August 17 to August 23, 2011
R5,50 (incl VAT RSA) Reg No. 1920/002058/06
Diocese kicks off new programme
Chris Moerdyk’s dose of best medicine
Catholic yoga to enhance prayer Page 10
SA man behind Catholic care at London Olympics BY CLAIRE MATHIESON
“Here’s your new bishop!” Bishop Dabula Anthony Mpako is presented to the faithful after his episcopal ordination in Queenstown’s Christ the King cathedral. Bishop Mpako, former vicar-general of the Pretoria archdiocese, was ordained by Archbishop William Slattery of Pretoria, assisted by Archbishop Stephen Brislin of Cape Town and Bishop Sithembele Sipuka of Mthatha, Fr MATTHIAS NSAMBA reports. The Eastern Cape diocese had been vacant since the resignation of Bishop Herbert Lenhof in November 2009 due to bad health. Many bishops, priests, religious and lay people came despite the cold weather to witness the occasion and pray for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the new bishop and his diocese. Archbishop Slattery acknowledged the pastoral skills of Bishop Mpako, who had been at the forefront in the pastoral renewal programmes in Pretoria. Archbishop Brislin welcomed the newly ordained bishop to “the club” of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference. He also praised the hard work for more than 25 years of Bishop Lenhof, who now lives in Germany. In his maiden speech Bishop Mpako assured the faithful of Queenstown that he is fully available for them. He asked for respect and love for one another. Bishop Mpako’s episcopal motto is “Veni Creator Spiritus” (“Come, Creator Spirit” or “Yiza Moya ongumdali”), which is also the earnest prayer of the people of Queenstown as a new chapter in the diocese’s history begins. (Photo: Mathibela Sebothoma)
ORN and raised in Pretoria, 23-yearold Frank van Velzen is preparing for the next Olympic Games in London to bring faith to the international event. A former Mount Edmund Christian Brothers College learner, Mr van Velzen went on to study at the University of Pretoria where he gained a degree in urban planning. However, “I was unable to find a job and therefore decided to do a short stint of work at the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference,” Mr van Velzen said. This was the same time the World Cup was taking place in the country. Mr van Velzen met the Catholic coordinator of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, James Parker, who was in South Africa to assess the ways in which the Church was engaging the football fever. “Shortly after meeting him, I applied to do two years voluntary work over here in London,” he told The Southern Cross. Mr van Velzen works for the Catholic 2012 Office of the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales. He said he is involved in a “wide range of work in many of the Catholic schools, giving talks about the link between faith and sport, the dignity of the human body, and the relevance of faith in society”. The office is currently planning various projects in the lead up to and including the period of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. According to Mr van Velzen, the office is planning hospitality centres, a mini World Youth Day, a tented village for 1 200 young people, as well as a sports mission. “We will also be having 24-hour exposition of the Blessed Sacrament for the duration of the Games at St Francis parish in Stratford, less than 200m away from the main Olympic Site.” The office will also work alongside a inter-denominational Christian organisation called “More Than Gold”, who have been approved by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) to provide outreach, service and hospitality for the Games. “The More Than Gold brand has been in
Pretoria-born Frank van Velzen is preparing to help bring faith to the Olympic Games 2012 in London through his work with the Catholic bishops’ conference of England and Wales, which is cooperating with other denominations to provide pastoral care at next year’s games. existence since the 1996 Atlanta Games, but this is an historic occasion as it is the first time that the Catholic Church is using an international sporting event to preach the Gospel,” Mr van Velzen said. “LOCOG are building a multi-faith centre on the main Olympic site, and we’ll have 18 Catholic chaplains who will be available to provide spiritual support and guidance for the athletes, coaches and officials for the duration of the Games,” Mr van Velzen said. At the same time, a legacy project launched by Pope Benedict will take place. The John Paul II Foundation for Sport was launched during the papal visit to Britain last September. Mr van Velzen said the ecumenical partnership in Britain is proactive and progressive, with 20 denominations “working hand in hand through More Than Gold”. He added that it has been surprising and exciting that “we Catholics have not had to dumb down our message but rather, as we engage with Christians of other denominations, we have had many opportunities to talk through with non-Catholics the deeper questions about Christianity that Catholicism can answer and that Protestantism cannot”. The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games will be shrouded in faith, the expatriate said. And should South Africa ever be granted another major international sporting event, then “I believe we have something to gain by attempting to work in partnership with other Christians,” Mr van Velzen said. If that opportunity arises, he said, he will want to be involved again.
Enthusiastic youths wear Hope&Joy close to their hearts STAFF REPORTER
HE youth of Secunda and Evander parishes, Dundee diocese, are going to wear the Hope&Joy logo close to their hearts—even on matric 2011 jerseys. Parish priest Fr Gerald Gostling says that gradually all of the church’s youth will have a Hope&Joy T-shirt. All the catechumens of the parish have Hope&Joy cards already, and the programme is the theme of the catechism curriculum. “The way we are trying to use the theme is to help one another to identify ‘Hope and Joy’ happenings which witness to the ‘Church in the modern world’, in a real and concrete way,” Fr Gostling said. “For example, many of our youth help repair and paint shacks for our orphans. Even more sometimes—in June, during the holidays,
they dismantled and rebuilt a shack for three orphans.” Afterwards, the volunteers and neighbours come together to eat. “The youth see this as a Hope&Joy presence of the Lord, as every activity is also discerned in community prayer,” Fr Gostling said. The parish community also staged its twice-yearly “Spiritual Pilgrim Walk”, from Evander’s Christ the King church to Maria Consolata church in Embalenhle, under the Hope&Joy banner. “In the township, we pray and share, and minister to anyone who needs it, including the sick. The walk had the Hope&Joy theme and enthusiasm as we were ‘going out’—for our own spiritual nourishment and to share with whoever the Lord put across our path,” Fr Gostling said.
Young Catholics from Secunda and Evander parishes show their excitement about Hope&Joy, which provides the theme for the catechism curriculum and outreach projects. Matriculant Vincent Phiri Thomas of Nhlabathi Secondary School in eMbalenhle even sports the Hope&Joy logo on his matric 2011 jersey. (Photo courtesy of Fr Gerald Gostling)
The Southern Cross, August 17 to August 23, 2011
Editor becomes a PE welcomes Why Catholic? DJ on Radio Veritas P T STAFF REPORTER
HE editor of The Southern Cross will present a series of 16 shows of popular music on Radio Veritas, starting on August 28. Titled Rhythm & Truths, the programme will focus on weekly themes such as salvation, death, prayer, evangelisation, Jesus, Justice & Peace and Christmas, said presenter Günther Simmermacher. The music will daw from various genres of popular music, from 1906 to the present, he said. “There’ll be pop, rock, soul, country, blues, R&B, gospel, jazz, folk and so on,” Mr Simmermacher said. “It is quite amazing to hear how much pop music with Christian themes there has been over the decades. Some of these songs come from unexpected sources, such as Tom Waits or Neil Diamond.” He said that some performers and songs have fascinating background stories. “One song, for example, is performed by a 1950s group of prisoners, who also wrote and recorded the first version of the Johnny Ray hit ‘Walking In The Rain’. We’ll hear quite a few stories like that,” Mr Simmermacher said. The oldest song to feature in
Rhythm & Truths dates back to 1906, “performed by a fellow who as a youngster used to sing in saloons in the Wild West”. Other songs that will feature were released only this year. The avid collector of music said he had shortlisted close to a thousand songs for the show. “With about 200 songs earmarked for the first 16-show run, there’s still a lot of music to be played and talked about,” Mr Simmermacher said, adding that he hopes listeners will give Radio Veritas their feedback to persuade the station to commission a second season of Rhythm & Truths in 2012. Writing on the Rhythm & Truth Facebook page (www.tinyurl.com/rhythmtruths), Radio Veritas director Fr Emil Blaser OP said: “The programme idea is to be found on no other [Catholic] radio station. Truly a first.” Radio Veritas broadcasts on the DStv audio channel 170 and streams on the Internet (www.radioveritas.co.za), so international listeners can tune in. Users of Blackberrys, iPhones and similar devices can receive Radio Veritas via listenlive-c2p1.ndstream.net:8030. Rhythm & Truths will air for an hour on Sundays at 13:00, repeated on Tuesday at 19:00.
ARISHES across the diocese of Port Elizabeth will begin a process known as Why Catholic? in mid-August. The Why Catholic? programme helps people explore Catholic teachings based on the four pillars of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The faith-sharing materials offer sessions on essential beliefs, sacraments, Christian morality and prayer. Developed by RENEW International, Why Catholic? continues the work that began with RENEW Africa by providing resource materials for Small Christian Communities (SCC’s) along with extensive training and formation for parish core communities and small community
leaders. The first season of Why Catholic? focuses on the theme of Christian prayer, in which participants experience the rich tradition of prayer in the Catholic Church as they explore different forms such as meditation and contemplative prayer. There is also an opportunity for the whole parish to become involved through a parish mission entitled “Meeting Christ in prayer”. The parish mission takes place over three evenings and is led by the parish core community who received training during RENEW Africa and again recently as they began preparing for Why Catholic? All Why Catholic? resources are available in Afrikaans, English and Xhosa.
n For more information about the RENEW Africa process or Why Catholic? please contact Fr Jerry Browne on 041 365 2117 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Little Eden walks forward
CATHOLIC priest will participate in an inter-faith panel discussion in Cape Town that also features Deborah Weissman, Israel-based president of the International Council of Christians and Jews. The panel will discuss the topic “Can religion be a force for peace?” Joining Fr Roger Hickley and Ms Weissman will be Imam Rashid Omar, Rabbi Dovid Wineberg and Rev Gordon Oliver, chairman of the Cape Town Inter-faith Initiative. The event, on August 23 at the Albow Centre, is hosted by The Living Newspaper. n For more information or to book, please contact Avron Kaplan, convenor of the meeting, on (o/h) 021 424 2336.
