February 15 to February 21, 2012
Pope: Care for others this Lent
HOPE&JOY: The conscience reigns supreme
R5,50 (incl VAT RSA)
Reg No. 1920/002058/06
New lectionary: Background and a delay
Pages 2 &10
SA Church helps Vatican in fight against abuse BY CLAIRE MATHIESON
A Catholic prays after receiving ashes during Ash Wednesday Mass last year. The Catholic Church observes the start of Lent by marking baptised Christians with a public and communal sign of penance. Ash Wednesday this year is on February 22. (Photo: Dave Crenshaw)
HE work being done in Southern Africa to address the issue of clergy sexual/child abuse is being noticed at the highest level as a delegation from the Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) presented a paper to the Vatican. Fr Desmond Nair, chairman of the PCC, presented a paper at this month’s International Symposium on the Church’s response to the abuse of minors by clergy. Bishop Adam Musialek of De Aar, liaison bishop for professional conduct also took part in the symposium organised by the Gregorian University in Rome and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Along with Church leaders, psychologists, theologians and child-abuse specialists also participated in the symposium, providing expertise to bishops, whom the Vatican has given a deadline of next May to come up with guidelines on how to handle accusations of abuse. Plans also call for information to be posted on an Internet learning centre and in a database that will involve cooperation with medical schools and universities and will be accessible, in part, to the public. Fr Nair presented on the work of the PCC in Southern Africa. This region was “the first conference to have a response to abuse in Africa and to have a very active committee,” according to Fr Chris Townsend, PCC media liaison. The presentation acknowledged the work of the committee under the chairmanship of Fr Vincent Brennan, Fr Desmond Nair and Bishop Graham Rose of Dundee, and the guidance of Bishop Musialek and the late Bishop Michael Coleman. Fr Nair said the document compiled by the PCC contains much that “may be found useful in the investigation, not only of sexu-
al abuse of minors as per the protocol, but also of other offences”. Fr Nair said the stance of the local Church was not parallel nor in opposition to the state process, since the Church process is suspended once a crime has been reported to the police. “The committee is ambitious that the Church processes promote transparency, honesty and justice, and be implemented in humility, with sensitivity for the needs of victims and abusers,” Fr Nair said. The conference in Rome, titled “Towards Healing and Renewal”, forms part of the Church’s response as it struggles to deal with the disapproval and anger among Catholics and the secular world. “I believe it is important to local Catholics to see that something positive is being done at the highest level to address the issue of clergy sexual/child abuse—and that our work here in South Africa is being acknowledged at that level,” said Fr Townsend. In a message to the symposium, Pope Benedict said he hoped it would “promote throughout the Church a vigorous culture of effective safeguarding and victim support”. “Healing for victims must be of paramount concern in the Christian community and it must go hand in hand with a profound renewal of the Church at every level,” the pope said. Mgr Charles Scicluna, the Vatican’s top official for the abuse issue, said that the Church expects bishops to follow civil law on abuse cases, and that the discussions at the conference would assist Church leaders in developing guidelines to prevent future cases of abuse. Child abuse is “a sin”, he said, but it is “also a crime and the Church has a duty to cooperate with civil society and with its just requests for cooperation to prevent the crime.”
Radio Veritas preparation for MW launch in high gear BY CLAIRE MATHIESON
AVING acquired a medium wave frequency following a successful licence application last year, the countdown is now as Radio Veritas prepares on to have everything ready for the launch. This includes preparing the presenters for the relaunched station. Some 25 volunteers, staff and trustees gathered at the radio station’s Edenvale, Johannesburg premises, to reflect on the implications of going on air—“so that we would all sing from the same hymn sheet!” according to station director Fr Emil Blaser OP. Fr Blaser said the volunteers, many of whom are the familiar voices on the country’s only Catholic radio station, were “brought up to date with the latest news about our new transmitter which was at that moment being handed over to our representatives in Canada before being shipped to
South Africa”. He expressed his gratitude to “these generous volunteers who so graciously shared their time and expertise over the years”. Without volunteers, he added, the station could not function. Fr Blaser said that donors had been very generous, and special thanks was expressed to the Italian Bishops’ Conference for their “incredible donation towards the transmitter and, more recently, to the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference for a sizeable and much appreciated grant”. Moreover, recently the SA Lotto Fund Trust has agreed to an application for funding presented in April 2011. Further fundraising efforts are set to continue throughout the year. With the increase in transmission ability, so too increase the running costs, the volunteers were told. Production manager Khanya Litabe shared important information about the
Radio Veritas’ studios in Johannesburg programme schedule and procedures once on medium wave. After this the volunteers broke into groups to discuss issues of programming and language usage. The volunteers were also given tips and
advice on interviewing techniques by Ray White of Radio 702. They also discussed microphone techniques and voice production. “Niall Collie then took us through all that was required by the broadcasting authorities by way of reports and documentation. The volunteers were amazed to learn of all that was required in the process of running a radio station,” Fr Blaser said. Mr Litabe outlined the necessary policies which needed to be adhered to when on air. Fr Blaser pointed out that the move to medium wave frequency requires many changes in presenting and administration. The Dominican priest said the day was very successful with information being shared and valuable lessons learnt that will help carry the radio station onto their new platform. Radio Veritas is expected to launch their medium wave transmission on Palm Sunday 2012.
The Southern Cross, February 15 to February 21, 2012
New English language lectionary delayed STAFF REPORTER
T Bishop Kevin Dowling celebrated the golden jubilee of his religious profession the Redemptorist community on February 11. Ordained a priest by Archbishop Denis Hurley in his home parish, The Monastery in Pretoria, Bishop Dowling served communities in Cape Town and Pretoria until his election to the general council of the Redemptorists in Rome in January, 1986. He returned to Rustenburg for his ordination as bishop on January 27, 1991.
HE Liturgy Office of the Department for Christian Formation, Liturgy and Culture of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference has announced a delay in the shipping of the new English language lectionary. Bishop Edward Risi of KeimoesUpington, vice-chairman of the department, said the delay has been a result of the publishers— Ignatius Press and Paulines Africa—being concerned about the quality of the product. “Lectionaries must be robust and dignified and are designed to provide up to 20 years of use,” the bishop said. “After evaluating the test print
run the publishers halted production to ensure delivery of a good, noble and worthwhile product that will be a suitable companion to the 3rd edition of the Roman missal.” Bishop Risi said the implementation of the new lectionary for the territory of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference was promulgated for Ash Wednesday—February 22, 2012— but “the delay will mean that the lectionaries themselves will not yet be available on that date,” he added. “The liturgy office advises that, having considered this situation, the promulgation will remain Ash Wednesday but that parishes and communities would be required to begin using the new lectionary
only once it has arrived.” The office “regrets this delay, which is out of our hands”, Bishop Risi said. “We undertake to keep all parishes and communities informed as soon as we have further information.” The publishers have advised the department that the Peoples’ Daily and Sunday Missals are expected to be available by the end of February and “these could therefore be used as an interim measure while awaiting the arrival of the lectionaries”, Bishop Risi said. The Peoples’ Missals will be available through the Paulines and will not be supplied by the Liturgy Office. Orders should therefore be placed with the Paulines. n See also page 10.
