Page 1

www.scross.co.za

October 17 to October 23, 2012

Cardinal Napier: Why we need a men’s ministry

Page 7

Interview with Holy Land Trek author

Page 17

R6,00 (incl VAT RSA)

Reg No. 1920/002058/06

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Priest: Losing my leg was also a blessing

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Synod: Media an enemy and friend BY CINDY WOODEN

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HE Catholic Church needs to use its media and social networks to spread the faith because much of the news media cover the Church in a way that “is full of lies”, Hungarian Cardinal Peter Erdo of Esztergom-Budapest told the Synod of Bishops. Across Europe, there is “a spreading ignorance about the Christian faith”, which is exacerbated by the media “misinforming the public as to the content of our faith,” the cardinal said.. Cardinal Erdo, president of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences, was one of five speakers summarising the state of evangelisation in different regions of the world. Each of the five mentioned the role of the media, and several insisted on the Church’s obligation to use social networks to reach new generations of Catholics. The Hungarian cardinal told the synod that Europeans are losing an awareness of just how essential Christianity has been to the development of their cultures, democracy and the human rights they hold so dear. The loss, he said, is a “consequence of an audiovisual culture” in which clear concepts and logical reasoning are ignored. Mexican Archbishop Carlos Aguiar Retes of Tlalnepantla, president of the Latin American bishops’ council, told the synod that since the Second Vatican Council, the Latin American bishops have focused on building community, entering into dialogue with the world around them and educating the faithful about their role in transforming society. Today, he said, the Church must “employ new communications technologies to allow the life and mission of the Church to be known and for dialogue with the world”. In today’s culture, he said, “the social communications media are most influential”. In addition, Archbishop Aguiar said,

A bishop reads the Vatican’s L’Osservatore Romano newspaper with the headline in Italian “To transmit the faith”, before a meeting of the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelisation at the Vatican. Several speakers highlighted the need for the Church to make better use of the various media through which we can evangelise. (Photo: Paul Haring, CNS) especially in trying to reach younger people, the Church must “make use of social networks to spread Catholic thought and its current answers to cultural challenges”. Young people are searching for meaning in their lives, he said, and if the Church is not present in their world with responses, they end up abandoning their search for God. Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, president of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, told the synod that Asia is experiencing a boom in communications technology. “This is not to be viewed as a threat, but a great gift from God to be used to spread the good news.” The cardinal said the Church must help parents, pastors and teachers who can train

young people to use the new media and to benefit from them.

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rchbishop John Dew of Wellington, New Zealand, president of the Federation of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of Oceania, told the synod that even the secular media have helped Catholic evangelisation through the attention they have given the declaration of saints from the region. The examples of local people formally recognised as saints by the universal Church “will do more for the new evangelisation that we can imagine as the media is interested and captures peoples’ imagination”, the archbishop said. If the Church wants to find young people, he said, it must use the new media and

new gadgets they use. “In these young people we see a sincere and sometimes painful search for meaning and spirituality as they bridge traditional cultural values and the excitement of the technological age with the swipe of an iPad or smartphone.” In addition to looking at the media, the regional reports to the synod touched on almost every area of Church life from the importance of the liturgy to the positive impact of immigration, and from the role of new lay movements to the need to support traditional families. Tanzanian Cardinal Polycarp Pengo of Dar es Salaam, president of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar, said the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in Africa is a challenge to the work of the Church on the continent. Catholics must “face the difficulty of dialoguing with the vast majority of good Muslims who, however, are mute, and the small groups of fundamentalists”, who are not open to dialogue. Dialogue also was a key topic in the other regional reports. Cardinal Gracias said that with Christians making up only 3% of the population in Asia and with persecution of Christians not being completely uncommon, “for us in Asia, dialogue is a necessity, not a luxury”. At the same time, he said, many Asian cultures have a deep respect for life— including for the life of animals and plants—and it should not be difficult, through dialogue, to help people see that respect for life must include the life of the unborn and the life of their neighbours who belong to a different faith. Archbishop Aguiar agreed with other speakers that Catholics must learn the content of their faith from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, but he insisted they also must know Catholic social teaching because they have an obligation to transform society in line with Gospel values.—CNS n More on page 5

Parish aims to show in talks why the Mass is not ‘boring’ or ‘irrelevant’ BY CLAIRE MATHIESON

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HE parish of St Bernadette’s in Walmer, Port Elizabeth has started the Year of Faith by hosting a series of talks on sacred liturgy—a journey through Vatican II, suitable for both Catholics and non-Catholics. “The course on the sacred liturgy is part of our on-going adult instruction programme [and is] accessible to everyone,” said parish priest Fr Jonathan Vermaak CO. “The only prerequisite is a love for God and a desire to know him and reflect upon his actions—in this case, in and through the sacred liturgy,” As well as welcoming regular members, the programme is very much aimed at non-practising Catholics and non-Catholic Christians who are invited by Catholic friends and family, said the priest. “This dual purpose is one way of bringing together the Year of Faith and the New Evangelisation in a manner consistent with the Holy Father’s desire.” Fr Vermaak said his parish was keen to

embrace the Year of Faith and choosing a topic was simple. “The sacred liturgy was the first theme to be discussed at the Council. Of course, there has been so much change in the liturgy since Vatican II. With this, the temptation has been to focus on the external changes and overlook the timeless worship of God that the liturgy expresses. In order to resist this temptation this course will focus on the theology of the liturgy: its place in our salvation,” he told The Southern Cross. “In the sacred liturgy course we intend to reflect upon the language of the Mass as distinct from language in the Mass. The Mass, and indeed the whole sacred liturgy, is a language by which God communicates his cosmic and historical Word—the same Word which St Paul described as ‘a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles’,” he said, referring to 1 Corinthians 1:23). “And yet it is not uncommon to hear Mass described as boring or irrelevant.

How can this be? It is possible that many do not—beyond the words of the liturgy— understand its own specific language: its gestures, rhythm, pace and orientation.” By helping participants understand the liturgy, Fr Vermaak said the courses were expected to help enrich the faith of those attended. “To seize this opportunity, each St Bernadette’s parishioner has been invited to do something concrete: not only to attend the course themselves, but also to share their faith by simply bringing a friend or family member with them,” said Fr Vermaak. He said the parishioners wanted to gain a deeper faith in the living God who communicates his Word through the scriptures, the magisterium, and the sacred liturgy. All are welcome to the lectures which take place every Tuesday night until November 20 at St Bernadette’s parish hall on 8th Avenue, Walmer. RSVP for seating: 041 581 2035

A tapestry showing 12th-century German abbess St Hildegard of Bingen hangs from the façade of St Peter’s basilica during the opening Mass of the Synod of Bishops for the New Evangelisation. During the Mass, Pope Benedict declared St Hildegard and 16th-century Spanish priest St John of Avila Doctors of the Church, saints honoured for particularly important contributions to theology and spirituality. St Hildegard is the fourth woman to be declared one of the 35 Doctors of the Church, joining Ss Catherine of Siena, Teresa of Avila and Thérèse of Lisieux. (Photo: Paul Haring)


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LOCAL

The Southern Cross, October 17 to October 23, 2012

Nazareth House celebrates 130 years in Southern Africa BY STAFF REPORTER

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N September 28, 1882, five Sisters of Nazareth were among 34 missionary priests and religious who had travelled from Plymouth, England, with Bishop John Leonard of Cape Town, to minister to the poor and needy throughout the country. “Bishop Leonard had requested for a Nazareth House to be built in Cape Town. This was to be the tenth house of the congregation and the first on African soil,” said Nazareth Sister Margaret Craig. The ship, The Pretoria, was not allowed to dock immediately due to an outbreak of smallpox in the town, but eventually the missionaries arrived on land to a great welcome. The welcome was especially big for Bishop Leonard who had been away for some time, said Sr

Craig. Many of the vicariate’s priests were there along with most of the Catholics of Cape Town. “The five Sisters of Nazareth were warmly welcomed by the Dominican Sisters, who had arrived in Cape Town several years earlier. They received great hospitality and encouragement from the Dominicans. The first home for the Nazareth Sisters was a small orphanage called St Bridget’s at 65 Buitenkant Street. This was to become “Nazareth House”. Within two days, the first Mass was celebrated at the new chapel. It was clear the sisters would need more space for the growing number of children in their care. The concerned Bishop Leonard offered them a larger house in Roeland Street, but it would require much work before they would be

able to move in. “Fundraising began in earnest, and the Catholics of Cape Town once again rose to the occasion and contributed greatly towards the necessary sum of £85, 2 shillings and six pence. A further expense was to build a wall at the end of the playing field (£178). The bishop very generously raffled his own horse in order to contribute towards this cost,” said Sr Craig.

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t would be in 1898 that the land in Upper Mill Street was purchased with a view to erecting a large building with more space and enough land to grow vegetables and keep some livestock in order to feed the growing family of Nazareth House. Due to the outbreak of the Anglo-Boer War in 1899, and then a devastating epidemic of the bubonic plague in Cape Town in 1901, the foundation stone for the present Nazareth House could only be laid on September 28, 1902—exactly ten years after the sisters first arrived in the country. “Today we look back on those early years with gratitude and joy. Of course there have been many dark and difficult times as well as fruitful and happy ones. But through it all, we give praise and thanks to God our Father and Protector, and to the Holy Family of Nazareth who first inspired our foundress,

Sisters of Nazareth and residents of the Nazareth House, Larmenier village, Cape Town. Victoire Larmenier, in her calling and her mission,” said Sr Craig. “We give thanks to God for our first Sisters who laid the foundations of Nazareth House in Southern Africa; we give thanks for Bishop Leonard; for the Dominican Sisters, and for all who encouraged and supported our sisters in so many ways during those early times and through the years ahead. We continue to give thanks for all our friends and benefactors who still encourage and support us in so many ways, and we pray with hope and joy that our loving Father will continue to bless, protect and guide all of us as we journey together into the Year of Faith and beyond.” Today, the Sisters of Nazareth are active in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth, Pretoria and Harare where they are assisted by nursing staff and volunteers. They became known beyond the Catholic community for their Aids care and compassion they have for the most vulnerable members of society, including homeless and abandoned children. At a thanksgiving Mass at Nazareth House chapel, Archbishop Stephen Brislin read out a letter of congratulations from the Superior General, Sister Mary Anne Mon-

aghan. The sisters commemorated the occasion by planting trees on the grounds of Nazareth House as a symbol of life and humanity. The trees, donated by Stodels in Milnerton, were “symbolic of the tree of life and the need that we share to be part of a family tree which gives us a sense of belonging,” said Sister Superior Veronica Murphy. “We view trees as the providers of the oxygen for life which is what we aim to provide for the elderly, babies and children and the elderly in need—a stable, loving and secure home to nurture life”. As part of the ongoing celebrations, Nazareth House is hosting a two-day fun fair on their big field in Vredehoek, on October 26 and 27. Bishop Peter Holiday of Kroonstad, himself a past pupil of Nazareth House, will offer a thanksgiving Mass in Cape Town on Tuesday, October 30 at 18h00. This Mass will be especially for past pupils, old boys and girls, friends, benefactors and volunteers of Nazareth House. n For more information on Nazareth House Cape Town or the fun fair visit www.nazhouse.co.za or call Bev Florence at 021 465 6414.

Annual bazaar will help new parishioners BY CLAIRE MATHIESON

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THE SISTERS OF CHARITY OF JESUS AND MARY

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These sisters are celebrating their Jubilee and Silver year’s as nuns in the service of God

We are called to serve the poor, the sick, the needy, to the education of children and youth. To restore in man his dignity, to help young people and adults in their multiple needs. We are as commited today as we were yesterday, in all kinds of works of Charity. Our motto is that our service has no geographical or cultural boundaries Write, phone or visit us Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary, 56 The Highway / Florida P.O.BOX 1790, 1710

Sr Bridget Cell: 076 519 2820 Sr Marie Josee Cell 082 751 6856, Phone: 011 472 6449 perejosephtriest@gmail.com

he parish of Quees of the Most Holy Rosary in Stanger, Durban, will host its annual bazaar on November 3, a day which will help new parishioners learn more about the parish and old parishioners catch up with old friends. The annual event will include a selection of food stalls, a book store, a tea garden, craft stall and entertainment for the children. There will also be a 5km fun walk taking place at 13:30 on the same day, sponsored by Pick n Pay in Stanger. “All previous priests and parishioners are invited to join in on the fun-filled day to meet

RABBUNI CENTRE KLERKSDORP ANNUAL RETREAT

PREACHED BY FR DON BOHÉ OMI

THEME:“LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY” LK.11:1

family and old and new friends,” said the parish’s Priscilla Moodley. “We are also looking for any old photographs or articles concerning the history of the church,” she said. The parish has recently seen an increase in new parishioners and Ms Moodley hopes the bazaar will be an opportunity for the new parishioners to learn about the parish’s role in the community and the work it has done over the years. The event starts at 09:00 until late afternoon on November 3. n Any one able to contribute to the data base, which will be used in a slide show, can contact Priscilla Moodley on 083 785 8678 or pris1359@gmail.com.

