A return to military conscription?
2 million saw Turin Shroud
The Trinity, like a chord in C Major
Martyred priest to be beatified
June 2 to June 8, 2010 Reg No. 1920/002058/06
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SOUTHERN AFRICA’S NATIONAL CATHOLIC WEEKLY SINCE 1920
Inside Morality debate debated A panel discussion co-hosted by the Jesuit Institute and the University of Johannesburg looked at the form the proposed debate on morality might take.—Page 3
England remembers Hurley A Catholic community in England has raised funds in remembrance of the late Archbishop Denis Hurley of Durban.—Page 2
Africa synod ‘a tightrope’ Last year’s Synod of Bishops for Africa, which focused on reconciliation, justice and peace, successfully walked the tightrope of the political and the pastoral, according to Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana.—Page 5
Nurse sues over abortion A New York nurse is suing a hospital after she was forced to participate in an abortion.—Page 4
Jews get to know Christians Following a series of incidents in which ultraOrthodox Jews spat at local Christians, a study tour aims at helping Israeli Jews get to know the region’s Christians.—Page 10
What do you think? In their Letters to the Editor this week, readers discuss praying for Africa, the poor treatment of a priest, recovering fervour, why religion is not a problem, and reforming the Church.—Page 8
This week’s editorial: Welcome the world
Copernicus reburied in cathedral
ICOLAUS Copernicus, the 16th-century astronomer whose theory that the earth revolved around the sun was once condemned as heretical, has been reburied with honours in a Polish cathedral where he once served as a church canon and doctor, Associated Press has reported. Copernicus, who lived from 1473 to 1543, died as a little-known astronomer working in a remote part of northern Poland, far from Europe’s centres of learning. His theory was later condemned as heretical because it removed earth and humanity from their central position in the universe. His model was based on complex mathematical calculations and his naked-eye observations of the heavens because the telescope had not yet been invented. After his death, his remains rested in an unmarked grave beneath the floor of the cathedral in Frombork, on Poland’s Baltic coast, the exact location unknown. At the reburial, his remains were blessed with holy water by some of Poland’s highestranking clerics before an honour guard ceremoniously carried his coffin through the imposing red brick cathedral and lowered it back into the same spot where part of his skull and other bones were found in 2005. At the urging of a local bishop, scientists began searching in 2004 for the astronomer’s remains and eventually turned up a skull and bones of a 70-year-old man—the age Copernicus was when he died. A computer reconstruction made by forensic police based on the skull showed a broken nose and other features that resemble a selfportrait of Copernicus.—cathnews
St Anthony’s parish in Durban Central is one of many Church communities throughout South Africa that are getting into the football World Cup vibe. Parishioners came to Sunday Mass wearing replica football jerseys, Bafana Bafana paraphernalia and World Cup T-shirts, while the church was decked with flags of participating nations. The parish’s activities fall in line with the suggestions made by the bishop’s programme for the World Cup, titled “Church on the Ball” (www.churchontheball.com), which has declared June 13 World Cup Sunday. PHOTOS FROM MICHAEL CHETTY
World Cup fever grips SA Church BY MICHAIL RASSOOL
ATHOLIC parishes around the country are being gripped by excitement over the World Cup, which kicks off on June 11 when South Africa meets Mexico in the opening game. Salesian Father Francois Dufour, coordinator of the Southern African bishops’ pastoral programme for the World Cup, said parishes are coming up with their own celebrations, special events and other initiatives. He hoped parishes would play their part in promoting the spiritual dimension of the tournament, and that they would motivate individual parishioners to do the same. To that end, his office has produced a special World Cup prayer and liturgy book , which is available to all Catholic football players and fans. The prayer book also includes a brief history of the Catholic Church in South Africa and a list of parishes near World Cup stadiums, among others. Fr Dufour said he hoped parishes would distribute as many of the books as possible. It can also be downloaded from the bishops’ Church on the Ball website (www.churchontheball.com). Fr Dufour regretted, however, that the Church’s efforts to engage with FIFA around spiritual matters was virtually ignored. The Church’s offer to have its services to Catholics included on the FIFA website was also rebuffed. Martin Mande, Pretoria coordinator of the Damietta Peace Initiative—which is based on Franciscan spirituality and supported by Catholic agency Caritas Internationalis—said that St Anne’s parish in
Atteridgeville is organising a football peace tournament over the same time period as the World Cup, which ends on July 11. He said the tournament will feature 64 players from about 15 countries, who will play every Saturday from June 5 to July 3 in the poorest part of the township on a locally designed football pitch. Four teams will be created from the best teams of Atteridgeville, local migrant teams and World Cup fans. Mr Mande said the aim of what is being dubbed “The Peace Cup” is to seize the World Cup opportunity to spread the values that societies need so much, especially in Africa. “These are values that the Church does not cease to advocate: charity, dialogue with other religions and cultures, justice, solidarity, fraternity, non-violence... Sport is a recognised instrument for promoting these values, as it disregards both geographical borders and social classes.”
ather Victor Phalana of Pretoria’s Sacred Heart cathedral, said the parish is part of an ecumenical body called the Tshwane Leadership Foundation, which has come up with a concept called the “Better World Village—World Cup 2010”. He said Burgerspark, one of the most popular parks in the city, would be turned into a World Cup Village. The aim of the initiative was to bring together fans of different social classes, ethnicities, language groups, national origins, and so on as well as fans from all over the world, said Fr Phalana. “It cannot just be fun,” he said, “but should be a time for dialogue as well. We
will look into the issues of homelessness, street kids, poverty, Aids, human trafficking, crime and drugs. “At the same time we will have big screens, a ‘Feast of the Clowns’, jumping castles, seminars, discussions, celebrities, music, entertainment, counselling, theatre, social justice workshops, games, a ‘Green Village’ [and a] children’s choir…” Parishioners of St Anthony’s church in Durban Central were asked by their parish priest, Spiritan Father Sean Mullin, to wear football T-shirts for a World Cup celebration. Parishioner Barbara Chetty, whose husband Michael is parish pastoral council chairman, told The Southern Cross that the church was decorated with the banners of all the teams playing, and the event included Sunday Mass and a celebration in the grounds afterwards. Mrs Chetty said during the World Cup the parish would host “five-a-side” matches of its own, involving mainly parishioners. Moreover, she said, because St Anthony’s is about 15 minutes’ drive from the football stadium, she and other parishioners will be marketing the services of the church, delivering fliers to local hotels, and so on, where foreign fans—especially Australians—are staying. Fr Ithumeleng Thoabala, a youth chaplain in the archdiocese of Bloemfontein, said a special Mass for youth would be celebrated at St Rose of Lima parish, Bochabelo, preceded by a procession from the parish hall into the church. The World Cup will be the event’s central focus, he said, especially the ramifications of hosting a tournament on such a scale.
The Southern Cross, June 2 to June 8, 2010
Brigadier Mboweni presents a “thank you” award to Archbishop Buti Tlhagale of Johannesburg as Fr Chris Townsend looks on. The archbishop had handed over to the South African Police Service a kitted-out car bought with R300 000 raised in remembrance of Fr Lionel Sham of Johannesburg, who was murdered last year. Fr Sham’s portrait can be seen in the framed pictured in the background.
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Songs for Hurley in London
MUSIC festival was held in London to honour the memory of the late Archbishop Denis Hurley of Durban, who died in February 2004. Dominican Sister Marie-Henry Keane, an old friend of the archbishop’s who last saw him on the morning of his death, said that “all over the world there are those who believe that Archbishop Hurley was one of South Africa’s greatest sons”. “He was a fearless pastor, a preacher of truth, an upholder of justice, and a faithful guardian of Christ’s Church in South Africa,” she said. “It is important, therefore, to keep his memory alive.” The musical event was organised to raise funds for the Denis Hurley Centre at Durban’s Emmanuel cathedral, which Sr Keane said “not only honours the memory of the archbishop, but serves the community in need of material, moral,
and educational support, just as he did.” The Niland Conference Centre in north London sought to show solidarity with the Denis Hurley Centre with an evening of light entertainment. The line-up included the acclaimed soprano Geraldine Rowe, accompanied by her countertenor and pianist husband Jeremy; the Jazz Trio; the Celtic Dancers (of the River Dance genre); flautist Helen McCloon; and the Corrib Folk Singers, as well as St Catherine’s Young Musicians and Dominican Sister Avril. Brian McCloon, a musician in his own right, was the master of ceremonies. The evening began with a short presentation on the life of Archbishop Hurley and concluded with a an address by Sr Ann Cunningham, the South African prioress of the Dominican Sisters of Newcastle in KwaZulu-Natal.
Interfaith group marks a decade BY MICHAIL RASSOOL
SOUTH AFRICAN interfaith group has marked its 10th anniversary by launching a Charter for Compassion spearheaded by Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. The Cape Town Interfaith Initiative (CTII), was established to galvanise the local interfaith movement and to host the 1999 Parliament of World Religions in the city. The initiative celebrated the 10th anniversary of its launch in late May. The celebration at the CTII’s headquarters in Rondebosch, saw the launch of the Charter for Compassion in South Africa. Methodist Bishop Peter Storey explained that the charter, an international instrument translated into about 30 languages, operates on the premise that there are values common to all faiths and secular ethical codes, and one value in particular: compassion. The charter declares that compassion impels people to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of their fellow creatures, “to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect”. Followers of the Charter for Compassion, in both public and private life, are to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain, from acting or speaking violently out of spite, chauvinism or self-interest, from impoverishing, exploiting or denying basic rights to anybody. They are also called to refrain from inciting hatred through denigrating others, even their enemies, which the charter describes as “a denial of our common humanity”. Charter adherents also acknowledge that they have “failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of religion”. Karen Armstrong, a former Catholic nun from Britain who is known as a provocative thinker on the role of religion in the modern world, delivered a specially pre-recorded address, to acknowledge the CTII anniversary and the charter’s official
Imam Rashied Omar, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Methodist Bishop Peter Storey at the 10th anniversary celebrations of the Cape Town Interfaith Initiative. launch. A Charter for Compassion plaque was also unveiled. Keynote speaker Archbishop Tutu shared the meaningful legacy of the 1999 Cape Town Parliament as well as the critical importance of the Parliament of World Religions generally. He spoke of how, earlier in the day, he had joined representatives from other international cities in addressing the four international 2014 Parliament Bid Teams gathered in Chicago via “live-stream video”. The archbishop and other speakers emphasised the dramatic impact that hosting the Parliament can have on their cities. He said Cape Town’s interfaith community was still feeling the effects and spin-offs from the 1999 Parliament. Over the last decade, the CTII has organised a series of meetings on issues on which individual people of faith engage across the social and religious divide. The celebration also featured Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist prayers and Qur’anic verses performed by a local singer-and-accompanist duo Desert Rose.