Catholics encouraged to speak out against the Secrecy Bill STAFF REPORTER
HE bishops’ Catholic Parliamentary Liason Office (CPLO) has called on Catholics to attend public hearings on the Protection of State Information Bill. The ad hoc committee of the National Council of Provinces dealing with the bill will be convening hearings at various centres
around the country until March 1, followed by further public hearings in Parliament on March 13 and 14. CPLO Research coordinator Mike Pothier said the decision to take the bill to the country in this way is “very welcome” as this will maximise the number of organisations and individuals who are able to influence it. “We strongly encourage you to
attend the hearings in your area, and to make a submission if at all possible. It is not necessary to comment on the whole bill, or even to name specific clauses with which you may disagree,” Mr Pothier said, adding that it was sufficient to inform the committee in broad terms of feelings and concerns. Dates and venues of the remaining hearings in KwaZulu-
Natal, Northern Cape, North West, Mpumalanga and Limpopo are available on parliament’s website (www.parliament.gov.za). Mr Pothier has also called for feedback. As a link between parliament and the Church, the CPLO “would appreciate hearing from you if you do indeed attend one of the hearings—was it well organised and well attended? Were people given a proper chance to have
their say? Were submissions taken seriously by committee members?” This call to act against the bill follows widespread condemnation from the country’s bishops. n For more information on the public hearing on the Protection of State Information Bill visit parliament’s website on www.parliament.gov.za or follow the proceedings on www.facebook.com/Parlia mentofRSA
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The Southern Cross, February 15 to February 21, 2012
Lenten reflections straight to your inbox E STAFF REPORTER
Fr Bheki Shabalala (left) and Fr Leonard Mcwabe (right) are introduced by Fr Sylvester Namale after their installation as administrator and monastery superior respectively. (Photo: Mauricio Langa)
Mariannhill placed under administration BY MAURICIO LANGA
HE status of the Congregation of Mariannhill Missionaries in KwaZulu-Natal has been temporarily changed from a province to a region. This bold decision was made by the congregation’s general government to allow numerous interventions aimed at improving certain critical aspects within Mariannhill. The intervention in Mariannhill could take between six to nine months depending on how smooth the process goes. As part of the intervention, the general government has appointed Fr Bheki Shabalala CMM, vicargeneral of the congregation, as administrator to run the affairs of the region of Mariannhill. Four council members, Frs Donatus Ndwalane, Henry Ratering, Vusi Sokhela and Wenceslaus Kwindingwi, were elected recently during a regional conference to assist the administrator. Speaking at the regional conference, Fr Shabalala advised that confreres should not elect members on basis of friendship. “Let us remember that we are not electing members who will represent our personal and egoistic views but the views of the congregation and of the region,” said Fr Shabalala, adding that “our congregation is not a partisan, political or tribal organisation”. Fr Shabalala said Mariannhill is not only a complex place that boasts various professional workshops, but it is also a hub of the entire congregation. An effective and committed leadership is central to the whole system of establishing a rapport and unity amongst the members of the congregation and the region, Fr Shabalala said.
“Mariannhill is blessed to have confreres who come from different countries and such diversity needs to be used positively,” said Fr Shabalala, adding that the region of Mariannhill needs enthusiastic and committed members in serving the mission mandate of the congregation in unity. According to Fr Shabalala the intervention team must be seen as a comprehensive approach aimed at building up morale, building communion and propose a wellworked out plan of action that can better respond to the needs at hand and helping in their implementation. As far as leadership is concerned, Fr Shabalala said together with his team and the cooperation with all the members of the region, he hopes that by the end of his tenure of office as administrator, Mariannhill will have sound leadership. “This is critical so that whoever is elected to lead the province after this period of administration would be in a position to understand better the complexity of Mariannhill,” he said. One of the critical challenges facing the region of Mariannhill is financial in nature. The administrator pointed out that there is an urgent need to find a common project that would help generate funds for self-sustainability. “Such a programme of action needs to be implemented here in Mariannhill,” he said. In due course, the administrator hopes to call upon confreres to give suggestion on fundraising as well as their availability. Before the regional conference 12 young men joined the novitiate, while another 14 made their first profession, and three made their perpetual commitment into religious life.
MARFAM releases second booklet BY THANDI BOSMAN
HE Marriage and Family Life Renewal Ministry (MARFAM) has released the second in a four-part booklet series that focuses on family life and relationships. The theme this year is “Day by Day with God and family”. Part one focused on the season of Advent and Christmas to Ash Wednesday, while part two focuses on Lent and Easter to Pentecost. Part three will focus on post-Pentecost to Advent and part four on marriage. Part two contains 100 thoughts, one for each day, which includes feast days, Lenten and Easter reflections and the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit. Toni Rowland of MARFAM and
The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference Family Life Desk (SACBC) said that the booklet could be used for regular family prayer time and that it is an opportunity for families to reflect, share, discuss and pray about a particular topic. The family year planner created by the SACBC and MARFAM coincides with the booklets and includes themes for the year and sub-themes for each month. The calendar prices range from R2,50 to R4 each depending on the quantity order. The booklets cost R10 each. n To order the calendar and both the first and second booklets contact Toni Rowland on 011 789 5449 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.marfam.org.za/blog
VERY week an e-mail goes out to hundreds of South Africans containing a reflection that hopes to get its readers thinking and praying. This is a joint initiative of the Catholic Parliamentary Liason Office (CPLO) and the Jesuit Institute South Africa which has been growing steadily over the past few years. The e-mails are sent out every day of the work week during Lent. According to Jesuit Father Thomas Plastow the CPLO also uses Lent as a time of “outreach to all our members of parliament by ensuring that the reflections are received all those MPs who desire them”, he said. Last year the daily reflections were written by Fr Ron Boudreaux SJ who drew inspiration from the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius Loyola. The 2012 reflections are based on Fr Russell Pollitt SJ’s book: Now Is the Favourable Time, which gives an extended meditation on each day’s scripture readings, together with introductory and concluding prayers. All the material is condensed and put together with quotations and pictures to engage the busy reader. “Another factor that had to be taken into consideration is that many MPs are from other faith traditions. While the daily reflection
The Jesuit Institute South Africa and the Catholic Parliamentary Liason Office deliver daily e-mail reflections during Lent. The CPLO also uses this time to reach out to members of parliament from various faiths. will remain Christian and draw from the Lenten readings, we will acknowledge the festivals of the other world religions that fall within this time and attempt to draw out themes from these festivals that sit well with the penitential and preparatory nature of Lent,” explained Fr Plastow. “Those who have received these daily Lenten reflections in recent years have been very appreciative. Some who open their e-mail at work view these one-page reflections as an opportunity to pause for a quiet moment in the midst of a busy day,” the Jesuit said. The chairwoman of the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry, Joanmariae Louise Fubbs (ANC), said she first read about the
e-mail initiative in The Southern Cross. Ms Fubbs said she found reflections on St Francis to be particularly inspiring especially for “us politicians—indeed our mission is to serve and to serve our environment and be an instrument of peace as we sow harmony and love in our families first, then communities and country”. The enthusiastic reader has asked that the reflections continue to be sent as she finds the e-mails helpful. Others who read them at home have said that the material helps them enter into a longer time of meditation. n To receive these daily reflections, please send your e-mail address to: email@example.com
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The Southern Cross, February 15 to February 21, 2012
Vatican slams corruption allegations BY FRANCIS X ROCCA
N an unusually public rebuke of a high-ranking colleague, Vatican officials dismissed as baseless the accusations of “corruption and abuse of power” made in letters by an archbishop who is now apostolic nuncio to the United States. In a statement released by Cardinals Giuseppe Bertello and Giovanni Lajolo, the current and immediate past presidents of the governorate of Vatican City State, described as a “cause of great sadness” the recent “unlawful publication” by Italian journalists of two letters addressed to Pope Benedict and Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state. The letters, written by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò when he was the governorate’s secretary general, or second-highest official, contained assertions based on “erroneous eval-
uations” or “fears unsupported by proof”, the statement said. Archbishop Viganò’s letter to the pope, dated March 27, 2011, lamented “so many situations of corruption and abuse of power long rooted in the various departments” of the governorate, and warned that the archbishop’s departure from his position there “would provoke profound confusion and dejection” among all those supporting his efforts at reform. Pope Benedict named the archbishop as nuncio to the United States in October 2011. The governorate manages the Vatican City State, including the Vatican Gardens and Museums. During Archbishop Viganò’s stint at the governorate, a budget deficit of nearly $9,8 million (R75 million) in 2009 turned into a surplus of $28 (R210 million) in 2010. According to the Vatican state-
ment, which was also signed by the current secretary-general and a former vice secretary-general of the governorate, the improved finances during the period in question were “due principally to two factors”: the management of the governorate’s financial investments by a different Vatican office, and, “in even greater measure, to the excellent results of the Vatican Museums”. Archbishop Viganò’s letter to Cardinal Bertone, dated May 8, 2011, complained of the cardinal’s plans to remove the archbishop from his post, and accused the cardinal of breaking a promise to let the archbishop succeed the thenpresident of the governorate, Cardinal Lajolo, upon the latter’s retirement. In the letter, the archbishop blamed Cardinal Bertone’s change of mind on the effects of “strategies put into action in order to destroy me in the eyes of Your Eminence”, including the planting of libelous stories in the Italian press by several of Archbishop Viganò’s enemies among fellow Vatican officials. The archbishop singled out one such official—Mgr Paolo Nicolini, managing director of the Vatican Museums—for especially severe and colourful criticism, including charges of mismanagement. The Vatican statement did not acknowledge several other recently published letters apparently written by Archbishop Viganò; but it seemed to contest certain charges made in one of
