Our Lady in Jo’burg procession
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May 19 to May 25, 2010 Reg No. 1920/002058/06
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SOUTHERN AFRICA’S NATIONAL CATHOLIC WEEKLY SINCE 1920
Inside Ministry to divorcees A Cape parish has introduced a programme for divorced Catholics, who organisers say are often marginalised in the Church.—Page 3
Priests entrusted to Mary Visiting the Marian shrine in Fatima, Portugal, Pope Benedict entrusted the world’s priests to Our Lady of Fatima.—Page 5
Pope: Attacks from within Pope Benedict has said that attacks on himself and the Church come not only from the outside, but also from inside the Church.— Page 4
Making the Church safe In an opinion article, Colleen Constable reflects on how the abuse scandal happened, and what can be done by hierarchy, clergy and laity to make the Church a safe place for young people.—Page 10
Fighting the Holy Spirit? For Pentecost, Evans Chama wonders why Catholics sometimes seem to be fighting the Holy Spirit.—Page 9
What do you think? In their Letters to the Editor this week, readers discuss a family’s experience of recovering from abuse, a safer Church, courageous leadership, abortion, pompous garb, and preparation for Pentecost.—Page 8
This week’s editorial: What’s anti-Catholic?
School children carry banners, which were made by them, during the Eucharistic celebration in Pretoria to pray for an end to human trafficking. The Mass, held at Christian Brothers College, was organised by the the Counter Trafficking in Persons Office (CTIP). In his homily at the Mass, Archbishop Buti Tlhagale accused the government of tolerating human trafficking. On the right is the anti-human trafficking poster available from the CTIP, a joint project of the Leadership Conference of Consecrated Life (SA) and the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference. PHOTO: EFREM TRESOLDI MCCJ
Tlhagale to govt: Root out slavery STAFF REPORTER
A New website to promote Church’s social teachings
DOZEN US Catholic organisations have introduced a website to help students and campus chaplains promote Catholic social teaching (www. usccb.org/campus). Under the banner “Transforming Our World: Our Catholic Faith in Action,” the site includes podcasts, videos, prayer materials, small-group resources and basic information on the social doctrine of the Church. The site was developed in response to Pope Benedict’s World Youth Day 2010 message in which he identified several challenges facing the world such as respect for the environment, the just division of goods, solidarity with poor countries, promotion of dignity in labour, building a culture of life and promoting peace. Visitors to the site can submit resources and features for possible inclusion for others to use.—CNS
RCHBISHOP Buti Tlhagale of Johannesburg has accused the government and many South Africans of complicity in human trafficking, and called for an end to modern slavery. The archbishop, who is also the president of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC), made his call in a homily at a Mass in Pretoria to pray for an end to human trafficking as South Africa prepares to host the football World Cup. “As Christians, we must resist with every strength we have this dangerous and degrading form of modern slavery. We do so because we believe firmly that we have been created in the image of God and that this is the source of our dignity as persons,” the archbishop told the congregation of about 1 000 at Pretoria’s Christian Brothers’ College. “We have an obligation and a responsibility to uphold the dignity of all, especially those who are most vulnerable.” Archbishop Tlhagale said that while politicians and VIPs would be receiving security, “there will be no special protection for those who will be trafficked into slavery for the sexual pleasures of corrupt and depraved men”. “It is sheer hypocrisy to claim to protect all people, and yet only a few enjoy exceptional protection,” the archbishop said. “The nobility of a society will be judged by how it protects its vulnerable children and women, instead of displaying its security machinery for the world to see by protecting the elite.” Calling human Trafficking “intrinsically evil”, Archbishop Tlhagale said that a society that tolerates forcing women and children into prostitution “is a decadent civilisation”. Government should allocate resources to
eradicating human trafficking, he said, warning politicians that their failure to act “strongly suggests complicity”. Society must also play a role: “We each have a responsibility to resist and to campaign tirelessly against such evil practices.” Archbishop Tlhagale called for “vigorous public awareness” of human trafficking. “Each individual, each parish community, the entire Christian community should stand together in order to campaign against this evil of selling human beings in exchange for sexual favours,” he said.
eanwhile, an international network of women’s religious orders has launched a worldwide awareness campaign aimed at preventing human trafficking during the World Cup, CAROL GLATZ reports. The campaign titled, “2010 Should Be About the Game,” is run by the Counter Trafficking in Persons Office (CTIP), a joint initiative of the SACBC and the Leadership Conference of Consecrated Life (SA). It targets fans, religious leaders, potential victims of trafficking and the general public—warning them about the risks and urging them to spread the word. They are working closely with the South African Bishops’ Conference and the South African government, which has set up a toll-free number for victims to call for help or for whistleblowers. Using the 2010 World Cup to exploit vulnerable women, children and men for slave labour, the sex industry or the drug trade is “an outright perversion of the spirit and ethical dimension of sport as well as of the idea and dignity of the human person,” said Salesian Sister Bernadette Sangma. A similar anti-trafficking campaign coordinated by the superiors general and the International Organisation for Migration was highly successful during the 2006
World Cup in Germany, said Stefano Volpicelli, a migration office official who has been working with the sisters. The campaign was successful because intense media attention to the problem led German authorities to take proper precautions, including tightening border controls and increasing police presence and inspections on the local level. But most importantly, “for the first time the kind of fans at the World Cup were different”. They weren’t the stereotypical rowdy groups of males or trouble-making individuals, but predominantly families and young couples, Mr Volpicelli said. Unfortunately, the situation in South Africa will probably not be the same, he said. For one thing, the nation’s borders are extremely porous, making it fairly easy for traffickers to shuttle in victims undetected. There is also no law in South Africa against human trafficking, which means not only are there no penalties against people committing this internationally recognised crime, there are also no special police units dedicated to investigating and cracking down on traffickers, Mr Volpicelli warned that the nationwide school holiday for the duration of the tournament will make children even more vulnerable to falling prey to deceptive job advertisements. Traffickers often lure unsuspecting people by promising them legitimate jobs in restaurants or hotels only to force them into prostitution or other illegal activities, he said. Sr Melanie O'Connor, coordinator of the CTIP, has warned parents of the dangers of children being at danger in shopping malls, school playgrounds, fan parks, and so on. “More and more research indicates how in the process of trafficking, women recruiters are becoming more prominent,” she said on the SACBC’s website.
The Southern Cross, May 19 to May 25, 2010
Franciscan raises the bar on dualistic thinking BY MICHAIL RASSOOL
E live in a world of competing voices wanting to be recognised, but humankind needs far more than that, said American Franciscan author, speaker and teacher Richard Rohr. Fr Rohr addressed a national conference of Contemplative Outreach, a worldwide Church-based movement that promotes contemplative prayer, at the Schoenstatt Retreat and Conference Centre in Cape Town. Fr Rohr, 67, who has taught and guided retreats for about 30 years, said the answer lies in contemplation. Through contemplation, one’s ideas are processed and distilled into a truth experienced he said. A dualistic way of operating, Fr Rohr said, is no more than a reductionist approach to life and its complex questions, which involves
labelling things, choosing camps and turning the world into a contested terrain. He said contemplation offers a way of seeing, of unveiling the truth, something that many saints and mystics attested to. Fr Rohr said the tendency among religious fundamentalists is to resolve all questions by appealing to authority, which does not allow for the personal experience of revealed truth. The individual has a way of processing things in his or her own way, through their own filters, he said. Getting to the truth liberates one. “Here there is no window dressing, and when the means of arriving at truth doesn’t heal or enable one to overcome or to transcend, then it is not doing its work,” he told the Contemplative Outreach audience. He said this often flies in the face of organised religion, which often trains one to be judgmental,
invoking rules and regulations, and which makes one egocentric Dualism, Fr Rohr said, has its purposes in terms of doing certain things properly. He cited Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, founder of analytical psychology and an influential thinker, who said the authentic “God experience” “burns” one, far more than just being satisfied with comfortable religious forms and rules. “Authentic religious experience is joyful, but religious behaviour that is anal-retentive and uptight is not good,” he said. Moreover, he said, it means that one does not have a contemplative mind. He told his audience that he now finds Christians are growing up and seeing a need for ways to heal and not divide, “to get back to simplicity, away from theological abstractions, complexities and the things that force one to label and judge”.
Getting away from these practices is something that other religions, especially the Buddhists, realised long ago, and which Jesus himself taught, he said. But unfortunately not many Christians go beyond dualistic thinking. Christianity, the real essence of Christ’s mystery, is finally being grasped, Fr Rohr said. “We realise we have made needless mistakes with the Gospel, and we don’t want to inflict this on subsequent generations,” he said. “After all, Jesus was the first nondualistic teacher in the West.” Fr Rohr said that dualistic thinking among Christians over the centuries stems from the first interpretation of Christ’s teachings in the Greek language. This filtered through Greek logic, which is dualistic in nature, and not in the original mystical language of the Middle East. This is despite the fact that the idea of the Holy Trinity effectively overturned the nature
of logic as understood by the Greeks. It also stems from the mainstreaming of Christianity under the Roman emperor Constantine, who transformed the faith into a “view from the top”, away from the poor, Fr Rohr said. This, had implications for the way religion was practiced—ironically starting with contemplation. He said this is why two “outposts” such as the desert fathers of early Christianity and Celtic spirituality had to be brought under Roman control. They had engaged in the systematic teaching of an alternative consciousness, to which poor people were more susceptible. This, Fr Rohr said, is why Jesus said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for they will inherit the earth.” He said this children are more “connected”, because they live in the moment, and why they are such a great source of healing.
