catholic. The bishops of the ecclesiastical province of Ibadan in south-western Nigeria denounced the violence in Jos, saying that “some extremists claiming to be Muslims suddenly set upon Christians in their churches and homes, killing and burning”. “It is sad that such occurrences in the recent past have not been convincingly investigated and addressed and are not found preventable,” the bishops said. Jos has been the scene of serious intra-community clashes in the past decade. In addition to the 2008 clashes, in 2001 a conflict resulted in more than 900 deaths.—CNS
BY JOHN THAVIS
N a message embracing the evangelising potential of digital media, Pope Benedict asks priests around the world to use websites, videos and blogs as tools of pastoral ministry. “The world of digital communication, with its almost limitless expressive capacity, makes us appreciate all the more St Paul’s exclamation: ‘Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel’,” the pope says in his message for the 2010 celebration of World Communications Day. “Priests stand at the threshold of a new era: as new technologies create deeper forms of relationship across greater distances, they are called to respond pastorally by putting the media ever more effectively at the service of the Word,” he says. The pope’s message was tailored to the current Year for Priests, focusing on the theme, “The priest and pastoral ministry in a digital world: New media at the service of the Word”. World Communications Day is celebrat-
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A man and his daughter stand in front of a burned building in Nigeria’s central city of Jos. Four days of clashes between Muslim and Christian gangs in city and nearby communities left 460 people dead. A Nigerian archbishop has said that the clashes were rooted in ethnicity and politics, not religion.
on DStv audio channel 170
ed in most countries on May 16. In the Southern African region, it is observed on the first Sunday of September. The pope says that while priests should not abandon traditional methods of pastoral interaction, they cannot afford to pass up the opportunities offered by digital media. For priests to exercise their proper role as leaders in communities, they must learn to express themselves in the “digital marketplace”, the pope says. “Priests are thus challenged to proclaim the Gospel by employing the latest generation of audiovisual resources (images, videos, animated features, blogs, websites) which, alongside traditional means, can open up broad new vistas for dialogue, evangelisation and catechesis.” The pope emphasises, however, that the Church’s role is not simply to fill up space on the Web. Its overriding aim is to express in the digital world “God’s loving care for people in Christ”, not just as an artifact from the past or a theory, but as
something concrete and engaging. Because digital media cross over religious and cultural boundaries, the Church’s presence requires sensitivity “to those who do not believe, the disheartened and those who have a deep, unarticulated desire for enduring truth and the absolute”, the says. In order for priests to effectively use new media, formation programmes should teach them how to use these technologies in a competent and appropriate way, the papal message says. This formation in digital media should be guided by sound theology and priestly spirituality. Archbishop Claudio Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, said the message once again illustrated the pope’s mainly favourable view of new media. “The pope is aware of the limits of new technologies, but he wants to make the point that these new means of communication play a positive role, both in the wider society and in the Church.”—CNS
The Southern Cross, February 3 to February 9, 2010
A home for every kind of vocation A modern Catholic foundation includes priests, nuns, consecrated lay people, and young volunteers hoping to make a difference. PAUL SANCHEZ looks at Heart’s Home.
T might seem unusual for the residents of a modern suburb to see French missionaries walking their streets each afternoon saying the rosary together. But for Catholics it may seem more unusual that this Catholic volunteer organisation encompasses almost the full spectrum of vocations to the Church. Heart’s Home was started in 1990 as an international Catholic volunteer organisation to serve the poor and most suffering in the world by letting these people know that they have friends who care about them. Volunteers visit the poor, the sick, the terminally ill and the incarcerated. Fr Thierry de Roucy, the 52year-old French priest who founded the volunteer organisation for young Catholics, found after a few years that some of the volunteers wanted to continue in Heart’s
Home with a lifelong commitment. So he founded the Servants of God’s Presence, an order of nuns within the Heart’s Home organisation, now with 30 nuns around the world. Later, in 1995, the Sacerdotal Fraternity of Molokai was founded for the priesthood. It currently has 28 priests and seminarians. Similarly, two years later a fraternity of permanent members was founded for men and women who wanted to pursue the lay consecrated vocation as their lifetime commitment to Heart’s Home. Also, in 1997, at the request of former Heart’s Home volunteers who wanted to keep living the spirit of their mission in their daily lives and responsibilities in the professional world, the Fraternity of Maximilian Kolbe was founded. With such a growth of different vocations, the volunteer organisation became an ecclesiastic movement.
hile these religious vocations are commonplace in Heart’s Home, what has been most prevalent is the vocation of lay volunteer. Heart’s Home has 35 missions in 20 different countries, in places such as Peru, Senegal, Brazil, Thailand, Italy, Romania, Argentina,
Heart’s Home volunteer Agnes Bureau visits an Aids patient at a hospice in New York City. Lay volunteers must make a commitment of at least 14 months to the international Catholic movement.
Germany and El Salvador. Since 1990, the French-based organisation has trained 1 200 volunteers. The Heart’s Home community life is sustained by daily Mass and daily rosary. In fact, founder Fr de Roucy states that while praying the rosary he received the call to found a “work of compassion and consolation” that sends young people on missionary work abroad for a year or two. Heart’s Home requires a commitment of at least 14 months.
ourdes Renero Alvarez, is a resident of the South Bronx in New York City, where in 2003 Heart’s Home established its only US mission to minister to Spanish-speaking people. “Many people couldn’t believe it when they came. Here were young French people who left their careers behind to serve poor Hispanics in the South Bronx, becoming part of their family and becoming their friends,” Ms Alvarez recalled. In 2008, the mission relocated to Brooklyn. Heart’s Home USA consists of three nuns, a recently ordained transitional deacon, two lay consecrated women, a lay consecrated man and three volunteers. The only non-French citizen in the group is Sr Mariana Canteros, who met Heart’s Home in her native Argentina, served as a volunteer in Brazil for two years and later joined their order of nuns. The two other nuns, Sr Regine Fohrer and Sr Blandine Paponaud, also were Heart’s Home volunteers before joining the Servants of God’s Presence. Sr Paponaud graduated with a degree in statistics and computer science, later serving as a Heart’s Home missionary in Honduras. She said of her transition from volunteer to nun: “The majority of Heart’s Home volunteers do not become priest, religious or consecrated after their mission. But I made a real experience of unconditional love in the community. This experience of God’s love is what gave me the desire to go on this mission of love and compassion. To give in my turn what I
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Heart’s Home community member Laetitia Palluat talks with a resident at a nursing home in New York. Heart’s Home, an international foundation which was established 20 years ago by French Father Thierry de Roucy, has wings for priests, nuns, consecrated lay people and young volunteers. had received and in the same way that I had received.”
ccording to The United States Association of Consecrated Virgins, there are an estimated 150 consecrated virgins in the United States. France has the highest number of consecrated virgins with more than 600 while there are an estimated 3 000 consecrated virgins throughout the world. The male lay consecrated vocation is not too common throughout the world, despite being commonplace in Heart’s Home. The three lay consecrated members of the Heart’s Home community in Brooklyn were all previous volunteers within the organisation. Sylvie Muller served as a volunteer in Argentina and is aware that many Catholics do not know enough about the lay consecrated vocation. “Lay consecrated people are not as visible: they just try to live their baptism, without any signs such as the sisters with their habits. We try to make appear questions to the people around us through our life testimony, example and friendship. It is the way for
the Church to reach all those who will not come to her…to provide witness of God’s love to many.” While it is most interesting that a Catholic volunteer organisation encompasses an order of nuns, a fraternity of priests, a thriving fraternity of lay consecrated, a fraternity for former volunteers who returned to the working world, Heart’s Home’s primary vocation is that of a lay volunteer. Currently there are 200 volunteers among their 35 missions worldwide. Amy Koreski recently returned from 14 months as a Heart’s Home volunteer in Honduras. She said of her service to the Church in Honduras: “I have met nuns and consecrated people in Heart’s Home, but it is important to not forget that the vocation of being a lay volunteer is the most common one. “For me, my work among the poor and suffering was greatly complimented by daily adoration, daily Mass and daily rosary, and community life.” For more information on Heart’s Home visit www.heartshome. org/
The Southern Cross, February 3 to February 9, 2010
Who pays when a priest gets sick? Most diocesan priests earn only a small stipend . So who pays the doctor’s bills when Father falls ill? MICHAIL RASSOOL reports.
