S outher n C ross www.scross.co.za
May 1 to May 7, 2013
Archbishop Romero’s cause now ‘unblocked’
Cardinal Napier writes about his time in Rome
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Way clear for JP2 canonisation? By CINdy WoodEN
VATICAN-CONVOKED commission of doctors has concluded that a healing attributed to Bl John Paul II had no natural explanation, according to Italian news reports. Eventual papal approval of the alleged miracle would clear the way for the canonisation of the pope, who died on April 2, 2005, and was beatified on May 1, 2011. Once a panel of physicians convoked by the Congregation for Saints’ Causes determines a healing is authentic and lasting, and that there is no natural, medical explanation for it, the files are passed on to a panel of theologians. The theologians study the events—especially the prayers—surrounding the alleged miracle and give their opinion on whether the healing can be attributed to the intercession of a particular sainthood candidate. If the theologians give a positive opinion, the cardinals who are members of the congregation vote on whether to recommend that the pope recognise the healing as a miracle and set a canonisation date. The newspaper Il Messaggero quoted Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, as saying: “There is a widespread desire for the canonisation [of Bl John Paul], but no date has been set. First these two formal acts [by the theologians and by the cardinals] are necessary, and then the decree of the pope about the miracle.” In sainthood causes, the votes by the board of physicians usually are kept confidential. News about progress in causes generally is known only once a pope approves decrees related to them. Mgr Slawomir Oder, the postulator of Bl John Paul’s cause, was not giving interviews
Fr Francis Nkoane Mahubane was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Giuseppe Sandri of Witbank (left) at Luckau during a very lively Eucharistic celebration. Hundreds of people attended the ordination, in spite of heavy rain. Fr Mahubane was the third local priest ordained for the diocese of Witbank this year.
No bonuses for Vatican staff By FrANCIS X roCCA
N an austerity move like those being taken by governments around the world, the Vatican will not pay its employees a bonus marking the March 13 election of Pope Francis, but will instead make a donation to charity. “In the past, on the occasion of the start of a pontificate, a bonus was granted to Vatican employees,” Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi SJ told reporters. “In the present case, given the difficult economic situation in general, it seemed neither possible nor opportune to burden the budgets of Vatican offices with a considerable, extraordinary and unexpected expense,” Fr Lombardi said. “Instead, the Holy Father has decided to make a donation to some charitable organizations, drawing on funds available for the charity of the pope, as a sign of concern for the many persons in difficulty,” the Jesuit priest said.
In 2007, Vatican employees received the equivalent of R6 000 at the current exchange rate in celebration of Pope Benedict XVI’s 80th birthday. Two years earlier, they received R18 000 after the funeral of Pope John Paul II and the election of his successor. But no bonus was paid in 2012 when Pope Benedict turned 85. The Holy See, which employs about 2 800 people, reported a deficit of R180 million for 2011. The commission governing Vatican City State, which employs about 1 900 people, reported a surplus of R260 million for the same period. The surplus was largely attributed to revenues from the Vatican Museums. Since his election, Pope Francis has said that he wants a “poor Church, for the poor”, and discouraged his fellow Argentinians from travelling to Rome for his Mass of inauguration, suggesting that they donate the cost of the trip to charity instead.—CNS
A tapestry featuring an image of Pope John Paul II hangs from the facade of St Peter’s basilica during his Mass of beatification at the Vatican on May 1, 2011. A commission of doctors concluded a healing attributed to him had no natural explanation, according to reports. (Photo: Paul Haring, CNS) in late April. Several Italian newspapers quoted an unidentified source as saying the alleged miracle presented to the Vatican involved a woman who was healed just a few hours after the late pope was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI. When the details are made public “many people will be surprised”, the source said. The web-based Vatican Insider spoke to Polish Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow, Bl John Paul’s longtime secretary, about the canonisation. “It would be marvellous if it took place during the Year of Faith,” which ends in November, the cardinal was quoted as saying. He said he hoped the ceremony could be held in October, “35 years after his election” to the papacy in 1978.—CNS
More Fatima statues to be donated STAFF rEPorTEr
PORTUGUESE businessman who earlier this year donated 14 large statues of Our Lady of Fatima to churches in Southern Africa is offering 36 more statues to parishes in the region. Applying parishes can now choose between a metre-high altar statue which is suitable for display on the main altar, and an 80cm-high statue which is suitable for display in a chapel or indoor shrine. Both types of statues are handpainted and delicate, and must be displayed inside churches and out of reach of parishioners. They are unsuited for display outdoors and in grottos. The offer is intended to foster devotion to Our Lady of Fatima and to the rosary. Therefore the statues are donated on the condition that the recipient parish as a community recites the rosary once a month, particularly during the period from May 13 through to October. The businessman, who prefers not to be named, suggested that parishes form
prayer groups devoted to Our Lady of Fatima, hold processions and Benediction services. “Let’s get a date with the best lady in the world,” the donor said. A second condition is that the donated statue be placed at an altar in the main church or in a side chapel or shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima. All parishes willing to meet these conditions are invited to apply through their parish priest. Parishes that previously applied must apply again. Applications must state the page number on which the parish is listed in the Southern African Catholic Directory 2011-2012 edition. This will serve as a reference number. Statues are awarded on a first-come-first serve basis. They will be delivered by Advance Transports of Cape Town. Outside of South Africa statues will be delivered to the nearest Catholic church to the relevant border for collection). Applications must be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and the closing date is May 31.
The Southern Cross, May 1 to May 7, 2013
CLC visit in Cape STAFF rEPorTEr
ATHER Luke Rodrigues, the ecclesiastical assistant for the world executive for Christian Life Community (CLC) in Rome, will be visiting Cape Town— an opportunity for Catholics to learn more about CLC. Fr Rodrigues, a Jesuit rom Mumbai, India, will be visiting Cape Town from May 7-9 during which time he will be hosted by the CLC in the Western Cape. The CLC is a Catholic lay apostolate which follows a simple way of life, and follows an Ignatian spirituality. “In CLC, using the gift of Ignatian spirituality, we seek to find God in all things, particularly the situations, the challenges and the opportunities of our everyday lives,” said Fr Graham Pugin SJ, the ecclesiastical assistant to CLC in South Africa. “Recognising where God is working with us and inviting us to go in our lives, we meet together in small groups to support and encourage one another discerning the ways in which we might express God’s invitation to each one of us.” Fr Pugin said there are several groups that meet in Cape Town. CLC also flourishes in the Eastern Cape and in Gauteng with groups in Port Elizabeth, East London and Johannesburg. Activities for the three days include a full-day workshop on an Ignatian spirituality theme, followed by Mass at Kolbe House Chaplaincy in Rondebosch on May 7. Fr Rodrigues will also spend time in Nyanga with the Nyanga CLC group. n For more information on the visit, call Fr Graham Pugin SJ at 021 685 3465
Little Company celebrates T STEPH JordAN
HE Little Company of Mary is celebrating the centenary of their formal establishment of the religious order in South Africa this year. Sr Mark Cornelius said the order was founded by Mother Mary Potter in 1877. After many pleas from Bishop Hugh MacSherry, bishop of Cape of Good Hope, Eastern district, four sisters from the order arrived in Port Elizabeth in November 1904. “The Company, at first, had a difficult time in establishing themselves and winning the confidence of the community,” said Sr Cornelius. The ministry of the Little Company of Mary is to “aid the sick, the poor, the dying and the needy and to follow in the footsteps of Mary Potter”, Sr Cornelius
said. The Company’s first home was in Prospect Hill where they mainly administered to the community of Uitenhage, returning to their home after weeks of ministering to the sick and dying in their homes. “The community gradually accepted the sisters and in 1910 they were able to move to a house in Walmer where they were able to accommodate ten in-house patients and where minor surgery could be performed,” Sr Cornelius said. The next move was in 1916 when they were able to purchase some property at 40 Park Drive, the site which became St Joseph’s Hospital. The hospital was sold to Afrox Healthcare and renamed St George’s Hospital. Today, the religious order is most active in the Aids ministry. Sr Ethel Normoyle, a member of the Little Company of Mary in
Port Elizabeth, runs the Missionvale Care Centre. “With great dedication and love Sr Ethel continues to implement the vision of Venerable Mary Potter in her ministry to the sick, the dying, the poor and the needy in Missionvale,” Sr Cornelius said. The mission was initiated in 1988, and Sr Normoyle began her work under a tree donated by a resident of Missionvale.Today there is a care centre with a particular focus on those residents living with HIV and Aids. The centre has gained international acclaim having been visited by Mother Teresa in 1988 and Queen Elizabeth II in 1995. Sr Normoyle’s work has been acknowledged internationally through various awards including the Order of the Grand Counsellor of the Baobab: Silver, one of South Africa’s top honours, for her excellent service to society.
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Gauteng Catholics were among those who gathered for the 2013 Johannesburg Management Area Expo at Johannesburg Prison. They included Fr Sammy Mabusela and Neo rakoma, the youth coordinator of the Pretoria diocese, and ichaplain Alphia Nkahle. The theme was “The Challenges and Impact of Spiritual Care: Building relationships with offender, official and Extended Family”. The group went to present their behavioural programme, “Education For Life”, for youth who are in juvenile centres.
The Five First Saturdays - Mary's Great Promise at Fatima!
