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Pope: Capitalism can’t be trusted

Inside Anti-Aids moves welcomed The bishops’ Catholic Liaison Office has welcomed government moves on tackling HIV/Aids, but warned that international funding for its implementation is drying up.— Page 2



Synod: Where’s the action? As the Church in Africa prepares to discuss the results of last October’s Synod of Bishops for Africa, some Catholics are questioning why little has been done to discuss and begin to implement the synod’s recommendations.—Page 5

So that we may be one Christ’s command that his followers be as one has often been ignored. How has Christian contact developed in the past 100 years, and how can churches work together?— Page 20

Celibacy in the Bible? In his fortnightly Open Door column, Michael Shackleton answers a reader’s question about biblical evidence for the Church’s requirement of clerical celibacy.—Page 19

What do you think?

A learner takes notes at a Catholic school. In our 12-page supplement of Catholic education, starting on page 7, we highlight the successes, challenges and issues of Catholic schools, and the work the Catholic Institute of Education (CIE) does to support them. Many Catholic schools present themselves in panel advertisements. Take the time to look at them, as potential providers of education for children in the family, or as members of the Catholic community. PHOTO FROM CIE

In their Letters to the Editor this week, readers discuss action and reconciliation after the abuse scandal, martyred priests, the liturgy, and faith as an ideology.—Page 6

Vatican OKs new missal

This week’s editorial: Value our Catholic schools

Priest’s songs a YouTube hit


Moerdyk: Safety in numbers

May 12 to May 18, 2010 No 4675


The pope ‘Let traditional healers into and the the Church’ Shroud

Pope under influence of ‘the left’?

Reg No. 1920/002058/06


N Australian priest has become a YouTube sensation with songs he has written, sung and filmed. Fr Paul Kelly of Maryborough said that as a boy he was torn between being “either a priest or a sound technician” and is happy to have found an outlet for combining his passions. “I’ve always been interested in sound, performance and music. I love rhythm and melody in songs and I love singing,” Fr Kelly told Brisbane’s Courier Mail daily. “I do sing in the church but nobody has actually used the hymn that I wrote [titled “Faith, Hope, Love”] yet , so I don’t know if it’s actually too hard or not. It's based on a biblical text I set to music. But the parishioners are very supportive." So far Fr Kelly has uploaded his hymn as well as other songs which he recorded in Shanghai, Paris, London and Florence while on sabbatical three years ago. They can be accessed at http://paulsmusicandvideos. Sometimes he enlisted help but most times he just held a camera in front of his face. “It was embarrassing with people staring while you’re miming, but I just thought, ‘I’m going to do this’,” he said. He writes his music by ear, humming the tune and words into a recorder before sending it off to an arranger. “To create a song that wasn’t there is an amazing feeling,” he said.—cathnews


Foetus left to die after abortion


fter nine years of work involving Vatican officials, English-speaking bishops around the world and hundreds of consultants, Pope Benedict has received a complete version of the English translation of the Roman Missal. The white-bound, gold-edged missal, which contains all of the prayers used at Mass, was given to the pope during a luncheon with members of the Vox Clara Committee, an international group of bishops who advise the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments about English liturgical translations. “Soon the fruits of your labours will be made available to English-speaking congregations everywhere,” the pope told the Vox Clara members. The first phase of the new Missal was introduced in Southern Africa on the first Sunday of Advent 2008. No other Englishspeaking region has implemented the new texts yet. “Many will find it hard to adjust to unfamiliar texts after nearly 40 years of continuous use of the previous translations,” the pope said, which is why “the change will need to be introduced with due sensitivity”. The new English-language Missal is a translation of the Latin edition officially promulgated by Pope John Paul II in 2000 and released in 2002. The copy given to the pope includes the recognitio, or approval for use, dated March 25, 2010, and signed by Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, prefect of the worship congregation, and Archbishop Augustine Di

HE ongoing global economic crisis has demonstrated that the free market is not capable of regulating itself in a way that promotes the common good, Pope Benedict has said. The assumption that the economy can go along happily without government intervention and moral standards “is based on an impoverished notion of economic life as a sort of self-calibrating mechanism”, the pope told members of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. The pope addressed academy members at the beginning of their four-day plenary session, which was devoted to the theme, “Crisis in a Global Economy: Re-planning the Journey”. “The worldwide financial breakdown has, as we know, demonstrated the fragility of the present economic system and the institutions linked to it,” the pope said. “It has also shown the error of the assumption that the market is capable of regulating itself apart from public intervention and the support of internalised moral standards.” The attitude that led to the current crisis overlooked “the essentially ethical nature of economics as an activity of and for human beings”. Economic activity cannot be seen simply as a matter of production and consumption, the pope said. Rather, it must involve “an exercise of human responsibility, intrinsically oriented towards the promotion of the dignity of the person, the pursuit of the common good and the integral development—political, cultural and spiritual—of individuals, families and societies”, the pope said.—CNS

T The new English translation of the Roman Missal. PHOTO: PAUL HARING,CNS Noia, congregation secretary. While the overall text has been approved for use, editions with specific adaptations for each country are still pending. Because the missal was translated in parts and approved in sections by the various bishops’ conferences, some prayers that are used only occasionally had been translated slightly differently in different parts of the missal. The congregation determined which of the translations to use consistently. The Latin missal text was translated into English by the International Commission on English in the Liturgy, a body established by English-speaking bishops’ conferences. The conferences voted on each text and requested some specific wording for use in their own countries. The texts approved by the bishops’ conferences were forwarded to the Vatican for approval. The congregation examined the texts with input from the members of the Vox Clara Committee.—CNS

HE death of a foetus who survived an abortion but was wrapped in a sheet and left to die should shake people’s consciences, said Italian Archbishop Santo Marciano of Rossano. The abortion was carried out on April 24 at a hospital in Cosenza in the archdiocese of Rossano. About four hours later, the hospital chaplain went into the operating room to pray for the foetus and saw the sheet move. The chaplain, Fr Antonio Martello, called for help and the baby was transferred to a nearby hospital with a neonatal intensive care unit. The baby died two days later. Italian prosecutors have opened an investigation to determine whether medical personnel violated Italian law, which requires medical care and treatment of babies who survive an abortion. The mother, who was 22 weeks pregnant, asked for an abortion because the foetus was malformed. Archbishop Marciano told Vatican Radio: “We need to begin to reflect on how the practice of abortion is favouring a superficial and unjust approach to the intangible value of human life. “This episode must truly shake people’s consciences. It is not possible that a foetus aborted at the 22nd week, still alive, is left to die,” he said. “This is something truly abhorrent. I would define this as barbaric.”—CNS


LOCAL Healing through ‘Transgressions’

The Southern Cross, May 12 to May 18, 2010


A performer concentrates during a performance of Transgressions, which looks at healing and reconciliation in Zimbabwe.


OUTHS from St Peter’s Mbare parish in the Archdiocese of Harare, Zimbabwe, thrilled visitors at the annual Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) with their beautifully choreographed production, Transgressions. The performance, staged at Rep’s Theatre, encourages healing and reconciliation, and was well received by the audience, Transgressions’ choreographer Volker Eisenach told The Southern Cross. He said the performance mirrored the situation Zimbabweans are currently faced with and that “the project did not only entertain the audience but also freed the spirit of the participants”. “A year ago in this society

we gathered as victims or survivors and we cursed and swore, and we hated and resented the perpetrators. “And yet we are here, not far from that moment of seething rage, hopelessness and despair. We see that if we can reach out to each other we can move mountains,” Mr Eisenach said. A perpetrator of violence during the 2008 election was among the 35 youths who participated in the performance. “I believe that from this place, reconciliation has already started for some of us. We really feel like one family. I am glad that my peers have accepted me,” said the performer, who did not want to be mentioned. Mr Eisenach, an artistic director of Faster-Than-Light

Dance Company in Berlin, Germany, said the piece explores the political strength to defend human democratic rights. “No matter how often justice is forced to the ground the voice of freedom can’t be silenced when people hold together and start working as a team,” said Eisenach. The project was organised by members of the Catholic Commission of Justice and Peace in Mbare, and was funded by the Zimbabwe Germany Society. • HIFA is a six-day annual festival showcasing national and international artists. The festival takes place in Zimbabwe’s capital city, Harare, where local, regional and international arts and culture is enjoyed. The festival was launched in 1999.

Government’s new HIV/Aids plan welcomed - CPLO BY MICHAIL RASSOOL

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CHURCH-BASED policy and legislation monitor is pleased about moves by government to tackle the HIV/Aids pandemic. The church-based monitor said that the health minister Dr Aaron Morsoaledi’s policy indications are largely in line with points raised over a long period by advocacy and civil society organs. But the group still remains cautious. Commenting on the minister’s plan to reduce new HIV infections by 50% by 2011/12, and to provide anti-retroviral drug therapy (ART) to 80% of people living with the HIV/Aids by the end of the same period, Fr Peter-John Pearson, director of the bishops’ Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office (CPLO), said the ambitious programme will weigh heavily on the fiscus. Fr Pearson said the domestic budget provides part of the overall HIV funding. Almost half of South Africa’s almost R7.6 billionannual HIV budget comes from donors. He said the global recession is squeezing donor budgets, and there has been talk of donors decreasing their commitments to South Africa. This year several provinces launched their HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) campaign in


line with the national launch by President Jacob Zuma and Dr Motsoaledi in Katlehong on the East Rand. It is the largest HIV counselling and testing campaign ever rolled out by government. Senior government leaders, several ministers and deputy ministers were deployed to various provinces to launch the campaign as part of wider social mobilisation. Of particular importance, said Fr Pearson, is the implementation of ART to pregnant women and people co-infected with TB and HIV. Fr Pearson said the ART rollout would contribute significantly to reducing morbidity, disease progression and mortality associated with TB and HIV/Aids. In addition, HIV-positive pregnant women will now receive dual therapy from 14 weeks of pregnancy (not 28 weeks as was previously the case) until after delivery. An integrated approach to HIV/Aids and TB is being adopted. The approach enabled all public health facilities providing TB treatment to also provide treatment for HIV/Aids sufferers. By April more than 1 000 public health facilities were providing ART. Plans are in progress to ensure that all 333 public health facilities would be equipped to provide treatment.

Fr Pearson sees as significant the minister’s acknowledgement of some contentious facts about health issues in the country. These include a decline in life expectancy, the ineffectiveness of the health system, the poor quality of services, and the high maternal and infant mortality rates.18 Dr Motsoaledi also confirmed the government’s committment to purchasing antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) at a cheaper price from other countries other then the US. In future, he said, ARVs would be acquired at the most competitive prices, regardless of their country of origin. To accentuate the emphasis on prevention, the government aims, through its HCT, to provide counselling and testing to 15 million South Africans by the end of June 2011. Primary prevention will remain the mainstay of all efforts to combat HIV/Aids. Counselling will be comprehensive and multi-disciplinary, and will include help with issues such as the abuse of alcohol, which often precedes risky sexual behaviour. “This remains an ambiguous and contested area and more serious attention needs to be paid to public accountability by leaders across the board in this regard,” Fr Pearson added.

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Amended law to protect the elderly and children BY MICHAIL RASSOOL


EW laws and regulations have been passed to promote and protect the rights of the vulnerable and poor—especially the elderly and children. Lois Law, the Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office’s (CPLO) monitor of policy and legislation governing the rights of children and other vulnerable groups, said the Children’s Act 38 of 2005 is a composite of the Children’s Amendment Act 41 of 2007 and the Child Justice Act 75 of 2008. Sections of the Children’s Act that did not require regulations to be drafted became operational in June 2006. These outstanding regulations have been gazetted and the Act is now fully operational. “This legislation is fundamental to the realisation of the rights of children enshrined in the Bill of Rights in Section 28 of the Constitution. The best interests of the child are considered paramount,” she said. Ms Law said this has necessitated an “inter-sectoral” approach involving the departments of basic education, justice and constitutional development, transport, health, provincial and local government, home affairs, finance, and safety and security. She said the primary challenge and one that threatens to undermine the implementation process, is the training and recruitment of sufficient social and child and youth care workers. More amendments to the Act are anticipated, said Ms Law. This, she said, is expected to be introduced later this year. The amendments will take a closer look at child-headed households and other aspects of the law believed to be discriminatory. Also amended is The Child Justice Act 75 of 2008, which is informed by the principles of

restorative justice and child protection. She said it complements the Children’s Act and introduces the process of “diversion” as an alternative to the normal criminal justice system. A successful policy of diversion is dependent on the availability of probation officers, and the act calls for the recruitment and training of officers as a priority, Ms Law said. A change to regulations to the National Youth Development Agency, tasked with developing an Integrated Youth Strategy, has also been affected. The amended regulations will see the agency promoting youth development more effectively. Meanwhile, amendments to certain regulations under the Older Persons Act 13 of 2006, had been delayed while consultation with the minister took place. The amendments look into the enhancement of safety for the elderly and easier methods for them to report cases of abuse. These, Ms Law explained, are now finalised, and now the concurrence of the minister of finance has been secured, the full provisions of the Act are now operational. She said the Act seeks to establish a framework aimed at elderly people’s empowerment as well as the protection of their status, rights, well-being, safety and security. Ms Law added that it was good news that social grants were being increased: the older persons grant (old-age pension) went from R1 010 to R1 080; the child support grant increased from R240 to R250; foster care grant from R680 to R710; care dependency grant increased from R1 010 to R1 080; disability from R1 010 to R1 080; the war veterans grant increased from R1 030 to R1 100 and the grant-in-aid from R240 to R250.

The Southern Cross, May 12 to May 18, 2010

Did ‘the left’ hold Pope Benedict’s hand? P BY MICHAIL RASSOOL

ROFESSOR Jan Jans of the University of Tilburg in the Netherlands was the keynote speaker during a lecture organised by the bishops’ Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office in Cape Town. His speech was entitled, “Catholic Social Teaching in the 21st century”. The moral theologian placed Pope Benedict’s 2009 encyclical Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth) and other papal encyclicals as a basis in the wider context of Catholic social teaching, and paid special attention to its relationship with Pope Paul VI’s 1967 social encyclical Populorum Progressio. In the Caritas in Veritate, Pope Benedict wrote: “Fruitful dialogue between faith and reason cannot but render the work of charity more effective within society, and it constitutes the most appropriate framework for promoting fraternal collaboration between believers and nonbelievers in their shared commitment to working for justice and the peace of the human family.”

He added: “[The] Christian religion can offer their contribution to development only if God has a place in the public realm, specifically in regard to its cultural, social, economic and, particularly, its political dimensions.” Prof Jans said that when Caritas in Veritate was published in June 2009, it immediately sparked unexpected polemics over “who held the hand of the pope”, with some Catholic critics accusing the encyclical of being inspired by left ideology. “However strange this may sound, it was at least a sign that Benedict wasn’t just repeating teachings, but that he tried to make his own voice heard,” he said. Taking its cue from Populorum Progressio, and further developing the ideas, Caritas in Veritate had been delayed because additional research needed to offer a proper response to the global financial crisis, Prof Jans said. Its release coincided with the last G8 summit at L’Aquila in Abruzzo, Italy. Prof Jans said the core thought in Caritas in Veritate was


HE Maronite Catholic Church of Our Lady of Lebanon in Mulbarton, Johannesburg inaugurated their new school with the official opening of its Foundation Phase. The school now offers classes for Grade R to Grade 3s. The vision of the school is to cultivate young children through education and to prepare them for a better future with self-confidence and determination. The school is equipped with state of the art facilities and resources. “The education offered at Our Lady of Lebanon School aims to

develop knowledge, beliefs and practices of the Maronite Catholic faith while acknowledging and respecting members of other Christian denominations and religions. We will expound the Eastern and Maronite traditions to better understand our origin,” said Fr Badaoui Habib, superior of the Maronite Catholic Church in South Africa. Meanwhile, during the June holidays, from June 14, the school is offering a holiday of games, sport, music and arts and crafts.  For more information contact the school at 011 432 5331.

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on integral human development in charity and truth, in which charity, truth, justice and the common good played decisive roles. It said charity was a gift from God that needed to be shared through institutions. It went further saying the Church does not offer technical solutions but has to accomplish a mission of truth in the service of all. Prof Jans referred to the writings of individuals such as American Catholic journalist John Allen who, in an article, wrote about charitable actions as support for micro-finance, consumer cooperatives and socially responsible forms of business. His article stated that at an international level reform is needed at the United Nations and international institutions of economics and finance, in order to promote “a true world political authority…with real teeth”. “In this context it means respect for the liberty of individuals, families and civil society, and opposition to the abuses of biotechnology such as a new eugenics,” said Prof Jans.