Couples have Eastern Cape encounter
OLLOWING a successful Marriage Encounter (ME) weekend in the Eastern Cape, the organisation is planning a second event in early October. Organisers said that 16 couples from George, Grahamstown and Port Elizabeth took part in an encounter weekend in May at St Joseph’s Pastoral Centre in Port Elizabeth. A second weekend is planned for St Pius Centre
in East London from October 1-3. “It is the vision of Marriage Encounter to provide every married couple the opportunity of experiencing a Marriage Encounter weekend,” said joint coordinator John Swart. Interested couples may contact John at 083 357 0008 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Beverley at 083 277 8345 or email@example.com, or Pappa at 082 373 2473 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
LOCAL Church’s World Cup fever Continued from page 1 Intimately linked with the tournament, Fr Thoabala said, is the issue of human trafficking, particularly the exploitation of women and children who have been trafficked to provide sexual services. Of concern, he added, is the freedom of children to roam around while schools are closed, which is also seen as a risk factor. He said on Sunday, June 6, all parishes of Bloemfontein archdiocese would celebrate a special World Cup Mass, which players and football officials would be invited to. Our Lady of Lourdes parish in Rivonia, Johannesburg, is supplying World Cup visitors with the number of a local taxi company with whom a special rate to get them to Mass has been negotiated. Parishioners are also encouraged to attend Mass dressed in their supporter gear. In keeping with the World Cup spirit, Our Lady of Lourdes also invites all youth to a special youth social event on Friday, June 18 at 18:00. The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) has designated June 13 as the Sunday on which all the faithful of conference territory will celebrate the World Cup in a special way. Among the suggestions for the day is to maintain the readings of the 11th Sunday in ordinary time, with the option to substitute the psalm and 2nd reading with suggested ones.
The Southern Cross, June 2 to June 8, 2010
Morality debate: Is God invited? BY ANTHONY EGAN SJ
HOULD God have a role in public morality? The Jesuit Institute and the University of Johannesburg (UJ) co-hosted a discussion with four panellists on the role that religion should play in the national debate on morality recently proposed by President Jacob Zuma. Professor Adam Habib, deputy vice-chancellor of UJ, noted that religion has been a force for good and evil in the world. Fundamentalism in almost every religious tradition was on the rise, including hardline anti-religious secularism. This, he said, posed the problem: what forms of different religions should be admitted to the discussion if a fruitful common morality was to be found. “Which disciples of God should be allowed,” he asked, “and who should not be?” Fundamentalists with exclusivist agendas would not help such a process, he said. Noting the diversity of belief within religions, he also felt that the debate could not be limited to just the leaders of each religious tradition. Nomboniso Gasa—a writer, Anglican lay minister and sangoma—voiced her unease with the notion of “national morality”. “I would like to speak up for the non-religious minority of South Africans,” she said, pointing out that all too often “codes of morality” represented the domination of a majority over a minority. There was often a deliberate manipulation of culture and tradition by the powerful to suit their interests, she said. This was particular problematic when religions have a “crusade mentality” and
“thin skins” with regards to tolerating difference. For her, foundational national morality already existed in the South African Constitution: it needed to be defended and interpreted to “protect the most marginalised” members of society. Rabbi Robert Ash, of Beit Emmanuel synagogue, welcomed the search for a faith-informed national morality as a move beyond cultural and moral relativism. But he feared that fundamentalists might hijack the process. He hoped dialogue with
secular thinkers would reduce the risk. “Thank God for secularists,” he said, “they have saved religious people from many horrors!” One should draw on the religious traditions of the country (and the varied traditions within each religion) as well as social context to develop a conversation. He echoed Prof Habib’s and Ms Gasa’s concern that any debate over morality should not be made the exclusive preserve of religious leaders or politicians.
Bishop Giuseppe Sandri of Witbank blessed the Mbombela stadium in Nelspruit, praying for peace, friendship and understanding among the players, spectators and all nations. He is seen outside the stadium—which will debut in the World Cup on June 16 with the Honduras vs Chile match—with Fr Roger Masuku CMM of Nelspruit and Sr Cecilia Binder from the city’s St Peter’s School. PHOTO: JENNIFER GIBB
Anglican Bishop Peter Lee took a historical view. There had been a long tradition of religious engagement with the South African state, particularly after 1948; but since 1994 the shape of this has changed, if not become muted. “Do religious leaders now have a clear target they are all aiming for?” Religious conscience, he said, had to be heard in public, particularly in a society characterised by violence and indifference. Central to any moral debate was the need for religion to speak up for the poor and the promotion of social and economic justice. He and the other speakers agreed that this, and not the private lives of politicians, was the most important aspect of public morality. He was also wary of any kind of artificially ‘manufactured’ moral consensus. Discussion from the floor added extra dimensions to the debate. The role of the family in public morality needed to be recognised and extended to include the broader local community, the gathering heard. Family cohesion was damaged by the situation of widespread poverty, unemployment and social inequality. The personal behaviour of some politicians and misuse of office for financial gain, while certainly offering bad role models, was not the sole source of concern: public morality had to extend to business and the religious sector. The second Jesuit Institute/UJ debate will take place at Holy Trinity, Braamfontein, on 9th June at 19:00. panellists will include Archbishop Buti Tlhagale of Johannesburg, Rev Frank Chikane and Prof Steven Friedman. All are welcome.
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The Southern Cross, June 2 to June 8, 2010
120 000 expected for martyred Polish priest’s beatification BY JONATHAN LUXMOORE
ORE than 110 000 people are expected for the June 6 beatification of Fr Jerzy Popieluszko, the outspoken priest killed by communist agents in October 1984. Warsaw Archbishop Kazimierz Nycz told journalists that the openair Mass in Pilsudski Square would be celebrated by Archbishop Angelo Amato, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Saints’ Causes. He said he expected 100 bishops, 1 500 priests and Fr Popieluszko’s mother, Marianna Popieluszko. The archbishop said relics of Fr Popieluszko, whose body was exhumed on April 6-7, would be taken in procession to the capital’s Wilanow suburb for interment at a still-unfinished Divine Providence basilica, while the rest would be reburied on June 13 at St Stanislaw Kostka church, Fr Popieluszko’s parish. The church rector, Fr Zygmunt Malacki, said that relics of the priest would be sent to churches rededicated to him in other cities, and that parishes as far away as Uganda and Peru had also requested relics. More than 80 streets and squares in Poland have been named after Fr Popieluszko. Hundreds of statues and memorial tablets have been unveiled to him; some 18 000 schools, charities, youth groups and discussion clubs have been named after him. Polish Church leaders hope the beatification will recall values for which Fr Jerzy Popieluszko gave his life and revive interest in a remarkable story of Christian courage and witness. “He wasn’t a forceful speaker or political activist, but someone of
Fr Jerzy Popieluszko: murdered by Poland’s communist regime in 1984, will be beatified in Warsaw on June 6. deep conviction and integrity,” said said Archbishop Henryk Muszynski of Gniezno. “His sanctity lay in an elementary righteousness that gave people hope even in the worst situations.” The bound and gagged body of 37-year-old Father Popieluszko, who was well-known in Poland for sermons defending human rights, was dredged from a reservoir on the Vistula river near Wloclawek on October 30, 1984, just 11 days after he was kidnapped while returning from a night Mass in Bydgoszcz. About 400 000 people attended his funeral, and his murder was widely credited with helping discredit and undermine communist rule.
Archbishop Muszynski said he had lived close to St Stanislaw Kostka church in Warsaw, where Fr Popieluszko served in the early 1980s. The archbishop said he became convinced of the priest’s saintliness after reading his homilies when they were published after the 1989 return of democracy. The priest was a “very simple, even shy person”, who “ knew what awaited him and was afraid, but nevertheless refused to betray this Gospel of truth,” the archbishop said. Born into a poor rural family at Okopy in north-eastern Poland, Jerzy Popieluszko enrolled at Warsaw’s Catholic seminary in September 1965. He was ordained by Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski in 1972. He was sent to help at St Stanislaw’s in May 1980 and served as a chaplain to the nearby Huta Warszawa steelworks when strikes in August 1980 led to the formation of the Solidarity union. In February 1982, two months after Solidarity was crushed by martial law, Fr Popieluszko celebrated his first of many Masses for the Homeland, soon copied by other priests around Poland. Several times detained and interrogated, he was formally charged in July 1984 with “abusing the function of a priest” and “anti-state propaganda”, although the charge was suspended a month later. In February 1985, four members of Poland’s Interior Ministry were convicted of killing Fr Popieluszko, but they were released early after controversial sentence revisions. A former secret police general, Wladyslaw Ciaston, twice was acquitted of ordering the murder. —CNS
ATTORNEYS NOTARIES CONVEYANCERS
Catholic nurse Cathy Cenzon-DeCarlo, who is suing a New York hospital, charging that her conscience rights were violated when she was compelled to help with a late-term abortion last year.
