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July 4 to July 10, 2012

Vatican on how to attract vocations

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The hopes and joys of our bishops

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R6,00 (incl VAT RSA)

Reg No. 1920/002058/06

No 4782

Good preaching: It’s that important

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Bishop: Why I blessed Zuma BY CLAIRE MATHIESON

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Mgr Paul Nadal of Durban blows out the candles on his 80th birthday cake at a function that also served as a fundraiser. See page 2 for full story. (Photo: Illa Thompson)

Nigeria: Anger about to boil over BY PETER AJAYI DADA

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IGERIA’S Catholic bishops have expressed concern that anger and hatred are growing among Christian and Muslim communities and have reached a dangerous level following a spate of church bombings believed to be carried out by Boko Haram, a fundamentalist Islamic sect. “We feel greatly pained by the violent events which have become almost daily occurrences,” the bishops said in a statement. The statement lamented the lack of security for Christians despite mounting attacks. Calling upon all Nigerians to defuse the rising tensions, the bishops also urged the

government to step up its actions to protect all people from violence. The bishops also condemned reprisal attacks on Muslim communities. They praised Muslim leaders for condemning the violence. “But it is not enough to issue verbal condemnation of terrorist activities,” the statement said. “There is need for concrete and pro-active action to call to order those responsible and to make them desist from causing any further havoc on our nation in the name of religion.” They warned attacks on Christians in their places of worship would further stress the already fragile relations between the Christian and Muslim communities.—CNS

BISHOP has assured South African Catholics that his blessing of President Jacob Zuma at an African National Congress (ANC) meeting was not a political act. After a photo published in the Johannesburg daily The Star showed Bishop Peter Holiday of Kroonstad blessing Mr Zuma, some Catholics voiced concerns about political partisanship among the country’s faith leaders. But Bishop Holiday has assured Catholics that the Church is not getting involved in party politics, but instead continues to pray for the country and its leadership—as was the case in the situation photographed. The bishop had been celebrating the Mass in Tumahole/Parys when the parish priest asked if the bishop would bless a member of the parish pastoral council. “I was asked to bless a very committed Catholic who had also just been elected to the executive of the ANC,” Bishop Holiday said. He went to the ANC conference to give the blessing to the parishioner and shortly after he got there, it was announced that the president had arrived. The bishop said he was then asked to extend his blessing to Mr Zuma and to lead the delegates in prayer. That way, instead of the blessing being a low-key event it became high profile, he said. “I had no intention of blessing the president, but you can’t walk away from that kind of situation.” The bishop blessed Mr Zuma, Free State premier Ace Magashule and Parys mayor Joey Mochela, as well as the parishioner whom he had initially intended to visit. Bishop Holiday said it was a prayerful moment. “It was announced we would have a time of prayer. I prayed for the country, its leaders, for the Holy Spirit to guide our leaders and to grant them wisdom. The

entire conference then prayed the Our Father together.” When asked if he would have blessed the ANC leadership on a different day the bishop said that “it depends on the situation”. Under the circumstances he was presented with, the bishop said it would have been more damaging to leave without blessing the president. “The Church prays for the country and its leaders on Good Friday, but this does not mean the Church is politically alligned. We are there for all people,” he said, adding that the president is just like any other person—deserving of being blessed. But, he said, the blessing is limited to just that. “The Church is not getting involved in the political scene,” he reiterated. Fr Anthony Egan SJ of the Jesuit Institute South Africa said there is no issue with a bishop, in his pastoral role, blessing a political leader. “We bless all sorts of people and all sorts of items. It’s not a sacrament, it’s just a blessing,” he said. Fr Egan said people of different faiths and backgrounds can be blessed in the Church. This act does not show approval of the person being blessed, he said. Rather it shows well wishes and positive intention. “If it’s a war criminal or similar, then a blessing might be questionable. Jacob Zuma is not a war criminal, so there is no issue whatsoever with blessing the country’s president.” Fr Egan added that if the bishop refused to bless other political leaders and showed a bias in this manner, then there could be a problem. “Anyone can be blessed. Objection to this particular blessing is trivial.” Bishop Holiday said that when he led a prayer for the whole conference, “I prayed for the country’s leadership, that South Africa would grow as a nation and that the challenges of poverty and education would be resolved.”

OMG! Catholic school learner burns with Usher on stage BY CLAIRE MATHIESON

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GRADE 11 learner from St Benedict’s School in Bedfordview, Johannesburg, attended the World Leadership Conference in Atlanta, thanks to a collaboration between the local Tim Tebeila Foundation and the New Look Foundation, an initiative of R&B star Usher—with whom he then sang on stage. Rorisang Moseli, 17, was selected along with five other young South Africans from Gauteng and the Free State. “I heard about the competition the night before the closing date so I spent the whole of the next day, whenever I had a moment, writing the essay and submitted it just before midnight,” Rorisang told The Southern Cross. He had little faith in his chances, so he was surprised when Buhle Dlamini, CEO of the Tim Tebeila Foundation, in front of cameramen announced at a morning assembly that Rorisang had been selected to attend the World Leadership Conference. “I was completely taken aback as it was the first time I heard I was one of the five young people selected. It was a fantastic surprise!”

“My family was absolutely ecstatic when they heard. My parents were extremely proud of me and my achievement,” he said. The Atlanta conference brought together young people from all over the world. “Each leader had their own individual skill set, but we all had one fundamental desire: to make the world a better place and change the face of the youth. So it was great to engage with young minds and my perspective grew considerably by the end of the conference,” he said. Rorisang said the most important thing he learnt was that “as a young person, I have the potential to change the world and make it a better place”. The conference delegates were taught about different styles of leadership and how these can work with different people. “I learnt how one can work on their ‘personal brand’ and how it affects the opportunities that are presented to you,” said Rorisang, adding that the delegates were also shown how they could utilise talents to give back to the community. The conference featured internationally acclaimed speakers including former US President Jimmy Carter and TV personality

Rorisang Moseli Kelly Osbourne. “They all had inspirational stories to tell and gave us valuable life lessons,” Rorisang said. He said the conference was a wonderful opportunity—from learning from international leaders to training local youth to work in their communities, Rorisang said, describing it as an experience of a life time.

“I also participated in a part of the conference called ‘Expressions’ where we got to showcase our talent—mine being singing.” Rorisang impressed the conference organisers and was asked to participate in the Usher and Friends concert which was held the following day. “I had the pleasure of singing with Usher himself, along with four other young people. It was definitely a moment for life!” Rorisang described the R&B megastar as a very friendly, easy-going guy and very welcoming. “It was a great experience being in the presence of such a great talent.” The five South African delegates will work with the Tim Tebeila Foundation in implementing youth leadership programmes in local communities. “We’d like to certify as many young people as we can so that they are eligible to apply for grants which they can use to start community outreach projects,” Rorisang said. He said he would like “to start my own project to collect enough books and old computers to start information hubs/mini libraries in rural communities, to provide places where these learners will have access to information”.


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The Southern Cross, July 4 to July 10, 2012

LOCAL

Monsignor’s 80th birthday raises funds BY SYDNEY DUVAL

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GALA dinner for Mgr Paul Nadal’s (pictured) 80th birthday was a celebration of life and ministry that also honoured the great spiritual and pastoral legacy of the archdiocese of Durban. It was also a celebration of enduring family kinship and old friendships going back to schooldays at St Henry’s, Durban, in the 1940s. For Cardinal Wilfrid Napier of Durban it was a moment to reflect with profound thanksgiving on the work of the local Church, especially in ministering to the poor and needy who continue to seek compassion and solidarity from the Emmanuel cathedral parish community. Some 200 guests heard Mgr Nadal, a former vicar-general of the archdiocese, pay warm tribute to the priests and men and women religious who had supported him in his various ministries: in catechetics, ongoing education of priests and religious, in formation, spiritual renewal and retreats. At present he serves as episcopal delegate for the beatification process of Abbot Francis Pfanner. He spoke of his long association with the late Archbishop Denis Hurley OMI and its influence on his life. He recalled with special thanks his old friend Ron Edwards;

they had run several Comrades marathons together, and when his knees were giving in it was Ron who got him going on a bicycle. Dominic Barbieri, a long-time friend of Mgr Nadal’s, caught the spirit of other tributes when he described the monsignor as a caring friend and pastor who was always there for people in all seasons. The celebration organisers used dinner tickets and a feast of music, wit and humour to raise R60 000 for the Denis Hurley Centre, with R15 000 coming from an American Auction of paintings and memorabilia, and R3 000 from Manrico Barbieri, one of Mgr Nadal’s oldest friends. Auctioneers, headed by a very amusing cathedral administrator Fr Stephen Tully, included KwaZulu-Natal’s first lady, Dr May Mashego Mkhize, and former US ambassador Bismarck Myrick. Dr Mkhize, who recently joined the Denis Hurley Centre Trust, used the occasion to appeal for generous support for the centre, noting that the project was at a critical stage with eThekwini municipality shortly expected to approve the architectural plans, making it possible to go to tender to appoint a building contractor. For this step the trust needs firm written commitments for at least 80% of the funds needed for construction. So far it has collected

WYNBERG, CAPE TOWN

just under R10 million, which is 42% of what will be needed to further proceed. In response to possible criticism that this was a lot of money to invest in a building, Dr Mkhize said: “This is a building for people, especially poor and vulnerable people whom the centre will serve for decades to come. We are confident that it will be a catalyst to regenerate this much neglected neighbourhood.” What Dr Mkhize found particularly impressive about the project was that through a feeding scheme, clinic, refugee office and job links programme operating through the dilapidated parish centre, it already has over 4 000 “client interactions” a month. The new building would make it possible to double this number and provide a more effective service to those in need, she said. She appealed to those present to take back a plea to all the parishes to give generously in a diocesan collection in all parishes over the weekend of July 28-29 which Cardinal Napier, the main patron of the centre and trust, hopes will reach R500 000. According to centre spokesman Paddy Kearney, Mgr Nadal, as one of the most active of the Denis Hurley Centre’s patrons and trustees, is planning to walk a 300km sponsored “camino” to Santiago de Compostela in Spain early in 2013 to raise funds for the centre.

