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S outher n C ross www.scross.co.za

September 25 to October 1, 2013

Books about Pope Francis reviewed

Nun celebrates her 100th birthday

No 4841

CORRUPTION: Are you also to blame?

Page 10

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R6,00 (incl VAT RSA)

Reg No. 1920/002058/06

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Setback not the end for SA’s Catholic uni BY CLAIRE MATHIESON

T The sun colours the sky over the dome of St Peter’s basilica during sunset at the Vatican. Next week The Southern Cross pilgrims, led by Bishop Joe Sandri of Witbank with Pamela Davids of The Southern Cross, will visit the Vatican and Rome during their journey to Italy, which also includes Assisi. The Italian leg of the pilgrimage is preceded by a week in the Holy Land, starting on September 29. A Southern Cross pilgrimage with the same programme was led by Archbishop Slattery of Pretoria in May. (Photo: Paul Haring, CNS)

SA priest set for Vatican job BY CLAIRE MATHIESON

A

JOHANNESBURG priest has been appointed to serve the Secretariat of State in the Vatican where he will serve as an interpreter. “I honestly don’t quite know how they know about me,” Fr Simon Donnelly told The Southern Cross about the appointment, which was announced to the priests of the archdiocese on the fourth anniversary of his ordination. It is likely that Fr Donnelly was selected for his knowledge of both European and African languages. The priest holds a doctorate in linguistics and speaks Latin, Italian, French, Portuguese, Spanish, German, English and Greek. He also speaks Sotho and Zulu, Afrikaans and Xhosa. While these languages are not directly needed for the Secretary of State post, Fr Donnelly’s principal task will be translating into English anything that “pertains to the person of the Roman Pontiff. When Pope Francis speaks or writes anything, it appears simultaneously in a number of languages, including, of course, English.” The diocesan priest, who currently serves the parish of Our Lady of Mercy in Emdeni, Soweto, studied for seven years in Rome where most classes were taught in Italian.

“I lived for five of those years in the Pontifical French Seminary, where the languages of the house were French and Italian,” he said. The Cape Townborn priest is the son of the late Eugene Donnelly, who for many years served as The Southern Cross’ managing editor. Fr Donnelly said he has mixed feelings about the appointment. Fr Simon Donnelly “I’m excited, humbled, curious and slightly overwhelmed,” he said, adding that he is very sorry to be leaving his Soweto parish at the end of October. His parishioners shared the priest’s sentiments. “The reaction was a mixture of pride and sadness. I have been at Our Lady of Mercy for not yet quite eight months. I was expecting to be there at least six years. It is a terrible wrench for a priest to leave his people, even after such a short time,” said Fr Donnelly. “In eight months, many people find a place in a priest's heart: sodality members, Continued on page 11

HE withdrawal of funding by two major donors was “the straw that broke the camel’s back”, leading to the downsizing of St Augustine College, South Africa’s only Catholic university, according to the college’s project manager. News this month that St Augustine College’s campus would be sold and undergraduate classes not be offered next year due to severe financial constraints was met with shock by students, staff and supporters. But senior management is at pains to state that this was not the end of the university. “St Augustine will definitely continue to exist,” Denise Gordon-Brown, the university’s project manager, told The Southern Cross. The university opened its doors in 1999 to the first intake of postgraduate students and for the next ten years offered only postgraduate degrees. In 2009 the first undergraduate degrees in BCom (PPE) and BTh commenced, followed a year later by the BA degree. But the college’s growth was not an indication of financial strength, Mrs GordonBrown said, adding that the institution has since inception run on a tight budget. “The cash flow problems became obvious about a year ago, but it was considered that with the promised contributions from donors, the college would be able to continue its operation. However, within recent weeks two large donors gave notice that they would not be continuing their support. This was the final straw which has broken the camel’s back,” Mrs Gordon-Brown said. As a private institution, St Augustine receives no government support. The only way forward was considered to be the sale of the Victory Park campus in Johannesburg. “This course of action has been recommended by the South African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) as one way to realise cash from a very valuable asset,” Mrs Gordon-Brown said.

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here were other contributing factors to the financial demise of the college. “The student numbers from the very beginning were disappointing. This can be attributed to a number of things, among which was that [the university] has a very low profile in the public conscousness,” Mrs Gordon-Brown said.

In order to have raised this profile a significant amount of money would have had to be spent on marketing, for which there was no budget.” Mrs Gordon-Brown said this was possibly one of the shortcomings of the original business plan. Furthermore, in order to be competitive with local state universities, fees were kept at the same level as the state universities, creating a shortfall in income. “Donors were another essential feature of the financial success of the college from its inception,” said the project manager, adding that donors have been “extremely generous” to the college. However, often such funding was issued for capital projects in particular, such as building alterations or library collections. Mrs Gordon-Brown said being affiliated to one particular religion meant many large corporations were not willing to support any particular religious institution. “This means ultimately that the same few donors are approached regularly.”

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he SACBC has agreed to help the college, as far as possible, to meet its commitments to existing staff and students. Fr Michael van Heerden, who will step down as president of the university in November, said the university’s board will propose a revised structure, including a model for financial sustainability, for the college before the end of 2013. “The board deeply regrets the disruption and distress that will be caused by this relocation and restructure,” he said in a communiqué announcing the changes. Changes at the university are already underway; others will take much longer such as the sale of the campus. Accordingly, the university will continue to offer undergraduate courses until the end of 2013 and third-year students will be able to graduate at the next ceremony. Supplementary examinations to complete the required modules will be provided to give every possibility of graduation. Undergraduate studies will not be offered in 2014. “The management of the college is in consultation with other local universities to assist in the smooth transition of St Augustine students to their new chosen university, Mrs Gordon-Brown explained. A “transfer application day” will be held Continued on page 2

CANONISATION PILGRIMAGE Join The Southern Cross and Radio Veritas on a pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi to witness the canonisation of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII in the Vatican

Led by Fr Emil Blaser OP • Dates: TBA

Canonisation Ceremony | Papal Audience | St Peter’s | Sistine Chapel | Catacombs | Ancient Rome | Baroque Rome | Major Basilicas | Castel Gandolfo | Assisi | Porciuncula | Hermitage of the Carceri | Greccio (where St Francis invented the Nativity Scene) | Fonte Colombo |and much more.

For itinerary or to book phone Gail at 076 352 3809 or 021 551 3923 info@fowlertours.co.za www.fowlertours.co.za


2

The Southern Cross, September 25 to October 1, 2013

LOCAL

Sacred Heart scholarship for active young citizens BY STAFF REPORTER

S

Jacqui Adriaanse, now Sister Sarah, a parishioner of St Ignatius in Claremont, pictured with her parents after her clothing at Schoenstatt in Germany.

St Augustine move not the end Continued from page 1 on which admin staff will be on hand to advise students on their course of action and assist in the completion of application forms of other universities. The postgraduate programme will continue at its new premises, the location of which has yet to be decided. The new honours degrees which have been accredited will be taught as from 2014. The higher certificate in biblical studies, which is a correspondence course, is not affected by the location of the campus. Mrs Gordon-Brown said there was no thought of closing the university as the contribution which St

Augustine has made to education in the country has been significant. “The success rate of students is considerably above that of the state universities…Students who have graduated from St Augustine with a bachelor’s degree and then gone on to a state university to study honours, have commented on how the outstanding grounding they had in their undergraduate degree is now standing them in good stead in postgraduate studies.” Dr Madge Karecki SSJ-TOSF takes over as president of St Augustine later this year. She has been “kept in the loop” about the changes, Mrs Gordon-Brown said.

ACRED Heart College in Observatory, Johannesburg, is seeking new ways to increase the number of young people becoming active citizens by launching a new scholarship which will “emphasise Sacred Heart College’s philosophy of taking care of one another and our community”. “We are looking for young people who are actively involved in their communities and social justice causes,” said Heather Blanckensee, principal of Sacred Heart College’s high school. “We have put the emphasis on taking real care with each other as part of our school culture for a long time and we want to find new and meaningful ways to reinforce that— the scholarship is just that,” the principal said about the Active Citizenship Scholarship Fund. Marketing coordinator Naomi Meyer said the scholarship is targeted at inspiring young people who are actively involved in their community. This year, learners in 2014 going into Grades 8, 9 and 10 can apply for the scholarship, which covers full high school fees at the college. Shortlisted candidates will have to write the usual mathematics and English entrance examinations, but “the primary criteria for this particular scholarship is demonstrable evidence of the applicant’s commitment to social good, neighbourliness, volunteer work and similar active citizenry,” said Mrs Blanckensee. The head of Sacred Heart Col-

Sacred Heart College in Johannesburg has launched a new scholarship fund which aims to recognise those young learners who give back to their communities. (Photo: B Weissenbacher) lege, Colin Northmore, said the scholarship is aligning itself with South Africans who are going over and beyond the call of duty to address the complex challenges faced by in the country. “Citizens who do more than talk about the difficulties faced by many people in this country are, we believe, the right kind of potential leaders for South Africa,” said Mr Northmore. “Our college does not just pay lip service to the idea of active citizenship and the scholarship enables us to show our own commitment in a

way that can really make a difference—by offering an outstanding high school education to youngsters who might otherwise never get that,” he said. “The whole idea is to encourage our existing and potential new learners to understand that an education at Sacred Heart does not begin and end with strong academics, but is also a serious commitment to our society.” n Visit www.sacredheart.co.za for a comprehensive application form. Deadline for the applications is Monday, September 30.

