June 22 to June 28, 2011
r5,50 (incl VaT rSa) reg No. 1920/002058/06
The new missionaries in SA’s Church
Church gives hope to Congo’s rape victims
Parish of the Month from the E. Cape Page 10
Confidence a fruit of World Cup By CLaIre MaTHIeSON
The Lord’s Table is set for the distribution of the Bread and Cup of life in Jerusalem’s church of all Nations in the garden of Gethsemane. The Church celebrates the feast of Corpus Christi— the Body and Blood of Christ—on June 26 this year. (Photo: Günther Simmermacher)
Security fears after regime kills church workers in Sudan By BarB Fraze
WO church workers were murdered by government forces in Sudan’s South Kordofan state in what one Church adviser called a campaign of “ethnic cleansing”. John Ashworth, an adviser to the Sudan Ecumenical Forum and official of the Denis Hurley Peace Institute in Pretoria, would not elaborate on the religious affiliation of the church workers, who were killed after two days in detention, because church officials on the ground were becoming more nervous about drawing attention to the church. The two were among “a huge number of murdered civilians”, Mr Ashworth said, referring to a “deliberate policy by the Khartoum regime to kill its own citizens. It is ethnic cleansing, and it is not new,” he said in an e-mail. Mr Ashworth said the people being killed are Nuba, an indigenous people of Sudan. “The international community should stop trying to fudge this as part of the North-South conflict,” he said. “The killing needs to be stopped, and this is the first priority.” South Kordofan sits along the disputed border of Sudan and Southern Sudan, which is due to become independent on July 9. Fighting between members of the Sudan Armed Forces and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army from the South began in midMay. Sources on the ground in South Kordofan have reported finding dead members of both armies along the road between the towns of Heiban and Kauda, where cell phone lines had been cut. The United Nations reported bombing and artillery shelling in the Nuba Mountains area, which
spilled into Southern Sudan. Coadjutor Bishop Michael Didi Adgum Mangoria of El Obeid, the diocese that includes South Kordofan state, said the entire population of the city of Kadugli had fled. The bishop told the Vatican missionary news agency Fides that two Comboni nuns and a priest who had been working in Kadugli had taken refuge in a UN compound. He said UN personnel there “are simply observers and not peacekeepers. They aren’t even able to protect themselves, let alone the civilians.” Mgr Roko Taban Mousa, apostolic administrator of Malakal, Southern Sudan, told Fides in early June that the tens of thousands of people fleeing the disputed area around Abyei, also in South Kordofan, had resulted in a serious humanitarian problem. While aid is arriving from other areas of Southern Sudan, it is not enough to cover the needs of the refugees. A referendum on Abyei’s political future had been scheduled for January but never took place because of disagreements over who was eligible to vote. The Sudanese government insisted that the nomadic Misseriya, a northern-aligned tribe that takes its cattle to Abyei during several months of the dry season, be allowed to participate, but that was rejected by the permanent residents of Abyei, mostly members of the Dinka Ngok tribe who support the Southern Sudan government. Caritas Internationalis, the umbrella body of Catholic relief and service agencies, said that its organisation in Southern Sudan aimed to provide water, food, shelter and health care to the 100 000 people they expected would be displaced because of the border fighting.—CNS
YEAR after South Africa hosted the football World Cup; Church commentators believe the tournament has taught the country much, but say the true legacy of the World Cup—positive or negative—is still a long way off. Cardinal Wilfrid Napier of Durban reflected on the pride the nation felt after FIFA president Sepp Blatter scored the 2010 tournament nine out of ten. “We were the first African nation to have the World Cup assigned to us, and we had done a pretty good job,” the cardinal told The Southern Cross. He also reflected on the infrastructure that was built for the tournament. “We provided new or renewed or upgraded stadiums in every metropolitan centre, as well as in nonmetropolitan centres like Rustenburg, Nelspruit and Polokwane; a spanking new airport at Durban; substantial expansions and upgrades at Cape Town and Johannesburg; training grounds established in many places.” Mike Pothier, research co-ordinator of the Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office, said the initial success of the World Cup was evident in the infrastructure that went up in time for the big event—stadiums and transportation systems in particular. “We got all the stadiums built on time and to the correct standards, and ensured all the necessary infrastructure around it was sound. One year before the event, there was a lot of negativity around the progress the country had made. People were questioning whether South Africa could do it and rumours were rife about FIFA having a backup plan. But we did it!” Mr Pothier said that the fact South Africa hosted the event with everything in place showed success. However, he said, it was far too early to draw conclusions on the lasting effects of the World Cup. “One legacy it did leave was that of confidence. So many projects never occur on deadline, but we learnt that with sufficient pressure it can be done,” Mr Pothier said. Cardinal Napier said the World Cup taught South Africans that if one wants a project to succeed, it is necessary to state clearly what is needed and wanted, as well as “to make clear what everyone from government to humblest fan will need to do to ensure that the required goods are delivered”. But this should lead to certain questioning, Mr Pothier said. If the country can build
a stadium for billions of rands, then surely housing and public transport can also be sorted out. Mr Pothier said the difference between the day-to-day running of the country and hosting the World Cup was the presence of an external force which applied pressure. But, he added, if the work ethic and high levels of service delivery was achieved once, there is no reason it couldn’t be achieved again. South Africans should demand these levels of efficiency, he said. “Currently there is not enough pressure from the electorate. We need to learn from it.” Cardinal Napier said there were three main things the country learnt from the event. “When people are given an attractive vision and set a clear goal they will rise to the occasion remarkably well. If those in authority are transparent and honest, treat the people with respect by explaining their intentions and plans, our people will climb on board and go beyond the call of duty”. The second lesson is that government can no longer take it’s people for granted. Empty promises will not suffice, the cardinal said. “The last lesson to be learned is just how much we are indebted to God for the many graces and blessings he gave us at the time of the World Cup and since. “I count it a particular grace and mercy that even with the exposure of amazingly high levels of graft and corruption, a considerable majority of the electorate is still willing to give government a last chance to get it right,” Cardinal Napier said. Mr Pothier said the country felt a large amount of “positivity, pride and a sense of achievement” during the tournament and while this would not last, he hoped the other effects would. “The real lessons will be learnt only in years to come when the positive and negative effects can be seen: whether tourism has grown, whether the infrastructure is being used and maintained, and whether the country can attract other large events,” he said. For the cardinal, the highlight was the nation’s uniting behind the national team. “South Africans, one and all, put their collective weight behind an African country.” However, he said that the sense of pride and national support the country felt at that time has since dwindled. He said government has stopped attempting to promote unity and the only way to maintain it will be to deliver more projects as successful as the World Cup.
Giant footballs outside parliament in Cape Town marked the 2010 World Cup. Church commentators say that the long-term benefits of hosting the event cannot be measured yet.
The Southern Cross, June 22 to June 28, 2011
Theologian: Vatican II's legacy is safe By GeraLd SHaW
The Carmelites in Cape Town recently received a new member during the clothing ceremony held at the Carmelite convent in retreat. Marion Schekierka, a 25 year old graduate in psychology, from the Good Sheppard parish in Bothasig, is seen receiving the Bible and breviary from archbishop Stephen Brislin of Cape Town. The new sister said during the ceremony that she had lived as a postulant in the monastery for one year and felt she was ready to continue to embrace the Carmelite life. The archbishop reminded her that the central teaching of the Carmelite rule was meditating day and night on the Word of God, and declared the new sister to be known as Sr rose of the Immaculate Heart of Mary henceforth.
LEADING South African Catholic theologian has dismissed fears that all of Vatican II's good work is being undone. Emeritus Professor Brian Gaybba of Rhodes University was addressing a public lecture in Cape Town on the “The post-Vatican II Church”. Prof Gaybba studied theology in Rome during Vatican II and subsequently served as theological adviser to the South African Catholic Bishops. Contrasting the post-Vatican II Church with the preconciliar Church, Prof Gaybba said: “It used to be a Church where the laity for the most part played the role given them by Pius X—being nothing but sheep. It is now a Church where lay interest in theology has created an informed and articulate laity in many places, who are not
afraid to speak their minds about many things in the Church,” he said. “In short, unlike the Church under Popes Pius IX and Pius X, today's Church is anything but a monolith, its clergy anything but demigods, and its people anything but dumb sheep,” he said. Acknowledging a concern voiced by some Catholics, Prof Gaybba said: “I know there are fears that all of Vatican II's good work is being undone. I don’t believe that it can be undone. The Council's view of the Church, on the dignity and calling of the laity, on religious freedom, on the status and authority of bishops, has laid a foundation that I believe makes any attempt to go back to pre-Vatican II days very difficult, if not impossible.” “So I am not in a state of despair about the Church, for the Spirit of God's love is working in all of us—calling each of us to love
and to be open to repentance and change, while standing firmly for what we believe to be true.” In a lecture which covered a wide range of concerns and problems in the post-Council Church, Prof Gaybba said one of the gifts of the Second Vatican Council to the Church was the gift of learning to live with differences, rather than living a monolithic life. He said that if there is an absence of unanimity amongst God's people regarding a particular belief, such as the ordination of women or Humanae Vitae, then these issues are not part of the Church's infallible teaching. “If the pope's repeated use of his legitimate authority to bring about a consensus among the people of God regarding some doctrine fails, then I believe he has an obligation to take an opposite tack and promote, rather than ban, responsible discussion of such matters,” Prof Gaybba said.
