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April 30 to May 6, 2014
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ELECTION 2014: The parties and Catholic teachings
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Prof Al Gini: What is moral courage?
Priest killed in car crash was a ‘great preacher’ BY CLAIRE MATHIESON
A Pope Francis carries a candle as he arrives to celebrate the Easter Vigil in St Peter’s basilica at the Vatican. His newly-appointed personal secretary is from the African continent, and the first member of an Eastern Catholic rite in that position. (Photo: Paul Haring/CNS)
Coptic priest chosen as pope’s private secretary
COPTIC priest from Egypt has been named second personal secretary to Pope Francis. Mgr Yoannis Lahzi Gaid is a priest of the Coptic patriarchate of Alexandria. His appointment came after Mgr Alfred Xuereb was transferred from his position as Pope Francis’ first personal secretary to being prelate secretary-general of the Secretariat for the Economy. In the position of personal secretary Mgr Lahzi Gaid will be among the pope’s closest collaborators. This marks the first time that an Eastern Catholic priest has been appointed to the position. Mgr Fabian Pedacchio Leaniz, who had been second to Mgr Xuereb and is a priest of the Buenos Aires archdiocese, is now first secretary to the pope, and Mgr Lahzi Gaid will assist him. As second secretary, Mgr Lahzi Gaid will aid the Holy Father in his daily life, with such tasks as translating and answering personal correspondence in the pope’s name. Mgr Lahzi Gaid currently serves in the Secretariat of State, and is known for reading the Gospel and summarising the pope’s
comments in Arabic at the general papal audiences. He has also served as translator for Pope Francis’ meetings with Arabic-speaking delegates, including at his recent encounter with Mahmoud Abbas, president of the state of Palestine. Mgr Lahzi Gaid has lived for some time at Domus Sanctæ Marthæ guesthouse in the Vatican, where Pope Francis resides, according to Vatican Insider’s Andrea Tornielli. Born in 1975 in Cairo, he speaks Italian, French and English, in addition to his native Arabic. He attended the Coptic Catholic seminary in Cairo, and then the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome, earning a doctorate in the canon law of the Eastern Churches. Mgr Lahzi Gaid has worked at the nunciatures to Congo, Gabon, Iraq, and Jordan. In 2011, following attacks against the Coptic Orthodox community in Alexandria which killed 21 and injured eight, he wrote an open letter to the imam of Al Azhar University, who had regarded Benedict XVI’s condemnation of the attacks as an interference.—CNA
CHARISMATIC priest who had won “innumerable souls for God through his powerful preaching” was killed in a head-on collision near Seven Oaks in Muden, KwaZulu-Natal, on Easter Sunday. Fr Sicelo Vilakazi TOR, 34, was travelling home to Mbongolwane in his Toyota Hilux bakkie when he collided with a flatbed towing vehicle on the R33. The tow truck was transporting a broken down vehicle at the time. Both vehicles were found several metres apart, with the young priest lying several meters away from the vehicle. Fr Vilakazi, who hailed from Gomane at Impendle, KwaZulu-Natal, was declared dead on the scene. The driver of the towing vehicle sustained only minor injuries and was later transported to Greytown Hospital for further care. The exact cause of the accident was unclear at the time of going to print. The incident was handed over to the local police for further investigation. Many, including Cardinal Wilfrid Napier of Durban, took to social networks to display their grief. The cardinal called the news “dreadful”, while others spoke of Fr Vilakazi’s gift of preaching. One said that “we have lost a powerful and dynamic preacher; a great priest—a man who truly loved the people of God”. Fr Vilakazi was ordained to the priesthood on January 16, 2010, seven years after he had been received into the novitiate of the Franciscan Friars of the Third Order Regular. After his ordination he worked at Good
Shepherd parish in Phoenix, Durban. He then served as the pastoral administrator of Our Lady of Lourdes cathedral in Umzimkulu until October last year when he became priest in charge of St Joseph’s mission in Eshowe diocese until the time of his death. Fr Ntlalontle Vincent Dlamini, a fellow Third Order Regular, said Fr Vilakazi was an intellectual, a hard worker, and had good communication skills. “Shortly after his arrival here at St Joseph’s mission the number of parishioners attending Sunday service increased,” Fr Dlamini noted. Some believe Fr Vilakazi had a premonition of his imminent death. During his last Mass, on Easter Sunday, he reportedly said: "Let us offer each other the sign of peace— maybe this is my last Passover”. He then shook the hand of everyone who had attended the service, said Fr Dlamini. “Through his death many Catholics, and even non-Catholics, have been hit with a grievous blow,” Fr Dlamini said. “However,” he added, “within that short period of time God had given him, he did God’s work with excellence.” n Videos of Fr Vilakazi preaching at the tenth anniversary of Fr S’milo Mngadi’s ordination in 2012 are on YouTube at bit.ly/1iaS2PN and bit.ly/1nE663G
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Southern Cross to Fatima • Lourdes • Avila with Bishop João Rodrigues & Günther Simmermacher Join The Southern Cross and the Diocese of Tzaneen on a Pilgrimage of Prayer for the Sainthood Cause of Benedict Daswa to places of Our Lady in France, Spain & Portugal!
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The Southern Cross, April 30 to May 6, 2014
Catholic school calls for Catholics STAFF REPORTER
ATHER Christopher Neville OFM has been chaplain to Holy Family College, Durban, for the past six years, during which time he has seen “firsthand the positive effects of a Catholic-based school education”. He has called for the Catholic community to support their schools. The Franciscan said a Christian ethos permeates every facet of school life and “this is as it should be”. Fr Neville said there was a vital need for the growth of the whole person and not just academic growth. This was true, he said, of both teachers and learners. “Here at Holy Family the deep spirituality of venerable Pierre Noailes—the founder of the Holy Family Sisters—continues to be lived on the school campus and thus in the lives of those involved here at college,” he said. The biggest reason why Catholic education has such a positive impact is “the reality of the presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ, sacramentally present in the tabernacle of the school chapel, where pupils and staff frequently come to pray,” Fr Neville said. But relatively few Catholic parents send their children to Catholic schools. The chaplain said the religious formation and positive environment the learner receives from Catholic schools should make them a first choice. He praised the dedication and
South Sudan down, not out STAFF REPORTER
I Holy Family College in Durban has seen intake rocketing, but very few pupils are from Catholic families. commitment of religious formation teachers in Catholic schools. The college ensures each grade experiences two hours of religious education per week. The classes are lively and based on scripture, the teachings of the Catholic Church and Theology of the Body. Fr Neville said it was clear that the learners’ relationship with God was enhanced. In a further positive display, learners come “voluntarily to the celebrations of Mass and the chapel has now become too small to accommodate them all”. A new chapel is being planned, even though the school has only a very small percentage of Catholic learners—a number which is not increasing. But while Catholics are not in-
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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creasing in number, overall intake has skyrocketed and a new primary school has been built in order to meet the higher intake of learners this year. “I would like to appeal to parish priests to inform their parishioners of the existence of our Catholic schools,” Fr Neville told The Southern Cross, adding that the growth of Holy Family should be because people see the value in Catholic education, especially Catholics. He also called on the community to contribute to the school’s growth and towards church pews and a church bell. n For further information or to find out where you can assist, contact Mrs Bronwyn Arnold via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 031 205 5083.
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Women construct a shelter in a camp for internally displaced persons camp in Turalei, South Sudan. (Photo: Paul Jeffrey/CNS) agreement was signed, the fighting still continues. “Face to face negotiations between the parties to the conflict have not begun. The immediate call is for a cessation of hostilities, followed by an inclusive dialogue to find a lasting and sustainable solution,” said Fr O’Leary. “The churches and civil society have been invited to the negotiations. The fear is that if there is not an end to hostilities, a major humanitarian crisis could hit the country in a few months’ time. Though the rainy season has arrived, crops have not been sown and hunger and famine are a looming reality.” The South African delegation shared their experience, explaining how the Codesa process was able to confront and overcome many diverse views, expectations and positions that faced the new South African state; a process sorely lacking in South Sudan. Fr O’Leary said there was still a chance for a South Sudan success story. “Out of the ashes of this tragedy comes a call for a new beginning that would honour the diversity that exists in South Sudan and provide new guidelines to put the country back on its feet. The question the delegation came away with is whether or not there is enough goodwill in the country to make this happen?” The DHPI/CPLO commitment is to continue to journey with the churches in South Sudan towards that new beginning.
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N the spirit of solidarity, a delegation from the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference travelled to South Sudan, coinciding with a church/civil society peace conference. Fr Seán O’Leary from the Denis Hurley Peace Institute (DHPI) and Mike Pothier from the Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office (CPLO) travelled to the capital, Juba. After months of conflict it was “quiet though the tension was palpable and the recent tragic events are vivid in the minds of the people”, Fr O’Leary said. “Visits were made to both the Catholic and Anglican archbishops and to the South Sudan Council of Churches and on all occasions a deep sense of gratitude was expressed for the visit,” he said. The peace conference afforded an opportunity to hear first-hand accounts of the tragic events that took place in Malakal and Juba. Fr O’Leary said the scale of the violence was “alarming”, adding that hundreds died and thousands were forced into either exile or UN camps. The intervention of the Ugandan army was much appreciated and hailed for preventing a possible genocide, he told The Southern Cross. However, trying to find out the cause of the outbreak of violence proved a difficult task. “There seem to have been a number of contributing factors, chief among which were internal squabbling within the ruling government, an inability to handle ethnic diversity, and a serious inability to govern the new independent state, coupled with widespread claims of corruption,” Fr O’Leary said. There is still hope. The Intergovernmental Authority on Development mediation process in Addis Ababa, made up of eight neighbouring African states, seems to be the “one hope that peace can eventually return to South Sudan”, the priest said. Though it has been some months since the cessation of hostilities
December 9 - 18: 8-day Directed Retreats by Fr Urs Fischer and Br Crispin Graham.
The SACBC Aids Office organised training for childcare workers, seen above, in orphan and vulnerable children’s projects Ahanang (Sebokeng), Ekuthuleni (Leandra), Tiyimiseleni (Hazyview) and Vezokuhle (Hazyview). Successful training leads to a recognised qualification. The training was conducted at Lumko in Benoni by the National Association of Child Care Workers.
