January 18 to January 24, 2012
r5,50 (incl VAT rsA) reg no. 1920/002058/06
Lenten project ‘Living the Eucharist’
Embracing faith and tradition Page 9
Service delivery failure in private sector Page 10
Former SA nuncio appointed cardinal By ClAire MAThiesOn
43 pilgrims represented 17 parishes in Cape Town on a pilgrimage to ngome Marian shrine in eshowe, KwaZulu-natal. The pilgrimage was led by Fr sean Collins Cssr of retreat and was joined by Fr Andrew Knott OMi and sister Micheal Mpanza of ngome who are pictured with the group. established in 1957, ngome marks the place where Benedictine sister reinolda May experienced apparitions of Our lady, revealed as “Mary, Tabernacle of the Most high”. (Photo: submitted by Friends of ngome Cape Town).
Murder of KZN priest: Three men arrested T By syDney DUVAl
Mbokazi fatally stabbed and bound hand and foot in his bedroom when they went to HREE men aged between 18 and 24 investigate why he had not have been arrested appeared for Sunday mornat Nongoma, KwaZuluing Mass on November 20. Natal, in connection with He had been murdered the murder of Fr Senzo two nights before. Mbokazi, parish priest at Some 70 priests from all Pius X in Melmoth. over the region and hunPolice reported that the dreds of religious and laity men were arrested after an joined Bishop Thaddeus extensive investigation and Kumalo of Eshowe for the would appear in court at Requiem Mass at Holy Melmoth, charged with Cross, Emoyeni, on Novemmurder and robbery with ber 25, followed by the buraggravating circumstances. ial. One of the suspects was In his homily Bishop allegedly wearing Fr Kumalo said that violent Mbokazi’s shoes and clothcrime “is becoming our ing taken during the murdaily bread and an unacder. ceptable culture in our sociMelmoth police Captain ety”. “Many people have Victor Nthombela and Fr senzo Mbokazi, parish been saddened and shocked parish council chairman priest at Pius X Church in at the senseless killing of Dennis Wagner found Fr Melmoth, KZn this young priest.”
OUTH African Catholics have celebrated the elevation of Cardinal-designate Manuel Monteiro de Castro (pictured), former nuncio to Southern Africa, to the College of Cardinals. Pope Benedict named 22 new cardinals including the former nuncio who served in the country from 1998 to 2000. A consistory for their formal induction into the College of Cardinals will take place on February 18. Along with the elevation, Cardinal-designate Monteiro de Castro was also appointed major penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary, one of the three tribunals of the Roman Curia. He had previously served as secretary of the Congregation for Bishops as well as apostolic nuncio for the past 27 years to various countries including Andorra, Spain, Honduras, El Salvador, the West Indies and Southern Africa. Southern Cross editor Günther Simmermacher, who served the newspaper as managing editor at the time, described Cardinal-designate Monteiro de Castro as an approachable nuncio. “He was the kind of nuncio you could phone with a problem or a request, and he would do his best to help.” The future cardinal also made it a point to visit the offices of The Southern Cross during his short tenure, Mr Simmermacher said. Retired Bishop Reginald Cawcutt of Cape Town said he was surprised at how friendly the nuncio was. “I found him to be most understanding and a kind man—not what I had expected at all!” The 73-year-old cardinal-designate was involved in the appointment of Bishop Frank Nabuasah, Francistown’s first bishop in 1998; Johannesburg’s Archbishop Buti Tlhagale to Bloemfontein in 1999; Bishop Pius Dlungwane as auxiliary bishop of Mariannhill in 2000; and Bishop Edward Risi to KeimoesUpington also in 2000, who called the nuncio a “very friendly person”. Mr Simmermacher said a lot of people were sad to see him go when he was transferred to Spain. “That was, of course, a huge step up for Archbishop de Castro, so many in the Church here had an idea that he would go places.” Upon his transfer to Spain, the nuncio worked to reduce the tension between the Spanish Government and the Church. Cardinal-designate Monteiro de Castro is the second nuncio to Southern Africa to become cardinal. Australian Cardinal Edward Cassidy, nuncio to Southern Africa from 1981
Groundhog Day’s Catholic connection By Anne-MArie Welsh
HAT could be more charming than a small town in Pennsylvania that throws its doors open to the world for a great big party each year in the deepest, darkest days of winter? How about that it happens in the diocese of Erie? Or that several members of Punxsutawney Phil’s world-renowned top-hatted Inner Circle are also members of Ss Cosmas and Damian parish? While Groundhog Day does have ties to Candlemas Day, a Catholic festival associated with honouring Mary and the presentation of Christ in the temple, it also has roots in pre-
Christian folklore related to predicting weather for the coming year. Poor weather on that day meant the end of winter was in sight and a good crop was likely. So let’s just be honest and say that we’re not going to go through too many histrionics trying to make a direct faith-filled connection to Groundhog Day, which this year is February 2. But what the heck, let’s have some fun. After all, isn’t joy a gift of the Holy Spirit? The first recorded report of Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney was in 1886 when the local newspaper, the Spirit, mentioned that as of press time, the “beast” had not seen its shadow. It would not make front page news for another 18 years. A club was organised
within a few years; annual summer picnics ensued, complete with—sorry to say—actual feasting on groundhog meat. Bit by bit the February event grew, first as a winter diversion for the locals, then the surrounding area, eventually to most of the state and beyond. Then came 1993. That year director Harold Ramis produced a little film called “Groundhog Day”. It ranked 13th among films released that year and now is 34th on the American Film Institute’s list of 100 funniest movies. After the film’s release, crowds swelled from several hundred to several thousand in Punxsutawney, and now regularly top out at more than 30 000.
to 1984 and former president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, received the red hat from Pope John Paul II in 1991. O t h e r newly appointed cardinals include three North Americans. The US, which is home to about 5,5% of the world's Catholics, will provide almost 10 percent of the 125 cardinals under the age of 80, who are the only cardinals eligible to vote in a conclave for a future pope. By contrast, only one of those named, Cardinal-designate Joao Braz de Aviz, comes from the country with the most Catholics, Brazil. The pope's latest nominations included 16 Europeans, continuing a trend in his cardinal appointments since his election in 2005. Seven of the new appointments are Italians, which will bring that nation’s total of cardinal electors to 30—more than any other country. None of the new cardinals are from Africa, the region where the Church is experiencing its fastest growth, or Oceania. Cardinal Wilfrid Napier of Durban said the selection and appointment of cardinals is the prerogative of the pope. “I am not sure whether he is bound by any criteria other than his own choice.” He said certain diocesan sees have a tradition of being headed by a cardinal and in cases where this tradition does not exist, “the Pope chooses whoever he wants”. There has been some criticism about the lack of African cardinals, especially following the African Synod where Pope Benedict called Africa “the world’s spiritual lung”. The absence of African cardinals has surprised some. But, Cardinal Napier said smaller countries including Zambia, South Africa and Kenya are usually home to only one cardinal and “it is unlikely that a new one will be appointed while the old one is still around. The same seems to hold for Angola, Mozambique, Uganda and Ivory Coast.”
The southern Cross, January 18 to January 24, 2012
Former Southern Cross columnist releases new book By ClAire MAThiesOn
FOREIGN correspondent for BBC and NBC TV news, strategic planning head of a luxury car brand, media and marketing commentator for some of the biggest newspapers and radio stations in the country and field journalist for a long list of local newspapers, Chris Moerdyk (pictured) has some stories to tell. Some of these stories and anecdotes found their way on to pages of The Southern Cross where Mr Moerdyk’s often lighthearted words were found for eight years. Today, his experiences with local and international politicians, thoughts on golf and advertising and letters to Prince Charles and the uncle in the furniture business can be found in his new book Personal Encounters with Nelson Mandela, Bobby Kennedy and Tessie the Tassle Tosser. The new book comprises more than 50 years of adventures spanning a few careers and many characters. “I left school and became a journalist, figuring it was a much more exciting option than having to count money or surgically remove nasty things from human beings. But then I discovered I was allergic to being shot at in war zones and decided that the adver-
tising industry was better than journalism, counting money or cutting people open. I was wrong. So I went into marketing.” Mr Moerdyk describes his new book as a walk down memory lane. “Partly historic, partly nostalgic and I would hope, fairly often amusing,” is how Mr Moerdyk described it. As the title suggests, the book includes personal encounters with some well-known personalities during his career as a journalist and also later as a marketer. “But overall, I would say that the majority of this collection of light, entertaining stories are centred on the strange nature of South Africa during the apartheid era,” the author said. The book was first conceived 48 years ago “when I was flying around South Africa with Bobby and Ethel Kennedy and after about the tenth really bizarre thing happened I thought to myself: ‘I must write a book about this some time.’ It took me until 2009 to actually sit down and do something,” said Mr Moerdyk. Much of the book is adapted from newspaper articles and columns that Mr Moerdyk has written over the past five decades, which “appealed to the lazy side of my nature because it meant that
much of the book had written itself over the years”. Mr Moerdyk’s personal encounters are currently available only in digital format from Amazon.com. “I love the whole digital experience even though I was one of those people who swore blind I would never read books off a screen,” he said. But Mr Moerdyk became a digital convert when, travelling with a suitcase full of books, he was introduced to a Kindle, Amazon’s e-reader. “It is not a computer and the pages look exactly like a book. And best of all, wherever I am in the world I can download a new book at half the price [of traditional books] in a matter of seconds.” Not only a fan of digital books, the father of four and grandfather of six said Amazon also makes it easy for authors to publish digital versions of their work and to sell them online. “Getting used to reading digital books is much like drinking whisky. You have to put up with strange sensations until you acquire the taste!” The new book was written with South Africans in mind. “I believe it will appeal to most South Africans who lived through the apartheid years. It will also, I hope, show today's youngsters just how insane apartheid was.” The 68-year-old said the work was never intended to be a heavy tome of a historic nature but rather a simple, entertaining read. “I am a great believer in mankind's love for nostalgia, so I have included in this a number of references to old TV shows we used to see in