Zimbabwe priest’s plea to drivers to ‘stop the road carnage’ BY MUNYARADZI MAKONI
Bishop Joao Rodrigues with his mother Natividade after a blessing ceremony the day before his ordination as bishop of Tzaneen, and the newly installed bishop singing and playing guitar during his ordination Mass. Bishop Rodrigues, who comes from Cape Town and was based in Witbank before his appointment, succeeded Bishop Hugh Slattery, who had headed the diocese since 1984. PHOTOS FROM TINA GOODCHILD AND NORMAN SERVAIS
HE former communications secretary of the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference, Fr Oskar Wermter SJ has urged the church to use its moral consciousness to educate people to “stop the carnage of innocent souls on the roads”. “If the Church is serious about respecting life and the whole of Creation, about teaching the Fifth Commandment, ‘You must not kill’, then she must also rouse the consciences of Christians and all men and women of good will and ask them: what do you do to stop the slaughter on our roads?” said Fr Wermter. Fr Wermter’s comments came after 44 people died on Zimbabwe's roads during the Easter holiday. The accidents had been preceded by 25 people dying in a bus accident near the town of Karoi. Writing recently in The Zimbab-
wean, a weekly publication published in London and South Africa, Fr Wermter said: “When we read such headlines or view gruesome pictures on TV, we say, ‘How terrible, absolutely awful’, we speculate a little on how this might have happened, shrug our shoulders and carry on as before. We do nothing. There is no national will to make a change.” He castigated the attitude of drivers who raced on bad roads competing for customers and business owners who overwork drivers. While admitting that the country’s roads were in an appalling state, due to the ruined economy which no longer produces the revenue needed to build good roads, Fr Wermter blamed leaders who “selfishly look only after themselves and their clients while neglecting the common good”. “The Right to Life is the most fundamental of all human rights. It must be written as number one
into our new constitution,” he said. Words on paper are not enough, he said, adding that if there was seriousness about the right to life as the number one human right, there was a need to educate the driving public—especially professional drivers of public transport vehicles, to control the highways, and punish bus owners who neglect their vehicles. The Church insists on the inviolability of human life “from the moment of conception until natural death”, said Fr Wermter. “It does not refer only to unborn life in the womb and euthanasia. It refers also to the most unnatural death on our roads. “It is not good enough to comment on the latest bad news. There is a lot we can do and must do. That is why we were given intelligence and a moral conscience by our Creator,” he said.
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LOCAL Record attendance at Fatima pilgrimage STAFF REPORTER
OHANNESBURG’S annual Fatima pilgrimage drew a record attendance of more than 2 000 pilgrims this year, said convener Manny de Freitas. “Pilgrims came from parishes from all over Gauteng” for the event hosted by Blessed Sacrament parish in Malvern East, where the 4km pilgrimage procession started. During the procession pilgrims prayed the Rosary. It finished at Schoenstatt shrine in Bedfordview with a Mass. In May 1917, the Blessed Virgin under the title of Queen of the Rosary reportedly appeared to three poor shepherd children. During the apparitions, which took place over a six-month period, she appealed for prayer, conversion and peace in the world. Mr de Freitas, who started the event with a handful of young people in 1991, said the pilgrimage is intended to “spread the Fatima message even wider, particularly to people who are unaware of these messages—the main one being the daily meditation of the Rosary”. In 2009, 1 000 people took part in the pilgrimage. The aim
T Some 2 000 people took part in Johannesburg’s annual Fatima pilgrimage from Malvern East parish to Bedforview’s Schoenstatt shrine. The number of pilgrims on the 4km procession doubled over last year, according to the event’s convenor, Manny de Freitas. was to double that number and this year it was achieved, said Mr de Freitas. He said that a number of people had contacted him and reported “small miracles that had happened to them and also incidents of grace in their lives as a result of this pilgrimage”. Mr De Freitas cited a miracle during last year’s pilgrimage: “It was raining heavily as pilgrims were in the church about to start their religious walk. “As soon as the statue of Our Lady left the church building,
the heavens stopped the rain and not a single drop of rain fell throughout the duration of the pilgrimage.” Mr de Freitas is now asking those “who have experienced any miracles or incidents of grace” to write to him and to provide further information. Mr de Freitas can be contacted at PO Box 40034, Cleveland, Johannesburg, 2022 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Correspondents are requested to provide their name and contact details.
OLY Redeemer parish in Bergvliet, Cape Town, has started running a three-part workshop on “Healing the wounds of divorce” as part of its parish family support. Family support co-coordinator Elaine Smit said the initiative is the culmination of several attempts to provide support for divorced people in the parish, many of whom feel ostracised because of their status. She said this marginalisation reflects the Church of the preVatican II, which was very rigid in its attitudes to divorced people, who were barred from receiving Communion— although the ruling excludes the innocent party in the divorce. But the social stigma that was built on a culture of fear, with its wrong/right mindset, continues, Mrs Smit said. Because of divorce, many
Catholics who did not want to be alienated from their Church struggle with feelings of rejection. It is here where a parish can make a huge difference, she said. She said it is this stigma that leads divorced people away from their Church. But many return in later years seeking the comfort of their Catholic roots. These Catholics have issues and anger related to their divorce, and these are the ones who need support, Mrs Smit said. Another issue is that of broken families with split visitation rights, she said. Here it is often only one parent who still attends church. Mrs Smit said the first workshop session, run on three separate nights, has been a success. It featured a well-known Canadian Catholic family psychologist, Catherine McMorrow, who travels to developing countries to give talks on spirituality to “previously disadvantaged”
people. She also engages with individuals, talking them through the emotions they are going through, Mrs Smit said. Redemptorist Father Sean Wales, who spoke on spirituality, told participants that divorce is not a sin and one can receive Communion, provided one has no stated intention to remarry while still in a canonically valid marriage. He said that the Church does not expect people to remain in relationships that are unhealthy. Mrs Smit and fellow family support cocoordinator Helena Fox saw a need and developed the workshop which Mrs Smit said, has had positive feedback. The pair is hoping it will become a prominent feature of their charism. For more information on “Healing the wounds of divorce”, or for advice on starting a similar initiative in your parish, contact Mrs Smit on 021 715 8162 or Mrs Fox on 021 712 4066.
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Church backs combat on ‘cluster bombs’ BY MICHAIL RASSOOL
Parish introduces workshop for divorcees BY MICHAIL RASSOOL
The Southern Cross, May 19 to May 25, 2010
HE Catholic Church has added its voice dns (UN) call on countries to halt the manufacture and stockpiling of cluster munitions. The Church’s call comes despite the UN Convention on Cluster Munitions treaty, which was signed by 104 countries and ratified by 30. In terms of the conditions attached to the treaty, countries that signed it had partly to agree to not use, produce, acquire or retain cluster munitions, more commonly knows as cluster bombs, or to transfer them to other countries. It further stated that measures had to be put in place to assist victims of cluster bombs, and steps be taken by countries to foster international cooporation by assisting countries that lack resources to deal with cluster bombs and its aftermath. “For South Africa the challenge was to bring its legislation in line with its ethics in relation to the issue, and must move quickly from signature to ratification,” said Fr Peter-John Pearson, director of the bishops Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office. “It must be acknowledged, however, that the urgency of banning and destroying cluster munitions is not an end in itself, but must rather be seen against the backdrop of bigger international security issues and the prospect of unimaginable destruction,” said Fr Pearson. “It must also be seen as a particular example of the overall project of diminishing South Africa’s involvement in the arms trade or, at the very least, of its desire to control the production and flow of arms especially to countries with a poor human rights record.” In a briefing paper entitled “Cluster Bombs and Catholic Social Thought”, Fr Pearson wrote that until the advent of the treaty there was no provision in international law that specifically addressed the problems of cluster bombs and their effects has on com-
munities. He said a 1980 optional protocol attached to the United Nations Convention on Conventional Weapons makes countries using them responsible for the cleaning up of unexploded bombs. Only 20 countries have signed the optional protocol. Fr Pearson said cluster bombs must rank as one of the most indiscriminate, destructive and cruel weapons. Cluster bombs contain hundreds of smaller “sub-munitions”, which can be dropped from an aircraft or fired from the ground. They are designed to break open in mid-air, releasing smaller explosives and saturating an area the size of several football fields. These weapons by their nature cover wide areas, Fr Pearson said. Have poor targeting capacity, cannot be aimed at specific targets and, where they do not explode, pose a continued threat to life and limb, as landmines do. He said they could lie on the ground, hidden for years, until they are triggered by contact. The UN Convention on Cluster Munitions’ ban on retaining the weapons means that, once a country has ratified the treaty, it has to take steps to destroy whatever stocks it has, said Fr Pearson. These steps are set out in the treaty, which also contains provisions for the clearance and destruction of cluster bombs that have already been deployed in any country’s jurisdiction. Cluster bomb clearance has to be completed within ten years of the cessation of the hostilities from the time they were deployed. He said the Church has added its voice in support of the Convention and has “vigorously condemned” the ongoing manufacture and stockpiling of cluster bombs. In doing so, said Fr Pearson, the Vatican has pointed to its key principle “that the creation of a culture of peace must be based on the lowest level of armaments”.
For the record We apologise for typographical errors in headlines and captions to stories in last week’s Education Supplement, in particular to St Vincent’s School for the Deaf.
The Southern Cross, May 19 to May 25, 2010
Pope: Attacks on the Church came from within BY JOHN THAVIS, CIAN MOLLOY & SARAH DELANEY to accept purification, to learn on the one hand forgiveness but also the necessity of justice. And forgiveness does not substitute justice,” he said. “We have to re-learn these essentials: conversion, prayer, penance,” he said.
OPE Benedict made some of his strongest remarks to date on the sex abuse scandal, while an Austrian cardinal alleged that a Vatican official blocked action against an abuser and Dublin’s archbishop said he was discouraged by the Church’s response to the scandal. Speaking to journalists on his flight to Portugal, Pope Benedict said the priestly sex abuse scandal is a “terrifying” crisis that comes from inside the Church—not from an outside attack—and requires purification and penance to overcome. Asked if the message of Fatima, which foresaw times of trials and suffering for the Church, could be applied to the sex abuse crisis, the pope said essentially that it could. “Today we can discover in this message that attacks on the pope and the Church come not only from the outside, but the suffering of the Church comes from inside the Church, from sins that exist inside the Church,” he said. “This we have always known, but today we see it in a really terrifying way. The biggest weight on the Church doesn’t come from the enemies outside but is born from sin inside the Church,” he said. “And so the Church has a profound need to re-learn penance,
n Ireland, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin said that the lack of willingness in the Catholic Church to begin “a painful process of renewal” in the wake of the scandals has left him “disheartened and discouraged.” In a talk to the Knights of St Columbanus on the future of the Church in Ireland, the archbishop said the most obvious source of his discouragement was “the dripby-drip, never-ending revelation about child abuse and the disastrous way it was handled”. “There are still strong forces which would prefer that the truth did not emerge,” he said. “The truth will make us free, even when that truth is uncomfortable. There are signs of subconscious denial on the part of many about the extent of the abuse which occurred within the Church and how it was covered up. “There are other signs of rejection of a sense of responsibility for what had happened. There are worrying signs that despite solid
regulations and norms these are not being followed with the rigour required.” In what some saw as a reference to the refusal by Bishop Martin Drennan of Galway and Kilmacduagh to resign, Archbishop Martin said: “Renewal of the Church requires participation and responsible participation. I have spoken about the need for accountability regarding the scandal of sexual abuse. I am struck by the level of disassociation by people from any sense of responsibility. “While people rightly question the concept of collective responsibility, this does not mean that one is not responsible for one’s personal share in the decisions of the collective structures to which one was part.” Bishop Drennan was one of four former Dublin auxiliary bishops named in a November report by an independent commission that criticised the way sexual abuse cases were handled by bishops in the Dublin archdiocese.