ALL SOULS DAY Friday 2 November, 2012

Hi Grace Archbishop Stephen Brislin will celebrate Holy Mass for the Souls in Purgatory at 10:00am on Friday 2 November 2012 at the All Souls Chapel, Woltemade Cemetary, Maitland, Gate 1.

Please make every effort to attend this Mass For further information contact David Nash

Cell: 072 391 6474 or 021 802 5355 Monday 10th December, supper to Saturday 15th December, after breakfast

R1,400 per person

For information & bookings contact: Colleen Barnes 083 287 6526 / 018 462 7711 e-mail: rabbuni@telkomsa.net

St Jude Society PO Box 22230, Fish Hoek, 7974


LOCAL

Lay Dominicans elect new national leaders STAFF REPORTER

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WENTY-five representatives of the lay Dominicans in South Africa attended the 11th National Congress held at the Thabiso Skills Development Centre in Welkom. Delegates came from chapters in Durban, Pietermaritzburg, Welkom, Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage, Cape Town and Kakamas. Delores Hartzenberg and Monica Alson, lay Dominicans from Jane of Aza chapter in Matroosfontein, Cape Town, were elected to succeed the outgoing national team from Port Elizabeth. Outgoing president Shane Goodman reported that over the past three years there had been notable growth among lay Dominicans throughout the country. Progress has been made too in their formation especially with the recent visits of Fr David Kammler OP, the inter-

national promoter of the lay Dominicans, and Duncan MacLaren, a Scottish lay Dominican, working with Burmese refugees in Thailand. In his address, national promoter Fr Mark James OP reminded delegates that spirituality is founded on reflection and study of the Word of God. Chapters need to do Biblestudy as well as Bible-sharing. In proclaiming the Word—the good news of Jesus Christ—by the example of their lives and words in the family, in the workplace, as catechists and members of the Church, lay Dominicans need to challenge the worldly values of our society. “We need to build communities of hope and joy that enable people to see that there are alternatives to these false ways of living,” Fr James said. Br Damazio Ngoma OP, promoter of the Rosary, encouraged the lay

The new national council of South Africa’s lay Dominicans (from left) Delores Hartzenberg, Fr Mark James OP and Monica Alson. Dominicans to advocate the praying of the Rosary as an integral part of their apostolate. October is the month of the Rosary and during this period lay Dominicans should make a concerted effort to encourage people to pray the Rosary for the intentions of peace in our families, in our country and throughout the world, he said. The congress resolved that formation of lay Dominicans throughout the country be a major priority especially in encouraging the study of scripture, our Catholic faith and the history of the Dominican Order. Chapters were also encouraged to reflect on how they can work for the evangelisation of our society. n For more information about the lay Dominicans contact Fr Mark James OP at markop@webmail.co.za

Parish celebrates 50 years of heritage BY STAFF REPORTER

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ELEBRATIONS that began in January of this year to commemorate the golden jubilee of Corpus Christi parish, Humewood, Port Elizabeth, came to a close with a special Mass that hailed the work of those who had contributed to the parish and the work the parish was doing in the community today. The celebrations started in January when the parish priest Capuchin Father Noel Winston dedicated the year to pay tribute to and honour the men and women who contributed to establishing the parish and to build a church. “Since then, the parish has been a hive of activity with many workers organising a parish mission conducted by Fr Larry Kaufmann CSR, alterations to enlarge the church hall, and a new kitchen to serve the increased needs of the parishioners as a meeting room, for catechetical instruction and social gatherings,” said diocesan marriage and family

Mgr Brendan Deenihan, apostolic administrator of the diocese of Port Elizabeth, delivers the homily at the celebratory Mass for Humewood parish. life coordinator Frank MansonKullin. In addition, extra choir practice was necessary. “The choir also met with other parishes and Christian denominations and guest artists for rehearsals and to produce and pre-

sent a jubilee concert, ‘Corpus Christi Rocks’—a night of Christian music.” The special concert concluded the jubilee celebrations with Holy Mass celebrated by Mgr Brendan Deenihan, apostolic administrator of Port Elizabeth. The existing church was built in 1962 by the first parish priest, Fr Frederick Martin. “He gave it the beautiful name of Corpus Christi for two reasons. One was a tribute to his seminary, Corpus Christi in Melbourne, Australia, and the second was to make the Eucharistic Christ the centre of the lives of his parishioners,” said Mr Manson-Kullin. The church was blessed and formally opened by Bishop Ernest Green of Port Elizabeth, and the first Mass was celebrated on September 30, 1962. Over the last 50 years, the parish has been building on the firm foundations of its predecessors, said Mgr Deenihan during his homily at the jubilee Mass. “You have been witnessing to, and building up the

The Southern Cross, October 17 to October 23, 2012

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Cape healthcare workers called together STAFF REPORTER

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APE Town-based Catholic healthcare workers are called to get involved in a day of reflection and planning for the formation of the Catholic Nurses and Healthcare Workers Association (CNA) which is set to launch again after some absence from the archdiocese. The event will take place at Nazareth House in Vredehoek on Saturday, November 3. It will begin with Mass celebrated by Archbishop Stephen Brislin at 9:30 which will be followed by tea. The group will then hear from Fr Mark Foster after which those present will be encouraged to share and partake in a group discussion.

Kingdom of God here in our city. God’s Holy Spirit is empowering you today to face the future with confidence—and to ensure that the faith of your mothers and fathers is kept alive, and growing, and being handed on to future generations.” The apostolic administrator said a parish was like a family as it unfolds through experiences of “living, loving, suffering and growing”. “A lot of life has been lived here over the past 50 years. Certain moments happen in an instant— but we can live out of them for the rest of our lives. Many significant moments have taken place here at Corpus Christi over the years. We will never finish our thanksgiving and gratitude for those moments, those people, those events and milestones celebrated here. Wherever we have lived, we have left something of ourselves behind. Something more than footprints or fingerprints. Wherever we have lived and breathed, we have left something of our life-breath—something of our

This will examine issues such as the purpose of CNA for Cape Town—what can be expected from it and be put into it—for the purpose of serving others. There will be a bring and share lunch, followed by planning the way forward and the formation of a steering committee. The day will close at 14:00 with benediction, after which Fr Foster will give a Blessing of Hands. It is hoped the gathering will be the first of many and that the formation of the CNA will fill the need of Catholic healthcare workers in the archdiocese. n All are invited to offer their ideas for the future by emailing Fr Wim Lindeque info@justiceand peace.co.za

heart-prints, our tear-prints, our joy and sorrow prints. We are always leaving behind something of our life that is never to be lived again.” Parishioners who attended the first Mass celebrated in the church by Bishop Green 50 years ago presented the Eucharistic gifts to Mgr Deenihan. In his address, Fr Winston said the parishioners of Corpus Christi were “overjoyed with all the greetings, good wishes and support received from so many people on the occasion of the golden jubilee of the church. These are very much appreciated.” He thanked all those involved in making the jubilee year a success. “The jubilee year has been a time of grace and renewal for our parishioners. I cherish their deep faith and commitment to Christ, and to making our parish a community serving humanity. We can look forward to the future with faith in our God who has blessed us abundantly over the past 50 Years.”

CAPUCHINS SOUTH AFRICA

Every brother who Comes to the fraternity brings joy CAPE TOwN Br. Sonny 021-5911911 sonnygady@yahoo.co.in Br. Albert 021- 6966713, albertcapuchin@gmail.com

PRETORIA Br. Kees 012-3455111 keesbus@ telkomsa.net

PORT-ELIzABETH Br. Matthew 041-368303 rev.mattgormley @gmail.com

SIYABUSwA Br. Odilo 013-9731342 omroso2002 @yahoo.ca


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The Southern Cross, October 17 to October 23, 2012

INTERNATIONAL

Nobel Prize for medicine ‘a triumph for ethics’ BY SIMON CALDWELL

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ATHOLIC leaders in Europe have hailed the decision to give a Nobel Prize to two pioneers of adult stem-cell research as a triumph for ethics. A statement from the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) said that awarding the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine to Professors John Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka represented an “important milestone” in recognising the superior potential of adult stem-cell research over destructive experimentation on human embryonic stem cells. The Anscombe Bioethics Centre, an institute serving the Catholic Church in Britain and Ireland, also

described the award as an “achievement of great ethical significance”. “This technique offers hope of progress in stem-cell research without relying on the unethical destruction of human embryos,” said David Jones, director of the Anscombe centre in Oxford. “The past attempts to clone human embryos and the bizarre experiments to create admixed human/non-human embryos have delivered nothing,” he said. “In contrast, the transformation of adult cells into stem cells is making great progress. This is science at its best: both beautiful and ethical.” The Nobel committee said England’s Prof Gurdon and Prof Yamanaka of Japan had “revolutionised” science through their work.

2012 Nobel medicine laureates Dr Shinya Yamanaka and Dr John Gurdon. (Photo: Kyodo and Suzanne Plunkett, via Reuters/CNS) “These discoveries have also provided new tools for scientists around the world and led to remarkable progress in many areas of medicine,” the committee said. Both scientists were involved in research into changing mature cells

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into stem cells, which have the potential to become specialist organ cells and be harvested in the potential treatment of a variety of diseases. Many hope such work may prepare the ground for therapies to repair heart tissue after heart attacks, for instance, or to reverse the progress of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Prof Gurdon distinguished himself by using an intestinal sample to clone frogs, and Dr Yamanaka pioneered a technique of reprogramming mature cells to become “pluripotent” by altering their DNA. COMECE said the award should encourage European Union institutions to switch funding from “ethically problematic and scientifically

and economically less-promising” embryonic stem-cell research to non-embryonic stem cell research, which held out greater potential. “This is an important milestone in recognising the key role that non-embryonic stem cells play in the development of new medical therapies as alternatives to human embryonic stem cells. “There have been continuing scientific advances in fields of research involving alternative stem cells [that] present better prospects for clinical applications; or have indeed already demonstrated widespread clinical results and do not raise any special ethical problems,” the statement said. “Today’s Nobel Prize rewards such efforts to discover alternatives,” the statement added.—CNS

Bible quiz a game show and app hit BY CHELSEA WEIKART

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QUIZ show called American Bible Challenge has been watched by more than 2 million people in the United States every Thursday night since its debut on August 23, making it the most successful show in the history of the cable channel Game Show Network (GSN). And to the surprise of its creators, an app based on the cable TV show is doing almost as well. “We were hoping for 100 000 game players, now it’s about a month and we have 300 000 players and over 3 million game plays,” said Stephen Croncota, executive vice-president and chief marketing officer for GSN. Hosted by comedian and TV personality Jeff Foxworthy, American Bible Challenge is a trivia game where the winners give away their prize money to a

The “American Bible Challenge” app for Android, Facebook, iPhone and iPad is based on a game show on cable TV in the United States presented by comedian Jeff Foxworthy. charity of their choice. “We’ve always believed there was a big opportunity for interactment in the show because of the number of Christians and Catholics who have a lifetime of knowledge” of the Bible, said Mr Croncota, a former altar boy and Catholic school student. The free app is available for

Android, Facebook, iPhone and iPad. The sudden popularity of the show, Mr Croncota said, is in part because there is a hole in American entertainment for something the whole family can enjoy. “The audience feels their faith and the role it plays in their lives is being respected and validated. So parents feel comfortable sitting down with their kids in the room for a show this is something parents and kids can watch together,” he said. One of the 300 000 players who downloaded the game app is Alison Shaffer, a New Jersey mother and author of a blog called “Kitchen Table”. She says she isn’t a game player, but this is different. “It brings the Bible off the bookshelf and into your life. It’s a modern kind of Bible learning,” she said.—CNS

Priests, nuns forced into brainwash class

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RIESTS and nuns in the Shanghai diocese in China were forced to attend compulsory “study classes,” which observers believe were imposed by Chinese authorities in response to the new Shanghai auxiliary’s renunciation of the Catholic Patriotic Association. About 80 diocesan priests and 80 nuns of the Our Lady of Presentation Congregation were divided into three groups to take three days of classes at the Shanghai Institute of Socialism, reported the Asian Church news agency UCA News. Classes lasted 12 hours each day and included university professors lecturing about strength-

ening the sense of duty towards China, the law, and the independent church principle. The main subjects included state-religion relations, the Communist Party’s religious concepts, policies and regulations, the socialist core value system and economic development in China, it said. A priest, who asked that his name not be used, told UCA News that all priests and nuns obeyed directives given by the diocese, so the classes ran smoothly. Religious officials at the city and district levels sat in throughout the classes, he said. Auxiliary Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin, 45, quit the government-approved Catholic Patriot-

The

MARIST

SERVING CHILDREN and YOUTH in SOUTHERN AFRICA through education

ic Association at his ordination on July 7. Since then, he has been in “retreat” at the Sheshan seminary with a “certain degree of freedom,” sources told UCA News. Other Church sources told UCA News they believe the Shanghai government organised the study classes for a variety of reasons: brainwashing priests and nuns, venting officials’ anger, and doing something to appease Chinese officials at the national level. Bishop Ma is the first government-approved bishop in recent years to announce publicly that he would give up his duties with the Catholic Patriotic Association.