Chris Moerdyk (right), former columist of The Southern Cross, interviewing an officer at Kamina in the Congo during the Katangese secesion wars in the early 1960s. the early days of the medium as well as some advertising from days gone by.” And this will not be the last Southern Cross readers will see of Mr Moerdyk. While no longer a columnist, it appears the author intends to keep going. “I do have another manuscript that has been sitting in my bottom drawer for about 20 years. It’s a novel that is set in the worst of the apartheid years and reflects the tremendous injustice that so many people suffered,” he said. The novel was set to be published abroad, but “when they
found that I was not black, they decided that I was not eligible to try and depict the horrors of apartheid”. While this might have been a setback in the past, Mr Moerdyk said his appreciation for the digital world had been further enhanced instead of worrying about publishing house rules. “I am shortly going to scan the manuscript into my computer to be able to upload it as a digital publication”, he said. Mr Moerdyk’s book can be bought and downloaded from http://amzn.to/vqxAyY
Greater family focus needed in 2012 in SA By ClAire MAThiesOn
ARFAM, the marriage and family life renewal ministry in Johannesburg, has pledged to work even harder to promote the values of the family through its various publications, but stressed that it needs the support of priests and bishops to be truly effective. Marfam’s coordinator, Toni Rowland, said various publications and resources were made available to those in the Church so as to help grow families in faith—an issue earmarked on both the local and national levels by the country’s bishops. While the Marriage and Family Living magazine and booklets
have had an encouraging circulation, this has declined in recent years. Mrs Rowland said providing resource material for the Family Life Desk makes a lot of sense for Marfam and the 2012 calendar and reflection booklet, on the theme “Day by Day with God and Family”, has sold very well. One of the big focuses of the year ahead will be the month of May—the month for Family and Life as approved by the bishops last year. “The emphasis in May will include the culture of life and will also focus on parenting and specifically on the role of men in their families,” the coordinator said. Mrs Rowland said the third
booklet of the year will focus on Ordinary Time, while the fourth will be devoted to the Marriage Season. The booklets contain short, highly focused reflections. “Marfam has never aimed to be highly academic but does intend to address thinking Catholics on topical matters as well as being inspirational,” said Mrs Rowland. The ministry desk also distributes an e-newsletter to the country’s bishops, priests and many lay people to keep the focus on the family alive in the Church. But, Mrs Rowland said, she feels more could be done to promote family values. She said Marfam produces various resources available to the Church but “few priests
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support and promote the publications, but neither do the laity on the whole look for family enrichment material”. She said the very fact that the bishops devote the month of May for the family means that more attention needs to be placed on the family. “The idea of a regular family hour to strengthen family relationships is psychologically and spiritually sound and should be promoted much more widely in our country and our Church where family life is so much under stress,” she said, but the promotion of the concept has been limited. “It is my view that for the Church to invest just a portion of
the energy that has gone into phase II of the Interdiocesan Consultation into specifically promoting the life of the domestic church and the vision of the Church as a Family could pay dividends. Marfam continues to lobby for this vision versus seeing family life as one of the issues or problem areas in the Church.” Mrs Rowland said Marfam is ready to take up the challenge to collaborate with others, to investigate needs and issues and provide resources where needed. “We recognise that finances are seen as a major obstacle to establishing family desks in dioceses and parishes, but promoting what is already available should be a much simpler option,” she said.
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The southern Cross, January 18 to January 24, 2012
Lenten Programme: ‘Living the Eucharist’ By ThAnDi BOsMAn
VERY year the parish of St Joseph’s in Morningside, Durban, runs a weekly Lenten programme to reflect on the faith. This year’s theme will be “Living the Eucharist”, based on a programme of the Paulist Fathers. This is the first time it will be used by a parish in South Africa. The spiritual programme is led by the parish priest Fr Desmond Royappen, who also started the Lenten campaign “Let’s band together”. “We have a daily programme with material that parishoners can take home, the Stations of the Cross, penitential services, daily Masses and so on, but we also have a special programme inviting parishioners to a weekly talk followed by a discussion and prayer,” Fr Royappen said, adding that the programme “has become very popular over the years and parishioners of all age groups attend”. Lent, which starts on February 22, “is no doubt one of the most important spiritual moments in the liturgical year”, Fr Royappen said.
“It provides us with a wonderful opportunity to grow in our faith and our relationship with Jesus Christ.” He said that the seven-week programme reflects on scripture readings and involves all parishioners. “Adults are invited to join small faith-sharing groups and meet once a week to discuss the true meaning of the Mass and participate more fully in the sacraments by praying with the scripture for the upcoming Sunday of Lent. All high school teenagers are invited to meet and, with specially prepared material, discuss how to grow closer to God through the Eucharist,” the priest said. “The family is invited to gather in their homes at least once a week, talk about the Gospel reading for the upcoming Sunday, pray and discover ways to live the Eucharist as a family. Young adults also meet at least once a week to pray, reflect and look at ways to make the Eucharist central to our life,” Fr Royappen said, explaining the four different groups for the Lenten programme.
He said that Pope Benedict tells us that “the Eucharist is our most beautiful treasure”, so a special team in the parish of St Joseph’s has been assembled to help parishioners experience “the Mass in a more powerful and meaningful way”. “The pope has said that the Eucharist is a mystery to be believed, a mystery to be celebrated and a mystery to be lived. This programme from the Paulist Fathers is a three year-programme, and St Joseph’s is the first parish in South Africa to use it,” Fr Royappen said. The parish also been innovative by producing the Lenten wristbands and Lenten cards to “help remind us to keep faithful to prayer, fasting and almsgiving”. The wrist-bands are also a reminder for Catholics to support the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference Lenten campaign. The bands come in two colours—black and purple—and in two sizes, adult and youth sizes. Fr Royappen said that the black represents the ashes of Ash Wednesday and the purple repre-
Fr Gérard lagleder OsB celebrated his silver jubilee on January 6. During his 25 years as a missionary, Fr lagleder founded the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard, the relief organisation of the Order of Malta in south Africa. Today the organisation has 86 full-time employees and 1000 volunteers and operates emergency, relief and social care projects. Fr lagleder is pictured comforting a patient at Blessed Gérard’s hospice at Mandeni in the diocese of eshowe.
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st Joseph’s parish in Morningside, Durban, will be running a lenten programme along with their “let’s band together” wrist-band campaign which allows parishoners to reflect on their faith. sents the penitential season. Each wrist-band purchased comes with two cards. One card, Fr Royappen said, is “a personal reminder card kept by the parishioner”, and the other “a Lenten promise card, which is completed,
collected and brought up in the offertory procession and placed near the altar or crucifix”. n To order the wrist-bands and more information call St Joseph’s parish on 031 303 1890 or e-mail Fr Royappen at email@example.com.
Rope skippers aim for world champs sTAFF rePOrTer
IX gymnastic rope skippers trained by Youth Interfacing Programme, a branch of Catholic Welfare and Development (CWD), have been selected by the South African Gymnastics Federation to represent the country at the World Gymnastics Championships. The six men, from some of Cape Town’s poorest communities, are looking for sponsorship to partake in the international competition set to take place in Florida, USA, from July 30. CWD Communication manager Michail Rassool said it will cost each participant R34 000 to partake in the championships. “But since they come from the poorest communities of Cape Town, these young people do not have access to such resources.” The organisation is calling on sponsors to get involved in the sport. “The trip will only be possible through sponsorship. We therefore appeal to corporates, smaller companies and the general
public for help in making these young people’s dream come true, so they can take their sporting talent to the next level,” said Mr Rassool. The Youth Interfacing Programme works in underprivileged communities focusing especially on teenagers through life-skills workshops and weekend camps which focus on leadership and personal development as well as sports. Mr Rassool said a condition for participating in any sport is completing five life-skills programmes—part of their “holistic approach to capacity building”. The communications manager added that the programme had produced previous rope skipping medal winners at international level and that they were extremely hopeful for 2012. n For more information contact CWD on 021 425 2095. Donations can be deposited to: Standard Bank 70868913 (Branch code 000909). Proof of payment, clearly indicating its purpose, can be faxed to 021 425 4295 (attention “Michail Rassool”).
