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S outher n C ross

October 9 to October 15, 2013

Pope Francis thought of turning down papacy

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Our Lady and Holy Scripture

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R6,00 (incl VAT RSA)

Reg No. 1920/002058/06

No 4843

Mission Month: Nun’s 50 years of service to SA

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Bishops’ letter: Let’s act on corruption now BY CLAIRE MATHIESON

C The 24th annual Blessing of the Fleet in Cape Town saw the local Portuguese community come down to the harbour to thank God for his blessings and to pray for the fishermen ahead of the fishing season, an industry central to the Cape Portuguese community. Mass was celebrated by retired Archbishop Lawrence Henry after which the procession of friends, family and fishermen boarded the local Portuguese vessels, each adorned with flags and palm fronds. This year the Werkendam carried the statue of Our Lady and the Predator carried the statue of St Peter, both key figures in the faith of the fishermen. As the vessels sailed into the harbour they were blessed from Werkendam by Archbishop Henry. An anchor of flowers was also blessed by the archbishop and thrown into the sea to acknowledge those who had lost their lives at sea. After the blessing, the community enjoyed traditional song, dance and food as part of the celebration. (Photo and report: Claire Mathieson)

The bad news for a change


FTER keeping the cover price of The Southern Cross stable for more than a year, it has become necessary to increase it to R7,00 as of next week. This is the only the second cover price increase since early September 2010—and only the fifth since February 2004. Although every effort is made to keep the price as low as possible, rising costs in production, distribution and overheads made the present increase inevitable. “We are presently facing tough times with costs increasing faster than we can generate income. This price increase is crucial to our survival as the only Catholic weekly newspaper in the country,” said Pamela Davids, business manager of The Southern Cross. In real terms, The Southern Cross costs less than it did ten years ago. “Some years ago we ran a campaign called ‘Fuel for your Soul’ in which we compared the price of The Southern Cross to the price of other everyday items,” said Ms Davids. Most of the items that were about the

same price as The Southern Cross then are now much more expensive than the newspaper. Unlike other newspapers, The Southern Cross is able to hold off more frequent price increases because it is not profit-driven, Ms Davids said. “We receive no subsidies and rely on sales and advertising revenue for our daily survival. But with much disciplined budgeting we have succeeded in holding off a price increase for longer than almost every other newspaper in South Africa,” Ms Davids said. “One issue of The Southern Cross still costs less than a bar of chocolate, a can of cool drink, a packet of chips, an ice cream, a litre of petrol or other things we don’t think twice about buying—and it’s actually good for you,” she said. The subscription price for the Digital Southern Cross will be R385 a year as of December 1. The price for postal subscriptions will be R450 per annum, also from December 1.

ORRUPTION is not only the government’s problem, but “it is our problem” as well, the bishops of Southern Africa say in a pastoral letter. The pastoral letter, which is to be read in all churches in the region at the weekend Masses of October 13, aims to address the damage caused “in society and in the Church by rampant corruption” and to “encourage all to work towards its eradication”. The bishops decided at their August plenary session in Mariannhill that the Church would give greater attention to the damage caused in society by corruption. Corruption is theft from the poor. Corruption hurts the most vulnerable. Corruption harms the whole community. Corruption destroys our trust. This is the very strong position the bishops are taking in tackling the issue. “Money diverted into the pockets of corrupt people could have been spent on housing for the homeless, on medicine for the sick or for other needs. Aid should reach those it is intended for,” the bishops’ letter says. Even pushing in the queue for housing or for a permit results in everyone else being pushed back in the queue—“especially those who are defenceless: the elderly, young children, refugees and single mothers”, they say. The bishops’ letter notes recent statistics which highlight the very serious problem of corruption in many areas of Southern Africa. Some reports indicate that as many as half the residents in Southern Africa admit to having paid a bribe, mostly to police officers and government officials. When bribery becomes “a way of life for civil servants, business people or church personnel, their real responsibilities are put aside in pursuit of making money for themselves. The experience of corruption leads us to become cynical about each other, to distrust the very people we regard as our leaders and as honourable people,” the bishops say. “This means that the challenge to work for the eradication of this illness is addressed to all of us. Each must do some-

thing within their power to tackle corruption,” the bishops say, calling on each citizen to examine their own attitude. “A change of heart is called for so that we walk in the light of the Lord.” The bishops call on Catholic South Africa to resist the temptation to participate in corrupt actions. “Therefore, let us each pledge to ourselves that we will not pay a bribe or offer one, no matter how serious or important it may seem to be at the time.” The bishops also ask citizens to report all actions of corruption. Those who engage in corrupt practices “persist because we allow them to continue”, the bishops say. “Commit yourself to greater transparency and honesty in the home, parish and the work place.” As part of the bishops’ stand, the week starting Sunday October 13 has been dedicated to fighting corruption and joining the international anti-corruption campaign “Exposed”. The Southern Cross is running a monthlong series of feature articles as part of the “Exposed” campaign.

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 • April 25 to May 4

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


The Southern Cross, October 9 to October 15, 2013


Queenstown counts its blessings STAFF REPORTER


ACRED Heart mission in Qoqodala, Queenstown diocese, had many reasons to celebrate in September. Not only did parishioners formally celebrate the arrival of their new parish priest, 60 new first communicants, and international VIPs, but parishioners also celebrated a special gift for the parish: a new car. New parish priest Fr Matthias Nsamba, formerly of Cathcart, ensured the special day was well attended. Not only did parishioners from neighbouring outstations attend the first holy communion of 60 youngsters, but it would also be an opportunity to invite friends and family from his home country of Uganda, including the Ugandan High Commissioner in Pretoria. “It did not stop there: an invitation went to the embassy of Ireland in Pretoria which was positively replied to, and from Uganda came the news that Fr Nsamba’s uncle, also a diocesan priest, and his brother, the provincial superior of the Comboni Fathers in Malawi and Zambia, would come to see how his sibling was doing in South Africa,” said Fr Edward Tratsaert SAC of neighbouring St Theresa’s mission in Queenstown. The morning started with a procession of altar boys and girls, and first communicants dressed in white tops and black trousers or skirts, accompanied by the different choirs and delegations from the outstations, all wearing their traditional outfits.

Fr Matthias Nsamba with the new parish car; a gift from the Irish embassy in Pretoria. Fr Tratsaert said the church was filled to capacity and the Mass was a celebration in traditional Xhosa style with “singing, dancing, making processions and using their voices and some small instruments to give honour and glory to God the Father Almighty and to Jesus Christ our Saviour, Good Shepherd and Redeemer”. The Mass included readings in both isiXhosa and English. “The brother of Fr Nsamba, Comboni Father Edward Kanyike Mayanja, gave the homily, easily understood by all the parishioners of Qoqodala. He told the congregation what a parish priest really is: the me-

diator between God and mankind. It is the parish priest who brings God’s gifts to the people and the people’s gifts to God.” Fr Tratsaert said one of the highlights of the day was how the VIPs interacted with the locals. “The high commissioner of Uganda, Julius Peter Moto, who is based in Pretoria, was fascinated by the first communicants and also by the youngsters.” Mr Moto addressed the youth, telling them to stay close to the Church. But the biggest surprise of the day came from the Irish ambassador, Brendan McMahon, who was represented by Miriam Nhlapho, who said she enjoyed the Mass “enormously”. A Catholic herself, Mrs Nhlapho said she understood the challenges of mission work and that the embassy wanted to help Fr Nsambo and his work. A car built to handle the area’s poor roads would make his daily routine much easier. “Upon this announcement, a jubilant crowd gave her a standing ovation and everybody left the tent to see the new Toyota Hilux given to the parish priest,” said Fr Tratsaert. Mrs Nhlapho gave the car two items: an image of Our Lady of Knock and a white rosary, blessed by the pope. “After receiving the keys, an ecstatic Fr Matthias waved exuberantly and finally baptised the new car with a bottle of champagne, giving it the name ‘Maria’,” said Fr Tratsaert.

The Prayer of Parents to St Joseph for the Children

Fr Victor Phalana (second right) and Fr Jonathan Shand SCP flanked by Archbishop William Slattery (left) and retired Archbishop George Daniel.

Pretoria celebrates three anniversaries BY MATHIBELA SEBOTHOMA


RCHBISHOP William Slattery of Pretoria led the Sacred Heart cathedral community and well-wishers to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the cathedral, the 25th ordination anniversary of Fr Victor Phalana, vicar-general of the archdiocese, and the 20th anniversary of Fr Jonathan Shand SCP. In his sermon, Archbishop Slattery emphasised that the cathedral church “is not a building, but the collective body of those who profess their faith in and follow Jesus Christ. Every Catholic is part of the church”.

The main guest speaker, Fr Smangaliso Mkhatshwa, paid tribute to the cathedral for its antiapartheid efforts. Political prisoners in Pretoria were ministered by the cathedral staff. Clandestine ecumenical services were safely held in the cathedral for funerals and other politically related meetings. In 1988, cathedral facilities were used for the activities of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, after Khanya House was firebombed by apartheid security police. Fr Mkhatshwa urged the Church to continue to be relevant in society following the council of Vatican II.

O Glorious St Joseph,

to you God committed the care of His only begotten Son amid the many dangers of this world.

We come to you and ask you to take under your special protection the children God has given us born and unborn.

Through holy baptism they become children of God and members of His Holy Church.

We consecrate them to you today, that through this consecration they may become your foster children.

Guard them, guide their steps in life, form their hearts after the hearts of Jesus and Mary.

Pre-school to Grade 12


* be educated in an English-medium Christian school * receive affordable private education * mix with boys and girls in small classes * never need to change schools * enjoy school life in an atmosphere of love, care and mutual respect

St Joseph, who felt the tribulation and worry of a parent when the

Child Jesus was lost, protect our dear children for time and eternity.