On 10 December, 1925 Lucia received a visit from Mary with the Child Jesus, who said, "Have compassion on the Heart of your Most Holy Mother, surrounded with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce Her at every moment, without there being anyone to make an act of reparation in order to take them away." our Lady then promised Sr. Lucia that she would assist at the hour of death, with the graces necessary for salvation, all those who on the first Saturdays of five consecutive months:1. go to Confession (within eight days before or after ) 2. receive Holy Communion (obviously in a state of grace) 3. say 5 decades of the Rosary (ie one mystery)
4. keep Her company for 15 minutes whilst meditating on the mysteries of the rosary 5. all this with the intention of consoling and offering reparation to Her Immaculate Heart
The Reasons for this Devotion:
On May 29, 1930, our Lord explained to Sr. Lucia why five First Saturdays: “My daughter the reason is simple. Against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, five kinds of offenses and blasphemies are committed: ♦ against the Immaculate Conception. ♦ against the Virginity of our Lady. ♦ against Her divine Maternity - the refusal to accept her as Mother of all mankind. ♦ those who publicly seek to sow in children’s hearts indifference, contempt and even hatred for our Immaculate Mother. ♦ those who insult Her directly in Her holy images/statues.”
The Origin of the Five First Saturdays:
on July 13, 1917, our Lady appeared at Fatima to the three seers Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco and revealed a three part secret to them. The first part was a vision of hell, which was so terrible that Lucia later declared that if it were not for our Lady’s presence, they would have died of fright. After the vision was over, our Lady spoke thus: “You saw Hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them God wishes to establish devotion to my Immaculate Heart in the world. If they do what I shall tell you, many souls will be saved, and there will be peace.” “I will come to ask for the consecration of russia to my Immaculate Heart (MMP 351e; 356e; 437k) and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays (MMP180). If they listen to my requests, russia will be converted and there will be peace. If not, it will spread its errors throughout the world, promoting wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, and many nations will be annihilated……”
"...in the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph!"
Act of Consecration to The Immaculate Heart of Mary
“My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the sure way that will lead you to God” (MMP 572)
“O Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of Heaven and earth, and tender Mother of all, in accordance with your ardent wish made known at Fatima, I consecrate to you myself/my family/my parish/my diocese/my country, and all those I love and pray for. Reign over us and teach us how to make the Heart of Jesus reign and triumph in us, and around us, as it triumphed in You. Reign over us dearest Mother, that we may be yours in prosperity and in adversity, in joy and in sorrow, in health and in sickness, in life and in death. O Most compassionate Heart of Mary, Queen of Virgins, watch over our minds and hearts. Preserve and heal them from the deluge of impurity which You lamented so sorrowfully at Fatima. We want to atone for the many crimes committed against Jesus and Yourself. We want to call upon our country, and the whole world, the peace of God, in justice and charity. We want to be pure like You.” Amen.
The Southern Cross, May 1 to May 7, 2013
Focus on priority of the poor D URING the Joint Witness meeting between the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) and the Leadership Conference of the Consecrated Life (LCCL), the poor were highlighted as a key goal for religious to focus on in the country today. The meeting, which saw 18 bishops and 63 religious gather, was the first in 15 years for the SACBC and LCCL and was considered “long overdue”, said Fr Michael Murphy SPS. “There was an expressed desire by all for more collaboration in tackling the many challenges facing the church at present,” the St Patrick’s missionary said. The event was opened with a special Mass officiated by Archbishop Stephen Brislin of Cape Town. Two guest speakers addressed the meeting. Fr Martin Badenhorst OP gave a historical background to religious life in Africa and South Africa in particular. “He spoke of Deuteronomy 15:4 ‘there must be no poor among you’ as a key phrase for religious. It has inspired religious communities the world over to reach out and serve the poor. The numer-
ous schools and hospitals are a testimony to that,” said Fr Murphy. The Joint Witness gathering also heard that while the achievements in the past have been remarkable, the one big flaw was a lack of inculturation. “A sense of Western superiority and suspicion of the worth of local people was destructive of African culture,” said Fr Murphy. However, against this “the phenomenal work of women religious in Africa” was highlighted, he added. “As they suffered the prejudices of gender bias they were more inclined to sympathise with others whose culture was misunderstood and whose worth was questioned.” The second speaker, Sr Michael Mdluli OP, spoke of the challenges facing the Church now and in the future. She said what is asked of leaders today is “religious authenticity, presence and availability, more than institutional orthodoxy and administrative efficiency”. “A leader must be a person of faith, able to respond to people at a human level,” said the Dominican sister, adding there were challenges to both bishops and religious with
special emphasis on formation and education. The bishops presented their priorities entitled “Community in service of reconciliation, justice and peace”. Fr Murphy said these priorities were inspired byPope Benedict XVI’s apostolic exhortation fricae Munus and included themes such as ethical leadership and responsible citizenship, education, health, healing and reconciliation, marriage and family life. The bishops recognised the need to deepen the faith and Catholic identity of our people so as to promote a sense of ownership of the faith. The rest of the meeting was given over to discussion on how best to implement the ideals discussed. Fr Murphy said the group felt Joint Witness meetings should be about where both groups can best serve the Church of today. “Two clear convictions emerged, the need for more of these meetings and priority given to the poor.” Papal nuncio Archbishop Mario Cassaro concluded the session with Mass in which he spoke of the value of faith, as the springboard from which we can face the future with confidence and hope in the Lord.
Archbishop Stephen Brislin of Cape Town greeted members of the Legion of Mary’s after the legion’s annual recommitment Mass held at St Mary’s cathedral. (Photo: Carla Petersen)
CWD tackles financial challenges STAFF rEPorTEr
APE Town-based NGO Catholic Welfare and Development (CWD), which began serving the Cape Town community in 1970, has set new goals through its strategic review process. One of the changes includes the appointment of the new director, Malcolm Salida, who intends to help make the organisation “more attractive to potential new funders through the unique manner of work that we do”. Mr Salida takes over from the outgoing director, Lungisa Huna, who has headed the organisation since 2006. Archbishop Stephen Brislin is CWD’s current patron. Mr Salida hails from a corporate background but is not new to
The new director of CWd, Malcolm Salida, is pictured with the outgoing director, Lungisa Huna.
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Church outreach, having done voluntary work in social development with the Redemptorists across Africa and Madagascar, where he assisted Fr Gerry O’Connor CSsR on the finance commission of the Redemptorist conference. CWD, which supports people in health and nutrition, early childhood development, economic development, and trauma and healing, among other programmes, is faced with funding challenges, like most other NGOs. With Mr Salida’s 20 years of corporate finance experience, the organisation hopes to not only sustain the projects currently running but also address the growing needs in the archdiocese. “The ultimate aim is to have the organisation operating more effi-
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ciently and effectively despite the limited financial and human resources available to it. We also wish to make the organisation more attractive to potential new funders,” Mr Salida said. The new director said he has been settling into the organisation and has enjoyed visiting CWD’s many programmes and development centres around the archdiocese. He said he was touched by the many poor and fragile communities CWD serves, and it is a reminder that “the organistion can only be as effective as the amount of financial support it receives and the staff working for it CWD works in various challenged communities including Athlone, Elsies River, Delft, Atlantis, Khayelitsha, Tafelsig, Gugulethu
and Philippi, where it encounters victims of violence and drugs, assists vulnerable women and children, helps youth and provides development programmes to uplift these communities. As a Catholic faith-based organisation “our life and work becomes our living prayer. The spiritual wellbeing of our staff is paramount”, said Mr Salida. He said that the role of CWD in the future will even be more critical as many organisations that work at grassroots level have closed down due to financial constraints. “The demands on our work as CWD have increased exponentially and we therefore urge all Catholic parishes and individuals to generously give of their time and finances in any way possible.”
SPRINGFIELD CONVENT JUNIOR SCHOOL, WYNBERG
Applicants are invited for the following post: -
GRADE FOUR CLASS TEACHER
From 1 January 2014 Springﬁeld is a day school for girls from Pre-School to Matriculation, set in beautiful gardens on Wynberg Hill in the southern suburbs of Cape Town. Founded by Irish Dominican Sisters in 1871, Springﬁeld has a caring, Catholic atmosphere, a proud academic record, vibrant Music and Art departments and excellent facilities for Sport.
The successful applicant will be: fully qualiﬁed to teach in the Intermediate Phase of the GET; willing and able to promote the school's Catholic ethos; able to teach all subjects in Grade 4, including Afrikaans; familiar with the CAPS curriculum; registered with SACE; willing to teach Religious Education in line with the school’s ethos; willing to become fully involved in the school's curricular and co-curricular programme. Computer skills and knowledge of interactive whiteboards a recommendation. Apply in writing, giving details of qualiﬁcations, experience and the names of three contactable referees, including your Parish priest or Minister, to: The Principal, Springﬁeld Convent Junior School, St. John's Road, Wynberg, 7800, or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, (For email please add: Reference: Grade Four post) Closing date for applications: Thursday 23 May 2013
The school reserves the right not to proceed with the ﬁlling of this post. An application will not in itself entitle the applicant to an interview or appointment, and failure to meet the minimum requirements of the advertised post will result in applicants automatically disqualifying themselves from consideration. No faxed applications accepted. Candidates not contacted shall consider their applications unsuccessful.