NEW FOR 2012 NGOME FrIENDS PILGrIMAGE 11-20 November
Visiting Constantinople (Istanbul), Rome, The Vatican City and Assisi Spiritual Leader Rev. Fr Bongani Sithole Cost from R15400 Tel: (031) 266 7702 Fax: (031) 266 8982 Email: email@example.com A list of current pilgrimages can be viewed by clicking on the Valley View Travel icon at www.catholic-friends.com
THE DIPLOMA THAT EMPOWERS YOU TO LEAD LIKE JESUS The future of the Church in the face of secularism will depend on exemplary and Christ-centred leadership. The Lead and Inspire School of Leadership in Pretoria is the only institution that offers an accredited and recognised Diploma in Christian Leadership. This qualification will develop in you skills and qualities that will change your life and mould you into an empowered disciple and apostle of Jesus. Register now and learn to lead like Jesus! Deadline for applications: 31 October 2011. For more information and application forms contact cell 082 665 8001• Phone and Fax: 012 361 1065 /012 348 0598.
BY CLAIRE MATHIESON
ITTLE Eden, the Johannesburg-based home for the intellectually disabled, is hosting a fundraising event called “The Happy Feet Fun Walk”, which will take place on September 24 at the Johannesburg Zoo. Hanneli Esterhuysen, the home’s publicist, asked that participants “show support for Little Eden by wearing fun socks or shoes”, adding that “the happiest feet” will win a prize. The entry fee of R50 per person (children under 3 are free) will go towards the care of the home’s children and adults with intellectual disability in Edenvale, where the average age of residents is 20 years but the average intellectual age is that of a one-year-old. Ms Esterhuysen said the walk was a way for Johannesburg residents to “walk for our angels who can not”. n For more information visit www.littleeden.co.za or contact 011 609 7246.
The Southern Cross, August 17 to August 23, 2011
Youth Rallies to help save future marriages I BY CLAIRE MATHIESON
N September, American Catholic apologist and author Jason Evert will travel to South Africa to address the youth on the virtues of chastity which he believes will help give direction to their lives. Mr Evert is a staff apologist with Catholic Answers, an American non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting the Catholic faith through all forms of media. With a master’s degree in theology and undergraduate qualifications in counselling and philosophy from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Mr Evert is the author of many books including Pure Love, which challenges young people to embrace the virtue of chastity. According to Foundation for the Person and the Family chairman Marie-Anne te Brake, Mr Evert was invited by the Foundation for the Person and the Family to bring to life some of the core teachings of Bl John Paul II’s Theology of the Body: the true meaning of life, love and chastity,” said Ms te Brake. Ms te Brake said that chastity
Young Catholics from Mitchell’s Plain in the archdiocese of Cape Town as they began their pilgrim journey to the World Youth Day in Madrid, Spain, at Cape Town International Airport. (Photo from Collette Osborne)
Meeting warns of working class revolt BY FR MOKESH MORAR
EKWELE Centre for Social Reflection, ran a workshop for social activists from Bethlehem, Free State, to analyse the links between the Integrated Development Plan for municipalities and South Africa’s electoral system. This followed a spate of protests against poor service delivery and dissatisfaction of elected councilors “imposed” on communities. Thirty-five social activists from rural communities, including Ficksburg and Harrismith, spoke about horrendous living conditions and bad service delivery the poor have experienced 17 years after the ANC came to power. “Sewerage is still running openly in our streets, while the councillors are buying better model cars,” said one activist. “We are still using the bucket system, after so many promises!” Activists shared their experiences
of the local government elections held in May. It became clear that the present electoral system makes it difficult to hold councillors and mayors accountable. Eroy Paulus of the Black Sash located the service delivery protests and local elections in the broader context of the neo-liberal economy. This included the decision of the government to follow the macro-policy of Growth, Employment and Redistribution (GEAR), which was questioned by the Catholic bishops of Southern Africa in 1997 and rejected by Cosatu and the SACP. For the sake of reconciliation, a mixture of the proportional representation list and constituency (ward) system is still in place. Both the macro-economy policy and the electoral system has to be changed if South Africa wants to avoid a full scale revolt by the poor and the working class, the meeting was told.
Cardinal calls Swaziland bailout ‘disappointing’ BY BRONWEN DACHS
FOR THE RECORD: In our report “Bishop Coleman of PE retires” (August 10) we did not clarify that Bishop Michael Coleman has merely tendered his resignation, but that his resignation had not yet been accepted by the Holy Father. We regret the error.
Jason Evert will address youth rallies to be held on September 16 at St Benedict’s College in Bedfordview, Johannesburg; September 17 at Zwavelpoort church in Pretoria; September 18 at Regina Mundi church in Moroka, Soweto, and in the evening at St John’s church in Northriding, Johannesburg. was far more than abstinence. “It is about what you can do and have— right now: a lifestyle that brings freedom, respect, peace, and romance without regret. “By addressing the issues that teens struggle with most—such as sexual pressure, pornography, modesty, and starting over—Jason offers
ARDINAL Wilfrid Napier has called South Africa’s bailout of Swaziland “grossly disappointing, though not surprising.” The archbishop of Durban was speaking as the spokesman for the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC). South Africa, which dominates Swaziland’s economy and accounts for almost all of its trade, agreed this month to lend R2,4 billion to help its struggling tiny neighbour through a budget crunch. The bishops’ conference said in June that any bailout of Swaziland should depend upon major reforms, including changes in its
HOT POT PAINT AND HARDWARE
46, 12th Street, Springs, 1559 Tel: (011) 362 3071, (011) 362 4682/3, (011) 812 1655/6/7
system of governance “of royal favour and alliance which is a breeding place for corruption and greed”. South Africa placed no conditions on the loan. Finance minister Pravin Gordhan said that it was in South Africa’s interest to have a stable neighbour and it would not force reforms on King Mswati III, who faces widespread accusations of autocratic rule and gross fiscal mismanagement. Cardinal Napier questioned President Jacob Zuma’s support for the bailout without conditions. “Mr Zuma was in the fight for freedom in South Africa, so how can he just pretend there is nothing wrong in
AUgUst 26-28 (wEEkEnd) Fr Pierre Lavoipierre: Eucharist - Broken and Becoming
(011) 362 3071
dECEMBER 24-1 jAnUARy
(016) 427 5525
A sPiRitUAl ChRistMAs hOlidAy
(011) 907 8676
(011) 422 2331
(016) 349 5886
“CAthOliC FAith - god’s mysteries in our lives.” Led by Fr Urs Fischer:
(011) 892 5186
(011) 678 2436
Lephalale (Ellisras) Mike or Annette (014) 763 3147
STOCKISTS OF: Paint, Hardware, Geysers, Rollup garage doors, Sink tops, Bosch Power Tools.
ALL AT THE VERY BEST PRICES! Looking to open franchises in ALL areas.
Swaziland?” the cardinal asked. “The king [Mswati III] is a dictator,” he added. The SACBC urged reforms that included the lifting of a state of emergency imposed by the king that has curtailed freedom of expression, association and dissent since 1973. “People in Swaziland told us that this is what they need to happen,” said the cardinal, who with SACBC president Archbishop Buti Tlhagale of Johannesburg was part of a delegation of bishops that visited Swaziland earlier this year. The conference represents South Africa, Botswana and Swaziland.— CNS
PO Box 11095, Mariannhill 3624
If interested please contact Nero or Gerald on 083 4606650
encouragement for teens to maintain their purity or begin again if they’ve made mistakes in the past.” Ms te Brake said Mr Evert’s talks—especially that titled “Romance without Regret”—offers a refreshing, challenging, and entertaining message to teens and young adults alike and could help save future marriages. One Johannesburg youth who is already following Mr Evert’s DVDs is Diana Chigumba of St John’s parish in Northriding. She said at first she thought the DVDs would be “useless”, but “after a while my hunger for knowledge was being fulfilled, and I began to realise that all I knew were the facts that I had been taught throughout catechism but none of the ‘whys’,” she said. The reasons behind the Church’s stance began to unfold and I began to understand and appreciate my own sexuality like never before; and most of all to realise that good men existed and that the wounds of the past can be healed.” n For more information contact MarieAnne te Brake on 011 793 5653 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
2012 jAnUARy 3-FEBRUARy 2 sPiRitUAl EXERCisEs according to st ignatius of loyola. thirty days of prayer and meditation Led by Fr Urs Fischer. jAnUARy 6-jAnUARy 14 7-Day preached retreat by Fr Declan Doherty: ACCEPting thE wAy OF jEsUs jAnUARy 6-jAnUARy 14 7-Day directed retreats By Fr Urs Fischer and Br Crispin
Personally guided retreats may be arranged at any time throughout the year to suit individual need. For Bookings: Reception: Fr Urs Fischer Fax
031 700 2155 031 700 2890 031 700 2738
Cellphones: 083 9633848 083 5441504 082 7307180
Fr Urs Fischer Bro Crispin Mrs N Qupa
The Southern Cross, August 17 to August 23, 2011
Translating the Mass is ‘a challenge in every language’ BY CINDY WOODEN & CAROL ZIMMERMANN
N Italian the verbs “to translate” and “to betray” sound very similar and have given birth to the adage, “To translate is to betray”. Mgr Juan Miguel Ferrer Grenesche, undersecretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, cited the saying in an interview with the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano about the task of translating Mass texts and the Bible. English-speaking bishops are about to see stacks of new Roman Missals, the fruit of their long labours in commissioning, perfecting and obtaining Vatican approval for a new English translation of the prayers used at Mass. The Italian bishops’ conference continues working on its new translation of the missal while the French bishops are working on both the missal and a new translation of the Bible, Mgr Ferrer said. He told the Vatican newspaper that the whole “translator-betrayer” idea “is true to a great extent since the translator, even if involuntarily, can betray the text because it’s not easy to faithfully transmit a text in another language”. “On the one hand, you must be faithful to the original and to the author’s expressions; on the other, you must respect the genius of the language into which the text is being translated,” he said. “It’s not an easy balance to reach.” After the Second Vatican Council, he said, liturgical translation efforts in almost every language tended to focus on “preparing versions that would be beautiful” and adapted to the local language. The translations lost some of their fidelity to the original Latin text of the Mass prayers, particularly when the Latin text strongly echoed important writings of the early Church fathers or of traditional theological formulations, he said. “So, after 40 years of translations, a need was seen to underline this aspect that had been neglected, even if it meant losing some of the modernity of the language and
Graphic designer Nicole Brown works on proofs of the new edition of the Roman Missal in the US. (Photo: Nancy Wiechec, CNS) literary beauty,” Mgr Ferrer said. “One must consider that in our society, people no longer know Latin and so it takes greater effort to draw closer to fidelity to the original,” he said.
