PAGES 6-7, 11
Parish of the Month from Eastern Cape
Church in the midst of drug wars
Five years of Pope Benedict
Did Christ condemn paedophiles?
April 14 to April 20, 2010 Reg No. 1920/002058/06
SOUTHERN AFRICA’S NATIONAL CATHOLIC WEEKLY SINCE 1920
Priests slam ‘intimidation’ of Zambian bishops
Don’t miss our special Vocations Sunday Issue! Out on April 21!
BY MWANSA PINTU
Nun professor honoured Dr Edith Raidt, a Schoenstatt Sister and former head of South Africa’s Catholic university, has been awarded Germany’s highest civilian honour.—Page 3
Saint’s husband dies at 97 The widower of St Gianna Beretta Molla, who was canonised in 2004, has died at the age of 97.—Page 5
Helicopters of Christ In his monthly column, Henry Makori looks at a new church in Nairobi called the Helicopter of Christ Ministry.—Page 9
A pompous prime minster In his weekly column, Chris Moerdyk recalls a run-in with a pompous British prime minister.—Page 12
What do you think? In their Letters to the Editor this week, readers discuss a the humiliation of the Church, the Divine Mercy devotion, wearing a veil to church, why people go to Mass, the reformation, abuse in schools, clerical celibacy, and the editor’s output.—Page 8
This week’s editorial: Pope Benedict’s legacy
TV show dumps Catholic actor over sex scenes
R5,00 (incl VAT RSA)
MERICAN actor Neal McDonough, a former cast member of shows such as Desperate Housewives and Band of Brothers, has allegedly been replaced in a new TV series over his refusal to act in “heated love scenes”. The Catholic News Agency reported that M c D o n o u g h (pictured), a Catholic, was dumped from ABC’s new series Scoundrels officially because of a “casting change”, but Hollywood sources say it was because of the actor’s refusal to do what he called “inappropriate” love scenes with his co-star Virginia Madsen. McDonough’s position is well-known in the industry, according to the report, which adds that he previously refused to do sex scenes with Nicolette Sheridan on Desperate Housewives when he played her villain husband during the show’s fifth season. He also did not do love scenes in his previous roles in Boomtown and Medical Investigation. “You can’t help but admire McDonough for sticking to his beliefs, even if he’s poised to lose as much as $1 million in paydays for Scoundrels,” wrote Nikki Finke, editor of the movie news site Deadline Hollywood.—cathnews
SCORE: Archbishop Stephen Brislin of Cape Town receives a souvenir football from Sabine Schwab of the Catholic funding agency Missio Munich. The football bears the logo for the Club of Good Hope, the name of the football tournament organised by Missio and the Bavarian state government which was held in Munich. Three teams from Cape Town and one from Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal, were sponsored to play in the finals. With Youth Unlimited, Missio and Bavaria are promoting football as a socialising and developmental experience for young boys and girls playing side by side in tournaments. Ms Schwab met Archbishop Brislin to share plans for a “Bavaria Meets Western Cape Expo 2010” at the Artscape theate centre. PHOTO: SYDNEY DUVAL
RIESTS in Zambia have pledged to step up efforts to defend the country’s bishops from increased intimidation by government officials for speaking out against bad governance and tolerance of corruption. The priests offered their support to the bishops following separate pastoral council meetings in Mpika and Kasama Zambian bishops have criticised the government for corrupt practices and for not addressing broad concerns such as safety issues in the mining industry, everrising food prices, regular power outages, finalising the draft of a new constitution and continuous voter registration. In a joint statement, the priests said the insults from Catholic and non-Catholic politicians to the Zambian Church’s leadership were saddening and insulting to the entire Catholic population. “The role of the Catholic Church is to speak for the voiceless by bringing out issues of injustice and ensure fair play to liberate the captives,” the statement said.—CNS
Tlhagale: Church’s image is ‘in ruins’ BY MICHAIL RASSOOL
RCHBISHOP Buti Tlhagale of Johannesburg has said that all priests must take collective responsibility for the hurt, scandals, pain and suffering inflicted by their clerical brothers in Europe and America on those placed in their care. In his homily at the annual Chrism Mass at Christ the King cathedral, Johannesburg, the president of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) said the Church’s current crisis has meant that priests in modern times have betrayed the very Gospel they preach. “The Good News we claim to announce sounds so hollow, so devoid of any meaning when matched with our much publicised negative moral behaviour. Many who looked up to priests as their model feel betrayed, ashamed and disappointed,” the archbishop said. “They feel that some priests have ‘slipped away from the footprints of the Apostles’. Trust has been compromised. The halo has been tilted, if not broken. What happens in Ireland or in Germany or America affects us all.” While the misbehaviour of priests in Africa has not been exposed to the same extent as it has in other parts of the world, priests on the continent must nevertheless also face responsibility for the hurt, the scandals, the pain and the suffering caused by themselves, who claim to be models of good behaviour. “I wish I could say that there are only a
few bad apples. But the outrage around us suggests that there are more than just a few bad apples.” The Church’s image is virtually in ruins because of the bad behaviour of some priests, Archbishop Tlhagale said, referring to them as “wolves wearing sheep’s skin, preying on unsuspecting victims, inflicting irreparable harm, and continuing to do so with impunity”. “We are slowly but surely bent on destroying the Church of God by undermining and tearing apart the faith of lay believers,” Archbishop Tlhagale said. “Ironically, priests have become a stumbling block to the promotion of vocations.” He said each time priests compromise their vows, they break their fidelity and betray Christ himself. The archbishop said that because of the scandal the authoritative voice of the Church has been weakened. Church leaders, he said, become incapable of criticising the corrupt and immoral behaviour of members of communities, and are hesitant to criticise the greed and malpractices of civic authorities. They are paralysed and automatically become reluctant to guide young people in the many moral dilemmas they face. At such moments, he added, Church leaders probably feel much closer to Judas Iscariot and his 30 pieces of silver or Simon Peter deeply buried in denial. Archbishop Tlhagale said a time of crisis is also a time of opportunity, to experience the redeeming power of the grace of Christ crucified on the Cross. He said it is a time
for priests to strive to become the examples of the remarkable stories contained the Gospel. Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, archbishop of Durban, in his Easter message also alluded to the sex abuse scandal. “The current crisis facing the Catholic Church internationally—the crisis of child abuse and a lack of appropriate response— helps us realise that the Church is always in need of reformation and a return to basics. “The primary message of the Church must be the fundamental dignity of all people from conception to natural death. Any action by the Church that compromises this dignity is an offence against the common good and against God. Any loss of focus on the holiness of God and the call to holiness for all people leads to hurt, pain and anger—a betrayal of all that Jesus is,” Cardinal Napier said. “Facing up to this means facing up to a failure to lead all to the holiness of God and their own holy dignity.” Meanwhile, the SACBC has revealed that since the introduction in 1996 of the Professional Conduct Committee, which deals with abuse cases involving Church personnel, 40 cases had been registered. “All have been investigated or are in the process of investigation or are suspended due to civil/criminal action. Most of these cases deal with historical abuse—some as old as 40 years ago—and over 50% are complaints of sexual abuse of teenage girls,” said SACBC information officer Fr Chris Townsend.
The Southern Cross, April 14 to April 20, 2010
M’hill mission centre re-opens BY MAURICIO LANGA
S a way of providing affordable and decent accommodation and facilities for workshops, conferences and retreats for schools, religious organisations, private companies and the Mariannhill Monastery made invaluable investments towards the refurbishment of the Mission Centre. The newly revamped Mission Centre is a secluded facility that provides a conducive environment for conferences, workshops and other gatherings. According to the superior of the monastery, Fr Gideon Sibanda CMM, the revamp of the Mission Centre was necessitated by the growing demand from groups who make use of the premises for differ-
ent purposes. He said the premises not only benefit schools from in and around KwaZulu-Natal, but also as far a-field as the Eastern Cape and Limpopo. The refurbished self-catering facility can accommodate around 100 people. Those staying at the facility would only have to pay R50 per night. “Our objective is to serve the local Church,” said FrmSibanda. “Providing a multi-purpose facility at very reasonable prices is a sign that the Church can do more in answering some of social problems faced by the people.” The Mission can be utilised to provide space for young people to discuss social ills such as the HIV/Aids pandemic, drug abuse
Bishops approve Divine Office’s new English version
and the problem of unemployment, Fr Sibanda added. The main challenge is to develop effective programmes as well as train the youth to help themselves and other affected or infected people. “Such programmes and training will help instill hope, knowledge and empower the youth with necessary skills to face the socio-economic challenges facing them on a daily basis. “For example, schools coming for retreats or excursions could benefit from such programmes and once the programmes have been designed the monastery could partner with other qualified personnel from the local community to help the youth in different areas of concern,” Fr Sibanda said.
BY MICHAIL RASSOOL
Journey of faith brings parish closer to God BY ALAN VALKENBURG
OU have been asleep for five years and you awake and return to your parish. What is in place that makes you feel more Christ-like, and what is happening that is enabling your parish community to be more Christ-centred? These were some of the questions asked by about 100 members of Pius X parish in Plumstead, Cape Town, as they completed their journey of faith during a workshop aimed at bringing together the parish in an attempt to grow closer to God, both as individuals and as a community. Entitled “The Journey”, the programme began with a six-week marketing campaign enticing parishioners to sign up for the event. Each weekend there was something new to pique curiosity and remind the parish of the upcoming event: luggage tags, special “journey” postcards, a boarding pass and various other items
Parishioners participated in a workshop aimed at bringing their parish closer to God. one would see on a journey of importance. Led by Holy Redeemer’s William Peterson, the first session featured a talk about spirituality by Fr Wim Lindeque of Manenberg. Parishioners shared their feelings on issues such as the music, youth, church reflections and social activities. More than a few tears were shed as parishioners revealed what would make the parish a more Christ-centred place for them. While parishioners
spoke about the future of the parish, 15 facilitators assimillated the information for a report back to the greater audience. Fr Frank Conlisk, parish priest, said that getting to know fellow parishioners at a deeper level was appreciated. “I was delighted, and at times surprised, at the level of interest people showed. The six preparatory groups were fantastic. It was inspiring to see so many people from the community so enthusiastic and willing to attend so many meetings. There was a wonderfully inspiring energy and joy about the day itself, an almost tangible excitement about the future and the possibilities for growth. “It was truly uplifting to hear people speak of their experiences of God and to witness them take ownership of their unique spiritual journey,” said Fr Conlisk. A group has been set up to gather all the information produced during the workshop.
