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Reg no. 1920/002058/06 no 4976
New bishop in KZN from Mariannhill
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The deep faith of Egypt’s Christians
Jo’burg came out for bishop’s ordination
Why the bishops called out Malema By MAndLA ZIBI
A dove, representing the Holy Spirit, is seen on a stained glass window in a chapel in the basilica of St Rita in Cascia, Italy. Pentecost falls on May 15 this year. See page 9 for two inspiring reflections on the “birthday of the Church”. (Photo: Günther Simmermacher)
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ANY of Julius Malema’s followers are not very “critically inclined” and the danger is that they might just take his recent “barrel of a gun” comments as an invitation to violence, warned the head of the bishops’ Justice & Peace Commission, Bishop Abel Gabuza of Kimberley. Explaining why the bishops issued a headline-making statement on the Economic Freedom Fighters leader’s comments, Bishop Gabuza told The Southern Cross: “Of course we are aware that Mr Malema is fond of overthe-top statements that sometimes amount to no more than rhetorical posturing, but the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) had to come out and express our dismay”. In an interview with news network Al Jazeera, Mr Malema said: “We will run out of patience very soon and we will remove this government through the barrel of a gun.” His comment caused widespread outrage, with some African National Congress leaders calling for him to be charged with inciting violence and even treason. In its statement, the SACBC called on all political parties, and the EFF in particular, to avoid making statements that could incite conflict, especially given the approaching local elections period. “This kind of language feeds into the anger and the bitterness of young unemployed people on the ground who feel that they no longer have a stake in our democracy. The ground is already fertile for violent conflict and as leaders we must be very careful about the things we say,” said Bishop Gabuza. “We have seen the evil consequences of civil war in other African countries‚ including massive loss of lives‚ a refugee crisis and irreparable damage to the economy. We do not want our nation to take such a path. We therefore appeal to all political parties to refrain from actions and rhetoric that could fuel election violence and civil war.” Bishop Gabuza also expressed the Church’s concern about the rising incidence of violent protests in the country and the use of excessive force by the police to curb them. “Both should stop. We believe that the use of excessive force as a deterrent will not in itself solve the complex problem of social unrest,” he said. “If the government wants to stop violent protests‚ it should be serious in its efforts to tackle the root causes‚ including the rising economic inequalities‚ youth unemployment‚ a culture of patronage and the fierce
scramble for political positions—especially when such positions are considered as an opportunity for self-enrichment.”
ddressing youth unemployment specifically, Bishop Gabuza called on the ruling party and government to explore more and better interventions to get more young people participating in the labour market, “with decent jobs and family stability”. “As Church leaders, we wish to shine a light on youth unemployment and demand urgent and pragmatic solutions. Youth unemployment continues to pose a danger to the security of our nation and stability of our family life. It is a time-bomb that shall soon explode on us.” The statement suggested that government must rethink its policy on the youth wage subsidy and its ability to make a significant dent on the current levels of youth unemployment. “Recent statistics by Stats SA on the state of youth unemployment and poverty in the country indicate that the youth wage subsidy scheme has not been effective in eradicating youth unemployment. Despite the subsidy scheme, youth unemployment has risen from 3,14 million in 2009 to its current level of 3,38 million.” The subsidy is meant to give money to businesses to encourage them to employ young people. It was introduced in January 2014 and is supposed to end on December 31 this year. According to the 2016 Budget vote, indications are that the programme will be reviewed in the third quarter of 2016 with a view to extending its life for another year. But Bishop Gabuza was very sceptical about its prospects for success. “By the end of December this year, the programme is supposed to create 423 000 new jobs of which 178 000 would be net new jobs. Even if it manages to achieve its intended objectives, it would still fall far short of the more than 3,2 million youth job opportunities the country has to create,” he argued. “We have also received many complaints from young people who are fired at the end of the subsidy period without the adequate skills necessary to find a new job,” he noted. “We are also concerned about the systemic marginalisation of the rural youth by the programme.” Bishop Gabuza said serious efforts should be made to address the “investment strike by the private sector”, with reports that companies are sitting on huge piles of cash, unwilling to plough it back into the economy.