eanwhile Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna has said that the Vatican’s former secretary of state (or “prime minister”) had blocked an investigation of sexual abuse and offended victims by calling their complaints “petty gossip”. Cardinal Schönborn said Cardinal Angelo Sodano, longtime secretary of state under Pope John Paul II and now the dean of the College of Cardinals, had hindered the investigation into allegations of sexual abuse of minors by the late Austrian Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer, who was
Pope Benedict on his flight to Portugal; Archbishop Diarmuid Martin and Cardinal Christoph Schönborn. PHOTOS: CNS forced to step down as archbishop of Vienna in 1995. He served as prior at a Benedictine monastery until 1998, when additional allegations of abuse surfaced, and he relinquished all public ministry. He died in 2003 without having undergone a canonical trial. Cardinal Schönborn made his comments in a private conversation with Austrian news editors. The cardinal, who replaced Cardinal Groer in Vienna, said Pope Benedict, then head of the Vatican office in charge of investigating accusations of clerical sex abuse, had been thwarted by Cardinal Sodano in his efforts to take more direct action on the accusations against Cardinal Groer, the reports said. Cardinal Schönborn said the Church has in the past often protected abusers rather than victims. The high-level criticism of Cardinal Sodano was unusual, and drew a rebuke from a former Vati-
can official. Portuguese Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, the former head of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, told an Italian Catholic website that Cardinal Schönborn should have spoken privately with the former secretary of state and that “accusations like this shouldn’t be made in this violent way through a newspaper”. According to the press reports, Cardinal Schönborn also spoke of the need for urgent reform of the Roman Curia, the body of officials heading up the government of the Church. He said that Pope Benedict was working on reform at the top but that he had many things to deal with as head of the worldwide church. Cardinal Schönborn reportedly told the newspaper editors that the Church needs to reconsider its position towards remarried divorced Catholics, who are not allowed to take Communion, and towards homosexuals in stable relationships.—CNS
Vatican: get rid of all nuclear weapons
T Frederik Mayer (third from left) portrays Jesus Christ at the Last Supper during a rehearsal of the famous Passion Play in Oberammergau, Germany. The village has put on the play roughly every ten years since 1634, fulfilling a promise made by villagers when they were saved from the plague. Performances began on May 15 and will run for five months. PHOTO: MICHAEL DALDER, REUTERS/CNS
HE only way to prevent countries from developing nuclear weapons is for all countries to finally take serious steps towards ridding their arsenals of such weapons, a Vatican official told the United Nations. “As long as nuclear weapons exist, they will allow and even encourage proliferation and there will always be a risk that nuclear material produced for the peaceful use of energy will be turned into weapons,” said Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Vatican’s permanent observer to the UN.
CONGREGATION OF MARIANNHILL MISSIONARIES
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Addressing the UN Review Conference of Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in New York, which will run till May 28, the archbishop said the proliferation of nuclear weapons and “the threat of nuclear terrorism” are growing. He read to the delegates Pope Benedict’s appeal that they take serious steps towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons and that they support, as a first step, the creation of nuclear-free zones. The Vatican, Archbishop
on DStv audio channel 170
also streamed on www.radioveritas.co.za
Migliore said, “strongly supports efforts to establish such a zone in the Middle East.” The archbishop also said a top priority for the international community must be putting into effect the treaty banning the testing of new nuclear weapons. Archbishop Migliore said the non-proliferation effort needs to be backed by “a strong moral authority”, and a country can earn that authority only when it respects and acts on the promises and international commitments it has made.—CNS
New apologetics needed BY CINDY WOODEN
HE rise of “new atheism” and the popularity of books that distort Church doctrines call for a “new apologetics” to explain and defend the Christian faith, according to Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Proclaiming the Good News always involves explaining and defending the faith, tailored to the sensibilities of particular times and places, the cardinal told a conference on “a new apologetics” at the Legionaries of Christ-run Pontifical Regina Apostolorum University in Rome. The development and use of “apologetics”—a system of explaining and defending the truths of faith—largely went out of fashion with the Second Vatican Council, but is still needed today because Catholics in every age are called to explain the reasons for their faith and their hope. “If apologetics was criticised and largely abandoned in the wake of the Second Vatican Council for being too defensive or too aggressive, it is perhaps because the admonition to proceed with ‘courtesy and respect’ had too often been ignored,” he said. Today, with “the likes of Richard Dawkins and his fellow apostles of the so-called ‘new’ atheism addressing thousands on college campuses, with books caricaturing the doctrines and philosophy of the Christian tradition on the best-seller lists,” the cardinal said, “how ripe are the times for a new apologetics!” Defending the faith does not mean being defensive, he said. Even the most convinced and clever arguments will not be an effective response to criticism of the Catholic faith unless they are accompanied by the personal witness of Catholics living holy lives and helping others.—CNS
The Southern Cross, May 19 to May 25, 2010
Pope Benedict at Fatima P BY JOHN THAVIS
OPE Benedict prayed at the site of Mary’s apparitions at Fatima and entrusted the world’s priests to her, saying the Church needs “holy priests, transfigured by grace.” The pope prayed that Mary keep priests from the temptations of evil and “restore calm after the tempest”. The German pope arrived at Fatima to the cheers of more than 40 000 faithful, many of them sick or disabled, who had waited for hours at the sanctuary. Some watched from stretchers as the pope waved from a pavilion overlooking a vast plaza in front of the shrine, as cold rain showers alternated with sunshine. The pope then knelt in the chapel of the Apparitions, built on the site where three shepherd children witnessed a series of apparitions beginning on May 13, 1917. In a prayer recited before a statue of Mary, he recalled that Pope John Paul II had placed in its crown a fragment of a gunman’s bullet that seriously wounded him on May 13, 1981. He noted that the Polish pope was convinced Mary had saved his life that day. “It is a profound consolation to know that you are crowned not only with the silver and gold of our joys and hopes, but also with the ‘bullet’ of our anxieties and sufferings,” Pope Benedict said. He left a gold rose at the statue’s feet. After celebrating evening prayer with priests, religious and seminarians, the pope pronounced the “act of entrustment and consecration of priests to the immaculate heart of Mary”. In the Year for Priests, he said, it was important to remind priests that Christ is their model of holiness. “Help us, through your powerful intercession, never to fall short of this sublime vocation, nor to give way to our selfishness, to the allurements of the
Pilgrims dance before the arrival of Pope Benedict at the Marian shrine of Fatima in central Portugal. PHOTO: HUGO CORREIA, REUTERS/CNS world and to the wiles of the Evil One,” he said. “Let your presence cause new blooms to burst forth in the desert of our loneliness, let it cause the sun to shine on our darkness, let it restore calm after the tempest,” he said. “Come to our aid and deliver us from every danger that threatens us.” The entrustment of the world’s priests to Mary was a late addition to the papal programme in Fatima. It came as the pope and other Church officials have responded to disclosures of hundreds of past cases of sexual abuse of minors by priests in several European countries. At the evening prayer service in Fatima’s immense and modern church of the Most Holy Trinity, the pope spoke about the importance of the Year for Priests and his hope that the Church’s ordained ministers would strengthen their commitment to their vocations, above all through prayer. He told priests that their own spiritual lives were crucial to their effectiveness in proclaiming the radical challenge of the Gospel. He also encouraged them to look out for one another’s spiritual health and intervene when necessary.
CLOCKWISE: Pope Benedict in procession at a Mass attended by 100 000 in Lisbon. • Crowds cheer as the pope arrives for the Lisbon Mass. • Pope Benedict prays in front of a statue of Our Lady of Fatima. • The pope prays in Lisbon’s Hieronymites monastery. • Pope Benedict arrives for a vespers service at the church of the Most Holy Trinity in Fatima. PHOTOS: CNS
At a Mass in Lisbon for more than 100 000 people in Portugal, Pope Benedict urged Catholics to re-evangelise society by witnessing the joy and hope of the Gospel in every sector of contemporary life. To evangelise effectively, he said, Catholics themselves need to grow closer to Christ. “Bear witness to all of the joy that his strong yet gentle presence evokes, starting with your contemporaries. Tell them that it is beautiful to be a friend of Jesus and that it is well worth following him.” Speaking in Portuguese, the pope said that despite Portugal’s long Catholic tradition, it is “less and less realistic” to presume that the Christian faith is present among its people. Part of the problem, he said, is that the Church may have placed too much trust in ecclesiastical structures, programmes, powers and functions. The pope said it was important now to return to more fundamental things and to proclaim with vigour and joy the death and resurrection of Christ, the “heart of Christianity”. “A vast effort at every level is required if every Christian is to be transformed into a witness capable of rendering account to all and at all times of the hope that inspires him,” he said. He asked Catholics to grow in friendship with Christ, listen to his words more carefully and learn to recognise him in the poor. Earlier in the day, Pope Benedict said the Church was ready to live in a pluralistic society as long as it can give witness to its beliefs, and as long as religion was not reduced to the private sphere. His message was aimed at the increasing numbers of Portuguese who have fallen away from practice of the faith. Catholics represent 88% of the population in Portugal, but the number of practising Catholics is diminishing.—CNS
Obama used to go to weekly Mass BY MARK PATTISON
S PRESIDENT Barack Obama went to Mass for three years and had his first exposure to organised religion through the Catholic Church. Dr Patrick Whelan, a Harvard paediatrics professor who is president of Catholic Democrats, said that Mr Obama had encountered Catholicism 20 years ago as a community organiser working on Chicago’s South Side. He had an office in a parish rectory and he “went to Mass every Sunday for three years,” Dr Whelan said. “It was the first exposure of his to organised religion”. Dr Whelan was addressing a conference on Catholics and US politics hosted by Trinity
Washington University and the National Catholic Reporter. Author and political analyst Mark Stricherz pointed out that for a long time, US Catholics voted as a block for the Democratic Party. For example, 78% of all Catholics voted for John Kennedy, the nation’s first and thus far only Catholic president, and 76% voted for his successor, Lyndon Johnson. Even Hubert Humphrey, who came in second in a three-way race in 1968, carved out 59% of the Catholic vote, 16 percentage points more than he got overall, Mr Stricherz said. Since then, he noted, the Catholic vote has not been generally so large, nor as reliably Democratic as it had been dating back to Franklin Roosevelt’s four electoral wins.
