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February 16 to February 22, 2011

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Little Eden houses volunteers

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No 4715

Finding God in the midst of pain

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Better foundations, better education By CLAiRe MATHieSoN

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N his most recent paper, researcher Kenny Pasensie of the Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office (CPLO), an associated branch of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, has examined the details of the 2010 National Senior Certificate examination. While overall positive results were achieved, Mr Pasensie said there was still need for improvement. He pointed out that a successful matric is the result of a long schooling journey and “the matric pass rate can only be improved if and when schooling in the foundation phases is improved”. Mr Pasensie said the most recent matric class defied the critics. Most people did not believe such an increase was possible considering “all the tinkering with the curriculum, the long break due to the football World Cup, and the teachers’ strike; the class of 2010 seemingly defied the odds stacked against them”. The 2010 class achieved an overall pass rate of 67.8% as opposed to 60.6% achieved in 2009. Despite this growth, Mr Pasensie said there were many more students who did not even get to matric and this was one of the biggest issues currently facing education in South Africa. “The 559 1661 learners who entered matric in 2010 were among the roughly 1.3 million Grade 1 learners of 1999. Yet only 537 543 wrote the exams, of which only 364 513 passed”. Mr Pasensie said within the 12 year school journey more than half of the 1999 learners had dropped out of school. “Even if one takes into account the more than 80 000 learners out of this cohort who registered as part-time matriculants, the numbers are still worrying,” he said. Mr Pasensie referred to a 2007 study conducted by Social Surveys Africa and the Centre for Applied Legal Studies which found that almost 96% of South African children between the ages of seven and 15 were in school in 2007. “This is commendable because it means that South Africa is on a par with the United Nations millennium development goal of universal access to primary school by 2015.” However, Mr Pasensie found that almost 12% of 16-18 year-olds were not in school, and the majority of these learners left school during grades 10 to 12. “For learners of 18 and older, the dropout rate escalates sharply.” The main reasons for this number include poverty, grade repetition (which can affect one’s attitude towards school), pregnan-

A Christian supporter of pro-democracy actions in egypt carries a crucifix amid the crowd in Tahrir Square in Cairo. Thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators in the square continued to protest the rule of egyptian President Hosni Mubarak despite concessions announced by the government. (Photo: yannis Behrakis/Reuters/CNS)

cy and geographical location. Another issue uncovered in his research was that of “culling” where schools, in an attempt to pursue impressive results, persuade weaker candidates to leave school before the matric exams. “This could perhaps explain the steady increase in the number of the parttime candidates since 2008 and the huge drop in full-time candidates,” Mr Pasensie said. The Department of Basic Education has instead suggested the increase was due to candidates repeating matric. “This may account for some of the increase, however, one cannot discount the notion that schools are culling their matriculants because it is only the full-time candidates that are counted in calculating the pass rate. Moving candidates to part-time status thus manipulates the pass rate.”

Mr Pasensie’s research also looked into the national focus on science and mathematics. Government has been trying to stimulate interest in these subjects through projects like the area-focused Dinaledi schools, however, far fewer candidates wrote mathematics in the 2010 NSC exams—263 034 compared to the 290 407 in 2009. Of those who passed mathematics in 2010, only 31% obtained a mark of 40% or above. Fewer learners also wrote the physical science exam—205 364 versus 220 882 in 2009. Of these only 30% managed to get above 40% in the subject. Mr Pasensie said the offset of this is the reduced number of applicants who would be applying for mathematical and scientific degrees. While many more distinctions were achieved in 2010 in these subjects, questions

have been raised about the difficulty level of the examination papers set. Mr Pasensie said it was possible that teachers were more familiar with the work and better prepared to teach. However, he said it seems to be a contradiction that only 31% and 30% of candidates managed to get more than 30% in these subjects respectively, but that the numbers of distinctions (a mark of over 80%) in both subjects increased so dramatically. Two further issues arise from these figures: the fact that a mark of 50% in the new NSC is regarded as equivalent to a mark of 40% in the old higher grade maths exam and to make matters worse, it is quite possible that the marks may have been adjusted upwards. Mr Pasensie said the only way to address these issues is through a massive effort to ensure better resources and improved teacher development and support. Language needs to be considered to ensure more students are receiving quality education and are able to learn comfortably. “There is no discernible single dominant African language and the parents tend to push English as the preferred medium of instruction,” Mr Pasensie said. “It is telling that the majority of matric candidates, 449 080, wrote English as ‘first additional language’ subject, and an additional 77 449 chose Afrikaans. This confirms, as our overall demographics suggest, that the overwhelming majority of candidates have an African language as their home language. Despite this, all papers other than language papers are set only in English or Afrikaans. We should surely be giving these learners a congratulatory pat on the back for their achievement in studying for and writing exams in a language that is at best a second language to them.” Mr Pasensie said that while there was a long way to go, there had been positive improvements from schools that serve special needs learners and schools in outlying areas. He said infrastructure needed to be established to improve the physical condition of schools and thereafter developing and supporting teachers would be the only way to improve the pass mark in subjects like maths and science. Finally, encouraging mothertongue education may help students stay in school longer and help them earn better grades. “It all starts with small steps and the laying of proper foundations,” he said.

Pope: Defend doctrine, but don’t attack others By CiNdy WoodeN

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VEN in the midst of the upheaval of the Protestant Reformation in Germany, St Peter Canisius knew how to defend Catholic doctrine without launching personal attacks on those who disagreed, Pope Benedict said. St Peter, a 16th-century Jesuit sent on mission to Germany, knew how to “harmoniously combine fidelity to dogmatic principles with the respect due to each person”, the pope said at his weekly general audience. In St Peter Canisius’ own time, more than 200 editions of his catechisms were published, the pope said, and they were so popular in Germany for so long that up until “my father’s generation people called a catechism simply a ‘Canisius’.”

The saint, who was born in The Netherlands, insisted there was a difference between wilfully turning away from the faith and “the loss of faith that was not a person’s fault under the circumstances, and he declared to Rome that the majority of Germans who passed to Protestantism were without fault”. “In a historical period marked by strong confessional tensions, he avoided—and this is something extraordinary—he avoided giving into disrespect and angry rhetoric. This was rare at that time of disputes between Christians,” the pope said. His theological achievements, which earned him the title “doctor of the church” in 1925, were effective because his study, preaching and writing all flowed from a personal friendship with Christ, long periods of prayer and unity with the Church under the leader-

ship of the pope, he said. With “peace, love and perseverance” he accomplished his task of renewing the Catholic Church in Germany even as Protestantism grew, the pope said. The saint’s life teaches Catholics today that “the Christian life does not grow except with participation in the liturgy, particularly the holy Mass on Sundays, and with daily personal prayer,” the pope said. “In the midst of the thousands of activities and multiple stimuli that surround us, it is necessary each day to find moments for reflection to listen to and speak to the Lord.” St Peter Canisius is a reminder that preaching the Gospel is effective only if the preacher has a personal relationship with Christ, is united with the Church and “lives a morally coherent life”, the pope said.—CNS

St Peter Canisius depicted in a stained-glass window in the Luxembourg Cathedral. St Peter knew how to defend Catholic doctrine without launching personal attacks on those who disagreed, Pope Benedict said. (Photo:Crosiers/CNS)


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LOCAL

The Southern Cross, February 16 to February 22, 2011

Dominicans celebrate more than just clothes

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OMINICAN friars of Southern African have this month come together in a ceremonial gathering at La Verna in Vanderbijl Park in Johannesburg. The gathering was significant for four young Dominican friars who were clothed in the Dominican habit for the first time by Fr Mark James, the provincial. In his homily Fr James spoke about the significance of their habit. Fr James explained that the Dominican habit is not branded clothing but a religious symbol that speaks loudly. “The white of the age-old Dominican habit recalls us to our baptismal commitment and our profession to proclaim the Gospel, whereas the black cappa—reminds us of the shadow side of our own lives and that we are called to be humble preachers in a world of sin and brokenness,” he said. The four novices were from South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia, said Fr Emil Blaser OP. “One of the novices, Neil Mitchell has had a rich career in education. “A teacher by profession he was for many years involved in

NGO education, and in former times, was a conscientious objector,” Fr Blaser said. Also in attendance was Zimbabwean Brother Godfrey Chikaura, a computer technician and an instructor in communication information technology, while the two brothers from Zambia, Isaac Mutelo and Kelvin Banda, were both teachers. Brother Kelvin is also a trained counsellor. “The well known writer and preacher, Fr Albert Nolan, is their novice master. “He has often referred to himself as a ‘re-cycled’ provincial and now a re-cycled novice master! The novitiate is in Aquinas Priory, Mondeor, Johannesburg,” Fr Blaser said. The Dominican order has already seen a variety of special occasions this year including the renewal of Br Ndabaningi Brian Mhlanga’s one-year profession. Fr Blaser said Br Mhlanga was originally from Malawi and Zimbabwe and is presently continuing his studies at St Joseph’s Theological Institute in Cedara and is the house bursar at Emaphethelweni priory in Pietermartizburg. He said the Dominicans in

(Left to right) dominican Provincial Fr Mark James and novice master Albert Nolan are seen with Godfrey Chikaura, Neil Mitchell, isaac Mutelo and Kelvin Banda who were clothed at the ceremony in Vanderbijl Park.

South Africa do various ministries. “Some lecture at St Joseph’s Theological Institute, or at the university, others are parish

priests, chaplains and formators. Others again are involved in the media and Radio Veritas. “For many years there has always been a Dominican work-

ing at the SA Catholic Bishops’ Conference where Fr Mike Deeb is presently the coordinator of the Justice and Peace department.'