Nurse sues over abortion BY NANCY FRAZIER O’BRIEN
CATHOLIC nurse is suing New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital and some members of its medical staff, charging that her conscience rights were violated when she was compelled to help with a late-term abortion last year. A lawsuit filed on behalf of Catherina Cenzon-DeCarlo alleges that the nurse’s conscience rights under state law were violated by her forced participation in a lateterm, non-emergency abortion in May 2009, despite the fact that Ms Cenzon-DeCarlo had notified the hospital of her religious objections to abortion before she was hired in 2004. Although focused on one nurse and one abortion, the suits have wider implications for implementation of the country’s new health reform law—which the US Catholic bishops contend does
not adequately protect conscience rights. Ms Cenzon-DeCarlo, whose uncle is a Catholic bishop in her native Philippines, said her participation in the abortion was required by several of her superiors on the medical staff despite the fact that the case had not been deemed an emergency under hospital procedures and that there were other nurses available to assist. The nurse “has suffered emotional and psychological trauma from being forced to assist in the abortion” and has been subject to financial losses because she is no longer scheduled for as many oncall assignments that supplement her income as she was before the abortion, the lawsuits allege. Ms Cenzon-DeCarlo is being represented in the case by attorneys for the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian pro-life and profamily legal alliance.—CNS
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The Southern Cross, June 2 to June 8, 2010
2 million saw Shroud in six weeks W BY SARAH DELANEY
ITH the Shroud of Turin now carefully put away, Church officials have said that more than 2 million pilgrims had come to venerate the linen cloth in the six weeks it was on display. During the April 10 to May 23 exposition, officials said 2 113 128 people passed through the Turin cathedral to catch a glimpse or say a prayer before the cloth revered by many Christians as the shroud that covered the body of the crucified Christ.
In a news conference, Cardinal Severino Poletto of Turin said that he was pleased with the record number of people who came to see the cloth. “I had the clear perception that the Lord was speaking to the hearts of the pilgrims who came before the shroud seeking answers,” he said. The shroud “gives us the chance to offer faith in a time of confusion and spiritual fog, reconciling in the word of God.” Cardinal Poletto also said in an interview with Vatican Radio that at the exposition pilgrims are given
the chance to “contemplate the suffering of Christ, of which the shroud is a mirror, both wonderful and precisely what the Gospel tells us”. Pope Benedict went to Turin to venerate the shroud and celebrate a public Mass. He called the shroud an “extraordinary icon” that had been “written with blood: the blood of a man flagellated, crowned with thorns, crucified and wounded on his right side”, exactly as the Gospels say Jesus was. The Vatican has never said that the shroud, a linen cloth marked by a shadowy image of a man, is actu-
Africa synod ‘was a tightrope’ L AST year’s Synod of Bishops for Africa, which focused on reconciliation, justice and peace, successfully walked the tightrope of the political and the pastoral, said the synod’s recording secretary, Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana. Just as Pope Benedict “found reason to remind the synod that it was not primarily a ‘study session’, so did the synod fathers repeatedly remind themselves that their gathering was not a ‘type of UN General Assembly’, where some political line of action was to be discussed and adopted,” Cardinal Turkson said in his opening address to a workshop for representatives of national Justice and Peace commissions in Africa to discuss the results of last October’s synod. The cardinal, who now serves as president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said “one clear lesson” from the experiences of local churches in Latin America and their applications of liberation theology is that “addressing the justice and peace needs of oppressed and badly wounded peoples is a very tricky business”. It is a “tightrope to walk in a field of political and ideological landmines,” the cardinal said, noting that churches in both Latin America and Africa “know of priests who have forsaken the pastoral ministry to pursue political options […] believing more in political solutions than in pastoral solutions to the miseries of their communities”. Cardinal Turkson celebrated Mass and opened the three-day meeting—which was designed to to examine “concrete ways of collaboration” and identify priorities—with his talk in a stadium in downtown Maputo. Referring to the 57 pastoral proposals the synod delegates offered to Pope Benedict as the synod concluded on October 25, Caritas Africa executive secretary Jacques Dinan said that the meeting hoped to translate these proposals “into a realistic and concrete plan…to uphold the reconciliation process, promote justice and support the building of peace”, which he said are
Cardinal Peter Turkson in conversation during last October’s Synod of Bishops for Africa at the Vatican. In an address to a Maputo workshop on implementing the synod, the head of the Vatican’s Justice and Peace council said that it is time for Africa “to shift gears” and disclaim Western stereotypes about the continent. CNS PHOTO/PAUL HARING “essential steps in the fight against poverty.” In his keynote address to workshop participants, Cardinal Turkson said that while “the fruits of the first synod” for Africa, held 16 years ago, “are still being gleaned in many local churches in Africa”, the situation on the continent has changed considerably. A survey done in preparation for the synod found that, “although the continent and its Church are not yet out of the woods, they can modestly rejoice in their achievements and positive performance [in governance, improved well-being of peoples and growth of the Church], and begin to disclaim stereotypical generalisations” about Africa’s conflicts, famine, corruption and bad governance. The cardinal noted that the 48 countries that make up sub-Saharan Africa “show great differences in the situations of their churches, their governance and their socio-economic life”. “The truth is that Africa has been burdened for too long by the media with everything that is
loathsome to humankind, and it is time to ‘shift gears’ and to have the truth about Africa told with love,” Cardinal Turkson said. Noting that world leaders have called Africa “a continent of opportunities”, mostly in economic terms, he said “this needs to be true also for the people of the continent.” In the 2009 synod, “the Church in Africa recognised that she becomes truly the family of God and the brotherhood of Christ to the extent that she promotes an African Church and society in which people are reconciled” no matter what their tribal and ethnic ties, their racial and class determinations and their gender differences, Cardinal Turkson said. “The Church in Africa recognised that she can become truly the family of God…to the extent that she becomes and promotes an African society that is sincere in its respect for law and order, for the rights of others and for an equal access to the resources of the land, and therefore, a society that lives in communion and enjoys peace,” he said. —CNS
Caution urged on synthetic stem cells BY CAROL GLATZ
HE successful development of a synthetic cell can have many practical applications, but the technology must be regulated, said the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano. A team of geneticists in the United States announced on May 20 that it had created a living artificial cell. After mapping on a computer the complete DNA code of a bacterium, the team led by Dr Craig Venter, inserted the synthesised DNA into a bacteria cell, which was then able to replicate and be controlled by the synthetic genome. Synthetic cells could be used to convert carbon dioxide into fuel or to create new vaccines for
treating diseases, dr Venter told CNN. The Vatican newspaper emphasised that scientists had not created life, but had “substituted one of its engines”. “Genetic engineering can be used for good,” particularly in treating genetic diseases, L’Osservatore said. However, caution must be exercised as “many people in fact are concerned about the possible future developments of genetically modified organisms”. Archbishop Rino Fisichella, the head of the Pontifical Academy for Life, told Italian television that as long as synthetic cells were used “towards the good, to treat pathologies, we can only be positive” about their development. However, if they are used
in ways that offend human dignity, “then our judgment would change”, he warned. “We look at science with great interest. But we think above all about the meaning that must be given to life. We can only reach the conclusion that we need God, the origin of life.” Bishop Domenico Mogavero of Mazara del Vallo, chairman of the Italian bishops’ legal affairs committee, said that the new form of life “is a potential time bomb, a dangerous double-edged sword for which it is impossible to imagine the consequences”. Human beings must never pretend to be God by artificially creating life, because life can only come from God, Bishop Mogavero told the Italian newspaper La Stampa.—CNS
ally the burial cloth of Jesus, though many Christians believe it is. The shroud has been the object of several multi-disciplinary scientific analyses, but its exact nature and age remain mysteries. Carbon14 dating performed on a tiny piece of cloth in 1998 showed that the cloth probably came from medieval times, but some scientists have called that evaluation into question. The shroud, kept in a special case filled with inert gas to prevent alterations, usually is out of public view in the left transept of the Turin cathedral.—CNS
Detail of an inverted image of the Turin Shroud
The Southern Cross, June 2 to June 8, 2010
Celebrating the Year for Priests at Sacred Heart parish in King William’s Town were Fr Donal Cashman, Fr William Barnes, Bishop Michael Coleman of Port Elizabeth, Mgr Brendan Deenihan, Fr Paul Fahy, Fr Jerry Browne and Fr John Pullokaran.
Participants of the LifeTeen training weekend that took place at St Paul’s parish in Somerset West, near Cape Town. Pictured are (back from left) Russel Kohler, Darren Naicker, (middle) Christopher Botha, Lance Ravens, Fr Desmond Royappen, Matthew Potgieter, Ashley Brair (front) Anna Rust, Elisabeth Bellstedt, Melissa Rust and Shane Kohler.
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At Pentecost, Archbishop Stephen Brislin confirmed young people from Milnerton/Brooklyn parish in Milnerton‘s Our Lady of the Annunciation church. With the archbishop and youths are parish priest Fr Stan Botha and catechism coordinator Jacqueline Ferreira (front), Judith Brockhoven (right) and Fernanda da Silva (in front of Fr Botha).
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The faith sharing group of Florida parish in Roodepoort has been going strong since being established in1975 by Helen and the late Des Hodgson (Helen is still an active member of the group). Deacon Keeble Mackenzie, now of Pietermaritzburg, partly credits the group, which he joined in 1980, for his conversion to Catholicism and later vocation to the permanent diaconate. He took this photo on a recent visit to th group which meets fortnightly on Thursdays.
Joey Jackson, from St Pius X parish in Plumstead, Cape Town, receives a hug from parish priest Fr Frank Conlisk at her retirement tea party. Mrs Jackson steps down as the parish’s organist after more than 40 years. PHOTO: ANDY CHISHOLM
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The Southern Cross, June 2 to June 8, 2010
A return to army draft may be on the cards The minister of defence has mooted the idea of reintroducing “unavoidable” military service to South Africa’s youth. MICHAIL RASSOOL explains why churches are concerned about such a move.
