January 30 to February 5, 2013
Jesuit writer takes his final vows
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South African swimming legend Natalie du Toit visited Dominican Convent School in Belgravia, Johannesburg, where she encouraged learners to rise above their challenges. Speaking about the difficulties and successes in her life, Ms du Toit encouraged the learners to have a dream and “to work towards that dream no matter what”. She is pictured (centre) with Grade 11 pupils Ayanda Africa, Lesego Mosikare, Reginah Daniels and Michelle Pires.
Church to change Aids role BY CLAIRE MATHIESON
HE change in South Africa’s national context since the inception of the government’s ARV treatment programme and the simultaneous decline in funding to churches and NGOs make it clear that the Church’s response, going forward, should focus less on providing treatment and material care, and should focus more on the Church’s ‘core business’—attending to the spiritual and pastoral care of those infected.” This was the outcome of a conference at St Joseph’s Theological Institute, held in collaboration with the Aids Office of the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference (SACBC). Titled “Catholic Responses to Aids in Southern Africa, 30 years after the discovery of HIV”, more than 100 delegates, including bishops, religious, lay persons and academics, gathered in Cedara, near Pietermaritzburg, to discuss the Church and the disease. “Collectively, the various presentations made it clear that there is still much that needs to be done,” said Johan Viljoen of the SACBC Aids Office.
“The conference highlighted the range and depth of the Church’s responses to HIV and Aids. It highlighted the leadership role played by religious sisters in driving this response,” said Mr Viljoen.
he last time such a Catholic gathering on the topic was held was ten years ago at St Augustine University in Johannesburg. “At that time, South Africa already was the country with the largest number of people living with Aids globally. The President of the country [Thabo Mbeki] was on record as being an Aids denialist, believing that HIV did not exist.” This was also the era when garlic, beetroot, olive oil and lemon were promoted by the government for treatment. Treatment was only available in the private health sector, at costs prohibitive to all except the wealthiest. “The 2003 conference emphasised the need for advocacy, for the Church to get involved in the provision of treatment, and for the Church to promote responsible behaviour to prevent the spread of the disease,” said Mr Viljoen. Since then, the Church has responded vigorously to the chal-
lenges. “More than 40 000 people were initiated on antiretroviral drugs in the Church’s treatment programme. Over 30 000 orphans received comprehensive care and support. The Church’s network of more than 70 home-based care organisations provided care and dignity to terminal patients.” The Church became the country’s largest provider of in-patient hospice care and her overall response to the disease has been largely driven by female religious. “The leading role of sisters cannot be overemphasised,” said Mr Viljoen. In addition, the government has risen to the challenge; medication is now available to pregnant women at every public sector antenatal facility, antiretroviral drugs are available free of charge in every health district, and are being accessed by almost 2 million people. Life expectancy has increased, from 54 ten years ago, to 63. It has not been all good news. While the Church is a global leader in the provision of care, its response in the area of prevention has been less effective. In addition, the great leaps made in the fight have led to complacency. “Donors are withdrawing sup-
port to the Church and all NGOs, believing that the crisis is over and that the government is in control of the situation.” New infections occur daily and the more than two million orphans will still need support. This is the realm in which the Church will have to act going forward, said the SACBC Aids Office.
resenters at the conference reflected this notion. Professor Philippe Denis OP presented the results of research conducted by interviewing people living with Aids in the Pietermaritzburg area. His research showed that women in particular are becoming more assertive, and less inclined to submit to domestic violence and stigma. But several expressed anger towards God—showing that the spiritual and pastoral needs of people with Aids are not being addressed. Through her research as a professor at St Joseph’s, Sr Susan Rakoczy IHM said it was self-evident that a positive HIV status has a profound effect on a person’s spiritual and emotional state. “Spiritual directors are in a unique position to address these needs. Yet many expressed that
they are not equipped to deal with HIV and Aids due to lack of training, lack of knowledge and lack of confidence.” Similarly, Fr Stuart Bate OMI, director of research at St Joseph’s, and Fr Raymond Mwangala OMI, academic dean at the theological institute, said adequate Aids training during the formation of priests and religious was still not happening. Director of the Aids Office Sr Alison Munro discussed the issue of testing candidates for religious life. “Despite the Church being in the forefront of providing care ‘out there’, it is uncomfortable dealing with HIV and Aids among its own clergy and religious or applicants for the priesthood or religious life.” Going forward, the Church will focus more on responding to the spiritual and pastoral needs of those affected by Aids. Bishop Kevin Dowling of Rustenburg spoke of the “gift of presence” that the Church has to offer. Furthermore, even if all new infections and deaths from Aids cease immediately, orphans will still be with us for at least two more decades, said Mr Viljoen. “The Church has a particular role to play in addressing their needs.”
Vatican mummy health check E XPERTS have just concluded a two-year study on the seven adult mummies in the Vatican Museums’ collections. The mummies underwent a full battery of X-rays, CT scans, endoscopic explorations, histological exams and a whole spectrum of genetic testing. This led one researcher to joke: “These mummies have gotten more medical attention now than when they were alive.” In fact, scientists can now make the kind of diagnoses ancient
Egyptian doctors were probably unable to divine. The scientific advancements in genetics, imaging technology and nano research have also brought new and unexpected discoveries with minimally and non-invasive techniques—a far cry from the “unwrapping” autopsies of the 19th century. For one thing, the mummy NyMaat-Re, “who we always referred to as ‘she,’ is in fact actually a man,” said Alessia Amenta, Egyptologist and curator of the Vatican Muse-
ums’ Department for the Antiquities of Egypt and the Near East. The hieroglyphics on the mummy’s three-dimensional painted coverings made of plaster and linen bandages—called cartonnage—had identified it as “the daughter of Sema-Tawi”. But 3-D CT scan results from early January showed the never-unwrapped mummy is clearly male, Amenta said. “This discovery is very recent and opens a whole host of questions we hope we will be able to answer.”—CNS
Experts have just completed a programme of checking mummies in the Vatican collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Vatican Museums/CNS)
The Southern Cross, January 30 to February 5, 2013
New vocations at Marianhill T BY MAURICIO LANGA
HE Congregation of the Missionaries of Mariannhill have welcomed the ordination of four deacons and one priest. The ordination was conducted by Bishop Pius Ndlungwane of Mariannhill at the Mariannhill monastery church. The newly ordained priest is Emmanuel Nkosinathi Dlamini from Swaziland and the newly ordaineddeacons are Roberto Cossa, Derek Mwansa, Daniel Phiri and Gift Luke Mulenga. In his homily, the bishop called for a spirit of teamwork in the diocese and the Church at large. He said working together as a team produces more effective results than a one man leadership. One man leadership alone is inadequate. “There are some tasks that cannot be undertaken by one individual, but can be easily accomplished by working in a team,” said Bishop Ndlugwane. He added that the collective effort necessitates a need for more shoulders to the wheel so as to provide effective and desirable work in the vineyard of the Lord. The bishop emphasised that
both deacons and priests were faced with great challenges in their ministries. He said that today the culture of lone or single-handed leadership and its inadequacy continues to haunt the Church. “There is a need to embrace the spirit of teamwork in order to achieve the goals of priesthood in the Church”, he said. The bishop also highlighted the fact that as the population of the Christian community continues to increase, it is difficult to find personnel with a vocation to the priesthood to fill parishes. The bishop said very often young and newly ordained priests were assigned as parish priests before they could be ready. As a result the issues of “maturity, stability and spirituality often have to catch up with them along the way,” he said, adding that this is a difficult situation in that many times such priests are faced with difficulties beyond their control, thus setting in frustrations in young priests. He added that there was a need for collective support and teamwork where senior priests can act as mentors to their junior brother priests.
Deacon Roberto Cossa, Fr Bheki Shabala (provincial superior), Fr Emmanuel Nkosinathi Dlamini, Bishop Pius Ndlugwane, and Deacon Daniel Phiri. (Kneeling) Deacons Derek Mwansa and Gift Mulenga. (Photo: Mauricio Langa)
CMU office bearers voted in STAFF REPORTER
Three new Franciscan priests were ordained by Archbishop William Slattery of Pretoria. (From left) Frs Thabo Mabaso, Thabo Sefoli and Nkosana Nhlapo.
HE Roman Young Catholic Men’s Union, or Catholic Men’s Union (CMU), has elected new office bearers in Port Elizabeth to take the union into the new year, following the vision established 34 years ago. The group was established in 1979 following the investiture of five men at Good Shepherd parish in Butterworth, Queenstown diocese, and with the help and support of the late Bishop John Rosner. Two of the founding members, Paulos Gwandiso and James Antoni, have since been ordained as deacons within the diocese, showing the
group to be a vital ministry in the Church, said newly elected CMU deputy president Khona Salavu of Holy Name church in New Brighton in the Port Elizabeth diocese. Mr Salavu said the new executive would work closely with the group’s founding principles: faith, unity, and service. Members of the union must at all times give witness to the life of Christ in public and especially in their respective communities. The union exists in eight dioceses across the country and its membership cuts across all nationalities and languages and is found predominantly within Xhosa- Zulu- and Afrikaans-speaking communities.