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The Southern Cross, April 30 to May 6, 2014
Dutch build homes for orphans BY JOHAN VILJOEN
Nine Schoenstatt sisters have celebrated jubilees. Diamond jubilee: Srs Edith Raidt, Eleonarda Dehler, Mary Teresa Lyons, Augusta Mandel. Golden jubilee: Srs Elinor Tilgner, Kathleen Sauren, Glynis Kirchhoffer, Margareta Bittner. Silver jubilee: Sr Joanne Petersen. The sisters are pictured with Fr Bieberger, director-general of the Schoenstatt sisters, visiting from Germany.
Luxury safari prize up for grabs STAFF REPORTER
SAFARI for two worth R35 000 is up for grabs in a raffle to raise funds for a cash-strapped convent in KwaZuluNatal—and the winning entry is scheduled to be drawn live on air on Radio Veritas by Fr Emil Blaser OP in August. The raffle is being organised by two businessmen to raise funds for a cash-strapped convent of the Capuchin Poor Clare Sisters in Umzumbe on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast. Each ticket costs R100, and a maximum of only 1 000 will be sold, by a bank transfer into a Standard Bank account which has been set up especially for the raffle. The prize is a 5-day, 4-night luxury safari for two people at private lodges in the Balule section of the Kruger National Park. Included in the package are return airfares from the winners’ nearest airport to Johannesburg from where a Viva Sa-
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faris minibus will transfer the winners to the Kruger Park. The prize is valued at about R35 000. The raffle is sponsored by Laurence Saad of Ezulwini Lodges and Piero Colia, the owner of Viva Safaris, a tour operator specialising in Kruger Park safaris The Capuchin Poor Clare Sisters of Capuchin Adoration convent is an enclosed community of 17 sisters from different countries and backgrounds who maintain a perpetual adoration before the Blessed Sacrament 24 hours a day. Entry into the raffle is through bank transfer. Importantly, the reference number on the bank transfer must be the person’s cell number, to which the raffle number will be sent by SMS. n The banking details are: Standard Bank Account: CAPUCHIN CONVENT UMZUMBE—RAFFLE; Account no: 053431901; Branch: Umhlanga, Branch code: 05 7829; Account type: Savings; Reference: Your cellphone number.
O RFO R D
PARTNERSHIP between the Aids Office of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference and the Dutch NGO Homeplan has resulted in the building of more than 300 brick houses for Aids orphans since 2010. The houses, built with corrugated iron roofs, 2 500-litre rainwater tanks and pit latrines, are built every year when Homeplan sends a group of its donors on a bouwreis (building trip). They visit one of the communities where houses are being built, stay with local families for a week, experience the life of the local community, and physically assist with building houses. This year they visited Pomeroy in Msinga district, Dundee diocese. The group consisted of ten Dutch women and five men, who arrived in Pomeroy to a warm welcome by the Augustinian Sisters who had erected a tent and prepared a welcoming meal. The Dutch visitors slept in the church hall that evening and the following day were taken to their host families. They were received with over-
RCHBISHOP William Slattery of Pretoria has reassured South African Catholics that protection of children is an essential priority of the Catholic Church. The statement was released in order to clarify the Church’s stance following a case of abuse brought against a priest in Pretoria. “The Church will endeavour to ensure that the full truth comes out and that the issues are dealt with properly, professionally and sensitively,” he said. The archbishop said any person who is aware of sexual abuse of a young person under the age of 18,
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whelming hospitality by their hosts. In some houses, the hosts had bought new bedding and duvet sets. In one house, a group of 60 orphans performed traditional Zulu dances for the visitors. In another house, the host family slaughtered a goat in honour of the visitors. During the day, the Dutch helped build houses for the orphans. They managed to complete nearly seven during the week they were there. At the end of the week, the visi-
Church ‘exceptionally safe’ for children’
Mirjam van Eelderen and one of the children at Ngabayena, Pomeroy, in the Dundee diocese, where houses for Aids orphans were built.
tors returned to the mission with their host families, builders and orphan beneficiaries of the new houses. Bishop Graham Rose celebrated Mass. This was followed by a braai, and a display of traditional Zulu dancing. The Dutch visitors reported that the week was a life-changing experience. They were saddened by the extreme poverty they encountered. None had ever lived without running water, electricity or waterborne sewerage before. But they were deeply moved by the hospitality and warmth of Pomeroy’s people. The visitors were profoundly impressed by the commitment of the Augustinians, who have been in Pomeroy since the early 1960s, providing health care at their Noyi Bazi clinic, and relief programmes for orphans and the poor. One volunteer, Susan Hartman, is a paediatrician in the Netherlands. She spent a day working with Sr Dolores Nzimande in the clinic. She said that the nurses deal with more serious medical emergencies than doctors in the Netherlands do, and that they run their clinic with clockwork efficiency.
is under obligation to report this to the police or to a social worker. They should also report it to the Church if it concerns a Catholic religious or priest. “The Church in South Africa has a protocol which has been in place since 1999 to address these matters,” he said. It will set up a team, including independent professionals, to investigate such allegations. This team will speak with the complainant, the victim, the respondent, and all witnesses concerned. “If a report of an abuse first comes to the Church rather than to the police, the Church will always advise the complainants that they must take this evidence to the po-
lice or to a social worker. This is, in fact, what happened in this most recent case,” said Archbishop Slattery. The archbishop said the Catholic Church is an “exceptionally safe place for young children”. He referred to the scores of abused children cared for by the Church in Pretoria, but added that “there have been cases in which the Church failed” and the fact that “the media exposes and investigates these allegations is both necessary and helpful”. Archbishop Slattery stressed the Church will fully cooperate with the state so that, above all, innocent children are protected.
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The Southern Cross, April 30 to May 6, 2014
Italian churches suffer looting of artworks BY JuDITH HARRIS
GOLD cross ripped from the altar of a mountain church. Two 18th-century carved and gilded wooden cherubs. An entire tabernacle hacked from a wall. These are just a few of the objects stolen from Italian churches in the first three months of 2014. As a treasury of art and archaeology, Italy tops UNESCO’s World Heritage listing, with 49 officially recognised sites. Mosaics, illuminated medieval manuscripts and Renaissance and Baroque paintings and statues have found their way from Italy into museums and private collections around the world. Such riches make the country especially tempting for looters. And because museums are more closely guarded than in the past, churches have become targets of a growing share of art crimes, accounting for over half of all such thefts during the first eight months of 2013. An especially notorious case remains: that of a 60cm-tall statuette of Baby Jesus, carved from the wood of an olive tree from Gethsemane by a Franciscan friar in the 15th century and traditionally kept in Rome’s ancient basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli. Known affectionately as the Bambinello (the little baby), the statuette was the centrepiece of the church’s Christmas manger scene. The Bambinello would occasionally leave the church, borne in its personal carriage, to the homes of the deathly ill. The statuette was stolen in 1994 and has never been recovered. The good news is that, despite
A broken window in the church of San Pietro della Ienca, near L’Aquila, from where thieves stole a relic of St John Paul II’s blood. They threw away the later recovered relic but kept its reliquary. (Photo: Max Rossi, Reuters/CNS) Right: A “Madonna and Child” by Givanni Bellini (1430-1516) was stolen in 1993 from a church in Venice and has not been recovered. the comparative upsurge, church thefts have fallen sharply in absolute terms. The 1 115 objects stolen from Italian churches in the first eight months of 2013 represented a decline of one-third over the same period the previous year. “Dear friend, listen to your conscience,” Fr Bruno Antonellis said shortly after Christmas, publicly appealing for the return of antique cult objects taken from his parish church in the town of Sora, about 120km south-east of Rome. “The church is always open. You should find a way to give back anonymously what you have taken. I don’t want to call you a thief.” Those objects have not yet been returned to Sora, but the overall recovery rate for stolen church prop-
erty has vastly improved in recent years, owing to tighter controls on auction houses, galleries and art fairs, and to more international cooperation. Most importantly, a databank compiled by Italy’s Carabinieri military police lists 5 million objects, some missing for decades, and features 450 000 images that can be compared with items offered for sale.
n November, police recovered an “Adoration of Baby Jesus” attributed to a student of the 15th-century master Filippo Lippi. The painting, in tempera on wood, had been stolen in 1970 from the ancient Collegiata of Santa Maria Assunta church at Castell’Arquato in the region of Reggio-Emilia.
Such masterpieces have become increasingly hard to market, so less easily identified objects such as candelabra and chalices have become more popular as loot. In pawn shops in a single Tuscan town, Forte dei Marmi, Carabinieri investigators recently recovered some 100kg of items stolen from churches and sold by weight. Some thieves may have more sinister incentives than making money. When chalices and other objects, including ciboria containing consecrated hosts, were taken from five churches in the northwestern city of Turin, Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia warned of the possible involvement of Satanic cults. Thieves don’t always appreciate the real value of what they take.
The culprits in Turin “probably think the ciboria are made of gold and silver,” Archbishop Nosiglia said. “Well, they are wrong.” In January, three youths broke into a tiny church in the mountain town of San Pietro della Ienca, about 135km north-east of Rome, and stole a reliquary containing a postage-stamp-sized piece of cloth stained with the blood of St John Paul II, shed the day he was shot in 1981. Fifty Carabinieri were assigned to find the missing items. Once arrested, the trio confessed, and all was recovered. It turned out the thieves had thrown away the relic—which was recovered—but kept its simple iron container. In Palermo, Sicily, thieves broke into a chapel 44 years ago and made off with a large Nativity painted by Michelangelo Caravaggio in 1608. A Mafia underling who turned state’s evidence claimed it had been placed against a wall as a backdrop at meetings of the Cupola, the Sicilian Mafia’s highest council. The painting was then hidden in a stable, he said, where it was eaten by pigs and rats before its remnants were burned. But the FBI still lists the painting among the top 10 missing works of art. To help reduce the number of such thefts, the Carabinieri’s heritage protection squad has published a 48-page manual advising parish priests and heads of other religious institutions on how to protect their premises and property. And at the busiest churches, the ones that draw flocks of tourists, volunteers should serve as “guardian angels” looking over the precious patrimony.—CNS
The Five First Saturdays - Mary’s Great Promise at Fatima!