A man skis in St Peter’s Square in the morning at the Vatican. A rare snowfall blanketed the Eternal City this month. (Photo: Paul Haring, CNS) those letters, dated April 4, 2011, and addressed to Pope Benedict. That letter alleged “corruption” in the granting of contracts to outside vendors: “Jobs were always given to the same companies...at a cost that was double that of similar work carried out outside the Vatican.” The letter claimed that the archbishop had been able in one year to cut the cost of the Christmas Nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square by 250 000 euro (R,2,5 million). The same letter criticised the “inexperience” of investment advisers whose recommendations purportedly led the Vatican to lose 2,5
million euro (R25 million) in a single transaction. By contrast, the Vatican statement emphasised the regularity of the governorate’s procedure for assigning major contracts, with oversight provided by a special committee appointed by the president. The statement also expressed “full faith” in the “illustrious members” of the governorate’s financial and management committee, its departments heads and other officials, in spite of “suspicions and accusations” which have been “revealed—upon careful examination—as unfounded”.—CNS
Push to declare alcoholism a sin BY ANTO AKKARA
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ATHOLIC prohibitionists in India’s Kerala state have proposed making alcoholism a sin in the nation’s largest Christian enclave. “Alcoholism is a serious problem in Kerala, and we have to take tough measures to counter it,” said Bishop Sebastian Thekethecheril, chairman of the Temperance Commission of the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council. More than a hundred Temperance Commission delegates from 30 dioceses met in Kerala and drafted a policy that says anyone who consumes alcohol immoder-
ately should be kept away from the Church at all levels—from teaching catechism to parish committees and any other nominated or elected post. Delegates also want church officials to refuse donations from Christians in the state’s thriving alcohol business. Alcoholism is seen as the root of increasing suicides, divorces and road accidents in Kerala, where more than 6 million Christians account for 19% of the population. The liquor trade is the highest revenue contributor in Kerala, which also has highest rate of
alcohol consumption in India. The state’s road accident rate is more than twice the national average. This had earlier prompted the Kerala Church to declare that drunken driving is a sin and it should be confessed. “When our own people are very into drinking, we have a duty to draw them away [from liquor] with whatever measure that is possible,” said Bishop Thekethecheril. He said the Temperance Commission is asking for revision of catechism texts to include chapters on the evil of alcoholism.— CNS
Rich orders called to help poorer congregations BY CAROL GLATZ
EALTHIER religious orders should share their resources with struggling religious communities, said the prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. Cardinal João Bráz de Aviz
said that while religious men and women live a life of poverty and possess nothing, their religious “institution doesn’t always give the same witness”. “It’s not that we are against holding assets or are saying the Church cannot have all the things it needs,” he said in an interview with the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore
Romano. The question is rather, why aren’t resources being shared among different religious institutes? One example, the Brazilian prelate said, would be a religious order that has significant financial assets earmarked for caring for and supporting its members in their old age.— CNS
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The Southern Cross, February 15 to February 21, 2012
Pope: This Lent, care for others BY MARY SHOVLAIN
N his Lenten message, Pope Benedict has called on the faithful to be concerned for one another and “not to remain isolated and indifferent” to the fate of others. Materialism and a sense of self-sufficiency are obstacles to a Christian life of charity, the pope said. Instead of looking first to God and then to the well-being of others, people often have an attitude of “indifference and disinterest born of selfishness and masked as a respect for ‘privacy’”. He said that God’s commandment to love “demands that we acknowledge our responsibility towards those who, like ourselves, are creatures and children of God.” The theme of the 2012 Lenten message was taken from St Paul’s Letter to the Hebrews: “Let us be concerned for each other, to stir a response in love and good works.” The pope outlined his message with three points taken from St Paul’s letter: “Concern for others, reciprocity and personal holiness.” Concern for others, the pope said, means wanting what is good physically, morally and spiritually for one’s neighbour. But he noted that contemporary culture “seems to have lost the sense of good and evil”. “There is a real need to reaffirm that good does exist and will prevail,” the pope said, defining good as “whatever gives, protects and promotes life, brotherhood and communion”. The pope warned against what he called “spiritual anaesthesia”, which numbs people to the suffering of others. Only a “humbleness of heart and the personal experience of suffering can awaken within us a sense of compassion and empathy”. The suffering of others is not
In his Lenten message, Pope Benedict calls on Catholics to care for others, materially and spiritually. (Photo: Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters/CNS) only physical or material, he said, but it is also spiritual, and he encouraged Christians to remember their “spiritual responsibility” toward their neighbour. He called for a renewal of a forgotten aspect of the Christian life, that is, “fraternal correction”.
raternal correction, he said, is a kind of Christian charity that speaks out against people indulging in sin. “We must not remain silent before evil.” Often, “out of human regard or purely personal convenience”, Christians fail to warn others against ways of thinking and behaving that are contrary to the truth. The reluctance to confront others in the name of truth, he said, stems from a world view dominated by individualism, which “accepts any moral choice in the name of personal freedom”, which then makes people blind to physical suffering and the spiritual and moral demands of life. However, God wants Chris-
tians to help and encourage each other to strive for the truth, for good and holy lives, he said. Fraternal correction must never be motivated by a spirit of accusation or recrimination, but instead be both loving and admonishing, as God is with his children, he added. “Both our sins and our acts of love have a social dimension”, which is why the Church asks forgiveness for the sins of its members and at the same time rejoices in examples of virtue and charity in the Church. The pope said time is precious and people must not become lukewarm about performing good works and using their God-given spiritual and material riches for the benefit of others. In a world “which demands of Christians a renewed witness of love and fidelity to the Lord, may all of us feel the urgent need to anticipate one another in charity, service and good works,” he said.—CNS
British bishops produce Catholic ID card, in case of accident BY SIMON CALDWELL
MARKETER / MANAGER of the Grail Conference/Retreat Centre (Kleinmond)
HE bishops of England and Wales are producing a million “faith cards” to identify the holders as Catholics in the event of an accident. The credit card-sized items will be distributed during February and March throughout all dioceses. The Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales announced the cards should serve “as a reminder that all baptised are invited to know and share their faith”. On one side, the card features a space for the owner to sign a clear statement that he or she is a Catholic. The cards also feature a list of six things that Catholics are called to do: pray, share with others the joy of knowing Jesus Christ, celebrate the sacraments regularly, “love my neighbour as well as myself”, “use the gifts that I have been given wisely,” and “forgive as I have been forgiven”. Along the bottom of the card is a sentence that reads: “In the event of an emergency, please contact a Catholic priest.” The reverse of the card features a quote from Bl John Henry Newman, the 19th-cen-
FULL TIME POSITION
The Grail is an ecumenical International women’s organisation rooted in the Christian faith and established in South Africa in 1956. The Grail Centre Trust has a 3-hectare Conference and Retreat Centre in Kleinmond, which accommodates 45 people in 14 self-catering cottages, two conference meeting rooms, swimming pool, and catering facilities for groups. The Centre also has an acre sacred forest with a retreat house with 2 bedrooms and an Upper Room for meditation. The ethos of the Grail is one of generosity of Spirit and hospitality to the stranger. See website www.grailprogrammes.org.za/
The bishops of England and Wales are producing a million “faith cards” such as this one to identify the holders as Catholics in the event of an accident. tury English cardinal, about the individual vocation that God has given to each person. “We all carry a variety of cards in our purses and wallets which reflect something of our identity and the things that are important to us,” said Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton, chairman of the bishops’ evangelisation department. “The faith card for Catholics aims to offer a daily reminder of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ,” he said in the press statement. “We can’t summarise the whole of our faith in bullet points, but we
hope that the card simply inspires people to do, read and learn more.” He also said that carrying a faith card “takes courage; it signals to others, every time you use your wallet or purse, that you believe in God, that your life has a purpose, that you are trying to love and serve your neighbour”. “We hope that Catholics will use it to witness to their faith,” he said. “If someone asks a question about Catholicism, a starting point could be to show the card and to take it from there.”—CNS
Would you enjoy promoting a beautiful space between the mountains and the sea in Kleinmond for workshops or retreats by NGOs, creative groups of writers and artists, women’s programmes, faith and ecology groups and families wanting a holiday close to nature? Do you have good contacts in these sectors? Do you honour deadlines? Do you have good social hospitality and administrative skills?
Requirements: At least 5 years of experience in marketing within the NGO, faith-based and ecological sectors in the Western Cape. Deep relationships with key stakeholders who could be potential clients of the Grail Centre. Ability to build relationships with potential clients and able to close a “deal”, willing to work flexible hours, welcome guests arriving outside work time and travel to meet new clients? 3-5 years of experience of managing staff, facilities and finances. Administrative, computer and writing skills essential.