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The new diocese executive of the Catholic Men’s Union (front from left) Khona Salavu (deputy president), Mzwakhe Vincent Kwenxe (president), and Thembinkosi Chithi (deputy secretary). (Back from left) Christopher Chatai (treasurer), Fr Rodgers Sakepi Shlobo (chaplain), and Lulama David Nocuza (secretary).
The Southern Cross, January 30 to February 5, 2013
Jesuit takes his final vows STAFF REPORTER
CADEMIC and writer Fr Anthony Egan SJ has pronounced his final vows as a Jesuit during the main Sunday Mass at Holy Trinity parish in Braamfontein, Johannesburg. Regional superior Fr David Smolira SJ received the vows on behalf of the superior general, said Jesuit Father Chris Chatteris. “Concelebrants at the Mass included fellow Jesuits and other priests. Friends, colleagues and family, including Fr Egan’s father and brother, came from as far afield as Cape Town for the celebration.” Fr Thomas Plastow SJ preached the homily in which he explained the historical background to the ceremony. “The Jesuit rule was the only new one approved by the Church between that of St Francis of Assisi and that of St Alphonsus Ligouri, 500 years later,” explained Fr Chatteris. “The Jesuits were innovative in having final, vowed incorporation into the order take place after ordination. “This means that, as in Fr Anthony’s case, it is not unusual for a Jesuit to take these solemn vows after 20 years living under simple vows,” Fr Chatteris said. “Hence the final vows are a joyful affirmation of what the Jesuit
has been living all these years.” The liturgical practice is also unusual, he added. “Most congregations pronounce their vows before the offertory. Jesuits do so after the Lamb of God and before Communion, while the main celebrant holds up the broken host. “It is a simple but dramatically Christo-centric gesture and goes back to the practice of the first companions who formed the embryonic Jesuit community around St Ignatius in Paris in the 16th century.” Fr Plastow also spoke about Fr Egan’s journey to this important moment, a task for which he was well qualified, having known Fr Egan when they were both students at the University of Cape Town. The music was led by distinguished musical director and organist Cameron Upchurch and his young scholars, and included some of Mr Upchurch’s own compositions. Parishioners and friends moved to the Holy Trinity Hall after Mass for refreshments and to congratulate the most newly-professed Jesuit in South Africa. “Fr Anthony, who has recently done a semester teaching the history of Vatican II at the Jesuit University in Fordham, New York, will now continue his previous multitasking role in the Jesuit Institute in Johannesburg,” said Fr Chatteris.
Fr Anthony Egan SJ pronounced his final vows as a Jesuit during the main Sunday Mass at Holy Trinity parish in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.
Cape healthcare workers active again BY CLAIRE MATHIESON
H The Archdiocesan Catholic Health Care Association aims to support healthcare professionals.
EALTHCARE professionals have successfully re-established an association in the archdiocese of Cape Town. Formerly known as the Catholic Nurses Guild, the Archdiocesan Catholic Health Care Association (ACHCA) has been established for support, faith sharing, knowledge sharing, and for advocacy. In his homily, at a special Mass for the opening of the ACHCA, Archbishop Stephen Brislin said
healthcare workers were in danger of losing their sense of calling. “We as Catholics need to bear witness, to pray for a change of heart and to live out that change, to become role models within our local healthcare settings and workplaces. We need to be living examples of the compassion and dedication of Christ.” The archbishop said in order to meet the challenges facing the ministry, “we must be true to our own spirituality. We need to be strengthened by the sacraments. We need to
support and to strengthen each other, have regular gatherings where we can come together with a common goal.” The group elected a steering committee and will meet at least four times during the year. As it is the Year of Faith, “putting our faith into action through service to others was to be the focus of the meetings”, said Sr Margaret Craig of Nazareth House. From debriefing and helping healthcare workers become a strong voice in the Church, the new group
is looking forward to being active. Sr Craig said the vast majority of participants were female, however “we know there are many male Catholic nurses, healthcare workers and paramedics in our archdiocese, and we would encourage them also to attend. We wish to build up a strong supportive association and all those involved in any of the healthcare professions are most welcome to join us.” n For more information, Estelle Groenewald may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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The Southern Cross, January 30 to February 5, 2013
Pope: ‘No’ to gender philosophy BY CAROL GLATz
HE Church must promote the beauty of marriage between a man and a woman and warn against ideologies opposed to human nature, including philosophies of gender that portray male and female as cultural inventions, Pope Benedict said. The pope made his remarks during a January audience with workers and leaders of Catholic charities and members of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, the Vatican office in charge of coordinating and promoting charitable giving. The council was meeting for its plenary assembly, focusing on the theme of “Charity, Christian anthropology
and new global ethics.” Pope Benedict said all Christians, especially those who work for charitable organisations, “must let themselves be guided by principles of faith through which we take on God’s ‘point of view’ and his plan for us.” The Christian vision of humanity and the world “also provides the correct criteria for evaluating” the best ways to carry out charitable activity today, he said. While there is “a growing consensus today about the inalienable dignity of the human being” and people’s interdependence and responsibilities toward others, there are also many “darks spots” that are obscuring God’s plan, he said.
When a person doesn’t follow what God intends, he can become “the victim of cultural temptations that end up enslaving him,” he said. Some of those ideologies include the cults of nation, race or social class “that showed themselves to be nothing but idolatry,” the pope said, and “unbridled capitalism with its cult of profit, which has led to crisis, inequality and poverty.” There’s a new form of atheism, he said, that sees people as independent and autonomous with happiness lying solely in realising one’s own self. This belief, he added, leads people to think they can choose for themselves what human nature is,
and promote it under the guise of “alleged progress or presumed rights”. Whatever is “technologically possible becomes morally licit, every experiment is acceptable, any population policy permitted and any manipulation legitimised,” he said. Catholic charities need to be aware of the current mentality and these ethical dilemmas so they can be prophetic and “critically vigilant” when cooperating with international organisations in development and other programs, the pope said. Bishops and priests “have a duty to warn the Catholic faithful as well as all people of goodwill and right
reason about these deviations,” he said. Charities may have to “refuse funding and collaboration that directly or indirectly promote actions and projects that are in contrast to Christian anthropology,” he said. The Christian vision of humanity “is a great ‘yes’ to the dignity of the person called to intimate,” filial, humble and confident communion with God, he said. The Church also reaffirms “its great ‘yes’ to the dignity and beauty of marriage as an expression of the faithful and fruitful covenant between man and woman, and its ‘no’ to philosophies such as that of gender,” he said.—CNS
Vatican official urges SSPX to take new attitude BY CINDY WOODEN
statements demanding the group accept the validity of the modern Mass, the Second Vatican Council as part of tradition and the magisterium (the church’s teaching authority) as the judge of what is tradition. Vatican Radio reported on the contents of Archbishop Di Noia’s Advent letter and provided links to the full text in both English and French. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told the French Catholic newspaper La Croix that the letter was a personal appeal from Archbishop Di Noia. While Archbishop Di Noia said in the letter that the Vatican’s relations with the SSPX “remain open and hopeful”, he also said the Vatican would not and could not continue forever to remain silent when SSPX leaders misrepresent what is taking place in the discussions or publicly reject positions still supposedly being discussed with the Vatican. “A review of the history of our relations since the 1970s leads to the sobering realisation that the terms of our disagreement concerning Vatican Council II have remained, in effect, unchanged,” the
archbishop wrote. Archbishop Di Noia suggested HE traditionalist Society of St that the focus of future discussions Pius X will have a future only would need to change to avoid “a if it returns to full communwell-meaning, but unending and ion with the Vatican and stops fruitless exchange.” publicly criticising the teaching of Instead of focusing first on spethe pope, said the Vatican official cific teachings of the Second Vatiresponsible for relations with tracan Council and of the popes since ditionalist Catholics. the mid-1960s, he said, the start“Surely the time has come to ing place must be on God’s will abandon the harsh and counterthat his Church be united and on productive rhetoric that has the roles of various ministers and emerged over the past years,” US faithful within the Church. Archbishop Augustine Di Noia, “Nothing less than the unity of vice-president of the Pontifical the Church is at stake,” he said. Commission “Ecclesia Dei”, wrote “Our souls need first to be to members of the SSPX in an Adhealed, to be cleansed of the bittervent letter. ness and resentment that comes The archbishop’s letter was sent from 30 years of suspicion and anseveral weeks before the SSPX suguish on both sides,” he said. But perior, Bishop Bernard Fellay, gave healing also is needed for the “ima speech in Canada in which he perfections that have come about described the Jews as enemies of precisely because of the difficulthe church and described as “evil” ties, especially the desire for an authe Mass as reformed by the Sectonomy that is in fact outside the ond Vatican Council. traditional forms of governance of In the speech, Bishop Fellay rethe Church.” viewed his group’s so-far unsucArchbishop Di Noia also said a cessful reconciliation talks with serious change of attitude was the Vatican. He said he had conneeded to move from a situation tinued the discussions for three of stalemate towards reconciliayears because top Vatican officials tion. told him that Pope Benedict’s true Humility must mark the followviews were not reflected in official ers of Christ, he said, and Christians must strive to recognise the goodness in others, even those with whom they disagree. “A divisive tone or imprudent statements” must be avoided, patience must prevail and if others need correction, it must be done “with charity, in the proper time and place.” INDEPENDENT SCHOOL FOR BOYS AND GIRLS “If our interactions are marked by pride, YOUR CHILD CAN: anger, impatience and * be educated in an English-medium inordinate zeal, our inChristian school temperate striving for the good of the Church * receive affordable private will lead to nothing but education bitterness,” the arch* mix with boys and girls in small bishop wrote.