May you be their father and counsellor. Let them, like Jesus, grow in age as well as in wisdom and grace before God and men. Preserve them from the corruption of this world and give us the grace one day to be united with them in heaven forever.


Corner: Cussonia Ave & Pretoria Street, Pretoria Tel 012 804 1801 Fax 012 804 8781 Email


The Southern Cross, October 9 to October 15, 2013


Church leaders continue stand against e-tolling BY CLAIRE MATHIESON


ESPITE e-tolling being signed into law and the ongoing court action, South African church leaders will “continue to insist that government takes the interests of all citizens into account in making such decisions, especially the interests of the poor and marginalised”. This statement was made following a meeting of church leaders with Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe to discuss the negative consequences of e-tolling. The church bodies, including the Justice & Peace department from the

Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, the South African Council of Churches, the Evangelical Alliance of South Africa and South African Christian Leaders’ Initiative, had in the past made statements about the e-tolling system—among them Justice & Peace’s call to boycott—and have since been formalising a joint position on the use of the tolling system to fund new roads in Gauteng. According to Rev Moss Ntlha of the Evangelical Alliance, the government asked for a meeting to discuss these statements. “During the meeting [Mr Mot-

lanthe] made it clear that they could not consider scrapping the etolling system—as requested by the church leaders—as this would have a disastrous effect on the South African economy. The church delegation explained why they felt that the negative consequences South Africa is currently experiencing, stem from the choice of a funding mechanism that is highly controversial and that has resulted in large-scale rejection of the system.” One of the proposals from the Justice & Peace statement suggested the introduction of a fuel levy to fund the new roads. In response, Mr

Motlanthe said this would be rejected as unfair as it would force non-users of these roads to contribute to paying for them. “The church delegation pointed out that the majority of the country’s taxes are collected from Gauteng but only a small proportion of that money is used within Gauteng, in order to ensure that the whole country experiences the benefits of development,” said Rev Ntlha, adding that this made “perfect sense, as does the spending of a portion of that money on the infrastructure needed to generate the taxes collected in Gauteng. These

roads ensure that the whole country continues to benefit from the taxes collected within Gauteng.” The church leaders noted government’s concern for the poorest in the country. Mr Motlanthe invited the churches to continue engaging with government in the attempt to find common ground. While the group was surprised the president signed e-tolling into law, “we remain confident that government will continue to engage in the effort to resolve matters, rather than implementation of a system that has been so widely rejected by our people”.

Faith keeps 70-year flame alive George celebrates A I STAFF REPORTER


T is not often that a 70th wedding anniversary is celebrated. Holy Trinity Catholic parish in Durban has had the rare occasion of celebrating a couple’s platinum jubilee. Iris and Tommy Morgan marked their jubilee with a Mass. Parish priest Fr Massimo Biancalani gave the couple a special blessing and presented them with a certificate from Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, archbishop of Durban, confirming his apostolic blessing. The couple have known each other since 1942. Their journey together has had its share of ups and downs. “There were those rough times,” Mr Morgan noted, but added that even those experiences enriched their lives. Both are from Durban. Mrs Morgan was a professional dancer with the Doris Butler Academy, dancing ballet, tap, Scottish, Spanish and many other national dances. She was the lead dancer at the academy for many productions and through it met her future husband, who regularly attended many of the shows performed at the Durban City Hall. Mr Morgan started working at the age of 14 as a junior clerk for auctioneers at the City Market. Almost a year after their wedding in 1943, the couple moved to Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, where

Iris and Tommy Morgan have celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary. Mr Morgan took up the position of tobacco auctioneer, a position he held for 25 years. Mr Morgan was the first president of the national body of the St Vincent de Paul Society in Rhodesia. The couple returned to Durban after then-Prime Minister Ian Smith’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence in 1965. Back in Durban, Mr Morgan joined his father as a bookmaker. The couple had two children: a son who died tragically at a very young age, and daughter Oriana

O’Dea, who has given the Morgans two grandchildren, Tyrone and Shannon. The couple attribute their successful married life to their faith and always being able to share common interests. Both have been keen golfers and both have been involved in parish work. Mrs Morgan, now 91, did flower-arranging for many years at various parishes. She converted to Catholicism in 1958. Mr Morgan, 90, still drives to take Communion to the sick. He also reads at Mass.

Mix-up of Our Lady of Fatima statues


UE to a mix-up, statues of Our Lady of Fatima donated by a Portuguese businessman to parishes in Durban and Namibia ended up in the wrong parishes. As a result, some parishes that applied for the statues did not receive while some parishes that did not

apply received the statues, which were bought and shipped at substantial expense by the donor. The donor asks that parishes which were informed that their application for the statues was successful, but have not received them, should e-mail him soonest at

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LTHOUGH The Year of Faith will close on November 24, the feast of Christ the King, the diocese of Oudtshoorn came together over the weekend of September 23-24 to conclude the year on a diocesan level. Bishop Francisco de Gouveia invited all Catholics within the diocese to attend the public demonstration of the faith, which was held at St Mary’s in Rosemoore, George. According to Leveinia Botha, the celebrations kicked off with Holy Mass at 9pm, “vibrantly led by the youth of the diocese”. Mass was followed by a silent procession of light through the streets of the local neighbourhood, Convent Gardens. The evening continued with a night vigil in the church, where young and old joined “together to share their faith, praising and worshipping God, throughout the night”, Ms Botha said, adding that the majority of people who gave testimonies addressed the youth with a clear message: “Don’t waste your youth—get close to Jesus now, be brave, don’t be afraid!” Heritage Day marked the climax of the celebrations, starting with the prayers of the Rosary, Divine Mercy, the commemoration of the faithful departed, Mass and a eucharistic procession through the streets of Rosemoore and Urbanville.

Catholics in Oudtshoorn diocese close the Year of Faith with a procession through George. During the Mass, Bishop de Gouveia prayed especially for peace in Syria and for the people of Kenya. The day culminated in a eucharistic procession moving past four different altars strategically placed at the residences of parishioners. Almost 400 people, with a marching band, participated in this procession from one altar to another, “symbolising our destiny, which is to be a movement towards eternal union with God”. Ms Botha said the celebration drew Catholics from as far as Worcester in the west, Plettenberg Bay in the east and the Little Karoo to the north, to boldly witness to their faith. “Our faith,” she said, is “our heritage!”


The Southern Cross, October 9 to October 15, 2013


Priest in letter from Syria: Disease, cold and hunger a new threat


DUTCH Jesuit in the besieged Syrian city of Homs said those who remain are facing shortages of food and fuel— even abandoned homes have no food left. “Disease has captured some of us and is knocking on the door of others,” said a letter by Fr Frans van der Lugt SJ. “No food has entered our besieged region for more than 15 months,” said the Jesuit’s letter to the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need. “For months we were able to rely on local warehouses, but these are now empty,” he wrote. “We are surviving on what little food remains in our homes, but we will be reduced to soon finding only bulgur wheat, and then soon that will be gone, too. We thank God that each and everyone one of us still gets 1kg of flour a week, but we do not know how long this supply will remain available.” Fr van der Lugt said if people knew how long the siege would

A statue stands outside a destroyed Jesuit church in Homs. (Photo: Yazan Homsy, Reuters/CNS) last, “we could organise our affairs and calculate the expense for food use”. He also anticipated that during winter, residents will “suffer from hunger, cold, lack of electricity and water”. “How can we heat a room and, if we find food, how will we manage to cook it?” he asked, noting the shortages of oil and gas. He also noted that wood supplies were dwindling: “Many aban-

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doned homes are without windows and doors. They are even without furniture.” Government forces have recaptured much of Homs, but about 3 000 people are estimated to remain in the besieged part of the city still under rebel control. Aid to the Church in Need said fewer than 100 Christians, mostly elderly, remained among them. Fr van der Lugt said those who remain faced deteriorating health, including weakness and fatigue due to lack of food. He said their movements were restricted to an area about the size of 1km2, “and there is no way to escape from the eyes of the people who are besieging us”. However, he said, “there is an atmosphere of love, openness and interaction, and those of us who remain feel that we are one group.” “Each one of us needs to do more and more to help each other,” he said. “A person has to pay much attention to the needs of another, to the point of forgetting one’s own needs.”—CNS

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The Holy Cross Children’s Home in Cape Town has a vacancy for an experienced


who will be part of a multidisciplinary team providing, developmental and recreational programmes to children and youth place in care.

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS l Matriculation with training in Child and Youth Care is essential. l Good interpersonal, communication and report writing skills l Compassion and love for children and youth l Mature individual with the freedom and willingness to work shifts and flexi hours l Ability to work with a diverse team of professionals l A valid unendorsed driver’s license and/or PDP would be an advantage. l Willingness and ability to work within a Catholic environment, upholding Catholic values and ethos.

To apply for this position, please send a comprehensive C.V. with a covering letter to: Sr Cheryl-Anne Ziervogel Holy Cross Child and Youth Care Centre: Vacancy-Child and Youth Care Worker by fax 021 934 1146 or email: Closing Date: 7 November 2013

Should you not receive any feedback within 2 weeks after the closing date please consider your application as unsuccessful.