eanwhile, Church officials and catechists in the United States hope that the meaning of the new changes in Mass responses will be understood. The revised edition of the Roman Missal will be implemented in English-speaking churches on November 27. Many of the changes were introduced in South Africa in 2008. “Part of the intent behind the new translation is to re-mystify—in the best sense of the word,” Fr John Terry of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, wrote in a commentary. That sense of mystery and transcendence of God—or recognising that God is beyond human perception—is something children and teens should pick up from the revised missal said Maureen Kelly, author of What’s New About the Mass, a book aimed specifically at third- to seventh-graders. Ms Kelly said the wording in the new missal “brings in more of a
sense of transcendence, which young people haven’t experienced”. She said children and teenagers already get the sense that God is close to them and a part of their personal lives, which catechists describe as God’s immanence. “The challenge is to achieve the balance of immanence and transcendence,” she said. The biggest challenge for all ages, she said, is to “understand a little more fully the meaning and mystery of Eucharist”. She said the new responses are easy enough to learn, but the reasoning behind these changes might be easier for older adults—who have been through the Mass change from Latin to English—to grasp.
ather Richard Hilgartner, executive director of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat on Divine Worship, is convinced the new words won’t be a problem for teenagers and suspects they will catch on faster than the rest of the Catholic population. He frequently tells parish leaders that young people “hold one of the keys to helping implement this. For one thing, they are not as wedded to tradition. In today’s culture everything is always changing. New is not something they’re afraid of.” But just picking up new expressions is one thing; getting the new rhythm of the Mass responses is another challenge and a particular one for young people, he said, because it doesn’t flow with their natural way of communicating. Teenagers are accustomed to everything in shorthand, like abbreviated text messages and 140-character tweets, he said, which is completely different from the communication and language of prayer. “Prayer is not just about getting a message across in as few words as possible. Prayer is about creating a relationship,” he said. And the liturgy itself has its own language: “one where catechesis helps people understand” what is happening. That’s where religious education classes and parish workshops come in, he said.—CNS
A young woman holds a flag prior to Pope Benedict’s recitation of the Angelus prayer from the balcony of his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, Italy. Lively groups of young people attended the Angelus before they left for Spain to participate in World Youth Day in Madrid. (Photo: Paul Haring, CNS)
Pope: Find oasis of silence to hear God answer prayers
ETTING off the grid and leaving behind the city is a great way to bring some much-needed silence to one’s life, according to Pope Benedict. “Silence is the condition of one’s surroundings that best fosters contemplation, listening to God and meditation,” he said as he held his weekly general audience in the courtyard of the papal summer villa at Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome. “Just the fact of being able to enjoy silence, to let oneself, as it were, be ‘filled’ by silence, predisposes us to prayer,” the pope said. Many people spend a few days at a monastic community or spiritual centre, which, as “places of the spirit, are a backbone of the world”, he said. Monastic communities have been built in beautiful places that are close to nature, he added. Such places bring together two important elements: the beauty of creation and the Creator, and silence that comes
from “being far from the city and major channels of communication”. “God speaks in silence; however, it’s necessary to know how to listen to him. For this reason monasteries are oases in which God speaks to humanity,” he said.—CNS
Pharmacists fear new guidelines BY SIMON CALDWELL
ATHOLIC pharmacists in Britain are concerned that new guidelines from an industry regulator will force them to dispense the morning-after pill against their consciences. They are also troubled that guidelines issued by the General Pharmaceutical Council could lead to the dismissal of Christians from the pharmacy profession and even could prevent them from entering the field if they act on their beliefs by refusing to distribute the abortifacient drug, which prevents a fertilised ovum from implanting into the womb. “Catholic pharmacists have the obligation to respect the fact that life is sacred from the moment of conception to natural death by not supplying, or participating in the supply of, drugs for abortion or euthanasia,” said Anna SweetingHempsall, a Catholic hospital pharmacist from Sunderland. “Until now, the conscience clause gave Catholic pharmacists the right not to compromise their beliefs, and provided invaluable protection against unethical employers who might have tried to force pharmacists to act against their conscience and supply these drugs. “The conscience clause is now completely meaningless, and Catholic pharmacists who cannot accept being party to attacks on unborn life or the integrity of the mother are virtually unemployable,” Ms Sweeting-Hempsall added. The guidelines place new restrictions on conscience protections and will require pharmacists who do not want to distribute the morning-after pill to refer customers to a named pharmacist who will give them the pills. Pharmacists also must check ahead to ensure the product is in stock.—CNS
INTERNATIONAL 1989 priest killings: Soldiers surrender
BY SIMON CALDWELL
An image of Bl Pope John Paul II is projected onto the façade of the basilica of St Mary Major in Rome during an annual ceremony marking a Marian tradition associated with the basilica. Tradition says Mary caused snow to fall on the spot in summer 358 as an indication that she wanted a church built in her honour. The event is marked each year with flower-petal precipitation during the singing of the Gloria at Mass and with an evening lightshow outside the basilica featuring artificial snow spewing from cannons. Cardinal Bernard Law, archpriest of the basilica, in his homily said the basilica celebrates Mary as the true mother of God. “Mary is the providential instrument chosen by God to make himself visible to our eyes, our minds and our hearts.” (Photo: Paul Haring, CNS)
Cardinal: Priests’ celibacy is a response to God’s love BY CINDY WOODEN
HILE priestly celibacy is increasingly misunderstood and even under attack, the discipline continues to be a call to a whole-hearted response to God’s love, said Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops. “The celibacy of priests, as well as of bishops, has been put into question today with growing virulence because of sexual abuse, including of minors, committed by clerics,” the cardinal told the bishops of Brazil. Publicity of the abuse cases has led to “generalised suspicion of the clergy”, he said. “The living and important tradition of celibacy in the Church has
Jesuits sell Europe’s oldest intact book
INE former soldiers in El Salvador’s army have surrendered to authorities, three months after their indictment in Spain for the 1989 killings of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter during the country’s 12-year civil war. The ex-military members turned themselves in at a military base and were transported to a Salvadoran court, the government said. They were among 20 former soldiers indicted by a Spanish court for their role in the deaths on the campus of the University of Central America in the Salvadoran capital, where the priests taught and lived. Five of the priests were Spanish. Spain’s courts have used the principle of international jurisdiction to prosecute the killings. El Salvador’s government said in a statement that the former soldiers surrendered as authorities prepared to arrest them on an international warrant issued by Interpol. It was not clear whether the Salvadoran Supreme Court would permit their extradition to Spain. The Central American country’s civil war ended in 1992.—CNS
The Southern Cross, August 17 to August 23, 2011
been belittled and even put into question,” he added. Cardinal Ouellet was in Brazil in May to lead a retreat for the country’s bishops. The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano has published the cardinal’s talks, which were focused on the word of God and the identity of bishops. The text of his reflection on celibacy was published this month. “Even if the contemporary revolutions in the field of sexuality and the media have made the practice of chastity in celibacy more difficult,” he said, it cannot be denied that celibacy has given a strong and concrete witness to the fact that faith in Christ gave birth to new lifestyles and institutions. “Part of the mission of the bap-
tised called to consecrated life is giving witness that the covenant God wanted with his people is not only an ideal, but a reality,” the cardinal said. Although different from a vocation to marriage, he said, the call to celibacy also should lead to “real happiness and unequaled joy”, because it is a loving and complete response to the love of God. Celibacy is not primarily about “availability and service”, but is part of the “nuptial and sacramental context of the covenant between Christ and his Church. With his celibacy, the bishop certifies that God is love and that he expects his creatures to respond with love to love”, Cardinal Ouellet said.—CNS
HE Jesuits have sold the historic St Cuthbert Gospel— believed the oldest intact book produced in Europe—to the British Library for R100 million. The British Province of the Society of Jesus—which includes South Africa—agreed to sell the late 7thcentury Anglo-Saxon manuscript to raise funds to restore a historic church and pay for educational work in London and Glasgow. The book, a pocket-size Latin translation of the Gospel of St John, was found inside the coffin of St Cuthbert, bishop of Lindisfarne, when the saint’s grave was opened in 1104. Experts believe the manuscript was placed inside the casket within ten years of the hermit’s death in 687. “It has been our privilege to possess this book for nearly 250 years,” said Fr Kevin Fox SJ, spokesman for the Jesuits’ British Province. “Now, in order to answer more of the many demands on our resources, the province trustees have decided to sell.” He said that the British Library would ensure that the manuscript was available for people from around the world to view either directly or online. “People will be able to see the Gospel set among the library’s other treasures of the Christian faith and of Anglo-Saxon and Celtic art,” Fr Fox said. The Gospel was produced by monks of Wearmouth-Jarrow in north-east England. Funds from the sale, concluded in conjunction with the auction house Christie’s, will be used to help fund Jesuit schools in London and Glasgow, Scotland, pay for a new school to be founded in Africa and pay for the restoration of the 19th century church of St Peter, Stonyhurst, the parish that serves Stonyhurst College in Lancashire. The St Cuthbert Gospel was described by the British Library as having “beautifully-worked original red leather binding in excellent condition”. The library said it is
A page from the 7th-century St Cuthbert Gospel. The Jesuits sold the manuscript—believed the oldest intact book produced in Europe—to the British Library for R100 million. (Photo courtesy of British Library) “the only surviving high-status manuscript from this crucial period in British history to retain its original appearance, both inside and out”. St Cuthbert’s coffin was transferred from Lindisfarne to Durham as his community attempted to escape coastal Viking raids. The Gospel was discovered when St Cuthbert’s coffin was opened 400 years after his death during the dedication of a shrine in his honour at Durham cathedral. It was kept in the cathedral priory but when King Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries during the Protestant Reformation the Gospel passed into the hands of a private collector in 1540. By the 18th century, the book was in the possession of the 3rd Earl of Lichfield who gave it to Canon Thomas Phillips, who in turn presented it in 1769 to the Jesuits. The book has been on loan to the British Library since 1979.— CNS
Tune in to Rhythm & Truths on Radio Veritas Günther Simmermacher presents a show of popular music about the Christian life
SuNDAyS AT 13:00 (repeated Tuesdays at 19:00) STArTS AuGuST 28
DStv audio 170 • streamed live on www.radioveritas.co.za Listen on iPhone/Blackberry: http://listenlive-c2p1.ndstream.net:8030
Follow on Facebook: tinyurl.com/rhythm-truths
HOLY SITES TRAVEL
TEL: 082 975 0034 / FAX: 086 552 9648 E-MAIL:email@example.com WEB SITE: www.holysites.co.za
Join us on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land as we explore the cradle of Christianity and follow the Footsteps of Jesus.
