March 28 to April 3, 2012
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Radio Veritas on MW from Easter BY CLAIRE MATHIESON
ADIO VERITAS will officially launch its permanent medium wave service at noon on Easter Sunday, April 8, on 576AM. And on March 30, listeners can tune in for a pre-launch show. “I am excited about this development which comes after a 12 year long struggle. Our whole team is excited and ready to fly,” said station director Fr Emil Blaser OP. While the terms of the broadcast licence limit Radio Veritas to the Johannesburg area, the footprint of the medium wave frequency will vary from day to night. During the day the signal can be heard beyond Pretoria and as far afield as Harrismith in the Free State, Lydenburg in Mpumalanga. At night Radio Veritas will be able to reach places like Durban and Bloemfontein. “We would like Catholics to tune in wherever they are in South Africa and let us know whether they can hear us,” Fr Blaser said. Messages can be sent via SMS 41809, beginning with VERI. The first show, to be broadcast on April 8 at 12:00, will be a live celebration of the Easter Mass, followed by a “chatty” show until 15:00, “with people phoning in to wish us well”, said Fr Blaser. “As we go on air on Easter Sunday my hope is that our listeners will tune in each day and support us with their prayer and good wishes. I trust they will understand when there are teething problems. Fr Blaser said with the new broadcasting licence and greater reach, the station will be seeing some exciting changes. “We are planning to set up a newsroom and source Catholic news from the whole of Africa and train young Catholic journalists. We will be broadcasting in seven languages and shows will be live and plenty opportunity for people to phone in,” he said. Several programmes will be presented by priests. Archbishop William Slattery of Pretoria will be hosting a weekly programme. Outside broadcasts, magazine shows, competitions, youth and religious programmes, music shows and more are currently being planned. And Radio Veritas will continue to broadcast Masss and rosary each day as well as the Divine Mercy devotion. “The station will have a new and exciting sound and be on air for 24 hours a day,” Fr Blaser said. Radio Veritas will begin broadcasting on March 30 with a special pre-launch function taking place on air from 18:00 at which Cardinal Wilfrid Napier of Durban, Archbishop Buti Tlhagale of Johannesburg and about 60 guests will be present. “The purpose of this pre-launch will be to inform people where we’ve come from, where we are and where we’re going to in
Christians wave palm branches during a Palm Sunday procession as they walk the path of Jesus Christ marking Palm Sunday on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem last year. Pilgrims and local Christians trace the route Jesus took as he entered Jerusalem before his crucifixion. This year, Palm Sunday falls on April 1 and Good Friday on April 6. (Photo: Debbie Hill, CNS) the future and what our financial needs are at the moment,” Fr Blaser said. “We want to be the station of choice for Catholics in South Africa, one of which we as Catholics can be rightly proud. And that depends on all of us working together to make this happen.” The Dominican priest said the preparation for going on to the medium wave frequency has not been easy. “There have been many meetings and consultations and, literally, fine tuning of equipment,” Fr Blaser said. But throughout the preparation time the station has never ceased to place this project “in the care of our Lord whose work we are trying to do.
There were many times when we were close to the rocks, but faith kept us afloat against all odds,” he said. “I feel tremendously indebted to the Italian bishops’ conference which gave us the money for the transmitter, and also to our local bishops’ conference which gave us a grant when we needed it very badly,” said Fr Blaser. The station would not be where it is today without the hundreds of local donors from around the country, he said. These include the Knights of da Gama, a generous building donor and the many elderly people who have knitted clothing to raise funds. “Without them we would have no
Catholic radio station.” The funding needs are now becoming even more acute. Radio Veritas will need more than R100 000 a month just to pay Sentech, the company that operates the broadcast transmitter, Fr Blaser said. He hopes many people will make a little monthly contribution to offset this cost. To this end, Radio Veritas has launched a campaign of finding 2 000 new donors of at least R100 a month. Listeners outside the 576AM broadcast area will still be able to tune in on DStv audio channel 170 or streamed live on the Internet at www.radioveritas.co.za.
Married couple writes pope’s Good Friday meditation BY CINDY WOODEN
P Pope Benedict leads the Good Friday Way of the Cross at Rome’s ancient Colosseum last year. (Photo: Bob Haring, CNS)
OPE Benedict has asked an Italian married couple, founders of the Focolare Movement’s New Families initiative, to write the meditations for his Way of the Cross service at Rome’s Colosseum on April 6. The pope had asked Danilo and Annamaria Zanzucchi to write the meditations, which are read over loudspeakers as a cross is carried through and around the Colosseum on Good Friday. The Zanzucchis are the first married cou-
ple to be asked to compose the texts. Along with Chiara Lubich, the late founder of the Focolare Movement, the Zanzucchis launched the New Families project in 1967 to strengthen families and encourage their spiritual growth and social commitment. New Families now claims some 300 000 members around the world. The Zanzucchis’ meditations will offer commentary and prayers on the 14 traditional Stations of the Cross, the Vatican said. In some years, the Vatican has gone with strictly biblical stations marking steps in Jesus’ passion and death. The traditional sta-
tions, for example, include Veronica wiping Jesus’ face, which is not mentioned in the Bible. In 1985, Pope John Paul II began asking people to compose meditations for his Good Friday prayer service rather than using traditional texts. Over the years, he asked bishops and theologians, priests and religious women and—in 2002—an international group of journalists who were covering the Vatican. The 2005 meditations, used just a few days before Blessed John Paul’s death, were written by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict.—CNS
The Southern Cross, March 28 to April 3, 2012
Gareth Cliff’s slur on pope exceeds limits BY CLAIRE MATHIESON
CATHOLIC has lodged a complaint with the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) following an “offensive comment” made by 5FM presenter Gareth Cliff on his breakfast show. In his formal complaint, Cape Town Catholic Malcolm Salida said Mr Cliff called Pope Benedict a “sleazy old man”. The DJ also stated that he did not understand why the pope would want to visit Cuba “when no-one else would go there”. “As a Catholic Christian, great offence is taken to this remark in the massively inappropriate manner in which the world leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI, was referred to as a ‘sleazy old man’ live on radio,” said Mr Salida in his complaint. The comments, which followed a news report about the pope’s
visit to Cuba and Mexico, injured the dignity of every Catholic, “not forgetting the personal injuria to our dear Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI,” Mr Salida said. Mr Salida said he made the official complaint because he was so offended by the statement. “I cannot tell how hurt I felt by this,” he added. Mr Cliff defended his description of Pope Benedict as “sleazy”. “The pope is visiting Cuba, where the regime are currently cracking down on forces opposed to the Castro dictatorship. Whilst the pope insists he is apolitical, I find his position in making an official visit to a country which is so illiberal, distasteful and, yes, sleazy,” Mr Cliff told The Southern Cross in e-mailed correspondence. He continued to accuse the pope of “aiding and abetting of child abusers within the clergy” and described the pope's position “on the use of condoms and birth
control on, inter alia, our own continent” as “outrageous”. “Your readers are, of course, entitled to complain about anything they like to the BCCSA, but I’m afraid the pope brings all this ugliness upon himself. Moaning about me won’t lessen the opprobrium about him,” he said. At the time of going to print, the BCCSA had started investigations into the matter and Fr Chris Townsend of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference communications desk said he had requested transcripts of the broadcast in order to take necessary action following a further investigation. This is not the first time the presenter has been called to answer for his actions. Mr Cliff was suspended in 2004 after the broadcast of an interview he conducted with “Jesus” received numerous complaints from Christians around the country.
Fatima pilgrimage procession in Joburg STAFF REPORTER
HE 13th Fatima pilgrimage procession in Johannesburg will be held on May 12 to mark the 95th anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady at Fatima in Portugal. Starting at 18:30 at Blessed Sacrament church in Malvern East, the procession will culminate in a Mass at the Schoenstatt shrine in
Bedfordview, said pilgrimage coconvenor Manny de Freitas. The pilgrimage, the sixth in successive years, is led by Fr Tony Daniels of Malvern East. “Since these apparitions, millions of people have changed their lives positively and come to practise the messages of Fatima. Because these apparitions took place in Portugal, the Portuguese have a special devotion to Our
Lady of Fatima,” said Mr de Freitas. “All are invited to join pilgrims on foot in this pilgrimage which has proved to be very emotional and spiritual. We are aiming at beating last year’s estimated pilgrimage attendance of 1 200 pilgrims,” said Mr de Freitas. Pilgrims are asked to wear comfortable shoes and to bring a candle.
The cast of Way of The Cross, a production presented by the Durban Catholic Players Guild. The production will be staged at Greyville Racecourse for free on April 1.
Free Way of the Cross performance in Durban STAFF REPORTER
HE Durban Catholic Players Guild will present its annual theatrical presentation of Christ’s Passion at Greyville Racecourse on April 1. The Way Of The Cross is staged in association with the Knights of da Gama. Entrance for the performance, which starts at 15:00, is free. The Durban Catholic Players Guild is well-known for its perfor-
mances of the Passion Play, based on those in Oberammergau every five years. The Passion Play last ran in 2011. The April 1 production will proceed under all weather conditions with sheltered seating and secure parking, organisers said. They invite audience members to bring a picnic basket “to enjoy on the grassy area in front of the stands before the presentation”. n For more information and enquiries, call 083 286 2155.