Maronite Catholic school opens in Joburg


Daughters of Immaculate Heart of Mary


The new Maronite school will educate learners from Grade R to Grade 3.

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The Southern Cross, May 12 to May 18, 2010

The pope and T HE Shroud of Turin is an icon of “the most radical solidarity”: Christ sharing the loneliest moment of human existence by lying in a tomb, Pope Benedict said after he knelt in silent prayer before the linen cloth. The pope did not discuss the authenticity of the shroud as the cloth used to wrap the dead body of Jesus, but he said it clearly “is a burial cloth that wrapped the body of a man who was crucified in a way corresponding completely to what the gospels tell us of Jesus”. Pope Benedict paid a day-long visit to Turin, celebrating an outdoor Mass, venerating the shroud in Turin’s cathedral, meeting with young people and visiting the sick. During his evening visit to the exposition of the shroud, which is on public display until May 23, the 83-year-old pope said that while he has seen it before, this time there was a special “intensity, perhaps because the passing of years has made me more sensitive to the message of this extraordinary icon”. The Bible accounts say that Jesus was in the tomb from Friday night to dawn on Sunday—a time that was “chronologically brief, but immense, infinite in its value and meaning”, the pope said. For a day and a half, Jesus’ body lay dead in the tomb and it appeared as if God had hidden himself from the world, he said. Most modern men and women have had the experience of God seeming to hide from them and from the world, he said. Even if they cannot explain their feeling in those terms, they experience “a void in their hearts that spreads”. “After the two world wars, the concentration camps and gulags, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, our age became increasingly a Holy Saturday,” the day when Jesus’ body lay lifeless in the tomb, the pope said. “We have all had the frightening sensation of having been aban-

INTERNATIONAL the Shroud Priest’s murder mystery


ATHOLICS in a western Indian diocese say they are baffled by the murder of a 74year-old priest. Some associates of Fr Peter Bombaci found his body in a pool of blood on April 29 at his residence, near Vasai diocesan headquarters. Archbishop Felix Machado of Vasai, who visited the scene, told the Vatican’s missionary news service, Fides, that the body had a rope around his neck and a pair of scissors stuck in his throat. “It was a gruesome scene,” he said.

Pope Benedict prays in front of the Shroud of Turin in the cathedral of St John the Baptist in Turin. The pope paid a day-long visit to Turin, celebrating an outdoor Mass, venerating the shroud, meeting with young people and visiting the sick. PHOTO: ALESSANDRO GAROFALO, REUTERS/CNS doned, which is precisely the part of death that makes us so afraid; like children we are afraid to be alone in the dark and only the presence of a person who loves us can reassure us.” As with a “photographic document” with a positive and negative image, he said, the Shroud conveys that “the darkest mystery of faith is at the same time the brightest sign of a hope without limits” because it reminds people that Christ willingly embraced death to give all people the possibility of eternal life. “The Shroud is an icon written with blood: the blood of a man flagellated, crowned with thorns, crucified and wounded on his right side,” exactly as the gospels say Jesus was, the pope said. Visiting the sick immediately after venerating the shroud, the pope said that in the linen cloth, Christians see not only a sign of intense suffering, but also a sign of the power of the resurrection that transforms suffering into

redemption. “Living your suffering in union with the crucified and risen Christ, you participate in the mystery of his suffering for the salvation of the world,” the pope told the sick. “By offering our pain to God through Christ, we can collaborate in the victory of good over evil because God makes our offering— our act of love—fruitful.” At the morning Mass in the city’s St Charles Square, the pope said the shroud is a reminder that Jesus, who died for the sins of humanity, also rose from death. In the shroud, “we see reflections of our suffering in the suffering of Christ,” he said. “Precisely for this reason it is a sign of hope: Christ faced the cross to erect a barrier against evil, to allow us to see in his resurrection an anticipation of that moment when, for us, too, every tear will be dried and there will be no more death, nor mourning, wailing nor pain.”—CNS

Fr Bombaci was operating a detox centre for alcoholics. He came from the local community and “was well liked and respected by everyone”, the archbishop said. Diocesan officials such as the archbishop’s secretary, Fr John Furgose, said they have “absolutely no idea” why the priest was murdered. “We do not suspect anyone; we do not know who did it.” Fr Furgose said about 4 000 people, including “people from other religions” attended the priest’s funeral.

Legionaries of Christ to be ‘refounded’ BY JOHN THAVIS


OPE Benedict will name a personal delegate with authority over the Legionaries of Christ and a commission to study its constitutions, the first steps towards a profound reform of the order. In a lengthy statement, the Vatican indicated that the Legionaries would need to undergo very deep changes, including a redefinition of the order’s religious charism and a revision of the way authority is exercised among its members. While the pope will have the final word on whatever changes are eventually imposed, one Vatican source said after seeing the statement: “It looks like they are calling for a refoundation of the order.” The pope met with the five bishops who conducted a visitation of the Legionaries’ institutions over the past year. They visited almost all the order’s religious houses and most of its pastoral institutions, meeting with more than 1 000 Legionaries. The Vatican emphasised what it said was a high degree of sincerity and cooperation shown by the

Legionaries and said the visitors encountered many young priests who were “exemplary, honest and full of talent”. The Vatican statement castigated the Legionaries’ founder, the late Fr Marcial Maciel Degollado, who had been found to have fathered children and sexually abused seminarians. His “most grave and objectively immoral conduct” calls for “a path of profound revision” in the order, the Vatican statement said. It said Fr Maciel committed “true crimes” that reflected “a life devoid of scruples and of authentic religious sentiment”. Most Legionaries did not know about his conduct because Fr Maciel was able to skillfully “create alibis and obtain the trust, confidence and silence of those around him”, it said. Most Legionaries, because of their “sincere zeal”, believed that accusations against Fr Maciel could only be slander. The statement did not specifically refer to those in leadership roles in the Legionaries of Christ, or how much they may have known about their founder’s transgressions.—CNS

World’s oldest cardinal dies BY CINDY WOODEN

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ERMAN Cardinal Paul Augustin Mayer (pictured), the oldest member of the College of Cardinals, died on April 30, less than a month before his 99th birthday. The tall, thin cardinal was a Benedictine liturgist who worked at the Vatican from 1971 until his retirement in 1991. In a telegram of condolence to the abbot primate of the Benedictine order, Pope Benedict said Cardinal Mayer was hardworking, meek, a dedicated Benedictine monk and “a pastor full of zeal for the Gospel”. Born in Altütting, Bavaria, on May 23, 1911, the future cardinal made his profession as a Benedictine monk in 1931 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1935. Beginning in 1939, he taught at the Benedictines’ Pontifical University of St Anselm in Rome and

served as rector from 1949-66. During his period as rector, he founded the Pontifical Liturgical Institute. After serving as abbot of St Michael’s Abbey in Metten, Germany, he was named secretary of what was then called the Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes in 1971 by Pope Paul VI and was made an archbishop. Thirteen years later, Pope John Paul II named him prefect of what was then the Congregation for Sacraments and Divine Worship, a position he held until 1988. Pope John Paul named him a cardinal in 1985. After leaving the worship congregation he was appointed president of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, which Pope John Paul had established for the pastoral care of Catholics attached to the old Latin Mass.—CNS

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The Southern Cross, May 12 to May 18, 2010

Pope Benedict on how to make Africa work M BY CAROL GLATZ

A priest celebrates Mass for German army soldiers at the army camp in Kunduz, Afghanistan. Of the more than1 600 coalition fatalities in the Afghanistan war, 47 have been Germans, the fourth-highest after the United States, Britain and Canada. PHOTO: FABRIZIO BENSCH, CNS

ICRO-FINANCING, smallscale development and better education can help pull communities out of poverty, Pope Benedict has said. The fight against poverty, however, must always respect human dignity and encourage people “to be the protagonists of their own integral development”, he told a group of bishops from Gambia, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The pope met with the bishops at the Vatican during their ad limina visits, which heads of diocese make every five years to report on the status of their dioceses. He encouraged them to promote “small-scale community engagements and microeconomic initiatives at the service of families”, because these kinds of programmes can do “much good” in the fight against poverty. The pope urged the bishops to promote dialogue with other religions, especially Islam, “so as to

African Catholics ask: After synod, where’s the action? BY MWANSA PINTU


S the Church in Africa prepares for a consultation workshop in Mozambique from May 23-26 to discuss the results of last October’s Synod of Bishops for Africa, some Catholics are questioning why little has been done to discuss and begin to implement the synod’s recommendations. The workshop will be hosted by the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar and Caritas Africa. Catholics across the continent said that the outcomes of the 2009 synod have yet to be outlined to people in the pews and that the communication effort related to the gathering falls far short of the effort stemming from a 1994 synod that also looked at the needs of the African Church. They also said they hope the workshop in Maputo, Mozambique’s capital, will kick-start a years-long effort to incorporate the 57 pastoral proposals the bishop delegates offered to Pope Benedict as the synod concluded on October 25. “It is as though it [the synod] came and went, and everyone forgot about it,” said Joseph Mukumba, a Catholic in Lusaka, Zambia. “No one is talking about the synod any more and yet it is what is supposed to guide us on the future of the

Church here in Africa.” Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu of Lusaka, a synod delegate, said implementation of the pastoral proposals, or recommendations, can vary widely across the continent and therefore requires serious effort and time. “Implementation of synod propositions [recommendations] is an enormous task. We may have to work for the next ten or more years to see it done, but it will be worthwhile. All that is required is to keep up the enthusiasm and effort.” The archbishop explained that implementing the recommendations must be based within the synod theme of reconciliation, justice and peace. He also expressed concern that the effort needed would tax the African Church’s personnel and financial capabilities. “Parishes and dioceses often struggle to provide the most basic pastoral and administrative services to the faithful,” he said. “How can you expect them to implement all the synod propositions in one year?” Still, Mr Mukumba is not alone in his sentiments. Continent-wide, Catholics said they thought they would have heard more about the synod’s proposals in the six months since the gathering ended. Jane Wangari, from Kenya’s Kisumu diocese, suggested that

Church leaders should place more emphasis on ensuring that the key issues identified by the synod are addressed. Ms Wangari said she believed efforts should focus on creating a new model of Church, one that can address critical issues facing Africa, such as poverty, HIV/Aids, bad governance, climate change, conflicts, injustice and gender inequality. Victor Chinedu, 29, of Kano, Nigeria, echoed Ms Wangari’s concerns: “The synod identified issues that require the Church’s serious attention. Those issues cannot be addressed by sensitisation but through action.” Kor Birat of Khartoum, Sudan, said that he was impressed with the preparations made for the 2009 synod, but he was unhappy with the follow-up. “The Church in Sudan began preparatory meetings for the synod general assembly as far back as 2005. But after the assembly, follow-up activities have been rather slow.” Ben Phiri, a teacher in Serowe in Botswana’s vicariate of Francistown, said he learned about the synod through the media despite regularly attending Mass. “Most of the laity, apart from those of us who follow current affairs, is ignorant of the synod. It is a bad situation for the Church if the idea is to get everyone involved in the process.”— CNS

Hard-bargaining Vatican diplomat dies at 92 BY CAROL GLATZ


ARDINAL Luigi Poggi, a Vatican diplomat who served five popes, died on May 4 at 92. The Italian cardinal worked at the Vatican from 1945 until his retirement in 1998. Cardinal Poggi (pictured) was an unheralded but important negotiator with East European communist governments. As the Vatican’s first “roving ambassador” in Eastern Europe, he drove hard bargains on religious freedom with regimes in capitals ranging from Prague to Bucharest. He also narrowly missed being the cardinal who would announce to the world the election of Pope Benedict XVI. Cardinal Poggi had served as senior cardinal deacon, the man who announces “Habemus papam” (We have a pope) and the name of a newly elected

pope, until late February 2005. He was succeeded by Chilean Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez as the senior cardinal in the order of deacons less than eight weeks before Pope Benedict was elected. Born in 1917 in the northern Italian city of Piacenza, Cardinal Poggi began his career in diplomacy at the Vatican’s Secretariat of State in 1945, five years after he was ordained a priest. Pope Paul VI summoned the then-Mgr Poggi from the Vatican’s diplomatic ranks in 1973 to carry out an extremely sensitive task—conducting the behind-the-scenes negotiations with Soviet-bloc governments. For 13 years, he shuttled to

Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Yugoslavia and Bulgaria as the Vatican’s point man in a difficult dialogue. The diminutive prelate squeezed out concessions one at a time from governments that viewed the Catholic Church as an enemy. His delicate diplomatic role was complemented by his plain-spoken ways and his personal concern for the faithful. On his negotiating trips, he always packed holy cards and rosaries to hand out to people in churches. He was appointed papal librarian and archivist in 1992 and retired in 1998. Pope John Paul II made him a cardinal in 1994.—CNS

sustain the existing good relations and forestall any form of intolerance, injustice or oppression, detrimental to the promotion of mutual trust”. Working to strengthen the family and women’s dignity is important, he said, especially because divorce and polygamy are widespread and “an anti-birth mentality disguised as a form of cultural progress” is making inroads. He encouraged the bishops to continue to provide school programmes that prepare young people to become responsible citizens who work for the common good. He praised their work in combating corruption and in calling attention to “the gravity and injustice of such sins”. Bishop George Biguzzi of Makeni, Sierra Leone, said many legislatures, politicians and elected officials have taken a course in good governance that is offered by the Catholic university in Makeni. “Many people have enrolled and they have been very satisfied”


with the course, he told the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano. “Above all, we try to pass on the message that power at any level must be treated as being a service” for helping other people, the Italian-born bishop said. A major problem in fighting corruption, he said, is persuading leaders to use the profits reaped from harvesting natural resources for the good of the country and not for personal gain. Massive iron deposits have recently been found in Sierra Leone, he said, and already many Chinese companies are there waiting in the wings. The future of the nation rests on using those resources wisely, but “there is a real risk that those who will profit are the multinationals, which are always lying in wait”. “The game is always the same: [multinationals] offer to pay off debts and to guarantee irresistible earnings so as to be able to exploit the riches of African lands,” Bishop Biguzzi said.—CNS

is inviting applications for the postion

SUB-EDITOR in its Cape Town office. The position requires both efficient and proven sub-editing skills and experience in newspaper layout using Quark Xpress. Good knowledge of the Catholic Church will be an advantage. Working hours can be shaped to suit the successful applicant’s needs. The position is open immediately. E-mail applications with the names of two appropriate referees to Applications close on May 24 Only short-listed candidates will be contacted.


The Southern Cross, May 12 to May 18, 2010

LEADER PAGE 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.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Church, follow your own advice

Editor: Günther Simmermacher

Value our Catholic schools E


UR annual supplement on Catholic schools in this edition highlights again the crucial contribution which the Church’s education professionals are making in the formation of our young people. Every year in South Africa, Catholic schools exceed the national matric pass rate significantly; in 2009, for example, by 23,6%. In reflecting on this, it is important to remember that the common view of Catholic schools as uniformly wealthy, private institutions does not correspond with reality. While some certainly are of an exclusive nature, most are based in a parochial or rural context. The academic accomplishments, sometimes achieved in difficult circumstances, testify to the dedication of principals and teachers, now usually lay people who sustain their religious predecessors’ commitment to sound education in these schools. The pursuit of academic excellence certainly is a distinguishing mark of Catholic schooling, but their substance goes well beyond that. Throughout the 12-page supplement, Catholic schools in their advertisements emphasise the true aim of Catholic education: the formation of a well-rounded individual in a caring environment. Read the mission statements in some of these adverts: “we value the uniqueness and potential of each of our girls”, “we instill sound gospel values and life skills that will enrich your child”, “the spiritual and emotional development of our students is nurtured”, “learners in our school are encouraged to learn and grow”. Catholic schools aim to instill in their students a sense of faith, learning, discipline and ethics—virtues that will see them through well beyond matric, and may remain with them for a lifetime. More than that, Catholic schools impart gospel values such as integrity, compassion, charity, justice and personal responsibility. Thereby they send into the world young adults who are equipped to

make a concrete contribution to society. In its objective to provide young people with an excellent academic education and formation, the Catholic school system benefits from a comprehensive support system in the form of the Catholic Institute for Education, the Centre for School Quality and Improvement and the Catholic Schools Office. Between these, Catholic schools benefit from specialised research on educational and pedagogical matters, receive training and advice on school management, educational trends and policy, religious education, pastoral assistance, and access to appropriate resources. Through the Catholic education network, educators and school management (and even those working in a nonCatholic environment) are able to share insights and experiences—good and bad— and learn from these. Thanks to this commitment, Catholic schools tend to be at the cutting edge of education in South Africa. While the support system is very helpful for schools that have resources, it is absolutely crucial for state-funded Catholic schools and those in rural areas, without which a whole sector of South Africa’s education sector would likely collapse. The strength of the Catholic Church can be measured by its schools. In Southern Africa, Catholics have cause to be proud of their schools, knowing however that there is no place for complacency. Catholic education is a cause which all the faithful, individually and through their parishes, are called to support, regardless of whether they or their children have attended Church schools. This can take the form of making the local Catholic school a centre of parish life, or by individuals subsidising the education of a pupil, or by parishioners engaging in fundraising activities. We must take care of our Catholic schools: they produce many of our future leaders, in the Church and in society.