N a Christmas homily US Cardinal Sean O’Malley, archbishop of Boston told his congregation that priests spend their lives fulfilling a central role in the spiritual lives of their flock—officiating at weddings, baptising children, visiting the sick, presiding over funerals, and so on—and may reasonably expect to receive the help and support they deserve when illness, infirmity and old age set in. The cardinal was speaking in the context of the effects of the world economic recession on the costs of health-care and housing for priests, which his archdiocese was unable to keep pace with. With Cardinal O’Malley’s words in mind, one may ask if diocesan priests in particular can really
afford to become ill, let alone elderly and infirm, with their limited stipends, car allowances and other forms of support they receive from their chanceries. What kind of systems are in place to assist them when their health fails, particularly in South Africa? As secular priests—that is, those not in religious orders, which make their own arrangements—are usually incardinated into a diocese, it is normally at diocesan level that arrangements for sick priests exist. Mgr Brendan Deenihan, vicargeneral of the diocese of Port Elizabeth, heads up its Diocesan Sick Priests’ Fund, which has existed since the 1930s and was begun by the priests themselves who felt a need for such a structure, and not the bishop. Mgr Deenihan, who is the administrator of St Augustine’s cathedral, said a special collection takes place each year for the fund—“a diocesan fund, funded by diocesan priests for diocesan priests”—which covers the costs of consulting doctors, dentists, phys-
‘Offer up suffering for priests’
N December Pope Benedict said that the World Day of the Sick on February 11 highlights the essential nature of pastoral service for the sick and asked those who are ill “to pray and offer up their sufferings for priests” in the Year for Priests. The day marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Health Care Workers. On the day, the pope said, the Church wishes to “raise awareness in the ecclesial community of the importance of pastoral service in the vast world of health”. It’s a service, that plays an integral part in healthcare's mission following “the same saving mission of Christ”. The pope also highlighted the necessity for a “logic of love” practised with the little ones and the needy as witnessed in Christ’s washing of the apostles’ feet and
called for every Christian to relive the parable of the Good Samaritan. “Go and do the same,” Jesus says at the end of the parable. “With these words he turns also to us,” Pope Benedict said. Thus Jesus calls us to see that “the experience of sickness and suffering can become a lesson of hope”. It’s not “resting from the suffering or running from the pain that cures man, but it is his capacity to accept tribulation and to mature in it, to find sense through the union with Christ, who suffered with infinite love”. The pope called on priests “not to hold back in giving care and comfort to the sick”. Addressing the sick, he said: “I ask you to pray and offer your sufferings for priests, that they may remain faithful to their vocations and that their ministry be rich in spiritual fruits, to the benefit of the entire Church.”—CNA
iotherapists and other special-purpose, health-related practitioners as well as prescribed medication. It is also the recipient of bequests, and each priestly member of the fund has to pay a subscription fee. He said a hospital plan has also been taken out in the diocese’s name to which each parish contributes. It covers at least a portion of hospital bills, with the medical fund covering the shortfall. Some Catholic doctors do not charge for their consultations with priests, Mgr Deenihan said. He said the local Nazareth House has taken care of frail elderly priests for many years.
ather Duncan Tsoke, vicar-general of the archdiocese of Johannesburg, said each of its priests is issued with a card from the insurer with whom the archdiocese has a medical scheme for its priests, which includes hospital plan and chronic medicine cover. Fr Tsoke said administration of the policy is left in the hands of the local Catholic Knights of da Gama. The archdiocese covers 80% of it, and parishes the remaining 20%. It also covers post-retirement medical costs. The vicar-general said that the archdiocese was busy sourcing a property for retired or terminally ill priests. Like Port Elizabeth, the archdiocese of Cape Town has a special priests’ medical fund, to which each of the 72 parishes contributes R800. Shortfalls between payouts and actual costs are shouldered by the chancery, said vicar-general Mgr Andrew Borello. He said the fund covers hospital and prescribed medication bills, consultations and a percentage of eye-care and dental care. Mgr Borello, parish priest in Durbanville, indicated that many priests are older men who have to go for annual check-ups and/or “six-monthly top-ups” for one or other condition. He pointed out that it is not uncommon for priests to be fearful of the future and the prospect of
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A priest anoints a woman’s hands while giving the anointing of the sick during a Mass to celebrate World Day of the Sick. But what happens when the priest falls ill? PHOTO: NELLIE WILLIAMS infirmity, which should not make sense given that they “live to die”. The prospect of death is also a source of joy in anticipation of a reunion with the Lord, on whom priests have built their lives. The Clergy Medical Support Fund of the archdiocese of Pretoria has been around for more than 20 years, and was started with initial capital of R6 000, local Knight of da Gama Kees Heynen said. He said the Knights have been involved with the fund from its very beginnings, and have been fundraising for it ever since to supplement its regular donors, who pay R60 a month. For 12 years they have run the 250 Club, where parishes have a monthly draw and a target of 250 tickets a month are sold, bringing in about R1 200 a month (R14 400 a year) which goes into the fund. There are a host of incentives, such as free tickets in lieu of payment. Each year, Mr Heynen said, the archdiocese has a major collection which brings in about R100 000, of which 70% goes to the fund and 30% to the seminary. There is also the Priests’ Retirement Fund, which he said can do with a bit more help.
Mr Heynen said throughout its existence the fund has managed to meet medical expenses without shortfalls, even in the most chronic of cases. He feels that a medical support fund is not the most ideal solution, saying that all priests should have access to medical aid. However, given there are about 80 priests in the archdiocese—a significant number—the cost of that would be prohibitive. Mr Heynen said Pretoria priests, like other priests elsewhere, tend to favour private health-care where the best medical care is more or less assured. He said the fund as it currently works is effective and does meet expectations. As far as possible, for example, consultation costs and payment methods are established beforehand, so that required authorisations can take place, and monies can be available when needed. In Pretoria archdiocese, the more serious medical cases among the priests, especially, are on a medical aid-run hospital plan. “So right now, we have the best system under the circumstances, and which has not been found wanting,” Mr Heynen said.
SPRINGFIELD CONVENT JUNIOR SCHOOL
The Southern Cross, February 3 to February 9, 2010
LEADER PAGE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
The Editor reserves the right to shorten or edit published letters. Letters below 300 words receive preference. Pseudonyms are acceptable only under special circumstances and at the Editor’s discretion. Name and address of the writer must be supplied. No anonymous letter will be considered.