Responsibilities: Planning and implementing a strategy to find new client groups and increase occupancy. Managing the Grail Centre property, equipment, services and 9 staff members. Overseeing budgets, and the maintenance of the facility, groups, including all cottages.
Remuneration: To be negotiated.
DEADLINE: Applicant should send a 2-page letter of motivation about what inspires you about this position with your CV no later than 23 February, 2012 to firstname.lastname@example.org, Attention: A E Hope
The Southern Cross, February 15 to February 21, 2012
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
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.
Living like refugees in the land of their birth I am filled with revulsion when reading about a group of homeless AND is God’s gift to all of ‘L which we as human beings I come across vast pockets of open people who are forced to defend land, particularly in the more themselves in court against those The Catholic conscience are responsible as custodians.” affluent areas of the Cape peninsu- in local government who are silent Editor: Günther Simmermacher
S we approach the penitential season of Lent, we are called to purify ourselves in anticipation of the Resurrection. To prepare for this, we ought to reflect on our sins, big and small, and conquer them. This requires of us rigorous introspection—an interrogation of our conscience. In doing so, we must address ourselves with honesty, but also need to beware of being overly scrupulous in ways by which we might burden ourselves with an excess of guilt. As we read in this week’s Hope&Joy article, the Church holds that our conscience is supreme. While it is possible that Catholics struggle to harmonise their conscience with all the teachings of the Church—be it on issues such as contraception or war or the preferential option for the poor—the theology of the conscience does not represent a loophole by which the magisterium may be arbitrarily ignored. When it is in conflict with Church teachings, the conscience must be fully informed. In this way, far from being the easy option, invoking the conscience in divergence from Church teachings can be a most difficult choice. The informed conscience must be knowledgeable about Church teachings and treat these respectfully. Ideally, it must incorporate advice from a confessor or spiritual director. The role of parents in forming their children’s conscience is crucial. The Vatican II constitution Gaudium et Spes quotes Pope Pius XII, who in 1952 said: “Conscience is the most secret core and sanctuary of a man. There he is alone with God, whose voice echoes in his depths.” In his Lenten message, Pope Benedict describes the act of shaping the conscience of others in accordance with Church teachings—what he calls fraternal correction—as an act of spiritual mercy. Therefore, when we observe others—individually or collectively—engaging in behaviours that are sinful, we are called to admonish them. This does not, however, give us licence to act harshly or judgmentally, and it demands much discretion. “Christian admonishment, for its part, is never motivated by a spirit of accusation or recrimination. It is always
moved by love and mercy, and springs from genuine concern for the good of the other,” Pope Benedict says. The conscience cannot be coerced. It requires reason. So it is not good enough to simply say a conduct is sinful because the Church says so. The Church teaching must be explained, from a position of proper knowledge, and applied within that particular context. As Catholics we must be able to defend our point of view, using not only theology based on faith but also the natural law whose dictates are innate to humans and based on our reason and intelligence. In the secular arena, there is an absurd conflict between a view which links the supremacy of the individual conscience to the freedom of choice in making personal decisions (restricted only by the framework of the law), and an increasing sense that the conscience of the religious believer is violable. In South Africa we witnessed this in 1996, when the African National Congress forced its parliamentarians to vote for the legalisation of abortion, even when their conscience instructed them to oppose the law. This year, US President Barack Obama incurred the objection of Catholics, moderate and conservative alike, when his administration decided that religious organisations must provide mandatory health insurance to their employees that covers contraceptives—including abortifacients such as the morning-after pill—and sterilisation. The objection resides not just in the question of access to contraceptives, but in the government’s violation of the autonomous conscience of Catholics who regard being party to providing such access as discordant with the teachings of their faith. It is encouraging that the Obama administration has declared its willingness to revisit this issue. Nonetheless, the decision in itself points to a selective secular application of the primacy of the conscience when this requires consistency. Catholics are right to object to it, but when we do, we must also respect the freedom of the conscience of those who don’t accept what our conscience dictates.
This poignant statement issued recently by the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference should be lauded as the indigent members of our society grapple daily to enjoy their basic human rights. It is a travesty of justice that the poorest of the poor are dumped, like those once removed from District 6, in far-flung places like Blikkiesdorp on the periphery of Cape Town.
Not meant to know
HAVE been somewhat amused at the Nativity date discussion between Frs Bonaventure Hinwood OFM and Michael Austin SJ. Surely if Jesus wanted us to know the exact date of his birth, then either he or the Holy Spirit would have communicated it to the apostles. Our Lady was another possible source of this information. She, more than any other human being living at that time, would remember the exact date and hour of the birth. Yet this has been kept out of the Scriptures. To my mind this is not of great importance scripturally or historically. The approximate date is all God has put within our reach. So we don’t know and we aren’t going to find out. If it is not on December 25, and yet we reverently celebrate Jesus birth on that day, I’m sure he won't take umbrage. After all he knows our limitations. I believe, the lack of definitive historical data on this event is part of his plan. Andre Du Chenne, Sandton
World out of joint
EFERRING to Bernard Straughan’s letter on original sin (January 18), I always thought that original sin, of all the tenets of our faith, was very easy to accept. That the world has been out of joint since the beginning is only too evident. An original rebellion against God has opened the way for sin, and the following generations have followed that way. A child born today is born into a social space full of evil. That is what St John called “the world”, John Paul II spoke of “structural sin” (apartheid was a classical example) . Cultures can be such spaces of sin, at least in certain respects. If you are born into a capitalist society you inherit greed as a virtue and
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la, where the lush grass is allowed to grow unhindered, while our people continue to live in abject poverty. Why is this land lying dormant when there are so many poor people who do not have access to proper housing? It cannot be right that after 17 years of democracy, there are still some who are forced to live like refugees in the land of their birth. Not a day passes without one
by their very actions in denying proper access to housing. Those politicians who claim to represent the interests of the poor should heed the words of St Ambrose (340-397): “Why do you reject one who has the same rights over nature as you? It is not from your own goods that you give to the beggar; it is a portion of his own that you are restoring to him. The earth belongs to all.” Colin Arendse, Cape Town
think it a force for good. In traditional society you are born into a social space of fear of witches and suspicion. A child in Zimbabwe is born into a society which glorifies violence and condones torture, rape and murder in defence of the “revolution”. But when we are reborn in the water and the Holy Spirit at baptism, we are empowered to resist the destructive influence of that social space surrounding us. We enter the space of the Christian community, the Church, we do not join the rebellion against God, we do not worship idols like wealth and power, but enter the space of justice, love and compassion of the kingdom of God. Fr Oskar Wermter SJ, Harare
When teaching children, I try not to make a cartoon character of Jesus, or someone who has a Rasputin-type magnetic pull which makes any and all who see him lose their reasoning ability. Jesus was and is a profoundly divine person, worthy of all the truth, all the time, particularly with children. Lucy Rubin, Pretoria
More to the story
APPRECIATE and value Nicholas King’s weekly column, “Sunday Reflections”, but I must point out a superficial error where he implies “abracadabra”, Simon and Andrew, James and John just drop their fishing nets and follow him as Jesus tells them to, “without a word of introduction”. I needed to explain this “call” of Jesus to my class of young catechists. We looked at Luke’s version of this story (5:1-11) which has far more detail. We see that Jesus encouraged Simon Peter to, “put out into deep water”, after he had used his boat to preach to the crowds by the lake. Simon did so and caught so many fish at Jesus’ direction that the boat was sinking. Simon Peter fell to his knees as did the other future disciples and followed him. Opinions expressed in The Southern Cross, especially in Letters to the Editor, do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editor or staff of the newspaper, or of the Catholic hierarchy. The letters page in particular is a forum in which readers may exchange opinions on matters of debate. Letters must not be understood to necessarily reflect the teachings, disciplines or policies of the Church accurately.