A visitor at St Peter’s basilica in the Vatican takes a photo of the tomb of Bl John Paul II. The late pope and Bl Pope John XXIII will be canonised together at the Vatican on April 2. Pope Francis chose the date to coincide with the feast of the Divine Mercy, on the first Sunday after Easter, which was instituted by Pope John Paul II. The Southern Cross and Radio Veritas are jointly headlining a pilgrimage to the canonisation which will also include visits to Assisi, the Rieti Valley and Castel Gandolfo, as well as the general papal audience and a visit to the Sistine Chapel, where popes are elected. The pilgrimage, from April 25 to May 4, will be led by Fr Emil Blaser OP, director of Radio Veritas. (Photo: Paul Haring/CNS)

‘G-8’ cardinals now a council BY FRANCIS X ROCCA


OPE Francis has made his international advisory panel on Church governance a permanent Council of Cardinals, thereby emphasising the importance and open-endedness of its work among his pontificate’s various efforts at reform. The new Council of Cardinals, which has been informally dubbed the “Group of Eight” or “G-8”, will have the “task of assisting me in the governance of the universal Church and drawing up a project for the revision of the apostolic constitution ‘Pastor Bonus’ on the Roman curia”, Pope Francis wrote in his decree. “Pastor Bonus”, published in 1988, was the last major set of changes in the Roman curia, the church’s central administration at the Vatican. Corruption and mismanagement in the Vatican bureaucracy, documented in the 2012 “VatiLeaks” of confidential cor-

respondence, were a major topic of discussion among members of the College of Cardinals during meetings prior to the papal election in March. As he has said several times since the advisory panel was announced last April, Pope Francis noted in his decree that the council was a response to suggestions by his fellow cardinals at the pre-conclave meetings. The council’s field of potential concern extends far beyond Vatican reform, and Pope Francis has said that its deliberations will include the question of the eligibility of divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion. The eight council members represent six continents. In his decree, Pope Francis left open the possibility that he would change the size of the council. He has suggested that he plans to add at least one representative of the Eastern Catholic Churches. Both Popes Paul VI and John

Paul II had also named international panels of cardinals to advise them on curial reform, but in neither case did they grant the body the permanent status of a council. Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi SJ told reporters that the pope’s decree did not mean that the council of cardinals would survive the current pontificate, but he allowed that the body could eventually become a permanent organ of the curia. The council is only the most prominent of Pope Francis’ reform initiatives. He has established a panel to review the activities and mission of the Vatican bank, and another to investigate accounting in Vatican offices and devise new strategies for greater fiscal responsibility and transparency. The pope has also signalled a major reform of the Synod of Bishops to make it a permanent advisory body.—CNS

Murdered Croatian priest beatified


YOUNG priest who was murdered by communist partisans during a wave of anti-church violence in 1947 was beatified as a martyr in Croatia. Fr Miroslav Bulesic, 27 at the time of his death, was portrayed as a victim of a hate crime during a time of upheaval in post-World War II Yugoslavia, of which Croatia was part. Speaking during the beatification Mass with 20 000 people, Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Saints’ Causes, said: “Human wickedness was vented on a helpless priest, and the wolf tore the lamb apart. Hatred extinguished a human life, which is always precious but was twice as priceless this time as the life of a good man,” the cardinal said. Honouring the priest expresses

Fr Miroslav Bulesic, who was murdered in 1947. the Church’s “reverence and gratitude” for martyrs and should also encourage faith “in a world of transient ideologies”. Born in Svetvincenat, in north-west Croatia, Fr Bulesic was sent to Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University after seminary studies. He was recalled by his

bishop because of the outbreak of World War II and was ordained in April 1943. After ministering at Baderna, the scene of fighting between communist and fascist units, he was transferred in 1945 to a larger parish at Kanfanar, where he also spoke out against communist abuses as secretary of the local priests’ association. On August 24, 1947, when the priest was at nearby Lanisce for a confirmation service, communist supporters attacked Fr Bulesic in the parish rectory, pinning him to the floor and stabbing him in the neck. At least 450 Catholic priests, 73 seminarians, 30 nuns and 22 lay monks were murdered or died in prison after the May 1945 imposition of communist rule in Yugoslavia.—CNS

Vatican clears German bishop of wrongdoing


ERMAN Bishop FranzPeter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg has been cleared of wrongdoing by the Vatican, after priests and lay Catholics accused him of personal extravagance and lack of accountability. Stephan Schnelle, Limburg diocesan spokesman, said that, for the bishop, “obtaining the

loyalty of priests and lay Catholics will be a big problem....but the bishop has gone through a rough time and seems quite delighted with this outcome.” The 53-year-old bishop, appointed in November 2007, was accused of exorbitant spending on a diocesan centre and episco-

pal residence when other Church premises were being closed in a structural reform. In June, Germany’s Der Spiegel weekly magazine accused Bishop Tebartz-van Elst of submitting a false affidavit after flying firstclass for a visit to slums in India; prosecutors are investigating the incident.—CNS


The Southern Cross, October 9 to October 15, 2013


‘We need catechists to share the gift of faith’ BY CAROL GLATz


EING a catechist is about teaching the faith in its entirety and putting Christ—not oneself—on centre stage, Pope Francis told catechists from around the world. Catechists “are people who keep the memory of God alive; they keep it alive in themselves and they are able to revive it in others,” he said in his homily. The pope spoke during a special Mass in St Peter’s Square for hun-

dreds of catechists who were in Rome for a three-day international congress hosted by the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation. In his homily, the pope warned against forgetting about God. “If we don’t think about God, everything ends up being about ‘me’ and my own comfort.” The real meaning of life, the importance of other people, “all of these become unreal, they no longer matter, everything boils down to one thing: having,” he said.

“Whenever material things, money, worldliness, become the centre of our lives, they take hold of us, they possess us; we lose our very identity as human beings,” he said. In an earlier audience with catechists, the pope said the Church needs good catechists, who love Christ, live out the Gospel in their lives and courageously go to the margins of society to share the gift of faith with others. “Let us follow him, imitate him in his dynamic of love, of going to others, and let’s go out, open the

doors, have the audacity to strike out new paths to proclaim the Gospel,” he said in a talk that was both improvised and drawn from a text. Many in the audience hall took notes, closely following the pope’s words. The pope thanked them for their service to the Church and said being a catechist isn’t a job or a title, it’s a vocation, an approach to life. It starts first with being with God, getting to know him and conforming one’s life to the Gospel—a

task that lasts a lifetime, he said. Being close to God means praying to him, talking with him and letting him “watch over you”. Not everyone, especially busy mothers and fathers, can spend a lot of quiet time in prayer before the tabernacle, where Christ is truly present, he said. But everyone can find some way to be and stay with Jesus because, if not, “if there isn’t the warmth of God, his love, his tenderness in our heart, how can we—poor sinners— warm the hearts of others?”—CNS

Pope: I thought of turning down the papacy I BY FRANCIS X ROCCA

N a third wide-ranging interview, Pope Francis said that he aims to make the Catholic Church less “Vatican-centric” and closer to the “people of God”, as well as more socially conscious and open to modern culture. He also revealed that he briefly considered turning down the papacy in the moments following his election last March, and identified the “most urgent problem” the Church should address today as youth unemployment and the abandonment of elderly people. The pope’s remarks appeared in a 4 500-word interview, published in the Rome daily La Repubblica, with Eugenio Scalfari, a co-founder and former editor-in-chief of the newspaper. Mr Scalfari, an avowed atheist, publicly addressed the pope in a pair of articles on religious and philosophical topics over the summer, and Pope Francis replied in a letter that La Repubblica published in September. Their conversation touched on a range of topics, including economic justice, dialogue between Christians and non-believers, and reform of the Vatican bureaucracy. “Heads of the Church have often been narcissists, flattered and thrilled by their courtiers,” the pope said. “The court is the leprosy of the papacy.” Pope Francis said that the Roman curia, the Church’s central administration at the Vatican, is not itself a court, though courtiers can be found there. The curia “has one defect”, he said. “It is Vatican-centric. It sees and looks after the interests of the Vatican, which are still, for the most part, temporal interests. This Vatican-centric view neglects the world around us. I do not share this view and I’ll do everything I can to change it.” The pope agreed with Mr Scalfari’s opinion that “love for temporal power is still very strong within the Vatican walls and in the institutional structure of the whole

ambition to want to do something.” Pope Francis suggested that he and his interviewer shared a deep common ground of belief. When Mr Scalfari said that he believed in “being, that is, in the tissue from which forms, bodies arise”, the pope responded: “I believe in God, not in a Catholic God. There is no Catholic God, there is God, and I believe in Jesus Christ, his incarnation. Jesus is my teacher and my pastor, but God, the father, Abba, the light and the creator. This is my being. Do you think we are very far apart?”