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Archbishop Augustine Di Noia, secretary of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, has appealed to the Society of St Pius X to abandon “harsh and counter-productive rhetoric”. (Photo: Paul Haring, CNS) The unity of the Church is of such high value—theologically and not just practically—that Catholics are called to work to preserve or recover it “even if it involves suffering and patient endurance.” In order to maintain unity, he said, church members must recognise the rights and responsibilities each person has. “Even if we are convinced that our perspective on a particular disputed question is the true one, we cannot usurp the office of the universal pontiff by presuming publicly to correct others within the church,” Archbishop Di Noia wrote. For priests, including those of the SSPX, he said, “it is the faith that should be preached from our pulpits, not the latest interpretation of what we take to be problematic about a magisterial document.” He said the SSPX originally was founded by Archbishop Marcel
Lefebvre and approved by the Vatican “to form priests for the service of the people of God, not the usurpation of the office of judging and correcting the theology or discipline of others within the Church.” Theologians do have some room for engaging in a discussion with bishops and the pope about certain Church teachings, but it must be done in a respectful way that aims at clarifying the truth, not trying to rally public opinion, said the archbishop, who has served as undersecretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. “It has been a mistake to make every difficult point in the theological interpretation of Vatican II a matter of public controversy, trying to sway those who are not theologically sophisticated into adopting one’s own point of view regarding subtle theological matters,” he wrote.—CNS
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The Southern Cross, January 30 to February 5, 2013
Ireland has largest ever pro-life demonstration BY SARAH MACDONALD
N the wake of the largest pro-life demonstration ever to have taken place in Ireland, cracks have begun to emerge in the coalition government over its plans to legislate for abortion. More than 25 000 people converged on Dublin, braving bitterly cold weather, to attend the “Unite for Life” vigil in the capital’s Merrion Square, just opposite the Irish parliament. Before the vigil, Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin joined more than 1 500 priests, religious and laity at a prayer service at St Andrew’s church in the city centre to pray for “the child in the womb”. The “Unite for Life” rally was organised by a coalition of pro-life groups opposed to the government’s plans to introduce legislation to allow for restricted abortion when there is a risk to a woman’s life, including a threat of suicide. The massive turnout appeared to take politicians and the mainstream media by surprise, and Minister for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton revealed that she was working on an alternative abortion bill that would exclude the threat of suicide as a reason to allow the procedure. Speaking on RTE Radio, Creighton said she had “grave reservations” about accepting the risk of suicide as a ground for abortion “because I think it is very, very difficult to identify a system that would allow for that while also ensuring we don’t open the floodgates.” She said she and many of her
colleagues in the Fine Gael party had “deep concerns” over abortion, and she said the government needed to ensure that whatever legislation it introduced was “restrictive”. Vigil organisers included groups such as the Pro Life Campaign, Family and Life, Youth Defence and the Life Institute. Leaders urged the crowd to become citizen journalists and tweet images from the rally, and #unite4life trended on Twitter. A separate pro-abortion rally held just around the corner attracted about 200 supporters. One of the speakers who addressed the “Unite for Life” vigil was lawyer and Pro Life Campaign spokeswoman Caroline Simons. She told the crowd, some of whom had spent up to four hours travelling by bus to be there, that the recent parliamentary hearings on abortion had “completely demolished” claims by the government that abortion was needed to treat threatened suicide. “The psychiatrists who addressed the hearings were unanimous that abortion is not a treatment for suicidal ideation,” she told the crowd, who held up placards saying, “Fine Gael: Keep your pro-life promise,” a reference to the major party in the coalition’s pledge ahead of the last election not to introduce abortion legislation. Other placards urged people to “Love them both”, a reference to the equal right to life of mother and baby as recognised by the Irish Constitution. “We are here to oppose the unjust targeting of even one unborn child’s life in circumstances that
More than 25 000 people gather for a pro-life vigil outside the Irish parliament in Dublin. The massive turnout appeared to take politicians and the mainstream media by surprise. (Photo: John Mc Elroy, CNS) have nothing to do with genuine life-saving medical interventions,” said Gaelic football manager Mickey Harte of Tyrone. Speaking to Catholic News Service after his address, Harte said there was “a groundswell of opinion to maintain the status quo in Ireland
and not make abortion legal.” He urged the Irish government to “listen very intently” to what the people were saying to them. “There are so many people the length and breadth of this country who never get a chance to mobilise their voice —people want the status quo to re-
main and to keep Ireland a safe place for a pregnant mother and her unborn baby.” Another organiser, John Smyth of Pro Life Campaign, told CNS he thought government leaders were “going to have to sit up and listen”.—CNS
Movie expert to head Vatican TV BY CAROL GLATz
OPE Benedict named a priest who is an expert in cinema and communications to head the Vatican’s television production centre, CTV. Fr Dario Edoardo Vigano, 50, replaces Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi as director of CTV, while the Jesuit remains general director of Vatican Radio and head of the Vatican press office. The pope also named Fr Vigano to be secretary of television’s administrative council, according to the Vatican. In an effort to simplify the accreditation process for journalists, the pope also named Angelo Scelzo, who served as undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, to be the second vice-director of the Vatican press office. Mr Scelzo, a lay journalist, will continue his role of overseeing the accreditation process for still photographers and audiovisual journalists, but will do so at the press hall, rather than at the pontifical council. Passionist Father Ciro Benedettini will continue as the other vice-director of the press hall, serving print journalists. Fr Vigano, who was born in Rio de Janeiro, is a professor of the “theology of communication” at the Redemptor Hominis Pastoral Institute of the Pontifical Lateran University and serves as director of the Lateran Centre for Higher Studies. Ordained by the late-Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini for the Archdiocese of Milan, the priest has a doctorate in communications and has written a number of books and articles about the relationship between Catholicism and the mass media, particularly cinema. He has taught cinema and communications at several universities in Rome and Milan, and worked for the Italian bishops’ conference office of social communications and its film review commission. Fr Lombardi had been director of Vatican television since 2001. He had been juggling three executive positions after the pope named him general director of radio in 2005 and head of Vatican press office in 2006. Moving Mr Scelzo from the communications council to the press office is part of the Vatican’s slow process of streamlining its communications agencies. The accreditation process for journalists had
Let GÜNTHER SiMMERMACHER guide you through the great holy sites of the Holy Land and Jordan on a virtual itinerary. Read about the history of the places where Jesus and his disciples worked and walked, about their biblical and historical signiﬁcance — and meet some interesting people along the way in the new book.
THE HOLY LAND TREK With 88 photos
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Fr Dario Edoardo Vigano, an expert in cinema and communications, has been appointed as director of the Vatican’s television production centre. been divided for several years between the press office and the communications council. Now this “anomalous” situation will be remedied, as the accreditation process for all print, photo and film journalists for “news events” will be consolidated in one place—at the Vatican press hall, Fr Lombardi said. Camera and film crews for documentaries or other projects will still need to go through the Pontifical Council for Social Communications for accreditation, he said. It was also likely the pope would eventually name a new undersecretary to the communications council, he added.—CNS
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The Southern Cross, January 30 to February 5, 2013
LEADER PAGE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Guest editor: Michael Shackleton
Logic and fallacy
ETER Abelard, the 12th century writer, noted in his work Dialectica that logic is not the science of using arguments but of discerning the validity of arguments. In Abelard’s time, the validity of an argument needed testing by applying the tools of the logician, essential for intellectual debates and discussions, most of all in the rarefied world of prelates and politicians. Words had to have precise meanings, common to all who used them. If not, the debate would be inconclusive and frustrating and no progress would be made in the acquisition of knowledge and understanding. There were certain logical fallacies to be avoided, which sharp minds could spot in an instant, having been grounded in the art of public speaking and being competent in distinguishing ambiguous terms and the heat of emotional outbursts from cold facts and logically reasoned conclusions. It did not take long in history before the need to discern the validity of an argument gave ground to the steamrolling tactic of winning any argument by crushing the counter-argument with loudness, bluster, confused use of terminology and disregard for cool thinking. In the conflict, the original thrust of a proposition to be debated was lost in the muddied waters of what in today’s terms is the spin doctor’s suave rejection of it on grounds ranging from misunderstanding to unjust and wild attacks on persons and principles. Think of the way in which the Great Schism between the Western and Eastern Church arose in the 11th century. Instead of cool heads and the need for some kind of rapprochement, mutual excommunications arising from downright prejudice and fallacious premises dumped the Christian world into a situation where it is still gravely wounded.