Social and economic justice a must By CLAiRe MATHieSoN

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URING his homily at the plenary session of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) in January, Auxiliary Bishop Barry Wood of Durban, called for the need for social and economic justice in South Africa. Bishop Wood said the Church has called us to be aware of the signs of the times through the African Synods: The Inter-Regional Meeting of Bishops of Southern Africa (IMBISA) Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) gatherings. He said these meetings are calling on Catholics to “work for economic justice, to work with all our energy to do away with this huge gap between rich and poor”. Bishop Wood said justice requires that the world be organised to create a playing field in which all can par-

J.M.J

ticipate with dignity. He said for Christians, engagement in radical change is not first and foremost a question of politics and economics, although these may be involved. “Rather the prime motivation for seeking to change the world must be t h e f urt h e ran c e of t h e ide a of t h e Kingdom proclaimed by Jesus—a Kingdom of Justice, Peace and Reconciliation,” he said. “In the letters to The Southern Cross we hear debate about in-house challenges of the Church in South Africa. Language of the liturgy, music, celibacy, ordination, authority, implementation of Vatican II, and sexual issues, but very little about social and economic injustice,” he said, and also asked how Catholics can awaken spiritual energy to confront the issues that affect the poor, the unemployed, the destitute. Bishop Wood said in order to prac-

tise justice one has to examine, challenge and try to reform economic, social, cultural and religious systems that unjustly penalise some. He said people may not always know what strategy to take but “we can always know that Jesus stands with us in the midst of brokenness, among those who are poor, marginalised, forgotten”. Bishop Wood added that the plenary session challenges the Church as Pope Benedict does “to awaken the spiritual energy in the Church to confront economic and social injustice”, and to remember what Pope Paul VI said: “If you want peace work for justice.” In addition to the justice call from Bishop Wood, the January plenary session saw a call from Archbishop Buti Tlhagale of Johannesburg for the Church to change its role and adapt to an African context.

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LOCAL

ANC vote equals heaven entry: ‘Blasphemous’ By CLAiRe MATHieSoN

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ITH the local elections around the corner political parties are vying for votes. However, President Jacob Zuma has upset Christians and opposition parties with his comments at a recent rally in Mthatha. The president, who heads the ruling party, informed the crowd that voting for the African National Congress (ANC) will let one through to heaven. “When you vote for the ANC, you are also choosing to go to heaven. When you don’t vote for the ANC you should know that you are choosing that man who carries a fork...who cooks people. “When you are carrying an ANC membership card, you are blessed. When you get up there, there are different cards used but when you have an ANC card, you will be let through to go to heaven,” the president told the crowd. The South African Council of Churches (SACC), of which the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) is a member, has labelled the statement as “blasphemous”. President of the SACC Anglican Bishop Jo Seoka said equating a vote for the ANC with going to heaven is problematic. “Adding that in heaven people are wearing the colours of the ANC only adds to the problem,” he said. The SACC has, in previous election campaigns, asked political leaders to speak honestly and to address the needs of the voters, not their desires. “What the South African electorate requires is assurances that their lives will be improved through service delivery, provision of jobs and security. Our

government and political leaders must address the genuine and legitimate needs of poor people.” The SACC said the call comes from the work done on a daily basis by its member churches. “We work on a daily basis with scores of people who are hungry, unemployed and homeless. These are our brothers and sisters in Christ who look at political leaders with great expectations,” the SACC president said. “Offering heaven to these people while their suffering continues here on earth is escapist. We [as Church and government] are expected to transform the livelihoods of all [and especially the poor] for the better,” he said. It is not the first time that Mr Zuma’s comments have resulted in a political storm. He angered Christians and opposition parties during his 2009 general election campaign when he repeatedly told ANC rallies that the ruling party would rule until Jesus returned. Spokesperson for the ANC, Jackson Mthembu said the statement was a “metaphor” and a “way of speaking”. The SACC said Mr Mthembu’s response demonstrates the concern of the SACC that “political leaders and parties use unacceptable language” during election campaigns. The SACC is currently planning to meet with Mr Zuma to discuss election rhetoric and other important concerns. As a member of the SACC, the SACBC has added its support to the outcry, with Fr Chris Townsend, from the Office for Communication and Media saying better care with words was needed to be taken by politicians.

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The Southern Cross, February 16 to February 22, 2011

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Little Eden houses volunteers By CLAiRe MATHieSoN

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TAFF, children and friends of Little Eden, gathered to celebrate the official opening of the long-term volunteer accommodation, at Elvira Rota Village in Bapsfontein, Johannesburg. Little Eden is a care facility for the intellectually disabled. According to publicist Hanneli Esterhuysen, the new building, known as Caroline Tindall House, was yet another dream of the Society’s founder, Domitilla RotaHyams, who died earlier this year. Lucy Slaviero, CEO of Little Eden and daughter of Mrs RotaHyams, said despite being deeply saddened by the founder’s death “the opening of the Caroline Tindall House for our long-term volunteers marks the fulfillment and completion of the many dreams which she had for Little Eden”. Ms Esterhuysen said Mrs RotaHyams knew without a doubt what her calling in life was to be. “Many years ago in particular, she had envisioned that one day a religious order of nuns would be welcomed at Little Eden to help continue the important work being carried out daily,” she said. In January 2010 three Sisters of the Imitation of Christ, an order of Catholic nuns from India, arrived to start their service at Little Eden. “These women have joined the team of dedicated staff in being the hands of Jesus in caring for the residents. They have embraced the values of the society: respect, sanctity of life, love and care, and it is visible in the contentment of the residents,” Ms Esterhuysen said. The new building, which houses the sisters, can accommodate additional nuns who wish to serve at Little Eden.

Little eden has opened a new house for long-term volunteers. Seen at the opening are the Mother General from the Sisters of the imitation of Christ, who visited from india, and danny Hyams who cut the ribbon before the building was blessed by Archbishop emeritus George daniel. “What Domitilla had started 43 years ago, will continue through faith and the continued support of the generous friends and benefactors of Little Eden. Her life was about unconditional love, faith and service: to families, to neighbours, to those less fortunate and to those who are most vulnerable,” said Ms Esterhuysen, who added that the impact of Mrs RotaHyams’ work will remain for many years to come. The celebration of the opening of the Caroline Tindall House included the unveiling of a plaque by Karen Tindall and Suzie Tindall—family of the late Caroline Tindall. The late Ms Tindall has been described by those at Little Eden as a “most gracious lady”. At the opening was Mother General from the Sisters of the Imitation of Christ, who travelled

from India, and Danny Hyams who cut the ribbon and declared the building officially opened before it was blessed by Archbishop emeritus George Daniel. Ms Esterhuysen said the project could not have been realised had it not been for the kindness and generosity of the many individuals and companies who contributed towards the completion of the building. “There are too many to mention, but each one played an invaluable role in assisting Little Eden to realise this important project. Little Eden is very grateful to each of them”, she said. Little Eden has been serving the intellectually disabled of Johannesburg for 43 years and today cares for 300 adults and children. For more information visit www.little eden.org.za


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The Southern Cross, February 16 to February 22, 2011

INTERNATIONAL Women from Southern Sudan embrace after the announcement of the official voting results in Khartoum. election officials said that more than 98% of ballots in the January vote were in favor of independence, meaning Southern Sudan will become the world’s newest country in July. (Photo: Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah, CNS,Reuters)

Priests’ group wants new missal postponed By SARAH MACdoNALd

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GROUP representing more than 400 of Ireland’s 4 500 priests has made an urgent plea to the country’s bishops to postpone the introduction of the new English translation of the missal for at least another five years. The call from the Association of Catholic Priests came as the National Centre for Liturgy in Maynooth launched a new publication aimed at explaining and preparing priests and laypeople for the changes in the missal. The new texts will be introduced on November 27, the first Sunday of Advent and the start of the liturgical year. At a news conference in Dublin, representatives from the priests’ group said the proposed literal translations from Latin had produced texts that were “archaic, elitist and obscure and not in keeping with the natural rhythm, cadence and syntax of the English language”. Fr Dermot Lane, president of Mater Dei Institute of Education in Dublin, said the priests were making an eleventh-hour appeal to the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference and urged the bishops to begin consulting with priests, liturgical committees and laypeople to develop new texts that would inspire and encourage the faithful. “We are passionately concerned about the quality of our liturgical celebration and about the quality of the language that will be used in the way we worship Sunday after Sunday,” he

The cover to a parish guide on the english translation of the new edition of the Roman Missal. (Photo: CNS, USCCB)

said. “If this goes ahead, instead of drawing people into the liturgy, it will in fact draw people out from the liturgy.” The association said in a statement distributed at the news conference that it was “gravely concerned” that the “word-for-word translation from Latin into a vernacular language...demonstrates a lack of awareness of the insights gained from linguistics and anthropology during the past 100 years”. The translation was mandated by the Vatican’s 2001 instruction “Liturgiam Authenticam” (The Authentic Liturgy).