This growing co-educational, independent Catholic school of over 850 children from Grades 000 to 12 in Belgravia, Johannesburg, seeks to appoint an experienced and visionary leader, able to foster innovation and positive staff relationships, build positive interactions with all sectors of the school and its supporters, and maintain the strategic direction and ethos of the school. The school has a strong academic record, enters candidates for the IEB examinations, maintains a broadranging sport and cultural programme, and offers day schooling as well as weekly and termly boarding. We pride ourselves on our high-quality staff, our well-developed orphans and vulnerable children’s programme, our ground-breaking information technology integration across the school and our international links and programmes. For the past 105 years we have stayed true to our vision of quality education for all, and are well-placed to continue playing a leading role in education provision in South Africa. Applications are invited for the position of

EXECUTIVE HEAD

This full-time whole school position, reporting directly to the Board of Governors, will carry the following requirements: • Relevant tertiary educational qualifications and a strong record within diverse education circles • A track record and experience in a senior leadership position within an academic institution • Familiarity and experience with South African education systems and on-going interest in international trends • Specific capacity to lead the daily running of the high school, to motivate and mentor its staff, and maintain quality academic structures, while able to relate to and guide primary staff and children of all ages • Ability to uphold the Dominican vision and maintain the Christian and Catholic ethos of the school • Experience as a key role-player in management, policy formulation, finance, human relations, marketing, technology and strategic planning for the school • An effective and excellent communicator at all levels and with all sectors both within and outside of the school • Able to network widely and maintain existing local and international links and foster new programmes • Have strategic and visionary acumen, balanced by the capacity to drive projects through to completion • Demonstrate responsible initiative and an ability to lead the school to greater heights

Applications, including a letter of motivation and a detailed CV, together with the names and contact details of three referees, should be emailed to the Selection Committee at applications@dominican.co.za by Wednesday 2 October 2013.

We are members of: The Independent Schools’ Association of South Africa (ISASA), the Catholic Schools’ Board, and the SA Extraordinary Schools’ Coalition, and network widely with other independent schools. By their application, candidates are indicating a willingness to work hard in an innovative and dynamic environment which offers scope for personal and professional growth and the opportunity to contribute to the growth of tomorrow’s leaders. Position to commence by negotiation with the successful candidate. (Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Dominican Convent School reserves the right to only interview suitably qualified & experienced candidates)


The Southern Cross, September 25 to October 1, 2013

LOCAL

3

Nun celebrates 100 BY MAuRICIO LANGA

A

PRECIOUS Blood Sister who came to South Africa 76 years ago has celebrated her 100th birthday in Mariannhill. In her long life, Sr Josefila Maria Hartberger has been confronted with the reality of death in her family since her early childhood. Her mother died when she was just four years old, and four of her siblings died in early childhood. “I am thankful to God for giving me long life and for being with me all these years,” she said on her special day. Provincial superior Sr Maria Paula and the members of the Mariannhill convent celebrated Sr Hartberger’s life with a special centenary birthday cake. Sr Hartberger was born on September 16, 1913 in Munich, Germany, where she was schooled by the Servite Sisters before she was transferred to the mission school in the Neuenbeken. At the mission school she passed her Oxford Examination with flying colours. In addition to her academic achievements she also excelled in sports and music. She became not only an accomplished violinist but also a leading choir member. At 24, after completing her religious training in the motherhouse in Holland, Sr Hartberger was missioned to Mariannhill in South Africa in 1937.

Sr Josefila Hartberger is surrounded by fellow Precious Blood Sisters on her 100th birthday celebrations at the Mariannhill convent. (Photo: Mauricio Langa) The following year she was sent by her superiors to do a teacher training course in Durban. Although she had no problems academically, the German nun was marginalised among the pro-Allied students when the Second World War broke out. Luckily the wise English principal was aware that Sr Hartberger had no Nazi sympathies and allowed her to complete her course in peace. Between 1940 and 1978 Sr Hartberger taught bookkeeping, mathematics, commerce and Afrikaans at St Francis College, Mariannhill.

From 1978 onwards she took over the financial administration of the college and both the boys’ and girls’ hostels. She took leave of St Francis College in 1996, after 56 years of loyal service. Sr Hartberger was also a great community member. She organised plays for the community feasts until the effects of old age forced her to abandon a number of activities, such as singing and acting. The centenarian’s zest for life has sustained her through good and bad times. As a woman of prayer she felt prepared to face all the challenges of life.

Learners to leave their mark STAFF REPORTER

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OLY Family College in Parktown, Johannesburg celebrated its 108th birthday with the theme “Gratitude for Family as Heritage”, an important celebration as the school lost some of its own heritage in a damaging fire that destroyed the hall and several classrooms earlier this year. Archbishop Buti Tlhagale of Johannesburg, assisted by Frs Bernard Sompane and Mokesh Morar, celebrated Mass for the school. The archbishop stressed in his homily that learners are at the school not only to learn information, but also to become good citizens. He said it was at school that they learned how to put into practice the values and principles of life: respect, humility, caring and sharing. “The lessons learnt at the school hold together families and communities and in turn form the glue that holds our society together,” Archbishop Tlhagale said. He said it was when we show empathy and compassion for each other at school that we learn how to be good citizens who serve others. The value of service is what led the sisters of the Holy Family to start the school 108 years ago

The

S outher n C ross

HOLY LAND YOUTH PILGRIMAGE Led by Fr SAMMY MABUSELA (SA national youth chaplain)

Accompanied by Claire Mathieson (News Editor of The Southern Cross)

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Holy Family College learners show off their birthday card to the school, which celebrated 108 years in September. and learners must continue to put into practice when they “go out in the world”. The school’s principal, Mark Potterton, encouraged learners in his speech to leave their mark just as the founding sisters had done. The school was for many years known as Parktown Girls Convent. In 1991 the school became Holy Family College, which serves both boys and girls from Grade 0 to matric. “The sisters have shown us how to work selflessly and with total dedication as teachers,” said Mr Potterton. “They follow the example of Mary, Joseph and Jesus who had to flee to Egypt

because of Herod, a corrupt and cruel political leader.” This was the beginning of a story that changed history and inspired the start of the Holy Family Sisters, founded in 1818 by Pierre Noailles and now spread all over the world, said Mr Potterton. The principal challenged learners to discover their own vision and to bring about real and meaningful change in society. The special Mass was followed by a “market square” as part of the fundraising effort to restore the school’s hall. The day concluded with a visit from rugby players of the Gauteng Lions.

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Joy as Fatima statue installed BY STAFF REPORTER

N

AZARETH House in Port Elizabeth installed a donated statue of Our Lady of Fatima with a Mass and later a service in the foyer of the convent where the statue now occupies a place of honour. It is one of over 50 statues sent from Portugal to parish and Catholic institutions around Southern Africa by a Portuguese man who wishes not to be named. The donor, who made his offer in several stages through

The Southern Cross, hopes to increase devotion to Our Lady of Fatima through his donation of the large statues. The statue at Nazareth House is now “mounted on its place of honour in the main entrance to Nazareth House, for all to see and honour, no doubt bringing many, many blessings to us all, who live here, work here or visit Nazareth House. Our Lady has a home,” Nazareth Sister Maria Lucia told the donor. At the Mass a brief introduction to the story of Fatima was

delivered; a more detailed version was read at the afternoon blessing service in the foyer of the convent. “The service was well attended, thank God, because the news had been circulated for days,” Sr Maria Lucia said. “We sang hymns to Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, and the sisters sang the Magnificat. This was followed by general intercessions and a blessing for all present, before we went up for a celebratory tea and cake.”

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4

The Southern Cross, September 25 to October 1, 2013

INTERNATIONAL

Nun awarded UN prize BY MARK PATTISON

‘I

T is not my work only. It is the Lord’s,” said Sr Angelique Namaika as she spoke to reporters in an international conference call upon winning the Nansen Refugee Award bestowed annually by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Sr Namaika, a member of the Augustine Sisters of Dungu and Doruma, has been working for the past four years with women forced to leave their homes in the northeastern Congolese bush because of the ongoing civil strife in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Many of the women have been forced to marry members of the Lord’s Resistance Army, a rebel group led by Joseph Kony, whose activities have destabilised not only Congo but disrupted life in neighbouring African nations as well. Speaking through an interpreter, Sr Namaika said: “When I arrived here in Congo in 2003, I started helping women who didn’t have a chance to go to school. So when the displaced women came in 2009, I greeted them in the communities where I was doing training. “I saw that these women were

vulnerable, even more vulnerable than the other women I was helping, because these women were traumatised, and they didn’t have a chance,” the nun said. “Since they were living so far away from the centre, I moved my training and teaching activities to the centre where [the displaced women] were living.” She estimated she has helped 2 000 women in her ministry in DRC. Currently, she is helping 150 women “because this is what I can do with the means I have”. The Nansen Award comes with a cash prize of $100 000, which is donated by the winner to a charity of his or her choice. The award is to be presented in a ceremony in Geneva on September 30. Afterwards, Sr Namaika is scheduled to go to the Vatican to meet with Pope Francis.

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he nun was herself among the internally displaced in 2009 as a result of LRA violence. Sr Namaika detailed one success story of the many women she has helped. The girl had been kidnapped at age 14, held by the LRA for a year and a half and impregnated. She escaped and, with no skills, was re-

duced to trying to sell charcoal in the street. When Sr Namaika was told of the teen’s presence, “I directly went to listen to her story. So I found her and I saw that her kid was malnourished,” she recalled. “The girl, the mother of that baby, also needed help because she had a sexually transmitted disease. I helped them first with food and I took her to the hospital for her to get some medical care. And then I thought if I continue to help with only food and don’t teach her how to find herself food, it’s not going to work,” Sr Namaika said. “I taught her how to bake bread, so after a few days she was already baking her own bread and selling her bread in the center. I also taught her how to sew.” But there was a problem: the girl had been rejected by her mother who blamed the girl for being caught by the LRA. Sr Namaika mediated and the mother and girl reconciled “and today they are on good terms,” she said. “The girl is happy because she felt love, and the good news is today’s she’s married and has a second child. Her work as a baker of

Sr Angelique Namaika smiles while getting on her bicycle in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She has been awarded the 2013 Nansen Refugee Award from the uN High Commissioner for Refugees for her work with women forced to leave their homes because of long-term civil strife. (Photo: Brian Sokol, courtesy uNHR) bread brings her a good income and you can see that she’s happy.” Her suggestions to restore peace in the region begin with “the grace of conversion to Joseph Kony...so that he just stops his atrocities and leaves the bush. And if this happens, women will feel safe to go

back home and it will be better. It will also help with their trauma. “What is important is to help women who have suffered and have been traumatised,” she said. “It is the women who are raising the kids, so it is important for them to be able to go back.”—CNS

Pope: Remember Holy Land’s Christians Pope thinks his telephone BY KERRI LENARTOWICK

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RAFFIC stopped this weekend on the busy Roman streets as police escorts guided 31 tourbuses of pilgrims through the narrow city roads. Close to 3 000 members of one of the oldest charitable organisations in the Church and their families were on pilgrimage to Rome for the Year of Faith. The Knights and Dames of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem came from around the world to Rome as a witness to “their commitment to the New Evangelisation”. Their itinerary included a private audience with Pope Francis and a private Mass in St Peter’s basilica celebrated by the order’s head, US Cardinal Edwin O’Brien. Pope Francis welcomed the international pilgrims, thanking them for their work dedicated to helping Christians in the Holy Land and urging them to continue. As pilgrims, “your journey is in history”, said the Pope. “You journey in order to build up community, above all, with love. And in fact your pilgrimage has also a charitable goal on behalf of brothers and sisters in the Holy Land, especially those who are most needy, those people who are living in great times of suffering, tension, and fear.”