BROTHERS

For more information contact: Br Christopher at Marist Brothers, Box 1945, 6230 Uitenhage. E-mail: muth@telkomsa.net


INTERNATIONAL

The Southern Cross, October 17 to October 23, 2012

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Humility, solidarity are key to evangelisation, synod told BY CINDY WOODEN

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N archbishop told the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelisation that it is possible to preach the Gospel to the poor, but only as long as the preacher shares their poverty. “The Gospel can be preached to empty stomachs, but only if the stomach of the preacher is as empty as his parishioners’ [stomachs],” Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, Philippines, told the synod. The archbishop was one of several synod members who emphasised the importance of humility and solidarity with the poor as the Catholic Church attempts to strengthen the faith of its members and encourage lapsed Catholics to return. Archbishop Villegas’ speech to the synod was met with applause, said Fr Thomas Rosica, who briefed reporters about what occurred in the synod hall. “The new evangelisation calls for new humility,” Archbishop Villegas told the synod. “The Gospel cannot thrive in pride.” Following Christ means imitating him with “a deep sense of awe and reverence for humanity”, he said. “Evangelisation has been hurt and continues to be impeded by the arrogance of its messengers.” A fellow Filipino, Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, also emphasised the importance of imitating Jesus’ humility, which he said was seen most clearly in Jesus’ willingness to become human, to suffer and to die for humanity. Jesus’ humility allowed him to demonstrate real love and concern

for all people, particularly “those neglected and despised by the world,” and the Church must do the same, Archbishop Tagle said. Being humble also means recognising when the Church does not have all the answers, and therefore being willing to remain silent, he said, adding that “a Church at home with silence will make the voiceless believe they are not alone”. Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, the Polish prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, told the synod that the greatest obstacle a priest or theologian faces in becoming an effective evangeliser “is without a doubt pride, along with its natural ally, selfishness. The obsession with becoming great, original [and] important reduces more than a few to being ‘pastors who shepherd themselves and not their flocks’,” he said, quoting St Augustine. Each member of the Church, he said, must make a serious examination of conscience and, “at the foot of the cross, learn humility and authentic love”. Bishop José Rauda Gutiérrez of San Vicente, El Salvador, told the synod that bishops and priests are often an obstacle to evangelisation. “The loss of pastoral enthusiasm, the diminution of a missionary drive, liturgical celebrations lacking a deep spiritual experience, and the lack of joy and of hope are so strong that they impact the very life of our Christian communities,” he said. The New Evangelisation, he said, must be “like a medicine to give joy and life” in the place of fear. Bishop John Corriveau of Nel-

son, British Columbia, told the synod that building community and promoting a sense of communion, particularly in the face of increasing individualism, is an important part of the new evangelisation. The “spirituality of communion” is modelled on the relationship of love found among the members of the Trinity, a creative love revealed to humanity with the incarnation of Christ. “The call to communion is more than a slogan. It is a conversion of heart,” he said. German Archbishop Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, told the synod that effective evangelisation first requires that the Church “overcome certain intraecclesial debates” between socalled conservatives and so-called progressives. Instead, he said, Church members must focus on sharing the Gospel with others and doing so in unity with the Church and in harmony with its teaching. Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury, head of the Church of England, was invited by Pope Benedict to address the synod. Evangelisation is not a project, he said, but the natural “overflow” of an experience of Christ and his Church that transforms lives, giving them meaning and joy. “Those who know little and care even less about the institutions and hierarchies of the Church these days” nevertheless are attracted and challenged by Christians whose lives show they have been transformed by their encounter with Christ, said Archbishop Williams.—CNS

Prelates from around the world at the opening Mass of the Synod of Bishops. (Photo: Paul Haring, CNS)

Ugandan prelate urges govt to release political prisoners

U

GANDAN Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga of Kampala has asked his government to unconditionally release all political prisoners as the country marks 50 years of independence. Releasing political prisoners — some of whom had been arrested and imprisoned unfairly—would be a big step towards achieving genuine peace, reconciliation and justice, he said in a homily at Rubaga cathedral. According to the New Vision newspaper, Archbishop Lwanga listed some of the challenges affecting Uganda, such as abuse of power, human rights violation, education, corruption, ignorance and the failure to distinguish the relationship between culture, religion and politics. He also called on government to restrict land eviction and speed up the process of resolving

land related disputes. Despite the enactment of a land bill, people are still being evicted from their land, Archbishop Lwanga said. He added that even the Catholic Church has not been spared from land grabbing by some people who encroached on its land. “We live in a country full of contradictions; science and technology are making giant strides in all aspects of life, equipping humanity with all that it takes to make our planet a beautiful place for us all,” the archbishop said. “Yet tragic situations of object poverty, disease and hunger are still killing thousands on a daily basis,” he said. “Our destiny is still in our hands. All she is asking for is the space to breathe and thrive,” said the archbishop, before calling on Ugandans to forget past mistakes.—CISA

Pope grants indulgences for Year of Faith BY FRANCIS X ROCCA

C

Pope Benedict enters the Holy House during a visit to Loreto, Italy. The small house inside the basilica is traditionally venerated as the house of Mary, miraculously transplanted from the Holy Land. (Photo: Max Rossi, Reuters/CNS)

ATHOLICS who participate in events connected with the 2012-2013 Year of Faith can receive a special indulgence, the Vatican said. Pope Benedict authorised the granting of a plenary, or full, indulgence in order to highlight the Year of Faith and encourage the “reading, or rather, the pious meditation on” the documents of the Second Vatican Council and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a Vatican decree said. The decree was signed by Cardinal Manuel Monteiro de Castro, head of the Vatican tribunal that deals with indulgences and with matters related to the sacrament of penance.

An indulgence is a remission of the temporal punishment a person is due for sins that have been forgiven. The plenary indulgence is being offered to pilgrims who visit sacred shrines, to Catholics who participate in local events connected to the Year of Faith, and to those who may be too ill or otherwise prevented from physical participation. It can be granted on behalf of the individual petitioner or on behalf of departed souls. The decree said conditions for the special Year of Faith indulgence include the normal requirements set by the Church for all plenary indulgences: that the person goes to confession, receives the Eucharist and prays for the

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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intentions of the pope. The decree explained in detail some specific requirements for the plenary indulgence: l Those visiting basilicas, cathedrals, catacombs or other sacred sites in the form of a pilgrimage must participate in a liturgy, “or at least pause for an appropriate time in prayer and with pious meditations, concluding with the recitation of the Our Father, the profession of faith in any legitimate form, invocations of the Blessed Virgin Mary and, where appropriate, of the Holy Apostles or patron saints”. l The Catholic faithful in any local church can obtain the indulgence by attending three sermons at parish missions or three lectures Continued on page 19


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The Southern Cross, October 17 to October 23, 2012

LEADER PAGE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Dressing well

Editor: Günther Simmermacher

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.

We are all missionaries F

T

HE Year of Faith, which began on October 11 and will run until November 24 next year, is an excellent opportunity for the Church to reach out to those who have abandoned the practice of Catholicism, and to bring the Good News to those who have not truly heard it—a “re-proposing of the Gospel”, as Pope Benedict has put it. And in the task of evangelisation—the core mission of the Church—all Catholics are called to be missionaries for the faith in their own ways. For practising Catholics, the year is also a time to cement their faith through reflection, prayer and catechism. This must include not only polishing up one’s understanding of the moral and social teachings of the Church, but also of scripture. We must evangelise ourselves to grow in our faith. For this, we must in all things put Jesus first, seeking a deeper prayerful relationship with him. We must also study the Catechism and the documents of Vatican II, and be familiar with the news and discussions within the modern Church. We must be so well informed about our Church that our faith is not weakened by attacks on it, and we must be able to explain to others what we believe and what the Church does. This is all the more necessary in an age when the secular media’s coverage of the Church “is full of lies”, as a cardinal has told the Synod for the New Evangelisation. As part of the Year of Faith, the Church must therefore step up its promotion of Catholic media, both traditional—such as newspapers, magazines, TV and radio—and the rapidly developing new media. The Internet and cellphone technology facilitate a more open exchange of ideas than face-to-face encounters can. This can be destructive when faced with “keyboard warriors” and cyber bullies, but these

forms of communication can also speak straight to the heart. Only by knowing the faith and professing it can we fruitfully transmit it. Catholics will be true disciples of Christ when they share their faith with respect and love. It is by exhibiting a joy in our faith and by thoughtful persuasion that we can reach those who think the faith has nothing to offer them, especially Catholics who have faded away from the Church not in a spirit of hostility but of indifference. While some missionary programmes must be planned, revised and implemented, we all can evangelise, often without even knowing it. We evangelise others by being confident in and positive about our faith—and not by showing aggression and paranoia. We are the Church’s best advertisement when our lives are seen to be governed by the truly Christian virtues of justice, peace, reconciliation and charity. The Catholic youth has a special role to play in the New Evangelisation by reaching out to their peers. They must be present in the arena of modern technology as missionaries to those who do not relate to the Gospel but are nevertheless searching for hope. The Church offers some means to help Catholics in enriching their faith lives—for example through diocesan programmes such as Renew or Ecclesia. The Synod of Bishops for New Evangelisation and the Year of Faith must serve to extend these means of bringing Christ to the people, and the people closer to Christ. The Year of Faith must give us the tools with which to evangelise well beyond November 24, 2013. It must ignite in us a permanent passion for the Gospel. Pope Benedict summed it up well when he opened the synod for New Evangelisation: “Being tepid is the greatest danger for Christians. We pray that faith becomes like a fire in us and that it will set alight others.”

Further to last week’s editorial on DStv’s decision not to include Catholic programming in its South African bouquet (www.scross.co.za/2012/10/time-to-make-a-stand/), Multichoice can be contacted at PO Box 1502, Randburg, 2125, by telephone 011 289 3000, fax 011 577 4901 or http://bit.ly/9xnvEW

URTHER to Michael Shackleton’s Open Door article on how to dress for Mass (October 3), where I go to Mass, the congregation dresses down for Mass. I love going to Mass in Durban at Our Lady of Fatima where Fr Desmond Nair insists on a “proper” dress code. The men all look so smart with belted trousers and clean and ironed shirts, and the women dress accordingly. Hats off to Fr Nair, who has many dress rules for the various seasons. Angela Botha, Cape Town

Partisan editorial

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OUR editorial “Boycotting Israel” (September 12) correctly notes that criticism of Israel is not necessarily anti-Semitic, and elements of Israeli policy are unjust. But it comes uncomfortably close to demanding political partisanship, seeming to envisage “victory” over Israel, rather than an honourable, mutually beneficial resolution. The moral ground in this conflict is a grey area, blending material, nationalist and religious aspirations. Israel has no inherent right to it—neither do the Palestinians. There are disturbing pathologies in Palestinian political culture. The corruption and authoritarianism of its politics raises serious questions about the nature of a future Palestinian state. Last year, a children’s magazine, sponsored by the Palestinian Authority, published a contribution featuring an imaginary encounter with Adolf Hitler: “I killed [the Jews],” he says, “so you would all know that they are a nation which spreads destruction all over the world.” In the wider “Islamic world”, hostility to Israel is driven less by Israeli abuses, than by a rejection of Israel itself. Hatred for Jews (and Christians) is often officially encouraged. Israel has faced an existential threat since its founding. This does not justify misdeeds, but describes legitimate concerns. Protesting its conduct is proper—but equally, true sympathy and solidarity with the Palestinians cannot ignore theirs. Victimhood is no guarantee of righteousness. South Africans must be careful assuming their experiences are guides for others. Renowned scholars Heribert Adam and Kogila Moodley comment that this “may actually retard necessary new solutions by clinging to visions or processes of negotiation that may not work in another context”. Commendably, though, your editorial acknowledges (in contrast

to much of the—in our view misnamed—“peace movement”) that other countries are far worse offenders. Many of them are among Israel’s staunchest foes. Inasmuch as Israel’s defenders may dodge criticism with accusations of anti-Semitism, so Israel has been the great diversion for its enemies—the human rights records of Syria or North Korea is far worse, but if Israel is a unique evil, all else must (conveniently) wait, or be blamed on Israel. On that note, we suggest that if The Southern Cross is concerned about human rights and suffering of Christians, it should highlight this as boldly elsewhere as it does in Israel—not just throwaway comments about “or China too”, but explaining the nature of abuses (which are often unreported), and how to protest them. Will it editorialise for a boycott of Chinese electric appliances to protest draconian restrictions on the Church? A picketing campaign against North Korea, which regards Christians as members of a hereditary “hostile class”? Matching campaigns of solidarity with Taiwan and South Korea, democracies with growing Christian communities that are threatened by their communist neighbours? The labelling of products made from Saudi oil (motorists have a right to know if they are bankrolling the spread of Wahhabist ideology), and appeals to Muslims not to visit until it allows religious practices other than Islam without threats of execution? A boycott of Egyptian tourism operators other than Copts? And will it stoically ignore the epithets “Islamophobe”, “imperialist” and “right-wing reactionary” that will inevitably follow? If not, the outrage is selective. If this was a secular newspaper or an activist journal, that would be acceptable. But surely we can expect more from a Catholic newspaper. Rudi Massyn and Terence Corrigan, Johannesburg