The Southern Cross, May 1 to May 7, 2013
A Jesuit, a rabbi, a princess, Archbishop Romero’s a pop star walk into a hall... cause now ‘unblocked’ A A By CINdy WoodEN
By CAroL GLATz
KUWAITI princess, a Jesuit astronomer, a British-born rabbi, a former basketball star, a Muslim graffiti artist and singer Gloria Estefan all took the stage at a Rome concert hall not far from St Peter’s Square. They were among the more than 20 speakers who each talked in turn to a nearly full auditorium for a TEDx conference dedicated to religious freedom in the world today. “Since we’re truly in a situation of danger of fundamentalism” with religious restrictions and hostilities growing globally, “I thought this could be a service for all of humanity,” said Legionary Father Hector Guerra, who organised the event. The non-profit TED conferences were started in 1984 to bring people together from the worlds of “Technology, Entertainment, Design”, hence the series’ acronym. TEDx conferences, such as the one organised by Fr Guerra, share the same mission but are independently organised on the local level. Every TED event turns into a global lecture that’s given a prominent place online on the popular TED websites and its YouTube channels. The state of religious liberty was given an overview by global researcher Brian Grim of the US Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life. He said gathering precise data on government restrictions and hostile acts by individuals can act as “an early warning system of mass atrocities and genocides” that may be brewing. While his data collection is like “a thermometer” that only measures and “doesn’t diagnose or treat”, he believes the facts can help decision-makers who are in the position to make a difference. Rabbi David Rosen, the Englishborn director of interreligious affairs at the American Jewish Committee who once served in Cape Town, said religion is abused,
rabbi david rosen, formerly of Cape Town, speaks at a TEdx conference on religious liberty in rome. (Photo: Paul Haring, CNS) and it would be a mistake to crack down on people’s religious beliefs or identity in response to religiously motivated violence or intolerance. Cultural, national and especially religious identities are essential parts of the human person, he said. “You turn to your identity for support, succour, self-confidence, assurance and self-justification,” especially in times of trouble. The problem is when that support system morphs into a motivation for self-righteousness that “deprecates, despises or demonises the other”, he said.
oth Mr Grim and Rabbi Rosen talked of the growing number of positive, cooperative initiatives in the world that deserve greater media attention. Religious identity needs to be seen “as a blessing, not a source of a curse”, the rabbi said, and “we need to see our differences not as something to denigrate, but as something to celebrate”. Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno, a papal astronomer, said that while science works with man-made theories about how the world works, religion—conversely—starts with divine truth about the whys of the world. Both religion and science ob-
serve the natural world, “but then they proceed with blind faith” because scientists and believers never have all the information they need to be absolutely certain. Science and religion are “on the same road going in different directions” and they are both worshipping the same God, the God of truth, he said. British graffiti artist Mohammed Ali said humanity has always used art to communicate ideas and messages to the world— everywhere from the spray painted scenes on subways to the frescoed underground catacombs in Rome. People today need to “find new ways of communicating and connecting, something our authorities fail to do,” he said. Instead of talking about religious freedom, Ali said he wanted to paint a picture of it to give as a gift to Pope Francis. With the flourish and flair of a musical conductor, Ali sprayed aerosol paint cans, swept brush strokes and slapped a paint-soaked board against a dark makeshift wall turning it into a piece of art. The words “freedom” in English and Arabic appeared before a city of basilicas and minarets under a rose-coloured sky. The lineup included Sheikha Hussah Sabah al-Salem alSabah, princess of Kuwait, and former NBA basketball star, Serbian-born Vlade Divac.—CNS
SPRINGFIELD CONVENT JUNIOR SCHOOL, WYNBERG Applicants are invited for the following post:
Part-time SCHOOL SECRETARY
From 1 July 2013 Springﬁeld is a day school for girls from Pre-School to Matriculation, set in beautiful gardens on Wynberg Hill in the southern suburbs of Cape Town. Founded by Irish Dominican Sisters in 1871, Springﬁeld has a caring, Catholic atmosphere, a proud academic record, vibrant Music and Art departments and excellent facilities for Sport.
We wish to employ an experienced, conﬁdent, energetic and wellorganised person in our Junior School Oﬃce. The ideal candidate should: • have a minimum of ﬁve years’ secretarial experience; • have excellent interpersonal skills; • have a good telephone manner; • be able to work under pressure; • be fully computer literate and familiar with MS Oﬃce; • be willing and able to promote the school's Catholic ethos; • be willing to become fully involved in the life of a dynamic, independent school. Apply in writing, giving details of qualiﬁcations, experience and the names of three contactable referees to: The Principal, Springﬁeld Convent Junior School, St. John's Road, Wynberg, 7800, or Email applications accepted: email@example.com, (For email please add: Reference: School Secretary post) Closing date for applications: Thursday 23 May 2013
The school reserves the right not to proceed with the ﬁlling of this post. An application will not in itself entitle the applicant to an interview or appointment, and failure to meet the minimum requirements of the advertised post will result in applicants automatically disqualifying themselves from consideration. No faxed applications accepted. Candidates not contacted shall consider their applications unsuccessful.
RCHBISHOP Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family and the official promoter of the sainthood cause of Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador, has said the process to beatify and eventually canonise the slain archbishop has been unblocked. Archbishop Paglia, who has been the postulator of Archbishop Romero’s cause for years, made the announcement just a few hours after meeting with Pope Francis. The Italian archbishop, who was preaching at a Mass in the Italian city Molfetta to mark the 20th anniversary of the death of the diocese’s Bishop Antonio Bello— widely known by the diminutive Don Tonino—said: “Today, the anniversary of the death of Don Tonino, the cause for the beatification of Archbishop Romero was unblocked.” The archbishop gave no more details, and his office later said that no more would be said until there is something “concrete” to report. In his homily, Archbishop Paglia said: “Martyrs help us live, help us understand there is more joy in giving than in receiving. This is why we need to preserve their memories.” He added that he hoped Archbishop Romero and Bishop Bello— known for his care of the poor and his commitment to peace—could be beatified together “because Jesus always sent the apostles out two by two”. Bishop Bello died in 1993; the Vatican approved the opening of his sainthood cause in 2007. Archbishop Romero was shot on March 24, 1980, as he celebrated Mass. The Congregation for Saints’ Causes authorised the opening of his cause in 1993. Often the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is asked to review the writings of sainthood candidates to ensure they are free of doctrinal error; many people working for Archbishop Romero’s cause described the review as “blocked” in the congregation from 2000 to 2005. One of those supporters is Roberto Morozzo della Rocca, a professor of contemporary history in Rome, and author of Primero Dios: Vita di Oscar A Romero (“God
Archbishop oscar romero is pictured in a 1979 photo in San Salvador. The official promoter of the sainthood cause of the late archbishop indicated that the cause would be moving forward. Archbishop romero was shot dead on March 24, 1980, as he celebrated Mass. His assassination came during the Salvadoran Civil War. (Photo: octavio duran) First: The Life of Oscar A Romero”) He said Archbishop Romero’s “enemies claimed there were theological errors” in his writings and sermons. “This took years of work to clear up,” Prof della Rocca told Catholic News Service. The next step in the process is a formal papal declaration that Archbishop Romero died a martyr—that he was killed because of his faith. Opponents of his cause have claimed that his assassination was politically motivated, not in odium fidei, meaning “in hatred of the faith”. Both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have said publicly that Archbishop Romero was a martyr for the faith. The papal decree would follow a recommendation from the cardinals who are members of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes; they vote on decrees after reviews by separate panels of theologians and historians. A miracle is not needed for the beatification of a martyr.—CNS
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The Southern Cross, May 1 to May 7, 2013
Pope: Beware of being a ‘luke-warm Christian’ By CINdy WoodEN
OLLOWING Jesus isn’t complicated, but it may take courage and it always requires recognising that human beings aren’t God, Pope Francis said in two of his morning Mass homilies. The pope celebrated with volunteers who work at a Vatican paediatric clinic for immigrants and for the poor, and then with the staff of the Vatican press office. Both Masses were held in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where the pope lives. “Sometimes we are tempted to be too much our own bosses and not humble children and servants of the Lord,” the pope said, according to Vatican Radio. In John 10:1-10, Jesus describes himself as the “gate for the sheep” and talks about thieves and robbers who try to climb over or under the fence to get into the sheepfold. Pope Francis said there is a constant temptation to “find other gates or windows for entering into the kingdom of God, but one can enter only through that gate called Jesus”. Even within the Christian community, he said, there are “climbers” who want to give themselves glory or choose a path to happiness that isn’t Christ. “Some of you may say: ‘Father, you’re a fundamentalist!’ No, simply put, this is what Jesus said,” the pope told the congregation. Jesus is “a beautiful gate, a gate of love, a gate that does not deceive, is not
Pope Francis sits as people linger for private prayer after Mass in the chapel of the domus Sanctae Marthae, the Vatican residence where the new pontiff resides. (Photo: L’osservatore romano/CNS) false. He always tells the truth, but with tenderness and love.” The way to show that you have entered the fold through Christ, he said, is to be living examples of the beatitudes—”be poor, be meek, be just”—and “do what Matthew 25 says” by feeding the hungry, welcoming the stranger, clothing the naked, caring for the sick and visiting prisoners.
