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April 13 to April 19, 2011

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Durban’s Passion Play deepens actors faith in Christ

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No 4721

Was the Church ‘conceived’ the day after the crucifixion? Page 10

Corruption: ‘It’s getting better’ BY CLAIRE MATHIESON

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ECENT reports imply corruption is on the rise in South Africa, but some observers believe that things may be getting better. The Special Investigating Unit’s (SIU) recent corruption report showed 16 departments and public entities were under investigation for fraud, corruption and maladministration. Researchers from the Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office (CPLO), an associated body of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, said it was not such a surprise as corruption is so common place in business and government today. CPLO research coordinator Mike Pothier said that since reporting on corruption is so common place, it may feel as if the state of the nation was deteriorating. However, he pointed out, South Africa is less secretive now than it was before. The fact that reporting of corruption has increased is a good sign. Awareness is high, he said, and this can help combat corruption. Mr Pothier said that in recent years more legislation has been passed and an environment that encourages transparency has evolved. Investigative agencies like the SIU were proof of this. “This doesn’t mean to say the problem is not worse. I couldn’t say whether things are better or worse. But we are moving in the right direction.” CPLO researcher Kenny Pasensie said because corruption cases are more frequently seen in the media, taxpayers are becoming more aware of where their tax money is going—or not going, as the case may be. “Just like we saw in the 2010 Service delivery protests, people will start to think about where their votes will go. It certainly breaks down confidence and it will become a problem for the ruling party to gain trust.”

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e said when one pays taxes there is an expectation as to where the money will be spent: on public transport, schools, police and refuge. “To hear about extravagant spending when there are basic issues outstanding in one’s community will anger voters.” He said this would be troubling for the ruling party in light of the May 18 municipal elections. He added that “the government has acknowledged and shown political will to stem the tide of corruption”. Mr Pothier said the ANC has openly commented on corruption and government is trying to remain open. However, he said far more could be done.

“The problem with corruption cases is that it’s very difficult to prove the intention of the accused to commit a crime,” Mr Pothier, an advocate, said. He pointed out that mistakes, mismanagement and negligence were not illegal. “How do you prove that someone was prompted to take a bribe and was not just incompetent?” He said this explains for the often very long proceedings in court. Mr Pothier said there were two ways to stem corruption in the country. He urged the media to give wider publicity to convictions and sentences. “If there is an endemic problem; draw attention to it.” He said an anti-corruption campaign needed to be like the HIV/Aids campaigns focusing on the consequences of doing wrong. “Talk about the punishment. There needs to be a name and shame list of the convicted corrupted,” he suggested. “It is part of the media’s role to talk about it.

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econdly, Mr Pothier said government should be publicising what it is doing to address corruption. Mr Pasensie pointed out that corruption workshops were currently on the go, but there was little publicity on these. Mr Pothier said corruption directly affects the public. “Corruption always ends up costing the tax payer money. Whether it’s taking more expensive tenders or redirecting funds—it all costs the tax payer.” Corruption also taints previously healthy working environment. “If someone is persuaded it engenders a dishonest environment. While the initial form of corruption might be small, once that person has acted immorally once, it is likely to grow,” Mr Pothier said. The CPLO researchers said that corrupt acts are almost always initiated by someone in the private sector. “Anyone jumping on the state for corrupt acts must also jump on the private sector,” Mr Pothier said. “The private sector must check they are not taking advantage of corruptible people. Reputable companies must refuse to do business with civil servants or customers who they know or suspect of being corrupt.” Mr Pothier warned that making a profit off someone who is involved in corrupt practices is equally immoral. He said everyone can keep an eye out for corrupt activities and stay away from them. Churches can play a part in fighting corruption. Mr Pothier said it is necessary that very clear messages on corruption and crime and how to act against it to come directly from the pulpit.

People carry palm fronds and olive branches as they walk the the path of Jesus Christ marking Palm Sunday on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem last year. Pilgrims and local Christians trace the route Jesus took as he entered Jerusalem before his crucifixion. Palm Sunday falls on April 17 this year. (Photo: Debbie Hill, CNS)

New bishop for Kroonstad BY CLAIRE MATHIESON

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HE newly-named bishop of Kroonstad did not doubt the validity of the announcement of his appointment, even through it was April’s Fools Day. Fr Peter Holiday (pictured), currently pastor of Our Lady of the Wayside parish in Maryvale, Johannesburg, will be installed in the Free State diocese within the next three months. (Details were still being funalised at the time of going to print.) Born in Cape Town, the 59year-old was educated by the Marist Brothers and at the Salesian Institute in Cape Town, where he trained to be a printer, a profession he practised for 14 years. “I was transferred to Johannesburg in my working years. I lived in Florida on the West Rand where I was a parishioner of St

John the Apostle,” he said. It was there that Fr Holiday decided to join the priesthood. He was ordained on December 10, 1992 in Pinelands, Cape Town, by the late Bishop Reginald Orsmond of Johannesburg. The bishop-elect has served many parishes around the archdiocese of Johannesburg including Our Lady of Mercy in Emdeni, Soweto, St Thomas and St Kizito in Lenasia, and the cathedral as administrator. Fr Holiday said he is looking forward to calling Kroonstad his new home, but added that he will dearly miss the life at Maryvale parish. He said the “family spirit, the richness of a multicultural community, the community’s committed participation in various ministries and active groups in the parish” were all highlights of the parish. Continued on page 2

Archbishop Hurley is the new fashion BY CLAIRE MATHIESON

T Durban’s Denis Hurley Centre is now selling T-shirts and mugs featuring the image of the late archbishop of Durban.

HE Denis Hurley Centre in Durban has responded to the calls for merchandise featuring the late Archbishop Denis Hurley of Durban. According to Paddy Kearney, coordinator of the Denis Hurley Centre Project, the centre started producing souvenirs following research done across the archdiocese, which Archbishop Hurley headed from 1946-91. The archbishop died on February 13, 2004. “We had a mandate from Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, the archbishop of Durban, to visit all 74 parishes of the archdiocese to inform them about the Denis Hurley Centre and to request them to make a generous donation,” explained Mr Kearney.

He said the idea of T-shirts came about as a way to raise funds and to create a sense of excitement around the centre. The initial T-shirt designs featured the centre’s logo, but there was a call for Archbishop Hurley’s image to be the main focus of the merchandise. “When we visited some of the poor, rural parishes the people said they wanted to see Archbishop Hurley’s face on the T-shirts, and they also wanted mugs and plates and even wrap-around skirts with his portrait on them,” he said. Production of the merchandise has begun. So far the centre has produced T-shirts and mugs. “If those sell well, we will also make the skirts and the plates,” Mr Kearney said. “The rural people felt that some of the new generations didn’t really know Archbishop Hurley and so the T-shirts would help

them to learn more about him.” The T-shirts and mugs are being made by Felix Gasana, a young Burundian refugee who is a parishioner of Emmanuel cathedral. Mr Kearney said Mr Gasana has already opened four additional branches of his company and the centre’s orders, added to other business, is helping him to create jobs because he has to employ extra staff for his growing empire. All the profits from the sale of the T-shirts and mugs go to the Denis Hurley Centre Fund. The T-shirts sell for R70, the mugs R40 with postage costing R25 to anywhere in the country. n For more information contact the Denis Hurley Centre on 031-3012240. Orders can be sent to denishurleycentre@gmail.com


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The Southern Cross, April 13 to April 19, 2011

LOCAL

14-month-old ‘Easter miracle baby’ thrives BY CLAIRE MATHIESON

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T JOSEPH’S home for chronically ill children outside of Cape Town has seen great improvement in one of its patients, 14-month-old Ashica, who has been named St Joseph’s Easter miracle baby. Born premature, weighing 1,8kg and HIV-positive, Ashica was readmitted to Tygerberg Hospital with severe diarrhea and a chronic cough at two months old. “Ashica was also dehydrated, had dry mucous membranes, and had a sunken fontanel. She was also diagnosed with pulmonary TB, acute gastroenteritis pneumonia and ‘failure to thrive’,” said Chantal Cooper, St Joseph’s resource development manager. “Everyone was concerned about her ability to survive,” she said. At six months, Ashica was admitted to St Joseph's weighing 3,79kg. Ms Cooper said Ashica came to the home in a dire state. “The nurses struggled to feed her as she did not swallow or suck properly.” Things seemed to get worse for the little patient. Two weeks after Ashica was admitted, her mother died. Shortly after, Ashica was diagnosed with pneumonia three times while at St Joseph’s and was referred back to Tygerberg with complaints of low grade fever with on-going tachycardia and a continuing case of chronic coughing. The nurses at St Joseph’s said she looked acutely ill with marked respiratory distress.

14-month old Ashica is St Joseph’s “Easter miracle baby” due to her solid recovery over the ten months spent with the Pallottine sisters at their Cape Town home. Since her last admittance to hospital Ashica has been based at St Joseph’s, receiving the much needed care required to help her. “She is slowly gaining weight and at 14 months now weighs 6,59kg. She is now learning to walk, and with a little support is able to make her way around the ward,” said Ms Cooper who praised the sisters at St Joseph’s where “Ashica received excellent care and after some serious hurdles, she transformed to a normal, healthy toddler”. Ms Cooper said Ashica had

been nicknamed St Joseph’s Easter miracle child, “which was made possible through God’s blessings and with the unselfish support from our Pallottine Sisters, the therapists, nurses and staff who were involved in caring for her”. St Joseph’s provides convalescent care and medical services to 145 children like Ashica who suffer from chronic and debilitating illnesses and has outreach and care programmes for the local community. n For more information visit www.stjosephshome.org.za

SACC president threatened BY CLAIRE MATHIESON

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HE South African Council of Churches (SACC), of which the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference is a member (SACBC), and its international ecumenical partners expressed shock and outrage over the death threats against its president, Bishop Jo Seoka, the Anglican bishop of Pretoria, and members of his family. Five armed men arrived at Bishop Seoka’s Pretoria home in late March, declaring their intention to kill the bishop and his wife. SACC general-secretary Rev Mautji Pataki said the bishop and his wife were not at home at the time, but “the intruders returned later in the day looking for them. They also made remarks that suggested that they were watching the bishop and his wife’s movements”. Since the event, callers have left messages and threats against Bishop Seoka on his home and office telephones.