The same could be said of how cool logical thinking was overwhelmed in the bitter accusations flung by the Reformers at Rome, and back again, splitting Western Christianity disastrously. Listening to how others receive our reasoned arguments and finding ways and means to come to a mutual agreement, or even tolerance, is essential, especially now that the political parties will be back in parliament and the Church will be called upon to comment where necessary. The good image of the Church has unhappily been tarnished by much-publicised reports of scandalous goings-on among the ranks of clergy and religious. The Church consequently is viewed by many in the media and the broader society as not sincere when it debates with the secular world. It is a logical fallacy to cloak the entire Church with the mantle of insincerity just because its membership is not as perfect as the media and society expect it to be. It is up to all Catholics now to keep cool heads and recall the injunction of St Paul in 2 Timothy 4:1-5, and “to make the preaching of the Good News your life’s work”. Both among political parties and religious groupings, it is fundamental to healthy discourse that those involved are aware of the common fallacies that lead to circular reasoning and dead-end conclusions. Ridiculing and misrepresenting the other's opinions, shifting the burden of proof, equivocation, assuming that something that is true for some is true for all. These are common examples of fallacious logic we find among public figures and even in private discussions. Let this be the Year of Faith in which we are faithful to the truth and respectful of the opinions of others while not fearing to point out any rational inconsistencies they may appeal to.
Browse the editorial archive online at www.scross.co.za/ category/editorials/
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.
Schools need Catholic foundation ONGRATULATIONS to our ables one to live out those values, Catholic schools for the good Jesus Christ. It is akin to expecting C results achieved for their matric stu- apple trees to produce grapes. dents. I also promise to pray for André Gildenhuys (“Catechism classes”, January 16), as well as all catechism teachers and students. Recent letters have highlighted the so-called “Catholic ethos” in our schools where, sadly, Catholic learners are in the minority. Also, apparently, religious instruction as such is no longer taught in many of our Catholic schools, but human values and respect for life are stressed to all pupils. It is pointless stressing human values without laying the foundation, the source and power that en-
AVING been a keen reader of comments to items on your website, I am saddened but not surprised by your having to suspend your “combox” facility. For the very reasons you cite in your editorial, “Scorched earth Catholics” (January 23), I suggested such suspension more than a year ago. For me, the kernel of your argument is your paragraph: “But belligerence was not Christ’s way. Jesus did not bully those who did not believe in him; he persuaded and healed, and had compassion even for those who crucified him.” I shall miss reading the many well-reasoned, informed and enlightening comments from all sides of a debate that appeared on your website. However, I am pleased that your newspaper will no longer provide a platform for vitriolic expressions of unchristian intolerance. No Catholic publication can allow itself to be so abused. Fr Kevin Reynolds, Pretoria
READ with sadness that The Southern Cross no longer allows readers to comment on its website. This is an active forum where Catholics are able to debate issues of great importance. Who became judge and jury to decide that we shouldn’t? If these participants are not doing it with a good heart and it is not what Jesus would do, then let Jesus judge them on that. What happened to freedom of speech and freedom of expression? There are huge departures from the Catholic Church today and this is one of the very reasons—we are not allowed to question, just follow like a bunch of sheep. How does one not debate the cover-up of abuse by priests and
We cannot teach human values without stressing Christ, the key, the centre and purpose of human history, as stressed by Pope Benedict recently to young people. Frank Bompas, in his letter “Retaining young Catholics” (January 16) points out, correctly, that our young people are leaving the Church in droves for the fundamentalist anti-Catholic sects. A very weak basis to the faith is evidently occurring at home and, possibly, by many of those catechising who often teach Catholic Christianity as a philosophy rather than other serious matters pertaining to the “one true Church” without getting emotional and perhaps irate? We are adults and take full responsiblity for our comments, decisions and beliefs. Let Jesus be the judge, not The Southern Cross. Lyndsay Massyn, Johannesburg
DON’T know much about Mattie Stepanek, only what I saw on an Oprah Winfrey show. But as he died at a young age of muscular dystrophy and his mom said on the show that he was up for sainthood, I prayed for his intercession to help my grandson, who was 13 years old at the time. He was struggling with his schoolwork and also at home. He was angry and had no patience, and was disrespectful to those around him. Since praying to Maddie, there has been a wonderful change in my grandson. He has done well in his end of year exams, and he’s become a delightful, happy and considerate youngster at 14. He still has his outbursts at times but certainly nothing like he used to be. I promised I would write this letter to thank Mattie for his help. If you do have any information on Mattie, I would love to read about him. Name withheld, Durban 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. Letters can be sent to Po box 2372, Cape Town 8000 or email@example.com or faxed to 021 465-3850
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stressing the absolute necessity of knowing and experiencing Jesus Christ in a dynamic personal relationship empowered by the Holy Spirit, daily prayer, Bible reading and the Eucharist. Our schools need to be equally proud of their success in communicating Catholic Christianity to their school leavers. Jesus’ words are as relevant as ever: “What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world but suffer the loss of his soul”. It is no secret that the number of young Catholics practising their faith , even in formerly traditional Catholic countries, is at an all-time low. Let us pray for our young people, who are easy prey for the deceiver. John Lee, Johannesburg
HE Vatican response to Society of St Pius X leader Bishop Fellay that acceptance of the teachings of Vatican II is only a “political and administrative” requirement and “not what the pope thinks” is very disturbing. It smacks of the intrigues and collusion of secrecy enjoined on bishops by the Vatican which perpetuated the abuse of children by priests. Secrecy has no place in the Church. It fosters double standards and destroys trust. Faith is built on trust. We need to challenge secrecy and double standards wherever we find them in the Church, such as when sexually active gays are excluded while hundreds of priests worldwide are living in homosexual relationships, not even secretly. Brian Robertson, Cape Town
E are surrounded by God’s protection, raising children without fear. There are six things a child loves to hear: I love you; you’re one in a million; you make me proud; great job, well done; you’re very special; I believe in you. The Bible is filled with acccounts of supernatural protection for God’s people. It’s no problem for God to bring you out of a fiery furnace or shut the mouth of a lion. He has proven time and again that he can get the job done whatever the circumstances. But God’s protection is not automatic. There are things you have to do in order for God to be your refuge; there are choices you have to make. Psalm 91 shows that he has made the choice to dwell or abide in the secret place of the most high; he makes his abode there in order to receive protection. Daniel Phiri, Roodepoort
Let’s reconcile in Africa
N African tradition there is a story, a parable, told of two cats. It goes like this. Once upon a time, in a small village in Africa, there lived two cats. One was black and the other one was white. One day, they were hungry and so they went out to hunt for prey. On the way to the bush, they came upon a piece of cake, lying on the road. Driven by hunger, they quickly cut it into two pieces. But one piece was slightly bigger than the other piece. As they stole away together, the hungry cat said that he should eat the bigger piece and the one with less hunger eat the small piece. The other cat disagreed and the quarrel went on. As they were quarreling, a monkey on the tree was watching all this. Immediately, he came down from the tree and positioned himself next to the cats so that he could hear what the quarrel was all about. When the cats saw the monkey, they approached him and asked him to decide who should eat the bigger piece. The cunning monkey said: “Don’t worry, my good friends; I will sort out your problem quickly.” He assured the cats that he would make both pieces equal. The clever monkey started eating from the bigger cake in order to make it the same size with the smaller one. But as he took a bite from one cake, the other piece would become bigger. So he would then take a bite from the other piece. This continued until the both pieces were small. Seeing this, the two cats pleaded: “Sir, we are satisfied now.” The shrewd monkey replied: “Oh, this is my fee for sorting out the problem.” With that he grabbed the remaining cake, jumped into his tree and left the poor cats hungry. This story refers to Africa, where news
about war reaches our ears virtually every week. Elections are not always a good thing to talk about in Africa—often they are followed by violence and even war. It is not long ago that Kenya’s election in December 2007 was followed by terrible bloodshed. Right now, Kenya has thousands of internally displaced persons within its borders. Observers warn that this year’s elections could be followed by yet more violence. Peace in Africa is urgently needed, lest we breed more refugees. My father, who fought the British colonisers of Kenya as a Mau Mau member, would tell me that war is the worst thing of all.
frica has behaved like the two cats during conflicts. We always call on the Western countries to settle our own disputes. Is it so hard to find solutions from within Africa or are we incompetent in settling disputes, even our own disputes? When will Africa cease to be the children of the West, reporting quarrelsome siblings to mom and dad for arbitration? Whenever conflicts arise, we can be
A policeman stands guard inside a Presbyterian church that was attacked by rioting youths in Mombasa, Kenya, last August. (Photo: Thomas Mukoya, Reuters/CNS)
Anthony Gathambiri IMC
Point of Reflection
sure that there is somebody who will take advantage of the situation. This could be our political leaders, Western countries or, increasingly, China. They come to exploit our resources under the guise of helping us. The future of Africa is in our own hands. And a good future is not possible if we don’t work for peace. Nelson Mandela once said: “I dream of an Africa which is at peace with itself.” This objective is attainable if we, as Africans, persuade ourselves that each one of us has to contribute to the peace mission in Africa. Our peace mission starts in our hearts, then spreads to our families and to the wider community of our country and our continent. In his apostolic exhortation Africae munus, which brings together the fruits of the Second Synod of Bishops for Africa, Pope Benedict said that there is a need to have one day or even a week of reconciliation during Lent. What a brilliant idea! It is important to celebrate reconciliation because we Africans are still nursing the injuries of wars, and these will take a long time to heal. Some of these hurts can’t be easily healed, and we only need to know how to live with them. For example, when a child saw his mum or his dad killed, just because they belonged to a certain party, will this not sting that child forever? People could use such a day of reconciliation to tell of their bitter experiences of war, conflicts and oppression. This could be a one step towards building an Africa where people are joined in peace and are reconciled with one another.