Israel: Real issues

I

N objecting to your editorial “Boycotting Israel”, Michael W Bouchier (October 3) accuses you of getting “involved in the dirty propaganda game of international politics that you don’t understand”. Unfortunately, Mr Bouchier himself obviously does not understand the realities of the conflict in Israel/Palestine. The big issue at hand is the occupation of the West Bank which the international community has declared illegal. The aggressive expansion of Jewish settlements on Palestinian land has

been condemned even by Israel’s most loyal ally, the United States. There are 300 000 Israelis living in settlements in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem. All of these settlements are considered illegal according to international law. Israel is blocking a two-state solution, which is the solution supported by the Vatican, by building these settlements as the settlers cannot be easily resettled. And to protect the settlers, Israel is taking even more land from Palestinians and violates their rights of movement and land ownership. Contrary to Mr Bouchier’s naive view, the state of Israel is clearly not working for peaceful coexistence with Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. I disagree with the editor, however, that a cultural or academic boycott might help the situation. While a boycott would send a message, it would also be counterproductive because it would drive Israelis who are willing to negotiate and promote peace into a corner. In my opinion it would be better for academics and artists to be encouraged to visit Israel and voice their criticisms of the injustices perpetrated by the state. Paul Collins, Johannesburg

No way to argue

T

HE letter by Michael W Bouchier refers. Fair comments on points in an article are in order, but gratuitous advice and vilification are totally unacceptable. Incidentally, his last paragraph—”Don’t get involved in the dirty propaganda game of international politics that you don’t understand...”—could very well apply to Mr Bouchier himself. T W Hopwood, Port Elizabeth

Price of new missal

I

AM a 70-year-old pensioner and a staunch Catholic. I have a weekday missal and a Sunday missal which I have been using for years. Now it was decided to change the wording in the Mass to suit whoever, I must buy new missals at such a high price for a pensioner. I cannot afford the missals. How many other Catholics can afford new missals? What are we doing to our faith? Mrs Singh, Johannesburg Opinions expressed in The Southern Cross, especially in Letters to the Editor, do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editor or staff of the newspaper, or of the Catholic hierarchy. The letters page in particular is a forum in which readers may exchange opinions on matters of debate. Letters must not be understood to necessarily reflect the teachings, disciplines or policies of the Church accurately.

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PERSPECTIVES

Why we need a special ministry to men

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HEN society is faced by a serious problem, the first thing it needs to do is to look for the root causes. From my own observation, from analysis by social commentators, and from what men themselves are saying, the current crisis of violence is due to men’s poor self-image, low self-esteem, and inability to function appropriately in their home and in society. From being head of his family, the provider and protector of his wife and children, now man is at best confused, at worst in rebellion against society in general and woman in particular, because he perceives her as responsible for dethroning him from his instinctive and traditional role. If this analysis is correct, then the first step is to ascertain how far man has fallen, how much he has lost his way, how deeply he has been wounded. That information is essential for the rebuilding process to begin. Consequently, men need to be brought together in a space where they can help each other to understand what has happened to them, what they can and must do to rediscover meaning and purpose in life. In this the Church has a crucial role to play. It must organise men using existing

groups and movements. In these it should facilitate gatherings in which they can share experiences, analyse what has gone wrong, reflect on what God through the Scriptures and their own faith experience has been saying they can and must do both as individuals and as groups to put it right. The very first objective is to get them to learn to trust each other. Trust is essential if men are to form the bonds that they need to re-establish themselves in their true role as husband and father, head of their family and leader of their community. Since we are following a scriptural model here, what we mean by “head” will be radically different. We certainly do not mean someone who is the boss, dictator

Cardinal Wilfrid Napier OFM

Talking Frankly

or master. We mean someone who is a servant/leader, as Jesus was and as he intended his disciples to be. Jesus is head of the Church, but a head who puts his Church first—so much so that he emptied himself for her and gave his life for her. That is the kind of “head” that the Christian Catholic man needs to be in order to fill the role that the family, society and the Church need so badly at the moment. This is what lies behind our vision to bring Catholic men together, whether they already are members of sodalities and groups, or simple parishioners. So far, whenever “Catholic Men Together” has met, it has been to create opportunities for men to find each other, get to know and trust each other, and so begin to form a more concrete picture of what the new Catholic man needs to be like as he prepares to play his true role in the new society which will make the new South Africa a reality. May St Joseph pray for, guide and direct our Catholic men in the right direction!

‘I believe in the holy Catholic Church...’

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INCE early Christianity the Church has described herself by the so-called “Four Marks”: one, holy, catholic and apostolic. In Protestant theology these are called the attributes of the Church. Allusions to them can be found in the writings of the 2nd-century Church Father and bishop, Ignatius of Antioch. They were not established in doctrine until the First Council of Constantinople in 381 as an antidote to certain heresies that had crept into the Church. The Council elaborated on the Nicene Creed, established by the First Council of Nicaea 56 years before by adding to the end a section that included the affirmation: “[We believe] in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.” The phrase has since remained in versions of the Nicene Creed. “Indeed, having shown that the Spirit is the source and giver of all holiness, we now confess that it is he who has endowed the Church with holiness,” the Catechism of the Catholic Church declares. How do we reconcile the term “holy Catholic Church” when the evidence of its leaders, priests and members sometimes does not always testify to holiness? First, the Church is one because it’s members are joined together by Jesus who has prayed and works for the unity of Christians as the most compelling evidence to the world that he is the Saviour of the world. The word “holy” means to set apart for a special purpose by and for God. It does not imply that the members of the

Church or its clergy are free from sin, nor that the institution of the Church precludes the commission of sin in its name. Christ’s Church is holy because, among other things, she has the all-holy God as author, and is founded to continue Jesus’ redemptive and sanctifying work in the world. The holiness of the universal Church then derives from Christ’s holiness. The Church, from the beginning, has been endowed with the sacramental means to help make sinners—all and any of us—holy. The Church has been given the sacraments along with the Word precisely to be able to help make sinners holy. The word “catholic” means “universal”. It refers to the wholeness and totality of all true believers in Jesus as the Christ. It means that the Church, as the Body of Christ, is not limited to a time, place, race or culture. The Catholic Church, as does the Orthodox Church, makes a distinction between actual geographical universality and completeness of the true faith that is intended for all, whether they accept it or not: “Jesus drew near and said to them: ‘I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Go, then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples: baptise them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And I will be with you always, to the end of the age’” (Mt 28:18). Any entity or body claiming to be the Church of Christ would have to be able

ROMAN UNION OF THE ORDER OF ST URSULA

St Angela Merici founded the Ursulines in the 16th century, naming them after St Ursula, leader of a company of 4th century virgin martyrs.

Mphuthumi Ntabeni

Reflection on the Apostles Creed – Pt 10

to demonstrate its apostolicity by demonstrating an organic link with the original apostles on whom Christ manifestly established his Church. The origins and beliefs of the Church are rooted in the teachings of the Apostles of Jesus. All Christians understand the word “apostolic” to mean that there is continuity in the Church’s teachings from the apostles throughout history. As Catholics, as do the Eastern Orthodox Church, we have the apostolic succession of the priesthood. Our bishops derive their authority through a direct line of laying hands from the Apostles of Christ. Protestants, on the other hand, hold that apostolic continuity is preserved through the written word. Bruce Milne in his 1998 book Know the Truth: A Handbook of Christian Belief explained that idea this way: “A church is apostolic as it recognises in practice the supreme authority of the apostolic scriptures.” [Milne] Jesus intended that the fullness of his grace should come to his people in a Church that, from the beginning, was what the creed still calls it today: One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic. Hence the wounds of heresy, sacrilege, apostasy will pierce his heart until the unity of Christians he prayed for is realised.

The Southern Cross, October 17 to October 23, 2012

Michael Shackleton

Open Door

What’s We Are Church? Often in conversation about Church matters one hears talk of "We Are Church", meaning that we laity are the Church. I would like to know what this means. Gerti Hoff

T

HE movement “We Are Church” was started in Austria in 1995 as a sequel to the scandalous cases of clerical paedophilia in Vienna and the way in which these were apparently covered up by the authorities. It gradually spread around Europe, committing itself to renewal in the Church as encouraged by the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). The We Are Church movement sees the modern Church as not modern enough, and so it calls for fundamental renewal in terms of the documents and ethos of Vatican II. However, some of its objectives have found little sympathy from the Church’s magisterium which regards them as far too radical and extreme. These objectives are to involve all the baptised in the decision-making processes in the Church, including the appointment of bishops; to attain full participation of women at all levels, including priesthood; to remove clerical celibacy; to welcome divorced and remarried Catholics to the sacraments, and likewise also to welcome gays and lesbians; to recognise the primacy of an informed conscience. Now known as the International Movement We Are Church, the initiative for the movement arose among lay people but gradually a growing number of clergy and religious have joined their ranks or shown sympathy for their objectives. As a group they are working towards serious dialogue with the Vatican and Church leaders worldwide. In our own country we have the We Are All Church South Africa (WAACSA) established in 2010, which is affiliated to the international movement. They issued a mission statement which was copied to the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, which has been acknowledged by the conference with the suggestion that they should refer this to the bishops’ theological advisory commission. This statement declares that We Are All Church South Africa is committed to the renewal of the Church envisaged by Vatican II. It recognises that renewal starts from our own journey in living out our faith. Its vision is of a Church of love and justice in which the voices of all its members are heard and valued, and which is fully engaged with a changing world. It sees itself as a prophetic or reform movement, not as a dissident movement.

n Send your queries to Open Door, Box 2372, Cape Town, 8000; or e-mail: opendoor@scross.co.za; or fax (021) 465 3850. Anonymity can be preserved by arrangement, but questions must be signed, and may be edited for clarity. Only published questions will be answered.

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COMMUNITY

The Southern Cross, October 17 to October 23, 2012

Food producer Wellingtons sponsored a braai day at the Salesian Institute in Cape Town in aid of Streetsmart, which helps fund some of the projects at Salesians. Top chefs from restaurants at Table Bay Hotel, Hout Bay Manor and Twelve Apostles made a braai for the young people. Ajax football club ran a coaching clinic for the older youth. Pictured are youth from Salesians and Lizo Nobanda daycare centre in Khayelitsha, Cape Town.

Bishop Zithulele Patrick Mvemve of Klerksdorp celebrated the Mass of the Assumption of Our Lady at Holy Cross parish in Itsoseng, Klerksdorp. All members of Kemolo ya Maria from around the diocese were present.

HOLY CROSS SISTERS Listening for the heart beat of God in a world of constant change

to live: A vow of self-emptying - POVERTY A vow of love expansion - CHASTITY A vow to listen – respond – convert – OBEDIENCE. IF SO wHY NOT CONTACT

Sr Bernadette Duffy P.O. Box 48775, HERCULES, 0030 Telephone : 012 379 8559 Email:berduffy@yahoo.co.uk

AS A YOUNG WOMAN IN OUR CONTEMPORARY WORLD COULD GOD BE CALLING OU TO LIVE TO THE RHYTHM OF HIS HEARTBEAT IN AN ONGOING SEARCH FOR GOD AND YOUR TRUE SELF?

Sr Geraldine Barry P.O. Box 1405 PAROW Telephone: 021 934 6006 Email:holcross@iafrica.com

Bosco Centre in Johannesburg, hosted a Lovematters programme with 139 St Benedict’s College Grade 9 students.

St Michael’s Catholic Womens League members, together with parish priest Fr Brett Williams and Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, celebrated Mgr Paul Nadal’s 80th birthday at a gala event in Durban.

Catholic Womens League Sea Point in Cape Town served lunch to homeless and refugees children at Catholic Welfare Development’s Women In Need Playhouse.

Springfield Convent in Cape Town held an induction ceremony to announce and bless the new student leaders for 2013. Pictured are (from left) head girl 2013 Lauren de Bruyn, principal Barbara Houghton, and deputy head girl 2013 Clarice Gomes. Cynthia Witbooi from St Joseph’s church in Chatty, Port Elizabeth, was awarded the Bene Merenti Papal medal and certificate. A Mass was concelebrated by Fr Ashok Brahmane, Mgr John Clarke, Fr Eldridge Davids and Fr Gogi Joslan. Ms Witbooi received the award for her role as a sacristan, Lady of Charity, parish pastoral council secretary and many other roles she has fulfilled over the years.