“Although the bishop remains calm and spiritually strong, Bishop Seoka’s colleagues in the ecumenical movement are extremely concerned about these threats,” said Rev Pataki. Investigations are currently underway but no information on the perpetrators or their motives is known. However, Rev Pataki said the SACC suspected Bishop Seoka’s outspoken activities for social justice might have earned him some enemies. He said the SACC will not allow threats to “deter us from pursuing our calling to fulfill the gospel imperatives to be in solidarity with the poor and marginalised and to provide moral leadership to the nation”. Fr Chris Townsend of the SACBC’s Communications and Media Desk condemned the threads against Bishop Seoka, saying there was deep concern among the Anglican clergy in Johannesburg in particular.

Kroonstad’s new bishop appointed Continued from page 1 Above all, he said, he will miss the “love and support of all the parishioners”. Bishop-elect Holiday said he is not yet familiar with his new diocese, but said is excited to learn and listen. “What I am most looking forward to doing is to journey humbly together in faith, to listen and learn from the priests, deacons, religious and faithful of the diocese of Kroonstad.” He said he hopes to continue to foster the Bishop’s Pastoral Plan and Mission of the Church in Southern Africa in the diocese

implemented by his predecessors, the late Bishop Johannes Brenninkmeijer and Archbishop Stephen Brislin of Cape Town, who was transferred from Kroonstad last year. Fr Holiday hopes to “promote the vision and mission of Vatican II in the ministerial priesthood, and the priesthood of the faithful through evangelisation and ongoing catechesis of adults, youth and children.” Bishop-elect Holiday will lead about 87 000 Catholics in a population of 92 4000. (Photo courtesy of Archdiocesan News, Johannesburg)


LOCAL

Church leaders: Don’t ignore people’s needs BY BRONWEN DACHS

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IOLENT protests by South Africans demanding better living conditions are a warning to the authorities not to ignore the needs of the people, church leaders said. After police fired rubber bullets at protesters in Zandspruit, near Johannesburg, the South African Council of Churches (SACC) said that “the violent developments associated with poor delivery of social services” are a “rude reawakening call to the authorities” as well as “an indication of just how destructive things can turn out to be if local government councilors and political parties continue to ignore the needs of the people”. As with many squatter camps around Johannesburg, Zandspruit residents live in squalid conditions, sharing toilets and communal taps, with little or no electricity. “Our early warning to South Africa’s leadership is that all efforts” must be made “to save this democracy lest we walk the path of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya...where social instability reigns,” the SACC said in a statement. The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference is a member of the council. With local elections scheduled for May 18, the church leaders said they were concerned that many of the protests that occurred in March in five provinces were challenges to the ruling African National Congress’ candidate selection. Political parties should “respect

the desires of communities and allow internal democracy to lead their choice of candidates”, the SACC said. Many South Africans are advocating “a no-vote campaign, which shows that there is no sense of a possibility of an alternative ruling party” to the ANC, said Dominican Father Mike Deeb, director of the bishops’ Justice and Peace Department. “This is a challenge to other political parties, because it shows there are none that they are seriously attracted to,” Fr Deeb said, noting that most of the communities where the protests have taken place are “unhappy with the type of people put forward as candidates by the ANC”. In a pastoral letter realeased last month, the bishops’ conference said that “many public representatives in South Africa choose to enter the world of politics because they want power, wealth and status, and not because they are committed to serving the public”. This “harms our democracy and results in us, as citizens, not enjoying its benefits. It leads to corruption, nepotism and selfadvancement, at the cost of service-delivery and the well-being of our communities,” the bishops said. Noting that “such people do not deserve our support”, they said that “if we continue to vote for them, we will have only ourselves to blame if our municipal services crumble and our neighbourhoods are not properly maintained”.—CNS

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The Southern Cross, April 13 to April 19, 2011

Jo’burg Catholics to walk on local Fatima pilgrimage STAFF REPORTER

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UNDREDS of Catholics will be taking to the streets of Johannesburg again on May 14, for the 12th time and the fifth in succession, to mark the apparitions of Our Lady to three shepherd children in the hamlet of Fatima in Portugal. On May 13, 1917, the Blessed Virgin appeared to three poor shepherd children for the first time. During several apparitions over the following months, she appealed for prayer, conversion and peace in the world. “Since these apparitions, millions of people have changed their lives positively and come to practice the messages of Fatima,” said Manny de Freitas, co-convenor of the Johannesburg procession, which is known as the Fatima Pilgrimage. “Because these apparitions took place in Portugal, the Portuguese have a special devotion to Our Lady of Fatima. The Portuguese community is one of the larger immigrant communities in South Africa and predominately Catholic,” he said. To mark the anniversary, the Catholic community in Johannesburg, under the auspices of the Blessed Sacrament parish in Malvern East and led by parish priest Fr Tony Daniels, will be undertaking the pilgrimage on foot. It will commence from the Blessed Sacrament church (corner Geldenhuis and Mullins Roads in Malvern East) on Saturday, May 14 at 18:30, and end with Holy Mass

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Fr Tony Daniels carries the statue of our Lady of Fatima as pilgrims walk the streets of Johannesburg during the 2010 Fatima pilgrimage. at the Schoenstatt Shrine (corner Van Buuren and Florence Roads, Bedfordview). “All are invited to join as pilgrims on foot in this pilgrimage which has proved to be very emotional and spiritual. We are aiming to beat last year’s estimated pilgrimage attendance of 1 000 pilgrims,” Mr de Freitas said. “Pilgrims are invited to join the pilgrimage wearing comfortable shoes, and to bring a candle.”

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The Southern Cross, April 13 to April 19, 2011

INTERNATIONAL

Call to arrest US pastors who burnt Qur’an BY SIMON CALDWELL

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HE president of the Pakistani bishops’ conference has called for the arrest of a US Protestant pastor whose decision to burn the Islamic sacred book has caused fury in the Muslim world and the deaths of more than 20 people. Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha of Lahore, conference president, said the US government should seek to diffuse mounting tensions by detaining the Rev Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center Church in Gainesville, Florida, who oversaw the burning of the Qur’an by the Rev Wayne Sapp, his assistant. “The US government should detain the pastor for some time,” Archbishop Saldanha told the British branch of Aid to the Church in Need, a Catholic charity for persecuted Christians around the world.

“In view of the effects his actions have had all over the world, he should be controlled and understand the harm that has been done,” he said. “The US government talks about religious freedom—but we call upon the US government to prevent such actions by extremists and other fundamentalist Christians,” the archbishop said. He added that although there had been no reports of attacks on Pakistani Christians by Muslims outraged by the Qur’an burning, he said he feared that the situation “could become ugly”. Rev Jones authorised a copy of the Qur’an to be soaked in gasoline and burnt on March 20. The incident, witnessed by a small number of people, went unnoticed until a video of the burning was posted on YouTube. Since then, Muslims in the Middle East have reacted violently. The worst incidents involved an

attack on a United Nations base in the Afghan city of Mazar-e-Sharif, in which 14 people were killed, seven of them UN staff, and the killings of ten other people in the southern city of Kandahar April 2. Riots continued in towns in the east of the country. Last year, Rev Jones announced his intention to burn 200 copies of the Quran on a “burn the Quran day” to mark the al-Qaeda terror attacks of September 11, 2001. His decision to burn a Qur’an last month was described as “an act of extreme intolerance and bigotry” by US President Barack Obama. “However, to attack and kill innocent people in response is outrageous and an affront to human decency and dignity,” Mr Obama added. Rev Jones is under round-theclock protection from the FBI, having received more than 300 death threats.—CNS

The Rev Mark Lukens, a pastor at Bethany Congregational Church, holds a sign during last month’s “Today, I Am a Muslim, Too” rally in New York. In contrast, two pastors provoked the Muslim world by burning a copy of the Qur’an in Florida. (Photo: Jessica Rinaldi, Reuters/CNS)

Lourdes miracle #68 declared Priests targetted in Ivory Coast conflict

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HE cure of a French TV repairman who completed a 1 600km hike to the shrine of Santiago de Compostela, Spain, after his paralysed leg was inexplicably healed has become the 68th miracle to be officially recognised by the Catholic Church at the French Marian sanctuary of Lourdes. Serge François, now 65, had been twice operated on unsuccessfully for a herniated disk when he travelled to Lourdes on a diocesan pilgrimage in April 2002.

He said the “unbearable flashing pain” in his left leg was replaced after a few minutes of prayer by an “intense sensation of good will and warmth,” which continued until the paralysed limb completely recovered. To be declared miraculous, cures must be “found complete and lasting,” involving a “serious illness which is incurable,” and must involve a sudden “indisputable change from a precise medical diagnosis of a known illness to a situation of restored health”.—CNS

BY JONATHAN LuxMOORE

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HE Vatican’s representative to the Ivory Coast has said Catholic priests have been targetted by armed groups during the current conflict, but added that he still hopes “full-scale civil war” can be avoided in the West African country. In Rome, officials of Caritas Internationalis, the Church’s charitable aid agency, said one of the priests kidnapped was Fr Richard Kissi, diocesan director of Caritas in Abidjan. The nuncio, Archbishop Ambrose Madtha said students at

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the main Catholic seminary in Abidjan, the country’s largest city, had been evacuated after its buildings were occupied by rebel soldiers. Caritas said Fr Kissi was kidnapped by an armed group while he was heading to Anyama, a suburb of Abidjan, to evacuate seminarians. He was released a week later. Archbishop Madtha said that, during the fighting, “both sides have generally respected Catholic churches, although soldiers have also entered at least one in search of rebels”.