Catholic NGO assists school leaver STaFF rePOrTer
GRADUATE of the education access programme from the Catholic Institute of Education (CIE) has been pushed to achieve more than he thought possible. Kwanele Buthelezi was unable to further his education after passing matric due to a lack of funding. But recently his fortunes changed thanks to CIE and the Primedia Foundation which stepped in and offered to pay his university fees. Kwanele, the second of four children, completed matric last year at St Francis College in Mariannhill, KwaZulu-Natal, where he achieved an average of 70% for nearly all of his subjects. This earned him a Bachelor’s pass, which grants him admission to study for a Bachelor’s degree at any university, said CIE publicist Shoni Makhari. The 19-year-old lives with his sister, while his grandmother lives in Mpumalanga with his younger brother. “Both his parents died
when he was in Grade 8, prompting his grandmother to ask for help from the school as she couldn’t afford his fees,” said Mr Makhari. His principal, Jabulani Nzama, approached the CIE to assist Kwanele in furthering his education. “He’s a young man who is dedicated to his studies. He has a great vision for his life and he wants to branch into a career that most people wouldn’t go into. I admire him for that,” said the principal. Kwanele had already been assisted with his school and boarding school fees through the education access programme which provides support to 2 000 pupils in mainly rural and peri-urban environments across the country. The young matriculant said the death of his parents affected him deeply because he started missing school and looking for odd jobs so that he could support his family. But, Kwanele explained, he was encouraged to continue. He is thankful to the CIE for providing a roof over his head and
for funding his studies during a difficult time. “I used to come to school late or even bunk school. Sometimes I got to school without having eaten or bathing because there was no electricity. I am grateful to the CIE for their help during those years.” According to Mr Makhari, Kwanele is keen to pursue property management or architecture. “[Property management] is a career that most people wouldn’t do, but I think he would excel in it and there’s a great demand for it.” Mr Makhari said. Mr Nzama said he realised early on that Kwanele had great potential and was worth assisting. “His marks were always great. I am very excited for him,” he said. CIE director Mark Potterton said he was also thrilled that Kwanele had finally received the help he needed. “He is such a talented young man, I am very happy for him.” The CIE, an associated body of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, provides support to Catholic schools.
Our Lady of Fatima Dominican Convent School, Durban North High School Teaching Post: January 2012 Physical Science Grade 10 – 12, Life Sciences Grade 10 & Natural Science Grade 9 applications are invited from experienced educators who possess appropriate qcations, are registered with SaCe and fit the following profile: • Senior school trained educator (preferably a BSc Graduate & a PGCe) with recent experience teaching Physical Science • Grade 10 – 12, Life Sciences Grade 10 and Natural Science Grade 9. • extensive knowledge of the GeT and FeT curricula. • recent experience in an IeB school will be an advantage. • an appreciation of the School’s traditions and Catholic ethos. • Sound interpersonal skills and an ability to communicate effectively with learners, staff and parents.
duties will include: attendance at related workshops and parent interviews. Participation in the School’s co-curricular programme
Failure to meet the advertised minimum requirements for the post will result in applicants automatically disqualifying themselves from consideration. Applicants are required to fill in a covering information form which is available from Mrs Beechey, or it can be posted to you on request (Tel. 031-563-5390). You can email firstname.lastname@example.org for an electronic version of this form. Detailed CV to be submitted with the information form to: The Principal, Our Lady of Fatima d.C. School, 155 Kenneth Kaunda drive (Northway),durban North, 4051. CLOSING DATE: Friday, 22 July 2011.
Kwanele Buthelezi is the recipient of a bursary from the CIe to study at university. He is pictured with his principal, Jabulani Nzama. (Photo: Mark Potterton)
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The Southern Cross, June 22 to June 28, 2011
Bishops slam Swaziland’s repression A By CLaIre MaTHIeSON
DELEGATION from the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) has described Swaziland as a country in “turmoil; a country tearing itself apart from the inside by the actions of an uncaring head of state and a regime that is getting more brutal by the day”. Cardinal Wilfrid Napier of Durban, Archbishop Buti Tlhagale of Johannesburg, Auxiliary Bishop Barry Wood of Durban and Bishop Giuseppe Sandri of Witbank travelled to Swaziland, which forms part of the SACBC region, on a solidarity visit to Bishop Louis Ncamiso Ndlovu of Manzini, Swaziland’s only bishop. Cardinal Napier said Swaziland is currently under a state of emergency that was imposed in April 1973 when the late King Sobhuza II usurped all legislative, administrative and judicial powers by
royal decree. “By that decree supreme authority was vested solely in the institution of the monarchy and in the person of the king. All political parties and indeed political activities were banned,” the cardinal explained in a statement. He said it was evident the powers need to be curtailed since “their abuse by those in authority is the primary cause of the current crisis, in which dissenting views meet with brutality of the highest order. Pro-democracy and human rights activists have their homes arbitrarily raided; they themselves are arrested, detained and beaten up by security forces, presumably under orders of the king who is the Commander-in-Chief”. The cardinal said despite Swaziland having a constitution, the fact the state of emergency is still in place, deprives citizens of their basic rights—to expression, assembly and association. “This makes
Swaziland a police state in which political parties remain banned,” he said. The delegation discussed a variety of recent incidences where the lack of civil rights was displayed. “The recent quashing of the protest marches in Manzini scheduled for April 12 is a typical example of the high-handedness of the regime. That event led to the most stringent security clampdown in the history of the country,” Cardinal Napier said. The cardinal added that the Swaziland Human Rights Commission had not attended to any complaints about the violations on human rights, including ignoring the deaths of two activists, Mathousand Ngubane and Sipho Jele who “mysteriously” died in custody. “Inquests were set up in both instances, but the report on Mr Ngubane’s death has never been made public. The report on Mr
Klerksdorp celebrates 25 years of Bishop Mvemve By CLaIre MaTHIeSON
N June 29, Klerksdorp will celebrate the episcopal silver jubilee of the diocese’s Bishop Zithulele Patrick Mvemve. Ordained a priest at the age of 28 in 1969, Bishop Mvemve became the auxiliary bishop of Johannesburg on June 29, 1986, assisting Bishop Reginald Orsmond. He also acted as the archdiocese’s vicar-general until he was appointed to Klerksdorp in May 1994 to succeed Bishop Daniel Verstraete. The diocese’s chancellor, Fr Maurice Kalino, said preparations were well under way for the quarter-century celebrations. He said the celebration will include a time of reflection on the bishop’s life. “Bishop Mvemve has dedicated his time to three things in the diocese,” he said. Firstly, there is the idea of personal priests, Fr Kalino said. When Bishop Mvemve arrived in the diocese, he explained, priests were stretched between parishes and most of the pastoral work was done by catechists. “There was a lack of sacraments celebrated because one priest had to reach so
many. Under the leadership of Bishop Mvemve the situation is far better, with more priests seeing to more people,” Fr Kalino said. Secondly, the bishop implemented Small Christian Communities (SCC) in Klerksdorp, which have been described as very successful. “The SCCs share thoughts on the Bible and are able to discuss issues of faith and life,” said Fr Kalino. “Lastly, one of Bishop Mvemve’s main projects was helping Klerksdorp embrace the idea of ‘self-reliant Church.’ We’ve seen a lot of progress here.” Fr Kalino said there has been an increase in vocations, more religious in the diocese and the community has been “selfsupporting and self-ministering”. Messages have been received from around the world, including one from Pope Benedict. The apostolic nuncio in South Africa, Archbishop James Green, in his well wishes wrote: “I hope and pray that the Lord will continue to guide and sustain you in your ministry.” There will be a celebratory Mass at the cathedral of Christ the Redeemer at 10:00 on June 29.
Jele’s death raises more questions than answers concerning the circumstances surrounding his arrest and leading to his death,” said Cardinal Napier. The delegation also noted that Swaziland has the highest HIV/Aids infection rate in the world (26%), the lowest life expectancy in the world (32 years), an unemployment rate of 40% and an extreme poverty rate, with 70% of its population living below the poverty line, which is set at under US$6 a day. Cardinal Napier said Swaziland is currently in the throes of an unprecedented crisis. “The ‘Tinkhundla’ system of governance is a breeding place for corruption and greed. Monies intended for alleviating the people’s suffering are diverted to support the lavish lifestyle of the monarchy and its cohorts, namely the king [Mswati III], his 13 wives, 30 children, other members of the
royal family and hangers-on.” With there being no obvious end in sight—as the government is elected on an individual basis and the judiciary appointed by the king—the SACBC delegation said it is necessary for the African Union and the Southern African Development Community to examine the Swazi situation “critically and honestly”. Cardinal Napier said the delegation further proposed that the king lift the State of Emergency by repealing the 1973 decree, the Constitution be amended to reinstate the full range of human rights, and that “King Mswati III enter into meaningful dialogue with his people in order to facilitate movement towards true democracy in his country”. The cardinal said the delegation has called on all Catholics and people of goodwill in Southern Africa to “join us in praying for meaningful change in Swaziland”.
Vatican II in 160 characters By FraNCeS COrreIa
EOPLE often say that they don’t have time to learn more about their faith. We live in a fast-moving culture in which few people read more than two sentences. After the third sentence of this article there will be information that might be of interest to such people, and all Catholics. Hope&Joy is offering an SMS service drawing on documents from the Second Vatican Council, papal encyclicals and Scripture. The messages will be no more than 160 characters each in length. Nearly 2 000 people have signed up to receive the weekly Hope&Joy messages in May and June. As of July, the service will be provided daily at R3,50 per week.
Each week will address a different theme, such as the ministry of lay people, the role of the priest, relations with other faiths, and so on. The fee for that service comes straight off the recipients phone, whether they have pay-as-you-go or a monthly account. To sign up SMS the word JOY to 31 222. Those who have already signed up for the free weekly service will automatically be switched to the paid-for daily service. Users can unsubscribe at any time by sending the word STOPJOY to 31 222. Subscribers to the free service, which expires at the end of June, will receive an SMS to notify them of the switch, and to offer an opportunity to unsubscribe.