HE Southern African Catholic Bishop’ Conference has approved Paulines Publications Africa’s editions of The Divine Office. The Divine Office is based on the Liturgia Horarum (Editio Typica Altera). The new English version, combined in all three editions, is revised from the second edition of Liturgia Horarum issued by the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in 1985 Pauline Sister Teresa Ramos said The Liturgy of the Hours is mainly for priests and religious sisters. She said the shorter Daily Prayer is The Divine Office without the Office of the Readings and is intended for seminarians, religious and laity who would like to pray the Hours in communion with the rest of the Church. Its smaller version, Christian Prayer, offers morning, evening and night prayers. The Liturgy of the Hours is four volumes thick. For the revised second edition, said Sr Ramos, the Congregation wanted the Revised Grail Psalter to be the official translation of the psalms to be used in all the liturgical because it is faithful to the original Hebrew texts. The new version includes the Psalter being recommended by musicians for its musicality because it can be easily sung, chanted or recited. The Old Testament Canticles prayed at Morning Prayer have also been revised, Sr Ramos said. She said the biblical texts, except the Psalms and Morning
Prayer Canticles, are taken from the New American Bible published by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, on which The African Bible, published by the Paulines a few years ago, was based. The liturgical texts, Sr Ramos said, are taken from The Liturgy of the Hours edition of the International Commission for English in the Liturgy. She said the new version has also enhanced the Sunday celebration of Morning and Evening Prayer with new Benedictus and Magnificat antiphons in harmony with the Gospel of each Sunday. This highlights the deep connection between the Eucharist and The Liturgy of the Hours, she said. Sr Ramos also said the Proper Calendar for Kenya, also approved by the congregation, has been incorporated into The Liturgy of the Hours, which includes African saints from various places and times, some celebrations of Our Lady of Africa, as well as missionaries who brought the Christian faith to Africa. She said liturgical texts for, among others, The Most Holy Name of Jesus, St Josephine Bakhita and St Pius of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio), have also been incorporated into this new version. For more information about The Liturgy of the Hours (Divine Office), The Prayer of the Church and Christian Prayers, people should contact their local Catholic bookshops and repositories.
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The Southern Cross, April 14 to April 20, 2010
Diocese joins fight against trafficking STAFF REPORTER
OW I know I was trafficked, but I just didn't know it was called human trafficking, was the words of a young man who participated in a seminar held in Beaufort Wes. The seminar was organised by the Oudsthoorn Diocesan Justice and Peace Department to educate locals about human trafficking before and during the FIFA World Cup. It is also in response to the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ appeal to the Church and country to protect vulnerable people from being exploited as sex workers and cheap labourers during the tournament in June. To date, three seminars have been held, in George, Beaufort West and Worcester, during which Catholics, along with other concerned people, have been exposed to
Dr Edith Raidt, a Schoenstatt sister and president emeritus of St Augustine College of South Africa, receives the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany from ambassador Dieter Haller.
Role of bishops in society highlighted
Highest German honour for SA academic sister T BY DENISE GORDON-BROWN
CHOENSTATT Sister Dr Edith Raidt, president emeritus of South Africa’s Catholic university, St Augustine College in Johannesburg, has received Germany’s highest civilian honour, the Bundesverdienstkreuz (Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany). The presentation was made by Germany’s ambassador to South Africa, Dieter W Haller, at his official residence in Pretoria in the presence of about 20 guests, many of them friends and colleagues of Dr Raidt. Dr Raidt received the award for her lifelong public service in South Africa and her homeland of Germany. Dr Raidt came to South Africa in 1952 with the desire to “convert Africa”. After a short period in Schoenstatt’s Cape Town convent, she started studying at the University of Cape Town (UCT) for a BA. This was the beginning of work towards a number of university degrees, medals and scholarships over the next years, culminating in obtaining a PhD from the University of the Witwatersrand. Her academic career was crowned with the award of three D Litt (honoris causa) and
one D Ed (hc). She lectured at UCT for ten years, before being approached to join the staff of Wits University where she rose to head of the Afrikaans and Nederlands department. She retired from Wits in 1994 to help set up the Catholic university of St Augustine. This was accomplished in 1999 with the intake of the first post-graduate students. Having retired for the second time in 2008, Dr Raidt is still fully occupied at St Augustine College in a fundraising capacity. Dr Raidt’s father was also honoured with the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. In his address, Mr Haller said: “All your commitment is based on a wonderful personality and a very solid value system rooted in your religious beliefs. Or to put in one word: your dedication to serve a human cause. “It is for your achievements, your commitment and your enormous contribution to strengthen Germany’s reputation in South Africa that President [Horst] Köhler has decided to award you with the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.”
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information about the phenomenon—how to identify traffickers and their ways of operating. The J&P also plans to implement a twelve-month project to combat human trafficking throughout the diocese before, during and after the tournament. The project consists of three phases. The first phase is an awareness programme in primary schools; the second phase consists of a series of workshops during the June school break for learners, while phase three intends to transfer skills to local communities to empower them to continue protecting their own children in the future. “Thanks to the financial generosity of Missio in Austria and Sternzingers in Germany, we are able to implement this very urgent project,” said diocesan Justice and Peace chaplain Fr Brian Williams.
BY MICHAIL RASSOOL
EACHING absolute truths in a society where freedom of choice and freedom to express one’s opinions and beliefs is not easy, came to the fore at a gathering of Catholics at the Cape Town Club. Addressing a luncheon, Archbishop Stephen Brislin said the inherent teaching authority of the bishop is probably the most challenging aspect of his office today. In the modern world, and Western society in particular, truth is considered a relative entity, he said .“The freedom of choice is held supreme in Western society particularly and casting doubts on individual choices is met with resistance at the very least. “An individualistic life-style is not, by and large, held accountable to a wider community in the moral domain, and often does not consider consequences of individual choices for the wider community or society. “Associated with this, is the bombardment of differing ideas, opinions, choices, moral understandings, ideologies, that every person in the modern world faces on a daily basis,” he said. The prelate said the exchange of opinions, ideas, ideologies and religions leads to a sense of despair over ever knowing the “real truth” while trying to assimilate all of these. He said there is also a basic mistrust of
authority. “There is a leadership vacuum in the world politically, economically and religiously. There are few people who stand out whom people can admire as being upright courageous leaders,” Archbishop Brislin said. In this context, “it is of no use saying ‘the Church says’ or ‘the pope says’ and to expect people to accept the teaching on that basis”. He said the language that is used to teach is of “paramount importance”. The dignified, carefully constructed, philosophically based language the Church uses, which is rich in biblical and magisterium references, is one that many people do not understand, the archbishop said. “We have to find ways in which we can dialogue with people, in a language that is understandable to them.” Archbishop Brislin identified sanctification as the second area of responsibility for any bishop. There is also the belief that a relationship with God is the source of all of one’s good works, he said. Another essential part of a bishop’s ministry is governance. “I believe we need to commit ourselves, as the Church, to the principles of good governance, at every level of the Church: parish, deanery, diocese, conference, universal.” The archbishop also touched on issues of accountability, transparency, equitability and responsibility.
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21 to 30 June 2010 Fr Raymond Mwangala OMI Theme: Come Home (Luke 15: 11-32)
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9 to 18 December 2010 Fr Frank Doyle OSA
19 to 28 September 2010 Fr Mike Gumede OMI
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9 to 18 December 2010 Fr Sabelo Mkhize Theme: Sharing His Sufferings, sharing His Joy, becoming like Christ
1 to 10 July 2010 Fr Frank Doyle OSA
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The Southern Cross, April 14 to April 20, 2010
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BY JOHN THAVIS
HE Roman curia’s headlinegrabbing defence of Pope Benedict’s handling of the clerical sex abuse scandal has demonstrated that when it comes to Vatican communications, the pope is not a micromanager. Twice during Holy Week liturgies, the pope was caught unawares when his aides spoke passionately about the barrage of criticism the pontiff and other Church leaders have faced in recent weeks on the sex abuse issue. One official compared the attacks on the Church and the pope to “the most shameful aspects of anti-Semitism”, while another said the Church would survive the “current petty gossip”. What Pope Benedict thought of these interventions was not clear. But in both cases, the remarks had the unintended effect of upstaging his own spiritual message about the meaning of Christ’s Passion and Easter. From the outside, the Vatican’s verbal rallying around the pope was viewed as an orchestrated campaign to counter his critics. If there was orchestration, however, it wasn’t directed by the pope. Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the preacher of the papal household, basically has an open microphone every time he steps up to sermonise for the pope and the Roman curia. He also has a penchant for weaving in current events, so it was probably not a complete surprise when he began talking about the priestly sex abuse scandal at the pope’s Good Friday liturgy. But when, quoting a Jewish friend, he likened criticism of Church leaders to past efforts to pin “collective guilt” on Jews, he sparked an outcry heard around the world. Amazingly, Pope Benedict and other Vatican officials had no inkling that Fr Cantalamessa would put forward such a comparison. “No one at the Vatican has ever demanded to read the texts of my homilies in advance, which is something I consider a great act of trust in me and in the media,” Fr Cantalamessa said afterwards. As usual, Jesuit Father Federi-
Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the pope’s preacher, during his Good friday homily in which he compared the barrage of criticism directed at the Church and Pope Benedict over the sexual abuse scandal to “the most shameful aspects of anti-Semitism”. PHOTO: PAUL HARING, CNS co Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, was assigned cleanup duty. Hours after the liturgy, he issued a statement saying the Capuchin’s analysis “was not the position of the Holy See”. On Easter Sunday, at the beginning of the papal Mass in St Peter’s Square, another salvo came from Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals. In an unprecedented salutation to Pope Benedict, Cardinal Sodano extolled the pontiff as the “unfailing rock” of the Church, praised the 400 000 priests who serve generously around the world and then said: “Holy Father, the people of God are with you, and they do not allow themselves to be impressed by the current petty gossip, or by the ordeals that occasionally strike the community of believers.” The pope rose and embraced Cardinal Sodano. But in this instance, too, the pope was not informed ahead of time about a text that soon would be making headlines. “I can exclude that the pope requested or saw in advance the text of Cardinal Sodano’s greeting,” Fr Lombardi told Catholic News Service. Whether in Rome or abroad, the pope simply doesn’t have time to personally preview the