The Culture of Life apostolate have opened two Divine Mercy homes in the East and West Rand of Johannesburg’s archdiocese to care for pregnant women. For more information contact Joe Pereira on 011 768 6619 or 084 678 3705

Please send your pictures to pics@scross.co.za


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The Southern Cross, October 17 to October 23, 2012

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The Southern Cross, October 17 to October 23, 2012

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The Southern Cross, October 17 to October 23, 2012

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NEW EVANGELISATION

The Southern Cross, October 17 to October 23, 2012

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Lessons in missionaries’ mistakes In the past, the methods of Christian missionaries in Africa suppressed legitimate expressions of African traditions. As we follow the call to the New Evangelisation, the mistakes of the past can teach us an important lesson, as Marist Brother SIMEON BANDA argues.

T

HE Kenyan philosopher Jesse Mugambi says that the modern missionary enterprise which originated in Christian Europe was directed at “pagan” Africa and other places where European influence had not penetrated. To most missionaries from Europe and North America, he says, evangelisation meant disorienting their objects of mission from “pagan, heathen, savage, primitive and uncivilised” traditions—to turn converts in replicas of the missionary. Success could be measured by the converts imitating the missionary. Here we are talking of active senders and passive recipients, and of foreign paternalism. Let us look at the historical origin of derogatory terminologies. The philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-78) studied the state of nature and arrived at a conclusion that Africans were “good savages”. Later the French anthropologist Lucien Lévy-Brühl (1857-1939) in his 1910 book How Natives Think brought up the distinction of primitive and pre-logical African thought which uses mystical thinking, and logical, rational western thinking. In that view, reciprocity and dialogue is almost impossible. Logical people have to pull the pre-logical Africans up to reach their level of thinking. Belgian Franciscan Father Placide Tempels (1906-77) said Africans had less logic than Europeans. Writing in Bantu Philosophy in 1945, he said: “It has been said that our civilising mission alone can justify our occupation of the lands of the uncivilised peoples. All our writings, lectures and broadcasts repeat…our wish to civilise the African peoples.” He concluded: “We see more clearly every day that European civilisation imported to the Bantu

is a mere superficial garb which has no deep impact upon their souls.” Missionaries, together with colonisers, brought us western civilisation, commerce and Christianity, with no room for inculturation. In this way, the African became a stranger in the Christian religion. Even his names were replaced with new names whose meanings did not reflect the mindset of his people. Could we believe in the African Traditional Religion (ATR) which had no written literature or places for worship or a founder? Certainly ATR was not a religion like Judaism, Christianity and Islam, which had written literature and founders. We hear ATR described with the derogatory word heathenism, whose practitioners don’t know God but are steeped in the worship of idols. ATR was also described as fetishism, referring to the wearing of objects or articles such as charms, talismans and amulets. There is an irony: the Portuguese in Mozambique concluded that the pagans were worshipping such objects, but the use of statues, crucifixes, medals and rosaries were just sacramentals. There was a lack of respect in that way of thinking. In pagan polytheism, two or more divinities were believed to hold equal status—the pantheon of gods who are equal through primus inter pares. Africans, however, believed in one supreme being, known as the Creator, who held a position unique to himself. There were local expressions in ATR that clearly were incompatible with monotheism. Totemism, for example, has strong roots among the Shona in Zimbabwe. But that is an insignificant aspect of ATR. Missionaries suppressed all they considered uncivilised in ATR— and threw out the baby with the bath water. African values in ATR such as the sacredness of life was thrown out alongside other practices; the idea of immortality bridging the living and living dead—which could provide the seed for Christianity—was ignored. The strong sense of the community—I am related, therefore I am; what South Africans call ubuntu— was redefined, even as it resembled the Christian worldview with val-

The rupture between Christianity and African tradition was due to a lack of dialogue between faith and culture, Br Simeon Banda writes. The new evangelisation involving local languages and respect of people’s culture, places the focus on the present and future following the Gospel of Christ which is above any culture. ues of hospitality, kindness, love, unity, gratitude, hard work and self-help. African culture is known for symbols which bridge humanity and the deity using words, gesticulations, objects, postures and signs. It is an idea of reality connecting the seen and unseen. These symbols could be expressed in dances, language, art and craft, institutions of marriage and chieftaincy. However, dialogue on such traditions had no place in standardisation of the Council of Trent.

H

ere comes the question of renaissance, the rebirth of knowledge, in our case the rebirth of African cultural identity. Today in the discussion of the New Evangelisation we are called to follow the directives of the Holy Fathers, when we hear, as we did from Pope John Paul II in 1994: “A faith that does not become culture is not fully accepted, not entirely thought out, not faithfully lived.” The rupture between Christianity and African tradition was due to a lack of dialogue between faith

and culture. How many of us remember our ancestors and the principles they left to us as life-giving? Rather, the Christian principles are fresh in our memories. This has created a situation of us being a stranger in our own house. On the other hand, a new culture is born, so probably we shall have to use a neo-culture as a starting point because we know that culture is dynamic and follows the pattern of holding on to, letting go and taking in new elements to fit into the new times. Thank God we are now using the instruments which were previously forbidden, and the use of the local languages is now very much encouraged. The superiority and inferiority syndrome has to be combated in the mindset of the new missionaries who follow the call to the New Evangelisation.

Our respect of people’s culture will make the work of evangelisation effective. Anger and bitterness for the past will not do us any good. We do not forget the past but we focus on the present. A lot of literature is now available for us to start our work. We have to unwrap stereotypes and prejudice and start our work following the Gospel of Christ, which is above any culture. Can we still say that African imagination is inferior to western imagination? Can we accept the evolution theory of Charles Darwin as legitimate? This calls for open dialogue between insiders and outsiders. Derogatory terminologies will not help in the healing process that inculturation in our fields of mission calls for these days. n Br Simeon Banda FMS is a Malawian missionary in Matola, Mozambique.

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14

The Southern Cross, October 17 to October 23, 2012

VOCATION

The deacon in the parish The Second Vatican Council reinstituted the office of the permanent deacon. Brother DAMAZIO NGOMA OP explains the role and place of the diaconate in the Church, and how the diocese of Kroonstad works for the cooperation between deacons, clergy and laity.

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ERMANENT Deacons form part of the ordained ministers in the Catholic Church. It is a special sacred ministry which has a spirituality of service in the Church. The permanent diaconate is a three-fold ministry namely: proclamation of the Word of God, Liturgy and Charity. It’s a calling to a life-commitment to serve in the Church. Permanent deacons promise obedience to their local bishop and work in close fraternal collaboration with priests. They proclaim the Gospel and preach at Mass, prepare and lead the prayers of the faithful; they do instructions on catechesis, assist the priest in the Mass and engage in charitable works among the

poor, sick, the dying and those in prison. They also conduct baptisms, witness marriages and have the power to give blessings reserved to them by ecclesiastical law. Kroonstad Diocese has six married permanent deacons who are serving in various parishes. The diocese has not ordained permanent deacons for a long period of time. In view of the pastoral needs of the diocese, Bishop Peter Holiday has embarked on working on some of the diocesan future pastoral plans, particularly in the area of reviving the ministry to the permanent deacons. It is one way of addressing certain pastoral constraints that face priestly ministry today. There is acute shortage of priests in the diocese. Many priests are currently serving more than one parish. It was in view of this pastoral need that Bishop Holiday, in collaboration with the Dominican Order, assigned Br Neil and the present writer, both Dominican student brothers, to coordinate and carry out this mission: to plan, to re-establish the ministry and prepare the candidates for ordination. As diocesan coordinators of this ministry, we are also working with already existing entities that directly deal with the formation

of permanent deacons in other dioceses. The aim is to ensure unity in the formation procedures. We are also directly working with the priests of the diocese, existing deacons, parishes and finally in close collaboration with the bishop of the diocese. Proper structures will be put in place which will enhance collaboration with all other stakeholders in the formation process. It was in view of the nature of the formation and training of permanent deacons that the diocese organised a seminar at St Patrick’s Cathedral Hall in Kroonstad in July for all priests serving in the diocese. The point of the seminar was to share knowledge and experience, expectations and hopes, the joys and challenges of the revival of the ministry and plan together future pastoral actions. This was one way of positively responding to the call for the revival of a permanent diaconate ministry in the diocese.

P

riests play an important role in the formation process of these candidates in their journey towards their permanent diaconate ordination. The seminar in was crucial in the sense that priests were engaged fully on the way forward and how they can

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A deacon and an altar boy prepare for Mass. The office of the permanent deacon was reinstated after the Second Vatican Council. The current Catholic Directory lists 249 deacons in the Southern Afrcan region. participate in the formation process in their capacity as priests. Deacons are ordained to work in their parishes under the parish priest and in collaboration with parish pastoral council. The Church, through the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education on the Formation of the Clergy, issued the official Church “Directory on the Basic Norms for the Formation of Permanent Deacons” in 1998. The document was intended to ensure the need for unity in the formation of permanent deacons. It was a response to so many complications that theologians at different levels cited. The document covered the following areas namely: Fundamental doctrinal vision, discernment of the vocation itself, life as a permanent deacon, spirituality and formation. Having shared all these riches of the Church and people’s experience in their pastoral work in their parishes particularly the

clergy, one of the final resolutions taken at the Kroonstad seminar was the realisation of the undisputable role of the clergy themselves in the dissemination of knowledge, discerning vocation with candidates up to their ordination and their role in creating a healthy pastoral working relationship with the existing deacons and those to come in the future. The other resolution taken was the juridical and pastoral roles of priests and deacons in the parish. It was noted and encouraged that contact and constant dialogue in all pastoral matters of the parish be done in a healthy and transparent manner. The parish priest is the parochial chief pastor. It is his role to delegate the deacon and other priests in the parish (if there are any) for the smooth running of the parish. Lack of communication and knowledge of juridical functions in the parish may lead to unnecessary conflicts in the parish.

The deacon’s role at a glance The permanent diaconate is a special call to service in the Catholic Church. Permanent Deacons are members of the clergy and they embrace a three-fold ministry, namely: proclamation of the Word of God, liturgy and charity. They are part of the Church’s hierarchy. The permanent diaconate is an ordained ministry open to married, unmarried or widowed men. The candidates undertake human, spiritual and doctrinal formation, and on their ordination take the promise of obedience to their local bishop of the diocese. They work in parishes where they are assigned and in close collaboration with their parish priests.

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CHURCH

The Southern Cross, October 17 to October 23, 2012

15

These are the great documents of Vatican II In four sessions, from October 11, 1962 to December 8, 1965, the Second Vatican Council drafted and approved 16 documents. Here we introduce these four constitutions, nine decrees and three declarations, in the sequence of the date of their promulgation. l Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium), December 4, 1963. It ordered an extensive revision of worship so that people would have a clearer sense of their own involvement in the Mass and other rites. l Decree on the Instruments of Social Communication (Inter Mirifica), December 4, 1963. It called on members of the Church, especially the laity, to instil “a human and Christian spirit” into newspapers, magazines, books, films, radio and television. l Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium), November 21, 1964. It presented the Church as a mystery, as a communion of baptised believers, as the People of God, as the body of Christ and as a pilgrim moving towards fulfilment in heaven but marked on earth with “a sanctity that is real, although imperfect”. l Decree on Ecumenism (Unitatis Redintegratio), November 21, 1964. It said that ecumenism should be everyone’s concern and that genuine ecumenism involves a continual personal and institutional renewal.

l Decree on Eastern Catholic C h u r c h e s (Orientalium Ecclesiarum), November 21, 1964. It stated that variety within the Church does not harm its unity and that Eastern Catholic Churches should retain their own traditions. l Decree on the Bishops’ Pastoral Office in the Church (Christus Dominus), October 28, 1965. It said each bishop has full ordinary power in his own diocese and is expected to present Christian doctrine in ways adapted to the times. It urged conferences of bishops to exercise pastoral direction jointly. It reiterated the principle of collegiality— that the College of Bishops shares the responsibility for the governance and pastoral care of the Church with the pope at its head. l Decree on Priestly Formation (Optatam Totius), October 28, 1965. It recommended that seminaries pay attention to the spiritual, intellectual and disciplinary formation necessary to prepare priesthood students to become good pastors. l Decree on the Appropriate Renewal of the Religious Life (Perfectae Caritatis), October 28, 1965. It provided guidelines for the personal and institutional renewal of the lives of nuns, brothers and priests belonging to religious orders. l Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to NonC h r i s t i a n R e l i g i o n s (Nostra Aetate), October 28, 1965. It said the Catholic Church rejects noth-