Editor: Günther Simmermacher
Priests still marry
Health of mind and body S
HE annual World Day for the Sick on February 11 serves to shine the Church’s light on those who are often marginalised and alienated from their communities because of illness. In his message for the day, Pope Benedict says that “the Church intends to carry out a far-reaching operation, raising the ecclesial community’s awareness to the importance of pastoral service in the vast world of health care”. All Catholics are called to discern a pastoral role in addressing the marginalisation of those who suffer illnesses, especially those who tend to be misunderstood and stigmatised. In Mark 1:40 we read about Jesus touching the leper, an act of social daring that broke taboos which would endure for almost another two millennia. Lepers were routinely humiliated, outcast and exiled to concentration camps. They certainly were not touched in public view. Leprosy’s modern corollary is HIV/Aids, another disease for which no cure is known; another disease that drives many otherwise good people to cast out infected family members or friends. The enormous contribution of Catholic institutions that take care of those with HIV/Aids cannot be underestimated. Like Jesus, the Church embraces those regarded by many as untouchable. While the pastoral focus on physical ailments is necessary and admirable, it must not neglect the condition of those living with mental disorders. Pope Benedict has been sensitive to this: his first message for the World Day of the Sick in 2006 addressed the question of mental health, which concerns a fifth of the global population. The field of mental disorders is extensive and varied. The area of depression alone is broad; some types are caused by environmental circumstances, others by chemical imbalances, and some by a
combination of both. Almost a quarter of all people will experience some kind of depressive illness in their lifetime—and most will not seek help. Some will not do so because of the stigma associated with mental disorders, some will not do so because they don’t realise that they need treatment. The US surgeon-general stated in 1999 that “stigma prevents people from acknowledging their own mental health problems, much less disclosing them to others”. Many encounter a lack of understanding and support even from friends and family members, never mind employers and colleagues. Yet, depression is not a voluntary condition, and it can be treated. The stigma is worse yet for those affected by mental illnesses such as, for example, schizophrenia, which falls under the collective category of “psychotic disorders”—a specialist term with alarming connotations for most people. Churches sometimes are of little help when they choose to ascribe mental health disorders to spiritual deficiency or sinfulness. Yet, American studies have found that people suffering depression are more likely to first approach their pastor than a health professional. The clergy must therefore be equipped to recognise the signs of a mental health problem, and to offer these people sound pastoral help and sensible advice, guiding them to Jesus the healer as well as to a mental health specialist. Mental health is still subject to much confusion and ignorance in society. And yet, if a fifth of the world’s population is suffering mental disorders, then all of us are touched by this in some way, directly or through somebody we know. It is important, therefore, that on occasions such as the World Day for the Sick we resolve to find ways to combat the stigma associated with mental disorders, seek to understand them, and declare our solidarity with those affected by them.
ELLO Mokoka (“No to married Anglican priests”, December 1622) is to be commended for the admirable way in which he defends priestly celibacy. However, he should be reminded that there are married Catholic priests in various Eastern rites, and that Popes Pius XII, Paul VI and John Paul II allowed former Anglican and Lutheran pastors to be ordained Catholic priests. Pope Benedict’s Apostolic Constitution makes the same concessions as his predecessors. What is new is the possible establishments of ordinariates which will allow the use of certain parts of the Anglican liturgy. Archbishop emeritus George F Daniel, SACBC Department for Ecumenism
Rome sweet home
FRIEND has been passing on to me Southern Cross articles about the conversion of Anglicans, which I have read with interest. I was pleased to hear of so many converts entering the Church and grateful to heaven for granting the Holy Father this joy, especially after criticism of so much of what he has done. From the four articles which I read, the last being in The Southern Cross of December 2-8, I saw no mention of congratulation and welcome to those Anglicans who decided to follow the faith of their fathers under the one shepherd. Did no one within the Church welcome them? As a sharer in the one priesthood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, I now do so. May they, with the well-known convert Scott Hahn, say till their dying breath: “Rome sweet home!” Stephen Ind, Johannesburg
Feminism must be assessed
ATRICIA Lehle (January 6-12) assumes there has been a debate about feminism. The fact is that a lone voice back in October (7-13) voiced the opinion that feminism may be anti-women. In my view, that letter made several dangerous assumptions. Some of these were couched in the form of questions as well as citing an article on a website attributing three “dangerous ideas” to the feminist “ideology”. Each of these “dangerous ideas” could easily be attributed to patriarchal western society (and beyond). No point for a debate at all in either the article or with the writer of the letter— not around Christian feminism anyway.
The Southern Cross also published a response from Sr Sue Rakoczy which Ms Lehle may still benefit from, making the important point that there are many varieties of feminism. There is only one important question to ask of feminism which I take the liberty of rephrasing: is it as a practice, as an idea, as a social structure and Church teaching affirming and supporting the full humanity of women? If it does, it is good news. If it does not, then it is bad news for women and men. Rosemary Gravenor, Durban
HE dictionary does not claim any right for “feminism” to exist; it belongs in the thoughts of its originators. The dictionary states that feminism is a social and political movement, and is the doctrine of the women’s movement. Thank you Malcolm Bagley (December 30-January 5) and Patricia Lehle (January 6-12) for a moderate input. My letter “Vain feminism” (November 18-25) dealt mainly with self-aggrandisement, without glory to God. “Pride goes before the fall”. And as the headline on Alan Moss’s letter of December 30January 6 says, “Self-importance blinds”. H M de Kock, Cape Town
Kindness to kids
COMPLIMENT Fr David Anderson of Table View parish, Cape Town, for the way he conducted a recent Mass for children. He called them to gather round the altar, and though some of the 2 and 3 year-olds were restless, he was patient with them. Using simple language in his homily, he helped them all to take part. I thought of Jesus’ words: “Let the little children come to me”. I’m sure even God smiled on such an occasion. Loretta Apostoli, Cape Town
OUR report “Don’t worry, world won’t end in 2012” (January 13-20) refers. Since when do Vatican astronomers speak in the name of the Church? The world will go on, but who can tell what horrible disasters will occur before 2012, such as has occurred in Haiti? We should trust in God’s infinite mercy, and do penance for sin. Repent! Bishop emeritus Everard Baay SCJ, Port Elizabeth
Lives at risk
ARELIZE Shade’s letter supporting the Pill (January 27February 2) ignores the crucial medical fact that the Pill can often abort undetected immediately after conception. This is substantiated by an address by Pope Benedict in 2007 to the International Congress of Catholic Pharmacists. The Pill may be terminating the lives of more unborn infants by chemical abortion than its surgical counterpart. Few politicians openly support and practise pro-life principles, but one such is Sarah Palin, a former vice-presidential candidate of the US Republican Party. In her best-selling book Going Rogue: An American Life, she says two things which I quote. She tells of her great love for her fifth child, who has Down’s syndrome, and whose life she says she never even remotely considered terminating. She encouraged her pregnant unmarried daughter to give birth to her baby and not abort it. I found the book inspiring reading. Damian McLeish, Johannesburg
AGREE with the letters of Messrs Hinton, Harris and Gardner (January 6-12) regarding the painful issue of child-abuse coverup. It is, as you said in your excellent editorial of December 9-15, our darkest hour An aspect that troubles me deeply is the attitude of the Vatican to the matter. Fearing that the pope would be accused of conspiracy to cover up such abuse, at the Vatican’s request US President George W Bush on his last visit to Rome granted Pope Benedict total immunity from prosecution in the cases in the USA. It seems to me that there is insensitivity to the plight of the victims in the highest offices of the Church. Why else is the Vatican so non-cooperative and silent on the matter? Aideen Gonlag, St Michael’s-on-Sea, KZN
Opinions expressed in The Southern Cross, especially in Letters to the Editor, do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editor or staff of the newspaper, or of the Catholic hierarchy. The letters page in particular is a forum in which readers may exchange opinions on matters of debate. Letters must not be understood to necessarily reflect the teachings, disciplines or policies of the Church accurately.