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We are not all church
WAS not pleased when a group of people with certain fixed views about how the Church should be run called themselves “We Are Church”. By implication, those of us who might not agree with their approach were “Not Church”—presumably an unintended display of arrogance on their part. I do not find the name-change of the movement’s South African version to “We Are All Church” any better as again there is an implication: this time that we all share their views which I, for one, do not. There are many issues facing the Church which would benefit from lay input, but I would rather that we all pray that the bishops will have the guidance of the Holy Spirit to ensure that they receive a balanced view from the laity and not only the views of those who chose to be members of WAACSA. Paddy Ross, Cape Town
LEASE allow me to express my tuppence worth of irritation at the current placing of the sign of peace. It has been moved from after the bidding prayers to before the Lamb of God. If I am to be burnt at the stake for heresy, then so be it, but it will have to be a grand affair with brass bands, drum majorettes and cheerleaders, and the pyre will be lit by the fair hand of Miss Congeniality South Africa! Adrian Kettle, Cape Town
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A good lesson on the beach
AST week, as I write, I took a leaf out of the book of a two year old boy with regards to being in the moment, relaxing and enjoying the present as fully as possible. I was at the beach, sitting in my beach chair and watching this little boy running in and out of the sea trying to fill a big hole with the water he was trying to catch in a cold drink can. He utterly loved running into the water, almost rolling into it, because he barely managed to stay on his two feet, then scooping up the water and running and stumbling back to the hole he made in the sand and just depositing something like three drops of water into the hole. He thoroughly enjoyed doing this for a long time, and he kicked and screamed when his mom eventually tried to stop him because it was getting late and she wanted to take him home. Before I went to the beach I already thought of what else I could have done at home, and pondered what I could have prepared for the coming week by staying at home. On my way to the beach my head was full of what else needed to be done—meetings to attend, activities to organise, and so on—and I was feeling all the tensions that go with such a state of mind. So just watching this small boy gave me so much pleasure; it took me out of my world and into his carefree, relaxing, in-the-moment world of gratification. What he was doing showed me how to let go, to relax and enjoy the moment. Why is this an important lesson?
This habit of constantly doing without being, working without relaxing and busyness throughout the day, comes from our notion that relaxing is wasting time, and we therefore want to do more and more giving us the idea that we are achieving more. Nothing could be further from the truth. When we relax and enjoy, we rejuvenate and we re-energise and we prepare ourselves to be able to achieve better the next time. As some leadership experts would say, we sharpen our saw. There is a story told of two woodcut-
Finding love in unity
NE day in the 1960s I travelled by car from Pretoria to Durban. Along the way I picked up a young hitchhiker. When he learned that I was studying to become a minister, he said that he was not a Christian and glad about it. “You know”, he said, “when I look at Christians I feel like somebody standing on a balcony, looking down on the street and all I see are Christians fighting each other.” This was my first experience of being sensitised about the divisions among Christians. In those days it was fairly common that Christians competed on who had the better grasp of the biblical message and truth about God. Each of us thought that our doctrines were better than those of other Christians and that our particular church was superior. Many believed that they had the inside lane to heaven, to quote John Grisham. During my ministry I gradually came to appreciate that God’s emphasis and requirement for his Church was not so much how eloquently we can formulate our doctrines, but how we give expression to the unity we have as the family of God; an expression of love, caring and compassion for our brothers and sisters in Christ—irrespective of denominational boundaries. I became aware of how we lack this love. In my previous congregation we decided that each Sunday evening we would invite a representative of one of the other churches to come and introduce their church to us. We said: “Come and share
with us what the nature and identity of your church is and how you would like us to perceive you.” What a blessing this was! Our members discovered how our common faith in the Lord Jesus was more important than our differences. One of these speakers was a priest of the Catholic Church. In his summary at the end of the evening, after discussing issues on which we differ, he said: “Mike asked me to tell you how you would like to see us. I will be so thankful if you see me tonight as just another child of God who dearly loves Jesus Christ and wants to serve him!” Now, there you have the basis of our unity! Another outstanding experience we had, was in the 1990s, after the transition to the new South Africa. We invited Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu to preach in our church. Here was a man who was maligned by the Afrikaans press and politicians, preaching to a congregation of Afrikaans speaking intelligentsia. He had the ideal opportunity to get back at them. Instead he preached on the theme “God loves you!” He said: “During the horrible years of apartheid, this is the message I preached to my black brothers and sisters. What a privilege to now also preach it to my white Afrikaans brothers and sisters!” After the sermon, my colleague went on to the pulpit and said: “I speak as an Afrikaans dominee of the Dutch Reformed Church, a part-time chaplain of
On Faith and Life
ters who went into the forest early in the morning. Both started high up in a tree and started sawing down their trees at the same time. The one woodcutter noticed how the other woodcutter would go down to the ground at regular intervals, come up again, saw for a while, go back down and come up again and so it continued throughout the day. He, on the other hand, remained in his tree, working hard throughout the day cutting down his tree. At the end of the day the woodcutter noticed that his friend who went down at regular intervals had managed to cut down much more of the tree than he had. He was very surprised by this and asked his friend how he had managed to cut down more of his tree than he could, seeing that he left the tree so many times to go down to the ground. His friend replied to him that every time he went down, he sharpened his saw. What is in this story for us? Doing more does not mean being more. Let’s take regular time out of our busy lives and be quiet, relax and enjoy. It revives us. We must not depend so much on our own efforts alone, but be guided by God’s Spirit to take us to fresh and green pastures where he gives us repose. Near restful waters he will lead us, to revive our drooping spirits.
Dominee Mike Smuts
New Vines, New Skins: An ecumenical series
the army. I now want to say to Bishop Tutu: I am so sorry for what we have done.” At this stage he broke down and could not continue. Archbishop Tutu went to him and hugged him. Then something unheard of in a staid Dutch Reformed church happened: everybody stood up and applauded them, tears running down many cheeks. Unity happens when Christians value the love of God and the love he commands, higher than their differences and divisive histories; especially when Christian love compels us to forgive as he forgave us. Creating divisions and maintaining it is part of our sinful nature. The Bible gives many examples of such divisions. In the time of Jesus deep divisions existed among the Jewish peoples. Even the apostle Paul experienced great pain because of divisions within the first churches. He warned that such behaviour is tantamount to dividing Christ Himself. The Afrikaans translation says: “Is Christus dan in stukke verdeel?” (1Cor 1:13) Therefore he pleaded: “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Eph 4) May God show each of us how we can obey this command! n Mike Smuts is a retired Dutch Reformed Minister in Boesmansriviermond, Eastern Cape.
The Southern Cross, February 15 to February 21, 2012
May we dip the sacred host in wine? In my home parish, when receiving Communion we are allowed to dip the sacred host into the chalice (with the permission of the local bishop). I was embarrassed at Christmas Eve Mass in Pretoria when an extraordinary minister of Communion withdrew the chalice from me and said: “That is not allowed.”. I replied that it was allowed in my church. She then repeated: “Well, it’s not allowed in this diocese.” I slunk back to my seat chastened. Others had the same experience that night, so it seems I am not alone in my confusion. What exactly are the rules of the Church? H van Waltsleven
T the Last Supper, Jesus handed bread and wine changed into his Body and Blood and physically gave them to his Apostles with the words: “Take and eat” and Take and drink”. In the same way, the priest or other authorised minister of the Eucharist, presents the host and the chalice to the communicants who take, eat and drink. Communion can be received only in this manner. The General Instruction on the Roman Missal does not permit communicants to “selfcommunicate”, that is, help themselves from the ciborium and chalice. They must take the sacrament from the hands of the minister, and say: “Amen”. When you say “we are allowed to dip the sacred host into the chalice”, you imply that the communicants receive the host and dip it into the chalice themselves. If so, this is not allowed. When Communion is given in this form, known as intinction, the Instruction states that “each communicant, holding a communion plate under the chin, approaches the priest who holds a vessel with the sacred particles, a minister standing at his side and holding the chalice. The priest takes a host, dips it partly into the chalice and, showing it, says: ‘The Body and Blood of Christ’. The communicant responds Amen, receives the sacrament in the mouth from the priest, and then withdraws” (287). It is because of the danger of spilling drops of the Precious Blood that the Instruction mentions only a priest as minister of intinction, and says a communion plate or paten must be held under the communicant’s chin. The diocesan bishop may establish norms for communion under both kinds (host and chalice separately or by intinction) in his own diocese. These norms could depend on sufficient priests to do so in one diocese, and not enough in another.
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Our conscience reigns supreme
E grow up thinking of our conscience as those yes and no voices in our head —one encouraging us to do the right thing, the other voice suggesting to you that it’s alright, even though it feels wrong. Go with the “right” voice and you’ll feel better. Go with the “wrong” voice and suffer the consequences of guilt, regret and possible further repercussions— depending on how “wrong” the act was. Sigmund Freud believed the human psyche could be divided into three parts: the id—completely unconscious and impulsive; the ego—representing common sense and your personality; and the superego—your personality influenced by learning from society. These, according to Freud, shape our sense of right and wrong. But the Church takes this much deeper than just brain structure. “It is your inner voice guided by faith,” says Michael Shackleton, former editor of The Southern Cross and author of the “Open Door” column. “The Church guides conscience through its sound principles. We all have an inner voice in the depth of our souls that reminds us ‘this is what I accept’—and this is formed by faith,” says Mr Shackleton. Our conscience is based on objective norms of morality, but our interpretation of these is entirely subjective. “When we are conflicted about something, we ask ourselves questions, we ask others questions, and we try and make a decision. This decision is correct if one is settled within their soul—and this settling feeling is an individual or subjective feeling.” Vatican II represented a development in how the Church understands conscience: “His conscience is man’s most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depth” (The Church in the Modern World 16).