The southern Cross, January 18 to January 24, 2012
Vatican’s recommendations for Year of Faith By CArOl GlATZ
N an effort to help Catholics have a better and correct understanding of their faith and become authentic witnesses to Christ, the Vatican issued a list of pastoral recommendations for celebrating the upcoming Year of Faith. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released a “note” outlining the aims of the special year and ways bishops, dioceses, parishes and communities can promote “the truth of the faith,” the congregation said. It also announced that within the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation, a secretariat would be set up to suggest and coordinate different initiatives. The new department will be responsible for launching a special website for sharing useful information on the Year of Faith. Pope Benedict wanted the Year of Faith, which runs from October
11, 2012, to November 24, 2013, to help the Church focus its attention on “Jesus Christ and the beauty of having faith in him,” it said. "The Church is well aware of the problems facing the faith” and recognises that without a revitalisation of faith rooted in a personal encounter with Jesus, “then all other reforms will remain ineffective,” it said citing the pope’s address to the Roman Curia. The year is meant to “contribute to a renewed conversion to the Lord Jesus and to the rediscovery of faith, so that the members of the Church will be credible and joy-filled witnesses to the risen Lord, capable of leading those many people who are seeking it to the door of faith,” the note said. Critical to renewing one’s faith and being a credible witness is having a firm and correct understanding of Church teaching, it said. Because the year’s start coincides with the anniversaries of the
opening of the Second Vatican Council in 1962 and the promulgation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church in 1992, it would be an auspicious occasion to make the work of the council and the catechism “more widely and deeply known,” it said. The congregation said the pope “has worked decisively for a correct understanding of the council, rejecting as erroneous the so-called ‘hermeneutics of discontinuity and rupture’ and promoting what he himself has termed the ‘hermeneutic of reform’, of renewal in continuity" with the Church and tradition. The catechism “is an integral part of that ‘renewal in continuity’” by embracing the old and traditional while expressing it “in a new way, in order to respond to the questions of our times,” it said. The note offers pastoral recommendations aimed at aiding “both the encounter with Christ through authentic witnesses to faith, and
in an effort to help Catholics have a better and correct understanding of their faith, the Vatican issued a list of pastoral recommendations for the upcoming year of Faith. One suggestion is for dioceses and parishes to ensure better quality catechetical materials that conform to Church teaching. (Photo: Karen Callaway/Catholic new World) the ever-greater understanding of its contents,” it said. Some recommendations for bishops, dioceses and parishes include ensuring there be better quality catechetical materials that conform to Church teaching; promoting Catholic principles and the
significance of Vatican II in the mass media; hosting events that bring artists, academics and others together to renew dialogue between faith and reason; offering penitential celebrations; and putting a focus on liturgy, especially the Eucharist, it said.—CNS
Visitors to vatican Exorcism a ‘gift from God’ museums tops 5 million By lillA rOss
N 2011, for the first time, the number of visitors to the Vatican Museums topped five million. Antonio Paolucci, director of the museums, said breaking the five million threshold poses serious problems as well as challenges in the areas of access and education. “Five million visitors means 10 million hands that touch or can touch and 10 million feet that, day after day, wear out the multicolored stone [floors]) and the most famous archaeological mosaics in the world,” he said. Writing in L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, Mr Paolucci said the total number of visitors in 2011 was just under 5.1 million. In 2010, the museums reported having almost 4.7 million people enter its doors. The museums expanded their open-
ing hours in 2011 and added more of the special Friday night openings they experimented with briefly in 2009. The standard price of admission to the museums is about R150. With the growing number of visitors, Mr Paolucci said, security is a growing concern and not just to ensure that people keep their hands off the art. The sheer number of visitors means there will be “an unknown, but certainly significant, percentage” of people with serious problems, who could pose a danger to themselves or others. When dealing with such a massive number of people, even the best behaved cause damage because “they bring with themselves humidity and dust” which have a negative impact on the frescoes, stucco and mosaic tiles in the floors.—CNS
F everything you know about exorcism you learned by watching the movie, The Exorcist, Fr Jose Antonio Fortea wants to exorcise those notions from your head. To learn about exorcism, Fr Fortea said the best textbook is the Bible, especially the Gospels, because after all, Jesus was an exorcist. Fr Fortea, a priest of the Diocese of Alcala de Henares in Spain, is an exorcist. He is the author of several books including Interview With an Exorcist. Currently based in Rome studying for his doctorate in theology, he was in Florida recently to give talks about exorcism and pastoral care. Every culture has an understanding of demonic possession, Fr Fortea said. “But they don’t have a solution for it. Jesus brought the solution. Jesus taught us to do exorcisms. “Exorcism is a sign of the power of Jesus that the power of the kingdom of heaven is here on earth,” he added. “Every exorcism is a gift that helps us believe.” The need to expel demonic spirits from a person’s body is neither common nor rare, Fr Fortea said. When his bishop first called on him to study exorcism in the late 1990s, Fr Fortea said he
thought exorcism was a rare event that might occur once or twice in a century. But when more and more people came to him for help, he realised demonic influences were much more active, especially in those who associated with witchcraft, magic, Santeria and some New Age practices. The Church has specific prayers and rituals Fr Jose Antonio Fortea, spanish exorcist. for conducting an exor(Photo: Don Burk/Cns) cism, he said. But when he is training priests, he tells them not to worry about technique. “I tell them to surround the demoniac with the glory of God,” he said. “Centre on God.” Fr Fortea however cautions people about seeing the devil everywhere. For instance, some people worry about letting their children anywhere near “Harry Potter” books and movies. Fr Fortea said he thinks Harry Potter is great fun as long as it is regarded as entertainment.—CNS
Pope baptises 16 infants on feast of Our Lord’s baptism By CArOl GlATZ
OPE Benedict baptised 16 infants and told their parents and godparents that prayer and the sacraments will give them the strength and guidance they need to promote a child’s true well-being. Presiding over the annual liturgy in the Sistine Chapel, the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, the pope said the sacraments and putting one’s trust in God through prayer offer “that light of truth” that illuminates the right path to take in their child’s education and upbringing. The Holy Spirit “enlightens the mind, warms the heart of the educator so that he will know how to pass on an awareness of Jesus and his love,” he said in his homily. Grounded in faith and in communion with God, parents and teachers will know how to be both “tender and strong, gentle and firm, be silent and speak at the right time, to scold and correct in the right way,” he said. The infants, 10 boys and six girls including a set of twins, were baptised by the pope over a font that was supported by an ornately detailed bronze olive tree. One by one the parents suspended their babies over the font as the pope poured water from a gilded shell. The pope recalled St John the Baptist’s baptism of the Lord in his homily and said a true teacher, like the saint, leads people to the truth—to Christ—and does not try to establish loyalty to himself. “Parents are not the source, like we priests are also not the source” of salvation and the
Pope Benedict baptises one of 16 infants during a Mass in the sistine Chapel at the Vatican. (Photo: l’Osservatore romano/reuters/Cns) truth, he said. The sacraments and the word of God are the source of salvation and “we are rather like channels through which the lifeblood of God’s love must pass,” he said. “Parents must give a lot” when raising their children, so if parents don’t receive strength, support and knowledge from the true sources of salvation then they will be left empty and all dried up inside and no longer able to teach others, he said. One of the intentions read during the prayers of the faithful was “for children who suffer from mistreatment, hunger and disease: May the Lord always call forth men and women able to kneel before them with tireless charity and tenacious hope.”—CNS
The southern Cross, January 18 to January 24, 2012
Pope condemns ‘religiously motivated’ terrorism By CinDy WOODen
said, “it is hard to make a definitive assessment” of the recent events, but “initial optimism has OPE Benedict condemned “religiously moti- yielded to an acknowledgment of the difficulties vated terrorism” and restrictions on religious of this moment of transition and change.” freedom during his annual address to diploWith concerns expressed about creating new mats accredited to the Vatican. power elites or creating situations where ChristLooking both at signs of promise and areas of ian minorities could face more pressure, the only concern around the globe, the pope said human way forward towards true democracy and peace dignity, truth and justice demand governments “is through the recognition of the inalienable digsafeguard all human life and recognise the impor- nity of each human person and of his or her funtance of the traditional family based on the mar- damental rights,” the pope said. riage of a man and a woman. “Respect for the person must be at the centre But his strongest words were reserved for the of institutions and laws,” the pope said in his topic of religious freedom address to representatives and religiously motivated of the 179 countries that violence. have full diplomatic relaThe pope paid tribute to tions with the Vatican. Shahbaz Bhatti, a Catholic Pope Benedict focused and government minister particularly on the needs for minorities in Pakistan, and concerns of the "whose untiring battle for world's young people as he the rights of minorities spoke to the ambassadors ended in his tragic death" about the global economic when he was murdered crisis, the Arab Spring last March. democracy movement, “Sadly, we are not wars and social tensions. speaking of an isolated “The present moment is case," the pope told the sadly marked by a prodiplomats gathered in a found disquiet, and the formal, frescoed hall of the various crises—economic, Pope Benedict greets a Vatican-accredited Apostolic Palace. political and social—are a “In many countries, diplomat during a meeting with representadramatic expression of Christians are deprived of tives of 179 countries. (Photo: Alessia Pier- this,” he said. domenico/reuters/Cns) fundamental rights and The pope expressed his sidelined from public life; hopes for an end to bloodin other countries they endure violent attacks shed and tensions in South Sudan, Syria, the Holy against their churches and homes,” he said, men- Land, Iraq and the Great Lakes region of Africa, tioning particularly the Christmas Day attacks and urged the nations of the world to take seriagainst churches in Nigeria. ously their obligation to protect the environment “In other parts of the world,” he said, “we see and fight climate change. policies aimed at marginalising the role of reliSaying he was looking particularly toward gion in the life of society, as if it were a cause of developed Western nations, Pope Benedict urged intolerance rather than a valued contribution to governments to protect the most basic human education in respect for human dignity, justice right—the right to life. and peace.” “I am convinced that legislative measures “In the past year, religiously motivated terror- which not only permit but at times even promote ism has also reaped numerous victims, especially abortion for reasons of convenience or for quesin Asia and in Africa,” he said. tionable medical motives compromise the educaDiscussing the Arab Spring movements that tion of young people” in respect for life and hope toppled repressive governments in North Africa for the future, which in turn compromises the and spread to the Middle East, Pope Benedict future of humanity, he said.
Hundreds of pilgrims seek baptism in Jordan River
A statue of Joan of Arc is seen in the courtyard of the headquarters of France’s national Front political party in nanterre. France is marking the 600th anniversary of the birth of the saint, who, as a teenager, was burned at the stake after leading a military campaign against english invaders. (Photo:Charles Platiau/reuters/Cns)
Change to the Cardinal Consistory
N part to avoid giving the impression that becoming a cardinal is a sacrament or quasi-sacrament, Pope Benedict will use a revised, streamlined prayer service to create 22 new cardinals in February. “The rite used up to now has been revised and simplified with the approval of the Holy Father Benedict XVI,” the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, reported . The paper said there would not be a “ring Mass” the day after the consistory; the new cardinals will receive their red hats, their cardinal rings and the assignment of their titular churches in Rome during the same ceremony. They still will celebrate Mass with the pope the day after the consistory; at the beginning of the Mass, the first of the new
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left: russian Orthodox pilgrims go into the Jordan river while (right) Franciscan Brother Praveen of india sprinkles a pilgrim with water during Mass at Qasr el-yehud in celebration of the feast of the Baptism of the lord. located near the West Bank town of Jericho, the site is believed to be the place where st John baptised Jesus. (Photo: Debbie hill/Cns)
By JUDiTh sUDilOVsKy
ITH her 8-year-old grandson Jamal in tow, Hajeh Mattar made her way across a wooden platform alongside the Jordan River. Her plan: to baptise him in the waters of the river at the traditional site of Jesus’ baptism. Jamal’s father, Awad, his mother, Manal, and his sister Justine, 6, followed not far behind. For Hajeh, 65, it was the opportunity to fulfill a promise she had made at the site almost a decade ago when she prayed to God to see grandchildren from her son Awad, now 35. It was her way to observe the feast of the Baptism of the Lord along with hundreds of Catholic and Orthodox pilgrims who made their way to the site. Awad was able to persuade his reluctant son to squat by the river as his grandmother cupped her hand into the cold water and poured it over his head and face. “I came here to thank God,” Hajeh said as Awad gingerly dripped water over Justine’s head as well. “Last time I came here I promised God I would bring my grandchildren here. I thank God
for my grandchildren. This has strengthened my faith.” Hajeh also made sure the children’s legs were dipped into the river before she was satisfied her promise had been kept. “I hope they will have a good life with lots of success and are happy,” said Manal. “I hope God will protect them.” Nearby, a Mass celebrated by the custos of the Holy Land, Franciscan Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, gave parents the opportunity to baptise their children by splashing water on their heads and dipping their hands and toes into the river. Adults renewed their baptismal vows by stepping into the river. In May, the site was reopened to the public after 11 years of planning and coordination with government officials. Until then, pilgrims were allowed at the site only three times a year, under special arrangements with the military because of the site’s proximity to Jordan—100m across the river—and the presence of land mines left over from a period when terrorists attempted to infiltrate the border.
cardinals —Cardinal-designate Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples—will express thanks to the pope on behalf of the group. The ritual was revised in order to maintain an atmosphere of prayer, while not giving the impression that becoming a cardinal is a liturgical event, the newspaper said. “The creation of new cardinals should be located within a context of prayer while avoiding any element that could give the idea of a ‘sacrament of the cardinalate,’” it said. “In fact, historically the consistory was never considered a liturgical rite, but rather a meeting of the pope with the cardinals in relation to the governance of the Church.”