Pope Francis leads an audience with the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre at the Vatican. (Photo: Giampiero Sposito, Reuters/CNS) The pope’s words rang especially true for Dame Margaret Waddingham of Bedford, England. She said “it was amazing” to see Pope Francis, and share his feelings for Christians in the Holy Land. “We regard our friends there as family, not [just] as friends,” she said. “Their faith is astounding.” She has been part of the order for 12 years, and currently works on education projects for young people in the Holy Land. This year she worked to send 16 university students to work in parishes and summer camps in Palestine. The students “maintain contact with the young people so that young people realise they’ve not been forgotten,” she said. It is cru-

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cial, because the youth there lead “extraordinarily difficult lives”. Pope Francis wanted to send a similar message of remembrance to the people of the Holy Land. “I address them with great affection and an embrace, ensuring them of my daily prayers,” he said. Pope Francis exhorted the pilgrims to live their commitments profoundly. “Let Jesus Christ crucified be really the centre of your existence and of every one of your personal projects and associations,” he said. “Believe in the redemptive power of the Cross and Resurrection, in order to offer hope and peace. In a particular way, the Land of Jesus has much need of it,” the pope said. The order, which dates back over 1 000 years, has three main purposes: prayer, pilgrimage, and financial help for Christians in the Holy Land. The prior of the order in South Africa is Archbishop Stephen Brislin of Cape Town. According to the order’s website, joining entails a “commitment to be a witness to the faith, to lead an exemplary Christian life of continuing charity in support of the Christian communities in the Holy Land, [and] to practise the true charitable commitment of a Christian”.—CNA

calls are not a big deal BY CAROL GLATz

P

ICKING up the telephone and calling people out of the blue is no big deal for Pope Francis, according to a Vatican official. Mgr Dario Vigano, director of the Vatican Television Centre, said the pope told him that the many calls the journalists have brought to light are just the tip of the iceberg: “Good thing they don’t know about all the ones I have made!” the pope reportedly said. In an interview with Famiglia Cristiana, an Italian Catholic magazine, Mgr Vigano said that during a recent meeting with the pope, he asked the pontiff about the media frenzy over reports of papal cold calls. The monsignor said the pope looked at him amazed and said: “Tell the journalists that my calls are not news.” According to Mgr Vigano, the pope said: “That’s the way I am; I’ve always done this, even in Buenos Aires,” where he served first as auxiliary bishop beginning in 1992 and archbishop from 1998 until his election as pope this past March. He said the pope explained how any time he got “a card or a letter from a priest having difficulties,

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from a family or a prisoner, I would respond”. The pope said: “For me, it’s much easier to call, to ask about the problem and suggest a solution, if there is one. Some people I call, others I write to instead,” according to Mgr Vigano. The monsignor said he has received several calls himself from the pope and not all of them were workrelated. “Once he called me at the office to wish me happy birthday.” Mgr Vigano said the constant stream of papal calls signals a kind of telephonic pastoral care. Being able to hear someone’s voice allows the caller to understand the feelings of the person on the other line and get “in tune with” the person’s problems and needs. A number of people have come forward telling news outlets they have received calls from Pope Francis. Among those reported include a divorced pregnant woman who said the pope offered to baptise her baby after she wrote saying her boyfriend insisted she have an abortion. There were also reports that the pope responded to a rape survivor’s letter. The Vatican has declined to confirm or deny the reports but confirmed the pope does make frequent calls.—CNS

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INTERNATIONAL

The Southern Cross, September 25 to October 1, 2013

5

Extravagant bishop under pressure BY JONATHAN LuxMOORE

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Former Brazilian football World Cup winners Mario zagallo, Marcos, Rivelino, Amarildo and Bebeto pose with the World Cup during the launch ceremony of the World Cup Trophy Tour in front of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro. (Photo: Ricardo Moraes, Reuters/CNS)

ERMANY’S Limburg diocese has pledged “dialogue and transparency” after a former Vatican nuncio was sent to defuse complaints of extravagance against Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst. Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo continued meeting with Bishop Tebartz-van Elst, cathedral staff, local clergy and religious order representatives. A diocesan spokesman acknowledged that media reports about the prelate’s first-class flights and his luxuriously appointed new residence “has led to difficulties among priests and people here”. “The bishop is aware of their concerns and wants to be in dialogue,” said the spokesman, Stephan Schnelle. “He knows the importance of transparency in appeasing anxieties.” The 53-year bishop attracted

Poles excited about their pope’s canonisation BY JAMES MARTONE

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LARGER-THAN-LIFE model of Bl John Paul II as a younger man reaches out from the top of the exterior steps that ascend to All Saints church, Warsaw’s largest church. At the statue’s feet sat a bouquet of plastic red roses, and candles lit in red heart-shaped vases. Two-year-old Stanislaw played with the roses, and then banged on the statue’s large metal feet, as his father, Lukasz Dzieciotowski, stared at the familiar smiling face and outstretched hand. “If he becomes a saint, it is nice to know that there is a person that I actually knew and have seen,” Mr Dzieciotowski, an unemployed archaeologist, contemplated out loud. “I’ve got a father and mother and have known other people, but I haven’t ever know a saint.” News that Bl John Paul soon will be a saint—his canonisation will most likely take place on April 27, 2014, alongside that of Bl John XXIII—evoked varied reactions in the capital of his native Poland. For Mr Dzieciotowski, 35, who was raised Catholic and has always gone to Sunday Mass, the reaction was one of almost sudden realisation that someone he had actually encountered, albeit from a distance and as a child, was now set to be exalted to the highest echelons of the Church. “With my parents when I was young we went to see him crossing the street,” when the former pontiff returned on one of several occasions to Poland, Mr Dzieciotowski recalled. “It is not that I have read every word of John Paul [but] as I started my life as a person, as a Catholic, he was the only pope I knew,” he said. In July Pope Francis signed a decree clearing the way for the

Lukasz Dzieciotowski holds his two-year old son Stanislaw outside All Saints church in Warsaw, Poland. Dzieciotowski and his son visited a larger-than-life statue of Bl John Paul II outside the church. (Photo: James Martone, CNS) canonisation of Bl John Paul II. The decree followed a vote two days earlier to recognise as a miracle the healing of Floribeth Mora Diaz, a Costa Rican who was suffering from a brain aneurysm and recovered through Bl John Paul’s intercession.

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or Magdalena Boniukiewicz, a 40-year-old freelance translator and mother of two, Bl John Paul’s canonisation had been just a matter of time. “We knew he would be canonised, so it is not like we counted the moments. If he was not... that would be the scandal,” she said while on break from a stint interpreting for a visiting World Bank consultant. “We were very proud to have someone so high up from Poland,” explained Mrs Boniukiewicz, who said both her parents had been confirmed by Bl John Paul in the southern Polish city of Krakow, where she was from.

The former pope, then named Karol Josef Wojtyla, was ordained to the priesthood in 1946 in Krakow. He ministered there as priest, bishop and cardinal until becoming pope in 1978. She said the former pope’s long devotion to Krakow and to Poland made Blessed John Paul a “national hero”. She credited him for spurring the country’s Solidarity movement in 1980, which she said brought “freedom” and the eventual demise of the Soviet Union. Pope John Paul “was like Churchill to the British, like Roosevelt to the Americans, and Ataturk to the Turks,” she said, adding that, though only a small girl at the time, she remembered “on his first visit to Poland [as pope in June 1979], everyone went crazy, surrounding him”. “‘May the Holy Spirit descend and change the face of the earth,’” she remembered John Paul saying. “He was very smart. He never gave in, he never attacked” and he taught Poles to “stay your ground, but be calm,” Mrs Boniukiewicz said. Mrs Boniukiewicz said she had heard stories of people in Poland being cured through prayers to Bl John Paul, so she would have been surprised if the Vatican had not approved at least one miracle. Kamil Kosowski, a 24-yearold cab driver, said it didn’t matter if the former pope had performed miracles or not. “He was a good man. He was a loving human being...and you could see that,” Mr Kosowski said from behind the steering wheel of his taxi caught in downtown Warsaw’s rush hour traffic. Bl John Paul “certainly deserves” to be a saint because “he became pope as a young man” and he was “a sweet person,” he said.—CNS

Acid attack on priest in Zanzibar

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PRIEST was hospitalised on the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar after acid was thrown at him, police said. The attack left Fr Joseph Mwaganbwa with injuries to his face, chest, thighs and legs, the Associate Press reported. The attack occurred in a crowded part of Stone Town after Fr Mwaganbwa left an Internet café, police said. It is the fifth such incident

since November. In August, two British women volunteering on the island were injured when an assailant threw acid on their faces, and in November, a Muslim leader was hospitalised with acid burns. Two Christian leaders were killed in Zanzibar earlier this year in separate incidents and there have been arson attacks on churches. All of the attacks have oc-

curred on the semi-autonomous islands of Tanzania at a time when President Jakaya Kikwete has warned that religious tensions threaten peace in the country of 45 million. Zanzibar has seen the birth of a separatist group known as Uamsho, or Awakening. Uamsho wants the island to end its 1964 union with mainland Tanzania with the goal of introducing Islamic sharia law.—CNS

media attention after his November 2008 appointment for criticising Islam and dismissing a local priest for blessing a same-sex union. He later was criticised for a costly renovation and other affiliated expenses on a diocesan centre and episcopal residence at a time when other Church properties were being closed in a downsizing move. In June, Germany’s Der Spiegel weekly said the complex, whose estimated cost has tripled to nearly R200 million, resembled a “monstrous luxury complex”. Der Spiegel also charged that the bishop submitted a false affidavit after flying first class on a January 2012 visit to slums in Bangalore, India. Prosecutors are investigating the financial records of the diocese. Priests from the Limburg diocese have criticised Bishop Tebartz-van Elst’s leadership in homilies, public statements and, most recently, in a petition, signed by 4 400 people.