The Southern Cross, March 28 to April 3, 2012
New associate secretarygeneral ‘not afraid’ BY CLAIRE MATHIESON
S Fr Grant Emmanuel of Durban prepared to leave the parish of St Michael’s in Red Hill, to take up his new position as associate secretary-general of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC), he said: “Change is always good.” He will take up his new post after Easter. According to Fr Chris Townsend of the SACBC’s communication office, the associate secretary-general works closely with the secretary-general, Sr Hermenegild Makoro CPS, in the execution of her task of coordination of the departments and offices of the bishops’ conference. “He will also be responsible for liaison with a number of associate bodies”, said Fr Townsend. Fr Emmanuel said he was not entirely sure what the new job entailed but said he would go to Pretoria with an “open heart and a trusting spirit that the Lord will guide me and use me as he sees fit”. “I am not afraid of any challenge and change is always good. I have been in pastoral ministry for ten years and I feel that the pastoral experience that I have gained over these years will benefit me greatly while working at Khanya House”, the SACBC’s Pretoria headquarters. "For me this is the best attitude
New associate secretary-general Fr Grant Emmanuel. any person in leadership position can have. No leader has all the answers to all situations. He acknowledges that there are people who are already involved," said Sr Makoro. "What he brings will be enhancing what is already there. I do believe the bishops have made a good choice and even his former rectors spoke well of him." Fr Emmanuel previously worked as assistant priest at Sacred Heart parish in Tongaat and then at Our Lady of Good Help in Verulam. He has most recently served as parish priest of St Michael’s in Red Hill. The new assistant secretary-general also holds an honours degree in psychology. Initially Fr Emmanuel will not be assigned to a parish in a pas-
toral capacity. This, he said, will allow him to dedicate time to the new job. “I would like to get my mind around the task at hand and thus would need to devote all my time and effort to the work of the conference.” He does hope, however, that he will soon be able to serve both the conference and a community. “I am a pastor at heart. That is what I was called to do, so I do hope towards the end of the year I will be able to balance the work of the conference and needs of the people in a parish.” A parishioner of St Michael’s parish has told Cardinal Wilfrid Napier of Durban in an open letter that Fr Emmanuel’s appointment in a clerical position fails to serve Catholics who would benefit better from the priest remaining in full-time pastoral service. In his letter, parishioner Leonard Peters, who has belonged to St Michael’s since 1961, said that “the spiritual development and growth” that has taken place in the eight years since Fr Emmanuel took over the pastoral care of Red Hill’s Catholic community is “unparralleled”. Referring to the large increases in Mass attendance, even at weekday Masses during Lent, Mr Peters said that it is a loss for “a talented” pastor” like Fr Emmanuel to be “moved to Pretoria to sit behind a desk”.
Redemptorists relaunch SMS service BY THANDI BOSMAN
HE Redemptorist SMS service “Thought for the Day” has been re-launched. The daily 155-character messages are intended as an aid to pray, said Redemptorist Father Seán Wales. The messages are written as devotional and inspirational thoughts by various Redemptorist priests. “When I do them, I keep
fairly close to the Scripture readings of the day, but we do not just reproduce a text: we make a comment which hopefully stimulates a reflective process and may help with one's prayer that day,” Fr Wales said. At a cost of R7 a week from April 1, the daily message “can be a good start to one’s day”, Fr Wales said, adding that it is a way by which the “Church is trying to reach out to busy people”.
“Pope Benedict has encouraged us to use modern means of communication to share the beauties of the gospel and the riches of our religious tradition,” Fr Wales said. The revenue from the service “helps the Redemptorist mission to those who feel left behind by the Church”, Fr Wales said. To subscribe to the service, SMS the word CATHOLIC to 31222 and to cancel SMS STOP CATHOLIC to the same number.
Religious from the diocese of Eshowe and Vicariate of Ingwavuma spend time on retreat with Bishop José Ponce de León of Ingwavuma. (Photo: Fr Peter Knox SJ)
Annual priest retreat remembers Vatican II STAFF REPORTER
IOCESAN priests of the vicariate of Ingwavuma joined their counterparts from the diocese of Eshowe as well as four Benedictine and three Oblate priests for the annual retreat at Inkamana abbey outside Vryheid, northern KwaZulu-Natal. Bishops Teddy Kumalo of Eshowe and José Ponce de León of Ingwavuma and Br Lehlohonolo Molete OMI brought together 28 men, making the retreat a time of prayer, fellowship and support. “For our guidance, we had Jesuit Father Peter Knox of the Jesuit Institute South Africa, who led us through four days of reflection on the Second Vatican Council, the most significant event in the Church in the last century,” said Bishop Ponce de León. “Fr Peter helped us to appreci-
ate the important insights shared by the world’s bishops when they met from 1962 to 1965, and to realise how profoundly our Church has changed in its own practice and its relationship to the modern world,” he added. The retreat focused on the Scriptures and also prayer. “We prayed with the decree on the life and ministry of priests, and with Archbishop Romero of San Salvador and Thomas Merton and St Ignatius of Loyola. We were greatly supported by the prayerful atmosphere of the abbey and were able to join the Benedictine monks in many of their hours of prayer,” the bishop said. “As the Church prepares to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council we priests return refreshed and inspired to continue our service in the Vicariate,” Bishop Ponce de León said.
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The Southern Cross, March 28 to April 3, 2012
Bite the dust: Preserving Vatican to probe art the old-fashioned way document leaks P T BY CINDY WOODEN
BY CAROL GLATZ
O counteract the onslaught of 20 000 visitors a day— upward of 5 million a year— the Vatican Museums have adopted an old-fashioned method to help protect its priceless works of art: dusting. Current best practices for the preservation of museum pieces entail preventing or hindering problems from developing in the first place, Antonio Paolucci, director of the museums, told a conference. So-called preventative conservation includes high-tech solutions like climate control, protective displays and lighting systems that keep delicate colours and media from damage and deterioration, he said. But the most overlooked—and yet, best—solution is the low-tech practice of dusting, buffing and tiny touch-ups, he said at a conference on the museums’ efforts to better protect the Vatican’s artistic heritage. With 200 000 objects—20 000 of which are on public display— 250m 2 of frescoes, and 7km of exhibit space, the Vatican Museums have plenty to keep clean and cared for. Past practice had been to care for items by restoring them after they succumbed to the forces of time and nature, said Vittoria Cimino, head of the museums’ Office of Conservation. Prevention, however, is the best medicine and in that effort,
A worker vacuums objects in the Etruscan section of the Vatican Museums. The museums use some high-tech conservation methods, but simple dusting is also key to counteract the effects of nearly 20 000 visitors a day. Mr Paolucci established the conservation office in 2009 to be “the eye of the museum director to track the health of the [museums’] heritage,” he said. The office then began a systematic protocol of dusting, monitoring and documenting every object, and storage and display room in the museums’ custody. Five days a week, every afternoon, four specialists trawl a designated area with brushes, dust cloths and specialised vacuums strapped to their backs. Workers may be mounted from cherry pickers, ladders or scaffolding to
reach high ceilings, window sills and walls, bent over floor mosaics, gently polishing pottery and marble or sucking dust from the velvet drapes of gilded papal carriages. The experts photograph every object and area they clean and write up a report documenting its current state and potential problems, Ms Cimino said. Every department, including the restoration department, then have access to the data and know exactly what got cleaned and how it looks. The cleaners make at least two Continued on page 11
OPE Benedict has established a commission to investigate a series of leaks of letters exchanged among Vatican officials and between the officials and the pope himself. Archbishop Angelo Becciu, Vatican substitute secretary of state, said that the papal commission would try “to shed light on the whole affair”, while a Vatican tribunal would look into taking legal action against those who gave the documents to reporters, and the Vatican Secretariat of State would carry out an administrative review of every Vatican office. While some of the letters that were leaked are gossipy, others include allegations of serious financial misconduct. The leaks being investigated began in January with the publication of letters written by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano when he was secretary-general of the governor’s office of Vatican City State.
The archbishop, who now is nuncio to the United States, warned of corruption, abuse of power, a lack of transparency in awarding contracts and opposition to financial reforms. Later leaks included a letter from a Vatican official questioning the current reform of the Vatican’s finance laws and letters from Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state, and Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi of Milan arguing over control of a Catholic hospital. An interview with Archbishop Becciu about the investigation into the leaks—a case popularly referred to as “VatiLeaks” in the media— was published by L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper. The archbishop called those leaking documents “cowardly” and “disloyal”, and he said the pope was pained by the whole affair. With the investigations, he said, it is hoped that an atmosphere of “mutual trust” can be restored within the Vatican.—CNS
Church outrage over motorbike killings
RENCH Church leaders have condemned an attack outside a Jewish school in Toulouse which killed a rabbi, his two sons and a schoolgirl, the latest in a series of attacks by a gunman on a motorbike. Mgr Antoine Herouard, secretary-general of the bishops’ conference, led a special vespers service for the victims at Paris’ Notre Dame cathedral.