MMANUEL Ngara in his column of April 28 contemplated the difference it might have made to the world if the pope at the time had washed the feet of Martin Luther in a spirit of humble reconciliation at the time of the Reformation. Often the most simple and basic actions change the world, for better or for worse! As history proves, in such a case as the Reformation, “omission” can have just as profound effect as “commission”. Arising out of the sex abuse scandal many suggestions on how to handle the situation have emerged. However, is our Church

not perhaps overlooking a fundamental requirement in its efforts to “clean its slate”? Why does it not follow its own advice and sacraments? As Catholics, we are taught that healing our relationship with God and mankind starts with contritely and humbly acknowledging our sins with hearts open to reconciliation, and then doing penance by honestly sorting out our mess, cleaning up our act and making whatever reparation we can. Why would the same not apply to our Church as a group? Why does our Holy Father, as leader of a Church which espouses and

Things to consider in abuse scandal

will fundamentally undermine their authority. Archbishop Tlhagale’s honest acknowledgment of this failure, reported in The Southern Cross of April 14-20, is to be welcomed. Steve Lincoln, Johannesburg


HANK you for being open about the abuse scandal, a cancer in the Church. There are three major considerations to be addressed in the scandal. Firstly to consider the victims. They need our prayers, our compassion, our sympathy. May God give them dignity, healing and forgiveness. Secondly, to understand why this happened. Perhaps too many religious were forced into their vocations against their wishes to satisfy family obligations. This would allow resentment to fester. The insistence on clerical celibacy means that basic human instincts are denied. This is unhealthy as it must build frustration and can attract misfits to religious life. Allowing married clergy would be better than the appalling abuse scandal. It seems that corporal punishment was taken too far in Ireland. Not allowing divorce has also had unintended consequences: relationships went underground with children ending up in bad foster care and bad marriages were prolonged. Thirdly, to make sure that the Church comes clean and adequate steps are taken to prevent abuse and discipline offenders. She has held out the olive branch to the victims but tragically has not done enough to bring back trust. Full disclosure is always needed. Clergy who abuse must be released from their vocation with no exceptions. As the Vatican now recommends, they should be handed over to the police as abuse of minors is a criminal offence. By far the majority of clergy are innocent of course. How sad for them to be tarnished by this sullied image. However, unless Rome leads by good example here, they


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Think before you attack the Church


DISAGREE with Archbishop Buti Tlhagale’s statement reported in The Southern Cross of April 14-20. Looking through my late father's photos, I found a photo of the war memorial in his home town in Poland which includes his nephew’s name among soldiers of the Home Army “who fell in the battle with the German invader 1943 and 1944”. The last name on that list is my cousin, aged 19. The first name is that of the local priest, Fr Josef Tecza, 38. Fr Tecza was a priest who died with his flock. Let us remember St Maximilian Kolbe and thousands of priests who died in Nazi concentration camps, Russian gulags and in other communist countries for saying Mass. How many of us have benefited from the aid given by priests— moral, mental or physical—as I have? In this Year for Priests, let us give our clergy all the support. There may be some bad apples, but let them be judged by our Father. As for the publicity seekers: think before you attack God’s Church. J Paget, Benoni Opinions expressed in The Southern Cross, especially in Letters to the Editor, do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editor or staff of the newspaper, or of the Catholic hierarchy. The letters page in particular is a forum in which readers may exchange opinions on matters of debate. Letters must not be understood to necessarily reflect the teachings, disciplines or policies of the Church accurately.

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emphasises the sacrament of reconciliation not make a world-wide public confession about the scandals and subsequent cover-up? No semantics, no ducking and diving, just a humble confession and statement of intent. Taking this one step further, imagine if, at a special Mass on a particular Sunday in this Year for Priests, the Holy Father were to lead his entire flock in such an Act of Reconciliation. Perhaps this should then become an annual event as a constant reminder of the damage that has been done and the price paid by the many for the actions of the few. Geoff Harris, Rooi Els, Western Cape

Further reading


HE letters of Sr Judy Coyle (“New wording of the liturgy examined”, March 3-9) and Denis Barrett (“Going backwards is not progress”, March 31) move me to bring to your readers’ attention an article in the October/November 2009 edition of that very worthwhile publication of the Comboni Missionaries, Worldwide. In the article, titled “Evangelise or Latinise”, Comboni Father Paul Donohue writes of the long standing tension between those evangelisers who value the seeds of the Gospel present in every culture, and those who attempt to impose their own tradition— unlike St Paul—on the people to be evangelised. Anyone interested in reading the article can phone the Comboni office at 012 804 6193 (mornings only). Nicholas Luyckx, Johannesburg

Hardly Catholic


OME contributors to your letters page seem to think that our Catholic faith is a measuring meter with which to judge and compare ideologies. Our faith cannot be reduced to mere words. It is centred on the mystery of a Triune God and cannot be compared to any ideology. God reveals his divine self to us in Christ and in the lives of us, the Body of Christ. Like Jacob, we must enter into a personal struggle with our personal God. Christ’s ideology has been expressed down the centuries in actions for which even Mother Church is ashamed and sorrowful. We struggle still today with people who profess Christianity but are in reality baptised pagans. Rosemary Gravenor, Durban


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May 12-18, 2010


Marketing the value of Catholic schooling Without new influx of students, Catholic schools cease to exist. MICHAIL RASSOOL spoke to two women whose job it is to market their schools to attract new enrolments.


OW does one market Catholic education? Is there a blueprint, or is it left to the individual school, each with its own dynamic? Sue Anderson, media liaison officer for Springfield Convent School for girls in Wynberg, Cape Town, said she has spent eight years in what is a fairly new component to all Catholic schools. Before, she said, the responsibility was usually allocated to a teacher who did his or her best to put their school on the map. Mrs Anderson also serves on the executive of the Independent Schools Marketing Association, which forms part of the Independent Schools Association of South Africa (ISASA). She said a significant aspect of her role involves liaising with parents of prospective students of the pre-primary, junior and senior schools, which are located in a picturesque setting that looks more like a horticultural park. Chatting about her role in her office located in one of the 139year-old school’s original school buildings—a restored corrugated iron prefab—she stresses Springfield’s values-based ethos and approach to education while taking interested visitors on a tour of the campus, and allowing them to gain a sense of the school at work. Many of them, she said, choose Springfield because they are looking for a Catholic education for their children. This provides her with an opportunity to affirm the parents’ hopes, explain the different options for a rounded education offered by the school, and maintain confidence in their choice. She said these are relationships that continue while their children are at the school. “I am here to facilitate understandings and perceptions, explaining the historical role the Dominican Sisters have played in establishing the school [in 1871], stressing its inclusivity rather than exclusivity as well as its spiritual dimension.” These aspects need to be included in the business of marketing the school, which is why the public relations aspect is so important, she said. She added that this is why the tour of the Springfield campus is indispensable—it proves an enlightening experience for parents, especially if they still harbour slight reservations about enrolling their children, or are a little overwhelmed by its rich surroundings. ISASA, as a useful support structure, enabling people in this portfolio to share ideas on how to respond to the finer points of the role, communicating with each other through various means, including SMSing. Mrs Anderson said she also works closely with students, especially in terms of making them proud and appreciative of their being at Springfield, encouraging them to wear their uniform with pride. “I try to keep all communication channels as open as possible, profiling and positioning Springfield in the world beyond the campus, so the marketing aspect

Sheryl Gelderbloem, who heads the marketing of St Joseph’s Marist College in Cape Town. PHOTO: MICHAIL RASSOOL encompasses everybody.” She said raising such awareness has had its rewards. For example, she pointed out, this year has seen the highest number of applicants to the school to date, for pre-primary, junior and senior levels.


heryl Gelderbloem, who heads marketing at St Joseph Marist Brothers College in Rondebosch, Cape Town said it is central that the school is linked with the Catholic ethos, especially the Marist ethos and values which are also reflected in religious education policy at the school. She said the more subtle these dynamics are, in terms of how they are being presented and how they are played out, the more effective they are. This also calls upon the marketing person’s expertise. Like Mrs Anderson, she is intimately involved in her school’s admissions process. When she speaks to parents about why they choose St Joseph’s, it invariably comes round to liking the ethos of the school and its value system. Some of the parents may not be Catholic and yet, spiritually, it is what they are looking for. Ms Gelderbloem said the religious education the school teaches, Lifebound (a curriculum developed by the Catholic Institute of Education), is not exclusively Catholic, as it stresses values that appeal to all. That is something that pleasantly surprises many people, she added. She spoke of the way St Joseph’s positions itself, particularly in advertising. “We say that if people are looking for values, then the school is the place for their child.” Increasingly children wish to make up their own minds about a range of issues, she said. For this they need the right guidance in order to empower them to make the right decision. This is what the school provides and what parents appreciate, she said. Being aware of all these things is central to the role of someone who is tasked with profiling a school such as St Joseph’s, Ms Gelderbloem said.

Selling Catholic schools in a tough economy BY DENISE MACLACHLAN


HROUGHOUT the United States, parents’ unemployment is high and student enrolment in Catholic schools is down. But at St Philomene School in Sacramento, California, people aren’t wringing their hands. They are too busy making their Catholic school work. Principal Debra Mosbrucker has committed her school to be the flagship for the Sacramento diocese’s public relations and marketing plan, an ambitious threeyear programme designed to attract and retain families in Catholic schools in the current economic climate. “I could do all the things that I know how to do to increase enrolment, like host open houses for our school and parish community, pay for ads in newspapers, put up a big banner on the school,” said Ms Mosbrucker, who has 30 years of experience in Catholic education. “I needed new ideas to help us move beyond what we already knew,” she told the Catholic Herald, diocesan newspaper of Sacramento, which is California’s capital city. Ms Mosbrucker continues to do everything she can to help families, stretching her tuition assistance funds to cover an increasing number of requests and raising funds for more tuition assistance. And she is also turning to experts.

The diocesan school board this year created the Catholic schools marketing plan with the help of board members who are professional marketers and public relations experts in the community. The school board’s marketing plan recommends specific foundational marketing activities, provides step-by-step instructions in reaching specific, targeted segments of the population rather than making blanket appeals, and offers “stepped-up attention to economic worries of parents, tackling how schools might try new ways to respond when tuition poses a significant barrier”. “What I love about the plan is that people with expertise are advising us,” said Mosbrucker, who has already put the plan into motion. She has identified all of the preschools, day care and child care centres in the areas that her school serves, and is mobilising a group of parent volunteers to hand-deliver fliers to those businesses, inviting parents to the school’s open house and information night. She has convened a school marketing committee, made up of parents from each grade, to help implement the school board’s marketing plan. St Philomene also has an inviting Internet presence, with a completely redesigned website, courtesy of a current parent, as well as a Facebook fan page that is attracting recent alumni.— CNS



The Southern Cross, May 12 to May 18, 2010

Fix needed for ailing education system Last year’s matric results showed an overall decrease in the number of learners who passed. MARK POTTERTON looks into the problems the Education Department is faced with, and asks some very critical questions.


OPE, a beautiful young woman from Brixton, Johannesburg, finished matric last year. Hope lives with her family of four in a single room in Brixton, Johannesburg. As if to give meaning to his daughter’s name, her father, Eric, had much hope and worked hard—painting, tiling and doing renovation jobs. He managed to get Hope into school. She excelled at primary school and ended up at a good high school. There she involved herself in school activities. But, towards the end of the year, it was clear that Hope needed help in maths and science. It was, however, too late to find a tutor. Hope had big dreams. She had applied to Witwatersrand and Johannesburg universities and wanted to become a speech therapist. What a disappointment for her when she found out that she did not achieve a matric exemption or university entrance. Her dreams, and those of her family, of getting into a university were dashed. Hope stays at home now.

The media frenzy unleashed in the wake of the announcement of matric results happens every year. Of the 552 000 full-time learners who sat the National Senior Certificate examinations last year, 335 000 passed. Even though it is slightly more than in 2008, the overall pass rate dropped from 62,5% to 60%. Worrying was the more than 40% of young people who drop out of school before reaching Grade 12. “We have not yet begun to turn the corner,” said Angie Motshekga, Minister of Basic Education. She describes describing herself as “most unhappy” with the “disappointing results”. She listed the now-familiar catalogue of failings in South African schooling, citing poor teaching, weak management and inefficient systems and, like those before her, promised “urgent action” and improvements in the 2010 results. Last year Ms Motshekga acted quickly to review the implementation of the national curriculum statement. People around the globe believe they live in times of unprecedented change and demand new ways of doing things. Education in my view should play an important role in building on the learning of the past, but also develop knowledge and skills that allow children to engage with the world. The biggest challenge seen by many, including the media, is that in South Africa only a few children have access to this kind of education. Curriculum 2005, the government’s programme of outcomes-


More than 40% of young people drop out of school before reaching matric. PHOTO: CIE

based education (OBE), was seen as a means of transforming and improving society. OBE is based on a shared belief that education is a key piece of the puzzle of development and growth. But the latest matric results do not reflect this. The impact of apartheid education has been far greater than ever imagined and the grip of traditional practices on teachers has been very strong, based especially on ideas of what a “real” school is. To a large extent teachers have adopted new curriculum ideas through the patterns of the past. Many teachers have simply continued to use teaching approaches


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under the guise of a new curriculum. Most teachers have complained about the huge administrative aspects of implementing Curriculum 2005. But the real challenge in South African education does not just lie with the curriculum, but in the context of learning and with those charged with delivering the curriculum. One cannot forget the context in which many teachers continue to work in schools. Material poverty impacts on schools and teachers are forced to engage with the many emotional needs of children. Working in these contexts is draining and demanding on a personal level; teachers often have to deal with the harsh dramas of life, with sadness and tears, and still remain focused on the curriculum. A significant observation made by the minister’s task team is that the implementation of OBE was rushed and that teacher training was superficial, as were the materials developed. Simplifying and streamlining the curriculum will not in itself deal with the shortcomings of the education system. The training of teachers in another “revised cur-

riculum” will therefore be paramount. What is very important, but difficult to achieve, is to see that teachers are at school for the full school week and that time spent there is mainly used for teaching and learning. The content and delivery of the curriculum are intertwined, and what happens inside classrooms is extremely important. Politicians have also opted for more testing in schools for a better understanding of what exactly is going on in the classrooms. Recently released Grade 3 and Grade 6 assessment results show that children across provinces continue to under-perform. This is ascribed to too much teaching time in school being lost because of late coming, absenteeism and a poor work ethic, as well as the still very uneven resourcing of education. Based on the recommendations from the minister’s task team the following questions should be asked: • Where is the five-year plan to improve teaching and learning across the system? • Are we providing definite guidance and support in the area of assessment? • Have we clarified the role of subject advisors? Are they doing their jobs? • Have we reduced teacher workload in relation to administrative requirements and planning and allowed more time for teaching? • Have we been reducing the workload in the intermediate phase through reducing the number of learning areas, including two languages and through emphasising the importance of learning English in the curriculum? • Has the quality and use of textbooks and support material in the curriculum been improved? • Are we providing subject specific and targeted teacher training to support curriculum implementation?  Mark Potterton is director of the Catholic Institute of Education based in Johannesburg, an associate body of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference.


The Southern Cross, May 12 to May 18, 2010


Matric ’09: Catholic schools continued to shine Catholic schools exceeded the national matric pass rate by more than 23% in 2009. ANNE BAKER looks at some of last year’s high achievers.