In a statement on its website, the diocese said Bishop Tebartz-van Elst met with Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, at the Vatican. The statement said Cardinal Ouellet expressed “every confidence” in the bishop’s guidance of the diocese in a letter. However, the published letter also said recent events had “spoiled the Church’s mission” and threatened “damage” to the bishop’s office. The head of Germany’s neighbouring Mainz diocese, Cardinal Karl Lehmann, told the German press agency DPA that Cardinal Lajolo’s visit was an “alarming signal” that Rome believed the problems could “no longer be solved solely within the Limburg diocese”. Bishop Tebartz-van Elst has also been publicly criticised by his mentor, Cardinal Joachim Meisner of Cologne.—CNS

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6

The Southern Cross, September 25 to October 1, 2013

LEADER PAGE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Editor: Günther Simmermacher

A revolution of mission

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LITTLE over six months ago, an elderly South American appeared on a balcony overlooking St Peter’s Square and bade the crowd a good evening. That “Buona sera” was gentle and self-effacing, but it launched what may turn out to be a revolution of the Church so thorough that it cannot possibly revert to old ways when the time comes for the arrival of a new pope, an event we pray may be long in the future. This revolution is not one of the magisterium, as some might have hoped. Indeed, it is perhaps more profound than that. Pope Francis is giving the Catholic Church a new identity. There is a brave new wind blowing, one that is stirring up the accumulation of dust in the Church. We see the revolution in the small things: when the pope carries his own briefcase, gets behind the wheel of a car, makes his own telephone calls, pays his hotel bill—all acts which grab our attention because they defy our expectation of papal protocol. Pope Francis is demystifying the papal office, and with it the offices on all clerical levels. He is the consummate pastor. He teaches that priests must earn esteem by what they do and how they do it as they walk with the People of God. We see the revolution in the symbolic things. Pope Francis reportedly has acknowledged that by living in a guesthouse instead of the papal apartment—which itself isn’t particularly palatial—he is hoping to encourage in others more modest lifestyles. He has stripped down the papal throne and done away with many of the trappings of the ostentatious which are traditionally associated with the papacy. Pope Benedict XVI was propoor, radically so. Pope Francis is taking it a step further by advocating that the Church be not only for the poor, but itself be poor. When Pope Francis insists that the shepherds must smell like the sheep, his example is the deodorant of evangelisation. We see the revolution in the pope’s vision of the Church. After many years of division

among Catholics, Pope Francis is calling us to unity by shining his light less on matters of doctrine but on the salvific mission of Christ, God’s perennial love and mercy, the Church’s sacrament, Our Lady’s protection, the Christian obligation that rests with us all, and so on. Where Popes John Paul II and Benedict were willing to concede division in the Church as an inevitable condition of solidifying doctrine, Pope Francis is calling on Catholics to focus on what unites us. Pope Francis is not advocating, to use the terminology favoured by Pope Benedict, a hermeneutic of discontinuity, but by returning to the roots of the Church, he preaches a hermeneutic of radical continuity. But this must not be read to mean that the teachings of the Church are now negotiable. The Francescan revolution is not going to deliver doctrinal reform. Pope Francis is doctrinally conservative and does not suffer open dissent gladly. There may be modifications in emphasis—for example, the pope has said very little about same-sex unions, a subject that occupied the previous papacy— but he will not change the Church’s doctrines and disciplines governing women priests, clerical celibacy, homosexuality, birth control, abortion and so on. At the same time, it is clear that Pope Francis is seeking a more collegial spirit across the Church. Time will tell where this will lead us. The budding revolution has already changed public perception of the Catholic Church. Pope Francis energises the Church in ways not seen since the heyday of John Paul II. He connects even with people whose default position on the Church is to be critical. Pope Francis is opening the doors of the Church—not only for the seekers of God to enter, but also for Catholics to go out into the world and spread the Good News. It is an openness that serves as the fundamental basis for evangelisation, one from which all the other gifts of our faith can be revealed. In this way, we are at the beginning of a revolution of mission.

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September 6-22, 2014 Paris, Rome, Cascia, Loreto, Osimo, Campocavallo, Macerata, Assisi, Rome: Papal Audience, S.G. Rotondo, Monte Sant’angelo, Lanciano, Ancona. Dubrovnik, Medugorje

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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.

Responsibility for God’s creation ANY people see the new pope beauty of all forms of life in creation M as being guided by the Holy as an expression of the beauty and Spirit. Our time is marked by an in- abundance of the life of the Trinity. creasing number of poor people and the collapse of ecosystems that are home to many plants and animals. Pope Francis has chosen Francis of Assisi as his patron. What can we learn from St Francis? Francis, whose feast day we observe on October 4, looked on and experienced God’s creatures as interconnected, as part of one family, as sisters and brothers to us. This is not naïve piety but an attempt by Francis to stress that we are kin to each other and to all forms of life. Later, St Bonaventure, also a Franciscan, saw the variety and the

Casual sex risks

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LLOW me to follow up on Janice Thaysen's letter (August 21), to which I have already responded (September 11). I want to thank her for, through her letter, putting me on to Drs Joe McIlhaney and Freda McKissic Bush’s study, Hooked: New Science on how Casual Sex is Affecting our Children. What a fascinating work, introducing us to what neuroscience has to say about human sexuality! As the book unfolds one can see that it was not by accident that first the Scriptures, then the Church developed teachings which are uncannily backed up by this new science that looks into the effects that sex has on a person’s brain and in particular on subsequent behaviour, notably how casual sex works against the ability to bond, and reduces a person’s chances of sustaining such bonds in a marriage for life. What’s particularly interesting is that moral and religious guidelines on sex and marriage are reinforced by science as it examines human sexuality from a purely scientific point of view. No moralising, no judging, simply stating facts as they are discovered. Funny how what appeared to be a weakness in the bishops’ book God, Faith, Love And Sex—quoting from an up-to-now little known source—has turned out to be a Godsend, a rich resource! I earnestly advise every parent, teacher, counsellor, priest and youth worker to acquire this invaluable resource. I downloaded it from Amazon. It is one of the best buys on this question, and ties in well with Izabella Gates’s Tug of Life which deals with similar teenage issues. Obviously the Holy Spirit is guiding us away from sterile arguments to real issues that we can and must do something about, using these resources he is putting in our hands. Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, Durban

Pope John Paul II taught that humans must respect the integrity of other creatures and of ecological systems. All forms of life have their intrinsic value and their God-given value. The present domination of nature is a sign of an anthropocentric approach. This has brought endless suffering, death and extinction to many life forms and the destruction of ecosystems. It might well lead to our own extinction. We need to move towards a lifecentred approach. Such an approach acknowledges the uniqueness of the human created in

What consensus?

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HE letter by Paddy Ross (September 11) refers. In his letter Mr Ross raises some very important issues, especially how there can be “more lay input to the decisions made by the pope and the episcopal college”. I agree that the laity must be involved in the decision-making processes of the Church. Mr Ross might be right as well that the reformist group We Are All Church SA does not represent the views of all the laity in South Africa. But the idea of a “consensus” among the laity, as Mr Ross refers to, is unrealistic. Self-evidently WAACSA speaks for its members and has no mandate to speak for all the laity, as Mr Ross correctly maintains. But his question whether WAACSA is represented at parish level with elected officials is unfair. In some cities in the Church WAACSA isn’t even allowed to use Catholic property for its meetings. How then can they canvas the opinions of other Catholics? I would be interested to know if there are any elected bodies that represent the laity in South Africa. Michael Collins, Johannesburg

No bishop-bashing

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AM complete floored by Paddy Ross’ letter (September 11). There has been no “bishop-bashing” in the ranks of We Are All Church SA (WAACSA). On the conOpinions 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 editor@scross.co.za or faxed to 021 465-3850

the image of God. God equipped us to be caretakers of creation. Just as we have used our intelligence to destroy the earth, we can use our ingenuity to heal the earth and her many beings, human and not human. We have to restore the integrity of air, water and soil to protect life. There is a link between the increasing poverty and the destruction of our natural spaces and of life. We need to analyse these structures, undo them and then courageously begin to develop a personal, indeed a “truly human”, lifestyle that makes survival of all life on our planet possible and worthwhile. No doubt, God’s Spirit will guide and accompany us in this effort. Sr Angelika Laub OP, Pretoria trary, the movement’s leadership has consistently sought dialogue with the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, culminating in two meetings, where the whole mission, aim and agenda of WAACSA was discussed thoroughly with its representative committee (TAC) headed by Archbishop Jabulani Nxumalo of Bloemfontein. At the same time we obviously addressed any misunderstandings or concerns of the bishops. Why do I get the strong impression that Paddy Ross has a need to do some WAACSA-bashing? WAACSA’s motto is: “Where the Spirit is, there is freedom” (2 Cor 3:17). If we are not led by the Spirit, we will fail in our endeavours to become active followers of Christ and worthy of the name Catholic. Rosemary Gravenor, Durban

Evolution stand

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ATRICK Dacey (September 4) tells us that his ancestors and chimpanzees came from the same branch. He wonders why “millions of Christians” do not accept this. They don’t accept it because the Church does not accept it, including theistic evolution. Space-age science does not accept it. Science’s mapping of DNA structure reveals that it is physically impossible for one species to change into another. Charles Darwin’s much-hoped-for discovery of the fossil record supporting his theory did not happen. Evolution theory is dead, but Mr Dacey, and a diminishing number of scientists, do not want to bury it. Mr Dacey states that “God can be cruel”. Not so. God is just. We have the merciful doctrine of Purgatory and the reality of hell for the unrepentant. In many years of pro-life activity, pro-lifers have not had a single victory. But the Just Judge tells us: “Vengeance is mine. I will repay.” That is the just man’s consolation. Franko Sokolic, Cape Town