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Pushing the Boundaries
Without religion, life is barbaric
BECOME anxious when I’m in church.” This is what my friend said in refusing to accompany me to Mass. “Of course I like church buildings, especially the cathedrals—when there are no praying people in them,” he added, with apparent embarrassment. Though passionate about spirituality, he was hostile to what he calls the “mumbo-jumbo”, meaning religion. This is a common sentiment in our age. People want to share divine life but are averse to organised religion. They want to move beyond the complacency of belief into struggling nakedly and honestly with the idea of God. Could this be the reason that the face of God is elusive to us, because we don’t meet God with our lives but with made-up religious formulas? Abram, before he became Abraham, was amused by his own unfailing faith in God, bargaining and laughing at the seeming absurdity of it all, but he was never embarrassed by it. Jacob’s struggle with God dislocated his hip, cost him more than 14 years of his life working as a peasant slave, but it gained him a nation, Israel. Simply put; how does the Church renew faith without undermining religion? And, indeed, is this desirable? What did Jesus, the Christ, mean when he said to his disciples, who were admiring the stern beauty of Jerusalem’s temple, that there comes a time when not a single stone of it would be remaining, and people then would worship in truth and in spirit. Are we nearing that time? As a person of faith I tend to be endlessly amazed, even enraged, that most of the creative ways of looking at the world are accomplished by people of no faith at all, while contemporary religious art, discourse and spirituality tend to be bland, bloodless, parochial and boring. Surely the God who renews the spirit of creation is forever doing something new in the universe, and is anything but dull. Yet there seems to be a prevalent lack of creative thinking in the Godly, to an extent that when you want to worship you feel the need to leave part of yourself at the church or temple door to be acceptable. The misunderstandings are sometimes mutual. I often hear from my friends that the Church knows nothing about how they think or how the world works. I tend to differ with them, explaining that my experience has been that whenever I look at something deeply enough, I always find the Church has been there before me, especially the Roman Church in its long history. It might, for instance, be easy for someone like me to understand the dangers of pantheism in the presently popular movie, The Avatar. But for someone who knows nothing of the absurdities that can be reached by pantheism, and about the Church’s struggles against these distortions throughout her history, the warning may sound prudish and finicky. Religion matters; its decline is always accompanied by something crude and barbaric waking up in our nature. I might be wrong, but I believe something new is being created in the world; something that’ll stand on common ground to those who approach religion with open minds and faithful hearts, and those whose love of God makes them seek divine transcendence without committing to any particular religious practices. One approach this could take would be to seek a common ground through tradition; others might do so intuitively, the way the patriarch used to before God became the mighty warrior and was just a providential kind stranger. It would seem that Christ’s Talmudic cathedral, that tool of transcendental and eternal renewal, is being erected in the world. And to those who have eyes to see, things are starting to look more like the City of God than the Tower of Babel. This would certainly not be the first time the world has been overtaken by the kingdom of God.
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The abuse of power, and the power of abuse
HILD abuse by the clergy, making the headlines of the mass media, has scandalised the world. Like the pilots who dropped the atomic bomb, we say: “My God, what have we done?” To deal with the situation, the Church has established codes of conduct, disciplinary committees, psychological therapy facilities and so on. For many it is too little too late; but better late than never. The Church bows its head in shame and prays for forgiveness and the healing of its victims. Yet, it seems what really brought the Church to its senses was the fear of lawsuits and publicity. Hopefully, the Church will learn that its primary motives should be in terms of its prophetic call of duty to God and to his people. It should witness to a higher sense of morality rather than legalities, cover-ups and lies to save its face and finances. Quis custodiet custodes?—who will guard the guardians, the guardians of morality, who are supposed to be the salt of the earth? “If the salt loses its flavour, with what shall it be salted?” (Mt 5:13). “They have forsaken me,” says the Lord, “the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water” (Jer 2:13). Does this go deeper, possibly involving a power struggle rather than service? Have we developed an authoritarian clergy instead of a serving one? It seems that many of our priests, once suitably ensconced in a parish—especially a wealthy one— have no accountability and no proper dialogue with the local laity. Hence they do what they like, financially, even lustfully. Isn’t this part of the problem of clerical corruption and sexual abuse? I see it all around. It is not simply their priesthood, it is our priesthood that is at stake and being disgraced. This is the urgent issue, not the liturgical reforms and translations. What is the priority of the hierar-
Allan Moss OMI
Point of Debate chy? I am aware of one bishop who has actually told his laity to stop complaining about their priests. I know the laity cry to the hierarchy to be more concerned about clerical abuses and finances. Some of the people of God have cried to me in frustration and being scandalised. I am not anti-clerical. I value my priesthood, not to be denigrated and despised as happened in some places in Ireland. How serious is the hierarchy in declaring the Year for Priests and calling upon the laity to pray for them? Perhaps a survey should be done by the Church before outsiders or the mass media open our eyes to what we should have seen long ago. Hopefully, the recent African Synod has monitored this and the bishops will be doing something more urgently than spending money and energy on debatable liturgical issues, which further confuse the People of God. “No words of apology will ever be sufficient,” said a prelate of Ireland. Hopefully it will not come to that in South Africa. I think of Little Angelina who comes from a loving and hugging family. They greet one another with a kiss and a hug. What she did not know was that one member, a teenage cousin, could not be touched. She had been abused by a cleric and is now paranoid, weary of any physical contact with anyone. She is undergoing psychiatric therapy and God alone knows the damage done. Angelina knows that she is jumpy but does not know why. Angelina loves going to church and is fond of her priest. I wonder what she will think when she finds out the truth about her cousin. Fr Moss is a parish priest in Pietermaritzburg.
The Southern Cross, February 3 to February 9, 2010
Michael Shackleton answers your question
To whom do bishops answer? I take it that religious priests are accountable to the superior of their order and diocesan priests to their bishops. To whom are bishops and archbishops accountable? Madame UT another way, your question asks who has legitimate authority over bishops, priests and religious, and where this authority comes from? So let’s go back to the beginning. Before he ascended, Jesus told his disciples that all authority in heaven and on earth had been given to him. He told them to go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them and teaching them everything that he had commanded (Mt 28:18). In charging Peter and the other apostles to take on the Saviour’s work in the world, Christ encouraged them by saying: “And know that I am with you always, yes, to the end of time.” Jesus Christ is the ultimate source of all authority in the Church. As they have done through the Church’s long and stormy history, Peter and the apostles today exercise that authority in Christ’s name through the world’s bishops in communion with the bishop of Rome. They form one college of teaching authority that we call the magisterium and it is their duty to govern the Church, including the approval of religious orders. Christ told Peter that he would build his church on him (Mt 16:18), and he entrusted the lambs and sheep of his flock to Peter to be cared for (Jn 21:15). In so doing he appointed Peter, as Church tradition has always held, as the head of the apostles and of the Church. In order to be a true successor of the apostles, a bishop must be in communion with the pope and his brother bishops. If he offends in any way, it is the pope who has authority to correct or punish. Diocesan priests are obliged to show respect and obedience to their proper bishop (canon 273) and religious priests to their particular superior in all matters specific to their religious order. However, religious priests who work in pastoral care of souls, public worship and other dioscesan activities are always subject to the local bishop as well (canon 678). An archbishop or metropolitan bishop presides over a particular province, which is a group of dioceses in a defined territory. He has no authority over these dioceses but if he finds a serious abuse of some kind in any of them, he may investigate and report them to Rome (canon 443).