AST month the minister of defence and military veterans, Lindiwe Sisulu, proposed conscripting South African youths into the military for national service, mainly to provide an opportunity for young unemployed youth to learn basic military discipline, leadership and strategic thinking. But the director of the Justice & Peace Department of the Pretoriabased Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference is pointing to a contradiction in Ms Sisulu’s suggestion. Fr Mike Deeb OP told The Southern Cross that any compulsory national service under the auspices of the ministry of defence would take the form of conscription, which is unacceptable in a postapartheid South Africa. Likewise, the Diakonia Council of Churches, an ecumenical body in KwaZulu-Natal presently chaired by a Catholic bishop, has voiced its opposition to any form of compulsory national service. In her department’s annual budget vote in parliament, and in a speech to the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) national executive committee, the minister said the move would be an investment in the country’s future because it would be creating a disciplined, skilled and purposeful individual. To parliament she extolled her visits to military training facilities and the results she observed there—especially the dramatic effects that such training can have on young people from the most deprived and desperate of backgrounds, and the degrees of social harmony it fosters, which she said corresponds with the democratic values of the current dispensation. Ms Sisulu pointed out that
South Africa is an extremely youthful country and yet it was not investing sufficiently in its future. She painted a bleak scenario of 3 million unemployed young people with scant prospects for absorption into a labour market that continues to shrink, and 50% unemployment in the 18-24 age group. “Having spent a year in this portfolio and having learnt what I have learnt,” she said in her budget vote speech, “I am proposing formally through parliament that the country considers the possibility that in the next year we create National Service where all youth will be gradually absorbed into our training facilities.” In her talk to the ANCYL executive, Ms Sisulu explained that while undergoing two years’ basic military training in one of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) services—army, air force, navy or military medical health services—new conscripts would learn various skills and gain practical work experience that could stand them in good stead in the future. The national service programme would be recognised by institutions of higher learning, as so many would receive experiential training and have other opportunities to put theory into practice, she said. “What we offer are skills that each would be able to build on,” the minister said. “What we offer is education, in essential respect for each individual and authority: an element you will all agree is not in abundance in our youth.” Her generals are quoted as saying that this would be military service intended to prepare youth to be “better citizens”. The ANCYL told the minister that members, led by their president Julius Malema, were available for short military training in September to understand the programme and experience what young people would experience. She reportedly agreed, saying the necessary arrangements would be made for the youth league leaders to undergo military training for a two-week period. Reports say the ANCYL also urged Ms Sisulu to ensure that the business sector, other government
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FLASHBACK: Archbishop Denis Hurley of Durban addresses a press conference by the End Conscription Campaign in August 1988 as 143 young men around South Africa simultaneously announced that they would not serve in the South African Defence Force because it upheld an unjust system. Current defence minister Lindiwe Sisulu has proposed the reintroduction of what she calls “unavoidable” military service for young South African men. PHOTO COURTESY OF PADDY KEARNEY
departments, municipalities and other law enforcement agencies were brought on board, and see the SANDF as a skills centre for recruiting people. The minister said in parliament that the national service would not be compulsory—but it would be “unavoidable”.
navoidable national military service, especially in light of South Africa’s history, is highly politicised and controversial, recalling a time when the apartheid government compulsorily conscripted white male school leavers. Once many of the recruits were trained, they were sent on military incursions into surrounding countries to destroy cells of then-exiled resistance organisations such as the ANC or Pan African Congress, or to fight other enemies of the government. Many young men, knowing the score, resisted and were jailed, fled the country, performed in lieu community service, deferred the “callup” through lengthy study, and so on. It led to the formation of protest groups such as the End Conscription Campaign (ECC), one of several internal resistance organi-
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sations whose members were targeted by the apartheid state. Some groups have expressed concern about the idea of “unavoidable” military service. The Durban-based Diakonia, which played a prominent role in the anti-apartheid struggle, declared itself totally opposed to any system of forced military service. In a statement, it said it has held this position since it supported the right of conscientious objection under apartheid, and helped found the ECC in 1984, with close involvement of the late Archbishop Denis Hurley of Durban. Diakonia asserted its belief that crime and violence in South Africa today is a result of the military service that men received both in the apartheid defence force and in the liberation army. “Military training by its very nature is designed to force young people into believing and acting on the basis of brute force,” the Diakonia statement said. “The training is based on forcing people to conform and the best way to do this is by brutalising them. “We are apprehensive that any kind of military training will continue the trend which has already
started of militarising the country, with the militarisation of the police force.” The organisation said that if the proposed national service were voluntary, rather than forced, and if it were to be along the lines of the US-based Peace Corps, with no military training, then it would gladly support it. Diakonia would encourage the government to use the budget for such a voluntary peace corps to be used to build houses, to install sewerage systems, to provide running water using the skills developed by the young people. “But,” said Diakonia chairman Bishop Barry Wood, auxiliary of Durban archdiocese, “we would object strongly, as we believe all faith-based organisations would, at young people being given military training including training in firearms. “The churches call on the government to rethink this proposed ‘national military service’ and to provide adequate time and means for real consultation with all sectors of the population before putting it into effect.” Fr Deeb said while the idea being mooted appears to have a great deal of merit, the big question is why it is being proposed by the defence ministry, and not by the more appropriate ministries of youth, labour, education or economic development. He expressed concern that South Africa is already witnessing a growing militarisation of its society. The location of a national service within the defence ministry can easily be seen as part of this tendency, the J&P director said. “The role of the defence force should be to produce good soldiers who will be seen to be respecting and protecting all the people of this country as well as all other people who may be within their charge. “The training of young leaders should not be linked to this crucial role but rather located within one of the other ministries where discipline hopefully could also be inculcated without it having to have a ‘military’ character,” Fr Deeb said. This would be the only way to dispel any suspicions about the motives behind the proposal of minister Sisulu.”
The Southern Cross, June 2 to June 8, 2010
LEADER PAGE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Editor: Günther Simmermacher
Welcome the world
N just a few days time, the big day will arrive: the culmination of a dream that had its seeds in the presidency of Nelson Mandela. On June 11, South Africa will finally be the host to the world. It will be a month during which South Africa can show itself off to the world; what it and its people can accomplish. A successfully staged World Cup may attract investment by companies that seek reassurance of South Africa’s capacities. Being in the global focus every day for a month surely will cement the country’s reputation as a desirable tourism destination, thereby aiding one of our most important industries. But the benefits of hosting a successful World Cup are measured not only in economic terms. The World Cup can boost national morale. Here is an opportunity to prove to ourselves, a nation perennially wavering between hubris and gloom, that we are capable of extraordinary things, and that we may measure ourselves against other nations. Coming less than two decades since South Africa emerged from international isolation, the World Cup is a time to assert our membership in the global community from which we may at times feel separated by geography and history. This is our coming-out party. And we represent not only our own country, but all of Africa. There are many, even people who might describe themselves as liberals, who are virtually willing us to fail in hosting the World Cup. Some of these sceptics even live in South Africa. To such people it seems inconceivable that an African country might be associated with competence, never mind organising something of world class. If South Africa succeeds over the next month, many people will need to review their perceptions of Africa (which may be the reason they would rather see us fail). Let us make them change their views. Of course we must be mindful of disappointments in our expectations of the benefits the World Cup might bring.
Some entrepreneurs and hospitality service providers, for example, have not profited in ways they had hoped. Some countries that have hosted the World Cup, such as Mexico in 1970 and 1986, arguably have not reaped the expected rewards, even in terms of international prestige. South Africa may face a similar problem once the euphoria has worn off and new events displace the positive memories of what surely will be a wellhosted event. And wear off it no doubt will. In the aftermath South Africans themselves will have to take stock of the event. Questions of how the World Cup will have benefited the nation, its economy and even its self-image will require candid interrogation. South Africa’s relationship with the world football association will have to be analysed. Did FIFA bully the government and population to intolerable extents, forcing unnecessary expenditures? Did we sell our national soul for a few weeks in the limelight? There are also signs that preparations for the World Cup gave rise to large-scale corruption. Perhaps that was foreseeable. In any event, all areas of possible corruption will need to be thoroughly investigated, bearing in mind also that many functionaries within FIFA, even at its top levels, do not enjoy an undisputed relationship with the highest standards of ethics. After July 11, South Africa will be left with several stadiums for which there seems little future use. The nation must be told exactly how they will be utilised and who will pay for their maintenance. Contracts with external stadium operators that fail to benefit the respective communities must be cancelled. But these considerations should be deferred until the day after the 2010 world champions are crowned at the Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg on July 11. In the meantime, South Africans must endeavour to make this World Cup a huge success, and enjoy themselves doing so. Let the games begin.
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.