Athlone hosts family Mass Bishop Mvemve has served the country as Bishop for 25 years. FOr THe reCOrd: Our graph on the provincial breakdown of Catholic schools (June 8) omitted the number for the eastern Cape, which has 49 Catholic schools.
HE Eastern deanery of Cape Town will be hosting a family Mass at the parish of Our Lady of Good Counsel in Bridgetown, Athlone. Eastern deanery pastoral care chairperson Craig Padua said there is a need to bring families together in Mass with one common purpose. He said the dean-
ery wants to join the area’s families under the name of Jesus Christ. “We know how important the domestic church is in implementing the mission of Jesus,” he said. The Mass will be celebrated on July 3, starting with praise and worship 15:00. n For more information contact Craig Padua on 073 406 8825
The Southern Cross, June 22 to June 28, 2011
Church groups give hope to DRC rape victims By Sara aNGLe
YSTEMATIC rape in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been called a “weapon of war”, but even after the latest war ended in 2003, sexual violence continued to be a daily reality for Congolese women. “This isn’t a story for the war, this is our lives now. If the world is bored with the story, then they have forgotten how to be human,” one woman told Pascale Palmer, senior press officer at the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (Cafod), the official aid agency of the English and Welsh bishops. “Take our stories and tell everyone what is happening here. The world thinks it knows—but it doesn’t know,” Feza M’Nyampunda, a 48-year-old victim of rape, told Ms Palmer during a visit to Congo last year. A study by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative in April 2010
showed civilian rapes in Congo multiplied by 17 times between 2004 and 2008. Ms Palmer said she has visited Cafod’s rehabilitation sites in Bukavu, Goma and Bunia several times and witnessed the “incredibly harrowing stories” of women ages 16-60 who have experienced sexual violence. She said Cafod started projects in the DRC in 2004, after the organisation started to really understand what was going on. “More and more women were coming to the Church organisations and trying to tell their story” of rape and sexual assault during seven years of war, said Ms Palmer. To provide an outlet for these women, Cafod partnered with the Bukavu archdiocese’s Justice and Peace Commission to create “listening rooms”, where women can go to talk about their experiences as victims of sexual violence in a
safe environment. Some women have a single experience of rape or sexual violence, while others are taken out to militia camps after their villages are attacked. Ms Palmer said they can be taken and detained for months, “held as a titular concubine, and kept naked and held as sexual slaves”. She said that “at listening rooms, women get together and learn a trade, which allows them to do something physical while they talk.” The skill allows them to potentially start a small business of their own. At the listening rooms, women meet in groups along with trained care workers who “help them unpick some of the really ghastly experiences that have happened to them,” explained Ms Palmer. Cafod’s partners in Bukavu also work closely with families who initially rejected women in their fam-
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ily after they were raped, because of the stigma involved. Ms Palmer believes the issue of sexual violence in Congo is due in part to the patriarchal society, and that when emancipation of women is reached, sexual violence can finally come to an end. The newest initiative from Catholic Relief Services (CRS) hopes to empower Congolese women from within their community. The organisation’s programme harnesses technology for a community-based early warning and protection project. Utilising radio and cellphone networks provided by CRS, communities can share and receive updates on the humanitarian situation so they can protect themselves. Denis Tougas, the African Great Lakes regional director of the Montreal-based group L’Entraide missionnaire, has monitored sexual violence in Congo for many years.
“The only solution is for the Congolese people to fight back with democracy”, he said, adding that empowering women would be an important step towards that goal and the country’s future. Rather than simply focusing on issues of rape, educating communities about women’s rights can be more useful in preventing sexual assault as well domestic violence, he said. “There is a lot of concern and anxiety in the Western world, which has brought distortion in the answers to the problems,” Mr Tougas said. He feels that most projects and programmes designed to help Congolese women are flawed because they place foreigners in charge. “The problem has to be solved from inside,” said Mr Tougas, otherwise women see “it’s just another programme from the outside.”— CNS
Pope meets with 2 000 Gypsies By CarOL GLaTz
OPE Benedict has prayed that the world’s Gypsies no longer be subjected to prejudice, oppression and rejection. Gypsies should always uphold “justice, legality, reconciliation and strive to never be the cause of someone else’s suffering”, he said in a festive meeting with nearly 2 000 Gypsies, Roma, Sinti and Travellers in the Vatican’s Paul VI hall. Pope Benedict recalled the painful past of the Gypsies, especially when hundreds of thousands of men, women and children “were barbarically killed in extermination camps” during World War II. He acknowledged that even today, many Gypsy communities and individuals still face “serious and worrying problems, such as often-difficult relations with the societies in which they live”. Europe must not forget the suffering the Gypsy people went through, he said, launching an appeal that Gypsies “may no longer ever be the object of oppression, rejection and contempt”. Governments need to do more to help Gypsies integrate into society, he said. “The search for housing, dignified employment and an education for one’s children are the foundations upon which to build that integration from which you and all of society will benefit,” the pope said. The papal meeting coincided
dancers perform prior to Pope Benedict’s meeting with nearly 2 000 Gypsies, roma, Sinti and Travellers. (Photo: Paul Haring/CNS) with a pilgrimage to Rome to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Bl Ceferino Giménez Malla, a Gypsy who was shot in 1936 after defending a priest during the Spanish Civil War. Pope Benedict said Bl Gimenez, a Third Order Franciscan who was also known as El Pelé, was an important model for today because of his dedication to prayer, the rosary and the sacraments as well as his commitment to honesty, charity and generosity. Before the pope’s address, four Gypsies, including a Slovakian nun, told the pope about how their Christian faith was an important part of their lives, especially in giving them hope
for the future. One of the Gypsies, Ceija Stojka of Austria, told the pope she was confined to three Nazi concentration camps when she was 9 years old. Of 200 people in her family, only six survived the war and the Holocaust. While it is impossible for her to forget seeing people killed in front of her and the smell of burning bodies, Mrs Stojka said she is afraid that Europe is forgetting its past and that “Auschwitz is only sleeping”. Anti-Gypsy threats, policies and actions “worry me greatly and make me very sad”, she said. “If the world does not change now, if the world does not open its doors and windows, if it does not build peace—true peace—so that my great-grandchildren have a chance to live in this world, then I cannot explain why I survived Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, and Ravensbrück,” she said. Carlo Mikic, an 18-year-old Roma from Italy, said he understood many people’s prejudices against Gypsies are rooted in the instances of crime by some members of their community, but that it was wrong to place the blame on a whole ethnicity or people for the wrongdoings of an individual. He said he dreamed of a future in which Gypsies would be treated like full citizens and no longer be a people “to be isolated or feared”.—CNS
Marriage not private, but ‘a public good’ By SIMON CaLdWeLL
HE spiritual leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales has praised traditional marriage as a “public good”. Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster said it was “vitally important” for the “whole of society” to support marriage at a time when more British couples than ever were choosing to live together outside of marriage and to have children out of wedlock. He said the British had acknowledged the importance of marriage by rejoicing over the April 29 marriage of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. The “mighty public cheer” that rang out after the couple exchanged vows showed an “instinctive and profound public understanding of the nature and consequences of marriage itself”, said Archbishop Nichols, who was a guest at the royal wedding.