We need ubuntu for the whole world
N previous columns we discussed human selfishness; how religion has sought to draw the individual away from the self and to be conscious of the importance of two sets of relationships— with God and with fellow human beings. We also discussed the problem of modern education: on the one hand formal education is essential for human development; on the other it inculcates undesirable human values and attitudes, such as selfish competition, materialism and dictatorship. The values just cited and other values have contributed to one of the enigmas of human life—the undisputed fact that the worst enemy of humankind is fellow humans, not the beasts of the jungle or natural phenomena such as floods or drought. It could be argued that the worst enemy of humanity is disease. But there is a counter-argument: In today’s world disease thrives where humans have failed to make provision for fellow humans. Furthermore, it is often in situations of conflict, war and oppression where hunger, disease, and forced migration (into refugee camps) thrive. Today we live in heavily protected homes, with high walls and barbed wire, not out of fear of wild animals or disease, but because we are afraid of our own kind! In this column I wish to argue that part of the solution to the problems caused by selfish competition, materialism and dictatorship is to use education and religion to develop a new set of social values. A starting point in introducing a para-
digm shift in human values is for our institutions to educate learners about the value of the traditional African philosophy of ubuntu (Zulu), or botho (Sotho) or unhu (Shona). This philosophy teaches us about the significance of the “other” (as opposed to myself); about the importance of community in human life; and about the benefits of interdependence in all human relationships, be they person to person, race to race, gender to gender or nation to nation relationships. According to the philosophy of ubuntu, an individual exists in relation to other people. As the Sotho language puts it: “Motho ke motho ka batho”—”A person is a person because of other people (or through other people)”. In other words: “I am what I am because you are what you are; and you are what you are because we are what we are.”
here is complete interdependence between people, between the genders and between nations. Men may oppress women, but the fact of the matter is that males could not exist without females. The common saying that no man is an island is not just a euphemism; it says something fundamental about the interdependence of people. Consider the current Euro zone economic problems, for example. For 500 years European countries regarded themselves as the developed and civilised nations of the world, but they were surviving on the wealth extracted from
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other continents: the Americas, Asia and Africa. The decolonisation process eventually led to the contraction of the economies of Europe. What is needed now is a global ubuntu philosophy which results in a fair and equitable distribution of the world’s resources. A concerted ubuntu approach to education and life will teach young people that the real heroes of the world are not those who amass wealth in a sea of poverty; but those like Mother Teresa who sacrifice their own comfort to serve the less privileged members of society. It will make future leaders realise that one does not achieve true freedom by oppressing others; but that by giving freedom to others one enhances one’s own freedom. Many white South Africans will concede that the dismantling of apartheid was a moment of emancipation not only for blacks, but for white people as well. To oppress or hurt another is to hurt oneself; and to free the oppressed is to free oneself. True success does not consist in the accumulation of wealth, but in helping as many people as possible to live a decent life.
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The Trinity is a united community of three The catechism says the Trinity is a mystery of faith in the strict sense (237) and “Father, Son and Holy Spirit are not simply names designating modalities of the divine being, for they are really distinct from one another” (254). Yet I have come across the expression “God is a community of three people”. Surely this is not Catholic teaching. MR Kolbeck
N his excellent and lucid book God is a Community, Brian Gaybba, the South African Catholic theologian, explains that the complete unity of three persons in one God means that our one God is self-sufficient and eternally happy in himself. This is not simply because God has no unfulfilled desires. It is because God is a community of persons who enjoy to an infinite degree the one most basic fulfilling experience that every human seeks: to love and be loved. This understanding of the unparalleled mystery of one God in three persons provides an insight into another mystery: God made the human race in the divine image and likeness (Gen 1:27). Therefore like God, humanity is a community, a single family despite its wars and divisions. We can say God in the Trinity is not alone and therefore it is not good for man to be alone (Gen 2:12). From the moment that God became man in the person of Jesus Christ, God took humanity into his own inner life, his own community of shared love. Heaven is the full flowering of the shared life of the community that already exists on this earth. Hell is the flowering of the refusal to share. It is the flowering of the power of self-centredness to destroy all happiness within the individual. There are three persons in the Trinity, not three people, even if people is used loosely to indicate persons in the plural. It would be incorrect to use the word “person” here in the everyday sense of an individual having consciousness. There are not three individual consciousnesses in the three divine persons because each is aware of being one God, whole and entire. The trinitarian mystery is the revelation that there is one God in three persons, each distinct from one another. The Father has no principle of origin, the Son is born of the substance of the Father, the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son as from one principle.
n Send your queries to Open Door, Box 2372, Cape Town, 8000; or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; 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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The Southern Cross, January 30 to February 5, 2013
St Anthonyâ€™s parish in Durban held a silver jubilee Mass for the Guild of Our Lady of Mercy, celebrated by Mgr Paul Nadal (back right) and assisted by Fr Sean Mullin CSSP (back left).
Loreto Convent School in Pretoria is the top performing school in the Pretoria archdiocese, maintaining a 100% pass rate for 19 years. They achieved 84 distinctions and had 97.1% university exemptions. Pictured are Tessa Baloyi and Carmen Plaatjies, both receipients of 7 distinctions each.
Leratong pre-primary Grade R learners presented a nativity play in the Khotsong church in Bohlokong, Bethlehem. Elizabeth and Clifford Booysen, parishioners at Holy Spirit church in Arcadia, Port Elizabeth, celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary. The couple have five children, two grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
The parish of the Resurrection in Table View, Cape Town, celebrated 25 years. Frs David Anderson, Michael Hulgraine and Kevin Dadswell concelebrated a jubilee Mass with Archbishop Stephen Brislin.
The Southern Cross, January 30 to February 5, 2013
Is Daswa SA’s first saint? The sainthood cause for Benedict Daswa is the first for a South Africanborn Catholic. CLAIRE MATHIESON learns more about his life.
NE Friday night, in February 1990, Benedict Daswa was helping a man carry a heavy load home. Being one of the few in the area with a car, he gladly took the man to a neighbouring village. When he returned home, Benedict found his way blocked by tree logs across the road. When he alighted, a mob of youths and adults came from behind trees and began throwing large stones at him. “Bleeding and injured, he left the car and ran across the ‘Eleven Computers’ football field hoping for assistance from nearby rondavels, one being a shebeen where people were drinking traditional beer,” said Bishop João Noé Rodrigues of Tzaneen, where Benedict’s village is found. “When he realised the mob was still coming, Benedict ran out and hid in another rondavel kitchen. But when the mob arrived they asked the woman where Benedict was hiding, indicating that they would kill her if she did not tell them,” the bishop said. Two boys from the mob entered and pulled Benedict out of the rondavel. “Benedict hugged one of them and pleaded for his life. Then a man from the mob came forward holding a knobkerrie.” “Benedict prayed aloud, saying: ‘God, into your hands receive my spirit.’ Everything happened very quickly,” said Bishop Rodrigues. Benedict was hit on the head with the knobkerrie, crushing his skull. Boiling water was then poured over Benedict’s head, ears, nostrils and injuries. A number of people were arrested for Benedict’s murder, police investigated and forensic spe-
Benedict Daswa’s car was trashed by a mob and he was killed in February 1990. cialists studied the scene, but when the case came to court it was dismissed through lack of evidence. Born on June 16, 1946 as Tshimangadzo Samuel Daswa, in the former Venda homeland, he was raised in the Lemba tribe, which claims affinity with the Jewish culture. The young Samuel was a herdboy before going to school and would work in his father’s garden where he gained a great love of working with the land. Bishop Hugh Slattery, retired of Tzaneen, said Samuel came from a family of hard workers which would be a theme throughout his life. When his father died in an accident, Samuel took responsibility for caring for his younger brother and sister. He would continue to
help pay for their education when he joined the workforce, and encouraged them to study. It was during a school holiday that Samuel became friendly with a young white man who was also a Catholic. After returning to Mbahe, Samuel joined a group of Catholics who met for instructions in the faith under a fig tree.