many speeches or brief greetings that are addressed to him, Fr Lombardi explained. Considering that this one came from the dean of the College of Cardinals, it was probably not subject to revisions by anyone else, either, he said. Cardinal Sodano’s remarks got more news coverage than the pope’s own words, leading some to complain that the Vatican couldn’t manage to stay onmessage even at Easter. But that didn’t bother Vatican officials, who said it was important to let the pope and the world know that his Church supported him at this moment. One source said the decision to add the greeting to the pope was reached the evening before, based on a growing sense that to say nothing might leave the impression that the pope was isolated in the face of criticism. Critics of the Vatican’s communications apparatus have long argued that not enough attention has been paid to the way comments by individual cardinals or other Vatican officials will play in the media. But to date there have been no serious efforts to muzzle these officials or vet their public remarks. Indeed, for such a hierarchical organisation, the Vatican has an amazing plurality of voices.—CNS
Family torn apart by permits BY JUDITH SUDILOVSKY
OR the fourth year in a row one Christian family in Jerusalem was unable to celebrate Easter together. The family—whose elderly father asked not to be named in order to protect their identity— has not been able to share important holidays with their 37-year-old daughter since 2006. Although she has the proper documents to travel from Gaza, where she lives with her husband and children, the Israeli agency that issues travel permits made no promise that she could return home. As a holder of a Jerusalem residency card, the woman is prohibited under Israeli law from entering Gaza despite the fact that she has lived there with her husband for ten years and her four children were born there. The Christian family’s three other adult children—two of whom live in Jerusalem and one in Ramallah—along with their grandchildren traditionally gather at the family home to celebrate Easter and Christmas. Despite a full house, there was a
Christians pray in Jerusalem’s church of the Holy Sepulchre this Easter. One Christian Jerusalem family, however, was incomplete, for the fourth successive year because their daughter was denied a travel permit.. PHOTO: AMMAR AWAD, REUTERS/CNS
sense of emptiness among family members because the daughter in Gaza could not be with them. “Her mother and I tried to visit her on Christmas in Gaza but our request for permission to enter Gaza was denied,” the father told Catholic News Service. Ironically, the daughter’s husband and her two older children were granted travel permits
and were able to travel to Jerusalem for the Easter holiday. The daughter, however, remained in Gaza where she spent Easter with her two youngest children and her inlaws. “It is a difficult life,” the father said. The father and his wife call their daughter every evening via computer with a built-in video camera so they can see each other and get updates on how the grandchildren are growing. Every morning the daughter calls to speak with her mother as well, he said. “We are happy to see our grandchildren [this holiday] and there are a lot of presents and hugs for them, but at the same time we are sad because we can’t see our daughter,” he said. There are about 50 Jerusalem Christians married to Gaza spouses who cannot visit their families in Jerusalem. They cannot bring their families to live in Jerusalem permanently because Israel will not issue residency permits for their spouses and children who were born in Gaza.—CNS
ORKERS at several Catholic institutes have died and many have lost their houses in recent bomb blasts across Pakistan. Price hikes are making it harder for the poor to meet their daily needs. The country is also experiencing major power shortages, and workers at Catholic schools and hospitals told the Asian Church news agency UCA News that these shortages are seriously affecting their operations. With the country in the grip of these crises, auxiliary Bishop Sebastian Shah of Lahore asked Christians to keep their faith in God amid the war-like conditions in the country. Writing in the Catholic Naqeeb, Lahore archdiocese’s Urdu-language bimonthly, he said: “Every person is insecure and worried today…people
BY CINDY WOODEN
Workers build the stage and altar where Pope Benedict will celebrate Mass in Floriana, outside Valletta, Malta. During his April 17-18 visit to Malta, Pope Benedict plans to stop and pray at the grotto of St Paul where, according to tradition, the apostle lived during the three months he and his companions were shipwrecked on the island. PHOTO: DARRIN ZAMMIT LUPI, REUTERS/CNS
are feeling insecure in their houses and colonies amid rising costs, unemployment, suicide attacks and shortage of basic commodities.” He urged Christians to become the “bringers of good news” for the sad, depressed and terrorised. “No matter what the circumstances, keep your faith in God and highlight the importance of life in the desperate society.” Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha of Lahore wrote a similar Easter message for the Catholic periodical Light in Darkness. “The feast of Easter brings us a message of hope and joy amid these difficult circumstances. In his resurrection from the dead, we celebrate the victory of light over darkness, life over death and hope over despair.”
Church in the midst of drug wars F BY DAVID AGREN
ATHER Javier Cortes vividly recalls being approached recently with an unusual request by a group of teenagers in Apatzingan, an agricultural town 500km west of Mexico City. There, La Familia Michoacana, a quasi-religious drug cartel, dumped four human heads at a prominent public monument during Holy Week as a warning to its rivals. “Some young people said: ‘Father, I’ve come so that you will bless me because I’m going to kill Zetas,’” he said, referring to the gang of rogue former soldiers and police officers that La Familia members consider their mortal enemies.
Fr Cortes rebuked the plan and refused to bless the killing spree. Such violence has become common, contributing to more than 19 000 deaths since President Felipe Calderon took office in December 2006 and promised to crack down on violent drug cartels. The violence increasingly is claiming young lives as well. Authorities blame the cartels and gangs affiliated with them for massacres such as the January murder of 15 youths at a birthday party in Ciudad Juarez and the Palm Sunday murders in Durango state of ten young people who were returning to their communal farm. But the request made of Fr Cortes highlighted an even more disturbing trend in drug-related
Saint’s husband dies at 97 P IETRO Molla, the widower of St Gianna Beretta Molla, died at his home in Mesero, Italy, on April 3 at the age of 97. In September 2005, on what would have been their 50th wedding anniversary, the saint’s husband wrote: “I’ve often thought and said that not even eternity would give me enough time to thank the Lord for the very unique gift he gave me” in “seeing my beloved Gianna elevated to the highest honours of the altar”. Fourteen months after their marriage, Gianna and Pietro welcomed their first child, Pierluigi. Maria Zita was born in 1957 and Laura was born in 1959. But in late 1961, pregnant with the couple’s fourth child, Gianna was diagnosed with a uterine tumour. The couple refused treatment that could have harmed the unborn child. Gianna Emanuela was born in April 1962 and her mother died one week later of an infection. On the 40th anniversary of his wife’s death, Mr Molla wrote that he still felt his wife’s
Bishops on Pakistan crisis: keep the faith burning
Pope: Why we must love F Christians truly believe that Jesus has risen, they must allow his love and goodness to shine through their words and their actions, Pope Benedict has told a general audience in St Peter’s Square in the Vatican. “We will truly and completely be witnesses of the Lord’s resurrection when we allow the lavishness of his love to shine through us and when in our words—and even more in our gestures—people can recognise the voice and hands of Jesus himself,” he said. The “historical fact” of Christ’s resurrection means the promise of new life is not simply a wish, he said. “New life in Christ must shine in the life of each Christian; it must be alive and active,” demonstrating that “it really is capable of changing one’s heart and whole existence.” The signs that Christ’s victory over sin and death is changing minds and hearts include situations where violence is replaced with peace, where justice is promoted, where people patiently engage in dialogue, where respect is shown for others and where men and women make personal sacrifices to assist others, he said. “Unfortunately, we also see much suffering in the world, much violence and misunderstanding. The…joyful contemplation of the resurrection of Christ, who vanquishes sin and death with the power of love, is a favourable moment for rediscovering and professing our trust in the risen Lord with greater conviction,” the pope said.—CNS
The Southern Cross, April 14 to April 20, 2010
Pietro Molla, the widower of St Gianna Beretta Molla, who has died at the age of 97. He is pictured with the saint in 1955 before they were married. PHOTO: CATHOLIC PRESS PHOTO/CNS
presence “in the memory of our six months of engagement and our six and a half years of married and family life, filled with full and perfect joy with our children”. Addressing his late wife, he
said: “When the Lord called you to heaven 40 years ago, although we were suffering we continued to feel that you were increasingly present and near, our protector in heaven.” Gianna was a pediatrician and Pietro was an engineer. They were married in Magenta, the town outside Milan where Gianna was born. Pope John Paul II beatified Gianna in 1994 and proclaimed her a saint in 2004. Pietro was present at the canonisation in St Peter’s Square with the couple’s three surviving children; Maria Zita had died in 1964 of kidney disease. Fr Thomas Rosica of Canada’s Salt and Light Catholic Television Network, who has known the Molla family for 11 years, said in a statement that he is convinced “the story of holiness did not end with St Gianna Beretta Molla. Pietro Molla was a pillar and rock—a man of extraordinary faith, simplicity and holiness. He lived a remarkable, saintly life and like his beloved wife, Gianna, made holiness something attainable for all of us”.—CNS
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violence, as young people are increasingly recruited by the cartels and lured into the seemingly easy money of the drug trade. The region has a decades-old drug trade. But Freddy Castaneda, a youth minister in the Apatzingan diocese, said it was previously “something very vague” and young people were seldom recruited. Now, Castaneda said, “When you go into any neighbourhood, out of every ten families, six will be somehow involved” with the drug trade. “In school, there are guys whose only ambition is to become a drug dealer,” said 15-year-old Emma Jaimes. “One week these guys are poor. Next thing you know they’re rich.” The youth ministry programme
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in Apatzingan is attempting to intervene with children and adolescents before it’s too late. During Holy Week this year it held events for 200 young people that promoted an awareness of human rights and included charity projects and a march for peace. Promoting Easter events has become more difficult, however. Castaneda said previous events would attract up to 500 youths. Still, the youth ministers in Apatzingan refuses to give up— even on those who have fallen into the temptation of the drug trade. “We have hope,” Fr Cortes said. “All of these young people have a good seed somewhere inside of them.”—CNS
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The Southern Cross, April 14 to April 20, 2010
Pope’s first five years On April 19, 2005, the eligible members of the College of Cardinals elected Joseph Ratzinger to succeed Pope John Paul II as supreme pontiff. JOHN THAVIS reviews Pope Benedict XVI’s first five years.