Participants at a Winter Living Theology workshop last year. This year the WLT talks for lay people will be delivered by Tanzanian theologian Fr Laurenti Magesa.

Winter Theology for the laity BY NOSIPHIWO MPUNGOSE

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HE Winter Living Theology (WLT) seminars have begun with the first in a series of three-day lectures and workshops being delivered in Port Elizabeth. The WLT lectures and workshops have been a part of the annual Church programme for a few years now. This year the Jesuit Institute brought in the Tanzanian theologian Fr Laurenti Magesa to present the Winter Theology. Fr Magesa is offering a thorough reflection on the post-Vatican II African Church, drawing from his own experiences as a priest and as a lecturer at a Jesuit college in Nairobi. In particular he is looking at dialogue between African religions and Christianity, the social role of the Church, challenging models of governance, conflict, justice and reconciliation and issues about human sexuality. One of the aspects of the WLT programme is to offer evening

workshops to lay leaders, catechists and active parishioners. These workshops have proven to be popular over the years as the laity is given the opportunity to sit in, discuss and debate the context of the evening talk with the speaker and fellow lay people. Lectures are still to be held in Cape Town, Durban, Bloemfontein and Johannesburg. In each city the evening workshops will be offered. In Cape Town these will be on July 10 at St Peter’s in Strand; July 11 at the cathedral chancery in the City Bowl, and on July 12 at the church of Resurrection in Table View. In Durban the evening workshops will be held on July 17 at the church of the Immaculate Conception in Pinetown; on Wednesday July 18 at Christ the King in Wentworth and July 19 St Joseph’s Florida Road, Morningside. n For more details of the different evening venues, contact the church offices directly during office hours.

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The Southern Cross, July 4 to July 10, 2012

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Zimbabwean bishops say there is still hope BY CLAIRE MATHIESON

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HE Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference has written a letter to the three million nationals who left the country seeking work and livelihood beyond the borders of Zimbabwe and to those who remained in the country—stating that there is still hope. “We understand your plight. We know why you left. You are not to blame. While we wish you grace and blessing in your new land, we hope that one day you will consider coming home,” the pastoral letter to the diaspora said. “Be assured that there are people—within government, civil society and the churches—not least ourselves, who are committed to the road of national healing and reconciliation, to the common good and to creating a better society for all people.” The dispersion of Zimbabwe’s people has been taking place since the colonial era, however the first decade of the new millennium saw a flood of people leaving the country as it was plunged into an “unprecedented abyss characterised by economic, social, and political woes and unimaginable forms of political intimidation and violence”, said the bishops in a pastoral letter at the time. As the fabric of society weakened, and with no relief in sight, the hopes of many people faded. Many educated people left and succeeded in starting a new life in distant lands where English is spoken as a first or second language, especially in South Africa, Britain,

the United States, Australia and the Middle-East. “This brain-drain caused a serious gap within the professions in Zimbabwe, one that makes economic and social renewal all the more challenging.” But it was not only the skilled and educated that left. An infinitely greater number were less welleducated, semi-skilled or unskilled; dispossessed and desperate; hungry and homeless. The majority were young men, but the number included many young women, some with children, as well as a number of unaccompanied minors, boys and girls under 18 years of age. “While not wishing to abandon their beloved country, these migrants felt abandoned by it. They left the cradle that nourished them. The population of Zimbabwe was decimated in the process,” the bishops recalled. “As Church leaders and as members of society, we acknowledge, with a sense of humility and shame, that so many of our citizens no longer felt welcome at home, and had to take flight. The greatest asset of any country is its own people,” the pastoral letter said. The bishops acknowledged the difficulties many faced in fleeing. While some were able to exit via road or air travel, many faced violence and environmental dangers when crossing borders. Furthermore, those who reach the other side safely find that access to shelter is very difficult. The bishops said temporary shelter provided by churches and NGOs

in border towns is inadequate to deal with the large numbers seeking it. The threat of xenophobia is real for Zimbabweans in certain communities, following the May 2008 attacks in South Africa which led to the deaths of 62 people. Some 670 more were injured and approximately 100 000 foreign nationals were displaced, including large numbers of Zimbabweans. “As bishops, we wish to affirm that those in the diaspora are godly human beings, made in his image and likeness. They are not a number or a statistic on some foreign shore. They are not a stateless people. They belong to the state of Zimbabwe. They are our concern. We embrace them as one of us. They must not be forgotten.” The bishops said the dispersion of their people should mark an important part of the country’s history and these nationals should not be forgotten. “The flight of the diaspora cannot be treated as a footnote to recent historical experience. It is an effect of the core failure within Zimbabwe to move beyond a narrow ideological mindset to a more inclusive view of life.” The bishops asked the diaspora to be patient with current efforts which require so much energy and take so much time. “Know that you contribute to these efforts by your continued vigilance and advocacy in foreign lands. Know also that we can only overcome hatred with love, falsehood with truth, and fear with courage.”

Some 70 young people from the Dynamic Youth Group of Johannesburg’s cathedral parish took part in a Catholic quiz.

Youth quizzed on faith STAFF REPORTER

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HE Dynamic Youth Group of Johannesburg’s cathedral of Christ the King hosted a quiz on the theme “How Catholic am I?”, comprising questions of Catholic teachings and doctrine, and bible knowledge. About 70 youth took part, said the group’s Clement Ngwenya. “Our main concern, which led to the composition of this quiz, is that many youth after they receive the sacraments of initiation are not motivated to go further in strengthening their faith,” Mr Ngwenya said. “That is why Catholic youths are not well equipped in evangelising. We therefore embarked on a new journey called the ‘Post-Catechumen’s Journey’, of which this quiz formed part.” The quiz tested the participants’ ability to defend the Catholic faith, as apologetics is one of the components of the programme.

The parish’s youth forum is made up of three age groups—1015 years; 16-24 and 25-35—and comprises youth from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Nigeria, Congo, and a few from Cameroon and Ethiopia. “What pleases us is that we are united and get along well together,” Mr Ngwenya said. “We will meet every second month to unveil all great things about our Catholic faith and testing each other on questions extracted from the newly published Youcat (Youth Catechism), to promote a culture of reading and researching,” he said. He said the group hopes its initiative will spread. “Our dream is to have a youth quiz such as this implemented on deanery and diocesan levels to sustain the pillars of Catholicism through empowerment of young people and encouragement from our priests and all the clergy,” Mr Ngwenya said.

Supported by the SA Catholic Bishops’ Conference


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The Southern Cross, July 4 to July 10, 2012

INTERNATIONAL

Pope: Revitalised faith an answer to evangelical churches BY CAROL GLATZ

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HE increasing number of Pentecostal and Evangelical communities in Latin America cannot be ignored or taken too lightly, Pope Benedict has told bishops from Colombia. Catholics are “called to purify and revitalise their faith” as well as

‘Aids drugs for all’

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ATICAN secretary of state Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone has called for free universal access to Aids drugs and therapy, and insisted it begin by giving the drugs to HIV-positive pregnant women. In Africa, he said, there is no way to provide universal access to the drug therapy without making it free of charge, so governments, international organisations, donors and pharmaceutical companies will have to work together to provide the drugs.—CNS

strengthen pastoral programmes to improve formation and help people feel welcome in the Church, he told a group of Colombian bishops making their ad limina visits to the Vatican. “Growing religious pluralism is a factor that requires serious consideration,” the pope said, as the increasingly active presence of “Pentecostal and Evangelical communities, not just in Colombia, but also in many regions of Latin America, cannot be ignored or underestimated”. The pope repeated the assessment made by Latin American bishops in 2007 in explaining why Catholics leave the Church to join other religious groups. Often, Catholics leave “not because of what non-Catholic groups believe, but fundamentally for what they live”; they leave not for doctrinal or theological reasons, but because of the “methodological problems of our Church”, the pope said, quoting the concluding document of the bishops’ general conference in Aparecida, Brazil.

Pope Benedict said what is needed is “to be better believers and more devout, affable and welcoming in our parishes and communities, so that no one feels farremoved or excluded”. Educating people in the faith must be strengthened with special attention paid to teens and adults, homilies need to be prepared very carefully and the teaching of Catholic doctrine should be promoted in schools and universities. Reviving Church traditions, particularly involving Marian devotion, is important as well, he said. The aim should be to help baptised Catholics rediscover a sense of belonging to the Church and reawaken a desire to share the joy of Christ with others as members of “his mystical body” in the Church, the pope said. Bishops also should try to facilitate “serene and open” dialogue with other Christian communities, “without losing one’s own identity”, so as to improve relations and “overcome distrust and unnecessary confrontations”.—CNS

Spreading the Good News We invite young men to apply We Dominicans are priests and brothers, living a Religious life together in communities, dedicated to contemplative prayer and the study of God’s message, with the aim of communicating it to the world, so that all people may benefit.