ESTABLISHED 1982 Professional Supervision
Project Management Specialists in:
New Houses • Renovations • Alterations • Additions • Painting • Plumbing
• Property Management and Care For Advice call Julian Orford B.Sc. (Civ.Eng) Tel: (021) 794 5552 Fax: (021) 794 7088 Cell: 082 493 0563 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
VISIT: Pray in the Holy Grotto where Gabriel appeared to The Virgin Mary Visit the Holy Manger where Jesus was born Sea of Galilee – by its waters Jesus chose his first disciples Renew your baptismal vows in the Jordan River Walk the Via Dolorosa Light a candle for your loved ones on Calvary
For more details contact Elna Ferreira Tel: 082 975 0034
The Southern Cross, August 17 to August 23, 2011
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Editor: Günther Simmermacher
The primacy of race
DDRESSING a gathering in Durban recently, Cardinal Wilfrid Napier summarised a frustration he shares with many South Africans about “racial categorisation and classification which is tainting our new democracy and the Constitution which gives it meaning”. His audience applauded loudly when the cardinal demanded: “We should simply be all South Africans.” Cardinal Napier’s words are a fading echo of the ideals of nonracialism, the unkept promise of the struggle against apartheid in the 1980s and the efforts at national reconciliation in the 1990s led by Nelson Mandela. Of course, questions of race must not be wished away. On the contrary, race remains a volatile issue, complicated by questions of class. It must examined and debated with robust frankness. Racism must be identified and forthrightly condemned, whether racist sentiments are expressed in public discourse or around the braai. Questions such as the relationship of race with access to opportunities and services must be addressed, as must be questions of on-going racial reconciliation. But that discussion requires thoughtful analysis, not shorthand populism or crude manipulation. In public pronouncements, race is increasingly deployed as a political weapon. Charges of racism (or collusion with it) are used to shut down criticism. Racism is casually invoked as a diversion from too close inspection of incompetence, dishonesty and corruption. Racism is alleged when questions are being asked about the redirection of state resources towards a tiny elite that is plundering with impunity the coffers that might otherwise finance decent education, sanitary facilities, housing or health for the poor. Let us not be fooled, however, by insinuations that corruption is a new phenomenon in South Africa (or a peculiarly African phenomenon). Under apartheid, the autocratic regime used its control of parliament and draconian media laws to conceal the extent of its corruption. In post-apartheid South Africa, a free press and vibrant civil society are at much greater liberty to investigate and disclose the venal machination of those in government who
breach ethics. Alas, the African National Congress seems determined to curb these revelations through the Protection of Information Bill and the proposed statutory media tribunal. In many ways, the press has itself to blame for that. When every asinine statement by Youth League president Julius Malema leads with banner headlines in a barely concealed effort to ridicule him, then one may not be surprised that legitimate questions regarding his opulent lifestyle are seen by his supporters as part of an agenda. From there it is not a leap for Mr Malema’s defenders to attribute the coverage to racism. In that light, little is served when white outfits such as the AfriForum exploit legitimate newspaper reports on Mr Malema’s lifestyle for their own unsophisticated publicity stunts. However, the proposition that black journalists and editors working for mostly black managers in black-owned publishing houses are somehow doing the bidding of vague white masters is preposterous and insulting to these media professionals, many of them veterans of the antiapartheid struggle (and undeserving of murderous fantasies involving mob justice). More than that, it is seditious as it plants the seeds of, or at least perpetuates, racial suspicion. At the same time, some media can be rightly accused of hypocrisy when they condemn the hate speech of the likes of Mr Malema and fire assorted newspaper columnists who discharge their bigoted opinions, but cheerfully feature on prime time TV the entertainer Steve Hofmeyr, whose serial manifestos are saturated with racist and white supremacist hate speech. Indeed, while there is much about Mr Malema that is objectionable, it is fair to ask whether the extent of the opprobrium directed at him, but not at Mr Hofmeyr, is influenced by race. All this should alarm us. But we must also have hope. Undeniably, South Africa has made great strides in diminishing the social illness of racism. Young urban South Africans in particular are taking the nation closer to the ideal of a non-racial society, a place where, in the words of Cardinal Napier, we would “simply be all South Africans”.
God can use relics to work miracles
READER was “shocked that pilgrims at the beatification of Pope John Paul II venerated the casket and a relic of the blood of the late pope” (“Open Door”, July 13). As explained in Michael Shackleton’s response, the Catholic Church has a tradition of respecting relics of holy people, but understands that these things, in themselves, are only material items. They have no powers of “magic” and cannot perform mira-
Where is the love?
E looked out over his children, and he wept! Had he not shown them the way so long ago at Tabgha on the Galilee?” Jesus stepped ashore and came upon a multitude. He took pity on them, healing their sick, ministering to all who had need. Late in the day, his disciples came to him and given the hour advised him to send them away so that they may find food in neighbouring villages. But he said no, you give them food! What little they had, they gave to him—yet that act of generosity fed a multitude with plenty to spare! But where have we come since that time? Avarice and self-interest, the diminution of love for neighbour, the all-consuming “I”! We all look straight through the hunger of the soul standing at the intersection, as if they weren’t there, consumed in our own selfpity. True, it is impossible to give to all, but it is possible to show compassion, to show an interest in the plight of others—after all this is what the master showed us. Acknowledging with gratitude the bounty which has been given to you, Our Lord asks you to share this bounty with others. For one act of kindness given in the name of the Lord, will radiate out in many ways. Mensa Christi (Table of Christ): all are invited in grace and love to the bounty of he who gave everything. We must do the same—but do we? Tony Sturges, Johannesburg
The sacred and the profane
OHN Lee (August 2) attacks the venerable rite of Mass which has come down to us, substantially unchanged, from the time of Pope St Gregory the Great (d 604). The liturgical discipline of this rite, with Latin and the vernacular laid side by side in our missals,
KRUGER PARK VIVA SAFARIS (Member of SATSA)
SCHEDULED DAILY SAFARIS TO KRUGER PARK Fly-in and overland tours. See www.vivasafaris.com
Viva Safaris is engaged with 4 projects aimed at the upliftment of the Acornhoek community, including the COMBONI MISSIONARIES’ OUTSTATION
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.
Is God calling you to the Religious Life in the Franciscan Family?
cles; “only God can work miracles”. However, God can and does use people and relics to work his miracles. Confirmation of this truth in the Church’s age-old tradition goes back to the days of St Paul; with the Bible being quite clear on God’s use of holy people and their relics to work miracles: “So remarkable were the miracles worked by God at Paul’s hands that handkerchiefs or aprons which touched him were taken to the sick, and
gives us a truly God-centred ceremony, fully understandable and worthy to be called “the greatest action this side of heaven”. Mr Lee should rather devote his time to two other problems in the Church, one major, one minor. The major problem is the modern Mass which is not the Mass envisaged by Vatican II. Pope Benedict describes the present crisis in the Church as “a crisis of the liturgy”. The new Mass is man-centred, with, in many cases, the presidential chair replacing the tabernacle. The priest and congregation eyeball one another. We have liturgical dancing, Communion being distributed by lay-folk in the most ordinary of circumstances, and faulty translation. The modern Mass is now under threat and is predicted to disappear because of two recent events: The first is Pope Benedict’s motu proprio dissipating the false witness against the Roman rite. Celebrations of this rite are increasing and spreading worldwide. The second threat is the Anglican ordinariate whose celebrations are ad orientem, with altar rails, Communion on the tongue and long periods of kneeling. Expectations are that the Church will eventually have only one rite of Mass, the Roman Rite, with Prayers at the foot of the Altar, Epistle and Gospel in the vernacular. The canon will always be in Latin. The minor problem which requires Mr Lee’s attention concerns his reference to Medjugorje with its “visions on demand”. The Vatican’s instruction that there should be no organised tours to Medjugorje is simply ignored. In the months following the first “visions” in 1981, diocesan Bishop Zanic repeatedly uncovered lies by the “seers”. The whole affair was discredited at the start. Thirty years and 28 000 visions/elocutions later, with the “seers” married, with posh houses and cars, Mr Lee should be asking himself: “Just who, if anybody, is appearing in Medjugorje?” Franko Sokolic, Cape Town
We Franciscan Sisters of the ImmaculateConception strengthen our relationship with God by prayer in order to serve Him and His people. We work with all agegroups and where the Church needs us. Father Xico with partially completed church building
082 450 9930 Trevor 082 444 7654 Piero 082 506 9641 Anthony
If you wish to know more about us, contact: The Vocations Directress at PO Box 2912, Middelburg, 1050. Tel (013) 243 3410, 072 213 4671
they were cured of their illness, and the evil spirits came out of them” (Acts 19:11-12). In some respects, though, I can relate to the reader’s questioning, as I am also a little uncomfortable with certain kinds of veneration. However, I think it is important that those who express their spiritual emotions by touching and/or kissing statues or crucifixes must clearly understand that these actions cannot and must not be done in an idolatrous or superstitious way, but only as a means of raising their minds to their God. Tony Meehan, Cape Town
N his column “St Peter would weep at Church today” (July 20), Emmanuel Ngara raises a most interesting and disturbing subject: the way Christians are breaking away from the true Church. Is it not time that a very careful study was undertaken by our spiritual leaders to establish why this is taking place and, even more importantly, why so many people who profess and practice true Christianity do not attend any church? There must be millions of people who believe and want guidance, but are not getting it, so they either search other religions for it, or practise their faith their own way. Some time ago I decided to study the Old Testament. At first I wanted to discard it because I felt it contained too much bloodshed and violence to bear any relevance to the teaching of our Lord. However, I found that one can learn so much from it. So why do we have only a few extracts from both the Old and New Testament in our daily and weekly missals, and then recycle the same thing with tedious repetition? Why are we not encouraged to bring our Bible to church and then given various readings from it? Rather than have tedious repetition, let’s make our religion the fasinating and interesting subject it can and should be. If our church could be made interesting and attractive and we would have people rushing to it and not away. Perhaps we need a Vatican III to find out what is wrong and to put it right. Roy Glover, Tzaneen Opinions expressed in The Southern Cross, especially in Letters to the Editor, do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editor or staff of the newspaper, or of the Catholic hierarchy. The letters page in particular is a forum in which readers may exchange opinions on matters of debate. Letters must not be understood to necessarily reflect the teachings, disciplines or policies of the Church accurately.