Church”, and that the “institution dominates the poor, missionary Church that you would like”. Pope Francis said: “In fact, that is the way it is, and in this area you cannot perform miracles.” Yet the pope offered reason for hope in the eight-member Council of Cardinals advising him on Church governance and reform of the Vatican bureaucracy. “The first thing I decided was to appoint a group of eight cardinals to be my advisers, not courtiers but wise people who share my own feelings,” he said. “This is the beginning of a Church that is not just top-down but also horizontal.”



ope Francis called for greater commitment by the Church to the alleviation of social problems, particularly those of the young and the elderly. “The most serious of the evils that afflict the world these days are youth unemployment and the loneliness of the old,” he said. “This, to me, is the most urgent problem that the Church is facing.” While he acknowledged that addressing economic and political problems is largely the responsibility of governments and other secular institutions, he said that such problems “also concern the Church; in fact, the Church above all because this situation wounds not only bodies but also souls. The Church must feel responsibility for both souls and bodies.” The pope echoed his numerous earlier calls for greater restraint on market forces. “Personally I think so-called savage liberalism only makes the strong stronger and the weak weaker and excludes the most excluded,” he said. “We need great freedom, no discrimination, no demagoguery and lots of love. We need rules of conduct and also, if necessary, direct intervention from the state to correct the more intolerable inequalities.” Asked whether he agreed with the Church’s disciplining of liberation theologians during the pontificate of Pope John Paul II, Pope


The Book of God. The Qur’ân for First Time Readers FR CHRISTOPHER CLOHESSY PhD

Pope Francis prays during a meeting with the group of cardinals he has appointed as his advisers. In a wide-ranging interview he said that the Council of Cardinals represents the beginning of a more horizontal Church. In the interview, the pope also spoke about beliefs, clericalism, unemployment and a brief mystical experience after he was elected to the papacy in March. (Photo: L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters/CNS) Francis said that liberation theology “certainly gave a political aspect to their theology, but many of them were believers and with a high concept of humanity”. The pope said that the “Church will not deal with politics”, and suggested that Church leaders should not pressure Catholic office holders to take particular positions in matters of public policy. “I believe that Catholics involved in politics carry the values of their religion within them, but have the mature awareness and expertise to implement them,” he said. “The Church will never go beyond its task of expressing and disseminating its values, at least as long as I’m here,” the pope said, agreeing that Church leaders have “almost never” observed such limits. “Everyone has his own idea of good and evil and must choose to follow the good and fight evil as he



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31 May to 9 June Led by Fr Mbulelo Qumnto

Fatima • Lourdes • Paris • Avila

14 - 24 September Led by Fr Modisa Sekao

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30 Aug to 10 Sep Led by Fr Tom Tshabalala OFM

Canonisation of Two Popes

See the canonisation of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII in the Vatican April-May Led by Fr Emil blaser OP

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conceives them,” the pope said elsewhere in the interview. “That would be enough to make the world a better place.”


ope Francis joked that he had been warned that his atheist interviewer might try to convert him, but the pope told Mr Scalfari that he would not try to do likewise. “Proselytism is solemn nonsense, it makes no sense,” he said. “We need to get to know each other, listen to each other and improve our knowledge of the world around us.” The Second Vatican Council “decided to look to the future with a modern spirit and to be open to modern culture”, the pope said. “The council fathers knew that being open to modern culture meant religious ecumenism and dialogue with non-believers. But afterwards very little was done in that direction. I have the humility and

he two also voiced similar views of clericalism. Pope Francis praised Mr Scalfari for avoiding anti-clericalism although he is not a believer, but the journalist told the pope: “I become so when I meet a clericalist.” Mr Scalfari said the pope smiled and replied: “It also happens to me that when I meet a clericalist, I suddenly become anti-clerical. Clericalism should not have anything to do with Christianity.” Pope Francis also recounted what he said was one of his rare mystical experiences, just after his election as pope, when he was “seized by a great anxiety” and even contemplated refusing the office. “At a certain point I was filled with a great light,” he said. “It lasted a moment, but it seemed to me very long. Then the light faded, I got up suddenly and walked into the room where the cardinals were waiting and the table on which was the act of acceptance.” The interview with Mr Scalfari was the third long interview Pope Francis, who during his time as archbishop of Buenos Aires was known for refusing press interviews, has granted since becoming pope. The first was on July 28, when he spoke to reporters on his plane flying back from Rio de Janeiro. In September, Jesuit publications in several countries published an interview the pope had granted the previous month to Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro.—CNS


The Southern Cross, October 9 to October 15, 2013


Editor: Günther Simmermacher

We must be careful in how we protest


MODEST stage play performed at a Johannesburg theatre this month attracted the protests of some local Catholics who believed it to be “blasphemous”. The play, titled The Testament of Mary and staged at the Joburg Theatre from September 25 to October 6, is based on a novel by the Irish writer Colm Tóibín. It is easy to see why Catholics would feel sensitive about the subject matter, of both the play and the novel it is based on. In both, the fictional Mary is neither a virgin, nor does she believe in her Son’s divinity. A petition which circulated in protest of the play charged that “in this play Our Lady is depicted as a vulgar, egoistic and even idolatrous woman who smokes, drinks and eventually disrobes completely. Her character denies that Jesus is the Son of God, doubts that he could have performed miracles, and states that Jesus only rose from the dead in the dreams of his followers”. Responding to similar protests in the United States, the play’s producers said: “The Testament of Mary explores, in a very serious way, something that matters deeply to all of us. It is neither anti-Mary nor anti-Christianity, but rather a portrait of a very human woman—a mother— who is trying to make sense of and come to terms with the tragic death of her son.” Reaction to such a play is certain to be subjective. For most Catholics, a play of this nature is unattractive, and to many even objectionable, whether or not it actually mocks the Blessed Virgin. Such Catholics will not be persuaded by Mr Tóibín’s reassurance that the Mary of his fiction is not intended to mock her, but is a serious exploration of “an icon”. Consequently, most Catholics will have had no interest in buying a ticket to see The Testament of Mary, even as others might have seen some theological interest in the play. The petition went further than discouraging Catholics from seeing the play, however. Its stated aim was to “bring an end to this performance” by applying public pressure on the


Joburg Theatre. It is perfectly legitimate to express our concern when art is perceived to be critical of what we hold sacred, and to encourage Catholics not to view such art. However, putting pressure on a theatre to cancel a play—especially when notions of sacrilege are subjective—intrudes on the freedoms of artistic expression and of religious belief. By calling for a sanction, the petition asserts a right we Catholics do not have—protection from putative disrespect to our faith—over rights that do exist and are protected. Arguably, if the play was staged in a public space where Catholics might encounter it arbitrarily, then a legitimate call could be made to protect them from exposure to potentially offensive material. So, for example, if a magazine publishes an image that demeans what is sacred to Catholics, as the editors of the DStv magazine did some years back, then Catholics are entitled to protest vigorously. In the case of a theatre play, however, those who might take offence have the option not to see it. There is little risk of inadvertent exposure to it. Petitions such as that which called for The Testament of Mary to be cancelled are in sentiment not vastly different to the efforts by secularists to remove religious symbols from public life. Both seek to assert a particular view on others who do not share it. There is also merit in examining whether such petitions succeed in presenting the Catholic Church as an outward-looking faith, as Pope Francis has called for. The Holy Father has asked us to engage with the world, even when it is nasty, and instead of fighting it rather to convey the beauty of our faith and the joy of meeting Christ. Insistent petitions, even if they are rooted in good intentions, will not accomplish that, because they might make our Church seem defensive, suspicious, hostile and inward-looking. There is no need for Catholics to feel threatened by artistic licence; our Church has withstood much worse.

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.

Help pregnant young women AMIAN Mcleish, in his Septem- one step further, by dipping into D ber 18 letter about the evil of their pockets to help young women abortion, mentions Mother Teresa’s who are expecting babies, where words that “there cannot be peace in the world while there is violence in the womb”. It is a very profound thought, but I would suggest that Mr Mcleish and all faithful Catholics take this

Cure for stress


ANY diseases and illnesses are brought about because of stress in our lives. Stress is seen in work situations, family life and even when we are stuck in traffic or exposed to the crime and violence around us. Stress is also found in losses, retrenchments, financial burdens, unforgiveness and so on. Medication helps us to cope at times, health products keep us healthy, but what about the option of relying on the One who knows us more intimately than we know ourselves, Our Lord and our God. When we know that we can turn to God in our times of need, we feel a weight being lifted from our shoulders. I find that when we have a balance of a healthy diet, exercise and a healthy spiritual life, we can rest assured that the rest of our lives will seem smoother, in spite of our daily challenges. It is getting that balance that is challenging. Time might be against us to do the things we need to do to ensure our wellbeing. When we decide to make time to meditate on the Scriptures in the morning, before we rush off to start our day, we will find that the rest of our day will go a lot smoother. We have more time to do what we need to do and are able to overcome the obstacles in our lives. Meditation is taking time out to place yourself in a quiet and still place, away from the bustle of everyday life. In this peace and quiet you give time and space for yourself to pray for your intentions, and to find deep peace within yourself. This is as important a routine as bathing and brushing your teeth. One cannot do without it. Trusting and relying on God has seen me through the most strenuous times of my life, for it has enabled me to know that I am only human, and I need to be strengthened by God to do the impossible, because he can. Catherine de Valence, Cape Town

Abortion question


AM not a Catholic but your newspaper is often put into my box by a neighbour and I find your articles interesting to read, especially Fr Ron Rolheiser’s final reflection. What I don’t understand is your

S outher n C ross

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the father is unaccountable, whose homelife may be unbearable, whose job prospects are nothing and whose education will be interrupted if not shelved entirely. Give them encouragement to Church’s view on abortion. Your paper is full of anti-abortion advertising. At the same time you are also against contraception. So how do you expect people not to conceive and not having to abort—and the poor women who get raped? In certain cultures there is still male dominance—women are nothing else except a tool for the production of children. Nowhere in the Bible is contraception or abortion even mentioned, so it is a law made by priests who want people to stay poor. Why are there still so many Catholic couples with one or two children only? If they don’t use contraception, it cannot be possible. Like the poor Irish people of the old days, who were so scared of a priest—more than of God. My daughters are both on the Pill because we don’t want them to have unwanted babies. Patricia Foster, Cape Town

Chemical wrongs


N the Holy Father’s recent plea for peace in Syria, he said, “With the utmost firmness I condemn the use of chemical weapons”, and several years ago, in an address to the International Convention of Catholic Pharmacists, Pope Benedict XVI specifically condemned chemical offensives against unborn infants, when he said, “Some drugs sold as birth control do not prevent fertilisation but rather prevent the fertilised egg from being planted in the uterus” (thereby causing a chemical early abortion). This statement undoubtedly refers, inter alia, to the Pill, used by many Catholics due to ignorance that it can act as an abortifactant as well as a contraceptive, exactly as explained in the said statement. This abortive potential of the Pill is conclusively proved in the booklet Does the birth control pill cause aborOpinions 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 or faxed to 021 465-3850


live instead of condemning them for wanting to take the easy route. Fatima House in Pretoria is just one such home that takes in women and girls, feeds, counsels and offers them the love to make the right choices. There are many other Catholic institutions of that kind throughout South Africa, such as the Mater Homes. Lucy Rubin, Pretoria tions? by former American pastor Randy Alcorn, which all Catholics should read (order online at Damian McLeish, Johannesburg