T the five-year mark, two key objectives of Pope Benedict XVI’s pontificate have come into clear focus: creating space for religion in the public sphere and space for God in private lives. In hundreds of speeches and homilies, in three encyclicals, on 13 foreign trips, during synods of bishops and even through new websites, the German pontiff has confronted what he calls a modern “crisis of faith”, saying the root cause of moral and social ills is a reluctance to acknowledge the truth that comes from God. To counter this crisis, he has proposed Christianity as a religion of love, not rules. Its core mission, he has said repeatedly, is to help people accept God’s love and share it, recognising that true love involves a willingness to make sacrifices. His emphasis on God as Creator has tapped into ecological awareness, for which he has been dubbed the “green pope”. He has presented the faith as a path not only to salvation, but also to social justice and true happiness. Elected on April 19, 2005, Pope Benedict has surprised those who expected a doctrinaire disciplinarian. As universal pastor, he has led Catholics back to the basics of their faith, catechising them on Christianity’s foundational practices, writings and beliefs, ranging from the Confessions of St Augustine to the sign of the cross. But Pope Benedict’s quiet teaching mission has been frequently
overshadowed by problems and crises that have grabbed headlines, provoked criticism of the Church and left the German pontiff with an uphill battle to get a hearing. The fifth anniversary of his election is a case in point. It was viewed by many in the Vatican as an opportunity for the pope to stand in the media spotlight, underline the essential themes of his pontificate and prepare the world for the second volume of his work, Jesus of Nazareth. But in recent weeks, fallout from the priestly sex abuse crisis has muted the celebratory atmosphere at the Vatican and placed papal aides on the defensive. In a letter to Irish Catholics in March, the pope personally apologised to victims of priestly sexual abuse and announced new steps to heal the wounds of the scandal, including a Vatican investigation and a year of penitential reparation. Vatican officials viewed the letter as an unprecedented act of transparency by a pope who, even as a cardinal, pushed for harsher penalties against abusers. For critics, however, the papal letter was merely more words. Soon the Vatican was denying accusations that the pope himself, as a German archbishop, failed to adequately monitor a priest abuser.
ther controversies have eclipsed the pope’s wider message during his first five years. Visiting his native Bavaria in 2006, he upset many Islamic leaders when he quoted a medieval Byzantine emperor who said the prophet Mohammed had brought “things only evil and inhuman, such as his command” to spread the faith by the sword. The pope later said he was merely citing and not endorsing the criticism of Islam, but he conceded that the speech was open to misinterpretation. Then he began a bridge-building effort with Muslim scholars that eventually led to a
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iturgy has been a major focus of Pope Benedict. It is one of the areas where he wants to better balance the renewal launched by the Second Vatican Council with the church’s tradition—a process he calls “innovation in continuity”. In 2007, the pope’s removal of restrictions on use of the Tridentine rite, the Latin-language liturgy that predates the Second Vatican Council, was a major concession to traditionalists and part of a push toward an agreement with the breakaway Society of St Pius X, founded by the excommunicated Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. But when he lifted the excommunications of four of the society’s bishops in early 2009, that reconciliation project nearly derailed. One of the four, Bishop Richard Williamson, had three days earlier provoked outrage with assertions that the Holocaust was exaggerated and that no Jews died in Nazi gas chambers. The pope moved to repair damage with Jewish groups, and in a remarkable letter about the episode he thanked “our Jewish friends” who helped restore a sense of trust. In the same letter, however, he expressed sadness that some Catholics seemed willing to believe he was changing direction on Catholic-Jewish relations and were ready to “attack me with open hostility”.
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lthough he never planned to imitate his globetrotting predecessor, Pope Benedict has travelled to six continents on 13 foreign trips during his first five years. The 14th will come in mid-April when he visits Malta, the first of five trips planned for 2010. One of his most successful journeys was to the United States in 2008, when he visited Washington and New York and addressed the United Nations. In speeches and homilies, he set forth a moral challenge to the wider US culture on issues ranging from economic jusCASA SERENA tice to abortion, but withThe retirement home out coming across as doctriwith the Italian flair. naire or bullying—and the
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major new chapter in Vatican-Muslim dialogue. During a late 2006 visit to Turkey, the pope prayed in Istanbul’s Blue Mosque next to an Islamic cleric, a gesture of respect that resonated positively throughout the Islamic world. At the same time, he continued to insist that all religions must reject violence carried out in their name.
FLASHBACK: Pope Benedict XVI greets a crowd of nearly 100 000 gathered in St Peter’s Square after he was elected the 265th pope on April 19, 2005, the second day of secret balloting in the Sistine Chapel by the world’s cardinals. PHOTO: ALESSIA GIULIANI, CATHOLIC PRESS PHOTO/CNS
reception was unusually positive. The pope also expressed his personal shame at the priestly sex abuse scandal that had shaken the Church in the United States, meeting and praying with a group of abuse victims. It was a gesture he would repeat three months later on a trip to Australia for World Youth Day. The pope’s most demanding trip was his Holy Land pilgrimage in 2009, which took him to holy places in Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories. Visiting a mosque in Jordan, the pope was able to build more bridges with Muslim communities in the Middle East. In Jerusalem, where he was thrust into the politics of the longsimmering Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he prodded both sides, supporting Palestinians’ right to statehood but urging them to reject terrorism. The list of Pope Benedict’s other accomplishments includes documents, meetings and spiritual initiatives: His three encyclicals have placed love and charity at the centre of church life. In 2006, the encyclical God Is Love described the faith as charity in action, and said God cannot be shut out of personal and social life. On Christian Hope in 2007 presented Jesus Christ as the source of love and hope in eternal salvation, the “great hope” that can sustain contemporary men and women. Charity in Truth in 2009 said social justice was inseparable from the concept of Christian charity, and called for reform of international economic institutions and practices. His book Jesus of Nazareth, which has sold more than 2 million copies, emphasised that Jesus was
God, not merely a moralist or a political revolutionary or a social reformer. In calling for a personal relationship with Jesus, it touched on a point the pope has made elsewhere: “One can never know Christ only theoretically.” The pope has presided over three synods of bishops: on the Eucharist in 2005, on Scripture in 2008 and on Africa in 2009, and has convened one on the Middle East for October. He streamlined the format of these encounters to allow for more exchange of opinion, and has sometimes joined in the discussions. There’s much interest in his post-synodal document on Scripture, expected soon, because the pope has insisted that familiarity with the Bible is essential to living the Christian life. The “Year of St Paul” in 20082009 familiarised Catholics with the man considered the model of Christian conversion and the archetypal evangeliser. It sought to rekindle a missionary awareness throughout the Church. In calling the “Year for Priests”, which ends in June, the pope said the Church must acknowledge that some priests have done great harm to others, but must also thank God for the gifts the majority of priests have given to the Church and the world. The pope’s letter to the Church in China in 2008 was a landmark attempt to reconcile the divided Catholic community there and launch a platform for dialogue with civil authorities. It attempted to disentangle the knot of ecclesial and political problems in China by presenting a clear vision of the Church and its mission, and a strong case for the respect of religious freedom.—CNS
The youth is pope’s ‘greatest concern’ BY FR MATTHEW GAMBER
OPE Benedict gave the students an “A plus” for singing “Happy Birthday” to him in German at a gathering with young people at St Joseph seminary in Yonkers, New York, in 2008. The incident reveals the warm relationship that Pope Benedict, the former teacher, has enjoyed with young people since his election to the papacy five years ago at age 78. His connection with young adults began as a priest and a theology professor. He has continued to nurture young people in the faith after inheriting Pope John Paul II’s legacy of strong relations with young adult Catholics. As Pope Benedict once told President Nicolas Sarkozy during a visit to France, “Young people are my greatest concern.” During his papacy the Vatican has attempted to reach out to the young through the new social networking media such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Many of the pope’s international travels have included separate
The pope at WYD 2005 in Cologne meetings with the young people of various nations. But the most significant of the pope’s efforts to reach the young has been his presence at the international celebrations of World Youth Day (WYD), largescale events that began 25 years ago and usually take place every three years. They bring together young Catholics ages 15-35 from around the world for a week of prayer, teaching, and fellowship. Fr Eric Jacquinet, who oversees World Youth Day as head of the Youth Section of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, thinks Pope Benedict’s humble but affirming attitude connects with young Catholics. “He seems to be shy with the
crowds, but the pope is very attracted to young people, and he is very present to them. He does not go out and hurl a bunch of ‘thou shalt nots’ at them,” he said. Soon after his election in 2005, Pope Benedict went to Cologne for his first WYD and addressed nearly 2,5 million young people. He inaugurated a new WYD tradition of evening eucharistic adoration under the stars at an outdoor field. Addressing criticism of World Youth Days as nothing more than Catholic rock concerts, the pope spoke to his collaborators in the Roman curia about the events. “Joy simply reigned throughout those days” during WYD 2008 in Sydney, he said. “The pope is not the star around which everything happens. The solemn liturgy is the centre of everything at World Youth Day,” he said. He plans to celebrate that with some 2 million young people at the next international World Youth Day in Madrid, Spain, in August 2011.—CNS
The Southern Cross, April 14 to April 20, 2010
Pope Benedict XVI in modern society One of Pope Benedict’s greatest concerns is how the Church relates to an increasingly hostile secular world today. ANTHONY EGAN SJ explains.
OPE Benedict’s understanding of Church and state is complex. Some of his public statements give the impression that he has a grand project—the revival of Christian faith in Europe and so wishes to turn back the clock and establish a renewed Christendom. But I think this is a misreading. Rather, he is seeking to infuse secular democracy with Christian values. A useful way of looking at Pope Benedict’s understanding of Church and state can be found in a (very cordial) debate he had in 2004 with the great German philosopher Jürgen Habermas. This was later published as a short co-authored book, The Dialectics of Secularization. In the debate, Habermas (an agnostic) argued for a secular state based on the rule of law. Although religion was important to society, Habermas insisted, it could not be the basis for a modern, pluralistic state. Religious beliefs in a (post)modern society are too varied and sometimes contradictory. However, a secular legal system
can be the basis for such a state. In fact, Habermas argued, the legitimacy of a state is based on its legality. This is the common ground for human solidarity, one that crosses the solidarities one finds within religions. But faith and theology still have an important role insofar as theology can be translated into a non-sectarian philosophy. Benedict’s response is interesting. He concedes the need for theological ideas to be turned into appropriately secular language. Well he might—after all, Catholic social thought has done this (to varying degrees) since 1891. He was also in agreement that religion could exhibit many nasty “pathologies” of fundamentalism and violent extremism. But, he added, so could secular philosophies. For Benedict, the challenge to the secular democratic state was to ground itself, and its laws, in what it is to be authentically human, to be truly respectful of persons. And here, I suspect, is the crux of the problem. The Church’s understanding of the truly human is not 100% the same as the secular view, even though it approximates it in many respects. But still modern scientific understandings of the human person sometimes differ from the Church’s. A clear example is the view that the human foetus is not
the religious person; it may not have the same meaning for those who do not share the Church’s understanding of faith. Similarly, the claim that only God has the right to decide on choosing to end one’s life falls on deaf ears to the secular person. Why, a non-believer would ask, should I be bound by a religious belief which I don’t accept, rooted in an understanding of the person that science would question?