The International Commission on English in the Liturgy met for several years to develop translations that more closely matched the original Latin prayers. Local bishops’ conferences also worked on the translations and submitted them to the Vatican for approval. Despite such efforts, concerns similar to the Irish priests’ association have been raised in English-speaking countries around the world. The priests’ association suggested that the Irish bishops follow the example of the German bishops and assert the right to make their own decisions regarding the celebration of the liturgy in Ireland. “We are saying very clearly that this new translation of the missal is not acceptable,” said Fr Gerard Alwill, pastor of a rural parish in the diocese of Kilmore. “We are deeply concerned that if these new texts are imposed, they could create chaos in our church. Our church doesn’t need chaos at this time. “How can we, the priests, be asked to introduce this with any conviction when we ourselves haven’t had any input into it and when we have such serious doubts and reservations about it?” he added. Fr Alwill called upon priests, parish pastoral councils, religious men and women and laypeople to read the texts and to raise any concerns they may have with their local bishop.—CNS

Website dedicated to John Paul II’s beatification By CARoL GLATz

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HE diocese of Rome launched a new website dedicated to the beatification and canonisation of Pope John Paul II. Published in seven languages, the site www.karol-wojtyla.org offers news updates and background information on the late pope and his sainthood cause, as well as a live webcam of his tomb in the grotto of St Peter’s Basilica. The website also announced that the beatification ceremony in St Peter’s Square on May 1, Divine Mercy Sunday, will be open to the public and no tickets will be required to attend. The evening before the ceremony, April 30, there will be a prayer vigil at Rome’s ancient Circus Maximus racetrack, it said. The website offers the diocesan-approved prayer asking for graces through the intercession

A screen grab of the new website launched for the beatification of Pope John Paul ii. (Photo: CNS)

of Pope John Paul in 31 languages, including Chinese, Arabic, Russian and Swahili. A miracle after Pope John Paul’s beatification would be needed for his canonisation, which is a Church declaration that the person is a saint and worthy of universal veneration. Last month Pope Benedict

approved a first miracle attributed to the late pope’s intercession, clearing the way for his beatification. The approval came after more than five years of investigation into the life and writings of the Polish pontiff, who died in April 2005 after more than 26 years as pope.—CNS

Pope cannot be organ donor, Vatican official says By JoHN THAViS

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S a cardinal, Pope Benedict was a card-carrying organ donor. But the card became invalid when he became pope, according to his personal secretary. The issue arose when a German doctor recently began promoting organ donation by citing the pope’s enlistment in the organ-donor programme more than 30 years ago. The Vatican asked the doctor to stop using the pope as an example, and the pope’s secretary Mgr Georg Ganswein explained the reasons in a letter. “While it is true that the pope has an organ donor card,

it is also true that, contrary to some public affirmations, the card issued in the 1970s became ipso facto invalid with Cardinal Ratzinger’s election to the papacy,” the letter said, according to Vatican Radio. Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, told reporters that the most evident reason a pope could not donate organs was that, in a sense, “his body belongs to the whole Church”. He said the Church’s tradition that a pope’s body be buried intact also reflected the possibility of future veneration. “That takes nothing away from the validity and the beau-

ty of donating one’s organs,” the archbishop added. Other Vatican sources said Church officials were worried that the publicity in Germany about the 83-year-old pope as an organ donor might create “unrealistic expectations” when the pope dies. Pope Benedict has called organ donation a generous “act of love”. In 2008, he told a Vatican conference that “tissue and organ transplants represent a great advance of medical science and are certainly a sign of hope for the many people who suffer from serious and sometimes critical medical conditions”.—CNS


INTERNATIONAL

Pope prays for peace in Egypt

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OPE Benedict prayed for a peaceful outcome of the political unrest in Egypt, and said he hoped the changes in the region would lead to greater religious freedom. “In these days I am following closely the delicate situation of the dear Egyptian nation,” the pope told pilgrims at his noon blessing at the Vatican. “I ask God that this land, blessed by the presence of the Holy Family, may rediscover tranquility and peaceful coexistence, in a shared commitment to the common good,” the pope said. It was Pope Benedict’s first comment on nearly two weeks of protest demonstrations that have shaken President Hosni Mubarak’s nearly 30year hold on power. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, reviewed the political turmoil in Egypt in a commentary

on Vatican Radio. He said it was not mistaken to speak of a “revolution” in countries of North Africa and the Middle East, where widespread political opposition has emerged for the first time. Fr Lombardi said that along with economic causes of the unrest, many people of the region—especially young people—want more freedom and a more responsive government. He noted that at the recent Synod of Bishops for the Middle East, leaders of Christian minorities there made similar calls for religious freedom. “Now there are entire populations that, in order to more fully realise their dignity, are asking to exercise more responsibly the right of citizenship that belongs to every person of whatever religion,” the spokesman said.— CNS

Liturgist backs away from missal translation process

The Southern Cross, February 16 to February 22, 2011

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Fate of Christians, Muslims tied in Middle East By CiNdy WoodeN

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HRISTIANS and Muslims are involved together in the democracy and reform movements bubbling up around the Middle East and members of both communities will gain from their success and suffer if they are violently suppressed, said a leading Lebanese Muslim scholar. With demonstrations in Tunisia and Egypt, simmering unrest in Yemen and government changes in Lebanon, “I am both worried and hopeful”, said Muhammad al-Sammak, adviser to the chief mufti of Lebanon and secretary general of Lebanon’s Christian-Muslim Committee for Dialogue. Al-Sammak, whom Pope Benedict invited to speak to the synod of bishops for the Middle East in October, met with journalists at the Rome headquarters of the Community of Sant’Egidio, a lay organisation active in interreligious dialogue for peace. “It is true that the situation

of Christians in the Middle East is not good,” al-Sammak said, adding that the region’s governments must do more to protect the religious minorities in their midst. One concrete proposal for accomplishing that, he said, is a “fatwa”—an Islamic legal opinion—declaring that in Islam and for a Muslim “harming a Christian is like harming a Muslim and attacking a church is like attacking a mosque”. Al-Sammak drafted a fatwa at the request of Saad Hariri, when Hariri was still Lebanon’s prime minister. Adoption of the fatwa by Islamic and government leaders around the Middle East stalled only because Hariri’s government fell and the essential support of influential Muslim scholars at Al-Ahzar University in Cairo was difficult to obtain while their country was experiencing widespread demonstrations, al-Sammak said. The scholar told reporters in

Muhammad al-Sammak, adviser to the chief mufti of Lebanon and secretary general of Lebanon’s Christian-Muslim Committee for dialogue. (Photo: Paul Haring, CNS) Rome that the protests and unrest throughout the Middle East “just started, but it came after a long period of fermentation. The political outcome is likely to take different shapes in different countries,” he said. But one thing he knows for sure, and that, he said, is “the Christians in the Middle East are part of this change. They are not opposed to it; they are not leading it; they are part of it.”—CNS

By NANCy FRAzieR o’BRieN

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AYING that he “cannot promote the new missal translation with integrity”, the former chairman of the music committee of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy has withdrawn from all speaking engagements related to the missal. Benedictine Father Anthony Ruff, a professor of liturgy and Gregorian chant at St John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota, made the announcement in “an open letter to the US Catholic bishops”. The letter was published in America magazine. Use of the new translation of the missal is to begin November 27, the first Sunday of Advent, in US parishes and in several other parts of the English-speaking world. The transition to the new translation took up most of the past decade and has not been without its rough patches, with some bishops, priests and laypeople criticising changes in wording meant to bring the translation more closely into alignment with the Latin original. There was no comment on the priest’s letter from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. Fr Ruff said his involvement with the ICEL music committee, “as well as my observation of the Holy See’s handling of scandal, has gradually opened my eyes to the deep problems in the structures of authority of our Church”. He called the missal “part of a larg-

Benedictine Father Anthony Ruff, a liturgist who has cancelled all speaking engagements related to the Roman Missal, claims the translation process is marked by “deception and mischief”. (Photo: Fr Ruff/CNS) er pattern of top-down impositions by a central authority that does not consider itself accountable to the larger church”. “When I think of how secretive the translation process was, how little consultation was done with priests or laity, how the Holy See allowed a small group to hijack the translation at the final stage, how unsatisfactory the final text is, how this text was imposed on national conferences of bishops in violation of their legitimate episcopal authority, how much deception and mischief have marked this process—and then when I think of our Lord’s teachings on service and love and unity...I weep,” Fr Ruff said in the letter.—CNS

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A boy, who managed to sneak through security, runs to hug Pope Benedict during his weekly general audience in Paul Vi hall at the Vatican (Photo: Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters/CNS)

Ohio bishops urge end to death penalty

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HIO’S ten Catholic bishops have joined in urging state legislators to debate and ultimately abolish the death penalty. “Just punishment can occur without resorting to the death penalty,” the bishops said in a statement, speaking at the Catholic Conference of Ohio. “Our Church teachings consider the death penalty to be wrong in almost all cases.” The bishops said that although murder “rightly evokes moral outrage and a call for justice”, it also requires “spiritual healing and caring support for all those impacted by such a tragedy”. They added: “Just

punishment—punishment that reflects the seriousness of the offence, seeks restoration for the offence and protects society—is a foundational moral principle within our justice system.” The bishops’ call followed comments by Ohio Supreme Court Justice Paul Pfeifer and by Terry Collins, former director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections that the time has come for a debate about use of the death penalty in the state. Mr Pfeifer, who was a state senator and helped write the death penalty law as chairman of the Senate’s Judiciary Com-

mittee in 1981, said the law has not functioned as intended because an option for life in prison without parole was wrongly excluded from the original legislation. There are currently 157 prisoners on death row in Ohio, with an execution scheduled for each of the next seven months. “I think the best answer is for the governor to just commute them all and that we do what Illinois has done and say we do not need the death penalty in Ohio any longer,” Mr Pfeifer said in a mid-January newspaper interview.— CNS


6

LEADER PAGE

The Southern Cross, February 16 to February 22, 2011

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Truth of the crucifixtion?