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Pope Benedict arrives to visit the church of St Catherine of Alexandria which was damaged in a May 29 earthquake in Rovereto di Novi, Italy. Fr Ivan Martini, 65, was killed when falling debris crashed on top of him while he was trying to save sacred and liturgical objects in the church. (Photo: L'Osservatore Romano via Reuters)

Vatican issues guidelines on attracting vocations BY CAROL GLATZ

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N an effort to respond to a “clear and pressing” need for priests, the Vatican has released a set of guidelines to help bishops and Church communities promote, recruit and educate a new generation of men for the priesthood. The Church needs “suitable” candidates and must avoid men who “show signs of being profoundly fragile personalities”, while helping others heal from any possible “individual deviations” from their vocations, the document said. “The witness of Christian communities giving account of the faith that is in them becomes even more necessary”, because it’s a community of believers committed to passing on God’s love that “prepares the Lord’s call that invites people to consecration and mission”. Based on responses to a questionnaire sent to bishops’ conferences and directors of national vocations offices around the world in 2008, the Congregation for Catholic Education sought to address a widespread demand for pastoral guidelines for fostering vocations “based on clear and well-founded theology of vocation and of the identity of the ministerial priesthood”. Titled “Pastoral Guidelines for Fostering Vocations to Priestly Ministry,” the 29-page document said that the key to turning things around isn’t just setting up new programmes and initiatives, but also building a vibrant, active and dedicated community of Catholics, united in prayer and with Christ. Some reasons men say “no” to or ignore a call to the priesthood, it said, include:

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• having parents who are reluctant about their son’s choice because they have different hopes for their child’s future; • living in a society that marginalises priests and considers them irrelevant; • misunderstanding the gift of celibacy; • being disillusioned by the scandal of priests who abused minors; • and seeing priests who are too overwhelmed by their pastoral duties to the detriment of their spiritual life. Vocations are fostered when boys and young men have an uplifting and transformative Christian experience, the document said. That experience can be found in family life, at school, in the parish, as an altar boy, in Catholic groups and associations or in volunteer work, all of which allow them to “know firsthand the reality of God himself, in communion with their brothers and in

Gospel mission”. During a Vatican news conference presenting the guidelines, Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the education congregation, said that, paradoxically, “experience teaches us that the strongest candidates grow in hostile environments”. In places where there is open hostility to the Church, he said, vocations are “very healthy, very strong and [priests are] very aware that we have a mission”. Mgr Vincenzo Zani, undersecretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education, said the aftermath of the sex abuse crisis in the United States has had some positive results, specifically in Boston, where the seminary is now filled thanks to an aggressive effort, led by the archbishop, to search for serious vocations. A priest represents Christ the shepherd, the document said, and as such, he must draw his strength from and base his vocation on loving and serving Christ and his church. All Catholics, including parents, coaches, catechists and group leaders, should help their young charges to see the priestly vocation as a gift. Boys and young men should be taught the value of prayer and meditation on God’s word, the document said, so that they learn to hear what God is calling them to do with their lives. The congregation’s guidelines also called for diocesan vocation offices to organise a so-called “invisible monastery” where large numbers of people are dedicated to providing non-stop prayer for priestly vocations.— CNS

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INTERNATIONAL

The Southern Cross, July 4 to July 10, 2012

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Calendar packed for Faith Year BY CINDY WOODEN

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ITH a hymn and a prayer, Italian Archbishop Rino Fisichella presented the Vatican’s initial calendar of events for the Year of Faith, which begins with a Mass on October 11 in St Peter’s Square. Archbishop Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation, said the pope has invited as concelebrants bishops and theologians who, like the pontiff, served as members or experts at the 1962-65 Second Vatican Council. The archbishop said he hoped about 35 “council fathers” would be able to join the presidents of national bishops’ conferences and bishops participating in the world Synod of Bishops in concelebrating the opening Mass. During a news conference, Archbishop Fisichella unveiled the sheet music for the official hymn for the Year of Faith, “Credo, Domine, Adauge Nobis Fidem” (I believe, Lord, increase our faith). “I’ll spare you my musical interpretation,” he told reporters, smiling. He also distributed copies of the official Year of Faith logo (inset) and prayer card, which features a mosaic image of Christ from the cathedral in Cefalu, Italy. The Nicene Creed is printed on the back of the cards, with the idea that the profession of faith would become “a daily prayer, learned by

heart, as it was in the first centuries of Christianity”, the archbishop said. Archbishop Fisichella also announced that the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments had just approved prayer texts in Latin and Italian for a special “Mass for New Evangelisation”. The archbishop’s office is translating the Latin text into English and other languages and hopes to have the congregation’s approval of the translations by the time the Year of Faith opens. Pope Benedict called the Year of Faith to strengthen Catholics who go to church, reach out to those who have left but still yearn for God in their lives, offer a response to those who are searching for meaning and help those who think they do not need God, he said. “We are not hiding the fact that there is a crisis of faith, but it is only when one becomes completely aware of a crisis that one can find ways to remedy it,” the archbishop said. The Vatican has launched a website (www.annusfidei.va) containing information about the Year of Faith and the calendar of special events Pope Benedict will celebrate

during the year. Many of the pope’s traditional appointments will be incorporated into the Year of Faith, but other events have been added, including a celebration on April 28 during which the pope will confirm a group of young people and meet with others who recently have been or are about to be confirmed in their home countries. On June 2, the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ in most countries, the pope will lead the solemn adoration of the Eucharist and is asking every cathedral and parish to have an hour of silent contemplation before the Blessed Sacrament at exactly the same hour, Archbishop Fisichella said. Two weeks later, June 16, Pope Benedict will preside over a celebration of the Church’s witness to the dignity and value of every human life.” The cultural events planned, the archbishop said, include a “huge concert” in St Peter’s Square June 22. Archbishop Fisichella was not ready to reveal the conductor’s name, but he promised it was someone well-known. The Year of Faith is scheduled to conclude on November 24, 2013.—CNS

Pope seeks advice on VatiLeaks crisis BY SARAH DELANEY & CAROL GLATZ

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OPE Benedict has asked some of his closest advisers for guidance on how to restore trust and confidence in the Catholic Church’s leadership amid a scandal over leaks of confidential Vatican papers. Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi SJ said the pope called two extraordinary meetings to “deepen his reflections” over the leaks and their consequences. Paolo Gabriele, the pope’s personal butler, was arrested on May 23 after confidential letters and documents addressed to the pope and others within the Vatican administration were allegedly found in his Vatican apartment. Many of the documents were published in Italian media over the past several months and in a recently released best-selling book by an Italian journalist. Mr Gabriele is the only person charged so far in the scandal the Italian media has called “VatiLeaks”. The first of the pope’s meetings was with cardinals heading the

Greg Burke, who has been appointed senior adviser for communications at the Vatican. (Photo: Chris Warde-Jones, CNS) various congregations and councils that make up the Roman curia, the central government of the Church. The second meeting was with five cardinals who Fr Lombardi said had been chosen for their experience both in Rome and the worldwide Church. They were Cardinal George Pell of Sydney; Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops; Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreli-

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gious Dialogue; Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar-general emeritus of Rome; and Cardinal Jozef Tomko, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples. Fr Lombardi said the five were chosen to give counsel to the pope on how to “restore a climate of serenity and trust in the work of the Roman curia”. A wide-ranging inquiry of the leaks conducted by three cardinals is also under way. Those cardinals report directly to the pope, who, Fr Lombardi has said, wants to understand fully the reasons behind the leaks and the problems they appear to indicate. Meanwhile, the Vatican’s secretariat of state has named US journalist Greg Burke, 52, to the newly created position of senior communications adviser in the secretariat. Mr Burke, a former journalist with the Fox News network and a and numerary member of Opus Dei, said his job will be to help “shape the message” coming out of the Vatican and make sure everyone there “stays on message”.—CNS

NOTARIES

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School returns to the language of Jesus BY JUDITH SUDILOVSKY

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RAMAIC language classes begun four years ago at the elementary school at Jish, Israel, have changed the way youngsters experience the weekly liturgy. “Before, I used to wonder how I would get through the one-and-ahalf hours at church. Sometimes we would even laugh at the how the priest was praying,” recalled Carla Issa, 9, who has studied Aramaic at the school for two years. “But now I understand what I am saying. I love it.” Sunday Mass at St Maron parish is partially recited in Aramaic. But Carla and friends also have found another use for the ancient language: They sometimes use it when they pass notes to each other in class. Some 110 students are now studying the language at the elementary school as a result of years of effort by village resident Shadi Khalloul, 37, chairman of the Aramaic Christian non-governmental organisation in Israel. “This is our Maronite Aramaic heritage,” he said on a recent visit to the school. “We are hoping to revive [Aramaic] as a spoken language. Hopefully the pupils will use it among themselves to communicate with each other. It is our forefather’s language. It is the language of Jesus, we should not forget that, especially the Aramaic Galilee dialect.” Spoken Aramaic, the root language of all Semitic languages, is still preserved in parts of Syria, Iraq and Lebanon—and even by elderly Jews originating from a region of Kurdistan—but the spo-

ken language has been virtually lost in Galilee, where about 10 000 Maronite Catholics use it solely for prayer. During their daily interactions, they speak Arabic. In all, there are between half a million and 1 million people worldwide who still use Aramaic as their vernacular language, while another 15 million use it only as a holy language, said Mr Khalloul. In Jish some older residents have retained their traditional language, but most Maronites of the village only hear Aramaic on Sundays.