PERSPECTIVES Colleen Constable
Quiet in church, please
T is with a touch of nostalgia that I remember the advice a professor at one of the world’s leading universities abroad gave his students during their induction. “Down the road,” he said, “you’ll find a church. Take time out of your busy schedule for quiet time. Find a sanctuary: when the going gets tough, go there. Find silence.” He went on to tell his students that many times he would spend quiet time there. It was a Catholic church in the heart of a busy academic town, in the midst of an intellectual hub. The professor is non-Catholic. He may simply be someone who appreciates the reverence, quiet space and the presence of God that can be found in churches. The church is accessible from 6am in the morning till 6pm in the evening. Indeed many may have found solace for their souls as they spend their quite time in this church. Nowadays the luxury of having access to church has changed. In South Africa, given local circumstances, churches are no longer accessible during the day, except during Holy Mass schedules. And it is here that evidence suggests a trend to
create a little “market-place”: how did it happen that the period before and after Holy Mass has become the leisure time to socialise? Some churches have abandoned the culture that Catholics grew up with: when you enter church, silence prevails. Your engagement with the Divine is taken to the next level once you enter the church. Catholics believe in the Real Presence and in every church the light at the tabernacle serves as a confirmation and reminder of God’s presence. The chatting in church before and after Holy Mass is a disturbance. The same can be said of the modern day social tool: the cellphone that rings in church, sometimes even during consecration! Some congregants even leave Holy Mass to take their calls. Much can be asked and said about this behaviour. But it points to one aspect: our relationship with the Triune God when we approach Holy Mass. Is the 21st century experience of visiting a church that of a market-place or a sanctuary? It’s a matter that depends on how much reverence churchgoers attach to their participation in Holy Mass. In some churches, trying to spend a few minutes after Mass can be a night-
mare. By the time the last verse of the closing hymn has ended, the action starts: parishioners interact with each other as they move out of the pews; others leave the pew and stand in the passage having a conversation. Those who remain in the pews to offer silent prayer are simply ignored; they become invisible to the chatting brigade and social network. They are exposed to light-hearted conversations on losing weight, plans for the week, basic gossip and laughter. Some may argue in support of the odd chat in church, others may simply find it inappropriate. But not all Catholic churches have fallen into this trap. One of those is Corpus Christi in Wynberg, Cape Town. A notice encourages churchgoers to switch off cellphones and keep silence in the church building. So those who come to church to seek quiet time before and after Holy Mass are simply thrilled. The reverence and respect observed encourages even the soul who struggles with the concept of silence to simply embrace the quiet and find a sanctuary.
being instructed to become Christians had to leave the church before these sacred rites. But Christians did not only worship together. They practised an amazing form of what socialists were to preach in more modern times. Karl Marx condemned 19th century Christian socialism, but argued that under communism poverty would be eliminated as the operating principle would be, “From each according to his ability and to each according to his needs”. But this principle had long been put into practice by the early Christians. Acts tells us: “There were no needy persons among them. From time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.” In John 13, Jesus says: “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” We are told that the early Christians practiced this so faithfully that the pagans could not help commenting: “See how these Christians love one another!” Arising from the practice of breaking bread together and sharing possessions was the development of a strong sense of community and a common identity. Last month I lamented the fact that in our time one can hardly make a distinction between Christians and non-Christians. The early Christians developed an identity and a sense of mission that set
Emmanuel Ngara Christian Leadership
them apart from the rest of society. This striking sense of identity is beautifully and lyrically expressed in the First Letter of Peter: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” In the first three centuries AD, Christians were despised and subjected to periods of ruthless persecution. There were times when they could not worship in the open without risking their lives, but had to worship in secret places called catacombs. Many, including the apostles Peter and Paul, paid the ultimate price by losing their lives for the sake of the Gospel. They were in the world but not of the world. The amazing thing is that despite the persecution the light of Christ shone so brightly through these Christians that the mighty Roman Empire eventually succumbed and accepted the religion of this underclass as the religion of the empire. Their weapon was not earthly power, but a true Christian spirit which was evident in their character and conduct. In this way they became the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
The Catholic Church and evolution A friend tells me that last Easter, Pope Benedict backtracked on Pope John Paul II’s statement that the Church accepts evolution as a theory of the origin of life on earth and that Pope Benedict insisted that life can never have evolved randomly from the earth. Is what she tells me an accurate statement? What is the Church’s position on the theory of evolution? Heather HE Church teaches that the totality of everything that exists depends entirely on the creative power of God, and God needs no pre-existing reality from which to make it. Pope Pius XII’s encyclical Humani generis of 1950 was the first papal statement to set out the Church's attitude to the Darwinian theory of evolution in regard to this doctrine. Given that God created everything out of nothing, the pope said the Church did not forbid research and discussion on the theory that the human body came from pre-existent living matter, and Catholics were free to form their own opinions, doing so cautiously and not confusing fact with conjecture. However, Catholics must believe that the human soul was created immediately by God because the soul is a spiritual and rational substance that could not be brought into being by the transformation of matter. In 1996 Pope John Paul II, addressing the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, repeated this by saying that the human soul could never emerge from the forces of living matter. Simply put, whereas the human body may have evolved progressively over time, God directly endows each of us with a unique rational soul. It is the soul which makes each individual person capable of reasoning and making free decisions. So, when in April 2005 Pope Benedict told scientists that human beings are not some product of evolution but each of us is the product of a thought of God, he was naturally referring to our rational soul. At the Easter Vigil Mass this year he said: “It is not the case that in the expanding universe, at a late stage, in some tiny corner of the cosmos there evolved randomly some species of living being capable of reasoning and of trying to find rationalilty within creation, or to bring rationality into it.” This quote, I suspect, is what your friend had in mind. Here the pope was clearly saying that rational life did not evolve randomly from matter. You see, then, the pope said nothing new or startling.
n Send your queries to Open Door, Box 2372, Cape Town, 8000; or e-mail: email@example.com; or fax (021) 465 3850. Anonymity can be preserved by arrangement, but questions must be signed, and may be edited for clarity. Only published questions will be answered.
Famine and drought are ravaging the horn of Africa and millions of people in Ethiopia, somalia and kenya are in desperate need of help. Caritas and other organisations are providing food, shelter, medical assistance and supplies but depend on the international community for financial support to continue to respond to the desperate plight of these people. The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference has contributed R250 000 through Siyabhabha Trust-Caritas South Africa to alleviate the suffering of the people in the Horn of Africa, but much more is needed.
we invite individuals, communities and parishes to add to this donation so that the lives of women, men and children may be saved. We are grateful to the people of Southern Africa for their generosity in the past and are confident that despite the current economic climate, this will continue. All FinAnCiAl COntRiBUtiOns CAn BE dEPOsitEd intO: ACC. NAME: PROJECT CARITAS ACC. NUMBER: 1604750693 BANK NAME: NEDBANK. Cnr Church and Andries St. PRETORIA SWIFT CODE: NEDSZAJJ 160445
Who are the Norbertines? To misquote William Shakespeare: “A rose by any other name smells just as sweet”
Pilgrimage of Healing to Fatima 8 to 16 May 2012 Celebrating the 95th Anniversary of the Apparition. Visiting Fatima Shrine, children’s homes, Belém, Batalha, Nazaré, Alcobaça & Bleeding Host in Santarém
R14,995.00 Excl. Terms and conditions apply Tel: 012 342 0179/ Fax 086 676 9715 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Point of Debate
Going back to the roots of our Christianity AST month I suggested that the apostles Peter and Paul would weep to see what we Christians have become. This month I attempt to give a portrait of the followers of Jesus during the first 300 years of Christianity. I must begin by explaining that I am by no means idealising the early Christians. They had human tendencies like us all. For example, divisions and disagreements arose from time to time. In chapter 6 of the Book of Acts we are told that disciples of Greek origin complained that in the daily distribution of food, their own widows were being overlooked. In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul severely reprimanded the Christians there for displaying divisive tendencies. This shows that even among the early Christians the problems of racism, discrimination and division could easily arise. The problems were however effectively dealt with and resolved. Let’s look briefly at some of the distinguishing features of the early Christians, starting with their spirit of fellowship and Christian love. Acts gives an account of how Christians in the early apostolic times used to gather in houses for fellowship, prayer and the breaking of bread. The breaking of bread was what we now call the Eucharist. It took the form of a special meal that was referred to as “the sacred mysteries”. The sacred mysteries were so sacred that Christians did not talk to pagans about them, and those who were still
The Southern Cross, August 17 to August 23, 2011
For further info, contact: Vocations Director, St Norbert’s Priory PO Box 48106, Kommetjie, 7976 (Cape Town) OR Tel 021 783 1768 Fax 021 783 3742
The Southern Cross, August 17 to August 23, 2011
The Southern Cross, August 17 to August 23, 2011
ST PAuL’S, KLErKSDOrP- JOuBErTON
Parish aims to up youth participation St Paul’s parish in KlerksdorpJouberton has a rich history of fighting apartheid, and continues to address social issues today, as THANDI BOSMAN reports.