Bishops arrive in St Peter’s Square before a meeting of the Second Vatican Council in 1962. Over four sessions bewtween 1962 and 1965 the Council approved 16 documents. (Photo: Catholic Press Photo via CNS) ing that is true and holy in nonChristian religions, called for an end to anti-Semitism and said any discrimination based on race, colour, religion or condition of life is foreign to the mind of Christ. l Declaration on Christian Education (Gravissimum Educationis), October 28, 1965. It affirmed

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the right of parents to choose the type of education they want for their children, upheld the importance of Catholic schools and defended freedom of inquiry in Catholic colleges and universities. l Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation (Dei Verbum), November 18, 1965. It said the Church depends on Scripture and

tradition as the one deposit of God’s word and commended the use of modern scientific scholarship in studying Scripture. l Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity (Apostolicam Actuositatem), November 18, 1965. It said the laity should influence their surroundings with Christ’s teachings. l Declaration on Religious Freedom (Dignitatis Humanae), December 7, 1965. It said that religious liberty is a right found in the dignity of each person and that no one should be forced to act in a way contrary to his or her own beliefs. l Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests (Presbyterorum Ordinis), December 7, 1965. It said the primary duty of priests is to proclaim the Gospel to all, approved and encouraged celibacy as a gift, and recommended fair salaries. l Decree on the Church’s Missionary Activity (Ad Gentes), December 7, 1965. It said missionary activity should help the social and economic welfare of people and not force anyone to accept the faith. l Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes), December 7, 1965. It said the Church must talk to atheists, a continual campaign must be waged for peace, nuclear war is unthinkable and aid to underdeveloped nations is urgent. It said marriage was not just for procreation and urged science to find an acceptable means of birth regulation.—CNS


16

The Southern Cross, October 17 to October 23, 2012

BOOK REVIEW

Book on public speaking draws from Jesus, Shakespeare, Lincoln, Churchill and Lady Gaga LANGUAGE INTELLIGENCE: Lessons on Persuasion from Jesus, Shakespeare, Lincoln and Lady Gaga, by Joseph J Romm. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2012. 213 pp. ISBN: 9781477452226. R233 Reviewed by Fr Chris Chatteris SJ T’S not every day that one finds a book that mentions both Jesus of Nazareth and Lady Gaga in the subtitle. No doubt it will sell better because of the juxtaposition of the said lady and Our Lord. Joseph J Romm’s aims are serious, however, and his clever, catchy title and subtitles mirror his theme. He wishes to enlighten the reader on the age-old subject of rhetoric, or the study of how eloquence is effective at moving people, or isn’t. No “empty” or “mere rhetoric” as far as he’s concerned. Romm writes with the ardour of the convert. His original training was as a physicist, and scientists, he observes, are not noted for their eloquence. On the contrary the are trained to be conservatively factual, boring and uncon-

I

vincing. Romm hopes to help them become “more persuasive and less seducible”, and “wittier on Twitter”. He goes about this by analysing the rhetorical techniques of the great persuaders of history. His main cast is Aristotle, Lincoln, Shakespeare, Churchill and Jesus, plus bit-players such as Bob Dylan and George W Bush’s logographicos (speechwriter). Interestingly, he thinks Barack Obama has failed rhetorically since his election. The analysis of how these people were, or are, so powerful in the “kingdom of the ear” is the tasty meat of the book. Readers who would like to know more about the oratory of Lincoln than his Gettysburg address, will not be disappointed. Nor will those who wish to learn something about Greek and Roman rhetoric. From ominatio to repetitio and aposiopesis to paralipsi, most of the main classical categories are mentioned. But Romm the teacher of rhetoric never ceases to be Romm the passionate publicist for the planet. As an eco-blogger his website

(thinkprogress.org), has become a highly influential platform in the battle for the environment. Rolling Stone magazine calls him “One of the 100 people who are changing America”, while Time magazine described him as “the Web’s most influential climate-change blog-

ger”. And New York Times columnist Tom Friedman dubbed Think Progress “the indispensable blog”. Hence, in a book, which is purportedly on rhetoric, the subject of the environment pops up regularly and the result is a surprisingly intriguing hybrid. The connection is not difficult to see. The environment is an area of study where over 90% of scientists are convinced that we have a serious CO2 problem on our hands. And yet a far lower percentage of the general population than scientists believes that we have a problem and even fewer care. Why is this? Rhetoric: says Romm. The one wielding better rhetorical weapons wins in the conviction conflict, and so far that has been the naysayers and the sceptics. However, there are signs that some previously rhetorically illiterate scientists are shedding their inhibitions, taking verbal flight and losing their scientific cool. Veteran environmentalist Bill McKribben recently opined that “there’s not a more reckless man on the planet than [Exxon CEO] Rex Tillerson”. The verbal gloves

are clearly coming off in the scientists’ corner. Romm cautions that there is a dark and seductive side to rhetoric when unscrupulous users peddle lies. We should not flinch from noting this because a vital part of one’s language intelligence is discerning the difference between speech used in the service of truth and in slavery to untruth. Romm’s analysis of how Bush, with the help of his speechwriters, fused 9/11 and Saddam Hussein in the popular American mind, is quite brilliant and helps one understand that many people underestimated George W. In a world in which media technology has given the rhetorician unprecedented access to mass audiences, training in criticism of rhetoric has never been more important. Think of this book as a hardcopy blog, a bit rough-hewn but lively, readable and informative. If I were still teaching homiletics I would definitely recommend it to my students and I also commend it to clergy who seek to upgrade their preaching and communication skills. n Order from rhetoric.com

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FOCUS

The Southern Cross, October 17 to October 23, 2012

17

On the Holy Land trek Southern Cross editor Günther Simmermacher’s book on pilgrimages to the Holy Land will be published on October 24. CLAIRE MATHIESON spoke to him about The Holy Land Trek: A Pilgrims’ Guide.

H

E has been there numerous times before, he has arranged pilgrimages for others to do the same, and he has written many articles about travelling in the Holy Land—and now he has written a book about the land of Jesus, the apostles and the prophets. Günther Simmermacher, who is also the editor of The Southern Cross, said he wrote his book, The Holy Land Trek, because he saw a growing need on specific details and a better understanding of a pilgrimage to Holy Land. The Holy Land Trek is a book for those who are preparing to go to the Holy Land, those who would like to reminisce about their experience in the region, or those who have no plans to go but want to have an experience of the Holy Land, said Mr Simmermacher. He hopes that The Holy Land Trek will assist pilgrims in preparing for their journey, and help those who have been there build on their experience. This was part of the motivation behind writing the book, which is being published by Southern Cross Books, an imprint of the Catholic Newspaper & Publishing Company, which publishes The Southern Cross. “I think it’s absolutely necessary to prepare before going on a pilgrimage. You can’t really turn up in Jerusalem and say: ‘OK, now surprise me, Holy City’. You’ll lose so much if you come to, say, Capernaum and you have no idea why you’re there or what you are seeing. So The Holy Land Trek is intended to be an aid in preparing people for the Holy Land.” A Holy Land pilgrimage is intense, and it is easy for a pilgrim to miss out on rewarding experiences, said Mr Simmermacher.

“The thing about the Holy Land is that there is so much to take in. If you go in a group, you meet a whole lot of new people, the tour guide is giving you a huge amount of information, and you have all these spiritual experiences to take in. It really is a lot to absorb. It’s very rewarding and beautiful, but it’s an intense experience,” said Mr Simmermacher, who first made the trek himself in 1999. Ideally, he said, one should go more than once—“or if you can’t,” he joked, “perhaps read my book.”

T

he motivation to take on the task of writing the 220-page book really came from the response of Southern Cross readers to the five separate series the author had written for the newspaper. “In 2010 I started out with a fifth series of articles, and I thought I’d run out of things to say. Instead I had plenty to say. And so the past articles served as a sort of blueprint on which I could build for The Holy Land Trek.” The book is set out like “a plausible itinerary”. Mr Simmermacher gives the significance and history of the places he writes about—not all of them biblical—as well as some reflection, “and a few good anecdotes”. Readers will also learn about some of the people that are connected to the sites, such as the architect Antonio Barluzzi, the artist David Roberts and the archaeologist Fr Virgilio Corbo OFM. The book also refers to the writings of travellers through the ages, from the fourth-century pilgrim Egeria to Mark Twain in the 1800s. It also includes a brief biography of Jesus and an outline of Jerusalem’s history, “to help readers orientate themselves”. Mr Simmermacher said he finds it difficult to describe his book. “My wife said it’s like a Bill Bryson book. So

I suppose I’m like a Catholic Bill Bryson, without the style, wit, wealth or beard,” he laughed. Mr Simmermacher said he did not include many of his own experiences in the book, but rather let the places and their people and times take centre stage. “The book covers all kind of eras. And some subjects have little to do with the Bible; stuff like the one-armed taxi driver on Mount Tabor, or the kerfuffle over the kibbutz that sells pork, or how the Greek mathematician Pythagoras evaded being sold into slavery, or why there’s been a ladder standing at the window of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for more than 200 years.” Although the book is written from a Catholic perspective and with a Catholic readership in mind, the author believes it has appeal across the denominations. “The perspective is Catholic. But then, most of the shrines in the Holy Land are run by Catholics. I’ve read pilgrim accounts from Protestant perspectives, and for the most part have found that the experience is pretty similar across the denominational divides.” The Holy Land Trek is both the result of personal experience in the region and lots of research. “The thing is, so much rubbish has been written about the Holy Land, a lot of stuff that just isn’t correct. And a lot has not really been covered... I’ve tried to get the facts straight, as a good journalist should. And sometimes the nuggets revealed themselves.”

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n his foreword to the book, Archbishop Stephen Brislin of Cape Town wrote that The Holy Land Trek will make the reader aware of the “fluctuation between the physical and the spiritual, between what was, what is and what is yet to be. You will be enveloped with that knowledge that you are part

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Günther Simmermacher, author of The Holy Land Trek, at the church of Dominus Flevit on the Mount of Olives in September 2010. and parcel of this great story and that the history uncovered is also your history”. The archbishop is the grand prior for South Africa of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, which takes as its aim to encourage pilgrimages to the Holy Land. “The descriptions and the history recorded in this book will put you in the frame of mind that will enable your pilgrimage to be what a pilgrimage should be—a deepening of your relationship with the Triune God,” Archbishop Brislin wrote. “If you are unable to undertake a pilgrimage for whatever reason, the pages that follow will bring alive an experience of Jesus in history and God’s intervention in the life of the world. They will lead you to an encounter of God’s care and love for his people, evidence of his closeness to his people and his oneness with us.” The back cover of The Holy Land Trek promises the reader a history of the places where Jesus and his disciples worked and walked, their biblical and historical significance and introduces one to some interesting people along the way. And what cannot be communicated in words may be seen in the 88 photos. Most of the photos were taken by Mr Simmermacher, with several more coming from the collection of Stellenbosch Catholic Schalk Visser. The striking cover photo

with Fr Sean wales CSsR 5 - 19 October 2013

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was taken by Mr Visser inside the church of Dominus Flevit on Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives. In the book these photos are black and white, but they are reproduced in colour in the eBook version. And all of the photos in the book, and many additional pictures, can be seen on the website of the book (www.holylandtrek.com). The website, which is curated by Claire Allen, is intended as an extension of the book, Mr Simmermacher said. “The photos—I think there are more than 250 of them—are ordered according to the book’s chapters. There are also articles about the Holy Land and pilgrimages, a section of tips for pilgrims, and links to other sites which pilgrims will find very useful.” Mr Simmermacher said he hopes that the book and the website will inspire people, and especially the youth, to go on pilgrimages to the Holy Land. “They call it the ‘Fifth Gospel’, which is such a good term. When you experience the Holy Land, you are transformed. You’ll never read the gospels the same way again. You encounter Christ everywhere. It’s just such an incredible place.”

n To order The Holy Land Trek at R150 (plus R15 p&p) visit www.theholylandtrek.com or contact The Southern Cross at books@scross.co.za. Look out for excerpts from the book over the next few weeks.

“Come and learn who you are in the eyes of God.”

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18

FAITH

The Southern Cross, October 17 to October 23, 2012

Unexpected blessings can come from pain Fr Hernandez was 11 years old when he lost a leg. It changed his life, for bad and also for good, as he tells RHINA GUIDOS.