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Tsoke ordained as auxiliary of Jhb By LeBO WA MAJAHe
OME 5 000 faithful witnessed the episcopal ordination of Bishop Duncan Tsoke as the auxiliary of Johannesburg at the Sacred Heart College grounds in Observatory, Johannesburg. Among the guests were the new papal nuncio, Archbishop Peter Wells, 25 bishops of the Southern African pastoral region, and 150 priests. Bishop John Tlhomola represented Lesotho’s bishops’ conference, and Bishop Don Germano Grachane that of Mozambique. Ecumenical guests included Fr Joe Mdlhela of the Anglican Church. There were also political guests, including water and sanitation minister Nomvula Mokonyane, Johannesburg mayor Parks Tau, and parliamentarian Lindiwe Maseko. After the presentation of the bishop-elect by Fr Fons van den Boer, Mgr Kevin Randall, secretary of the nunciature in Pretoria, presented the apostolic letter appointing Bishop Tsoke as the auxiliary of the Johannesburg archdiocese and naming him to the titular see of Horrea Coelia. As an auxiliary, Bishop Tsoke is tasked to assist Archbishop Buti
(Left) Archbishop Buti Tlhagale (seated right) of Johannesburg was the chief consecrator at the episcopal ordination of Bishop duncan Tsoke (left) as auxiliary bishop of Johannesburg. (Right) The Book of the Gospels is placed upon the head of Bishop Tsoke. Tlhagale in running the archdiocese. Because an auxiliary bishop is not the head of a diocese, he is awarded an ancient, now-defunct see. Horrea Coelia is in present-day Tunisia. Bishop Tsoke was born in eTwatwa, Ekurhuleni, in 1964, and had served the archdiocese as vicargeneral for six years. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1995. At his episcopal ordination, Archbishop Tlhagale was the principal consecrator, with Bishops Vincent Zungu of Port Elizabeth and Valentine Seanne of Gaborone as
co-consecrators. In his homily, Archbishop Tlhagale said there is great public scrutiny on ethical leadership. “The moral fibre of those in positions of responsibility is being tested by fire,” he said. “The country appears to be reclaiming its moral high ground. Hopefully, it will filter through to us ordinary citizens,’’ he said. The archbishop appealed to Johannesburg residents to show mercy to migrants and refugees, noting that “some sleep on the
pavements like dogs”, and urged that “we need to remember that we are of the same cloth, demonstrating what it means to be humane”. Addressing the new bishop directly, Archbishop Tlhagale said: “Through this anointing, you are now bound so closely to Christ, the Bridegroom, that you look on the Church, on us all, with the eyes and love of Christ himself.” Recalling the Lord’s question to St Peter, “Peter, do you love me?’’, the archbishop spoke of it as a question addressed not to elicit prece-
dence or privilege or any form of boasting, but simply to measure the service that Peter is going to give. “It is an unmistakable sign that discipleship is costly. We may like to think that we have chosen to follow the Lord, to enthrone him as our Master, but in fact he has chosen us, and he will do with us just whatever he wants, for the sake of his kingdom,” Archbishop Tlhagale said. Bishop Tsoke was appointed in response to Archbishop Tlhagale’s request for an auxiliary due to the ever-growing number of Catholics in Johannesburg, which serves 800 000 Catholics. Minister Mokonyane congratulated the “baby bishop’’ on his new role and started by posing a question: “How do I congratulate a fish for swimming?” In his appreciation remarks, Bishop Tsoke echoed the words which Archbishop Tlhagale spoke on the day of his own installation as bishop of Johannesburg in 2003: “I have been called to serve you. I kindly request you to allow me to serve you”, and requested his brother priests, religious and lay faithful of the archdiocese of Johannesburg to pray for him.
