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Bishops: e-tolls are ‘extortion’ STAFF REPoRTER
I Southern Cross pilgrims in Cairo. The group, led by Bishop Joe Sandri of Witbank (back, fourth from left) and Southern Cross business manager Pamela Davids (front, far right) visited the Holy Land, Rome, Assisi and sites associated with St Francis in the Rieti Valley. See page 8 for a spread of pictures from this memorable pilgrimage. Next year The Southern Cross will go to Rome, Assisi and the Rieti Valley on a pilgrimage to the canonisation of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II (bookings are still open), and with Archbishop Stephen Brislin to the Holy Land and Italy (fully booked).
Priest’s life recalled in new book By PoRTIA MTHEMBu
HE late Franciscan priest who founded Boksburg’s St Francis Care Centre is the subject of a new biography, titled Colour Blind Faith. Fr Stan Brennan’s life has been compiled by David Gemmell, who also wrote a best-selling biography of rugby player Joost van der Westhuizen, Joost: The Man in the Mirror. In Colour Blind Faith, Mr Gemmell writes about a man who had a very happy childhood, a good upbringing and a holistic belief in the Catholic faith. Challenging the apartheid regime, Fr Brennan touched the lives of many oppressed South Africans. Alberto Fogolin, a friend of 40 years to Fr Brennan, appointed Mr Gemmell to write the book, even though the author had not yet met the priest. After meeting Fr Brennan for numerous chats, the author told of the priest’s “presence and sublime calmness”. Fr Brennan died in July 2012. Colour Blind Faith “is for anyone seeking hope, or inspiration and meaning in their lives,” Mr Gemmell told The Southern Cross. “They will read how Fr Stan, a good man with no exceptional talents, simply got on with things and showed it is possible to make a difference.” In 1992, after witnessing the lonely deaths experienced by Aids sufferers, who in many cases had been rejected and abandoned by their families, Fr Brennan established the St Francis Care Centre in Boksburg. The centre’s mission is to “provide a haven for the terminally ill where they will be nursed in a professional and comfortable en-
vironment whilst their physical, spiritual, emotional and social needs are catered for, with care and dedication”. The centre has three divisions—the hospice, the children’s section and home-based care— and has always mobilised resources to assist both patients and families in the disadvantaged area of Boksburg. Fr Brennan also established numerous other outreach projects including the St Anthony’s Adult Education Centre in Reiger Park and The House of Mercy in Boksburg. On November 6, St Francis Care Centre will benefit from a stage performance of the show Forever Young, a musical dedicated to the greats in rock & roll history, at The Barnyard Theatre in Boksburg. Tickets are R120 per person. Proceeds from the evening will to go towards the centre. Copies of Colour Blind Faith are available in bookshops at R180 or can be ordered at www.stanbrennan.co.za. Proceeds from the book will be controlled by a trust headed by Archbishop William Slattery of Pretoria and will go towards projects established by Fr Brennan as well as neighbouring community projects such as Radio Veritas, which for many years has raised much-needed funds for the St Francis Care Centre.
N a strongly-worded statement, the bishops of Southern Africa have formally registered their opposition to the manner in which etolling is being introduced in Gauteng through a “foreign company”, Sanral, called tolls “extortion” and suggested that Catholics might consider a boycott. The road tolls will be rolled out in Gauteng by the end of the year, according to transport minister Dipuo Peters. President Jacob Zuma signed the Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment Bill, which paved the way for e-tolling, in late September. The toll-road legislation facilitates the electronic collection of tolls and the prosecution of those who fail to pay. In the statement, signed by Bishop Abel Gabuza of Kimberley, chairman of the Justice and Peace Department, the bishops said that inadequate oversight of funds used for the country’s new toll-road system could lead to corruption and fraud. “Although some of this corruption has been exposed by the limited investigations” conducted by the the Competitions Commission, “much more needs to be done to uncover who benefited from the implementation of this costly and highly inefficient system”, the bishops said. “Our appeals to government to investigate the source of this ‘bad smell’ have fallen on deaf ears, leading many to suspect that the rot and decay has permeated our public institutions,” Bishop Gabuza said. The bishops called on South Africa’s political leaders to abandon “this scheme that has seized control of the main arterial routes that link our centres of commerce and industry— allowing only those who can afford to pay to continue using them.” They pointed out that the Catholic Church, and other organs of civil society, have made it clear “why e-tolling is an unjust way to fund the roads that have been built as part of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project”.
he bishops called on political leaders to take “a firm stand on the side of justice and transparency” by means of: l “scrapping the e-tolling system and replacing it with a transparent and far more cost-effective method of raising the funds required”, such as the fuel levy; l instituting a public and transparent investigation into all the contracts “that were signed in the construction of these roads and in the purchasing of this flawed e-tolling system”; l abandoning “this scheme that has seized control of the main arterial routes that link
our centres of commerce and industry” and “giving our public roads back to the people”; l committing to “the development of an integrated and affordable public transport system for the use of all our people—before any more huge and costly schemes are developed”. The bishops warned that “the concerns of our people run far deeper” than the political leaders seem to understand, and that government “can no longer push aside such concerns, that the people cannot be ignored in making such important decisions”.
atholics, the bishops said, should consider “whether it makes sense to participate in this costly and unjust way of extorting money from the people who need to use our roads” and whether “we should be demanding the right to use our roads without having to pay unreasonable sums”. Hinting that the money raised by e-tolling might not be used to build roads, the bishops said that people may consider taking “back our roads from the control of this foreign company [which] hopes to make many billions from the suffering of our people”. The bishops presented the e-tolling issue as an extraordinary emergency which demands of Catholics to apply their conscience. “We Christians and people of faith are normally the first to acknowledge the need to conduct ourselves as responsible citizens, to contribute to the development of our country, and to heed the guidance given us by the leaders we elected to govern our country,” the bishops said. “But this is not unconditional and is most certainly not the case when the path being adopted is unjust and immoral. We need to stand up and do our part in helping our leaders to understand that in this instance, they have made a grave mistake and that this must be corrected.” Without calling directly for a boycott, the bishops asked for Catholics to show solidarity in opposing e-tolls. “Together we will be able to continue to act in accordance with our consciences, together we will be able to demonstrate the correct path.” The bishops emphasised that “it is not illegal to refuse to buy an e-tag and thus show our rejection of this whole system”. “Even if nothing else happens, it should become very clear to government that this system is unlikely to succeed,” they said. “We are confident that by doing this, we will assist our country to understand what needs to be done, and to turn back from choosing conflict over consultation, from choosing profit and greed over the need for rational and measured decisions.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org www.fowlertours.co.za
The Southern Cross, october 30 to November 5, 2013
Protea Glen parish choir to perform as fundraiser By PoRTIA MTHEMBu
LESSED Isidore Bakanja parish of Protea Glen, Johannesburg, under the leadership of Fr Joe Matsau, will be hosting a choral music concert on November 2. The BIB Young Adult Choir performed well in the semi-finals of the interdiocesan competition, securing a spot in the finals, to take place in Durban, where they will be representing the Johannesburg diocese and competing with other dioceses across the country. Music lovers, young and old as well as anyone wishing to make this choir’s Durban wish come true, are invited to attend. “Live on stage and the main attraction of the night will be the BIB choir, which promises a spectacular performance,” said Natalie Makhubu, chorister of the BIB Young Adult Choir. A special guest choir will also be making an appearance at the event. n The event will be held at the Protea Glen parish from 18:00. Tickets will be available on the day at the door at a cost of R50 per person. For more information please contact Busi Makhubu on 073 160 8355.
CONSOLATA MISSIONARIES SOUTH AFRICA “Console, console my people” Is 40:1 We are a Religious International Congregation of Priests, Brothers, Sisters and Lay missionaries who are consecrated for the Mission, to see to it that all have a chance to hear the word of God and encounter Jesus Christ, God’s True Consolation.