“Marriage, as a permanent, exclusive commitment between this man and this woman was welcomed, applauded,” the archbishop said in a homily at a Mass for married couples in Westminster cathedral. “Marriage, then, is a public good. Marriage is not simply something done in church by a few. Marriage is not a private arrangement. “Rather marriage expresses our deepest longings and expectations for ourselves, for our children and for our society,” he said. “Marriage is of our nature. It is not created by the Church, but blessed by her. Christian marriage is a sacrament. In celebrating marriage, in defending marriage, the Church seeks to promote that which is good for us human beings, for our human nature and for our society.” The archbishop’s words were directed primarily at a personally invited congregation of 543 married couples from his dio-
cese who had a combined total of 18 048 years of marriage. Archbishop Nichols’ comments came just months after official figures revealed that the marriage rate in Britain was at its lowest since 1895, with just 21,3 men marrying per 1 000 unmarried adult men and 19,9 women marrying per 1 000 unmarried women. About 57% of children in Britain are now born to parents who are not married, said figures revealed in February from the Office for National Statistics. In his homily Archbishop Nichols said that in contrast to marriage, cohabiting relationships were inherently unstable because they were effectively negotiable. “When relationships are provisional, with an understanding that each can walk away, there is a sense in which each of the partners is always on probation,” Archbishop Nichols said. “They are never fully accepted.”—CNS
Catholics make big splash in social media
Jobless growth a problem By SaraH deLaNey
By Sara aNGLe
HILE there are signs of recovery in the global economy, structural flaws in the system are preventing the creation of new jobs worldwide, said a Vatican diplomat. The ripple effects of widespread unemployment negatively influence the quality of society in all economies across the world, from the most advanced to the underdeveloped, said Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican representative to United Nations agencies in Geneva. Speaking at the UN International Labour Conference in Geneva, Archbishop Tomasi urged that all involved in “the burgeoning and mercurial global economic system” work to foster fundamental principles that ensure respect for the common good and protection of the most vulnerable. Archbishop Tomasi said the protracted economic downturn has caused social safety nets to be stretched to the breaking point, while austerity programmes put in place in response to diminishing public budgets often cut services that affect children, the elderly and weaker members of society. Although the world economy is growing and some indicators show it returning to precrisis levels, the archbishop said, “it is not able to create sufficient number of jobs”. “Old formulas for recovery and economic growth are proving less certain in a globally integrated economic environment,” he said, adding that governments have not been able to come up with a form of growth that restores jobs lost and creates new ones. He said this absence of employment opportunities “is a structural problem that was already identified well before the outbreak of the crisis”. It is known as “jobless growth,” he said.—CNS
The Southern Cross, June 22 to June 28, 2011
S Pilgrims ride horses next to the shrine of el rocio in the province of Huelva in south-west Spain. Hundreds of thousands of people converged on the shrine in an annual pilgrimage honouring the Virgin of el rocio. (Photo: Marcelo del Pozo, reuters/CNS)
Priest killed by Nazis beatfied By JOHN THaVIS
OPE Benedict entrusted the cause of world peace to the martyrs of World War II concentration camps, including a German priest executed for his hostility to the Nazi regime. Speaking to pilgrims at a noon blessing, the pope noted the beatification of Fr Alois Andritzki (pictured), who died at the Nazi death camp of Dachau, near Munich. “Let us praise the Lord for this heroic witness of the faith, who joins the ranks of those who gave their lives in the name of Christ in the concentration camps. On this day of Pentecost, I would like to entrust to their intercession the cause of peace in the world,” the pope said. “May the Holy Spirit inspire courageous efforts for peace and support the commitment to advance them, so that dialogue may prevail over arms and respect for human dignity may overcome special interests,” he said. He prayed that God would “rectify hearts that have been twisted by selfishness” and help the
human family to rediscover its fundamental unity. Fr Andritzki, the latest in a long line of Catholic martyrs under Nazism, was beatified in Dresden. Ordained in 1939, Bl Andritzki was engaged in youth ministry when he was interrogated by the Nazis for his theatre productions’ “hostile statements” about the regime. He was arrested in 1941 for “treacherous acts” against the state and sent to Dachau, where he formed a Bible study group. After more than a year in the camp, sick with typhoid, he asked a guard if he could receive Communion. Instead, they gave him a lethal injection. He died on February 3, 1943, at the age of 28. His sainthood cause was introduced in 1998 and Pope Benedict approved his martyrdom last December. Also this month, three Catholic priests who were executed by the Nazi regime alongside their Lutheran pastor friend in November 1943 will be beatified in the Northern German city of Lübeck.—CNS
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OCIAL media is becoming an increasingly important part of everyday life around the world and Catholics are finding ways to make a unique mark on the social media world. “I think the Church is catching on to using social media in bigger and bigger ways. The Church has got some pretty big toes stuck into the water right now...and I’m excited to see the splash that’s coming in the next year or two,” said Matt Warner, creator of the US-based Tweet Catholic and author of the FallibleBlogma.com blog. As a Catholic blogger, Mr Warner has more than 17 000 readers, but it is his Tweet Catholic (www.tweetcatholic.com), that has brought Catholics together in the blogosphere. Tweet Catholic was created in 2009 to connect Catholics already on Twitter so they can follow each other, share information and build the Catholic community on Twitter. Mr Warner explained that as Twitter became more and more popular, he noticed Catholics trying to connect and find each other through it. He set out to create a
Famine, peace fears in Kenya
HE Catholic Church in Nakuru, capital of Kenya’s Rift Valley province, is leading efforts to bring peace and security for the people of East Pokot. The area is notorious for rampant cattle rustling and runaway crime, fuelled by hundreds of illegal guns both within the community and its neighbours. According to Fr Daniel Rono of Nakuru diocese, the Church plans to send a Justice and Peace team to the Pokot and their neighbours, the Turkana, to mediate in bringing peace. The Catholic Church in
Nakuru is also leading efforts to feed the starving people of East Pokot. The area is facing a devastating drought that has killed much of the community’s livestock and destroyed crops. The Kenyan government has declared the current drought sweeping through many parts of the country a national disaster. “It is hard to feed everyone,” Fr Rono said. The Church is also planning a number of long-term measures to cushion the people of East Pokot from perennial drought and poverty, including drilling boreholes and setting up more schools and dispensaries.—CISA
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simple website that would put Catholics on Twitter in touch with one another. “It’s turned into a good starting point for a lot of new Catholics on Twitter to help them jump into the Twitter experience and find some great Catholics to follow and show them the power of Twitter,” said Mr Warner. He thinks social media sites, like Twitter, provide a great opportunity for the Church to engage and build relationships with people. “Social media is not just a broadcast medium; it’s a relationship medium. It lets the Church listen to people in ways never before imaginable. It lets the Church share the Gospel with people in new ways,” explained Mr Warner. Mr Warner’s newest project is www.flockNote.com, a networking site that “approaches the communication challenges of a Catholic parish, diocese or organisation”. FlockNote.com describes itself as “an online parish registration tool that gathers parishioner data, plugs them into your ministries and builds a system of distribution lists to communicate with them via e-mail, text messaging, Twitter, Facebook and more.”—CNS
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The Southern Cross, June 22 to June 28, 2011
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Editor: Günther Simmermacher
HE Church will observe World Priest Day on July 1, which comes shortly after the 60th anniversary of the ordination to the priesthood of Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, on June 29. Much has changed in the Church since the young Fr Ratzinger took holy orders—and some of these changes he had a hand in himself, especially as an advisor at the Second Vatican Council. The changes that resulted from Vatican II have largely enriched the clerical ministry, but one change that has been out of the Church’s control is the decline in vocations to the priesthood, especially in Europe. The vocations crisis has also affected the Southern African region, which has long benefited from a rich mix of European missionaries and locally-born clergy. Once, the missionary priests (and religious) to Southern Africa tended to come from Italy, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Ireland or Britain. Now they also come from countries such as India and Poland, from South America and from other African countries. We must be grateful for the missionaries who have been so fundamental in building up the local Church, and for those who are coming now to foster the faith in our region. South Africa, like many African countries, has also become an exporter of priests. Much as we may miss the fine local priests who are serving in other continents, this is a good thing. It is a way for the local Church to repay those churches that helped plant and build the faith in our region. The African Church can no longer depend on a rich supply of foreign priests for its parochial needs, because the countries that traditionally supplied the mission territories with priests are now suffering serious vocation crises. At the same time, Africa’s statistically impressive increases in vocations to the priesthood are not keeping pace with the growing numbers of Catholics who require pastoral care. In that light, the old models of priesthood will soon become unviable, as in many places it already is. Some tough questions need to
be addressed, including to what extent the laity can be permitted to assume some functions of the ministries currently entrusted to priests; how the model of Small Christian Communities can be developed and applied to the greatest common good; and how the necessary engagement of the laity will affect traditional hierarchies of authority. The answers will affect the relationship between clergy and laity, which already has been fundamentally altered in the past half century—with encouraging results. Some debates about the future of the priesthood will touch on very sensitive areas. The question of admitting women to ordination to the priesthood in particular is deeply divisive and frequently lacking in charity. It encourages a mutual suspicion that grievously divides the Body of Christ. The admission of married Anglican clergy in terms of Pope Benedict’s apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, will reignite discussions about whether mandatory clerical celibacy is a necessary and indispensable element in the Latin-rite priesthood, or an anachronistic extravagance at a time when vocations are diminishing. Dialogue on the future of the priesthood, conducted with charity and love for the Church, can indeed be commendable. At the same time, we also must take care of our priests today. Our priests need the support of their bishops, of the laity and of one another. Priests need loyal and loving friendship, care, good counsel and competent assistance, tolerance, solidarity and so on. Above all, they need the prayer of all the Church. The priest in the parish fulfils many roles, such as sacramental minister, administrator and counsellor. However, his chief function, according to Pope Benedict, is to sanctify humanity. “Sanctifying a person means putting that person in contact with God,” the pope said at his general audience of May 5, 2010, adding that “an essential part of a priest’s grace is his gift, his task to establish such contact”. The Body of Christ must apply its thoughts and efforts towards enabling priests to perform this principal sacerdotal task.
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.
Way out of abusive marriages
OLLEEN Constable’s article “Does an abusive marriage call for divorce?” (June 1) is mistaken that abuse is always considered a ground for declaring a marriage invalid. Canon 1055 describes the marriage covenant as a partnership of the spouses’ whole life, “which of its own very nature is ordered to the well-being of the spouses”. This canon is derived from the Vatican II document Gaudium et Spes (48) which defines the marriage covenant. Thus, if a spouse in a marriage does not promote the well-being or good of his/her spouse and on the contrary is abusive, there is something seriously wrong in his/her consent of mar-
riage, and he/she has excluded an essential element in the marriage. Maybe “domestic violence” is not the term used as a ground for nullity, but it is called by another name such as “excluding the good of the spouse”. The Church does not condone violence of any kind, neither in marriage, so it is always a ground for it not to be a true Christian marriage. Canon law also proclaims the equal dignity of the spouses, and the rights and duties of the faithful. Pope John Paul II in his encyclical Familiaris Consortio urges pastors and members of the faithful to have compassion on those who are divorced, that they may be reintegrated and made to feel at home in
Beating kids is inhumane
Africa is one of the most violent nations in the world, with 45-50 murders a day! There is tons of scientific evidence that has proven that violence begets violence. I have heard of planks in the hands of drunken adults, green mamba’s wielded by small women with the strength of titans, wooden spoons in the hands of demented teachers—where does it stop and moderation kick in? How can one bring up children with respect and dignity with such “tools”? The development of the child has largely got to do with the realisation of the self. The most effective way of teaching a child something is by modelling. As they develop and assert themselves, they are bound to make mistakes, and up to the age of 11 the realisation that they are not always able to exercise their will unrestrained, might be the cause of tantrums. They lose control—the “naughtiness” Mr Moerdyk refers to. The worst scenario is if, when the child loses control, the adult loses control as well, and possibly resorts to a violent means of resolution. However, thankfully, there are wise and knowledgeable people who can help us to learn non-violent ways to resolve these issues and allow parent and child to come out of them with their dignity and respect intact whilst still exercising discipline. Sheryl Cohen’s lectures and CDs Raising Children Effectively can help immensely.