No bomb at Khanya House


HE article “Pope John Paul’s very strange day” (September 11) may be summarised as follows: The SACBC, fearful that a papal visit might cast the PW Botha government in a not-too dreadful light, found the fervent longing of their flock to see their Holy Father, Christ’s vicar on earth, not good enough, although the pontiff had previously, to astounding acclaim, visited countries behind the iron Curtain, with the KGB et al. So JP2 was not invited. However, fate (guided by the Holy Spirit—with a twinkle in the eye?) decided that the papal aircraft had to land in Johannesburg, from whence the Holy Father was safely conducted by road to Maseru accompanied, for good measure, by PW’s foreign minister. The “bombing” of Khanya House, gratuitously laid at the feet of the security forces, was a fire in an exterior structure caused by a person or persons unknown. In the event, security forces did arrive, summoned by inmates of the house, and the fire was doused but thereafter, during a final checkup, security personnel discovered a limpet mine in a cupboard in one of Khanya’s rooms—another strange day! WE Muller, Centurion Amnesty was granted in November 2000 by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to 19 former Vlakplaas security police base operatives and security police members, including Eugene de Kock, for the bombing of Khanya House, the Pretoria headquarters of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, on October 12, 1988. The TRC’s amnesty committee found that the applicants made full disclosure in their applications and that their actions were politically motivated. Senior security force officers admitted to the TRC that they were ordered by either then-State President PW Botha or senior members of the government to carry out the attacks. This is a matter of record.—Editor.


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Our Lady and the Bible T HERE still prevails both in Catholic and non-Catholic circles a basic ignorance of Mary’s distinctive role in our redemption, an essential role ordained by God himself and very strongly supported by sacred Scripture. True, she is not very prominent throughout her son’s public life; however there is no denying she is very much present in the most significant events of his 33 or so years on earth. We encounter her in the Archangel Gabriel’s announcement of the Saviour’s coming, in his birth (and that of John the Baptist), in the presentation in the temple with Simeon and Anna, in the flight from king Herod, at the wedding feast at Cana, at his death on Calvary, and, of course, in his glorious resurrection and the fulfilment of the promise at Pentecost. Even from the second and third centuries the early Fathers saw Mary as the “Second Eve”, and at the Council of Ephesus in 431 she was dogmatically declared “Mother of God”. The Church cannot be accused of idolatry in the worship of Mary. Of course, Catholics do offer her special veneration, but never is she honoured or exalted as equal to God, nor in opposition to him, nor even confused with that supreme worship due only to the almighty and eternal God. Mary’s role is very clearly defined in any authentic Christian Bible: she is the mother who gave birth to the very Son of God. Her son, Jesus, claims and proves that he is from God and equal to the Father (Jn 14:11). Therefore, Mary is the mother of the God-man in the mystery of the Incarnation. The title “Mother of God” will sound impossible to many an ear and intellect, but in this amazing communication of heaven and earth, Mary plays a unique role—as ordained by her Creator, for to deny her that title one must also deny either that Jesus had a human mother or that Jesus her son is truly God, or that Jesus Christ was ever truly human! Consequently, one would have to reject the inspiration and authenticity of the Bible as the Word of God. Even non-Catholics

would not go that far. We see here a unique relationship of Mary with the Blessed Trinity: she is the chosen daughter of the Heavenly Father, the spouse of the Holy Spirit, and the mother of the Son. She is the mother of the Redeemer and therefore the mother of all the redeemed (Jn 19:26).


ithout doubt this young virgin is richly endowed; “Hail, you are full of grace”, was the angel’s greeting.

A statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Nazareth. (Photo: Günther Simmermacher)

Point of Faith

Jesus refers to his mother as the woman both at the beginning and the end of his public ministry (in Cana and at the crucifixion). Mary herself also needed a Saviour for she prayed “my soul rejoices in the Lord who is my Saviour” (Lk 1:47). An artwork in Dormition Abbey on Jerusalem’s Mount Zion, where Our Lady fell asleep, depicts this very well: in it, it is Jesus who is holding his mother; it’s a rolereversal that explains her need for salvation. The Church, therefore, accepts the testimony of Scripture and tradition, and declares unconditionally that Mary is the Immaculate Conception, mother and perpetual virgin, the unblemished temple of the living God, assumed into heaven body and soul. Jesus loved his mother; how can we not love her? To reject her is surely also to reject the real Jesus, son of Mary. This mother had a special bond with her divine son; he was the obedient son. We see her powerful influence (inspired by the Holy Spirit, of course ) over his mission. When, at the age of 12 he was over-anxious to “be busy about my Father’s business” in the temple of Jerusalem (Lk 2:49), Mary gently asked him to come home, for his hour had not yet come. Then at Cana, when the wine ran short and the guests were still arriving at the wedding feast, it is Mary who instructed the stewards to “do whatever he tells you”, thus permitting her son to reveal himself, “and his disciples began to believe in him” (Jn 2:11). For Catholics this is not just a special Marian devotion, something attached to our dogmatic faith. No, Mary is an essential figure in the biblical story of salvation, cooperating perfectly in God’s eternal plan. She is the woman of flesh and blood whom the Father willed should be his mother. While the apostle Thomas would cry, “my lord and my God” (Jn 20:28), this chosen mother would cry: “My Son and my God!”

Be the leader God wants you to be T HE next series of articles in this column will be dedicated to the lessons we learn from the psalms about what it means to be a Christian leader and a messenger of God. Today we shall discuss briefly some basic aspects of Christian leadership and link the discussion to the psalms. The first thing to note is that there is much in common between true Christian leadership and true secular leadership. For example, good leaders must have a vision. They must have an idea of where they want to take the organisation they lead. True leaders are not just managers who do a maintenance job of simply keeping the organisation going. True leaders must grow the organisation, take it from where they find it to a higher level, qualitatively and quantitatively. But true leaders do not achieve this by forcing people to follow them. True leaders influence and inspire so that the people follow them willingly and voluntarily because they have bought into the leader’s vision. This applies to both secular and religious leaders. We are now ready to begin to identify some of the features of true Christian leadership. In this regard, the first thing to understand about Christian leadership is that it is a calling. We are called by God: some are called to do great things; some are

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called to humbler missions, but every leader is called by God and we are called before we are born. What God said to the prophet Jeremiah, he is saying to all of us: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations” (Jer 1:5). God called us even before the creation of the world. The question is: why did God call us? Did he call us to be leaders so that we can feel that we are important messengers of the Creator and so that others can see that we were called? Not exactly: God called us for his own purposes, and gave us the privilege of leadership so that we can play a role in the history of salvation and the coming of his Kingdom on earth as followers of Christ and participants in the redemptive mission of Christ. In his letter to the Ephesians the apostle Paul says: “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight” (1:4). Again, in the letter to the Romans, Paul says: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (8:28).


e were created by God for his purpose and called by God for his purpose. The question is how should we

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respond when we feel God is calling us? There are many examples of how to respond to God in the Bible. We can take the example of Mary or of Jesus himself. But for the purpose of this article I will cite the example of Isaiah. When Moses and Jeremiah were called by God they hesitated before they accepted, but not Isaiah. This is how he records his calling: “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’ “ There was no hesitation, but complete acceptance and abandonment to God. To be able to respond like Isaiah we must have the character of the messenger of God described in Psalm 1: “Whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night.” We must be spiritual people, in other words; people who walk with God and whose decisions and actions are guided by the Holy Spirit. Psalm 1 says a person who does this “is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers”.

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The Southern Cross, October 9 to October 15, 2013

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Parish Life

Parish under siege by criminals


EOPLE used to go to church to find peace, to seek consolation, hope, strength and direction. Nowadays there are those who go to disturb that peace, cause confusion, destruction and disorder, turning their frustrations and anger on God’s house. Of late our churches have become soft targets for bandits. Sometimes when we hear news about places of worship being broken into, it sounds so remote and so we might react to it casually, but when you come face to face with such a reality, you realise just how much we have lost the way as a generation. In the past few weeks our church has suffered a number of break-ins which have amazed and baffled Christians in equal measure. St Lambert church is run under the auspices of the Consolata Missionaries and is one of the four missions that form Daveyton parish in the archdiocese of Johannesburg. Within less than two weeks, the church was repeatedly vandalised and robbed of valuables. In the first burglary the thieves shattered a number of windows and broke many door handles, and vandalised the electric system as they took away all the electric cables, leaving the church with no lighting system. A day later, they came back and forced their way into the sacristy; they broke the cupboards and carried away all the vessels, including bottles of wine and the sound system. As if that was not enough, they carried away the tabernacle, complete with the Blessed Eucharist, and crowned their foul act by pulling down the pillar on which the tabernacle was erected. Though heartbroken and dejected, the parishioners did not give up; measures were taken that saw watchmen employed, electricians called in to restore the wiring system while other technicians replaced the window panes and broken door knobs. That very night, the thieves returned and once again vandalised the wiring system, taking away all the cables, including those that were yet to be installed since the work was only half way to its completion. A few days later, a young man jumped into the compound and shattered one of the windows that had been replaced. This happened in broad daylight, and those who saw him gave chase and got hold of him. When he was taken to the police station, the police said there was no evidence and so they could not lock him up. He was set free. We are living in times when criminals see churches as soft targets, so there is a great need for all Christians to be vigilant and observant, to keep watch over their places of worship and to be alert when they notice any suspicious activities or movements of strangers within the church premises. The war against crime can be won only if everybody is brought on board. To reach this goal we need a shared responsibility, a shared commitment and friendly collaboration, else we shall remain at the mercy of bandits.