Catholics are divided,” he said. “There’s not just one Catholic vote, but several Catholic votes today.” Catholic voting today is “a marginalised, more private affair”. George W Bush, as a Republican running on social issues, captured 52% of the Catholic vote in 2000 and 58% in 2004 (against a Catholic candidate). By this time, pollsters had determined that Catholics who go to Mass weekly tend to vote for the Republican, while those who go less frequently vote for Democrats. According to Mr Stricherz, “there are more Catholic voters than there used to be”, with a greater percentage of their membership voting than do adherents of other religions.—CNS
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The Southern Cross, May 19 to May 25, 2010
Confirmation candidates from Blessed Sacrament parish in Malvern, Johannesburg, attended a confirmation retreat at the Bosco Youth Centre in Walkerville.
Confirmation candidates from St Patrick’s and Holy Spirit parishes in East London, with Bishop Michael Coleman of Port Elizabth (back).
Kerry Heuer with her mother Gaby before her confirmation at St Patrick’s parish in East London. SUBMITTED BY ANN KENT
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Fr Cheleya Moba baptises Charlestown Catholic church in Kwa-Zulu Natal parishener Baba Hadebe.
Students belonging to the Association of Catholic Tertiary Students held a fundraising pancake sale at St Michael’s church in Potschefstroom, in the the Klerksdorp diocese. Money raised will go towards buying toys and needed items for hospitalised children in the area. PHOTO: PATRICK HÖBE
Fr Alfons Klein, a priest of the diocese of Oudsthoorn, celebrated his 25th anniversary of priesthood. Fr Klein was born in Germany and has served the diocese of Oudsthoorn as a missionary in Victory West parish. Bishop Edward Adams concelebrated a thanksgiving Mass for Fr Klein in the chapel of the Capuchin Poor Clare Sisters in Swellendam.
St Joseph’s church in Mbongolwane outside Eshowe was the host for the launch of the new Law and Order Catholic Association for the diocese of Eshowe. The association aims to bring together Catholics working in various law enforcement fields within the diocese. SUMBITTED BY KWAZI SHANDU
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St Michael’s, Potchefstroom
A packed congregation during Mass at St Michael’s church in Potchefstroom.
St Michael’s parish: looking beyond its own parish borders STAFF REPORTER
T MICHAEL’S parish in Potchefstroom can boast a rich history dating back to the late 1800s. The first priest to visit Potchefstroom was the Norbertine Father Hoendervangers in 1870. On June 23, 1889 Mgr Monginoux OMI and 12 Dominican sisters from King Williamstown arrived. A piece of land was purchased in Berg Street (today Peter Mokaba Street) and the parish officially opened on August 24 with Fr Trabaux OMI as the first resident parish priest. Shortly after the opening of the church, a convent school was also started. From 1889 until today the parish was entrusted to the Oblates of Mary Immaculate—except between 1928 and 1950 when the Dominican Fathers took over. The parish is snuggled in the centre of town, a few kilometres from the University of the North West. When the property was sold, the current church, with a shrine to Our Lady, was built in 1989. Over the years, six catechism classes have been built and the hall extended. The parish has 210 families
from all cultural backgrounds who attend regularly. The parish can also boast an increased attendance of learners from three boarding schools and hostels. During the academic year, the parish has an influx of tertiary education students, and 15 of them meet weekly for a faith sharing experience, said parish priest Fr Don Bohé OMI. “ “We also have people from the military camp who are totally integrated in the parish life”, he said. The parish has several liturgical groups involved with the Sunday liturgy, and regular training is given for the proclaimers of the Word, altar servers, catechists and the members of the healing team. “Our parish is blessed with gifted musicians who come together every second Monday to prepare the liturgies. The musicians and singers practise every Wednesday evening,” said Fr Bohé. He said there is a lot of activity outside of “normal” church hours, including a Bible-sharing group with 15 members who meet every Thursday. “Over the past three years, a Life in the Spirit seminar, a Growth in the Spirit Seminar and a Healing seminar have been given. Last year the Catholic Bible Insti-
tute also presented a five-week course in Bible reading,” said Fr Bohé. Every first Sunday of the month, there is a Healing service after the 09:30 Mass, conducted by Fr Bohé and a team of 11. The parish not only focuses on its congregation but also finds time to help those in need. “We have an annual blanket drive just before winter and a Christmas food parcel scheme in which the whole parish is involved. Our parish is self-reliant and has an annual feast in honour of our Lady of Fatima. “The proceeds go towards building and general maintenance of the parish,” Fr Bohé told The Southern Cross. He said St Michael’s has “a concern for the different needs of other parishes in our diocese by having a monthly second collection for the diocese of Klerksdorp”. Once a month the parish conducts a Youth Mass where the youth of our parish and schools do readings and take up the collection and offertory gifts. Fr Bohé has encouraged parishioners to read The Southern Cross. The newspaper is promoted by Fr Bohé at the end of Mass. He is usually found holding up
Youth from St Michael’s enjoy an Easter hunt around the church building.
a copy of The Southern Cross, trying to get parishioners to buy it. He regularly points out the important articles. According to parish secretary Philly Diab it is Fr Bohé’s wish that “every Catholic home should have a Catholic paper”. She told The Southern Cross that he often says: “When you love your Church you want to know what goes on in your Church.” A parishioner has now volunteered to sell The Southern Cross before and after Mass every Sunday, and this has also helped to increase the number of sales. Even though good work is
being done by St Michael’s there are challenges. “The challenges facing us are unemployment, and the constant need to evaluate and move into healthy race relationships. “One member of the parish represents the Justice and Peace commission of the diocese.” The Parish Pastoral Council evaluates all parish activities regularly and plans with the parish priest for the future working together to become a community of strong worship and to remain relevant in our town by building up the community and our society at large,” said Fr Bohé.
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hen we introduced The Southern Cross’ ASSOCIATES’ CAMPAIGN in 2002 our aim was to safeguard the future of the newspaper by building up reserves that would ensure its survival in bad times as well as bringing Catholic news to people who might otherwise not receive it.
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All these needs require continuing support! The global economic crisis is affecting The Southern Cross. Even as we are holding our circulation steady – one of the very few South African newspapers to do so – and advertisers have remained loyal, rising production and distribution costs are hurting us. But with the Associates’ Campaign we are also looking to the future. We know how important it is to reach young people with Catholic news, reflections and discussions, all of which help in the on-going formation of our youth. We already have developed some means of reaching young Catholics through the Internet, and the next new frontier will be cellphone technology.
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The Southern Cross, May 19 to May 25, 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.
Editor: Günther Simmermacher
T A TIME when our Church is making all the wrong headlines and is solidly criticised, it is easy to feel that there is an antiCatholic agenda. Indeed, some of the coverage of the abuse scandal reflects a veneer of just too much glee. Catholics must be mindful, however, that the scandal emanated from actions and omissions within the Church. Pope Benedict was quite clear about this when he spoke to reporters on his flight to Portugal: “The biggest weight on the Church doesn’t come from the enemies outside, but is born from sin inside the Church.” There is no intrinsic antiCatholic agenda in forthrightly questioning the Church, in challenging it, or in criticising it. As a body that asserts its influence in the public discourse, the Church must be prepared to accept scrutiny, reproach and opposition. When we speak of antiCatholic sentiments (outside the realms of sectarian persecution), we must further make distinctions. The writings of, say, “new atheist” Richard Dawkins are certainly antiCatholic. They are polemical and designed to persuade audiences of a preference for the gradual extinction of the Christian church. It is anti-Catholic in much the same way as Christians are anti-atheist. It is philosophical and its battleground is relatively respectful disputation. The more pernicious form of anti-Catholicism does not reside in criticism, reproach or philosophy, or even in tasteless comedy, but in ostensibly detached comment that trivialises the Church by dismissiveness and subtle distortion. An editorial leader published by the English daily The Independent (and reprinted in the Cape Times) earlier this month provides an example of this. Deliberating on Pope Benedict’s comments after viewing the Shroud of Turin, The Independent observed: “Pope Benedict XVI has for many weeks been groping for something innocuous to do or say and on Sunday he found it in Turin, where he gazed reverentially upon an ancient piece of cloth.”
The rest of the editorial discusses the Shroud’s authenticity in uncontroversial (if not entirely informed) ways, but that opening paragraph created a distorted impression of a hapless pope who is unable to publicly articulate a thought without the help of a prop in the midst of a grave crisis. Readers of The Southern Cross will know that this view does not correspond with reality. In the same week that the pope embarked on his longplanned visit to Turin, he found something to say on such important matters as state intervention in the capitalist economy and microfinancing as a developmental tool in Africa—and he did so in ways which The Independent might well approve of. It is difficult to determine whether The Independent’s leader-writer was acting on a consciously anti-Catholic impulse, or whether the slur originated in a state of ignorance. Either way, the antiCatholicism we need to respond to—with courtesy and respect—is that which proceeds from false preconceived notions, caricature, generalisation, ignorance, prejudice and dismissiveness, all of which are present in The Independent’s editorial. Australian Bishop Peter Ingham told the Federation of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of Oceania this month that “this dismissiveness could be quite aptly described as the new modern method of martyrdom” which he described as taking the form of “ridicule, derision and character assassination”. Bishop Ingham may be overstating matters. There is no evidence of a concerted media persecution of the Church, and unlike the martyrs who died for their faith, the Church is in a position to defend itself. That defence must be rational: even when provoked, we must not lose our temper. We must acknowledge instances were criticism of the Church is fair and where perspectives may legitimately differ. And when we do encounter hostility and inaccuracies, we must be prepared to answer these dispassionately and factually from a position of insight.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Abuse: Our experience might help
VERY time I read an article about the sexual abuse scandal in the Church and what is happening globally, I go through different emotions of anger, hurt, frustration and sadness. In our beautiful country, we are not free of this scourge. In 2005 my son Sid laid charges against Fr Paddy Thornton of Cape Town for sexually abusing him. I believe that by sharing what we went through, other victims or frustrated readers might be helped. Sid did not report the abuse to the hierarchy, but went directly to the charge officers. It turned out that they already had a huge file against the priest, but no victim had had the courage to lay a charge against him. Sid very hesitantly decided to lay the charges. Fr Thornton admitted guilt on the
day of the trial. (He died soon after in a car crash). After the trial, we were visited in our home by Archbishop Lawrence Henry and the vicar-general, Mgr Clifford Stokes. We could sense their clear hurt, shame and uncertainty. I suggested to the archbishop that as he, the people of our parish and our family were feeling hurt and betrayed by the actions of Fr Thornton, he should come to our parish to celebrate a Mass of Healing. This Mass is one we will never forget and all those who attended, experienced the miracle of healing. My husband Shaun and I had a few meetings with the protocol committee. We have tried to look objectively at this committee and know that what has been put together by them on paper is correct. These cases are very delicate
would like to know what the basis for the claim is. We used to have “all night vigils” and I am wondering if we couldn’t have a series of these throughout the world to pray for the healing of the victims and for the healing of our dear priests who have somehow lost their way. I also don’t think it would go amiss to ask prayers from our Protestant brothers and sisters in this regard. Lily P Fynn, Johannesburg The editorial did not claim that the possibilities of sexual abuse in the Church are now zero (in no sector of society could they ever be), but that they have been greatly reduced. The vast majority of reported cases of clerical sex abuse date back to more than a decade ago, and even then, in most countries the incidence of abuses by priests did not exceed that of the general population (the Catholic Church is singled out primarily because of the acute deficiencies in its responses to many reports of abuses). The Catholic Church has since adopted various means designed to minimise the possibility of minors being abused by priests, and to deal with reports of abuses. Measures include extensive psycho-sexual evaluation before candidates are admitted into seminaries and a focus on creating safe environments for minors. Because of the scandal, there is increased vigilance within the Church, with many dioceses and bishops’ conferences adopting zero-tolerance approaches. These policies are under constant review, as Fr Townsend explained in his article (www.scross.co.za/2010/05/sa_chu rch_abuse/). In some countries the systems of vigilance work better than in others, but the editor is unaware of any credible statistic which indicates that Catholic priests are more likely to commit abuses on minors that any other demographic.—Editor.