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ramaic is taught regularly as part of religion classes by Fr Bishara Suleiman, but it was not until the priest offered a threemonth course for adults in 2006 that Mr Khalloul became hooked on the language. A small group of adult students continued studying on their own following the conclusion of the course and began connecting with other Aramaic communities in Sweden and the Netherlands. Mr Khalloul initiated his own after-school classes for youngsters, then started to negotiate with the Israeli education ministry to include Aramaic as part of the formal curriculum. The ministry now provides funds for the classes up to Grade 8 as part of any enrichment programme already in place. For now, it is the only such project in Israel. A parallel art class is offered during the same period, but almost 90% of the Christian children choose to attend the Aramaic classes, said school principal Reem Khatieb-Zuabi, a Muslim. Continued on page 11

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Fourth-grade teacher Mona Issa prays in Aramaic with her students at Jish Elementary School in Jish, Israel. The mostly Maronite Catholic community is trying to revive the Aramaic language that was spoken by Jesus. (Photo: Debbie Hill, CNS)

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6

The Southern Cross, July 4 to July 10, 2012

LEADER PAGE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Editor: Günther Simmermacher

Dying of hope

A

PRAYER vigil in Rome held for World Refugee Day on June 20 was titled “Dying of Hope”, a deliberate paradox which, in three words, defines the experience of many displaced people. It is an experience shared by refugees in South Africa. As we read in this week’s issue, for Vanneaux Kongolo, a political refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, the prayer vigil’s theme assumed a literal assumption. Doubtless he is neither the first nor the last refugee driven to suicide by an uncaring and faceless bureaucracy. We read this week that Mr Kongolo, a physiotherapist by profession, was denied refugee status, apparently without being given an explanation as to how his case failed to meet the relevant criteria. Without refugee status, he existed on the fringes of society, finding it impossible even to open a banking account. On the photo we publish, and on others we have received but could not print, we encounter a smiling young man who performed volunteer work with children, a man of deep faith, a man who surely would have loved to repay South Africa’s kindness in giving him refuge from political persecution by becoming a productive member of our society. Mr Kongolo was denied that opportunity, arbitrarily. It drove a desperate man to the most extreme conclusion: suicide. And his experience is that of many others, perhaps with the difference that Mr Kongolo had the benefit of friends who accommodated him and devoted time to try and help him. Many refugees are alone in facing the random indifference of the Department of Home Affairs, the bureaucracy of impenetrable regulations, and, in many cases, the hostility of South Africans. Perhaps they are the victims of circumstance. South Africa is facing a huge burden in accommodating genuine refugees. According to figures released last month by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, South Africa is the world’s leading destination for refugees. In 2011, the country recorded 107 000 refugee applications— that is 12% of the global total—

ahead of the United States (76 000) and France (52 100). It is evident that the country’s bureaucracy is not equipped to process such large numbers of applicants, and resources are also required in other crucial areas of administration. However, no country can treat refugees in so indifferent a manner as to cause their suicide—less so South Africa, many of whose leaders, including the president and the minister of home affairs, were themselves exiles from political persecution. Where is the sense of solidarity that our political leadership benefited from during the struggle against apartheid? Where is the compassion? The Catholic Church is engaged in aiding displaced people in South Africa through organisations such as Jesuit Refugee Service, the Refugee Pastoral Centre, the Scalabrini Centre and others. Their work needs our on-going support. In a commentary for Vatican Radio last month, Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi SJ outlined how we should address the refugee question, acknowledging that it involves individuals with hopes and fears and aspirations, not anonymous statistics. “As well as providing shelter and food, what is also needed is to listen, to understand, to provide human and spiritual comfort, to begin rebuilding even the smallest amount of trust in others and in life,” Fr Lombardi said. “From this, a person can begin again to hope in the future. This is one of the biggest challenges for believers and people of good will who truly want, at last, to start to build a better world.” At a time when South Africa complains about skills shortages, the integration into society of refugees must be seen not as a problem, but as an opportunity. More than that, the country has an ethical obligation, embedded in social justice, to extend its hospitality to those in need of it. South Africa has failed Vanneaux Kongolo and others like him. This must be set right, with the implementation of coherent policy and proper administrative directives which will bring justice to those who have already been denied it at home.

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.

Man’s inhumanity to man

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OW dare we refer to ourselves as “humanity”! In so many ways there is absolutely nothing humane about us—we can be so selfish, arrogant and sadistic. “Love one another as I have loved you”, was the final great commandment of the Lord, conveying the central and most important element in our relationship with God—love; yet how we fail this most important tenet through our self-centred lifestyles. These thoughts and similar flashed through my mind after reading the latest atrocity to cross the front page of a local newspaper and although a skewed generalisation, those thoughts did convey my sense of moral outrage. The article reported the discovery of a dead infant, wrapped in newspaper, put into a black plastic bag and dumped into a storm water drain. Yet another innocent had been sacrificed to the expedience of a society obsessed with materialism, self-gain and a decided lack of any

No sex for marks

T

HE practice of sex for school or tertiary marks is a bad trade, aside from the obvious legal, ethical and moral implications. It is an evil that undermines the dignity of a woman, a dignity which cannot be for an A or B grade. Their dignity is inborn and surpasses academic favours. Sexual exploitation for marks will continue unless young women stop devaluing themselves. They must know that they are important even when they fail exams. A woman’s sexuality should be reserved not for the lecturer but her future husband. It’s high time that educators create opportunities to mentor young women students. This kind of empowerment could be a good vaccination against sexually transmitted marks. Teachers or lecturers are there to teach and not to cheat women students. Anthony Gathambri IMC, Merrivale, KZN

Mutual fidelity?

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HE article “SSPX head: ‘We don’t have to accept all Vatican II teachings’” (June 20) ironically gladdens my heart! What applies to the Society of St Pius X can also apply to the rest of us: that is to pick and choose what we want from the “teaching authority of the Church”. If this is actually the basis of negotiations with a dissenting group or movement, there is hope for all. The SSPX’s Bishop Bernard Fellay

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is quoted as saying: “We are still not in agreement doctrinally, and yet the pope wants to recognise us. Why? The answer is right in front of us: there are terribly important problems in the Church today.” If the primacy of conscience is being applied here, then the Congregation for Doctrine and Faith must surely apply the same principle to any perceived doctrinal charges against the US Leadership Conference of Women Religious (or any others) that they may find not in full agreement with doctrine. In the same issue of The Southern Cross there is an article quoting Pope Benedict, headed: “Pope: Marriage requires fidelity, equality and respect”. This essentially—basic to any authentic marriage relationship—also applies to our relationship as church. Whether church is with a small c (People of God) or capital C (institutional Church) as bride and bridegroom. The Church has used this symbolism to us as church and Christ. If we look at Church (institution) as Bride, how does it live up to the essential qualities of mutual fidelity, equality and respect for all? Rosemary Gravenor, Durban

Power of Eucharist

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SAW a new revelation to the transforming power of the Holy Eucharist at Mass. When I put the host into the offering bowl I put myself there, as a choice to surrender myself (my sins, fears, failures and weaknesses—my flesh’s desires), of my own free will. This stage was my acknowledgement of my need for less of me and more of Jesus in

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moral accountability. Indeed, the regularity of this type of behaviour (and this includes abortion) has so desensitised society to human atrocity that, other than expressing initial indignation, the incident is soon forgotten beneath the weight of the next act of moral turpitude. In the meantime, the innocents are consigned to the backwaters of history and statistics—shame on us! In the current debate between religion and atheism, atheists and secular humanists propose that morality does not need God, that human morals are much older than religion. Recent studies point to the fact that interaction by our distant ancestors displayed moralistic behaviour almost 500 000 years ago, long before religion evolved. In a recent study, Harvard professor Marc Hauser stated that “people’s moral intuitions do not vary much across different religions all around the world. From an evolutionary perspective, that means that

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human morality is very old—old enough to pre-date any religion that exists today”. He concludes that “religion cannot be the ultimate source of intra-group cooperation”. Cooperation is made possible by a suite of mental mechanisms that are not specific to religion. Moral judgments depend on these mechanisms and appear to operate independently of one’s religious background.” So why the need for God? For that matter, why would children need parental oversight in their upbringing—surely the inbuilt suite of mental mechanisms would be enough to guide the child to a correct level of moral integrity? However, parental oversight is most necessary, else what measure does the child have to judge what is right or wrong? Similarly, society needs a moral compass, an unchanging measure against which to regulate its moral behaviour— God is that measure! Without that measure, atrocities such as the one that prompted this response can and will occur. To misquote Alan Paton, “Cry, the Beloved Children”. Tony Sturges, Johannesburg me. The offering was then taken up to the table of grace, the altar where my life is to be exchanged for and by the sacrificial Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. Grace is the consecration of the host to the Holy Eucharist, where my life is being transformed to the life of Jesus. When I go up to receive the Holy Eucharist, it is not my life that I receive back, but the life of Jesus within me. Whenever I partake in this covenant of love, I give of myself in order to receive more of Christ within me. In order to receive I must first give. In repentance, I give. I admit that I am nothing without God. I am powerless to save myself and to free myself. In my humanity I seek to hold on to things instead of letting go. This is why choice is so important, for it requires our free will to acknowledge our need for change. We begin to acknowledge that change is happening at the altar of grace. We believe that Christ died and was resurrected. We believe in the transforming power of God, when we accept and receive Christ through the Holy Eucharist. Catherine de Valence, Cape Town Opinions expressed in The Southern Cross, especially in Letters to the Editor, do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editor or staff of the newspaper, or of the Catholic hierarchy. The letters page in particular is a forum in which readers may exchange opinions on matters of debate. Letters must not be understood to necessarily reflect the teachings, disciplines or policies of the Church accurately.