On 10 December, 1925 Lucia received a visit from Mary with the Child Jesus, who said, "Have compassion on the Heart of your Most Holy Mother, surrounded with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce Her at every moment, without there being anyone to make an act of reparation in order to take them away." Our Lady then promised Sr. Lucia that she would assist at the hour of death, with the graces necessary for salvation, all those who on the first Saturdays of five consecutive months:1. go to Confession (within eight days before or after ) 2. receive Holy Communion (obviously in a state of grace) 3. say 5 decades of the Rosary (ie one mystery)
4. keep Her company for 15 minutes whilst meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary 5. all this with the intention of consoling and offering reparation to Her Immaculate Heart
The Reasons for this Devotion:
On May 29, 1930, Our Lord explained to Sr. Lucia why five First Saturdays: “My daughter the reason is simple. Against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, five kinds of offenses and blasphemies are committed: ♦ against the Immaculate Conception. ♦ against the Virginity of Our Lady. ♦ against Her Divine Maternity - the refusal to accept her as Mother of all mankind. ♦ those who publicly seek to sow in children’s hearts indifference, contempt and even hatred for our Immaculate Mother. ♦ those who insult Her directly in Her holy images/statues.”
The Origin of the Five First Saturdays:
On July 13, 1917, Our Lady appeared at Fatima to the three seers Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco and revealed a three part secret to them. The first part was a vision of hell, which was so terrible that Lucia later declared that if it were not for Our Lady’s presence, they would have died of fright. After the vision was over, Our Lady spoke thus: “You saw Hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them God wishes to establish devotion to my Immaculate Heart in the world. If they do what I shall tell you, many souls will be saved, and there will be peace.” “I will come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart (MMP 351e; 356e; 437k) and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays (MMP180). If they listen to my requests, Russia will be converted and there will be peace. If not, it will spread its errors throughout the world, promoting wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, and many nations will be annihilated……”
"...in the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph!"
Act of Consecration to The Immaculate Heart of Mary
“My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the sure way that will lead you to God” (MMP 572)
“O Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of Heaven and earth, and tender Mother of all, in accordance with your ardent wish made known at Fatima, I consecrate to you myself/my family/my parish/my diocese/my country, and all those I love and pray for. Reign over us and teach us how to make the Heart of Jesus reign and triumph in us, and around us, as it triumphed in You. Reign over us dearest Mother, that we may be yours in prosperity and in adversity, in joy and in sorrow, in health and in sickness, in life and in death. O Most compassionate Heart of Mary, Queen of Virgins, watch over our minds and hearts. Preserve and heal them from the deluge of impurity which You lamented so sorrowfully at Fatima. We want to atone for the many crimes committed against Jesus and Yourself. We want to call upon our country, and the whole world, the peace of God, in justice and charity. We want to be pure like You.” Amen.
INTERNATIONAL Who killed Catholic radio man?
HE Jesuits in Honduras have demanded an investigation into the murder of a media worker affiliated with a pair of Jesuit nongovernmental organisations. Carlos Mejia Orellana, 35, marketing director of the Jesuits’ Radio Progreso, was stabbed to death at his home in El Progreso, near the city of San Pedro Sula, on April 11, despite there being an order of protection for him. Mr Mejia also worked with the Jesuit nongovernmental group the Team for Reflection, Investigation and Communication. “This is a direct blow, not only to our colleague and his family, but also a frontal blow to the work that we do as Radio Progreso and the Team for Reflection, Investigation and Communication,” said Fr Ismael Moreno, director of Radio Progreso. Radio Progreso has been critical of the economic, security and human rights situations in Honduras and opposed a June 2009
coup, which removed then-President Manuel Zelaya. Fr Moreno told The New York Times during the coup that Radio Progreso employees had received death threats. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ordered the Honduran government to provide protection to Fr Moreno and 17 others at Radio Progreso after the coup. But Amnesty International noted in a statement: “The authorities have failed to investigate any of the multiple threats received by the Radio Progreso media workers to date or to provide them with effective protection measures.” Mr Mejia’s murder was a reminder of the dangers for those working in the media in Honduras, where impunity is rife and the murder rate tops more than 80 per 100 000 residents—the highest in the hemisphere. By contrast, the murder rate in South Africa, the sixth-highest in the world, was 31 per 100 000 in 2012.—CNS
Vatican lifts veto on priest BY JuDITH HARRIS
FTER nearly half a century, the Vatican has dropped its veto on the writings of a popular Italian priest, and his role in the Church is being re-evaluated, said the archbishop of Florence. Fr Lorenzo Milani was a heroic figure to many Italians for decades. Born in 1923 to a family of nonbelievers, he was converted to Catholicism in his late teens and then served as a parish priest in a small town of poor farmers and factory workers. When his book Esperienze pastorali (“Pastoral Experiences”) was published in 1958, its progressive tone scandalised many. Don Milani wrote that the modernisation of Italy was bringing “development but not progress,” and that the Church had become less important to ordinary people “than the cut of a pair of trousers, a good snooze, making money, having a good time”. The Church itself, he wrote, had become more involved in “ritual” than faith. In December 1958, the Congre-
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gation for the Doctrine of the Faith judged the book “inopportune” and ordered it “withdrawn from commerce and not to be reprinted or translated”. This action has been re-evaluated as based on “contingent situations,” Cardinal Giuseppe Betori told the Catholic weekly Toscana Oggi. Fr Milani’s book is being reprinted in recognition of its contribution to the Italian Catholic heritage, “and in particular the heritage of the Florentine Church,” said the cardinal, who sent a copy of the book to Pope Francis last November. “The book contained no doctrinal deviation, but it was considered too socially advanced to be read by Catholics,” Michele Gesualdi, president of the Don Milani Foundation, told the online magazine Firenze Post. Don Milani died in 1967 at age 44. His role in the Church is expected to be honoured at a 2015 national ecclesiastical conference in Florence, which Pope Francis is expected to attend.—CNS
The Southern Cross, April 30 to May 6, 2014
Christian unity lives in the people of the Holy Land S BY JuDITH SuDILOVSKY
UHEIR Saliba was running late as she prepared to go to the Easter Divine Liturgy with her husband, Aimad Kamal, and his family. Mrs Saliba, a Catholic, had a late night. She, along with other Catholic and Greek Orthodox residents of the village of Jifna in the West Bank, had attended the ceremony welcoming the holy fire at St George Greek Orthodox church. Fr Firas Aridah of St Joseph Catholic church was also at St George, where Greek Orthodox Father George Awad lit his candle with the holy fire. Later, after the Greek Orthodox reception, Fr Aridah celebrated Mass at St Joseph. Mrs Saliba joined her family at Mass in the Catholic church where she was raised. Some of the Greek Orthodox parishioners stayed for the Mass, too. In Israel and the Palestinian territories, where Christians make up a little less than 2% of the population, it is difficult to find a family where there is no “intermarriage” between people from different Christian denominations. In Palestinian tradition, the women join their husband’s church after marriage, raising their children in that church, but most women also continue to attend religious ceremonies in the church where they were raised. On an international level, relations between Catholics and Orthodox have not always been so positively familial. In fact, it was only 50 years ago that Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarch
Suheir Saliba, who is Catholic, walks with her Greek Orthodox husband, Aimad Kamal in Jifna, West Bank. Christian families in the Holy Land often have members of several different religious denominations. (Photo: Debbie Hill/CNS) Athenagoras of Constantinople met in Jerusalem and launched a new relationship marked by forgiveness and dialogue. Pope Francis planned his May 24-26 trip to the Holy Land to commemorate the 50th anniversary at the invitation of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, whom he will meet on May 25. Mrs Saliba’s mother was raised Greek Orthodox, but married her father, who was a Catholic. Two of her maternal uncles belong to the tiny Seventh Day Adventist Church, and a third uncle belongs to the Lutheran Church. “For me it doesn’t matter where I pray, I am attending God’s house. How the prayers are said does not
matter,” she said. On Sundays she attends Mass with her mother at the Catholic church and for holidays and special ceremonies she goes with her husband to the Greek Orthodox church. She said sometimes it is difficult to follow the Orthodox prayers, so she simply prays in her heart. Bishop William Shomali, chancellor of the Latin patriarchate of Jerusalem, said that while Greek Orthodox priests are not permitted to concelebrate Mass at a Catholic church, they are often present at Catholic religious ceremonies as a sign of unity. Fuad Farah, a Greek Orthodox community elder in Nazareth, Israel, said the different affiliations are a non-issue, and nobody even ever thinks about it. He used his own family as an example: While he belongs to the Greek Orthodox Church, his wife is a Protestant, and two of his daughters are married to Catholics. “We [Christians] are a small minority and there are too many denominations,” he said. “There is no problem for us. Sometimes [when the holiday dates are different] we celebrate them once, sometimes we celebrate them twice. We are the most interdenominational community in the world.” This year the date for Easter coincided on the Catholic and Greek Orthodox calendars, and Holy Land church leaders have decided that, beginning next year, they always will celebrate Easter on the same date. During Holy Week, Fr Yacoub Rafidi, a Catholic from Jifna who Continued on page 11
The Southern Cross, April 30 to May 6, 2014
LEADER PAGE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Voting is a Catholic responsibility
Editor: Günther Simmermacher
The Catholic voter
HE perfect Catholic politician, if there could be such a thing, would be a true servant of the people he—or, indeed, she—was appointed to represent and serve. He would be profoundly concerned with issues of social justice and with peace, among the citizens he serves and among nations. He would strongly resist elective military action, placing dialogue and negotiation before acts of belligerence. He would exercise a preferential option for the poor, and oppose unwarranted spending on armaments. He would be, by inclination and in practice, solidly pro-life and pro-family. He would oppose abortion, euthanasia and capital punishment alike. He would regard policies and practices that mutilate the environment as an affront to God’s creation, and take action accordingly. He would stand up to corruption, nepotism and political dealmaking. He would take the good fight to those who exploit and defraud the people by acts such as price-fixing and other forms of collusion. He would defend the right of workers to strike for a fair salary, but also safeguard the people from the effects of undue excesses in industrial actions. He would exercise his faith within a political ministry, independent of secular ideology or party line. His private life would be a model of integrity. And he would do all that without compromising his obligations to his constituents, not all of whom may be Catholic. Such a politician is rare, if he exists at all. Certainly, within systems of direct representation— such as those in the United States and Britain—he would find it difficult to be elected, or perhaps even to raise the requisite funds to fight an election campaign. And because such a politician would not tolerate corruption, incompetence, mismanagement and other characteristics of the modern politician, but act with an independent sense of virtue, he would probably not be in the mainstream of popular parties— even as the members of these parties and the public cry out for ethical leaders. Of course, no political party embraces all the policies and at-
tributes of our ideal Catholic politician. Nevertheless, these considerations are on the agenda this year for Catholics in South Africa as they prepare to participate in the national elections on May 7. Our feature this week on how the policies of South Africa’s political parties measure up to the teachings of the Church, according to a study by the Justice & Peace Commission of the archdiocese of Cape Town, will aid the faithful in identifying which parties are compatible with their faith, and which are not. This is not an empirical exercise. How we vote depends on our priorities, as Catholics and as citizens. For example, some Catholics support the African Christian Democratic Party, even if it is an imperfect choice for Catholics. The ACDP is, however, the only reasonable national option for those to whom life issues, other than capital punishment, are the sole litmus test in deciding on how to cast their vote. Other Catholics will weigh up other issues, including those on which the teachings of the Catholic Church have no direct impact (such as fiscal matters or crime prevention), before casting their ballot. While voting on the basis of pro-life issues alone is legitimate, it is not an act of disloyalty to the Church to also consider other policy areas. Indeed, the bishops of Southern Africa have repeatedly counselled the faithful not to be single-issue voters, nor to vote on the basis of old loyalties, but to weigh up all the running parties’ manifestos before making an informed decision. The bishops have long followed a wise approach of staying out of party politics. While they may comment on pertinent issues to offer moral guidance, to politicians and the faithful alike, they abstain from endorsing one party over another—even if their statements on matters of public ethics can be misunderstood to suggest the contrary. It is the task of the faithful to determine which party and which of these parties’ respective leaders, in their view, comes closest in meeting the criteria for the perfect Catholic politician.