W

HEN Fr Jaime Hernandez talks to people facing tragedies that seem insurmountable, he counsels them, not only with what he learned from books and training as a priest, but with compassion learned during his own painful experience. At age 11, he became a victim of El Salvador’s 12-year civil war, losing his leg as he stepped on a land mine. That event on April 19, 1985 marked his body and his life, but Fr Hernandez counts himself among the lucky ones. Along with his family, he was able to leave El Salvador in 1989 at height of the war. They settled in the Washington area and he was ordained a priest for the archdiocese of Washington in 2003. He now serves as a parish priest at St John the Evangelist church in suburban Clinton. It has been 20 years since the Salvadoran war ended with the signing of peace accords in 1992. However, the consequences of the war continue for him, sometimes in painful circumstances, such as when the 38-year-old can’t kneel as he celebrates the Eucharist, but also in good ways when he’s able to offer comfort as he tells his tale to others. He reminds them that unexpected blessings can flow

from pain. The abandonment and depresOn the day of the tragedy, he sion he felt came as a blessing was helping his father, a farm- years later after he had become a hand, with the day’s chores. They priest, he said. He was making a had gone out to round up cows. hospital visit and a chaplain who Jaime was holding jugs of milk. If knew the story of how he lost his he felt anything at the exact leg approached him about talking moment of the blast, he doesn’t to a woman at the hospital. remember. All he recalls is trying “There’s someone I want you to stand and an infinite silence to see,” he said to Fr Hernandez. likely caused by temporary deafThe woman was about to have ness from the blast. her leg amputated and was “I took the first step, then a despondent. second and I fell,” he recalled. All those moments of despair Three times he attempted to helped him approach her, he said, walk, until a realisation kicked in: and he told her of his experience. “Something had happened to my “I said, ‘It’s painful, but I don’t foot.” have [the pain] anymore’.” When he saw that his foot was He told her how after losing no longer attached to his leg he became resishis leg, the physical tant, refused to adapt and emotional pain and was full of anger. took over. He saw gov‘My hope He had never been a ernment soldiers neargood student, had not was gone. by. They looked scared valued education, figto go near him, he uring he’d be a farmI felt God said, but eventually hand like his father. went to his aid. They But with the leg gone, had took him to his father, he didn’t see a future. who took him to the Some consolation abandoned hospital. came when he was Though he had lost able to get a partial leg me.’ a lot of blood, doctors made of plaster, saved him—but they although it hurt what couldn’t save his limb. was left of his leg. He used crutch“It was a difficult time,” he es because the plaster leg wasn’t said. “My hope was gone. I felt functional, but no one could tell God had abandoned me.” he was missing a limb. The leg When he arrived home some was merely cosmetic, but it made 50 days later, nightmares as well him feel better, he said. as dreams began. In the good Two years after losing his limb, dreams, he saw himself in a green Project HOPE, a Virginia-based landscape, being called towards organisation that helps make water and he saw himself intact, health care available for people foot and leg still attached. But the around the world, helped him waking moments brought anger. obtain a prosthetic leg. He began

Daughters of St.Francis DeSales (D.S.F.S) A life of prayer together with Action.

Contemplative in Action “You must resemble yourself to the Seraps seen by the Prophet before the throne of God,” who Stabant et Volabant (were standing and flying) Stabant: totally immersed in God in a very deep contemplation. Volabant: always ready to act.

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walking on his own. It’s hard to tell these days that he doesn’t have a real leg. He has a slight limp. When he visits a new parish or when he helps out at Masses where people don’t know him, he explains why he can’t kneel. Healing his body proved to be easier than healing his spirit. Wounds medicine couldn’t cure healed with time and prayer, he said. “I asked God for forgiveness,” he said, “because I didn’t place my trust in him.” He regularly prays for soldiers, for civilians going through a civil war, as he did. But some of what happened during the Salvadoran war provided people like him the opportunity to grow closer to God, he said. After the anger and depression wound down, he began attending Mass daily, giving thanks and growing deeper in faith. Each encounter with the Eucharist grew more profound until he eventually realised he was being

called to life as a priest. “Having lived through that time brought blessings... the trip [to the US], meeting many people” and what he considers the greatest blessing of all—being called to become a priest, he said. “A lot of great things happened because of the accident,” he said. Some ask him: “If you hadn’t lost the foot, would you still be a priest?” He answers them: “I don’t know.” Others ended up with more serious wounds, lost their lives, or lost hope, he said. He believes suffering can be overcome, a better path can be revealed—and he wants his life to reflect that for others. “We are not to see what happens in life as a punishment,” he said. “On the contrary, there are many occasions when what appears to be a painful negative experience may become a reason for a great blessing. There is a lot in my life, many blessings, I have been able to experience because of my accident.”—CNS

Vocation promoter St.Joseph Convent PO Box 55 Kakamas 8870 dausfs@hotmail.co.za, 0544310731

Do you feel called?

Contact: Brother Evenie Turner O.F.M. 082 599 7718, PO Box 914-1192, Wingate Park, 0153, 082 409-1457/ 012 345-1172

Fr Jaime Hernandez walks away from the altar before Mass. In 1985, at the age of 11, Fr Hernandez became a victim of El Salvador’s 12-year civil war, losing his leg as he stepped on a land mine. (Photo: Bob Roller, CNS)

To know more about us please contact: St Benedict’s Convent Box 2424, Elukwatini, 1192, Mpumalanga Tel: 017 883 2379, Mobile: 082 535 5625 e-mail: stbenedict@lantic.net

Ursulines of the Blessed Virgin Mary We are the Ursulines of the Blessed Virgin Mary, called to serve Christ through education of girls, women and servants, pastoral and social work. Do you feel God’s call? Join us.

Contact Vocation directress: Ursuline Sisters PO Box 36 Ngqeleni 5140 Cell: 072 958 2111 OR Box 212 Libode 5160 Tel: 047 555 0018


The Southern Cross, October 17 to October 23, 2012

Year of Faith indulgences Continued from page 5 on Vatican II or the catechism; attending Mass or the Liturgy of the Hours on days designated by the local bishop for the Year of Faith; or visiting the place where they were baptised to renew their baptismal vows.  Catholics who attend Mass celebrated by a bishop on the Year of Faith’s last day, the feast of Christ the King, will also receive the indulgence, as will those impeded by sickness or other serious cause from attending the Mass, as long as they are truly repentant and pray while listening to the bishop bestow the indulgence via television or radio.—CNS

Southern CrossWord solutions SOLUTIONS TO 520. ACROSS: 5 Baby, 7 Pontifical, 8 Sage, 10 Antedate, 11 Spider, 12 Heaven, 14 Wedded, 16 Violet, 17 Hispanic, 19 Tidy, 21 Not for ever, 22 Defy. DOWN: 1 Opts, 2 Attended, 3 Affair, 4 Scotch, 5 Bled, 6 Bow the head, 9 Appreciate, 13 Apostles, 15 Donate, 16 Victor, 18 Pony, 20 Yore.

ST MARTIN DE PORRES PILGRIMAGE TO THE HOLYLAND Bethlehem, Capernaum, Joppa, Tabgha, Mt Beatitudes, Nazareth, Ein Karem, Sea of Galilee, Jerusalem – just some of the towns and villages where you will visit Christian sites

8 to 17 DECEMBER 2012 And walk in His footsteps on this unforgettable pilgrimage organised and led by Fr Davis Cost from R209 65

Liturgical Calendar Year B Weekdays Year 2

Sunday, October 21, 29th Sunday Isaiah 53:10-11, Psalm 33:4-5, 18-20, 22, Hebrews 4:14-16, Mark 10:35-45 or 10:42-45 Monday, October 22, St Peter of Alcantara Ephesians 2:1-10, Psalm 100:2-5, Luke 12:13-21 Tuesday, October 23, St John of Capistrano Ephesians 2:12-22, Psalm 85:9-14, Luke 12:35-38 Wednesday, October 24, St Anthony Claret Ephesians 3:2-12, Isaiah 12:2-6, Luke 12:39-48 Thursday, October 25, feria Ephesians 3:14-21, Psalm 33:1-2, 4-5, 11-12, 18-19, Luke 12:49-53 Friday, October 26, feria Ephesians 4:1-6, Psalm 24:1-6, Luke 12:54-59 Saturday, October 27, Memorial of the BVM Ephesians 4:7-16, Psalm 122:1-5, Luke 13:1-9 Sunday, October 28, 30th Sunday Jeremiah 31:7-9, Psalm 126:1-6, Hebrews 5:1-6, Mark 10:46-52

Word of the Week

MARKS (NOTES) OF THE CHURCH: The four attributes of the Church mentioned in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan creed: “We believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church” (CCC 811) PROTO-EVANGELIUM: The proto- or “first” Gospel: the passage in Genesis (3:15) that first mysteriously announces the promise of the Messiah and Redeemer (CCC 410).

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Pray that AFRICA may draw closer to the HEART OF CHRIST 2 Chron 7:14 Matthew 7:7-12

CLASSIFIEDS

Births • First Communion • Confirmation • Engagement/Marriage • Wedding anniversary • Ordination jubilee • Congratulations • Deaths • In memoriam • Thanks • Prayers • Accommodation • Holiday Accommodation • Personal • Services • Employment • Property • Others Please include payment (R1,25 a word) with small advertisements for promptest publication.

DEATH

PILLAY— Francina Mary (Theresa), born into eternity September 23, 2012. In loving memory, the only child of Alfred and Lucy Raman, was born in Nugget Street, Johannesburg on May 27, 1927. A humble woman of great character with strong family values and firm in the belief that a loving, caring family stays together irrespective of the prevailing circumstances. A devout Catholic, she was a loving mother who cherished the love she sought and gave to all. A pillar of strength to her family and friends she allowed us to grow as individuals knowing that she has instilled sound Catholic principles within us. As an only child, from humble beginnings, she leaves behind a dynasty of 11 children, 41 grandchildren and 39 great-grandchildren. Ma, we will miss you and we know that the void left will never be filled and we will love you eternally. Rest in peace. MOTHER, it is a word full of hope and love, a sweet and kind word, coming from the depths of the hearts. The Mother is everything—she is our consolation in sorrow, our hope in misery, and our strength in weakness. She is the source of love, mercy, sympathy and forgiveness. He who loses a mother loses a pure soul, who blesses and guards him constantly. KILLASSY—Patrick (Pat) Joseph 20/10/1920 to 02/10/2012. In loving memory of our beloved dad who passed away peacefully. You leave us with a lifetime of wonderful memories. With our love, Peter and Pam. STOTT—Olive (Ollie). Passed away on October 3, 2012, aged 95, with great courage and faith. She will be lovingly remembered by her children (Sandra, Michael, Graham, Anthony, Elizabeth and Noel), her grandchildren and their families. The Requiem Mass was held at St Ignatius Catholic Church, Claremont on Tuesday, 9 October. Between 1957 and 1967 Olive supported the priests, nuns and children of Izeli Convent outside King Williams Town while her husband, Oswald, was the farm manager.

IN MEMORIAM

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19

ATSMA—Hedwig: Our dear mother and grandmother left us on October 16, 2002 to enjoy her eternal reward. She will always be remembered and loved by us. From Juliana, Mark and Family. ATSMA—Harry: Passed away 42 years ago. Always remembered, loved and missed by Juliana and Mark YAZBEK—Joe: Our beloved father and grandfather enjoys eternal rest having left us in body but never in soul and spirit on October 25, 1992. He will always be remembered by Mark, Juliana and family. VERGOTTINI—Laura: In loving memory of our beloved mom and gran who passed away October 24, 2005. Thank you Lord for a precious life and the bitter

sweet treasured memories that live on in our hearts. Our dearest mommy, your firstborn and our sibling Walter, was taken home so unexpectedly. Our broken hearts rest in God's will, and take comfort in the knowledge that you are united in heaven. Sadly missed by Anthony, Alfred, Wendy and grandchildren.

PERSONAL

ABORTION WARNING: ‘The Pill’ can abort, swiftly and undetected. It clinically makes the womb inhospitable to, and reject those early ‘accidental’ conceptions (new lives) which sometimes occur while using it. (Medical facts stated in its pamphlet) NOTHING is politically right if it is morally wrong. Abortion is evil. Value life!

PRAYERS

HOLY ST JUDE, apostle and martyr, great in virtue and rich in miracles, kinsman of Jesus Christ, faithful intercessor of all who invoke you, special patron in time of need. To you I have recourse from the depth of my heart and humbly beg you to come to my assistance. Help me now in my urgent need and grant my petitions. In return I promise to make your name known and publish this prayer. M C Chiya. HOLY SPIRIT you who make me see everything and showed me the way to reach my ideals. You who gave me the divine gift to forgive and forget the wrong that is done to me and you who are in all the instances of my life with me. I want to thank you for everything and confirm once more that I never want to be separated from you no matter how great the material desire may be. I want to be with you and my loved ones in your perpetual glory. Amen. In Jesus Christ, your sons name, I ask that you grant me (state your specific request or intention here) if it be your honour and glory and for my well being. While making the request, you must promise either: (a) to publish this prayer or (b) to circulate the favour. This prayer should be said on 3 consecutive days and then publish. Michelle.