“Conscience therefore is the application of our minds to a particular issue. It give us insight into norms, instinctual feelings and intuitive knowledge so that we can respond intelligently and responsibly to a particular situation,” Redemptorist Father Seán Wales explains. The Church recognises the autonomy of each person’s conscience, but this decision-making process has to be fine-tuned and well informed. Fr Wales says a Christian conscience is one that has had the benefit of the Church’s teaching to help shape and form it. “We are bound by Catholic teaching to follow our conscience,” explains Fr Wales. When faced with a dilemma, a Catholic will take into account Church teachings, but in the end all decisions must sit comfortably with our personal conscience. The Church recognises that which exists in the depth of our souls. So, even if we make an incorrect decision and “are objectively in the wrong, if we were truly conscientious, we would escape moral blame”, Fr Wales says. He adds that Vatican II said quite simply: in the end, conscience is supreme. “Of course, often a person’s conscience is ill-formed, or overscrupulous, or out of focus—but being mistaken is not the same as being sinful.” Ideally, every decision should be researched, contemplated, and mindful of advice received. Mr Shackleton says that even if you’re convinced the action is right, it’s always best to find out from others why it is wrong. “Act when you are settled in your soul,” is his advice. Here is an example: While taking the life of another is morally wrong, a soldier going to war might believe deep, down in his soul, that the war is based on a just cause and his actions, including killing opposing soldiers, are acceptable and for the greater good. Even though killing someone is a bad thing, the soldier,
A Church of Hope and Joy
guided by his conscience, is not committing a sin by going to war. According to the Church, he is not personally sinful. Another example: Two families are faced with the same issue—neither wants to grow any bigger. The first family follows the Church teachings that proscribes the use of artificial contraception and lets nature take its course. The second family feels that contraception is the only way to ensure that their family does not grow. Both families believe they are doing the right thing for their respective families in the circumstances. “Both are acting according to their consciences; neither is subjectively sinful. The family that goes the contraceptive route is mistaken in the eyes of the Church, but they are acting in good conscience, in good faith and so they do not sin,” Fr Wales explains. n temporal law, there is a series of distinctions between murder and manslaughter. Murder is intentional; manslaughter is unintentional. In law, the consequences are therefore different. If you’ve done something sinful —either deemed sinful by yourself or by the Church, guilt sets in. There are two kinds of guilt: healthy and unhealthy. “Healthy guilt is, by definition, good,” Fr Wales says. “We recognise what has happened was bad, we regret it and we’re sorry.” Catholics have access to the sacrament of reconciliation to make things right with God and themselves. But unhealthy guilt is a problem many people encounter. “You blame yourself retrospectively. Guilt should be transformed into regret and determination to not do it again. This is unhealthy when you don’t let it go.” Being a Christian means believing in forgiveness, of others and of themselves. “People need to forgive themselves. Hanging on to an issue after confession shows a lack of faith. We believe that God forgives. Forgiveness is spiritual,” explains Fr
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“Confession and spiritual direction are the key. Identifying what the specific source of guilt is will help the individual put the issue to rest.” (Photo: Bob Roller/CNS) Wales. If you hang on to guilt then you don’t believe that you’ve been forgiven—a fundamental flaw in faith. It is also possible that while you once acted in good conscience, later in life, you change your mind. The soldier who once believed his actions were just, might one day feel guilt. “Confession and spiritual direction are the key. Identifying what the specific source of guilt is will help the individual put the issue to rest. Forgiveness will then help them move on,” says Fr Wales. Fr Wales believes that the sacrament of Confession can include an element of spiritual direction. “Confession is a sacramental encounter and can be used to get advice; but confession is really about a change of heart—a conversion of life”. Most Catholics, even those who acted in good conscience, will in fact go to confession because they do retain some respect for the Church’s teachings and may feel some degree of guilt. A priest is there to help mediate God’s compassion, but sometimes further therapy is needed. A priest is trained to offer only so much guidance, the rest can be offered by a professional. “For example, a confessed paedophile needs more help than a priest could offer,” Fr Wales explains. Fr Wales believes the Church sets the bar quite high for personal sin: there must be grievous matter, perfect knowledge of the moral evil involved and full consent in it. “The more one reflects, the more highly developed one’s conscience will
become” and the less likely one is to act immorally, he says. The examination of conscience is a most important act. In discerning personal sin, “the motive of one’s action is more important than the actual act,” says Fr Wales. “Moving away from objectivity to subjective self-analysis before God on the tone of one’s life is ideal. Move from the specific focus of actually doing the sinful deed and focus on the context—your whole life.” Fr Wales emphasises the words of Jesus who said what makes a person clean is not what you see on the outside, but what is on the inside (Lk 11:39). “In receiving absolution in confession, one’s sin ceases to exist, it is annihilated; but one can still learn from the experience,” says Fr Wales, “and as a result of a good confession one becomes more attuned to grace and to the life of Spirit. God continues to live in us”. Faith is a gift and the ultimate source of hope and joy. Through it we are taught good moral lessons which guide us on our journey. When we face moral dilemmas, we are encouraged to research our options and are given freedom to act according to our own conscience. And even then, if our decision is wrong, we are not rejected and expelled, but encouraged to bring our burden to the Lord. “Confession means conversion,” says Fr Wales, and a positive conversion will bring us closer to God and salvation—the objective of our lives and what our conscience helps us to attain.
The Southern Cross, February 15 to February 21, 2012
The Southern Cross, February 15 to February 21, 2012
The new Bible for Mass
As the Church prepares to implement the new lectionary, CHRIS BUSSCHAU gives an overview of how translations of the Bible have changed over the centuries, and explains why we are now getting a different translation for the Mass readings now.
NEW lectionary has been prepared for the worldwide English speaking Catholic community. The bishops of Southern Africa have promulgated that the use of this new lectionary will commence on Ash Wednesday or when the lectionary is available. The Lectionary will now draw the readings from the 2nd Catholic edition of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible and the psalms will be from a new Grail translation. As with the earlier changes to the English translation of the Mass, many people will be surprised that the Church has decided to adopt different translations. Translating any document from one language to another is always difficult. Ideally, the translator needs to: 1. fully understand the grammar and vocabulary of the original language and the language to which it is to be translated; 2. appreciate the common usage of the two languages so that the nuances that creep into everyday language can provide the correct “colour” to the translation; 3. and also understand the context of the document and its intentions—in other words, be an expert on the subject matter. People who translate legal documents, press releases, instruction manuals for tools, appliances and toys all grapple with these complex dynamics. We have all chuckled over the strange English found in the instruction manual for a new CD player or food processor. It is hardly surprising that skilled translators are such a rare and highly regarded breed. If it is difficult to translate a contemporary text, imagine the com-
plexity and complications of applying those requirements to translating a document written 400 years ago—or, for that matter, 1600 or 3500 years ago!—and in addition, written in a language that has been out of use for 1000 years!