ATHOLIC schools continued to do well in the 2009 matric exams, achieving an 83,9% pass rate. This was 23,6% above the national pass rate, but 2,1% lower than the schools achieved last year. Between 2006 and 2008 Catholic schools maintained a steady 85%-plus pass rate. While we can justifiably be proud of our schools that do achieve a higher pass rate, the drop does require a careful analysis of what is happening in the individual schools whose results have deteriorated. Schools write both the national and the Independent Examinations Board (IEB) examinations. Of a total of 7 587 learners at Catholic schools, 6 157 wrote the national exams and achieved a 79,2% pass. The 1 430 learners who took the IEB exam achieved a 99,8% pass, with 16 learners from Catholic schools achieving a “commendable pass”. Catherine Paverd from De La Salle Holy Cross College in Johannesburg achieved 11 distinctions and was the highest achiever in

the IEB examination. Sixteen other Catholic school learners achieved an outstanding or commendable pass. At Christian Brothers College (CBC) Mount Edmund, head boy Lawrence de Jesus passed the national exam with nine distinctions. Learners from township and rural Catholic high schools achieved well above the national average. Two learners from Tsogo High School in the North West Province did very well: John Maubene received eight distinctions and Lesego Phateng seven. Tsogo High School achieved a total of 51 distinctions and had a 99,2% pass rate. At St Matthew’s High School in Soweto, 98 of the 101 learners achieved a Bachelor’s pass (formerly known as matric exemption). Siyabonga Maseko achieved six distinctions, with 100% for mathematics and just missing a distinction for his seventh subject, scoring 79%. Maletsatsi Monanaetsi also achieved 100% for mathematics and earned six distinctions. Jared Devar and Carise Frank of Holy Family College in Durban achieved nine and seven distinctions respectively. The school had 67 distinctions in total. Springfield Convent in the Western Cape was placed second in the province, with Megan Woodward placed sixth in the province. An analysis of the results

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shows that there was an improvement, albeit small, in matric results in the Free State, Gauteng, and KwaZulu-Natal provinces. There was a dramatic drop in some provinces, which was due to some previously excellent schools suffering an increase in failures. This is a challenge to all in the Catholic schools network to assist these schools to examine what happened and to immediately put into place an improvement plan. This must address not only Grade 12 needs, but other grades as well. Without a sound foundation, no child can be expected to succeed in high school. Some Catholic schools have struggled with the new National Senior Certificate in the same way other public schools struggle.


chools report difficulties in finding competent teachers in key subjects such as English, mathematics, science, computers and accounting, and this has adversely affected their results. A lack of resources also adds to their struggle. The 20,6% difference in the pass rate between Catholic schools writing the independent and national exams is a further challenge to the network. How are we going to work together to assist struggling schools to bridge the gap? This year’s Catholic School Proprietors’ Association (CaSPA) theme—“Catholic Education, Quality Education: Doing our Best for Every Child”—is aimed at raising quality awareness in our schools. The new CaSPA publication, Fully Alive, aims to assist schools with quality improvement, but schools still need addi-

Newspapers report of failures in national matric results and successes of Catholic schools. With an overall pass rate of almst 84%, Catholic schools scored 23,6% above the national rate.


tional ongoing support from district offices and local Catholic Schools Office and the Johannesburg-based Catholic Institute of Education (CIE) personnel. Our schools for learners with special needs did very well in 2009. Two schools in KwaZuluNatal that serve these learners and write the state examination achieved very good results. KwaThintwa School had ten learners who wrote the exam. Seven passed well and all passed English. St Martin de Porres in Port Shepstone has learners with multiple disabilities. The teachers at this school put in many extra hours to prepare their learners for the examination and they achieved a 67% pass rate. Dominican Grimley in Cape

Town, the only school in the Western Cape offering Grade 12 exams to deaf learners, achieved a 100% Bachelor pass rate. St Vincent School for the Deaf in Johannesburg also achieved a 100% pass rate. In the midst of the analysis of Grade 12 examination results, it is important to remember the many teachers from Grade R to Grade 12 who laid good foundations for learners, which allowed them to pass. Catholic schools must not become complacent in their success, but strive to consistently offer the very best education to the children who come to our schools.  Anne Baker is deputy director of the CIE. This article first appeared in the March edition of the CIE magazine Catholic Education.


The Southern Cross, May 12 to May 18, 2010


The challenges of sexting and Internet abuses Today’s youths are way ahead of their parents and teachers when it comes to the use of new technology. ‘Sexting’ and cyberbullying are particular problems, as JIM GAUGER reports.


ISTER Margaret Rose Adams IHM, the principal of Ss Simon and Jude School in West Chester, Pennsylvania, feels comfortable around technology. “I thought I was ahead of the curve,” she said, “but the children are so far beyond us.” Today’s newspaper headlines and television reports bring a new set of challenges for 21st-century parents and their children—challenges that change practically every day. In late April, Ss Simon and Jude

was the site of a two-part programme titled “A Proactive Approach to Growing Concerns of Sexting, Texting and Internet Abuse”. Sexting is a new term to describe SMSing with sexually explicit content Paul Sanfrancesco, a school district director of technology, led two sessions discussing the topic. The first session was in the morning with students in Grades 6-8. The second, at night, was for school personnel, faculty and parents. Sr Adams said the learners were very receptive.“One thing I have much concern with is that there are so many ways to get on the Internet—computers, cellphones and iPods,” she said. Sexual material that young people send via cellphones has become a problem, leading to tragic results in some cases. Students are also involved in cyberbullying, a high-tech approach to a problem that has undermined education for generations.

Sr Adams estimated that 125 of the 150 leaners in Grades 6-8 own cellphones. “A lot of times an older sibling gets a new phone and passes it down to a younger child,” she said. Parents give cellphones to their children for safety reasons. A child can text a parent if there is an emergency, for example. “You have to teach the appropriate use of cellphones,” Sr Adams said. Mr Sanfrancesco takes the positive approach in instructing students and parents about technology’s darker side. “We’re not trying to scare the parents,” he said. “We are just giving as much information as possible to help them make decisions about their children’s use of technology. Kids have no fear. Technology is so huge. You have to

embrace technology but understand what technology can do.” Parenting in the 21st century, said Mr Sanfrancesco, involves being aware of sexting and cyberbullying and dealing with it by monitoring children’s use of technology and by exercising Catholic values. “Parents send their children to Catholic schools for a reason,” said Mr Sanfrancesco, a father of three children. Being a 21st-century student and a Catholic parent requires us to do more. It’s against our religion to illegally download music from the Internet. Sure, everybody’s doing it. You have to make the connection between Catholic teaching and 21st-century technology. What you are doing has consequences.” Mr Sanfrancesco said his sessions with students are more con-

versations than lectures. “It’s interactive—they can question me.” He reminds the students that what they put in cyberspace stays in cyberspace. “All these children are going to high school and college,” he said. “They are leaving a digital footprint in their lives. You could have 1 000 friends on Facebook. When people look at your footprint, they can be making an assumption that may not be true.” How can young people determine if what they text or upload is appropriate? That’s easy, Mr Sanfrancesco said. “The question you can ask yourself is: ‘Would you be embarrassed if your parents looked at your Facebook page?’” Mr Sanfrancesco also tells learners to “Google your name and find out what’s online about you”. —CNS

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The Southern Cross, May 12 to May 18, 2010


Bullying in school: How best to fight back Bullying takes on many forms and can drive a teenager to suicide. An author is offering tips on how to deal with bullying. TERI BREGUE reports.


ULLYING, conventional wisdom has it, is just part of growing up. After all, the victim teased in the movies always comes out on top. Not so in real life. The tragic consequences of bullying have increasingly made headlines in the United States, prompting Massachusetts lawmakers to pass legislation in March aimed at curbing bullying at schools and in cyberspace. During what was an emotional debate over the anti-bullying legislation, lawmakers cited the suicides of 15-year-old Phoebe Prince and Carl Walker-Hoover, 11. The two youths, who went to different schools, both hanged themselves allegedly because of peer harassment. According to Jodee Blanco, author of the best-seller Please Stop Laughing At Me, parents and educators need to realise that both the victim and the bully are bleeding emotionally. “Kids don’t bully because they’re cruel. Bullying is the desperate need to fit in run amok. The bully and the victim are flip sides of the same coin. Both are

driven by the desperate need to fit in,” Ms Blanco told The Catholic Observer, newspaper of the diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts. “Typically, the big schoolyard bully who steals everybody’s lunch money is no threat. It’s those mean popular kids that I call elite tormenters, the ones who exclude on purpose. Those are the kind of bullies who do the most danger and are driven by insecurity,” she said. In the case of Phoebe Prince, who died on January 14, three girls accused of bullying her were arraigned on charges of violation of civil rights resulting in bodily injury. Two of the three also faced stalking charges. The three defendants are among nine students facing charges related to bullying Phoebe, an Irish immigrant who enrolled at South Hadley High School in September, when she moved to the area. A letter to parents from school principal Dan Smith said there was reason to believe Phoebe had been tormented by a clique of girls over dating and relationship issues. While school personnel immediately intervened, it may not have been enough. “It is what happened after those incidents were over that is cause for significant concern,” Mr Smith wrote. “Because of the aforementioned disagreements, some students—to be confirmed through investigations—made mean-spirited com-

‘Do not say “Ignore the bullies”. It doesn’t work.’

Jodee Blanco and the cover of her 2003 book, in which she describes her experiences of being bullied at school. Commenting on two teen suicides, she believes deliberate social exclusion of others is the most harmful form of bullying. ments to Phoebe in school and on the way home from school, but also through texting and social networking websites. This insidious, harassing behaviour knows no bounds.” In April 2009, 11-year-old Carl hanged himself after relentless bullying by classmates at the New Leadership Charter School in Springfield. He was a Boy Scout, football player and church volunteer and known as a student who loved his schoolwork.


publicist who resides in Chicago, Ms Blanco was the victim of bullying when she was in school—to an extent where she made a suicide attempt. She decided to go public with her

story after the Columbine High School massacre in 1999, when two students went on a shooting rampage, killing 13 and then committing suicide. “I became enraged because I said: ‘What happened at Columbine had nothing to do with the availability of guns!’” Ms Blanco has written two books since then and is executive producer of a critically acclaimed anti-bullying programme called “It’s NOT Just Joking Around”. She also has been called on to intervene in the aftermath of two dozen suicides related to bullying. “Their [the victims’] rage isn’t about the abuse—the talking, name-calling, the taunting, teas-

ing, the hitting, kicking,” she said. “It’s the exclusion. It’s the chronic escalating exclusion that really causes the most psychic damage.” She was told to simply ignore the bullies—advice she does not recommend. Her advice to parents is twofold. “Do not say to a bullied child: ‘Ignore the bullies and walk away’. It doesn’t work and it’s a mixed message. Parents have to tell their children that to stand up for yourself non-violently in the moment abuse occurs is your human right. Seeking revenge later on is the sin.” Parents should encourage their children to look bullies in the eye, “stare them down, show no emotion and tell them to stop”. She also tells parents to help children being bullied to find things to do to remedy the loneliness. When she talks to students, Ms Blanco stresses that bullying is not just about mean things that are said or done but it is also “all the nice things you never do”. These “sins of omission”, whether they be leaving a student to sit all alone at lunch, or always choosing him or her last for a class team, make that person feel “there’s something wrong with me”. Ms Blanco calls this “aggressive exclusion”, and she said it begins in fifth grade. She said bullying is no more common than it was 30 years ago, but modern technology now allows cyberbullying where tormenting can be done quickly, is much broader and takes place outside of school through text messaging and the Internet.— CNS

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The Southern Cross, May 12 to May 18, 2010


Sexuality education: Clearing up the confusion As the world becomes increasingly sexualised, education on the subject of sexuality becomes more important, yet there is much confusion about how to structure sex ed and what to teach. ANNE FRENCH explains.


HAT are the barriers that exist among teachers in South African Catholic schools to teaching sexuality education? The Catholic Institute of Edu-

cation (CIE) in Johannesburg established an HIV/Aids Prevention and Gender Unit in 1999, which focused mainly on HIV prevention. Teachers in Catholic schools were trained to implement a life skills programme with learners. The task appeared straightforward, as implementing a life skills programme in keeping with the national curriculum, with learners in Grades R–6, was not that challenging from a teacher’s point of view. Project implementers were welcomed by most schools, and there was little that needed to be explained about sex since a sound approach to sexuality edu-

cation with younger learners involved teaching simple lessons that were deemed appropriate for the age group. Lessons, for example, were about “good touches” and “bad touches”, changes to be expected during adolescence and biological instruction on the male and female anatomy. When life skills education was implemented in Grades 7-12, the project team encountered some major challenges. It became apparent that many teachers were reluctant to teach sexuality education; teaching life skills to learners, where sex education had to be more explicit, and where some learners were already sexu-

ally active, was challenging to teachers. Before developing and implementing its HIV and Aids Prevention and Gender Education programme, the CIE undertook research to find out if teachers were teaching sexuality education as part of an HIV/Aids prevention strategy. A survey was conducted among 41 life orientation teachers from 13 Catholic schools in six provinces. Skilled facilitators performed them either in private with individual teachers or with groups of teachers. They were asked the following questions:  What qualifications do you have?

 Have you received training to teach sexuality education?  What materials are available?  What materials do you use?  Is there sufficient information in the policy documents you get from the Department of Education?  When teaching life skills, are there some lessons that you avoid teaching?  Why do you avoid teaching these lessons?  What difficulties do you have teaching sexuality education?  What does your religion say about teaching sexuality education?  What language do you use to teach sexuality education?  What role do parents play?  Who could help you teach sexuality education?  Does your principal support the teaching of sexuality education at your school?  When you have presented lessons on sexuality education, what gets the learners talking the most?  Is there anything more you would like to know about sexuality education?  How many teenage pregnancies have there been at your school this year/last year? The findings showed that teachers were confused about what to teach about sexuality, were uncertain about the age to start doing this, and did not know how to choose age-appropriate materials. In South African schools sexuality education is often randomly assigned to any available teacher, who is expected to deliver a comprehensive sexuality education programme without training, and without curriculum guidelines. The only available guidelines in South Africa are the Learning Outcomes and Assessment Standards found in the National Curriculum Guidelines. The department of education has also developed Guidelines For the Prevention and Management of Teenage Pregnancy. The guidelines recognise the place of the school in managing the prevention of pregnancy, sexually transmitted illnesses (STIs) and HIV. But crucially missing is a comprehensive curriculum, content information, training and the “permission” teachers feel they need for teaching the subject. Those teachers who taught sexuality education used whatever resources they could find—posters, text books, newspapers, magazines, DVDs. In all the schools except one, school leadership supported the teaching of sexuality education. In the single exception Continued on page 13


The Southern Cross, May 12 to May 18, 2010


Catholic schools as parts of the community Catholic schools must be about more than academic studies, religious education and personal development, but serve as centres of care and provide pastoral care to the whole community. MARK POTTERTON explains.


HE Catholic Institute of Education (CIE) has joined with strategic partners to pilot a programme to create schools as centres of care, with the hope that schools and communities, with a special focus on the local parish structure, will forge stronger bonds, build on strengths and create a network of care and support for the entire local community. The North West Province and Free State were initially chosen for

this intensive intervention, and the CIE is working with the Children’s Institute (CI) at the University of Cape Town by sharing resources, processes and learnings. The CI has designed a process to engage the school and community in creating a caring school. The CIE aimed to adapt this process as needed and to target other areas of the country, adding to and extending the CI research. Save the Children UK and the bishops’ development arm, the Siyabhabha National Trust, have joined the institute’s caring schools project by bringing community workers and development experience, thus bridging school and community. The project is now well under way and has the support of the local bishops, parish priests, the department of education and school principals. Local reference teams have identified specific actions to

How to teach sex ed Continued from page 13 a governing body member forbade it. But despite this, the teachers at the school were exceptional in the way they presented the subject. This writer observed the life skills teacher in a frank and open discussion with girls and boys. Only two teachers had had some formal training to teach sexuality education; one at undergraduate level and the other at a postgraduate level. Most taught “safe” topics— HIV/Aids, STIs and reproductive body parts. The researchers had assumed that teachers had religious or cultural barriers to teaching sexuality education, but this was not the case. The language of tuition was significant; most teachers taught sexuality using English or Afrikaans. African languages were used when the learners did not understand the English or Afrikaans term. Some words were considered to be vulgar in African languages. Moreover, most teachers believed that sexuality education was the responsibility of the parents. The CIE research recommended that comprehensive curriculum guidelines for sexuality education be developed for Grades R–12, outlining exactly what should be taught and when. Age-graded materials aligned to the curriculum should also be developed. Teachers should be trained and then supported in teaching sexuality education, and teaching materials should be supported by local case studies. Moreover, youth should participate in designing sexuality education programmes, and parents should be encouraged to communicate positively about issues of sexuality. To conclude, the CIE HIV/Aids Prevention and Gender Unit believes that the sexual health of adolescents, especially those most at risk because of poverty and poor educational circumstances can be improved. It can come about through comprehensive sexuality education programmes that are well planned and well taught. Adolescents need correct information about reproductive health care that will ensure their wellbeing and improve their life chances.  For more information on the CIE HIV/Aids Prevention and Gender Unit and its HIV and AIDS Prevention and Gender Education programme, contact 011 433 1888. Anne French is coordinator of the CIE’s HIV/Aids Prevention and Gender Unit.