ope Francis asked the press office employees to join him in asking God for the grace to remember always to knock at the door that is Christ. “Sometimes it’s closed—we’re sad, we feel desolation, we have trouble knocking. Do not go looking for other doors that seem easier, more comfortable, closer.” Celebrating Mass with the paediatric clinic volunteers, Pope Francis spoke about “lukewarm
Christians” who—consciously or not—try to build a Church to their own liking, demanding it measure up to their expectations rather than trying to live up to its expectations. The Acts of the Apostles (9: 31) describes the early Christian community as walking “in the fear of the Lord, and with the consolation of the Holy Spirit”, which Pope Francis said means living with a sense of God’s presence and in adoration of the Lord. “When we are in the presence of God, we do not do bad things or make bad decisions. We are in God’s sight with joy and happiness,” he said. “This is the security of the Holy Spirit, that is the gift that the Lord has given us—this comfort—that keeps us going.” The New Testament also talks about those who knew Jesus, followed him a bit and even admired him, but decided that what he was asking was just too much. They probably said to themselves, “We have good sense, don’t we?” the pope said. “Good-sense Christians” keep their distance, he said. They become “Christian satellites” orbiting around the Church, but not part of it, not committed to growing in their faith or helping the Church grow. “May the Lord deliver us from the temptation of that so-called ‘common sense’, and from the temptation to grumble against Jesus because he is too demanding.”—CNS
Bishops: NZ gay marriage law ‘bizarre’
EW ZEALAND’S Catholic bishops have described as “bizarre” parliament’s vote that discards the understanding of traditional marriage when it approved a same-sex marriage law. The bishops also expressed sadness that the action was taken despite widespread opposition from New Zealanders. “We find it bizarre that what has been discarded is an understanding of marriage that has its origins in human nature and common to every culture, and that almost all references to husband and wife will be removed from legislation referencing marriage. We know many New Zealanders stand
with us in this,” said Archbishop John Dew of Wellington, president of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops’ Conference. Legislators voted 77 to 44 to approve the measure, making New Zealand the 13th nation to recognise same-sex marriage. While distancing himself from offensive remarks by opponents of the measure, Archbishop Dew said he had wanted a robust, vigorous and respectful debate prior to the vote. “From our point of view, we do believe that there has been a respectful listening to each other,” he added. Archbishop Dew also said he
would like more time to discuss the full implications of the move because “some people would think if it’s legal, it’s moral”. After the vote, the archbishop, representing the bishops’ conference, said marriage is founded on sexual difference and the traditional definition of marriage reflects that understanding. “Marriage is the essential human institution that predates religion and state. It is a committed union between a man and a woman, which has a natural orientation toward the procreation of human life,” he said.—CNS
Nathaniel Akroush, dressed as Pope Francis and surrounded by “security officials”, makes his way through the halls of Everest Academy in Lemont, Illinois, as the school marked its annual “Pope day”. Students at the Catholic academy learned about the pope and what he does as spiritual leader. They also chose a peer to represent the pontiff, basing their selection on character, spirituality and dedication to serving others. (Photo: Karen Callaway, Catholic New World/CNS)
Catholic royals won’t have to raise kids in the faith
HURCH leaders have told the British government that members of the royal family who marry Catholics under recently passed legislation will not be obliged to bring up their children in the Catholic faith. Lord Wallace of Tankerness, speaking on behalf of the government, said he had been assured personally by Mgr Marcus Stock, general secretary of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, that the canonical requirement of Catholics to raise their children in the faith was not always binding. Lord Wallace told the House of Lords during the third reading debate of the Succession to the Crown Bill that he had been assured that “the view taken by the Catholic Church in England and Wales is that, in the instance of mixed marriages, the approach of the Catholic Church is pastoral”. “In this context the Catholic Church expects Catholic spouses to sincerely undertake to do all that they can to raise children in the Catholic Church,” he said. “Where it has not been possible for the child of a mixed marriage to be brought up as a Catholic, the Catholic parent does not fall sub-
ject to the censure of canon law.” For the first time in more than 300 years, legislation would allow British monarchs to marry Catholics. The sections of the 1701 Act of Settlement that insist on the sovereign being a member of the Church of England will, however, remain in place. The Bill will also end the rule of male primogeniture and permit female first-borns to have the right of succession over any young brothers. The Bill means that if the child of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, due in July, is a girl, she will have the right to rule ahead of any younger brothers— and will also be free to marry a Catholic. Some members of the House of Lords were deeply concerned that the Code of Canon Law of the Catholic Church compelled a Catholic spouse to raise his or her offspring as Catholics. The bill passed third reading, meaning it has passed through both Houses of Parliament and requires only Royal Assent before it becomes law later this year.—CNS
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FATHER SAMMY MABUSELA
and Claire Mathieson of The Southern Cross Join The Southern Cross and the Archbishop of Cape Town (right) on a special pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Meet with local Christians before travelling to Italy to see the Pope in Rome and to pray at the places of Padre Pio.
JO’BuRG & BEYOND
HOLY LAND & CAIRO YOUTH PILGRIMAGE
A special pilgrimage designed specifically for young Catholics from 16-36, with Fr Sammy Mabusela, national youth chaplain, as spiritual director. The programme includes holy sites, outdoor Masses, hikes in the footsteps of Jesus, encounters with local Christians and much more. A time of faith, friendship and fun!
HOLY LAND: Jerusalem (with Via dolorosa, church of the Holy Sepulchre, Mary’s tomb). Bethlehem. Nazareth. Cana (with an opportunity to renew marriage vows). Mount of Beatitudes. CaperHOLY LAND: Jerusalem (with Via dolorosa, church of the Holy naum. Boatride on the Sea of Galilee. Mount Tabor. Jordan river Sepulchre, Mary’s tomb). Bethlehem. Nazareth (with visit to a Baptismal Site. Ein Kerem. dead Sea. And much more. recreation of 1st century life). Cana. Mount of Beatitudes. ITALY: rome with PAPAL AuDIENCE, the Capernaum. Boatride on the Sea of Galilee. Mount Tabor. Jordan four major basilicas (including Mass in St river Baptismal Site. Armageddon. Caesarea. Mt Carmel. dead Peter’s), catacombs, ancient sites. Monte Sea. And much more. Cassino. San Giovanni rotondo (where Padre CAIRO: as a bonus, enjoy a visit to Cairo with the pyramids, Pio spent almost all of his life). Lanciano (site sphinx and a Nile Cruise. of the first Eucharistic Miracle recognised by the Catholic Church). ISTANBuL: as a bonus, enjoy a day-long exPhone Gail at 076 352 3809 or 021 551 3923 or cursion of sightseeing in the capital of Turkey, e-mail email@example.com www.fowlertours.co.za the ancient Constantinople.
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The Southern Cross, May 1 to May 7, 2013
LEADER PAGE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
The Editor reserves the right to shorten or edit published letters. Letters below 300 words receive preference. Pseudonyms are acceptable only under special circumstances and at the Editor’s discretion. Name and address of the writer must be supplied. No anonymous letter will be considered.
Limits on who may be Caholic? N the Mail & Guardian of April 12– ligion to the maximum extent posThe revolution of family I18, Cardinal Wilfrid Napier of sible, though reception of the EuDurban is reported as stating that charist is barred. Is it the cardinal’s Editor: Günther Simmermacher
N recent weeks several Church leaders have indicated that they might not oppose legislation that would extend civil union rights to same-sex couples, with the legal prerogatives that apply to traditional marriages, but without characterising such unions as marriages. In early February Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, said that while the Church cannot consent to anything that treats other unions as equivalent to marriage between a man and a woman, “private law solutions” for protecting people’s rights could be permissible. This view has since been echoed by influential prelates such as Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna, Cardinal Rubén Salazar of Colombia (where same-sex legislation is pending) and Archbishop Piero Marini, liturgical master of ceremonies under Pope John Paul II. Under Pope Francis there seems to be an increasing openness to saying such things. Indeed, these statements might reflect the pope’s thinking: a senior official in Argentina’s bishops’ conference has confirmed that the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio favoured civil unions as an alternative to the legalisation of gay marriage in his country in 2010. These comments will be welcome by Catholics and others who have supported the extension of full civil rights to homosexuals, but are opposed to changing the traditional definitions of marriage. However, an acknowledgment that the legalisation of same-sex civil unions is not irreconcilable with Catholic teaching and represents a tolerable alternative to the redefinition of the traditional family might be coming too late in stopping the inexorable move towards the legalisation of gay marriage in many countries. Worldwide, 13 countries have legalised same-sex marriage, including South Africa. Questions may be raised whether the concept of same-sex civil unions is actually acceptable to those who advocate same-sex marriage, and whether the Church can keep intact its definition of marriage and family if it consents to same-sex civil unions. In a broader context, can the Church’s model of the traditional family retain currency in
societies where the meaning of marriage and family has been thoroughly revolutionised over the past half century, with divorce, cohabitation and raising children outside marriage increasingly being seen as acceptable and normal? In practice, the function of procreation has been diminished as the primary purpose of marriage, and not only in the West. It is within this context that the notion of same-sex marriage has become acceptable to so many people throughout the world. These realities merit open and candid discussion as the Church seeks to formulate its response. It may also be productive to study the effects of the tone in which Church leaders state their opposition to gay marriage. For example, have the more strident forms of rhetoric—on either side—precluded reasonable dialogue and compromise? It must be acknowledged that in its engagement against gay marriage, the Catholic Church has inflicted wounds, and sustained some itself. The Church has been accused of homophobia and hypocrisy. While opposition to same-sex marriage obviously is not intrinsically homophobic, some of the trenchant rhetoric has been interpreted as being hostile to homosexuals. Sometimes the lines between defending marriage and attacking homosexuals have appeared to be blurred. Some intemperate protests from Church leaders have been hurtful to the LGBT community, in contrast with the Catechism of the Catholic Church which demands that homosexuals be “accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity” (2358). Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, who himself has offered ferocious opposition to gay marriage, acknowledged this failing last month when he said on US television that the Church must ensure that its “defence of marriage is not reduced to an attack on gay people”. He acknowledged, with admirable frankness, that the Church has not “been too good at that” and has failed to be consistently welcoming to gays and lesbians. This failure to fully extend Christ’s embrace for all requires correction. The discussion about how to do this must begin now.