Sesotho literacy booklets based on the Bible now available
HE Bible Society of South Africa has launched its Bible-based literacy booklets in Sesotho in Phuthaditjhaba, Free State. Some 300 Grade R, 1 and 2 learners in Phuthaditjhaba schools were presented with a set of the Sesotho literacy booklets at the launch. This basic literacy project comprises two booklets, My First Bible Do And Learn Book (Bibele ya ka yaTshebetso Le ho Ithuta Buka ya) and My 2nd Bible Do And Learn Book
(Bibele ya ka ya ho Etsa Le ho Ithuta Buka ya 2). These are aimed especially at pre-primary school children and foundation phase learners (Grades R, 1 and 2). Two qualified mother-tongue speakers helped with the development, translation and editing of the Sesotho booklets: Nthuseng Tsoeu helped with the writing of the material and Thabiso Ntsielo with the editing. “Some years ago the Bible Soci-
ety became aware of thousands of children in poorer areas who attend daycare centres, but are not exposed to literacy at all. “Many of these children do not have the privilege of attending Grade R (reception phase) and are often behind when they start Grade 1,” said Bible Society spokeswoman Mims Turley. “When one compares these children’s circumstances to those of children from advantaged homes
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who are exposed to some 400 hours of literacy before they begin school, it is evident that many marginalised children begin their schooling with a backlog that is hard to overcome.” After thorough research, the Bible Society decided to develop Bible-based literacy material. The programme is based on the “do and learn method”, developed by the late Dr Rose Botha. “These booklets engage virtually all five senses to develop basic read-
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The Southern Cross, May 11 to May 17, 2016
Missionary of Mercy visits PE Pope names new bishop in KZN C P APUCHIN Father David Songy began Lent this year by concelebrating Mass at the Vatican and being commissioned a Missionary of Mercy by Pope Francis. A little over two months later, the American priest brought the pope’s message of mercy to the diocese of Port Elizabeth. Addressing about 50 clergy, religious, seminarians and lay Catholics at Mater Dei parish centre, Fr Songy discussed the meaning and theology of the Year of Mercy and proposed a way Catholics can experience this special year through a “pilgrimage of forgiveness”. The priest, who is president of the Saint Luke Institute, a US-based, international education and treatment programme for priests and religious, was in South Africa to give a week-long presentation to the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference’s sabbatical programme, and to meet with Fr Hugh Lagan SMA, a Pretoria-based priestpsychologist associated with the Saint Luke Institute. “Pope Francis is reminding us in a special way this year that Christ is the ‘face of mercy’,” Fr Songy said about being named a Missionary of Mercy. “This is what the Church needs in this time of brokenness in our world. We are called to bring healing. We are invited not only to experience mercy ourselves in a special way, but also to share the good news of mercy with others.” Preaching about mercy is part of
Fr Songy’s commission as a Missionary of Mercy. Pope Francis selected just over 1 000 priests worldwide for this role. The priests have been given special permission to pardon certain sins reserved to the Holy See during the Year of Mercy and they are to be available to the world’s bishops to give missions and preach on mercy or otherwise be part of Year of Mercy initiatives, focusing particularly on Reconciliation. He told the group that Pope Francis said to the Missionaries of Mercy when they met: “We can’t run the risk of a penitent not perceiving the maternal love of the Church that welcomes and loves him.” Fr Songy used the parable of the prodigal son to illustrate mercy and the deep love of God for us. The message is the father’s recognition of his son’s dignity as being far more valu-
US Capuchin Father david Songy brought the pope’s message of mercy to Port elizabeth.
able than the material wealth the young man had inherited. He then proposed a pilgrimage of forgiveness that anyone can follow. An individual starts the pilgrimage by making a personal reflection on how he may be judging others in his life, followed by a prayer to understand how the Lord does not judge him. The next step on the journey is the same exercise, but focused on how one is condemning others. In the third step, the person focuses on who he may be unable to forgive and prays to understand the fullness of God’s forgiveness. The final step is giving, through alms and prayer. Fr Songy encouraged the group to “focus on God performing exercises of mercy in your own life versus a deed you do out of a strictly human sense of charity”.
OPE Francis has named Mariannhill Missionary Father Siegfried Mandla Jwara as the new apostolic vicar for the vicariate of Ingwavuma, KwaZulu-Natal. Bishop-elect Jwara will be ordained to the episcopate at Riverview, Mtubatuba, on June 25. Upon his episcopal ordination the 59-year-old will receive the title of bishop. Because Ingwavuma is not a diocese, Bishop-elect Jwara will be assigned the titular see of Elephantaris in Proconsulari, a defunct diocese in North Africa. The vicariate had been vacant since the transfer of its previous apostolic vicar, Bishop José Luis Ponce de León, to Manzini, Swaziland. The bishop continued to administer Ingwavuma during its vacancy. Bishop-elect Jwara was born on February 1, 1957 at St Nivard in the diocese of Mariannhill, and attended schools at KwaHluzingqondo in uMkhomazi. He entered the Congregation of Mariannhill Missionaries in 1981 and professed his final vows in 1986. Having completed his philosophical and theological formation at St Joseph’s Theological Institute in Cedara, he was ordained to the priesthood on February 14, 1987.
Fr Siegfried Mandla Jwara CMM has been named as the new apostolic vicar of Ingwavuma. In 1998 he did his masters in theology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Pietermaritzburg. He has served his order as provincial, vice-pastor and novice master, among other appointments. He was also a member of the order’s general council in Rome. He is currently regional superior of the Mthatha region. Ingwavuma has a population of some 754 000, with about 27 000 Catholics. They are served by 14 priests. The vicariate has 14 religious brothers, five religious sisters and three seminarians. Residents and staff at Little eden’s elvira Rota Village gathered to sing “Happy Birthday” to Archbishop George daniel, retired of Pretoria, as he turned 83 years old. The archbishop was showered with eats and birthday cards made by the residents.