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HIS year, perhaps more than any other election year in our democratic era, voters will find it difficult to make a choice. Faced with the enormity of setting the future direction of the country, and with divided opinions and loyalties in what political commentators see as the closest poll for the last twenty years, many will simply not vote at all. To do so would be to ignore the
Catechism on homosexuality
HUCK Harrison’s comments in his letter “Broader view on homosexuality” (April 2) refer. The Kinsey Report done in 1948, which concluded that 10% of males are homosexual, was found to be flawed because of the biased sample used. The Laumann research debunked the 10% myth and concluded that 2,8% of the male and 1,4% of the female population identify themselves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (2358): “Homosexual persons must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity”...and (2359) “homosexual persons are called to chastity”. Compassion is a deep awareness of another’s suffering; it is nonjudgmental. Thus any use of reason and moral judgment supposedly destroys compassion. But St Thomas Aquinas teaches that compassion only becomes a virtue when it is guided by reason and not sentiment. True compassion stems from charity. The virtue of compassion seeks to bring God to the one who suffers and make him participate in God’s love as “for most of them it is a trial” (2358). The Catechism of the Catholic Church concludes: “By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection” (2359). Dominic Sam, Port Elizabeth
Sane on sexuality
REFER to recent correspondence revealing attitudes to homosexuality and sexuality in general. After Frank Sokolic’s fire-andbrimstone letter (March 12), it was a relief to read Chuck Harrison’s letter (April 2), raising the story of the love between David and Jonathan in the Book of Solomon and the quote from the Catholic catechism,
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words of Pope Francis who said in his recent apostolic exhortation, “The Joy of the Gospel”, that “responsible citizenship is a virtue and participation in political life is a moral obligation”. If we are to vote responsibly, we must look for a party that promotes: • The sacredness of human life and the dignity of each human being • Support for marriage and the family as were Gabriella Broccardo’s challenging and broader views, chastising JH Goossen, and defending Archbishop Denis Hurley. Strange that criticism of Archbishop Hurley and Nelson Mandela on matters of contraception and abortion laws is never tempered by their massive human rights achievements, fulfilling Jesus Christ’s many varied commandments. Supporters of anti-homosexual laws love to quote two particular biblical passages: the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the beginning of St Paul’s letter to the Romans. The Roman community is actually admonished for breaking virtually every commandment—murder, greed, slander, envy, and practising what today we would call orgies. St Paul was not referring to loving relationships between two people. The very next paragraph does indeed list the “passing of judgment”—gossip?—as another sin. Another example of the obsession in our society is how someone solemnly told me that the “adultery” commandment was the most important one (I thought that they were all equal). I suppose that takes the spotlight off responsibility for the poor and oppressed. James Dryja, Roodepoort
OUR front-page report (April 9) about the Southern African bishops getting ready for their ad limina visit to the pope was very informative. Thank you. I hope Cardinal Wilfrid Napier and Bishop Barry Wood have taken in their luggage the brilliant letter in the same edition by Sr Sue Opinions expressed in The Southern Cross, especially in Letters to the Editor, do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editor or staff of the newspaper, or of the Catholic hierarchy. The letters page in particular is a forum in which readers may exchange opinions on matters of debate. Letters must not be understood to necessarily reflect the teachings, disciplines or policies of the Church accurately. Letters can be sent to PO Box 2372, Cape Town 8000 or email@example.com or faxed to 021 465-3850
• Social responsibility and respect for the common good • The just sharing of resources and wealth • Compassionate solidarity with the poor and marginalised. It falls to each and every Catholic in this land to prayerfully make their own choice. What we cannot allow, is to not vote. I have personally taken the exhortations of Pope Francis to heart and have prayerfully made my choice. Angela Pitsi, Pretoria Rakoczy, in which she imagines the dialogue within the Vatican that led to the failure to appoint any women to the new Council for the Economy. If they could perhaps act out the dialogue she envisages, I’m sure they would procure the pope and themselves a “light-hearted moment and joyful situation”, to paraphrase Archbishop William Slattery in the report. Pope Francis would very likely appreciate the witty side of the dialogue and the good message of Sr Rakoczy’s letter. Let us not forget that Cardinal Napier is a member of this new council, to which no women have been appointed. Thank you, Sr Sue, and Buon viaggio to our bishops. Marie-Chantal Peeters, Pietermaritzburg
REFER to the report in The Southern Cross (April 2) that certain British hospitals have been incinerating aborted babies for heating purposes. Britain is reportedly the present abortion capital of the world, but we must be catching up fast after legalising abortion on demand in 1999. May we Catholics thus expect from our bishops a timeous reminder to avoid all pro-abortion political parties on our imminent election day? Damian McLeish, Johannesburg
Family size norm
N what basis can Franko Sokolic (April 9) claim that “six or seven children” are “the norm”? Who is stipulating such a “norm” for the rest of mankind? Mr Sokolic himself? I regard such statements as totally irresponsible, and as “bad stewardship”. The goods of the earth are limited—therefore population growth must be limited, too. It would be a misuse of our religion to endorse and perpetuate such a critical situation. Stefan Gruner, Pretoria
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How to have moral courage I N Harper Le’s book To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus Finch tells his children: “I want you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what.” From a Catholic philosopher’s point of view, the most interesting virtue is moral courage. In a colloquial sense the concept of courage is usually associated with physical acts of daring-do that involve danger, risk and behaviour that overcomes seemingly insurmountable obstacles and odds. Having been in the US Marine Corps I have seen many examples of that! But for the professional philosopher, physical courage is, in and of itself, not that interesting. We are instead fascinated by moral courage, tending to agree with Winston Churchill: “Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all others.” Moral courage is not an “extra” virtue but rather a critical human quality that serves as a necessary precondition for all other forms of moral conduct. Moral courage is the readiness to face self-sacrifice for the sake of principle. Moral courage rejects being a mere spectator and instead seeks engagement. Moral courage is a stimulus, a catalyst for action. As Nelson Mandela suggested, moral courage is not absence of fear but the strength to triumph over one’s fear and to act. Moral courage is the ability to transcend fear and endure risk for principle. It is the ability to put ethics into actual practice. And that is what fascinates philosophers. The central problem for humanity today is not a lack of moral reasoning—we’ve got that in spades in our colleges, universities and seminaries—but rather a lack of moral
engagement or moral courage. By that I mean a lack of willingness to take on ethical issues and questions, to extend ourselves, to put ourselves in harm’s way because we are concerned about the wellbeing of others. Publicly we may lead lives which are economically and electronically interdependent but privately we are emotionally and ethically withdrawn, unappreciative and unempathetic to the wants, needs and desires of others. If we care about anyone else at all, it is usually only after we have first taken care of our own self-centred wants and needs.
believe that ethics is possible only when we are able to step away from ourselves; to borrow a phrase, when we are willing “to forget about ourselves on purpose”. We must be able to see beyond our self-contained universe or personal concerns. We must be able to become, if only momentarily, more selfless than selfish. Ethics begins with the recognition that we are not alone or the centre of the universe. “Self” is always in the context of “others”. We must be open to the voice of others. Being ethical begins with having the courage to stand outside the needs of self
Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch with children in the film To Kill A Mockingbird, which gives a lesson in moral courage.
Point of Leadership
and to listen to others and act on their behalf. Without moral courage to propel us forward we become captives of our own needs and desires. Getting free of self, overcoming our natural tendency to become self-absorbed in our interactions with others, is the central problem and paradox of communal existence. Philosopher Patricia H Werhane warns that the inability to imagine and to be sympathetic to the needs, passions and interests of others is the main cause of moral ineptitudes. She writes that if I really want to sympathise I need to place myself in another’s situation, “not because of how that situation might affect me but rather if I were that person in that situation”. Using moral imagination allows us to be self-reflective and step back from our situation so as to see it from another point of view. Werhane calls this “a disengaged view from somewhere”, and within it a number of questions become obligatory: 1. What would a reasonable person judge is the right thing to do? 2. Could one defend this decision publicly? 3. What kind of precedent does this decision set? 4. Is this decision or action necessary? 5. Is this the least-worst option? Moral imagination allows us the possibility of reflecting on these questions from a perspective that is both inside and outside the box, that focuses on self and others. Moral courage requires us to do so—and then gives us the ability to act on the outcome of that reflection. n Prof Al Gini will be deliver this year’s Winter Living Theology programme which begins on May 20. See page 11 for details.