Michael Shackleton

The Mass matters

H

OW often have Catholics not heard the catchword “It’s the Mass that matters”? That is as true now as ever it was. Vatican II reminded the Church that “the Eucharist is the summit of all Christian life” (Lumen gentium, 11), and called for a revision of the liturgy to bring the mystery of the Mass into more understandable focus so that God’s people might be caught up in this magnificent act of worship of the Father in the presence of Christ himself, our high priest. When implementation of the Council’s recommendations crystallised, people appreciated just how big the change in the liturgy was. The Latin Tridentine Mass gave way to a new liturgical form using the languages of the people; positions and movements of the priest and ministers in the sanctuary shifted with the priest facing the congregation. This New Order of the Mass became official in 1970. In the same year Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre opted to secede from communion with the pope in order to preserve the Tridentine liturgy and the ethos of the pre-conciliar Church. Amendments to the Eucharist, the sacrament of unity in Christ, had led to a prominent Father of the Vatican Council to split the Church’s solidarity, making the Mass a bone of contention, not a sign of communion. Comment and criticism are frequently aimed at today’s celebration of the Mass. We have to ask ourselves whether the faithful really do show their solidarity, their embracing of Christ and one another, when they attend their parish Eucharist. Some ask whether the Tridentine rite should not be reinstated, perhaps on the grounds that the silence of that rite intensified the feeling of awe and mystery as the priest entered into the “holy of holies” to consecrate bread and wine. The New Order is here to stay, despite those who may

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.

complain that there is no sense of reverence in the Mass, which they find boring, repetitive and uninspiring, and that includes the homily. Our news reports and letters page have featured instances of this dissatisfaction, including complaints about the liturgy’s new English translation and the poor quality of music and hymn-singing in our churches. It is necessary to appreciate that the Mass remains a profoundly sacred act of worship but the way it is celebrated can have a contrary effect on the faithful. Interesting, therefore, are the comments of Auxiliary Bishop Alan Hopes of Westminter diocese and chairman of the liturgical committee of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. Writing in the Tablet, he recalls Pope Benedict’s visit to the United Kingdom in September last year. He says the Holy Father spoke eloquently of the meaning of the Mass by simply celebrating it. He then highlights three points that, he believes, are the model for the proper and respectful liturgical rite of the Mass at diocesan and parish level. Firstly, there is the period of silence the pope observed after the homily and holy communion. This amplified the feeling of being in the presence of God and with other members of the faithful. Secondly, the range of music, which reminded one that the Catholic Church has something of quality to offer. Thirdly, the dignity of the ceremonial, which was unfussy, drawing the assembly (and even passers-by) into the mystery of the holy sacrifice. Liturgical committees and liturgists might heed what Bishop Hopes has pinpointed. Sacred silence at sacred moments; restrained and prayerful singing; a liturgy undertaken in the awareness of the divine presence. Priest and people will need to work together to perfect these and so emphasise that it is the Mass that matters.

W

E are no sooner over the joyous celebrations of the birth of Christ than our minds turn to Lent and the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ. The recorded accounts of the passion of Christ and the gospels and the 14th century painters onwards have always worried me. Since the gospels were written 50 years after the death of Christ there was no one alive who actually witnessed his crucifixion. Death by crucifixion was the accepted form of execution while the Romans occupied Palestine, but to me the painters and the Church have tried to sanitise the crucifixion of Christ. Let me state four myths of the crucifixion: 1. Christ never carried the cross, he only carried the cross beam made of a cruel branch of a tree tied behind his shoulders. 2. If he was nailed through the hands he would have fallen off the cross once it was elevated. He was in fact nailed through the wrists. 3. No one, including Christ in his humanity, could have survived more than half an hour with his arms outstretched, and already having suffered agony from the scourging at the pillar. He would have

Pray for Africa

Y

OUR editorial of December 29 and January 5 mentioned prayer for Zimbabwe and the Church’s 101-day prayer for peace campaign in Southern Sudan. This begs the question: Why do we in Africa not all pray for Africa as a whole, as a sign of love for all our neighbours? Not just for peace but for all of Africa’s problems? People in various counties overseas prayed for South Africa during our 1994 elections, and during the Rwanda genocide—if they could pray for Africa, why don’t we? Perhaps part of the reason is suggested by Paulinus Ikechukwu Odozor CSSp, professor of moral theology at Notre Dame Indiana, who wrote that in traditional African societies, although there is deep respect for the “other”, this is when the “other” is from one’s own family, clan or ethnic group, not on the basis of recognition of the “other’s” equal humanity as a son or daughter of God or universal recognition of a person’s humanity. Could prayer by all parts of our continent for each other not be a starting point for the reconciliation, justice and peace envisaged by the 2009 synod? Pope John Paul II loved all Africa—perhaps on his beatification he will intercede for us all. Perhaps Pope Benedict will give

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hyperventilated and died of asphyxia. 4. He may have hung on the cross for three hours, but I suggest that most of that time he was dead or comatose. We are never told how far Jesus carried his cross beam from the Praetorium to the top of Calvary. The centrepiece, a tree trunk to which criminals were tied to the crossbeam was already in place. I have enjoyed the editor’s accounts of his pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Perhaps he could tell us how high the hill of Calvary was. I believe it overlooked the city of Jerusalem as a warning to other criminals. The crucifixion, though a momentous event to Christians was an everyday occurrence in the lives of residents of Jerusalem. In no way am I trying to diminish the passion and suffering of Christ. I would appreciate constructive comments. Without his passion and suffering on the cross we would not have merited the fruits of Christ’s resurrection when he rose from the dead by the power of God in his divinity. RG Pitchford, Middleburg Crucifixion was a Roman form of deterrence, and Calvary, a stone quarry located just outside the city walls, must have been visible enough to be seen

us a prayer that we can all say regularly when he gives his exhortation on the synod in Benin. A prayer that Africa may draw closer to the heart of Christ. Athaly Jenkinson, East London

A loyal Catholic

I

RESENT in no uncertain terms, Peter Throp’s assertion that I promote women priests and same sex unions (February 2). I have never “promoted” that in any of my letters. I am a Catholic Christian loyal in every respect to Rome and especially to the teachings of Vatican II. How can a union between two members of the same sex occur? They are not able to procreate! John Lee, Johannesburg

Beware new drug

R

ECENTLY a newspaper article was published about a new drug on the market called whoonga. Drugs have been used by mankind for many centuries, sometimes for the good, but mostly for the bad, as we regularly see in our daily lives how drugs can destroy a person, a family and also a nation. Most have heard about dagga, heroin tik, nyope to name a few but lately a new drug has come on the market called woonga and this one is a real killer, it is said. Two pulls

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and you are hooked. The drug is a concoction of dagga and Stocrin to which dealers add chemicals found in rat poison as well as in other products. It has been revealed that Aids clinics and hospitals are under threat by syndicates to steal drugs meant for Aids patients as these drugs are used to concoct this evil drug called woonga. I don’t want to scare anybody but to warn against “too friendly” people—even your friends at school that want you to take just one pill or just one pull which will destroy your lives and, as I have said before, your family too. My Catholic advice to young people is to be aware of these dangers and report the slightest attempt to your parents and teachers. Get involved in church activities, sport, family affairs but stay away from drugs. We can’t do it alone—pray for the Lord’s help Joe Stas, Port Alfred

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. Please keep letters brief and to the point.

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Mark 16:15

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from Jerusalem. The height of the rock outcrop is impossible to determine accurately now, because it has been covered since the second century, successively by a Roman temple and then the churches of the Holy Sepulchre. It is likely that Christ was forced to carry only the cross-beam; given Jerusalem’s shortage of wood that seems to have been normal. Of course, the significance of his final walk is not the weight of his physical burden, but the anguish and humiliation he was made to suffer. Medieval artists obviously applied artistic licence to their interpretations of biblical events, but the insight that crucifixion by nailing through the palms was physiologically impossible is relatively modern. There are many plausible theories about what would have caused death in those who were crucified, ranging from asphyxia to cardiac rupture to shock, or a combination of factors leading to cardiovascular collapse. In Jesus’ day it was possible to “redeem” a crucified person by bribing Roman guards. This suggests that the period from crucifixion to death could last hours. In Jesus’ case we have little to go on, but Mark’s gospel, the only one to provide a time for the crucifixion (“the third hour”, meaning 9am), suggests that death came quickly. He records that Pontius Pilate “was surprised to hear that he should have already died”. (15:44-45).—Editor.

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PERSPECTIVES

Pilgrimage ends on a high O BERAMMERGAU didn’t invent the Passion Play. These were widespread in medieval times, performed throughout the Germanspeaking region as well as in countries such as France, Italy and England. Before and for long after Oberammergau’s villagers made their famous pledge, the most famous Passion Play was that of Benediktbeuren, also in Bavaria, the first known script of which was written in 1300. The oldest complete script of a Passion Play dates to the 14th century. With the Reformation, in most parts of Germany Passion Plays fell out of common usage, but in the Bavarian Alps and Austria they became increasingly popular. It was in that context that the Oberammergau play was born, along with 40 others in the region between 1600 and 1650. Oberammergau gained a measure of pre-eminence in 1750 when its script was thoroughly reworked by the Benedictine Ferdinand Rosner of the nearby Ettal Abbey (which our group had visited the previous day). It was adopted by other Passion Plays throughout Bavaria. When in 1780 Passion Plays were banned in Bavaria—the beginning of a creeping process of anti-clerical secularisation that would culminate in the nationalisation of monasteries—Oberammergau was one of two plays that were given an exemption. The nearmonopoly helped establish Oberammergau’s Passion Play, and in the mid-19th century it began to attract international attention. At the time it was performed only on Sundays, with Monday shows added in 1880. A new theatre holding 4 000 people was built for the 1890 run, which attracted among its crowds of tens of thousands attendees from as far as the United States.