he 17-year-old Samuel was baptised on April 21, 1963. He took the name Benedict, inspired by his catechist, Benedict Risimati, and the motto of St Benedict, Ora et labora—pray and work. Three months later he was confirmed. After qualifying as a teacher, Benedict became active in his community, in teachers’ unions, in sport, and in the daily and political
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life of his community. He was also a very active layman, said Bishop Slattery. He would conduct Sunday services when the priest was not there, he would work closely with the priest, supporting him financially and morally, and he would give instruction to the youth and the elderly. Benedict was even involved in building the community’s church, always volunteering to use his bakkie to fetch materials, never asking for petrol money. Bishop Slattery said when Benedict became a Catholic he was able to combine his traditional love of work received from his family and the importance of work in Christianity. Bishop Xolelo Kumalo of Eshowe said it was not enough for Benedict to attend Mass only on Sundays and go home. “When he was baptised, he was changed and he wanted to witness to those who had not received.” Benedict was appointed principal of the local primary school in 1977. “He was seen to be a person of influence. His brick home, car, television, telephone and thriving orchards were seen as signs of prosperity and he was looked on with envy by his adversaries,” said Bishop Rodrigues. Benedict married Shadi Eveline Monyai in 1980 and they had eight children, the last being born four months after Benedict’s death. “As a husband and father, Benedict was exemplary. He believed that helping his wife with the children and household chores were part of his marriage commitment. The family prayed together each evening and always attended the Sunday liturgical celebration.” Bishop Rodrigues said Benedict was a man who gave tirelessly to the Catholic community. “He was a man of prayer and committed to sharing his faith with others. Produce from his garden would be given to the needy. Those in need of transport could rely on him at any time for assistance. In the general community, Benedict was highly respected.” The bishop of Tzaneen said Benedict was also known for his “absolute honesty, truthfulness and integrity. He spoke his mind and was not swayed by popular opinion.” So why was Benedict killed? “The killing of Benedict Daswa was the culmination of some years of tension between Benedict’s faith in Jesus Christ and certain people of the local communities and villages where he lived and worked,” said Bishop Rodrigues. Benedict was known for his firm stand against the practice of witch-
craft of all kinds because he relied on God and God’s blessings for all his needs and the needs of the local communities. However, many disagreed. One of his initiatives to help the youth in his community was in 1976 the formation of a football team called the Mbahe Eleven Computers. After initial success, the team began losing games and it was proposed that a sangoma be consulted to obtain muti to help improve the team’s performance. “Benedict spoke out strongly against the proposal. He was outnumbered,” said Bishop Rodrigues. Benedict chose to leave the club and formed another football team, the Mbahe Freedom Rebels, with some players who had supported him. “His decision was the beginning of a campaign of hatred and jealousy towards him by some people.”
n November 1989, heavy rains and lightning strikes were prevalent in the Venda area. This was not seen as a natural phenomenon but instead members of the community became very concerned as to who was responsible. “In early 1990, after a heavy downpour on Thursday, January 25, there were several lightning strikes in the area. The headman, his council and the community met to discuss their concerns. “It was agreed that a traditional healer be consulted to identify the witch who was responsible for the burnings.” The bishop said a contribution of R5 per person was agreed on. But Benedict would not pay, stating that his faith prevented him from taking part in witchcraft. He argued the lightning was a natural phenomenon. “Many in the community saw him as belittling traditional beliefs and conspired to get rid of him because to them he was a stumbling block because of his Catholic faith and consistent stand against witchcraft.” Benedict was 44 when he was murdered on February 2, 1990 and was buried a few days later. He was considered a martyr immediately. “By common agreement, all wore red vestments in acknowledgment of their belief that Benedict died for his faith and that it was his stand against witchcraft which had brought about his death,” said Bishop Rodrigues. In 2005, the first cause of a South African-born Catholic to be proposed for beatification and canonisation began. Four years later, it was sent to the prefect of the Congregation for Causes of Saints, where it shall remain until the congregation approves a Roman postulator to proceed with the next phase of the process. From the moment he was baptised to the moment he died, Benedict gave tirelessly to the Church, dying for his faith—a saintly act, indeed. n Next week: Benedict and the canonisation process.
The Southern Cross, January 30 to February 5, 2013
YEAR OF FAITH
How to have a faith that can move mountains Sometimes in life it is not easy to follow through with our faith, despite our best intentions. WALTER MIDDLETON offers advice on how to live a faith that can move mountains.
BOVE all, as Christians we must have faith—it is faith that can move mountains. Secondly we must pray. We sometimes underestimate the power of prayer. Faith is indeed the greatest miracle-working power. Faith never fails a person—we fail when we give up on faith. For me, faith has five phases and if you cut out one of these phases, you will be disappointed. Faith is like a seed. If a seed is not planted, then it won’t bear fruit. So planting is the first phase. Unless a seed is watered it will not sprout. Sprouting is the second phase. If a plant is not nourished, it will not reach maturity. But nourish it, and it will blossom—the third phase. When the buds are beginning to form but the climatic conditions are not favourable, the stalks will produce no fruit. But if the conditions are right, then there will be ear in the corn. Bearing fruit is the fourth phase. Finally, when the fruit is ripe, it must be harvested at the right time. Harvesting is the fifth phase. As there are five phases to fruit bearing—from planting of the seed to harvesting—so there are five phases to the full cycle of mountain-moving faith. I see the five phases of faith in this way.
The Nesting Phase The Nesting Phase is when an idea drops into the mind, much as an egg is deposited in the nest. You get an idea that you want to do good, you want to help someone, you want to do a better job, or you want to do something—but you are not sure whether you will
succeed. Many people never get beyond this phase. There is a lack of complete faith. To stretch the metaphor further, the egg rots in the nest.
The Testing Phase The Testing Phase is when you want to do something, and actually think about it. At this stage, we ask questions such as: Is this really necessary? Is it really an idea that fills a human need? Is it the right thing to do? Is it not “blind” faith? Will it inspire others? Everybody can be an inspiration to others.
Investing Phase The Investing Phase is when you make the commitment to go ahead. You are convinced that you do have faith. You have decided you want to help someone; you want to do the thing which will bring glory and honour to God. You want to go ahead with a project which you have been contemplating for quite some time, but were not sure whether you would succeed.
Arresting Phase The above three phases lead to the fourth phase: the Arresting Phase. You have made the commitment, you have decided to go ahead, but now problems start attacking you, troubles block you, and you want to give up. The Arresting Phase of faith is God’s way of testing us before the final victory. He wants to make sure that we are really dependent on him. In the darkest times, simply remind yourself that faith can move any mountain. When you are tempted to give up, just look up. Be strong and don’t give up on faith. The Arresting Phase is a passing phase. If you have faith, you will prevail, no matter what the obstacles are.
Crowning Phase Finally, the fifth phase of faith, the Crowning Phase. The mountain top is finally scaled. Success is finally achieved. Your dreams have come true. You may have been healed from
A man in fervent prayer. In his article, Walter Middleton explains the P5 formula for a strong prayer life. (Photo: Folabi Sotunde, Reuters/CNS) a serious sickness and you walk back into sunshine. A broken relationship is healed, and there is peace. It is faith in God who made it happen. Your faith has managed to move the mountain.
et’s take the second component: prayer. Have you heard of the P5 formula? Proper planning prevents poor performance. In our spiritual life, the P5 formula would be: pause, presence, ponder, praise and promise. Pause: when you pray, pause. Stop doing whatever you are doing and make a commitment to pray fervently. Do not let anything distract your mind. We have a tendency to get distracted very easily while praying. It calls for discipline. Presence: when praying, feel the
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presence of God. Talk to him as if he is a good friend standing or sitting beside you. Let his presence invigorate you; let it stimulate you to pray with fervour. Ponder: think about all the things God had done for you. Ponder about the things you have not done right. Ponder about the problems or pain you have caused to others which has probably displeased God. Praise: give praise and thanksgiving to God. Don’t stop praising God. Praise him so that his name will be glorified. Jesus publicly praised his father in heaven. You should do likewise. Don’t feel nervous or shy to do it. Do it everywhere and all the time. Promise: promise the Lord that you want to do his will. You want to follow in his footsteps. Promise
him that you will make a sincere effort to follow his teachings to the best of your ability and spread the good news so that others may be brought to the fold. Lastly, your prayers should be simple and directly from the heart. Pray when you have a moment to spare, pray when you are in trouble, pray when you are being tempted, pray when you have received a gift from God. Pray for others rather than yourself. Pray with a sincere heart. Let your faith be firm and your prayers be fervent and you will have permanent joy and eternal and lasting happiness. n Walter Middleton is the senior vicepresident (Partnership Leader) for Food and Livelihood Security for World Vision International and a member of La Rochelle parish in Johannesburg.