Probably the most celebrated translation of the Hebrew scriptures (what we today call the Old Testament) into Greek was the famous Septuagint which was completed two centuries before Jesus’ birth. The Septuagint became the vehicle of proclamation of the Good News by the Apostolic Church and is still in use in the Orthodox churches of the East today. The Latin Vulgate of St Jerome was of parallel importance three centuries after Christ. An intellectual giant and the secretary to Pope St Damasus, St Jerome in 382 AD set about translating the Greek and Aramaic texts into the language in general use by the common people of the Roman Empire, which by that time was Latin. Because this translation moved into everyday or “common” use throughout the Church it came to be known as the Vulgate or “Common Version”. That translation has been the backbone of scripture resources and also the source document for many translations into other languages over the last one and a half millennia. (As a result, of course, those were “translations of translations”.) While local languages replaced Latin as the common daily language of people in all countries, the Latin Bible remained the Church’s official version of the scriptures for over 1000 years. As a result, private reading of the scriptures became the preserve of those educated people who understood Latin. William Tyndale and Martin Luther were the first to rattle the cage when they translated the bible into English and German respectively in the early 16th century, and they were followed by a number of translations, some of which were good but others seriously flawed. This ultimately led to the publication in three instalments in 1587, 1609 and 1610 of a fine scholarly English translation, drawn from St Jerome’s Vulgate by the Catholic
seminary of Douay and used in the Catholic Church until about 1970; and the King James “Authorised Version”, still in use today after 400 years, was published by the Church of England in 1611, drawn from the then-available original Hebrew, Greek and Latin manuscripts. By the 20th century, far older Greek and Aramaic manuscripts had been discovered. Historians and language experts were able to begin authenticating the originality of the texts of these ancient documents and Scripture scholars increasingly used these original texts in conjunction with the Vulgate. The result was the development of new translations that provided an increasingly authentic sense of what the original writers of these texts were communicating. However, the English versions of the Scriptures in everyday use were still in Tudor English and while many people had studied the English of Shakespeare and the Bible, it did not represent the way that they spoke or read the language. As a result, the scriptures were spoken of as “Bible English”, an increasingly archaic and confusing form.
new translation technique began to emerge during the 1950s. Called “Dynamic Equivalence”, it sought to provide a text that was faithful to the content of the scripture but used the style of language that people would encounter in modern novels or newspapers. As a further aid to the reader it also used a sort of contemporary interpretation of the text. The Good News Bible is probably the most widely used example of this approach. There is no doubt that its contemporary style and modern language make it easy to read and the Good News Bible and others like it have introduced many people to the Bible who might otherwise have been intimidated by the language of scripture. However, many scripture scholars maintained that Dynamic Equivalence ran the risk of inaccurately portraying some of the more precise meanings and messages of the scriptures, and they continued to explore means of providing more modern language but with accurate
The Book of the Gospels is carried at the opening Mass of World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia, in 2008. Catholics in Southern Africa and other Englishspeaking churches will hear new translations of the Mass readings. (Photo: Paul Haring, CNS) fidelity to the original texts. The International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) weighed up the pros and cons of numerous scripture translations when the vernacular was introduced to the liturgy after the Second Vatican Council. After much research ICEL decided that the Jerusalem Bible achieved both a modern language feel while retaining a precise interpretation of the original Latin, Greek and Aramaic writings. The Jerusalem Bible has been a great treasure for the Church since then and it was with great caution that ICEL began to review its continued use. After many years of debate and research, ICEL eventually decided that the time had come to replace the Jerusalem Bible with the Revised Standard Version, or RSV. The RSV has been approved by the Catholic Church for some years. The quality of the language and the scholarly accuracy of the translation have contributed to this. In addition, the RSV has also been gradually adopted by the Anglican, Methodist and Lutheran churches and by a number of other larger Protestant churches. It was decided that the quality of the translation, its wide acceptance by Christians of all denominations (with its consequent contribution to
Christian unity) and its scholarly accuracy make it the appropriate translation to use in future. We will be using the Second Catholic edition of the Revised Standard Version, , so-called because it includes, among other things, those few books of the Bible (the Apocrypha and DeuteroCanonical books) used since apostolic times by the Catholic Church but excluded from the Bible translations used by some Reformation churches. The introduction of the new lectionary on Ash Wednesday is a wonderful and exciting opportunity to encounter the Scriptures afresh, to experience the Word of God in our daily lives. We will be joining hands with the earliest Christians and the people of God over the last 2000 years. It will be like a gigantic, timeless conference call of the millennia with God speaking to all of us! Parishes introduced the new Roman Missal using meaningful and explanatory ceremonies on the first Sunday in Advent last year. The bishops of Southern Africa hope that the introduction of the new Lectionary this Lent will also be marked by an appropriate ceremony. n Next week, Chris Busschau will look at the revised translation of the Psalms that will now be used.
The Southern Cross, February 15 to February 21, 2012
Fr Noël Peters OMI
ATHER Noël Peters OMI of Durban died on January 28 after a long illness at the age of 73 years. Born on March 22, 1938 in Durban to Francis and Laura Peters, he attended Sastri College and Little Flower High School in Ixopo. Fr Peters joined the Oblate Novitiate in 1956 and took his first vows in Germiston on April 5, 1957. He did part of his scholastic formation in Cedara and part in San Antonio, Texas, where he professed his final vows in 1960. In 1963 he returned to Durban where he was ordained on June 21 by Archbishop Denis Hurley OMI. Fr Peters served St John’s parish in Chatsworth and St Mary’s in Merebank, Durban, from 1964-72. From 1972-80 he was parish priest of St Joseph the Worker in Bosmont, Johannesburg. Fr Peters then continued his studies in the United States where he completed two masters
degrees, and in 1985 awarded a doctorate in clinical psychology by Berkeley University in California. During his time in the US, he worked as an assistant priest at St Mary’s in Oakland, California. From 1985-88 he was director of psychology at West Oakland Clinic and then from 1988-89 director of social service and pastoral care at St Agnes hospital in Fresno, California. Fr Peters had a flair for music and was professor for English and music at St Anthony’s Junior Seminary in San Antonio. From 1989-98 he was a professor and head of the department of CrossCultural Psychology at Alliant International University in Fresno. He then returned to South Africa in 1998 and served as parish priest of Our Lady of Lourdes in Westville, Durban till his retirement in 2008. Fr Peters continued to practise his psychological therapy in his consultation rooms. His health weakened in 2009
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and he was in and out of different hospitals after that. On January 28 he succumbed to his sickness, less than two months shy of his 74th birthday. Fr Peters was laid to rest on February 3, at Cedara cemetery after a Requiem Mass at St Anthony in Durban. He was a hard working Oblate and will be missed by many. Vusumuzi Mazibuko OMI
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Liturgical Calendar Year B
Sunday, February 19, Seventh Sunday Isaiah 43:18-19, 21-22, 24-25, Psalm 41:2-5, 13-14, 2 Corinthians 1:18-22, Mark 2:1-12 Monday, February 20, feria James 3:13-18, Psalm 19:8-10, 15, Mark 9:14-29 Tuesday, February 21, feria James 4:1-10, Psalm 55:7-11, 23, Mark 9:30-37 Wednesday, February 22, Ash Wednesday Joel 2:12-18, Psalm 51:3-6, 12-14, 17, 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18 Thursday, February 23, feria Deuteronomy 30:15-20, Psalm 1:1-4, 6, Luke 9:22-25 Friday, February 24, feria Isaiah 58:1-9, Psalm 51:3-6:18-19, Matthew 9:14-15 Saturday, February 25, feria Isaiah 58:9-14, Psalm 86:1-6, Luke 5:27-32 Sunday, February 26, First Sunday of Lent Genesis 9:8-15, Psalm 25:4-9, 1 Peter 3:18-22, Mark 1:12-15
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‘During this Holy week you are invited to let the Master wash your feet, Break bread and lead you into silence, Speak to you of suffering and call to Sabbath, Open your eyes and make your heart burn within you’
Come and enjoy the beauty and stillness of the Temenos gardens this Easter. Besides the reﬂections and liturgy led by Father Michael, there will also be plenty of time to rest and reﬂect on your own.
SOLUTIONS TO #484. ACROSS: 3 Vestibule, 8 Bats, 9 Sugarless, 10 Reeled, 11 Stork, 14 In the, 15 Yeti, 16 Negev, 18 Noon, 20 Eased, 21 Night, 24 Alcove, 25 Corporals, 26 Fear, 27 Addresses. DOWN: 1 Abortions, 2 Attention, 4 Ehud, 5 Tract, 6 Belfry, 7 Lose, 9 Seven, 11 Sight, 12 Keystones, 13 Kind heart, 17 Veils, 19 Nipper, 22 Harps, 23 Good, 24 Aloe.