The erosion of values in SA politics Mphuthumi T Ntabeni HE Nkandla scandal, like the Arms Deal before it, has revealed the underbelly of modern South African politics. At a time when trust in politicians seemed at an all-time low, it has eroded further. Public Protector Thuli Madonsela in her Nkandla Report said that President Jacob Zuma and his family “improperly benefited from the measures taken, buildings and other items constructed and installed at the president’s private residence”. She said the president had failed to discharge his responsibilities as “the ultimate guardian of the resources of the people of South Africa”, and that this failure to act in protection of state resources constitutes a violation of paragraph 2 of the Executive Ethics Code. Ms Madonsela prefaced her report on Nkandla with a quote from Louis Brandeis, a justice of the US Supreme Court from 1916-39: “Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches people by example... If the government becomes a law breaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man [person] to become a law unto himself...” Does the ruling party and its president understand that politics is a credibility game, and that if theirs is not a moral vocation, it is nothing? When there is a crisis of credibility in the first office, then the whole structure of our democracy comes tumbling down like a house of cards. Government teaches by its conduct, not by words. So who should take seriously all the talk about combating crime and zero tolerance for corruption by government? The president has already made it clear that he is not going to respect Ms Madon-
Pushing the Boundaries
President Jacob Zuma (Photo/Siphiwe Sibeko, Reuters/CNS) sela’s recommendation that he repay “a reasonable percentage” of the total cost spent on “non-security” comforts” during the almost R250 million upgrade. This has provoked even more disgust among the public—and the Catholic Church’s bishops. Time and time again, President Zuma has demanded respect from the South African public, while in the same breath blatantly not respecting us. No post-1994 president has contributed towards the devaluation and emptying of virtue in our politics as Mr Zuma has. Starting with his vice-presidency, he has been dogged by scandal after scandal. I should not be surprised if he felt himself invincible. And those who have supported him along the way are complicit in this decline of our political values and the reversal of the gains of our freedom. It is the decline in political values which has given rise to the politics of anger and disillusionment, as demonstrated by the founding of Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters.
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It is not that South Africa is any worse than other modern democracies in political scandal and corruption. It is the lack of accountability that creates so much despair and public disgust in South Africa’s politics. Of course the ruling party knows that it is still immune from a challenge at the polls. This brings us to the failure to conscientise our majority. The commentating class is far removed from people on the ground. This might be the reason behind the “No Vote Campaign” that has been led by former government minister Ronnie Kasrils. It encourages those who are angry at the government to use the power of their vote against it, or to spoil their votes. It is the Catholic Church that now provides a clear indication and good example of how behaviour at the top trickles down to others. When Scottish Bishop John Keenan was appointed to head the diocese of Paisley in February, he chose not to move into the opulent bishop’s residency, but instead, in an echo of Pope Francis, lodges with a parish priest in the presbytery in a housing scheme in a poor area. Would politicians follow that example?
n Mphuthumi Ntabeni is the leading election candidate of the United Democratic Movement in the Western Cape. He is writing in a private capacity as a Southern Cross columnist.
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Where does bishop get his authority? Recently, I attended an impressive episcopal ordination. I was given to understand that the new bishop receives his teaching authority from the pope. Can this be right? I thought he received his mission from Christ. D Miller
EFORE ascending to his Father, Jesus gave the apostles his authority to teach. He said: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:18). This directive was given to these chosen men as a body. Jesus did not identify one man among them to receive his powers and then hand them on to the others. The apostles received their Christ-given mandate jointly and directly. Hence we speak of their solidarity as their collegiality. One can consider Christ’s command to them, to go out and spread the good news, as their episcopal ordination. There were only eleven of them after Judas’ defection. They had to find another disciple to replace him. In accepting and commissioning Matthias (Ac 1:26), they showed they were competent to hand on their authority to other men as apostles. This practice has continued to this day. Jesus singled out Peter as the rock on which he would build his Church (Mt 16:18). Peter, the first bishop of Rome, was to be the steadfast cornerstone that would hold his colleagues firmly in communion with him and with one another. Jesus prayed specifically for Peter that his faith would not fail so that he could strengthen his brothers (Lk 22:32). The successor of Peter is the centre of unity for his fellow bishops and the entire Church. Vatican II put it this way: “Together with its head, the Roman Pontiff, and never without this head, the episcopal order is the subject of supreme and full power over the universal Church. But this power can be exercised only with the consent of the Roman Pontiff” (Lumen gentium, 22). Think of persons who qualify in a profession and have all the degrees and certificates necessary to practise it. They may not lawfully practise unless they are recognised and registered with the relevant professional council, such as the Health Professions Council of South Africa, for medical practitioners. This is done to safeguard the integrity of the profession as a whole. Similarly, although a validly ordained bishop has all the authority needed to teach in Christ’s name, he may not do so unless appointed and recognised by the pope as a legitimate successor of the apostles. Perhaps whoever suggested to you that a new bishop gets his teaching authority from the pope, had this in mind.
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How parties measure up to Catholic teachings As South Africans prepare to vote on May 7, Catholics will have to decide which party’s policy conforms to the teachings of the Church. The bishops of Southern Africa appeal to us to vote according to an informed conscience. To help the faithful do so, the Justice and Peace Commission of the archdiocese of Cape Town has produced this guide for Catholic voters. UNITED DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT (UDM) LIFE · There is no mention of abortion and assisted suicide in the manifesto. SOCIAL ISSUES Education · Must get back to basics where teachers teach and learners learn. · Provide the necessary infrastructure to improve the quality of education. · Create an enabling environment to provide school-leavers with a free, good quality education and proper life skills. · Curb violence in schools and protect from rape. Health · Aims to improve the health care system through the provision of proper equipment and efficient financial management. · Bring health care services closer to the people. · Ensure nutritional education and family planning are the basis of primary health care. · Ensure an integrated response to drug and alcohol abuse with the department. ECONOMY AND EMPLOYMENT · Government must do more ie intervene decisively in the economy. · Manage public spending by reducing the size of ministries and hiring capable individuals. ·Prioritise infrastructure development that focuses on rural advancement to curb rapid urbanisation and create rural employment opportunities. ·Provide tax incentives to employ-
ment-creating businesses. · Support small businesses, encourage and train young and aspiring entrepreneurs. · Empower the youth, women and people with disabilities. · Government must protect local industries against foreign competition to ensure job creation. POVERTY · Focus on food security through accelerating growth in the agricultural sector which can be used as a vehicle for development in rural areas. · Protect domestic agricultural producers and subsidise them for more competitiveness in order to create jobs and contribute to rural development specially and eradicate poverty. · Land must be returned to rightful owners to further progress in the agriculture sector. CRIME AND CORRUPTION · Coordination between state security forces, ie between police, SANDF and intelligence agency. · Coordinate with communities to fight against crime (establish strong neighbourhood watch). · Defence force must guard and patrol country’s borders. · Make a clear distinction between political and administrative positions to combat corruption. · Hire capable individuals and move away from cadre deployment and ensure political heads only provide oversight on administration. · Establish a corruption court to deal with corruption cases. ECONOMIC FREEDOM FIGHTERS (EFF) LIFE · There is no mention of abortion and assisted suicide in the manifesto SOCIAL ISSUES Education · Free basic education. · Better school infrastructure. · Larger capacity at university to accept students. · More access to university fees funding. Health · Improved health care. · Increased access to clinics and hospitals. · Carry out National Health Insur-
Do you feel called to the Franciscan way of life?
ance. · Ensure quality professionals. Housing and sanitation · Create spacious homes for people · Eradicate the bucket system within five years. · Provide decent toilets in homes. · Stop the bank from repossessing the house if payments cannot be made. Safety and security · Increase police visibility. · Improve the effectiveness of the justice system. · Ensure that everyone has access to justice. · Protect the right to protest. · Ban the use of live ammunition by police during protests. ECONOMIC POLICY · Nationalisation of mines, banks and other key sector enterprises. · Expropriation without compensation. · State will run the major sectors to ensure that the benefits are distributed to all South Africans. · Increase Africa’s development. POVERTY AND JOBS · Increase the minimum wage for most sectors. · Create sustainable jobs through nationalisation. · Increase social grants. CORRUPTION · Stop tenders—use of private companies to do the work government should be doing. · Will create state administration courts to deal with cases of corruption. · Introduce a minimum of 20 years sentence for those guilty of corruption. INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY (IFP) LIFE · There is no mention of abortion and assisted suicide made in the manifesto. SOCIAL ISSUES Education · Focus on the quality of the curriculum. · Get the parents involved in their children’s education. · Offer training support to teachers. · Remove the politics of unions and governing bodies from the sphere of education and teaching.
D ONAT ION S
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· Promote inclusive education that speaks to all abilities. Health care · Ensure competent professionals. · Provide affordable health services. · Ensure access to quality equipment. Housing and sanitation · Improve service delivery. Safety and security · Relook at the prison system. · Rehabilitation. ECONOMIC POLICY · Remove the politics of unions from the economy. · Support small, medium enterprises. · Develop mining and manufacturing industries. · Use idle farms and financial incentives to promote farming. POVERTY AND JOBS · Revise labour laws to help promote job creation. · Develop skills through funding training, apprenticeships and learning programs. · Re-evaluate tax incentives and zones to stimulate job creation and development in the rural areas. · Want to eradicate poverty and not just alleviate it. CORRUPTION · Don’t stand for corruption. · Will prosecute those guilty of corruption. · Will fire all those found guilty of corruption. · Will eradicate the tender fraud by allowing the National Treasury to monitor all processes. DEMOCRATIC ALLIANCE (DA) LIFE · There is no clear mention of abortion and assisted suicide in the manifesto. SOCIAL CONCERNS Human settlements and services · Provide serviced plots closer to urban centres. · Ensure beneficiaries of state-subsidised houses receive title deeds. Education · Deliver textbooks to every child on time. · Train 15 000 more teachers per year. · Work with universities to establish dedicated teacher colleges. · Provide proper planning and infrastructure. · Expand assistance provided though the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). Health · Ensure hospital management teams are qualified and effective. · Work to reduce mother to child HIV/Aids transmissions and provide greater HIV/Aids education. · Develop standardised response time for emergencies in urban and rural areas. · Use information technology to improve health system. · Work with NGOs to combat drug and alcohol abuse, and conduct random drug testing at school where necessary. ECONOMY AND EMPLOYMENT · Support increased corporate investment and personal saving. · Broaden participation in the economy by providing access to capital for outsiders. · Government will make it easier for businesses to trade with other countries. · Reduce red tape for small businesses. · Deliver six million real jobs. · Provide incentives for job creation by businesses: youth wage subsidy. · Provide people with the education and skills needed for employment.