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PERSPECTIVES

We are created for incorruption ‘C

REATED for incorruption”—these words are from the Wisdom of Solomon (2:23). In a Church context we often think of “corruption” in terms of sexual sin; but in wider society, especially South African society, corruption brings up a fuller range of issues: bribery, nepotism, tenders, backhanders, shoddy work, service delivery failures, fixing contracts, vote-rigging. Though it comes in so many forms each one of them corrupts the individual, corrupts our communities and corrupts the rest of society. It is not surprising that corruption is mentioned as one of the chief concerns by our fellow citizens. Of course, corruption exists to varying degrees in all countries. But that does not mean that it should not be challenged, both locally and globally. The organisation Transparency International argues that the least corrupt countries are democracies that have regular free elections, stable government and an independent system of justice. South Africa has all those and yet, between 1995 and 2013, in their ranking of corruption in 140 countries, we have plummeted from being among the less corrupt countries (in the mid-20s) to join the increasingly corrupt countries (in the mid-60s). It is easy in the face of such widespread corruption to just give up and feel powerless. Pope Francis recognised this temptation when visiting a poor informal settlement during his recent trip to Brazil. His words to the young people he addressed are words for us as well: “You are often disappointed by corruption, when people put their own interests before the common good. To you and to all, I repeat: never give in to discouragement, do not lose trust, do not allow your hope to be defeated. Be the first to seek to bring good, do not grow used to evil, but fight back with good.” This is a sentiment already heeded by

our bishops. In three weeks’ time, on the weekend of October 13, a statement from them to all Catholics in Southern Africa will specifically address the question of corruption and what we can do about it as individuals and as communities.

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he bishops’ pastoral letter coincides with a wider initiative which brings together Christians from across different traditions and different countries. The campaign is called “Exposed” and you can read more about it on its website (www. exposed2013.com). The slogan they use is of “shining a light on corruption”. John’s gospel gives us the image of light shining in darkness— the light is not just Christ but all of us who call ourselves Christians. People get away with corruption because it hides in the

Raymond Perrier

Faith and Society

shadows—the corporate deal that is under the table, the money passed over in a brown envelope, the recruitment in which private interests are not revealed. As Christians we should be committed to the truth, to the light. But we hesitate because we worry about that light being shone on us. Who of us has not been tempted by corruption? To arrange a job for a friend or family member who is not the best candidate? To pay a bribe to a traffic cop so we can get home quickly? To fail to deliver a service because we don’t feel like working? When everyone around us is behaving like that it can be hard to act differently. But that is exactly what we are called to do as Christians—to show the world a better way, to show that the light can shine in the darkness and the darkness will not win. We can draw on our own moral compass, we can draw on the experiences of other communities, we can draw on Scripture and Catholic Social Teaching—and over the next few weeks The Southern Cross will focus on these and other ways of fighting corruption. But we have another resource. So one part of the exposed campaign is to encourage Christians to join in a global prayer vigil against corruption during the week of October 14. Look out for events that are happening in a church near you—or organise a prayer vigil in your own church and invite other Christians to join you. Tackling corruption might look impossible but remember the Gospel’s promise: nothing is impossible for God.

There’s only one of you – make it count Judith Turner

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ETWEEN the months of July and October each year thousands of people drive hundreds of kilometres to catch a glimpse and photograph one of the most crowded biodiversity hotspots in the world displayed in a kaleidoscope of colour, the daisies of Namaqualand. Depending on rainfall, almost 4 000 diverse species of plants burst forth and produce a floral carpet in Namaqualand and surrounds that never ceases to amaze visitors from all over the world. Even the locals never tire of witnessing this miraculous phenomenon. A friend and I recently took a trip up the N7 from Cape Town to experience, for the first time, a walk among the daisies. Alas, this pleasure was to be denied. During our stay in Namaqualand, the weather was freezing and we even experienced snowfall which the locals told us was extremely uncommon for that time of the year. In the end, as the sun pushed its way through the clouds, we did manage to get a glimpse of the beauty of the daisies, though not in huge stretches of it. We also saw single flowers here and there, and I captured them in their singular beauty. I looked at the daisy, its perfect stem and petals, perfect shape and beautiful bright colour, and I thought to myself, “what a perfect symbol of beauty”. I appreciated the beauty of the daisy on its own. I am sure a botanist would be able to tell us more about the uniqueness of each flower. This made me think of our uniqueness as individuals. Just as the Namaqua daisy, being one in millions of other daisies, has its own singular beauty, so we too have

Faith and Life

our own singular, and unique beauty which is displayed in our gifts, talents, personalities and so on. There are more than 7 billion people in the world. There is only one me. There is only one you. Can you imagine that? There is a paradox in this reality. We are both truly unique and one of more than 7 billion at the same time.

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n the one hand it is so amazing, almost breath-taking, to know that there will never be another me or another you. On the other hand, you and I have a responsibility to live out that uniqueness. We have to give to the world what only we can give. No-one else before us was able to do that, and no-one after us will be able to do it either. Our time is here and now to be us, and the best of us. Only you can do what you are uniquely qualified for. If we

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do not give what only we uniquely can give, then our gift to the world will be lost forever. The author Steve Goodier says it beautifully with these words: “And at the end of my life, the question I never want to be asked is, ‘How come you weren’t more like you? You had such great potential. You were a wholly unique person—unrepeatable and irreplaceable. Why you weren't more like you?’” God knows us individually, separately from everyone else. This is hard to believe, but in Jeremiah we read: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you;” which means we were created and set aside to be and do a special task. C S Lewis wrote in The Problem of Pain: “Be sure that the ins and outs of your individuality are no mystery to him; and one day they will no longer be a mystery to you...God will look to every soul like its first love because He is its first love. Your place in heaven will seem to be made for you and you alone, because you were made for it—made for it stitch by stitch as a glove is made for a hand.” The next time you are able to experience something like the beauty of the floral carpets of Namaqua daisies, remember that it consists of millions of individual daisies.

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The Southern Cross, September 25 to October 1, 2013

7

Chris Chatteris SJ

Pray with the Pope

The suicide problem General Intention: That those feeling so crushed by life that they wish to end it may sense the nearness of God’s love.

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NE of the sadder signs of our time is the growth of movements to help people commit suicide. In Britain there is an attempt to make it legal for doctors to assist people to die by their own hands. One commentator has suggested that involving the National Health Service and one’s friendly neighbourhood GP is a way of sanitising suicide. Doctor or not doctor, assisted or unassisted, suicide is always tragic, frequently devastatingly so. Those driven over this ultimate edge of despair can, even unwittingly, drag others with them. Suicide notes show that those who kill themselves often understand this, however imperfectly. These notes frequently attempt to explain and mitigate the hurt and damage. It seems almost incredible, but there is even be an element of fashion in suicide. In 19th-century Europe, there was a rash of suicides among young couples whose families would not permit them to marry. Some of these were apparently influenced by the Romantic Movement in art and literature. Suicide therefore became “romantic”, and was even made aesthetically attractive in the painting by Henry Wallis of the “Death of Chatterton”, a young poet who ended his life at the age of 17. Things have not changed much. Fashion is about imitation, particularly among the young. According to the Australian Psychological Society, copycat suicides are prevalent among young people today, and youth are 14 times more likely to commit suicide in imitation of a celebrity-suicide than a non-celebrity one. There also seems to be a powerful element of imitation and hero-worship (of “martyrs”) in the cult of religious or political suicide bombing. Suicide is indeed a complex and terrible phenomenon. We pray that those prone to it may find reasons to live, and we remember those whose friends or family members have been driven to taking their own lives.

Follow Francis’ lead Missionary Intention: That the celebration of World Mission Day may help all Christians realise that we are not only receivers but proclaimers of God’s Word.

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OME of Pope Francis’ off-the-cuff remarks on mission have been wonderfully refreshing. He clearly wants a Church in which the ministers get out of the security of institutions and structures and into places where they can make greater contact with ordinary people. He wants pastors to “smell like the sheep”. He has told religious not to worry too much about making mistakes and has admitted that he has made many in his own life. He has even warned budding Vatican diplomats to shun the careerism that is a counterwitness to the Gospel. Practising what he preaches, he shows himself to be cheerfully free of things which can cut a pastor off from the flock. Whether in walking among the people of his new diocese of Rome or getting caught in the traffic in Rio, he has certainly led by example. The lesson is plain: if the Supreme Pontiff, despite his administrative burdens and the trappings of traditional protocol, can live a life of evangelical simplicity and missionary zeal, why not the ordinary bishop, priest, religious or layperson? Francis’ humility doesn’t let him take himself too seriously, yet his very down-to-earthness and humility are expressions of a very serious commitment to the task of spreading the good news to all and particularly to the poor. His words and actions are a great challenge to all Catholics, indeed to all Christians. A snippet from his message for this important day gives a taste of his people-centred approach. He says: “Mission is not just about geographical territories, but it is about peoples, cultures and individuals, because the ‘boundaries’ of faith do not only cross places and human traditions, but the heart of each man and each woman’. We pray that by our words and examples, we too may be able to reach some of those hearts.


8

The Southern Cross, September 25 to October 1, 2013

COMMUNITY

A group of pilgrims from across South Africa, led by Franciscan Father Thomas Tshabalala (fourth from left), at the Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem in September. The pilgrims visited the Holy Land, Rome, Assisi and Cairo, which they said was very safe. Also in the group were Fr Siyabonga Dube OMI (far right) of Sydenham in Durban, and Sr Isabel Fell, superior of the Franciscan Nardini Sisters at Maria Ratschitz in Dundee diocese. In front is tour guide Rimon Makhlouf, a Palestinian Catholic. Fr Tshabalala was for many years himself a tour guide in the Holy Land, and was warmly received by many locals who remembered him.

Four new members were received into the Sacred Heart Sodality at St Theresa’s church in Graaff-Reinet.