“We can only hope political leaders and the people attached to them will now hear the appeals for peace and pay more attention to what they are doing,” he said. Communal violence flared after President Laurent Gbagbo refused to recognise Alassane Ouattara’s victory in a November 28 run-off election. More than 460 people have been killed, and at least a million forced to flee during the conflict, according to the United Nations, which has 9 000 peacekeeping troops in Ivory Coast, monitoring a 2003 ceasefire.—CNS

Ways to slow African migration

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FRICA’S bishops have asked German President Christian Wulff to support them in their efforts to develop their continent as one way of slowing the flow of migrants into Europe. Cardinal Polycarp Pengo of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, president of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (Secam), asked Mr Wulff to urge European governments “not to see the African migrant...as a stranger or a threat, but rather as a fellow human being who indeed is an asset and not a liability when given the opportunity”. Cardinal Pengo addressed Mr Wulff during Secam’s meeting with the German bishops’ conference in Berlin. The meeting focused on migration, especially from Africa to Europe, and the Church’s responsibility for refugees and migrants. Africa’s bishops “also appeal to

you to support us and our governments in our quest to provide the necessary conditions for the development of Africa as one of the ways to mitigate the challenges of migration”, Cardinal Pengo said, noting recent violence in North Africa and Ivory Coast. Noting that migrants suffer tremendously and migration is “often associated with considerable societal and economic problems, both in the sending and the receiving countries,” the African and German bishops said “there is a tendency to overlook the important positive contributions made by immigrants in the societies that receive them” as well as in their countries of origin, to which they often send remittances. “As bishops we know that migrants also enrich the life of the church,” they said in a joint statement.—CNS

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INTERNATIONAL Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, head of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church in India, collapsed while celebrating Mass on April 1 and was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he died. The funeral for the archbishop was scheduled for after April 10 because most Syro-Malabar bishops were in Rome for their ad limina visits. The late cardinal was ordained major archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church in 1997, when the Eastern church was divided over its liturgical patrimony and the bishops were divided into two camps. The Syro-Malabar Church, an Eastern Catholic Church, traces its origin to St Thomas the Apostle. Cardinal Vithayathil was ordained a Redemptorist priest in 1954. Pope John Paul II made him a cardinal in 2001. (Photo: Catholic Press Photo/CNS)

Pope to youth: Don’t run away BY CAROL GLATz

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OPE Benedict has urged young people not to abandon their faith in God because of the “attacks of evil” within the Church. “Carry intact the fire of your love in this Church every time that men have obscured her face,” he said in a foreword to a new catechism edited specifically for young people. The new Youth Catechism, also called “YouCat”, will be included in each pilgrim backpack for World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid. The pope said he wanted to supplement the Catechism of the Catholic Church by translating it “into the language of young people and make its words penetrate their world”. In the foreword, the pope urged everyone to study the catechism “with passion and perseverance” either alone, in study groups or in exchanges with others online. Today’s Christians really need to understand their faith more than

ever before in order to resist modern day challenges and temptations, he wrote. “You have need of divine help if you do not want your faith to dry up as a dewdrop in the sun, if you do not want to succumb to the temptations of consumerism,” he wrote. “You must know what you believe; you must know your faith with the same precision with which a specialist in information technology knows the [operating] system of a computer; you must know it as a musician knows his piece,” the foreword said. While not specifically mentioning the clerical sex abuse crisis, the pope acknowledged the effect it has had on the faithful and said “the community of believers has been wounded in recent times by the attacks of evil” and sin in the heart of the church. “Do not take this as a pretext to flee from God’s presence; you yourselves are the body of Christ, the Church!”—CNS

Libya airstrikes ‘killed civilians’

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T least 40 Libyan civilians have been killed and two hospitals damaged as a consequence of airstrikes carried out by the United States and other Western powers, according to Bishop Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, the apostolic vicar of Tripoli, Libya. “The so-called humanitarian raids have caused dozens of victims among civilians in some areas of Tripoli,” the Libyan capital, he told the Vatican’s missionary news

agency Fides. “I gathered testimony from trustworthy people. In particular, in the neighbourhood of Buslim, the bombardments caused the collapse of a civilian residence building, resulting in the deaths of 40 people,” Bishop Martinelli said. Pope Benedict has appealed for a suspension of fighting in Libya and the immediate start of a serious dialogue aimed at restoring peace to the North African country.—CNS

The Southern Cross, April 13 to April 19, 2011

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JP2 ‘will be beatified for holiness’, not papal actions BY CINDY WOODEN

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OPE John Paul II is being beatified not because of his impact on history or on the Catholic Church, but because of the way he lived the Christian virtues of faith, hope and love, according to Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes. “Clearly his cause was put on the fast track, but the process was done carefully and meticulously, following the rules Pope John Paul himself issued in 1983,” the cardinal said during a conference at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome. The cardinal said the Church wanted to respond positively to many Catholics’ hopes to have Pope John Paul beatified quickly, but it also wanted to be certain that the pope, who died in 2005, is in heaven. Cardinal Amato said the sainthood process is one of the areas of Church life where the consensus of Church members, technically the sensus fidelium (“sense of the faithful”), really counts. “From the day of his death on April 2, 2005, the people of God began proclaiming his holiness,” and hundreds, if not thousands, visit his tomb each day, the cardinal said. A further sign is the number of biographies published about him and the number of his writings that are translated and re-published. “In the course of a beatification cause, there is the vox populi,” he said, which must be “accompanied by the vox dei (voice of God)—the miracles—and the vox ecclesiae

Former Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls speaks at a conference about Pope John Paul II. (Photo: Paul Haring) (voice of the Church)”, which is the official judgment issued after interviewing eyewitnesses and consulting with historians, physicians, theologians and church leaders to verify the candidate’s holiness. Beatification and canonisation are not recognitions of someone’s superior understanding of theology, nor of the great works he or she accomplished, the cardinal said. Declaring someone a saint, the Church attests to the fact that he or she lived the Christian virtues in a truly extraordinary way and is a model to be imitated by others. The candidate, he said, must be perceived “as an image of Christ.” Cardinal Amato said, “the pressure of the public and of the media did not disturb the process, but helped it” because it was a further sign of Pope John Paul’s widespread reputation for holiness, which is something the Church requires

proof of before it moves to beatify someone. Joaquin Navarro-Valls, who served as Vatican spokesman under Pope John Paul, told the conference that the late pope’s voice, his pronunciation, his use of gestures and his presence at the altar or on a stage all contributed to his success as a communicator. But the key to his effectiveness was that he firmly believed that each person was created in God’s image and likeness, Dr NavarroValls said. “I think this was what attracted people even more than the way he spoke.” People felt he was sincere in his recognition of their dignity and of their destiny to be with God, he said. “He was a man profoundly convinced of the truth of those words in Genesis—‘God made man and woman in his image and likeness.’ This gave him optimism even when he could no longer walk, and then even when he could no longer speak,” Dr Navarro-Valls said. As for those who question beatifying Pope John Paul only six years after his death and those who say the explosion of the clerical sex abuse scandal during his pontificate casts a dark shadow on his reign, Dr Navarro-Valls said people must remember that beatification is not a judgment on a pontificate, but on the personal holiness of the candidate. The key question, he said, is: “Can we be certain he lived the Christian virtues in a heroic way?”—CNS


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The Southern Cross, April 13 to April 19, 2011

LEADER PAGE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Editor: Günther Simmermacher

Crucified by prejudice

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HIS Good Friday we will not hear the account from Matthew’s gospel of Jesus’ arrest, trial and execution, but that of John. Writing in the second volume of his Jesus of Nazareth trilogy, published in March, Pope Benedict proposes that Matthew’s Passion narrative must not be read as a historically account, but as a scriptural metaphor. Where in John’s Passion account, the Jews blamed for Jesus’ crucifixion are the temple authorities, Matthew seemingly holds all Jews, across the generations, culpable. That one line, “His blood be on us and our children”, has served as the basis for a terrible history of antiSemitism in the Christian church. That history culminated in the Holocaust, perpetrated by the quasi-pagan Nazi regime, but with the enthusiastic help from many individual Christians. Pope Benedict points to the absurdity of a logic that would hold Jews through the generations responsible for deicide on account of Matthew’s passage. “How could the whole [Jewish] people have been present at this moment to clamour for Jesus’ death?” he asks. Rather, the pope proposes, the lynch mob outside Pilate’s palace represents the whole of humanity which is “in need of the purifying power of love which is [Christ’s] blood”. Alas, for centuries Christians opted for an interpretation that facilitated the persecution of Jews for their supposed deicide, disregarding that Jesus, his mother and his followers were Jews themselves, and therefore, by the absurd logic of the deicide theory, were equally culpable for killing Christ. Some fundamentalist churches continue to believe that Jews are guilty of deicide. The objectionable Westboro Baptist Church, a militant Christian sect in Kentucky, even pickets synagogues while chanting slogans and holding signs accusing Jews of being “Christ-killers”. The Catholic Church has changed its ways in relating to Judaism. The Second Vatican Council’s Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions, Nostra aetate (1965), dismissed all grounds for anti-Semitism,