Send your queries to Open Door, Box 2372, Cape Town, 8000; or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; or fax (021) 465 3850. Anonymity can be preserved by arrangement, but questions must be signed, and may be edited for clarity. Only published questions will be answered.
• 2010 Retreats • PREACHED:
8 to 17 March 2010 Fr Jack McAtee OSA Theme: Forgiveness
21 to 30 June 2010 Fr Mike Foley OMI
21 to 30 June Fr Raymond Mwangala OMI Theme: Come Home (Luke 15: 11-32) 1 to 10 July Fr Scott Davidson CssR Theme: Mystic Harmony — Music & Contemplation 19 to 28 September Fr Mike Gumede OMI 9 to 18 December Fr Sabelo Mkhize Theme: Sharing His Sufferings, sharing His Joy, becoming like Christ
1 to 10 July Fr Frank Doyle OSA 9 to 18 December Fr Frank Doyle OSA People wishing to make Retreats outside the above dates are welcome to do so.
BOOKINGS The Secretary: P O Box 41, Botha’s Hill, 3660 Phone: 031 765-1959 Fax: 031 765-8199 E-mail: Jacobswell@ ibound.co.za
The Southern Cross, February 3 to February 9, 2010
World’s interlinked troubles Life in a 16th-century HOT, FLAT AND CROWDED: Why the World Needs a Green Revolution–And How We Can Renew Our Global Future, by Thomas L Friedman. Penguin. 2009. 516 pp Reviewed by Chris Chatteris SJ HIS is quite a title and subtitle! Incidentally the “flat” refers to a previous volume in which multi-Pulitzer Prize winner Friedman argued that the Internet is levelling the global playground of access to information and therefore opportunity. In this latest volume he tries to put it all together and show how globalisation, population increase and climate change combine to create a perfect storm which can only be averted by a global green revolution. Everything is connected to everything else, he argues, like a good ecologist. Hence he warns us that the recent global depression is the planet’s “warning heart-attack”, ominously telling us something very serious about the lack of sustainability of our present way of inhabiting the planet. What to do? Friedman argues that the United States should have acted in 2001 after 9/11. By moving the US economy decisively out of oil and coal towards renewable energy, President George W Bush could have killed two birds with one stone—to tackle the looming climate crisis and choked off funding to al Qaeda by what he calls “petrodictatorships”. Friedman believes that Americans would have gladly paid a “patriot” tax on petrol to pay for this radical reorganisation of the American economy. 9/11 would then have become like Pearl Harbour, galavanising the US into action, and rapidly put the country on a war-footing. Now that the “Pearl Harbour moment” has
passed, a major problem is how to get the the lobby-dominated, election-obsessed American political system to make the necessary painful changes. Friedman’s book is a remarkable attempt to stitch pretty much everything together, and in the process the reader gets richly informed about stories that the media hasn’t the space or interest to elaborate. How did the entire country of Iceland default during the 2008 meltdown? How China’s building project for the next 20 years will construct the equivalent of two Americas. How a new “smart” electricity grid would operate and how the consumer would actually experience this. How the US is “outgreening” al Qaeda in Afghanistan (No kidding!). The meaning of an “Americum”. And in what sense is America in danger of becoming a banana republic. Friedman also enjoys introducing us to an extensive dramatis
personae of activists, politicians, lobbyists, scientists and of course journalists, all with an interest in what he argues convincingly is the central issue of our time. Some of these people and their work are fascinatingly forwardlooking. By contrast Friedman is clearly deeply frustrated by the idle inertia of his country and tries transparently to goad it into action by holding up the bogeyman of a China, which is becoming technologically dominant, like a new gigantic Japan. However he manages to keep his touching patriotic faith and his optimism. He thinks, for example, that it is only a matter of time before someone (preferably an American) discovers a source of abundant, clean, renewable energy. The techno-frontier is still limitless apparently. And he hopes against hope that the American people will eventually do the right thing and tell their politicians that they are ready to accept the hard choices that have to be made in the temporary absence of this abundant energy-source. He fails to ask whether, if we do find such a source of abundant energy, we will be able to keep our expansionist instinct under control or whether we will just destroy what’s left of the natural world. He does not broach the obvious contradiction of a theory of endless growth in a world of finite resources. Growth is a sacrosanct value for him, but it can be smarter, more efficient and less damaging. Friedman believes that we are living on a “hinge of history”. His sober hope is that we will swing history in the direction of “managing the unavoidable and avoiding the unmanageable”. But he warns us that time is not on our side.
Italian convent Sacred Hearts, by Sarah Dunant. Random House, New York. 2009. 432 pp. Reviewed by Graham Yearley ACRED HEARTS is the absorbing third volume in author Sarah Dunant’s series of historical novels on the lives of women in 15th- and 16th-century Italy. Having explored the lives of courtesans, artists, mistresses and mothers in earlier novels, Dunant turns in Sacred Hearts to a cloistered community of Benedictine nuns in 1570. As the preface informs us, almost half of Italian noblewomen became nuns and the dowries their fathers paid to convents were a chief source of income for women’s religious communities. In turn, the community offered young women life-long security and a chance to develop skills they might have been denied outside. Convents practised the same rigid class consciousness as the secular society they had left behind; women from aristocratic households were waited upon by sisters who came with small dowries. However, a certain kind of meritocracy existed as well; sisters with special skills in singing, musical composition or medicine could rise in the community. Such is the case of the novel’s central character, Sr Zuana, who entered the community as a teenager when her father, a professor of medicine, died, leaving Zuana an orphan. Through the knowledge she learned from her father, Sr Zuana has become the convent’s dispensary mistress, making medi-
cines for the community and special favoured patrons outside. She enjoys respect from the entire community and the esteem of the abbess, Madonna Chiara. Over the years, Sr Zuana has come to terms with the cloistered life and learned to appreciate the order and harmony it offers. But not all novices entered convents willingly and as Dunant writes: “Any convent, however well adjusted, trembles a little when it takes in one who really does not want to be there.” Into Sr Zuana’s charge comes the rebellious Serafina, sent to the convent by her angry father to end a romantic entanglement with a poor music teacher. As Zuana learns, politics within the convent can become as brutal as those outside. The reforms of monasteries and convents brought on by the Counter-Reformation also threaten the peace within the walls of St Caterina’s. Convents produced musical concerts and dramatic presentations for the wider community and those provided another large source of income. But some criticised them for focusing more on entertainments than the worship of God. The tension within St Caterina’s and the pressure exerted from outside gives an urgency to the novel that propels the reader. Any dedicated reader knows that when one starts doling out the number of pages so the end is postponed, he or she is in the grip of a master storyteller. Readers of Sacred Hearts will not be disappointed.— CNS
PO Box 11095, Mariannhill 3624 LENTEN LECTURES
APRIL 30 - MAY 2
Mgr Paul Nadal: Talks on “The Year for the Priest” on five Mondays of Lent at 19:00 Feb 22: Jesus Christ the Eternal High Priest Mar 01: The Priesthood of the Faithful Mar 08: Priesthood and the Church Mar 15: The Ministerial Priesthood (Priest in the Parish) Mar 22: The Priest in the Modern world
Mgr Paul Nadal: “Jesus Christ I” Son of God, Son of
Mgr Paul Nadal: “The Priesthood”. Weekend (a repeat of the talks listed above), from supper Feb 26 to lunch Feb 28.