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 led by Fr Emil Blaser 11-19 Oct 2014

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The Southern Cross, October 9 to October 15, 2013


Therese and John Savage visited old friends at the Society of St Patrick Missionaries in Kiltegan, Ireland. Pictured are (from left) John Savage, Fr Billy Fulton (formerly of Maryvale parish in Johannesburg), Therese Savage and Fr Maurice Kelly (formerly of Maryvale and Primrose parishes in Johannesburg).

First Holy Communicants of Holy Rosary Primary School in Edenvale, Johannesburg, are pictured after making their first confession with head of department of religion Mary Fitzpatrick and first communion teacher Nelia Petersen.

The Catholic Women’s League (CWL) of St James parish in Schauderville, Port Elizabeth diocese, celebrated its 40th anniversary. Pictured at the celebratory supper are CWL members with parish priest (seated left) Fr Joe Chereath CMI and Fr Davis Mekkattukulam CMI (seated right), the main celebrant at the thanksgiving Mass.

The men’s group from Our Lady of Good Health parish in Raisethorpe, Pietermaritzburg, archdiocese of Durban, attended a Christian Men Together provincial conference at Ixopo parish in Mariannhill diocese.

Fr Hugh Hanlon MSC, former parish priest of St Joseph’s in Goodwood, Cape Town, is pictured with the children of Haven-Ruyterwacht. Fr Hanlon has returned to his home country of Ireland earlier this year.

St Catherine’s Primary School in Johannesburg took part in the choral verse festival at St Dominic’s Priory in Port Elizabeth. The Grade 4 and 5 learners won gold, while Grade 6 won double gold and Grade 7 won silver and gold.


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Pupils of Brescia House School and the Oprah Winfrey Academy participated in a Brescia-Oprah derby where learners competed in various sporting and cultural events against each other.

First communicants of St Joseph’s parish in Goodwood, Cape Town, are pictured with Fr Hugh Hanlon MSC (back right), Fr Ralph de Hahn (back second from left) and catechist Liz Taylor (back left).

The Southern Cross, October 9 to October 15, 2013



The 50-year religious life of a missionary October is Mission Month, a good time to honour the great work of the missionaries who left their homes to serve in South Africa. CYNTHIA SAMYNADEN talked to one such missionary who on October 12 celebrates her golden jubilee in the religious life.


VOCATION is about doing something because you have heard and, more importantly, listened to God speaking to you. Missionaries traditionally are selfless individuals who leave their familiar surroundings—home, family, friends—to serve God in the name of love. Dominican Sister Benita Hummels of Durban has performed this service for half a century. On October 12 the German-born nun will celebrate 50 years in the religious life. Born in 1938 to loving parents, she was one of five children. Little did her parents know that 18 years down the line their girl would have a huge impact on a small Catholic community in South Africa. Sr Hummels knew instinctively from a very young age that the religious life was the direction her life was going to take. She was particularly attracted to mission work, what missionaries stood for and the work that they were involved in. She looked up to them, and found that her role-models were not musicians or actors; the people whom she sought to emulate and whose footsteps she wanted to follow were her parish priest and the sisters in the Dominican Order. In 1961, she entered the Oakford Dominican convent in Neustadt, Bavaria, for her initial training. The Oakford Dominicans are a branch of the Dominican order that was founded in Natal in 1889 for missionary purposes. Adapting to a new lifestyle and way of living can be difficult, Sr Hummels acknowledges, noting that she had to grow accustomed to the

Sr Benita Hummels OP, who came to South Africa from Germany in 1964, was the driving force behind the founding of Good Shepherd parish in Phoenix, Durban. She is seen left in the parish church last month and above as a young missionary nun. a new way of life: living with other young women from all walks of life, not knowing who they were and where they came from. She did welcome the structure of her daily life. She spent two years as a novice in Neustadt, a small town in the idyllic Lower Franconia area of Bavaria. In 1964 she was instructed by her superior to go to South Africa, where she completed her studies. Being a missionary and nun meant that her new daily life would be structured in prayer and a call to service. Sr Hummels notes that she had to change her mindset so as to hear and heed this calling. Many people in their early twenties are “finding themselves” and people claim that because they are young that they “don’t really know what they want”, but Sr Hummels says she never experienced doubts about the direction her life was taking or the way in which she would be going. Coming to South Africa in 1964 meant to arrive in the country at the height of apartheid. Sr Hummels’ family was reluctant and scared to let her go to South Africa because of the political situation, but Sr Hummels wanted to come to the country because she knew that this was where she

needed to be. Ultimately, she recalls, her parents and siblings were always supportive of the path that she had chosen. From 1964-74, Sr Hummels spent time focusing on her studies while working in various communities around the Oakford priory at Verulam.


pon completing her studies in 1975 she was asked by her superior to go to Phoenix, which was a predominantly Indian community in Durban. Her mission was to gather Catholic people from around that area and form a more permanent Catholic community. Sr Hummels began by walking around the streets of Phoenix, looking for Catholic families to gather them together and to find a priest who would say Mass for them on a regular basis. Eventually she and the late Fr Charles Langlois OMI found such families, and started the initially nomadic parish of the Good Shepherd, one without a church. For a number of years, Mass was celebrated in private homes, but as more families joined the parish, a larger venue had to be found.

Finally, 27 years ago, the parish found a permanent home on a plot of land in Phoenix, where the church of the Good Shepherd would be built. Sr Hummels treasures these memories of finding Catholic families and leading them to be a community in which they could share their faith, and of watching the church grow. Her passion for the faith and God shines through as she recounts the good, the humorous and the bad moments—and that passion cascades down to the parishioners. She has a particular zeal for catechetics, especially of children. After all, she did come to South Africa to evangelise. On any Sunday after Mass, one will still see Sr Hummels during catechism classes, making sure that all the children have attended, and organising retreats, Bible camps and other activities and ways that involve the children in the life and liturgy of the parish. Sr Hummels has perhaps been the most important person in building the parish with her dedication, hard work, tireless hours of love, care and passion, through sickness and health. “The path I took hasn’t always

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been easy, but looking back on it, it was worth it. I have no regrets, I have gained deep fulfilment in my life, and especially in coming to South Africa. And if I could, I would do it all exactly the same way,” Sr Hummels says. In everything and through everything that she has gone through, Sr Hummels says she gathers strength from four core groups of people. Firstly, she says she draws most of her strength from God. Secondly, her family in Germany, even though she gets to visit them only once every four years (initially it was every ten years), fortify her with their phone calls and words of encouragement. Thirdly, living with her fellow sisters in the Dominican Order means that she has people whom she can talk and relate to on the basis of a shared lifestyle and experience. Finally, the parish, her second family, inspires her. As the parishioners draw strength and encouragement from her, Sr Hummels says, so she does the same from them. Advising young people who are considering a life as a missionary, Sr Hummels says: “Listen to the voice of God. Be daring to take the steps. If you are meant to be a missionary, God will lead you. Be courageous.”

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The Southern Cross, October 9 to October 15, 2013


Why Catholics should oppose corruption In many places in the world, Catholic culture has helped entrench a system rooted in corruption. But the Catholic Church’s teachings also have answers to corruption, as Fr ANTHONY EGAN SJ writes.


LTHOUGH it may seem obvious that Catholics should oppose corruption, one still finds high levels of corruption in many traditionally Catholic countries. So before we ask why we should oppose corruption, perhaps we should ask why we seem so easily corruptible. Central to corruption is the misuse of monopoly power exercised without constraint. In other words some people have power without being held to account by the public. This is not necessarily power rooted in physical coercion but rather in some kind of authority given by one’s office. In the Church we have seen this: Catholics have generally accepted the claims to authority of those who exercise spiritual governance without question. Add to this that for much of its history the Catholic Church has sided with those who rule—kings and princes, colonial administrators and even at times the new postcolonial elites—and we see how this has led to a kind of culture of conformity and complicity in many places. Conforming to the model of authority learnt in faith, Catholics have often deferred to the authority figures placed above them in Church and state and accepted such ideas as patronage and bribery as a given. The figure of authority has power; we should do what he demands of us. In return he will “protect” us—give us jobs, goods and services. We become as a result accomplices to a range of

corrupt practices. Usually it all starts innocently. We begin by showing unnecessary deference to authority figures because of their office. Next we start offering them little gifts as a token of our esteem; later these are accompanied by requests. Soon the public officials take this whole system of “gifts for favours” (in effect bribes to do the job they’re supposed to do anyway) as part of their right. Finally, nothing gets done unless palms are well and truly greased. Alternatively, public officials see our respect for their office, realise the power they hold, and decide that “now we’re in office, let’s enjoy it”. They start by making a few demands, which when met, result in further demands. Soon such perks of the job become an entitlement, a right in their eyes. In some countries it becomes inherent to the culture itself. Thus the policeman becomes a criminal, the businessperson a corporate raider, the politician a parasite, and the public servant a leech on the body politic. Somewhere the Gospel idea of servant leadership and authority as service almost completely disappears. In the process the idea of governance as service is replaced by a sense that governance is a means for enrichment.