The cast numbered 500, out of Oberammergau’s 1 366 inhabitants. By the 1930s, Oberammergau attracted 400 000 spectators. Among them in 1934—the play’s 300th anniversary— was Adolf Hitler. Though decidedly not a friend of Catholicism, Hitler praised the Passion Play fulsomely. Presumably he approved in particular of the manner in which it presented Jews. Throughout their history, Passion Plays in general were not a good time for a Jew to be seen in public—and not only in Germany. Stoked on by the hideous assertion that Jews are responsible into perpetuity for the execution of Christ and the ghastly blood libel (the rumours that Jews used the blood of Christian children for the production of matzos for the Passover), Christian crowds would attack Jews, even burning their homes.

I

ncredibly, Oberammergau did not solve the question of anti-Semitism in its script until the 1990s, almost three decades after Vatican II issued its decree Nostra aetate, which put an end to the final remnants of institutional antiSemitism. Christian Stückl, who first directed the play as a 27-year-old in 1990 and did so again this year, supervised two comprehensive revisions to shed the play of any trace of anti-Semitism. Our guide, Fr Johannes Schuster (who previously worked as a missionary in Africa) served as a consultant in the revisions. The play now presents Jesus as a reformist Jew and leader, rather than as a hapless victim of an intrinsically bloodthirsty people. Those in the know say the play is much stronger for it. It is indeed an impressive and intensely moving production. Artistically, the tableaux vivants—the living images, as the programme calls them—and chorus produc-

People’s spiritual hunger

S

OMEONE recently hit out at priests. Well, that is not news. Pillorying priests goes back to the days of the prophets. Anyway, the man was unhappy that large numbers of people are now turning to professional counsellors for help instead of priests. That, in his view, shows that priests have failed in a key area of their ministry, namely healing. The person who made that observation is himself a priest. Now that is news. Some two decades ago when I was completing high school, I can’t recall seeing counselling listed in the careers booklet issued by the Ministry of Education to help students choose university courses. But right now I doubt there is a Kenyan university or sizeable college that does not train counsellors. Besides, there are many specialised institutions offering the course. What’s more, Kenya’s fast growing media seems to be cashing in on the huge demand for counselling. Every newspaper does not only have an agony aunt/uncle, but also regular extensive write-ups on relationships and other personal issues. The top rated radio programmes here are call-in shows where listeners seek or offer advice on a range of personal matters. That must surely be clear evidence of a deep spiritual yearning among people. There are other pointers. Self-styled “prophets” and “apostles” are emerging every other day, setting up “ministries”

and pulling crowds with promises of instant solutions to various problems. Those joining the movements are largely dissatisfied Christians deserting churches they have been members of probably since childhood. They are looking for proper spiritual care. Weeks back a young priest friend working in Nairobi told me he had decided never again to go back to his village for holidays. He had just returned to the city without a day’s rest. Immediately when people around his village realised he was home, they turned up at his gate everyday with all sorts of requests: “Please Father come over and say Mass for us,” “Please come and talk to our son,” “Please Father spare a minute to talk to my husband…” There are simply not enough priests to cater to the needs of everyone. Moreover, can the needs be met at a onehour Sunday Mass at a church crammed to the rafters? My vast rural diocese officially has some 450 000 faithful in just 16 parishes, and about 30 priests. Quick math: an average of over 28 000 Christians per parish. How effectively can a priest or two minister to those people? If he decided to fully attend to the youth or couples only, the priest would not find time for anything else. Now, as the Lord Himself said, truly the harvest is huge but the labourers few. Certainly we must continue praying for more workers in the vineyards. Other than that, there are ways to ease

Günther Simmermacher

The Pilgrim’s Trek

tions especially are extraordinary. More importantly, the recreation of the events leading to Christ’s death is, as one might expect, intensely powerful—to my mind much more so than the shockand-awe gore of Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. The theology is modern and profoundly Christian: the play does not condemn. Judas does not betray Jesus for greed, but in a tragically misguided strategic gambit. He is being used by Caiaphas and his sidekicks, and when he realises it, Judas tries to bargain for Jesus’ life. When it fails and he realises what he has done, the distraught Zealot commits suicide. It is a very moving sequence. Likewise, we come to understand the causes of Caiaphas’ duplicity. His concerns are political: Jesus is a danger to a delicate peace between the Jews and the Roman occupiers. We should not have much sympathy for Caiaphas’ deviousness, but we may at least understand it as being motivated by cold expediency, not by hatred. It will surprise nobody to know that the most heart-rending scene comes after the (impressively staged) crucifixion, as the lamenting Mary holds her dead son, the famous pietà image. The play ends with a silhouetted Jesus rising from his tomb, and Mary Magdalene finding the empty tomb. Unlike our medieval ancestors, we need no Easter sequel to know how the story ends. The hope and joy that follows is implicit. The vision of the rising Christ and discovery of the empty tomb concluded our pilgrimage that began so recently and yet so long ago in Nazareth. It was a profoundly symbolic twist of itinerary: our spiritual journey commenced where the story of salvation itself was activated through Mary’s consent to bear the world’s redeemer, and it ended with his death and resurrection—the new life. The last words in the Oberammergau play belonged to the choir which declared: “Hallelujah! Praise, honour, adoration, power and majesty be yours, forever and ever!” n This is the 17th and concluding part of Günther Simmermacher’s series on The Southern Cross’ Passion Pilgrimage in September.

The Southern Cross, February 16 to February 22, 2011

7

Michael Shackleton open door

Clarifying doxology Why do we say the doxology of the Lord’s Prayer during holy Mass only, and not on a daily basis? Serena Isaacs

T

HE doxology consists of these words: “For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours now and forever.” It is generally an integral part of the Lord’s Prayer in use among Protestants, but not among Catholics. You will find the words neither in Matthew’s rendition of the Lord’s Prayer (Mt 6:9-3) nor in Luke’s (Lk 11:24), nor anywhere else in the New Testament. No reputable modern translation of the Bible— Catholic or Protestant—includes it, except possibly as a footnote. That is why Catholics especially, have recited the Our Father in their daily prayers without the doxology but there is no reason to prevent them from saying it with the doxology, if they wish. Experts have noted that the words of the doxology are very Jewish in style, and you will find similar kinds of praise texts in 1 Chronicles 29:11 and Psalms 145:11 and 93:1, which were probably sung or recited in liturgical rites. It is likely, therefore, that Jewish converts to the Church in the earliest years (possibly the Apostles themselves) brought these praise texts with them and introduced them into the Eucharistic liturgy. This liturgical recitation of the doxology after the Our Father must have been common enough for absent-minded copyists over the centuries, when copying the New Testament, to add it after the prayer, which explains why some older versions of the gospel texts erroneously included it, for instance, the King James Bible of the Church of England, published in 1611. The great influence of the King James Bible on English-speaking Christians may explain why Protestants favour the doxology when they say the Lord's Prayer. You will notice in our current liturgy that there is a break after priest and congregation recite the Our Father. Following the words “deliver us from evil”, the priest expands the theme of deliverance. The doxology follows only then, demonstrating that it is a liturgical response by the congregation, and not a component of the original prayer Jesus taught us. Without the doxology the Our Father is the prayer Jesus gave us and which we can say at any time we like. With the doxology the Our Father is part of the liturgy of the Eucharist that is prayed in the Church’s public life.

Henry Makori Letter from Nairobi the hunger, chief among them urgent formation of lay pastoral agents to help the priest. In many African Catholic settings, the people of God are in the hands of the catechist in the sub-parish. But many of those catechists are ill-prepared to respond to the spiritual and other needs of the faithful. Secondly, in the 1970s eastern African bishops initiated a great pastoral idea called “Small Christian Communities” or “SCCs”. These are units of Christians in a neighbourhood. They are the church located between the family and the subparish. SCC leaders are best placed to attend to their little flock in a variety of matters that do not require a priest. But those leaders are often not properly formed or facilitated and are themselves helpless. And thirdly, there are leaders of various lay movements. These too haven’t been adequately formed or supported to offer proper care to members. The result is that members of those movements do not find the healing they seek. So the professional counsellor, the relationships expert, the talk show host/hostess and the evangelical “prophet” have emerged to fill a gap created by too much emphasis on the figure of the priest. Isn’t it time church authorities shifted attention to the priesthood of properly formed lay leaders to address this urgent pastoral challenge?