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Priest to lecture on Islam By CLAIRE MATHIESoN
CATHOLIC priest is hosting a series of lectures during Advent on a topic one might not associate with the season: the Qur’an. “It’s a return to an old tradition of having a series of lectures on an academic topic during Advent and Lent,” Fr Christopher Clohessy of St Bernard’s in Newlands, Cape Town, told The Southern Cross. “We use this as an Advent exercise where we mark particular moments of intensity: a special intensity in terms of almsgiving, of prayer and of learning.” The lectures are aimed at anybody wanting to know a little more about Islam in “a non-threatening environment”. “Last year we had a large response. It’s a subject that people want to know more about but they’re not sure how to go about it or where to go to. This is a safe environ-
ment and one that does not require a commitment. There is no converting going on,” said Fr Clohessy, who has a PhD in Islamic studies and is fluent in Arabic. “Islam has been the flavour of the month for many years now. It’s not always its own best advertisement but people do want to know more about the faith that is linked with many countries in the news.” Much of Fr Clohessy’s knowledge came from the French White Fathers (Missionaries of Africa) in northern Africa—many of them experts in the faith. “They practise a North African Catholicism that is stripped of any finery,” he said. “It’s a simple kind of Catholicism. These are the people who learnt to live in front of Islam peacefully and joyfully in their own faith.” Similarly, Fr Clohessy said, he wants to help Christians live in front of Islam with-
Zimbabwe Catholics plan new radio station
IMBABWE is going to have a Catholic radio station. Archbishop Robert Christopher Ndlovu of Harare has announced that broadcasts will begin once it gets a licence from the government. In a circular to all parish priests, heads of religious congregations and Catholic institutions in the archdiocese, Archbishop Ndlovu said the Catholic community radio station, Radio Chiedza, is being set up in preparation for the day when community radio stations will be licensed. The initiative is being led by Fr Nigel Johnson SJ along with the director of Jesuit Communications, Gift Mambipiri. “As you may be aware, for the past ten years, both Fr Johnson and Mr Mambipiri have had wide experience of community radio initiatives in Zimbabwe,” the archbishop’s letter said. “So far, none of these community radio stations have been licensed to broadcast in this country, but our neighbouring countries have numerous such stations up and running. “It therefore seems inevitable that Zimbabwe will, at some time, catch up; so we in the Catholic Church need to be prepared for that day,” Archbishop Ndlovu said. In its list of objectives, Radio Chiedza promises to amplify the message of the Church, especially on social justice issues. It will also nurture people who believe that Christianity is practical and all-embracing, be a platform for the evangelisation of our political, social, cultural and economic dimensions of life, and deal with pressing social issues.
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out fear today. “People are fearful of Islam. We see bad things attached to the religion—whether it is or isn’t. I want to help Christian live without fear and live peacefully with Islam.” Fr Clohessy said his studies into the religion have allowed him to talk to non-Muslims in a way that is not threatening as well as to Muslims on an equal level—especially on interreligious dialogue. This year’s talks on the Qur’an are an opportunity for anyone who has never read it to gain some great wisdom from this “difficult text”. Fr Clohessy said while he will not be converting Christians to Islam, he wants to convert their thinking and understanding, to live without prejudice and fear. n The lectures run every Tuesday in November at St Bernard’s in Newlands from 19:3020:30. Donation R20 per lecture.
Mark Wardell was ordained to the permanent diaconate in the parish of our Lady of Lourdes in Westville, Durban. He is now working full-time in the parish assisting Fr Julian Davies. He is seen here with his wife Lilian and Deacon Alistair Glenn. Deacon Wardell grew up in Durban and was inspired at an early age by Fr Dominic Boardman in Bellair. Here he was an altar server and part of the youth group. An active Knight of Da Gama, Deacon Wardell was for many years a lector, extraordinary minister of the Eucharist and catechist of the parish.
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The Southern Cross, october 30 to November 5, 2013
Gold for young Catholic SACOP leaders elected T A STAFF REPoRTER
By PoRTIA MTHEMBu
YOUNG Catholic woman has been awarded the President’s Gold Award for Youth Empowerment. Jessica Dewhurst, along with a number of other young people, was recognised for her involvement in social development programmes. Ms Dewhurst had the award conferred on her by President Jacob Zuma, and the Earl and Countess of Wessex, patrons of the Edmund Rice Network. Ms Dewhurst, 21, a social development and sociology student of the University of Cape Town and member of St Michael’s parish, Rondebosch, started volunteering when in grade five, she was sent to the Christian Brother’s College (St John’s) in Parklands, Cape Town. Rebellious, she found herself in detention on countless occasions. “It was through the teacher’s care (who supervised us) that I was able to see how through my actions I was harming those around me,” she told The Southern Cross. She learnt about the school’s founder, Brother Edmund Rice, and was introduced to the Blessed Edmund Rice Society—a service organisation aspiring to nurture a quest for spiritual deepening and social justice within its members. Recipients of the award who also attended CBC included Ashley Clutten, son of Sylvia Clutten, coordinator of Good Shepherd catechesis at the church of the Resurrection, Table View, and religious educator and counsellor at CBC, and Xavier Rebelo, son of Evona Rebelo, coordinator of the Southern African Edmund Rice Net-
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Jessica Dewhurst (second from left) with the Countess of Wessex, the Earl of Wessex, Xavier Rebelo, President Jacob Zuma, and Colleen Mongie,senior school principal at CBC St John’s Parklands. work and primary school teacher to Ms Dewhurst. “For Jessica charity was simply not enough,” Mrs Rebelo said. “Jessica believed that it is at the fringes of society, where one encounters the homeless, the abused, the neglected and the orphaned, that the heart is truly opened.” Ms Dewhurst continued her outreach work and involved numbers of young, fairly sheltered students. “The outcome was phenomenal,” said Mrs Rebelo. “Scales fell from their eyes, prejudices and stereotypes were challenged and they have grown to be more fully human.” Currently, Ms Dewhurst co-runs the Sisters of Charity project with St Michael’s parish, aimed at the destitute and mentally and physically challenged in Khayelitsha. In 2010 she established Edmund Rice Associates. Run by students, it is
a social justice and advocacy group. For the past seven years, Ms Dewhurst has also been involved in the Edmund Rice Camps for youth. As an Edmund Rice international youth ambassador, she visited the UN headquarters in Geneva earlier this year, where she trained in social justice and advocacy. Speaking about the award, Ms Dewhurst said it has given her the opportunity to challenge herself, self-develop and work harder towards attaining her goals. She is excited about the possibilities the award offers those who received it. “The greatest part of the ceremony was watching prison inmates receive the award for the amazing work they had done while in prison. It is an award that inspires people to be the best version of themselves,” she told The Southern Cross.
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HE Southern African Council of Priests (SACOP) elected a new executive during its annual general meeting in Mariannhill, with 28 diocesan delegates present. Fr Christopher Slater of Port Elizabeth was re-elected as chairman. Also serving on the executive are Frs Bheki Motloung of Durban (vice-chairman), Vusi Magugula of Witbank (re-elected as secretary), Hugh O’Connor of Cape Town (reelected as treasurer) and Gabriel Munyanga of Port Elizabeth (fifth member). Fr Hugh Lagan SMA gave a report on an attitudinal survey conducted among clergy in the Southern African conference area.
Fr Sylvester David OMI presented a paper on priests, seminarians and vocations. Fr Hugh O’Connor presented a paper on community in service of reconciliation, justice and peace. The delegates recognised the need to continue to build relationships among bishops and priests, and among priests themselves that are based on justice, mutual respect and trust. They also recommend that spaces should be created where difficult conversations can take place in a private, dignified and lifegiving manner. Diocesan representatives will request a slot from their diocesan bishops to present the results of the attitudinal survey to the clergy of their respective dioceses.
Youth encouraged in vocations By PoRTIA MTHEMBu
HE Calvary parish in Klerksdorp diocese was privileged to have two Franciscan sisters, Sr Kwensekile Ngobese and Sr Margaret Mohale, address its young girls about dedicating their lives to serving God. Parish priest Fr Lebohang Malemoha OMI arranged the workshop in the hope that the girls would be open to the idea of vocational life and learn about how to join a religious order. “Vocations are important as the world needs dedicated and committed Christians who will spend the rest of their lives working in God’s vineyard—they serve as a vessel for preaching the word of God without
any form of distraction,” Benedictor Mdaka, president of the Catholic Women’s League of Calvary parish, told The Southern Cross. The sisters shared their experiences of devoting life to praising and serving God and leading fulfilled lives. Those entering the workshop with preconceived beliefs were glad to learn that vocational life is not difficult as long as one leads a life supported by Christian values, humility and obedience, and places complete trust in God. The young audience also learnt that the religious are not the only ones who suffer loneliness–it is part of life. The event ended with a lunch prepared by the CWL.