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The southern Cross, January 18 to January 24, 2012
LEADER PAGE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Editor: Günther Simmermacher Guest Editorial: Michael Shackleton
Perseverance at school
HE minister of basic education, Angie Motshekga, had hardly congratulated the matriculation class of 2011 on a National Senior Certificate pass rate of 70.2%, when the vice chancellor of the University of the Free State, Jonathan Jansen, poured more than a trickle of cold water on the announcement. In a media comment, Dr Jansen pointed out that in the year 2000, slightly more than one million pupils started school in Grade 1 but only 496 000 showed up to write the finals in the Grade 12 class of 2011. This meant that more than half disappeared from the system. Dr Jansen described this as a disgrace, and wanted to know where they had disappeared to. He went further and gave figures showing that since 2008, there has been a gradual decline in the number of pupils enrolled for Grade 12. The Minister, he said, had not referred to these negatives. His brickbats were followed by more critical reviews from educationists and political commentators. The two main concerns highlighted here: the disappearance of more than half a cohort of one million pupils and the annual drop in the number enrolled for Grade 12, provide very unwelcome news. The increasing number of school drop-outs and the shrinking number of proficient schoolleavers means that South Africa will be unable to generate proficient learners who can undertake higher learning and skills for the benefit of the nation’s future growth and development. It would be unfitting for Catholic schools to feel smug about this reality, while still glowing with the success of their 99.9% pass rate in the Independent Education Board exams. The total number of IEB fulltime candidates who wrote matric in 2011 were likewise 41 000 fewer than in 2010. Dr Jansen’s question is pertinent: where do the drop-outs disappear to? They do not have
the necessary learning and skills to build up their community constructively. Instead, do they inevitably have to turn to the destructive criminal activity that tears communities apart? There is a common view that this is the real danger that is already bedevilling our people. Education, and in particular the shocking quality of education predominantly in many public schools, is not in a healthy state. The causes for this are variously attributed to poverty, inefficient systems, inadequate exam-writing abilities, idle or incompetent teachers and disinterested parents. These have been pinpointed before but the remedy is still either lacking or ineffectual. Dr Jansen remarked that the Minister had not referred to or recognised the good work that has been done by retired teachers, church-based initiatives, NGOs or charities to motivate high school pupils and support them in their studies. Catholic individuals and organisations are already at work here but they can do no more than lessen the strain on underprivileged pupils. What appears to be necessary now is for the government, school bodies, parents, teachers and the learners themselves to be re-educated to appreciate that without slogging hard to achieve useful and gainful skills, no population can sustain itself in this high-powered, techno-savvy world of ours. Parishes in which it is known that school-going children from homes without an understanding of books and reading or an appreciation of what doors can be opened by studious learning methods, could possibly organise some way of encouraging a deeper involvement by parents and the broader family in the education of their children. Retired teachers and others may be willing to assist. The goal would be not only to contribute to raising standards of teaching and learning but also to urge pupils to persevere at school from Grade 1 to Grade 12.
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.
Time to reassess the doctrine of Original Sin ICHAEL Shackleton’s “Open already being taken by our clergy Romans 5:12: “In him all have M Door” column on the subject and it is encouraging to hear fre- sinned.” To quote Fr Küng in Great Christquently from the pulpit, our priests of “limbo” (December 14) refers. While the Church is trying to allow the long-rejected “doctrine” of limbo to fade away quietly and to be swept unnoticed under the carpet of history, Mr Shackleton has unfortunately breathed into it one last small breath of life, sadly misleading the less critically-minded among his readers. The doctrine/theory of limbo stands or falls with the doctrine/theory of Original Sin, and both are at last seen to be on the kindly, but slippery, slope to oblivion propelled by the irrepressible search for truth. Limbo is no longer actively or widely taught and, being an issue of only marginal prominence in the minds of most Catholics, it may conveniently fade away without too much embarrassment. Original Sin, on the other hand, and by association also baptism, are issues of far greater moment and their planned demise will require careful and courageous intervention. The first tentative steps towards reform of our beliefs and practices regarding baptism are, however,
openly referring to baptism only as a symbolic rite of admission into, and acceptance of, “the Church”, and not as a rite that somehow washes away the stain of a sin inherited from a mythical man who is postulated as having lived and sinned six million years ago when the human species first appeared on earth. The concept of Original Sin can be attributed in large measure to the brilliant Augustine of Hippo who, in mitigation of the cruel injustice inherent in that concept, felt constrained to propose also the idea of “limbo” in order to rescue innocent deceased children from consignment to the horrors of hell. It is of great importance that we recognise the historical fact that Augustine developed the theory of Original Sin in an attempt to understand and to explain the impression that he had acquired from an incorrect translation of that portion of the early Greek scriptures containing the story of Adam. As pointed out by the renowned theologian Fr Hans Küng, Augustine, in his lack of proficiency in Greek, misinterpreted
ian Thinkers: “In Quo is what Augustine found in the Latin translation of the bible in his time, and referred this ‘in him’ to Adam. But the Greek text simply has because (or in that) all have sinned.” The effects of Augustine’s errors are being felt right up to the present day and our thinking and our beliefs are unfortunately still hampered and misdirected by the brilliance and the enormous unquestioned influence of that man. We must ask ourselves whether we can conceive of a God, whom we proclaim as a just and loving God, imputing the stench of evil to the souls of all women and all men—and all innocent uncomprehending infants—because one (fictitious!) man, “Adam”, chose to exercise his free will and disobey God. Seen in this light, the unacceptability and the clearly un-Godlike injustice of a concept such as Original Sin becomes glaringly apparent and we come face to face with the inescapable need to debate an honest reassessment of doctrines such as this. Bernard Straughan, Cape Town
Remembering Gene donnelly
Consider how powerful Jesus’ parables remain today. Matthew’s Christmas story presents Jesus as the new Moses (the Messiah), with Herod as the new Pharaoh, killing all the newborn males. Roman power designated Herod King of the Jews, but the Magi ask Herod: “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews?” Matthew is contrasting the Roman Empire with the kingdom of God. Ancient lore says that the star of Venus guided the Trojan refugees westward to found the Roman Empire. Matthew trumps that myth with his story of the star of Bethlehem guiding the Magi westwards to acknowledge the Messiah, the founder of God’s kingdom on earth. Brian Robertson, Cape Town
gin in the 19th century when people who were against Christianity, and the Catholic Church in particular, tried to show that Catholicism was merely a hotch-potch of teaching and customs from previous religions, and so was not based on a historical figure, Jesus, nor of divine origin. As late as the middle of the 20th century, books were published trying to prove this opinion. Part of this thesis was that Christmas as the commemoration of Christ’s birth, was merely the baptising of the Roman feast of Mithra, the Unconquered Sun, declared a public feastday by the Roman emperor in the year 278. It is highly unlikely after centuries of persecution by the Roman state that Christians would take over a pagan festival for the celebration of something as important as Jesus’ birth. Why was December 25 chosen to commemorate this event, when it is from every historical point of view unlikely? Check back nine months, and we come to March 25, which we observe even today as the feast of the Annunciation. There is evidence that the commemoration of this day as the “feast of the incarnation” goes back to before the celebration of Christmas. As the Church had no information about the date of Jesus’ birth, it was quite reasonable to date it nine months after the commemoration of his incarnation. Fr Bonaventure Hinwood OFM
LLOW me to pay tribute to the late Gene Donnelly—may he rest in peace. The fact that an authentic Catholic dialogue was kept alive in Southern Africa during a period of turbulence in the Church was due in no small measure to Eugene’s consummate journalistic and linguistic ability, open mind, sensus fidei and bent for diplomacy. His habitual failure to give his own work a by-line was characteristic of the man’s desire to remain in the background. As a detached observer, however, I was struck by his ability to take a backseat and edified by his abiding respect for the six editors he served over four decades. It has been said that one can achieve anything provided one doesn’t mind who gets the credit. Eugene, by putting the Church’s interests above his own in the best Catholic tradition, proved that he possessed the wisdom and humility to see the greater picture. Luky Whittle, Kroonstad
OUR article on the star of Bethlehem refers (December 21). Not all parts of the Bible are meant to be taken literally as historical events, for instance, the parables of Jesus. Parables are an effective way of conveying a message as a true story.
date of Christmas
N her article on “The History of Christmas” (December 21), Thandi Bosman writes that it is unclear whether fixing the date of Christmas on December 25 was “to usurp the feast of Mithra” or not. It is a pity that in a Catholic paper this inaccurate opinion should be perpetuated. It has its oriOpinions 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.