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improve the caring school community. Subsequent steps have involved parents, learners, teachers and community in a similar process to design a way forward based on input from all stakeholders, and to come up with a common ethos, a commonly owned understanding of pastoral care. Consequently, the CIE sees pastoral care as the caring response of people within the school community for each other. It is an attitude, before it is a programme or process,

one that expresses itself in words and otherwise. It says, “We are glad you are here. You are important to us. Your contribution means something to us. We believe in you and we are here for you.” Pastoral care touches all aspects of school life and all members of the school community. It comes from the Gospel message of Jesus, “I have come that you may have life and have it to the full”, and the foundational belief, “We are all made in the image and likeness of God”. Pastoral care is the lived expression of the school’s ethos; it is how the unique spirit and character of the school is manifest. Key to pastoral care is to know how people relate to each other, how learning and teaching happens, how policies are formulated, how discipline is administered, how decisions are made, responsibility shared and life enhanced for all. It

integrates the academic, social and religious dimensions of the school curriculum to promote the development of the whole person. In terms of implementation, schools should have a pastoral care committee, and in the school’s development and renewal plan consideration and provision should be made to enhance the care and support of the school and community. A policy on care and support should be part of the school’s portfolio, or included in its safety and security or HIV/Aids policy. To find out more, schools can contact the CIE’s Pastoral Care Unit for assistance in developing and implementing a pastoral care programme. The unit also provides individual counselling for teachers, teacher retreats as well as financial management workshops for teachers. Or, they can contact their nearest Catholic Schools Office or CIE regional manager.


The Southern Cross, May 12 to May 18, 2010


Creating a more inclusive schooling system Including learners with disabilities or special needs into mainstream education classes has become a significant trend. MICHAIL RASSOOL resports on one success story.


HE inclusion of learners with special educational needs in mainstream school is encouraged by the South African Department of Education. But their policy has many educators and education officials worried that schools and other learning institutions are not equipped to handle the full-scale inclusion. The policy holds that a system of inclusive education must be set up to provide support to learnerswith special needs and educators. It identifies three levels of educational support for learners with special needs: • ordinary schools providing resources for learners who need low-intensive support; • full-service schools for learners needing moderate support; • special schools for those requiring high-level support. Underpinning this policy is the idea that inclusive education promotes a democratic ethos and mindset. Mark Potterton, director of the Catholic Institute of Education based in Johannesburg, suggested that it is the logistics of managing inclusive education in schools that concerns educators. Managing this requires financial, structural and human resources to make it work.

Another underpinning argument is that all children should be educated together for curricular and social reasons. There is general acceptance in research literature that all teachers are qualified to teach children with special needs, Mr Potterton said. He said some children would need additional support, although there is no special pedagogy that has been shown to be particularly useful with children with disabilities or learning needs. In addition to removing the physical barriers to learning, Mr Potterton said in a report co-written with his wife Joanne, an educationalist, that schools will need to adjust the pace of lessons and match the work expected from learners with their ability to complete work. This would impact on tasks set out for learners, academic assessments, their pace in completing the work, levels of expected performance and the resources available to help learners. A school in Cape Town has experience in creating an inclusive environment. Hugh Flynn, headmaster at St Joseph’s Marist College in Rondebosch, said the school created this environment by setting up facilities designed to build a culture of inclusive education around its Catholic, Marist ethos. The school has a Special Needs Unit for learners with mental disabilities and special needs “to build awareness among all learners of the integrity of every human experience…under one God”. He said the idea of “co-existence” is to encourage integration into the mainstream school life. The unit’s learners, who range from 12 to 20-years-old, partici-

Integration into mainstream classes is key to creating an inclusive learning environment as proven by the Special Needs Unit of St Joseph’s Marist in Rondebosch, Cape Town. pate in extra-mural activities, attend chapel, school assemblies, mix with other learners during intervals, take part in school events and are integrated into mainstream classes where possible. “Here is a group of learners and educators who are an inspiration to all of us. They each have a positive approach to life. They accept what they have been given with gratitude and happiness. “They do their utmost to develop those talents further and, most importantly, they measure themselves against their own personal ability. This helps all of us at St Joseph's to keep things in perspective,” he said. St Joseph’s Junior School principal Val Vella told The Southern Cross that the unit, in operation for almost ten years, started with four learners and was initiated by a parent who had a child with special needs. Its main purpose is to mainstream the children—a current trend in the development of children with special needs. This, said Ms Vella, is intended to

enhance various aspects of growth, including socialisation and stimulation leading to less marginalised lives and more active involvement in the world. Ms Vella said the catalyst for formally incorporating the unit into the school was the realisation that many of the disabled children were older than their counterparts. But it was not always smooth sailing. She said there were teething problems associated with social integration, including the educational challenges. Within six months of incorporating the unit into the mainstream school, Mr Flynn saw a “notable change in the ambience and milieu of the school” “There was a growing understanding and appreciation by the mainstream learners of the special qualities of innocence, blunt honesty and trust that the learners with special needs brought. “There was also the realisation that each learner was unique and gifted in different ways. It provided a win-win situation in which

both special needs and mainstream learners were able to learn to live alongside each other comfortably.” He said the demand grew rapidly and a call was made for a second class. With innovative specialist teachers, support staff and an occupational therapist on board, Mr Flynn said the unit’s main thrust has been to equip learners with skills needed after leaving school. Learners spend part of their week learning technical skills needed in the workplace. Special unit educator Clare Wagner told The Southern Cross that the curriculum develops language and numerical competency, ball skills (to develop coordination), computer literacy, beading, visual art and encourages having pets as therapy. Learners are employed in a range of jobs: pet care, shelf packing, supermarket serving, furniture manufacture, car washing, restaurant preparation activities, storeroom and dispatch unpacking, article pricing, acting and magic. The learner is gradually shifted from attending school to attending a day of work each over a period of three years, Mr Flynn said. He said the unit also handles all the recycling in the school and is employing school leavers to perform this function. But to have special needs at a school, one does not necessarily have to be disabled, as shown by the school’s Learning Support Centre. The centre’s support educator Romey Gennison said it gives support to junior and senior learners who have specific problem learning areas.

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The Southern Cross, May 12 to May 18, 2010


Catholic school’s bold approach to ensure no learners fall through the cracks A Catholic school in Cape Town believes that integrating children with learning difficulties into mainstream education can only help them. MICHAIL RASSOOL writes that this integrated approach has been met with success.


SCHOOL needs to respect the differences, experiences and problems of all its learners. This is the message from Melanie Bruce, principal of Springfield Convent Senior School for girls in Wynberg, Cape Town. Mrs Bruce said that respecting differences, experiences and problems is central to maintaining a “child-centred, secure education ethos”. This also creates the opportunity for educator to live up to the challenges and sacrifices the profession required of us, said Mrs Bruce. Mrs Bruce told The Southern Cross that instead of having a remedial section for learners with learning difficulties, Springfield opts to integrate those learners into its mainstream classes. At the school educators are expected to equip themselves to meet each educational challenge they are encouraged to widen the scope of their teaching methods in the subjects they teach. This, said Mrs Bruce, is something Spring-

field is prepared to support so that they can live up to the school’s ethos. Springfield was founded in 1871 and admits learners from age four—many remain at the school until they matriculate. But, said Ms Bruce, at the early stage there is no way of knowing what learners’ strengths and weaknesses are. Once the children have moved to higher levels, the difficulties start manifesting themselves. Mrs Bruce said that under the leadership of Springfield Junior School’s principal Alison Dun, there was a good support structure. She said that all teachers were qualified remedial teachers who respond immediately as soon as a problem is identified. “Only in rare cases can they not help the child, if the case is beyond the scope of their expertise and requires outside intervention,” said Mrs Bruce. In such instances children are referred to a specialist. Although rare, she said, it has happened that a child has had severe learning difficulties, which are sometimes accompanied by psychological problems. In such instances a counsellor is at hand to help the learner. She said parents are often disappointed when things do not work out because so much is riding on their child’s school career. She said it was important for the school to work with parents to foster hope, which is an intrinsic part of Springfield’s Catholic ethos. This, she said, has led to good results.

Meanwhile, the senior school offers academic subjects for tertiary studies—academic, technical, cultural and sporting—for learners to have a wide range of choices. This is a transformation compared to the school’s historical past when learners were limited to learning typing and domestic science. “We encourage our learners in whatever field they choose,” said Mrs Bruce. But she has decried the “tendency newspapers have of ranking schools”, which goes against the ethos of Springfield, which was ranked second in last year’s overall matric results in the Western Cape. “Many schools make no bones about recruiting brightness because they reflect better on their school, turning away those who are challenged in some way, something Springfield does not do, whatever its so-called ranking is,” Mrs Bruce said. She said each child, regardless of their learning disabilities or abilities, should be taught because “all God’s children will do well where resources—especially at a given school of means—are properly used”. Mrs Bruce, who retires at the end of the year, believes that every school of means should be a receptacle for a range of abilities to thrive. She said Springfield does not divide the student body by “streaming” students into definite spheres, fostering academic elite

An integrated approach to teaching shows that learners, no matter their weaknesses, can learn from teachers and fellow learners in mainstream classes, says Springfield principal Melanie Bruce. PHOTO: MICHAIL RASSOOL

enclaves or separating the weaker from the better performer. In a classroom situation, the former is deliberately placed with the latter and an atmosphere of interdependence is encouraged, Mrs Bruce said. She said this ethos informs the kind of outreach that Springfield school encourages in its learners. Grade 10 learners, as part of their community service, run two programmes, “Smile” and “Jump High Maths” respectively, teaching language and mathematics to

learners from disadvantaged communities. This, added Sue Anderson, Springfield’s media liaison officer, promotes a sense of affirmation within learners, knowing that what they are doing is right and playing a strong mentoring role to others. Mrs Bruce added that Springfield is part of the SA Learning Education Difficulties network, a network significant for its integrated approach to remedial education.


The Southern Cross, May 12 to May 18, 2010


Principal’s mission to get deaf kids to read Johannesburg-born Ingrid Parkin has taken over the leadership of St Vincent School for the Deaf in the archdioces. Mrs Parkin, a Wits-educated teacher is the first deaf woman to lead a deaf school in South Africa. MARK POTTERTON spoke to Mrs Parkin a month after she took on her new assignment.


NGRID Parkin, a mother of two girls, is a warm, welcoming person. From the moment I walk into her office I feel at ease. She is a woman of vision and has great ideas for the future of the St Vincent School for the Deaf. Building on the school’s solid history, she sees it becoming a model of best-practice for deaf education in South Africa. She is keen to ensure that the children coming out of the school are independent and have solid values. One of the areas she intends paying attention to is developing good reading skills at the school. She also wants her learners to acquire critical thinking skills. Mrs Parkin’s vision includes renovating parts of St Vincent, which have become rundown. “There’s also a need to purchase new equipment, to replace aging equipment. I really want to get more visual material and to eventually get smart boards—these are great in educating deaf children”. Mrs Parkin is committed to teacher development and to ensuring that teachers are up-todate with trends in deaf education and sign language. Mrs Parkin has had her own interesting journey at the school. “Many of them didn’t believe that I am deaf,” she says. “I noticed a lot of debate about this matter. Some children eventually came to ask me if I was really deaf.” She speaks with experience on the topic.

She left DeafSA to come to the school. At DeafSA, she was director of education and passionate about championing the cause of deaf people. About 70% of deaf people in South Africa are functionally illiterate, and at least 70% of deaf people are unemployed, Mrs Parkin explains. She says that St Vincent’s is trying to deflate the number. St Vincent’s promotes deaf awareness in the hearing world. Their signing choir performs at various public functions. The school continues to welcome a variety of visitors ranging from students to researchers, some from overseas. It shares its premises with Pridwin School—a unique venture between a hearing and deaf school. Mrs Parkin’s enthusiasm and warmth become more evident as we move from classroom to classroom during a tour of the school. Children come forward to hug and interact with her. She points out the areas of the school that need attention—broken tiles and flaking paint. “We don’t have much funds to do things, many of our children come from poor families and can't pay fees, so we will have to raise the funds,” Married to Terence Parkin, the award winning deaf swimmer who last year claimed seven gold medals at the Taipei Olympics, Mrs Parkin is immersed in fighting for the cause of deaf people in the country. In July Mrs Parkin, funded by DeafSA, will present papers at the International Congress on the Education of the Deaf in Vancouver, Canada. She hopes to take many teachers from her school to Vancouver and has already begun fundraising. I have a good feeling, as I negotiate the roadworks out of Rosebank. Mrs Parkin is a leader who will take St Vincent places. Her enthusiasm, creativity and ability to work with people will go far in this challenging realm of leadership.  This story first appeared in Catholic Education, the CIE magazine.

St Vincent School for the Deaf’s head, Ingrid Parkin, who herself is deaf.


The Southern Cross, May 12 to May 18, 2010


Book Reviews A strategy of bringing harmony to schools BUILDING AND RESTORING RESPECTFUL RELATIONSHIPS IN SCHOOLS: A Guide to Using Restorative Practice, by Richard Hendry. Routledge, 2009. 159 pages. Reviewed by Mark Potterton MPLEMENTING restorative practice in schools can offer powerful and effective methods of promoting harmonious relationships and resolving conflict. Restorative practice helps disruptive pupils to take responsibility for their actions, understand the consequences of their behaviour and apologise to others. Through a whole-school approach school teachers and managers can help all children build healthy and respectful relationships with peers and teachers. Building and Restoring Respectful Relationships in Schools is a practical resource to help relieve the pressure on schools and education services by leading


them to plan and implement restorative approaches in their day-to-day work. This innovative and informative book provides a comprehensive overview of the current range of restorative approaches in schools. It

offers a clear framework and theoretical perspective for understanding the range of approaches and gives practical examples and case studies to illustrate practice. The book contains practical exercises and other useful resource materials. It is relevant to individual staff as well as whole schools and education services. Richard Hendry offers a vision for how our schools could be, if we are willing to embrace a “way of being” that nurtures personal responsibility in a climate of mutual respect. As well as showing teachers how to reduce disruption and develop good relationships, this book is also about improving learning in schools and building skills for life. Building and Restoring Respectful Relationships in Schools is essential reading for all teachers, especially department and year heads, as well as principals, policy makers and researchers.

Dealing with ‘problem children’ TEACHING TOUGH KIDS: Simple and Proven Strategies for Student Success, by Mark Le Messurier. Routledge, 2009. 240 pp. Reviewed by Mark Potterton ARK Le Messurier’s Teaching Tough Kids delivers a refreshing collection of realistic ideas to sustain the organisational and behavioural transformations of all students, particularly those who “do it tough”; who learn and react differently. These are complex kids who find life tougher than most. Managing their emotion and behaviour presents educators with a spectacular challenge in schools today, and numbers are on the rise. Filled with inspirational case studies, this book focuses on building improved relationships, structures and behaviours, rather than seeing the student as “the problem” that must be fixed. According to his biography, Le Messurier, an Australian, has taught for 20 years, and has been involved in special education, adult education,


child-centred education and community education projects. The value of promoting positive connections with students of all ages is highlighted, and Le Messurier presents ways to incorporate inclusive ideas into everyday practice. This stimulating book shows teachers how to build student connectedness to learning; set achievable goals for each individual child; support emotion-

al stability; strengthen organisation patterns; address behavioural issues; improve homework planning; create friendships; and deal with bullying. Teaching Tough Kids takes a particularly close focus on students identified with learning disability, Attention Deficit Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Asperger syndrome. Another group of students with executive functioning difficulties is emerging in schools. These are the kids who have endured neglect or too much stress and uncertainty in their lives, and as a result display classic symptoms of hyperactivity, hyper vigilance and impulsivity. Teachers will welcome Teaching Tough Kids as it approaches issues from a very practical perspective. Le Messurier has also written a similar book on parenting, titled Parenting Tough Kids.  Both book reviews on this page were first run in the CIE magazine Catholic Education.