Mgr Bernard Podvin, spokesman for the French bishops’ conference, called it an “odiously perpetrated killing” and said all Catholics would feel “strong indignation” at the “blind violence against defenceless people”. There is concern that a serial killer was targeting not only Jews but French minorities. Four African and Caribbean soldiers were killed in earlier attacks.—CNS
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The Southern Cross, March 28 to April 3, 2012
Vatican to SSPX: Response not good enough BY CINDY WOODEN
HE Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, with the approval of Pope Benedict, has defined as “insufficient” the position of the traditionalist Society of St Pius X (SSPX) on certain basic doctrinal principles and criteria for interpreting Church teaching. Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the doctrinal congregation, has met with Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior of the society, to explain the Vatican’s evaluation of the position of the SSPX, said Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman. In a formal communique published after the meeting, the Vatican said it wanted to “avoid an ecclesial rupture with painful and
incalculable consequences”, so Bishop Fellay and leaders of the SSPX were asked to further clarify their response to a “doctrinal preamble” the Vatican asked them to study last September. The text of the preamble was not made public, but the Vatican had said it “states some doctrinal principles and criteria for the interpretation of Catholic doctrine necessary to guarantee fidelity” to the formal teaching of the Church, including the teaching of the Second Vatican Council. Bishop Fellay delivered the society’s official response in January, the Vatican said, and it was “placed under the examination of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and successively under the judgment of the Holy Father.” “In compliance with the deci-
sion of Pope Benedict XVI,” the communique said, Bishop Fellay was given a letter signed by Cardinal Levada explaining that “the position he had expressed is not sufficient to overcome the doctrinal problems that are at the basis of the fracture between the Holy See and the society”. Fr Lombardi said Cardinal Levada told Bishop Fellay the society has until mid-April to clarify its position in order to heal “the existing fracture”, giving the SSPX “more time for reflection to see if some further step can be made”. The Vatican spokesman would not give examples of the points on which the SSPX and the Vatican still differ since the original preamble was never published. He said the additional time given to the society shows “the case is not
closed”, although the letter to Bishop Fellay makes clear that the consequence of “a non-acceptance of that which was foreseen in the preamble” would be “a rupture, something very serious for the Church”. Fr Lombardi said Pope Benedict has taken many steps “to make possible a reconciliation” with the traditionalist group, including lifting the excommunications imposed on Bishop Fellay and other SSPX bishops, establishing a Vatican committee for doctrinal talks with society representatives in 2009 and drafting the “doctrinal preamble” to explain the “minimal, essential” elements on which the society would have to agree for full reconciliation. “A response was expected, it was not sufficient and, so, now [the
Vatican is saying]: ‘If you think there is something else you would like to clarify, if you’d like to reflect some more to clarify your position, there is another month for you to do so,’” Fr Lombardi said. In late November, Bishop Fellay said: “This doctrinal preamble cannot receive our endorsement, although leeway has been allowed for a ‘legitimate discussion’ about certain points of the [Second Vatican] Council.” When the Vatican’s doctrinal discussions with the society began in 2009, both sides said the key issues to be discussed included the concept of tradition in general, as well as the Second Vatican Council’s teaching on the liturgy, the unity of the church, ecumenism, interreligious dialogue and religious freedom.—CNS
‘Vatican cup’ switches sponsorship BY CAROL GLATZ
Seminarian Mark Paver celebrates after the Pontifical North American College scored its winner against Redemptoris Mater in the Clericus Cup in Rome in early March. After the Vatican’s laity council withdrew its sponsorship of the competition, the culture council took it over. (Photo: Paul Haring, CNS)
HE Pontifical Council for the Laity has withdrawn its support for a Rome-based seminarian football competition—not because players and fans were having too much fun, but because organisers weakened their focus on the importance of human formation, said a Vatican official. Contrary to Italian news reports, the council’s withdrawal of its sponsorship of the Clericus Cup “has nothing to do with [players or fans] fighting or being too rowdy on the field”, said Legionary of Christ Father Kevin Lixey, head of the laity council’s Church and sport desk. The council withdrew because
the organisers neglected to offer, as they had other years, a seminar aimed at helping the future priests develop values-based sports initiatives and pastoral programmes in their parishes, Fr Lixey said. However, the Pontifical Council for Culture, which has just opened its own sports desk, has decided to sponsor the Clericus Cup tournament. The culture council made the move because “we are interested in the cultural phenomenon” of sports, said Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, the council’s president. The laity council’s original reason for collaborating with the Catholic Italian Sports Centre, which organises the Clericus Cup, was “that our office have contact
with seminarians to promote pastoral outreach because these men are future priests and future bishops of these dioceses”, Fr Lixey said. “We can’t really embrace a project that doesn’t have this component.” The laity council had been one of the series’ sponsors every year since 2007 when the soccer championship made up of priests and seminarians studying in Rome started. The Italian Conference of Catholic Bishops continues to be a sponsor of the Clerics Cup. The Italian press had mistakenly reported the laity council’s reasons for pulling out of the series was because fans had become too rowdy and players too rough.— CNS
Kony video ‘could cause more trauma’
N amateur film that details atrocities committed by the Northern Uganda rebel leader Joseph Kony has become an Internet sensation, but faith leaders in the region said they fear the documentary will cause further trauma to the population who are recovering from a 23year brutal war. The 30-minute documentary, titled Kony 2012, was released in March by Invisible Children, a charity organisation based in San Diego, California. Within the first week of its release, it had been viewed 78 million times. It tells the story of Kony’s brutal tactics through the eyes of a former child soldier in Kony’s Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). It then calls on viewers to help “make Joseph Kony famous” so that he can be stopped.
The film has attracted praise and criticism from faith leaders, victims and the public. “While it publicises the problem, we see it as being outdated. It should have been released in 2003...but now that it is drawing a new attention to the problem, we would like the international community to find ways of stopping Kony. He is still there,” Anglican Bishop Johnson Gakumba of Northern Uganda diocese told ENInews. “Our concern is that it reminds us of war when the people were starting to recover. The reminder is likely to traumatise those who were affected. We are concerned it sends a different message of war and appeals to a military option to end the conflict,” said Sheikh Musa Khalil, the kadhi of northern Uganda.
The Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiatives (ARLPI), an inter-faith group which has been responding to the conflict since 1997, objected to the film’s sensational messages. “It lacks the current facts of the LRA activities. It misrepresents the current situation on the ground and is full of over simplified justifications,” the initiative said. The film, which appeals for funding for Invisible Children, has received support from global celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and raised $5 million, according to reports. In Bangassou in the Central African Republic, where the LRA is said to have moved from northern Uganda, Catholic Bishop Juan Jos Aguirre said the film had merit in bringing the war to the world’s attention.—CISA
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The Southern Cross, March 28 to April 3, 2012
LEADER PAGE 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.
A priest found the big bang ECAUSE of differing timescales present his “exploding universe” that had been allocated to Gen- theory to an eminent group of sciWorthy of Christ’s love B esis’ creation story, Bishop Usher, entists, including Albert Einstein. Editor: Günther Simmermacher
URING Holy Week, in our readings and our prayers and in the Stations of the Cross, we witness the single most powerful expression of love yet: Jesus’ self-sacrifice for the redemption of all humanity. In his encyclical Deus caritas est (God is Love), Pope Benedict spells out the beauty of selfless love, and love for our neighbour—the one commandment Christ added to the ten dispensed through the agency of Moses. Amid all the tense foreboding of Holy Thursday, the sorrowful turbulence of Good Friday, and the joy of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday, we ought to find profit in reflecting on whether we are truly worthy of Christ’s great love. This examination of conscience is part of our preparation for the sacrament of Reconciliation, especially before Easter, when we confess our sins before God, ask for his forgiveness and wipe the slate clean. Part of the deal is our commitment not to repeat these sins (or at least to try our best not to). If our treatment of others is an indication, chances are that many of us either do not confess our trespasses against others, or default on our commitment not to repeat our sins, or do not think that our poor treatment of others is in fact sinful. Sinning against our neighbour is not just the terrain of the standard villains such as wifebeaters, fraudsters, drug dealers or profiteers. Malicious gossip or rumourmongering, never mind the dissemination of outright lies, is sinful. Gossip, rumour, innuendo and lies have a way of causing injury. The result may be relatively harmless (say, a dented ego) or there may be grave consequences (for example, the loss of a job). Either way, by acting with malicious intent or without charity, the offender negates Christ’s love. Such conduct is more shocking yet when set within the context of the Church community. Many parishes are divided because parishioners, and sometimes their priests, forget to love their neighbour in their
pursuit of power, influence or position in their service to Christ (we are free, of course, to dislike our neighbours, but we are called to love them). Politics within the Church can become particularly nasty, most likely because Catholics feel their faith so deeply. Some Catholics take the mistaken view that they should defend their particular understanding of the Catholic faith by all means necessary, paradoxically even when such means require the violation of what they seek to defend—the teachings of Christ. In a quest to defend Christ, such people repudiate his basic and allencompassing injunction: to love one another. The suspicion and anger with which some Catholics tend to treat others is a greater injury to Christ than any misrepresented or misunderstood point of doctrine. Christ calls us to love even those we deem unworthy of it, as he loves us who are unworthy of him. We are commanded to see God’s face in the other; not only those whom we find agreeable, but also in the street beggar, the taxi driver, the prostitute, the obnoxious radio presenter, the rival in the workplace, the keyboard warrior, the populist politician. Jesus presented us with some challenges which he knew few of us would be able to attain. This is one of them. We may find impossible to meet, but this does not exempt us from always trying. Our challenge is to avoid doing harm to others through our actions and inactions, and to bring good upon others by what we do. To observe the 11th commandment, we must be gracious towards those whom we disagree with, generous towards those who need it, forgiving towards those who antagonise us, and considerate towards all. This, too, can be an expression of love for our neighbour. As we contemplate the suffering Christ on the Cross, we call to mind his self-sacrificing love for all humanity; a love we must never cease to try and be worthy of.