including those founded in scriptural accounts. More than that, the Council fathers recognised the Church’s Jewish origin: “The Church draws sustenance from the root of that good olive tree, Judaism, on to which have been grafted the wild olive branches, the Gentiles. Indeed, the Church believes that by his cross Christ…reconciled Jews and Gentiles, making both one in himself” (7-8). The surprised reaction to Pope Benedict’s “acquittal” of Jews in his new book suggests that the clear teaching of Nostra aetate has not penetrated the public consciousness. The secular media—rarely up to speed with 40-year-old developments in the Church—seemed to regard the pope’s writings as a new Church policy. Jewish leaders involved in dialogue with the Church pointed out that most Jews have not known of the Catholic Church’s postconciliar approach to Judaism; many are still under the impression that the Church holds anti-Semitic views. Pope Benedict’s book, and the secular coverage it has received, will help reshape that perception. One might even ask to what extent Nostra aetate has reached Catholics. With anti-Semitism still rife in Western Europe—one Jewish body claims that antiJudaist prejudice is now at the highest level since the Holocaust—one may well suppose that some Catholics are engaged in spreading the hate. The Church cannot relegate its engagement in fighting prejudice against Jews, and others, to printed documents and small groups involved in dialogue. Issues of prejudice must be an explicit part of every Catholic’s formation. The Church’s tragic history of fomenting anti-Semitic sentiment (and, at times, even legislating for it) places upon Catholics a special calling to protect those vulnerable to prejudice and persecution on grounds of race, ethnicity, religion, class, gender, sexuality or political ideology. With every act of anti-Semitism and every act of bigotry, Jesus is condemned and crucified again. The Church must be seen to always stand in opposition to the mobs of prejudice.

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.

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T is pleasing to see The Southern Cross raising the question of eating meat “Call to Christians to give up meat, become vegetarian” (March 23). This has become a critical issue for our time. As Fr Peter Knox points out in his blog, Genesis 1:28 leads many to think we have a God-given right to dominate animals. But when we read the verses that follow we see that the creation myths of Genesis make a point of excluding the killing and eating of animals for food from this dominion. In Genesis 1:29-30, God gives us, and all animals too, plants for our food. Only after the Fall, when violence (of human making) enters the world, does God “relent” and permit humans to eat meat, noting that “dread fear” will come upon animals as a result (Gen 9:2-3). And that is what we have become: the terror and the dread of animals with our “agribusiness”, feedlots, manipulation of their reproductive processes and natural diets, battery hen cages, dairies, fishing nets, abattoirs and butcher shops. Billions of

People first

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WAS intrigued by Fr Peter Knox’s views on cattle and vegetarianism. I broadly agree with the idea “that vegetarianism is a Christian option” and that “we should examine our way of life and what we use and consume”. I do however wish to make certain counter-points regarding what Fr Knox refers to as “the meat production business”. 1. Cows would not exist without beef and dairy farming. Modern domestic cattle evolved from a single early ancestor, the aurochs. These fierce animals stood 2m tall and lived until recent times. In 1627, a poacher hunting on a preserve near Warsaw, Poland, killed the last surviving wild auroch. 2. Cattle have been domesticated and bred for as long as we have had civilisation. Some think auroch domestication took place 10 000 years ago. We have found remains of domesticated cattle dating back to 6 500BC in Turkey. People living in Mesopotamia were using cattle both for meat and to pull loads by 3 000BC They had also learned to milk cattle. A bas-relief picture from that time shows a reed cattle shed and two men sitting on milk stools milking cows. 3. Cattle and meat production generally have been and remain an essential part of our economic systems across the globe. Over 260 million tons of meat is currently produced for market globally and demand is growing. 4. Cattle have been an essential part of many religious systems such as traditional African religions including the Xhosa, Zulu and

The Parish of Our Lady of Loreto The Parish of Our Lady of Loreto is hosting a concelebrated Holy Mass for the whole Eastern Deanery of the Archdiocese of Johannesburg for the feast of the Divine Mercy and the beatification of his Holiness John Paul II. Confesions will be heard from 13:30 prior to Holy Mass at 15:00. A procession honouring Jesus Our Divine Mercy, St faustina and blessed John Paul II willl follow the Mass. An open invitation is extended to all to join in this celebration which takes place on May 1 at the Parish situated on the corner of Miller and Kweper streets in Kempton Park. Enquiries may be addressed to the secretary Ms Michette burt on 011 970 1985.

Ethical eating animals are slaughtered every year for human food. We are beginning to see where this mentality of domination has brought us, but many people remain in denial about the suffering we cause to animals by commodifying, confining, killing and eating them, and by drinking their secretions. We don’t want to know, because if we do know, we know we’ll have to do something. Only when we are prepared to see the connection between what is on our plates and this suffering, can there be a change. Our denial could be wounding us spiritually and psychologically, and desensitising us toward feeling compassion. We end up reaping what we sow: a violent world. There are indeed many compelling arguments for choosing not just a vegetarian diet, but a “vegan” diet, which dispenses with all foods derived from animals—meat, milk, cheese, butter, cream, yoghurt, honey, eggs, and, yes, chicken and Masai cosmologies, Mithraism, Hinduism and the religion of ancient Crete. Indeed Vincent Donovan describes in his 1978 book on the Masai (Christianity Rediscovered) the evolution of a Masai Catholic rite! So before we all rush off and become vegetarians or vegans, let us also reflect that eating meat such as beef remains a considerable driver in our economic development as well as in the employment of our citizens. Cattle and their consumption is also an integral part of a variety of religious systems. There remain huge challenges to fight cruelty and callous greed in any industry but this is seldom done by withdrawing from it to remain “pure”. What we need is a careful reading of the Church’s social teaching over the years which urges respect for God’s creation and economic justice. So along with choosing to become a vegetarian for Lent, why not also engage with your parish Justice and Peace group and study the economic justice of food production? Douglas Racionzer, Pretoria

Fond memories

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lizabeth McLellan’s letter (December 15) took me some 70 years back to St Joseph’s Institute, Aliwal North. 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.

fish too! These arguments include the massive environmental devastation caused by the meat industry (animal agriculture accounts for a significant amount of global warming), justice for the poor (the meat diet is one of the structures of world domination), the question of whether animals are ethically trivial, the importance of a consistent life ethic, the interconnectedness of all life, and the need to make responsible food choices based on compassion and on what is good for the planet, not on what society has told us about the food chain. A vegan diet has the side-benefit of being much healthier, too! But any lessening of our consumption of animal-based foods is a step in the right direction, because it decreases the demand for these products. My guess is that in 50 years’ time we will all be vegetarian, and vegan in a hundred. Maybe people then will look back on our time as a Dark Age! Neil Mitchell, Johannesburg I was born May 10, 1936 and baptised by Fr Cahy a month later, according to my baptism certificate. I also remember Fr Leighton for his wonderful paintings which adorned the stage for our concerts. Fr Petersen posed in my First Communion photo. Thank you for letting me relive my childhood days. Sophie Freeks, Cape Town

Support Holy Land Christians

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HIS is just a gentle reminder of the annual collection for our Christian brothers and sisters in the Holy Land on Good Friday. Right now these good people are living in great anxiety because of the surrounding turmoil in North African countries and in the whole of the Middle East. Last year this collection in our region passed the R1 million mark for the first time ever and Holy Land Christians are truly grateful for this generous contribution to help their plight. It should never be forgotten that the amount we collect for them must be exchanged against the ever-changing currency rates at the time, thus showing up the weakness of our rand vis-á-vis the powerful value of other currencies, in particular the dollar. Nevertheless, the “widow’s mite” is still of supreme worth in the eyes of God, so let us continue to open our hearts and pockets for our struggling fellow Christians of the Holy Land. Hyacinth Ennis OFM, Commissariat for the Holy Land, Pretoria

Tangney

Special Interest Tours LA MADoNNA DELLA SPERANzA With Fr Giovanni Meneghetti CS 12-23 April 2012 Assisi: Basilica of St Francis. St Chiara. St Damiano. Porziuncola. Rome: (audience: Holy Father) St Peter’s. Rome basilicas. St Paul’s. Lido di Ostia: St Monica. St Augustine. Sistine Chapel. Trevi Fountain. Spanish steps. St Giovani Rotondo: Tomb of Padre Pio. Crucifix of Stigmata. Our Lady of Grace Church. Monte Cassino: Visit the Abbey. Tel: (021) 683 0300 Fax: 086 691 9308 P O Box 273, Rondebosch, 7701 Email: karis@tangneytours.co.za


PERSPECTIVES

Praying in the Church’s language

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HIS past Lenten season I walked out of confession and said my prayers of penance while the choir practiced one of those haunting Latin hymns that can make even non-Catholics fall in love (at least temporarily) with the Church and the beauty of its rituals. Two years of foggily remembered high school Latin helped me trace a few words, but not the rest. The otherness of this once-learned but now-forgotten language grabbed my attention and held on. When you speak another language, the adage goes, you become another person. And I wanted, in that moment of penance, to become another person: less bound by my anxiety, less likely to lose myself in anger, more rooted in a life of peace. So I decided, as I left the church that day, to start praying in Latin and see if it might help this new person emerge. As a “boomerang Catholic”—raised in the faith as a child, fleetingly in and out of it through young adulthood, settling back into it once I had children of my own—my religious book learning isn’t particularly good. I knew no Latin prayers at all, not even a snippet. Thankfully we have the Internet, which allowed me to look up the “Anima Christi”. This was the prayer I had been drawn to that day after confession—I must have heard someone praying it in Latin once, in a church pew or in an old movie from before Vatican II. I found the Latin text, printed it out, kept it by my bed and stumbled my way through it before I slept each night. No new personality, no miraculous transformation. Every time I read it— butchering the unfamiliar words, ruining the cadence—I told myself I know I’m getting this wrong. But what I sought from praying in Latin actually resided in this feeling of error; the sense that my prayer would always be incomplete and imperfect, but that I had to keep on doing it anyway with humility, sincerity, patience. The meaning of prayer rests in these things rather than in the perfection of form (though perfection of form is a beau-

ty of its own). I had to let myself stumble, let myself grope more than the familiar English I knew would ever let me, in order to understand how prayer helps me find my way in the darkness. I slowed down, mumbled less, stumbled more patiently and with more confidence that the “Anima Christi” would be there for me as it has been there for Catholics for the past six centuries. I reached for other Latin prayers, setting deadlines for myself to learn them by heart. The Pater Noster and Ave Maria at first didn’t bring me to the same depth as the “Anima Christi”; they were so familiar to me in English that I thought about their translations as I spoke them, trying to figure verb conjugations and noun declensions. This pulled me out of the spirit of humility and into one of love for my own knowledge, which is hardly a recipe for fulfilling prayer.