“you can’t practise in the Catholic Church if you aren’t married and are sexually active”. The statement is absolute and unqualified—it does not say “fully practise”, or refer to reception of the Eucharist. It simply states that such people (active gays, in the context of the statement) “can’t practise in the Catholic Church”. To my knowledge no retraction or clarification has been issued, so we must assume that the report is accurate. What can Cardinal Napier mean by “practise in the Catholic Church”? The traditional orthodox (though widely disputed) teaching is that such people may not communicate. But, in my understanding, they are nevertheless welcome in the Church, and may (indeed are obligated to) attend Sunday Mass, pray, and generally practise their re-
Get things right
S a proud and practising Catholic I was saddened and hurt with the Mail & Guardian interview I read with Cardinal Wilfrid Napier. The interview clearly displayed the highest-ranking cleric of the Catholic Church in South Africa as a man out of touch with his own Church on the ground. Instead of coming out to the streets with the people, as Pope Francis is trying to do, Cardinal Napier continues to sit on his backward-looking stance. The time is over for semantics and technicalities when it comes to clerical abuse. It is true that the Church, in South Africa in particular, is doing much on this issue. Such cases are dealt with quickly and efficiently. The sad irony is that from the cardinal’s comments in the Mail & Guardian interview, one who doesn’t know better would think very little is actually done. The reality is that although Cardinal Napier is indeed the correct man theologically to guide the local Church, he is not a great communicator. The Church needs men, or women, who are able to relay the Church’s message on issues in an easy-to-understand, modern and uncluttered manner. Justifying and “explaining” paedophilia simply makes it worse. Resorting to the oldest, greyest and most uninspiring trick in the communications book—blaming the media for misinterpreting or claiming to be quoted “out of context”— is a thousand times worse. Manny de Freitas, Johannesburg
intention to deny this? Although made in the context of homosexuality, the statement is clearly of broader application. Consider the position of a civilly divorced and remarried Catholic, who enjoys a sexual relationship with his/her new partner (to whom he/she is not, in the eyes of the Church, married). It is clear that Cardinal Napier’s reported injunction would apply equally here. In the traditional teaching, the Catholic partner in such a relationship is automatically excommunicated and may not approach the Communion rails. This is a highly complex and disputed topic in moral theology. Pope John Paul II agonised over it and called for further study. Many theologians believe that it is an open question, currently in a state
S a regular reader of your newspaper I hear at every corner how boring the celebration of the Holy Eucharist has become. This together with poor homilies is allegedly the reason why Catholics are leaving the Church in their hundreds if not thousands. The bright side to this phenomenon is that there is a genuine indication from the Vatican to make an extra effort to evangelise not only non-Catholics, but also lapsed Catholics through the New Evangelisation. Against this backdrop I am keen to know if it is liturgically correct and in the interests of evangelisation if a priest and or a pastoral council can by means of a survey decide to exclude all singing (except for the Alleluia before the gospel) from the celebration of the Eucharist on a Saturday night for a Sunday obligation, on a permanent basis. My take on this very important issue is that we cannot cut out integral parts of the Mass, such as the hymns, to suit parishioners who prefer to fulfil their Sunday obligation in a wishy washy, express manner on a Saturday. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or faxed to 021 465-3850
of development. Many priests and bishops are known to take a nuanced view and exhibit flexibility in their pastoral counselling. Is it Cardinal Napier’s view that the Catholic partner in such a relationship should not only hold back from the Communion rail, but cease practising as a Catholic, cease attending Sunday Mass? Refrain from bringing up in the Catholic faith any children resulting from the new relationship? Should all remarried Catholic divorcees stop attending church? Surely not; this has never been the teaching of the Church. Any of the countless people in such relationships who interpret Cardinal Napier’s words in this obvious (even if unintended) sense are thereby cutting themselves off from the support of the Church when it is most needed, and may thus be placed at grave spiritual risk. Clarification of the position is, I believe, an urgent pastoral requirement. John Greene, Cape Town PLEASE NOTE: When e-mailing letters, it is preferable to place the text into the message field, rather than in an attachment. Send your letters to email@example.com or Letters to the Editor, Po Box 2372, Cape Town, 8000. If this is the type of Catholic we want to cater for and ultimately breed, in the form of their offspring, then we need to reconsider the way forward. I am interested to find out what my fellow Catholic think on this important matter, taking into account the Church is not a democracy where the will of the majority rules. DM Eckard, Cape Town
HAVE come across something rather interesting with regard to the history of well known Catholic priests and missionaries on “'Pinterest”' (Google and Facebook). By joining up with this Internet utility one can, by inserting “'Roman Catholic priests”, obtain a wealth of interesting historic information, as well as other information. The famous works and travels of Friar Mauro from the 1450s are also available, and his “Old World Cartographic Maps”' are brilliant, although drawn upside down. Insert “Mauro Map”' and “'Old World Maps”'. There are also many photos of interest one can find through 'Pinterest. Andre Martinaglia, Cape Town
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The Southern Cross, May 1 to May 7, 2013
PERSPECTIVES Mphuthumi Ntabeni
Learning from Germans I N April the Justice and Peace (J&P) Commission of the archdiocese of Cape Town was fortunate to have an information-sharing session with a visiting German Church delegation, led by Bishop Stephan Josef Ackermann of Trier. Bishop Ackermann is the chairman of J&P in Germany, and also the bishop assigned to deal with sexual abuse cases in Germany. The German delegation was impressed that in South Africa we have J&P commissions in our parish commissions. In Germany J&P exist only on a national level, under the Zentralkomitee der deutschen Katholiken (ZdK), the official council of the German Catholic laity. The ZdK was founded in 1848, was banished under Bismarck and again under the Nazi regime, but gained public respect mostly during the Cold War. Its secretary, Dr Stefan Vesper, was among the visiting delegation. The ZdK is a representative body of lay people. It unites diocesan councils, Catholic associations, institutions of lay apostolates, lay movements and communities. It serves also as a forum of opinions on political issues and the Church. From what I understood, the ZdK represents the concerns of Catholics in the public arena. It has a division that operates like our Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office in participating in public dialogue and in the houses of legislation in shaping public policy. It advises the German Catholic
Bishops’ Conference on issues of social, political and religious life. Most of us showed deep interest in ZdK works, especially in the light of the media reports about some of our church leaders on topics such as sexual abuse and homosexuality. The ZdK seems to be a good forum for dialogue and a fountain of sharing ideas between bishops’ conference and general laity, so that the Church can truly speak with one voice. It was refreshing to notice that the bishops and ZdK actually speak with one voice, albeit from different perspectives, about the social teachings of the Church, and that no noticeable tension exists be-
Pilgrims pray at last year’s “Katholikentag”, the biennial German Catholic Church assembly which is organised by the national laity council.
and Madrid in 2011. What I remember particularly from Madrid was how he refused to go down from the podium to find shelter during a vicious thunderstorm, saying “If the young people have to sit through the storm, so will I.” Because the See of Peter had become vacant by resignation rather than death, there were more uncertainties than usual. For instance, when would the cardinals be summoned to Rome and under what circumstances? Would there be a farewell Mass or some other ceremony, and when would that take place? In the end it was up to each cardinal to decide for himself. A good number, perhaps even the majority, came early and were therefore in time to bid farewell to Pope Benedict on the day his resignation took effect, February 28. What a touching moment it was as one of the senior cardinals thanked Pope Benedict for his sterling service to the Church as theologian, diocesan bishop, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the
Cardinals from around the world, oincluding Cardinal Napier (third from left) in the Sistine Chapel on March 12 as they began the conclave to elect a new pontiff. (Photo from CNS)
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tween hierarchy and the lay body. For instance, I had a short discussion with Aloys Buch, a leading professor of moral theology and a deacon, about the gay marriage discussions that are currently a hot topic throughout Europe. Apparently the German Catholic Church makes a distinction between civil unions and marriage. Prof Buch argued that the widespread demand for gay marriage, as opposed to civil unions, is not about natural justice, but about the desire for a “biopolitical tyranny to destroy marriage and the family as the most basic and crucial mediating social institution”. I later discovered that Bishop Ackermann holds similar views. So there is a clear distinction made between gay marriage, which the German Church—like the Church everywhere— opposes, and same-sex civil unions, which would give homosexual couples all the rights of matrimony, except to call that union a marriage. While the legislation of gay marriage is not acceptable to the Church, for the reasons Prof Buch outlined, the legal construct of civil unions of same-sex couples appears to be tolerable. I was embarrassed to admit there is a certain squeamishness about talking about these things as openly in the Southern African Catholic Church.
Cardinal Wilfrid Napier OFM
My special time in Rome HERE are two major differences between the conclave of 2005 and that of 2013. The first is that the failing health of Pope John Paul II had given us ample notice that his pontificate was coming to a close. By contrast Pope Benedict XVI appeared to be in good health even just three months before he announced his resignation. Everyone was taken totally by surprise; first by the fact of his resignation itself, but second even more by its timing, so soon before Easter, which has always been an extremely special time for him. You have only to think of the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday, for which he had different people compose the prayers and reflections each year. It was also surprising because World Youth Day (WYD) was only a few months away and that also had a very special place in Pope Benedict’s heart. He loved being with the youth, as we saw in the previous WYDs in Cologne in 2005, Sydney in 2008
Pushing the Boundaries
Faith, bishop of Rome and pope. Pope Benedict responded by in turn thanking all the cardinals and curial officials for their love, support and cooperation in the service of the universal Church. Then each one had the opportunity to greet and thank him personally. As I did so I kept in mind his earnest request for prayers made the day he was elected pope and reiterated at the farewell. Consequently I ask every priest who celebrates Mass in the archdiocese of Durban to include “Benedict our Pope Emeritus” in the Eucharistic prayer after mentioning Pope Francis. The second major difference between Conclave 2005 and 2013 was the fact that there was no funeral or period of mourning. So the congregations of cardinals could begin immediately and would be focused solely on the conclave to elect the new pope. However, the date for the conclave to begin would be set only when all the cardinal electors were present in Rome. That was not really a problem as it gave the cardinals more time to prepare by sharing their visions for the Church, their worries and concerns, their hope and fears. Thus the state of the Church from the Vatican, the curia and the diocese of Rome to the Vatican State, the continental Churches, as well as relations between the Church and the world at all levels were discussed in great detail. From these discussions the new pope would have a pretty good word-picture of the kind of Church he would be leading in a world full of tremendous challenges. But he would also know that he was not alone. The congregations of cardinals continued until the arrival of the last cardinal elector in Rome. Accordingly Tuesday March 12 was agreed on as the day on which we would go into conclave to elect the new pope. n Next month: The conclave
Holy Land • Rome JOURNEYS OF • Assisi • Cairo A LIFETIME!