a 17th century Irish-Protestant bishop, decided to pinpoint the exact date. After extensive biblical research which included learning the languages of Samaratin, Chaldean and Greek, he concluded that Day 1 began at 6 o’clock, on October 22, 4004 BC. From 1701 until the early 20th century, this date, representing the beginning of creation, was printed in the front of English bibles. Bishop Usher’s date was probably 100% correct in the assumption that recorded Hebrew history began at a time that coincided with the big bang. Almost 300 years later, a Catholic priest and professor of astronomy at Louvain University in Belgium, Fr Georges Lemaitre, flew to Pasadena, California, to
Give us EWTN!
STV currently airs the US Catholic television channel EWTN on the Multichoice bouquet in Africa, but has chosen not to air it in Southern Africa. I have contacted Multichoice and their response was that if nobody expresses an interest, they won’t consider including EWTN in their Southern African bouquet. However if more people raised an objection, they would then consider airing it. Readers can e-mail Multichoice directly at enquiries@ multichoice.co.za and request EWTN on DStv in South Africa. Muslims have a channel and quite a few Protestant channels are aired. I think it is high time that we Catholics are also catered for. We have a wonderful Catholic newspaper, so it would be fantastic to have a Catholic TV channel as well, exposing viewers to the rich history and traditions of the Church. Norman Servais of Awestruck also has a Facebook page where people can add to the petition (http://on.fb.me/GAexDa). Brandon Paulse, Cape Town
OULD it not be better for the Catholic cause to collect funds to re-open the parochial schools for the Durban children than to spend all these millions on a “prestige centre” such as the Hurley Centre in Durban? We have already been hon-
SISTERS OF THE HOLY FAMILY
“In the beginning we had fireworks of unimaginable beauty,” Fr Lemaitre’s enthused. “We came too late to do more than visualise the splendour of creation’s birthday!” In 1952, Pope Pius XII endorsed the theory in an address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences: “It would seem that present-day science, with one sweep back across the centuries, has succeeded in bearing witness to the august instant of the primordial Fiat Lux (Let there be Light)…” Fr Lemaitre’s theory was similar to that of the deceased Russian scientist, Alexander Friedmann, but at the time was unaware of Friedmann’s work. Stalin’s anti-religious regime refuted Fr Lemaitre’s theory which many people had linked to Genesis’s creation story.
oured by the Durban City Council for having a street named after the late Archbishop Denis Hurley, which came pro deo/pro bono from the Durban ratepayers. John Reilman, Johannesburg
Kairos calls for reflection
S a small Catholic community based in Gauteng, we are aware of a reflection prepared by an ecumenical group of South African theologians, called Kairos Southern Africa, on which you reported in your January 4 edition. The document has been produced to coincide with the African National Congress’ 2012 centenary celebrations. It congratulates the ANC on its milestone and on the important role it played in the liberation of South Africa. It also points to examples of successful pro-poor programmes, post-1994. But the authors are forthright in raising grave concerns about the ANC’s current governance underperformance—ongoing contradictions that are militating against the country fully achieving the aspirations espoused during the struggle against apartheid 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.
George Gamow, who had studied under Friedmann at Leningrad University and who had fled to America in the 1930s, added further enlightenment on Fr Lemaitre and Friedmann’s theories. Not so fortunate were two of Gamow’s colleagues, Bronstein and Frederiks, both proponents of the “exploding universe” theory. Bronstein was executed by firing squad and Frederiks perished in a Siberian concentration camp. In 1953 an American geochemist, Claire Patterson, analysed a meteorite using radioactive dating and concluded that our solar and planetary system formed 4,5 billion years ago, a figure which is widely accepted today. And in May 1999, after extensive research by two project teams in America, it was found that our universe has been in existence for 14 billion years. Patrick Dacey, Johannesburg
and the values contained within the constitution. The document expresses concern about the factionalism dominating internal ANC workings. It agonises over the lack of social cohesion, a failure of government to stand in solidarity with the oppressed across the world, as well as the growing gap between rich and poor. The rise in criminality and corruption is also negatively impacting “the psyche and morality of our people, particularly that of the youth”. The reflection is also critical of the unsustainably opulent lifestyles of those in power, where self-enrichment is pursued at the expense of the poorest, as well as the environment. Another major lament is the disturbingly weak standards of education for the vast majority. There is also a need for government to show genuine respect for the constitution, the Bill of Rights and Constitutional Court rulings. Kairos Southern Africa aims to garner one million signatories by year-end to place pressure on the ANC to take these governance challenges seriously. We encourage the leaders of the Catholic Church to reflect on the document and to consider adding the collective weight of South African Catholics to the calls made therein. For those interested in reading the document and adding their names, it can be accessed on www.kairossouthernafrica.word press.com. Action Reflection Community, Johannesburg
The Parish of Our Lady of Loreto The Parish of Our Lady of Loreto is hosting a concelebrated Holy Mass for the whole Eastern Deanery of the Archdiocese of Johannesburg for the feast of the Divine Mercy. Confesions will be heard from 13:30 prior to Holy Mass at 15:00. A procession honouring Jesus Our Divine Mercy, and St Faustina willl follow the Mass.
WE INVITE YOUNG WOMEN WITH PASSION FOR CHRIST AND HIS MISSION, WHO FEEL THE CALL TO PRAYER AND SERVICE TO ‘COME AND SEE’. CONTACT: HOLY FAMILY SISTERS, 20 GORING AVE. AUCKLAND PARK, JHB. TEL : 011-7266728
An open invitation is extended to all to join in this celebration which takes place on April 15 at the Parish situated on the corner of Miller and Protea streets in Kempton Park. Enquiries may be addressed to the secretary Ms Michette Burt on 011 970 1985.
PERSPECTIVES Chris Chatteris SJ
Pray with the Pope
Pray for vocations General Intention: That many young people may hear the call of Christ and follow him in the priesthood and religious life. F you like statistics you’ll be interested to know that, according to the Vatican, at the end of 2010 there were 412 236 priests, 721 935 religious sisters and 54 641 religious brothers in a world of 1,196 billion Catholics. Despite our bemoaning the lack of vocations the global trend actually shows a gradual overall increase, although it is proving difficult to maintain the proportion of priests and religious to laypeople. For Catholics, priests and religious are part and parcel of the world in which we live and we can therefore sometimes take them for granted. We can forget that it is an abiding testament to the power of Jesus Christ’s call to “follow me” that 1,2 million (the total number of priests, sisters and brothers in the world) have responded to that call. That’s a lot of people, and it doesn’t include permanent deacons and lay workers. This should give us confidence that the Lord does indeed respond to our prayers to provide labourers for the harvest. However, there is a sense in which it is always true that “the labourers are few”. This is because the work of proclaiming the Gospel is infinitely expandable. There is always more to be done, particularly in our burgeoning world of over 7 billion people, only a third of whom are Christian and some of whom have never heard of the name of Jesus and his message of good news. So, even though the size of our workforce— priestly, religious and lay—is impressive, there is always work out there. This requires us to plan for the future of our growing global Church and seek, find and form the priests, permanent deacons, religious and lay workers of tomorrow. And despite our understandable anxiety about the numbers, we must maintain and raise standards so that the apostles of the future Church have the spiritual, intellectual and human qualities to enable them to cope with an ever more complex world of increasingly educated and sophisticated people. Let us therefore pray for many vocations of exceptional quality.
The strength of Africa Missionary Intention: That the risen Christ may be a sign of certain hope for the men and women of the African continent. T’S not always clear these days which regions of the world are the mission territories. While Africa continues to be considered as “missionary”, the Church in Europe, according to some observers, is withering away under a secularist assault and through demographic decline. Whatever the case, perhaps the “non-missionary” parts of the Church could draw more much-needed strength from the official missionary places. Africa is obviously one of those places. There is an extraordinary resilience about African people in general and African Christians in particular. Life goes on even under the most adverse of conditions. I remember in the 1980s being astonished at how Catholic schools and other institutions kept going in Congo (then Zaire) through war and economic collapse thanks to the determination of local Catholic communities. Today, the fact that the South Sudanese have established a new country after decades of devastating conflict is also astonishing. The courage and forbearance of Christians caught up in the inter-communal violence in Nigeria is another impressive and moving example. Such examples of courage-filled faith in action are the reason why the faith is not only growing in Africa, but it is also often growing in adversity. I suggest that Christians in the “missionary” and “non-missionary” regions should be reminded to pray for each other. We should pray for the revival of European faith and Europeans should pray for peace and freedom from poverty in Africa. The Apostleship of Prayer was founded to pray for missions and missionary needs, wherever they are.