T was disconcerting to read Chris Moerdyk’s pleas for reintroducing corporal punishment in the same issue of The Southern Cross in which many problems of sexual abuse were addressed (May 18). Is this not suggesting another opportunity for further abuse? Please, for the love of our children in this violent country of ours, will you stop flogging the dead horse of corporal punishment! Also please spare us the “fond” memories of your father’s horsewhip and lurid details of your teachers’ particular form of punishment. We’ve heard it all before from Mr Moerdyk, except for the latest statistics he quoted to strengthen his case. Stats like these need interpretation and can be very misleading. We are all shocked at the state of most of our schools and the sad dysfunction or absence of stable family life. The problems facing our youth, their parents and teachers are enormous, but to imagine the solution could lie in bringing back corporal punishment is simplistic and dangerous. Mr Moerdyk glosses over the very real, tragic situation of physical abuse against children taking place daily in our country, and seems to forget the past history of repeated cases of violence in many schools, such as the one he attended. We desperately need to find intelligent and humane solutions. G McKay, Napier
WAS flabbergasted to read Chris Moerdyk’s article, “A Hiding Can be Good for Kids”. He cites that a majority of South Africans is in favour of corporal punishment “in moderation” (whatever that may mean). South
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the parish community. I would encourage the writer and all those who are divorced, those remarried, to approach the marriage tribunal in their archdiocese if they have not received the compassion, help and support of their parish priest. The tribunals are mandated to offer helpful and friendly advice to explain the procedure for introducing a marriage nullity case which can be healing and can help the petitioner to move forward in his/her life and put the painful past behind them through forgiveness and reconciliation. I myself have experienced much healing from the pain of emotional abuse and divorce through the process of the annulment of my marriage. Name withheld This type of parenting requires much more resolve, thought and restraint than lashing out “moderately” with some instrument of violence. Assault is a serious crime, let’s not teach it to our children. Patricia Lehle, Johannesburg
Where was Mugabe’s sorry?
HANK you for the seriousness shown by your editorial of May 18 on the Mugabe visit to the Vatican and his attendance of the beatification of Blessed John Paul II. Of particular concern is the following: Some pro-choice US Catholic politicians are under interdict not to receive the Eucharist, but Mr Mugabe is not. Death after birth is just as serious as before birth, not so? Furthermore, a state of grace prior to receiving Holy Communion is achieved by following Jesus’ instruction: “Go and sin no more”, but words like “sorry” and “I resign” were not heard prior to Mr Mugabe’s departure. The sad irony is that the event was about someone who, as Archbishop and later Cardinal Karol Wojtyla in Poland, stood up against a totalitarian regime. Obviously the irony was lost on this octogenarian. Further strangeness is the report that Mr Mugabe has his own personal Catholic chaplain as an advisor—and a Jesuit, nogal! What does he advise: that the Catholic bishops of Zimbabwe are “so-called men of God who lie”? We pray that investigations are to take place. Do we have reason to believe that with Vatican officials, social justice issues come somewhat late in the order of priorities? Justice & Peace group, Roodepoort parish
Do you eat too much? “Whether ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31) ESTERNERS habitually consume too much food. Eating becomes immoral when it is done to such an excess that a person sacrifices other good things to pursue it, such as a healthy body weight, reputation for moderation, and Christian prudence and charity. Overeating becomes obsessive when we ignore warning signs from nature and other people, making food not only our god but also our overriding concern in human interaction. The arguments against overuse of alcohol and tobacco also apply to a person’s favourite foods, for they are addictive and take an undue toll on both pocketbook and physical well-being. Lack of control and of inclination to moderate one’s eating habits sometimes indicates a self-importance to the exclusion of God and one’s neighbour. It is no wonder Church fathers before 249-251AD opposed overeating. The most outspoken were Clement of Alexandria, dean of Christendom’s foremost institute of learning in the 190s, and Origen, his successor as dean, and in his own right the most influential Bible scholar, preacher and teacher of the first half of the third century. Both Clement and Origen considered overeating to be harmful to body, mind, and soul. To them, excessive eating or gluttony was any consumption simply for the pleasure of it and beyond what is sufficient for life and health. Their general observations are still valid in the 21st century. Physically, overeating was seen as the source of stomach disorders, harmful to the general health, and weighed down the body to inactivity. Overeating, said Clement to a group of new converts, contradicts the Christian virtues of quietness in word and deed, and controlling one’s passions. Clement and Origen also warned that once self-control in eating slackens and consumption is pursued for pure plea-
sure, self-control in other aspects of life (such as other passions) also weakens. Both Church fathers counselled against becoming slaves to food, especially luxury foods, for God appointed foods to be slaves to humans. Failure to rein in one’s appetite, wrote Origen, reduces a person to being wholly caught up about, not so much the necessity of eating, but for excess in itself. “Dabbling in luxuries”, Clement wrote, “glides into mischievous pleasures”, such as those of the flesh. Clement believed that “the diet which exceeds sufficiency injures a man, deteriorates his spirit, and renders his body prone to disease”. Such diseases today include heart disease, sleep apnoea, and diabetes. Surrender of oneself to the pleasures of food slows down intellectual capacity, thought Cyprian, bishop of Carthage (in modern-day Tunisia) towards the end of Origen’s ministry. Origen himself believed it limits the brain, while Clement saw it as imposing a limit on a person’s reasoning capacity, as “too much food drags the rational part of man down to the condition of stupidity”. But by far the greatest evils of overeating, wrote Clement and Origen, are to the soul. Food was, as Origen pointed out, Satan’s first temptation of Christ in the wilderness after Jesus’ baptism (Mt 4:3; Luke 4:3). Both authors frequently used the Bible phrase “their belly is their god” (Phil 3:19) and urged that the only proper purposes of eating be “health and
David Brattston Learning from the Church Fathers sustenance” and “sufficiency”. Origen preached that a person makes a god of anything he or she serves. If we exert our best efforts towards gratifying our taste buds, ever looking for opportunities to eat and eat more, we are servants of food and make it our god (just as some people serve and deify money), and we cease to be suitable servants of the real God. To weigh down the body with excess food, noted Origen, also weighs down and slows the soul it contains. Abundant feasting, wrote Cyprian, often enervates a person to the extent that it decreases his/her capacity to be watchful in prayer. Ever quotable, Clement produced a neat summary of our subject: “Pleasure has often produced in men harm and pain; and full feeding begets in the soul uneasiness, and forgetfulness, and foolishness.” Also as regards other people, great scandal and alienation from the Christian faith can be caused by perfectly acceptable food if a Christian eats too much of it in the wrong circumstances. What can starving children in central Africa think of Westerners who indulge themselves in chocolates, expensive seafood, or pricier cuts of beef, but do not offer them a single crumb? This situation is a sin, according to a compilation of revelations in the early second century by a Christian some scholars believe was a brother of Pope Pius I, and which found a place in some early editions of the New Testament: “Some through the abundance of their food produce weakness in their flesh, and thus corrupt their flesh; while the flesh of others who have no food is corrupted, because they have not sufficient nourishment. And on this account their bodies waste away. This intemperance in eating is thus injurious to you who have abundance and do not distribute among those who are needy. Further reading: Sirach 31:12-24; 37:29-31.
questions would be an indication that you are indeed conducting yourself as a Christian leader should. Question 1: This all-important question was dealt with in a previous column: Do you have a sense of mission? Do you realise that the fact that you were born of such parents at such a time and in such circumstances was not a coincidence, but was designed by God to give you the opportunity to make a special contribution to the building of his Kingdom on earth? Question 2: Have you considered the importance of beginning with the end in sight? In other words, have you reflected on what you would like to have achieved by the time you die? Put yourself in that final moment and say to yourself: “I’ll be happy if before I come face to face with my Maker I can say that I have done X, Y, Z that He wanted me to do.” Question 3: Do you put first things first? I used to convince myself that I was in the habit of putting first things first. By this I meant that I was organised in my workplace and each day I knew the order of priority of my daily commitments. Then a close associate passed away and I got to know that his will was in order and that he was so organised that he had even written out the details of the Requiem Mass that was going to be said
Emmanuel Ngara Christian Leadership
when he passed on. It was then that I began to realise that what we consider to be the last thing should in fact be the first thing. We should always be ready for the final journey both spiritually and materially. Question 4: Do you work to serve or to earn money? We all know that money is necessary for life. It is unrealistic to pretend that we can live without money. However, our priorities are wrong if our whole purpose in doing a job is merely to earn money. Our purpose in life is to serve God and our fellow human beings so that we can help build the Kingdom of God on earth and leave this world a better place than we found it. Question 5: Who is more important to you in your daily life: God or yourself? If the truth be told, we tend to put ourselves before anything else. Our thoughts are mostly about ourselves. One of the greatest struggles we must wage in this life is to overcome our ego and learn to make Christ the centre of our lives. Using the spiritual mirror will help us get our priorities right.
Chris Chatteris SJ Pray with the Pope
Aids-free by 2020? General Intention: That Christ may ease the physical and spiritual sufferings of those who are sick with Aids, especially in the poorest countries. HE secretary-general of the United Nations believes that HIV/Aids can be eradicated from our world by the year 2020. Ban Ki-Moon said that if all those involved in the struggle against the pandemic united their efforts, it would be possible to achieve “zero new infections, zero stigma and zero Aids-related deaths”. Statistics suggest that the pandemic is actually slowing down. Antiretroviral drugs have brought health and hope to millions. Two items of recent good news are that mother-to-child infections are down in South Africa, and that antiretroviral treatment lowers the transmission rate considerably. So it appears that efforts—including those of the body of Christ, the Church—to counter the disease and to ease the sufferings of those afflicted with it, are being rewarded with success. We can therefore hope and pray that Ban Ki-Moon’s vision for an “Aids-free generation”, as we would call it here in South Africa, will come to pass. However, as the intention suggests, it is in the poorest countries where the physical and spiritual suffering of those with Aids continue to require attention. Here Christ’s body, the Church, is called on to be the incarnation of his compassion and healing. We pray that those members of his body who are engaged in hands-on part of this ministry (medical workers, women religious, care-givers and family members) will receive continued support from the institutional Church and be encouraged by the Lord so that their example will inspire others among us to join them.