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Daughters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary WISH TO SHINE YOUR LIGHT FOR GOD’S CHILDREN! Then as a Daughter of the Immaculate Heart of Mary this is your chance to rekindle the light of LOVE and of the GOOD NEWS to the:
n Youth and Children n Sick n Aged n Outcast and Neglected
Feel God’s Call
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The Southern Cross, January 30 to February 5, 2013
Thetele Melidah Davids
ELIDAH Davids, affectionately known as “Magogo”, of Rustenburg, died on December 18 at 71. Born in Koster, on January 21, 1941, she was a teacher by profession and worked until retirement. Ms Davids dedicated her life to serving the Church with passion, commitment and dedication. She was a member of the marriage and family life help desk, a dedicated member of the Charismatic renewal group and attended the annual Charismatic renewal retreat at Rabbuni in Klerksdorp. Three days before her death, she attended the retreat, made her confession and was anointed by Fr Don Bohé OMI. She was a devotee of our Mother Mary and went to Ngome shrine annually and also played an influential role in promoting the pilgrimage to Ngome. She was a member of the Universal Living Rosary Association
from 2008 and prayed a decade of the Rosary and the Angelus daily and faithfully until the end. Ms Davids helped the priests in the diocese to translate prayers and hymns from English into the vernacular language Setswana. In her parish of Moineedi Tumelong in Tlhabane, Rustenburg diocese, she was the treasurer of the building fund, responsible for Baptism, first Holy Communion and Confirmation classes. A member of the diocesan catechetical team, she will be remembered as a multi-talented person who used her gifts freely and joyfully in her parish and the diocese. Devoted to the Divine Mercy she prayed the daily chaplet. She had a great love for holy Mass and Eucharistic adoration. Fr john Melhuish MHM presided at her Requiem Mass and in the homily said: “Those who bring others to the Lord will shine like stars in heaven.”
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CAPE ToWn: Mimosa Shrine, bellville (Place of pilgrimage for the Year of Faith): February : 7.00pm Rosary, 7.30 Mass with Crowning and Consecration of Mimosa shrine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. 9 February: 9.00am-10am holy hour and Benediction, confession available during holy hour. February 21: 7.30pm Rosary. Tel: 076 323 8043 Padre Pio: Holy hour 3.30 pm every 3rd Sunday of the month at Holy Redeemer parish in Bergvliet. Helpers of god’s Precious infants meet the last Saturday of the month
except in December, starting with Mass at 9:30 am at the Salesian Institue Community Chapel in Somerset Road, Cape Town. Mass is followed by a vigil and procession to Marie Stopes abortion clinic in Bree Street. For information contact Colette Thomas on 083 412 4836 or 021 593 9875 or Br Daniel Manuel on 083 544 3375 nELSPruiT: Adoration of the blessed sacrament at St Peter’s parish. Every Tuesday from 8am to 4:45pm followed by Rosary Divine Mercy prayers, then a Mass/Communion service at 5:30pm.
Word of the Week
S.A.G—“St Anthony Guide”. This short prayer asking St Anthony to guide a correspondence to its destination is written on the backs of letters and envelopes, and is often used in wax seals, ink stamps, and the like. It stems from St Anthony’s intercession, in 1729, in the case of a woman whose merchant husband had gone from their home in Oviedo, Spain, to Peru on business. The wife had written her spouse letters, but received no reply. She then asked St Anthony to intercede for her. Trusting completely in the power of God working through St Anthony, she wrote a letter to her husband and took it to Oviedo’s Franciscan church to place it in the hands of St Anthony's statue, asking that the saint see to it that her husband got the letter. She returned to the church later to find a reply from her husband and several gold pieces in the statue’s hands. The husband’s letter noted that he received the wife’s letter from the hands of a Franciscan priest.
13 to 22 APRIL
EAST LONDON DEANERY PILGRIMAGE TO THE HOLY LAND Visiting Bethany, Bethlehem, Capernaum, Plains of Armageddon, Jerusalem, Joppa, Mt Beatitudes, Mt Tabor, Nazareth, Sea of Galilee, Tiberius and many more Christian sites where Jesus walked, preached and taught.
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Ms Davids will be remembered for her love of God, prayerfullness and selfless generosity. She leaves behind two daughters, a brother and sister. Submitted by Vincent Motabogi
Liturgical Calendar Year C Weekdays Cycle Year 1
Sunday, February 3, 4th Sunday Jeremiah 1:4-5, 17-19, Psalm 71:1-6, 15-17, 1 Corinthians 12:31,13:13 or 13:4-13, Luke 4:21-30 Monday, February 4, St Joseph of Leonessa Isaiah 52:7-10, Psalm 126:1-5, Matthew 10:16-25 Tuesday, February 5, St Agatha Hebrews 12:1-4, Psalm 22:26-28, 30-32, Mark 5:21-43 Wednesday, February 6, Ss Peter Baptist, Paul Miki and Companions Hebrews 12:4-7, 11-15, Psalm 103:1-2, 13-14, 1718, Mark 6:1-6 Thursday, February 7, St Colette of Corbie Hebrews 12:18-19, 2124, Psalm 48:2-4, 9-11, Mark 6:7-13 Friday, February 8 Hebrews 13:1-8, Psalm 27:1, 3, 5, 8-9, Mark 6:14-29 Saturday, February 9, Saturday Memorial of the BVM Hebrews 13:15-17, 20St Agatha 21, Psalm 23:1-6, Mark 6:30-34 Sunday, February 10, 5th Sunday Isaiah 6:1-2, 3-8, Psalm 138:1-5, 7-8, 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 or 15:3-8, 11, Luke 5:1-11
Southern CrossWord solutions
CATHoLiC male, 38 years old, is looking for a Catholic lady pen-pal or companion, currently in prison. Please write to: Shane Swarts K6–Cell 6, New Prison, Private Bag X6008, Kimberley, 8300. HouSE-SiTTEr/AuPAir: Based at Benoni Parish, will travel/with references. Phone Therèse 076 206 0627. noTHing is politically right if it is morally wrong. Abortion is evil. Value life!
o HoLY ST JuDE! Apostle and Martyr, great in virtue and rich in miracles, near kinsman of Jesus Christ, faithful intercessor for 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 whom God has given such great power, to come to my assistance; help me now in my urgent need and grant my earnest petition. I will never forget thy graces and favours you obtain for me and I will do my utmost to spread devotion to you, including having this prayer printed in this publication. Amen. St Jude, pray for us and all who honour thee and invoke thy aid. FR. o MoST beautiful flower
of Mount Carmel, fruitful vine, splendour of Heaven, blessed Mother of the Son of God, Immaculate Virgin, assist
goD bLESS AFriCA Guard our people, guide our leaders and give us peace. Luke 11:1-13
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me in my necessity. O Star of the Sea, help me and show me where you are, Mother of God. Queen of heaven and earth I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart to succour me in my necessity. There is none who can withstand your power, O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. Holy Mary, I place this cause in your hands. Say this prayer for 3 consecutive days and then publish. MFR. HEAr MY cry, O God, lis-
ten to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings. (Psalm 61:1-4). You, 0 eternal Trinity, are a deep sea into which, the
more I enter, the more I find. And the more I find, the more I seek. 0 abyss, 0 eternal Godhead, 0 sea profound, what more could you give me than yourself? Prayer of Awe— St Catherine of Siena.
grATEFuL thanks to Our Lady and Ss Jude and Anthony for prayers answered. R.M.E
SOLUTIONS TO 535. ACROSS: 4 Fervour, 8 Alerts, 9 Scuttle, 10 Aisles, 11 Eureka, 12 Infamous, 18 Inactive, 20 On foot, 21 Look up, 22 Surreal, 23 Bearer, 24 Old ways. DOWN: 1 Fanatic, 2 Sets off, 3 Stream, 5 Ecclesia, 6 Voters, 7 Unlike, 13 Obituary, 14 Sinkers, 15 Vespers, 16 Unfurl, 17 Sorrow, 19 Chosen.
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CAPE ToWn: Cape Peninsula beautiful homes to buy or rent. Maggi-Mae 082 892
CASA SErEnA The retirement home with the Italian flair. 7A Marais Road, Bedfordview. Provides full board and lodging, medical services and transport. Senior citizens wishing to retire in this beautiful Home, please phone 011 284 2917 www.casaserena.co.za
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LonDon, Protea House: Single per night R300, twin R480. Self-catering, busses and underground nearby. Phone Peter 021 851 5200. CAPE ToWn: Fully equipped self-catering, 2 bedroom 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 bALLiTo: Up-market penthouse on beach, selfcatering. 084 790 6562. FiSH HoEK: Self-catering accommodation, sleeps 4. Secure parking. Tel: 021 785 1247. KnYSnA: Self-catering accommodation for 2 in Old Belvidere with wonderful lagoon views. 044 387 1052. gorDon’S bAY: Beautiful en-suite rooms available at reasonable rates. Magnificent views, breakfast on request. Tel: 082 774 7140. bzhive@ telkomsa.net 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 firstname.lastname@example.org SEDgEFiELD: Beautiful self-catering garden holiday flat, sleeps four, two bedrooms, open-plan lounge, kitchen, fully equipped. 5min walk to lagoon. Out of season specials. Contact Les or Bernadette 044 343 3242, 082 900 6282. STrAnD: Beachfront flat to let. Stunning views, fully equipped. Garage, one bedroom, sleeps 3-4. R450 p/night for 2 peoplelow season. Phone Brenda 082 822 0607.