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Solve conflict the Christian way
VER the past few months we dealt with matters relating to Church history, noting some things that were done right by the early Christians and some things that went wrong in certain periods of our history. This month let us start a new miniseries that gives us a window into the ideal Church as seen by the two great apostles, Peter and Paul. What kind of Church did they have in mind? We begin by discussing Paul’s idea of a Christian community that is guided by Christian principles: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Rom 12:2) Why is it necessary to highlight Paul’s teaching here? The reason is that in our time we tend to be guided by secular norms. There is no suggestion here that Christians should operate outside the law of the state. Paul’s teaching here and elsewhere can be seen to guide the conduct of Christians in two ways: First, Christians should be guided by Gospel values in all they think, say and do. Second, Christians should have principles and procedures that guide them in how they relate to one another, especially when conflicts arise between believers. With regard to the first item, the suggestion is that Christians should have a known standard in matters such as work ethic, corruption, labour issues, strikes, and so on. For example, Christian officers in government and the private sector
should stand out as a group of people who are opposed to any corrupt practices, the exploitation of employees and any demonstrable poor work ethic on the part of employees. On the matter of how Christians treat one another, I can give the following example: It appears to be a common practice for the Church or its organisations to employ a labour lawyer when labour issues in the work place arise; or to immediately set in motion government labour procedures. If, say, a Christian employee is accused of some form of misconduct, the inclination might be to appoint a labour lawyer who simply applies government legal procedures to the case. If the lawyer decides the employee should be dismissed, we are likely to simply go along with that recommendation without any consideration of Christian teaching on the matter.
ut Scripture tells us to do otherwise. Paul rebukes the Corinthians for relegating the settling of disputes between Christians to secular judges: “Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? But instead, one brother goes to law against another—and this in front of unbelievers!” (1 Cor 6:5-6). Paul’s teaching in Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 6 is in line with Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 18:15-17. Jesus teaches that an aggrieved Christian should first try to settle the matter privately with the
Where’s the fire of heroes now?
HEN Kisana Baburao Hazare, the leader of India Against Corruption, appeared on TV last year, I at once found the hero I had been looking for. In him, India’s society was massaged in the warmth of the fire-conserving ashes. To heal her wounds, our society needs more of such warm ashes. But where can we find them? We have a rich history which, unfortunately, we rarely exploit fully and profitably. For me, that may explain the retrogression we see around; where once was a leader and progress, all of a sudden there is no one to animate others to action. And so we fall into stagnation, if not retrogression altogether. In my history folder you find names like Mandela, Nyerere, Cardinal Malula and Mahatma Gandhi, and so on. In them we have a rich and inspiring history useful for our society today, but it is disappointingly unutilised. What a pity! Isn’t it time we learnt to relate to history in a more active way? I needn’t introduce Nelson Mandela to South African readers. Julius Nyerere, teacher (Mwarimu) and politician of Tanzania, a Catholic for whom a cause for sainthood has been introduced, surely was an exemplary politician. He disproved adages that describe politics as invariably a dirty game for dirty people. Nyerere’s life
proves by his life that it is a service, in fact, a possible brick for sainthood. Nyerere and Mandela are shining examples of presidents who left the seat of honour to become ordinary citizens, though of course still respected. In Africa, we do not have many models of leaders who leave power willingly, unconstrained by external pressures such as unpopularity or constitutional barrier. And it’s not just so in Africa: witness the vicious, if not insulting, cycle into which Russia has fallen. The late Cardinal Joseph Malula, known as “Le père d’Eglise du Congo” (the Father the Church of Congo), has left abundant traces and echoes that testify that here lived a man who in his pastoral orientations and reflections sought to enable Congolese Catholics to own and live the Christian faith as their own. Malula is a household name in Congo, especially in Kinshasa. What then is this I call the problem of relating to history? Precisely this: in the speeches today we find constant reference to such icons, what they did and what they said. But look at the action of those who quote them! Their behaviour often is diametrically opposed to the inspirations of such figures. The true honour we can bestow upon this rich history, and indeed the profit we can gain, does not reside so much in how we eulogise our heroes or repeat
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offender. If that fails, then the aggrieved should bring two or three witnesses. If the offender does not listen, the matter should be referred to the Church. If the offender refuses to listen even to the Church, then “treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector”. The lesson we learn from Jesus’ and Paul’s teaching on matters of labour relations and conflict management is that where Christian brothers and sisters have problems with one another, an attempt should be made to solve the problems from a Christian point of view first. Only when the internal Christian process has failed should we surrender our responsibility to secular judges and procedures. Why is it necessary to follow Christian norms in matters relating to disputes and conflict? The answer is simple: This is partly what it means to be followers of Jesus. As Christians we believe in reconciliation, forgiveness, loving one another and loving our enemies. These values should be reflected in how we deal with one another when we offend one another. There are implications here for the Church: that it should put in place structures for dealing with conflicts and disagreements between Christians.
Evans Chama M.Afr
Point of Reflection
their celebrated statements or even observe a day in their remembrance. It is when we keep burning the fires which they set ablaze. For that, there must be fire-conserving ashes, or everything grows tepid and we die of cold. The people we call heroes rose to the challenges of their time. Those challenges may be different from ours today. Where are our heroes today, moving forward and rising to the challenges of today, we need new people who embody their fighting spirit. Where are they? Mediocrity has set in. Whatever happened to the fire? For this reason I regard Kisana Baburao Hazare of India with great esteem. Popularly known as Anna Hazare, he is an Indian social activist who made headlines worldwide for his anti-corruption movement in India last year, using nonviolent methods like Mahatma Gandhi, to whom he has been compared. Doesn’t South Africa too need a new Mandela for its challenges today? Doesn’t Tanzania need a new Nyerere? Doesn’t the African Church need a new Malula? Whatever happened to the fire of such brave men? Or am I just being pessimistic?
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The Southern Cross, March 28 to April 3, 2012
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Now faiths can work together W
HEN in 1965 the assembled bishops of Vatican II with an overwhelming majority affirmed Nostra Aetate, the Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions, the bishops declared that because man is created in the image of God, the Church will not discriminate against, show hatred towards or harass any person on the basis of colour, race or religion. As a result, the Church opened its doors to interfaith relations. And so, today the Catholic Church regards Muslims with esteem, decries anti-Semitism and respects Hinduism and values its relatively young relationships with these and other world religions. Vatican II led to a change in attitude for the benefit of the Catholic Church and the people of the world because now the Church is able to do its work through multiple channels. Juma Musjid in Durban was the first mosque to be built in what is now KwaZulu-Natal, and it’s the largest in the southern hemisphere. The mosque and Emmanuel cathedral have been neighbours for a century. “We have more than a family relationship with the Emmanuel cathedral,” says AV Mohamed, the chief trustee of the Juma Musjid Trust. “We are in complete sync with one another. We support one another on projects and we interact on all levels.” Mr Mohamed says the two faith centres have a complete, unbroken and strong working relationship, with “non-negotiable support for each other”. He says the reason the two faiths are able to work together is because of their shared interests. “Each is allowed to practise their own religion, and we have a mutual relationship. There is a level of respect between us.” The community at large is able to benefit from their relationship
A Church of Hope and Joy
because of the support shown for various projects. So, for example, the Juma Musjid Trust contributed R50 000 to the Denis Hurley Centre when fundraising first began. “Faiths working together on a social or community issue is possible as the fundamental universal truths lead us all to work towards reducing the suffering of people, and also the suffering of our planet.” says Leela Verity, a Catholic who runs an interfaith retreat centre in Plettenberg Bay called Sat Chit Anand. Ms Verity founded the retreat centre ten years ago as a Buddhist centre. At the time, she was a student of eastern religions, but she has since rediscovered her Christian routes. “It’s funny that Buddhism allowed me to re-embrace my Christian roots,” she says. She now considers herself a devout Catholic. Ms Verity believes while there is often initial reservation between people of different faiths, this soon dissolves once people realise that all religions share common elements. “The dogma and doctrines of different religions might differ, but they share the common aim of guiding people to live a spiritual life.” All religions teach a path of liberation from suffering. The paths may differ but the goal is the same, she adds. Founded by Archbishop Denis Hurley, the Diakonia Council of Churches in KwaZulu-Natal is an ecumenical, inter-church agency. Through the work of the different faiths and churches, the council works to improve the quality of life for the poor, as well as changes in attitudes and structures which perpetuate injustice.