POVERTY · Protect all South Africans from extreme poverty and hunger. · Expand school nutrition scheme to include up to grade 12 learners. · State-owned communal agricultural land must be released for reform purposes to help the poor and increase food security. · Introduce land reform policy that achieves justice while retaining productivity in agricultural produce. CRIME AND CORRUPTION · Aim to make South Africa safer with a trusted police service that does not engage in criminal activities. · Aim to put nearly 100 000 carefully selected, well-trained police officers on the streets. · Target specific crimes through special units for example narcotics, gangs, sexual violence. · Establish a judiciary commission of Inquiry to investigate causes of police brutality and the extent of police corruption. · Allow the public to attend meetings where tender decisions are made. · Prohibit government ministers, public servants and their immediate families from doing business with the state. · Establish an independent, effective and highly specialised, prosecution-driven anti-corruption unit. · Stop abuse of public monies by ministers. THE AFRICAN CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATIC PARTY (ACDP) LIFE · Amend laws and policies that undermine family life. · Highlight issues of law dealing with access to contraceptives, abortion without parental consent, inappropriate sex education in schools. · Will also look at policies attempting to ban parental chastisement as well as the legalisation of pornography. SOCIAL ISSUES Job creation · Aims to boost employment, reduce poverty and achieve annual economic growth of 7%. · Aims to increase investment in infrastructure in order to provide sufficient power generation, ports, roads, public transportation, dams, and reservoirs. · Intend to review the current controversial e-tolling system and would consider alternative models. Welfare · To increase the social wage and discourage the dependency that South Africans have on social welfare. · Aim to increase the number of social workers and community development workers to ensure that South Africans receive better services. Education · Highlight the issue of access to early childhood development from 0-7 years. · Free education to learners in certain schools. · A review of the school pass rate system in order to address the disjuncture between the standard of matric passes in relation to the requirement from tertiary institutions as important issues. · Attract skilled and experienced teachers. · Reintroduce school inspectors to monitor school teaching and safety in schools training to empower teachers to deal with undisciplined children. Health · Extend the roll-out of antiretroviral treatment and draw attention to the dangers of obesity as well as ensuring intervention in reducing maternal and child mortality.
The Catholic social teachings A guide to making moral choices CALL TO FAMILY, COMMUNITY, AND PARTICIPATION The person is not only sacred but also social. How we organise our society—in economics and politics, in law and policy—directly affects human dignity and the capacity of individuals to grow in community. Marriage and the family are the central social institutions that must be supported and strengthened, not undermined. We believe people have a right and a duty to participate in society, seeking together the common good
· Highlight the need to implement the National Health Insurance scheme to broaden health care services to many South Africans. · Focus on renewable energy and clean technology as serious issues for the health of all South Africans. Housing and land · Focus on upgrading informal settlements that will reduce the risk of flooding and fire while also trying to replace the bucket system. · Aim to consider alternative housing models through the use of technology. · A comprehensive housing waiting list established and development frameworks need to take into account distance between job location and people · Aim to prioritise the land restitution process and get it to its final stages if elected. · Agricultural development of food and security in order to aid small and subsistence farmers is another priority. Safety and Security · Establish more police stations, forensic laboratories and courts in order to protect South African citizens. · Focus on restorative justice programmes so that convicted criminals of minor offences may return and serve communities. · Criminals with major offences which include murder, rape, armed robbery and car hijacking, will be denied bail. ECONOMIC ISSUES · Ensure that government expenditure is reviewed and that a culture of savings and investment is a priority. · Look at the current economic empowerment model and will ensure that it filters into broader socio-economic upliftment. · Extend the youth wage subsidy. · Encourage training and development within industries through grants and tax incentives. CORRUPTION · The Protection of the State Information Bill is a priority to ensure that corruption is exposed. · Aim to reintroduce the unit that investigated crime and corruption—the Scorpions while also aiming to strengthen institutions such as the Auditor General, Public Protector and other bodies. · The current practice whereby politicians who are accused of corrupt conduct and suspended on full pay will be reviewed and they will have to re-fund the state.
and wellbeing of all, especially the poor and vulnerable. RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES The Catholic tradition teaches that human dignity can be protected and a healthy community can be achieved only if human rights are protected and responsibilities are met. Therefore, every person has a fundamental right to life and a right to those things required for human decency. Corresponding to these rights are duties and responsibilities to one another, to our families, and to the larger society.
OPTION FOR THE POOR AND VULNERABLE A basic moral test is how our most vulnerable members are faring. In a society marred by deepening divisions between rich and poor, our tradition recalls the story of the Last Judgment (Mt 25:31-46) and instructs us to put the needs of the poor and vulnerable first. THE DIGNITY OF WORK AND THE RIGHTS OF WORKERS The economy must serve people, not the other way around. Work is more than a way to make a living; it is a form of continuing participation in
The Southern Cross, April 30 to May 6, 2014
God’s creation. If the dignity of work is to be protected, then the basic rights of workers must be respected—the right to productive work, to decent and fair wages, to the organisation and joining of unions, to private property and to economic initiative. SOLIDARITY We are one human family whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences. We are our brothers and sisters’ keepers, wherever they may be. Loving our neighbour has global dimensions in a shrinking world. At the core of the virtue of solidarity is the pursuit of justice and peace. Pope Paul VI taught that if you want peace, work for justice. The Gospel
need for both rural and urban South Africans. · Use of modern technology to grow industrial crops in order to detoxify compromised land in mining areas. Safety and security · Police to be demilitarised and that any public official accused of corruption receives a minimum sentence of 15 years. · Create a national register of public servants convicted of corruption and will ban government officials and their families from doing business with government. · To ensure this they will pass a whistle-blower law that rewards and protects those who come forward with information. BUSINESS · Relax regulations by the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA) in order to make things easier for smaller businesses. · Intend to help those who have to deal with harassment as microbusiness owners or informal traders. · In terms of law, revise the Labour Relations Act in order to create provisions for secret strike ballots. · Commits to protecting vulnerable workers and aims to introduce a qualifying period for dismissals. The Justice and Peace Commission has released a guide to the 2014 national elections which we have reproduced here. (Photo: Günther Simmermacher).
AGANG SOUTH AFRICA (AGANG SA) LIFE · There is no mention of abortion and assisted suicide in the manifesto. SOCIAL ISSUES Education · The belief that parents’ involvement is imperative to making a school a better place is paramount to Agang. · Assist teachers with dealing with discipline difficulties. · Teachers living in rural areas should receive an allowance. · A minimum 50% pass mark for all subjects and grades is necessary. · Remove mud schools and fix infrastructure. · All students who achieve 70% or higher should receive bursaries in order to incentivise excellence. · Aim to abolish Sector Education and Training Authority (SSETA)
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and link FET colleges to the industries that students will serve. Empowerment · Transformation should not be dependent on scorecards but instead on the quality of schooling. · They believe that 20 years of Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment has left its mark with greater inequalities. Jobs · Abolish SETA’s and introduce a tax rebate system to reintroduce industry colleges to train artisans. · Transform public schools into vocational schools for the youth. Health and housing · Everyone has access to affordable healthcare. · Private doctors are brought in to run clinics. · More focus is put on housing. · Every citizen to have a title deed to the property they own. · A land reform programme to address the effects of apartheid. · Facilitate a rapid transfer of land owned by the state to address the
AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS (ANC) LIFE · According to the Bill of Rights, the right to life, has been held to prohibit capital punishment, but does not prohibit abortion. · The issue of “right to life” is left open for legislative action after democratic discussion in the future. It needs sensitive and informed debate with extensive participation by all interested parties and a respect for differing views. SOCIAL ISSUES Human settlements and basic services · Accelerate the provision of basic services and infrastructure in existing informal settlements. · Provide one million houses to qualifying households. · Continue to work towards universal access to running water. Education · Work towards realising two years of compulsory pre-school education and strive for fuller integration of grade R educators in the post and remuneration structure.
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calls us to be peacemakers. Our love for all our sisters and brothers demands that we promote peace in a world surrounded by violence and conflict. CARE FOR GOD’S CREATION We show our respect for the Creator by our stewardship of creation. Care for the earth is not just an Earth Day slogan, it is a requirement of our faith. We are called to protect people and the planet, living our faith in relationship with all of God’s creation. This environmental challenge has fundamental moral and ethical dimensions that cannot be ignored. n Source: (c) 2013, 2014 Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Vatican City. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
· Eradicate illiteracy. · Improve quality of basic education and quality of teaching · Introduce compulsory community service for all graduates. Health and social security · A publicly funded and publicly administered NHI Fund will be established. · Further expand free primary health care. · Intensify campaign against HIV/Aids. · Continue to provide social grants to those who qualify. ECONOMY AND EMPLOYMENT · Aims to buy 75% of local products to boost domestic manufacturing and job creation. · Prioritise infrastructure programmes to produce and sustain more than 250 000 jobs through the construction, operation and maintenance of infrastructure. · Create six million work opportunities through the Extended Public Works Programme. · Promote youth employment and training schemes. · Build an extensive support network for small businesses and cooperatives. · Engage intensively with the financial sector to promote investment. · Promote equality and decent work places. · Implement the National Development Plan. POVERTY · Continue to invest in rural development, especially economic and social infrastructure. · Ensure land reform is developmental and contributes to food security. · Provide support to emerging farmers. · Expand the food for all programme. CRIME AND CORRUPTION · Work further to reduce crime through intelligence support and coordination, and police visibility. · Form partnerships with communities to fight against crime (Community Policing Forums). · Prohibit public servants and public representatives from doing business with the state. · Continue to ensure control and regulation of private security. · Establish a central tender awarding process for major projects in all spheres of government. · Strengthen border control to improve security and manage immigration effectively. · Corrupt officials will be individually liable for all losses incurred as a result of their actions.