W SHINE A LIGHT: Pope Benedict carries a candle in darkness as he arrives for the Easter Vigil in St Peter’s basilica. PHOTO: PAUL HARING,CNS
fully human and therefore cannot be seen to have the same rights as a human being. In the abortion debate, therefore, secular and Catholic thinkers will inevitably be at odds. Secular perceptions of personal autonomy and the meaning of suffering also differ from that of the Church, particularly as regards the right to end one’s life. Pain and suffering may have meaning for
e live in a society where not all share the same beliefs (and where, let’s face it, not all Christians or Catholics agree with Church teachings). In such a society, to legislate in accordance with Church teaching would violate religious freedom, including the freedom of persons not to believe. This would undermine the legitimacy of the state in the eyes of many—and it undermines the principle of religious freedom espoused in the Vatican II document Dignitatis Humanae from 1965. The Church’s claims to know the truth on human matters, and its desire to have a major voice in public debate, has been further damaged by its mishandling of the clergy child-abuse scandal. Failure to work within the laws of the state has been seen by many as arrogance and a sign that the Church can’t be trusted. Painful as this is to us, it
reminds us of the need for the Church to act with integrity: an integrity that the secular world sees as lacking, an integrity that we will have to work hard if we are to regain public confidence in us as a moral voice worth listening to. The age of the Church laying down the law for society is over. In his debate with Habermas, Benedict seems to concede this somewhat. He may not like this, but deep down he knows, I suspect, that it’s true. Christendom is gone, and countries like Iran and the Taliban era in Afghanistan have thoroughly discredited the notion of faith-dominated states. The challenge for the pope and the Church is to find a way of expressing our values to a secular world. We need to persuade rather than demand, to both believers and non-believers. Secular states may enact laws considered by the Church to be permissive and against the true nature of humanity. Sometimes the Church may try to persuade governments to repeal these. Where this is not realistic, with convincing and charitable persuasion that a different view of humanity is possible, people may well choose, freely and autonomously, not to make use of the liberties that the state allows. Fr Anthony Egan is associated with the Jesuit Institute in Johannesburg.
Jews, Muslims and the pope BY CINDY WOODEN
N his five years as pontiff, Pope Benedict has kept interreligious dialogue near the top of the Catholic Church’s list of priorities, but his relations with the Jewish and Muslim communities continue to be marked by alternating tensions and new initiatives. In his first five years in office, the pope has visited synagogues in Cologne, Germany, in New York and in Rome. And he has visited mosques in Istanbul, Jordan and Jerusalem. But some Muslims still mention with concern the remarks he made about Mohammed in a 2006 speech. Some members of the Jewish community remain uneasy with his decision in December to advance the sainthood cause of Pope Pius XII and his decision earlier in 2009 to lift the excommunication of a traditionalist bishop who denied the extent of the Holocaust. Aside from concern over Pope Pius’ record during World War II, Jewish leaders have a largely favourable view of Pope Benedict and the sincerity of his respect for their faith and their history. On the eve of Pope Benedict’s visit in January to the Rome synagogue, the city’s chief rabbi said the German pontiff was making an important step along the difficult path of Catholic-Jewish dialogue. “The visit of a pope to the synagogue should demonstrate that beyond the stumbling blocks there is a substantial desire to communicate with each other and resolve problems,” Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni. During his May 2009 visit to the Holy Land, Pope Benedict visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, prayed at the Western Wall— Judaism’s holiest site—and met with Israel’s chief rabbis and Jewish leaders from throughout the country. He used his meeting with leaders of the Jewish community as an occasion to reaffirm the fact that “the Catholic Church is irrevocably committed to the path chosen at the Second Vatican Council for a genuine and lasting reconciliation between Christians and Jews”. In evaluating the pope’s work, Jewish leaders appreciate several facts: Pope Benedict explicitly recognises that a special bond continues to exist between God and the Jewish people; he recognises
that for centuries Christians used Jesus’ death as an excuse to denigrate—and even persecute—the Jews; and he understands that the contempt some Christians had for the Jews helped create an atmosphere that the Nazis easily and progressively manipulated to the point of killing 6 million Jews.
uslim leaders are less clear about where Pope Benedict stands with regard to their faith, although he has repeatedly shown that he wants to keep open lines of communication and promote cooperation on social issues and in social projects of concern to both Catholics and Muslims. When Pope Benedict stood in silent meditation in Istanbul’s Blue Mosque in November 2006, the world took notice. The fact that the pope had taken off his shoes and was standing with his arms folded in the same manner as the imam praying next to him was read by many Muslims as a sign of deep respect and as a gesture that ran directly counter to a speech he had made two months earlier at the University of Regensburg, Germany. In the Regensburg speech, the pope had quoted a medieval Byzantine emperor, who said the prophet Mohammed had brought “things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith.” The pope afterward clarified that he was not endorsing the emperor’s words and he expressed regret that some Muslims were hurt by the remarks. In reaction, 138 Muslim scholars from around the world launched an initiative called “A Common Word”, writing to Pope Benedict and other Christian leaders asking for a serious dialogue about values Christians and Muslims hold in common: the obligation to love God and to love one another. At a meeting with representatives of the 138 scholars, the new Catholic-Muslim Forum for dialogue was formed and it held its first meeting at the Vatican in November 2008. Addressing the participants, the pope said that professing faith in one God, the creator of all humanity, obliges Catholics and Muslims to respect one another and to work together to defend human rights and help those who are suffering.
The commandments of love of God and love of neighbour are at “the heart of Islam and Christianity alike,” he said. Pope Benedict’s May 2008 trip to the Holy Land brought further rapprochement with Muslim leaders as the pope visited a mosque in Jordan, made a major address to Muslim scholars there and visited the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, one of Islam’s holiest sites.—CNS Pope Benedict at Jerusalem’s Western Wall in 2009 and in Istanbul’s Blue Mosque in 2006. PHOTOS FROM CNS
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The Southern Cross, April 14 to April 20, 2010
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Editor: Günther Simmermacher
Pope Benedict’s legacy
S we review this week Pope Benedict’s first five years as supreme pastor of the Catholic Church, we do so acutely aware that his pontificate cannot be properly estimated until well after its completion, when that sad day arrives. Indeed, it is not easy to predict how history will remember the German pope. Commentators who in the current climate opine that the pontificate of Benedict XVI will be overshadowed or even defined by the sexual abuse scandal may well overestimate the lasting impact of their opinion. Other issues may well exercise future historians. These will certainly include Pope Benedict’s endeavours in interreligious dialogue, particularly with Muslims and Jews; his efforts at redefining the place of the Catholic Church in a rapidly secularising West; his positions on social justice and on life and family issues; and the impact of his leadership on the Catholic Church itself. When history eventually writes the story of Pope Benedict, it will surely regard him as an often misunderstood and misinterpreted pope. Paradoxically, Pope Benedict is predictable and yet he frequently surprises. And sometimes the cause for misunderstanding is the pope himself. For example, when in a 2006 lecture in Regensburg he quoted the medieval Emperor Manuel II who had said the prophet Mohammed had brought “things only evil and inhuman”, Pope Benedict clearly was not stating his personal view of Islam, as the context made clear. Nevertheless, it is not difficult to see why what the Holy Father thought to be an innocent side remark would spark a furore—a controversy which ended up strengthening dialogue between Muslims and Catholics. Perhaps other popes might have had an easier ride than the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was not uni-
versally popular. As pope he has discarded that position’s inhibiting shackles and now exhibits his gentle personality in fuller dimensions. And still, preconceived notions about Pope Ratzinger prevail, inside and outside of the Church. Those who hoped that he would crack down on so-called dissidents (an awful term which calls to mind the nomenclature of totalitarianism) have been profoundly disappointed. The pope might please conservatives and aggrieve progressives on matters such as liturgical reforms, unity with traditionalists, and the insistence on a particular understanding of the Second Vatican Council, but he is also a thoughtful and doctrinally cautious pope who can find no way to innovate on matters such as the proposed excommunication of Catholic politicians who legislate on access to abortion. There is much that the secular left should admire about Pope Benedict’s positions on the economy, poverty, peace, ecology, immigration and capital punishment. And yet, for much of the secular left all this is meaningless because it regards the pope objectionable on other matters, particularly abortion, embryonic stem cells and gay marriage. Above the din of all the posturing and sometimes artificial controversy, Pope Benedict’s overriding pontifical theme— which he aims to carry out not as the CEO of a multinational institution but as a shepherd, a teacher and a pastor—is often ignored: love. Love in its different but complementary manifestations was the theme of his first encyclical, Deus caritas est (God is Love). The pope whom many expected to be a doctrinal enforcer emphasises not notions of rules but of love, with evangelisation— leading people to God’s love— at the faith’s centre. It is a simple and yet revolutionary notion. And it may well be this that history will record as the defining product of Pope Benedict’s pontificate.
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.