The council’s Kudzai Taruona says the first benefit of working with other faiths is that “we reach out to more people than we would if we stuck to our constituency. We also share ideas, strategies and techniques on how best to execute our campaigns.” Archbishop Hurley’s rationale for establishing Diakonia was that no church should do on its own what could be done with others. This can be extended to the idea that no faith tradition should do on its own what it can do with others. Mr Taruona says not only does it make sense for churches and faiths to work together to get more work done, but it is also sensible in the current economic climate where funding is limited. “In fact we work with anybody who shares our vision, be they religious or secular. In this day of religious fundamentalism and intolerance, interfaith collaboration is one way of building bridges between faith traditions. Cooperation, not competition should be every faith tradition’s modus operandi.”
nterfaith dialogue is also important to bring understanding of different religions. “There are many misconceptions about other religions, and this causes distrust and fear of associating with them, and in extreme cases, leads to religious wars.” Ms Verity says. She adds that we cannot afford to create divisions any longer, and this includes division between people in the name of religion. “The world is moving towards unity. We are emerging into this new consciousness where we realise the unity of creation, the unity of humanity. It is time we recognised our oneness. If we understand the oneness of humankind, then we realise that differences are secondary. With an attitude of respect and concern for others, we can create an environment that is conducive to happiness. We can enjoy a sense of real brotherhood, peace and harmony, instead of conflict,” she says. Fr Enrico Parry of the diocese of Oudtshoorn says work with other
Leaders of different faiths exchange a greeting during last years interfaith meeting for peace in Assisi, Italy, last year. (Photo: Paul Haring,CNS) faiths is needed in every diocese. “I believe formal contact between the different faith organisations is important. Something as simple as wishing Muslims well over Eid would benefit the community at large”. The priest says that while there are no formal projects underway at diocesan level at present, some parishes are involved with other faiths on a community level. It is something he hopes to see more of: “Vatican II inspires us and the Church acts on that inspiration.” Fr Parry also feels that a joint effort between different faiths is a way in which more people can be assisted.
ne of the most important outcomes of Nostra Aetate was the Church’s new attitude towards Judaism. Historically, Catholics have been guilty of many antisemitic acts, often committed in the name of the Church. Pope John Paul II issued a moving apology for this in the Jubilee Year 2000. Dialogue with Judaism is an important cornerstone in the Church’s interfaith endeavours. Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein says the Jewish community of South Africa is very open to working with the Catholic community. The ability to work together comes not just from an almost 50-year-old document, but is also “one of the unique and distinct features of the new South Africa”. He says the country’s faith communities are built on strong traditions and these have enabled interfaith structures to work successfully. “The co-chairman of the National Interfaith Council of South Africa is Archbishop Buti Tlhagale of Johannesburg. I have great respect for him as he is a strong, clear leader who works with warmth and openness. There is a respect shared among the faith leaders of the country and our work is always positive.”
Chief Rabbi Goldstein feels that because we have an open society today and because South Africans are proud of this, interacting and working together—both in business and in humanitarian deeds is easier as faith is no longer an issue. “It is also easier to actively practise our faiths. I see respect for all faiths at every level I work at. On a personal note, at any major state function I attend, I am always served kosher food.” The Jewish leader says that because of South Africa’s ethos and sense of hope, there is no conflict between faith and respect. “The vast majority of South Africans belong to one of the many strong, robust religious communities. We need to harness the positive energies of those communities.” He envisages a South Africa where the morals of the various faith communities are entrenched in all South Africans and is working on the Bill of Responsibilities—a document that will encourage moral regeneration. Vatican II inspired the Church to open its doors without prejudice. Pope John Paul II gave this concrete expression when he gathered representatives of virtually all world religions to pray for peace in Assisi, Italy, in 1986. Pope Benedict gave it a further dimension when he invited atheists to the 25th anniversary celebrations of Assisi in 2011. Interfaith dialogue has resulted in a better understanding of other faiths—a peaceful concept; it has led to the ability to work together on universal matters—from protecting the environment to fighting political regimes; and it has allowed Catholics to embrace the fact that we see the face of God in all people, irrespective of their belief. “We have the same interests—we both pray to God. So we can both work together and support each other’s projects,” says the Juma Musjid Trust’s Mr Mohamed.
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HOLY WEEK: MARCH 31 - APRIL 8 1. Preached Retreat by Fr Christopher Neville OMF 2. St Faustina & Bl John Paul II: Divine Mercy Week by Fr Urs Fischer APRIL 13 - 15 The Eucharist: Source and Summit of Our Christian Life Repeat of Lenten Lecture by Mgr Paul Nadal APRIL 20 - 22 Question and Answers: About your journey to God Led by Fr Urs Fischer
NOVEMBER 9 - 11 Search for Life by Fr Pierre Lavoipierre NOVEMBER 23 - 25 Mary, the Mother, has the message by Deacon Tony de Freitas DECEMBER 7 - 16 8-Day directed retreats by Fr Urs Fischer and Br Crispin Graham DECEMBER 24 - JANUARY 1, 2013
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Where Jesus died and rose again The church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem marks the crucifixion and Resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ. GÜNTHER SIMMERMACHER argues that there are plenty of good reasons to believe that the church is built on the authentic site of these events.
EGEND has it that Queen Helena, mother of the Emperor Constantine, made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 326 AD during which she located an astonishing series of sites of the events recorded in the New Testament. The more mundane truth is that when she pitched up, with a big royal entourage in tow, the local Christians simply pointed out the sites from their collective memory, fostered by an unbroken line of presence in Jerusalem and Galilee, held to be authentic. In 313 Constantine declared Christianity the state religion of the empire, and since he now took a keen interest in the Church to which he had converted, he facilitated the First Council of Nicaea in 325. Among the Church leaders he met there was the bishop of Jerusalem, Macarius. At some point Macarius and Constantine discussed the possibility of excavating the site of the crucifixion and Resurrection with a view to preserving it in suitable style with a church. By then a second-century Roman temple dedicated to Aphrodite, the goddess of love, stood above Cavalry, signposting the holiest of sites for generations of Christians. Macarius obtained permission from the emperor to dismantle the temple and started digging. For centuries before the crucifixion, Golgotha had served as a limestone quarry. By the time of the crucifixion, the quarry was disused and now was a cemetery and site of execution—and possibly a garden. John’s Gospel describes it that way (19:41), and ancient sources refer to the area as the “Holy Garden”. The Franciscan archaeologist Fr Virgilio Corbo even found soil that
indeed suggests a garden, though it seems unclear whether it was cultivated as such or whether it was a wild creation of nature. When Macarius started his excavations—Helena was not yet on the scene—the traditional site of the crucifixion of Christ and of his resurrection were covered with soil, which created a platform for the pagan temple. That way the temple not only kept alive the geographical memory—and with a pagan temple above the site of the crucifixion and resurrection, it probably was a bitter memory—but the soil also had preserved in physical form much of what had been passed down in inter-generational memory for almost 200 years. The place of the cross was signposted as well, if one accepts the notion that the cross stood on the hill’s highest point. A piece of rock outcrop protruded from the landfill platform, and on that the Romans had placed a statue of Aphrodite. The Christians of Jerusalem would have been aware of that, and be so scandalised by it as to convey their outrage to successive generations. So when the time came to tear down Aphrodite, the Christians knew that this was the rock of the cross. Pilgrims touch that stone even today inside the church of the Holy Sepulchre.
graffito in the rockface that would have been the limestone slope below the temple seems to prove that the site was regarded as the authentic Golgotha in the time between the temple’s construction in the 130s AD and its dismantling in 325/6, not only by the locals but also by pilgrims. At some point between those years, someone carved into the stone the shape of a boat and the words “DOMINE IVIMUS”. It means “Lord, we have arrived”, a likely reference to Psalm 122 (“Let us go to the house of the Lord”). The inscription can still be seen in the Armenian chapel of St Vartan and the Armenian Martyrs inside the church of the Holy Sepulchre. It was found by chance during renovations and led to an extraordinary archaeological row which would even involve the police, with allegations by rival archaeolo-
Pilgrims wait to enter the tomb of Christ in the church of the Holy Sepulchre. (Photo: Schalk Visser) gists that Fr Emanuele Testa OFM (who died last year at 87) had falsified the letters when he restored the inscription. In 1977, the Criminal Investigation Bureau of Israel’s national police cleared Fr Testa and certified that the letters had not been tampered with.
nd so, with the temple duly torn down, Macarius found the rock-cut tombs of Golgotha, just like those which Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus would have owned, in very quick time. Having learnt of the successful excavation, Constantine dispatched his mother to Jerusalem. Our image of Queen Helena might conjure an ethereally pious pilgrim, possessed of intrepid archaeological genius and the virtuous humility befitting the Mother of Christian Europe. Her character might well have embraced these commendable qualities, but she was also a ruthless dynasty builder who by shrewd political manoeuvres ensured that her son would become emperor. Helena’s sanctity certainly was not stainless. Helena arrived before Golgotha was entirely excavated, and some of the finds credited to her stretch the credulity of modern observers. When Helena, or those who did the digging for her, found three crosses in a disused cistern, a test was required to determine which of these was Christ’s cross. So a woman of gravely ailing health
was brought forth. She touched one cross, then another, but nothing happened. But when she touched the third cross, she was spontaneously healed of her illness. Thus, supposedly, the True Cross was identified. But it isn’t important whether the real cross of Christ was in fact identified, but that crosses apparently were found where the church of the Holy Sepulchre would be built, because this supports further the authenticity of the site as the historic Golgotha. The cross—minus pieces that had been broken, cut or even bitten off—remained in the custody of the bishop of Jerusalem, except for a brief time in Persia following the sack of 614 AD. It was lost in 1187 during the Crusaders’ defeat against Saladin at Hattin in Galilee.