ITH a community of about 1 500, St Paul’s in Klerksdorp-Jouberton, North West Province, has seen growth in its main church as well as in its outstations in Jouberton: St Peter’s, St Patrick’s, Kriste Motsugi and St Monica’s. This has also helped the growth of its sodalities, St Agnes Aloysius and St Joseph, and in catechetical programmes which men and women have been getting involved with. Today, St Paul’s has an attendance at Sunday Mass of around 1 000 every week. The parish community dates back to 1957 when people attended Mass in the local Herformeerde church, celebrated by Fr De Graave (who was better known as Fr “Molemi”). The Catholic community rallied to help build St Paul’s church, which was consecrated in 1960. The community spirit continues, in particular through the sodalities of St Anne and the Sacred Heart,
the Chiro youth movement, the Legion of Mary, the ministry of altar servers and the church choir. The church in Jouberton has a strong history in the fight against apartheid. “St Paul’s has a historical record as one of the churches which was at the forefront of the fight against the apartheid regime, and that was made evident by the church involvement in community struggles and mass demonstrations in the 1986 uprising,” said Fr Christopher Mathaha, pastor of St Paul’s. The church premises was used to hold meetings addressed by leaders such as Cyril Ramaphosa, then a trade union leader. The parish has produced several leaders, including China Dodovu, the former mayor of KlerksdorpMatlosana. “Today we can proudly say that the church has demonstrated full commitment in the fight against apartheid, and structures like Justice and Peace played a major role in realising that we earned our democracy,” Fr Mathaha said. Today the parish hosts the diocesan Catholic Development Justice and Peace Commission’s offices. Apart from its catechetical programme, the parish also offers various youth projects. Fr Mathaha said that while 40% of his parishioners are youth, only a fifth are actively involved in the church. The parish hopes to use technology and new
projects to increase interest from the youth. St Paul’s youth group has a Facebook page (www.facebook.com /Stpaulsyouthchoir) where members keep in contact with their parish and other people. The youth can be contacted on their Facebook page or by e-mail (youthstpauls@ yahoo.com). “To date we have about 56 members affiliated to our youth group,” said Fr Mathaha, adding that he hopes this will continue to grow. Fr Mathaha said the parish faces many social problems. These include HIV and Aids, prostitution, abuse of women and children, crime and unemployment. “We have an advice office run by the diocese’s Catholic Development Justice and Peace Commission which is very helpful to members of our community. Home based care-givers and a development agency respond to challenges posed by poverty within our diocese,” Fr Mathaha said. Some projects are purely practical: “We are on a massive fundraising campaign to fence in the Kriste Motsugi outstation, build toilets and eventually have a church structure big enough to accommodate the church’s parishioners,” Fr Mathaha said. When Fr Mathaha came to St Paul’s, the parish was not selling The Southern Cross. His main concern was for the parish to be
Above: St Paul’s altar servers with Fr Christopher Mathaha during Mass. Below: The youth make up 40% of St Paul’s parishioners and the parish hopes to use technology and new projects to increase interest and participation from this large contingent.
informed about the Catholic faith and Church news, so he recommended that the parish start reading The Southern Cross. The parish encourages the sale of The Southern Cross, with promotion taking place by word of mouth and during Fr Mathaha’s sermons where he mentions the newspaper.
He said that The Southern Cross is selling very well at St Paul’s and the surrounding parishes and may need to increase their order again very soon! St Paul’s recent increase in orders of the newspaper has won it the honour of becoming the Parish of the Month.
The Southern Cross, August 17 to August 23, 2011
Catholic yoga can aid spiritual fitness Sometimes seen as being in conflict with Christianity, yoga can be practised as a method of prayer, as SARA ANGLE discovered.
ISTER Margaret Perron, a religious of Jesus and Mary, trades her habit and rolls out her mat for Fr Tom Ryan’s yoga and Christian meditation class at St Paul’s College in Washington. Carefully choreographed yogaprayers allow participants to “embody a prayer”, Fr Ryan tells his classes. He says that they may have been praying a prayer their whole life, but by saying the prayer in conjunction with different postures, they can more fully understand and appreciate the words they are saying. Participants in Fr Ryan’s class go through a series of yoga poses inspired by prayers as they pray and listen to traditional liturgical songs. Sr Perron was searching for a new form of exercise when she learned about Fr Ryan’s class from a friend. “It really spoke to me on the spiritual level,” she recalls. Fr Ryan, a Paulist priest and author of several books that connect Christian spirituality to the body, is one of the foremost proponents of yoga as a tool for Christian prayer and spirituality. He has also produced the DVD, titled Yoga Prayer, which is described as, “praying with your whole body”. “This is the first time I have been encouraged to bring body, mind and spirit to prayer,” says Sr Perron. Yoga allows her to let go of some things she has been carrying throughout her day. “I think I have learned to pray in a very different way. You don’t need a lot of words to pray; it’s not all about words and formulas,” she says. For years Catholics and other Christians have had qualms about practising yoga, and conflicting information on its origins and meaning could be to blame. Although it has Eastern roots, many scholars say yoga existed on its own before being used in any religion. “The practice of yoga is an avenue to prayer, a way to pray,” explains Sr Perron. “I see it as a way to being with God and stilling
all those inner voices. I don’t see it as being apart from Christianity; I just see it as a way of entering into prayer.” “Yoga is not a religion,” states the American Yoga Association’s website. “It has no creed or fixed set of beliefs, nor is there a prescribed godlike figure to be worshipped in a particular manner. The practice of Yoga will not interfere with any religion.” Georg Feuerstein, a well-known scholar of the yoga tradition, wrote in his book The Deeper Dimension of Yoga that “practising Christians or Jews (or practitioners of any other religious tradition), should take from yoga what makes sense to them and deepens their own faith and spiritual commitment”.
Fr Ryan practises a more classic version, based on meditation rather than solely focused on fitness. The goal of classical yoga is to centre, ground and make one present and aware, although practitioners still reap benefits that include flexibility and being more mindful of one’s health. “Physical exercises are but the skin of yoga,” wrote Fr Ryan in Prayer of Heart and Body, “its sinews and skeleton are mental exercises that prepare the way for a transformation of consciousness which is always a gift of God and a work of grace.”
till, many Catholic clergy and laypeople think that doing yoga can conflict with Catholicism because of yoga’s perceived connections to Hinduism and other Eastern religions. A 1989 “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on Some Aspects of Christian Meditation”, signed by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI), offers an answer to the question of conflict between yoga and religion. “The majority of the ‘great religions’ which have sought union with God in prayer have also pointed out ways to achieve it. Just as the Catholic Church rejects nothing of what is true and holy in these religions, neither should these ways be rejected out of hand simply because they are not Christian. On the contrary, one can take from them what is useful so long as the Christian conception of prayer, its logic and requirements are never obscured. It is within the context of all of this that these bits and pieces should be taken up and expressed anew,” Cardinal Ratzinger said. Christine Hobbs has been taking a Christian yoga class in Triangle, Virginia, for a little more than a year. She says it helps her calm down and connect with her Catholic faith in a different way. Ms Hobbs, who is originally from India, is familiar with yoga’s Eastern connections, but does not believe there is a disconnect between Catholicism and yoga. She said the words used in the class she takes at the local St Francis’ church are “totally found in Chris-
A yoga class at a Catholic parish in Triangle, Virginia. Though often seen as a practice of Eastern religion, the Catholic Church has no objections to yoga—especially if it is designed to aid Christian prayer. (Photo: Bob Roller, CNS) tianity” and “they are about life”. Ms Hobbs especially enjoys the way her (Catholic) instructor recites the Our Father and the St Francis of Peace Anthem in her yoga class. “I walk by faith; it’s really important to me,” says Ms Hobbs. In response to yoga’s Eastern roots, Fr Ryan wrote in his book Prayer of Heart and Body: Meditation and Yoga as Christian Spiritual Practice that “contrary to popular belief, the practices are not inseparably tied to the concepts peculiar
to Hindu theology. The best practical proof of this is that so many yoga teachers in the West provide instruction in the postures and breathing techniques without ever going into concepts of Hindu religious belief.” Fr Ryan stresses the importance of drawing a distinction between classic and contemporary yoga. Contemporary yoga is practised most commonly today as a form of exercise. It has a focus on the physical, but leaves out the spiritual element.
my Russell took over Fr Ryan’s class at the Church of St Paul the Apostle in Manhattan after he relocated to Washington. She was first introduced to yoga in 1972 by a friend, but considered it just a fun, calming practice. In 1989, Mrs Russell began attending a Christian yoga class. “I had just delivered twin babies and I was full of God and motherhood, and being on bed rest and feeling out of shape,” she recalls. It wasn’t until later that she began teaching. “I was living in Manhattan and 9/11 happened, and I was just profoundly moved that the horror of those events had been so deadly to human bodies...not only the ones that died but the ones that lived.” Mrs Russell felt a deep calling to commit her life to living in a way that honours the sacredness of the human body. “Right after that I got a postcard in the mail about yoga teacher training. I went with the intention that I would use that certification to bring yoga as a prayer form into the Christian church.” Yoga has played an important role in her life. “I gained myself,” she says, “knowing a deep connection with God and me in my body and in the pew.” “For a lot of Christians that whole connectedness does not always get connected. God may be out there, and my body is over here,” she says. “That sense of wholeness and unity is really what yoga is meant to unlock. For me as a practising Christian I get to realise this is what God is trying to say. It’s a deep connection to the reality of Jesus Christ that’s with me in my body. It’s not just a theoretical thing.”—CNS
ST GERARD’S HOLY TOURS PILGRIMAGE TO PORTUGAL, SPAIN & FRANCE - JULY 2012 Ten nights accommodation in 3-star centrallylocated hotels as follows: Two nights Fatima (Portugal) - One night Burgos (Spain) - Three nights Lourdes (France) - One night Avignon One night Ars - Two nights Paris Booking via John Sheraton 021 705-5131 or 083 277-7999 e-mail: email@example.com
The Southern Cross, August 17 to August 23, 2011
Sr Anne Catherine Güntensperger HC
OLY Cross Sister Anne Catherine was born in Switzerland on February 23, 1911 and died in Aliwal North on June 6, a few months after her 100th birthday. Of the family’s were five daughters, three became Holy Cross Sisters. Sr Anne Catherine and her younger sister became missionaries in Africa. Their father was a banker and he and his wife gave their daughters a careful, faith-filled upbringing. Their mother died on Christmas Eve while giving birth to her fifth child. Sr Anne entered the Holy Cross Sisters on January 6, 1930 and became a novice eight months later. She made her first vows on September 3, 1931.