Brescia House High School in Johannesburg, raised funds for the Reach for a Dream Foundation by holding a slipper day. Pupils showed their support by wearing slippers instead of shoes to school.

Send your photos to pics@ scross. co.za The St Anne Sodality of Kreste Morokolodi parish in Bloemhof, Klerksdorp diocese, during the closing of their novena.

Del Hampton of Our Lady of the Wayside parish in Maryvale, Johannesburg, retired as head of altar servers. Ms Hampton (centre) trained youth to serve at Mass for 29 years.

St Peter’s parish in Christiana, Klerksdorp diocese, celebrated the feast of Ss Peter and Paul. Pictured are parish priest Fr Tom Maretlane (centre) and members of the congregation.

Mass was celebrated by Fr Sylvester Nyema of Eshowe diocese at the home of Sharon van der Sandt.

A group of candidates was confirmed at St Francis xavier parish in Martindale, Johannesburg. Pictured are parish priest Fr Vic Kotze (seated) with the confirmands.


The Southern Cross, September 25 to October 1, 2013

FAITH

9

Growing spiritually takes work During the Year of Faith all Catholics are called to seek spiritual growth. Fr PETER CHIMOMBE explains how he goes about developing his spirituality and that of his parishioners.

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URING my seminary formation, over 17 years ago, I used to go for spiritual direction on every first Friday of the month. The many wise words of my spiritual director still resonate with me to this day. My director was Jesuit Father George Croft. He once said that the reason I had come for spiritual direction was because I wanted to grow, and that life was all about growth. “Growth is about self-improvement and moulding one’s life to be better. A person who does not want to grow is as good as dead. There are people who die at 30 and are buried at 71,” he said. What he meant was that many of us in pastoral work give up on self-growth spiritually, academically and morally soon after ordination, and the consequences are disastrous. I did not give much thought to this until now since all eight of my group-mates and fellow ordinands have left the priesthood for one reason or another, and I am the only one remaining. In my view, holistic growth is key to the spirituality of all pastoral priests, be they diocesan or religious. Physical, spiritual, moral and intellectual growth all complement each other. I have always used my spare time for physical exercises as a way to keep myself occupied and keep a canonical distance from beer and women. As it is said, an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. Bl John Paul II—a skier, canoeist, hiker and football goalkeeper—advocated sports as a unifying of individuals in a common goal, promoting a love of life, teaching unselfishness, responsibility and self-development. From physical

growth there follows moral growth in pastoral spirituality. There were many instances when I was in charge of large sums of money for the school, lay associations and clubs. Where there is money, there is always temptation. In these situations I always had to use my conscience, which is a moral dictate for distinguishing between what is good and what is bad. There were also many years when I had to stay alone at a mission and would need to restrain myself from bad tendencies that come with loneliness. It is said in ethics: “If you sow an act, you reap a habit. If you sow a habit you reap a character. If you sow a character you reap a destiny.” An ex-seminarian confessed to having “worshipped the bottle” of beer. Many of my colleagues who have left the priesthood faced a similar moral dilemma, from recreational drinking to alcoholism; from being late for Mass to failing to turn up for Mass because of a hangover; from a feeling of emptiness to quitting the priesthood. Ironically married life doesn’t seem to work for many of them either. Spiritual growth is at the core of pastoral spirituality. At the heart of spiritual growth is prayer. A moment of prayer and meditation is crucial in one’s development in virtuousness. One moment of prayer can equal a thousand days of fruitless labour.

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resently I am stationed at St Mary’s mission in Nyika, Zimbabwe. I have introduced perpetual adoration, holy hour and Benediction on every Friday to the parish. Our morning Masses are becoming very popular with both the elderly and the youth. St Mary’s is in the Bikita central district, a province riddled with politically motivated violence. Political factionalism used to manifest itself even in the Church community. However, the more we involved parishioners in Bible seminars, Year of Faith Sunday reflections and prayer meetings in their Small Christian Communities, the more

Fr Peter Chimombe (inset) has slowly but steadily built up the spirituality of his parish in zimbabwe. In his article he explains how it is critical for clergy to continue to grow spiritually. they became united. The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace has held four peace-building workshops this year, including peace football tournaments and peace marathons, where former political opponents interact with one another. We encourage our parishioners to come for confession often and we have penitential services on the first Friday of the month. If figures are any measure of spir-

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itual growth among our people, then we are certainly on the right track. Last year we had 65 marriages, 105 baptisms and 318 confirmands from our 19 parish centres served by St Mary’s. I lived alone for the past three years, but thankfully I now have a companion to make a community of two priests. The diocesan pastoral programme also caters for my spiritual welfare by way of priestly seminars,

recollections and retreats. Holistic growth in pastoral spirituality also includes social networking or interaction with others since, as the saying goes: “No person is an island.” The diocesan pastoral programme includes four priests’ workshops, three priests’ meetings as well as many pastoral gatherings which include the diocesan feast day, ordinations and congresses. During public holidays such as Easter Monday, we always go out for a picnic with fellow priests and religious in the deanery. In doing so we affirm each other in the pastoral ministry. Digital technology has ensured that people can interface across barriers of space and time through SMS, Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, Viber and so on. Mentoring is also an essential part of this networking process. Mentors inspire others and teach what they have successfully applied to their own lives. That is why in my introduction I made reference to Fr Croft as my mentor. Last, but not least, in pastoral spirituality is intellectual growth. John Paul II’s encyclical Fides et Ratio “Faith and Reason”, makes for good reading. He stresses that faith and reason are the two wings with which the soul flies to God. Through study and daily reading our intellect is sharpened and our faith is enlightened. The challenge for most of us is that we know so much and yet we do so little. It is not enough to pursue education for its own sake without applying it in evangelisation through writings and planned sermons. I admire greatly Benedict XVI whose writings have such intellectual depth. In a small way I too try to occupy myself by writing. I maintain that growth in all aspects that make up a human being is key to the spirituality of pastoral priests. The prophet Isaiah says: “A little one shall become a thousand and a small one a strong nation. I the Lord will hasten it in his time” (Is 60:22).

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10

The Southern Cross, September 25 to October 1, 2013

BOOK REVIEWS

Unique perspectives on new pope POPE FRANCIS IN HIS OWN WORDS, edited by Julie Schwietert Collazo and Lisa Rogak. New World Library (2013). 137 pp. POPE FRANCIS, by Matthew E Bunson. Our Sunday Visitor (2013). 222 pp. A CALL TO SERVE: Pope Francis and the Catholic Future, by Stefan von Kempis and Philip F Lawler. Crossroad Publishing (2013). 157 pp. POPE FRANCIS: THE POPE FROM THE END OF THE EARTH, by Thomas J Craughwell. St Benedict Press (2013). 175 pp. POPE FRANCIS: FROM THE END OF THE EARTH TO ROME, by the staff of the Wall Street Journal. HarperCollins Publishers (2013). 185 pp. Reviewed by Mitch Finley

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NE has no difficulty imagining the frantic flurry of activity in the offices of publishers following the appearance on March 13 of Pope Francis as the new leader of the world’s more than 1,2 billion Catholics. A quick online search indicates that more than 400 books about Pope Francis have appeared in print, in English alone, since his election. There doesn’t yet, however, seem to be a thorough biography of Pope Francis. Pope Francis in His Own Words, edited by Julie Schwietert Collazo and Lisa Rogak, gives us a quick-reference collection of quotations from the new pope organised by

topic, for example “On Age and Aging”, “On Assisted Suicide”, “On Beauty”, “On Atheists”, and so on. Some of the topics may catch the reader by surprise, such as “On Bridezilla Weddings”, about which the future pope said: “In some churches—and I don’t know how to remedy this, honestly—there is a fierce competition between bridesmaids and brides. These women aren’t observing a religious act; they’re just showing off. And this weighs heavily on my conscience.” Among these five books, Pope Francis, by Matthew Bunson, is a journalist’s and Church historian’s detailed discussion of events surrounding the new pope’s election, from the resignation of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, to the installation of the former Cardinal Jose Mario Bergoglio, of Argentina, as the first Pope Francis. You also get 16 pages of colour photos. “Like Francis of Assisi, Pope Fran-

cis wants the Church to be poor in spirit, to be humble and Christlike,” Bunson writes. A Call to Serve, by Stefan von Kempis and Philip F Lawler, also covers events leading to the appearance of Pope Francis before the crowds in St Peter’s Square, and it describes the surprising and refreshingly humble style of the new pope that became evident in the first weeks following his installation. Again, this book provides numerous photos. A note in the front of the book declares that its text was finalised on April 3, 2013, less than a month after the election of Pope Francis, so this was one expeditious publishing project. Authors von Kempis and Lawler conclude their book with what may strike the readers as a startling prediction: “The first non-European pope in 1 200 years may have the perspective needed to spur Europe’s recovery of the Catholic faith today.”

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Pilgrimage to Poland & Medjugorje led by Fr Victor Phalana 4-18 May 2014 Pilgrimage to Fatima and Italy led by Fr Thulani Gubula 1-12 Sep 2014 Pilgrimage to Poland led by Fr Stanislaw Jagodzinski 3-17 June 2014 Pilgrimage to Israel led by Fr Jerome Nyathi 29 June-9 July 2014 Pilgrimage to Italy & Medjugorje led by Fr Sammy Mabusela 31 Aug-13 Sep 2014 Pilgrimage of Thanksgiving to Italy & Medjugorje led by Fr Maselwane 7-20 Sep 2014 Pilgrimage to Medjugorje led by Fr Donovan Wheatley 21 Sep-9 Oct 2014 Pilgrimage to Fatima, Santiago de Compostela and Lourdes, Paris & Nevers 28 Sep-11 Oct 2014 Pilgrimage of Healing to Lourdes for Disabled pilgrims and families led by Fr Emil Blaser 11-19 Oct 2014 Contact: Tel: 012 342 0179/072637 0508 (Michelle) E-Mail: info@micasatours.co.za

Should you wish to support our Apostolate with our pregnancy crisis houses and our pro-life and formation activities, donations can be made to: Culture of Life Apostolate www.cultureoflife.co.za Standard Bank Current Account PBO Number: 930037288 Account number: 560074875 NPO Number: 106-552 Branch: Rivonia (00-12-55) *We are a registered Public Benefit Organisation and will gladly issue tax certificates which makes your giving less expensive!