A quarterly magazine dedicated to furthering Catholic education BY MICHAIL RASSOOL


HE Johannesburg-based Catholic Institute of Education (CIE), an associate body of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, publishes the quarterly magazine Catholic Education. CIE deputy director Anne Baker, who is responsible for marketing the various aspects of the organisation’s work, said a copy is distributed freely to virtually every Catholic school in South Africa, and another is sent to every Catholic school owner. It is also sent to each diocese and other stakeholders. As far as possible, she said, Catholic Education’s editorial board strives to pub-

lish quality articles on contemporary issues that “speak to schools’ experiences”. The magazine also encourages direct involvement of schools by getting them to contribute articles. There is also the human interest element of the glossy, 16-20-page, A4-size, full colour publication, Mrs Baker said, referring to such pieces as the profile on Ingrid Parkin, the new principal of Johannesburg’s St Vincent’s School of the Deaf, who herself is deaf, which was run in the March issue, and is reproduced in this supplement on page 16.  For more information on Catholic Education, Mrs Baker can be contacted at the CIE on 011 433 1888.

Our Motto – CONCORDIA – challenges us to work towards PEACE and HARMONY with God, self, others and the environment. We offer a sound Christian Education in the Catholic Tradition. This is given in a professional and caring manner so that the children may develop their God-given potential with a sense of dignity and pride.

WE OFFER Affordable education for boys and girls (Grade 1 – 7) English medium Academic excellence Limited class sizes Scripture lessons thrice weekly School Masses at the beginning and end of each term Catholic children are prepared for the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist. 96 Landdrost Street Private Bag X 9309 Vryheid 3100 TEL: 034 981 6157 FAX: 034 983 2012

STAR OF THE SEA CONVENT SCHOOL OFFERS THE FOLLOWING: 1. Education for pupils from Pre 1 to Grade 7 2. Co-educational education 3. Individual attention 4. Extension lessons 5. Remedial assistance 6. Caring environment 7. After-care facilities

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The Southern Cross, May 12 to May 18, 2010

Lack of funding and political instability hamper Catholic schools in Zimbabwe During a visit to Zimbabwean Catholic schools, an international delegation discovered that a lot still has to be done to bring Catholic schools to the forefront of education. MARK POTTERTON formed part of the delegation that visited the country.


N INTERNATIONAL delegation led by the Johannesburg-based Catholic Institute of Education, has visited Zimbabwe to conduct a thorough check on the state of the country’s Catholic schools. The group met with representatives of the Zimbabwean Catholic Bishops’ Conference’s Education Commission, diocesan Catholic education secretaries and religious congregational leaders involved in education, as well as with the principals of some schools. Four schools in the country’s capital and Bulawayo were visited. The visit was to establish what was happening with school reconstruction during the ongoing political and economic instability in the country, and to establish the best way to support schools in the region. At a meeting with representatives from the Jesuit, Dominican and Precious Blood education desks, common concerns were identified. These included: • a lack of transport to visit

schools for support purposes; • no dedicated budget to support schools; • a lack of facilities in their own offices for greater communication and interaction; • limited time to allocate to their secretarial duties; • a shortage of qualified teachers; • the migration of teachers to other countries; • a lack of stationery for both teachers and pupils; • a chronic shortage of books and textbooks; • a shortage of teacher housing; • a shortage of classroom furniture and aging infrastructure. Despite all these difficulties, the secretaries reported that the schools still managed to function and perform better than their public school counterparts. But “incentives” were identified as a problem in some dioceses as some teachers sought out schools with higher benefits, this resulting in teacher migration. In Harare, Fr Joe Arimaso provided an analysis of the current problems facing Catholic schools. He said the crisis can be traced to the Zimbabwean government’s land invasion policies, with the takeover of farms and subsequent persecution of teachers. He also said hyper-inflation caused by a collapsed economy had forced many qualified people, including teachers, to leave the country and seek better opportunities elsewhere. The issues raised in discussions in Bulawayo were similar to those

Urgent transformation needs to take place in Zimbabwean Catholic schools. raised in Harare. Participants, however, felt that it was important for schools to offer hope in a politically turbulent and economically unstable situation. Emphasis was placed on teachers to teach in the face of unrest and strikes in the country. During the meeting stakeholders concluded that interventions needed to take place on three levels: on a moral, a structural and a crisis management level. During the visit to Zimbabwe, deligates summarised several key issues concerning Zimbabwean Catholic schools. • Service delivery: catholic schools—boarding or day schools—remain the pillars of edu-

cation provision in Zimbabwe with widespread coverage throughout the country. The Catholic Church has some of the oldest boarding schools, which still live up to high quality education. • Outputs: the Catholic boarding schools are renowned for their Christian ethos and sound discipline; and schools like Nyanga High School have always been benchmarks of high education standards in Zimbabwe. • Infrastructure: with some of the best Italian-style architecture that blended in with local situation, some of the school structures stood firm and robust, and were well maintained by the multiskilled expatriate priests and nuns

from different religious orders. There are clear signs of years of neglect, and lack of maintenance, reflecting the situation in Zimbabwe. A lot of the infrastructure lies unused because of a lack of maintenance funds. • Cathholic schools are grappling with securing visionary principals that can steer the schools to relive their past glory. Such principals would be able to fundraise, maintain the infrastructure and provide a better quality service. It would be prudent for the Catholic schools to invest in leadership development. • Mission schools versus new schools: there would be no hesitation to recommend that the Catholic mission schools receive priority assistance above the newer schools because mission schools are pacesetters and should first be pulled out of the current crises. • Centres of excellence: Catholic mission schools can be developed into centres of excellence. • Critical areas of need: schools need classroom materials and equipment that will enhance teaching and learning and this should be complemented by school based-training. School management development sessions should be considered as critical areas of need for input. Resourcing the schools will shape a new culture of learning and teaching that will cater for the variety of learning styles and learner abilities.

St. Catherine’s School Germiston WE OFFER: • • • • • • • •

Grade 00 – 12 Education for Boys & Girls Small Classes (18 – 25) Christian Based Education High Moral Standards Excellent Academic Standards Art, Choir, Sports Languages, Science, Technology, Mathematics • Caring Teachers • Competitive Fees • All Round Development of your Child

As a Catholic school we endorse a Christian-based ethos and value system in which learners are expected to show respect for God, self, others and the school. Our assemblies have a Christian theme and Mass is celebrated regularly. In addition, Religious Education is part of the school’s academic programme. The learners are encouraged to participate in outreach programmes to the needy and less privileged members of the community.

High School

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Pre-school and Grade R

P.O. Box 5013, Delmenville, 1403 31 Piercy Avenue, Parkhill Gardens, Germiston Telephone: 011 827-4102 Fax: 011 827-4117 E-mail: Web address:

Primary School

PERSPECTIVES Anti-death penalty activists protest against a pending execution. In his article David Brattston explains how the early Church strongly opposed capital punishment.

Henry Makori

Reflections of my Life

A losing battle


AVE Kenya’s Christian leaders lost touch with the public mood? What will be the consequence of this? Founding president Jomo Kenyatta once described the Christian church as the “conscience of the nation”. No one ever doubted that all these years. But for the first time in Kenya’s history, a clash is looming between the clergy and most of the citizens. It is all about the Proposed Constitution of Kenya which will soon be put to a referendum. After 20 years of dogged and sometimes bloody agitation for a full review of the current law, the popular view is that the draft constitution, crafted from previous drafts by a committee of experts and revised by a parliamentary select committee, captures the aspirations of Kenyans. On April 1, parliament passed the draft without any amendments. Its major highlights include an expanded Bill of Rights, provisions for clear checks and balances to end an “imperial” presidency, overhaul of critical state institutions, equity in national resource allocation through devolved government, promotion of gender parity, a fully independent judiciary and a parliament free from executive interference. The proposed law has united President Mwai Kibaki and his coalition partner and political nemesis, Prime Minister Raila Odinga. They are now going around the country campaigning for a “Yes” vote. Recently the cabinet endorsed the draft. The latest opinion poll from the respected Synovate research group indicates that 64% of Kenyans would vote “Yes” and only 17% would vote “No”, with 19% undecided. But churches remain the most adamant opponents of the Proposed Constitution on the grounds that while it expressly bans abortion-on-demand, Article 26 (4) opens the way for a law allowing the procedure. It states: “Abortion is not permitted unless, in the opinion of a trained health professional, there is need for emergency treatment, or the life or health of the mother is in danger, or if permitted by any other written law.” “If this article is maintained in the Proposed Constitution as it is, we will be compelled, based on moral grounds, to advise the people of Kenya to vote NO,” the Catholic bishops said on April 16. Protestant and evangelical church leaders hold a similar view. The churches are also opposed to the retention of Muslim courts to resolve matters of personal law among adherents, saying it would amount to elevating one religion above the others. But President Kibaki (Catholic) and PM Odinga (Anglican) have asked Christians to support the Proposed Constitution and later pursue amendment of the contested clauses. Talks between the clergy and the government to find a way forward collapsed after the cabinet announced it would not support any amendments to the draft. This means the church leaders will soon embark on national “No” campaigns. But can the clergy win the hearts and minds of voters? It looks unlikely, and for several reasons. First, on all public contests, including elections and the 2005 constitutional referendum, church leaders always urged their flocks to decide/vote guided by their conscience. The faithful are likely to act on that basis in the coming referendum. Secondly, the search for a new constitution has gone on for two decades and the public feeling is that the opportunity has finally come. The most powerful argument so far is that there can never be a perfect constitution that fully satisfies everyone. Thirdly, the church still has a serious image problem since the 2007 election campaigns when prominent clerics were perceived to have taken sides. Today, newspaper commentators, callers to radio and TV talk shows, bloggers and writers on social networking sites urge Kenyans to ignore the clergy and vote “Yes”. Fourthly, the Proposed Constitution has received overwhelming support from politicians, the media, civil society groups, professional associations and the business community who have very strong voices on national issues. And finally, Kenyan voters who have read the draft seem to agree with the distinguished law professor and civil rights crusader Mutua Makau that the proposed law is “one of the most progressive constitutions ever written anywhere in the world”. It appears then that the upcoming referendum will be a contest between the clergy and the citizens. And if the Proposed Constitution of Kenya is passed, church leaders will have a very difficult time rebuilding their public image.

The Southern Cross, May 12 to May 18, 2010



Michael Shackleton answers your question

Open Door

Biblical proof for clerical celibacy? My daughter, influenced by a non-Catholic friend, assures me that there is no evidence in the Bible to support the Catholic Church’s requirement that priests must be celibate in order to serve the faithful effectively. What support does the Church call upon to defend this idea of an unmarried priesthood? Peg ANY reasons for and against a celibate priesthood have been bandied about over the years. These days, people inside and outside the Church find it difficult to accept, especially when Protestant ministers, their wives and children are an integral part of their local congregations. Moreover, although many lived as chaste Christians, historically the practice took many years to be fixed as the norm for priests. Western Catholicism sees the issue as one that concerns Christ’s own words: “There are eunuchs who have made themselves that way for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can” (Mt 19:12). The Church has understood in faith that Christ was referring to those who devote themselves entirely to serving the kingdom, even living in a state of constant continence in order to do so. Christ also declared: “At the resurrection men and women do not marry; no, they are like the angels in heaven” (Mt 22:30). This suggests that, in giving up everything for the sake of the kingdom, unmarried persons already are a sign in their mortal life of what we shall all be in our immortal life in heaven. It would be helpful to read all of 1 Corinthians 7, to understand how St Paul, who was unmarried, could write: “I should like everyone to be like me, but everybody has his own particular gifts from God.” These gifts are the gifts of the Spirit, and the gift of celibacy is one that the Church has taken with particular seriousness. In attempting to discern which men may possess the gift of celibacy, the Church in the past may have given too much attention to the canonical law that makes the priesthood conditional on living an unmarried life, at the expense of coaching candidates in an intensive and motivated living out of celibacy as a positive sign of things to come. Fortunately, training for the priesthood in recent times entails a thorough testing of the candidates’ maturity. They are guided to appreciate the gift of continence as something to be embraced for the good of the Church, but also with the support of those they will serve.

Early Christians opposed M the death penalty


HE earliest Church prohibited Christians from participating in capital punishment, as witness the following pronouncements by Christian writers before the persecution of 249-251. Addressing a rebellious faction in the Church at Corinth, 1 Clement 45 recalled that when in the Old Testament the righteous were persecuted or put to death, it was only by the wicked, the unholy, and the hate-consumed. Variously dated between 70 and 97 AD, 1 Clement is one of the oldest extant Christian documents outside the New Testament. This letter was written while in the Church at Rome “there were many still remaining who had received instructions from the apostles”. It was so authoritative and influential that it was included in some early editions of the New Testament. It refers in passing to a recent government persecution of Christians, which means the death penalty was not far from the author’s mind. Around 177, Athenagoras of Athens wrote a defence of Christianity describing its beliefs and practices. It dealt with and refuted pagan allegations that the Christian faith commands its adherents to murder. Athenagoras stated that Christians not only are forbidden to kill anyone for any reason, but also that “we cannot endure even to see a man put to death, though justly… We, deeming that to see a man put to death is much the same as killing him, have abjured such spectacles. How, then, when we do not even look on, lest we should contract guilt and pollution, can we put a man to death?” For this reason, he said, Christians oppose even such killing sanctioned by the law. Tertullian was a prominent Roman lawyer prior to his conversion and ordination in middle age, which means he was probably familiar with death-penalty cases. Dating some time between 198 and 220, Tertullian’s On Idolatry indicates that Christians could not conscientiously inflict the death penalty. This treatise warns of the dangers of sin inherent in certain professions and trades. One of these was the Roman military, partly because the higher ranks participated in capital punishments. For Tertullian, killing of any sort—including the state-ordered death penalty—precluded military service as a livelihood for Christians.


ttributed to the central Italian bishop Hippolytus, The Apostolic Tradition 16.17 (217AD) is similar. Even if possessing the necessary government authorisation and ordered to do so, a soldier “must not execute men”. As a corollary, the Church must cast out any Christian who volunteers for military service. The Book of the Laws of Regions is ascribed to Bardesanes (who died in 223), a friend of a Syrian king. It contains expositions of how the laws of various nations differ from one another while Christians follow their own law (what we would call “ethics”) no matter where they are. Among the contrasts was that one particular country stoned thieves to death, with the implication that Christians did not do so anywhere, even where secular law permitted them to. Nor did Christians commit “honour killings” of wives and daughters as non-Christians prac-

David W T Brattston

Point of History tised in another country. Christianity everywhere forbade its adherents to inflict the death penalty for these offences. In Against Celsus (7.26) the Church father Origen in the late 240s asserted that if Jews were free of Roman control and constituted a sovereign nation again, they would probably revive stoning and burning malefactors as Moses had commanded, such as putting murderers to death. However, Origen wrote, if Christians were in government they would be restrained by the laws of their religion from doing so. In fact, he wrote that God’s purpose in destroying the Jewish state was partly to end capital punishment and other bloodshed by the people of God. Origen was dean of the world’s foremost educational institution of the era (in Alexandria, Egypt) and later established one of his own in Palestine. He was probably the most knowledgeable Christian of the first half of the third century, or at least the most able to relate the consensus of ancient Church teaching because he was one of the most travelled, being called upon as a consultant by bishops throughout the eastern Mediterranean.


f the 500 extant Christian documents I have examined from before 249-251, these are the only authors to have considered the death penalty from the viewpoint of Christian ethics, and all considered it forbidden to Christians, even where permitted by secular law, and would be so if ever Christianity constituted the government of a state. From these surviving records, it is clear that Christians discountenanced capital punishment in each of the first three centuries. Some scholars argue that Clement of Alexandria’s Stromata (1.27) is an early Christian source in favour of capital punishment, because it analogised amputation to the death penalty: just as a surgeon excises an organ lest it harm the whole body, so the state should execute any person that “falls into any incurable evil”. This cannot be taken in its full literal sense, because (1) the passage also says “it will be for his good if he is put to death”; (2) it also declares that “it is the highest and most perfect good, when one is able to lead back anyone from the practice of evil to virtue and well-doing”; (3) the only example given of “incurable evil” was covetousness—which was not a capital offence or even a secular crime; (4) Clement wrote for pagan readers and used analogies from pagan philosophers and current Graeco-Roman views on morality to persuade them to think more highly of Christianity, not to confirm them in their errors; and (5) as his other writing shows, Clement’s use of analogy would no more have extended official Roman conduct to Christian ethics than other undesirable practices of the Roman empire. Flourishing in the 190s, Clement had been Origen’s teacher.