A month later she arrived in Aliwal North. Sr Anne had a gift for music and she was given the opportunity to study music and loved playing the violin. While she studied she also taught music as well as painting to the pupils and postulants in Aliwal North. In 1936, at the age of 25, she was asked to take charge of the postulants in 1939 and soon thereafter became novice mistress. She fulfilled this role in Aliwal North until 1954 when she was sent to England as novice mistress for three years. It was a very difficult time for her since she had been 23 years in Africa. In November 1957 she returned to Switzerland and began to prepare to assist at the 1960
Eucharistic congress in Munich. Her task was to do translations for the congress. On her return from Munich she taught foreign students in a Holy Cross school in Switzerland. December 1961 found Sr Anne back in Aliwal North where she was in charge of the juniorate and helped with singing in the primary school and with secretarial work. In January 1966 she was again appointed novice mistress this time in Mekaling in Lesotho. She remained novice mistress there until 1975 until she became secretary to the bishop of Mohale’s Hoek, Lesotho, in 1978. She carried out this work until July 1996 when she retired to Aliwal North at the age of 85.
Sr Olivia Morris HC
OLY Cross Sister Olivia Morris died on July 16 at the Holy Cross Provincial House in Parow Valley, Cape Town. She was born in Grassy Park, Cape Town, on May 24, 1941. She entered the Holy Cross Sisters and made her first profession on January 19, 1963. Sr Olivia trained as a teacher at the St Augustine’s Teacher’s Training College in Parow and served at St Theresa’s Primary School in Welcome Estate and St Augus-
tine’s Primary School in Parow Valley. For many years she managed educare centres in Vredenburg and Parow Valley. Besides her passion for teaching, Sr Olivia was actively involved in pastoral ministry especially catechetics in many of the parishes in the archdiocese of Cape Town. After retiring from active teaching due to her failing health, Sr Olivia cared for those sisters who needed special care until she herself needed that care.
Family Reflections August 21, 21st Sunday. Peter the Rock. God in his infinite wisdom, which St Paul describes so eloquently, chose Peter as a rock on whom to build the Church which is to be a sign of God’s kingdom. All leaders in Church, society and in families need wisdom and strength to continue the work. Pray for them and especially for the Holy Father Pope Benedict at this time that the wisdom of God will strengthen all who lead.
Community Calendar To place your event, call Claire Allen at 021 465 5007 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, (publication subject to space) CAPE TOWN: International Food Fair, August 22 from 14:00 to 21:00 at Our Lady of the Assumption church, Brooklyn. With big screen for rugby, karaoke. Contact 084 551 5255 for details. KIMBErLEy: The St Boniface Past Students’ Union celebrates its 60th anniversary on September 24. Past students are requested to contact Union’s PRO & Chairman of
the Board, Mosalashuping Morudi 073 768 3653, John Siyoko 079 181 5716 or Kagisho Mogamisi 082 451 5893 or email@example.com MAFIKENG: Annual diocesan music festival, September 3, admission R350, closing date for booking August 27. choirs throughout Kimberley Diocese are eligible to take part. Contact 072 569 7531or 058 861 4411.
CLASSIFIEDS Births • First Communion • Confirmation • Engagement/Marriage • Wedding anniversary • Ordination jubilee • Congratulations • Deaths • In memoriam • Thanks • Prayers • Accommodation • Holiday Accommodation • Personal • Services • Employment • Property • Others Please include payment (R1,15 a word) with small advertisements for promptest publication.
IN MEMOrIAM HErHOLDT—Berty 22/08/2005. In loving memory, you left us but memories of you are so clear. RIP your wife Lorna, Albert and family, Harry and family, Gary and family, Paul and family. yOuNG—Berry. Passed away on August 19, 2009. Always in our thoughts and prayers. Lovingly and vividly remembered by Ramona, Virginia and Carlotta.
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. KL.
Sr Olivia will be remembered as having an inner strength that kept her going right up unto the end.
Liturgical Calendar year A
Sunday, August 21, 21st Sunday Isaiah 22:19-23, Psalm 138:1-3, 6, 8, Romans 11:33-36, Matthew 16:13-20 Monday, August 22, Queenship of the BVM Isaiah 9:1-6, Psalm 113:1-8, Luke 1:26-38 Tuesday, August 23, St Rose of Lima 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8, Psalm 139:1-3, 4-6, Matthew 23:2326 Wednesday, August 24, St Bartholomew Revelation 21:9-14, Psalm 145:10-13, 17-18, John 1:45-51 Thursday, August 25, St Louis IX of France, St Joseph of Calasanz 1 Thessalonians 3:7-13, Psalm 90:3-5, 12-14, 17, Matthew 24:42-51 Friday, August 26, feria 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8, Psalm 97:1-2, 5-6, 10-12, Matthew 25:1-13 Saturday, August 27, St Monica 1 Thessalonians 4:9-11, Psalm 98:1, 7-9, Matthew 25:14-30 Sunday, August 28, 22nd Sunday Jeremiah 20:7-9, Psalm 63:2-6, 8-9, Romans 12:1-2, Matthew 16:21-27
Southern CrossWord solutions SOLUTIONS TO #458. ACROSS: 1 Julius, 4 Caesar, 9 Day of judgment, 10 Impeded, 11 Expel, 12 Asian, 14 Attic, 18 Aloud, 19 Example, 21 Blades of grass, 22 Averse, 23 Creeps. DOWN: 1 Judaic, 2 Lay apostolate, 3 Unfed, 5 Augment, 6 Sleeps in peace, 7 Retoll, 8 Guide, 13 Address, 15 Zambia, 16 Aesop, 17 Ceases, 20 Anger.
Word of the Week Acolyte: A liturgical minister appointed to assist at liturgical celebrations. Application: Priests and deacons receive the ministry of acolyte before they are ordained. Lay men may be installed permanently in the ministry of acolyte through a rite of institution and blessing.
ABOrTION WArNING: ‘The Pill’ can abort, undetected, soon after conception (a medical fact). See website: www.humanlife. org/abortion_does_the_pill.p hp I AM a single man aged 50, average looks, not rich or wealthy at all. Seeks single, repeat single woman, all alone, no children, aged 4050 for a real, real, total friendship. Write to: The Advertiser, PO Box 604, Sanlamhof, 7532
SErVICES ANNuAL rEPOrTS, newsletters, books etc designed and edited at competitive rates. Phone Gail at 082 415 4312 or gailsctn @gmail.com
PrAyErS HOLy SPIrIT you who makes me see everything. You showed me the way to reach my ideal. You who give me the divine gift to forgive and forget all that is done to me and you are in all the instincts of my life with me. I want to thank you for everything and confirm once more that I never want to be separated from you no matter how great the desires may be. I want to be with you and my loved ones in your perpetual glory. This prayer should be said on 3 consecutive days. MN 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
ST MICHAEL the Archangel, Powerful Spirit of truth, Take my hand and lead me to Divine Truth. Protect me from all the evil in the world. Guard me and compensate for all my weaknesses. Change, bless, and restore the consquences of all my mistakes. Carry me on the wings of your love and might to the Throne of God and pray to Him with me forever. Amen. CA.
FLAT FOr SALE WyNBErG, Cape Town. Spacious ground floor one bedroom flat with off street parking–Marie Court, Wellington Avenue, R595,000. Please contact Louisa 082 720 8899.
ACCOMMODATION OFFErED CAPE TOWN, Cape Peninsula: Beautiful homes to buy or rent. Maggi-Mae 082 892 4502. Colliers International False Bay, 021 782 9263, firstname.lastname@example.org
HOLIDAy ACCOMMODATION BETTy’S BAy: (Western Cape) Holiday home, sleeps six, three bathrooms, close to beach, R800/night. 021 794 4293, marialouise@ mweb.co.za FISH HOEK: Self-catering accommodation, sleeps 4. Secure parking. Tel: 021 785 1247. GOrDON’S BAy: Beautiful en-suite rooms available at reasonable rates. Magnificent views, breakfast on
request. Tel: 082 774 7140. email@example.com KNySNA: Self-catering accommodation for 2 in Old Belvidere with wonderful Lagoon views. 044 387 1052. LONDON, Protea House: Underground 3min, Piccadilly 20min. Close to River Thames. Self-catering. Single per night R250, twin R400. Phone Peter 021 851 5200. MArIANELLA Guest House, Simon’s Town: “Come experience the peace and beauty of God with us.” Fully equipped with amazing sea views. Secure parking, ideal for rest and relaxation. Special rates for pensioners and clergy. Tel: Malcolm Salida 082 784 5675 or mjsal firstname.lastname@example.org SOuTH COAST, Uvongo: Secure holiday unit, with lock-up garage. Sleeps 6. In complex. R400 per night. 078 935 9128. STELLENBOSCH: Five simple private suites (2 beds, fridge, micro-wave). Countryside vineyard/forest/mountain walks; beach 20 minute drive. Affordable. Christian Brothers Tel 021 880 0242, cbcstel@gmail. com STrAND: Beachfront flat to let. Stunning views, fully equipped. Garage, one bedroom, sleeps 3. R450 p/night for 2 people—low season. Phone Brenda 082 822 0607 uMHLANGA rOCKS: Fully equipped self-catering 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house, sleeps 6, sea view, 200 m from beach, DSTV. Tel: Holiday Division, 031 561 5838, email@example.com
UPHOLSTERER More than 50 years of experience guarantees you satisfaction.
Ph 021 637 1938 after hours 021 701 2692.
PO Box 2372, CAPE TOWN, 8000 Tel: (021) 465 5007 Fax: (021) 465 3850
Tony Wyllie & Co. Catholic Funeral Home
Personal and Digniﬁed 24-hour service 469 Voortrekker Rd, Maitland Tel: 021 593 8820 48 Main Rd, Muizenberg Tel: 021 788 3728 Member of the NFDA
Editor: Günther Simmermacher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Advisory Editor: Michael Shackleton Editorial staff: Claire Mathieson
Manager: Pamela Davids (email@example.com)
Advertising: Elizabeth Hutton (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subscriptions: Avril Hanslo
Dispatch: Joan King
Accounts: Desirée Chanquin (email@example.com)
Published independently by the Catholic Newspaper & Publishing Company Ltd, Cape Town Opinions expressed in this newspaper do not necessarily reflect those of the editor, staff or directors of The Southern Cross.