with Fr Sean Wales CSsR (Redemptorist speaker and author)
5 - 19 October 2013
See all the great sites of the Holy Land, meet local Christians! See Contact Gail at Rome, with PAPAL AUDIENCE, 076 352 3809 or and visit Assisi, the place of 021 551 3923 St Francis. PLUS: Cairo with the Pyramids, Sphinx, Nile Cruise email@example.com
Rules for the altar cloth
Are there still any rules regarding the altar cloth? I would be grateful for information on this matter, as the Internet is not clear in providing it. Parishioner, Polokwane
EFORE the reforms of Vatican II, it was the general rule that the high altar in the church was to be covered by three cloths. The uppermost of these was to be white, as wide as the altar and long enough to reach the ground on either side. In early times, the altar table was consecrated by the bishop who used to anoint it liberally with sacred chrism. This left it sticky and quite greasy. In order to protect the altar linen cloths from the oil, a grease-proof cloth was first laid over the altar. On top of that it was common to have a second cloth of a thick material whose purpose was to act as a cushion so that the altar top would not be damaged by the heavy metal vessels placed on it during the liturgy. The stone of the altar was often easy to chip and the older chalices, patens and ciboriums used to be rather weighty, often embellished with jewellery and lots of ornamentation. Since Vatican II, much has been simplified and at least one white altar cloth is required during the eucharistic celebration. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal says the shape, size and decoration of the cloth should be in keeping with the altar’s structure (304). This implies that there is some leeway in deciding whether the cloth should drape all the way to the floor or only part of the way. Sometimes an undercloth of some heavy material may be required to give some stability to the white altar cloth and prevent it from crinkling, which is quite common when the linen is of a light fabric. During the day the altar may be draped with a dust cover of some suitable material. The reforms in altar linen were intended to highlight the symbolism of the altar not only as a place of sacrifice but also as the table of the Lord’s Supper to which we are invited, a prelude to the final joyful reunion with Christ in his kingdom.
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.
St Dominic’s Catholic Church 1 Mill Road, Hillcrest, Durban PRESENTS
“REJOICE IN THE LORD”
A FLOWER FESTIVAL
“OPEN YOUR EYES TO THE WONDERS OF CREATION” Friday, 17 May, 2013 Saturday, 18 May, 2013 10.00am to 16.30pm Saturday recitals: 11.00am, 12.30pm and 14.30pm Helen: 083 660 7666
The Southern Cross, May 1 to May 7, 2013
Lauren Soll and Kristen Walker from Holy rosary school in Johannesburg have been selected for rowing South Africa’s development squad which goes to Ghent in Belgium this year. Kristen (left) and Lauren (right) won gold medals at the SA rowing Champs earlier this month. They are pictured with their coach Mpumi Geza.
THE YEAR OF FAITH AND THE FAMILY MAY A MONTH FOR FAMILY AND LIFE
St John Bosco parish in robertsham, Johannesburg, celebrated the Easter Triduum, starting with a “washing of the feet” service, Mass and adoration on Thursday night; a procession from robertsham to Booysens on Good Friday, and a concelebrated Service of the Cross at Booysens. Several rCIA candidates were received into the Church at the vigil Mass on Saturday evening. Top: congregants venerate the cross on Good Friday and inset: rCIA candidates are pictured with parish priest Fr John Thompson SdB.
dino Gouveia, a Grade 10 rugby player from Marist Brothers Linmeyer, south of Johannesburg, was chosen for the Golden Lions President XV team to participate in the annual U/16 Linden Hoërskool rugby festival. The Lions team performed exceptionally well and won all three matches they played in.
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THE HOLY LAND TREK
St Anthony’s parish and St Aidan’s Anglican church, both in Greyville, durban, came together in solidarity on Palm Sunday to pray for all victims of rape and an end to all forms of violence in South Africa.
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residents and staff of Little Eden attended a Palm Sunday celebration at the Holy Family chapel in Elvira rota village, Edenvale, Johannesburg. Archbishop emeritus George daniel of Pretoria and Fr richard Kugbeh-Kasin concelebrated the Mass.
The Southern Cross, May 1 to May 7, 2013
Time for Africa to rise up The Symposium of Episcopal Conferences in Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), which brings together all the Catholic churches of the continent, has released a landmark pastoral letter on the future of Africa. CLAIRE MATHIESON looks at some of the highlights of the 15page pastoral, entitled “On Governance, the Common Good and Democratic Transitions in Africa”.
T is time that Africa seriously rise up and act for its own better future, and move forward together with other continents.” These were the words of a pastoral letter issued by the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (Secam) which has called for African leaders and the general populace to uphold moral integrity, honesty and sincerity in all their dealings. The letter was released as many African countries approach election time. “We cannot expect God to bless our continent, and individuals in it, unless integrity becomes a cherished core-value in all our nations in Africa,” the statement said. The pastoral letter was signed by the president of Secam, cardinal Polycarp Pengo. The pastoral said the Church has taken note of the various political situations through the many elections that are held in Africa, at both presidential and parliamentary levels. “While political stability or at least democratic change is being noticed in some countries, there is still a lot more that needs to be done to enhance credibility of some of these elections as well as the processes that govern them so as to promote peace and stability on the continent. Regrettably, many elections degenerate into violent confrontations, before, during and shortly after the time they are held. Unresolved electoral disputes have planted the seeds for potential violence in subsequent electoral cycles,” said the pastoral letter. “Secam believes that everyone, including the Church, has a responsibility to contribute to the common good of all members of society.” The pastoral letter said the Church, following the prophets and the apostles, has been sent into the world to promote the common good, of which good governance forms a part. “Africa needs politicians who are committed to serve the people.” The Church has been at the heart of all efforts towards better governance. In many countries, during the delicate democratic transitional period of the 1990s, the Church played a clearly visible role of support. “The Church has to take her responsibilities in the socio-political domain. She has to be fully involved in the indepth transformation of our society,” said the pastoral, adding that the African Church continues to play the role of being the voice of the voice-
less, denouncing corruption, being the politically independent observer of elections and counsel for the deprived litigants. The Secam bishops noted the progress which has been recorded in parts of Africa. From the improvement of the lives of the poor, an increase in school enrolment ratios, the mobilisation of the people to fight against certain endemic diseases such as HIV/Aids and malaria and the net decline of certain diseases such as polio. “Yet, Africa still remains a poor continent,” the statement said. “The abundant wealth in natural resources is in sharp contrast with the pervading poverty of the vast majority of the African population. Fifty years after independence, many African economies remain weak. Some leaders have become accomplices of foreign interests. Others only endeavour to ensure that their personal material comfort is secure, against the common good of their societies. “More than 50 years after independence, the continent is still rocked by endless violence,” it said. Secam noted many other issues affecting the continent: the job market has become tighter; the drama of immigration; and the situation of women. The bishops said it was necessary to bridge the governance deficit by putting in place a dynamic and functioning partnership between the various social actors to enhance transparency, efficiency and effectiveness of political action and decisions of public administrations. It is important therefore to move away from the “omniscient” and “omnipotent” state towards a state that seeks to facilitate the public space in favour of positive interactions of its citizens, so that there would only be one society for all. “It requires a change in behaviour, attitude and mentality. It demands a veritable conversion towards the concern of the common good which will require that all social, political, economic and cultural structures, systems and processes be accessible to all. “Furthermore, it requires that even those who are marginalised in society are not neglected, hence the Church's preferential option for the poor as a conscious effort to correct the moral mistakes, failings and shortcomings of our social institutions, cultures and systems,” the cardinal said. “Africa owes herself the duty to apply this principle through a rational, responsible and provisional management of her natural resources, through defining of the legal and structural frameworks, to guarantee for current and future generations, their right to these same goods.”
he Secam bishops said the plague of corruption has radically stunted the development of Africa’s countries. “Corruption has become a cancer in almost all African countries and affects vital sectors such as the economic system, day to day administration, the job market, health, education and the judicial system. We are aware that many governments are conscious of this problem
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“Corruption has become a cancer in almost all African countries and affects vital sectors such as the economic system, day to day administration, the job market, health, education and the judicial system,” the bishops of Africa said in a new pastoral letter. (Photo: Alain Amontchi, reuters, CNS)
sources. We invite you to move forward in the civic education of the people so that they become agents of change in the definition and implementation of decisions affecting their existence. Be more proactive to prevent conflicts from escalating into violence.” Secam also urged African leaders to see poverty eradication as a priority by using proceeds from the continent’s sub-soil natural resources, such as land, and forestry for the development of countries for the benefit of whole nations and all its citizens. Secam believes unity is key to African progress and hailed the efforts of the African Union. “Secam invites all African people to adopt a new look at the stranger who remains a brother or a sister beyond the state, political, tribal or religious borders. “In addition, Secam has called on Catholic organisations to generate reflections on the root causes of injustices and violence at local as well as at international levels.