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Situated in a tranquil garden in the centre of Durbanville, Cape Town, with pool and braai facilities, we offer both tastefully decorated B&B and S/C as well as a full English breakfast and dinner by arrangement. Conference and wheelchair facilities available, within walking distance of shops, restaurants, banks and close proximity to Catholic church, tennis courts, golf course and wine routes. 7 Biccard Street, Durbanville, 7550 Tel: +27 21 970 2900 Fax: +27 21 976 9839 email@example.com www.kolpingguesthouse.co.za
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5th Sunday: February 10 Readings: Isaiah 6:1-8, Psalm 138: 1-5, 7, 8, 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, Luke 5:1-11
Seek your vocation for life with Christ
Nicholas King SJ
HE idea of vocation is something that is due for resuscitation about now, and it might be worth reflecting on just what it is that so alarms us about it, and why generations of children in Catholic schools prayed fervently not to have a vocation: “Please, God, not me!”, the cry went up. In fact, however, that is getting it badly wrong, as we can see in the readings for next Sunday. The first reading is the story of the vocation (or “calling”) of the prophet Isaiah. He dates it to “the year when King Uzziah died” (about 740BC, since you ask), and, unimaginably, he “saw the Lord sitting on a high throne”; and it took place in the Temple (so Isaiah may have been a priest). God is surrounded by the “seraphim”, which means something like the “burning ones”, and they each had six wings, and sang the song that we still sing today: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; all the earth is full of his glory”. This is not primarily, however, a story about God, but about Isaiah, who has seen this extraordinary vision, and whose reaction is abject: “Woe is me—I am doomed!” But God can cope with human unworthiness, and so one of the “burning ones” is sent to touch Isaiah’s lips with burning coal, to purify him and cleanse him of his sin. That has an extraordinary effect, for when
God is heard asking: “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” Isaiah, who just a minute ago was in terror at what he had seen, is leaping up and down and saying, “Here I am—send me!” That is what a vocation does for you; try it for yourself. The psalm for next Sunday perhaps gives us a lead as to how we should respond to God’s invitation (or calling), namely with immense gratitude: “I shall thank you, Lord, with all my heart; in the presence of the gods I shall sing to you, I shall bow down to your holy Temple” (where, of course, Isaiah had had that extraordinary experience of our first reading). And what the singer is grateful for is the very condition that makes possible our response to God’s calling: “Your steadfast love and your truth”. Listen to the gratitude as the psalmist reflects on his experience: “You stretched out your hand, your right hand saved me”, and the heartfelt plea with which he ends: “Do not abandon the work of
your hands.” The second reading is Paul’s account of what was right at the heart of his gospel. Some of his quarrelsome Corinthians have been denying claims about the Resurrection, and Paul has to tell them to get it right: “The gospel I gospelled you, which you received, in which you stand” is a gospel of four verbs: Jesus died, he was buried, he was “raised on the third day”, and he was “seen”. Then Paul gives a list of the witnesses who are remembered as having seen Jesus: Kephas (Peter), the Twelve, “500 brothers and sisters all at once”, “James” and “the apostles”, then “finally, as though to an abortion, me”. And notice the implication of all that, once you have seen the Risen Christ, once you know that God raised him from the dead, then you have a job to do, a vocation to fulfil, namely to preach that central fact and so Paul concludes: “Whether it is me or them, that is how we preach, and that is how you came to faith.” Faith is catching, and your vocation, whatever it is, will have to do with spreading it. The gospel is the account, only told in Luke, of the vocation of Simon Peter. It is an extraordinary story. Jesus is teaching, “by the Lake of Gennesareth (Sea of Galilee to most of us, but
Intelligence inside the aging process
HAT can God and nature have had in mind when they designed the aging process? Why is it that just when our mental prowess, our human maturity, and our emotional freedom are at their peak, the body begins to fall apart? Our faith, of course, because it opens us to a perspective beyond our biological lives, sheds some light on these questions, though it doesn’t always give us a language within which to grasp more reflectively what is happening to us in the aging process. Sometimes a secular perspective can be helpful and that is the case here. James Hillman, in a brilliant book on aging entitled, The Force of Character and Lasting Life, takes up these questions. What did God and nature have in mind when designing the aging process? He answers with a metaphor: The best wines have to be aged in cracked old barrels. The last years of our lives are meant to mellow the soul and almost everything inside our biology conspires together to ensure that this happens. The soul must be properly aged before it leaves. There’s intelligence inside of life, he asserts, that intends aging just as it intends growth in youth. It’s a huge mistake to read the signs of aging as indications of dying rather than as initiations into another way of life. Each physical diminishment (from why we have to get up at night to go to the bathroom to why our skin sags and goes dry) is designed to mature the soul. And they do their work
Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI
without our consent, relentlessly and ruthlessly. The aging process, he asserts, eventually turns us all into monks and that, indeed, is its plan, just as it once pumped all those excessive hormones into our bodies to drive us out of our homes at puberty. And God again is in on this conspiracy. Aging isn’t always pleasant or easy but there’s a rhyme and reason to the process. Aging deliteralises biology. The soul finally gets to trump the body and it rises to the fore: “We can imagine aging as a transformation in beauty as much as in biology,” writes Hillman. “The old are like images on display that transpose biological life into imagination and art. The old become strikingly memorable, ancestral representations, characters in the play of civilisation, each a unique, irreplaceable figure of value. Aging: an art form?” Increasingly, as we age, our task is not productivity, but reflection, not utility, but character. In Hillman’s words: “Earlier years must focus on getting things done, while later years consider what was done and how.” The former is a function of generativity, we are meant to give our
lives away; the latter is a function of dying, we are also meant to give our deaths away. And the aging process raises a second series of questions: What value do the elderly have once their productive years are over? Indeed the same question might be asked of anyone who cannot be useful and productive in a practical sense: What is the value of someone living with Alzheimer’s? What is the value of people continuing to live in palliative care when there is no chance of recovery or improvement and they have already slipped away from us mentally? What is the value of the life of a person who is so mentally or physically challenged that by normal standards he or she cannot contribute anything? Again, Hillman’s insights are a valuable supplement to the perspectives offered us through our faith. For Hillman, what aging and disability bring into the world is character. Not just their own. They help give character to the others. Thus, he writes: “Productivity is too narrow a measure of usefulness, disability too cramping a notion of helplessness. An old woman may be helpful simply as a figure valued for her character. Like a stone at the bottom of a riverbed, she may do nothing but stay still and hold her ground, but the river has to take her into account and alter its flow because of her.” “An older man by his sheer presence plays his part as a character in the drama of the family and neighbourhood. He has to be considered, and patterns adjusted simply because he is there. His character brings particular qualities to every scene, adds intricacy and depth by representing the past and the dead.” “When all the elderly are removed to retirement communities, the river flows smoothly back home. No disruptive rocks. Less character too.” Aging and disability need to be regarded aesthetically. We are a culture that does everything it can to deny, delay, and disguise aging. We put our elders away into separate homes, away from mainstream life, tucked away, no disruptive rocks for us to deal with. We are also a culture that is beginning to talk more and more about euthanasia, defining value purely by utility. If Hillman is right, and he is, than we are paying a high price for this, we have less character and less colour.
Luke may be showing off here)”, and then, spotting two boats, gets into one of them (which turns out to be Simon’s), apparently without asking any permission, and starts giving instructions, forgetting, you may suppose, that he is a carpenter, and Simon is the professional fisherperson round here: “Let the nets down.” Simon patiently shows the absurdity of the instructions: “Master, we laboured all night and caught nothing, but at your word, I’ll let down the nets”, humouring the lunatic. Naturally the lunatic turns out to be right, and they catch so many fish that the nets are breaking, and the other boat has to come and help. But notice the two things that happen next. First, Simon Peter recognises something about himself, and falls at Jesus’ knees: “Get away from me, for I am a man who is sinful, Lord.” Secondly, though, he gets his vocation, as Jesus instructs him, “Don’t be afraid. From now on, you’re going to go fishing for human beings.” And the result is electrifying: “They took their boats up on shore; they abandoned everything; and they followed him.” And what is the Lord asking of you in your life?
Southern Crossword #535
ACROSS 4. Intense religious feeling (7) 8. Alters the warnings (6) 9. Run hurriedly to get coal-container (7) 10. Ways up the nave (6) 11. Archimedes’ exclamation (6) 12. Morally bad in a sum of changes (8) 18. Cite Ivan for doing nothing (8) 20. How the pilgrim goes (2,4) 21. Raise the gaze (4,2) 22. Bizarre as ruler (7) 23. He carries his cross (6) 24. Former customs on ancient roads? (3,4)
DOWN 1. One who’s overzealous and maybe religious (7) 2. Goes out as TV is not on (4,3) 3. Master of the rivulet (6) 5. Latin Church (8) 6. They do the electing (6) 7. Different from (6) 13. Dead biography (8) 14. They don’t float for the angler (7) 15. Evening prayers (7) 16. Open up the flag (6) 17. Grief (6) 19. Picked (6)
Solutions on page 11
HEN the family cat was run over by a car, the mother quickly disposed of the remains before her four-year-old son Billy found out about it. After a few days, Billy finally asked about the cat. “Billy, the cat died,” his mother explained. “But it’s all right. He’s up in heaven with God.” The boy asked: “What in the world would God want with a dead cat?” Send us your favourite Catholic joke, preferably clean and brief, to The Southern Cross, Church Chuckle, PO Box 2372, Cape Town, 8000.