The Southern Cross, october 30 to November 5, 2013
Teaching on divorced and remarried Catholics affirmed By FRANCIS X RoCCA
of Bishops would explore a “somewhat deeper pastoral care of marriage”, including the question of the eligibility of divorced and remarried Catholics to receive ComArchbishop Müller munion. Pope Francis added at the time that Church law governing marriage annulments also “has to be reviewed, because ecclesiastical tribunals are not sufficient for this”. Such problems, he said, exemplified a general need for forgiveness in the Church today. “The Church is a mother, and she must travel this path of mercy, and find a form of mercy for all,” the pope said. The Vatican announced that an extraordinary session of the Synod of Bishops will meet from October 5-19, 2014, to discuss the “pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelisation”. The announcement of the synod
MID rising expectations that the Catholic Church might make it easier for divorced and remarried members to receive Communion, the Vatican’s highest doctrinal official reaffirmed Church teaching barring such persons from the sacrament without an annulment of their first, sacramental marriage. But Archbishop Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, acknowledged that many Catholics’ first marriages might be invalid, and thus eligible for annulment, if spouses had been influenced by prevailing contemporary conceptions of marriage as a temporary arrangement. The archbishop’s words appeared in a 4 600-word article published in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano. Speculation about a change in practice has grown since Pope Francis told reporters accompanying him on his plane back from Rio de Janeiro in July that the next Synod
came amid news that the Archdiocese of Freiburg, Germany, had issued new guidelines making it easier for divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion. Archbishop Müller’s article was originally published in a German newspaper on June 15. Its republication in the Vatican newspaper— in five languages—seemed intended to temper the expectations of change that these events have excited.
he archbishop acknowledged that a “case for the admission of remarried divorcees to the sacraments is argued in terms of mercy”, but wrote that such an argument “misses the mark” in regard to the sacraments, since the “entire sacramental economy is a work of divine mercy and it cannot simply be swept aside by an appeal to the same”. The prefect’s article also addressed the Eastern Orthodox practice of allowing second or third marriages even when the first is sacramentally valid, a practice Pope Francis mentioned without endors-
ing it when speaking to reporters in July. “This practice cannot be reconciled with God’s will, as expressed unambiguously in Jesus’ sayings about the indissolubility of marriage,” the archbishop wrote, noting that it thus poses an obstacle to ecumenism. Archbishop Müller also ruled out the argument that “remarried divorcees should be allowed to decide for themselves, according to their conscience, whether or not to present themselves for holy Communion”. “If remarried divorcees are subjectively convinced in their conscience that a previous marriage was invalid, this must be proven objectively by the competent marriage tribunals,” he wrote. “Marriage is not simply about the relationship of two people to God, it is also a reality of the Church, a sacrament, and it is not for the individuals concerned to decide on its validity, but rather for the church, into which the individuals are incorporated by faith and baptism.” Yet the prefect acknowledged
that contemporary social and cultural ideas of marriage are relevant to the validity of a sacramental union, to the degree they influence the spirit with which the spouses undertake it. “Today’s mentality is largely opposed to the Christian understanding of marriage, with regard to its indissolubility and its openness to children,” he wrote. “Because many Christians are influenced by this, marriages nowadays are probably invalid more often than they were previously, because there is a lack of desire for marriage in accordance with Catholic teaching, and there is too little socialisation within an environment of faith. “Therefore assessment of the validity of marriage is important and can help to solve problems,” he wrote. But where the requirements for an annulment are lacking, he wrote, civilly remarried Catholics may receive Communion only if they promise to abstain from sexual relations, living together “as friends, as brother and sister”.— CNS
Pope: Catholic media is necessary By CINDy WooDEN
able, but they must be used as a service to the Church and part of its evangelising mission. “We live in a world in which there is almost nothing that doesn’t have something to do with the universe of the media. Increasingly sophisticated instruments reinforce the almost pervasive role of communications technologies, language and forms in daily life, and not only among the young.” In the midst of all those words, sounds and images, he said, it is not easy to recount events related to the life of the Church, “which is a sign and instrument of an intimate union with God and is the body of Christ, the people of God, the temple of the Holy Spirit”.
ATHOLIC media are important not only as means of documenting Church events, Pope Francis said, but especially as means for bringing the Church and the Gospel closer to people. Catholic media professionals must report news and share stories, “dialoguing with a world that has a need to be listened to and understood, but also needs to receive the message of true life”, he said. In a message to employees of the Vatican Television Centre, which was marking its 30th anniversary as a producer and distributor of Vatican and papal video, Pope Francis said the Catholic Church needs the best communications media avail-
Catholic media professionals, the pope said, must have “a strong ability to read reality in a spiritual key”, as well as a thorough understanding of and respect for the religious events they are covering. The Vatican Television Centre, he said, can bring the pope’s words to a massive audience, including to the lonely and to people who live in places where professing Christianity requires courage. “It is important to remember that the Church is present in the world of communications, in all its forms, most of all to lead people to an encounter with the Lord Jesus,” he said. “Only an encounter with Jesus can transform human hearts and human history.”—CNS
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Nuns look at religious souvenirs during the annual pilgrimage in Portobelo, Panama. Thousands of devotees gather at the Festival of the Black Christ every year to celebrate Christ's miracles. (Photo: Carlos Jasso, Reuters/CNS)
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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
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The Southern Cross, october 30 to November 5, 2013
Papal aide on serving two popes By CINDy WooDEN
James Parker (left), Catholic coordinator for the London 2012 olympic Games, and Fr Leandro Lenin, Catholic coordinator for the Rio de Janeiro 2016 olympics Games, run in a 100m relay race on the main road leading to St Peter’s Square at the Vatican. The year of Faith event drew several hundred people, including olympians, Paralympians, families and children. (Photo: Paul Haring/CNS)
OPE Francis has said and done things that have surprised the world—and surprised those who work closest to him—but calling what he is doing a “revolution” is a “frivolous slogan,” said Archbishop Georg Gänswein, prefect of the papal household and personal secretary to Pope emeritus Benedict XVI. “Certainly, some of Pope Francis’ gestures and initiatives have surprised and will continue to surprise, but it’s normal for a change of pontificate to bring changes on various levels,” the archbishop said in an interview published in the Rome newspaper Il Messaggero. The 57-year-old German archbishop said he was surprised by the appointment of eight cardinals to a commission to advise the pope and help plan a reform of the Roman curia, but cardinals are supposed to be the pope’s closest advisers. “I admit, I’m curious to see what will come out of it,” he added.
Christian persecution has intensified – study By SIMoN CALDWELL
HE persecution of Christians around the world has intensified over the last two-and-a-half years, according to a review of religious freedom in 30 countries. Not only are Christians in the Middle East and Africa suffering increasingly from Islamist terror attacks, but they continue to endure severe persecution and hardship in Communist, Marxist or post-Communist states, said a 192-page report, titled “Persecuted and Forgotten?”, by the British branch of the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need. Christians also are persecuted by religious nationalists in some countries where they find themselves in a minority, said the report. John Newton, a co-author of the report, told Catholic News Service that the plight of Christians had deteriorated since early 2011, when the last biennial report on the global problem was published by the charity. “Given that in so many countries we have seen a worsening of conditions, I would say that, yes, on balance there has been a worsening of persecution in the last two-and-a-half years,” he said.
“Out of the 30 countries that we have assessed, in 20 of them the situation has worsened in some way, but in some of these where there has been no change; the problems were already extreme any way,” Mr Newton explained. “It doesn’t mean, by any means, that the other ten are places where it’s easy to be a Christian,” he added. Persecution of Christians was a phenomenon “happening in many different contexts”, Mr Newton said. Among the main culprits were the adherents of violent interpretations of Islam and of the 30 countries examined by the charity, six were Middle Eastern or Arabic countries with Muslim majority populations. Mr Newton said that in recent years, the problem of attacks by “well-resourced” Islamist groups has reached into several continents, spreading to such African nations as Nigeria, Mali and Tanzania.
hristians in India, Sri Lanka and Myanmar also faced persecution from majority Hindu or Buddhist nationalists who have conflicting ideals of “what a citizen of the nation should be like”, Mr Newton said.