The Southern Cross is a member of the Audit Bureau of Circulations of South Africa. Printed by Paarl Post, 8 Jan van Riebeeck Drive, Paarl. Published by the proprietors, The Catholic Newspaper & Publishing Co Ltd, at the company’s registered office, 10 Tuin Plein, Cape Town, 8001.
Box 2372, Cape Town, 8000 • 10 Tuin Plein, Cape Town, 8001 Tel: (021) 465 5007 • Fax: (021) 465 3850
Editorial: firstname.lastname@example.org 083 640 5848
Advertising: email@example.com Website: www.scross.co.za
August 28—22nd Sunday Readings: Jeremiah 20:7-9, Psalm 63: 2-6, 89, Romans 12:1-2, Matthew16:21-27
T is not a comfortable business, being a disciple of God, or of Jesus, for that matter. That is the message of the readings for next Sunday. In the first reading, Jeremiah, not for the last time in his prophetic career, is expressing his indignation at what God has done to him: “You seduced me—and I let myself be seduced,” he bellows, “you were too strong for me—and you won!” His rage is mainly based on the fact that he is “a laughing-stock all day long”; but it also concerns the nature of the message that God has asked him to proclaim: “Violence and destruction is my message.” He has actually tried not listening to God: “I said, ‘I’m not going to mention him; I shan’t speak his name any more’.” But the result was catastrophic: “In my heart it was like a burning fire, locked up in my bones...I can’t cope.” When you and I hear God’s word and try to resist it, our experience will be the same. For the fact is, and the psalmist knows this, that there is what is sometimes called a “God-shaped hole” in our hearts. The psalm begins: “O God, you are my God, my body is pining for you; my soul is thirsting for you, like a waterless land,” a graphic image in that Near East where water is so tellingly precious.
Business manager: firstname.lastname@example.org
Digital edition: www.digital.scross.co.za
The journey of a disciple of Christ Nicholas King SJ Sunday Reflections And the place to experience that longing is in the Temple (“I looked upon you in the Sanctuary”); the psalmist has not lost his faith, for he insists that “your steadfast love is better than life, so I shall bless you while I live”, and he imagines his life with God as a “rich banquet”. He is quite clear that “you have been a help for me, in the shadow of your wings I shall rejoice”. That quiet certainty is what we need, this week, whatever Monday morning may throw at us. In the second reading , we continue our journey, now several weeks old, through the Letter to the Romans. Here, Paul is trying to draw everything together, and give the Roman Church (divided between Jewish and Gentile Christians) some tips on how to live out the Gospel. For the benefit of his Jewish hearers, he uses a metaphor from the Temple worship (the relevant words printed here in italics): “I
am begging you, brothers and sisters, through God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice pleasing to God, your spiritual service”. Then, to wipe the smirk off the faces of the Gentiles in Rome, he uses language that they will understand: “Don’t be shaped to this world, be transformed in a revolutionary new mindset, to test what God’s will is.” There are words for us here, this week, as we continue on our difficult journey of discipleship. The gospel for next Sunday comes immediately following Peter’s triumphant recognition, at Caesarea Philippi, of Jesus as “the Messiah, son of the Living God”. Now Peter gets it badly wrong, and Jeremiah grimaces in sympathy (as do we, if we are honest); for Jesus makes clear the implications of discipleship, that he “has to go up to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and the High Priests and scribes, and be killed—and on the third day be raised up”. Peter is simply not going to stand for this, and, indignant as Jeremiah, blurts out: “Steady on, Lord! No way is this going to happen to you!” Jesus puts him harshly in his place: “Get behind me, Satan” (and it may slightly soften the rebuke if we manage to recall that “get behind” is code for being a disciple; so Peter is not exactly being given the red card. But it is still a very sharp
Here’s a shot of good medicine M Y father, a teacher, instilled in his children a love of reading. Not a love of books, mind, but a love of
reading. He often used to say that he didn’t care whether we read comics, cowboy books or the back of tomato sauce bottles, as long as we read and read and read. Some of my favourite reading in my early adolescent days was the Reader’s Digest. My particular fascination was for a feature called “Laughter—The World’s Best Medicine”. All of which allows me to share some delightful stories with you on the pretext that in these troubled times of debt ceilings, Arab springs and monumental mayhem, these are for medicinal purposes only. A fellow goes into a restaurant and is greeted by the manager, who asks: “Smoking or non-smoking?” “Non-smoking,” he replies. He is seated and a waiter comes over to his table to take his drink order. “I’ll have a Cola,” he states. The waiter says: “Diet or regular?” “Regular.” “Caffeine or caffeine-free?” “With caffeine.” The drink is brought to his table and the guy orders his food. The waiter asks what kind of dressing he’d like on his salad: “Italian, French, Thousand Island or raspberry vinaigrette?” “Italian.” “Regular or fat-free?” “Regular.” The man orders a steak with vegetables and potato. “How do you want that prepared: rare,
The Last Word
medium rare, medium well or well done?” “Medium well.” “How do you want your vegetables: raw, steamed, baked, boiled, blanched or fried?” “Boiled.” “And how would you like your potato: Baked, French fried or mashed?” “Baked.” Finally, the poor man has had enough and looks up to heaven and shouts: “I can’t take all of these choices!” He then calls on his patron saint saying: “St Francis, help me—help me with all these decisions!” At that moment a voice booms from the sky: “Assisi, Xavier or De Sales?” And from a restaurant to the streets of the Eternal City. Two beggars were sitting side-by-side on a street in Rome. One has a cross in front of him; the other one the Star of David. Many people go by and look at both beggars, but put money only in the hat of the beggar sitting behind the cross. Then the pope comes by, stops and watches throngs of people giving money to the beggar behind the cross, but giving none to the beggar sitting behind the Star of David. Finally, the Holy Father goes over the beggar behind the Star of David and says: “My poor fellow, don’t you understand? This is a Catholic country; this city is the
Granny was attempting some Christian yoga when she got stuck in the lotus position!
seat of Catholicism. People aren’t going to give money if you sit there with a Star of David in front of you, especially when you’re sitting beside a beggar who has a cross in front of him. In fact, they might give money to him just out of spite.” The beggar behind the Star of David listened to the pope, turned to the other beggar with the cross and said: “Hey Moishe, look who’s trying to teach the Goldstein brothers about marketing.” And with that, we turn to prayer. A little girl, dressed in her Sunday best, was running as fast as she could, trying not to be late for catechism class. As she ran she prayed: “Dear Lord, please don’t let me be late! Dear Lord, please don’t let me be late!” While she was running and praying, she tripped on a curb and fell, getting her clothes dirty and tearing her dress. She got up, brushed herself off, and started running again! As she ran she once again began to pray: “Dear Lord, please don’t let me be late. But please don’t shove me either!” And in catechism class: The catechist asked her class why Joseph and Mary took Jesus with them to Jerusalem. A small child replied: “They couldn’t get a baby-sitter.” The same catechist was discussing the Ten Commandments with her six-yearolds. After explaining the commandment to “Honour thy father and thy mother”, she asked: “Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?” Without missing a beat, one little boy answered: “Thou shalt not kill.” After Mass, two boys were walking home after hearing a strong sermon on the devil. One said to the other: “What do you think about all this Satan stuff?” The other boy replied, “Well, you know how Santa Claus turned out. It’s probably just your Dad.” Finally, let’s go back to school. Three boys are in the Anglican school yard are bragging about their fathers. The first boy says: “My Dad scribbles a few words on a piece of paper, he calls it a poem and they give him R500.” The second boy says: That’s nothing. My Dad scribbles a few words on piece of paper, he calls it a song and they give him R1 000.” The third boy says: “I got you both beat. My Dad scribbles a few words on a piece of paper, he calls it a sermon, and it takes eight people to collect all the money!” So, how did that medicine go down?
comment). Peter, who has just been given the nickname “Rock”, is now told instead that he is a “scandal” (a stone to trip people up); and the one who has just been told that “it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you, but my Father in Heaven” is now torn off a very severe strip: “You are not thinking Godthoughts, but human thoughts.” And then, painfully slowly, and not for the last time, Jesus tells his obtuse disciples: “If anyone wants to be my disciple, let them deny themselves and take up their cross, and follow me.” For there is nothing easy about this discipleship business: “Anyone who wants to save their life is going to lose it. And anyone who loses their life for my sake will rediscover it.” Jesus continues, and the Jeremiah and Simon Peter that lurks inside each of us should be listening very attentively indeed: “For what use is it to a person if they win the whole world, and lose their soul? Or what can a person give in exchange for their soul?” The readings conclude with the all-important reminder that we shall be rewarded in accordance with what we have done. Let us ask Simon Peter and Jeremiah to pray for us this week, for they know all too well the difficulties of discipleship.
Southern Crossword #458
ACROSS 1 and 4. The greatest of the Romans? (6,6) 4. See 1 across 9. Time of final reckoning (3,2,8) 10. Blocked the progress (7) 11. Dismiss finally from school (5) 12. One from a big continent (5) 14. Room under the roof sounds Greek (5) 18. Not softly, sounding permitted (5) 19. Set this for moral imitation (7) 21. Could these cut the feet of those in Eden? (6,2,5) 22. Opposed to a biblical text? (6) 23. Frighten someone by giving these. Snake does it too. (6)
DOWN 1. Having to do with ancient Jews (6) 2. Work of evangelisation by non-clerics (3,10) 3. Like the crowd waiting for Jesus to multiply bread and fish (5) 5. Increase and make me gaunt (7) 6. How the deceased rests tranquilly (6,2,5) 7. Ring the church bells once more (6) 8. One who shows you the way (5) 13. Speech at where you live? (7) 15. Country of Bishop of Lusaka (6) 16. He told fabulous tales (5) 17. Stops (6) 20. Don’t let the sun set on yours (Eph 4) (5) Solutions on page 11
YOUNG lad was vising a church for the first time, checking all the announcements and posters along the walls. When he came to a group of pictures of men in uniform, he asked a nearby usher, “Who are all those men in the pictures?” The usher replied: “Why, those are our boys who died in the service.” Dumbfounded, the youngster asked: “Was that the morning service or evening service?” Send us your favourite Catholic joke, preferably clean and brief, to The Southern Cross, Church Chuckle, PO Box 2372, Cape Town, 8000.