CCASIONALLY I am approached by persons who have experienced sexual abuse by a priest who want to know who to contact about their terrible experiences. Fortunately, I know the name of the diocesan contact person and how to contact him. But the information for each diocese needs to be easily available. I strongly suggest that in each parish in the country a poster be put up listing the name of the diocesan contact and how to contact him or her. This information should be in all the languages of the parish. From my experience as a spiritual director, it takes a great deal of courage to begin the process of dealing with the abuse a person has experienced. This information will be an important help in this process. Sue Rakcoczy IHM, Cedara
N your editorial of April 28 you claim that “the Church is now a much safer place for children than it was before”. I don’t know what this statement is based on. Have certain structures been put in place to prevent future abuse of children? In the same issue, Fr Chris Townsend makes mention of certain “precautions” priests must take when dealing with children alone. Is your claim of a safer Church perhaps based on the same precautions mentioned by Fr Townsend? If so, it isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. When a person (priest or lay) is bent on mischief, they will find a way. However, if the claim is based on something I may have missed, I (and I am sure many other concerned Catholics)
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Led by courage
ATHER Russell Pollitt, you are a “Daniel come to judgement”! How welcome and heartening it was to read your column, “Now we need courage” (May 5-11). You have led the way with your own courage in speaking out about issues involving lay, and particularly women’s, participation in the decision-making structures of the Church. Let us not continue to fiddle with re-Latinising the liturgy or rehabilitating old-style chasubles while Rome burns! Jack Kearney, Gillitts, KZN Opinions expressed in The Southern Cross, especially in Letters to the Editor, do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editor or staff of the newspaper, or of the Catholic hierarchy. The letters page in particular is a forum in which readers may exchange opinions on matters of debate. Letters must not be understood to necessarily reflect the teachings, disciplines or policies of the Church accurately.
and experts are needed to handle the complaints properly. I hope that in each diocese these experts are available. One has to remember that the members of the Church hierarchy are not criminal investigators or judges; they are the leaders in our faith. They cannot lay a charge against an offender, only the victim can. But what those in authority must do is to report these offenders to the appropriate authorities. If you were sexually abused by a priest, I pray that you will have the courage to inform your bishop and lay criminal charges against this person. Emotionally, it is not easy. If you know about a victim, please give that person the support they need. For the victims, their family members and the Church, the healing process will begin. Bev Coleman, Bedford, Eastern Cape
WAS shocked by the case in Italy where a pregnant mother was allowed to have an abortion on the grounds that her 22 week old foetus had malformations on the palate and lip, as you reported in the May 12 issue. After the so-called therapeutic abortion, the 312g baby was placed in a container to await his death. However, the baby continued to breathe and was found still alive the next morning by the hospital chaplain. The baby died two days later. What a tragic case! We live in a country where abortion is treated almost as a form of birth control, and where activists preach of “freedom of choice”. In the Italian case we see how close to homicide we come while practising these apparent freedoms. According to reports, the baby was put in a container and left to die. Obviously the doctors that put the baby there were aware that he was still alive. The placenta, also part of the abortion, was disposed of, and the baby was left to die. It seems that the doctors who perform abortions are used to aborted babies still being alive. If this were not common practice, any humane doctor, on seeing the baby alive some time after the abortion, would be driven to do something to save the baby's life. It is also frightening that the mother was allowed a therapeutic abortion because the baby had a cleft palate and a hair-lip. In our quest to have the perfect child we allow children like that to be killed. Franco De Grandis, Knysna
WAS dismayed by your publication of a picture of an American bishop entering the basilica in Washington for a Tridentine Mass dressed in lavish vestments, including a long train (May 5-11). Our bishops shouldn’t be glorifying themselves with pomp and ceremony at a time when we should be trying to rebuild the Church after the sex abuse scandal. Bishop Edward Slattery’s garb is a reminder of the arrogant clerical culture that created the abuse scandal. A little more humility is called for at this time. Gerald Davis, Johannesburg
EFORE Christmas we are encouraged to prepare for this big feast through four weeks of Advent, plus a morning of spiritual talk and penitential service with three to four priests. Before Easter our preparation is during six weeks of Lent, plus a Lenten talk and penitential service. Before Pentecost, what is the preparation time called? How long? Stephanie Wilson, Cape Town
PERSPECTIVES Toni Rowland
The Southern Cross, May 19 to May 25, 2010
Fiddling in smoke
OU’VE heard the saying: “Nero was fiddling while Rome was burning.” Could we say that about our activities in South Africa at this time? While we’re all gearing up for the football World Cup, is South Africa and the world around us burning? Recent events, mainly international, do give the impression that there is a great deal of chaos around—acts of God such as earthquakes and volcanoes, economic crises, and the usual array of conflicts and wars. In general there does appear to be an air of disquiet around. What can we do, faced with what we see on TV? Sometimes we react as if we’re shell-shocked, can’t take any more and just switch off. Sometimes—if the event touches us closely—we’re shocked, angered, saddened, challenged. What is certain is that with the constant access to every imaginable form of media, we’re inundated with so many stimuli that at times, we cannot cope. One response is for people to fly off the handle and react in negative, aggressive and even violent ways. Another is to slip into depression. Not all crime can be attributed to stimulus overload, but a great deal can. And not crime only: abuse and domestic and school violence can also result from too much stress. So one escape route we have is sports and entertainment. The World Cup promises to give us our fill of both, and we must hope that families will benefit in positive ways from these opportunities. There has been some criticism of the bishops’ Family Life Desk choosing a theme like “Families Play the Game” for 2010. It could be seen as too flippant in the midst of much distress, but let’s face it, an event like this has the potential to defuse some of the stress, allay some of the distress, bring people together across barriers of race, colour and religion. I believe that it is important, even necessary, to jump on that particular bandwagon with our message of God’s love and joy while at the same time being conscious of the negative aspects of human trafficking and prostitution. The latter could too easily give the Church the image of being spoilsports rather than sports. Psychological practice these days is to consider challenges as well as opportunities, strengths and growth areas. It pains me when family life is seen mainly as a problem, as does tend to happen in the Church. Of course we recognise that there are problems—major ones. But even in dysfunctional families there is love and there can be joy. Working towards that is one of the challenges in family preservation and family therapy. Reading up on an important forthcoming event to take place after the games are over, African Agenda 2010, also made me ask myself whether we are fiddling while Rome is burning. An assessment is being made of the progress, or lack thereof, of achieving the Millennium Development Goal targets and civil society is asked to comment on the evaluation. Ordinary families probably know little about these, but they are important for the overall development of Africa. My concern in the exercise is that there appears to be no spiritual input and no true family focus. Granted that reducing maternal mortality and providing primary education are admirable goals for Africa, but the overall set of goals only considers empowering women not families. Women in other African countries may be even more disempowered than women in South Africa, where we have made some great strides towards achieving greater equity in many career fields. However, what is happening to our children and the lack of parenting they receive is also a growing concern, albeit not in every quarter. Economic development appears to take precedence over social development. Is a woman’s or a man’s first responsibility for their own growth and development, or is their marriage relationship a goal to be aimed at? Is being mother or father to our children a value, or are children an encumbrance to be farmed out and given a minimal amount of attention when they demand it, often only because of unacceptable behaviour? May’s family theme is “The Parenting Game”. Yes a game it is, or could be, but like “The Beautiful Game”, which is the family theme for June, parenting requires training, fitness, dedication and commitment in order to be the beautiful game it is intended to be. Kahlil Gibran in The Prophet might say: “Your children are not your children, they are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself.” But we parents have an invaluable role to play in nurturing that longing for a life like the one they experienced at home, here in South Africa, in 2010. We owe them that, at least.
Point of Reflection Top from left: The church of All Nations in Jerusalem, Günther Simmermacher on a boat on the Sea of Galilee; Bethlehem street scene; (bottom) the church on the Mount of Beatitudes; skyline of Jerusalem’s Old City from the Dominus Flevit church, and Mass at the church of the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor.
Are we fighting the Holy Spirit?