ST. KIZITO CHILDREN’S PROGRAMME St. Kizito Children’s Programme (SKCP) is a community-based response to the needs of orphans and vulnerable children. SKCP was established through the Good Hope development Fund in 2004 in response to the Church’s call to reach out to those in need. Operating as a movement within the Archdiocese of Cape Town, SKCP empowers volunteers from the target communities to respond to the needs of orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs) living in their areas. The SKCP volunteers belong to Parish Groups that are established at Parishes in target communities. Through the St. Kizito Movement, the physical, intellectual, emotional and psycho-social needs of OVCs are met in an holistic way. Parish Groups provide children and families with a variety of essential services, while the SKCP office provides the groups with comprehensive training and on-going support. In order to continue its work, SKCP requires on-going support from generous donors. Funds are needed to cover costs such as volunteer training and support, emergency relief, school uniforms and children’s excursions. Grants and donations of any size are always appreciated. SKCP is also grateful to receive donations of toys, clothes and blankets that can be distributed to needy children and families. If you would like to find out more about St. Kizito Children’s Programme, or if you would like to make a donation, please contact Bonus Ndlovu or Marian Hendricks on (021) 633 7701, or Shirley Dunn on (021) 782 2792. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations can also be deposited into our bank account: Bank: ABSA; Branch: Claremont, 632005; Account Name: Good Hope Development Fund; Account Number: 4059820320
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Methodist, Congregationalist, Presbyterian and Anglican churches. We made progress, recognising the right of people from those churches to be full worshipping members of each other’s churches. We went further and after much debate and heart searching in all of those churches highest assemblies (for the Anglicans it was the most searing of heart searching) we have accepted each other’s ministries, which means that we can lead worship and celebrate Holy Communion in each other’s churches. We have recognised that there are anomalies, but we also recognise that at the heart of our Christian faith there is the cross and the cross helps us to die to what is logical and comfortable and follow the way of the Lord Christ. This is important because Pope John Paul makes much of the meaning and also the binding nature of the cross for all Christians. At the beginning of Ut Unum Sint he says this: “No one is unaware of the challenge which all this poses to the believers. They cannot fail to meet this challenge. Indeed how could they refuse to do
Pope John Paul ii with Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu and other Christian leaders in 1983. (Photo: Catholic Press Photo)
Looking back to move forward
F we look back over 2011, I think it was a year of mixed happenings for most of us, locally, nationally and internationally. Reflecting on the year that was is a natural tendency we have around this time. And rightly so; we are going forward and we need to look back first, examine the past, and see what we would like to improve upon. As Socrates once said: “The unexamined life is not worth loving.” But what is it that we examine when we look back over our lives? And what does it mean when we wish each other a happy New Year for the future? These two acts go together. We need to do the first act of examining in order to ensure the second act of having a happy new year occurs. Not all of us are privileged enough to take time out to examine our lives, like a month-long or week-long retreat or even a sabbatical of some sorts. But what all of us can do is to take a few moments out of our day to reflect on our lives. Normally as we go through the year we always say to ourselves, “Next year, if God spares me, I’d like to ……” And this wish of ours is always for something better than what we currently have. So we have some idea of what it is we’d like to improve. Our lives fall into four main categories and it is around these categories of life that we would usually like to see improvement. Firstly, our physical or material lives — are there any changes I’d like to make in
Bp Duncan Buchanan
new Vines, new skins: An ecumenical series
everything possible, with God’s help, to break down the walls of division and distrust, to overcome obstacles and prejudices which thwart the proclamation of the Gospel of salvation in the Cross of Jesus, the one Redeemer of man, of every individual?” That is a very powerful statement and appropriate for all Christians. It declares that the cross is the one dynamic agent of true and deep-seated change. It is not for us to hold so tight to our own interpretations and, dare I say it, fears of what we might lose, rather than faithfully believing that in spite of our histories, in spite of our interpretations of scripture, and in spite of our deeply felt traditions, that God had got something more for us, and that we can move into the future with confidence in the Lord of the Church, Jesus, risen, glorified saviour, redeemer friend and brother. Why can we not trust him to take us where he wants us to go, without smothering him with rules, traditions and fears in case he may take us out of our comfort zones? So a final plea: Please pray for the unity of all Christians, in spite of where we do not want to go, and pray in particular that we will find the Lord Jesus in all with whom we come in contact. n Bishop Duncan Buchanan is the retired Anglican bishop of Johannesburg. This is the first in a series of monthly articles on ecumenical issues written by ministers of different denominations.
this area—improve my health, plant a garden, start a business or start practising a sport? Secondly, our emotional or relationship lives—do I need to improve my relationship with myself or anyone else or do I need to end a bad relationship? Thirdly, our mental lives—how can I improve
myself mentally? Perhaps read a good book or two for 2012, enrol in a short course, complete those one or two long outstanding subjects for matric, or seriously start studying in a field I am interested in. Fourthly, our spiritual lives—am I really serious about meeting God inside myself and taking him to others? How can I commit to regular spiritual practices, how can I more fully participate in Holy Mass and also in the community life of the parish? These are questions only we can answer and if we look around there are
On Faith and life
more than enough clues for us to find the answers. After examining our lives, we usually make some decisions or resolutions for changing the areas we’d like to improve. And this is where our New Year’s wishes for each other come in. We don’t stop to think what we mean when we wish someone a happy new year, or success for the new year. Normally we are in such celebratory spirits, that it sometimes is just about popping the champagne and waiting to wish everyone after the countdown to the new year. But when we wish anyone a happy new year, in fact, what our new year’s wishes are saying is that: “I’d like for you to be successful, or to have good fortune, or to be the person you want to be in the new year. I wish for you to be new and improved in areas of your life.” That is what our new year’s wishes mean. And this also implies that as friends, family and community we will support and encourage each other in our efforts to become new people. 2012 will undoubtedly have its moments of heartaches and headaches. But, I believe it will also have its joys and its newness, and its extraordinary blessings and providence that will make our year truly a happy new year. Each of us is placed in our own unique positions to enable ourselves and each other to become new people in the new year. Happy new year!
Michael Shackleton Open Door
Unfulfilled Mass obligations A Mass intention has been requested for a particular day. Suddenly, the priest is absent on that day and a Communion service is held instead. What happens to the Mass stipend? Gerti Hoff
ET’S start by defining what is meant by a Mass stipend. It is a voluntary offering that anyone can give to a priest when requesting him to apply a Mass for the donor's particular intention. Historically, this offering used to be made as a contribution to the physical and financial wellbeing of the priest, because, particularly in the early centuries, like Christ he was not paid for his services to his flock. St Paul made a rather telling point when he wrote: “Who has there ever been that kept a flock and did not feed on the milk of his flock?” (I Cor 9:7). In modern times, the priest does not usually rely entirely on the daily Mass offering for his upkeep. His diocese or religious congregation will normally see to his needs. Yet the custom remains of making an offering for the Mass to be applied for the donor’s intention. Canon 946 of the Code of Canon Law says that the faithful who make an offering so that Mass can be celebrated for their intention, contribute to the good of the Church, and by that offering they share in the Church’s concern for the support of its ministers and its activities. Aside from that, those who offer a sum of money for the celebration of the sacrifice of the Mass for a special intention, are simultaneously associating themselves with that sacrifice by means of the sacrifice from their own purse. When a priest accepts a stipend he incurs a serious obligation of a contractual nature. He is bound to offer that Mass in accordance with the stipulations of the donor. If for any reason he is absent from the altar on the day the donor requested, he cannot escape his duty to offer that Mass on that day, or at some other suitable time. Canon 955.4 prescribes that every priest must accurately record the Masses which he has accepted to celebrate and those which he has in fact celebrated. If the priest becomes sick or suddenly dies, it is the bishop’s or religious superior’s task to see that the Masses yet to be celebrated are celebrated by another priest so that each Mass will be accounted for.
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.
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That we may be one N 1995 Pope John Paul II produced an apostolic letter called Ut Unum Sint, taking his title from John 17, when Jesus in his final prayer for the church and the world prayed “that they may be one”. Many, and I am one of them, believe that Ut Unum Sint is probably the finest exposition of ecumenical endeavour which has ever been written. I could write several articles expounding this remarkable document, because there is so much in it which is both salutary and challenging. There is also much in it with which I would want to argue and query. I do not intend to do either now, but rather try and draw out one or two things which from an Anglican perspective give pause and pain. Throughout the letter Pope John Paul refers to the Church, which is the Roman Catholic Church, and the Churches, which are the Orthodox churches, found mainly in the east. All other churches are described as “Ecclesial Communities”. We are therefore not proper churches although he accepts that we are acceptable as Christians who belong to communities which are not fully churches. Now, as I have thought about what I have just written, I must recognise that this is precisely what we Anglicans have done to the Methodists, the Presbyterians and the Congregationalists over several centuries. So it is not for me as an Anglican to become upset when it happens to us both from the Roman Catholic Church and also the Orthodox churches as well. Rather what I have to do is to ask what it is that prevents us from realising our unity in Christ. For over 12 years I was chairman of the Church Unity Commission, a body committed to seeking the organic unity of the
The southern Cross, January 18 to January 24, 2012
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The southern Cross, January 18 to January 24, 2012
A Marriage encounter weekend away was held at the retreat centre of Assisi at Marseilles near ladybrandt, in the Free state, for couples from lesotho. The weekend presentation was presented by the Gauteng team of Fr Pieter Peeraer OMi and Theo and Bep van Meygaarden.
The Three Wise Men visited some 200 children from st lawrence parish in Delft, Cape Town. The children were invited to write letters to these travellers asking for gifts in preparation for their visit. The Wise Men were welcomed by the children who sang songs and in return received sweets and gifts. (submitted by Dino Furgione)
Fr Michael Connell sDB celebrated the 40th anniversary of his ordination at a luncheon attended by Archbishop stephen Brislin of Cape Town and three other priests. The lunch was hosted by Val Tangney at her home.