Some of the worst instances of persecution, however, continued to be found in Communist or former Communist states. Foremost of these was North Korea, where imprisoned Christians routinely faced torture and beatings. “The treatment meted out to Christians is far worse than that for ordinary political prisoners,” Mr Newton said. He said that in Eritrea Christians were also persecuted by a Marxism-inspired government, which had detained more than 2 000 people, arresting nearly 200 for practising their faith in the first five months of 2013. Mr Newton said that some Christians had been tortured by hanging from trees, made to walk barefoot over sharp rocks or locked in metal containers in the desert. In an accompanying press release, John Pontifex, the report’s other co-author, said persecution in parts of the Middle East has become so grave that the survival of Christians in the region was “now at stake.” For Christians, the so-called “Arab spring” has in many cases become what the report calls a “Christian winter”, the release said. n The full report can be read online at http://bit.ly/1c1OeOy
Cardinal sorry for ‘Church’s sins’
ARDINAL Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, Philippines, has apologised for what he called the sins of the Catholic Church against nonCatholics and the poor. The apology came on the last day of the Philippine Conference on New Evangelisation during a programme on interfaith dialogue as the cardinal addressed representatives of different religions in an audience of about 5 000 people from across Asia. “In memory of Bl Pope John Paul II and his collaborators before the year 2000, including Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, I humbly, humbly, in the name of my brothers and sisters in the Catholic Church or even the Christian communities, I beg for pardon,” Cardinal Tagle said. “We want to say how sorry we are for the sins, the hurts, that we have inflicted on non-Catholics and non-Christians,” Cardinal Tagle said. “We want to say, we want to
ask forgiveness to the poor that have been neglected, the hungry, the thirsty, that we did not see or hear. We want to ask forgiveness from the women who have been Cardinal Tagle degraded, dehumanised,” he said. He continued by asking forgiveness of “children who did not experience caring” and “youth that do not find in our communities always a home that will welcome them”. He asked forgiveness of strangers and foreigners who were not made to feel welcome; orphans, widows, the vulnerable, “for they are loved by God; how come we have not loved them?” “And we want to ask forgiveness of the earth that we have abused and misused,” Cardinal Tagle said. Addressing delegates a day ear-
lier, Cardinal Tagle asked the gathering to help “rebuild” the Catholic Church from “egoism and self-interest”, reported the Asian Church news portal ucanews.com. In an interview with Vatican Radio prior to the start of the conference, the cardinal noted that almost half of Asia’s Catholics are in the Philippines, with just about 3% of the continent being Christian, and so the three-day event was another way to mark the Year of Faith. At the close of the conference, organisers played a video message from the pope who gave his first public address in English since he became pontiff. Pope Francis called the gathering a “worthy offering to the Year of Faith”. He expressed hope that the faithful would “again experience the loving presence of Jesus ... and love the Church more” and enjoined them to share the Gospel “to all people with humility and joy.”—CNS
Asked what Pope Francis means when he speaks of wanting a Church that is poor, Archbishop Gänswein said: “I’m trying to understand more and more that Archbishop Gänswein what means. One thing is clear to me: the expression ‘poor Church’ is a central theme” in the papacy of Pope Francis. “It is not a sociological expression, but a theological one,” the archbishop said. “At the centre is Christ who is poor and everything follows from that. Without a doubt it touches on the lifestyle of every Christian and requires special attention to the suffering, the sick and those who are poor in the literal sense.” The reporter also asked Archbishop Gänswein, who lives with
Pope emeritus Benedict and has been his personal secretary since 2003, what it is like to continue in that role while also serving the reigning pope as head of the papal household, organising the pope’s daily meetings and audiences. “It’s a challenge,” he replied. “Every once in a while I’d like to ask advice from my predecessor, but I don’t have one because no one has ever held this double position.” “Nevertheless, with a bit of common sense, I do my best. I put into practice Pope Francis’ words: Never close yourself off and don’t be afraid,” he said. In the end, whether he is helping Pope Francis or retired Pope Benedict, “my service is for the Lord and the Church,” he said. The 86-year-old retired pope “is well”, Archbishop Gänswein said. “He prays, reads, listens to music, dedicates himself to his correspondence, which is a lot, and receives visitors. Every day we walk together in the woods behind the monastery [where they live], reciting the rosary.”—CNS
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The Development Studies Department through its two academic programmes: Higher Certiﬁcate in Human and Social Development and Advanced Certiﬁcate in Human and Social Development seeks to provide a service to the Church and Society in general through the formation and training of leaders guided by a Christian ethos. The Two Academic Programmes aim at: (a) Providing students with the basic understanding of the main concepts and theories of human and social development, (b) Empowering students with the basic understanding of how societies develop and function, and (c) Providing the basic knowledge to enable students to continue with further studies in the areas of human and social development. Two Key Areas of Focus (a) Leadership in Social development: the department provides training to men and women, religious and lay capable of working in organisations and agencies that deal with issues of social development and advocacy, and (b) Formation: the Department helps train men and women capable of working in Religious and Priestly formation programmes. Admission Criteria (a) Students registering for the Higher Certiﬁcate in Human and Social Development must have a National Senior Certiﬁcate (NSC) or its equivalent, (b) Students registering for the Advanced Certiﬁcate in Human and Social Development must have a minimum of a Higher Certiﬁcate in Human and Social Development or its equivalent, (c) Both programmes require proﬁciency in English as this is the language of instruction at the Institute. Registration Registration for the academic year 2014 is open from July to December 2013. For more information contact: Academic Dean, e-mail: email@example.com or Head of Development Studies Department, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Southern Cross, october 30 to November 5, 2013
LEADER PAGE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Editor: Günther Simmermacher Guest editorial: Michael Shackleton
ORRUPTION is a word and concept that South Africans are increasingly being made aware of. In their recent pastoral letter, our bishops have asked us to look with greater attention to the damage caused in society and in the Church by rampant corruption. To become corrupt, someone who has responsibilities towards others will act dishonestly in return for money or personal gain. The bishops give examples, such as paying an official to jump the queue for housing or for a permit. This pushes everyone else back in the queue, especially the elderly, young children, refugees and single mothers. “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.” Corrupt behaviour in the service of others is as old as politics itself. Plato and Aristotle in the 4th century BC held that an ideal regime possesses wise and virtuous rulers who are firmly dedicated to the common interest of the state. When such rulers retreat from this dedication into the pursuit of self-interest at the expense of the common interest, they become corrupt. Individual officials who seek their own interests while ostensibly acting in the interests of all, are quickly recognised as being dishonest, in contrast to the upright official who is as straight as a die. In this recognition there is the implied distinction between morally bad and morally good behaviour. Yet, it must be asked whether someone who is branded as corrupt in their dealings with the public is corrupt because of personal moral depravity or because of the social acceptance of deviant practices. Our bishops indicate their awareness of the widespread acceptance of corruption in many cases. They comment that statistics demonstrate that half the citizens of the South-
ern African countries admit to having paid a bribe mostly to police officers and government officials. It seems, then, that as long as a blind eye is turned to blatant acts of dishonesty and bribery, these can be tolerated, so as not to rock the boat. This may seem like a cosy arrangement for those who benefit from unscrupulousness, but it remains a morally reprehensible business. Pope Francis recently noted that corruption is worse than other sins because of the way in which it becomes a habit that hardens the heart so much that we become insensitive to the signs of the times and the invitations of God’s grace. This hardening of the heart is in fact the dampening down of one’s conscience so that it does not clearly judge that particular acts of dishonesty are morally wrong. When people harden their hearts to the point of insensitivity, their conscience can be said to be in error because it concentrates on personal convenience and is blind to the moral repercussions of what they do. Civil servants who simply do what is the “done thing” in corrupt conduct, as well as those who pay the price, could be said to be in this position. We are asked to examine our own attitudes as citizens, within the family, society and the Church. A change of heart is called for. The bishops ask us to examine our consciences and to resist the temptation to participate in corrupt actions. This will apply to those who offer a bribe and to those who pay it. Vatican II said that our conscience is our most secret core and sanctuary where we are alone with God whose voice echoes in our depths (Gaudium et Spes, 16). Those who do not or will not enter that sanctuary due to pressure from others or to sheer laxity will need to be encouraged and assisted to appreciate the voice of conscience and, at the same time, the damage they are doing to their community.
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.