Why we go to Mass go to Mass for different for the social side, and fewer still PEOPLE reasons. The Church says we f o r t h e s i n g i n g . S o m e g o f o r curiosity’s sake and never return. should go, and that it is a sin not to attend Mass on Sundays and holy days. Some are dragged there by their parents; others go just to be with a friend. A few go
There are times when Massgoers could pray with others if they were not struggling to stand while the prayer “May the Lord
ATHER Allan Moss’ Point of Debate column “A feast misplaced” (March 24-30) refers. Fr Moss has made some wrong assumptions. It was not Pope John Paul II who decided the date on which Divine Mercy Sunday should be celebrated; Jesus himself informed St Faustina of the exact day on which he wanted the feast to be celebrated. In the Diary of St Faustina Jesus speaks at least seven times of the exact date on which the feast should be celebrated. Though these were private revelations, Jesus stated many times: “I want the whole world to know of my mercy.” God has appeared to many people in both the Old and New Testaments in different forms as has Our Blessed Lady at Fatima, Guadaloupe and elsewhere. Details of the Miraculous Medal were shown to St Catherine by the Blessed Virgin. Why not the Divine Mercy image by Jesus himself? When Jesus had risen from the dead and appeared to Mary and the Apostles, they did not recognise him at first. The Church encourages us to learn from the lives of the saints. Alex Knox, Margate
Our humiliation can help healing
HAVE just heard Kieno Kammies on Cape Talk Radio/702 complaining that The Southern Cross does not report enough about sex abuse in the Church. I do not agree with that and have not seen a letter from Mr Kammies on the subject in your newspaper either. The abuses and cover-ups have badly wounded the Church. We are all the Church, so we should all be making acts of reparation to help heal those wounds. Our great sadness is the coverup and lack of support for the poor victims. I should imagine it took Peter a long time to really forgive himself for denying Christ, and it’s going to take a long time to recover, but our humiliation can also be offered in reparation and thus help the healing process. Bridget Stephens, Cape Town
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O rational person would argue the fact that sexual abuse has no place in the Church. To associate such behaviour with celibacy is simply rubbish. And abuse information has been lumped together as paedophilia, the least in incident occurrence. Many of these abuses occurred over 40 years, and it has understandably taken time for the victims to speak out. And some accusations may be false. To suggest that in all situations there was a willful effort to protect the accused or prevent scandal within the Church is malicious. Each case must be dealt with on its merits, not by hysterical speculation that causes more injustice. Malcolm Bagley, Cape Town
AM disgusted and horrified by the continuing revelations of abuse of children by priests and others. I think many will agree with me that a general cleaning of the stables is long overdue. What damage this is doing to our beloved Church, and how the devil must be rejoicing in what he has achieved. These continuing revelations are vile and repugnant and something must be done to restore the dignity and beauty of our Church and our faith. Roy Glover, Tzaneen
Girls at risk
HILD abuse is much in the news, but the behaviour of lay women teachers has not been mentioned. I am the victim of such misbehaviour. The teacher concerned was dismissed. I was offered no counselling, and the topic was simply closed. One day, the guilty person will answer to God, if not to damaged past-pupils, for what she did. Girls are as vulnerable as boys regarding sexual abuse, yet it remains unmentioned. Eunice Rothman, Johannesburg
The Reformation was a revolt
HE letter of Denise GordonBrown “Another Reformation?” (March 24-30) refers. Regarding recent child molestation revelations, I say yes, we are bleeding, we are all suffering with Christ’s Church. The least I can do is to pray-pray-pray and trust in the Holy Spirit’s guidance for our leaders and trust that Christ will restore his bride. Christ suffered for us through no fault of his own. When we have to lose face because of our and the world’s perception of the Church’s handling of a situation, it is often our ego that comes forward and we want a revolt. I cannot think that someone can propose another revolt against God’s Church. The Reformation was not a reformation but a revolt. The issue was much more complex than indulgences, and Luther was not the courageous holy man that he is always made out to be. Study the subject and Luther as a man, especially his moral stance after the reformation, and you may be shocked. Let us not join in further abuse
accept the sacrifice from your hands...” is being rattled off, or when the assistant ministers of the Eucharist are scrambling up to the altar while the “Our Father” is being said. I think Mass intentions should be mentioned in the Eucharistic prayers. Ed Williams, Muldersdrift
of the Church, but be part of the solution in prayer. Kiewiet Vlok, Klerksdorp
Celibacy to stay
ECENT media publicity regarding clerical sex-abuse scandals has been directed at Pope Benedict to such an extent that his personal security has been threatened. Some reports have implied that most Catholic clergy are predators involved in sex-abuse with school and catechism students. Throughout centuries the Church has been attacked regarding the teachings of the Catholic faith; why should this be any different? Some reports have aggressively urged an end to the vow of celibacy for priests, to prevent sexabuse. Many Catholics have supported this change, but is this the answer? Pope Benedict is adamant that celibacy for priests will remain. Leo Vertenten, Bloemfontein
Veil a treasure of my womanhood
LONG my faith journey, God blessed me with a wonderful treasure: the veil. From the first time I began to cover my head several years ago, it drew me ever deeper into the mystery of womanhood. Today, I stand amazed at how beautiful it is to be a woman. What a privilege it is! I have never been so happy to be a woman before. Understanding the veil truly opened my eyes. It symbolises everything feminine to me: beauty, purity, allure, mystery, hiddenness, contemplation; the silent gaze of devotion in a secret place alone with the Lord. For me, the veil has been a wonderful way to imitate and grow closer to our Mother Mary, and it helps me to concentrate in prayer. It reminds me that women are sacred vessels of life who are the treasure of mankind, and who carry the joys and sorrows of the human race in their heart. As I enter the church with my head covered, I find myself spontaneously bowing down to my Lord and God in awe. It is my liturgical vestment. I thank him every day for the privilege of wearing a veil. Glory be to God forever! Dolores S Steenhuis, Cape Town
ONGRATULATIONS, John Cowan and editor Günther Simmermacher, for the heavenly hotline feature article on saints and their cults (March 31-April 6). We appeal to our heavenly friends in so many circumstances. I appreciate the editor’s many contributions to The Southern Cross, my favourite newspaper. Writing the weekly leading articles and other work must make taxing demands on him. Carmen Smith, Somerset West
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.
PERSPECTIVES Reflections of my Life
Did Christ condemn paedophiles?
Woosh: Helicopter church takes off
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NE of the newest entrants in Nairobi’s ever expanding “churchscape” has a name that reminds me of a story I heard about Judas Iscariot. The church is called Helicopter of Christ Ministries. When I first saw it one Sunday in January, it was overflowing with worshipers with some sitting on plastic chairs dangerously close to a busy road. The first question I asked myself was: where did all the members of the new church come from? Had they left other churches or were they completely new converts? It did not take me long to figure things out. In Nairobi, people are moving from one church to another all the time. The instant attraction of the Helicopter of Christ must have been, of course, the promise implied in the church’s name. Its members must have been made to believe that Jesus would within a short span of time more or less lift them up from their misery and settle them in a wonderland of personal success and peace for the rest of their lives. That is where I find the connection with the tale I heard about Judas. He is said to have been fully convinced that Jesus was the Son of God. Judas was supposedly a streetwise fellow who “sold” Jesus to make quick money while all the time believing that nobody could actually kill the Son of God. In fact, all Jesus’ disciples seem to have thought that the Messiah was invincible and would either miraculously evade capture or blow his enemies to smithereens with as much as a snap of the fingers. That was why, the tale goes, when Jesus was captured without any resistance, was tortured and nailed to a cross to die, Judas lost his mind and killed himself. The other disciples were inconsolable. How could the story of the great miracle worker end just like that? They must have thought the whole thing had been fake all along. This Judas tale could be just that—a tale. But associating religion and religious figures with miraculous power is deeply rooted in human hearts. Indeed in Nairobi, the kind of Christianity that has nothing spectacular to show seems to be on the wane. The story of God who made the universe and all life, created man and woman who fell into sin prompting the Creator to came down from heaven, take a human body, suffer and die on the cross for the salvation all human beings is good, but it doesn’t really pull the crowds. People want Christ the superhero who fixes their problems within a few Sundays of churchgoing. They want their minds blown by the drama of the stupendous. They want results. But the Easter story sobers us up. It is certainly not a Helicopter of Christ story, whatever the owners and members of that church intend to convey through the name. The power of God is shown in his love for us in which he humbles himself to the extent of accepting a painful and shameful death on a cross. This death is not exit into oblivion. It is a passage into fullness of divine glory, the resurrection. Called to be an imitator of Christ, Easter reminds me to live my life with intense faith in God, to hope in his promises and to try to love him and fellow human beings as he has loved me. I should die to selfishness and resurrect to newness of life, not in the distant future but every day. The joy of Easter is my faith that in his suffering, death and resurrection, Christ has obtained for me the most precious gift of eternal life with him. He accompanies me throughout my journey of life. He is not a superhero whooshing around in a helicopter in the sky, but a deeply loving friend who is at my side. I wish you a happy Easter season!
The Southern Cross, April 14 to April 20, 2010
Bishop Carlos Fernandez of Salamanca, Spain, speaks to the Contemplative Dominican Sisters in his diocese. Nearly half of them are former members of another monastery which had to be closed down because its community had grown too old to keep it alive.
Nuns cut off from the world Last week Bishop Bucher recalled the foundation of the Contemplative Dominican Sisters’ monastery at Senekal, in the west of the diocese of Bethlehem. Like all new beginnings, it had to go through many trials, but there is no doubt that the Lord wanted it to succeed and prosper.
EBRUARY 13, 1988 saw the solemn blessing of the monastery of the Contemplative Dominican Sisters in Senekal, almost three years after the Spanish nuns first arrived in South Africa. The blessing was attended by Bishop Johannes Brenninkmeijer of the neighbouring diocese of Kroonstad— himself a Dominican—and by representatives of the friars and sisters of the Dominican order from all over South Africa. When the feast following the celebration of the Eucharist was over, the monastery bell rang out for a prolongued time, announcing that from now on the enclosure of the nuns was to be strictly enforced and the Sisters would live their contemplative lifestyle in all seriousness. It was St Dominic himself who founded the first community of this kind at Prouille in southern France. Its members were women whom he had converted from the Albigensian heresy. Living in strict enclosure, these pristine Contemplative Dominican Sisters were to support the saint’s preaching campaigns against the Albigensians, through their life of intensive prayer and total availability to the will of God. It was not long before the diocese of Bethlehem began to feel the blessings which the sisters’ presence in its midst brought upon it. Just before being wheeled into the theatre on the day she died, Sr Isabel had quoted St Paul to the sisters who had kept watch at her side in the hospital: “If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord, so that alive or dead we belong to the Lord” (Rom 14:8). The community expressed that attitude of their former superior in the face of death by having engraved on her tombstone an ear of wheat from which a grain is falling into the ground. Like her, they wished to be a power for good, living their hidden lives of prayer and total dedication to the Lord in order to bear fruit for the local Church of Bethlehem, and indeed for the whole of our country, which at the time found itself in the throes of the final battle against apartheid. In Senekal itself, change in attitude towards the sisters’ presence became apparent among the local white population, the majority of which one would have referred to at the time as verkramptes. They could not have expressed their support for the objectives of apartheid better than by naming the black township Vergenoeg (lit-
Bp Hubert Bucher
Story of Pioneer Nuns erally, Far Enough), when it was moved some 3km away from the perimeter of their town in the early 1970s. So it was not surprising that the Senekal town council initially also categorically refused to give permission for the building of the monastery. Quite correctly, the council anticipated that sooner or later there would be black members belonging to what was now becoming known as the Community of St Dominic. To the sisters’ happy surprise, soon after they had settled down in Senekal, Dutch Reformed carol singers began visiting them during Advent, and they have done so ever since.
ocal recruits were soon coming forward to swell the membership of the Community of St Dominic, two from South Africa and one from Mozambique. Each of them had been a long-time member of an apostolic religious congregation. While striving to live up to what was expected of them in the latter, they had always felt drawn to a deeper life of prayer and contemplation and were happy to find that desire fulfilled by becoming a Contemplative Dominican. Yet, further trials were still to visit the little community. Firstly, there was all along an unwarranted suspicion on the part of the federal leadership in Spain, which believed that their new foundation in Senekal was not sufficiently committed to keeping the rules of strict enclosure. This led, among other things, to the sisters isolating themselves, and not taking advantage of the services offered by the Federation of Dominicans in Southern Africa. Secondly, Spain was in the grip of a long-delayed, rapid secularisation process, which shook the Church in that country much harder than elsewhere. Vocations to the religious life took a drastic dip, and the membership of monastic communities there soon displayed dangerous signs of over-aging. As a consequence, there was no chance of the federation in Spain sending any further sisters to bolster the community in Senekal. Thirdly, even the age-structure of the Community of St Dominic became such that one could not realistically expect any young local recruits to join its ranks. One could not help sensing increased anxiety, both among the sisters in South Africa, who felt that Spain was leaving them in the lurch, and on the part of the federal leadership in Spain, which perceived its responsibility for their foundation in Senekal to be an increasingly unbearable burden. Bishop Bucher headed Bethlehem diocese from 1977 to 2008. The final instalment of the four-part series will appear next week.