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o I tried other prayers I didn’t know in English and latched on to the “Oratorio ad Sanctum Ioseph”—a fitting prayer for me because I look to St Joseph most, since fatherhood is at the centre of life’s meaning for both of us. To me, this prayer exists only in Latin; I have resisted the urge to look it up in English so I can keep my verb-conjugating, noun-declining mind out of it. This prayer, more than anything, brought me to the place that I hoped praying in Latin would bring me. Phrases from it started rolling through my mind and mouth—“te per hoc utrumque/ ut me, ab omni immunditia praeservatum”—that I had

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N rural western Kenya, some apparently sane people purport to worship an elderly polygamous man. He has nearly a hundred children and calls himself Jehovah Wanyonyi. The man claims to be God Almighty and teaches his followers that Jesus Christ is his son—although there was a time Jehovah surprised a reporter by saying he was in serious need of money to feed his children. I thought about Jehovah Wanyonyi following extensive media reports here about an elderly former Christian preacher in northern Tanzania. Mwasapile Mbilikile, 76, claims to have found a cure for nearly every ailment on earth. He uses a certain herb and invokes the name of Jesus. For over a month, tens of thousands of people have been beating a path to Mbilikile’s remote village home hoping to drink a cup of his concoction and get cured. Some people have travelled from Kenya. The dirt poor as well as the rich have used every available means of travel to reach Loliondo village. Many of those people are Christian and they believe that the old man indeed has a “miracle cure”, as he claims. Judging from media pictures, it is an amazing spectacle. The Tanzanian government had to temporarily suspend trips to Loliondo amid fears of a humanitarian crisis after 52 people died while waiting

for the “miracle cure” associated with Jesus. Yet there is nothing particularly spectacular about Mbilikile’s claims. Many faith healers say similar things here in Kenya all the time. In Nairobi alone, there are several faith healers purporting to cure all types of diseases, make one rich, protect a believer from harm or even death. My problem is that these claims are made in the name of Jesus. Actually, who is Jesus Christ? Is he indeed the son of the western Kenyan man who says he is God? Or is he the alleged power behind the Tanzanian herbalist’s “miracle cure”? Could he be both? In other words, is Jesus involved in the words and works of everyone who claims to speak and act in his name? I think a Christian cannot avoid these questions, especially in the quiet of Holy Week. To begin with, I believe in miracles because the Bible says Jesus performed them. The same Jesus who walked on this earth 2 000 years ago is alive today and still does miracles. But I have a difficulty about going around looking for miracles or believing everyone who says he or she can pull off some amazing feats in the name of Jesus. For one, I don’t think that is why Jesus came down from heaven. He could do miracles from heaven—as he does now— without coming down here to live with us for while, couldn’t he? There must be another reason why

7

Michael Shackleton Open Door

Steven Wingate Point of Debate

no choice but to approach with humility and patience because I didn’t understand them. I spoke them, as so many before me had spoken them, and they brought me into the communion with the living and the dead that Catholicism helps me seek. I thought of the early converts, learning to pray in languages they didn’t know. Syrians praying in Greek, Goths praying in Latin like me. Following along at first and being lost, but having faith that the prayers themselves could help them get found. Once I caught this spirit, phrases from the prayers I knew in English started coming to me, too. fructus ventris tui, Iesus iudicare vivos et mortuos ora pro nobis peccatoribus dimitte nobis debita nostra One sleepless night it came together: the whole Ave Maria in Latin from memory, without worry over conjugations and declensions. It wasn’t the end of a journey but the beginning of one—finding the trailhead after months of whacking through the bushes. Praying in Latin hasn’t, as the adage suggests, made me a new person. There’s something about the practice, though, that helps me separate myself from everyday worries not only in moments of prayer, but in the hurly-burly of daily life, too. I know there’s another language I can go to that brings me closer to who I’m meant to be. Because in English I worry. I ask and tell and demand and cajole and plead and shout. But in Latin, I only pray. n Steven Wingate (stevenwingate.com) lectures in creative writing and literature and is the author of the short story collection Wifeshopping (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008).

Which Jesus do we know?

The Southern Cross, April 13 to April 19, 2011

Henry Makori Letter from Nairobi

Jesus took a human body, was born, suffered, died, rose again and went back to heaven. And that reason seems to me not to have been well understood by the thousands of anxious people flocking Loliondo village, or those who bow before Jehovah Wanyonyi. Yet it is a very simple reason. No one can say he or she is a Christian if they have not heard the following words: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him” (Jn 3:16-17). It is that simple. God has shown unfathomable love for each one of us in the freely accepted death of Jesus Christ on the cross to atone for our sins. Now, all the people who believe in Jesus will still experience suffering and death on this earth, whether they are rich or poor and whether or not they are cured from an illness by a herbalist asserting spiritual power. But one thing is sure: no matter what, believers who understand who Jesus Christ really is will always be alive and well in him because in his resurrection he has conquered death and lives forever. A very happy Easter to you!

Can the true Church be led by sinners? Coming from a strong Catholic family, I have become disillusioned. I feel Catholics are more concerned with doctrine than trying to become good Christians. The belief that we are the “true” religion in the line from Jesus, has confused me of late. How can molesting priests represent the Church, or in earlier centuries, those bishops and popes who fathered children? I feel I would rather be part of a church that is Bible and Christian-centred, where we don’t live with the pressure of “being” Catholics. Please help me. ERHAPS you are confused because you feel that if we are the “true” Church, how can we have in our ranks people who are untrue to what Jesus taught us? My guess is you feel that sinful bishops and priests (and others) seem to think that, provided that they keep the doctrines of the faith, they can turn a blind eye to their own sins. They are concerned about the Church’s good image and so conceal sinfulness in their ranks. Look at the problem from two viewpoints: reason and faith. Our reason tells us from experience that human nature has a tendency to do what is evil and to turn a blind eye to it or deny it when it suits us. History holds many examples of this kind of behaviour. We find it in our governments and even in our families. Clearly, we also have it among religious people, Christian and non-Christian. From the viewpoint of faith, such behaviour is part of the problem of moral evil, which the Catechism (311) says is permitted by God because he respects our freedom of choice to do good or to do evil. Faith tells us that only Christ can redeem us from this situation (Rm 7:15-25), and that bad people are to be found in the kingdom of heaven on earth (Mt 13:36-43). This is of little comfort when those ordained to serve Christ in the Church are the culprits who shock us. You are not the only disillusioned Catholic. The old Latin proverb, corruptio optimi pessima (“the worst corruption is that of the best person”), is appropriate. We are stunned when ostensibly exemplary Christian leaders let us down. The Church is making efforts to correct these wrongs. We must live in faith, hope and love, and rely on the grace of God because without it, human nature will keep on failing, as Romans 7 stresses.

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

NEW FOR 2011 16-26 September HOLY CROSS PILGRIMAGE TO JORDAN, THE HOLY LAND AND ISTANBUL A spiritual and fascinating journey to include the baptismal site of Jesus, Mt Nebo and the Lost City of Petra in Jordan; places where Jesus walked and preached in the Holy Land. Air route via ancient Constantinople (Istanbul). Organised and led by Fr Ignatius Heer. Cost from R22 285 Tel: (031) 266 7702 Fax: (031) 266 8982 Email: judyeichhorst@telkomsa.net A list of current pilgrimages can be viewed by clicking on the Valley View Travel icon at www.catholic-friends.com

Red Acres Retreat Centre

We accommodate Small Conferences, Retreats, Workshops www.redacres.org.za Phone: 033-3302289


8

The Southern Cross, April 13 to April 19, 2011

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The Southern Cross, April 13 to April 19, 2011

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Passion Play’s Christ actors grow in faith The Durban Passion Play is based on the famous Oberammergau play, and is performed every five years. CLAIRE MATHIESON spoke with the play’s director and some of the performers.