Information on abortion needed ATRICIA Foster, a non-Catholic, books to read. P Or even with some Protestant receives The Southern Cross from a neighbour and seems sceptical book, if that could convince her, beabout the teachings of the Catholic Church regarding abortion and contraception (October 9). Maybe it is time the neighbour drops not only The Southern Cross at her place, but also drops in himself, armed possibly with some Catholic
’D like to reply to Patricia Foster's letter: I’m sorry you don’t understand the Church’s attitude to abortion. You appear to love and care for your own children. Have you brought them up to believe that the joyful gift of a child should take place as a result of the marriage act in a committed relationship after a wedding? And do you feel it’s impossible for people to remain chaste until this has taken place? I’m sure you’d be anti-abortion if you ever watched a film of one. What mother could stand the sight of an innocent baby being torn limb from limb and having its skull crushed? And to see the child trying to avoid the intrusive instruments. As for this not being in the Bible, Moses received the Ten Commandments, among which, you will agree, is “Thou shalt not kill”. And as for contraception—Onan spilled his seed on the ground. What does a condom do? I have heard evidence from at least one woman who was conceived in rape. She had only gratitude for the mother who didn’t abort her. Also, I know of a woman who had survived an abortion as an infant as, surprisingly, the doctor and nurses in attendance saved her life. She had gratitude not only for her life but for her adoptive parents who loved her through her physical and spiritual difficulties. She also noted that if she hadn’t survived, her own children would not be here. When you mention fear of priests, I want to laugh! I’m a cradle Catholic and have always loved and respected my parish priest or, indeed, any priest I’ve ever known. I can’t speak for other Catholic couples, but there is such a thing as natural family planning which, with the co-peration of the spouses, actually works! Lastly, I feel sad for your daughters. I understand the Pill is often an abortifacient in nature and has consequences which may make a woman unable to conceive when the time comes when she would welcome a child. I hope this has helped your understanding. Mona Neylan, Cape Town
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EGARDING Patricia Foster’s letter on abortion, I attended a Catholic school, the Holy Rosary school in Cradock. At the age of 13, I became prolife because our teacher told us about abortion. She looked at us girls and said: “If ever you procure an abortion, the day you die it will be written in letters of fire. You will see those faces and call out. Give them bread for they are hungry, it’s cold and raining so cover them.” I asked my mom about it and she said it was true, a friend of hers called out before she died of cancer. I and my nursing friends witnessed the same from old ladies before they died. So warn young women and save them from an agonising, guilty death. We are all responsible for our choices and actions. Mary Bowers, Cape Town
Play scorns Mary
REFER to The Southern Cross editorial of October 9 and other reported comments concerning The Testament of Mary, a play based on a novel by Colm Toibin. This year the insidious world movement to discredit Mary on many levels plumbed unparalleled depths with the appearance of an online contention that the Blessed Virgin should have aborted Christ. This resulted in the formation of an international group called Catholics and Protestants United against Worldwide Christian Discrimination. Christians, whatever their denomination, cannot ignore blasphemy against Mary and, by implication, against Jesus Christ. We have to express our love for God and all matters linked to him—including the mother whose ovum opinions expressed in The Southern Cross, especially in Letters to the Editor, do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editor or staff of the newspaper, or of the Catholic hierarchy. The letters page in particular is a forum in which readers may exchange opinions on matters of debate. Letters must not be understood to necessarily reflect the teachings, disciplines or policies of the Church accurately. Letters can be sent to PO Box 2372, Cape Town 8000 or firstname.lastname@example.org or faxed to 021 465-3850
gave life to his Son. Mary is first mentioned in Genesis 3:14-15 as the woman whose offspring (Jesus) will crush the head of the serpent (Satan). She is found in the prophecy in Isaiah 7:14, “therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel”. She is greeted by the angel Gabriel in Luke 1:28 as “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee”. Thus Mary was the great sign promised by God the Creator to our world. Angela Alaimo O’Donnell in an article in The National Catholic Review dated May 2, 2013, titled “The Trouble with The Testament of Mary” describes the denouément: “After her Son is nailed to the cross…Mary runs away…because she wants to save her own skin.” This conclusion represents an exercise in iconoclasm rather than the “serious exploration of an icon” the author claims it to be. Consequently, I contend that it would be wide of the mark to classify as “artistic licence” the excesses of a text in which the Mother of God is stigmatised as a coward who ran away from the scene of the Crucifixion since it opposes the witness of the Gospel, in which God attributed the words “sign” and “full of grace” to Mary. The editorial reminds us that the Holy Father has asked us to engage with the world. In doing so, the pope did not offer us carte blanche to cringe from parrying confrontation but expressed his desire to enrich the world with a faith in which Mary continues to play a glorious part. Any endeavour on either side of the ecumenical divide to cross the line between people’s level of tolerance and their integrity will render efforts at achieving ecumenical harmony null and void. No doubt all of us Christians would wish to become as salt of the earth. Christ warned us, however, that salt when it loses its taste loses its purpose. Mazeltov to those who, scorning to pay lip-service to a unilateral semantic correctness, steadfastly oppose the evil force of Mary-bashing which is sweeping the world. Luky Whittle, Kroonstad
ST. Kizito Children’s Programme is a Development and Welfare Organisation based within the Church premises of Our Lady of Bethlehem Marian Shrine in the Diocese of Bethlehem (Eastern Free State). The organisation was initiated in 1998, and its main focus is to care for the Orphans and Vulnerable Children around the Community of Qwa-Qwa.
S outher n C ross
HOLY LAND YOUTH PILGRIMAGE
cause she writes that nowhere in the Bible is contraception or abortion even mentioned. Charles Provan, a Protestant minister, wrote interestingly about contraception in his book The Bible and Birth Control. It is true that the Bible does not
mention abortion, but Psalm 139:13 and Jeremiah 1:5 give some interesting information about the relationship between God and preborn babies. But the most convincing reason why the Catholic Church condemns abortion is found in the biology books in high school: pre-born babies, also the ones conceived through rape, are human beings. JH Goossens, Dundee
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Sailing the river of life W E are inclined to think eternal life begins after death, but the Year of Faith reflections and the Catechism have taught me that “faith is the beginning of eternal life” (163). So rites of passage as special moments on the journey, or “the river of life”, a popular reflection on one’s own life story, are already aspects of eternal life. One could write a whole dissertation on the subject, but I will confine myself to just a few thoughts that may touch a few heartor apron- or purse-strings. Rites of passage for us are home-related or church-related or both. Some are old traditions that may still carry importance, such as introducing a baby to the family ancestors, or initiation schools or traditional wedding practices that include negotiations and lobola, or dealing with death in the family. Other rites of passage are more churchy, especially reception of the sacraments. But what has crept in to all these? Baptism should be a welcoming into the Christian family, but it has also become little more than a social event. Why do nonchurch-going families insist on having a baby baptised and get angry if the priest challenges them on that? First Communion is more of an “occasion” than first confession. There was a time when girls were dressed up as little brides— sometimes perhaps with a little too much focus on the dress, but then dressing up for this special welcoming of Jesus does have merit. Some parishes now make the boys and girls dress uniformly in baggy altar server type garb, which at least takes the focus off the clothes. There are other rites of passages that have evolved over time which can cause a headache to financially hard-pressed parents as well as their adolescent, almost adult, children—the matric dance. Having made five matric dance dresses
over the years—mainly because I considered the cost of buying them prohibitive— I do have some idea of what it is all about. Listening to a radio programme on which callers express their dearest wish, I was shocked. One mom, a single parent who had experienced some financial setbacks, requested financial help for her son’s matric dance. Her request was chosen above others which probably were equally or more deserving. His clothes, his shoes, the girl’s dress, matching tie, champagne before and the limo to take them to the ball and I can’t even remember what else adding up to thousands of rands were sponsored.
The matric dance is one of the many rites of passage for young people. (Photo: Anita Peppers)
I suppose one should hope they had a great time, but even that isn’t even always assured. There is a whole subculture around the dance that occupies matrics’ minds for a large part of the year. Choosing a partner can be a problem. The girl you asked six months ago may not be your friend any more and your current girlfriend is highly upset. Whose dress is the most glamorous, which guy is the cutest, or hottest, or coolest? Are there teachers and are they watching? What will happen at the afterparty? What about drinks? And so it goes. Is it worth it? Leaving the school years behind is a rite of passage experienced in dozens of ways by young people. Maybe it is a relief to get out of a bullying environment or an intellectually challenging time. Maybe the school years have been good, hard work but satisfying, making good friends for life. It is highly unlikely that matrics will choose to end their school days with a retreat to rest awhile in a small boat afloat on the river of life. They are more likely to want to spend someone’s hard-earned money on their matric holiday. Can one blame them? The next stage— further studies, acquiring skills, getting a job—looms and may seem mountainous. Some people say that the youth don’t think ahead and just live for the day. Whatever the reality for them, let us pray that they may all survive well this rite of passage on their journey to eternal life and have a safe trip. Let us too, of course, during the month of November pray that those who have entered another phase of eternal life will be at rest and that those whom they loved and are left behind, still on their earthly portion of the journey, will be at peace.