A Christmas lunch for the less fortunate was served by a group of lay people in the Austerville community hall in Wentworth, Durban. some 500 men, women and children were in attendance. The lunch was arranged by the Christian Men's Movement of Christ the King parish with the help of the soup kitchen team of st Gabriel's Anglican Church. (submitted by Daria hayes)
sybil le sueur at st Peter's square in rome during her first trip to italy and the Vatican.
holy redeemer parish in Quigney, east london, welcomed two guest priests from the Democratic republic of Congo. Pictured are (from left) parish priest Fr robert Kamangu, Fr eduardo and Fr Alphonse. (submitted by lola schmidt)
Send photographs, with senderâ€™s name and address on the back, and a SASE to: The Southern Cross, Community Pics, Box 2372, Cape Town, 8000 or email them to: firstname.lastname@example.org Edited by Lara Moses
The southern Cross, January 18 to January 24, 2012
Embracing faith and tradition The faith of more than a billion people is celebrated and treasured in many ways, and yet our beliefs remain the same. CLAIRE MATHIESON finds out how our cultural practices and traditions can enhance faith.
Claire Mathieson A Church of hope and Joy
Birth rites and baptisms; marriages and funerals; ordinations and religious professions; blessing of churches and houses—“we honour the rich Christian heritage found specifically in the liturgy while at the same time acknowledging that liturgy must embody the riches of different nations,” says Fr Phalana.
ecause we share a religion, doesn’t mean that the way in which our faith is celebrated need be the same. The spirit of ife sciences teacher at Holy Cross MaitVatican II encourages us to embrace our faith land, Lindley Francis said his appreciation while celebrating our unique and individual cultures. The Church allows us to celebrate for the school’s patron saints was reaffirmed our faith in a way that respects the religion when he visited Assisi on pilgrimage. “The school’s ethos was strengthened for me on and enhances our own experience of it. Celebrating the Catholic faith is also a way the visit and it was a life changing experiof reinforcing the tradition of the Church. Fr ence.” The very fact that this pilgrimage site Peter-Chungu Shitima of St Jude’s parish in was chosen was based on the school’s tradiKing William’s Town, Port Elizabeth, says it is tion. But while the school is influenced by the family’s responsibility to pass on tradi- the Holy Cross order, the school adapts to its tions of heritage and culture and those of the local context and, while it admires the order, Church. “The Tradition of the Church should it also respects local traditions and the learnnot just be well explained in the families but ers are encouraged to be proud of where they it should be the anchor of their faith. In this are and who they are today—South Africans. St Patrick’s Missionary Society provincial way it will be much easier when passing it Fr Michael Murphy believes it’s important on,” Fr Shitima says. The western norm is not the only way to that the faith is expressed in the culture in be Catholic. Pope John Paul II said in 1995 which people are living. However, he says it’s during the Post-synodal Apostolic exhorta- also important to not be entirely exclusive. tion, Ecclesia in Africa, when an ecclesial com- “While it’s important to embrace one’s culmunity can integrate the positive values of a ture and traditions, we must be open to specific culture, “inculturation becomes an South African culture too.” Fr Murphy says being Catholic means instrument by which the community opens being universal, so while the itself to the riches of Christian Church encourages us to celeholiness. An inculturation wisebrate differently, we must not ly carried out purifies and elebecome enclosed communivates the cultures of the various ties. “We need to accommopeoples.” And in South Africa, date South African culture.” this adaptation of traditions “Christianity Considering new traditions and cultures is present countryand finding the beauty in wide. and African every culture is optimal. “Even Ken Hanna, a third generaSt Paul believed that we should tion South African born culture take what’s best and good for Lebanese Catholic says us and leave behind what is Maronite Catholics believe “we complement not.” Fr Murphy says parishes are different for our Church, need to look at the various culnot from our Church”. Mr each other in tures within the pews and let Hanna says there are a variety each “teach us something of traditions practised in the diversity” wonderful”. Lebanese Maronite community “Celebrating St Patrick’s that enhance not only one’s Day need not be exclusively faith but also the culture. for the Irish. We could lean Mr Hanna, author of People towards the Irish to teach the of the Cedars which honours South Africa’s Lebanese history, says the basic rest of the parish about why the feast is so unit of Maronity is the family, and culture important. But we must not become excluand faith are pillars of family life. From sive. Our celebrations can be multi-cultural Maronite wedding traditions to praying the and accommodate various parts of the herrosary, Mr Hanna says his Catholic faith and itage of all the different cultures found in the culture are intertwined and they celebrate parish.” Fr Phalana believes the fundamental celeeach other. “Old Lebanese men dressed in traditional bration of faith does not change. Despite attire and suit with collar and tie recite the African liturgical celebrations being joyful rosary. The bride and groom are crowned at and lively, “these must not disengage us from wedding ceremonies—the crowning of the the needs and problems of our time”. He says groom representing Christ and the crowning African inculturation is not a matter of blindof the bride is representative of the Church, ly following laws and rubrics, “but of creating and the ritual of the blessing of the grandfa- a life-giving event, a moment of personal and ther and grandmother at the end of their communal encounter with the living God. holy lives is profound.” These traditions This is to be done in the spirit of Vatican II and the African Synod”. enhance Mr Hanna’s Catholic life. “Culture must be purified and transEven the way Catholic school goers and teachers are educated contributes to their formed by the Gospel. In the process of inculfaith through traditions learnt and adopted. turation, one can easily find out the richness For Holy Cross Maitland learners in Cape and the beauty of a culture and the richness Town celebrating the school’s patron saints is of Christian faith,” he adds. Fr Phalana says the best of our cultures an important part of being Catholic. Grade 12 learner Jessica Makanga says learning must be integrated into our liturgies but in about St Francis of Assisi and St Clare “helps the spirit of Vatican II, and in the case of South Africa, in the spirit of the African me look at the world differently”. The Holy Cross learners say the Angelus Synod. The way we celebrate our faith, he prayer each day at noon and the staff spend a says, is with the knowledge and approval of moment in prayer every morning even when the local ordinary or of the bishops’ conference. meetings are unnecessary. Fr Phalana believes the one faith one bilFr Shitima believes traditions need to be passed on for they help us to belong. “I am lion people share can be celebrated in diversibecause we are,” he says. Traditions, African ty. “Jesus embraces human nature and or other, “define us and give us the impetus belongs to every culture. Inculturation is the in our relationship with God and our neigh- gift of the Holy Spirit who makes us one. This is unity in diversity which should be seen in bours.” The King Williams Town priest says the way Catholics, all over the world, are able African traditions teach that all important to celebrate the one faith in diversity.” From praying the rosary, to how we sing ingredients of life are contained in the way the family functions. “Tradition acts as the and dance during Mass to revering specific saints, the way in which we celebrate our hinge in our life,” he says. Fr Victor Phalana of Pretoria’s Cathedral of faith is vitally important to our Catholicism. the Sacred Heart says Vatican II encourages Following Vatican II, Catholics were encourthe world’s Catholics to celebrate the liturgy aged to celebrate the faith in a way that honin a way that includes their individual histo- ours our diversity but it also reminds us to be ries. “Inculturation is an attempt to bring the mindful not to exclude others’ traditions and Roman liturgy closer to the cultural experi- to practise our faith together thereby enhancing it. ences of African believers.”
The youth of De Aar diocese celebrate Mass in traditional outfits at the launch of education for life. Fr Victor Phalana from Pretoria’s Cathedral of the sacred heart says African inculturation is not a matter of blindly following laws and rubrics, “but of creating a life-giving event, a moment of personal and communal encounter with the living God.” (Photo submitted by sr Victoria sibisi).
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The southern Cross, January 18 to January 24, 2012
Service delivery failure also in private sector Poor service delivery is found not only in the public sector, as rAyMOnD MWAnGAlA OMi found in search for a doctor.
OOR service delivery, violent crime and corruption by public officials have become the leading news stories in and about South Africa. The danger is that these evils are slowly becoming acceptable as distinguishing national characteristics of this country. Once they become entrenched and acceptable, reversing the trend will be difficult if not impossible. Poor service delivery, violence and corruption do not just affect politicians and public officials though the impression one gets from media reports is that such crimes are only worth reporting if they involve high profile personalities. There are many sad tales of these evils’ presence even in the Church: the absent minister who is never there to minister to the people under his care, the preacher who prepares (if he does) the Sunday homily while Mass is going on, the abusive pastor, and so on. Recently, I had a sad experience of poor service in the private sector which got me thinking about my personal contribution to the state of affairs. On a Friday morning I was asked to take someone who needed immediate medical attention to see a doctor. I willingly obliged,
HESE are the names of the Associates of The Southern Cross, who have contributed to our Associate’s Campaign in 2011. The Chairman of the Board and Editor of The Southern Cross thank the Associates and contributors for their generous support. By becoming Associates or contributing otherwise, they have helped put The Southern Cross on a safer financial footing. They have also assisted us in our apostolic outreach. Thanks to our Associates, every seminarian in South Africa now has access to the weekly Catholic newspaper. The newspaper is also sent to prisons for inmates who wish to follow a Christian way of life, and to the Catholic university chaplaincies. These needs are ongoing. Existing Associates will be invited to renew their support for The Southern Cross as their annual associateship expires. Readers who have not yet done so may become Associates at any time. Cardinal McCann Associates are those who contributed R1 500 or more to the Campaign; Maximilian Kolbe Associates between R500 and R1 500; St Francis de Sales Associates between R100 and R499. An annual Mass is celebrated for the intentions of our Associates on January 24, feast day of St Francis de Sales, patron of journalists, and on All Soul’s Day for the deceased Associates and deceased family members of Associates.
thinking that since we were going doctors’ rooms. On the other side to a private surgery the business of the reception there are four would be over without much doors, but we had not been told delay. We arrived at the first which one to enter through. surgery around 8:30 to be greeted We went back to the reception by a notice informing us that the to inquire. But now there was no doctor operates between 10:00 and one there; somehow the person 17:00. Tough luck! who had just served us had vanWe went to a second surgery ished. So we sat and waited, hopnot too far from the ing that someone first. At least this one would appear and help was open. No notice us. After what seemed time Next about operating like forever a door hours. After inquiring finally opened and we you see with the person at were called in. the reception, we The doctor was service were informed that kind, attended to the the doctor would be patient and after three delivery in around 9:30. We hours and five injecfilled out registration tions we were on our protests, forms and settled way home. I can only down for the wait. thank God that it they could At 10:30 we were wasn’t a matter of life still waiting, with no and death. be against sign of the doctor This is not the only anywhere. Eventualcase of poor service you and me. ly, we lost patience delivery I have experiand asked what was enced in the private happening. We were informed sector. During the same month a only at this point that the doctor colleague had a situation which might come at 11:30. No apolo- required an ambulance to transgies! port her to a medical facility. One Fed-up, we decided to leave. We was called for. It arrived after more went back to the first surgery we than two hours! So the next time you see service had visited. By now it was open, but the doctor, we were told, delivery protests, ask yourself: would come only at 11:30! My What kind of service am I offering patient, now in excruciating pain to those I am supposed to serve? and irritable, couldn’t stand it any Such protests could be against you more. So, we decided to leave and me. Are people getting value again and search for another for their money from you? Before pointing fingers at others surgery and doctor. We found one just around the we need to clean our own houses. corner. The doctor had been work- n Fr Raymond M Mwangala OMI is ing since 7:30, we were told. After the academic dean at St Joseph’s filling in the registration forms we Theological Institute in Cedara, were asked to go through to the KwaZulu-Natal.