For the missions Missionary Intention: That religious men and women in mission territories may be witnesses of the joy of the Gospel and living signs of the love of Christ. OTHER Teresa once said: ‘‘A person filled with joy preaches without preaching.” This ideal of bringing joy and hope in missionary religious life is, however, not just something that happens automatically with the public taking of vows. A confrere recently told me a somewhat sobering story of two young religious who were sent to work in the same tough missionary ministry in a war-rent country of this continent. One could not have been happier, but the other was miserable! The spiritual writer Evelyn Underhill (who obviously liked cats) gives us a clue to the secret of finding joy in that which is apparently drab and unpleasant. “Look with the eye of contemplation on the most dissipated tabby of the streets,” she tells us, “and you shall discern the celestial quality of life set like an aureole about his tattered ears, and hear in his strident mew an echo of the deep enthusiastic joy, the rapture of the hallelujah sent, from all that breathes and is.” The ideal of the life of mission, particularly to the poor and abandoned, is beautiful. However, the reality can be unromantically gritty, tough and far from the limelight, far more disheartening than Underhill’s symbolic alley-cat. We are assured by our faith that the Lord is powerfully present in such situations, but to become aware of that presence requires a contemplative eye and heart. And these will only be developed by a habitual contemplative application and discipline second to none. So the witness of joyful and hope-filled religious in the ordinary and the down-to-earth is what the Church needs and prays for in this intention of the Holy Father. Men and women who can find the Lord and rejoice in his presence anywhere, whether in the informal settlement or the Aids hospice.
Turn the mirror on to yoursellf E all use the mirror a lot. Everyday before we leave for work, we look at ourselves in the mirror. We want to make sure our faces look good in the eyes of others. That suit or skirt that I am wearing must sit well on me. If there is anything unsightly, it must be removed so that I can face the world with confidence. There is another mirror that we often forget about: the spiritual mirror. Christian leadership begins with self-leadership. It is not right to think about leading others before you think about leading yourself, because Christian leadership is as much about who you are as it is about how you lead others. And by the way, it is not only priests, bishops or cardinals who are Christian leaders: if you are a baptised Christian, a parent, a catechist, a teacher, an older sibling and so on, you should consider yourself to be a leader, because any disciple of Jesus is also an apostle and an apostle is a spokesperson and a spokesperson is a leader. As a Christian and a leader, turn that mirror on to your inner self and see whether you are conducting yourself as a Christian leader should. Using the spiritual mirror, you should be able to ask yourself a number of key questions. The following are some of the key questions. A “Yes” response to these
The Southern Cross, June 22 to June 28, 2011
The Southern Cross, June 22 to June 28, 2011
religious educators enjoy a break at the Catholic Schools Office’s regional conference that was held in Johannesburg. The theme was “religious education at the heart of the school: Lighting the way”. The conference was held under the Hope&Joy banner.
IN FOCU S
The following candidates were received into the Church at St anthony’s parish in Greyville, durban, after having gone through the parish’s rCIa programme. (From left) Miranda Naidu, zulpha Gabriel, zulpha Staggie, Sandra Chetty, Leeann James and Jeeva Chetty. The concelebrating priests were Fr Nhlanhla Nkosi OMI, Fr Peter Lafferty CSSP and Fr Sean Mullin CSSP.
Edited by: Lara Moses Send photographs, with sender’s name and address on the back, and a SASE to: The Southern Cross, Community Pics, Box 2372, Cape Town, 8000 or email them to: email@example.com
Sr Mary-John Mlangeni and Sr Cecilia Mndebele, celebrated their golden jubilee as Sisters of St Brigid held at St Peter’s in Thhabane, rustenburg. (Submitted by Vincent Motabogi)
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a thanksgiving and farewell Mass was held for Fr Wocjiech Nowasza of St Clare’s in elsies river, Cape Town. Fr Nowasza is returning to Poland after serving the parish for six years. He is photographed with archbishop emeritus Lawrence Henry of Cape Town at the Mass. (Submitted by derick Timmie)
Gretchen and anastasia dunley with Fr douglas Sumaili after receiving their first holy Communion at Christ the King parish in Worcester, Oudtshoorn diocese.
WORLD PRIEST DAY
The Southern Cross, June 22 to June 28, 2011
Missionaries: Going into the unknown The Church in Southern Africa owes much to the missionaries who for over more than a century came from Europe. Today, missionaries from other regions serve the local Church. As the Church prepares to observe World Priest Day on July 1, CLaIre MaTHIeSON talks to missionaries from Argentina and India about leaving home and living their priestly ministry on a different continent.
ISSIONARY priests go where they are called, when they are called and they do so obediently. A missionary priest is a special kind of priest that finds joy in going into the unknown and delivering the word and work of God to those in need —wherever they may be. For two missionary priests, South Africa represented the unknown, but today has become home. Bishop José Luis Ponce de León of the vicariate of Ingwavuma in KwaZulu-Natal was born in Argentina and joined the Cosolata missionaries because he felt he could do something for those around him. It is part of the order’s charism to travel and continue God’s work in another country. “My caling was to be a missionary so, from the very beginning, it was clear to me that I would leave my country,” he said. Bishop Ponce de León, 50, left his hometown at the age of 20 to study theology in Colombia, then returned to Argentina to be ordained a priest and was appointed to stay. After seven years of priesthood in Argentina, Bishop Ponce de
Bishop Ponce de León of Ingwavuma is a missionary from argentina León asked his superior-general to appoint him somewhere else, “before it became too late. I was not sure I would be able to learn another language or adapt to another context.” But not every priest expects to be placed abroad. Pallottine Father Michael Clement was sent from his native India to South Africa to take over from another priest. “The superior said ‘come’ and I was obedient,” he said. The Pallottine order in his home province in central India sees many vocations and therefore has a lot of “manpower”. “We go where we are needed,” Fr Clement said. He had always expected to carry out his vocation in his home country, but he said that he has enjoyed living and working in the archdiocese of Cape Town where he serves as assistant parish priest of Corpus Christi in Wynberg. He is also the assistant to Archbishop Stephen Brislin. As a Consolata priest, Bishop Ponce de León was able to indicate three areas he’d like to be sent. “In
my case, in 1985, I wrote down Ethiopia, Mozambique and South Africa,” he recalled. But for the time being he was appointed to stay in Argentina, emphasising that a missionary priest will go where needed. Today, placement does not depend on the Consolata missionaries any more, but on the pope. Fr Clement’s biggest challenge was leaving his family, but the transition was made easier by his parish community, who are “warm, welcoming and generous”. Bishop Ponce de León’s biggest challenge initially was learning two languages: English and Zulu. “There was a time when I was convinced I would never be able to learn Zulu. I saw I was not moving forward. For me it meant going back to Argentina as I couldn’t imagine myself not being able to communicate with the people in their own language.” But he trusted his capacity to learn, and persevered to learn the language. He said his biggest challenge now is being a bishop.
or both missionary priests the highlight of the South African experience has been the people. “We missionaries always feel that we receive from the people much more than what we give,” explained the bishop. Fr Clement said the most important trait a missionary priest needed is the ability to be obedient, to handle encounters and act appropriately. “There is no blueprint for these kinds of experiences; you just need to be obedient and have faith.” “I guess that the typical attitude of a missionary is the one of being available. You are sent where you are needed. That is a great challenge, because you are making this new place your home and you might be asked to leave again,” said Bishop Ponce de León. He remembered how difficult it was to leave South Africa when he was sent to work at the Consolata’s new General Council in Rome, of which he soon would become the secretary-general.
He returned in 2007. The following year, Pope Benedict appointed him a bishop. Fr Clement said he feels that he is doing what he is called to do. It was a natural decision to join the Pallottine order as he grew up in a Pallottine parish. He is confident in his beliefs. “I just try to do my best. You’d have to ask others if I am making a difference, but I know I am enjoying my experience and doing the best I can,” he said. “Missionaries build communion in the Church. A Church does not send missionaries to another one because they have enough. If it was so, the apostles would have never left Jerusalem. There are many needs in Argentina but, still, I was sent to South Africa,” said Bishop Ponce de León. “The missionary vocation is born out of this joy of having Jesus in my life. Like any good news, you want to share that with everyone,” he said of the life of a missionary. Fr Clement said his compatriots are deeply spiritual by nature. “That’s why we have so many vocations—for the average Indian, God is found everywhere. Our
Fr Michael Clement, originally from India, has followed his calling to South africa. (Photo: Keith Stober) society is deeply rooted in spirituality.” He said that is why, even though India is a missionary territory itself, the work of his country’s priests is required elsewhere in the world. The life of a missionary priest is unplanned and unexpected, but the work is simply part of their calling.