MY UNbORN CHILD

Heaven sent you to love me last May And I’ve since cherished each Blessed Day Oh light of my life, my unborn child. But your frail heart now means you’ll soon leave me Although you do not wish to grieve me Oh light of my life, my unborn child. My mind has caressed you each second While the date of your birth vainly beckoned Oh light of my life, my unborn child. Your days with our Lord will be happy So take courage but do not forget me Oh light of my life, my unborn child. The Lord Jesus will love you and guide you Until I am once more beside you Oh light of my life, my unborn child. Lord, for those Blessed infants I pray Who will not see the light of your day Like the love of my life, my unborn child. Please take them to live by your side In the love they had not when they died With the light of my life, my unborn child. My child could I now choose to keep you Unlike mothers who went not this way I would treasure our future together ‘Til our Lord came to fetch me one day. Oh love of my life, my unborn child. (By) a mother.

Thomas Craughwell’s Pope Francis: The Pope from the End of the Earth comes closest to being an actual biography of Pope Francis, albeit a sketchy one. The only hardback book of the five, Craughwell’s is admirably well-researched and readable to the point of being an entertaining and informative pageturner. You also get dozens of photos. “Pope Francis,” Craughwell notes, “has something significant in common with the saint of Assisi whose name he took—he is not comfortable with pomp.” The sole book among these five that seems to be available only as an e-book, Pope Francis: From the End of the Earth to Rome, is journalistic in style—not surprising given that it was written by scribes from The Wall Street Journal—but more in-depth than you would get from typical newspaper articles. This is a remarkably thorough look at the

new pope’s personal history, his years as a Jesuit priest in Argentina, and the years, months, weeks and hours that led up to his election as Pope Francis. The Wall Street Journal’s book concludes with an account of the visit of Pope Francis to the tomb of St Peter, deep in the earth below the main altar in St Peter’s basilica: “Peter wasn’t a monarch, but a martyr who had been crucified upside down for his beliefs. There was no pomp or regalia, not even a tombstone. Just a message etched into a wall in ancient Greek: ‘Peter is here.’ Pope Francis entered [...] closed his eyes, and prayed.” All five of these books, each in its unique way, is informative and inspiring. This reviewer’s advice: If you can, read them all. Also of interest: Francis, Pope of the New World, written by Andrea Tornielli and published by Ignatius Press.—CNS

Spotlight focuses again on Pius XII THE LIFE AND PONTIFICATE OF POPE PIUS XII: Between History and Controversy, by Frank J Coppa. Catholic University of America Press (Washington, 2013). 306 pp. Reviewed by Eugene Fisher

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RANK Coppa has published significant works on modern papal history. In The Life and Pontificate of Pope Pius XII he focuses not just on what has become the central issue of Pius’ pontificate—the pope’s response to the Holocaust—but on the life and papacy of the former Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli as a whole. The result is a refreshingly balanced approach in which the pros and cons of many issues which reflect not just on Pius but the Catholic Church of his time are objectively presented, with the final judgment left to the readers themselves. Even those who have read previous books on Pius will profit from this one. The Pacelli family was not only “papal”, dating to the contentious times of Pope Pius IX in the mid-19th century and then the dissolution of the papal states as part of the unification of what is now modern Italy, it was prominently so. Eugenio’s grandfather helped to found what has become the official Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano. Coppa brings together the personal character of Cardinal Pacelli with his experience in the Vatican diplomatic corps and the influence of his mentor, Cardinal Pietro Gasparri, all of which led him to take an approach of conciliation rather than confrontation with individuals and nations with whom he might have disagreements, even serious ones.

This was in contrast with the more combative style of his predecessor in the papacy, Pope Pius XI. Interestingly, Coppa shows that it was most likely Cardinal Pacelli’s preference for impartiality in Europe’s conflicts, beginning with World War I, that led the cardinalelectors to name him pope on the eve of World War II. It is clear from Coppa’s meticulous account that Papa Pacelli, as he at time calls him, was not indifferent to the evils of fascism and Nazism, especially the latter. Circumstances would, he felt, be made worse for Catholics and others if he adopted a directly confrontational role with these tyrannical regimes. Cardinal Pacelli did, behind the scenes, do much to ameliorate the situation of the Jews, especially in Italy. But as Coppa notes, historians to this day have differing judgments on whether he could have done more or whether a more public condemnation of Nazism would have helped or worsened the situation not just of Jews but also, for example, Polish Catholics. Overall, Coppa does an excellent job of narrating the post-World War II policies of Pius XII, showing how these paved the way for the Second Vatican Council with its emphasis on world peace and justice. In sum, this book joins what is now, thankfully, a growing list of balanced studies of Pius and his times. Author Coppa has moved the discussion from the attack/counterattack mode that has prevailed since the mid-1960s to a period in which objective scholarship is raising, if not yet definitively answering, the right questions in a more balanced manner.—CNS


The Southern Cross, September 25 to October 1, 2013

SA priest for Vatican job Continued from page 1 sick people, youth and servers. People take a priest into their lives, their homes, into their trust and confidence. It is very humbling,” Fr Donnelly said. He said that replacing parish life for a behind-thescenes job will be “a real sacrifice”. However, he added, the limited-time service in the Vatican will be a way for him to contribute to the life of the Church in a way that the Church needs. “Without priests and others from various parts of the world, the many congregations and dicasteries in Rome simply wouldn’t function. Every aspect of the life of the Church is taken care of: from migrants and refugees, to interfaith dialogue, to ecumenical work advancing the unity of Christians, to the religious, and laity,” he said. Fr Donnelly stressed that he will be “just one small cog” in that big machine.

Word of the Week

ECCLESIA: The Latin rendering of the Greek ekklesia, meaning assembly or community. The Bible uses the term in the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew kahal in both a secular and a religious sense. In the New Testament the word is used of the whole community of the believers in Christ (Matthew 16:18) and of a single community of the faithful (Romans 6:5). ECCLESIA DISCENS: The learning Church. A term applied to all the faithful insofar as they are being taught by the successors of the Apostles. The basis for the expression is Christ’s commission to the eleven before the Ascension, “Go, therefore, make disciple of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). ECCLESIA DOCENS: The teaching Church. A term applied to the hierarchy, that is, the pope and the bishops in union with him, speaking in their divinely authorised capacity of teaching the faithful in matters pertaining to salvation and sanctification.—Modern Catholic Dictionary, Fr John Hardon SJ

REMEMBERING OUR DEAD

“It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from their sins” (II Macc XII,46)

Liturgical Calendar Year C Weekdays Cycle Year 1 Sunday, September 29, 26th Sunday Amos 6:1, 4-7, Psalm 146:7-10, 1 Timothy 6:1116, Luke 16:19-31 Monday, September 30, St Jerome Zechariah 8:1-8, Psalm 102:16-21, 29, 22-23, Luke 9:46-50 Tuesday, October 1, St Thérèse of Lisieux Zechariah 8:20-23, Psalm 87:1-7, Luke 9:51-56 Wednesday, October 2, Guardian Angels Exodus 23:20-23, Psalm 91:1-6, 10-11, Matthew 18:1-5, 10 Thursday, October 3 Nehemiah 8:1-12, Psalm 19:8-11, Luke 10:1-12 Friday, October 4, St Francis of Assisi Sirach 50:1, 3-4, 6-7, Psalm 16:1-2, 5, 7-8, 11, Galatians 6:14-18, Matthew 11:25-30 Saturday, October 5, St Faustina Baruch 4:5-12, 27-29, Psalm 69:33-37, Luke 10:17-24 Sunday, October 6, 27th Sunday Habakkuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4, Psalm 95:1-2, 6-9, 2 Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14, Luke 17:5-10

Southern CrossWord solutions SOLUTIONS TO 569. ACROSS: 3 Barsabbas, 8 Eats, 9 Impressed, 10 Of Rome, 11 Havoc, 14 Irate, 15 Pear, 16 Lurch, 18 Noel, 20 Every, 21 Range, 24 Crater, 25 Televised, 26 Gaza, 27 Shattered. DOWN: 1 Herodians, 2 Stargazer, 4 Acme, 5 Syria, 6 Bishop, 7 Apex, 9 Impel, 11 Horde, 12 Celestial, 13 Prayer-mat, 17 Heard, 19 Latest, 22 Guide, 23 Seth, 24 Cede.

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DEATH

THÖMMES—Sr Johanita. Holy Cross Sister, aged 91, passed away at Holy Cross Convent, Fatima House Retirement Home, Aliwal North, on September 15, 2013. Lovingly remembered by her family circle in Germany and the Holy Cross Sisters. May she rest in peace!

IN MEMORIAM

ANTONIE—Maroonie. Passed away September 29, 1997. In loving memory of my beloved husband, our father, and grandpa. You are always in our thoughts and prayers. We love you and still miss you. Rest in Peace and may the Angels keep watch over you. Olive, Adie, Helen, Michael, Victor, Cecile and all your grandchildren. BLAND—Anne Patricia. In loving memory of my dear wife, our mother and grandmother who Our Lord called home nine years ago on September 26, 2004. Time passes but the ache never goes away. We love and miss you and Tracy each and every day and you are both in our hearts and thoughts continually. Rest in peace and may Our Lord and His Beloved Mother Mary hold you always close. Love Ken, Carol, Jennifer, Mathew, Paul, grandchildren, family and friends. STOTT—Olive (Ollie) October 3, 2012. Remembering you on this day while you live in our hearts forever. Deeply loved and sadly missed each passing day. The Stott and Roberts’ families.

PERSONAL

ABORTION is murder— Silence on this issue is not golden, it’s yellow! Avoid ‘Pro-abortion’ politicians. NOTHING is politically right if it is morally wrong. Abortion is evil. Value life!