Our King James Bible, Matthew 18:5-10 has some strong words, namely, that anyone who “shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were drowned in the depths of the sea”. This seems to us to point to those priest paedophiles who have been unmasked after commiting their criminal offences. Is this a likely interpretation? Two sisters O back to the King James text, verse one, and you will see that our Lord’s disciples asked him who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Jesus replied graphically by calling a child over to stand before him, and telling his disciples: “Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Christ was aware that his disciples had been arguing about which one of them was to be the greatest in his kingdom, meaning here his kingdom on earth (see Luke 9:46-48). So he taught this lesson: they must have the simplicity of small children who are not ambitious to be the greatest. When his disciples act in this way, demonstrating their complete trust in Christ, they are in a position to be pastors in Christ’s Church. Because of this they must avoid offending the other disciples, not only the little ones but also those grown-ups who unquestioningly have faith in Christ and his Church. Obviously our Lord was impressing on his followers, particularly his leading disciples, the Apostles, that their responsibility was enormous. If any one of them should offend a simple believer, perhaps even causing one to lose faith altogether, it would be better for him to be totally removed from his duties as pastor so as to cause no more harm. This, of course, rings bells as we regard the present scandals within the Church, but we cannot say that Christ was thinking specifically of paedophile priests only. We are all required to act with moral and spiritual integrity because our Lord demands it of his disciples. It is when those with greater responsibility as our leaders and shepherds behave in a way that contradicts their sacred obligations, that the scandal appears so much more magnified and our sense of shame so much more traumatic.
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The Southern Cross, April14 to April 20, 2010
Ascension Parish, Southridge Park, Mthatha
Mthatha parish places emphasis on youth and community BY NADINE CHRISTIANS
SCENSION parish in Southridge Park, Mthatha, laid its first stone on May 29, 1995, with its first Mass taking place in June that same year. The initial idea was to have a Catholic Church for students from the University of Transkei and the Eastern Cape Technikon (both having amalgamated to form Walter Sisulu University). That idea, said Sookdhev Rajkaran, parish pastoral committee vice-chairperson, was abandoned as students found it difficult to commute to the church. The parish, he said, was built with funds from Swiss Fr Urs Fischer CMM, now a retreat master at Mariannhill, and the convent of the Clarist Sisters (Franciscan Clarist Sisters) is attached to the parish since July 1995. The parish, under the leadership of Fr Bonaventure Semaganda, and assisted by Fr Moris Daniel CMM, has a rich mixture of cultures and boasts about 180 members and nine outstations: Kwa-
Payne, Qweqwe, Ndibela, Xunu, Mazinini, Bongweni, Maqinibeni, Sawutini and Bityi. Khanyisa High School, a Catholic school with more than 1 000 learners, Khanyisa Children’s Homes with 21 orphans and five pre-schools run by the Clarist Sisters are attached to the parish and make up the parish community, said Mr Rajkaran. Youth, said Mr Rajkaran, is an important part of church life. “We have a youth association [Youth for Christ] with over 30 teenagers. They meet every Friday and have donated their time to the old age home at Bedford and the Khanyisa Children’s Home.” The parish also established A Men’s Union in 2009. Thus far they have provided Buckets of Love with canned and non-perishable groceries. “For Lent this year the catechism children collected cans of baked beans, peas, tin fish, jam, fruit cocktail, and non-perishable items such as sugar and rice in their Care and Share campaign. Over a thousand items were col-
lected and were distributed to the poor in the sub-parishes at Easter. Over half of this was provided by the children from Khanyisa School,” he said. The parish boasts a band and choir “which we are very proud of”. “The band practises every Thursday and has also incorporated the youth in its activities. A youth Mass with music by the youth band and choir is held every quarter,” he said. Mr Rajkaran said: “The Southern Cross has been sold from the inception of the Church. “We promote it by announcing the number of copies that are sold and also announce the leading articles regularly.” Parishioners are always included in parish activities and how their parish is run. Planning meetings take place twice a year and a questionnaire is used annually to get feedback from parishioners, said Mr Rajkaran. “The parish has two annual fundraising activities: a Parish Day
Ascension parish in Southridge Park, Mthatha, stands proud.
Fr Bonaventure Semaganda and Fr Moris Daniel with youth and sisters of the parish. held when we celebrate the feast of the Ascension; and a dance is held either in February [Valentine’s Ball] or in September [Spring Ball]. Cake sales are held to provide ‘seed’ money for the feast day and the dance. The funds raised are used for the maintenance of the church and the sub-parishes. The youth group also has fundraising activities in the form of cake sales and a family dance to finance their many activities.” He added that every year the
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sub-parishes get together to celebrate Easter. This normally includes the Easter Saturday night vigil.. “In May a Charismatic weekend will be held, which will be hosted both by the cathedral and the our parish. Fundraising activities in the form of a talent contest and cake sales have already taken place. Another highlight in 2010 will be the official opening of a new church building in our subparish of Ndibela,” he said.
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The Southern Cross, April 14 to April 20, 2010
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APRIL THEME: God’s game plan INTRODUCTION God’s plan goes back a very long way and involves the whole of creation. It evolved over many millions of years and continues to evolve. We human beings were given the task of being custodians of God’s plan when it comes to the world around us as well as within us. During this special Easter month, reflect on God’s plan of salvation; give thanks for the wonderful world God created, and resolve to look into God’s game plan for you, and so to build up your own little world, starting at home. April 18, 3rd Sunday of Easter. As some of the apostles were fishermen there are many fishing stories in the gospels. Jesus taught them through their own life experience and showed them his power as well as his care and concern. He wanted to encourage them and strengthen their faith for the hard times ahead. Following God’s plan does take courage and needs practice.
Pope Benedict steps off his aircraft after landing in Angola last year on the first papal trip to Africa in 11 years. PHOTO FROM CNS
Pope Benedict on the road BY CAROL GLATZ
HEN Pope Benedict was elected on April 19, 2005, just three days after his 78th birthday, he said he would be more of a stay-at-home pope than his globetrotting predecessor Pope John Paul II. But Pope Benedict has hit the road more often than expected. In his five years as pope he has travelled to every continent except Antarctica, visiting 17 countries on 13 foreign trips. Inside Italy, he’s visited 23 cities. This year, he has five foreign trips planned: this month to Malta, followed by Portugal in May, Cyprus in June, England and Scotland in September and Spain in November. The goals of these trips will mirror the aims of all of Pope Benedict’s apostolic journeys: preaching the Gospel, underlining the contributions Christian values bring to culture and society, and bringing the face of the successor of St Peter to the people. Age has not appeared to slow down Pope Benedict, who scoots up stairs and had shown good stamina on his trips abroad. The German pope’s voyages have sometimes taken him long distances. He travelled to Brazil in 2007, to the United States and Australia in 2008, and to Africa in 2009. But most of his trips have been to Western Europe, in part because revitalising Europe’s Christian roots has been a centrepiece of his papacy. Pope Benedict has reduced the number of daily events on his papal journeys. Most trips feature just the essentials: one or more large outdoor Masses, separate meetings with clergy, young people and leaders from the world of politics and culture, as well as ecumenical and interreligious encounters. An exception was his eight-day pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 2009, which included 40 separate events. While the papal programmes are planned months ahead of time, last-minute additions have been squeezed into a normally packed schedule. For example, on his trips to the United States and Australia, Pope Benedict quietly and privately met with victims of clergy sex abuse. Pope Benedict has made a significant number of day trips to Italian cities across the peninsula, many to honour saints or holy places associated with them. He also visited the earthquake-struck areas in the Abruzzi to witness the damage firsthand and offer his spiritual support to survivors.—CNS
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DEATH VAN DER MEULLEN— Loma. Died in Johannesburg, March 23, previously from Heathfield, Cape Town. Will be missed by nieces Shirley and Suzanne, relatives and many friends in Cape Town. Rest in peace till we meet again.
IN MEMORIAM DOWLING—“Chummy” Charles Humphrey. My dear husband, Chummy,
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passed away two years ago on 15 April. There’s a sad but sweet remembrance, a memory fond and true, a token of affection and a heartache still for you. Never more than a thought away, loved and remembered every day. Love always from your wife, Bridget DOWLING—“Chummy” Charles Humphrey. Today recalls the passing of our
Mass readings for the week Sundays year C, weekdays cycle 2 Sun April 18, 3rd Sunday of Easter: Acts 5:27-32.40-41; Ps 30:1.3-5.10-12; Rev 5:11-14; Jn 21:1-19 Mon April 19, feria: Acts 6:8-15; Ps 119:23-24.26-27.29-30; Jn 6:22-29 Tue April 20, St St Marcellinus & Ss Vincent & Domninus: Acts 7:51—8:1; Ps 31:3-4.6-8.17.21; Jn 6:30-35 Wed April 21, St Anselm: Acts 8:1-8; Ps 66:1-7; Jn 6:35-40 Thur April 22, feria: Acts 8:26-40; Ps 66:8-9.16-17.20; Jn 6:44-51 Fri April 23, Ss George & Adalbert, martyrs: Acts 9:1-20; Ps 117:1-2; Jn 6:52-59 Sat April 24, St Fidelis of Sigmaringen, martyr: Acts 9:31-42; Ps 116:12-17; Jn 6:60-69 Sun April 25, 4th Sunday of Easter: Acts 13:14.43-52; Ps 100:1-3.5; Rv 7:9.14-17; Jn 10:27-30
dearest Daddy and Grandpa two years ago. With every smile and word of cheer, you built a legacy in these hearts that mourn you here. With lots of love, missing you always, your Sons, Daughters and Grandchildren
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“SAINT Therese, the Little Flower of Jesus, please pick a rose from the heavenly garden and send it to me with a message of love. I beseech you to obtain for me the favours that I seek. (mention here your request ). Recommend my request to Mary, Queen of heaven, so that she may intercede for me with you before her Son, Jesus Christ. If this favour is granted I will love you more and more and be better prepared to spend eternal happiness with you in heaven. Saint Therese of the Little Flower, pray for me.” Feast Day, October 1. Jacqueline.
“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. Grateful to St Jude for granting my request.” RD. “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.” MB.