PERSPECTIVES

Good preaching: Its that important

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PORADIC letters to the editor and news items in The Southern Cross, and also in other publications, suggest that it is unclear what exactly Catholics expect of a good homily. Unfortunately there is no consensus on the standard of what may be considered as good preaching in the Church, nor on how important it really is in the life of the Church. Even if a petition for better homilies was circulated, to whom would it be addressed? Directives are a-plenty, the latest being Benedict’s Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini (2010) in which he calls for an “improvement in the quality of homilies” and warns against “generic and abstract homilies” and “useless digressions”. While Verbum Domini is inspiring and motivational, it does not explain why “poor preaching” has become a distinguishing characteristic of Catholic liturgy. Priests themselves would say they are too busy, or that congregants don’t listen to their homilies anyway. They fidget, look around, and even go for a stroll. In return the congregants themselves will have a list of complaints. To perpetuate, however, the demeaning and demoralising notion that Catholic priests cannot preach and that this shortcoming must simply be tolerated or joked about is inconsistent with the high standards required for the liturgy as a whole. In the first of a series of six articles I suggest that the reason for inadequate preaching may be found in how Catholics perceive the role of the priest, and the sacraments. A remark by the French Nobel laureate François Mauriac’s remark is revealing: “The priest is the man who first

gives me forgiveness then places the host in my mouth.” He continues to say that the priest should “give him God and not speak about him”. That God’s voice speaks to us through the minister of the Word at Mass is hard to comprehend. Indeed better that the Word speaks for itself and the preacher bow out. Maybe we believe with Mauriac that all we need are our regular Godshots, so to speak, and not all this talk about him. Yet, as theologians put it: “God is the principal cause of preaching; the preacher the instrumental cause.” It may be found that preachers are only too pleased if another substitutes for them and congregants are as pleased if there is a five-minute or shorter homily (better still not one at all). Preacher and congregants have still to reach the point of an “aha experience”, a moment of illumination which is nothing less than a sacramental encounter, therefore hardly secondary and disposable, but rather that important. However, it will take more than an occasional prod to get to that point; it

A priest delivers his homily at Mass. (Photo: Nancy Wiechec, CNS)

Margaret Mollett

will take nothing less than a shared passion for the Bible; one that ripens as preachers cannot contain themselves in speaking about God and listeners cannot contain themselves in desiring to hear God spoken about, while placing equal value on receiving Holy Communion. Church documents give the right reasons and recommendations for the improvement of biblical preaching, but they cannot ensure that implementation of these is not left to chance. The onus rests on Catholic educators and preachers themselves to counter a whimsical and indifferent attitude with one of earnestness and enthusiasm. Initiatives and developments in this regard need to be widely publicised by Catholic media. Glimpses into the preaching of St John Chrysostom, St Augustine, Archbishop François Fénelon, Cardinal John Henry Newman and Archbishop Fulton Sheen project hope for that often barren space wedged between the Gospel and the Creed. We learn from these preachers that the preaching event happens at the intersection of the vertical axis of divine inspiration, biblical exegesis, contemplation and prayer—and the horizontal axis of communication science in all its facets. n Dr Margaret Mollett is an independent writer and researcher. She lives in Piketberg, Western Cape. This is the first article in a series of six on preaching. In next month’s column she will discuss St John Chrysostom, the “Golden Mouth”.

Diane Beamish

O

Point of Justice

Vanneaux Kongolo, a physiotherapist from the DRC, performs voluntary work in Johannesburg. He committed suicide on June 6 after being repeatedly stonewalled by the Department of Home Affairs. in Johannesburg which I founded in the 1990s and where he lived for most of his time in South Africa. In the attack his refugee permit was stolen. When Home Affairs reprinted it, they oddly gave him a new ID number, to our great distress. So when he went to the bank where we had been able to open an account for him, he was not allowed to withdraw his money, in spite of an affidavit from the police confirming the attack.

H

e walked around, desperately, for months, unable to draw on his salary. That account was closed. In January this year, I managed to open a new account for him at another bank. After a few weeks he went, with enormous relief, to collect his ATM card. But when he got there the bank officials told him that they had a new regulation and could not give him his card until the Department of Home Affairs would verify his document. Because we knew that this would not happen, that regulation effectively closes banking to refugees. That experience was another death sentence. I then went back to first bank, where he had his original account, and explained to the situation to the manager. She said that she would help him to reopen his account and gave him an appointment for Saturday May 26, at

08:00. When Vanneaux arrived at the appointed time he was told that the manager had not come to work. No one helped him. He went home deeply disappointed. I called the manager again, and she made another appointment, for Saturday, June 2. Vanneaux later told me that he had not even gone to the appointment, because he was feeling too depressed to even try. Two days after that conversation this brave, kind and ultimately desperate man took his own life. As I am writing and as you are reading this, there are thousands of refugees sleeping outside Home Affairs offices in desperate attempts to get in tomorrow morning. Young refugees are walking around as illegal aliens, in spite of going to Home Affairs every day and even sleeping outside in the cold. But they cannot even get inside, or when they do, they are told to come back another day. The stream of refugees entering South Africa started just after the genocide in Rwanda, in late 1994. At the time the government decided to incorporate and integrate refugees into society, rather than isolating them in refugee camps. Treating refugees in the way that is happening now fails to fulfil that mandate. The path to integration is blocked all the way by obstacles, demoralising refugees. Some give up hope on life, as the much-loved Vanneaux did. Vanneaux gave up hope on life. The causes of all the problems in his attempt to simply survive in South Africa emanated from the fact that Home Affairs unjustly denied him refugee status—a status for which in international law he qualified and which would have enabled him to lead a normal life and contribute to society with his much-needed skills. Vanneaux Kongolo was a solid, courageous and strong character. It would take a lot to break him, but this did.

576 AM IN JO’BURG & BEYOND

also on DStv audio channel 170 & streamed on www.radioveritas.co.za

7

Judith Turner

On Faith and Life

Point of Preaching

How Home Affairs broke a refugee in SA N Wednesday, June 6, a young refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo by the name of Vanneaux Kongolo took his life. It was an act of total despair and desperation. Vanneaux was a person of great integrity, with a fixation for truth and justice. This is why as a student in DRC he got involved in opposition politics, to fight abuse and corruption in the Kabila government. He was a very strong character. It would take a lot to bring him to this. He fled from the DRC in 2006. In February that year he had been on his way, with two friends, to a political meeting. As they stopped to buy some airtime, soldiers spotted his car and shot at it. Vanneaux was not inside the car, but the soldiers killed one companion and wounded the other. Someone sent him a text message, warning him to stay inside the shop. Vanneaux escaped out of the back door. Knowing that he could no longer stay in the DRC, because his life was seriously threatened, he soon left his country and came to South Africa. To receive recognition as a refugee the international criteria require that one had to flee from one’s country for reason of political persecution or war, and that one’s life would be threatened if one returned. Clearly Vanneaux qualified on both criteria. And yet, against all justice, his request for refugee status was rejected by South African authorities. For Vanneaux , this was a death sentence. As a result of this unfair rejection, Vanneaux was unable to get registered with the Health Council to perform his profession, physiotherapy (this was a cause of tremendous suffering to him). He had very great difficulty in opening a bank account and so on. We appealed against the rejection and I sat with him through his appeal in May 2008. The lawyer/judge was completely understanding of his situation and we assumed he had granted Vanneaux refugee status—but the Department of Home Affairs never gave it to him. Every enquiry produced the same answer: that they had never received any outcome from the Appeal Board. Vanneaux’s situation became increasingly worse. One day he was attacked outside Mercy House, a home for refugees

The Southern Cross, July 4 to July 10, 2012

Don’t be just a colour

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NE recent afternoon I stepped out my front door and witnessed the most beautiful, perfect and colourful rainbow. It reminded me immediately of a story once told of a time when the colours of the world started to quarrel: all claimed that they were the best, the most important, the most useful, the favourite. Green said: “Clearly I am the most important. I am the sign of life and of hope. I was chosen for grass, leaves, trees—without me, all animals would die. Look out over the countryside and you will see that I am in the majority.” Blue interrupted: “You think only about the Earth, but consider the sky and sea. It is the water that is the basis of life and drawn up by the clouds from the deep sea. The sky gives space and peace and serenity. Without my peace, you would all be nothing.” Yellow chuckled: “You are all so serious. I bring laughter, gaiety, and warmth to the world. The sun is yellow, the moon is yellow, the stars are yellow. Every time you look at a sunflower, the whole world starts to smile. Without me, there would be no fun.” Orange started next, blowing her temper: “I am the colour of health and strength. I may be scarce but I am precious for I serve the needs of human life. I carry the most important vitamins. Think of carrots, pumpkins, oranges, mangos, and pawpaws. I don’t hang around all the time, but when I fill the sky at sunrise or sunset, my beauty is so striking that no one gives another thought to any of you.” Red could stand it no longer. He shouted: “I am the ruler of all of you. I am blood! Life’s blood. I am the colour of danger and of bravery. I am willing to fight for a cause. I bring fire to the blood! I am the colour of passion and of love, the red rose, the poppy and the poinsettia. Without me, the earth would be as empty as the moon!” Purple rose up to his full height. He was very tall and spoke with great pomp: “I am the colour of royalty and power. Kings, chiefs, and bishops have always chosen me for I am a sign of authority and wisdom. People do not question me. They obey.” Finally, Indigo spoke, much more quietly than all the others but with just as much determination: “Think of me. I am the colour of silence. You hardly notice me, but without me, you all become superficial. I represent thought and reflection, twilight and deep water. You need me for balance and contrast, for prayer and inner peace.” And so all the colours went on boasting and quarrelling, each convinced of their own superiority. Each wanting to be the most important, the most needed, the most useful, and so on. Soon, the story goes, their dispute became louder and louder. Suddenly there was a startling flash of bright lightening! Thunder rolled and boomed! Rain started to pour down relentlessly. The colours crouched down in fear, drawing close to one another for comfort. And in doing so, they produced a beautiful rainbow. How often do we see this in our lives, especially in our organisations? Imagine if each individual and organisation knew what their own strengths were, valued those strengths, but at the same time valued what all other individuals and organisations bring. Would we not be able to be a kaleidoscope of hope and joy for the poor? Let us as individuals and organisations not wait for thunder to roll, but join hands, bring our special gifts and talents together and be a sign of hope and joy—just as the rainbow is a sign of God’s everlasting covenant.