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OR many cast members in the latest production of the Durban Passion Play, taking part has been a life-changing experience. The play, currently performed at the Playhouse Drama Theatre, is based on the famous Oberammergau Passion Play. It is directed by Dawn Haynes and has received positive reviews. For the actors of the Durban Catholic Players Guild it is a personal achievement – part professional and part spiritual. The role of Jesus is shared by two actors, who perform in alternating performances. Denzil Deane and Brett Montanari both described their role as “life-changing”. “This amazing experience has not only afforded me the opportunity to to make the most wonderful group of friends, but also to strengthen my faith in a way I did not expect possible in such a short amount of time,” said Mr Montanari, a parishioner of Our Lady of Lourdes in Westville. Ms Haynes said so far the highlight has been watching the two men playing Jesus Christ “develop in their acting, their spirituality and their confidence. Denzil and Brett have been an inspiration”. The actors said support was necessary to remain enthusiastic about the hard work required. Mr Deane said it was only when he saw his 80 year old grandfather sitting in the front row of the audi-

torium that he truly appreciated the achievement of what he was doing. He said being a part of this play has been the biggest opportunity and achievement of his life. Mr Montanari said the play has “rocked my world”. He said it took acting the part of Jesus to truly understand the “great sacrifices and immense suffering he went through for us. Only now can I see how lukewarm a Christian I was up until now”. Mr Montanari said he thought he had a relationship with Christ but now realises that “I was purely telling people [that], because, in all honesty, I didn’t know what it felt like to actually have a relationship with him. I feel like I am at the beginning of a beautiful journey of getting to know our very much living God”. Mr Deane said he has since been attending lectures and courses and will be travelling on pilgrimage to World Youth Day in Madrid, Spain, in August. Ms Haynes said there have been a few challenges along the way but no “low lights”. She said working with such a big cast is challenging, but everyone has been keen to learn. “I think we have some amazing actors. Amateurs are sometimes more natural, but they are all so inspired that it has not been a problem.” Mr Deane said there had not been any bad experiences, but admitted the scariest was being “nailed” to a cross that seems “hardly strong enough to withstand my weight”. For Mr Montanari, the most difficult experience has been personal. “The worst part to a very large extent became my saving grace, learning my downfalls as a Christian has opened my eyes to how wonderful a life through Jesus can be.” Veteran Passion Play actress and

The Crucifixion – a scene from this year’s Durban Passion Play currently performed in the city’s Playhouse Drama Theatre.

teacher Denise Rankin, a member of Immaculate Conception parish in Pinetown, plays Jesus’ mother, Mary. She said her dedication was inspired by her husband Marcel, three sons and her sisters. Playing the Madonna, Patti Hunt, also of Pinetown parish, said she was taking part for her children and grandson. While some actors, like Mrs Rankin, were well primed for this year’s production, already having two other shows under her belt, others needed some special preparation. n preparation for the roles both Jesus actors were required to grow beards. Mr Deane said he had to get in shape, grow a beard and study words and actions to become a more realistic Jesus. Mr Montanari said he enjoyed growing a beard, and found learning the art of acting and voice control “very interesting”. Neither have been put off by the physical preparations, saying they The lead role of Jesus Christ is shared by two actors. Denzil Deane is pichave made the role easier to por- tured in a scene called “The way of the Cross”. Mr Deane said much physical tray. preparation was required for the role including growing a beard and getting in Mr Montanari said he felt the shape. journey he has been on for the past seven months will not end with his final show, but will “hopefully grow It will run until April 24 at Durfrom strength to strength through- 2 after receiving a blessing from out the rest of my life”. He said he Cardinal Wilfrid Napier of Durban, ban’s playhouse Drama Theatre. who is the play’s patron. Tickets cost R 30-R 60. hoped the same for the audience. Ms Haynes said the play was the most powerful form of spiritual renewal and evangelising she had encountered. CORPUS CHRISTI CATHOLIC CHURCH She said the play reminds Christians why Easter—the Resurrection—is so imporDivine Mercy Novena and Feast tant. The play, she said, makes the Gospel come alive Good Friday 22nd April after 3.00pm Service in a very real way. Some Holy Saturday 23rd April 08.00am audience members have been Easter Sunday 24th April 11.15am moved to tears, she said. Reaching nearly 14 000 peoMonday 25th April 08.15am ple, the message she said was Tuesday 26th April 06.30pm “incredibly powerful”. Wednesday 27th April 7.00pm This year marks the 13th Thursday 28th April 7.00pm time the Durban Passion Play Friday 29th April 6.30pm has been staged, and the Saturday 30th April 10.15am third to be directed by Ms Haynes. Performed every five Feast of Divine Mercy on Sunday 1st May 2011 years with special permission from the Oberammergau vilHoly Hour 2.00pm lage fathers, the cast is made up of an inter-denominationMass 3.00pm al group of diverse people, ranging in age from toddlers Contact: Fr Susaikannu Esack and Fr Michael Clement and teenagers to an active 902 Clare Road, Wynberg/Wittebome 7800 year-old. Tel: 021 761 3337 Fax: 021 761 3388 Ms Haynes said the production would not have been possible without the hard work from all 150 of the cast and crew who have been involved in the project, entirely voluntarily, for the past seven months. Ms Haynes said the preparation has been long and hard, but “the total dedication of the cast has made it most rewarding”. The play opened on April

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HOLY SITES TRAVEL TEL: 082 975 0034 / FAX: 086 552 9648 E-MAIL:elna@holysites.co.za WEB SITE: www.holysites.co.za

Join us on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land as we explore the cradle of Christianity and follow the Footsteps of Jesus. Visit: Pray at the Holy Grotto where Gabriel appeared to The Virgin Mary Visit the Holy Manger where Jesus was born Sea of Galilee – by its waters Jesus chose his first disciples Renew your baptismal vows in the Jordan River Walk the Via Dolorosa Light a candle for your loved ones on Calvary

for more details contact Elna ferreira Tel: 082 975 0034


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FAITH

The Southern Cross, April 13 to April 19, 2011

What happened on the Sabbath after Jesus died? Not much is known about what happened in the time between Jesus’ body being placed in the tomb and the women finding the tomb empty. YOLANDE TRAINOR suggests that this time period marks the conception of the Church.

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E are adding on to our house, and every day I see the cement-mixer going. I know the squad of builders by name, but if someone asks, “Who is doing your building?”, I usually say: “Brian Curtis”. Of course, Brian isn’t physically building my house. His labourers—Kevin, Dolla, Sam, Newton and Robert—are. It is their fingerprints, their sweat, and sometimes even their blood that is literally building the house, although their names will never appear on paper. Have you noticed the unnamed women who cared for Jesus? “Meanwhile, the women who had come from Galilee with Jesus were following behind. They took note of the tomb and how the body had been laid. Then they returned and prepared spices and ointment, and on the Sabbath day they rested, as the Law required” (Lk 23:5556). Notice the unnamed women, caring for Jesus, who kept the Sabbath. Where were all the men? John’s gospel has the beloved disciple standing with Mary near the Cross, but the other disciples are not mentioned. It’s quite difficult to picture Mary and the women (and some of the men) as they stayed to be with Jesus while he died. They stayed as many Jewish women had

done, as yet another young Jewish youth died by crucifixion. It was not unusual to see a young Jewish man hanging on a cross as it was the way the Roman authorities dealt with those who were had up for treason against the Roman state. Jewish custom prescribed that a person should not be left to die alone. When Jesus died, the women were there. Being with another at birth and at death is often the women’s task. We must never underestimate Mary’s pain. See her now as a Jewish Galilean woman, with her Galilean friends, just staying there, fully present, wearing whatever Galilean Jews wore then, using whatever prayers they knew to be appropriate, speaking with their Galilean accents, maybe subdued, definitely shocked, and maybe even vociferous in their wailing. Mary held her lifeless son as he was taken down from the cross. Then it was all over, and the Sabbath was upon them. Consider the Sabbath as the most important festival in Judaism. It precedes the Ten Commandments, and, of course, it is in the Ten Commandments! Picture Jesus with his family and friends eating the Sabbath meal together, singing Jewish Sabbath-songs, using the Sabbath table blessing, the Kiddush, over bread and wine. And talking about God. Imagine Jesus as a little Jewish boy, learning how to say the Sabbath prayers over bread and wine from his father, Joseph. There were years of weekly intimate Sabbath table fellowship in Jesus’ life. And now, these thoroughly Jewish followers of Jesus were facing, straight after seeing him die, having Sabbath meals—and Jesus not with them as he had been.

Imagine the conversation as they returned to the places where they were staying, comforting and supporting one another, gathered around Mary as Jesus’ mother. And talking about Jesus: how he had died; what spices to buy for when they came back to anoint his body. nd so, what now of our Jewish Galilean friends who have been battered by the days’ events? They probably behaved as all human beings do: gathering in various groupings, but certainly around Mary. It’s what people do: to gather around the bereaved family. I suggest something similar went through their minds as they started the blessing over the bread and wine. It would have been unnatural and unusual if their minds had not been on the recent encounter with Jesus at the Passover meal. And what would they have made of it all, remembering his words of blessing over bread and wine that Passover meal? The sound of his voice as he had said: “Do this in remembrance of me.” What was it like for them now as they said the same simple blessing over bread and wine? I have noticed and wondered about how many elements of our Eucharist one might sense as being part of that meal. Their talking about Jesus, for example, would seem remarkably like a sense of “Gospel”. It is feasible that elements of what we call the Lord’s Prayer—the prayer Jesus taught his disciples—would have been part of their prayers that evening. Sabbath home meals would include bits of Old Testament scripture and the Psalms. Their table blessing over bread and wine: “Blessed thou O Lord

A

Mary holds the body of her crucified son, Jesus, in this mural at Holy Family Church in the West Bank town of Ramallah. (Photo: Debbie Hill) our God”, alerts us to what is now the prayer in our preparation of the gifts. They remembered him clearly from the night before, taking bread, giving thanks with the table blessing, breaking the bread and sharing it. And so too with the cup. That whole experience, or the story of it, would be clear and fresh in their minds! Surely they repeated it then and there in memory of him; and we have our version of that story at the time we call the consecration. Of course, it was not the Eucharist as we know it now, for that has a long 2 000 year evolution. The Church talks about its birth at Pentecost. A birth requires a pregnancy, and a pregnancy requires a conception. With this feminine imagery in mind, I suggest that we could think of the Church as being conceived on that Sabbath, just hours after Jesus died. We might call Eastertide the pregnancy, and Pentecost her birth. And Mary? Well, she was the

one within whom Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit—33 years and nine months before, so to speak. What better person for folk to be gathered around when we might think of the Church being conceived? I wonder whether the Eucharist was given then, to a group of mostly unnamed Jewish Galilean women, who, in their caring for Jesus, kept the Sabbath in Jerusalem 2 000 years ago, after they had stayed with Mary and her dying son? Perhaps we can call it an “embryo Eucharist”, and then there is a sense that the Eucharist was given, and the Church conceived while they were still purely Jewish—and had not yet met the Risen Lord. For me this seems important, as it maintains the sense of God’s special election of the Jews. n Yolande Trainor is a graduate from St John Vianney Seminary, Pretoria, where she explored a call to ordination in the Anglican Church. She converted to Catholicism in 2004 and now does retreat work and spiritual direction.