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8

COMMUNITY

The Southern Cross, February 16 to February 22, 2011

IN  F O C US edited by Nadine Christians

Rain and a howling wind threatened an open air Mass but St dominic’s Priory staff and learners in Miramar, Port elizabeth, stood firm to celebrate their first Mass of the school year. (Submitted by Laura Gillies)

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Grade 11 learners from Marian College in Johannesburg have some fun at the Bosco youth Centre during their retreat. (Submitted by Clarence Watts)

Send photographs, with sender’s name and address on the back, and a SASE to: The Southern Cross, Community Pics, Box 2372, Cape Town, 8000 or email them to: pics@scross.co.za

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Year of the Priest Please continue to pray for your priests. Southern African Council of Priests

The Williams Family from Sacred Heart parish in Port elizabeth bid farewell to their son and brother, Russel Williams (far right), leaving for Cape Town for his orientation and training to the priesthood. (Submitted by Alexis Pillay)

Hawkstone Hall Redemptorist International Pastoral Centre     Parishioners of Grassy Park parish, who visited israel in September 2010, were reunited with their tour guides when they travelled to Cape Town. (Submitted by Margret Jurgens)

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Summer 5 Day Courses 2011 The Human Journey – A Spiritual Destination 8 – 13 May Dr Stephanie Thornton Life’s Continuing Journey / Stress Management 15 –20 May Fr Ronnie McAinsh CSsR & Mr Patrick Strong The Beginning of the Gospels 22 – 27 May Fr Denis McBride CSsR Christ – An Unfinished Portrait 29 May – 3 June Fr Con Casey CSsR The Spirituality of Family Life 5 – 8 June Mrs Bairbre Cahill

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youth members of Blessed Sacrament parish in Virginia, durban after their Confirmation. (Submitted by Maggie Fuller)


FOCUS

The Southern Cross, February 16 to February 22, 2011

9

St Ninian’s parish, Kuils River

Determination of Kuils River parish By CLAiRe MATHieSoN

K

UILS RIVER in Cape Town is served by the vibrant and upwardly mobile parish of St Ninian’s. The young parish has grown in faith and numbers in its short existence and shows no sign of slowing down. Colleen Gray, a member of the parish’s Catholic Women’s League, said the early history of the parish dates back to 1916. At the time Fr Ned O’Reilly cared for Catholics in Bellville and extended his outreach to those in the Kuils River area. Ms Gray said Fr O’Reilly relied on the hospitality of the local Catholics as Mass was offered and catechism was taught in their homes, which he travelled to on his push bike. But it was not until 1971 when a need was seen for the community to have its own church. Ms Gray said the number of Catholics in Kuils River has increased sharply and with it a strong desire for a parish that would serve the community. She said a fundraising committee was established, “permission was obtained from Cardinal Owen McCann and a loan was granted by the diocese for the building of the church and the plans proceeded and the church

was erected”. On August 15, 1971, Cardinal McCann opened St Ninian’s. The church was named after a bishop who, with his followers, spread the gospel in Scotland between 297 and 432. St Ninian was known for his miracles, among them curing a chieftain of blindness, which led to many conversions. “A special stone obtained from St Ninian’s cave in Scotland was later inscribed and dressed by a stonemason which was then packed in a crate and shipped off to Cape Town,” said Ms Gray, who added that not one person involved in the production of the stone would accept payment for their services. St Ninian’s formed part of the Bellville parish with the late Fr John Armstrong serving as its parish priest but by 1979, St Ninian’s was considered an independent parish. The Decree of Erection constituting the parish of St Ninian’s was given on October 1, 1986, by Archbishop Stephen Naidoo, when Fr Basil Petersen was parish priest. Today, the burgeoning church also includes a garden of remembrance, and is served by Fr Thaddeus Oranusi who was assigned to the parish in 2010. Ms Gray said there is a positive

The growing parish of St Ninian’s has put much focus on catechism, where young people are led to understand their purpose in life. Various programmes have been launched to help the youth deal with contemporary vices which affect the community.

Fr Thaddeus oranusi

spirit in the church and it has been with the assistance of all the parish’s organisations that this spirit has continued. The community is supported by the Catholic Women’s League, a fundraising committee that has ensured the buildings can keep up with the needs of the parish; an outreach committee which tends to the greater community; and the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, which welcomes new members to the church. The church has an active youth group and choir, a large group of altar servers, catechists,

prayer groups and various ministers and servers who provide daily care to the community. Not only has the parish and its organisations grown, but so have Southern Cross sales. In the last month, thanks to the promotion by Fr Oranusi, 45 more families in Kuils River have been kept up to date on Catholic news. The parish is currently working towards the renovation of the church and hopes to erect a hall and provide more parking for parishioners. Ms Gray said 2011 was an important year as it represents 40 years of service to the community. Meanwhile, Fr Oranusi said he was grateful that he was part of

the Kuils River community. “May we as a community be a sign that always gives direction to the lives of those around us and that God continues to bless the parish with abundance of his graces and that we will continue to bear much fruit.” Fr Oranusi said he hoped the parish would continue to be a sign of strong faith and good Christian life and living. In its short existence, St Ninian’s has served the community and is looking to expand further. With growing parishioner numbers and a new parish priest, St Ninian’s is bursting with energy and determination and if history is an indication of its future, St Ninian’s is set to achieve much more.

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10

FAITH

The Southern Cross, February 16 to February 22, 2011

Abuse survivor: Love of Eucharist restored faith After years of abuse by different priests, Teresa Pitt Green could not bear entering a church. Her love of the Eucharist and the care of Church officials helped her return to the Church, and write a book about her journey. She spoke to KATie CoLLiNS.

T

ERESA Pitt Green sat in her car in the church parking lot. She watched parishioners walk up the steps to Mass. It was so easy for them, she thought. Unable to follow in their footsteps, she sat in the car and longed for the Eucharist. Men who consecrate the bread had betrayed her. Authorities in the Church, who had entrusted the sacrament to the men, had failed her. From age seven to 19, Ms Green was sexually abused by multiple priests in her diocese. Her abusers worked at her school and visited her family in the evenings. In an interview with The Arlington Catholic Herald, a diocesan newspaper in Virginia, Ms Green recounted how, though she “left the Catholic Church forever many times”, her love of the Eucharist endured. With the support of Arlington diocesan priests, Office of Victim Assistance programmes and Arlington’s Bishop Paul Loverde, she was eventually able to enter a church without fear and receive the body of Christ. Last year Ms Green published Restoring Sanctuary (Dog Ear Publishing), a part memoir, part spiritual reflection and part impetus for healing. The book immerses the reader in the Church’s painful wound through the eyes of a victim, but Ms Green does not give explicit details of abuse. But she is explicit when she defines the nature of the crime: “Sexual abuse of children is violence

by sexual means by predators who seek to dominate another person by destroying their spirit.” For “predator priests”, there is “a meticulous grooming of the mind to prepare it to be broken”, she said. “They make themselves a false idol, the dominant power. As a sapling, it cuts to your core.” The physiological, spiritual and physical costs of Ms Green’s sexual abuse were great. In her book, she recounts her many health problems and an abusive relationship—all, she believes, with roots in the abuse. Yet, Ms Green does not linger on the costs. In the chapter “Story”, she writes that she reached a point where “suffering was about to be redemptive”.

A

fter years of therapy, self-help books, support groups—often either rejecting the healing potential of Catholicism or highly suspicious of it—and struggles with faith, Ms Green recognised there was an “imprint of Catholic on me, an imprint of Christ on me that went deeper than any wound”. Even though she understood the imprint, and therapy had led her towards healing, she had yet to integrate her “wounded faith into the process”.

“Everything seemed different” when she first spoke with Pat Mudd, coordinator of the Office of Victim Assistance in the diocese of Arlington, and Fr Mark Mealey OMI, the vicar-general. Both offered two things: They recognised evil and they heard her pain, not with pity but with charity. Fr Mealey encouraged Ms Green to share her story on paper. “I think he was imagining a two-page article maybe, and he got a full book,” she said. As she began to weave fragments of her life into a cohesive whole, she became involved in diocesan victim assistance programmes, which helped her farther along a path that would restore her wounded faith. “Despite my age, I was carrying memories still jumbled by the pain they carried, and I babbled like a child,” said Ms Green, as she recalled talking with Bishop Loverde the first time. “That is when my memories became a story, and the story revealed to me my own undying faith.” It was a powerful healing moment to have a bishop “just sit and listen”, she said. Ms Green is quick to express her sympathy for the priests and bishops who were betrayed by the sins of their brother priests—and who often are chastised for those sins. Priests and bishops have been “betrayed by those they trusted, as well”, she said. “They need to be cared for, too.” In Restoring Sanctuary she refutes arguments that to curb clergy sexual abuse, the Church should prohibit gay priests or allow priests to marry. She also said it’s “not a liberal or conservative thing”. It’s a matter of evil. Her book—along with the diocesan outreach Ms Green embraces gratefully—is a testament to Christ’s love, present in the sacrament that kept calling her back to the faith. “The world is full of conflict,” she said. “The Eucharist has something beyond the conflict of the world.”—CNS

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Australian Fr Richard Leonard SJ teaching a course on media management at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Fr Leonard is the author of the book Where the Hell is God. His mother repeatedly asked this question after her daughter was left a quadriplegic after a car accident. (Photo: Paul Haring, CNS)