Mgr Paul Nadal “Caritas Veritate” Papal Encyclical
Man, Sign of contradiction. Weekend from supper Apr 30 to lunch May 2. JUNE 4-6 Mgr Paul Nadal: “Jesus Christ II” Risen and alive. Lord today and for ever. Weekend from supper June 4 to lunch June 6.
Letter of Pope Benedict XVI. Love as personal gift, love as social gift. Weekend from supper June 25 to lunch 27.
MARCH 27 - APRIL 4 HOLY WEEK, from supper Mar 27 (Saturday before Palm Sunday) to breakfast Apr 4 (Easter Sunday):
JUNE 27-JULY 05 Fr Urs Fischer & Team: 7-Day Guided Retreats, from supper June 27 to breakfast July 05
1. The Paschal Mystery English: Fr Chris Neville OFM Zulu: Fr Michael Gumede OFM
JULY 16-18 Fr Pierre Lavoipierre: “The heart of the Matter” Lord,
2. Dives in Misericordia: On “The Mercy of God” by John Paul II and St Faustina
you know me, see me, and my heart is in your hands. Weekend from supper July 16 to lunch 18
Presented by Fr Urs Fischer CMM
Personally guided retreats may be arranged at any time throughout the year to suit individual need.
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The Southern Cross, February 3 to February 9, 2010
Thoughts for the Week on the Family FAMILY CALENDAR: 2010 FAMILY THEME: “Families Play the Game.” FEBRUARY: Match Play INTRODUCTION: Life is a game and also a match. There are times in our lives when matchmaking means looking out for the best life partner for ourselves and our children, or in being that good life partner. In another sense life is playing a match, not just as a contest but as a matching of abilities, skills and talents. How well matched are we in our relationships as couples, parents and children, siblings and so on? Are you in training to improve your skills? February 7, 5th Sunday of Year C. Becoming Apostles. The words “Here I am, Lord” are prayed and sung many times in our churches but we must mean what we pray. Are we ready to match ourselves up with Jesus, to become a follower, an apostle? As couples and family members we are not all called to leave home and follow him but to stay home and follow him right there, matching our talents and skills with one another and at times competing too so as to improve our skills. Play some games together and talk about how to be a good winner and a gracious loser. February 11, Our Lady of Lourdes, Pray for the Sick. Our Lady is often associated with healing of the sick. Pray for her intercession for healing and to deal compassionately with sickness in the family.
COMMUNIT Y CALENDAR BETHLEHEM: Shrine of Our Lady of Bethlehem at Tsheseng, Maluti mountains; Thursdays 09:30, Mass, then exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. 058 721 0532 JOHANNESBURG: First Saturday of each month rosary prayed 10:30-12:00 outside Marie Stopes abortion clinic, Peter Place, Bryanston. Joan Beyrooti, 782 4331 PRETORIA: First Saturday: Devotion to Divine Mercy. St Martin de Porres, Sunnyside, 16:30. Shirley-Anne 361 4545. CAPE TOWN: The Opening Mass of the Charismatic Renewal movement will be at Holy Trinity parish church, Matroosfontein, at 14:30 on Sunday Feb 14. There will be a St Pio Holy Hour on Feb 21 at 15:30 in Holy Redeemer church, Bergvliet. Adoration Chapel, Corpus Christi church, Wynberg: Mon-Thur 6am to 12pm; Fri-Sun 6am to 8pm. Adorers welcome. 021-761 3337 Holy Hour to pray for priests of the diocese, 2nd Saturday monthly at Villa Maria shrine Kloof Nek Rd 16:0017:00. Blessed Sacrament exposed daily Monday to Friday 09:00–22:00 in Holy Redeemer church, Bergvliet Rd, Bergvliet. Visitors welcome. Entries in the community calendar, which is published as space allows, are free of charge. To place your event, call Gene Donnelly, 021 465 5007, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Shroud of Turin ‘fake’? continued from page 4 organic remains are hardly ever preserved in the Jerusalem area because of high humidity levels in the ground, said Dr Gibson. Other shrouds have been found in the arid Dead Sea area and in Egypt. For decades scientists have debated the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, the linen cloth that tradition holds is the burial shroud of Jesus. The shroud has a full-length photonegative image of a man, front and back, bearing signs of wounds that correspond to the Gospel accounts of the torture Jesus endured in his passion and death. It is kept in the cathedral of St John the Baptist in Turin, Italy, and will be removed from its protective casket for public display this year, for the first time since 2000. Though its origins are unknown, Franciscan Father Eugenio Alliata, professor of archaeology at the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum in Jerusalem, said both shrouds needed to be studied for their own merits, and conclusions about one could not be made based on the other. “One was found in an archaeological excavation and we have an archaeological context; for the other, the
Shroud of Turin, we do not have an archaeological context, and its history is murky,” Fr Alliata said. “The two objects need to be studied in a different way. You can't compare one to the other and come up with a conclusion. Maybe the Shroud of Turin is not authentic but the conclusions must be made on studies of the object itself.” The burial tomb where the Jerusalem shroud was found is part of a first-century cemetery known as Akeldama or Field of Blood, next to the area where Judas Iscariot is said to have committed suicide. The tomb of the shrouded man was located next to the tomb of Annas, the high priest, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest who presided at the trial of Jesus. Bones found in the same burial niche as the fragments were dated to the years 1-50AD by radiocarbon methods, and DNA tests showed that the man buried in the cave had leprosy and died of tuberculosis. Perhaps because of these illnesses, the researchers believe, this part of the tomb was completely sealed off and the man did not receive the secondary burial that was traditional for Jewish burials of that period.—CNS
Mass readings for the week Sundays year B, weekdays cycle 1 Sun February 7, 5th Sunday of the year: Is 6:1-8; Ps 138:1-5.7-8; 1 Cor 15:1-11; Lk 5:1-11 Mon February 8, Ss Jerome Emiliani, Josephine Bakhita: 1 Kgs 8:1-7.9-13; Ps 132:6-10; Mk 6:53-56 Tue February 9, feria: 1 Kgs 8:22-23.27-30; Ps 84:3-5.10-11; Mk 7:1-13 Wed February 10, St Scholastica: 1 Kgs 10:1-10; Ps 37:5-6.30-31.39-40; Mk 7:14-23 Thur February 11, Our Lady of Lourdes: 1 Kgs 11:4-13; Ps 106:3-4.35-37. 40; Mk 7;24-30 Fri February 12, feria: 1 Kgs 11:29-32, 12:19; Ps 81:10-15; Mk 7:31-37 Sat February 13, feria: 1 Kgs 12:26-32, 13:33-34; Ps 106:6-7.19-22; Mk 8:1-10 Sun February 14, 6th Sunday of the year: Jer 17:5-8; Ps 1:1-4.6; 1 Cor 15:12.16-20; Lk 6:17.20-26
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DEATH REYNOLDS—Katherine (nee Seggie) died suddenly in Georgia, USA on January 12, 2010. She will be prayerfully and lovingly remembered by her siblings Michael, Brendan, Godfrey and Hilda and her extended family.