Prayers for Africa L
ET us pray for peace and transformation in our minds and hearts, our communities, our country, our continent of Africa. Let us give praise and thanks for the good will that exists among many of our people, our peacemaking forces and diplomats, and all who work for the good of society in Africa. Let us pray for peace and reconciliation, without violence, of conflict and differences between people of every nation in Africa, between tribes, races, cultures, traditions, political persuasions and
ideologies, faiths and religions; an end to terrorism, persecution, refugees, child soldiers, deaths and injuries from war and landmines, and an end to the sorrow of war and conflict in Africa. Let us pray for transformation, a fresh vision, as we consider concerns such as poverty, Aids and other health problems, corruption and greed, crime, violence, immorality, abuse of sex and drugs and alcohol; as we pray for families, children, the youth, the elderly; for blessings on governments at all levels, business,
Shabby treatment Religion gives life, WAS saddened to read the Istory of my friend Fr Cyril Axel- not problems rod CSsR, who is deaf and blind, and was not allowed on to the sanctuary at a Chrism Mass because a woman accompanied him as his guide and interpreter. What is the difference between having a woman interpreter and female extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist or women readers on the altar and in the sanctuary? How must Fr Cyril have felt when he was told not to be at the altar because of his woman interpreter? Knowing him, I think he must have felt very hurt, but accepted it because Christ himself was hurt. As a deaf person, I can empathise. When I go to church every Sunday I cannot understand the sermon; I have to ask people what the priest is saying, but only a few can hep me. I have known Fr Axelrod for many years, and find him to be a most wonderful and humble priest. The Church must apologise to him. I hope that this sort of thing will never happen again. Terence Coughlan, Cape Town
T a recent Sunday Mass, our priest spoke about the Resurrection, and how none of those whom Jesus appeared to seemed to recognise him at first. Father asked us several questions, but the one that struck me most was this: did we recognise Jesus at Mass that morning? Were we aware of his real presence? He gave us the Eucharist, fulfilling the promise that he would never leave nor forsake us. Let us pray that our fervour may be renewed and churches be filled, “overflowing with worshippers” like the evangelical Helicopter of Christ Ministries, which Henry Makori wrote about (April 14-20), seem to be. M Parsch, Durban
Pray that AFRICA may draw closer to the heart of CHRIST
OUR article “Catholic and atheist in public debate” (April 28 ) reported on a debate held at the US University of Notre Dame on the question: “Is religion a problem?” When I read this I immediately thought back to when I was a student at University of Natal, Durban (now UKZN) till 1990, and I was involved in a serious car accident after which I was unconscious for ten weeks. Today I drive a car in local areas and I help out in a business, and I do this thanks to the body of our Lord Jesus Christ—the Catholic Church. I am strengthened by the Church, particularly by attending Mass frequently and receiving his Body and Blood. Religion is not a problem, but the way to eternal Life with our precious Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Simon McArthur, Pinetown
Reform is needed
HE Church is not foundering because of paedophilia; it is the Roman curia which has failed and brought the Church into disrepute. Because of its own grievous sins of pride and corrupt power, it has lost the ability to interpret and apply Christianity and Christian leadership. Disregarding Vatican II and the voice of the Holy Spirit has further added to its downfall. Fr Russell Pollitt, SJ (May 5-11) tells us in his “Point of Debate” article that the “the modus operandi of our Church is still autocratic; power is vested in a few and there is no real consultation with the wider Church community”. Surely, this is not acceptable? Who are these people? Why do they have such powers? Fr Pollitt continues to say that the active and participative vision
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agriculture, education—all facets of our society in Africa. Let us pray that we may be able to assist when disasters occur, to pray and work for those near us or in distant countries, at times of drought, flood, fire, famine, accident, insect and health plagues and epidemics in Africa. Let us pray and work with faith, hope and love for God and for our neighbours both near and far in our continent. And perhaps, thinking of 2 Chronicles 7:14 and Matthew 7:712, one day we may be able to lead others in our world to peace and transformation. Athaly Jenkinson, East London of Vatican II has been disregarded. In fact, “the experience of recent years suggests the opposite [has taken place] in areas such as collegiality, liturgy and inter-religious dialogue”. Brian Jacoby, in his letter “Vatican III needed” in the same issue, correctly suggests a need for another Vatican council. Sadly, he also recognises the futility of expecting our so-called leaders to do anything positive and suggests, therefore, that “the ‘demand’ must come from below”. In spite of the world demanding reform, it seems we are on another road to nowhere. We will cry out, we will write letters, we will plead but nothing will deter the Roman curia from its retrogressive suicidal path. As with the new and ridiculous adaptations of the liturgical texts, those wearing the broader phylacteries and longer tassles will remain forever foolhardy and continue to insult the faithful as they refuse to reform from sins of pride and omissions. Once again Jesus hangs alone on the cross with a thief and a murderer at his side. The Pharisees are wringing their hands and the faithful are confused and confounded. Mea culpa is not enough. Justice must be seen to be done through penance, retribution and reformation. Let us pray that the Roman curia in fact has the wisdom and humility to emulate the “good” thief and to stretch out its hand in contrition and the promise of true reform. Tony Meehan, Cape Town Opinions expressed in The Southern Cross, especially in Letters to the Editor, do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editor or staff of the newspaper, or of the Catholic hierarchy. The letters page in particular is a forum in which readers may exchange opinions on matters of debate. Letters must not be understood to necessarily reflect the teachings, disciplines or policies of the Church accurately.
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PERSPECTIVES Emmanuel Ngara
Leadership in the Church
The crisis is a time for opportunity
HEN we write or talk about the subject of sexual abuses that have rocked the Catholic Church in recent years, we should be conscious of the fact that this is not just a theological or academic debate. This is an issue that has hurt and injured many and continues to hurt many. I therefore begin with apologies. The first apology goes to the victims. Many of the abused have been exploited, injured and humiliated. Some have suffered quietly for generations. Some may even have lost their faith as a result of these secret practices. Indeed one does not know whether the abuse has perhaps been going on for centuries and whether the number of people who have been abused does not run into millions. When the Church authorities concerned were concealing the abuses and protecting the abusers, they were sacrificing the victims in order to protect the public image of Mother Church. We, the Church, owe the victims our humble, sincere apologies. The second group consists of those members of the clergy who have remained loyal to their vow of celibacy. These probably constitute the vast majority of our priests. Apologies are due to them because they have been painted with the same brush as the abusers and have suffered as a result of the negative publicity that the scandals have given rise to. Is it wrong to suggest that when some people see a Catholic priest these days, they believe they see an abuser? The third group is the group of abusers. This group has done a lot of harm to the Body of Christ and it can be said that it is their actions that are largely responsible for the pain the victims have suffered, and for the heavy blow the image of the Church has suffered. And yet they too need to be treated with respect, love and sensitivity. I should imagine part of the dilemma Pope Benedict faces is to execute a balancing act and to attend to the needs of the different groups of people involved. This presumably includes on the one hand ensuring that the cry of the abused is heard and they are made to see that the Church is taking active steps for justice to be done and healing to then take place, and on the other hand proceeding in such a way that the abuser is not driven to resentment, but is made to see the love of Christ in action and is therefore influenced to feel the gravity of the matter and to see the need for true repentance. There is a sense in which the group of abusers can justifiably argue that the Church should accept collective responsibility for their actions. Indeed their actions cannot be excused and any member of the group who is convicted should face the consequences so that the abused can see that the Church is not just paying lip service to the idea of seeing justice done and true healing taking place. However, the Church should also accept responsibility for what these people have done by reflecting on its structures and traditions and asking itself this question: If the abuse is so widespread, where did things go wrong? Is this something that only started in the latter part of the 20th century, or is it something that has been happening for centuries and centuries but has remained unknown to the public because of the secrecy surrounding it and the power the clergy over young people? This is not the time to be just concerned about the image of the Church, but a time to review the policy of compulsory celibacy for priests which has no theological basis. The Church should be “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world”; but because of these abuses, the Catholic Church is doing precisely what Paul was concerned about when he wrote Romans 2: “If you are confident that you are a guide to the blind and a beacon to those in the dark…so then, in teaching others, do you teach yourself as well?” He adds: “You say that adultery is forbidden, but do you commit adultery?” The apostle concludes: “As scripture says: It is your fault that the name of God is held in contempt among the nations”. If Pope John XXIII, through Vatican II, could convince the Church to drop Latin as the language of the liturgy, it is reasonable to argue that a Vatican III might amend the requirement for celibacy, leading to a situation where the number of priests may increase and the sex scandals decrease (and here I am referring not only to the abuse of minors). May we listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit, the cry of the abused people and the pain of those who want to be married priests, and stop preferring our “man made” traditions to the message of the Gospel of Christ.
The Trinity, like a C Major
HE sacred liturgy on Trinity Sunday proclaims: “How great is Allan Moss OMI your name, O Lord our God, through all the earth!” (Ps 8:2). In the Old Testament, God’s sacred name is revealed as Yahweh, meaning “I Am”. Jews, out of reverence, will not pronounce it, saying “haShem” I once heard a priest preach on the (the Name) or “Adonai” (Lord). Ultimately, the divine nature of Blessed Trinity. “Play C,” he told the God, as the Trinity, is love. Israel musician. After that he called for E, always spoke of God’s hesed ve’emeth, then G. We heard each note singly. his steadfast love and faithfulness. It Then he asked the three notes be connects with the meaning of his played together. The triad was a beauname, “I AM”—always here, and for tiful harmony, a C Major chord. He you. The full revelation of God is explained the chord to be like the seen in Jesus, the Risen Lord, stand- Trinity, each note in the triad like ing in our midst, Emmanuel, God each Person in the Trinity. We are looking at a mystery with us always. As Son of God, he beyond human comprehension, a reveals the Trinity. tremendous love, Here are some who loves us into words used for the existence and desTrinity, in Greek, tines us to share in Latin and Hebrew, the depths of his the early languages own life. Jesus’ of the Church: prayer is “Father, Hagia Triada (Trias), that they may be Beata Trinitas and one, even as you Hashilush Haqaand I are one” (Jn dosh. 17:22). Full life in The doctrine of the Trinity is the the Trinity was not Spirit empowering created at the us in Christ, who Church councils; shows us the way to they merely articuthe Father, and the lated the mystery of Father pouring out faith believed since his Spirit upon us, apostolic times. full of love for his They used the lanchildren. guage and culture I think of my litof the day, which tle friend Angelina was Greek, hence the philosophical A Tudor-era reproduction of the 1234 being upset because her father came late approach. They Black Abbey Trinity statue from the to pick her up after tried explaining the monastery in Kilkenny, Ireland. PHOTO: PAUL HARING,CNS school. He patiently Trinity as divine listened to her compersons having the same essence (homoousia); and the plaints. He apologised and made it nature of these persons (hypostasis); clear how much his beloved daughter and how they relate to one another meant to him. He explained that he (perichoresis). will always be there for her. She Such new terminologies in the ended up drawing closer and snugChurch warranted further explana- gled up against him as he took her tions and more councils to clarify and home. re-define. That is the background to Angelina should have no problem the Nicene Creed with its jawbreak- later in understanding God as a Father ers, such as “consubstantial”, com- who cares, Jesus Christ who shares, pared to the more simple, ancient and the Holy Spirit who dares us to come closer to a God who loves us. form of the Apostles’ Creed.