imilarly the classical and Christian idea of morality as growth in virtue informed by conscience and social responsibility is replaced by an ideology of rationalisation and excuses. “It’s not my fault that the public official is corrupt, because he has power and I don’t.” Or, “I know bribing the traffic cop is wrong, but she can make my life difficult—and everybody does it anyway.” It’s time that as Catholics we break with this culture of corruption and reassert what is inherent to the Christian moral tradition. First, though corruption has become a part of the culture this does not mean that it’s good. Culture is not something fixed, but

In his article, Fr Anthony Egan SJ examines how we become involved in corruption as a society. EXPOSED 2013 is an international campaign uniting all Christians to ‘shine a light’ on corruption. It is endorsed by the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, whose pamphlet we reproduced above. something we invent; it stands under the judgment of God and when it becomes debased it must be replaced with a form more in keeping with Christ. Second, we must return to the great tradition of virtue and our conscience. The moral life is a journey of growth in the values of justice, moderation and courage, all examined through prudence. We must be just in relation to others, society and the world. We must exercise moderation in our habits, including our desire for material goods. We must be brave in the way we resist evil. All of this we do by asking ourselves how in a particular situation we may do it best, through prudent judgments. Conscience,

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the inner voice of God calling us to account for our failings and to do better, is the reality check we need to keep us honest with ourselves and others. Third, we must return again and again to the great treasurehouse of Catholic Social Teaching that guides and challenges us as we make political decisions. Guided by their inherent values of justice, equality and the common good, we should exercise our

democratic rights to remove individuals and groups from public life that corrupt society. We must do this relentlessly, even though it may mean breaking with persons and parties that, in happier days, were seen as signs of hope and liberation. Finally, insofar as the Catholic Church has been part of the problem and not the solution, we must be ready to put our own house in order.



Y brother-in-law Fred was fired from his last teaching post. Although a good (but by no means excellent) teacher, he developed a pattern of absenteeism. I know, from family gatherings, that Fred has the tendency to occasionally drink too much at weekends. Now he has applied to our school for a post in History and English. As head teacher I am chair of the selection board; in that capacity and as a deacon in our local parish I have a lot of influence in the community. If I put in a strong case for Fred he will get the job. Two days before his interview with us, Fred phoned me. “Peter,” he said, “I really need this job. You know I’m a good teacher, but I have a little problem sometimes. Can you pull strings for me? I promise I won’t let you down.”

l It is good to care for one’s family. But should one allow that to influence one’s judgment when seeking to hire the best person for a job? l If a relative is the best candidate for a job, should one exclude him/her because you are on the selection committee? Last night, before Fred’s interview this morning, Fred’s brother David phoned me. “Peter”, said David, who is also my other “boss”, our parish priest, “it’s about Fred. He’s really depressed. Says that he is certain he won’t get the job and that if that happens there’s nothing left to live for... Please make sure he gets the job.” l Are there any circumstances in which nepotism is justified?

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The Southern Cross, October 9 to October 15, 2013

Br Günther Arndt OMI BLATE Brother Günther Arndt died on September 6. He was born on March 18, 1933, at Güsten in Saxony-Anhalt. He made his first vows on August 15, 1952 in Hünfeld, Hesse, and his final vows in 1958 in Cape Town, while on his way to the Oblate central province SA. Br Arndt was a trained carpenter, studied architecture and served the Church as a draughtsman and church building project manager. Many churches and schools that he built are still used by the community—mostly in the Taung district, North West Province where he worked and trained carpenters at St Paul’s mission for 30 years. Br Arndt was transferred to Oblate House Kimberley

in October 1989 and Oblate House Bloemfontein in 2001. The funeral Mass was celebrated at Sacred Heart cathedral in Bloemfontein by Archbishop Jabulani Nxumalo of Bloemfontein and concelebrated by Fr Raphael Mothe OMI, parish priest of Kriste Tshepo ya Rona parish in Bloemfontein.

Our bishops’ anniversaries

Liturgical Calendar Year C Weekdays Cycle Year 1


This week we congratulate: October 13: Bishop Pius Mlungisi Dlungwane of Mariannhill on his 65th birthday. October 14: Bishop Edward Risi of Keimoes–Uptington on the 13th anniversary of his episcopal ordination.

Southern CrossWord solutions SOLUTIONS TO 571. ACROSS: 5 Cash, 7 Roman curia, 8 Scan, 10 Penitent, 11 Tribes, 12 Elijah, 14 Bursar, 16 Tiptoe, 17 Strolled, 19 Oust, 21 Increments, 22 Enid. DOWN: 1 Iris, 2 Barnabas, 3 Scapes, 4 Prince, 5 Cast, 6 Scandalous, 9 Corruption, 13 Improves, 15 Relics, 16 Tidier, 18 Ovid, 20 Task.

Community Calendar

To place your event, call Claire Allen at 021 465 5007 or e-mail (publication subject to space)

CAPE TOWN: Mimosa Shrine, Bellville (Place of pilgrimage for the Year of Faith) Tel: 076 323 8043. October 10: 7:00pm Rosary, 7:30pm Holy Mass, October 12: 9:00-10:00am Holy Hour and Benediction, confessions available, October 24: 7:30pm Rosary

Padre Pio: Holy Hour 15:30 every 3rd Sunday of the month at Holy Redeemer parish in Bergvliet. Helpers of God’s Precious Infants meet the last Saturday of the month except in December, starting with Mass at 9:30 am at the Sacred Heart church in Somerset Road, Cape Town. Mass

is followed by a vigil and procession to Marie Stopes abortion clinic in Bree Street. For information contact Colette Thomas on 083 412 4836 or 021 593 9875 or Br Daniel Manuel on 083 544 3375. MARIANNHILL:

A men’s pilgrimage will be held at Kaevelaar Mission, Donnybrook, on October 12-13. Call Mariannhill diocese 031 700 2704.

The youth of Our Lady of Sorrows, Kwamakhutha, umlazi, are holding a revival from October 11-13 at 18:00, led by Fr Angelicus Chiliza. Call 073 082 4430.

Sunday, October 13, 28th Sunday 2 Kings 5:14-17, Psalm 98:1-4, 2 Timothy 2:8-13, Luke 17:11-19 Monday, October 14 Romans 1:1-7, Psalm 98:1-4, Luke 11:29-32 Tuesday, October 15, St Teresa of Jesus Romans 1:16-25, Psalm 19:2-5, Luke 11:37-41 Wednesday, October 16, St Margaret Mary Alacoque Romans 2:1-11, Psalm 62:2-3, 6-7, 9, Luke 11:42-46 Thursday, October 17, St Ignatius of Antioch Romans 3:21-30, Psalm 130:1-6, Luke 11:47-54 Friday, October 18, St Luke 2 Timothy 4:10-17, Psalm 145:10-13, 17-18, Luke 10:1-9 Saturday, October 19, Ss John de Brébeuf and Isaac Jogues Romans 4:13, 16-18, Psalm 105:6-9, 42-43, Luke 12:8-12 Sunday, October 20, 29th Sunday Exodus 17:8-13, Psalm 121:1-8, 2 Timothy 3:14, 4:2, Luke 18:1-8

Word of the Week

ONANISM: Theological term for contraception. The name is derived from Onan, son of the patriarch Judah. When Judah asked Onan to marry his (Onan’s) brother’s widow, in order to raise up progeny to his brother, Onan frustrated conception. “What he did was offensive to Yahweh, so He brought about his death also” (Genesis 38:810). The more popular terms for onanism are: birth control, contraception, planned parenthood, and neo-malthusianism. Modern Catholic Dictionary, Fr John Hardon SJ.


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


MACCELARI—Carlo Angelo. In Loving memory of a wonderful husband, father, brother and Papa. You will always be in our hearts, thoughts and prayers. All our love, Pam, Michele and Stephen, Adrian and Kate, Veglia and Gawie, and Alexa and Joshua. May you rest in peace. TUCK—Maureen. In loving memory of my Wife, our Mother who died on October 13, 2009. Fondly remembered by John (Husband) and children John, Mary, Bernard and Margaret. May she rest in peace.


DE LA SALLE Holy Cross College Primary School invites applications for a Grade 2 and Grade 4 class teacher. CV’s can be sent to Car


ABORTION WARNING: The pill can abort (chemical abortion) Catholics must be told, for their eternal welfare and the survival of their unborn infants. HOUSE-SITTER/ PET-LOVER: Based at Benoni Parish, will travel/with references. Phone Therèse 076 206 0627. NOTHING is politically right if it is morally wrong. Abortion is evil. Value life!


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A group of readers is preparing audio tapes of excerpts from The Southern Cross for interested people who are blind, sight-impaired, unable to hold a newspaper or illiterate.

Anyone wanting to receive tapes as part of this service, available for an annual subscription fee of only R50, may contact Mr Len Pothier, 8 The Spinney Retirement village, Main Rd, Hout bay, 7806 or phone 021-790 1317. 021 531 0550 086 628 4499

The Post Office will deliver and return tapes without charge. Should you know of any interested blind or otherwise reading-impaired person, please inform them of this service.


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. ST THéRèSE of

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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. ALMIGHTY eternal God, source of all compassion, the promise of your mercy

Lisieux, you were faithful to God up until the moment of your death. Pray for me that I may be faithful to our loving God. May my life bring peace and love to the world through faithful endurance in love for God our saviour. ST MICHAEL the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the malice and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.


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Repaired and restored to their original beauty. Also sales. Phone Ralph 021 393 4330 (collect and deliver) The Southern Cross is a member of the Audit Bureau of Circulations of South Africa. Printed by Paarl Coldset (Pty) Ltd, 10 Freedom Way, Milnerton. Published by the proprietors, The Catholic Newspaper & Publishing Co Ltd, at the company’s registered office, 10 Tuin Plein, Cape Town, 8001.