Finding God in the midst of grieving pain By CiNdy WoodeN

T

HE God of Jesus Christ does not send people pain, tragedy and suffering—and people who are hurting need to know that, according to Jesuit Father Richard Leonard. The Australian Jesuit wrote the book Where the Hell is God? after becoming convinced that his struggle and reflection in dealing with his own family’s suffering could help other people hold on to faith in God when tragedy hits their lives. The title of the book comes from a question that his mother, a daily Mass-goer, asked repeatedly in 1988 when her daughter Tracey was left a quadriplegic after a car accident. In the book, published by Paulist Press, Fr Leonard wrote that if he thought God was responsible for his sister’s accident, then he would have to leave “the priesthood, the Jesuits and the Church”. A God who would hurt a 28year-old like that is not a God that Fr Leonard can believe in. “I don’t know that God, I don’t want to serve that God, and I don’t want to be that God’s representative in the world.” When his mother asked him, “So where is God then?”, he replied: “I think God is as devastated as we are.” Interviewed in Rome, where he is teaching a communications course at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Fr Leonard said that after 20 years of thinking, praying and speaking about where God is in the midst of suffering, and ministering to people who were hurting or struggling to help others in pain, he decided to write the book. “People walk away from faith over this stuff,” he said. Christians talk and talk about a loving and compassionate God, he said. But when tragedy strikes, too many of them automatically believe they did something to deserve God’s wrath, or that God wants to test them or some other variation on the theme that God actively sent the tragedy, he said. “I’ve come to believe that many people believe in God as a tyrant and that God’s presence in our lives is tyrannical.” Those people pray and try to live good lives because they want “to survive the regime” of the tyrant-God. “In their quietest moments, they just want God to be kind to them,” he said. In the book, he wrote: “It would be impossible, I think, for any of us to truly love a God whom we honestly believed kills our babies, sends us breast cancer, makes us infertile and sets up car accidents to even up the score. Even on its own terms, this God looks like a small god, a petty tyrant, who seems to be in need of anger management class, where he might learn how to channel all

that strong angry emotion into creation, not destruction.” Fr Leonard said that while his book is informed by theology, Scripture studies and Catholic tradition, it is not an academic work, but a way to share a personal and pastoral approach to questions concerning God and human suffering. “I want to hold on to an ancient theology of a God who is completely present to us, who doesn’t go to sleep, who is unchanging.” The God of the earliest Christian tradition is the God who is love and gives life, he added. Fr Leonard said he recognises that some people may think his idea of God being his best friend, crying with him when tragedy strikes, is a presentation that makes God too small, too close. But “the contrasting view is a God who is aloof,” he said. Many people lose their faith at the darkest moments of their lives because, although they have claimed to believe in a God who is love, deep down “they’ve made God the architect of their suffering”, he said. In his ministry, “the rawest grief I’ve ever dealt with is the grief of parents burying a child”. He said he tries to help them understand that “God didn’t take your child. God doesn’t need another angel in heaven. God is as devastated as you are right now, and God is right now weeping with us”. Two points come up over and over in Fr Leonard’s book: “God does not directly send pain, suffering and disease”, and “God does not send accidents to teach us things, though we can learn from them”. He said he wrote the book “for a searching person who is trying to hold on to Christian faith in a loving God in the midst of pain and suffering and tragedy in their life.”—CNS


The Southern Cross, February 16 to February 22, 2011

Sr Dorothy Hodgson

S

R Dorothy Hodgson (pictured) was born in Brakpan February 3, 1928. Most of her schooling was at the boarding school in Kroonstad with the Notre Dame Sisters, where she received an excellent education. She had a great love and respect for these sisters and kept in touch with them all her life. After matriculating she worked for a few years as a trained librarian at the municipal library. Sr Hodgson entered the noviciate of the Good

Shepherd Sisters at the end of 1949, pronouncing her first vows on June 2, 1952 and her final vows in June 1956. She was blessed with many talents and worked in several convents—Durban, Protea, Eldorado Park, Hartebeespoort (Girls Town) and Port Elizabeth. She was an excellent teacher who knew how to motivate her students. In Port Elizabeth she trained and encouraged teams of catechists, guiding and supporting them as well as develop-

Community Calendar To place your event, call Claire Allen at 021 465 5007 or e-mail c.allen@scross.co.za (publication subject to space)

BETHLEHEM: Shrine of Our Lady of Bethlehem at Tsheseng, Maluti mountains; Thursdays 09:30, Mass, then exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. 058 721 0532. CAPE TOWN: Holy Hour to pray for priests of the archdiocese, 2nd Saturday monthly at Villa Maria shrine Kloof Nek Rd, 16:00-17:00. Good Shepherd, Bothasig. Perpetual eucharistic Adoration in our chapel. All hours. All welcome. Day of Prayer held at Springfield Convent starting at 10.00 ending 15.30 last Saturday of every month—all welcome. For more information contact Jane Hulley 021 790 1668 or 082 783 0331. DURBAN: St Anthony’s, Durban Central: Tuesday

09:00am Mass with novena to St Anthony. First Friday 5.30pm Mass—divine Mercy novena prayers. Tel: 031 309 3496. JOHANNESBURG: Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament: first Friday of the month at 09:20 followed by Holy Mass at 10:30. Holy Hour: first Saturday of each month at 15:00. At our Lady of the Angels, Little eden, edenvale. Tel: 011 609 7246. First Saturday of each month rosary prayed 10:30-12:00 outside Marie Stopes abortion clinic, Peter Place, Bryanston. Joan Beyrooti, 011 782 4331. PRETORIA: First Saturday: devotion to divine Mercy. St Martin de Porres, Sunnyside, 16:30. Tel Shirley-Anne 012 361 4545.

ing the parish choir. She worked there for nearly 25 years. In February 2008, Sr Hodgson moved to Pretoria, retiring from active work, although still remaining in contact with people from Port Elizabeth and continuing to knit her beautiful baby sets for the less fortunate. After breaking her hip on December 20 2010, she was hospitalised and underwent surgery. She was transferred to Holy Cross Nursing Home, where

11

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PERSONAL she was anointed and prepared for her final rest. She died peacefully on January 11. Her funeral took place at the nursing home in Pretoria, and was attended by her friends from Port Elizabeth.

Family Reflections 2011 FAMILY THEME: PEACE ON EARTH BEGINS AT HOME”

FEBRUARY—THE POWER OF LOVE AND THE THE LOVE OF POWER 20th 7th Sunday of the Year A. The Lord is Compassion and Love. As the Lord is compassion and love so we are called to be like him, loving our neighbour and even our enemies. This is what it means to give up any power we have over others and use the power of love to build relationships, as married couples, families and friends. This is being perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. Take stock of how power is used in the family.

Liturgical Calendar Sun, Feb 20, Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18; Psalm 103:1-4, 8, 10, 12-13; 1 Corinthians 3:16-23; Matthew 5:38-48 Mon, Feb 21, St Peter Damien Sirach 1:1-10; Psalm 93:1-2, 5; Mark 9:14-29 Tues, Feb 22,The Chair of St Peter 1 Peter 5:1-4; Psalm 23:1-6; Matthew 16:13-19 Wed, Feb 23, St. Polycarp Sirach 4:11-19; Psalm 119:165, 168, 171-172, 174175; Mark 9:38-40 Thurs, Feb 24, feria Sirach 5:1-8; Psalm 1:1-4, 6; Mark 9:41-50 Fri, Feb 25, feria Sirach 6:5-17; Psalm 119:12, 16, 18, 27, 34-35; Mark 10:1-12 Sat, Feb 26, Saturday Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary Sirach 17:1-15; Psalm 103:13-18; Mark 10:13-16 Sun, Feb 27, Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time Isaiah 49:14-15; Psalm 62:2-3, 6-9; 1 Corinthians 4:1-5; Matthew 6:24-34

Pregnant? Help is as near as your telephone 011 403 1718 031 201 5471 www.birthright.co.za Donations and volunteers and prayers always welcome

ABORTION WARNING: ‘The Pill’ can abort, undetected, soon after conception (a medical fact). See website: ww.human life.org/abortion_does _the_pill.php ISRAELI Folk dancing Workshop, secular and religious, teacher from Argentina, contact Brenda 083 292 5437 or machol.ct@gmail.com LOOKING for active business partner, franchise or non-franchise Coffee Shop in Northern Gauteng area. As soon as possible. Contact zelia 082 365 9875.

PRAYERS HOLY Spirit beloved of my soul, you who solve all problems, light all roads so that i can obtain my goal. you who gave me the divine gift to forgive and forget all evil against me and that in all instances of my life, you are with me. i want this prayer to thank you for all things as you confirm once and again that i never want to be separated from you ever in spite of all material illusion. i wish to be with you in eternity. Thank you for your mercy towards me and mine. Amen. VC (name request) then 3 our fathers, 3 Hail Mary’s, 3 Glory be’s. Say this prayer for three consecutive days. The prayer must be published immediately after the favour is granted, without mentioning the favour 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. PS 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. Thank you for prayers answered. Sonja, Jessica and Mr. Bean

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 humbly 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 (three times) Holy Mary, i place this cause in your hands (three times) Thank you for your mercy to me and mine. Say this prayer for three days and then publish. Md.

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HOLIDAY ACCOMMODATION CAPE TOWN: Vi Holiday Villa. Fully equipped selfcatering, two bedroom family apartment (sleeps 4) in Strandfontein, with parking, R400 per night. Tel/Fax Paul 021 3932503, cell 083 553 9856, ivilla@telkomsa.net CAPE WEST COAST yzerfontein: emmaus on Sea B&B and self-catering. Holy Mass celebrated every Sunday at 6pm. Tel: 022 451 2650. FISH HOEK: Self-catering accommodation, sleeps 4. Secure parking. Tel: 021 785 1247. FISH HOEK: Peninsula Fever self-catering, against mountainside overlooking False Bay. Sleeps up to 4 people at R680 per night. Lounge with sleeper couch, kitchenette, double bedroom, timber deck with sea views. Phone Lizette 084 827 0385. GORDON’S BAY: Beautiful en-suite rooms available at reasonable rates. Magnificent views, breakfast on request. Tel: 082 774 7140. e-mail: bzhive @telkomsa.net HERMANUS: Pleasant getaway. Self-catering