Why your riches aren’t yours alone Evans K P Chama M.Afr EOPLE have divergent views on material possessions. Some regard them as sign of God’s blessing while others value being poor as virtue. What does the Church say? In the Old Testament, material goods are appreciated as necessary for life and as a sign of God’s blessing. However, there is a concern, especially among prophets, against abuses where wealth becomes a tool of oppression of the poor by the rich. Indeed, the experience of poverty can be an evidence of one’s dependence on God. Therefore, whether rich or poor, one should acknowledge one’s poverty before God since “when sought and accepted with a religious attitude, poverty opens one to recognising and accepting the order of creation [thus a] rich man is the one who banks his trust in riches instead of God and depends on his own strength” (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church [CSDC], 324). In the New Testament, economic activity is considered a response to human vocation to cultivate and develop the earth. That is why in the parable of the talents (Mt 25:14-30) Jesus praises the industrious servants who made profit from what was given to them. However, the material goods should be at the service of all—sharing is imperative. So it is evil to hoard riches for oneself in the face of suffering masses for it contradicts the principal of universal destination of goods (328). Human beings are administrators and not owners of the earthly goods. No wonder an otherwise industrious man is called “rich fool” (Lk 12:16-2); not because he worked hard and had plenty,
but rather because he thought only of himself: “I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.’” He ignored God who gave fruit to his labour and the neighbour who was equally the intended destination of the goods of the earth. He focussed on building larger barns to hoard his grain in the face of empty stomachs. This is contrary to what the Church Father St Ambrose said: “The bosoms of the poor, the houses of widows, the mouths of children are the barns which last forever.” True wealth consists not in what we keep, but in what we give away. Other Church Fathers also emphasised sharing. St John Chrysostom said: “Wealth is a good that comes from God and is to be used by its owner and made to circulate so that even the needy may enjoy it. Evil is seen in the immoderate attachment to riches and the desire to hoard.” And St Gregory: “The rich man is only an administrator of what he posseses; giving what is required to the needy is a task that is to be performed with humility because the goods do not belong to the one who distributes them. He who retains riches only for himself is not innocent; giving to those in need means paying a debt.” Thus, respect for the dignity of the human person is a basic moral guidance in matters of the economy, “for man is the source, the centre, and the purpose of all economics and social life” (Gaudium et Spes, 63). So it is good to bear in mind that “the purpose of the economy is not found in the economy itself, but rather in its being
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destined to humanity and society” (CSDC 331). Capitalism becomes a matter of concern if it is understood as unlimited freedom in the economic sector without regard for the principle of common good, that is, if the suffering people are ignored. Private property is the freedom for economic initiative—but to use one’s talents to contribute to economic growth for the good of all. Therefore, although profit may be an indicator of a healthy business, we have to cross-examine: is it really serving the community? That is fundamental for discernment since “the legitimate pursuit of profit should be in harmony with the irreconcilable protection of the dignity of the people” (CSDC 340). Workers are part of the company’s most valuable asset and the decisive factor of production. Therefore, the Church teaches, important decisions concerning finances to buy or sell, resize or close should not be limited to financial and commercial factors (CSDC 344). Even the free market has to be exercised in the light of social service to the human person. We do well do hear the exhortation from Henry Burton: “Have you had a kindness shown? Pass it on; ’Twas not given for thee alone, Pass it on; Let it travel down the years, Let it wipe another's tears, ’Til in Heaven the deed appears, Pass it on. ”
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The Southern Cross, october 30 to November 5, 2013
Behind the rule of celibacy for priests Francis Fukuyama, author of The End of History, who delivered a lecture organised by the Mapungubwe Institute, is said to have made this comment: “Pope Gregory decreed Catholic priests and nuns should be celibate because he wanted to reduce the temptation of bending the law to favour blood relatives.” Is this an accurate statement? Neville Gallichan
OPE St Gregory VII, who reigned from 1073-85, directed his ruling to the clergy, not to nuns. But first we need to backtrack a couple of centuries. Charlemagne became the Holy Roman Emperor in the year 800. Europe was held together politically and socially by the feudal system which was structured around the possession of land. By swearing allegiance to a feudal lord who provided them with land, nobles became his vassals. They and their dependants would receive his protection in exchange for services of different kinds. But there was an inherent problem. Among the powerful landowners were bishops and abbots who had accumulated wealth. They had vassals below them but they also were vassals to laymen overlords to whom they owed allegiance. This opened the way to abuse. Pope Gregory VII A lay overlord could nomiin an 11th-century nate a favourite to be made manuscript bishop in a comfortably affluent position. A cleric could bribe a lay lord to be given a lucrative bishopric. In the process canon law was forgotten so that wealthy prelates took office without the necessary canonical procedures. If a cleric had a wife and children, these could inherit property that rightfully belonged to the Church. This unedifying period of history called for reform. Pope Benedict VIII in 1022 prohibited children of the clergy from inheriting property, and canon law began to be reinforced from Rome. Theologians argued strongly in favour of celibacy of the clergy, pointing out how it had a solid and honourable history. In 1074 Pope St Gregory VII decreed that clergy who had obtained their office uncanonically were to be deposed. Priests may not marry and bishops may not allow them to marry. Pope Gregory was acting to enforce the requirements of canon law which, in the feudal system, had been very much overshadowed by civil law and even the whims of powerful men. Unmarried priests were far more likely to be answerable to spiritual authority in those days, being untrammelled by the demands of family and property and the temptation to possess worldly goods, and this understanding spread across Europe. Later popes carried on this reforming trend. Clerical marriages were declared null and void. At the general councils of the Lateran in 1123 and 1139 the matter was finalised and later reaffirmed at the Council of Trent in 1563.
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Pilgrimage to Medugorje & Italy
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6 to 22 September 2014 Paris, Rome, Cascia, Loreto, Osimo, Campocavallo, Macerata, Assisi, Rome: Papal Audience, S.G. Rotondo, Monte Sant’angelo, Lanciano, Ancona. Dubrovnik, Medugorje
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The Southern Cross, october 30 to November 5, 2013
In October a second group of Southern Cross pilgrims travelled to the Holy Land, Rome, Assisi and Cairo, this one led by Bishop Joe Sandri MCCJ of Witbank. Southern Cross business manager Pamela Davids represented the newspaper.
Pilgrims visit the grotto that marks the birth of our Lady in Jerusalem, situated below St Anne’s church, a perfectly preserved crusader structure near the first station of the Via Dolorosa.
Bishop Sandri and fellow pilgrims enjoy a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. Pilgrims Ingrid Setshedi and Sanjeetha Appadu reverence at the Stone of unction in Jerusalem’s church of the Holy Sepulchre. It marks the place where Jesus’ lifeless body was prepared for his entombment.
Pope Francis greets pilgrims in the rain as he arrives for his weekly general audience in St Peter’s Square. Bishop Sandri had the privilege of meeting the pope during the audience. (Photo: Paul Haring/CNS) Pilgrims enjoy climbing on the great pyramid of Cheops in Giza, just outside Cairo. It was built over a 10-to 20-year period concluding around 2560 BC.
Pilgrims reflect at the church of St Peter’s Primacy on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.
Southern Cross business manager Pamela Davids is pictured in front of the pyramids at Giza in Egypt.
Bishop Sandri celebrates Mass in the grotto of Gethsemane. The grotto marks the place where it is believed that Judas betrayed Jesus, according to a tradition documented in 333 AD by the Bordeaux Pilgrim.
Elizabeth Arendse sits on the steps on Mount Zion on which we know for certain our Lord (and our Lady and the disciples) walked. We know this because there was no other plausible route from the Mount of olives to Mount Zion, where the Last Supper took place and where the Sanhedrin’s interrogation took place.
Pilgrims visit the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi in Rome’s Navona Square. The fountain dates from the 17th century and was designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, who also designed the colonnade in St Peter’s Square and the altar of St Peter’s basilica. Behind the fountain is the 15th century church of our Lady of the Sacred Heart.
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The Southern Cross, october 30 to November 5, 2013
St Paul the Apostle
St Francis of Assisi
St Ignatius of Loyola
St Thomas Aquinas
St Thérèse of Lisieux
Pope Francis’ favourite saints St Francis of Assisi Like all Catholics, Pope Francis has his favourite saints. Drawing from the pope’s words on the subject, CAROL GLATZ compiles a list of eight saints for whom the pope has a particular devotion.
HO are the holy men and women Pope Francis looks up to? He revealed many of them in two recently published interviews. While a top-eight list does emerge from the interviews, the pope rejected one interviewer’s attempts at giving them a ranking. “Rankings are for sports or things like that. I could tell you the name of the best football players in Argentina. But the saints ...” he told Eugenio Scalfari in an interview published by the Italian daily, La Repubblica. Here then, in no exact order, are the saints Pope Francis has a particular fondness for or credits with playing an important role in his religious formation. The names are taken from the La Repubblica interview; the interview with the Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica; and a 2010 book-length compilation of interviews with Sergio Rubin and Francesca Ambrogetti, titled “Pope Francis: Conversations with Jorge Bergoglio.”
St Augustine This fifth-century Church father and theologian is a favourite of retired Pope Benedict XVI and of his successor. In a talk on the saint’s feast day on August 28, Pope Francis said Christians must follow St Augustine’s example and refuse to become “anesthetised by success, by things, by power”, but let themselves be restless for God. They also must never tire of sharing the good news of God’s love and promise of salvation with others who are as lost as the saint was.
The pope took his name after this 13th-century Italian friar. “He’s great because he is everything. He is a man who wants to do things, wants to build, he founded an order and its rules, he is an itinerant and a missionary, a poet and a prophet, he is mystical. He found evil in himself and rooted it out. He loved nature, animals, the blade of grass on the lawn and the birds flying in the sky,” the pope told La Repubblica. “But above all he loved people, children, old people, women. He is the most shining example of that agape, that is, to love one another as Jesus loved.”
St Paul the Apostle “St Paul is the one who laid down the cornerstones of our religion and our creed. You cannot be a conscious Christian without St Paul,” he told La Repubblica. “He translated the teachings of Christ into a doctrinal structure that, even with the additions of a vast number of thinkers, theologians and pastors, has resisted and still exists after two thousand years.” In a May homily, the pope said St Paul is a model for pastors because he worked with his own hands and “didn’t have money in the bank”. The apostle explained that priests and bishops must serve the flock with tenderness and love, helping them grow and protecting them from danger, Pope Francis said.
St Ignatius of Loyola St Ignatius is the 16th-century founder of the order the pope comes from, the Society of Jesus. “Jesuits,” according to Pope Francis, “were and still are the leavening—not the only one but perhaps the most effective—of Catholicism: culture, teaching, missionary work, loyalty to the pope.” Ignatius, he said, “was a reformer and a mystic”, which is critical for the Church because “a religion without mystics is a philosophy”.