IN MEMORIAM GOVENDER—Bryan Mark. Called to rest February 4, 1985. In loving memory of our beloved Bryan. You remain forever in our hearts and in our prayers. We are comforted knowing that you rest in joy and peace with the Lord. Mum, sister, brothers, sisters-in-law and nieces.
PRAYERS HOLY St Jude, apostle and martyr, great in virtue and rich in miracles, kinsman of Jesus Christ, faithful intercessor of all who invoke you, special patron in time of need. To you I have recourse from the depth of my heart and humbly beg you to come to my assistance. Help me now in my urgent need and grant my petitions. In return I promise to make your name known and publish this prayer. Amen. AW. HOLY St Jude, apostle and martyr, great in virtue and rich in miracles, kinsman of Jesus Christ, faithful intercessor of all who invoke you, special patron in time of need. To you I have recourse from the depth of my heart and humbly beg you to come to my assistance. Help me now in my urgent need and grant my petitions. In return I promise to make your name known and publish this prayer. Amen. RCP. SANTA CLARA, you followed Jesus in his life of poverty and prayer. Grant that confidently giving ourselves up to the providence of our celestial Father, we may serenely accept his divine wish. Say this prayer followed by nine Hail Mary's for nine days. On the ninth day light a candle. CJ.
THANKS THANKSGIVING to Our Lady and St Anthony for prayers answered. AJS & LJS. DEAR Saint Rita, thank you for interceding for us and for answering our prayers. May you be graciously blessed by Our Lord Jesus Christ. IMMIC. GRATEFUL thanks to our dear Lady, St Anthony and St Jude, for finding missing papers for me. PVE. GRATEFUL thanks to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Our Mother Mary, Ss Joseph, Anthony, Jude and Martin de Porres for prayers answered. RCP.
PERSONAL BIRTHRIGHT: Pregnant? We care. 011 403 1718, 031 201 5471.
CHEMICAL abortion: ‘The Pill’ can abort, undetected, immediately after conception. See website: http://www.humanlife. org/abortion_does_the_ pill.php
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HOLIDAY ACCOMMODATION AZARS B&B — Olde worlde charm in Kalk Bay's quaint fishing village. Luxury double ensuite/private lounge/ entrance. DSTV/tea/coffee. Serviced 3 times a week. Minutes from Metrorail. Enjoy breakfast at different restaurant every day (included in tariff). Holy Mass Saturdays/Sundays within walking distance. Tel/Fax 021 788 2031, 082 573 1251. grizell@ iafrica.com CAPE WEST COASTYzerfontein—Emmaus on Sea B&B and selfcatering. Holy Mass celebrated every Sunday at 6pm. 022 451 2650. FISH HOEK—Self-catering accommodation, sleeps 4. Secure parking. 021 785 1247. FISH HOEK, Cape Town: Self-catering holiday accommodation from budget to luxury for 2 to 6 people. Special pensioners’ rate from May to October. Tel/fax 021 782 3647, e-mail: alisona @xsinet.co.za FOREST WALK, Somerset West: Family flat, sleeps 4. Secure complex. 021 783 0424, 084 818 5254 GORDON’S BAY—4-star self-catering. Uninterrupted seaviews, private balcony, DStv, fully equipped kitchen, automated garages. Sleeps 2. Contact Lynn or 084 520 4777 www.thebluemarine.co. za GORDON’S BAY: Beautiful en-suite rooms available at reasonable rates. Magnificent views, breakfast on request. 082 774 7140. E-mail: bzhive @telkomsa.net. KNYSNA—Self-catering garden apartment for two in Old Belvidere with wonderful Lagoon views. 044 387 1052. MARIANELLA Guest House, Simon’s Town: “Come experience the peace and beauty of God with us.” Fully equipped with amazing sea-views, secure parking, ideal for rest and relaxation, Special rates for pensioners and clergy. Malcolm Salida 082 7845675 or mjsalida@ mweb.co.za MONTAGU, Rose Cottage—A luxurious selfcatering “home away from home”; stylishly decorated the “coolest” place in town! Sleeps 6. The most peaceful surroundings, mountain views, www.rosecottagemon tagu.co.za or
e-mail: info@rosecot tagemontagu.co.za or call Christa at 084 409 0044 PIETERMARITZBURG— St Dominic Guest House. Beautiful old house recently renovated, adjacent to Dominican Priory, Chapel and Conference Centre, near the University and a shopping mall. Self-catering, fully equipped kitchen, safe parking and Internet access. Sleeps 8 in single and double rooms. 033 345 2241, 033 845 9103, 083 301 3354, Fax 033 345 2246, guest firstname.lastname@example.org SANDBAAI/HERMANUS —Relaxing weekend away. Reasonable rates. Contact Jacqui Ferreira. 082 924 5807 SOUTH COAST—3 bedroom house. Marine Drive, Uvongo. Donald 031 465 5651, 073 989 1074. STELLENBOSCH: Five simple private suites (2 beds, fridge, microwave). Countryside-vineyard/ forest/mountain walks; beach 20min drive. Affordable. Christian Brothers 021 880 0242 email@example.com UMHLANGA ROCKS: Fully equipped self-catering 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house, sleeps 6, sea view, 200 metres from beach, DStv. Tina, 031 561 5838 WILDERNESS—Rustic farm cottage, sleeps five, self-catering. 073 478 9038. WILDERNESS—selfcatering house, 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms. Sleeps 8/10, indoor braai, pool table, DStv. Contact Julia e-mail pro
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Published independently by the Catholic Newspaper & Publishing Company Ltd, Cape Town Opinions expressed in this newspaper do not necessarily reflect those of the editor, staff or directors of The Southern Cross. The Southern Cross is a member of the Audit Bureau of Circulations of South Africa. Printed by Paarl Post, 8 Jan van Riebeeck Drive, Paarl. Published by the proprietors, The Catholic Newspaper & Publishing Co Ltd, at the company’s registered office, 10 Tuin Plein, Cape Town, 8001.