and are making efforts to combat it. promote good governance. “We are Unfortunately, personal interest and encouraging you to step up vigilance the frantic quest for gains have be- over the observance and promotion come stronger than the sense of the of human rights and the managecommon good.” ment of our human and natural reOne of the major universal principles of democratic governance is that rulers are chosen by and are accountable to the people, the Secam statement said. “Put differently, people must have the opportunity to elect a government of their choice. Democracy is therefore government by See the richness of South Africa’s wildlife the people, for the people close-up with VIVA SAFARIS. Look for the and with the people.” Big Five in the company of our trained Secam also noted many positives and reasons for rangers, take a guided bushwalk you will celebration on the continever forget, and after dinner around a fire nent. “We rejoice that the era relax in our chalets – or in a treehouse. of one-party dictatorships We offer a wide spectrum of affordable has been giving way to democracy, even though programmes for backpackers and bush there is still some nostalgia, connoisseur alike. by those who are not able For young people, we offer VOLuNTEER to fully put the past behind them.” SAFARIS (see www.volunteersafaris.co.za) The bishops also rejoiced in the calmness in areas of conflict such as for options, photos and videos Sudan, West Africa, and that peace seems to be reRESERVATIONS: 082 450 9930 (Trevor) turning to Central Africa. “We are sad to note that 082 444 7654 (Piero) 082 506 9641 (Anthony) the Great Lakes region, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org namely Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda, are still greatly troubled. We exhort the parties in conflict to stop the war and start dia(Association Incorporated Under Section 21) logue on the situation of registered with the department of Education as a Private Higher Education the Kivu Province.” Secam Institution under the Higher Education Act, 1997. added that there was deep registration Certificate Number 2003/HE08/003 concern around the situation in Nigeria and Mali. Tel: +27 (87) 35 38 940 “It is our prayer and Fax: +27 (86) 51 45 092 Private Bag 6004 Hilton 3245 hope that peace will return website:www.sjti.ac.za KwaZulu-Natal Republic of South Africa to the Horn of Africa, in such countries as Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea. “Perhaps time has now The Development Studies Department through its two academic come for Africa to strive to programmes: Higher Certiﬁcate in Human and Social Development and invent models of governAdvanced Certiﬁcate in Human and Social Development seeks to provide a ment that really respond to service to the Church and Society in general through the formation and our needs and fit our contraining of leaders guided by a Christian ethos. texts, inspired by the wisThe Two Academic Programmes aim at: dom of African traditional (a) Providing students with the basic understanding of the main concepts and governance systems and structures,” said the pastheories of human and social development, (b) Empowering students with toral. the basic understanding of how societies develop and function, and Secam has called on civil (c) Providing the basic knowledge to enable students to continue with further society organisations to studies in the areas of human and social development.
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The Southern Cross, May 1 to May 7, 2013
Change the Mass to keep youth Catholic? Do we need to change the Mass to keep young Catholics in the Church? MICHELLE EVERT, herself a young Catholic, argues that doing so would be a disservice to the youth.
CARCELY minutes after Pope Francis had accepted the great weight of the Petrine ministry, the world’s media began touting predictions of the Church reforms they expected would transpire during his pontificate. One of the suggested reforms, proposed by the media and even some Catholics, was to change the way in which the Holy Mass is celebrated. Increasingly, the Mass is being derided by some as a “relic of the past”, consisting of boring and antiquated rituals which, some argue, are driving the youth out of Catholicism and straight into the seductive arms of the evangelical and pentecostal mega-churches. Is the current form of the Mass, and the way in which it is celebrated, relevant to youth today? Are young Catholics seeking something else in their quest for spiritual nourishment? Should the liturgy be altered to broaden its appeal to young people? In attempting to respond to these questions, I would like to draw a distinction between the concepts of “relevance” and “reverence”. Relevance concerns the degree to which something is useful or applicable at the moment. Reverence refers to a profoundly deep feeling of adoration or respect, a state of true wonderment. Many of the Protestant worship services—especially those of the evangelicals—appear to successfully use a form of relevance in appealing to the youth. They incorporate elements of modern pop culture, and their services try
to convey God through what is “hip” or “cool” in our current milieu. This creates a socially lax rock-concert vibe. The dynamic pastor exudes boundless loud enthusiasm. Many promote consumerist faith products and some of these churches even have an indoor café, just in case you really needed a cup of mocha to guzzle down the Gospels with.
ne can understand how, taken at face value, these kinds of superficial elements may appeal to the typical youth who wants absolutely everything instantly, and in the most exciting, entertaining and accessible manner possible. But in pandering to these perceived needs the youth might be done a disservice, for we are not a homogeneous group who can all be tarred with the same brush of frivolity. There doubtless are youths who take a very shallow approach to matters of faith, but I would argue there are just as many (if not more) who are sincerely seeking an intimate relationship with God. This is where the Mass comes in, because it goes beyond relevance, and appeals to reverence. Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze, the former prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship, once said in an interview: “People don’t come to Mass in order to be entertained. They come to Mass to adore God, to thank him, to ask pardon for sins, and to ask for other things that they need. When they want entertainment, they know where to go.” He suggested the theatre, for a start. The Mass is the only vehicle through which youth can have a truly personal encounter with our Lord, who is really present in the very sacrament which he instituted almost 2 000 years ago at the Last Supper: the Eucharist. The Mass has a majesty, beauty and serenity bar none. There is an otherworldliness to it. It is a transcendental experience and the closest thing we have to heaven on earth. It is this reverent form of wor-
young Catholics at Mass. In her article, Michelle Evert argues that the temptation to introduce new elements into the liturgy to appease young people would be misguided. (Photo: rebecca E drobis, CNS)
ship that youth want, because we, perhaps more astutely than older generations, realise the problem with relevance is that modern pop culture changes so fast that it is nearly impossible to keep up with. What is “in” this week, might just as quickly fall out of favour the next. A church which seeks to imitate the fads of our youth culture can only remain popular as long as those fads are popular. So, while most evangelical churches have to frequently remould their identity and services to cater to the whims of modernity and remain relevant, the Catholic Church happily marches forward with a liturgy that is timeless, enduring and reverent. Ironically, the Church and the Mass could actually be seen as counter-cultural—Christ’s words in the gospel of John remind us that we are in the world, but not of it—in a way that is actually conducive to appealing to youth who are looking to get away from the
novelties of the mainstream. Entertaining things at some point tend to cease being entertaining. Relevance is only relevant for so long. What Catholic youth need to be spiritually nourished with is full-on, unadulterated Catholicism, complete with its rich history, traditions and rituals.
ultivating a healthy reverence for the Mass is not a responsibility which rests solely on the shoulders of the youth, however. It is clear from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1666) that it is expected of parents or other guardians to be accountable for the faith formation—and thus, an understanding of the Mass—of their children. The “domestic church” is the first source by which young people imbibe Catholicism. If it is inadequate in any way, then the Mass becomes problematic because young Catholics are confronted with a stupendously brilliant and
symbolic liturgy which they haven’t been equipped to understand. It is like going into an exam room without ever having opened a textbook to study. This can lead to a false sense of “boredom” with the Mass, simply by not properly understanding it. If you never knew the true meaning of the Mass to begin with, how could you know that you are essentially turning your back on Jesus, and walking away from his real presence in the Blessed Sacrament? Thus, despite what some may think, the Church will not retain young people via liturgical reform. Young people are kept in the Church by giving them a proper understanding of the Mass. The salvation of young souls will not come through altering the Mass. That would be defeatist because our challenge is not to change the Mass to appeal to everyone (again, relevance), but to challenge them to change themselves and their understanding of it. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who went on to become Pope Benedict XVI, applied a useful analogy in his book The Spirit of the Liturgy. He relates how, in Exodus 32, the people lose their patience with Moses and start to worship God in their own way, because they feel God is “inaccessible”. He uses this as a wise refutation to those who wish to reform the liturgy, whether it is to appeal to youth or for any other reason: “The narrative of the golden calf is a warning about any kind of selfinitiated and self-seeking worship.” He added that liturgy “cannot spring from imagination, our own creativity—then it would remain just a cry in the dark or mere self-affirmation”. Surely it is the Holy Mass which the youth desire, and not the Golden Calf in the forms of evangelical worship services or a revamped, “relevant” Mass. Do we need to adapt the liturgy for the sake of the youth? You decide. n Michelle Evert is a young Catholic from Gordon’s Bay, Western Cape.
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Word of the Week
ANTIPHON: Greek, anti- “opposite” + phonē “voice”. A short text, typically from Scripture and often used as a refrain said by the congregation (for example, during the Responsorial Psalm), though it has other uses in the liturgy. RUBRICS: Instructions printed in red in a liturgical book (for example, the Roman Missal) that direct the actions of those participating in a liturgical celebration. Rubrics are typically scattered among the text of the prayers (which are printed in black).
Liturgical Calendar Year C Weekdays Cycle Year 1 Sunday, May 5 Acts 15:1-2, 22-29, Psalm 67:2-3, 5-6, 8, Revelation 21:10-14, 22-23, John 14:23-29 Monday, May 6 Acts 16:11-15, Psalm 149:1-6, 9, John 15:26, 16:4 Tuesday, May 7 Acts 16:22-34, Psalm 138:1-3, 7-8, John 16:5-11 Wednesday, May 8 Acts 17:15, 22, 18:1, Psalm 148:1-2, 11-14, John 16:12-15 Thursday, May 9 Acts 18:1-8, Psalm 98:1-4, John 16:16-20 Friday, May 10 Acts 18:9-18, Psalm 47:2-7, John 16:20-23 Saturday, May 11, St Ignatius of Laconi (pictured) Acts 18:23-28, Psalm 47:2-3, 8-10, John 16:23-28 Sunday, May 12, Ascension of the Lord Acts 1:1-11, Psalm 47:2-3, 6-9, Ephesians 1:17-23 or Hebrews 9:24-28; 10:19-23, Luke 24:46-53
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The Southern Cross, May 1 to May 7, 2013
HOLY ST JuDE, apostle and martyr, great in virtue and rich in miracles, kinsman of Jesus Christ, faithful intercessor of all who invoke you, special patron in time of need. To you I have recourse from the depth of my heart and humbly beg you to come to my assistance. Help me now in my urgent need and grant my petitions. In return I promise to make your name known and publish this prayer. Amen. rCP HOLY SPIRIT, you who make me see everything and who shows me the way to reach my ideal. you have given
me the divine gift to forgive and forget all that is done to me, and you are in all the instincts of my life with me.. I want to be with you and my loved ones in your perpetual glory. Amen. Say this prayer for three consecutive days and without continuing to ask; no matter how difficult it may be and you promise to publish this dialogue as soon as your favour has been granted. HOLY St Jude, apostle and martyr, great in virtue and rich in miracles, kinsman of Jesus Christ, faithful intercessor of all who invoke you, special patron in time of need. To you I have recourse from the depth of my heart and humbly beg you to come to my assistance. Help me now in my urgent need and grant my petitions. In return I promise to make your name known and publish this prayer. Amen. In thanks for prayers answered. O MOST beautiful flower of Mount Carmel, fruitful vine, splendour of Heaven, blessed Mother of the Son of God, Immaculate Virgin, assist 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. .