HOLIDAY ACCOMMODATION AMANZIMTOTI—Durban. Gorgeous self-catering apartment sleeps 4-6. Fully furnished and equipped for quality and comfort. Swimming pool, braai area, squash courts, beach access, secure parking, laundry, cleaning service available. Overlooking the Indian Ocean, Toti tidal pool to the left. Holy Mass Saturdays and Sundays. Contact Valry 084 717 6373/031 4662495. Helmut 082 8814513, valryp @mweb.co.za/neptun @mweb.co.za AZARS B&B — Olde worlde charm in Kalk Bay’s quaint fishing village. Luxury double en-suite/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 TOWN—Kirstenhof. Lovely separate furnished room, R150ppn. 084 580 5046. CAPE WEST COASTYzerfontein—Emmaus on Sea B&B and self-catering. 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, email: alisona@xsinet. 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. KOLBE HOUSE is the Catholic Centre and residence for the University of Cape Town. From June 7 to July 23 the Student’s rooms are available for holiday guests. We offer
self-catering accommodation. Beautiful estate in Rondebosch near the University. Parking in secure premises, short walks to shops, transport etc. For details contact Jock at 021 685 7370, fax 021 686 2342 or 082 308 0080 or kolbe.house@ telkomsa.net 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 082 784 5675 or mjsal firstname.lastname@example.org 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.rosecottag emontagu.co.za or e-mail: info@rosecottagemon tagu.co.za or 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 3452241, 033 8459103, 083 3013354. Fax 033 3452246, guesthouse@ zaop.org SANDBAAI/HERMANUS— Relaxing weekend away. Reasonable rates. Contact Jacqui Ferreira. 082 924 5807 SEA POINT—Double room with own bathroom in heart of this prestigious suburb, near all amenities. Short time letting. 072 236 2996 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 cbcstel@ mweb.co.za STRAND—Beachfront flat to let. Stunning views. Fully furnished and equipped. Garage, one bedroom, sleeper couch in lounge. R375 per night for two people. Brenda 082 822 0607. 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—Selfcatering house, 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms. Sleeps 8/10, indoor braai, pool table, DStv. Contact Julia, e-mail progalu@ netactive.co.za 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.
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4th Sunday of Easter, Year C (Apr 25) Readings: Acts 13:14.43-52; Ps 100:23.5; Revelation 7:9, 14b-17; John 10:2730
You can always rely on God
T’S the Easter season, with resurrection in the air, but that does not mean that it’s going to be easy to follow Jesus. We may be sure there is going to be trouble. In the first reading we see Paul newly turned to preaching about Jesus with the same enthusiasm that he had previously applied to assailing those pesky disciples of Jesus. He gives two sermons in the synagogue in Pisidian Antioch. The first one (omitted in our reading) is quite a success; Paul and Barnabas “were persuading them to remain in God’s grace”, but by the following week, Paul’s enemies have arranged a hostile reception for him, though the whole city was so excited that its people turned up to “hear God’s word.” The reaction of Paul’s opponents has an unexpected effect: “The Gentiles were delighted, and glorified God’s word…and the word of the Lord spread through the whole region.” Paul and Barnabas are expelled from the city in disgrace, but “the disciples were filled with joy and with the
Fr Nicholas King SJ
Scriptural Reflections Holy Spirit.” The psalm for next Sunday shares some of this joy, and explains why Jews and Christians can follow the Lord whatever happens: “Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth, serve the Lord with gladness, go into his presence with rejoicing.” It asserts that God is in charge, and “we are his people, the flock that he shepherds.” You can always rely on God, however difficult things may appear to be. The same notion is present in the second reading. We see a great and multinational (you might say “catholic”) crowd, “whom no one was able to count”. They are gathered “before the Throne, and before the Lamb” (God and Jesus). Their attire is mak-
ing a statement: “white stoles, and palmbranches in their hands.” The angelic messenger tells us who they are: “Those who have emerged from the great tribulation and have washed their stoles and whitened them in the blood of the Lamb.” Make no mistake, we are talking of death and the brutal martyrdom that Rome and all evil powers since then visited on those they oppressed. It’s not easy, but there will be victory, and those who make it through to the end will “worship God day and night in his Temple; and the One Sitting on the Throne will pitch his tent over them”. God will not abandon his disciples, no matter how tough things may get. Why is this? “The Lamb will shepherd them, and guide them by streams of living waters, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Our confidence in being able to face the rigours of discipleship comes from the fact that we see God as “shepherd”. This theme is already deep in the Old Testament: it is there in Sunday’s psalm, and the beautiful 23rd psalm to which the last line of the sec-
My run-in with a most pompous British PM H
AROLD WILSON, prime minister of Britain and its ever decreasing dominions in the 1960s, would turn in his grave were I not to refer to him as the Right Honourable Harold Wilson MP. He had an ego the size of Canada, and a disdain of those in charge of the former British colonies. In mid-1960s when the then-Rhodesian prime minister, Ian Smith, declared Unilateral Independence slap bang in the middle of the Rt Hon H Wilson MP’s first term of office, the future Lord Wilson of Rievaulx was forced to visit central Africa. He did so not only to fly the flag in Zambia, but also to give that country’s president, Kenneth Kaunda, the impression that Britain was vaguely interested in sorting out Smith and his motley band of rebels. The Rt Hon H Wilson MP would then pop over the border to try to get Smith and his mob to stop their UDI nonsense which everyone in the United Kingdom, from Queen Elizabeth to the greengrocer’s wife in Upper Slaughter, thought was just not cricket. I was at Livingstone airport in Zambia on one of the hottest days of the year when the Rt Hon H Wilson MP’s Royal Air Force VC-10 touched down in a cloud of dust, ending up stalled in a mielie field after running out of runway. When it was eventually towed to the apron where President Kaunda and his entourage were waiting, the door opened and as the Rt Hon H Wilson MP
The Last Word appeared at the door of the airliner, President Kaunda, always the absolute gentleman, said: “Welcome to Zambia, prime minister.” The Rt Hon H Wilson MP responded with quite awesome arrogance and total disregard for African sensitivities by waving his unlit pipe vaguely in the direction of Victoria Falls and saying: “Kenneth, my boy…” This was at a time when even in South Africa in deepest apartheid, most white people with an IQ above that of a mentally challenged cicada did not call black men “boy”. Even the architect of apartheid, Hendrik Verwoerd, was never heard calling any black man “boy”, let alone the bona-fide black president of a sovereign state.
resident Kaunda did not allow this mother of all gaffes in diplomatic protocol to diminish his wide welcoming smile, but he must have winced at the muted gasps and guffaws from the nearby media contingent. I was so taken aback by the sheer arrogance of it all, I dropped the roll of
film I had been holding. Before I could react, President Kaunda bent down, picked up my film and wordlessly handed it to me with a smile, as though to show that the only civilised way of countering arrogance was with a demonstration of humility. A few days later, when the Rt Hon H Wilson MP was busy in meetings in Government House in Harare—then Salisbury—he took time out to have a walk in the garden. As one of the two pool media representatives allowed into the immediate area on that day, I immediately lifted my camera to take a photograph of the Rt Hon H Wilson MP. He looked up, saw me and my colleague from Time Life and immediately came storming across, his face like thunder. How dare we, he ranted, take photographs of him without his pipe? Did we not read the protocol advisories sent out by his press office about never, ever, taking a photograph of him unless he was either smoking, or at least holding his pipe in a prominent and photogenic position? Now, not being able to persuade Ian Smith and his motley band of rebels to turn over and play dead, the Rt Hon Harold Wilson MP promised President Kaunda a regiment of British troops and radar installation in a sort of pump-up, air-filled blow-up tent to ensure that Smith’s army would not march across the border, nor his airforce bomb Lusaka. The regiment duly arrived from its base in Aden in the Middle East and took up station at the famous Victoria Falls railway bridge that spanned the border between Rhodesia and Zambia. When I visited the area I found them to be a very disconsolate and confused bunch. This was mainly because the British soldiers were dug in on the northern side of the bridge with a Zambian flag flying above them. They faced their “enemy” on the other side—Rhodesian troops with the Union Jack proudly flying over them. This was probably one of the most bizarre stand-offs in military history. Catch up with previous columns by Chris Moerdyk at www.scross.co.za/category/ moerdyk/
ond reading alludes. It is also there in the gospel reading for next Sunday, a continuation of Jesus’ teaching about himself as the good Shepherd. He says of his relationship to his suffering, and to his doubtless puzzled disciples, that “my sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (“Follow” is one of the great New Testament images for discipleship). Not only that; the Shepherd has something in store for us: “I am giving them eternal life; they shall not be destroyed for ever, and no one is going to plunder them out of my power.” How can Jesus say this? Because the God whom he calls “Father” is in charge: “What my Father has given me is greater than everything; and no one has the ability to plunder out of the Father’s hand.” This is followed by an astonishing statement of identity between God and Jesus, the Throne and the Shepherd (who is also, of course, the slaughtered Lamb): “I and the Father are One.” We shall do well to ponder this sentence in the coming week.
Southern Crossword #386
ACROSS 1. Altar of rest on Holy Thursday? (6) 4. Place of worship in Saudi Arabia (6) 9. The pope is ordinary here (7,2,4) 10. Cast out (7) 11. Long for right inside cave (5) 12. Pieces of news in the Times (5) 14. You put your thinking cap on it (5) 18. Cleric sounds like a big gun (5) 19. Love-story from Cremona (7) 21. St Joan of Arc (4,2,7) 22. Sin of trading in sacred things (6) 23. Jesus did it on the lake (6)
DOWN 1. A deer’s around biblical waters (3,3) 2. Most pert saint embraces Calvinistic faith (13) 3. Cleanly brushed floor (Mt 12) (5) 5. One holding a military commission (7) 6. Punctuation sign includes an evangelist (9,4) 7. Apostolic number before Matthias’ election (6) 8. They are widely strewn in the parable (5) 13. A wind that blows on moon’s change (7) 15. Mischievous children (6) 16. Brush needed for 3 down (5) 17. Rented out (6) 20. Island concealed by animal tamers (5)
SOLUTIONS TO #385. ACROSS: 5 Eden, 7 Confirming, 8 Dare, 10 Industry, 11 Script, 12 Future, 14 Prague, 16 Cleves, 17 Paradise, 19 Rush, 21 Leading man, 22 Espy. DOWN: 1 Iced, 2 Offering, 3 Artist, 4 Bird of, 5 Eggs, 6 Evergreens, 9 Ascertains, 13 The dregs, 15 Elijah, 16 Credit, 18 Ably, 20 Hand.
CHURCH CHUCKLE Some words of wisdom
HE task ahead of us is never as great as the power behind us. Don’t try to change the message. Let the message change you. Yesterday has gone. Tomorrow is not promised. Today is now; so there is still time to talk to Our Lord. Ron Hancock, Durban
Send us your favourite Catholic joke, preferably clean and brief, to The Southern Cross, Church Chuckle, PO Box 2372, Cape Town, 8000.