A Being a Holy Land pilgrim
N September, God willing, I’ll be going on my fifth pilgrimage to the Holy Land, this time with Bishop Zithulele Mvemve of Klerksdorp. Five times might sound like a fair bit, but I’ve met people who have gone to the Holy Land as pilgrims dozens of times; some have even notched up undefeated centuries. For the Christian the Holy Land is a magical place: being in the geographical proximity to the events on which we base our faith is a transforming experience, every time and in different ways. The Holy Land concentrates the spiritual and emotional juices. Unlike many other sites of pilgrimage, the Holy Land does not require of the believer an ardour for a particular devotion; believers of all strands of Christian piety are equally at home there. The graces come from all manner of sources. I am exceedingly fortunate to have made repeated pilgrimages to the Holy Land. For most pilgrims, a Holy Land journey is a once-off experience. Especially when they travel in groups, as most do, they will see and hear and smell and experience so much in so short a time, that it is impossible to process it all. So the two best pieces of advice a Holy Land pilgrim will ever get are to prepare well before setting off and to keep a journal while on tour. Knowledgeable local guides will explain each site’s religious significance, background and history. Pilgrims may ask questions, and many do. And yet, in a tight itinerary, there will be times when the pilgrim will switch off and miss the point of a site (and all sites are included because they are significant). Even when pilgrims are paying attention to the guide’s commentary, as they should, their focus is directed on learning, not on experiencing. Pilgrims who are already familiar with a site, if only through reading, can let their attention wander to other details which they might otherwise miss, or engage in prayerful reflection. It is much more difficult to do that as a stranger in a strange place. Knowing the spiritual significance
Point of Pilgrimage of sites on a day’s itinerary can help pilgrims plan for their spiritual journey. It really does pay to be prepared, simply to help digest all that one experiences in a day. This is where the pilgrim’s journal is essential. It’s a good idea to start one well before departure, perhaps while brushing up on the itinerary. A journal can be a spiritual diary or just a record of experiences. A pilgrim sees and senses so much while on the journey, it can all become a blur. A journal provides an inner snapshot of the pilgrim, to go with the snapshots of buildings and people (which a journal also helps to caption). The former editor of New Zealand’s counterpart of The Southern Cross, the NZ Catholic, has compiled a wonderful website to aid pilgrims in their preparations (www.seetheholyland.net). Pat McCarthy, who will himself return to the Holy Land in September, describes in some detail every site in the Holy Land (as well as some in Jordan and Egypt) that may appear on an itinerary, with scriptural references and photo galleries. He even features usually overlooked places, such as the church at Naïn, at the foot of Mount Tabor, which is maintained by the Muslim family on whose property it stands. The site also includes helpful tips (what to pack!) and feature articles on topics such as the authenticity of holy sites. The latter article quotes St Jerome as saying: “We cannot tie down to one small portion of the earth him whom heaven itself is unable to contain.” But when we walk where he walked, we ought to know our way well so that we can more readily encounter him on our journey. Günther Simmermacher's series on pilgrimages in 2005 and 2006 are available in the Features section on The Southern Cross’ website (www.scross.co.za).
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T Pentecost we implore God to descend upon us the Holy Spirit, as he did on the Apostles. As “The wind blows wherever it pleases” (Jn 3:8), so does the Spirit blow where he wills. It’s an affirmation that we easily make, but we likely have a problem to allow, leave alone facilitate, that Spirit to actually blow where he wills. At this Pentecost my thoughts go to the many movements in the Catholic Church today. They are visible signs of the Holy Spirit, the spirit of renewal. Yet most of them are viewed with suspicion. Well, whatever reasons we may have, this Pentecost is an occasion to go beyond feelings and impressions. Perhaps we may arrive at something different: to discover the work of the Spirit, which is not that easy to recognise and welcome. It is helpful to remind ourselves of our past, and perhaps the Franciscans can allow us a window for reflection. They are a great order and their impact in the Church is impressive and wide. However, the Franciscans were not born with such a great reputation. Today, much better than at their foundation, we can easily appreciate them as a work of the Spirit. Had they not been accommodated and given time to be what they were about, perhaps all that history would have preserved of them is the story of a young rebel who only wanted to act differently. It all began in that sermon Francis heard: “Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts” (Mt 10:9). The passage spoke to him and he decided to act accordingly, abandoning the affluent life of his family to dedicate himself to a life of poverty. That was a revolt to the luxurious life of most of the clergy at the time, going against the current. For that disturbance, some were ready to use their power to stop that young man who seemed to have lost his bearings. We give credit also to Pope Innocent III who finally allowed and supported Francis to continue with his group. It must have taken Innocent a lot of courage to undertake such a risk. This is a common experience of prophets in the past, today, and probably tomorrow too. History keeps repeating itself. The Spirit is still blowing and the Word of God is touching hearts, moving them to witness in the world today as seen in the movements such as the Charismatic Renewal, Neocatechumens, New Way and the Emmanuel Community, to mention just a few. In some of these movements, lay consecrated people—married and unmarried,—witness to the Gospel through a form of community life, prayer and service in the mission of the Church. Unfortunately, such movements are often victims of slander simply because they disturb. Oh yes, they disturb the traditional way of praying and singing, disturb the balance of power, and live a consecrated life different from the customary. As a result, all the good they do and the new life they bring to the Church are swallowed up in petty issues raised against them, and prejudiced information is all you get time and again. They are considered to be a threat, not to faith but to the institution. Here we can be instructed by the wisdom of Gamaliel to the Sanhedrin: “Therefore, in the present case I advise you: leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God” (Acts 5:38-39). Perhaps at this Pentecost God may grant us the courage and openness to acknowledge the innovative men and women who are accomplishing good works in the world today, even though they may not be sailing along with us.
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The Southern Cross, May 19 to May 25, 2010
Breaking the alliance of abuse in Church The Catholic Church is now looking to recover from the sex abuse scandal. COLLEEN CONSTABLE looks at why things went wrong, and how children can be kept safe in the Church.
CRIPTURE teaches us to “...hate what is evil and hold on to what is good....Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good” (Romans 12:9, 21). I am a cradle Catholic who has no intention of leaving the Church, irrespective of the clergy sexual abuse scandal. I love the Church: it is where I discovered Christ and follow him. I am part of the one billion Catholics worldwide who are hurting, ashamed, deeply disappointed, yet glad that secrets are revealed and immoral conduct exposed. Jesus taught us: “Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known” (Mt 10:26). I support criminal prosecutions of clergy for sexual abuse of minors and that such clergy be defrocked. And I have confidence in Pope Benedict’s commitment to eradicate clergy sexual abuse. Pope Benedict during last month’s visit to Malta promised abuse survivors that perpetrator clergy will be held accountable for the sexual abuse allegations, which date back between 1980 and 1990. A theory of gender-based violence is also transpiring: pornography and perversity. An online report from The Economist suggested that in Brazil three clerics have been suspended for their alleged involvement in making a sex video involving youth. The Church is faced with the manifestation of a societal problem visible within the ranks of the clergy: gender-based violence in the form of statutory rape and sexual exploitation of minors, manifested through paedophilia (the sexual preference of adults for prepubescent children), ephebophilia (the sexual preference of adults for midlate adolescents, especially boys) and hebephilia (the sexual preference of adults for boys and girls reaching puberty). A proper study to determine the actual causes and motivations of clergy sexual abuse and the perceived tendency towards boy children, placing them at a higher risk than girls, would assist to prevent future abuse and exploitation of children. And it will answer the empirical question of whether the unavailability of an adult partner is contributing to exploitative behav-
iour by some clergy, an assumption that many choose to make carelessly rather than scientifically. The 2006 Report of the Independent Expert For the United Nations study on violence against children indicates that adults in trust positions such as teachers, police, clergy, parents or relatives, employers and sport coaches form the perpetrator profile of violence against children. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that during 2002 between 150 million girls and 73 million boys under 18 years experienced forced sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual violence worldwide. The powerful Southern Cross editorial “The boil must be lanced” (April 7-13) provides an objective perspective and gives hope for the future. Archbishop Buti Tlhagale’s Chrism Mass homily this year was direct about clergy sexual abuse: he eliminated denial and defensiveness. He referred to abusers as “wolves wearing sheep’s skin”, and acknowledged that “because of the scandal the authoritative voice of the Church has been weakened” and “trust has been compromised”. The voice of the archbishop represents the feeling of the faithful; he said what they wanted to say, but may not, to avoid being frowned upon or be marginalised. He understands the concern about the integrity of the priesthood: the faithful seek a holy priesthood. Archbishop Tlhagale understands that the pressure on the Church to ensure and prioritise the safety of minors is mounting from all sectors.
lergy who commit sexual abuse against minors had their sexual disorders before they entered the priesthood. They may have acted upon their disorders and sexual preferences and escaped the scrutiny of the community as sexual crimes are consider to be the most under reported crime worldwide. And others may have been known, yet chose to remain silent. Ordination of such candidates into a holy priesthood was the outcome of a distorted recruitment and discernment process relying mostly on spiritual compatibility. It created a dangerous combination of clergy: of a group who truly seeks and upholds the integrity of a holy priesthood; and a tiny group of potential abusers. It becomes an environment that creates the breeding place for exploitation of children, sexual coercion and “male–male alliances”. Abusive priests are not alone: some bishops are alleged to have protected abusive clergy through secrecy and transfers, actions that encouraged a male-male alliance or coalition and a subculture of
hypocrisy, protection and support for predators. A subculture that tolerated sexual exploitation of minors by clergy was born: perpetrators knew they held the power. A brother-priest would not turn against another brother-priest: a son-priest would not testify or cooperate to facilitate accountability of another sonpriest, even if the most innocent and most vulnerable of our society were harmed. Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, then prefect of the Congregation of Clergy, in a 2001 letter congratulated Bishop Pierre Pican of Bayeux-Lisieux for not reporting a priest to the police for alleged sexual abuse of minors, as French law demands. (Bishop Pican received a three-month suspended sentence; the accused priest was sentenced to 18 years in prison.) It is this subculture of secrecy and falsehood intended to conceal and compromise the truth, the impunity and exploitation that must now be changed into a culture that truly upholds the teachings of Christ and integrates principles of good governance and ethical leadership. All this happened right under the noses of the faithful: there may have been whisperings about habits and doings of clergy, suspicion that something is wrong—and a fear to act. That fear was caused by a system that although propagating transformation in terms of real participation of the faithful in issues affecting the Church, still has the capacity to silence active voices. As the faithful we may have not been vigilant enough: we trusted too much in the good will of the clergy, forgetting that even among them evil may at times persist. The faithful must now become active partners in the prevention of sexual abuse of children. Ethical leadership will be crucial to change that subculture and establish a culture that protects children, upholds the integrity of the priesthood, and ensures good governance and sustainable management of all future sexual abuse complaints against clergy. The complexity of the legal system will only increase the accountability of the Church as survivors may continue to rely on the Church to take appropriate action against perpetrators, although they have a huge distrust towards the Church’s internal investigation process and mechanisms. The reporting of complaints to authorities and credible investigations for internal purposes is crucial, and so is the willingness of priests to testify against other priests as and when required to do so. The current investigative
Incense burns in front of a crucifix before an atonement service at St Stephen’s cathedral in Vienna, Austria, on March 31. Presided over by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, the service was a sign of repentance for clerical sexual abuse. In her article, Colleen Constable suggests strategies involving the hierarchy, clergy and laity to prevent abuse in the Church. PHOTO: HEINZ-PETER BADER, REUTERS/CNS
process is widely questioned by complainants. This may decrease the legitimacy of the protocol committees. When complainants doubt the integrity of the investigation, irrespective of the profile and expertise of the group, it is a vote of no confidence in the response of the Church. The important aspect is to reestablish the trust relationship with complainants, and that can only be done by providing credible and transparent investigations. Should the chairperson of the professional conduct committee be a member of the clergy (who could also be at risk of being investigated at some point)?