Point of Reflection
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The Southern Cross, June 2 to June 8, 2010
Michael Shackleton answers your question
How do I ‘worship’ wood? On Good Friday our priest came into church singing: “This is the wood of the cross. Come let us worship”. How do I worship wood? Please explain. Enquirer T would be crazy to worship wood. We demonstrate our reverence on Good Friday not for the wood of the cross but for the figure of the crucified Jesus attached to the cross, which is a graphic reminder of what Jesus did for our sake on Mount Calvary. “This is the wood of the cross on which hung the salvation of the world; come let us worship” are words that go way back to the late 4th century. They applied then not to the wood of a crucifix but to the True Cross (that on which Christ was crucified), which is reputed to have been discovered in Jerusalem by St Helena. Naturally, churches in and around Jerusalem soon acquired fragments of the Cross and these were given great honour, in particular in Good Friday’s liturgical recalling of Christ’s sacrificial death. The relic of the True Cross was kept in a sealed casket. In the liturgy, deacons would put the casket on a cloth-covered table in front of the bishop, open it and show it to the assembly. Then the bishop would take it in his hands and all present, clergy and people, would come up individually and bow before the relic before kissing it. The liturgy we celebrate nowadays is based on this ancient practice, which quickly spread throughout Christendom. Churches fortunate enough to possess a relic of the True Cross will re-enact the ancient rite of reverencing a relic of the True Cross as described above. It is usual to have the relic embedded in the wood of a crucifix rather than to display it as it is. Very few churches have such a spiritual treasure and that is why the rubrics direct that a simple crucifix must be used instead. In this way, the Christian custom of paying deep respect and gratitude to the crucified Christ is carried on dramatically every Good Friday. Reverencing sacred symbols such as the Infant in the Christmas crib, holy relics, icons and the crucifix, must never be mistaken for acts of worship of the objects themselves. These practices are the Church’s way of seeing and touching the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven in a very human, focused and practical manner.
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The Southern Cross, June 2 to June 8, 2010
Jews get to know Christians For many Israelis, Christians in the Holy Land are alien others. After several incidents of Christians being spat at, study tours now aim to help Jews learn about “the other”, as JUDITH SUDILOVSKY reports.
NIVERSITY student Liraz Meir looked in slight amazement at the familiar stone walls of the Armenian Quarter in Jerusalem. “I come to the Old City so often. I have passed these walls so many times in my life and I never went inside,” mused Ms Meir, 27, who with some 20 other Israelis was on a study tour that included a visit to the Armenian Quarter and a Christian monastery. Like most Israelis, she said, she had lumped together all the “others” who live behind the walls as one political entity of Palestinians and had not considered their diversity. She said that while most Israeli Jews—even people like her, who believe dialogue is important—hurry past the walls of the Armenian Quarter on their way to the Jewish Quarter and the Western Wall, they never stop to consider the people who live there. Following a spate of spitting incidents against Christians in the Old City—mostly Armenians because of their proximity to the Jewish Quarter—three groups active in interreligious dialogue organised special study tours to familiarise Israelis not only with the physical presence of the Christians in the city but also with the issues and challenges they face as a minority within
the Jewish state. “Since we are here at Mt Zion in close proximity to the Jewish Quarter we have often become targets of some indignities by extremist right-wing Orthodox Jews, who spit on us quite often,” said Armenian Orthodox Archbishop Aris Shirvanian, who has himself been spat at about 50 times this year. Debbie Weisman—a founding member of Jerusalem’s largely English-speaking Yedidya congregation, one of the organisers of the study tour—said she had been appalled to hear about the spitting incidents. “The phenomenon of spitting is disgusting and points to a deeper issue of how Jews [in Israel] relate to ‘the other,’” she said. “We have a responsibility in terms of how everybody is treated [in Israel], and this is unacceptable. I came to learn and hear about the problems. We need to reach out to the other.”
ndrea Katz said the Yedidya congregation hoped to organise a concrete show of solidarity for the Christian community. She said members were considering having a Jewish presence in the quarter during Armenian processions so the Jews could express opposition to the spitting. “It is important to be in dialogue; we all live together and there is no other solution,” said Yossi Gal, a retiree who with his wife Bella had come the night before from the city of Ra’anana for the tour. The Jewish couple, who described themselves as “traditional” in terms of their religious involvement, are also members of the Catholic Focolare group. He said their friends knew about their involvement in
interreligious dialogue and do not oppose it, but also do not show any interest in it. Though there is an increased interest in Christian sites and traditions among secular Israelis, they are interested in it only as a cultural phenomenon and are not part of any interreligious dialogue, said Rabbi Ron Kronish, director of the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel, one of the sponsors of the study tour. Although the tour was advertised in both Hebrew and English, the large majority who showed up spoke English. “Most Jews in this country do not interact with ‘the other’ in the street in their daily lives,” the rabbi noted. It is normally the Western immigrants who come with a background of openness who spearhead such initiatives of dialogue and understanding. The study tour, which was led by Daniel Rossing, director of the Jerusalem Centre for JewishChristian Relations, also included a meeting with Franciscan Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, head of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land. Fr Pizzaballa briefed the group on visa problems for Christian clergy in Israel and other issues. Mr Rossing said his centre offers such study tours to hundreds of Jewish groups every year but they are mostly groups from abroad. He said the study tour aimed to provide a “minimal familiarisation” with some of the challenges facing the local Christian community. “We have an unprecedented role as a Jewish majority with a Christian minority,” he said. “We want to make the Jews in Israel aware of the reality and the challenges it represents to the Jewish state.”—CNS
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Young people learn to march in formation at a camp near Beit Sahour in the West Bank. The camp, sponsored by Catholic Relief Services, is aimed at instilling young Palestinians with leadership qualities and non-violence skills. PHOTO: DEBBIE HILL,CNS
Camps aim at peaceful answers for Middle East BY JUDITH SUDILOVSKY
ARA’A SRUR, 19, leaned over the edge of a 5m wall with rappelling gear tied around his hips. His right hand held the rope tightly in place behind his back and he peered cautiously over his shoulder, down to where a counsellor was holding the other end of the rope. Though his heart was pounding quickly, Bara’a smiled with great bravado to his friends watching from underneath the shade of a nearby tree. “Give me some encouragement,” he yelled out to them, and they began cheering him on and clapping their hands. Then Bara’a took the plunge, leaning back completely and descending the wall. His friends erupted in chants when his feet hit the ground. “At first I was afraid,” admitted the young East Jerusalem college student, once back on terra firma. “But now I am OK. I feel like I did a big thing. I felt like a commando. If I can do this, I can do many other things.” Bara’a and 60 other young Palestinians spent a week at one of seven adventure camps at a resort on the edge of the desert in Beit Sahour. The camps, sponsored by Catholic Relief Services (CRS), offered sports and physical activities but also taught the concept of non-violence through lectures and presentations. For most of the young women— about one-third of the participants in each camp—it was the first time they had slept away from home; for some it was the first time they had spoken to a male outside of their family. The camps are aimed at instilling young Palestinians with leadership qualities and non-violence skills. For most participants it was the first time they had been urged to consider nonviolent responses as a viable option to the stress in their daily lives. CRS project manager Ghaida Rahil, who accompanied the youth in all of the camps, said the rappelling exercise was intended to show the campers how to break through their fears and confront difficult and complex situations. “We want them to see their own capacity of doing something dangerous, something scary, and to translate that into doing other things to help their society, even though it may seem difficult or scary.” The participants also worked on trusting their teammates when they had to walk blindfolded at night along a path with obstacles.
orking with local partners, including Middle East Non-violence and Democracy, CRS invited about 60 university-age youths to each of the seven camp sessions, organised with participants from East Jerusalem and various cities in the Palestinian territories. During the camps, CRS staffers are able to identify young people—Muslims and Christians—with leadership potential. Up to 15 participants from each session will be invited to continue for more specialised training.
CRS programme manager Khalil Ansara said staffers hope the young people will become ambassadors of change in their own communities first, then tackle the larger task of Palestinian-Israeli relations. The camp also helped the youth begin to overcome ingrained prejudices, such as those between city residents and villagers, as well as learning how to deal with the differing social mores in their society, said Ghaida Rahil. “We are trying to give youth a different option instead of going only to the options of guns and violence,” Mr Ansara said. “We identify a small number of youth leaders so we can train them to be the voice of nonviolence in society and at the same time become involved in the community. These youth can affect other youths.”
veryone has experienced violence in their lives—political violence because of the separation wall and checkpoints or a violent situation at home, said Mohammed Badrieh, 19, a mathematics student from Bir Zeit University who attended a camp. “People scream and shout; they kick things when they are angry. It is very hard when the [separation] wall separates families, when there are checkpoints every day,” said Mohammed. It takes him two hours each way to get to the university because of checkpoints. “All this makes people very stressed and depressed. When they go home they explode, maybe with their brother or sister, or with their mother.” Though the aim of the programme is completely focused on working within the Palestinian society to rid it of violence, it goes to reason that once the youth acquire these skills, they will be able to transfer them to other aspects of their lives, including how they deal with the Israeli occupation, he said. “If they can solve the internal problems non-violently, they definitely can do it with the enemy,” said Mr Ansara. “It can affect how they deal with the Israelis. We don’t want bodies; we want people to realise that non-violence is part of opposing the occupation.” Mustafa Halabi, 21, an English major at Al-Quds University in East Jerusalem, spoke encouragingly of the possibility of passing on some information he had learned to other youths and of making a change in the local mindset. However, Mohammed Badrieh said cultural issues such as pride could make the acceptance of nonviolent resolutions to disputes problematic. “I don’t think they will accept it, because of culture and habits. But we will have to try these things”. The first step would be to create an awareness of the possibility of non-violence. “That is why I came to this camp, to learn and get ideas. I will do my best and, when something happens to me, I will remember what I learned at this camp and apply it to my life.”—CNS
The Southern Cross, June 2 to June 8, 2010
Thoughts for the Week on the Family
ORMER Grand Knight of Da Gama, attorney-general of Lesotho and president of the Regional Court of Natal Trevor Blunden died on April 23 at 85, just 65 days after the death of his wife Rochelle, whom he had married in 1949. Five priests—Mgr Vincent Hill and Frs Hyacinth Ennis OFM, Kevin Reynolds, Russell Campbell and Fr Bogdan Wikaniec—concelebrated the Requiem Mass at Nazareth House in Pretoria. Also attending were 27 members of the Knights who formed a guard of honour. Mr Blunden was born in 1925 and raised on a farm in Kimberley, receiving his education at the city’s Christian Brothers’ College. In 1942 he joined the justice department and served in various centres as prosecutor, magistrate and also as a lecturer at the Justice Training College. In 1968 Mr Blunden was seconded by the South African government to Lesotho where he served as both legal advisor to the prime minister and later as attorney-general. He also represented Lesotho’s government in important civil cases. In 1975 he returned to South Africa and became regional magistrate and later president of the Regional Court of Natal.