The Southern Cross, April 13 to April 19, 2011

Sr M Immaculata Kircher HC

S

ISTER Immaculata (Martha) Kircher died March 1, aged 77. Born in Molzbach, Hessen, Germany on March 26, 1936, to Karl and Antonia Kircher, Sr Immaculata was the first of four children, two boys and two girls. Her father died in the second world war and her mother remarried. At the age of 20 Martha entered the Holy Cross Sisters in Boppard, on the river Rhine, which was a formation house for candidates destined for Africa. She was sent to the motherhouse in Menzingen, Switzerland, where there was, at the time, an international novitiate. There she received the name Sr Immaculata. After making her first vows, Sr Immaculata set off for South Africa by boat and arrived at the Provincial House in Aliwal North on February 3, 1959. Sr Immaculata was very gifted, especially in cooking, gardening, laundry, sewing and decorating. She put these skills to good use all her life, serving Holy Cross sisters’ communities, the many children in Parow children’s home, and the staff and children in the Holy Cross schools where she was stationed. After working at various Holy Cross communities

in South Africa, Sr Immaculata was assigned back to Boppard for some years. In August 2002, after a mild stroke, she went to Fatima House in Aliwal North where she looked after the frail and elderly sisters. She sewed and mended for them and helped in the dining room and flower garden. She seldom missed a chance to visit those who were confined to their rooms. Sr Immaculata loved nature and animals, especially cats. She had a great joy in sharing whatever she received. She had great empathy and had the gift of making friends easily. Wherever she had been stationed she left dear friends who always kept in touch with her. Sr Monica Madyembwa, now general councillor for Africa, wrote that afternoon teas in Sr Immaculata’s kitchen were unforgettable, especially in winter around the Aga stove: “I cherish so many good memories of Sr Immaculata, especially when she was in charge of the kitchen in the Victory Park, Johannesburg, community at the time of our initial formation.” She celebrated her golden jubilee in 2008. In her later years Sr Immaculata bore her illnesses well and was brave in her suffering. Sr Maureen Rooney HC

Community Calendar Liturgical Calendar Year A Sunday, April 17, Palm Sunday Is 50:4-7, Ps 22:8-9, 17-20, 23-24, Phil 2:6-11, Mt 26:14 27:66 or Mt 27:11-54 Monday, April 18 Is 42:1-7, Ps 27:1-3, 13-14, Jn 12:1-11 Tuesday, April 19 Isaiah 49:1-6, Ps 71:1-6, 15, 17, Jn 13:21-33, 36-38 Wednesday, April 20 Is 50:4-9, Ps 69:8-10, 21-22, 31, 33-34, Mt 26:14-25 Thursday, April 21, Mass of the Lord's Supper Ex 12:1-8, 11-14, Ps 116:12-13, 15-18, 1 Cor 11:23-26, Jn 13:1-15 Friday, April 22, Good Friday Is 52:13, 53:12, Ps 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-17, 25, Heb 4:1416; 5:7-9, Jh 18:1-19:42 Saturday, April 23, Holy Saturday Night: The Easter Vigil 1) Gen 1:1, 2:2 or Gen 1:1, 26-31, Ps 104:1-2, 5-6, 10, 12-14, 24, 35 or Ps 33:4-7, 12-13, 20-22; 2) Gen 22:1-18 or Gen 22:1-2, 9-13, 15-18 Ps 16:5, 8-11; 3) Ex 14:1515:1 (Ps) Ex 15:1-6, 17-18; 4) Is 54:5-14 Ps 30:2, 4-6, 1113; 5) Is 55:1-11 (Ps) Is 12:2-6; 6) Bar 3:9-15, 32, 4:4 Ps 19:8-11; 7) Ez 36:16-28 Ps 42:3, 5; Ps 43:3-4 (baptism)(Ps) Is 12:2-6 or Ps 51:12-15, 18-19 (no baptism); 8) Epistle: Rom 6:3-11 Ps 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23; 9) Gospel: Mark 16:1-7 Sunday, April 24, Easter Sunday Acts 10:34, 37-43, Ps 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23, Col 3:1-4 or 1 Cor 5:6-8, Jn 20:1-9

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, 16:0017:00. 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 09:00 Mass with novena to St Anthony. First Friday 17:30 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. PRETORIA: first Saturday: Devotion to Divine Mercy. St Martin de Porres, Sunnyside, 16:30. Tel Shirley-Anne 012 361 4545.

Word of the Week Transubstantiation: the change by which the substance (though not the appearance) of the bread and wine in the Eucharist becomes Christ’s Real Presence—that is, his body and blood. Application: Transubstantiation occurs at each Mass during the consecration of the Eucharist.

Interested in seeing Holy Places? www.comepraytherosary.org

11

CLASSIfIEDS Births • First Communion • Confirmation • Engagement/Marriage • Wedding anniversary • Ordination jubilee • Congratulations • Deaths • In memoriam • Thanks • Prayers • Accommodation • Holiday Accommodation • Personal • Services • Employment • Property • Others Please include payment (R1,15 a word) with small advertisements for promptest publication.

IN MEMORIAM GERSON—Ada. Fondly remembered and sadly missed. Peter.

tected, soon after conception (a medical fact). See website: www.human life.org/abortion_does _the_pill.php

PRAYERS

DOWLING—“Chummy”, Charles Humphrey. My dear husband, Chummy, passed away three years ago (15 April 2008). There’s a sad, but sweet remembrance, a memory fond and true, a token of affection and a heartache still for you. Never more than a thought away, loved and remembered every day. Love always from your wife, Bridget.

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. CB

HOUSE TO LET/fOR SALE SOUTH COAST, uvongo: Three bedroom house, fully furnished, en-suite, lock-up garage. R3 000 per month. Tel: Donald 031 465 5651, 073 989 1074.

fOR SALE DOWLING—“Chummy”, Charles Humphrey. Today recalls the passing of our dearest Daddy and Grandpa three years ago. With every smile and word of cheer, you built a legacy in these hearts that mourn you here. With lots of love, missing you always, your Sons, Daughters and Grandchildren.

PERSONAL AbORTION WARNING: ‘The Pill’ can abort, unde-

HOLY SITES TRAVEL HOLY LAND PILGRIMAGE organised by Kreste Modisa Parish OCTOBER 2011 Contact: Elna Ferreira on 082 975 0034, E-Mail: elna@holysites.co.za, Website: www.holysites.co.za

Tony Wyllie & Co. Catholic Funeral Home Personal and Dignified 24-hour service 469 Voortrekker Rd, Maitland Tel: 021 593 8820 48 Main Rd, Muizenberg Tel: 021 788 3728 Member of the NFDA

GREEN POINT UPPER: Large three bed roomed house with separate flatlet on erf 168, erf size 852m². Available immediately for development opportunity. Fantastic sea-views and near CBD. 021 465 9048.

ACCOMMODATION OffERED

KNYSNA: Self-catering accommodation for 2 in Old Belvidere with wonderful Lagoon views. 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 mjsali da@mweb.co.za STELLENbOSCH: Five simple private suites (2 beds, fridge, micro-wave). Countryside vineyard/forest/mountain walks; beach 20 minute drive, affordable. Christian Brothers Tel 021 880 0242, cbcstel@gmail. com 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@ lighthouse.co.za WILDERNESS: Rustic farm cottage. Sleeps five, self-catering. Ph 073 478 9038. thewoodvillecot tage@gmail.com

CAPE TOWN, Cape Peninsula: Beautiful homes to buy or rent. Maggi-Mae 082 892 4502. Colliers International False Bay, 021 782 9263, maggi maev@colliers.co.za

HOLIDAY ACCOMMODATION bALLITO: up-market penthouse on beach, self-catering. 084 790 6562. bETTY’S bAY: (Western Cape) Holiday home, sleeps seven, three bathrooms, close to beach, R600/night. 021 794 4293, marialouise@mweb.co.za CAPE TOWN: Vi Holiday Villa. Fully equipped selfcatering, two bedroom family apartment (sleeps 4) in Strandfontein, with parking, R400 per night. Tel/Fax Paul 021 393 2503, cell 083 553 9856, vivilla@ 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. 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

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Southern CrossWord solutions SOLUTIONS TO #440. ACROSS: 1 Dubs, 2 Bookmark, 8 Prairie, 10 Reeds, 11 Takes to heart, 13 Employ, 15 Pledge, 17 Combustibles, 20 Theme, 21 Oxonian, 22 Parodied, 23 Bell. DOWN: 1. Deputes, 2 Blank, 4 Oberon, 5 Kyrie eleison, 6 Averred, 7 Kist, 8 Crust of bread, 12 Personal, 14 Pioneer, 16 Ashore, 18 Loire, 19 Stop.