The Southern Cross is published independently by the Catholic Newspaper & Publishing Company Ltd. Address: PO Box 2372, Cape Town, 8000. Tel: (021) 465 5007 Fax: (021) 465 3850 Editor: Günther Simmermacher (, Business Manager: Pamela Davids (, Advisory Editor: Michael Shackleton, News Editor: Claire Mathieson (, Editorial: Claire Allen (, Mary Leveson ( Advertising: Elizabeth Hutton (, Subscriptions: Avril Hanslo (, Dispatch: Joan King (, Accounts: Desirée Chanquin ( Directors: C Moerdyk (Chairman), Archbishop S Brislin, P Davids*, S Duval, E Jackson, B Jordan, M Lack (uK), Sr H Makoro CPS, M Salida, G Simmermacher*, z Tom

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Website: 29th Sunday: October 20 Readings: Exodus 17:8-13, Psalm 121:1-8, 2 Timothy 3:14-4:2, Luke 18:1-8


T the heart of what we do, Sunday after Sunday, there has to be a growing and deepening relationship with the God whom the New Testament teaches us to call “Father”. We are limited and frail human beings, and that means that we shall always tend to get it wrong, but we must still keep moving towards the mystery of God. That is the message of the readings for next Sunday. In the first reading, Israel is going to do battle with the Amalekites. These were a rough lot, itinerant desert Arabs, who made it their mission to attack agricultural settlements, and on the whole the Israelites were thoroughly afraid of them. The solution, always in such situations, is to pray; and that is what Moses does. He tells Joshua, his deputy, to go out to battle, while he stands on the top of the hill “with God’s staff in my hand”. His task is to keep his hands up, and as long as he does that, Israel has the upper hand, but when his strength fails, then things go against them. So he gets support from Aaron and Hur, and is given a rock to sit on, and Israel “mowed down the Amalekites with the edge of the sword”. Naturally we feel a bit uncomfortable with this: are we supposed to kill all those who dis-

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Sunday Reflections

approve of our way of life? And does the command to pray mean keeping your hands raised all day? Not at all; the point is that whatever the crisis may be, we are to keep praying, putting all our crises into the context provided by the unfailing love of God. That is what the poet understood who wrote the psalm for next Sunday. It is one of the “songs of ascent” that the Israelites used to sing on pilgrimage to their beloved Holy Place, the Temple of God in Jerusalem. You might imagine them glimpsing from afar the Judean hills, and singing: “I lift up my eyes to the mountains,” and expressing their absolute confidence in the God to whom (and with whom) they were making their journey, and whom the poem describes as “Maker of heaven and earth ... your Guardian ... Israel’s Guardian ... your Guardian”, so that they are even protected

against the worst that the sun and moon can do to them. “The Lord will guard you from all evil, will guard your life, will guard your going and coming”. Count the number of times the idea of “guard/Guardian” is used, and think what that says about Israel’s relation to their God. And what does it say to you today? The second reading is equally confident of the relationship with God, a reminder to Timothy of who had given him his catechetical instruction. “You know from whom you got your teaching; since you were a cub you know your sacred writings, which can make you wise about the salvation which comes through faith in Jesus Christ.” And so Timothy (and the words are addressed to us, too) is instructed to “preach the word, be on the alert, whether the time is ripe or not; rebuke, upbraid, encourage”. If we have that kind of relationship with God, then it will be quite natural to do all these things. In the gospel, we have a parable about this deepening relationship, and Luke even gives it a heading, so that we should not misread what he is saying. He says that it is about “the need to pray all the time, and not give up”. And it is an extraordinary story, about “a

A wise lesson from the road N 2010, Hollywood produced a movie about the famous Camino walk in Spain. Entitled The Way, it chronicles the story of a father whose son was killed in an accident shortly after beginning this famous 800km pilgrimage. The father, played by Martin Sheen, had been largely estranged from his son, but when he goes to France (where the Camino begins) to collect the ashes of his dead son, he feels a compulsion to complete the walk for his son and sets out with his son’s hiking equipment and backpack, carrying his ashes. He’s unsure as to exactly why he is doing this, except that he senses that somehow this is something he must do for his son, that this will somehow address his estrangement from his son, and that this is something he must do to ease his own grief. Despite being in a rather depressed and anti-social state, he is befriended on the trail by three people, each on the trail for different reasons. The first of these people is a man from the Netherlands who is walking the trail to lose weight, fearing that, if he doesn’t, his wife will divorce him. The second of his new friends is a French-Canadian woman, ostensibly walking Camino to give up her addiction to smoking, but clearly also trying to steady her life after the breakup of a relationship. The third person is an Irish writer, hoping to overcome “writer’s block”. And so the story focuses on four un-

Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI

Final Reflection

likely walking companions, each doing this pilgrimage with a certain goal in mind. They persevere and complete the pilgrimage, enter the cathedral of Santiago, observe the customs that have marked the end of the Camino for countless pilgrims for a thousand years, and then realise that what each of them had hoped to achieve hadn’t happened. The man from the Netherlands hadn’t lost any weight; the French-Canadian realised that she would not give up smoking; the Irish writer realised that his real issue was not writer’s block, and the father who was doing this walk vicariously for his son realised that he had done it for other, more personal, reasons. None of them got what they wanted, but each of them got what he or she needed. The roads of life work like that, as the Camino. I learned that exact lesson, walking the Camino a year ago. I went there with a certain dream in mind. I was six months beyond chemotherapy treatments, refreshed with new energy, on sabbatical, and looking forward to walking this ancient and famed road to stretch myself physically

and spiritually. The physical stretch happened and fitted the fantasy I’d had before leaving for the walk. But the spiritual stretch was a long, long way away from what I’d fantasised. My dream had been that I would use this walk to do some deeper inner work, to read some classical books on mysticism, blend the depth of the mystics with the mystique of this ancient trail, do some journaling, and return a deeper and more contemplative person. Such was my dream, but the trail had other ideas. We were many long hours on the trail each day so that there was basically no time to read or to journal. Evenings found me exhausted, without energy for much inner work. A shower and a hot meal were essentially the only thing I was up to. The major book that I’d taken along, The Cloud of Unknowing, lay unopened at the bottom of my suitcase. I managed some hours each day, walking alone on the trail, to pray, but it wasn’t the kind of inner work I had imagined. I’d had a fantasy about what I’d wanted to achieve, but, just as for the characters in the movie, apparently this wasn’t what I needed. The trail taught me something else, deeper, more needed, and more humbling. What I learned from walking the road in the company of three close friends was how spoiled and immature I’d become. Having lived as a celibate priest, outside of the conscriptive demands of marriage, children, and family for more than 40 years, I realised how idiosyncratic and selfcentred the patterns and habits of my life had become. I was used to calling the shots for my own life, at least in its day-to-day rhythms. The Camino taught me that I need to address other issues in my life that are more pressing and more deeply needed than understanding The Cloud of Unknowing. The Camino taught me that in a number of important ways, I need to grow up! The biblical scholar Robert Funk once wrote that grace is a sneaking thing: it wounds from behind, where we think we are least vulnerable. It’s harder than we think and we moralise in order to take the edge off it. And, it’s more indulgent than we think; but it’s never indulgent at the point where we think it ought to be indulgent. Such, too, is the Camino de Santiago.

judge in a certain town who had no fear of God and no respect for human beings”. We blink as we listen, for in this challenging word-picture Jesus is quite clearly talking about God, which tells us something of the ease of his relationship with the Father. Then a “widow” comes onto the scene; and Jesus was always very good to widows, especially in Luke’s gospel, so we find ourselves paying very close attention indeed. What this lady wants is nothing else but justice (and justice towards orphans and widows is at the heart of Old Testament morality, so it is clear which side we are meant to be on). To our astonishment, the judge (who represents God, remember), “didn’t want to, for a long time”. But then we eavesdrop on his thoughts. “Even though I have no fear of God and no respect for human beings, I am going to give the verdict to the widow, because she is giving me hassle, otherwise she will give me a black eye”. All of us will do very well, this week, to reflect on what this very surprising gospel tells us about our relationship with this God of ours, and what we are to do about it.

Southern Crossword #571

ACROSS 5. You’ll see it on the plate on Sunday (4) 7. Armour I can discover in the Vatican (5,5) 8. Take a cursory look (4) 10. Showing sorrow for sin (8) 11. Israel had a dozen of them (6) 12. Jail he lands in as a prophet (6) 14. Financial manager at school (6) 16. Walk quietly without heels (6) 17. Walked in a leisurely way (8) 19. Drive out of office (4) 21. Increases in the pay packet (10) 22. Return to dine with her (4)

DOWN 1. The girl in your eye? (4) 2. The Levite from Cyprus (Ac 4) (8) 3. Types of scene that could be of land or sea (6) 4. Monarch’s son (6) 5. Register a vote for the actors (4) 6. Causing public outrage (10) 9. Dishonest behaviour for personal gain (9) 13. Gets better (8) 15. They may be left by the saints (6) 16. I tried to be neater (6) 18. Latin poet (4) 20. Kind of master who insists on heavy work (4) Solutions on page 11



here was a priest who fell in the ocean and he couldn’t swim. When a boat came by, the captain yelled: “Do you need help, sir?” The priest calmly said: “No, God will save me.” A little later, another boat came by and a fisherman asked: “Hey, do you need help?” The priest replied again: “No, God will save me.” Eventually the priest drowned and went to heaven. The priest asked God: “Why didn't you save me?” God replied: “Fool, I sent you two boats!” Send us your favourite Catholic joke, preferably clean and brief, to The Southern Cross, Church Chuckle, PO Box 2372, Cape Town, 8000.

The Southern Cross - 131009  

9 October - 15 October, 2013

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