8

COMMUNITY

The Southern Cross, July 4 to July 10, 2012

Cardinal Wilfrid Napier confirmed ten candidates at St Anthony’s parish in Pietermaritzburg. Concelebrating was parish priest Fr Noel McHenry SPS (left) and assisted by Fr Pat McGivern SPS (right). Zelda David (front, second from left), catechist of the 2012 confirmation class, also celebrated her 30th anniversary as a Sunday school teacher. She received a special blessing by the cardinal who presented her with a certificate in recognition of her commitment, and dedication for the past 30 years on behalf of the parish pastoral council. (Submitted by Richard Moodley)

The class of 1971 of Springfield Convent School in Wynberg, Cape Town, met for their 40th school reunion and attended a Thanksgiving Mass celebrated by Fr Ralph de Hahn. Pictured are some of the past pupils outside the church at Springfield (from left) Brunella Northcote (Ceron), Jenny Hart (Buist) Patricia McKenzie (Hemmingway), Liz O’Donoghue (Oldridge), Maria Kerbelker (da Camera), Zandra Alberti (van Zyl), Moira Goupille (Mason), Fr de Hahn, Angela Silagy (Slattery), Jenny Gorman (Gunn), Rita Visentin (Alberti), Emilia Errera (Marchesini), Lindsay Crowther (Groves), Madeleine Rawbone-Viljoen (Franzidis), Anne de Villiers (Haw) and Alison James (Kerr). (Submitted by Sue Beard)

Several members from various parish’s Catholic Women’s League enjoyed a day in Constantia, Cape Town, led by Fr Dominic Helmboldt. (Submitted by Samantha Damons)

Confirmation candidates of Our Lady of the Assumption parish in Umbilo, Durban. (Back row, from left) Candice Shatwell, Deacon Allister Glenn and Fr Mdu Mchunu, (front) Andile Khumalo, Sne Ntanzi, Debbie DohertyBigara, Katherine Redman, Nikita Singh and Sasha Lorton.

Bishop Frank de Gouveia joined a procession through Oudtshoorn to celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi. (Submitted by Glen Carlisle)

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HOPE&JOY

The hopes and joys of our bishops B

EING a bishop is a challenging job. One must lead and inspire the people, their priests and religious, to ensure the faith is kept alive; a bishop will liaise with government, with the Vatican and with civil society; a bishop will be aware of social and environmental issues; a bishop must manage his diocese; and a bishop will encourage others to follow in his footsteps. Despite the many challenges facing bishops, they can find hope and joy in their lives. Bishop Frank de Gouveia of Oudtshoorn says there are signs of hope and joy in the midst of the grief and anguish that are part of our lives today. “The world of today is characterised by economic insecurity and inequality, greed and corruption, moral indifference, family breakdown, depression and addiction, anger and hurt, pleasure and immediate gratification, reluctance to sacrifice for others and to believe in God or indeed anything greater than ourselves or beyond our control. This is the world in which the Church is called to discern signs of hope and joy, faith, forgiveness, mercy, love and care,” he says. Bishop de Gouveia says these are the qualities embodied by Jesus as he hung on the cross. “He shows this in the way that he relates to his Father, his loved ones and his enemies even as he suffers and dies. This is the source of our hope.” Archbishop Stephen Brislin of Cape Town says hope and joy are two virtues deeply rooted both in the Scriptures and Christian tradition. “The source of our hope is Christ who by his sacrificial self-giving on the Cross and resurrection, triumphed over evil and death and raised us to new life. St Peter encourages us to ‘set your hope fully upon the grace that is coming to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ’ (1 Pet 1:13). Without Christ’s resurrection there is no

The

hope,” the archbishop says. “Our faith is all about hope.” And from this Christian hope, comes our joy, he says. “Despite what may be perceived as futility, Christ is risen and our life has purpose. In our loyalty to Christ and fidelity to his word—our submission to God’s will—true joy and fulfilment are found,” Archbishop Brislin says. He says life today is tough. Many people feel stressed out and there is insecurity in a rapidly changing world. But, Archbishop Brislin says, it is necessary to remind ourselves of these fundamental virtues of our faith. “The theme of hope and joy given to us by the Jesuit Institute in preparation for the anniversary of the Second Vatican Council not only reminds us of this, but also helps us build our lives on the foundations of true values given by our faith.” Bishop Mlungisi Dlungwane of Mariannhill looks to everyday events to be inspired in his work as bishop of the KwaZulu-Natal diocese, which he has served since 2006. “There are good times when I feel happy and well received by the people of the diocese, such as at confirmations where I get a chance to meet young people in and outside liturgy,” he says. “Those are moments of great joy and laughter.” Bishop Dlungwane also finds joy in his work. “When I am able to inspire unity and cooperation in the work we do together as priests and in our relationships among priests and parishioners in the parishes; being able to share our faith, skills and know-how for the common good; and the spreading of the Good News—that is joy,” he says. In his first year as bishop of Kroonstad (the former priest of the archdiocese of Johannesburg was ordained to the episcopate in June 2011), Bishop Peter Holiday says he received tremendous support from

Claire Mathieson

The Southern Cross, July 4 to July 10, 2012

A Church of Hope and Joy

the communities of his diocese. “We are faced with all sorts of social challenges—a shortage of priests and religious sisters and brothers and poverty. But the Church is very much alive in the 34 communities of the diocese,” says Bishop Holiday. Bishop Holiday visited almost every parish of the diocese in his first year, and everywhere he visited he saw the “faith was alive”. “Seeing the life of the Church in different parishes is a great sense of joy for me,” says Bishop Holiday. “The elderly, the youth, married couples, young adults and children—I can see the Church is filled with hope and joy for the future.” Bishop de Gouveia says there is always the danger that we can look back at the past with nostalgia, either wishing that the Church could return to the security and stability of the pre-Vatican II era or to the optimism of the 1960s when many thought that love, peace, equality and freedom would sweep the world with the dawning of a new age. “What Vatican II did well was to read the signs of the times that were the 1960s. It was a very optimistic time, but optimism is not the same as true hope and can sometimes be out of touch with reality. Vatican II calls us and people of every time to read the signs of our own times in the light of the Gospel.”

F

or Archbishop Buti Tlhagale of Johannesburg, Vatican II “rekindled a new spirit in the Church. It radically changed the Church’s way of doing and seeing”. He believes this year’s 50th anniversary of Vatican II—“an example of the outpouring of the Spirit”—will serve as inspiration for today and as a source of hope Bishop de Gouveia refers to the Catholic philosopher Gabriel Marcel who said that there can be no true hope without the temptation to despair. “The Catholic Church in Southern Africa discerned and amplified signs of hope during the struggle against apartheid, particularly through the statements of the bishops’ conference and other symbolic and meaningful actions. What do we need to do in our parishes and dio-

African bishops in the Vatican during the 2009 Synod of Bishops for Africa. This week’s Hope&Joy article looks at the hopes and joys of bishops. (Photo: Paul Haring, CNS) ceses today so that we can become a more perfect sign of Gospel hope and joy?” he asks. “The Church is indeed in the modern world, as Vatican II says, and so all those characteristics of 2012 Southern Africa are also present in the Church. We need to continue to discern and amplify best practice in the Church today. We need to hear the stories of communities, parishes and dioceses where there is real racial integration, the sharing of resources, working together, praying together, facing the challenges of diminishing numbers in some areas, sharing youth, family life and evangelisation programmes that are bearing fruit, dealing with complex financial, property and building problems that many parishes and dioceses are facing,” Bishop de Gouveia says. “Let us advertise and celebrate the signs of hope and joy where the Church is becoming more self-sustaining and sharing,” says Bishop de Gouveia. “To put the emphasis on self-sustaining alone would lead to a parish or diocese becoming too inward-looking and ignoring the needs of our neighbour,” he says,

adding that to place the emphasis on sharing alone could encourage dependency. “A self-sustaining and sharing Church will be a sign of hope and joy and our celebrations at this time will not be simply a re-reading of documents that are 50 years old but a rejoicing in the spirit of Vatican II.” Bishop Holiday says the people of the diocese encourage him to guide and shepherd the diocese on the needs of the people and on the foundations of bishops before him. “Challenges are part of the work but even these help to guide and enrich and help us to find hope and joy in everything.” Bishop Dlungwane says joy is easily found but it is equally important to stay hopeful. “I have hopes for development and growth in the faith and in self reliance, good marriages and stable family life, protection of children and vulnerable people, good vocations to the priesthood and religious life, the end of poverty and HIV/Aids, finding employment, achieving prosperity and better lives for all our people.”

Souther n Cross

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CHURCH

The Southern Cross, July 4 to July 10, 2012

The Church in Africa today The Church today no longer regards Africa as a hopeless and helpless continent, but one that is rich and diverse—the continent of hope. FR RAYMOND MWANGALA OMI discusses what Pope Benedict’s 2011 document on the continent, Africae munus, means for South Africa.

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OPE Benedict’s post-synodal apostolic exhortation, Africae munus, published in November 2011, confirms a positive view of Africa. In it, the pope calls the continent a “spiritual lung” for humanity. This important document must be made available to Christian communities and translated into action. The first African Synod (1994) was held at a time when South Africa was going through a radical social transformation as a country, from the oppressive apartheid regime which for more than four decades had systematically oppressed communities based on race, to the promise of majority rule and a new democratic dispensation. The jubilation and hope experienced by Catholics in other parts of the continent with the celebration of the synod were overshadowed in South Africa by the historical change that was happening here. The post-1994 years were filled with optimism. A decade after the first synod, Pope John Paul II announced his intention to convoke a Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops. He died before he could do so. However, Pope Benedict confirmed his predecessor’s plan, convoking the second African Synod in 2005. This time the bishops of South Africa could fully engage with the synod process. However, it was evident in 2009 that the optimism experienced in 1994 had been overtaken by the sad reality of corruption, lack of service delivery and worsening poverty conditions for the majority. And so, the theme of the second synod was very timely for the South African situation: “The Church of Africa in Service to Reconciliation, Justice and Peace”. For this country, with its dark history of apartheid whose legacy continues to be manifested today in the polarised nature of society manifested by frequent violent conflicts and public manifestations of anger, Africae munus is a must read!