Church slams arms spending T HE Catholic bishops of Southern Africa have criticised the government for excessive weapons spending, given the country’s major social problems. “We insist that, in the absence of discernible external military threat to our country, and in a country which is struggling to recover from high levels of unemployment and extreme poverty, it is ethically irresponsible and unnecessary to spend billions of scarce resources on weapons of war,” said Bishop Abel Gabuza, head of the bishops’ Justice & Peace Commission.
He warned that arms spending ignored the real problem, saying “the greatest threats to our national security are economic inequalities and youth unemployment which are themselves fuelling violent social protests”. Bishop Gabuza noted that forms of protests are becoming increasingly violent. “The defence capabilities that the military acquired through the arms procurement in 1999 are irrelevant in the face of this security threat,” he said. The bishop was critical of a gov-
ernment finding that justified the arms spending in the face of corruption claims. Bishop Gabuza said the government spent billions of rands on weapons in 1999 at a time when it said it could not afford anti-retroviral treatments for people with HIV. “We therefore continue to insist that the arms deal was an ethical blunder,” he said. The bishops’ conference commission also called on the government to suspend its plans for nuclear energy procurement.
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Trevor nasser gave a guitar and mandolin concert for the Carmelite Sisters and friends in the sisters’ chapel in Carmel, Benoni. Pictured are Sr Therese with Mr nasser outside the chapel. (Photo: Sr Chawezi)
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Special Interest Tours Our Lady of Peace
Holy Land: Bethlehem. Galilee. Magdala, Nazareth. Jerusalem. Cairo: Old Coptic Churches. Pyramids. Sphynx. Nile dinner cruise. Led by Fr Theophilus Maltosa OMI 7 – 16 September 2016 ================
St Gregory’s Pilgrimage Holy Land: Bethlehem.YGalilee. Magdala. DCoptic Churches. Nazareth. Jerusalem. Cairo: LL Old KEdinner cruise. Pyramids. Sphynx. Nile FU O Led by FrBBernard Madiba O 7 – 17 October 2016 ================
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Our Faith Experienced: Our Lord. Mary. St Peter.
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The Southern Cross, May 11 to May 17, 2016
Catholics, Anglicans welcome Irish priest’s beatification By SARAH MAC dOnALd
Guitarist The edge of Irish band U2 became the first-ever rock musician to perform in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican. The edge, whose real name is dave evans, played a short acoustic set as part of a conference on regenerative medicines. He is seen here with Mgr Melchor Sánchez de Toca y Alameda and Irish Bishop Paul Tighe. See an amateur video of the occasion at http://bit.ly/1SWWPaI. (Photo: Paul Haring/CnS)
N Irish priest approved for the next step to sainthood was described as a holy man with special powers of healing. Senior figures in the Irish Catholic Church and the Church of Ireland welcomed Pope Francis signing a decree recognising a miracle attributed to Jesuit Father John Sullivan (1861-1935), clearing the way for his beatification. Fr Sullivan was raised as an Anglican. “He was not a medical expert or a faith healer, but a man who through his own prayer and personal holiness was able to transmit to those he encountered something of the healing power and the good news of Jesus Christ,” said Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin. The archbishop said the Jesuit’s Anglican heritage had “enriched” his faith. The son of Protestant Lord Chancellor of Ireland Sir Edward Sullivan, Fr Sullivan was baptised into the
Jesuit Father John Sullivan is seen in this drawing by Irish portrait artist Sean O’Sullivan. (Photo: Irish Jesuit Communications/CnS) Church of Ireland tradition of his father and educated at the Protestant Portora Royal School in County Fermanagh and Trinity College Dublin. In 1896 at the age of 35, Father Sullivan was received into the Catholic Church, the tradition of his mother, at the Jesuit church on Farm Street, London. He joined the Jesuits
in 1900 and was ordained in 1907. Word of his holy and healing ways spread around Ireland, and to this day thousands of devotees visit his tomb in the Jesuit Gardiner Street church each year, praying for his help and intercession. The miracle approved by the pope was the 1954 healing of a cancerous tumour on the neck of Delia Farnham of Dublin. Jesuit Father Barney McGuckian said Fr Sullivan’s beatification would be a “a very ecumenical event”, and he paid tribute to Portora college as “the first Irish Protestant school to produce a Catholic saint”. Jesuit Father Conor Harper, vice postulator of Fr Sullivan’s sainthood cause, said what is remarkable about him was the way he is “revered in the two Christian traditions that were so dear to him, the Roman Catholic and the Protestant. Our Church of Ireland friends join us in celebration”.—CNS
Vatican watchdog reports U2 star records a first jump in suspicious activity
in the Sistine Chapel
EAD guitarist The Edge from Irish rock band U2 played “the most beautiful parish hall in the world”—the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. The performance, the first-ever rock concert in the historic chapel, was given for about 200 doctors and researchers who attended a conference at the Vatican on regenerative medicine. The conference discussed the use of adult stem cells to cure difficult and rare diseases such as cancer. The Edge, whose real name is David Evans, wore his signature black beanie while he played and sang a cover of Leonard Cohen’s “If It Be Your Will” and renditions of U2 songs “Yahweh”, “Ordinary Love” and “Walk On”. The rock star, who has experienced the effects of cancer in his own life—his father died from cancer last month and his daughter once had leukemia—peppered his performance with references to some technical cancer terms. “I can tell this is a really cool audience because normally when I say ‘angiogenesis’, eyes glaze over,” he said. Angiogenesis is the process through which new blood vessels are formed that feed the growth of tumours. Researchers and scientists are looking for ways to prevent angiogenesis.