Pope Benedict’s prayer for World Priest Day L
ORD Jesus Christ, eternal High Priest, you offered yourself to the Father on the altar of the Cross and through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit gave your priestly people a share in your redeeming sacrifice. Hear our prayer for the sanctification of our priests. Grant that all who are ordained to the ministerial priesthood may be ever more conformed to you, the divine Master. May they preach the Gospel with pure heart and clear con-
THE VOCATION DIRECTOR St Benedict’s Abbey PO Box 2189 0700 Polokwane
science. Let them be shepherds according to your own Heart, single-minded in service to you and to the Church and shining examples of a holy, simple and joyful life. Through the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary, your Mother and ours, draw all priests and the flocks entrusted to their care to the fullness of eternal life where you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. AMEN
THE ABBOT Inkamana Abbey P/Bag 9333 3100 Vryheid
The Southern Cross, June 22 to June 28, 2011
ST JuDE’S – ZwELITSHA, KING wILLIAm’S TOwN
An organic community parish By CLaIre MaTHIeSON
EEPING up with the needs of the community is the driving force of St Jude’s parish in Zwelitsha, near King William’s Town in the diocese of Port Elizabeth. But these needs are not only local. Parish priest Fr Peter Chungu Shitima said the parish seeks to achieve a greater view of the universal Church to help parishioners grow in their faith. St Jude’s is made up of 300 parishioners. Parish pastoral council (PPC) chairman Mzimkhulu Anthony Machemba said St Jude’s has seen steady growth over the past ten years because of the “migration of people from all over the province who are either permanent or temporary employees of the provincial government”, which is based in neighbouring Bhisho, capital of the Eastern Cape. Zwelitsha was the provincial capital of the former homeland of Ciskei from 1972-81 until the capital was moved to Alice and later Bhisho (then Bisho). Zwelitsha was also one of the centres of the Black Consciousness Movement, with the King William’s Town headquarters found there. As the area is fairly large, St Jude’s is one of five churches in the parish. “We have an arrange-
deacon Michael Mene is seen at his ordination ceremony. St Jude’s relies on its deacons and encourages vocation in all forms.
ment where one priest takes care of five parishes,” said Mr Machemba. The other churches in the parish are St John, St Rose, St Theresa and St Paul. “The presiding priest, Fr Peter Chungu, and pastoral administers run the parishes as one mega parish with individual PPCs feeding into a central coordinating PPC that is the decision-making
structure on all matters of a common nature,” Mr Machemba said. Fr Shitima emphasised the importance of fostering unity in diversity, and “so far we have gradually seen the fruits of a united parish”. Mr Machemba said the greatest benefit of this arrangement was that it fosters uniformity, mutual growth and maximisation of scarce resources for the common good. He said that because of the strong sense of unity in the parish, the burden on its pastor is reduced through the well organised Catholic community. The parish of St Jude’s has big plans for the future. “Currently we are praying to have a bigger church that could become a new home of worship,” said Mr Machemba. Part of the forward-thinking action that this mega parish has taken is to promote The Southern Cross in the parish. Fr Shitima said he had been trying to introduce his parishioners to current affairs in the universal Church. “The Southern Cross has been our medium of communication on church and pastoral issues in Southern Africa and around the world,” he said. Mr Machemba said the community was very excited and looks forward to “a rewarding and long lasting relationship with The
Fr Peter Chungu welcomes and gives communion to the new members of the Church. Southern Cross”. He added: “We are already reaping the benefits of empowerment as we are able to keep abreast of developments and topical issues in the worldwide Church and in different Catholic communities.” Mr Machemba said St Jude’s had a flourishing catechesis group, a Home and Family Life group, youth groups, Small Christian Communities and a variety of sodalities. He added that vocations were encouraged across all areas of Church life. “The five-in-one mega parish has three deacons. While it is not the same thing as having more priests, it has enabled the priest to be more flexible and effective by reason of these additional hands and feet. Nevertheless, we have embarked on creating a vocation club in our parish to answer to the shortage of vocations to priesthood and religious life,” said Mr Machemba. Mr Machemba said the parish had been exceptionally busy in
2011. “This year we witnessed a great celebration when 32 RCIA candidates were received in the Catholic Church on Easter vigil. Currently we are busy preparing for confirmation in September which will be combined with episcopal silver jubilee of Bishop Michael Coleman of Port Elizabeth.” St Jude’s has also been busy with baptisms, confirmations, the ordination of two deacons and the official welcoming of Fr Peter Chungu and farewell of Fr Trymoss Munyaka, his predecessor who had served St Jude’s for three years. The parish was also excited to have received Fr Cyricus Okoro in the deanery. St Jude’s is one of the most active parishes in the diocese of Port Elizabeth. Mr Machemba said the parish strives to participate in the structures and activities of the King William’s Town deanery led by Fr Gabriel Muyenga and the greater diocese under the leadership of Bishop Coleman.
The Southern Cross, June 22 to June 28, 2011
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Extraordinary errors in ministers’ title
ICHAEL Shackleton’s Open Door article “Truth about lice” (June 8) was alarming in three respects, and not because of the head lice advice (which was spot on). One important mistake was failing to call Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion by their proper name. They are not “eucharistic ministers”. For one, they cannot confect the Eucharist, so we do not call them such. They are only Ministers of Holy Communion in extraordinary circumstances. It goes a long way to explain why the abuse is still happening when people still call Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion the wrong thing (Redemptionis Sacramentum 156). Eucharistic
ministers are priests or bishops, and deacons are Ordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. Secondly, and related, is the failure to point out that Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion cannot give blessings during Communion. They do not have the authority nor the ministry to dispense blessings. This is an instruction from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments directly (Ecclesia de Mysterio 2). Lastly, and again related, is not correcting the practice of receiving a blessing at Communion time. Traditionally, and correctly, if you are not in a state of grace and cannot receive Communion you stay in the pew.
Liturgical Calendar Year A
Sunday, June 26, Body and Blood of Christ Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 14-16, Psalm 147:12-15, 19-20, 1 Corinthians 10:16-17, John 6:51-58 Monday, June 27, feria Genesis 18:16-33, Psalm 103:1-4, 8-11, Matthew 8:18-22 Tuesday, June 28, feria Genesis 19:15-29, Psalm 26:2-3, 9-12, Matthew 8:2327 Wednesday, June 29, Ss Peter and Paul Acts 12:1-11, Psalm 34:2-9, 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 17-18, Matthew 16:13-19 Thursday, June 30, feria Genesis 22:1-19, Psalm 115:1-6, 8-9, Matthew 9:1-8 Friday, July 1, Sacrd heart of Jesus Deuteronomy 7: 6-11, Psalm 103: 1-4,6-8,10, 1 John 4: 7-16, Matthew 11: 25-30 Saturday, July 2, feria Genesis 27: 1-5, 15-29, Psalms 135: 1-6, Matthew 9: 14-17 Sunday, July 3, 14th Sunday of the year Zechariah 9: 9-10, Psalms 145: 1-2, 8-11, 13-14, Matthew 11 25-30
Southern CrossWord solutions ACROSS: 1 Rope, 3 Pentagon, 9 All-holy, 10 Kells, 11 Field marshal, 13 Robing, 15 Goshen, 17 Collect funds, 20 Ochre, 21 Portend, 22 Perverse, 23 Dead. DOWN: 1 Reaffirm, 2 Pulse, 4 Elymas, 5 Takes comfort, 6 Goliath, 7 Nest, 8 Golden fleece, 12 One-sided, 14 Brother, 16 Scapes, 18 Niece, 19 Soup.
word of the week Sacerdotal: Of or relating to priests. Application: A priest exercises his sacerdotal calling in obedience to his bishop and in service to the People of God.
The very nature of communion as a sacrament requires that you are in communion with God and his Church by being free from mortal sin. There is a general blessing after everybody has received anyway. If we cannot get these small things correct, how do we expect to obey the big things? How do we expect to be a part of the “hermeneutic of continuity” that Pope Benedict talks about? All too often we forget that liturgy is doctrine. It is vital that as Latin-rite Catholics we understand our liturgy; though, in the spirit of St Thomas, it is greater to love and obey than to understand. Thomas Esteban, Grahamstown
Community Calendar To place your event, call Claire Allen at 021 465 5007 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, (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. Padre Pio prayer group, every 3rd Sunday of the month Holy redeemer Bergvliet Holy Redeemer memorial Concert with Sibyl Morris, Holy redeemer Choir, Sarah
Jane & angelo Thomas, ronny's 9aM rockers, Lisa delcarme, Soul Fusion, French Community Choir, aseyah rosslind, a.o. June 25 at 19:30, Bergvliet High School. r20 per ticket, available from Holy redeemer parish office (021 712 2210) or email@example.com 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.
Family Reflections 26 June: Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, Corpus Christi. Reflecting on how within a family, a couple and parents especially but youth too sometimes, give up their bodies, their time and their lives for the family, can help in understanding what Jesus meant when he said: “This is my body given up for you.” Reflect on the value and beauty of the Eucharist as the total self-giving of Jesus for us and express your gratitude and love in return.
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DEATH DEEB—alexander Joseph (Joe). To my darling husband, our father, grandfather and great-grandfather. you left us on 28/03/2011. your suffering is over but ours has just begun. We miss you inconsolably. rest in peace and please pray for us. you will never be forgotten. Love, your wife Thelma and your children emily, Carol, Glenn and anthony. your grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
IN mEmORIAm CASEY—In gratitude for Kevin, from your family who loves you. you taught us so much: honesty, integrity, fair play and loyalty. you gave us so much: your time, advice and a financial safety net. you were always there for us till the fire took you away. We think of you each and every day. LAwRENCE—Beaver. Our beloved husband, father and grandfather left us June 29, 2003 on his final journey home to receive his eternal rewards. We have missed your physical presence around us, but your spirit continues to live in our thoughts and in our hearts. Our memories of you are indelible and cannot and will not be erased. Until we meet again, rest in peace. From elaine, Gary and elli, derek and Janice, Wendy and Wolly, Vivian and andrew, Leslie and Johan and all the grandchildren. LEO—DAmASCENE, damian. In loving memory, passed away June 26, 2000. (Kuilsriver). rest in peace. always remembered by your mother, brother, sisters, families and friends. PRETORIuS—Ina. 29/6/1950 (61 years). always remembered with much love, by her daughter elaine Lawrence. rest in peace. TOwERS—Lloyd John. 5/2/1993 – 26/6/2002. "remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received—only what you have given: a full heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage" St Francis of assisi.