elena also found what is said to be the INRI inscription, the Titulus Crucis, which is now kept in the Santa Croce church in Rome’s Gerusalemme district. There was nothing special about Pontius Pilate having a sign fixed on to the top of Jesus’ cross. The Romans often attached such notices to condemned men, stating the cause for their punishment. It was a means of humiliating the condemned and of warning the public that they risked the same fate should they pull similar stunts, like claiming to be a king. Whereas we have only an unre-
liable legend of piety to identify the now lost cross, the titulus bears Jesus’ name—INRI stands for IESUS NAZARINUS REX IUDAEORUM (the spelling error in the place name is the scribe’s). Helena divided the titulus into several pieces, of which only the portion she took to Rome for her private collection survives. The lettering on the walnut wood sign has faded, but enough remains to reveal that the Geek and Latin lines were written from right to left, perhaps by a Jewish scribe, in the way of Hebrew. This offers circumstantial evidence as to its authenticity. A forger wants to avoid too much scrutiny of his work of fakery, so dabbling in idiosyncratic renderings of famous lines would appear to be a most peculiar gambit. Helena also found the reputed nails of the cross, five of them, but these could have been used to crucify any number of people, at least until about 40 AD, when the Golgotha site was incorporated into the city walls and therefore disused as a place of execution. That leaves us with the tomb, which has been cut out of the rock formation and is now housed in an edicule (or chamber) in the rotunda of the church of the Holy Sepulchre—the present structure was built by the Crusaders in the 1100s after Helena’s magnificent basilica was razed in 1009. In absence of a name shield we can’t really be certain whether it is Jesus’ tomb, though we know from the gospels that it was very near the place of the crucifixion. Scholars speculate that graffiti by early Christians might have identified the tomb. These graffiti, if they ever existed, have since disappeared, perhaps chipped off by the souvenir hunters of antiquity who over centuries cheerfully degraded all manner of rock associated with Jesus’ life. In absence of evidence to the contrary, the site of church of the Holy Sepulchre most probably is the real Golgotha. It should fill us with joy that we do have what most likely is a genuine physical link to the location of Our Lord’s death and Resurrection. n Günther Simmermacher’s book on the Holy Land is expected to be published later this year.
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Keeping the Vatican’s art clean Continued from page 4 rounds a year while heavily trafficked areas get a cleaning seven or eight times a year, Ms Cimino said. The office has also installed nearly 100 sensors in various places to monitor and record everything from temperature to humidity and UV light intensity. Remote radio sensors relay the data to the central office in real time, allowing workers to pin-
point problems immediately and contact the appropriate technicians to intervene, she said. Unfortunately, only a small portion of the museums is properly climate controlled. And custodians opening the windows to alleviate the stifling heat and humidity in the summer only make the problem worse, she said. Some areas now have special drapes that reflect the sun’s rays,
cutting down on the amount of heat and light pouring through, she added. Mr Paolucci said establishing the conservation office was one of his proudest achievements. It is helping him fulfil his duty to his clients: preserving what was handed down from the past for “the men and women who stand in line waiting to see the museums and the men and women who have yet to be born”.—CNS
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Southern CrossWord solutions SOLUTIONS TO #490. ACROSS: 1 Luck, 3 Hecklers, 9 Stomach, 10 Eager, 11 Purification, 13 Saturn, 15 Weasel, 17 New Testament, 20 Atone, 21 Outsize, 22 Parasite, 23 Many. DOWN: 1 Last post, 2 Choir, 4 Ethics, 5 Keep the faith, 6 Engross, 7 Serf, 8 Half-brothers, 12 Slattery, 14 The poor, 16 Assort, 18 Erica, Warp.
Liturgical Calendar Year B Sunday, April 1, Palm Sunday Isaiah 50: 4-7, Psalm 22: 8-9, 17-20, 23-24, Philippians 2: 6-11, Mark 14: 1-15, 47 Monday, April 2, Holy Week Isaiah 42: 1-7, Psalm 27: 1-3, 13-14, John 12: 1-11 Tuesday, April 3, Holy Week Isaiah 49: 1-6, Psalm 71: 1-6, 15, 17, John 13: 21-33, 36-38 Wednesday, April 4, Holy Week Isaiah 50: 4-9, Psalm 69: 8-10, 21-22, 31, 33-34, Matthew 26: 14-25 Thursday, April 5, Holy Thursday Exodus 12: 1-8, 11-14, Psalms 116: 12-13, 15-18, 1 Corinthians 11: 23-26, John 13: 1-15 Friday, April 6, Good Friday Isaiah 52: 13-53, 12, Psalm 31, 2, 6, 12-13, 15-17, 25, Hebrews 4: 14-16, 5: 7-9, John 18: 1-19, 42 Saturday, April 7, Holy Saturday Genisis 1: 1-2, 2, Psalm 104: 1-2, 5-6, 10, 12-14, 24, 35 or Psalm 33: 4-7, 12-13, 20-22, Genisis 22: 1-18, Psalm 16: 5, 8-11, Exodus 14: 15, 15:1, Psalm 15: 16, 17-18, Isaiah 54: 5-14, Psalm 30, 2: 4-6, 1-13, Isaiah 55: 1-11, Psalm 12: 2-6, Baruch 3: 9-15, 32, 4: 4, Psalm 19: 8-11, Ezekiel 36: 16-28, Psalm 42: 3-5, 43: 3-4, Romans 6: 3-11, Psalm 118: 1-2, 16-17, 22-23, Mark 16: 1-7 Sunday, April 8, Resurrection of the Lord Acts 10: 34, 37-43, Psalm 118: 1-2, 16-17, 22-23, Colossians 3:1-4 or 1 Corinthians 5: 6-8, John 20: 19 or Mark 16: 1-7
Pilgrimage to Poland September 2012 Visit Warsaw, Czestochowa, Krakow Wadowice and more Follow the footsteps of Blessed Pope John Paul II And Saint Faustina Call Elna at 082 9750034 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.holysites.co.za
Word of the Week
Manichaeism: A dualistic heresy initiated in the third century by a Persian named Mani, Manes, or Manichaeus (215-75). Application: In the Manichaean system there are two ultimate sources of creation, the one good and the other evil. God is the creator of all that is good, and Satan of all that is evil. Man’s spirit is from God, his body is from the devil. In practice Manichaeism denies human responsibility for the evil that one does, on the premise that this is not due to one’s own free will but to the dominance of Satan’s power in one's life.
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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: Third annual Good Friday procession to St Mary’s cathedral, starting April 6 from Immaculate Conception church in Parow, at 09:30am. To join contact Dino on 0718619401 or Ursulla on 0826708229. DURBAN: St Anthony’s, Durban Central: Tuesday 09:00 Mass with novena to St
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DEEB—Alexander Joseph “Joe”. In loving memory of my dearest, wonderful husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and father-in-law. We cherish and honour the memories that keep you near to us. You are in our hearts and prayers and are forever loved and remembered. You are missed terribly and inconsolably by your wife Thelma (56 years together) your children, Emily, Carol, Glenn and Anthony – your daughtersin-law, son-in-law, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. MGR LEFEBVRE—On 25/3/1991 he left us for his reward. We remember with eternal gratitude the heroic actions he took to save the Tridentine Mass, the Mass of all time. Tradidi quod et accepi. Adsum, Volo. SMITH—Michael. Died March 23, 2007, aged 51. Beloved son and brother. We think of you with pride and sadness and remember your productive life with love and are missing you. From your loving mother Carmen and all the family. SMITH—Ted. Died March 28, 2006. My dearly loved Ted, I am like the Jews who exclaimed “how long oh Lord, how long” until we meet again. It is hard to believe that six years have gone by so quickly. I miss you and love you with all my heart and am still “your girl”. Ever remembered by your loving wife Carmen and children, grandchildren and the great-grandchildren you have not met. Pray for us my love.
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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. RCP 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. I 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. In thanks for prayers answered. Grateful thanks to Almighty God, and St Jude, Anthony, Infant Jesus for prayers answered. Vicky.
GRATEFUL thanks to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Our Mother Mary and Ss Joseph, Anthony, Jude and Martin de Porres for prayers answered. RCP.