Brief analysis of Africae munus

Africae munus gathers together the fruits of the deliberations of the 2009 Synod of Bishops on Africa and the pope’s reflections and views

on the continent. In a sense, the exhortation presents to the Church of Africa and to the universal Church the main challenges facing the continent today and sets the agenda for pastoral action. The Latin title of the exhortation, Africae munus, translates into English as “Africa’s commitment”. And so, as might be expected, the document speaks both about Africa’s commitment to humanity and about the Church’s commitment to Africa. The Church of Africa has a crucial role to play in healing the many divisions of society while the Church seeks to be a credible and relevant presence on the continent. The document divides into two main parts. A brief introduction links the present document to the first African Synod and Ecclesia in Africa. John Paul II’s post-synodal exhortation which was launched in 1995 in three African cities, including Johannesburg. The introduction reviews achievements and challenges encountered since the first synod. It is in this section that Pope Benedict uses the image of Africa as a “spiritual lung” for a humanity that appears to be in a crisis of faith and hope. The first part of the exhortation, composed of two chapters, is dedicated to a review of the synod theme. This section reflects on the fundamental structures of the Church’s mission on the continent, a mission which aspires to reconciliation, justice and peace, and has its origin in the person of Jesus Christ. The section lays the theological foundation for the Church’s mission. Listening to Christ, his followers are invited to let themselves be reconciled with God, becoming just in order to build a just social order in keeping with the logic of the Beatitudes, and committing themselves to fraternal service for love of truth, which is a source of peace. Attention then turns to the paths towards reconciliation, justice and peace. These include authentic conversion, the celebration of the sacrament of penance and reconciliation, the spirituality of communion, inculturation of the Gospel and the evangelisation of culture, the protection of life, migrants, displaced persons, refugees, the good governance of states, and ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue especially with traditional African religions and Islam. This section further reflects on the different roles that must be played in reconciliation by the family, the elderly, men, women, young people and children, in a word, by all the members of the Church. Under the heading “The African vision of life” the exhortation discusses various threats which loom over life in Africa such as increasing numbers of abortion in many countries, drug and alcohol abuse, HIV/Aids and other diseases, the

plight of refugees and displaced peoples and the effects of globalisation and international trade. The section closes with a call to the Church of Africa to use its spiritual resources to transform the continent, especially through dialogue. Part two, comprising three chapters, calls on all the members of the Church, beginning with bishops, to contribute to the building of communion and peace in the Church and in society.

Assessment of the document

In an article written shortly after the publication of Africae munus for the British journal The Tablet (December 3, 2011), Jesuit Father Peter Henriot praised the document for offering “pastoral directions that are challenging and encouraging”. He also praised the pope’s use of the positive image of Africa as a “spiritual lung” for a humanity that appears to be in a crisis of faith and hope, and for its discussion of economic and social challenges facing Africa (though Fr Henriot would have liked to see a deeper analysis of the situation). Another positive element of the document highlighted by Fr Henriot is the strong link made by the document between love and justice. Also on the positive side are the recommendations made for the better formation of Church members at every level in a faith that is mature and relevant. Finally, Fr Henriot praised the document, in its English translation, for the use of more genderinclusive language, something that is not always experienced in Vatican statements. On the negative side, Fr Henriot criticised the document, for among other things: • the “occasional abstraction from African realities—a failure to contextualise the lessons being offered”; • being too long and lacking the punch to drive home relevant teaching. The document, he noted, has many generalities repeated, with citations from other papal documents with very little from Africans themselves; • failure to mention climate change under the discussion on environmental concerns and also its superficial treatment of the serious issue of population; • the inadequate treatment of role of Small Christian Communities and National Justice and Peace Commissions in implanting reconciliation, justice and peace on

the continent; • the failure of the document to use the strong language of the African bishops in speaking about public leadership and corruption. Instead the document uses the pope’s comments found in Caritas in veritate, which are modest and watered-down in tone; • although the document highlights the role of the Eucharist in the process of reconciliation, justice and peace, it fails to mention the tragic and untenable reality of many Catholics’ inability to take part regularly in eucharistic celebrations due to the scarcity of ordained priests in many places on the continent; • the document almost completely ignores the lively debates and strong message of the synod to address the role of women in the African church;

• Fr Henriot found the discussion on HIV/Aids incomplete and unsatisfactory. While Fr Henriot’s conclusions are open to debate, what is even more crucial is the question of reception and implementation of the exhortation; how has it been received by the Catholic community in South Africa? To ensure that the document does not gather dust it must be made available in various ways. Simplified English versions tailored for group discussion could be the starting point. Translation into local languages is another important step in making the document available. But more important than texts is translating the message of the document into lived reality. Only then can we say Africae munus has been received.

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The Southern Cross, July 4 to July 10, 2012

Jesus’ language taught at school Continued from page 5 The principal said classes have proven to be a matter of pride for the school, and even some Muslim students are taking the class. “It is a language which is about to disappear,” she noted. “A culture is something precious, history is very precious to me, and we can’t erase history and build a new culture. You have to understand where you come from.” St Paul’s parents are traditionally believed to have lived in Jish, which is near the Lebanese border. Of its 2 800 residents, 60% are Maronite Catholic, 35% are Muslim and 5% are Melkite

Catholic. Aramaic was the dominant language in the region until about the sixth century, when Arabic replaced it following the Arab invasion. Sweden has the strongest tradition of spoken Aramaic, and Jish school has been using textbooks and other learning material from that community. Mr Khalloul, who speaks to his 2-year-old son solely in Aramaic and relishes seeing the boy respond, dreams of hearing Aramaic conversations in the streets of Jish. But he is also realistic and admits that perhaps the only place where the language can

Liturgical Calendar Year B Weekdays Year 2

Sunday, July 8, 14th Sunday of the Year Ezekiel 2: 2-5, Psalm 123, 2 Corinthians 12: 7-10, Mark 6: 1-6 Monday, July 9, feria Hosea 2: 16-18, 21-22, Psalm 145: 2-9, Matthew 9: 1826 Tuesday, July 10, feria Hosea 8: 4-7, 11- 13, Psalm 115: 3-10, Matthew 9: 32-38 Wednesday, July 11, St Benedict Hosea 10: 1-3, 7-8, 12, Psalm 105: 2-7, Matthew 10 1-7 Thursday, July 12, feria Hosea 11: 1-4, 8-9, Psalm 80: 2-3, 15-16, Matthew 10: 715 Friday, July 13, feria Hosea 14: 2-10, Psalm 51: 3-4, 8-9, 12-14, 17, Matthew 10: 16-23 Saturday, July 14, feria Isaiah 6: 1-8, Psalm 93: 1-25, Matthew 10: 24-33 Sunday, July15, 15th Sunday of the Year Amos 7: 12-15, Psalm 85: 9-14, Ephesians 1: 3-14, Mark 6: 7-13

Southern CrossWord solutions SOLUTIONS TO #505. ACROSS: 3 Abominate, 8 Flaw, 9 Card table, 10 Exodus, 11 Askew, 14 Lairs, 15 Nebo, 16 Eases, 18 Flap, 20 Totem, 21 Leapt, 24 Advent, 25 Gallantry, 26 Sere, 27 Faithless. DOWN: 1 Afterlife, 2 Canonical, 4 Bias, 5 Midas, 6 Neaten, 7 Told, 9 Curse, 11 Asset, 12 Weathered, 13 Godmother, 17 Study, 19 Pellet, 22 Penal, 23 Data, 24 Arts.

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truly be revived to that extent is in the Maronite area of Mount Lebanon in Lebanon. Still, he said, the Maronite children of the village will have this language for themselves. “A nation without a language and without its forefather’s language has no future,” he said. “Teaching them their heritage will strengthen our Christianity. At least in the Middle East we should all unite in our Aramaic heritage.” He noted that, by request of the children, in May the first Communion ceremony at the church was conducted completely in Aramaic.—CNS

Family Reflections JULY FAMILY THEME: GRANDPARENTS July 8 : Grandparents are at the opposite extreme to the youth in families. They have been there and done that and are not really interested in the t-shirt. Maybe they are too tired, having given so much of themselves for their children and for grandparents also their grandchildren. Is the wisdom gained from experience still being valued as much as it should be? Grandparents, children and grandchildren all need to practise tolerance and acceptance. A good dose of gratitude towards one another is very helpful as we pray for and with one another day by day. “In Africa, the elderly are held in particular veneration. They are not banished from families or marginalised as in other cultures. On the contrary, they are esteemed and perfectly integrated within their families, of which they are indeed the pinnacle. This beautiful African appreciation of old age should inspire Western societies to treat the elderly with greater dignity. Sacred Scripture speaks frequently of the elderly. “Rich in experience is the crown of the aged, and their boast is the fear of the Lord” (Sir 25:6).

Community Calendar

To place your event, call Lara Moses at 021 465 5007 or e-mail l.moses@scross.co.za (publication subject to space)

CAPE TOWN: Helpers of God’s Precious Infants meet every last Saturday of the month except in December, starting with Mass at 9:30 am at the Salesians Institue Community Chapel in Somerset Road, Cape Town. Mass will be followed by a vigil and procession to Marie Stopes abortion clinic in Bree Street. For further information contact Colette

Thomas on 083 412 4836 or 021 593 9875 or Br Daniel Manuel on 083 544 3375

NELSPRUIT: Adoration of the blessed sacrement at St Peter’s parish. Every Tuesday from 8am to 4:45pm followed by Rosary Divine Mercy prayers, then a Mass/Communion service at 5:30pm.