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Easter Sunday: April 24 Gospel Readings: Matthew 28:1-10; John 20:1-9

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EXT Sunday is Easter Sunday, and if you attend Midnight Mass, you will get a rich array of readings, leading you in an immense sweep through the history of God’s dealings with his people, fit for the greatest feast of the Church’s year. The g ospel at that Mass should be the beginning of the final chapter of Matthew’s gospel; and on the Sunday morning (and I hope that you will attend both Masses) you can hear either that gospel, of the women coming to the tomb and finding it empty, or the same story from John 20. Some readers get worried about the differences between the readings, and wonder if it is possible to hold them together. Instead of worrying about that, I should like to suggest that you simply look at the readings, and ask what the two evangelists are trying to tell us. In Matthew’s account, the women come at dawn to “look at the tomb” (whereas in Mark, whom Matthew is following, it was “to anoint his body”). Then we hear of an earthquake; and we might remember that Matthew said something of the sort when the Magi had turned up, back at the beginning of his gospel, when Herod and all of Jerusalem were “disturbed”. Here, however, the earthquake is because an angel has been rolling stones about the place, “his appearance like lightning and his clothing white as snow”. Then we look at the opponents, the guard that had been put there to prevent Jesus’

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The Lord has risen from the dead Nicholas King SJ Sunday Reflections corpse from being stolen. And what has happened to them? “From fear the watchers have been quaked, and they became like corpses”, Matthew writes, with perhaps the hint of a smile. Then the angel knows exactly who the women are, and why they have come; and he shows them the empty tomb. And he gives them a mission: “Quick—go and tell the disciples (Mark had written “and Peter”, to make a point of his own) that he is risen from the dead, and look! He is going before you into Galilee.” So it is not just the Easter proclamation that we are to hear, but also the news that we have a job to do. Off they go, but then the story takes an unexpected turn, one that Matthew did not find in Mark: “Look! Jesus met them, saying ‘Rejoice!’ And they approached and grabbed his feet, and worshipped him”. That word “worship” has run all the way through Matthew’s gospel, as far back as the arrival of the Magi, and it is the correct reaction to Jesus of those who are on his side.

Then the mission is repeated, this time by Jesus: “Don’t be afraid. Go and announce to my brothers that they are to go into the Galilee (where the gospel had begun, of course) and they will see me there”. So it ends with unfinished business, with a job still to be done. What is your job, this Easter Sunday? Now look at John’s version. Here it is just Mary Magdalene, who (bravely) comes “when it is still dark, to the tomb; and she sees the stone has been rolled away from the tomb”. That is not at all that she has been expecting; and now the pace of the narrative quickens, for she “runs” to “Simon Peter and to the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved” and tells him “they have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we (so there was more than one of her, after all) don’t know where they have put him”. So these two disciples set off, and, once again, there is running, and perhaps a slight touch of comedy as we learn that “the other disciple ran quicker than Peter, and was first to get to the tomb”. He does not, however, do what we might have expected, and go in; instead, “he stoops down and sees the gravecloths lying”. Next, Simon turns up, and he takes the initiative, and “went into the tomb”, and saw exactly the same phenomenon, but also the “sweat-cloth which had been on his head, not lying with the gravecloths, but rolled up apart, in one place”.

Lenten customs can be bizarre I HAVE always been enormously intrigued by Lent. As a child I didn’t much like it because I had to give up something nice and the quality and quantity of food in our house went into a severe decline. But as I got older it became a very special part of the year for me. Among other things, it’s a time of reflection and deliberation on what we humans were put on earth to do. I decided recently to devote some time to researching Lent on the Internet and to my absolute amazement I found so much information it could all keep me occupied for years and years. Here are a few snippets I found of particular interest. When Christianity became the state religion in Rome in the 4th century, the 40-day Lenten fast included compulsory three hour a day instruction classes before baptism on the eve of Easter. Lenten observance in those days was strict with only one meal a day near evening and it could not include any animal products. This continued to be practiced at my house in the 1950s because I can still hear my parents saying: “If its got a mother, we’re not eating it.” By 800AD Lent was becoming more lenient. Christians were allowed to eat after 3pm and by 1400 it had been moved up to noon. As time went by fish was allowed. Nobody remembered to tell my mother. Lent is undoubtedly the most fascinating of all Christian observances, given the

Chris Moerdyk

The Last Word

sometimes bizarre rituals. The parades, floats, dancing and revelry in South America and New Orleans come to mind when thinking of Mardi Gras. According to my Internet source, this carnival is actually celebrated all over the world and has a long history. Ancient Greeks would kill a goat, cut the hide into strips, run naked through planted fields while priests of the Greek god Pan would lash their skin with bloodied goat whips. As part of their spring fertility rite, it was accompanied with lewdness, drunkenness and orgies. In the early days of the Church, leaders where appalled by such practices. This rite was considered perverted even by pagan standards, and they tried to put a stop to it. The Church was largely unsuccessful so a new tactic was tried. The early Church incorporated this spring rite as an acceptable feast before the Lenten season. The Church named it “carnival”, which comes from the Latin words carne and vale, meaning “farewell to the flesh”. The French named it Mardi Gras, which means “fat Tuesday”, a day of gorging oneself on meat, milk and eggs as a pre-

Classic Conrad

Did you know that the pope has his own private cinema in the Vatican, courtesy of an Italian cinema group?

lude to 40 days of abstinence. At the same time of year that Christians observe Lent, there is the festival of Losar, the Tibetan new year. At this time one prepares for the coming new spiritual year. According to tradition, one cannot properly celebrate until one deals with the last year’s unfinished business or unhappy memories—a spiritual house cleaning or purification. This is called the “Gutor”, where houses are cleaned and offerings made to chase away evil. A ritual dance is done which symbolises the triumph of good over evil, and offerings are burnt. In the Philippines, Holy Week (or Semana Santa) contrasts with other Christian countries. Filipino Catholics give emphasis to the suffering of Christ, rather than on his resurrection, in the belief that salvation comes at the end. Religious piety is passionately displayed in different parts of the Philippines, particularly in the provinces where communities go on pilgrimages to as many churches as possible and with devotees re-enacting Christ’s Passion through real-life crucifixions under the scorching heat of the sun. Extreme forms of religious practices such as self-flagellation using whips tipped with sharp objects that scar the backs of hooded penitents form part of the rituals that are performed to this day. The penitents are taken down seconds after being nailed to the wooden crosses, using 5cm stainless steel nails soaked in alcohol. These crucifixions take place in the town of San Pedro, Pampanga, north of the capital Manila. Real-life crucifixions are not countenanced by the Catholic Church, but the fine line that separates religious ritual from spectacle is slowly erased as hundreds of tourists troop to this quaint town to witness the tradition in awe and amazement. Such rituals are part of a folk religious culture that has deep roots in a brand of obscurantism that dates back to the Spanish colonial period. Hispanic Filipinos likened the suffering of Christ to their oppression in the hands of their abusive Spanish landlords and friars. It is also a respite from the snarl of Manila’s traffic jams and the din of political campaigning and electioneering that follows the Lenten season. Personally, I prefer our local South African Lenten rituals. Giving up chocolate is a lot more civilised, surely, than being lashed.

It is only at that point that the “beloved disciple” goes in, but he makes a leap that apparently Simon has not made: “he saw and he believed”. What has he seen? Apparently, the fact that the grave-cloths were not separate made the difference: if it had been graverobbers that were responsible for the disappearance of Jesus’ body, then the cloths would not have been left like that. “He saw and he believed.” For John’s gospel there is an important link between seeing and believing, and that is what the story is meant to do for us: to let us know that we are in the line of those first witnesses to the Word who became flesh. It does not stop quite there, however, for in the gospel for the 2nd Sunday of Easter we shall hear the words to Thomas, who has just been given irrefutable evidence that it is indeed Jesus. The doubting one is told: “Happy are those who have not seen, and have believed”. That is us, and we have a job to do, this Easter season. Our task is to demonstrate, by the way we live, that it is indeed true about Jesus, that he has risen from the dead, and that the news too good to be true is true indeed. By now the alert reader may be asking what has happened to Mary Magdalene in all this. Open your New Testament, and look at the next few verses for a lovely story of grief assuaged. A Happy Easter to you all.

Southern Crossword #440

ACROSS

DOWN

1. Names the knight (4) 2. Volume and evangelist to keep your place (8) 8. I repair the grassland (7) 10. Pharoah’s daughter found Moses among them (Ex 2) (5) 11. Accepts cardiologist’s advice? (5,2,5) 13. Make use of (6) 15. Promise (6) 17. I bless cut mob: they burn in the thurible (12) 20. Frequently occurring melody (5) 21. Member of famous university (7) 22. Aid roped in, made a travesty of (8) 23. It signals the sacred moment (4)

1. Puts Dee in position (8) 2. How the preacher's mind may go (5) 4. Rob one Shakespearean king (6) 5. Greek in the Roman Missal (5,7) 6. Asserted (7) 7. Storage chest sounds like it's touched with the lips (4) 8. Outer part of the loaf for nibbling (5,2,5) 12. Kind of relationships among the Trinity (8) 14. Missionary who goes first (7) 16. Hoarse from stepping on land (6) 18. Oriel from French river (5) 19. Cease the set of organ pipes (4)

Answers on page 11

CHURCH CHUCKLE

F

ATHER O’Malley rose from his bed one morning, walked to his bedroom window and saw there was a dead donkey in the middle of his front lawn. Not knowing who else to call, he phoned the local police station. Sgt Jones answered, and the priest told him: “There’s a donkey lying dead right in the middle of my front lawn.” Sgt Jones, considering himself to be quite a wit, replied with a smirk: “Well now, Father, it was always my impression that you people took care of the last rites!” Fr O’Malley replied: “Ah, to be sure, that is true; but we are also obliged to notify the next of kin!”

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 - 110413  

13 April - 19 April, 2011

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