St Benedict This sixth-century Italian monk is most famous for his rule for living,
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working and praying in community, which still guides the lives of Benedictine abbeys around the world. While Pope Francis has not spoken more in-depth about this saint, the Benedictine spirituality seeks a balanced way of living with prayer, work and rest that does not ignore the primacy of God. It is also about living out the Gospel by being faithful in the little things of everyday life.
photo of this 19th-century French Carmelite nun on his library shelf when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires. He told Mr Rubin: “When I have a problem I ask the saint, not to solve it, but to take it in her hands and
help me accept it, and, as a sign, I almost always receive a white rose.” In a recent homily, he said St Thérèse displayed patience, trust in God and a “spirit of humility, tenderness and goodness,” that God “wants from all of us”.
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St Thomas Aquinas This 13th-century Dominican theologian and philosopher taught that pride is humanity’s greatest enemy because it leads a person to believe he or she is self-sufficient and hinders the person from having a relationship with God. Pope Francis, too, said: “The sin that repulses me most is pride.” In an interview with Sergio Rubin and Francesca Ambrogetti, the future pope said whenever he has acted like a big shot “I have felt great embarrassment, and I ask God for forgiveness because nobody has the right to behave like this”.
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St Joseph The pope keeps in his room a statue of St Joseph sleeping, and he has a symbol of St Joseph—the spikenard flower—on his papal coat of arms. In his homily at his inaugural Mass on March 19, the feast of St Joseph, Pope Francis said that in the gospels, “St Joseph appears as a strong and courageous man, a working man, yet in his heart we see great tenderness, which is not the virtue of the weak, but rather a sign of strength of spirit and a capacity for concern, for compassion, for genuine openness to others, for love.”
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St Thérèse of Lisieux The pope used to keep a
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The Southern Cross, october 30 to November 5, 2013
Crime statistics: what do they mean? When one has been a victim of crime, statistics are meaningless, as Fr RAYMOND MWANGALA OMI explains.
RIME statistics are not just cold numbers and figures when you have been personally touched by crime. For those affected, every number represents a life shattered and violated. Often it takes only one crime to completely ruin a life. Every crime is one too many. It is thus a sad state of affairs when politicians and others try to score points using crime statistics, as is often the case, when these are released. In the space of ten months I have been personally touched by at least four incidents of crime which have affected my sense of security and keep me wondering what it is we are not doing right. The first incident happened at the local gym where I regularly go for exercise. On the fateful day, after my regular exercise, I couldn’t locate my stuff which I had securely stored away in a locker. I had the key on me and the lock was still intact, but my belongings were missing. It transpired that someone had managed to evade the security system and got away with my belongings. Thank God, I said to myself, nothing irreplaceable had been stolen. But still, since then every time I go to the gym, I can’t help but feel insecure. I have also become less trusting of those around me. The second incident happened at home. After a full day of work I
Crime leaves people shaken and violated, and less trustful of others, Fr Raymond Mwangala writes. was surprised to find a police van parked on our property when I returned. Upon inquiry I was told that a break-in had taken place during the day and belongings of the housekeeper had been stolen. A security door had been forced open for the thieves to gain entry to the room. My thoughts: outrage at the sense of violation and gratitude that no life had been lost. My third brush with crime (or near-brush) took place in the centre of town. On this day I had taken some visitors from Rome to Pietermaritzburg to see the statue of Gandhi. As we busied ourselves taking
photos, an alert shopkeeper came to warn us that he had seen a gang of four men watching us closely. He recognised them as thugs who regularly harassed people in the vicinity and robbed them of their belongings, especially electronic gadgets and wallets. My visitors and I felt so helplessly insecure. As we hurriedly left the vicinity we kept wondering where the attack would come from. Nothing happened. Thank God for the warning—but again, I felt so violated and insecure. The fourth and final incident has shaken me to the core. Thieves broke into our community house
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during the day, locked our housekeeper in the pantry and went through the house taking whatever they pleased. Again, I am grateful that no life was lost. How many lives have been lost to crime? The monetary value of the items stolen is minimal, but the sense of violation and the insecurity created is beyond measure. We have been traumatised by the incident and can’t help but wonder what it is that we are not doing right. Will installing further security measures make us any more secure? Others no doubt have suffered worse experiences of crime. This is not the point. The point is, every
crime affects someone personally and erodes their sense of security. So, whether the item lost is big or small, the damage caused is profound. It is therefore disheartening to hear politicians debating the meaning of crime statistics and trying to score points. Surely every crime committed is one too many and everything possible should be done to stop crime. There are no easy solutions to the problem: increased security, visible policing, stiffer penalties for offenders, more legislation will not, on their own, solve the problem. Socio-economic and cultural factors also need to be taken into account. Why, for instance, does it seem more profitable for some to engage in crime rather than work honestly to earn a living? Responding to particular incidences of crime is also not enough. A more holistic and integrated approach which targets root causes and which involves all sectors of society is required. Individual measures to ensure the security of our lives and property should not be overlooked, though paradoxically they often turn us into prisoners in our own homes while doing very little to improve our sense of security. Statistics will always mean different things to different people. For some, one crime is the difference between life and death. One thing though, crime should not be reduced to cold numbers and figures. It involves real people whose lives are ruined. n Fr Raymond Mwangala OMI is the dean of studies at St Joseph’s Theological Institute in Cedara, KwaZuluNatal.
Liturgical Calendar Year C Weekdays Cycle Year 1
Sunday, November 3, 31st Sunday Wisdom 11:22, 12:2, Psalm 145:1-2, 8-11, 13-14, 2 Thessalonians 1:11, 2:2, Luke 19:1-10 Monday, November 4, St Charles Borromeo Romans 11:29-36, Psalm 69:30-31, 33-34, 36-37, Luke 14:12-14 Tuesday, November 5 Wisdom 3:1-9, Psalm 23:1-6, John 6:37-40 Wednesday, November 6 Romans 13:8-10, Psalm 112:1-2, 4-5, 9, Luke 14:25- St Charles Borromeo 33 Thursday, November 7 Romans 14:7-12, Psalm 27:1, 4, 13-14, Luke 15:110 Friday, November 8, Bl John Duns Scotus Romans 15:14-21, Psalm 98:1-4, Luke 16:1-8 Saturday, November 9, Dedication of the Lateran basilica Ezekiel 47:1-2, 8-9, 12, Psalm 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9, 1 Corinthians 3:9-11, 16-17, John 2:13-22 Sunday, November 10, 32nd Sunday 2 Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14, Psalm 17:1, 5-6, 8, 15, 2 Thessalonians 2:16, 3:5, Luke 20:27-38
Our bishops’ anniversaries This week we congratulate: November 2: Bishop Valentine Tsamma Seane of Gabarone on his 46th birthday.
Southern CrossWord solutions SOLUTIONS TO 574. ACROSS: 3 Fresh fish, 8 Rent, 9 Beginning, 10 Fatted, 11 Seven, 14 Nurse, 15 Rook, 16 Tears, 18 Trap, 20 Paten, 21 Natal, 24 Barrel, 25 Legendary, 26 Vain, 27 Gratitude. DOWN: 1 Profanity, 2 Unitarian, 4 Rued, 5 Swine, 6 Funder, 7 Send, 9 Beret, 11 Stall, 12 Nocturnal, 13 Skinflint, 17 Spray, 19 Patent, 22 Audit, 23 Peer, 24 Bred.
Word of the Week
ABJURATION: In Church law, the formal renunciation of apostasy, heresy, or schism. While still in effect in exceptional cases, persons now entering the Catholic Church are not required to abjure their former doctrinal errors. Their positive profession of the Catholic faith implies their abjuration of whatever they may have once held contrary to this faith. Modern Catholic Dictionary, Fr John Hardon SJ.
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The Southern Cross, october 30 to November 5, 2013
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FALLER—Cecilia. Died November 7, 2002. Lovingly remembered by your sons and daughters and their families. Love, peace and light in the mystery of the Kingdom of God. SOKOLIC—Margrit Mathilde. Died on All Souls Day, November 2, 2012. Beloved wife of Franko and mother of Stephen, Ivan, Catherine, Franko, Mary, Angela, Andrew, Vincent, Joseph, Thomas. We long to see you again. Gentle soul, your kindness and goodness was so valued by everyone who knew you and was powerfully shown in your devotion to the souls in Purgatory and in your defence of unborn children. AS SHE ENTERED HEAVEN, SHE SAW THEM, So MANy oF THEM, CoMING ToWARDS HER AND THANKING HER. SHE ASKED WHo THEy WERE AND THEy SAID: “PooR SouLS you PRAyED FoR IN PuRGAToRy.”