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The Southern Cross, April 30 to May 6, 2014
The Daughters of St Anne Sodality of Kokstad diocese held their annual retreat at Sacred Heart parish at Mount Frere, Eastern Cape. The retreat was led by Bishop Zolile Mpambani of Kokstad and Nardini Sister Hedwig Maphumulo. J’Something from music group Mi Casa made a special visit to Brescia House High School in Johannesburg as part of the “For Kids, By Kids” campaign. Brescia House has been hosting monthly cake sales to raise funds for the Nelson Mandela Foundation Children’s Hospital Trust. Mi Casa’s visit was organised by the trust in thanks for ongoing support.
Fr Mohohlo Maselwane is pictured with members of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Sodality at St Peter Claver parish in Pimville, Johannesburg.
Evona and Alberto Rebelo celebrated their silver wedding anniversary. They received a papal blessing presented to them by Mgr Jock Baird, retired of the archdiocese of Cape Town, who officiated at their wedding 25 years ago.
Altar servers from St Anne’s parish in Attridgeville, Pretoria, are pictured with parish priest Fr Sefiri Motsepe.
Cape Town’s Archdiocesan Catholic Health Care Association (ACHCA) held a retreat and a day of reflection at Nazareth House. The retreat was led by spiritual director for ACHCA Mgr Jock Baird and Fr Noel Rucastle. ACHCA members are pictured at the opening Mass celebrated by Mgr Baird. Fr Noel Rucastle (inset) is pictured during holy hour.
THE BEAUTY OF LIFE IN THE WOMB
Holy Rosary High School in Johannesburg parent, photographer, adventurer and travel organiser Jonathan Buffey, spoke to pupils about his recent trip to Svalbard in Norway, which is close to the North Pole. Mr Buffey highlighted both the geographic and natural features of the area. He encouraged pupils to be aware of the effects of global warming on the planet, and how this is affecting both the fauna and flora near the North Pole. Matric pupils Kimberley Blunden, Jolene Hölzer and Cayla Stanbridge are pictured with Mr Buffey.
Pilgrimage of Healing to Fatima, Santiago Compostela and Lourdes led by Fr Emil Blaser 10-23 October 2014
Pilgrimage to Ephesus-Turkey and Medjugorje led by Father Andrew Knott of the Shrine of Ngome 25 September-10 October 2014
Pilgrimage to the Fatima, Santiago Compostela, Lourdes Paris and Nevers led by Father Meyiwa Nkululeko 29 September-11 October 2014
Pilgrimage of Grace to Medjugorje
led by Father Lizo Nontshe 16-30 September 2014
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CLASSIFIEDS Winter school: the leaders we deserve?
N this year’s Winter Living Theology programme, titled “The Leaders We Deserve?”, Prof Al Gini (who writes for us this week on page 7) will be talking about the theology and philosophy of leadership, in business, in politics and in the Church.
The 3-day course is designed for priests, religious, business and community leaders, and anyone concerned about leadership in South Africa today. Johannesburg: May 20-22, Paulines Centre, Kensington Durban: May 26-28, Glenmore Pastoral Centre
Where unity reigns Continued from page 5 was raised Greek Orthodox, helped out at Holy Family Catholic parish in Ramallah, West Bank. He studied at the Latin patriarchate seminary in Beit Jalla and served for 16 years as parish priest in various parishes in Jordan. He is currently studying in Rome and was home for the holidays. Fr Rafidi’s mother is a Catholic, he said, and he attended the Catholic parish school, largely because there was no Greek Orthodox school. He was strongly influenced by the parish priest, and he said his path led to the vocation of priesthood in the Catholic Church. His Greek Orthodox father was happy that his son was happy, and now the family follows the Catholic tradition. In Fr Rafidi’s family there are both Catholic and Greek Orthodox priests. Fr Rafidi estimated that almost one-quarter of the students at the Latin patriarchate seminary have come from Greek Orthodox families. He attributes this to the fact that there are very few Greek Orthodox schools in the area, while every Catholic parish has a parish school attached. Many Christians have left the Holy Land due to the political difficulties incurred from the Israeli occupation, he said, and those who are left share a feeling of family, with the Greek Orthodox being the largest church, followed by the Catholics. “The people here don’t say ‘I am Catholic’ or ‘I am Greek Orthodox’. They say ‘I am Christian’,” he said. “Inside this family we have good relations. To be a part of a family is very important, the family of Christians.”—CNS
To place your event, call Claire Allen at 021 465 5007 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org (publication subject to space)
CAPE TOWN: 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.
Good Shepherd, Bothasig. Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration in the chapel. All hours. All welcome.
NELSPRUIT: Adoration of the blessed sacrament at St Peter’s parish. Every Tuesday from 8am to 4:45pm followed by Rosary, Divine Mercy prayers, then a Mass/Communion service at 5:30pm.
Cape Town: June 3-5, Schoenstatt, Constantia All courses run from 9:30 to 15:30. To register, e-mail WLT@jesuitinstitute.org.za or call 011 4824237. There will also be evening workshops in parishes and business schools (see local advertising for details).
Liturgical Calendar Year A - Weekdays Cycle Year 2
Sunday, May 4 Acts 2:14, 22-33, Psalm 16:1-2, 5, 7-11, 1 Peter 1:17-21, Luke 24:13-35 Monday, May 5 Psalm 119:23-24, 26-27, 29-30, John 6:22-29 Tuesday, May 6 Acts 7:51-8:1, Psalm 31:3-4, 6-8, 17, 21,John 6:30-35 Wednesday, May 7 Acts 8:1-8, Psalm 66:1-7, John 6:35-40 Thursday, May 8 Acts 8:26-40, Psalm 66:8-9, 16-17, 20, John 6:4451 Friday, May 9 Acts 9:1-20, Psalm 117:1-2, John 6:52-59 Saturday, May 10 Acts 9:31-42, Psalm 116:12-17, John 6:60-69 Sunday, May 11 Acts 2:14, 36-41, Psalm 23:1-6, 1 Peter 2:20-25, John 10:1-10
Word of the Week DIOCESAN CURIA: The personnel and offices assisting the bishop in directing the pastoral activity, administration and exercise of judicial power of the diocese.
Our bishops’ anniversaries This week we congratulate: May 3: Bishop Sithembeli Sipuka of Mthatha on the 6th anniversary of his espiscopal ordination.
Southern CrossWord solutions SOLUTIONS TO 600. ACROSS: 5 Otto, 7 Civil union, 8 Talc, 10 Graceful, 11 Scouts, 12 Sought, 14 Sneers, 16 Motifs, 17 Funereal, 19 Mild, 21 Evangelist, 22 Fend. DOWN: Scot, 2 Cinctures, 3 Judges, 4 Sitars, 5 Once, 6 Thoughtful, 9 Accentuate, 13 Untimely, 15 She-cat, 16 Malign, 18 Eked, 20 Data.
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The Southern Cross, April 30 to May 6, 2014
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 (R1,37 a word) with small advertisements for promptest publication.
60TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY—BLAIR. Vic and Maureen (née Campbell). Married at Emmanuel Cathedral, Durban, 8th May, 1954. Congratulations Mom and Dad and may Almighty God be with you always. From your loving children and grandchildren.
now in my urgent need and grant my petitions. In return I promise to make your name known and publish this prayer. Amen. RCP
ABORTION is murder—Silence on this issue is not golden, it’s yellow! Avoid ‘Pro-abortion’ politicians. CAN YOU be silent on abortion and walk with God? Matthew 7:21 See www.180movie.com CATHOLIC TELEVISION: To receive EWTN Global Catholic Networks via satellite in the PTA/JHB region, please contact Frans on 082 698 1096. GENTLEMAN seeks Catholic lady for friendship/relationship (age 55) Cape Town. 078 942 4969. www.abortioninstr uments.com is the graphic truth that will set you free.
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
GRATEFUL thanks to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Our Mother Mary and Ss Joseph, Anthony, Jude and Martin de Porres for prayers answered. RCP.
DUNLEE—Deacon Ray. In loving memory of my dearest husband and our father and Oupa, Raymond Dunlee, called home one year ago on 9/5/2013. We miss you dearly. Gone but not forgotten. The 1st anniversary memorial Mass will be celebrated at St Josephs Church, Kommetjie on Sunday 11th May at 8am. Refreshments after Mass. All most welcome to join us in remembering and honouring his life. Hilda, our children and grandchildren. ROOY—Martha. In loving memory of my dear friend of Onseepkans and Bridgetown, who passed away in May 2009. My dearest friend you are in my prayers. Rest in peace. From Mary da Silva (Pillay). SMITH—Bro Gert CBSF de Sales, passed away May 4, 2009. Always remembered by the Oblates of St Francis de Sales – Keimoes, Namaqualand and all other parishes, Your godchild Mary da Silva (Pillay) and your family.
Your peace. Amen. Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary, please protect us.