GRATEFuL thanks to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, our Mother Mary and Ss Joseph, Anthony, Jude and Martin de Porres for prayers answered. rCP
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7th Sunday of Easter: May 12 Readings: Acts 7:55-60, Psalm 97: 1-2, 6-7, 9, Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20 John 17:20-26
Love is the central word
Nicholas King SJ
S we move now towards the end of the Easter season (as of next Sunday, Pentecost will only be a week away), what we need above all to guide us through the rest of the year is a glimpse of the truth that God is really in charge. That glimpse is what, in their different ways, the readings for next Sunday offer us. The first reading gives us an account of the death of Stephen, the first Christian martyr; like many in Luke and Acts he is “full of the Holy Spirit”, and as he dies, he gazes to heaven and “saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God”. His opponents cannot bear to listen, so they shout him down, and stone him. He announces that he sees “the heavens opening, and the Son of Man standing”, and his dying words are “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit...Lord, do not set this sin against them”. That confidence at such a moment might be sufficient to affirm that God is indeed in charge; but there is another tiny detail that has the same effect, that those who took part in the stoning “placed their clothes at the feet of a young man called Saul”. The young man, of course, is going to encounter the Risen Jesus, a couple of chapters from now, and, under the name of Paul, and
with the title of the “Apostle to the Gentiles”, will dominate the rest of Acts of the Apostles, from chapter 13 onwards, as an enthusiastic apostle of the same Lord Jesus. God is indeed in charge. That is the message of the psalm for next Sunday, expressed in characteristic Hebrew terms: “The Lord reigns”, with the common invitation, “let earth rejoice, and the many islands be glad; justice and right are the foundations of his throne”. Even other gods are brought into it, and encouraged to “worship him”, and our excerpt concludes with an affirmation of God’s superiority: “You are God Most High, over all the earth; you are raised up above all the other gods”. Whatever you may say about the theology that includes lots of gods, there is no doubt about who is in charge. The second reading is almost the end of the Book of Revelation, a vision that offers hope to
the persecuted and oppressed. “Look, I am coming quickly, and my reward is with me, to repay each one according to their deed”. Then comes the reminder of who Jesus is: “I am Alpha and Omega, First and Last, Beginning and End”; and, to emphasise that all is well he offers congratulations to “those who wash their robes” (and we know that this means those who die for the faith), “that they may be in charge over the tree of life and may enter the city by its gates”. All we need now is for the Lord to come, and we hear the prayer to that end: “The Spirit and the Bride [the Church, of course] say ‘come’.” And we hear the response of the one who is very much in charge, “The One who witnesses these things says: ‘Yes—I am coming quickly’.” And when we hear that, our response to the one in charge is “Amen—come, Lord Jesus”. The gospel is the end of the great prayer with which Jesus concludes his great Last Supper Discourse in the Fourth Gospel. We are invited to listen to Jesus’ petition to his Father, sometimes called the “Great High Priestly Prayer”; at this particular point, he moves from praying for us to be safe from the menaces of “the world” (which in John’s gospel is the forces arrayed against God and against Jesus),
Don’t cut off your critics’ ears T
ODAY, among many of us churchgoers, there is a growing propensity to self-protect rather than risk crucifixion for the world. We are well intentioned in this, but, good intentions notwithstanding, our actions are the opposite of Jesus. He loved the world enough to let himself be crucified rather than self-protect. We see this propensity for self-protection everywhere inside our churches today, albeit it is not without cause. In most parts of the world, the Church is under siege in some fashion, either because of active persecution or simply because it’s being disrespected, unfairly perceived, and unfairly treated. Secularised culture carries inside itself a certain anti-Christian and anti-ecclesial bias and many Church-people feel that this bias is the last prejudice that is still intellectually acceptable in our culture. And this isn’t simple paranoia. There’s some substance to it. Secular culture has it virtues, but it is also clearly somewhat immature and grandiose in its relationship to its Judeo-Christian heritage. Not unlike an adolescent feeling his own strength for the first time, it can be overly critical and bitterly unfair to its own parentage. Adolescents are often very hard on their parents, and secular culture is often very hard on its JudeoChristian heritage. Given this fact, I can understand why so many Church leaders and concerned Church members today are becoming more and more defensive. However, while I understand the instinct behind this, I cannot agree with
Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI
the response, namely, our propensity to circle the wagons, batten down the hatches, and see our culture as an enemy against which we need to protect ourselves rather than as the world that Jesus died for and which we are called to love and save. Why is self-protection wrong, given all the reasons that seem to call for it? What’s wrong with our propensity to self-protect is that it’s the exact opposite of what Jesus did. We see this everywhere in the gospels. Jesus’ disciples were forever trying to protect him from various groups whom they deemed unworthy of his presence, and Jesus was forever clear that he didn’t need or want to be protected: “Let them come to me!” was one of his mantras. Moreover, and more importantly, his disciples were also trying to protect him against persons and things they deemed as a threat to him. Thus they tried to talk him out of accepting his crucifixion and, indeed, at the time of his arrest, tried to protect him through violent resistance, the sword. As he was being arrested, they asked him: Should we use force to protect you? Should we strike with the sword? Sadly,
they didn’t wait for his answer and Peter, trying to protect him, did strike with the sword, cutting off the ear of one of the men arresting Jesus. What was Jesus’ response to this effort at protection? We have his words: No more of this! But we don’t have the tone of those words. Were they spoken in anger, as sharp reprimand? Were they spoken in frustration, recognising that Peter—the rock, the future pope—had so badly misunderstood his message? Or, were they spoken in that sad tone a mother uses when she tells her children to stop fighting even as the resignation in her voice betrays the fact that she knows they never will? Whatever the tone, the message is clear: His first followers didn’t understand one of the central things about their master. Jesus had spent his entire ministry healing people, including healing diseased ears so that people might hear again, and on his last night on earth the leader of his apostles cuts off the ear of someone in an attempt to protect him. The lesson is in the irony: Jesus’ healing of ears had revealed his longing for dialogue and Peter’s severing of an ear had revealed his itch to cut off dialogue. Jesus’ whole person and message had incarnated and preached vulnerability and radical acceptance of crucifixion rather than self-protection and his followers, at the first show of hostility, had responded with violence and self-protection. That lesson shouldn’t be lost. Everything about Jesus speaks of vulnerability rather than self-protection. He was born in a manger, a feeding trough, a place where animals come to eat, and he ends up on a table, “flesh for the life of the world”, to be eaten up by the world; the first words out of his mouth call for metanoia, the opposite of paranoia; and in the end he gives himself over to crucifixion rather than to self-protection. That was Jesus’ response to a world that grossly misunderstood him and violently mistreated him. He opened is arms in vulnerability rather than closed his fists in self-defence. And in that’s how, ideally, we should respond to the world when it’s unfair to us. Unlike Peter, who instinctually struck with the sword without remembering Jesus’ message, we shouldn’t let an outside threat erase what was so central to Jesus’ person and teaching and respond in a manner antithetical to the Gospel, hostility for hostility, immaturity for immaturity.
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through praying for us to be “made holy”, to praying, not only for those who are at table with him, but also “for those who believe in me through their word, that they may be one, as you, Father are in me, and I am in you, that they may also be in us that the world may believe that you have sent me”. There is absolute confidence here that God is in charge (even though we know the fate that is awaiting Jesus the next day). Then Jesus speaks of “glory”, which in the fourth gospel is the way his death is presented, but with a slightly unexpected touch, “that they may be one as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be made perfect into one”. Then the Last Supper discourse returns to its beginning with the absolutely central quality of “love”; it had begun with love, and the great parable of loving service, when Jesus washed the disciples’ feet. So now it ends with love, and this love has value as evidence, “that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them as you loved me”. But the main thing is the being with Jesus, who is with his Father, “in order that they may see my glory, which you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world”. Then the prayer comes to an end on precisely this note of love: “I made your name known to them and I shall make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I may be in them”. If we get that right, then God will indeed be in charge.
Southern Crossword #548
ACROSS 4. Paul met him in Derbe (Acts 16) (7) 8. Great Hebrew emigration (6) 9. Be obedient (7) 10. Conceit (6) 11. Zodiac Sagittarius (6) 12. As mediator, Christ brings a new one (Heb 9) (8) 18. She can't be a cleric (9) 20. Little imp comes from the priest (6) 21. Fully developed (6) 22. Gordon, a man becoming a soldier (7) 23. Priestly vestments (6) 24. Yes, gall destroyed such ships (7)
DOWN 1. Ministry at Wimbledon? (7) 2. Conspire in coven (7) 3. Kind of floral hole for the bridegroom (6) 5. This worship is in vain (8) 6. Official position (6) 7. Greek Mercury (6) 13. Golly, are about to be a symbol (8) 14. Are all up about the Roman flask (7) 15. Burnt in church, does it arouse anger? (7) 16. Ancient city of discipline (6) 17. Joshula made camp here (Josh 4) (6) 19. The image of a ghost (6) Solutions on page 11
LITTLE boy opened the big family Bible with fascination, and looked at the old pages as he turned them. Suddenly, something fell out of the Bible. He picked it up and looked at it closely. It was an old leaf from a tree that had been pressed in between the pages. “Mom, look what I found!” the boy called out. “What do you have, dear?” she asked. With astonishment in his voice, the young boy replied: “I think it’s Adam’s suit!” Send us your favourite Catholic joke, preferably clean and brief, to The Southern Cross, Church Chuckle, Po Box 2372, Cape Town, 8000.