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HOLY ST JUDE, apostle and martyr, great in virtue and rich in miracles, kinsman of Jesus Christ, faithful intercessor of all who invoke you, special patron in time of need. To you I have recourse from the depth of my heart and humbly beg you to come to my assistance. Help me now in my urgent need and grant my petitions. In return I promise to make your name known and publish this prayer. Amen. RCP
gRATEFUL thanks to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, our Mother Mary and Ss Joseph, Anthony, Jude and Martin de Porres for prayers answered. RCP
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32nd Sunday: November 10 Readings: 2 Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14, Psalm 17:1, 5-6, 8, 15, 2 Thessalonians 2:16-3:5, Luke 20:27-38
IGHT at the heart of Christianity is the doctrine that God raised Jesus from the dead, and that in consequence resurrection is on offer to us also. We do not always find this easy to believe; but the readings for next Sunday remind us that this is our experience of the living God. The first reading is the powerful story of the seven Jewish brothers, and their courageous mother, arrested and tortured by King Antiochus against whom the Maccabees were in revolt, to defend their ancient Jewish traditions. We only get part of the story; and this part makes it clear that it is not just a story of bravery in the face of torture and death, but also a story of belief in the resurrection of the dead, the first time in the history of the Old Testament that this belief was given clear expression. We shall do well to reflect on this reading this week, especially if we find ourselves thinking that life after death is “news too good to be true”. Our forebears in the Old Testament came to the conclusion that if God is really God, then even death, the last enemy, must yield to him (though they could not understand how it might be so). The psalm for next Sunday shows this
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solid confidence in God, as the poet asks the Lord, “Hear my plea for justice, attend to my cry...I call upon you, for you have answered me; turn your ear to me, hear my words.” The point here is that the psalmist knows that underneath the silence God is listening, and it makes sense to pray, like a young bird to its mother, “Hide me in the shadow of your wings”; and at the end there is just a hint that later turns into the possibility of resurrection: “As for me, in my righteousness let me see your face; when I awake, let me be filled with your presence.” What counts here is the experience of God; and in the end that is our best evidence for life after death. In the second reading, Paul is in no doubt about God’s victory over death; Jesus and God are, as so often, uttered in the same
breath, as he begins by speaking of “Our Lord Jesus Christ and God our father who loved us”. And the reason for that is that what happened on the Damascus road meant that Paul could no longer deny that God had raised Jesus from the dead. So Paul can ask for the Thessalonians’ prayers that, “we may be delivered from unseemly and evil human beings”; meanwhile he himself prays for them in turn that “the Lord may direct your hearts to the love of God and the endurance of Christ”. This is the God of life in whom we believe, the God who will raise us too from the dead. The gospel for next Sunday is something of a battle between the forces of light and the forces of darkness. For Jesus is under attack from various opponents, chief priests, elders, scribes; and now it is the turn of the “Sadducees”, who, as Luke points out “deny that there is any such thing as resurrection”. We know that this means trouble, and like many aggressive unbelievers today, they offer Jesus a “trick-question”. This consists of an imaginary single woman who finds herself marrying a series of
We need pew and academy HERE has always been an innate and healthy tension between theology and catechesis, between what’s happening in theology departments in universities and the church pew. Theologians and bishops are often not each other’s favourite people. And that’s understandable. Why? Theology and catechesis have different purposes, even as both are valid and both are needed. Catechesis, in essence, is an effort to teach the fundamentals of the faith. Indeed, in its original Greek, catechesis means “echoing”. Thus catechesis is not so much an effort to understand the faith as it is to simply “echo” it, namely, to transmit it as clearly as possible. A catechist, then, is not trying to prove the foundations of the faith, although he or she may be trying to give a certain apologetics or rationale for it. Catechesis does not search for intellectual difficulties or seeming contradictions in the doctrines it teaches, its intent is rather to teach those truths and dogmas to those for whom they are still relatively new. And its audience is precisely those for whom its truths are still relatively new, namely, the neophyte, the religious novice. Catechesis is therefore, by definition, an essentially conservative endeavour. Its aim is not so much to stretch minds to new places as it is to teach the basics, to impart principles that help hold minds together. Catechesis tries to build a foundation inside a person, not stretch that foundation.
Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI
Theology, on the other hand, does not simply try to echo the faith, it seeks to understand it and articulate it in a language that makes it palatable to a questioning and critical mind. For more than 900 years, for the most part, Christianity has accepted St Anselm's definition of theology as “faith seeking understanding”. If Anselm is right, then the task of theology is to critically examine the Christian faith, both in terms of what faith itself is and in terms of what is contained in our Christian dogmas, so as to produce a vision of both faith and dogma that can handle all the questions that can be thrown at them both from inside the Church and from outside sceptics. Hence, the audience for theology differs from the audience for catechesis. Theology has three ideal audiences: church-goers who are already catechised and are seeking a deeper intellectual grasp of their faith; the academy of learning (universities, colleges, the arts, intellectual centres) where faith and dogma are often questioned; and the culture and world as a whole where Christianity has to justify itself and justify itself intellectually. Theology therefore is an essentially lib-
“He’s one of our more versatile servers”
eral endeavour. Why? We say theology is liberal for the same reason that we never speak of a “conservative arts college”. That would be an oxymoron. Institutions of higher learning—universities, schools of art and the like—are, as Cardinal Newman classically articulated in his book on education, The Idea of a University, by definition liberal. They are intended to stretch people, to make them deal with difficult and critical questions, to bring them to a level of maturity within their discipline (faith and dogma, in this case) so as to leave them unafraid to face whatever issues arise, and to help them to be leaders in their field. Catechesis seeks to produce an orthodox disciple; theology seeks to produce an informed leader. The Church needs both. It needs to emphasise both catechesis and theology, focusing both on those who need to learn the essentials of their faith and on those who are trying to make intellectual sense of their faith. There is, admittedly, an innate tension between the two. The pew invariably feels that theologians are too liberal; while theologians tend to look warily at the pew, concerned that the hard questions are not being addressed. However, it should never be a question of either/or, but always of both/and. The Church needs people who are solidly catechised, who know clearly the essentials of their faith, even as it needs people who have tried to articulate that faith at a more critical level and have stared without fear or denial into the fierce storm of intellectual objections to, ecclesial angers at, and every kind of protest against the faith. Orthodoxy is important, but it’s meant to be as much a trampoline from which to spring as it’s meant to be a container that holds you. For example, the word “seminary” comes from the Latin seminarium, meaning a “greenhouse”. A greenhouse isn’t a place to grow an oak tree. It’s a place to put young, tender, seedling plants that need protection from the harsher outdoor climate. The relationship between catechesis and theology might be characterised in the same way. Catechesis is the seminary, a necessary place to start and protect young and overly-tender plants, whereas theology is a less-protected place where you ultimately grow the oak tree.
husbands, all brothers, in order, in accordance with the law of Moses, to raise up a successor for their elder brother. They all failed in the task, and all died; so the question then becomes: To whom is she married in the afterlife? Jesus sweeps away what is (to our ears at least) a thoroughly silly question, with a magisterial interpretation of the encounter between Moses and God in Exodus 3, where God describes himself as “God of Abraham, and God of Isaac and God of Jacob”. Now the point of this argument is that it takes scriptural evidence from one of the only five biblical books that the Sadducees regarded as authoritative, namely Exodus, and adopts a very striking and original form of argument based on it. The argument is that if God is indeed the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, then they cannot be dead, for “God is not the God of corpses but the God of the living—for they are all alive to him”. So there is no point in asking questions about marriage after death. The important thing is to pay attention to the living God, and not play silly games. So they need to take seriously the doctrine of resurrection—and so do we.
Southern Crossword #574
ACROSS 3. Jesus served it for breakfast (5,4) 8. The landlord’s due (4) 9. In the commencement of the Bible (9) 10. The calf that was slain (Lk 15) (6) 11. Sacramental number (5) 14. She’s usually found in hospital (5) 15. Crow on the chessboard (4) 16. Those that sow in ... will reap in joy (Ps 126) (5) 18. This kind of door could let you down (4) 20. Plate for the sacred Host (5) 21. It has to do with your being born (5) 24. Roll it out from the brewery (6) 25. Fabled green lady (9) 26. Ivan turns out to be conceited (4) 27. One leper showed it (9)
DOWN 1. If no party, there could be blasphemy (9) 2. He doesn’t accept the Trinity (9) 4. Rude way to have regretted (4) 5. Jesus sent the demons into them (Mt 8) (5) 6. One who supports your appeal for money (6) 7. Cause to go on a mission (4) 9. Be retained inside a hat (5) 11. Stop the progress on the stable (5) 12. During the night (9) 13. Miser (9) 17. Prays about the bunch of flowers (5) 19. 20 across with a letter is obvious (6) 22. Inspect the accounts (5) 23. Look at one in the House of Lords (4) 24. Produced offspring (4)
Solutions on page 11
T the end of a funeral service the pallbearers accidentally bumped into a wall. Hearing a faint moan, they opened the coffin and found out that the woman inside was alive. For ten more years, she enjoyed good health and then suddenly died. As the pallbearers again made their way towards the door with her coffin, the husband cried out: “Watch out for the wall!” Send us your favourite Catholic joke, preferably clean and brief, to The Southern Cross, Church Chuckle, Po Box 2372, Cape Town, 8000.
Published on Oct 29, 2013