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Easter Sunday: April 8th Readings: Genesis 1:1-2:2, Genesis 22:1-18 Exodus 14:15-15:1, Isaiah 54:5-14, Isaiah 55:1-11, Baruch 3:9-15, 32-4:4, Ezekiel 36:16-17a, 18-28, Romans 6:3-11, Mark 16:1-8
EXT Sunday we begin the seven weeks of celebrating Jesus’ Resurrection, the greatest feast of the Church’s year, and the proclamation “he is risen”, which lies at the heart of all Christianity. Very appropriately, the Church lays on a rich diet of scripture readings at this time, and you will do well to read slowly and reflectively through them during the next week or so; you might look especially at those appointed to be proclaimed at midnight Mass. You will find that, taken together, those readings run through the entire history of our salvation; and you will capture their drift much better when you listen to them if you have already read them in advance. There are so many of them that you would get indigestion if I were to try to say something about each of them in this column, so what I propose to do is to read with you what you will have read to you as the g ospel at midnight Mass, and possibly also on Easter Sunday morning (and it is to be hoped that you will find yourself able to attend both services this year). What you will hear is the original ending of Mark’s gospel; and it is a very strange ending indeed. It starts with those brave women,
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Jesus our Saviour is risen Nicholas King SJ
Mary the Magdalene, Mary of Jacob, and Salome, at least one of whom had on the previous Friday witnessed where Jesus’ very dead body was placed. And you can feel their impatience to get the Sabbath behind them; the opening phrase might be translated “When the Sabbath was finally over”, because, of course, you cannot buy spices on the Sabbath day. So they eventually managed to buy their spices, “in order to come and anoint him”. We notice, of course, that this means that these good ladies did not believe in the Resurrection, for otherwise they would not have come to anoint a corpse that might not, after all, have remained a corpse. Then we watch in admiration as they take the brave step of visiting the tomb, “on the first of the Sabbaths” or “on the first day of the week”. It was brave because demons lurked in tombs in that culture, but also because in going there the women were pub-
licly identifying themselves with the criminal who had suffered that appallingly brutal death. Mark allows himself a little joke at their expense, perhaps, when he says “when the sun had already risen”, possibly implying that they are a little late on the scene. Next he does something that is typical of this gospelwriter, allowing us to eavesdrop on their conversation: “Who is going to roll the stone away from the door of the tomb?”, they ask; and it is no good the men lecturing them and saying “you should have thought of that, you silly women”—for the men are nowhere to be seen, having fled in abject panic. However things are very strange, and we discover that “the stone has been rolled away”, meaning, of course, that God has rolled it away, and Mark emphasises what an astonishing thing that is, by adding, “for it was very big”. These courageous ladies do not stop there, however, and we gaze in admiration as they go in; and we wonder what they will find. What they find is not, as it turns out, a decomposing corpse, as we should have expected, but a “young man, sitting on the right, and wearing a white garment”. We wonder who this youth is, but hardly have time to ponder, beyond noticing that “they are very amazed”, which in Mark’s
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gospel has always been the sign of the presence of the divine, and that he responds, as God might, “do not be amazed”. He knows what they are after “Jesus, the Nazarene, the crucified one”. Then comes the astonishing good news of the Easter proclamation: “He is risen—he is not here!” And then they are reminded that they are indeed in the right place “where they laid him”. Then, however, these gallant ladies, all prepared to perform a duty that now seems rather out of touch with reality, are given another job to do. Instead of anointing a dead body, they are to carry a message; and we should notice to whom the message is to go: “To his disciples,” who were last seen vanishing in a panic-stricken puff of smoke, and (here is a very nice touch) “to Peter”, whom of course we last saw making terrible oaths to a little slave-girl that he had no idea who Jesus might be. Then comes the final message to those cowardly males: “he is going before you into the Galilee—you will see him there”. That is the Easter message to us. But there is one further message, and it is so odd that it has driven the compilers of our lectionary to miss it out. For the final words of Mark’s gospel are “and going out, they fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them. And they said nothing to anybody. For they were afraid...” Well did they “say nothing to nobody”? If not, if they failed to make the Easter proclamation, why are you reading these words? Happy Easter.
How to recognise God’s voice Southern Crossword #490 W E are surrounded by many voices. There’s rarely a moment within our waking lives that someone or something isn’t calling out to us. Even in our sleep, dreams and nightmares ask for our attention. And each voice has its own particular cadence and message. Some voices invite us in, promising us life if we do this or that or buy a certain product or idea; others threaten us. Some voices beckon us towards hatred, bitterness, and anger, while others challenge us towards love, graciousness, and forgiveness. Some voices tell us that they are playful and humorous, not to be taken seriously, even as others trumpet that they are urgent and weighty, the voice of non-negotiable truth, God’s voice. Within all of these: Which is the voice of God? How do we recognise God’s voice among and within all of these voices? That’s not easy to answer. God, as the scriptures tell us, is the author of everything that’s good, whether it bears a religious label or not. Hence, God’s voice is inside of many things that are not explicitly connected to faith and religion, just as God’s voice is also not in everything that masquerades as religious. But how do we discern that? Jesus leaves us a wonderful metaphor to work with, but it’s precisely only a metaphor: He tells us that he is the “Good Shepherd” and that his sheep
Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI
will recognise his voice among all other voices. In sharing this metaphor, he is drawing upon a practice that was common among shepherds at the time. At night, for protection and companionship, shepherds would put their flocks together into a common enclosure. They would then separate the sheep in the morning by using their voices. Each shepherd had trained his sheep to be attuned to his voice and his voice only. The shepherd would walk away from the enclosure calling his sheep, often by their individual names, and they would follow him. His sheep were so attuned to his voice that they would not follow the voice of another shepherd, even if that shepherd tried to trick them (shepherds often did this to try to steal someone else’s sheep) by imitating the voice of their own shepherd. Like a baby who, at a point, will no longer be placated by the voice of a babysitter, but wants and needs the voice of the mother, each sheep recognised intimately the voice that was safeguarding them and would not follow another voice. So too with us: among all the voices that surround and beckon us, how do
we discern the unique cadence of God’s voice? Which is the voice of the Good Shepherd? There’s no easy answer and sometimes the best we can do is to trust our gut-feeling about right and wrong. But we have a number of principles that come to us from Jesus, from scripture, and from the deep wells of our Christian tradition that can help us. What follows is a series of principles to help us discern God’s voice among the multitude of voices that beckon us. What is the unique cadence of the voice of the Good Shepherd? • The voice of God is recognised both in whispers and in soft tones, even as it is recognised in thunder and in storm. • The voice of God is recognised wherever one sees life, joy, health, colour, and humour, even as it is recognised wherever one sees dying, suffering, conscriptive poverty, and a beatendown spirit. • The voice of God is recognised in what calls us to what’s higher, sets us apart, and invites us to holiness, even as it is recognised in what calls us to humility, submergence into humanity, and in that which refuses to denigrate our humanity. • The voice of God is recognised in what appears in our lives as “foreign”, as other, as “stranger”, even as it is recognised in the voice that beckons us home. • The voice of God is the one that most challenges and stretches us, even as it the only voice that ultimately soothes and comforts us. • The voice of God enters our lives as the greatest of all powers, even as it forever lies in vulnerability, like a helpless baby in the straw. • The voice of God is always heard in privileged way in the poor, even as it beckons us through the voice of the artist and the intellectual. • The voice of God always invites us to live beyond all fear, even as it inspires holy fear. • The voice of is heard inside the gifts of the Holy Spirit, even as it invites us never to deny the complexities of our world and our own lives. • The voice of God is always heard wherever there is genuine enjoyment and gratitude, even as it asks us to deny ourselves, die to ourselves, and freely relativise all the things of this world. The voice of God, it would seem, is forever found in paradox.
ACROSS 1. Beginner’s good fortune (4) 3. They taunt the speaker (8) 9. So, match that for your belly (7) 10. Keenly zealous (5) 11. I can pour it if around Mary’s fast day (12) 13. Roman god of agriculture (6) 15. Creature that may go pop (6) 17. Bits of it are read at Mass (3,9) 20. Make reparation (5) 21. Very big kind of vestment for very big priest (7) 22. Praise at having hangeron (8) 23. Poured out for you and for... (liturgy) (4)
DOWN 1. Bugle call for retirees (4,4) 2. You may hear it singing from the loft (5) 4. Moral science (6) 5. Hold on to the Creed (4,3,5) 6. Absorb your attention (7) 7. This erf holds one who tills the land (4) 8. Some male religious related but not fully? (4-8) 12. Stately, about right for archbishop of Pretoria (8) 14. There’s a box for them in the church (3,4) 16. Classify (6) 18. Heath seen in America (5) 19. Distort as you wrap (4) Solutions on page 11
MAN suffered a serious heart attack and had an open heart bypass surgery. He awakened in the care of nuns at a Catholic hospital. As he was recovering, a nun asked him questions regarding how he was going to pay for his treatment. She asked if he had medical aid. He groaned: “No medical aid.” The nun asked if he had money in the bank. He replied: “No money in the bank.” The nun asked: “Do you have a relative who could help you?” He said: “Only have a spinster sister, who is a nun.” The nun became agitated and announced: “Nuns are not spinsters! Nuns are married to God.” The patient replied: “Send the bill to my brotherin-law.” Send us your favourite Catholic joke, preferably clean and brief, to The Southern Cross, Church Chuckle, PO Box 2372, Cape Town, 8000.