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PERSONAL

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known and publish this prayer. Amen. Steve. O GREAT St Joseph of Cupertino who while on earth did obtain from God the grace to be asked at your examination only the questions you knew, obtain for me a like favour in the examinations for which I am now preparing. In return I promise to make you known and cause you to be invoked. Through Christ our Lord. St Joseph of Cupertino, Pray for us. Amen. Sylvester.

THANKS

PRAYERS

GRATEFUL,thanks to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Our Mother Mary and Ss Joseph, Anthony, Jude and Martin de Porres for prayers answered. RCP.

ACCOMMODATION

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. Joy, Matt LL. HOLY ST JUDE, 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

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15th Sunday: July 15 Readings: Amos 7:12-15, Psalm 85:9-14, Ephesians 1:3-14, Mark 6:7-13

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UR task, yours and mine, is to preach the message that God gives us to preach; but we should not run away with the idea that this good news, wonderful though it undoubtedly is, will win us lots of friends. If you find yourself getting a bit dispirited about your job of spreading the gospel, then Sunday’s readings are for you. The first reading has Amos, a southerner, who has been sent by God to preach the message to the northern kingdom (you must imagine for yourself what would be the equivalent in this country). The upshot is, as so often, that the political and religious establishment want nothing to do with him; and so the High Priest Amaziah sends him packing “back to the land of Judah, and get your salary by prophesying there”. And the reason? “This is the King’s sanctuary, and the Temple of the Kingdom”. As so often, the political masters demand to control the voice of God. Amos’ response is very firm, that he is not a member of the prophets’ trade union (“I am not a prophet, nor a prophet’s son”), but a farmer (“a shepherd and a dresser of sycamore trees”), “and God took me from following the flock and told me, ‘Go: prophesy to my people Israel’.”

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God is on our side

Nicholas King SJ

Sunday Reflections

The point here is that God is passionately involved with his people in the northern kingdom, who are rushing headlong into ruin, and Amos is God’s answer to the problem. But they would not listen, and a generation or so later their city was destroyed, and they were led off into exile, never to be seen again. The psalm probably comes from a slightly different period, the difficult time of the return from Babylon, but still there is the same sense that God is on his people’s side; indeed the singer tells us that God “will speak [words of] peace to his people, and to those who love him”. Then we hear of God’s companions, whom we might translate as “Steadfast Love” and “Integrity”, “Righteousness” and “Peace”. They are worthy companions, and we might

ask them to walk with us on our mission. We should also notice the absolute certainty that “the Lord will give good to our land”, which is presumably in a bit of a mess at the moment. That should encourage us, this week. The second reading should also encourage us; it is, as it happens, the longest sentence in the entire New Testament (although you will probably find that your translation has broken it up into bite-sized pieces for easier digestion). What we should notice, and apply to ourselves, is the exuberant gratitude (“Blessed be God”) of the author, recognising what a gift it is that we have all “been chosen from the foundation of the world”, and has “made known to us the mystery of his good pleasure...to sum up everything in Christ”. Read through this long passage between now and Sunday, and marvel at the vision. In the gospel for next Sunday, the disciples (who in Mark’s gospel are characterised as seriously dumb, to our relief) are being sent out on their first evangelical mission. They go out in pairs, and with “authority over unclean spirits”, just like Jesus. Like Jesus, they are to travel light: “Nothing except a stick, no bread, no wallet, not even any copper in the money-

We can all be mystics M

YSTICISM is an exotic word. Few of us connect mysticism with ordinary experience, especially with our own experience. Mysticism is generally seen as an exotic thing, a paranormal thing, a special kind of consciousness given only to the most elite within the spiritual life, something for spiritual athletes, or for the weird, visions and altered states of consciousness, snakes and ladders in the spiritual life. But mysticism isn’t extraordinary, paranormal, or weird, but an important, ordinary experience given to us all. What is mysticism? The British Carmelite Ruth Burrows defines it this way: Mysticism is being touched by God in a way that is deeper than language, thought, imagination, and feeling. It’s knowing God and ourselves beyond explicit thought and feeling. But how is this possible? How do we know something beyond our capacity to speak about it, imagine it, or even clearly feel it? Perhaps a description of a life-changing experience from her life by Sr Ruth can be helpful here. In her autobiography, Before the Living God, she shares this incident: As a young woman in her late teens, she was sitting in chapel one day. She wasn’t there for a particularly prayerful purpose, but had been consigned there as a punishment for acting out at a class retreat. As she sat alone in that chapel she had a mystical experience; not that an angel appeared to her or that she has some special vision or some altered state of consciousness. The opposite: sitting in that chapel she had a moment of rare, simple, and privileged clarity, a deep grounding in herself and in reality, where, for that moment, she was in touch with what was deepest and most true inside her and with what is deepest and most true inside

Conrad

Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI

Final Reflection

of reality. And, in that, she knew, beyond the explicitness of words, imagination, and feeling, something of the reality of God and something of her own truest being. The experience changed her life. In that moment, she knew what she had to do and, against much of her own temperament, she became a contemplative nun— and eventually, of course, a woman whose spiritual insight has helped mentor many of us. CS Lewis, sharing about his own conversion to Christianity, describes something similar, though in his case the experience was a longer, protracted one which crystallised in a moment of privileged clarity that had him, for that moment, in touch with what was deepest and most true inside of him and inside of reality itself. In his autobiography, Surprised by Joy, he describes the moment when he first knelt down in the acceptance of Christianity; he shares that, for him, the moment was far from ecstatic. Rather, he knelt down as “the most reluctant convert in the history of Christendom”. But he knelt because, as he describes it: “I had come to realise that the harshness of God is kinder than the softness of man and God’s compulsion is our liberation.” How does Lewis understand God’s compulsion? In much the same way as Sr Ruth understands her mystical experience, namely, as a moment of simple clarity

within which one touches and comes to realise what’s is deepest and truest inside of oneself and inside of reality itself and, in that clarity, knows what one has to do—as opposed to what one’s intellect might think it wise to do or what one’s heart affectively wants to do. Lewis became a Christian because he was in touch with this experience inside his mystical centre and it told him what he had to do. And what makes up our mystical centre? The Canadian philosopher Fr Bernard Lonergan SJ called it the brand of the first principles—oneness, truth, goodness, and beauty—inside the human soul. Fr Henri Nouwen called it “first love”, namely, the dark memory of once having been loved and caressed by hands far gentler than any we have ever met in this world, the unconscious memory of having been with God before we were born. Some mystics call it the inchoate memory of God’s kiss as he puts our souls into our bodies. Most of us don’t have a name for this, but we speak of something as “ringing true” or as “not ringing true” to us. But to what does something ring true or false? Do we carry some kind of “bell” inside of us? In fact we do. We can call it our conscience, our deepest centre, our moral centre, the centre that tells us what we have to do, or that place inside us where we long for a soul mate, but we all know that there is a place inside of us, one that we touch in our most sincere moments, where we know the brand of the first principles, inchoately remember God’s kiss, and know what we need to do to be true to who we are. When we are in touch with this deep centre and act out of its nudges and imperatives we, like Ruth Burrows and CS Lewis, are living a mystically-driven life.

belt, and only one suit of clothes”. Rather alarmingly, they are to “stay wherever you enter a house, until you come out of it”. But Jesus is well aware that they will not always be given a cordial welcome: “Whatever place does not welcome you and refuses to listen to you, go out from there, and shake the dust from under your feet” (this is a Jewish gesture on leaving gentile territory and returning to the holy land). To our amazement, the disciples actually did it: “They went out and preached that people should turn it around; they threw out numbers of demons, and they would anoint many sick people with oil, and they would cure them!” We may not feel that our skills are quite up to this spectacular sort of activity, but our task is simply to go where we are sent. And you might, this week, reflect on the fate of John the Baptist, whose gruesome death (the result of preaching God’s message) is narrated at fascinating length in the verses that follow this episode. Herod and his unlovely wife, and her wretched daughter, put an end to John’s preaching, annoying as it must have been. And the same may happen to you as it did to John and Jesus and Amos; but it is they, not the Herod family, whom we remember and honour. You can find no better way of living your life than by doing, this week, what God is asking you to do.

Southern Crossword #505

ACROSS 3. Detest! (9) 8. Sounds like an imperfection underfoot (4) 9. There could be a good deal at this (4,5) 10. Mass departure of the people (6) 11. Not in a straight position (5) 14. Rails around lions’ dens (5) 15. Mount where Moses died (Deut 32) (4) 16. Alleviates (5) 18. Show agitation in the wind (4) 20. Go into temple, find tribal emblem (5) 21. Jumped from the plate (5) 24. Arrival before Christmas (6) 25. Rang tally up of man’s attention to the lady (9) 26. Cause to wither in serenity (4) 27. Disloyal like an atheist? (9)

DOWN 1. Survive death in another existence (9) 2. According to Church Law (9) 4. Prejudice on the bowling green (4) 5. He had the precious touch (5) 6. Tidy up (6) 7. Informed as the bell sounded (4) 9. It’s no blessing! (5) 11. Tessa can display a valuable possession (5) 12. Jesus came through the storm thus (9) 13. She takes responsibility at the font (9) 17. Room to gain knowledge (5) 19. Lightweight bullet (6) 22. Panel changes legal sanction (5) 23. In Canada take what’s given (4) 24. Creative skills (4)

Solutions on page 11

CHURCH CHUCKLE

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RS Mulligan went into the confessional and was about to start when she noticed an unfamiliar face behind the shutter. “You’re not Father O'Reilly. What are you doing there?” “I’m Pastor Williams.”' “Well, where is Father O'Reilly?” “I couldn’t tell you, but if he heard anything like the stories I’ve been listening to, he’s gone to the police.” Send us your favourite Catholic joke, preferably clean and brief, to The Southern Cross, Church Chuckle, PO Box 2372, Cape Town, 8000.


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