 Send your queries to Open Door, Box 2372, Cape Town, 8000; or e-mail:; or fax (021) 465 3850. Anonymity can be preserved by arrangement, but questions must be signed, and may be edited for clarity. Only published questions will be answered.



The Southern Cross, May 12 to May 18, 2010

How Christian churches are working towards unity lives to the cause of Church unity. A particular sensitivity towards ecumenism arose in various churches at the beginning of the 20th century. In 1908 the American Episcopalian clergyman Paul Wattson (who later became a Catholic) and Spencer Jones, the vicar of Moretonin-Marsh in England, organised an Octave of Prayer for unity among Christians. The Edinburgh Missionary Conference in 1910 aimed at a form of practical ecumenism among the Protestant denominations with the recognition of the need for cooperation on the mission field in Africa, Asia and Oceania. In the 1930s the French Catholic Paul Couturier carried forward the idea of a week of prayer for Christian unity saying that “we must pray not that others may be converted to us, but that we may all be drawn closer to Christ”. By doing so he opened the week up to the participation of Christians of various denomination. The World Council of Churches (WCC) was founded in 1948, and the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity was soon adopted by many churches throughout the world. The French Catholic group Unité Chrétienne and the Protestant–Orthodox Faith and Order Commission began to work together in 1958 with the aim of jointly preparing materials for the Week of Prayer, and since 1966 the Week is a joint project of the Catholic Church and the WCC. The materials prepared jointly by the Faith and Order Commission and the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity (now called the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity) began to be used officially in 1968. In the northern hemisphere it is traditionally celebrated over the eight days of January 1825, but other dates are often chosen in the southern hemisphere. According to Bishop Brian Farrell, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, the Second Vatican Council’s decree on ecumenism, Unitatis redintegratio, introduced a radical improvement in Catholic attitudes towards other Christians; the polemical approach of the past is no longer dominant. He highlights the fact that “Catholics have a positive attitude to the ecumenical task. They are eager to know more about the other churches and communions, and they are generally willing to take part in ecumenical events and meetings, especially in common prayer for unity”.

Christ’s command that his followers be as one has often been ignored. PADRAIG SMYTH explains how Christian unity has developed in the past 100 years, and how churches can work together.


HIS year throughout South Africa the “Week of Prayer for Christian Unity” will be held from May 13-23. The theme is: “You are witnesses of these things” (Lk 24: 48). When Jesus left this earth he gave the disciples the mission to preach the Good News to all nations. Central to the message that he brought on earth was the revelation that in him, and through the Spirit, we are all children of the one Father and so brothers and sisters to one another. On the night before he died Jesus prayed for the unity of all humankind: “May they all be one” (Jn 17:21). The supreme witness of Christians would be their love for one another. Though many, they would form one “body”, the Body of Christ (1Cor 12:12). In the letter to the Ephesians the believers are urged to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace, and to be “one Body, one Spirit, one Hope, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is over all and through us all, and in us all” (Eph 4:4-6). We know only too well how Christians have struggled throughout the centuries to be “one in heart and mind” (Acts 4:32). Divisions have taken place which cannot but damage our being witnesses to the message of Jesus. Gandhi once famously said: “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” One of the factors contributing to the rise of religious indifference and secularisation in Western countries was undoubtedly the horror and dismay provoked by the brutality of the wars between Christian denominations in the early 17th century. Whereas we Christians may not have always lived up to the call to be united, Jesus has remained faithful to his promise to be with his disciples till the end of time (Mt 28: 20). Throughout the centuries the Holy Spirit has inspired men and women to devote their

Pope Benedict embraces Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinopele in 2007. Churches in Southern Africa are celebrating the annual “Week of Prayer for Christian Unity” from May 13-23. PHOTO: TONY GENTILE, REUTERS/CNS

He added: “There is widespread practice of ‘spiritual ecumenism’. In addition to the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which continues to be a principal component of ecumenical action, joint celebrations of major liturgical feasts and commemorations, as well as on the occasion of civic, local and national celebrations, are a reality almost everywhere.”


n a globalised world Christians in all denominations feel an impetus to overcome the state of division between them. Spiritual ecumenism—conversion of mind and heart to Christ, joint prayer for unity—is attracting more and more attention. An essential contribution to ecumenism is also given by those who, along with participating in moments of common prayer, seek to actively “love one another” in a concrete and practical manner in the circumstances of everyday life. Here is the experience of someone who believes that such love is the true heart of ecumenical dialogue: “I am a Catholic parish priest in a city in Romania which has 90 000 inhabitants. Due to its history the city is a mosaic composed of seven nationalities and different denominations. “When I arrived 16 years ago, I resolved to love everyone, [and] in a special way the ministers of other denominations. I believed we were all there for the same reason: to be a witness of God’s presence to the people.

“Our first contacts were only occasional, for example during funerals or other events. I saw these moments as opportunities to build a deeper relationship, by showing interest in the life of the other ministers and the problems they faced in their pastoral work. This was how the first common initiatives were born. One day, for example, I asked an Orthodox priest to talk to the youth of my parish. Later he invited me, too. “In 1992, we thought of fixing a day of the week when the priests and pastors of the city could get together. After ten years, the number had grown to 30 priests and pastors and two bishops. “Our group—which is made up of Romanian and Serbian Orthodox priests, Catholic priests of the Latin and Greek rites, Hungarian pastors of the Reformed Church, German and Hungarian evangelical pastors, Slovaks, Ukrainians and Croatians—has become a small ecumenical laboratory. Together we try to put the Gospel into practice and grow in reciprocal love. Jesus’ promise is our source of inspiration and encouragement: ‘Where two or more are united in my name…’ (Mt 18:20) “From our meetings emerged the annual ‘Ecumenical Day’ which we hold during the yearly Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. During such days, we find joy in exchanging gifts among the different Christian traditions through the songs and prayers of the liturgical services we hold in all the churches of the city, so that

our faithful make a sort of pilgrimage from one church to the other. “Lately, we were able to find two patron saints for our city, a choice acceptable to all the churches: Ss Peter and Paul. Their feast day was also recognised by the civil authorities, to the point that June 29 has become the most significant feast day of the city. In fact, crowds come out and the day is a symbol of unity for all. “Of course there are difficulties, too. On one occasion, a parishioner told me that someone I know from another denomination had been very critical of me. I started to pray for this person, convinced that Jesus would take care of this, too. I then phoned this person to let him know I wanted to work out any difficulties I might have created. This little step was enough to rebuild our relationship. “We also helped an evangelical pastor who was unjustly accused before his superiors by sending a collective letter to his bishop to inform him of the actual situation. “One priest of our group confided that thanks to our unity the sense of loneliness and isolation he had experienced had passed and [he] had gained renewed vigour for his ministry.” The experience of this Romanian priest is a good example of what Chiara Lubich, foundress of the Focolare Movement, has called the “dialogue of life”. Speaking at the Second European Ecumenical Assembly in Graz in 1997, she said: “During the centuries each Church has, to a degree, become set in its ways, because of the waves of indifference, lack of understanding and even of mutual hatred. What is needed in each Church is a supplement of love; or rather Christianity needs to be invaded by a torrent of love. “So we need love and mutual love between Christians, and mutual love between the churches. The love that leads people to put everything in common, each church becoming a gift for the others, so that we can foresee in the church of the future that there will be just one truth but that it will be expressed in different ways, seen from different viewpoints, made more beautiful by the variety of interpretations.”  Padraig Smyth is the secretary of the Department for Ecumenism and Inter-Religious Dialogue of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference.


Ora et Labora The Congregation of the Missionaries of Mariannhill, CMM, sprung from the Trappist Monastery of Mariannhill founded by Abbot Francis Pfanner in South Africa in 1882. We believe that: “Our missionary field is the Kingdom of God and that has not boundaries!” Faithful to the example of Abbot Francis Pfanner, the Mariannhill Brothers and Priests try to be of service to the local church through pastoral, social and development works. We make our contribution to the call for renewing, uplifting, developing and sustaining the human spirit, as our response to the signs and needs of the time. In our missionary life of Prayer and Work (Ora et Labora), we try to effectively proclaim the Good News to all people, especially to the poor and needy, so that there are “Better Fields, Better Houses, Better Hearts!” To know more about us contact: Director of Vocations PO Box 11363, Mariannhill, 3601 or PO Box 85, Umtata, 5099

For further info, contact: Vocations Director, St Norbert’s Priory PO Box 48106, Kommetjie, 7976 (Cape Town) OR Tel 021 783 1768 Fax 021 783 3742

The Southern Cross, May 12 to May 18, 2010



200.00 1,000.00 5,000.00 2,050.00 15,000.00 10,000.00 250.00 200.00 3,000.00 1,000.00 1,000.00 200.00 100.00 100.00 960.00 40,500.00 250.00 10,000.00 100.00 500.00 9,576.38 1,000.00 100.00 1,587.60 1,000.00 1,000.00 200.00 200.00 500.00 5,000.00 5,000.00 1,000.00 200,000.00 2,000.00 1,000.00 1,000.00 2,000.00 400.00 100.00 100.00 100.00 200.00 750.00 500.00 10,000.00 100.00 10,000.00 400.00 1,000.00 2,000.00 1,000.00 2,000.00 16,989.80 500.00 200.00 1,000.00 200.00 1,000.00 2,770.00 2,200.00 10,320.00 1,699.65 9,100.00 200.00 500.00 5,500.00 520.00 200.00 1,000.00 500.00 1,000.00 20,000.00


2,000.00 200.00 1,000.00 11,000.00 50,000.00 1,000.00 50.00 50.00 1,340.00 5,167.25 10,160.00 300.00 2,400.00 10,000.00 8,392.00 150.00 500.00 100.00 7,560.00 695.10 1,411.00 250.00 20,000.00 4,700.00 100.00 10,000.00 250.00 10,000.00 300.00 100.00 200.00 500.00 1,000.00 2,000.00 10,000.00 100.00 887.00 120.00 1,910.00 2,999.05 1,000.00 250.00 200.00 100.00 5,000.00 2,000.00 100.00 500.00 1,000.00 300.00 350.00 610.75 200.00 2,133.50 1,030.55 100.00 200.00 5,000.00 100.00 15,936.85 15,000.00 130.00 200.00 15,530.00 10,000.00 4,760.75 500.00 500.00 200.00 50.00 1,000.00 500.00



210.00 8,827.15 11,478.70 2,521.40 100.00 500.00 500.00 13,760.35 778.00 700.00 150.00 1,000.00 2,100.00 1,000.00 1,000.00 5,000.00 6,300.00 250.00 500.00 2,000.00 150.00 200.00 651.57 1,000.00 500.00 123.50 133,529.90 4,341.90 100.00 8,664.60 5,000.00 42,000.00 472.00 100.00 600.00 100.00 6,000.00 4,000.00 9,224.37 15,406.95 20,133.25 920.00 300.00 4,723.00 100.00 200.00 10,000.00 20,310.70 1,000.00 100.00 130.00 1,000.00 1,000.00 50,000.00 40,000.00 10,000.00 2,000.00 100.00 49,630.00 212,126.31 50.00 100.00 1,000.00 1,540.00 396,043.78 51,260.05 2,020.00 1,000.00 217,721.39


On behalf of the bishops of Southern Africa I would like to thank all those who have contributed to relief efforts in Haiti. 窶認r Vincent Brennan SMA Secretary General SACBC



The Southern Cross, May 12 to May 18, 2010

Let traditional doctors heal in the Church Traditional African religious practice and medicine has too long been vilified in the Christan church and should be embraced instead, argues LINO VINCO CSS.


T is regrettable that Christian churches have done little to study the traditional religious values of South Africa’s indigenous populations. The colonialist mentality and the superiority complex of most missionaries equated the local populations’ belief systems as immoral paganism, and religious practices as evil. Only relatively recently have we started to talk of inculturation, but sadly very few people actually try to really know the values which are the soul of African people. One may question whether these values have retained their integrity

 J.M.J

after forced removals, forced labour and forced conversion. Did the churches with their education and their indoctrination eradicate whatever was African? After 16 years of freedom in South Africa, do we see any of the traditional African values today? The answer can be discouraging if you have been assaulted and robbed by youths looking for money and cars, as I have been three times. So where to look for these African traditional religious values, if there are any left? Allow me to share my exciting discoveries. Mr Malibe was a popular traditional healer (witchdoctor) in the Jericho district in what is now the North West Province. In the 1950s he became a Catholic and was sent to do a catechists’ course. He was presented with a crucial choice: if you want to be catechists, then you must give up your profession of traditional doctor. He did so, probably for the sake of a salary. A few years later his daughter

was bitten by a poisonous snake. With his knowledge of traditional medicine, Mr Malibe cured her. And secretly, he went on curing other people who needed his help. I met this remarkable man in the early ’70s, when he was still forbidden to use the knowledge he had inherited to cure people. He introduced me to many other Catholic traditional healers who were practising underground, and others who had been suspended from receiving the sacraments. I started to spend time with them, to know what they were doing and why they were performing their rituals. I was naïve in my approach, but that actually helped me to be free from prejudice and fear. This nonconformist pastoral approach taught me how important it is to know Christians before judging or condemning them. After all are we not all sheep of God’s flock? Why ostracise them from our associations and communion?


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n the 1980s I received an anonymous letter, telling me to stop my contact with the “witchdoctors”. As a foreign missionary, I supposedly could not be aware of the danger I was facing. Thanks to God, my bishop was supportive and encouraged me to persevere. In 1985—on the feast of St Luke, the patron saint of doctors—we had the first festive gathering of 80 traditional healers in Shakung. That was the beginning of Dingaka Christian Association and for me the beginning of a new insight into the values of the traditional African religion. But what are these values? (1) Monotheism. The first value which I discovered is that the South African cultures are monotheistic. They worship only one god (modimo). The spirits (badimo) are the souls of deceased human beings who mediate between men and God. How did the Batswana and Basotho reach this knowledge? Who taught them the idea of a Creator, who knows and provides? Well, I have a theory. Isn’t South Africa really the cradle of humankind? And who kept teaching throughout all the generations past this vision of one God almighty? Exactly, the traditional healers who, together with the chiefs (kings), were in their villages and tribes the guardians of the traditions, and the mediators between the human and the divine. What a great role these people have played, far from being “witchdoctors”, as we used to call them. Isn’t it time that we officially apologise for having ostracised them for so long and so unjustly?

Traditional healers in Ghana. In his article, a missionary priest argues that the Church should embrace South African Catholics who practise traditional medicine. PHOTO: COMBONI PRESS (2) Together with the value of monotheism, I discovered an endless list of other traditional values which are similar to our Ten Commandments. Respect of God and his name with religious festivities, celebrations, prayers, songs, dances, even silent prayer and meditation. Respect of authority in the society (tribes) and in the families. Respect of life (murders and abortions were severely punished). Respect of other people’s property and goods (stealing was practically unknown). Respect for guests, visitors, strangers. Respect of sex and selfcontrol (sexual abstention was practised). Cooperation for the common good of the community. Fasting from certain food and in certain circumstances, and so on. These are what we may call Christian values which have survived in the traditional villages and families of Botswana and in some rural areas of South Africa.


ut the best-kept secret of the traditional African religion is the way traditional doctors heal their sick people. Each one uses his or her own pattern, language, rituals, bones and herbs. But basically the method used is one: dance and trance. With the mesmerism of the drums, clapping of hands and songs, the dancer is brought into a trance. At that point healing is felt directly by the patient or through the medicines provided by the doctor. These more secret rituals may take long nights and days. Observing the person who reaches trance, one may have the impression of observing somebody who is obsessed or possessed. Perhaps it is that which scares those who call these sessions evil or satanic. But take the time to observe: after being in trance, these people say that they experienced relaxation and healing. Isn’t that similar to the experience of ecstasy and rapture of our saints, or the transcendental trance of Indians? We know so little of the values behind this ancient form of healing, because nothing has been written down, and so few nonAfrican people have the courage to investigate it. Why are we so afraid of this healing approach? After all, for centuries, the populations of South Africa had been kept reasonably healthy with the help of these traditional practices.