OUR LADY OF FATIMA. O MOST Holy Virgin Mary, who chose to appear on the Sierra de Aire, in the Cova de Iria, to three young shepherds to reveal the treasures of grace held in the recitation of the Rosary, impress upon our souls a fervent love for this devotion. By meditating on the mysteries of our redemption, may we learn how to use the teachings which lie therein and obtain the graces we ask in this prayer. For the Glory of God and the redeeming of our souls. Amen. Photostat and distribute. ALMIGHTY eternal God, source of all compassion, the promise of your mercy and saving help fills our hearts with hope. Hear the cries of the people of Syria; bring healing to those suffering from the violence, and comfort to those mourning the dead. Empower and encourage Syria’s neighbours in their care and welcome for refugees. Convert the hearts of those who have taken up arms, and strengthen the resolve of those committed to peace. O God of hope and Father of mercy, your Holy Spirit inspires us to look beyond ourselves and our own needs. Inspire leaders to choose peace over violence and to seek reconciliation with enemies. Inspire the Church around the world with compassion for the people of Syria, and fill us with hope for a future of peace built on justice for all. We ask this through Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace and Light of the World, who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen. Prayer courtesy of the USCCB. MY most loving Father, You have promised, “I am the God who heals you” (Exodus 15:26) I place in your loving care my sick body, worried mind, my emotional wounds and sinful nature. I believe that only You have the power to heal me completely. Loving Father, I trust in Your love for me, Help me to love You more. Help me to increase my faith in You. I surrender to you (here mention your illness or emotional hurt) Cleanse me with the precious blood of Jesus, purify me and set me free from anger, resentment, hatred, unresolved hurts and greed. Help me to remember that the power of the Holy Trinity dwells within me and all power to forgive and overcome sin is in me. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and
LONDON, Protea House: Single R350, twin R560 per/night. Self-catering, busses and underground nearby. Phone Peter 021 851 5200. 0044 208 7484834. ANGELWOOD B&B: Linksfield, Johannesburg, 081 590 5144. BALLITO: up-market penthouse on beach, selfcatering, 084 790 6562. CAPE TOWN: Fully equipped self-catering 2 bedroom apartment with parking, in Strandfontein. R500 per night (4 persons) Paul 021 393 2503, 083 553 9856, email@example.com. FISH HOEK: Self-catering accommodation sleeps 4. Secure parking. Tel: 021 785 1247. KNYSNA: Self-catering accommodation for 2 in Old Belvidere with wonderful Lagoon views. 044 387 1052. MARIANELLA Guest House, Simon’s Town: “Come experience the peace and beauty of God with us.” Fully equipped with amazing sea views. Secure parking, ideal for rest and relaxation. Special rates for pensioners and clergy. Malcolm Salida 082 784 5675, firstname.lastname@example.org SEDGEFIELD: Beautiful self-catering garden holiday flat, sleeps four, two bedrooms, open-plan lounge, kitchen, fully equipped. 5min walk to lagoon. Out of season specials. Contact Les or Bernadette 044 343 3242, 082 900 6282. STELLENBOSCH: Christian Brothers Centre. 14 suites (double/twin beds), some with fridge & microwave, others beside kitchenette & lounge, ecospirituality library. Countryside vineyard/forest/ mountain views/walks; beach 20 minute drive. Affordable. 021 880 0242. www.cbcentre.co.za Email: email@example.com LOVING FATHER bless us, the people of AFRICA, and help us to live in justice, love and peace Mary, Mother of Africa, pray for us For prayer leaﬂet: sms 083 544 8449
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Website: www.scross.co.za 4TH SUNDAY OF EASTER/VOCATIONS SUNDAY—May 11 Readings: Acts 2:14, 36-41, Psalm 23, 1 Peter 1:17-21, John 10:1-10
HAT Easter means is nothing less (though it may also be something more) than that God wants us all to live a life that is meaningful. That is the message of the readings for next Sunday. As in the last few weeks we are in the midst of Peter’s speech at Pentecost, explaining to his bewildered audience the meaning of what they have just seen, all these uneducated Galilean fishermen speaking in all the languages of the then-known world. He invites them in the first reading to find meaning in what happened to Jesus; he does not downplay their part in it: “whom you crucified”, he says, and then insists, “God made him both Lord and Messiah”. They then grope their way towards meaning by finding their hearts “pierced”, and wondering what they can do to find meaning. The answer for them (and for us) is: “Repent, and let each one of you be baptised in the name of Jesus Messiah for the forgiveness of sins; then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” He expresses it, finally, slightly differently at the end, in words that speak to us today as we endeavour to find meaning for our existence: “Be saved from this harsh generation.”
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The Good Shepherd protects us Nicholas King SJ
According to Luke, no fewer than three thousand of them decided that was the way to find purpose in their lives. For the psalmist, and next Sunday’s psalm is perhaps the loveliest in Israel’s hymn-book, what gives our lives meaning is that the Lord is (in a very daring image that we have heard so often that we no longer notice it) “my Shepherd—I shall not be lacking”. There follows a wonderful vision of what life is like under those circumstances, expressed in images like “green pastures” and “still waters”. And there are darker images, too, such as “the valley of the shadow of Death”, to highlight the fact that the poet has found meaning even in the most difficult situations that you could imagine. Even God’s “rod”, with its hint of discipline, is a source of comfort. And there are other images, too:
“You lay a table before me, in the face of my enemies; you have anointed my head with oil; my cup is overflowing.” All that matters is that God is looking after us; that is what gives meaning to our lives. In the second reading for next Sunday, Peter is addressing those who are suffering, possibly, in the original setting, slaves living under harsh taskmasters. He is telling them that if their lives seem devoid of meaning because of their unjust suffering, they have the example of Jesus to make sense of it all: “He left you an example for you to follow in his footsteps. He did not commit sin, nor was any trickery found on his lips; when they reviled him, he did not revile them back; when he suffered he did not utter threats, but handed himself over to the One who judges justly.” It is our saving grace that we believe that there is such a One, and that therefore our lives make sense. It is that presence of God that means we are no longer “wandering like sheep”. We are invited this week, instead, to “turn back now to the shepherd and overseer of your souls” (picking up the main point of the psalm). That is how we shall find the meaning that we long for.
Why we might miss God T
HE 13th-century poet Rumi submits that we live with a deep secret that sometimes we know, and then not. That can be very helpful in understanding our faith. One of the reasons why we struggle with faith is that God’s presence inside us and in our world is rarely dramatic, overwhelming, sensational, something impossible to ignore. God doesn’t work like that. Rather God’s presence, much to our frustration and loss of patience sometimes, is something that lies quiet and seemingly helpless inside us. It rarely makes a huge splash. Because we are not sufficiently aware of this, we tend to misunderstand the dynamics of faith and find ourselves habitually trying to ground our faith on precisely something that is loud and dramatic. We are forever looking for something beyond what God gives us. But we should know from the very way God was born into our world, that faith needs to ground itself on something that is quiet and undramatic. Jesus, as we know, was born into our world with no fanfare and no power, a baby lying helpless in the straw, another child among millions. Nothing spectacular to human eyes surrounded his birth. Then, during his ministry, he never performed miracles to prove his divinity; but only as acts of compassion or to reveal something about God. Jesus’ ministry, like
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his birth, wasn’t an attempt to prove God’s existence. It was intended rather to teach us what God is like and that God loves us unconditionally. God, it seems, works in ways that are quiet and hidden from our eyes. The God that Jesus incarnates is neither dramatic nor splashy. And there’s an important faith-lesson in this. Simply put, God lies inside us, deep inside, but in a way that’s almost non-existent, almost unfelt, largely unnoticed, and easily ignored.
owever, while that presence is never overpowering, it has within it a gentle, unremitting imperative, a compulsion towards something higher, which invites us to draw upon it. And, if we do draw upon it, it gushes up in us in an infinite stream that instructs us, nurtures us, and fills us with endless energy. This is important for understanding faith. God lies inside us as an invitation that fully respects our freedom, never over-
powers us; but also never goes away. It lies there precisely like a baby lying helpless in the straw, gently beckoning us, but helpless in itself to make us pick it up. For example, CS Lewis, in explaining why he finally became “the most reluctant convert in the history of Christendom”, writes that, for years, he was able to effectively ignore a voice inside him, precisely because it was almost non-existent, almost unfelt, and largely unnoticed. On the other hand, in retrospect, he realised it had always been there, a gentle, incessant nudge, beckoning him to draw from it, something he eventually recognised as a gentle, but unyielding, imperative, a “compulsion” which, if obeyed, leads to liberation. Ruth Burrows, the British Carmelite and mystic, describes a similar experience in her autobiography, Before the Living God. Chronicling her late adolescent years, Burrows describes both her religious flightiness and her lack of attraction to the religious life at that time in her life. Yet she eventually ends up not only being serious about religion but becoming a Carmelite nun. What happened? One day, in a chapel, almost against her will, triggered by a series of accidental circumstances, she opened herself to the voice inside her that she had, until then, mainly ignored because it lay inside her precisely as a voice that was almost non-existent, almost unfelt, and largely unnoticed. But once touched, it gushed up as the deepest and most real thing inside her and set the direction of her life forever afterwards. Like CS Lewis, she too, once she had opened herself to it, felt it as an unyielding moral compulsion opening her to ultimate liberation. Why doesn’t God show himself to us more directly and more powerfully so as to make faith easier? That’s a fair question for which, partly, there is no fully satisfying answer. But the answer we do have lies in understanding the manner in which God manifests himself in our lives and in our world. Unlike almost everything else that is trying to get our attention, God never tries to overwhelm us. God, more than anyone else, respects our freedom. For this reason, God lies everywhere, inside us and around us, almost unfelt, largely unnoticed, and easily ignored, a quiet, gentle nudge; but, if drawn upon, the ultimate stream of love and energy.
The gospel next Sunday is one of the rare parables that we encounter in John’s gospel, that of the Good (or Real) Shepherd. Jesus distinguishes the real thing from the fake; the fake is “a thief and robber”, the one who does not enter by the gate. The real shepherd, by contrast, “comes through the gate, and the gate-keeper opens to him, and the sheep recognise his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out”. It is a beautiful picture: “He goes out before them, and his sheep follow him, because they know his voice.” That is where meaning lies, and it is within our grasp. Unfortunately it was not within the grasp of his audience; so Jesus (not for the first time) has to spell it out to them (and to us): “Amen, amen I’m telling you: I am the gate of the sheep.” He continues with this theme: “I am the gate: if anyone comes through me, they will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture.” There is a lovely sense of profound personal relationship here between Jesus and his flock; and you could hardly better it as a way of finding meaning in your life.
Southern Crossword #600
ACROSS 5. German saint you turn to and back again (4) 7. Partnership that is politely non-sacramental? (5,5) 8. Capital city featuring a type of powder (4) 10. Elegant and filled with divine favour? (8) 11. Hunts for the young troopers (6) 12. Attempted to find (6) 14. Derides sensers (7) 16. If most can reveal designs (6) 17. Sombre at the graveside? (8) 19. Virgin so tender and ... (carol) (4) 21. Gospel writer (10) 22. How to provide for yourself (4)
DOWN 1. How the Highlander may get off free (4) 2. It goes to the celebrant’s waist (8) 3. Scriptural book read in the high court? (6) 4. Stringed instruments from the stairs (6) 5. One time (4) 6. Pensive (10) 9. Enact a cute way to emphasise (10) 13. Sort of death that is a surprise (8) 15. Cheats about the animal (3-3) 16. Defame what is evil? (6) 18. Supplemented out of what reeked (4) 20. Facts given (4) Solutions on page 11
man is speaking to God and asks: “Is it true, Lord, that for you a million years is like a minute?” “Yes, my son,” answers God, “that is indeed so.” “And is it true, Lord, that a million Rand to you is like 10 cents?” Again, God answers that this is so. “In that case,” the man says, “can you give me 10 cents?” “Sure,” says God, “just wait a minute.”
Published on Apr 30, 2014