February 3 to February 9, 2010
SOUTHERN AFRICA’S NATIONAL CATHOLIC WEEKLY SINCE 1920 Box 2372, Cape Town, 8000 10 Tuin Plein, Gardens, Cape Town, 8001 Tel: (021) 465 5007 Fax: (021) 465 3850 Editorial: email@example.com Advertising/Subscriptions/Accounts: firstname.lastname@example.org 6th Sunday - Year C (February 14) Readings: Jeremiah 17:5-8; Psalm 1; 1 Corinthians 15:12.16-20; Luke 6:17.20-26 NE of the ways in which Scripture often expresses the truth about God is by way of a contrast, between life and death. Choose God and that is the way of life, while the way of death is those who choose not-God. The contrast is not a question of punishment and reward; it is simply that God has created us for life, and our life-task is to listen to the Maker’s instructions. The first reading, from Jeremiah, expresses this contrast in terms of trees in the desert—a familiar enough image to those living in the Near East. “Cursed is the one who places trust in human beings…is like a shrub in the desert, shall not see when good times come, stands in the parched places of the wilderness, in salt land where no one dwells”. On the other hand, “Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord…is like a tree planted on the waters, sends out its roots to the stream, shall not fear when heat comes…does not cease to yield fruit”. The Psalm for next Sunday is Psalm 1, carefully placed by the editors at the start of
Life or death: the choice is yours Fr Nicholas King SJ
Scriptural Reflections the book of Israel’s hymns, and it continues the contrast in terms of life and death. “Happy is the person who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, and does not stand in the way of sinners”, it begins, “but their delight is in the Law of the Lord, and they recite the Law day and night”. Again we hear the image of a “tree planted by streams of water, which yields fruit at the right time”. The “wicked”, by contrast are unstable, “like chaff driven by the wind” (a powerful image in an agricultural economy). And the poet concludes: “The Lord knows the way of the righteous; and the way of the wicked is scattered”. The second reading continues the con-
trast. Paul is once more trying to bring his Corinthian Christians back to a sense of the life that God has brought in Christ, by insisting on the centrality of the Resurrection. In this part of the text, the contrast is between that life and the allegation on the part of some of the Corinthian church that there was no such thing as Resurrection. If that is so, argues Paul, then Christ cannot have been raised. If that were true, “your faith is pointless, and you are still in your sins”. You and I have to choose, this week, which side we are on — that of death (“there is no such thing as Resurrection”) or that of life (“Christ is indeed raised from the dead”). The gospel reading plays the contrast theme loud and clear. We have here Luke’s “Sermon on the Plain”, his version of Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount, addressed to “a great crowd of his disciples” and “a large number of the people [of Israel]”. This mixed bag get it with both barrels: “Con-
A new fun dictionary E
VERY year, The Washington Post publishes the results of what it calls it’s “Mensa Invitational”, in which readers are challenged to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter and coming up with a new definition. The winners were: Cashtration: The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time. Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realise it was your money to start with. Bozone: The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn’t catch on to it. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late. Osteopornosis: A morally degenerate disease. Karmageddon: It’s like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it’s like, a serious bummer. Decafalon: The gruelling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you. Dopeler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly. Arachnoleptic Fit: The frantic dance performed just after you’ve accidentally walked through a spider web. Beelzebug: Satan in the form of a mosquito that gets into your bedroom
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The Last Word at three in the morning and cannot be cast out. Caterpallor: The colour you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you’re eating.
Wrongly right And then, there are those that did not require any single letter changes. Such as: Coffee: The person upon whom one coughs. Flabbergasted: Appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained. Abdicate: To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach. Esplanade: To attempt an explanation while drunk. Negligent: Absentmindedly answering the door when wearing only a nightgown. Lymph: To walk with a lisp. Gargoyle: Olive-flavoured mouthwash. Balderdash: A rapidly receding hairline.
She vs He And staying on a humorous note, I recently received a wonderful e-mail from a friend that tickled me pink even though it is based on women’s superiority over the men. A Spanish teacher was explaining to
her class that in Spanish, unlike English, nouns are designated as either masculine or feminine. “House”, for instance, is feminine: “la casa”. “Pencil”, however, is masculine: “el lapiz”. A student asked: “What gender is ‘computer’?” Instead of giving the answer, the teacher split the class into two groups, male and female, and asked them to decide for themselves whether “computer” should be a masculine or a feminine noun. Each group was asked to give four reasons for its recommendation. The men’s group decided that “computer” should definitely be of the feminine gender (la computadora), because: 1. No one but their creator understands their internal logic; 2. The native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else; 3. Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long-term memory for possible later retrieval; and 4. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your salary on accessories for it. The women’s group, however, concluded that computers should be masculine (el computador), because: 1. In order to do anything with them, you have to turn them on; 2. They have a lot of data but still can’t think for themselves; 3. They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they ARE the problem; and 4. As soon as you commit to one, you realise that if you had waited a little longer, you could have got a better model. The women won.
Southern Crossword #376
ACROSS 4. Increases number of choristers (7) 8. Purchased (6) 9. Jeff ending off with noble Arab inside (7) 10. Volley produces a beautiful result (6) 11. Charitable society that revolves? (6) 12. Angelic beings around marsh pie (7) 18. The bishop: his old title (8) 20. A libel about the Devil (6) 21. Synagogue ruler (Mk 5) (6) 22. Fiery (7) 23. Happen to (6) 24. Hold closely to yourself (7)
DOWN 1. Has boil. Do away with it (7) 2. Undermine (7) 3. He introduced Nathaniel to Jesus (Jn 1) (6) 5. Luther, for instance (8) 6. Cries like one of the flock (6) 7. Put up with (6) 13. Nice hell has Greek connection (8) 14. He let the Israelites leave Egypt (7) 15. Pole sat as original bishop (7) 16. Parchment for the manuscript (6) 17. Ready to boil when angry (6) 19. Attractive sketcher (7)
SOLUTIONS TO #375. ACROSS: 1 Monk, 3 Clerical, 7 Nirvana, 9 Polls, 10 Housewife, 12 Expire, 14 Offend, 16 Avuncular, 19 Amiss, 20 Anytime, 21 Big Noise, 22 Ages. DOWN: 1 Minister, 2 North, 4 Leaven, 5 College, 6 Last, 8 Aquariums, 9 Painfully, 11 Admirers, 13 Praying, 15 Scraps, 17 Ruing, 18 Lamb.
A MOERDYK CHUCKLE
PhD graduate and an ordinary man went on a camping trip, set up their tent and fell asleep. Some hours later, the ordinary man woke up his PhD friend and asked: “Look up at the sky and tell me what you see?” The PhD man replies: “I see millions of stars.” The ordinary man asks: “What does that tell you?” The PhD guy ponders for a minute: “Astronomically speaking, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets.
“Whoever stained these windows must have got into biiig trouble!”
gratulations to the destitute; yours is the Kingdom of God”. And there is no time to recover from this astonishing claim before the next volley comes: “Congratulations to those who are hungry now; you are going to be satisfied. Congratulations to those who are weeping now; you are going to laugh. Congratulations to you when people hate you and ostracise you and say rude things about you, and cast out your name as wicked, for the sake of the Son of Man”. These unfortunates are told to “rejoice in that day, and exult, for your reward is great in heaven; that is how their ancestors treated the prophets”. Then comes the electrifying contrast, with a series of “woes”, against “the rich— you already have your comfort…you who are filled, you are going to be hungry. Those who laugh now are going to mourn and weep”. The gospel offers us a stark contrast this week; but it is simply asking us whether we will opt for life, or for death.
“Astrololically, it tells me that Satan is in Leo. Time-wise, it appears to be approximately a quarter past three. “Theologically, it’s evident that the Lord is allpowerful and we are small and insignificant. “Meteorologically, it seems we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you?” The ordinary man is silent for a moment, then says: “Practically, it tells me that someone has stolen our tent.” Chris Moerdyk
Send us your favourite Catholic joke, preferably clean and brief, to The Southern Cross, Church Chuckle, PO Box 2372, Cape Town, 8000.