ASSOCIATES CARDINAL McCANN ASSOCIATES Nigel Bands - Newton Park; Heinz & Angie Betz – Walmer; Christopher Bradley – Vyeboom; Desmond Cox –Rondebosch; Fr Ralph de Hahn – Cape Town; Michael Denoon - Klein Nederburg, Durbanville; Benjamin Diab – Randburg; Mrs B Diab – Randburg; Peter & Dorothy Fewell - Simon's Town; Professor Brian Figaji – Durbanville;Fr Alois Ganserer – Bloemfontein; Robin Goestsch - Highveld Park; Ronald Graef – Glenvista; Professor Patricia Harrison - St James; Adrian & Marie Laros - Somerset West; Marist Brothers & Community – Rondebosch; Chris Moerdyk – Glencairn; Mary Eleanor Molyneaux – Umbilo; Sheila J Mullany – Vredehoek; Cheryl Nolan – Meredale; Gavin O'Connor -Durbell, Durbanville; Frank Parau – Helikenpark; Dr Mulimisi Ramavhuya – Musina; Marie-Luise Reid – Alrode; Eileen Reynolds – Mowbray; Henk Schoots – Edgemead; Paul Schwieger Swakopmund, Namibia; St Michaels Catholic Church - Rondebosch; Sybil Stuurman - Jeffrey's Bay; David Taylor – Constantia; Lorna Wicks – Kokstad; Mark Yazbek - East London
ST MAXIMILIAN KOLBE ASSOCIATES Peter Attenborough - Fish Hoek; Mrs Lesley Bashkier - Monte Vista; Prof D W Brokensha - Fish Hoek; Catholic Order of Knights of da Gama Cnl 42 – Witbank; Louis P Chappel – Springs; Patrick Cosgrove – Simonstown; Matthew Logan; Crawford – Sandton; Adele Dawson – Parklands; Manny de Freitas – Cleveland; Merrilyn de Gersigny – Durban; A T
Downs – Primrose; Dr Elizabeth Fisher – Durban; Maria Frade - Greenhills, Randfontein; Mervyn Gatcke - East London; Barry Jordan – Rondebosch; Dr Nicholas Luyckx – Bryanston; Fr John Ngubane – Umzinto; Pauline Books and Media – Johannesburg; Dr George Pillay - Bellville South; Paul Roussel – Edenvale; Sadie Family - Sandringham; Fr Harry Schlight – Springbok; Sts Simon & Jude Parish – Simonstown; Mrs Michelle Trevor – Muizenberg; Dr Johannes van der Mey Amsterdamhoek, Port Elizabeth; Hans K Wagner - Sterling, East London; Ashley Theron Williams - Malabar, Port Elizabeth
ST FRANCIS DE SALES ASSOCIATES Monica Alson - Elsies River; Rev Bishop Everard Baay SCJ - Port Elizabeth; Jacqueline Barbot – Durban; Josephine Catania – Clareinch; M & J Currie – Hawston; Mr Beeh Dhlongolo – Olifantsfontein; Dr Francis Diab - Tyger Valley; Jack Garbutt - Durban North; Prof Colin Gardner – Prestbury, Pietermaritzburg; Laurence Gorman –Scottburgh; Holy Rosary Church - O'Kiep; Carl Maske - Gordon's Bay; Brian O'Reilly - Fairbridge Heights Ext, Uitenhage; Bernadette Patterson - Red Hill, Durban; Kenny Rangasamy - East London; Joan Swanson - Kenridge, Durbanville; George Topp - Le Domaine; J B Tory – Umbilo; Philip Wynne-Cole – Berea; Peter D Yazbek - Bloemfontein
DONATIONS Anonymous – Mowbray; Margaret Baxter – Gonubie; Bluff Branch CWL – Bluff; Paul de Chalain - Umhlanga Rocks; Hazel de Kock – Tableview; Knights of da Gama; Masini; L Parker
A child sits on the streets of a township. in his article, Fr raymond Mwangala argues that it is not only the public sector that is failing in service delivery, but also the private sector. (Photo: KnA)
The southern Cross, January 18 to January 24, 2012
Islam stands for tolerance
COULD never understand why Muslims are not understood, liked or recognised by many non-Muslims. Islam means to stand for tolerance, peace, nobility and caring for all God's creations on earth. I usually blame the media for the misconceptions and false propaganda that they display about Islam. However, when I read the article “Fear has silenced Pakistan’s Christians” (November 30), I was disappointed when I discovered what the Christians in Pakistan are going through due to the actions of my “Muslim” brothers. I now ask myself how can I expect non-Muslims to hear the cry for my Muslim brothers and sisters in Palestine when my brothers in Pakistan are causing corruption and suffering on the land. Islam teaches that there is no compulsion in religion and that to prevent others from practising
their faith freely is completely un-Islamic! This clearly shows that many of the Muslim Pakistanis are no longer holding onto the true teachings of Islam and are going astray. The Qur’an holds Christians and Jews highly by referring to them as “People of the Book” and not “non-believers”. We are thus meant to live in peace with one another. I wonder then why there are so many tornadoes and earthquakes occurring, is it not because we are deviating from the truth and going astray? Corruption on earth is caused by the hands of man, thus God brings about climate change and even shakes the earth to show man who is greater and who is in control. Yet still we are blinded by evil and deception. When harm was done to Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) his cry was, “Oh Lord forgive them
for they no not...” When unjustice was done to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), what was his cry? He begged for mercy and for God to grant forgiveness on their behalf. All of the prophets were precious human beings that were sent to earth as a mercy to mankind as an entire nation in order for us to establish and prosper on earth. We call ourselves believers yet how can we say this when we do not think twice or fear God's punishment as we destroy or hurt another human being? How can we expect God to bestow his mercy on us when we cannot show mercy to each other? Man wants to change the climate, I then suggest that we change our conception of thinking and acting, then will we succeed. Not only by our actions but by our intentions carried in our hearts and minds. Razia Amod, Cape Town
The Southern Cross ASSOCIATES CAMPAIGN Mass will be offered for all Associates (living and deceased) on Tuesday 24th January 2012, at St Patrick’s Catholic Church, Mowbray, Cape Town at 6pm. All welcome.
Southern CrossWord solutions SOLUTIONS TO #480. ACROSS: 1 Coupon, 4 Achaia, 9 Table Mountain, 10 Oblates, 11 At sea, 12 Cedes, 14 Baths, 18 Isaac, 19 Reactor, 21 Self-possessed, 22 Lystra, 23 Parsee. DOWN: 1 Cotton, 2 Unbelievables, 3 Overt, 5 Cantata, 6 Anaesthetists, 7 Annual, 8 Roast, 13 Escaper, 15 Tinsel, 16 Trust, 17 Cradle, 20 Arena.
Community Calendar To place your event, call Claire Allen at 021 465 5007 or e-mail email@example.com, (publication subject to space) BETHLEHEM: Shrine of Our Lady of Bethlehem at Tsheseng, Maluti mountains; Thursdays 09:30, Mass, then exposition of the Blessed sacrament. 058 721 0532. CAPE TOWN: Good Shepherd, Bothasig. Perpetual eucharistic Adoration in the chapel. All hours. All welcome. Day of Prayer held at springfield Convent starting at 10:00 ending 15:30 last saturday of every month—all welcome. For more information contact Jane hulley 021 790 1668 or 082 783 0331. DURBAN: St Anthony’s, Durban
Central: Tuesday 09:00 Mass with novena to st Anthony. First Friday 17:30 Mass—Divine Mercy novena prayers. Tel: 031 309 3496. JOHANNESBURG: Exposition of the Blessed sacrament: first Friday of the month at 09:20 followed by holy Mass at 10:30. holy hour: first saturday of each month at 15:00. At Our lady of the Angels, little eden, edenvale. Tel: 011 609 7246. PRETORIA: First Saturday: Devotion to Divine Mercy. st Martin de Porres, sunnyside, 16:30. Tel shirley-Anne 012 361 4545.
Liturgical Calendar Year B Sunday, January 22, 3rd Sunday Jonah 3:1-5, 10, Psalm 25:4-9, 1 Corinthians 7:29-31, Mark 1:14-20 Monday, January 23 2 Samuel 5:1-7, 10, Psalm 89:20-22, 25-26, Mark 3:22-30 Tuesday, January 24, St. Francis de Sales BD 2 Samuel 6:12-15, 17-19, Psalm 24:7-10, Mark 3:31-35 Wednesday, January 25, The Conversion of St Paul Acts 22:3-16 or 9:1-22, Psalm 117:1-2, Mark 16:1518 Thursday, January 26, Ss Timothy and Titus BS 2 Timothy 1:1-8 or Titus 1:1-5, Psalm 96:1-3, 7-8, 10, Mark 4:21-25 Friday, January 27 2 Samuel 11:1-10, 13-17, Psalm 51:3-7, 10-11, Mark 4:26-34 Saturday, January 28, St Thomas Aquinas 2 Samuel 12:1-7, 10-17, Psalm 51:12-17, Mark 4:3541 Sunday, January 29, 4th Sunday st Paul Deuteronomy 18:15-20, Psalm 95:1-2, 6-9, 1 Corinthians 7:32-35, Mark 1:21-28
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DEATHS MCLEAN—Kenneth. Passed away January 2, 2012 on our 56th wedding anniversary after a long illness. Beloved husband of Teresa (scott), Father of Anselm, Basil, Cecilia, Daryl, evan, Fiona, and families. rest in Peace at last. Mater Dei Parish, Pe.