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accommodation, sleeps 4. Secure parking. Tel: 021 785 1247. GORDON’S BAY: Beautiful en-suite rooms available at reasonable rates. Magnificent views, breakfast on request. Tel: 082 774 7140. bzhive@telkomsa.net KOLBE HOUSE is the Catholic Centre and residence for the University of Cape Town. Beautiful estate in Rondebosch near the university. From mid November, December and January, the students’ rooms are available for holiday guests. We offer self-catering accommodation, parking in secure premises. Short walks to shops, transport etc. Contact Jock 021 685 7370, fax 021 686 2342 or 082 308 0080 or kolbe.house@telkomsa.net KNYSNA: Self-catering accommodation for 2 in Old Belvidere with wonderful lagoon views. 044 387 1052. LONDON, Protea House: Single per night R300, twin R480. Self-catering, busses and underground nearby. Phone Peter 0044 208 7484834. MARIANELLA: Guest House, Simon’s Town: “Come experience the peace and beauty of God with us.” Fully equipped with amazing sea views. Secure parking, ideal for rest and relaxation. Special rates for pensioners and clergy. Tel: Malcolm Salida 082 784 5675 or mjsal ida@mweb.co.za MONTAGU: Victorian selfcatering cottage for families. Fully equipped 3 bedrooms, sleeps 5-7 people, 2 bathrooms, kitchen, TV lounge, braai patio with stunning views, garden for dogs and kiddies. Secure parking and central. Reasonable rates. Ph 074190 5634 gailellis @telkomsa.net SEDGEFIELD: Beautiful self-catering garden flat sleeps four, two bedrooms, open-plan lounge, kitchen, fully equipped. 5min walk to lagoon. Contact 082 900 6282 STELLENBOSCH: Five simple private suites (2 beds, fridge, micro-wave). Countryside vineyard/forest/mountain walks; beach 20 minute drive. Affordable. Christian Brothers Tel 021 880 0242, cbcstel@gmail.com. STRAND: Beachfront flat to let. Stunning views, fully equipped. Garage, one bedroom, sleeps 3-4. R450 p/night for 2 people-low season. Phone Brenda 082 822 0607.

HOLIDAY ACCOMMODATION

BALLITO: Up-market penthouse on beach, self-catering. 084 790 6562. BETTY'S BAY: (Western Cape) Holiday home sleeps six, three bathrooms, close to beach, R800/night. 021 794 4293 marialouise@ mweb.co.za CAPE TOWN: Fully equipped self-catering, 2bedroom apartment with parking, in Strandfontein R400 or R480 (low/high season) (4 persons per night) Paul 021 393 2503, 083 553 9856, vivilla@telkomsa.net FISH HOEK: Self-catering

The Southern Cross is a member of the Audit Bureau of Circulations of South Africa. Printed by Paarl Coldset (Pty) Ltd, 10 Freedom Way, Milnerton. Published by the proprietors, The Catholic Newspaper & Publishing Co Ltd, at the company’s registered office, 10 Tuin Plein, Cape Town, 8001.

The Southern Cross is published independently by the Catholic Newspaper & Publishing Company Ltd. Address: PO Box 2372, Cape Town, 8000. Tel: (021) 465 5007 Fax: (021) 465 3850 www.scross.co.za Editor: Günther Simmermacher (editor@scross.co.za), Business Manager: Pamela Davids (admin@scross.co.za), Advisory Editor: Michael Shackleton, News Editor: Claire Mathieson (c.mathieson@scross.co.za), Editorial: Claire Allen (c.allen@scross.co.za), Mary Leveson (m.leveson@scross.co.za) Advertising: Elizabeth Hutton (advertising@scross.co.za), Subscriptions: Avril Hanslo (subscriptions@scross.co.za), Dispatch: Joan King (dispatch@scross.co.za), Accounts: Desirée Chanquin (accounts@scross.co.za). Directors: C Moerdyk (Chairman), C Brooke, P Davids, S Duval, E Jackson, B Jordan, M Lack (UK), Sr H Makoro CPS, M Salida, G Simmermacher, Archbishop B Tlhagale OMI, Z Tom

Opinions expressed in this newspaper do not necessarily reflect those of the editor, staff or directors of The Southern Cross.


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30th Sunday: October 28 Readings: Jeremiah 31:7-9, Psalm 126:1-6, Hebrews 5:1-6, Mark 10:46-52

F

OLLOWING the Lord’s calling is not always comfortable; but there is really no other way to go. Jeremiah is not always as cheerful as he is in next Sunday’s first reading , but by this stage in his career the exiles are well and truly stuck in Babylon, and the prophet can afford to look for God’s light at the end of the tunnel, so he hears the Lord telling Jacob to “rejoice and exult”, and say “the Lord has saved your people, the remnant of Israel”. Then he hears God speaking again: “Look! I am bringing them from the land of the North, and I shall gather them from the ends of the earth.” There will be a “great assembly”, including all the marginalised: “The blind, the lame, the pregnant and women with children, all together.” And they will get back because “on a straight road they shall not stumble, for I shall act as a father to Israel”. This is a journey guided by the Lord, in the opposite direction to that terrible moment of Exile that they have previously endured. The psalm for next Sunday remembers what it was like when they returned from Exile. The poet recalls that “our mouths were filled with laughter and our tongues with joy”. Right at the heart of the poem is the

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Can you see the nature of your calling? Nicholas King SJ

Sunday Reflections

statement, uttered twice, of God’s contribution: “The Lord has magnified his deeds.” And he builds on this wonderful memory to encourage his contemporaries as they face the next set of trials: “Those who sow in tears shall harvest with songs of joy.” We may need to recite that to ourselves when things get uncomfortable. In the second reading, the Letter to the Hebrews continues its meditation on Jesus as “the real thing”; at this point he is using the metaphor of “High Priest” to help us understand about Jesus. Here the author is contrasting Jesus with the high priest in the Temple, “taken from among human beings, appointed to deal with God-matters”. The difference with Jesus is that the High Priest in the cult has to make sin-offerings on his own behalf as well as on behalf of the people.

An important similarity is that no High Priest appoints himself; “so Christ also did not glorify himself to become High Priest; it was the One who said to him: ‘You are my Son; I have begotten you today’.” It was not at all a comfortable calling that Jesus received; but it was nevertheless a calling. And what is the Lord calling you to, this week? You may get a better idea of your vocation from reading Sunday’s gospel; it is the story of Bartimaeus, and it comes just after Jesus’ disciples have shown themselves wholly unable to grasp the nature of their calling. We are invited to watch as a huge crowd of Jesus’ followers march into and then out of Jericho; and our attention is drawn to one whom Mark actually names “Bartimaeus”, translating as he does so (“the son of Timaeus”); he is described as a “blind beggar”, and, very importantly, we learn that he was sitting “beside the way”. He discovers what all the fuss is about (“Jesus of Nazareth”) and makes a complete exhibition of himself: “Son of David, have mercy on me”, he bellows, with the crowds attempting to shut him up. Jesus says “call him”, and the crowds rapidly change their tune: “Be brave, up you get, he’s

What are we afraid of? I

N her most recent book, a series of essays entitled When I was a Child I Read Books, Marilynne Robinson includes an essay called “Wondrous Love”. She begins the essay autobiographically, confessing her deep, long-standing faith as a Christian and her ever deepening wonder and awe at the mystery of God. She goes on to express some of her fears apposite to what is happening today in many of the churches and inside many of us; namely, new forms of tribalism and fear are reducing our wondrous God to a “tribal deity” and our own “local Baal”. The God of all nations, all families, and all peoples, she asserts, is too frequently being invoked by many of us as a God, more exclusively, of my own nation, my own family, my own church, and my own people. She cites various examples of this, including her own sadness at how sincere Christians cannot accept each other’s authenticity: “I must assume that those who disagree with my understanding of Christianity are Christians all the same, that we are members of one household. I confess that from time to time I find this difficult. This difficulty is owed in part to the fact that I have reason to believe they would not extend this courtesy to me.” This, she rightly declares unworthy of God, of Christianity, and of what’s best in us. We know better, though we usually don’t act on that and are thus indicted by what Freud called “the narcissism of

Conrad

083 640 5848

Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI

Final Reflection

minor differences”. And this takes its root in fear, fear of many things. Not least among those fears is our fear of the secularised world and how we feel this has put us on a slippery slope in terms of our Christian heritage and our moral values. To quote Robinson here: “These people see the onrush of secularism intent on driving religion to the margins, maybe over the edge, and for the sake of Christianity they want to enlist society itself in its defence. They want politicians to make statements of faith, and when merchants hang their seasonal signs and banners they want them to say something more specific than ‘Happy Holidays’.” Robinson, however, is distrustful of enlisting political power to defend Christianity. Why? Because “this country [the United States] in its early period was largely populated by religious people escaping religious persecution at the hands of state churches, whether French Huguenots, Scots Presbyterians, English Congregationalists, or English Catholics.” She adds: “Since my own religious heroes tended to die gruesomely under these regimes, I have no nostalgia for the world before secularism, nor would many

of these ‘Christian nation’ exponents, if they looked a little into the history of their own traditions.” Inside our fear of secularism, she suggests, lies a great irony: We are afraid of secularism because we have, in fact, internalised the great prejudice against Christianity, namely, the belief that faith and Christianity cannot withstand the scrutiny of an intellectually sophisticated culture. And that fear lies at the root of an anti-intellectualism that is very prominent inside many religious and church circles today. How much of our fear today about Christianity being on a slippery slope can be traced back to this prejudice? Why are we so afraid of our world and of secularised intellectuals? This fear, she writes, spawns an antagonism that is unworthy of Christianity. Fear and antagonism are very fashionable within religious circles today, almost to be worn as a badge of faith and loyalty. And is this a sign of health? No. Neither fear nor antagonism, she submits, are “becoming in Christians or in the least degree likely to inspire thinking or action of the kind that deserves to be called Christian”. Moreover, “if belief in Christ is necessary to attaining of everlasting life, then it behooves anyone who calls himself or herself a Christian, any institution that calls itself a church, to bring credit to the faith, at very least not to embarrass or disgrace it. Making God a tribal deity, our local Baal, is embarrassing and disgraceful.” Fear and antagonism do nothing, she adds, to draw respect to Christianity and our churches and to the extent that we let them be associated with Christianity, we risk defacing Christianity in the world’s eyes. But saying that, in today’s climate is to be judged as unpatriotic. We are not supposed to care what the world thinks. But it is the world we are trying to convert. And so we need to be careful not to present Christianity as undignified, xenophobic, and unworthy of our wondrous, all-embracing God. Why all this fear, if we believe that Christianity is the deepest of all truth and believe that Christ will be with us to the end of time? Her last sentences encapsulates a challenge we urgently need today: “Christianity is too great a narrative to be reduced to serving any parochial interest or to be underwritten by any lesser tale. Reverence should forbid in particular its being subordinated to tribalism, resentment, or fear.”

addressing you.” Then something quite alarming happens, for this blind person flings off his cloak (so he is stark naked!) and blunders through the crowd in the direction of Jesus. There follows a dialogue, Jesus (as always) treating this marginalised outsider as a real human being, and finding out what he wants. The response is: “Rabbouni, [what I want] is to see again.” Now watch what happens next: Jesus dismisses him: “Off you go—your faith has saved you.” But he cannot be dismissed so easily: “and immediately [that is a favourite word of Mark’s] he saw again”. What he saw, however, is more than just an end to physical blindness, for the next phrase is “and he was following him on the way” (whereas before, you recall, he was “beside the way”). There are two things to say about this: first, this is precisely what those obtuse disciples had failed to do. Second, the very next verse has us in Jerusalem, and we already know what is to happen there. So Bartimaeus (whom we never hear of again) has found his vocation in following Jesus, right to his passion and death. That is not exactly comfortable; but Bartimaeus is now seeing things as they are. And you?

Southern Crossword #520

ACROSS

5. Infant in arms (4) 7. Belonging to pope and bishop (10) 8. Wise man in the garden (4) 10. Assign to an earlier day (8) 11. You’ll find it on the web (6) 12. Father's abode (6) 14. Lawfully married (6) 16. Name the shrinking girl (6) 17. Ship, I can see belongs to Spanish-speakers (8) 19. Neat sum of money (4) 21. Finite, like your life on earth (3,3,4) 22. Resist authority (4)

DOWN

1. Makes a choice (4) 2. Turned up and listened carefully (8) 3. Romantic intrigue about tangled raffia (6) 4. Nightcap for Bishop of Glasgow? (6) 5. Like Jesus’ wounds did (4) 6. Do it when naming Jesus (3,3,4) 9. Cite a paper to raise the value (10) 13. The first missionaries (8) 15. Make a contribution (6) 16. He is a winner (6) 18. Creature for children to ride on (4) 20. Of days long past (4) Solutions on page 19

CHURCH CHUCKLE

‘O

H Gosh,” sighed the wife one morning, “I’m convinced my mind is almost completely gone!” Her husband looked up from the newspaper and commented: “I’m not surprised: You’ve been giving me a piece of it every day for 20 years!” Send us your favourite Catholic joke, preferably clean and brief, to The Southern Cross, Church Chuckle, PO Box 2372, Cape Town, 8000.

The Southern Cross - 121017  

17 October - 23 October, 2012

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