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FAMILY CALENDAR: 2010 FAMILY THEME: “Families Play the Game.” May THEME: The Parenting Game
During this time he was one of only three South African representatives at an international Law Conference in Vienna and was also asked to serve as a member of the government on a number of Commissions of Inquiry. Shortly after retirement in 1985 he was invited to sit as an assessor in the Natal Supreme Court and somewhat reluctantly agreed to do so for one month only. This eventually became ten years. In 1995 he retired for good, moved back to Lyttelton and his old parish of Maria Regina, where he served on the parish pastoral council, including a spell as chairman. Mr Blunden, who stood at 1,96m, will be remembered as larger than life character, and a gentle giant. He went to daily Mass whenever he could and said the entire rosary every day. He is survived by his five children, eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Liz Gunter
Mass readings for the week Sundays year C, weekdays cycle 2 Sun June 6, Corpus Christi: Gn 14, 18-20; Ps 110, 1-4; 1 Cor 11, 23-36; Lk 9, 11-17 Mon June 7, feria: 1 Kgs 17, 1-6; Ps 121, 1-8; Mt 5, 1-12 Tue June 8, Bl James Berthieu: 1 Kgs 17, 7-16; Ps 4, 2-5.7-8, Mt 5, 13-16 Wed June 9, St Ephrem: 1 Kgs 18, 20-39; Ps 16, 1-2.4-5.8.11; Mt 5, 17-19 Thur June 10, feria: 1 Kgs 18, 41-46; Ps 65, 10-13; Mt 5, 20-26 Fri June 11, Sacred Heart of Jesus: Ex 34, 11-16; Ps 23, 1-6; Rom 5, 5-11; Lk 15, 3-7 Sat June 12, Immaculate Heart of Mary, St Onuphirus: 1 Kgs 19, 19-21; Ps 16, 1-2.5.7-10; Mt 5, 33-37 Sun June 13, 11th Sunday of the Year: 2 Sm 12, 7-10.13; Ps 32, 1-2.5-7.11; Gal 2, 16.19-21; Lk 7, 36—8,3
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 football 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? June 11, The Sacred Heart of Jesus Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus focuses on two aspects: his great love for us and his heart of flesh as a symbol of his humanity. In a vision to St Margaret Mary in the 17th century Jesus requested her to begin a devotion to his Sacred Heart. The Apostleship of Prayer, is a devotion which is linked with this feast and consists of praying a daily offering of oneself and all one’s prayer, thoughts and works, uniting this with the prayer of the Church especially the Eucharist. See www.apostleshipofprayer.org/ SacredHeart. Start of the World Cup: Pray for the success of this event using the Soccer World Cup Prayer book.
COMMUNIT Y CALENDAR BETHLEHEM: Shrine of Our Lady of Bethlehem at Tsheseng, Maluti mountains; Thursdays 09:30, Mass, then exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. 058 721 0532 JOHANNESBURG: First Friday Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament 10:30. First Saturday: Devotions: Our Lady’s Cenacle, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Rosary, 15:00–16:00. Special devotion to Our Blessed Lady for her priests. Our Lady of the Angels, Little Eden, Edenvale, 011 609 7246 First Saturday of each month rosary prayed 10:30-12:00 outside Marie Stopes abortion clinic, Peter Place, Bryanston. Joan Beyrooti, 782 4331 PRETORIA: First Saturday: Devotion to Divine Mercy. St Martin de Porres, Sunnyside, 16:30. Shirley-Anne 361 4545. CAPE TOWN: Holy Hour to pray for priests of the diocese, 2nd Saturday monthly at Villa Maria shrine Kloof Nek Rd 16:00-17:00. St Pio Holy Hour. June 20 at 15:30 at Holy Redeemer, Bergvliet.
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CULLEN—Gerty. In loving memory of our late mother, who died in Port Alfred on June 4, 2009, aged 99. We couldn’t forget you if we tried, Mom, you were the focal point of our lives. May you enjoy God's reward. The Alberton Cullens. DAVIES—Charles. 26/5/90 twenty years on. You are loved and in our thoughts. Love from Mary, Lou, Larry and Nick.
GRATEFUL thanks to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Our Mother Mary, Ss Joseph, Anthony, Jude and Martin de Porres for prayers answered. RCP
PRAYERS HOLY ST JUDE, apostle and martyr, great in virtue and rich in miracles, kinsman of Jesus Christ, faithful intercessor for all who invoke you, special patron in time of need. To you I had recourse from the depth of my heart and humbly begged you to come to my assistance. You helped me in my need and granted my petition. In return I promised to make your name known and publish this prayer. Amen. Many grateful thanks for prayers answered. RCP. HOLY St Jude, apostle and martyr, great in virtue and rich in miracles, kinsman of Jesus Christ, faithful intercessor of all who invoke you, special patron in time of need. To you I have recourse from the depth of my heart and humbly beg you to come to my assistance. Help me now in my urgent need and grant my petitions. In return I promise to make your name known and publish this prayer. Amen. DD. HOLY Spirit you make me see everything and show me the way to reach my ideals. You give me the divine gift to forgive and forget. In all instances of my life you are with me, protecting me and opening for me a way where there is no way. I thank you for everything, and confirm once more that I never want to be separated from you, no matter how great the material desires. I want to be with you and my loved ones in your perpetual glory. Amen. Say this prayer for 3 consecutive days. Publication promised. DD. O MOST beautiful flower of Mount Carmel, fruitful vine, splendour of Heaven, blessed Mother of the Son of God, Immaculate Virgin, assist me in my necessity. O Star of the Sea, help me and show me where you are, Mother of God. Queen of heaven and earth I humble beseech you from the bottom of my heart to succour me in my necessity. There is none who can withstand your power, O Mary conceived without sin, pay for us who have recourse to thee. Holy Mary, I place this cause in your hands. Say this prayer for 3 consecutive days and then publish. DD.
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HOUSE FOR SALE BREDASDORP—(2035km to Arniston and Cape Agulhas) property for sale. Erf 3538, plot size 1,500m 2. Situated on the foot of the Heuningberg Mountain, ideal setting adjacent to the nature reserve. Two hour drive from Cape Town. Offers welcome, price negotiable. Enquiries Hilda 083 6649483. PIETERMARITZBURG: 4 bedroom house and business (one property). Safe, elite area. Accredited preschool/ cum crèche. 033 391 2028.
HOLIDAY ACCOMMODATION AZARS B&B — Olde worlde charm in Kalk Bay’s quaint fishing village. Luxury double en-suite/private lounge/ entrance. DStv/tea/coffee. Serviced 3 times a week. Minutes from Metrorail. Enjoy breakfast at different restaurant every day (included in tariff). Holy Mass Saturdays/Sundays within walking distance. Tel/Fax 021 788 2031, 082 573 1251.grizell@ iafrica.com CAPE TOWN—Kirstenhof, Tokai. Delightful separate furnished room for sleep over, R150pppn. Call 084 580 5046, 021 701 0999. CAPE TOWN—Vi Holiday Villa. Fully equipped selfcatering, 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 self-catering. Holy Mass celebrated every Sunday at 6pm. 022 451 2650. FISH HOEK—Self-catering accommodation, sleeps 4. Secure parking. 021 785 1247. FISH HOEK, Cape Town— Self-catering holiday accommodation from budget to luxury for 2 to 6 people. Special pensioners’ rate from May to October. Tel/fax 021 782 3647, email:email@example.com GORDON’S BAY: Beautiful en-suite rooms available at reasonable rates.
Magnificent views, breakfast on request. 082 774 7140. E-mail: bzhive @telkomsa.net. KNYSNA—Self-catering garden apartment for two in Old Belvidere with wonderful Lagoon views. 044 387 1052. MARIANELLA Guest House, Simon’s Town— “Come experience the peace and beauty of God with us.” Fully equipped with amazing sea-views. Secure parking, ideal for rest and relaxation. Special rates for pensioners and clergy. Malcolm Salida 082 784 5675 or mjsal firstname.lastname@example.org MONTAGU, Rose Cottage—A luxurious selfcatering “home away from home”; stylishly decorated, the “coolest” place in town! Sleeps 6. The most peaceful surroundings, mountain views, www.rosecottage montagu.co.za or e-mail: info@rosecottagemon tagu.co.za or Christa at 084 409 0044 PORT ELIZABETH: Selfcatering house. Sleeps 6, from June 11 to July 11. R400 per night. Ph 041 368 3040, 084 588 2100. SCHOOL HOLIDAYS too long? Take a break at our holiday home, 3 minute stroll on to Ramsgate Main Beach and the famous Waffle House. 4 Bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, double garage and serviced daily for R850 per night. Google ‘home away from home Ramsgate’ for details or Tel Peter 082 442 1780. 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. SOUTH COAST—Uvongo, KwaZulu-Natal. 2 Bedroom unit, sleeps 6, R350 per night. Full security and lock-up garage. Phone Marlene 071 156 9024. STELLENBOSCH—Five simple private suites (2 beds, fridge, micro-wave). 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. Brenda 082 822 0607. UMHLANGA ROCKS— Fully equipped self-catering 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house, sleeps 6, sea view, 200 metres from beach, DStv. Holiday Division, 031 561 5838 holidays@ lighthouse.co.za VILLA SUMMERTON, Port Elizabeth:B/B–2 en-suite rooms, fully equipped, private entrance. Tel: 041 379 3805 or 072 550 9298 WILDERNESS—Selfcatering house, 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms. Sleeps 8/10, indoor braai, pool table, DStv. Contact Julia, e-mail progalu@ netactive.co.za The Southern Cross is a member of the Audit Bureau of Circulations of South Africa. Printed by Paarl Post, 8 Jan van Riebeeck Drive, Paarl. Published by the proprietors, The Catholic Newspaper & Publishing Co Ltd, at the company’s registered office, 10 Tuin Plein, Cape Town, 8001.