Southern CrossWord solutions SOLUTIONS TO #432. ACROSS: 1 Deduce, 4 Fossil, 9 Uninvited ones, 10 Ensures, 11 Actor, 12 Snubs, 14 Adam's, 18 Undue, 19 Hosanna, 21 Hearts of stone, 22 Risked, 23 Misses. DOWN: 1 Deuces, 2 Dribs and drabs, 3 Cover, 5 Old maid, 6 Sanctimonious, 7 Lystra, 8 Stash, 13 Breathe, 15 Luther, 16 Throw, 17 Facets, 20 Sushi

double accommodation, comfortable, fully equipped in tranquil church garden. Five minute walk to village centre and seafront. R250 per day, minimum two days. Get one night free for all bookings of three days or more. Phone church office 028 312 2315. (Tues/Thurs/ Fri 10am-1pm or leave a message and phone number). KNYSNA: Self-catering garden apartment for two in old Belvidere with wonderful lagoon views. Tel: 044 387 1052. LONDON, PRoTeA HoUSe: Underground 2min, Picadilly 20min. Close to River Thames. Self-catering. Single per night R250, twin R400. email: houseprotea@hot mail.com. Tel 021 851 5200 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. Tel: Malcolm Salida 082 784 5675 or mjsalida@mweb.co.za STELLENBOSCH: Five simple private suites (2 beds, fridge, microwave). Countryside vineyard/forest/mountain walks; beach 20 minute drive, affordable. Christian Brothers Tel 021 880 0242, cbc_stel@mweb. co.za STRAND: Beachfront flat to let. Stunning views, fully equipped. Garage, one bedroom, sleeps 3. R450 p/night for 2 people —low season. Phone Brenda 082 822 0607. UMHLANGA ROCKS: Fully equipped self-catering 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house, sleeps 6, sea view, 200 metres from beach, dStv. Tel: Holiday division, 031 561 5838, holidays@light house.co.za WILDERNESS: Rustic farm cottage. Sleeps five, self-catering. Ph 073 478 9038. thewoodvillecottage@gmail.com

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8th Sunday February 27 Readings: Isaiah 9:14-15, Psalm 62:2-3, 69, 1 Corinthians 4:1-5, Matthew 6:24-34

D

O you ever get the feeling that God has utterly abandoned you and forgotten about you? Join the club. That is something that happens to us all from time to time. In the first reading for next Sunday, Isaiah is quite explicit about it. Or rather Israel, for “Zion is saying: ‘The Lord has abandoned me, has forgotten about me’.” In response to these petulant exiles, the poet-prophet asks, in a beautiful image, “can a woman forget her infant?”, and drives the message home, putting on the Lord’s lips the profound affirmation, “even if she could forget, I shall not forget”. The psalmist puts this slightly differently: “in God alone” is the theme of next Sunday’s psalm, a slogan that comes four times (although, irritatingly, the translations do not always manage to notice this): “in God alone my soul rests”; “God alone is my rock and my salvation” (this comes twice, in case we should miss the point); “in God alone be at rest, my soul”; and there are an additional three references to God. That refocusing on God might be what we need the next time we feel that God has gone away and forgotten us.

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In God alone my soul rests Nicholas King SJ Sunday Reflections In the second reading for next Sunday, Paul is trying to persuade the Corinthians to refocus; they have become sadly divided, on the basis of whether they preferred Paul or Apollos. Against this divisive tendency Paul has to explain that Apollos and Paul are “servants of Christ, stewards of God’s mysteries”, so to turn them into leaders of parties within the Church is to miss the point. Their only task (and our only task) is to be “faithful”. So Paul is, as always, keeping his eyes on God and on Jesus, not on his critics in the Corinthian church. And what is the Lord going to do? “He will shed light on the things that are hidden in darkness, and reveal the intentions of human hearts.” Then “each one will get praise from God”. Even when things are dark, we have to

keep watching out for the Lord. In the gospel, still in the Sermon on the Mount that we have been following for some weeks now, we are once more reminded that our attention must be on God alone. “No one can be a slave of two lords”; that will have been an obvious fact in the society that Jesus and Matthew knew, but it is something we easily forget. For our “lord” is whatever we put at the centre of our life; and if we think that we can have both God and something else (you must fill in the blank here: is it money, power, pleasure, or reputation that tries to lord it over you? It will almost certainly be one of those), then we are fooling ourselves: “You cannot be a slave of both God and Mammon.” In that last word, we can hear Jesus’ own words: for “Mammon” is the Aramaic word for “wealth”, and it has a way of exercising dominion over us, unless we are vigilant. Then we are given some examples of the ways in which we might opt for an alternative god: “Don’t worry about what you’re going to eat or drink, or wear.”

Travels with my parents I

HAVE been meaning for many years now to write a book called “Travels With My Parents” but due to all manner of circumstances, such as laziness and an innate fear of my father coming back from the dead to check my spelling and punctuation, I have not yet managed to put pen to paper. In thinking back to the many trips I have made with my parents, there was always the constant need to protect them from any form of embarrassment. Actually, it was more like the constant need for me to protect myself from embarrassment. It’s a bit like watching television with your ageing mother and father. As we all know, in spite of assurances that the programme or movie you are watching is rated for “all ages” there will be a love scene that will inevitably be somewhat on the steamy side during which those parents and children watching will not make eye contact but rather feign complete and utter boredom until the plot moves away from the bedroom and back to the streets where people are killing each other. Somehow heinous murders on TV are so much easier to handle in the company of parents than love scenes. My father, however, was not someone who could sit and feign boredom. His reaction was always to suddenly get up as though he had been miles away

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Chris Moerdyk The Last Word and not paying any attention to the movie, stand in front of the TV so no one else could see what was going on and say: “Right, who’d like a cup of tea?” And then go into a longish diatribe of how to make the perfect cup of tea until he was sure that the love scene had ended and people were once more happily murdering each other again. But, back to travels with my parents. The most fascinating of these trips was when my older brother Donald and I were driving my parents through France from Paris down to Lourdes. We were just short of halfway when my brother pulled over and asked me to get out of the car with him to study the map and chart the most attractive route. As we spread the map over the bonnet of the car, Donald angrily stabbed his right forefinger at the map, which I found quite funny because the top of his right forefinger had been bitten off by a pet rabbit when he was four years old and watching him trying to stab a map in anger was rather like watching someone trying to play tennis with a ping pong paddle.

Conrad

Excuse moi sister, what time are evening devotions?

Anyway, the cause of his irritation was the fact that in his estimation we would be required to make a 400 kilometre detour off our intended path. The reason being that were we to continue on the shortest route to Lourdes we would have to pass through the French town of Condom. This being the early 1980s, we entered into an argument about whether or not my parents actually knew what a condom was. Given that my father still used to refer to a woman’s bra and as a “bust bodice,” I was pretty sure that we had nothing to worry about driving through a town called Condom but that we should be careful of coming across any place called “prophylactic”. My brother won the day and we took the 400 km detour trying all the way to explain to my parents why our one day trip was extended to two. Further embarrassment was to occur a week later when, on our way from Lourdes to Italy, the only accommodation we could find on the very crowded Cote d’Azur was a seedy hotel that was, in fact, nothing more than a brothel. We pretty much got away with it until at breakfast the next morning my father asked Donald why everyone in the hotel that morning seemed to be a woman. My sibling choked on his croissant and excused himself from the table. My father kept musing out loud about the strange hotel that did not seem to have any male guests until my mother mercifully told him to shut up and finish his boiled egg. A few weeks earlier, in Paris, we found it was almost impossible for my parents to walk from my brother’s apartment to the bus or metro without passing through a red light district populated by prostitutes. We told them that these were in fact nuns dressed in civilian clothes to enable them to communicate better with the local community. It was with a sense of excruciating foreboding combined with great amusement to see my mother greeting every hooker she came across with: “Good morning sister, a beautiful day is it not...?

Now comes the comic idea that the “birds of the air” might “sow or reap or gather into barns”; that is followed by two other little jokes: “Can you add even ten centimetres to your height by worrying?” and “the lilies of the field don’t go out to work, nor do they go in for knitting—and yet their clothing is lovelier than that of Solomon in all his glory!” The point is that our God is the real one, the one whom Jesus calls, again and again, just at this point in the Sermon, “your Heavenly Father”. Once you realise that this is an apt way of describing the Maker of the Universe, then it becomes obvious that God cannot possibly forget us, and there is nothing at all to worry about. So what are you going to do this week, you who are feeling that God has deserted you? It is easy: “First, look out for the Kingdom, and its righteousness; then all these things will be given to you on top. So don’t worry about tomorrow: tomorrow is going to worry about itself.” Let us take comfort in this thought, this week.

Southern Crossword #432

ACROSS 1. Infer (6) 4. Prehistoric remnant (6) 9. Guests who may be unwelcome (9,4) 10. Makes certain (7) 11. Person of drama (5) 12. Gives the cold shoulder (5) 14. Apple is anatomically his (5) 18. Kind of influence making you do what you don't want (5) 19. Angelic cry of praise (7) 21. Pitiless people may have them beat (6,2,5) 22. Took a chance (6) 23. Feels the lack of unmarried women (6)

DOWN 1. Twos on the playing cards (6) 2. Birds and bards come around in small quantities (5,3,5) 3. In the cove, report finding a blanket (5) 5. One of those in 23 across? (3,4) 6. Holier-than-thou (13) 7. Paul and Barnabas preached here (Acts 14) (6) 8. Store safely (5) 13. Inhale and exhale (7) 15. Reformer (6) 16. Worth a fling (5) 17. Cut gems have them (6) 20. Japanese dish (5) Answers on page 11

CHURCH CHUCKLE

D

RONKIE Jannie came out of church not looking quite himself. Both his ears were blistered and aching. Fr Mac was deeply concerned. “Jan, you seem to be in pain. What happened to your left ear ?” asked Fr Mac “Well Father, my wife left the hot iron alongside the phone, and when the phone rang I picked up the hot iron by mistake.” “Oh my goodness,” cried Father “But what about the other ear?” Jannie cried out painfully: “The stupid guy phoned back!” Send us your favourite Catholic joke, preferably clean and brief, to The Southern Cross, Church Chuckle, PO Box 2372, Cape Town, 8000.

The Southern Cross - 110216  

16 February - 22 February, 2011

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