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Spreading the Good News

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PRAYERS

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11

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. Special thanks to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Ss Jude and Daniel for prayers answered. Anna. ALMIGHTY eternal God, source of all compassion,

the promise of your mercy and saving help fills our hearts with hope. Hear the cries of the people of Syria; bring healing to those suffering from the violence, and comfort to those mourning the dead. Empower and encourage Syria’s neighbours in their care and welcome for refugees. Convert the hearts of those who have taken up arms, and strengthen the resolve of those committed to peace. O God of hope and Father of mercy, your Holy Spirit inspires us to look beyond ourselves and our own needs. Inspire leaders to choose peace over violence and to seek reconciliation with enemies. Inspire the Church around the world with compassion for the people of Syria, and fill us with hope for a future of peace built on justice for all. We ask this through Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace and Light of the World, who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen. Prayer courtesy of the USCCB. LORD I believe: I wish to believe in Thee.Lord, let my faith be full and unreserved, and let it penetrate my thought,my way of judging Divine things and human things.Lord, let my faith be joyful and give peace and gladness

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to my spirit, and dispose it for prayer with God and conversation with men,so that the inner bliss of its fortunate possession may shine forth in sacred and secular conversation. Lord, let my faith be humble and not presume to be based on the experience of my thought and of my feeling; but let it surrender to the testimony of the Holy Spirit, and not have any better guarantee than in docility to Tradition and to the authority of the magisterium of the Holy Church. Amen. Pope Paul VI

HOLIDAY ACCOMMODATION

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27th Sunday: October 6 Readings: Habakkuk 1:2-3, 2:2-4, Psalm 95: 1-2, 6-9, 2 Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14, Luke 17:5-10

Listen...Don’t harden your hearts

S

Nicholas King SJ

OMETIMES we long for a God who will do exactly what we tell him to do. And when God turns out to be not quite that sort of being we sulk and decide that after all we don’t believe in him. The first reading is from Habakkuk, in the years leading up to the fall of Jerusalem, and he is angrily asking God the age-old question: why is it that the innocent suffer, and God seems to do nothing? “How long, Lord”, he bellows, “and you pay no attention? I cry ‘Violence’, and you do not save!” God is, you may think, remarkably restrained in his response to this rant (though admittedly the divine response comes from a different chapter of the Habakkuk scroll, though we hear it as part of the same reading on Sunday), and tells him: “Write down the vision, and make it plain on a tablet,” and then, powerfully, asserts that all will come true: “For if it delays, wait for it—it will certainly come,” and then a line that Paul picked up, and used a bit differently: “The just person shall live through integrity.”

Sunday Reflections

In other words, Habakkuk is telling us, God will act, but not necessarily at the time or in the manner which we are expecting. So we must not sulk. “Sulking” is the last thing on the mind of the author of the psalm (as usual): “Come, let us make a joyful noise to the Lord, to the Rock of our salvation, let us come to his presence in thanksgiving.” There is a profound sense of gratitude and intimacy here: “Come, let us worship...in the presence of the Lord who made us.” However, the poet is well aware that sulking is a possible option: “Today, listen to his voice—don’t harden your hearts.” Then he recalls times in the history of

God’s people when sulking was the name of the game, “As at Meribah and Massah in the desert, when your ancestors tried me out...even though they saw what I had done.” Let us listen to the warning, and proceed in joy and gratitude. That is the mood that Paul is encouraging in his hearers in the second reading, when he advises Timothy to: “Rekindle the free gift of God, which is in you through the laying-on of my hands—for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but one of power and love and self-discipline.” Their task, he says, is to keep hold of “the good deposit entrusted to you through the Holy Spirit who lives in us”. Gratitude rather than sulking is to be the watchword. In the gospel for next Sunday, the disciples ask Jesus to “increase our faith”. It may be worth noticing that this is in response to his exhortation to forgive people time and time again, if they come back and say “sorry” for getting it wrong yet again, that is to say, just the moment when you want

We are losing our roots ‘H

OME is where we start from.” TS Eliot wrote that and it describes an experience that can be felt both as a freedom and as a heartache. I cite my own case. I grew up in a second-generation immigrant community on the Canadian prairies. My grandparents’ generation had been the first settlers in that region and everything they built, from their houses to their schools, were understandably built with what they could afford and situated along roads and railways they could access. They did the best with what they had and didn’t have the luxury of building with long-term permanence in mind. Consequently many things of buildings that surrounded me when I was a child have since disappeared: the elementary school that I attended closed while I was still a student there. Both the building and school grounds have long ago disappeared. Wheat fields grow there now and you would never know that a school once existed on that location. The same holds true for the high school I attended. It too has disappeared, buildings and grounds replaced by grain fields. Indeed, the entire town that gave it its address has disappeared. After high school, I attended two separate seminaries and each of these too suffered the same fate; both stood empty for a number of years and then were gutted by fire. The theological college I taught at for the first 15 years of my priesthood was demolished to make room for a new freeway and now operates out of new buildings on a different site. The farm that I grew up on still oper-

Conrad

Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI

Final Reflection

ates, though the house I grew up in is now abandoned and the fields rented out. Nobody in my family lives there anymore. It’s symbolic perhaps that the only building that’s still in use from my early years is the church where I worshipped as a child. Every other building of my youth, adolescence and early adulthood has disappeared. I am an orphan in terms of the buildings that nurtured me in my youth. But, in this I’m hardly unique. All of us today, in different forms, are orphaned in this way. Already in 1970, the futurist writer Alvin Toffler, in his famous book Future Shock, pointed out how transience and impermanence are beginning more and more to shape our psyches, as things, people, places, knowledge, and organisations pass through our lives at an ever-increasing rate. And he wrote this long before the impact of information technology began to reshape our lives much more radically. The transience and impermanence that Toffler described in 1970 are dwarfed and taken to their square root by information technology today. By today’s standards, things, people, places, knowledge, and organisations were passing

through our lives at a snail’s pace for decades ago, in 1970. Today, more than the buildings of our youth are disappearing from our lives. What’s to be said about this? What does this transience say about our lives and our times? Is this good or bad? I suspect that we’re all still sorting this out. Transience and impermanence aren’t sins, though they aren’t necessarily virtues either. For me, it seems, they’re a mixed bag, a mixed blessing. On the positive side, they’ve brought us a new freedom. For many centuries, people were too much imprisoned by the suffocating permanence of the things, places, and knowledge of their time. They had stability, but often had petrification as well. Everything held firm, but too firm, few new doors ever opened. The transience and impermanence in our lives sets us free in a way that allows us to let ourselves be nourished and blessed by our roots, even as we aren’t bound by them. But there’s a huge heartache in this as well. Constantly having the familiar disappear can also grieve the heart, and it should. It’s healthy to want to go back to visit the old houses, schools, neighbourhoods, and textbooks that once nurtured us. And so the loss of the things and places of our youth can be painful. But the pain of transience and impermanence in our lives also helps point us towards the things that don’t change, namely, faith, hope and love. These can never be bulldozed-under, replaced by grain fields, burnt-down by fire, expropriated and knocked down to make way for a new highway or rendered obsolete by newer software. In this world, Scripture tells us, we have no lasting city, but we are already inextricably bound up with things that do last forever. Centuries before Christ, the biblical writer Qoheleth warned us that everything in this life is vanity: “Vanity of vanities, everything is vanity.” However, he uses the word “vanity” in a different sense than we do today. For him, it does not connote a psychological narcissism or an unhealthy preoccupation with our appearance and persona. Rather, for him, “vanity” simply means vapour, a passing mist, transience, impermanence, something that disappears too quickly. Experiencing that transience can give us heartache; but it can also make us search more deeply inside all this impermanence for that which is permanent.

to go and have a good sulk. So Jesus gives them an example of what faith can do: “If you had faith even as large as a grain of mustard, you would say to this sycamore: ‘Be uprooted, and plant yourself in the sea’ and it would obey you!” Then he chooses an example from the institution of slavery (one that is understandably prone to generate sulking): “If your slave has been ploughing or dealing with the sheep, when he comes in from the fields are you going to tell him, ‘Come and lie down’? “Won’t you rather tell him ‘Get my supper ready, then put on your clothes and serve me while I eat and drink. After that you can eat and drink’?” We do not, you see, have rights over God: “Are you going to be grateful to the slave because he does what was commanded?” So no sulking: “Just so, you people, when you have done everything that you have been commanded, you are to say ‘We are useless slaves—we have only done what we ought to have done.” There is no place for sulking here.

Southern Crossword #569

ACROSS 3. Joseph’s other name (Ac 1) (9) 8. Consumes out east (4) 9. Stamped and given respect (9) 10. See 6 down 11. Cry... and let slip the dogs of war (Julius Caesar) (5) 14. Pair ate with inner angry feeling (5) 15. Reap this fruit (4) 16. If left in here, you’ll be without help (5) 18. Does he celebrate Christmas in Paris? (4) 20. All without exception (5) 21. The scope of the mountains (5) 24. Tracer to the volcano (6) 25. Why the papal Mass was seen by millions (9) 26. Saga Zachariah hides in the Middle East (4) 27. Reed that’s smashed to pieces (9)

DOWN 1. Said on her finding the king’s men (Mk 3) (9) 2. Describing any one of the Magi (9) 4. Came to the highest point (4) 5. Road to Damascus should end here (5) 6 and 10. Successor of St Peter (6,2,4) 7. Summit (4) 9. Drive forward with little devil and the Spanish (5) 11. Crowd (5) 12. Heavenly (9) 13. Year tramp turns to kneel on it (6-3) 17. Perceived the sound (5) 19. Most recently dead? (6) 22. Blind person’s kind of dog (5) 23. He was born after Abel died (Gn 4) (4) 24. Intercede and visibly give up (4)

Solutions on page 11

CHURCH CHUCKLE

P

IET and Frikkie found themselves at a Catholic Mass in a remote Zululand church. Not knowing a word of Zulu or what to do at a Catholic Mass, they decided to follow the lead of the man in front of them. And as he rose to stand, so did Piet and Frikkie, who blushed when the whole congregation started laughing. After Mass they asked the priest what had been so funny. Father explained: “You attended the baptism of a baby, and I had asked the father of the child to stand up.” Send us your favourite Catholic joke, preferably clean and brief, to The Southern Cross, Church Chuckle, PO Box 2372, Cape Town, 8000.


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