Paradoxically, from the early 1900s, some African religious leaders (for instance, the Shembe) adopted the traditional methods of healing and mixed it with Christian practices. The result was syncretisms, a characteristic of South Africa, where a multitude of churches mushroomed everywhere started by charismatic leaders. Shapera in his 1960s book The Bantu Prophets of South Africa names 2 000. The appearance of these churches is Christian; the method they use is dance and trance conjugated with healing. More recently, the mesmerism is being facilitated by sophisticated electronic orchestras and the preaching is more biblical, or at least the preacher holds a Bible and uses the name of Jesus more often. The biggest churches in South Africa today use different blends of dances. Exciting music accompanied by the raising and clapping of hands create an emotional charge, and have the assembly ready to be touched by the prophet and so fall into trance, usually by falling down for a few minutes. But these churches also know how to empty the pockets of their traumatised members. Honest traditional healers are poor. They do not take advantage of their profession. They take what is given to them. Should we, as the Church, not consider seriously the possibility of calling together our few good, genuine Catholic traditional doctors and confer on them officially the ministry of healing (which they already have) and allow them to exercise this ministry in their traditional way? We should thank our traditional healers who for at least a millennium before the missionaries came to Africa exercised their ministry of healing as a vocation from God, with enormous sacrifices in their training and in their selfless work. After all, didn’t they exercise the role of healers and catechists of our people? South Africans should dance for joy because they possess one of the best cultures of the world: the only monotheistic traditional culture of humanity. Let the whole world hear it: Modimo and Nkulunkulu is one and there is no other.  Fr Lino Vinco has been a Stigmatine priest and missionary for 42 years. He is based at Mmakau in the archdiocese of Pretoria.


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The Southern Cross, May 12 to May 18, 2010

Fr Peter Stuart O’Connor-Ferrero


ather Peter O’Connor-Ferreiro was born on the West Rand in Johannesburg on June 11, 1928, the only child of devout Catholic parents. He attended high school at Kimberley CBC and at the end of his schooling felt the call to the priesthood. The mational seminary in Pretoria was not yet open and Bishop O’Leary, Vicar apostolic of the Transvaal, allowed him to attend All Hallows Seminary in Dublin. He was ordained in Dublin in June 12, 1955 at the age of 27. He was welcomed back into the diocese of Johannesburg by Bishop Hugh Boyle, recently transferred from the diocese of Port Elizabeth. For the first 36 years of his active priesthood, Fr O’Connor served the diocese as assistant pastor and pastor in Alexandra, Maryvale, Bez Valley, the cathedral, Rosebank and Primrose.

He promoted Catholic scouting in the Diocese; he was chaplain to the correctional services department and the then South African Defence Force. During his time as pastor in Bez Valley and Turffontein, he witnessed the influx of large numbers of Portuguese-speaking Catholics and became quite proficient in Portuguese. Later, when confined to a wheelchair, Fr O’Connor would make himself available to hear confession in Portuguese in nearby parishes at Christmas and Easter. Throughout his life as a pastor, Fr O’Connor displayed, to a remarkable degree. Then pastoral charity that is at the heart of the diocesan priesthood. While he was in Primrose, following Easter in 1991, Fr O’Connor suffered a stroke that confined him to a wheelchair for the next 19 years. The Sisters at Nazareth House,

Thoughts for the Week on the Family FAMILY CALENDAR: 2010 FAMILY THEME: “Families Play the Game.” May THEME: The Parenting Game Becoming parents is a joy but also no joke. The years of being a young parent are probably the years when most games are played in the home, from peek-a-boo with a baby, to cricket and on the lawn, board games on cold nights, and TV games too. We know the saying: “The family that prays together, stays together”, but it is vital that parents and children throughout their lifespans should play together too, should have fun and enjoy their unique relationship. They are God’s gifts to one another. Difficulties can be addressed or put aside with the good will that comes from constructive play. Discuss how you understand the Parenting Game. How good is your family at playing games? Can you do more?

May 16 7th Sunday of Easter. The Spirit and the Bride. The readings give us an image of a future, a new Jerusalem where, as the Gospel tells us, we will be completely one with God and with one another. Praying and playing together helps to build up that unity.



can help in the education of South Africans for the priesthood at St Joseph’s Scholasticate, Cedara, KwaZulu-Natal.

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DEATH BLUNDEN—Trevor. Our wonderful father and father-in-law passed away suddenly on Friday, April 24. Dad we know you are with Mom now and we realise that, that should perhaps ease our pain. We miss you so. Liz and Shaun, Chris and Lynn, Kathy and Bruce, Mike and Gail, Genevieve and Ingemar. BLUNDEN—Trevor. Our beloved grandfather and great-grandfather— you were the best. May you and Gran rest in peace together. Sadly mourned by Caithlin, Natalie, Claire, Sarah, Michael, Rochelle, Torsten, Kai and Luke.

Sundays year C, weekdays cycle 2 Sun May 9, 6th Sunday of Easter: Acts 15:1-2.22-29; Ps 67:2-3.5-6.8; Rv 21:10-14.22-23; Jn 14:2329 Mon May 10, ferria: Acts 16, 11-15; Ps 149, 1-6.0; Jn 15, 26-16, 4 Tue May 11, feria: Acts 16, 22-34; Ps 138, 1-3.7-8l Jn 16, 5-11


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Yeoville, made a home for him and he ministered faithfully to the infirm and dying there. He worked diligently to overcome the disabilities the Lord had laid on him. He mastered the use of a motorised wheelchair, the Internet, and he registered for a Bible Course with St Augustine’s College. For his golden nnniversary of priesthood, Fr O’Connor made the trip to Ireland to be with his classmates. Inevitably his age and increasing weakness overcame his indomitable will to persevere and Fr O’Connor passed away on March 12. His funeral Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Buti Tlhagale, in the cathedral of Christ the King and he was laid to rest with the priests who had gone before him at West Park. John Finlayson

Wed May 12, Sc Nereus and Achilleus M, St Pancras M: Acts 17, 15.22-18, 1; Ps 148 1-2.11-14; Jn 16, 12-15 Thur May 13, Ascension of Our Lord: Acts 1, 1-11; Ps 47, 2-3.6.0; Heb 9, 24-28; 10, 19-23; Lk 24, 46-53 Fri May 14, St Matthias A: Acts 1, 15-17. 20-26; Ps 113, 1-8; Jn 15, 9-17 Sat May 15, feria: Acts 18, 23-28; Ps 47, 2-3.8-10; Jn 16, 23-28 Sun May 16, 7th Sunday of Easter: Psalter week III Acts 7, 55-60; Ps 97, 1-2.6-7.9; Rv 22, 12-14. 16-17.20; Jn 17, 20-26

IN MEMORIAM BLUNDEN—Rochelle. Passed away on February 17, 2010. Mom, you and Dad are together now - our loss, however, is now doubled. Your children, grandchildren and great-grandchild. O'BRIEN—Fr Jack OMI. Long-time Southern Cross columnist died on May 19, 2009. Much missed by all at The Southern Cross. SETSUBI—Eugene Themba. 6/11/1966 11/05/2005. The youngest family member and our hope’s (Themba’s) life nipped in the bud— hopefully, those whom God loves die young. Always prayerfully remembered. Your family. PERSONAL

COMMUNIT Y CALENDAR BETHLEHEM:  Shrine of Our Lady of Bethlehem at Tsheseng, Maluti mountains; Thursdays 09:30, Mass, then exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.  058 721 0532 JOHANNESBURG:  First Saturday of each month rosary prayed 10:3012:00 outside Marie Stopes abortion clinic, Peter Place, Bryanston.  Joan Beyrooti, 782 4331 PRETORIA:  First Saturday: Devotion to Divine Mercy. St Martin de Porres, Sunnyside, 16:30.  Shirley-Anne 361 4545. CAPE TOWN:  Adoration Chapel, Corpus Christi church, Wynberg: Mon-Thur 6am to 12pm; Fri-Sun 6am to 8pm. Adorers welcome.  021-761 3337  Holy Hour to pray for priests of the diocese, 2nd Saturday monthly at Villa Maria shrine Kloof Nek Rd 16:0017:00.  Blessed Sacrament exposed daily Monday to Friday 09:00–22:00 in Holy Redeemer church, Bergvliet Rd, Bergvliet. Visitors welcome. Entries in the community calendar, which is published as space allows, are free of charge. To place your event, call Gene Donnelly, 021 465 5007, or email

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Pentecost - Year C (May 23rd) Readings: Acts 2:1-11; Psalm 104: 1,24,29-31,34; Romans 8:8-17; John 14:15-16,23-26 EXT Sunday is the great feast of Pentecost, which ends our Easter celebrations, with the gift of the Holy Spirit. What does this powerful but impalpable force do for us? Well, in the first reading, which is always read on this day, we hear of the Spirit’s effect on the disciples, who had not very long before been quivering with fear. Now they hear a sound (“as of the coming of a forceful wind”) and see “tongues of fire”, which send them round the world of Greece and Rome, spreading the message about Jesus, for the remainder of Acts of the Apostles (and, indeed, down to the present day). And there is a little vignette of this in what they now do: uttering “in different languages, as the Spirit gave them to speak”. And the Jews assembled in Jerusalem for the feast testify to the extraordinary nature of what is taking place, particularly the range of people whom the message reaches. Find a map of the ancient world, and trace out the “Parthians, Medes and Elamites…”, and see how the list of




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The Spirit gives us intimacy with the divine Fr Nicholas King SJ

Scriptural Reflections nations covers everything that was then known. In other words, the whole human race is getting the message; and what is the message? It is, simply, “the great things of God”. And that, for all of us who will be praying next Sunday for the Spirit to come upon us, is our task from Pentecost onwards. The psalm also speaks of the “Spirit” or “Breath” of God. It is a lovely song, celebrating God’s creative greatness manifested in his creatures, so that “when you take away their breath, they perish, and they return to their dust”. But on the other hand, when “you send out your breath, they are created, and you renew the face of the soil”. And the psalmist prays: “May the glory of the Lord be for ever, may the

Lord rejoice in his creatures.” It is a wonderful vision of the God who is unfailingly at work in his creation, through the Spirit for whose coming we pray. In the second reading, Paul is meditating, poetically rather than with intellectual rigidity, on what God has done for us in Christ. He does this by way of the contrast between “flesh” (humanity as closed to God) and “Spirit” (humanity when open to God). “Those in the ‘flesh’,” he argues, “cannot please God.” But, he tells the Romans, “the Spirit of God is living in you”. And the effect of the Spirit, quite simply is life: it is “the Spirit of the One who raised Jesus from the dead…he will give life also to your mortal bodies, through the Spirit who lives in you”. So it is all about Resurrection; and that means that we are not to live “according to the flesh”. Life is a matter of being “children of God”, having “the Spirit of sonship by which we cry ‘Abba, Father’”. That, of course, echoes Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemani; and having the Spirit does not mean that we do not suffer: “The Spir-

Safety in numbers on the day Mandela was sentenced riday, June 12, 1964 was the day Nelson Mandela and his co-accused were to be sentenced in the Palace of Justice on the north side of Church Square in Pretoria’s city centre. The police were under orders to keep black “agitators”, black “troublemakers”, in fact probably just all blacks, away from the city in case they had the effrontery to try and get close to the Palace of Justice to hear the verdict. They also had orders to keep foreign television news crews away. At the time I was Southern African news editor for the Johannesburg-based United Press International. On the day I was accompanied by my colleague, Ernie Christie, who headed up UPI Newsfilm television, to both cover the story and do commentary into camera. We left Johannesburg early in the morning but were turned back by a police roadblock on what was then the main road to Pretoria, just about where the South African mint is situated in Midrand today. We tried going via Hartebeespoort Dam but hit another roadblock round about where Lanseria Airport would eventually be built. We were now running out of time. With my mother’s family having come from Premier Mine east of Pretoria, I knew that neck of the woods quite well, so we headed towards Delmas and then cut through Rayton to Premier Mine (now known as Cullinan) and then sneaked our way through Pretoria’s suburb of Colbyn and managed to

Chris Moerdyk

The Last Word park our car near Pretoria Central Railway Station. We walked towards Church Square with Christie’s camera equipment in cheap suitcases, telling the police who stopped us that we were tourists from Durban who were on our way to our hotel and then to Loftus Versveld rugby stadium to watch Currie Cup rugby the next day. Our mission was to augment the news coverage of UPI bureau chief Neil Smith who was in the courtroom, with TV coverage and commentary from outside the Palace of Justice. All the way in, Christie was fretting about shooting newsfilm on a deserted Church Square that might not reflect the historic drama that was taking place in the courtroom. He needn’t have worried because about 2 000 people—all black—had gathered on Church Square and simply stood their ground when police shouted, threatened and cajoled them into moving. It was a bizarre sight, seeing for perhaps the first time in history so many black faces and nary a white one on Church Square. Many carried placards in support of their leaders who were

awaiting their fate. All sombre and silent. Apprehension and despair evident in every face. Christie set up his TV camera on Church Square to give him the best view of the crowds and the façade of the Palace of Justice that housed the Supreme Court. The crowd was still sparse and scattered around the whole of the square, and as I started to do my first commentary into camera we heard warning hisses from those people near us. I turned to see a policeman and his dog coming towards us with some considerable determination and intent. About a dozen or so metres from us, he let the dog off its leash and it came at us snarling, its hackles up and teeth bared. It knocked over Christie’s camera and tripod and managed to give me a nip on the leg just before Christie took a swipe at it with a fairly heavy 16mm Bell & Howell “Filmo” camera he used for fill-in shots. The dog took off and the policeman, now mad as a snake, chased after it while swearing at us and saying that he would come back and get us. We starting picking up our equipment and getting ready to run like hell from what we believed would be the arrival of half the South African Police Force intent on getting even with us for daring to hit one of their prized Alsatians with a camera. Then the most remarkable thing happened. The crowd that was spread sparsely over Church Square suddenly came together around us in a protective laager of humanity. They asked us to please carry on telling our story and not to worry about the police because none of them was about to move an inch. Never in my life have I felt so safe. 27 years later I had the privilege of meeting Nelson Mandela. I told him the story, proudly showing off the scar on my leg where the dog bit me. When I told him how those crowds of people gathered round to protect us, he just smiled. Clearly that sort of gesture from his people was nothing new to him.  Read our archive of Chris Moerdyk’s Last Word column at category/moerdyk/

it testifies along with our spirit that we are God’s children. And if we are children, then we are heirs: heirs of God, and heirs along with Christ, provided that we suffer along with him, that we may be glorified along with him.” The gift of the Spirit brings us very close indeed to the mystery of God. In the gospel for next Sunday, Jesus talking to his baffled disciples for one last time, on the night before his death, there is the same sense of intimacy. “If you love me,” he says, “you will keep my commandments.” And to make it easier, we are to be given a “Paraclete”. And what will this being do? The Paraclete is to “be with you for ever [and] teach you everything, and remind you of everything I have told you”. The heart of the message is the love that we have for Jesus and that the Father has for us; and, best of all, that Jesus and the Father “will come and make a permanent presence with us”. This Spirit whose coming we celebrate on Sunday is a wonderful gift of intimacy with the divine.

Southern Crossword #390

ACROSS 5. Creamless kind of milk (4) 7. Important cleric who questioned Jesus (4,6) 8. Top god on Mt Olympus (4) 10. Dump the load of your sins (8) 11. Elevator to raise your spirits (6) 12. Cite ox for being foreign (6) 14. You did it at the priedieu (6) 16. A case not of the spirit (6) 17. Satan as a deluder (8) 18. Creative activities (4) 21. Convention of the bishops (10) 22. Another son of Eve (Gn 4) (4)

DOWN 1. Son of Jotham (2 Kg 15) (4) 2. A particularly religious virtue (7) 3. French novelist in a stupor (6) 4. Small stone (6) 5. Does it shine on 19 ac? (4) 6. Obstruction in canon law (10) 9. Life's most effective teacher (10) 13. A toe drug that leaves you infuriated (8) 15. To do with God (6) 16. Miracle to fill you with wonder (6) 18. Engrave inside the sketches (4) 20. Slay in the past (4)

SOLUTIONS TO #389. ACROSS: 2 In the hand, 6 Lion, 8 Lawlessness, 10 Dictate, 11 Charm, 13 Notch, 14 Fiction, 16 Road-mending, 18 Urge, 19 Decalogue. DOWN: 1 Blood donor, 2 Infanticide, 3 Tablets, 4 Erase, 5 Dais, 7 On the tongue, 9 Simon Peter, 12 Bidding, 15 Pedal, 17 Obed.

CHURCH CHUCKLE wo priests are riding very fast on a motorbike. They are promptly stopped by a traffic cop T who asks: “What do you think you are doing, Fathers? What if you have an accident?” The priest in front says: “Don't worry, my son. Jesus is with us.” The traffic officer replies: “In that case, I have to give you a ticket. Three people are not allowed to ride on a motorcycle.” Send us your favourite Catholic joke, preferably clean and brief, to The Southern Cross, Church Chuckle, PO Box 2372, Cape Town, 8000.

The Southern Cross - 100512  

12 May to 18 May, 2010

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