IN MEMORIAM HYAMS—Domitilla Maria. in loving memory of our loving wife, mother and darling Doma who went to her heavenly Father one year ago on January18, 2011. We miss you and love you. Danny and family. VAN DRIEL—James 1937-2009. loving husband, father, grandfather, father-in-law and friend. Three years have passed since God called you home. your absence is felt by all; your warm memories of love and goodness are in our hearts. When i think of you i thank God. When i pray for you i pray with God. While i breathe i love you. loving wife eunice and family. riP.
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PRAYERS HOLY ST JUDE, apostle and martyr, great in virtue and rich in miracles, kinsman of Jesus Christ, faithful intercessor of all who invoke you, special patron in time of need. To you i have recourse from the depth of my heart and humbly beg you to come to my assistance. help me now in my urgent need and grant my petitions. in return i promise to make your name known and publish this prayer. Amen. MC.
HOLY SPIRIT you who makes me see everything and show me the way to reach my ideals. you who give me the Divine gift to forgive and forget all that is done to me. i in this short dialogue want to thank you for everything and want to affirm once more that i never want to be separated from you, no matter how great the material desires may be. i want to be with you and my loved ones in your perpetual glory to the end and submitting to God’s holy will. i ask from you…. This
Word of the Week Pelagianism: Salvation by one’s own efforts. Application: We receive salvation through faith in Jesus Christ and by his grace and not through our own good works, as the theory of pelagianism suggests
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4th Sunday: January 29 Readings: Deuteronomy 18:15-20, Psalm 95: 1-2, 6-9, 1 Corinthians 7:32-35 Mark 1:21-28
UR God is constantly trying to reveal himself, but we do not always notice. In the readings for next Sunday we are invited to ponder some of the ways in which this self-revelation takes place; it is hardly ever a matter of a blast on the heavenly trumpet and an archangel in our midst. More often the voice of God comes to us through our fellow-human beings, made in God’s image and likeness, that we receive God’s word. In the first reading for next Sunday, Moses’ final words to the People of God, not many chapters before his death and burial, the implicit question is addressed: how are we going to know what God wants, once Moses goes? The answer is that: “The Lord your God is going to raise up a prophet like me from among you, from among your kinsfolk—and you are to listen to him”. The reading tackles the problem of direct contact with God; when the people at Mount Horeb heard the voice of God, they thought they were going to die. So human beings will be sent to speak
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Listen and pay attention to God Nicholas King SJ sunday reflections
God’s word; but that imposes two responsibilities. First of all, we have to pay attention: “The person who does not pay attention to his words that he speaks in my name, I am going to call to account”. Secondly, though, God’s spokespersons must take their duties seriously: “A prophet who presumes to speak in my name a word that I have not commanded, or who speaks in the name of other ‘gods’, that prophet shall die”. The psalmist, as always, cannot imagine such an eventuality, but cheerfully exhorts us to: “Come and exult to the Lord, make a noise to the Rock of our salvation”, and invites us into the divine presence; for liturgy can also be a place where God is revealed to
us, “let us come into his presence giving thanks”. But once again notice the command to us: “O that today you would listen to his voice; do not harden your hearts”. It is not our task to imitate our ancestors by putting God to the “test”. In the second reading, Paul is endeavouring to persuade the Corinthians that he is speaking to them on God’s behalf: “I want you to be free from worries”, and argues that this is easier for those who are not married, because they can “worry about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord”. The message to them is not that “I want to put a noose on you, but to make everything orderly and pleasing to the Lord, without any difficulty”. Alas the Corinthians did not listen to him; we must endeavour to do better, in the coming week. In the gospel for next Sunday, we are still in the first chapter of Mark, which we shall be following in this coming year, and watching Jesus, the one who for Christians is God’s last word; he goes into the synagogue “and started teaching”. Just like Moses, he teaches “as one who has
A haunting equation I
N her novel, Final Payments, Mary Gordon articulates an equation that has long influenced Christian spirituality, both for good and for bad. Her heroine, Isabel, is a young woman within whom a strong Catholic background, an overly-strict father, and a natural depth of soul conspire together to leave her overly-reticent and overly-reflective, looking at life from the outside, too self-aware and too reflective in general to enter spontaneously into a dance or trust any kind of gaiety One night she goes to a party with college students but almost immediately feels out of place inside the giddiness, youthful bravado, drinking, and dancing. So she falls back into an old habit: “I would look among the faces of the students for a face that I could love. I would look for something original, something attesting in the shape of the chin or the eyes, something that suggested the belief that there was residual pain that could not be touched by legislation. But they all looked so relentlessly happy and healthy that they did not interest me. I realised that I was looking for someone who was sad, and I was angry at myself for making the equation, my father’s equation, the Church’s equation, between suffering and value.” That equation between suffering and value has a long-standing history within spirituality and has strongly influenced us both positively and negatively. It has also, I must confess, generally been my own equation. Like Mary Gordon’s Isabel, I too
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Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI Final reflection tend to look around the room at a party for a sad face, with the belief that sadness is a sign of depth, of substance, of weightiness. Occasionally I have been right and a face carrying sadness did indeed issue forth from a deep interiority, but I have also often been wrong. Sometimes that sadness is merely an indication of depression, timidity, and unacknowledged anger. As well, I have also met people who were strongly extroverted in manifesting their happiness and joy and who, underneath, had real depth of soul and were anything but superficial. But still the equation haunts me, as it has haunted Christian spirituality throughout the centuries. We have perennially tended to equate suffering and sadness with value and depth. I remember my novice master challenging us with the notion that there is no recorded incident in scripture of Jesus laughing; the idea being that all of Jesus’ depth took its root inside his suffering. Laughter and lightness of heart are to be seen as superficial. That helped reinforce a notion that was deeply branded into me as a child, growing up in an immigrant Catholic family
and community. We were virtually catechised with the expression: After the laughter, come the tears! The idea was clear: Laughter is superficial and ultimately only an attempt to keep reality and sadness at bay. Sadness is what’s real, so don’t be too taken in by partying and laughing it up. What’s to be said about all of this? Clearly, there is truth in the equation. Any good psychologist, spiritual director, or mentor of soul, will tell you that, most often, real growth and maturity of soul are triggered by deep suffering and pain in our lives. It’s not so much that God doesn’t speak as clearly to us in our joys and successes, but we tend not to be listening in those moments. Suffering gets our attention. As CS Lewis once said, pain is God’s microphone to a deaf world. There is, undeniably, a connection between suffering and depth of soul. But we must be careful not to read too much into this. When we look at Jesus, and many other wonderfully healthy people, we see that depth of soul is also connected to the joyous and celebratory moments of life. Jesus scandalised people equally in both his capacity to enter into suffering and renounce worldly joys and in his capacity to thoroughly enjoy the moment, as is evident in the incident where a woman anoints his feet with a very expensive perfume. His depth of soul arose both from his suffering and from his joy. And his gratitude, I suspect, arose more out of the latter than the former. In his novel, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, the Czech writer, Milan Kundera, weighs the equation: What is of more value, heaviness or lightness? His answer: heaviness can crush us, but lightness can be unbearable: “The heaviest of burdens crushes us, we sink beneath it, it pins us to the ground. But...the heavier the burden, the closer our lives come to the earth, the more real and truthful they become. Conversely, the absolute absence of a burden causes man to be lighter than air, to soar into the heights, take leave of the earth and his earthly being, and become only half real, his movements as free as they are insignificant”. What then shall we choose? Weight or lightness? That is the question. The only certainty is: the lightness/weight opposition is the most mysterious, most ambiguous of all. Truly it is.
authority—and not like the scribes”. Then “immediately” (to use Mark’s favourite adverb) he has to deal with “a man with an unclean spirit”, who blows his cover: “I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” Effortlessly, Jesus proves that he is indeed God’s spokesman by successfully ordering the unclean spirit “be muzzled—and come out of him”, which it does, though not without a final gesture of protest. Notice the effect on the eyewitnesses: “They all were astonished, so that that they argued among themselves, saying ‘What is this? A new teaching, with authority: he even commands the unclean spirits, and they obey him!’” But it does not stop there, for God is in charge, and when his last word is uttered, it goes rippling out to the rest of humanity: “And his reputation went out immediately, everywhere, into the whole surrounding region of Galilee.” This week, it will be good if you can listen out for the God who is closer to you than the very air that you are breathing. And then do whatever the Lord tells you.
Southern Crossword #480
ACROSS 1. Recoup on line for concealed voucher (6) 4. Gallio was consul here (Ac 18) (6) 9. Backing for Cape Town clergy (5,8) 10.They are dedicated to religious life (7) 11. Bewildered on the waters (2,3) 12. Gives up (5) 14. Washing tubs (5) 18. Son of Abraham (5) 19. Possible nuclear change for the Creator (7) 21. Confident of not being in Satan's power (4-9) 22. Timothy’s home town (Ac 14) (6) 23. Pearse is a Zoroastrian (6)
dOWN 1. Material for the surplice? (6) 2. Things you can’t take on faith (13) 3. It’s patently obvious (5) 5. Sacred musical (7) 6. They can make you insensitive to pain (13) 7. Volume of the year (6) 8. Kind of lamb eaten for the Exodus (Ex 12) (5) 13. One who got free from a creep’s (7) 15. It’s a silent decoration (6) 16. Belief in someone (5) 17. Hold the infant protectively (6) 20. Dare navy to hide the ring (5) solutions on page 11
NE day a little girl was sitting and watching her mother do the dishes at the kitchen sink. She suddenly noticed that her mother had several strands of white hair sticking out in contrast on her brunette head. She looked at her mother and asked: “Why are some of your hairs white, Mom?” Her mother replied: “Well, every time that you do something wrong and make me cry or unhappy, one of my hairs turns white.” The little girl thought about this revelation for a while and then said: “Mom, how come ALL of grandma’s hairs are white?” send us your favourite Catholic joke, preferably clean and brief, to The southern Cross, Church Chuckle, PO Box 2372, Cape Town, 8000.