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11th Sunday – Year C (June 13) Readings: 2 Samuel 12:7-10, 13; Psalm 32:1-2, 5, 7, 11; Galatians 2:16, 19-21; Luke 7:36-8:3 NE of the things that religion has to do for us is help us to cope with the fact that we get things wrong, very often out of sheer selfishness, which leads to bad choices. Something of that is going on in the readings for next Sunday. The first reading comes from the lively and disedifying tale of David committing adultery with Bathsheba and then the murder of her husband (read it tonight, in 2 Samuel 11). The prophet Nathan does a very brave thing and traps David by telling, in parable form, the story of what he has done, and when the tale has aroused David’s anger, points the finger at him, saying: “You are the man”, and pronounces God’s judgement on him, by way of a reminder of what God has done for him: “I anointed you King over Israel, I delivered you from the hand of Saul, I gave you your Lord’s house, and your lord’s wives as your own, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah.” So David is accused of (among other things) rank ingratitude. All is not lost, however, for he is able to say, humbly, to the prophet, “I have sinned”, to which Nathan replies, “The Lord has forgiven your sin—you shall not die”.
Donations and volunteers and prayers always welcome
It’s not sins that count, but your love Fr Nicholas King SJ
Scriptural Reflections Now this is not a sycophantic cleric leaping into bed with the politically powerful, for the prophet makes it quite clear to David that he has to be punished (and, as a matter of fact, that he deserves death). So a part of the invitation to us this week will be to recognise that we have indeed made sinful choices, but that at the same time we are dealing with a God who loves us more than we can say, and is ready to forgive. The psalm for next Sunday recognises the need to encounter God’s forgiveness: “Happy are those whose sin is forgiven, whose fault is removed”, he sings (feeling the joy of absolution rather than the misery of having sinned), “whose spirit has no iniquity”. The poet rejoices in having been able to articulate his sinfulness to God, and in
having a sense that God “has surrounded me with deliverance”. And the psalm ends with a song of joy: “rejoice in the Lord and exult, you just; be glad all you upright of heart”. The second reading comes from Galatians, Paul’s least well-tempered letter, and he does not quite manage the exalted tone of the psalm; but he is quite clear about the main fact of his life (something that his Galatians had quite failed to grasp), namely his understanding that the only thing that matters is Jesus Christ. “I am crucified along with Christ”, he says, “and I live, no longer I, but Christ is living in me, by faith in the son of God who loved me and gave himself over for me”. Paul is in agreement with the psalmist that God’s power can overcome the worst that can happen to us. The gospel is a lovely Lucan dinner-party; notice, though, that at the heart of it is a clash of values. On the one hand there is Jesus’ Pharisee host, who disapproves so very strongly of what Jesus allows to be done to him, by A Woman, and, what is worse, by a woman who is clearly no better than she ought to be. Luke emphasises the intimacy of what the woman does for Jesus, anointing his feet, and wiping them with her hair.
Why growth might kill us FIND Pope Benedict’s frequently repeated view of capitalism—that it cannot be trusted—quite fascinating. Recently he said that the recent global financial breakdown had demonstrated the “fragility” of the current economic system. He added that the market was not “capable of regulating itself apart from public intervention and the support of international moral standards”. It reminded me of a paper I read some years ago by a fellow called Peter Russell, on the heady issue of whether economic development and growth were sustainable. I flicked through it again, and found it twice as scary now as it was all those years ago. Peter Russell was one of the first people to introduce personal development seminars to the world about a quarter of a century ago. His point is that the only truly sustainable economy is one with zero material growth. In recent times, he says, the more developed nations have been experiencing unprecedented economic growth. The average Westerner consumed 100 times the resources of a person living 200 years ago, at the dawn of the industrial revolution. Over the same period the population increased by a factor of ten. Combine these two growths, says Russell and the
The Last Word result is a 1 000-fold increase in consumption, and with it a corresponding increase in waste and pollution. Both these growths are set to continue. The human population is expected to double over the next three decades. That means not only twice as many mouths to feed and bodies to house, but also twice the industrial production, twice the consumption and twice the pollution. And this would be the case if there was zero per capita industrial growth, which is highly unlikely. Continued economic growth has made a few people richer and a lot more poorer. In 1980 the average company CEO earned 42 times as much as the average hourlypaid worker. A decade later the CEO earned 157 times as much, and now probably three times that again. Third world debt is increasing by 10% a year and doubling every seven years. Russell refers to R Douthwaite’s book,
‘The overseas media think we’ll welcome World Cup visitors with guns, when all we want is to give them a bouquet.’
The Growth Illusion, and his notion that “the sooner growth is dropped from our thinking and we revert to setting ourselves specific and finite objectives that lead towards our steady state, the better our future will be.” A few years ago Herman Daly of the World Bank put it more bluntly: “It is obvious that in a finite world nothing physical can grow forever. Yet our current policy seems to aim at increasing physical production indefinitely.” But, says Russell, zero growth is far too uncomfortable for most economists and politicians to accept. Not to mention shareholders. Western capitalism cannot survive without growth; national and corporate economies are compelled to expand if they are to avoid collapse. And here, lies the fundamental conflict. We want to ensure the future of humanity, says Russell, yet we also want to ensure the continuation of the very system that is contributing to its downfall. A bit like going to the doctor and asking him to heal you but without interfering with your drinking, smoking, stress-producing lifestyle and over-the-top cholesterol count. Another thing that worries Russell (and scares the daylights out of me) is his determination that interest is as equally unsustainable as growth and development. He kicks off by pointing out that for centuries interest was outlawed by the Catholic Church; it is forbidden by the Koran and, says Russell, there are several Islamic countries that today forbid their banks to charge interest. The accumulation of compound interest, he argues, is unsustainable in the long term. Secondly, he says, it is those who have money who lend it and those who haven’t who need to borrow and pay interest. Third, interest is wanting something for nothing. The act of lending money involves no input of human labour. It is, says Russell, the old time desire for a free lunch. This chain, he says, all depends on economic growth. Given the disastrous longterm implications of continued economic growth, we must question whether the charging of interest is compatible with the goals of sustainable development. If not, we must seek to create a radically different system, he says. Well, whether you agree with Peter Russell or not, these arguments are fascinating, to say the least. They are guaranteed to create lively discourse at the Sunday lunch table but, hopefully, not that lively that it puts you off your pudding. My only comment on all this, is quite simply, thank God for God.
There is a barely concealed sexual vibration to the story as Luke tells it; and we are allowed to hear the Pharisee’s shocked muttering, which we can understand, except that as the story is told we are clearly meant to be on the side of Jesus and of the woman who is behaving in this unconventional manner towards him. This becomes absolutely clear when we hear Jesus’ response to what the Pharisee has not said, but only thought: the difference is that for Jesus what counts is not people’s reputation (“sinner” or “virtuous person”); what counts is how much a person has loved, and Jesus makes the utterly subversive remark that “her many sins have been forgiven her, because she loved much”, whereas Simon could not trouble himself to show any demonstration at all of love or fellowfeeling towards his guest. So the woman is told “your sins are forgiven”, which sets the cat among the theological pigeons. And how does the gospel end? With precisely the women, who support Jesus’ itinerant mendicants out of their own resources. In the end what matters is not how many sins you have committed, but how much love you have shown.
Southern Crossword #394
ACROSS 4. City of silversmiths’ riot (Acts 19) (7) 8. Where you find the shoemaker finally (2,4) 9. Difficulty needing a solution (7) 10. Rosary component (6) 11. The Roman XI (6) 12. The kingdom,... and the glory (Liturgy) (3,5) 18. Or thrice around persuasive speaking (7) 20. Not scared to be held holy (6) 21. Owing money (2,4) 22. Museum keeper (7) 23. You must do it to cancel 21 ac (6) 24. The missionary is sent to him (7)
DOWN 1. Male appointment shows authorisation (7) 2. He avoids work (7) 3. Be accustomed in the past (4,2) 5. Preserve bad kind of behaviour (8) 6. Distinctive badge (6) 7. Odd (6) 13. Bishop's regalia kept here (8) 14. They persist in Old and New Testaments (7) 15. They were used for cutting crops (7) 16. These years are not the green years (6) 17. Make a clean one truthfully (6) 19. Listen around Christmas decoration (6)
SOLUTIONS TO #393. ACROSS: 2 Mohammedan, 8 Perseverance, 10 Lined, 11 Cascade, 12 Tables, 13 School, 16 Monocle, 18 Basra, 19 Charismatics, 20 Last Supper. DOWN: 1 Papal stamp, 3 Overdue, 4 Agency, 5 Means, 6 Dictatorship, 7 Front benches, 9 Hell-raiser, 14 Cabbage, 15 Gets up, 17 Cyrus.
CHURCH CHUCKLE ucking into confession with a turkey in his D arms, the penitent said: “Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. I stole this turkey to feed my family. Would you take it and settle my guilt?” “Certainly not,” said the priest. “As penance, you must return the turkey to the one from whom you stole it.” “I tried,” the man sobbed, “but he refused. Oh, Father, what should I do?” “If what you say is true, then it is all right for you to keep it for your family.” Thanking the priest, the man hurried off. When confession was over, the priest returned to his presbytery. Walking into the kitchen to cook Sunday lunch, he saw his turkey was missing…