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PRAYERS 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. Jolene 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 in my present and urgent need and grant my petitions. In return I promise to make your name known and cause you to be invoked. In thanksgiving to St Jude, Fr Pierre Benvenu Noalles for prayers answered. aaSS. O mOST beautiful flower of Mount Carmel, fruit vine splendrous of heaven, Immaculate Virgin assist me in my necessity. O Star of the sea, help me and show me you are my Mother. O Holy Mary, mother of God, Queen of heaven and earth, I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart to secure me in my necessity. There are none that can withstand your power. O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee (say 3 times).Holy Mary I place this cause in your hands (say 3 times).Thank you for your mercy to me and mine. amen. Say this prayer for 3 days. BS.
THANKS SACRED heart, St Jude and Our Lady for prayers answered. alix
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14th Sunday of the Year: July 3 Zechariah 9:9-10; Psalm 145:1-2, 8-11, 1314; Romans 8:9, 11-13; Matthew 11:25-30 E sometimes look rather nervously at the figure of Jesus, listening to his tirades against the religious establishment for their hypocrisy; but the portrait of him that emerges from the gospels and from St Paul is a rather gentler and more attractive one. The first reading is part of a picture of God’s triumphant march; but, surprisingly, the king, who is God’s representative, makes a very humble entrance (and indeed Matthew’s gospel applies this reading to Jesus’ Palm Sunday entrance into Jerusalem). This humility however is meant to make the “daughter of Sion” rejoice, and the “daughter of Jerusalem” make a joyful noise, because “your King shall come to you”. He is not, however, arrogantly riding in a tank or in a blue-light convoy of bulletproof cars or carrying a nuclear weapon, but “humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey”. Indeed “he will banish the ‘chariot’ [or ‘tank’] from Ephraim and the ‘horse’ [or ‘bulletproof car’] from Jerusalem; and the ‘bow of war’ [or ‘nuclear weapon’] shall be banished; and he shall speak peace to the nations”. Nevertheless, despite this wimpish approach, “his dominion shall be from Sea to Sea, from the River to the ends of the earth”. We are dealing with something that we can barely understand. The psalm for next Sunday is cheerfully
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The King needs no blue lights convoy Nicholas King SJ Sunday reflections engaged, as the psalms so often are, in extolling God, “every day I shall bless you— and I shall praise your name for ever”. The psalmist knows, of course, all about the power of God; but he also draws our attention to some rather unusual elements of the biblical portrait of God: “The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and great in love; the Lord is good to all, and merciful to all his creatures.” Not surprisingly, therefore, “all your creatures shall give you thanks, and your loved ones shall bless you”. And why? “To make known to all human beings your greatness, and the glorious splendour of your kingdom”. So there is no doubt that God is a ruler, but this is a rather unexpected one. Our God is not a God of the powerful, but one who “supports those who fall, and raises up all those who are oppressed”. We are invited to fall in love with this God, insofar as we can regard ourselves as small and insignificant. That, you might say, is the point of the dis-
tinction that Paul makes in our second reading , between “flesh” (human beings when they are closed to God) and “spirit” (human beings when we are open to God): “If someone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to him”. It does not stop there, however, but continues to what God has done: “the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead”. The reference to the death of Jesus reminds us, painfully and forcefully, of how our gentle King ended up, in an appalling and humiliating death. And yet God intervened, and that intervention has an effect on us: “So, brothers and sisters, we are in debt, not to the flesh, to live in accordance with the flesh, for if you live that way, you’re going to die. If, on the other hand in the Spirit, you put to death the actions of the body, you are going to live”. This is an extraordinary doctrine, and we shall do well to reflect on it. The gospel for next Sunday makes it clear that our place is not with the big battalions, and we listen, awestruck, as Jesus proclaims: “I give you praise, Father, Lord of Heaven and Earth: because you hid these things from the wise and sophisticated, and revealed them to infants!” And, evidently, this is God’s policy (reluctant though we are to believe it): “Yes, Father, for that was your will, in your presence.”
An offer few priests can refuse O NE of the greatest challenges facing our bishops right now, and one that will become more problematic in the future, is the shortage of parish priests. This is particularly so here in Africa, which is the fastest growing Catholic community in the world—a growth that outstrips that of new vocations to the priesthood. Most under threat are the smaller parishes and those in the back of beyond that in many cases already have to share priests with their larger counterparts and where Communion services by deacons are fast replacing weekday and even Sunday Masses. The most obvious solution is to ordain more priests. But this is also the most difficult and expensive. There is a move afoot to entice recently widowed Catholic men to enter the priesthood— but here again, this requires the same amount of effort as ordaining new young priests. So one has to think out of the box on this one. What got me thinking about this challenge was a series of comments made during his homilies by our parish priest in Simon’s Town, Cape Town. Fr Bram Martijn pointed out quite rightly that, now in his 70s, he is not going be around forever and steps need to be taken to ensure that his parish of Ss Simon & Jude is not left without a
The Last Word
priest, particularly for weekend Masses. Being a former chaplain to the Dutch army and having served with NATO forces on the East German border in Berlin as well as in Iraq during the first Gulf War, Fr Martijn—a full colonel, by the way—is someone who believes in planning ahead with care and precision. What he came up with was a brilliant idea. The next door parish centre consists of a two storey building—formerly a convent—the entire top floor of which serves as a parish hall and recreation centre. The warren of little rooms on the ground floor has now been converted into two extremely comfortable self-contained flats with bathrooms, kitchenettes and all the mod cons. Fr Bram’s idea is to make these flatlets available to Catholic clergy, in South Africa and abroad, who would like to spend a relaxing holiday in the quaint sea-side village of Simon’s Town. Accommodation will be provided absolutely free of charge, but there is one term and condition that applies: visiting priests will have to say a Mass or two
Granny just took a nap, and when she woke up, 2010 was over.
over weekends to earn their keep. The offer is open to all clergy, not just parish priests. Papal nuncios, archbishops and bishops are all welcome to take up the offer. (Just talk directly to Fr Bram on 084 657 6900) This idea is not entirely new. For example, one of the world’s longest established cruise line companies, the 150-year-old Holland America Line, has for many years been offering Catholic priests a free cruise in exchange for saying daily and Sunday Mass. When my wife and I went on a cruise to Alaska a few years ago, we were extremely privileged to be able to attend Mass every day courtesy of a charming Jesuit priest from Orange County in California. I have no doubt that if this idea catches on, there must be plenty of smaller rural parishes in South Africa that will be able to offer the same deal to priests wanting an inexpensive holiday. And let’s face it: our priests need holidays just as much as any lay person does—perhaps even more so. Many of them have to run big parishes singlehandedly, when not that many years ago there might have been four or five priests sharing the load. Perhaps it is time to think of incentives for priests. One thing I think priests can be sure of when they take up this offer is that they will have the option of being largely left alone if they wish. Or, if its company they want, Catholic parishes have world renown for spoiling visiting clergy with dinner invitations, guided tours, golf games and myriad other recreational activities. If one considers just how much our parish priests give up to be able to serve their communities, it is hardly surprising that youngsters seem reluctant these days to join the priesthood. It is literally and figuratively too much like hard work. I am going to watch with interest how this initiative by Fr Martjin works out. It is an idea upon which the future of the parish depends utterly and completely. If this doesn’t work, the parish has told Fr Martjin that when he finally departs this mortal coil, we will embalm him in a standing position and hook him up to a computer loaded with all his homilies for the past ten years.
Then he turns to us, and teaches that “everything has been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; and no one knows the Father except the Son, and anyone the Son wants to reveal him to”. God is different, you see; and that means that those who are drawn to Christianity are also different, not on the side of the powerful and rich: “Come to me,” Jesus invites, in these beautiful words: “All you who work hard and are burdened; and I shall give you rest.” Then, in an invitation drawn from the kind of thing that teachers might say when encouraging pupils to attend their classes: “Take my yoke upon you” (and we should remember that the “yoke” is a traditional symbol of oppression in that world), “and learn from me” . What are we to learn? Why, that “I am gentle, and lowly of heart—and so you will find rest for your souls”. Then we are given the reason for this: “for my yoke is gentle, and my burden is light”. This is a lovely picture; but there is more, for the word for “gentle” will have sounded in Greek like “Christ”; it is a kindly portrait of Jesus that we are asked to reflect upon this week.
Southern Crossword #450
ACROSS 1. Executioner’s hanger (4) 3. Get no nap around five-angled figure (8) 9. Totally sacred (3-4) 10. Celtic book of the gospels (5) 11. High-ranking army officer at sports event? (5,7) 13. Dressing in the sacristy (6) 15. Jacob was told to live here (Gn 45) (6) 17. Gather in cash for church (7,5) 20. Chore finding yellow pigment (5) 21. Drop ten as a warning sign (7) 22. Be contradictory in poetry (8) 23. Lifeless (4)
DOWN 1. If farmer comes round, he will emphasise (8) 2. Heart-throb at hand (5) 4. Magician in Acts 13 (6) 5. Receives consolation (5,7) 6. The Bible’s “Mr Big” (7) 7. Find bird resting in cleanest place (4) 8. Jason went in quest of it (6,6) 12. Biased towards a single team? (4-5) 14. Next of kin could be a religious man (7) 16. Paintings could be of sea or land (6) 18. Your sibling’s daughter (5) 19. Kind of kitchen for the needy (4) Solutions on page 11
N irate customer called the newspaper office, loudly demanding to know where her Sunday edition was. “Madam,” said the newspaper employee, “today is Saturday. The Sunday paper is not delivered until tomorrow, on Sunday.” There was quite a long pause on the other end of the phone, followed by a ray of recognition as she was heard to mutter: “Well, that explains why no one was at church either.” From Elinor Milton Send us your favourite Catholic joke, preferably clean and brief, to The Southern Cross, Church Chuckle, PO Box 2372, Cape Town, 8000.