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1st Sunday in Lent: February 26 Readings: Genesis 9:8-15, Psalm 25:4-9, 1 Peter 3:18-22, Mark 1:12-15
Beginning the journey of Lent
Nicholas King SJ
EXT Sunday, with remarkable rapidity, is once more the first in Lent; and if you are nervously wondering if you can possibly give up the gin this year, or use the penitential period as a way of going down a dress size or two, then forget it. Lent is not a time for you to gaze admiringly, or with horror, into the spiritual mirror; it is a six-week journey when you take time out to listen to what God is doing in your life, so that you may indeed come happily to his Easter triumph. Look at the first reading; it says nothing about your eschewing brandy over the next month and a half. Instead it is all about God establishing an agreement with us. “A what?”, you cry, as indeed you might. For the creator of the universe is using this reading to make a covenant, a promise not to destroy us or the living creatures whom Noah has just rescued from the Flood, a calamity that was, you will recall, the just punishment of our failure to listen to God in the first place. And there is going to be a sign of the covenant, that utterly beautiful vision of the rainbow that you only see after the rain, and the Lord tells Noah (and us) that “when the rainbow appears in the cloud, then I am
going to remember my covenant which is between me and all of you, and all creatures” And the consequence? “Never again shall there be waters turning into a flood to destroy all flesh”. What we should observe here is not so much the threat, although of course the author is nervously aware of the power of God; what we need to see is that God does not use power as we might be tempted to use it. And that might be something to reflect on during Lent. The psalm for next Sunday is well aware of the gulf between us and God, and the need to listen to what God is about: “make me know your ways, Lord; teach me your paths”, he sings, “...for you are the God of my salvation”. And we need to learn from the psalmist that the qualities of God on which we are invited to concentrate during this Lenten sea-
son are not his rampaging power, but “your mercy and your steadfast love”. God is not a monster, in the singer’s view, but “good and upright”, and one who “leads sinners on the way”. This is something for us to digest over the next six and a half weeks. The se c o nd re ading for next Sunday returns to the flood that was the background of our first reading, and, in the same breath, invites us to keep our eyes on Jesus, during this Lenten season, who “suffered once for sinners, a just person on behalf of the unjust, in order to bring you people to God”. This Jesus also, it appears “went and preached to the spirits in prison”. These slightly mysterious characters seem to be those who died in the Flood; but it means that he is quite determined to rescue absolutely anyone who is capable of being rescued. And certainly we are invited to be optimistic, seeing the waters of the Flood as a reminder of our baptism, which is in turn somehow connected with the absolutely central event of the Resurrection of Jesus. So we are to keep our eyes on what God is doing. The gospel reading for next Sunday, finally, has our attention firmly on Jesus. On the first Sunday of Lent, it is always the story of
How well do you dance through life? F ATHER Henri Nouwen used to publish some of his diaries under the title On Mourning and Dancing. The title was wholly appropriate since those diaries chronicled much of his own struggle to give public expression to what was bubbling up inside of him and, at the same time, respect a highly sensitive selfconsciousness and reticence that made him hesitate to publicly express those same feelings. And so his writings are a rare expression of both inner freedom and inner fear. His thoughts and feelings are sometimes tortured, but that’s what makes them rich. It’s not always easy to find that delicate balance between healthy self-expression and unhealthy exhibitionism, even if you are Henri Nouwen— or perhaps especially if you are Henri Nouwen. The struggle to find a way to express oneself freely and deeply and yet not cross the line into unhealthy exhibitionism is tough task for everyone. You see it done well in rare cases, Jesus and a number of great people like Mother Teresa. They can be great without being grandiose and can give public expression to what’s most intimate within them without making you cringe or feel uncomfortable or embarrassed for them. But that’s a rare talent; check out any dance floor. How someone dances is often an indication of the kind of balance he or she has been able to achieve on this. Sometimes you see a healthy dancer who exhibits no inhibiting self-consciousness
Barney’s got his codes mixed up..now he’s waiting for the light to turn green!
Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI
and, at the same time, no excessive selffocus or self-abandonment. A healthy dancer’s movements have an easy, natural flow that draws your eyes and attention to the dance and not to the dancer. Moreover, even in the dance, a healthy dancer is still recognisably the person you know and not some impersonal, anonymous energy that is acting out in a dance. But it’s hard to dance well. More often than not, someone’s dance step is coloured by his or her inner struggle and by where his or her internal compass has been set: too self-aware, too cautious, too fearful, and we see a dance-step that is reticent, halting, and apologetic. Conversely, too little self-awareness and we see a dance-step that’s free and uninhibited but which manifests an unhealthy exhibitionism. Sometimes our dance step reveals too little, just as sometimes our dance step reveals too much and we cross a line where self-expression becomes acting out and people see an unhealthy narcissism and self-abandonment in our dance step and are embarrassed for us. And this, our struggle to dance well, mirrors another tension inside us, namely, the struggle between depression and inflation, between feeling too-high or
feeling too-low. Just as a healthy dance step is not easy to achieve so too is a healthy psyche, one within which our energies flow freely but without unhealthy narcissism or exhibitionism. The problem is that we are forever being pulled up or down, over-stimulated in our grandiosity or undervalued in being. Both can leave us less than steady. Only the most mature and secure of us are not unduly swayed in our moods and our actions by the affirmations and rejections we meet in our daily lives. Inside of our families, our friendships, our places of work, our churches, and even inside of many of our simple impersonal interactions with others in public life, we are constantly meeting either affirmation or rejection of some kind (a smile, a thank you, a compliment, a warm pat on the back, a recognition of a job well done, some other gesture of love, or, conversely, a coldness, a putdown, an insult, a criticism, a slight, a snub). Whenever this happens we are powerless to protect ourselves against how this infects our psyche and our emotions. Lots of affirmation and we can easily find ourselves too full of ourselves and too empty of God and others. Too much coldness and rejection and we can easily find ourselves too empty of ourselves and of God's wonderful energy inside us. I say this with empathy. Life is hard for everyone, particularly if you are trying to live in way that respects others even as you try to honour your own energies. If you are healthily sensitive it will always be a struggle: how do you properly honour, act out, and celebrate your own more-exuberant energies in ways that fully respect others and don’t cross any moral or aesthetic lines? Not an easy formula. Too little allowance for exuberance and you will find yourself overly-reticent, tongue-tied, frustrated, sterile, and dealing with a lot of anger; too much unchecked exuberance and you will act out in ways that embarrass you and embarrass others. And so we should accept this struggle as a given and not be too hard on others and ourselves. We’re human and so we need to forgive each other and ourselves for being uptight and halting in our dance steps, even as we forgive others and ourselves for the acting-out we’ve done on those same dance-floors. There are very few free, fully healthy, persons in this world. Nobody dances perfectly.
his temptation in the wilderness; this year is Mark’s year, so we are given the shortest of all the versions of this extraordinary story. Mark’s account starts with a very dramatic gesture indeed: “immediately the Spirit hurls him out into the desert”. Jesus is not in charge of the situation, but has to endure “forty days in the desert”, at which point we are clearly intended to think of the People of Israel (except that for them it was forty years!). There Jesus is “being tempted by the Adversary”, which is clearly uncomfortable enough. He is also “with the wild beasts”. That might be uncomfortable, having to watch out for lions and jackals; or it might be a little bit more optimistic, a sign that the Messianic kingdom has come. But we notice that God is there with him, for “the angels were serving him”. We should observe, however, the further point that these forty days of paying attention to God and resisting the blandishments of evil have set him up to start on his mission (“after the arrest of John”) and the proclamation of God’s Kingdom. If we will listen out for God’s voice during Lent that could happen to us, too.
Southern Crossword #484
ACROSS 3. Eve’s built a church entrance (9) 8, 14 and 6 down. Eccentric, having creatures in church tower (4,2,3,6) 9. You may drink such tea in Lent (9) 10. Staggered, having danced (6) 11. Obstetric flyer (5) 14. See 8 15. Rare Himalayan (4) 16. Renege vilely within desert in Israel (5) 18. Midday (4) 20. Made less serious (5) 21. See 23 24. A clove for a recess (6) 25. Military men on the altar? (9) 26. Have you no ... of God? (Lk 23) (4) 27. The pope’s at-home speeches? (9)
DOWN 1. So obtains disapproved terminations (9) 2. Congregation ideally pays it to the preacher (9) 4. Left-handed man in Judges 3 (4) 5. Land of religious pamphlet (5) 6. See 8 7. One who finds his life will ...it (Mt 10) (4) 9. Sacraments tally (5) 11. See faculty (5) 12. Tony seeks the locks in the archways (9) 13. Read, think. It shows you’re generous (4,5) 17. They cover the face (5) 19. Child that may pinch you (6) 22. Sharp instruments (5) 23 and 21. Not a bad greeting after dark (4,5) Solutions on page 11
CHURCH CHUCKLE Morning Prayer
EAR Lord, so far today lord, I’ve done alright. I haven’t gossiped, haven’t lost my temper, haven’t been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, nor over-indulgent. And I’m very thankful to you for that. But...in a few minutes, Lord, I’m probably going to need a lot more help because I’m going to get out of bed. Send us your favourite Catholic joke, preferably clean and brief, to The Southern Cross, Church Chuckle, PO Box 2372, Cape Town, 8000.