o avoid repetition of past mistakes, the process needs to progress into long-term prevention and detection mode. It is now a period of risk-control, compliance and problem-solving: a process where every diocese should accept the reality that allegations of sexual abuse of minors may emerge anytime. A comprehensive prevention strategy integrating a problem-solving approach at diocesan level is necessary. It should prioritise the survivor and ensure compliance where there is substance to complaints through dealing with the alleged perpetrator in a preventative and accountable manner. It must acknowledge that there
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are further parties to the situation: the family of the survivor, the family of the perpetrator, the faithful of the parish and diocese and also the broader society. It indicates the need to have a constructive partnership with them to provide required support to affected persons, restore the trust that has been broken, and facilitate a process of rebuilding a hurting family and parish, diocese and community. The prevention strategy should also address partnerships with other stakeholders, such as Childline, to establish cooperative relationships; a diocesan advocacy campaign to empower parish councils and parishioners on the prevention of sexual abuse of minors by clergy; a programme for clergy to create awareness on prevention of sexual abuse of minors, theories of gender-based violence, leadership and how to cooperate with criminal justice processes to strengthen victim support and increase offender accountability; a programme for the youth to ensure their participation in how to sustain their safety and prevent violence against minors, and an awareness campaign encouraging minors to report any physical or sexual abuse by clergy. All this makes prevention of child sexual abuse not a reactive exercise when a complaint has been lodged, but a 365-day proactive approach. The deadly silence that exists at parish level whilst this crisis has made headlines should be replaced with an openness and willingness to engage the local ordinary on how to support him in this challenging task. It is about the children of the nation and the future of the Church, which lies in the youth of today. I thank all those priests who go about their daily life without compromising the integrity of the priesthood and the Church and without endangering the lives of children. Although they now endure scrutiny because of the destructive behaviour of “brother-priests” they also hold the trump card: to testify against a “brother-priest” when children have been violated and the integrity of the priesthood compromised. Colleen Constable is an independent consultant based in the Western Cape. Her interests includes leadership, policy, management and spirituality.
The Southern Cross, May 19 to May 25, 2010
Fr Dominic Boardman
ATHER Dominic Boardman was born in Queenstown on February 4, 1924, and was ordained priest in Rome on December 21, 1952. His first pastoral placement was at St Joseph’s church in Greyville. He served as parish priest at St Patrick's in Bellair and later at Our Lady of Mercy in Kloof. While at Kloof he also served as chaplain to the St Thomas Moer College. In 1991, when his assignment at Kloof came to an end, he served as the resident chaplain to the St Thomas More College until 2008. He spent his last two years at Nazareth House. Fr Boardman was a pioneer in the area of catechetics. He served with great enthusiasm as the chairperson of the
Catechetical Commission of the Archdiocese for many years, and was responsible for a magazine called Catholic Youth and family Life. He is remembered for his dedicated service towards the young people of his time and had assisted in helping many young people find their feet and redirect their lives for the better. Fr Boardman, in his early years, also formed a vibrant youth group at St Joseph's parish, which was involved in many charitable and welfare projects. He contributed tremendously to Boys Town (Italy) and the scout movement. He was also instrumental in the formation of candidates for the diaconate. Fr Boardman was called to eternal rest on March 27. May he rest in peace.—Catholic News Bulletin, Durban.
Mass readings for the week
Thoughts for the Week on the Family FAMILY CALENDAR: 2010 FAMILY THEME: “Families Play the Game.” May THEME: The Parenting Game INTRODUCTION 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 the peek-a-boo games with a baby, to cricket and soccer games 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 23 Pentecost. Pray that the Holy Spirit, whom the Father sent in the name of Jesus will come down upon all families and remind the whole Church of the words of Jesus. “If anyone loves me he will keep my word and my Father and I will come to him and make our home with him.” Would the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit find a place in your home, not just when you pray but also when you play?
Sundays year C, weekdays cycle 2 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 Mon May 17, ferria:
COMMUNIT Y CALENDAR
Acts 19, 1-8; Ps 68, 2-7; Jn 16, 29-33 Tue May 18, St John I PM: Acts 20, 17-27; Ps 68, 10-11.20-21; jn 17, 1-11 Wed May 19, feria: Acts 20, 28-38; Ps 68, 29-30.33-36; Jn 17, 11-19 Thur May 20, St Bernardine of Siena Pr: Acts 22, 30; 23, 6-11; Ps 16, 1-2.5.7-11; Jn 17, 20-26 Fri May 21, Ss Christopher Magallanes Pr and Comps Ms: Acts 25, 13-21; Ps 103, 1-2.11-12.19-20; Jn 21, 15-19 Sat May 22, St Rita od Cascia R: Acts 28, 16-20.30-31, Ps 11, 4-5.7; Ps 21, 20-25 Sun May 23, Pentecost Acts 2, 1-11; Ps 104, 1.24.29-31.34; Rom 8, 8-17; Jn 14, 15-16.23-26
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HOLIDAY ACCOMMODATION GUISE-BROWN—Francis Harold, died peacefully on Saturday 27th March 2010 in his home at the Village of Happiness Margate on his 84th birthday. He was a deeply religious man, loved his St Aidan’s school days and worked hard in everything he did from running GFC Mining to when he retired and was involved in the Village and his Catholic Church in Margate. He leaves his loving wife Cynthia, sons Keith and Trevor, daughters Therese and Vanessa, son-in-law Rohan, daughters-in-law Alison and Angie and 11 grandchildren. He adored each one of them. May his dear soul rest in peace.
IN MEMORIAM FERNANDES—Debbie20 May 2001. “A golden heart stopped beating, two smiling eyes at rest. God broke our hearts to prove he only takes the best.” My darling daughter and our sweetest, gentlest sister and aunt left us in her 29th year. We all grow old, but you will always be young and beautiful in our hearts and minds. We miss you Debs. Love Mom and the gang. FERNANDES—Debbie —20 May 2001. “Gone is the face we loved so dear. Never selfish, always kind.” You shared our joys and our tears. A wonderful mother and sister. True and kind. Another like you we will never find. Your memory is with us everyday. We love and miss you. Your son Paulo and sister Cynthia. VAN SCHOOR—Fr Laurence—19 May 2007. Fr Laurence went to his reward and rest. He asked that we remember him at the altar of the Lord. We also remember him for his kindness and gentle support to our darling Debbie in her last months on earth. May he rest in peace. From Maureen and the Fernandes Family. WALSTRA—Leslie Kenneth passed away May 22, 2007. Fondly remembered and sadly missed by his wife Jean, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. May his dear soul rest in peace.
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AZARS B&B — Olde worlde charm in Kalk Bay’s quaint fishing village. Luxury double ensuite/private lounge/ entrance. DStv/tea/coffee. Serviced 3 times a week. Minutes from Metrorail. Enjoy breakfast at different restaurant every day (included in tariff). Holy Mass Saturdays/Sundays within walking distance. Tel/Fax 021 788 2031, 0 8 2 5 7 3 1 2 5 1 . grizell@iafrica. com CAPE TOWN—Kirstenhof. Lovely separate furnished room, R150ppn. 084 580 5046. CAPE TOWN—Vi Holiday Villa. Fully equipped self-catering, two bedroom family apartment (sleeps 4) in Strandfontein, with parking, at R400 per night. Contact Paul tel/fax +27 021 393 2503, cell +27 083 553 9856, e-mail: vivilla @absamail.co.za CAPE WEST COASTYzerfontein—Emmaus on Sea B&B and selfcatering. Holy Mass celebrated every Sunday at 6pm. 022 451 2650. EAST LONDON—Cambridge. St Pius Pastoral Centre. Affordable facilities for conferences, workshops, meetings and retreats. Plus budget accomodation. Secure parking. Tel/Fax 042 721 3077, 082 455 6609. Email:stpiuspet@ telkomsa.net FISH HOEK—Self-catering accommodation, sleeps 4. Secure parking. 021 785 1247. FISH HOEK, Cape Town—Self-catering holiday ac-commodation from budget to luxury for 2 to 6 people. Special pensioners’ rate from May to October. Tel/fax 021 782 3647, e-mail: alisona@xsinet. co.za GORDON’S BAY: Beautiful en-suite rooms available at reasonable rates. Magnificent views, breakfast on request. 082 774 7140. E-mail: bzhive @telkomsa.net. HERMANUS—Special rates for “Out of Season”. Comfortable double self-catering accomodation in quiet church garden. (Mass said each week-day morning.) Perfect for a “quiet time”; the crowds have gone and the village life is back to normal. Autmn days are warm and still, encouraging walks on the Cliff Path, visits to our Blue Flag beach. Five nights for R1 000 (including weekend nights). Phone 028 312 2315 to book. KNYSNA—Self-catering garden apartment for two in Old Belvidere with wonderful Lagoon views. 044 387 1052.
KOLBE HOUSE is the Catholic Centre and residence for the University of Cape Town. From June 7 to July 23 the Student's rooms are available for holiday guests. We offer selfcatering accommodation. Beautiful estate in Rondebosch near the University. Parking in secure premises, short walks to shops, transport etc. For details contact Jock at 021 685 7370, fax 021 686 2342 or 082 308 0080 or kolbe.house@ telkomsa.net MARIANELLA Guest House, Simon’s Town— “Come experience the peace and beauty of God with us.” Fully equipped with amazing sea-views. Secure parking, ideal for rest and relaxation. Special rates for pensioners and clergy. Malcolm Salida 082 784 5675 or mjsal email@example.com MONTAGU, Rose Cottage—A luxurious selfcatering “home away from home”; stylishly decorated, the “coolest” place in town! Sleeps 6. The most peaceful surroundings, mountain views, www.rosecottag emontagu.co.za or e-mail: info@rosecottagemon tagu.co.za or Christa at 084 409 0044 PORT ELIZABTETH: Self-catering house. Sleeps 6, from June 11 to July 11. R400 per night. Ph 041 368 3040, 084 588 2100. SEA POINT—Double room, own bathroom in heart of this prestigious suburb, near all amenities. 072 236 2996 SOUTH COAST—3 bedroom house. Marine Drive, Uvongo. Donald 031 465 5651, 073 989 1074. STELLENBOSCH—Five simple private suites (2 beds, fridge, microwave). Countryside-vineyard/ forest/mountain walks; beach 20min drive. Affordable. Christian Brothers 021 880 0242 cbc — stel@ mweb.co.za STRAND—Beachfront flat to let. Stunning views. Fully furnished and equipped. Garage, one bedroom, sleeper couch in lounge. R375 per night for two people. 082 Brenda 822 0607. UMHLANGA ROCKS— Fully equipped selfcatering 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house, sleeps 6, sea view, 200 metres from beach, DStv. Holiday Division, 031 561 5838 holidays@ lighthouse.co.za WILDERNESS—Selfcatering house, 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms. Sleeps 8/10, indoor braai, pool table, DStv. Contact Julia, e-mail p r o g a l u @ netactive.co.za VILLA SUMMERTONPort Elizabeth. B/B—2 en-suite rooms, fully equipped, private entrance. Tel: 041 379 3805 or 072 550 9298
Thanks Grateful thanks to the Little Infant of Prague, the Holy Spirit, the Mary, St Jude and St Martin for prayers answered. PDY
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Solemnity of the Holy Trinity - Year C Readings: Readings: Proverbs 8:22-31; Psalm 8:4-9; Romans 5:1-5; John 16:1215 E are all agreed that there is only one God; but our fellow-monotheists, Jews and Muslims, cannot see how we can believe that God is also three, without doing damage to this central insight (and, if we are honest, we who are Christian do not find it altogether easy!). Next Sunday is the feast of the Trinity, and the readings for the day offer a clue: the three-ness of God answers the question how the transcendent Creator can have any relationship at all to his creation. A clue comes from the Jewish tradition in the first reading for next Sunday. Well before the coming of Christ, Judaism was able to imagine a being (“Wisdom”) that existed with God before Creation took place: “When there were no depths, I was poured forth, when there were no fountains or springs of water... when he had not made the earth.” Then, it turns out, Wisdom actually assisted God in creation: “I was at his side as a craftsman.” And Wisdom “plays”
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How to understand God’s three-ness Fr Nicholas King SJ
Scriptural Reflections before God, and (here’s the thing) “rejoices in the sons of men”. So “Wisdom” enables brings God close to his precious humanity. That is the message also of the psalm for next Sunday, the lovely Psalm 8, which praises God as our creator. The psalmist is stunned by the loveliness of God’s creation (“when I look at the heavens, the work of your hands, the moon and the stars which you established…”), and, in consequence, by the inferiority of human beings: “What is a man that you remember them, a son of man that you care for them?” And yet humanity has a glorious radiance (“little less than a god”!); and, somehow or other, that
has to do with God’s passionate concern for creation, which is what the feast of the Trinity celebrates. In the second reading for next Sunday, Paul reflects aloud on what God has done for human beings; and, almost without noticing it, he speaks in language that would later be used to talk about the threeness of God: “Because we have been justified as a result of faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” he begins, powerfully, and this “gives us access into this grace in which we stand and make our boast, in the hope of the glory of God”. And that rich reality of God, not just the Father but also Jesus, also makes sense of our troubles, because “troubles bring about stamina, and stamina brings about qualitytesting, and quality-testing brings about hope; and hope is not ashamed”. And why not? “Because the love of God is poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” So the threeness of God, we see, is not a
St Thorlac foiled Attila the son HIS is a true story of faith and the power of the novena. Names and places have been changed to protect an innocent grandmother from the wrath of her children. It was February this year, and as a beautiful summer’s day dawned in Port Elizabeth (well, it wasn’t really Port Elizabeth because names and places have been changed to protect an innocent granny, remember), Agatha Whipplesnaid picked up the telephone in a state of high anxiety, with her pulse rate pushing 250 and her rosary already clutched in her aged, work-worn hands. It was her son, Attila, calling from Johannesburg. Actually his name was not Attila, but this nomenclature has been chosen to provide readers with some sort of insight into the character of someone who so shamelessly indulges in parental abuse. “Hi Mom,” he said, “I just want to confirm that Boadicea and I are now booked on that world trip we told you about last week and we’re sending you an air ticket to come up and look after the kids for five weeks in April.” Agatha had an attack of the vapours on the spot. She managed to croak out an unconvinced “yes Attila, dear” before sinking to her knees in desperate anticipation of hell on earth. It was what she had feared most. Having to spend five weeks driving around in manic metropolitan motoring mayhem, worrying about hijackers and muggers at every turn as she delivered children to school, fetched them from school, delivered them to cricket, hockey and swimming, fetched them from cricket, hockey and swimming, drove them to music lessons, fencing lessons, horse riding lessons and fetching them from music, fencing and
can help in the education of South Africans for the priesthood at St Joseph’s Scholasticate, Cedara, KwaZulu-Natal.
The Last Word horse riding lessons, day in and day out. And having to make them breakfast, lunch and supper while at the same time doing their homework, laundry, fighting off visiting boyfriends, girlfriends and bad friends. She had done exactly this for three days last year and it almost killed her. The thought of doing it for five weeks at the age of 89 with osteo-arthritis in six fingers and a foot, a cataract that caused double vision at the most inopportune of times, and a bladder with a mind of its own, drove her into the depths of depression. She put the telephone down and still on her knees, started a novena to St Anthony and St Jude, with copies to Our Lady, asking them to deliver her from evil. She begged and pleaded for nine solid days and nights but was careful to make sure that the two great saints understood very clearly that terms and conditions applied. No one must die nor be hurt in an accident. But, at the same time, somehow divine intervention should ensure that her five weeks in Johannesburg did not materialise. Two weeks later a volcano erupted in Iceland and the ensuing cloud of ash grounded half of the world’s aircraft for ten days. Her son phoned her and said that the groundings had caused such havoc and
CONRAD I distinctly said fetch the boat!!!’ (Altar servers’ in-joke)
delays, their world trip had to be cancelled. They had decided instead to take the kids to Durban during the World Cup school holidays. Such, dear brethren, is the power of the novena. I can just imagine how it happened. There were Ss Jude and Anthony sitting together, having a cup of tea in the canteen of the the biggest office block in heaven—the Celestial Customer Service Centre. They were completely whacked after a long shift in which they were inundated with prayers, requests and novenas. As they grumbled about their massive workload they noticed a timid little saint walk into the canteen and set about defrosting the fridge. Anthony, called him over and said: “Greetings brother, what work do you do, pray tell me, other than defrost fridges?” “This is all I do,” the young man replied. “I know of no other work.” Anthony and Jude looked at each and grinned. “Pray listen, brother,” said Jude, “how would you like to take on a challenge ? A novena about which we are at our wits’ end. Perhaps you, with your young and agile mind, can think up a way of granting a grandmother’s request not to have to go to Johannesburg for five weeks, but without injuring or killing anyone.” “It will be my pleasure,” said the young man. “I believe I have the answer.” And so it was that St Thorlac Thorhallson, the patron saint of Iceland, was able to save a PE granny from a fate worse than death. Nobody died. Nobody was hurt. And in heaven, by the way, the loss of billions of dollars by big business doesn’t garner much sympathy.
remote mathematical mystery, but the answer to the question: “How can the great God possibly be interested in us?” The gospel reading is from Jesus’ speech to his disciples in the supper-room on the night before he died. He makes it clear, to the disciples who are going to have to cope without him, that he is not telling us everything: “I have still much to say to you—but you can't bear them now.” But his absence is qualified: “When that One comes, the Spirit of Truth, he will lead you on the road of all truth;” and he is not a rival to Jesus, but “he will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and announce it to you”. There is a lovely intimacy between Jesus and the Spirit; and the one whom Jesus calls “Father” is there, too: “Everything that the Father has is mine—that is why I have told you that he takes from what is mine and will announce it to you.” So the mystery of the Trinity, to which next Sunday’s celebration is given, is one that directly touches the lives of each of us.
Southern Crossword #392
ACROSS 1. Division in the body of the Church (6) 5 and 16. Hymn for Stations of the Cross (6,5) 9. What school will do to teach your child (6,3,4) 10. Heloise’s lover turns real bad (7) 11. It's above Achilles’ heel (5) 12. Crevice (5) 14. One by the dark wood (5) 18. See the light and the girl in it (5) 19. Questionable when it's as bleak (7) 21. Stage to shake for those who seize you for ransom (7-6) 22. Pay attention to God’s word (6) 23. He tends the sheep (6)
DOWN 1. Parish gathering (6) 2. More than one angelic throng (Lk 2) (8,5) 3. Greek letter (5) 5. Jesus as one of God's sheep? (3,4) 6. Dividing the loaf at the Eucharist together? (8,5) 7. Given a trial run in temptation (6) 8. Room for academic (5) 13. Leaves on the tree (7) 15. Abraham pitched his tent here (Gn 12) (6) 16. See 5 17. An amount that is smaller (6) 20. Jack the scoundrel (5)
SOLUTIONS TO #391. 5 Skim, 7 High priest, 8 Zeus, 10 Unburden, 11 Uplift, 12 Exotic, 14 Prayed, 16 Matter, 17 Deceiver, 19 Arts, 21 Conference, 22 Seth. DOWN: 1 Ahaz, 2 Chastity, 3 Proust, 5 Pebble, 5 Star, 6 Impediment, 9 Experience, 13 Outraged, 15 Divine, 16 Marvel, 18 Etch, 20 Slew.
CHURCH CHUCKLE What kind of character was Boaz before he married Ruth? Ruthless Who was the greatest financier in the Bible? Pharoah’s daughter. She went to the bank of the Nile and drew out a little prophet. What kind of cars are mentioned in the Bible? God drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden in a FURY, and David’s TRIUMPH was heard throughout the land. Who was the greatest Law-breaker in the Bible? Moses. He broke all 10 Commandments at once. Send us your favourite Catholic joke, preferably clean and brief, to The Southern Cross, Church Chuckle, PO Box 2372, Cape Town, 8000.