The Edge, who was accompanied by a choir of seven Irish teenagers during his performance, also joked that he was a bit shocked when he was asked to play and sing at the Vatican. “When they asked me if I wanted to become the first contemporary artist to play in the Sistine Chapel, I didn’t know what to say because usually there’s this other guy who sings,” he said, referring to U2’s lead singer Bono. He also thanked Pope Francis for allowing him to play in “the most beautiful parish hall in the world”. “Being Irish you learn very early that if you want to be asked to come back it’s very important to thank the local parish priest for the loan of the hall,” he said. The singer dedicated his performance of the 2000 song “Walk On” to Pope Francis, whom he called “the people’s pope”. “He’s doing an amazing job and long may he continue,” he said. The Cellular Horizons conference was hosted at the Vatican by the Stem for Life Foundation. Speakers at the conference included Pope Francis and US VicePresident Joe Biden, who is advocating for a global push to end cancer.—CNA
By CAROL GLATZ
HE Vatican’s financial watchdog agency reported a huge jump in the number of financial transactions flagged as “suspicious” and in the value of assets it has blocked or frozen. During 2015, the Financial Intelligence Authority “received 544 reports of suspicious activities—almost three times as many as 2014”, it said in its annual report. “This was not due to a higher financial crime rate,” it said, but because policies were being implemented, procedures for reporting had been strengthened and Vatican personnel were more aware of their duty to report questionable activity. The financial authority also suspended eight transactions in 2015, totalling more than $9,3 million and froze four accounts or assets totalling more than $8,6 million. It had blocked just three operations in 2014 for a total of $637 000. René Brulhart, president of the Financial Intelligence Authority, and Tommaso Di Ruzza, its director, presented the agency’s annual report for the fourth time since the agency was established by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010. It monitors Vatican financial operations to ensure they meet international norms against money laundering and the financing of terrorism. The 27-page report said 2015
René Brulhart, president of the Financial Intelligence Authority, the Vatican’s financial watchdog. (Photo: Paul Haring/CnS) “marked a turning point” in that the agency helped the Vatican transition from setting up a structural and legal framework to bringing about “its effective functioning” and implementation. “Complex processes,” it said, were finally wrapped up, including a complete review of all Vatican bank accounts, resulting in a total of 4 800 accounts being closed, following stricter guidelines for identifying and verifying customers entitled to hold accounts there. It said they received a huge increase in the number of reports of suspicious financial activities: There were 544 reports in 2015, 147 in 2014 and 202 in 2013. Once cases are flagged, Mr Di Ruzza told reporters, the authority “filters” out which ones merit investigation and passes the report on to the Vatican’s judicial system.—CNS
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Swiss Guards ‘a unique parish’
ATHER Thomas Widmer, chaplain to the Papal Swiss Guards has described his pastoral work as caring for the spiritual development of a very “unusual parish”. The swearing-in ceremony for new intakes into the ranks held every year marks the date in 1527 when 147 Swiss Guards lost their lives defending Pope Clement VII in the Sack of Rome. Only 42 guards survived. Holding the ceremony on the anniversary is meant to remind new guards of the seriousness of their commitment. Another key aspect in the spiritual life of the Swiss Guards is in carrying out works of mercy. Volunteers often accompany Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, the papal almoner, to prepare and distribute food to the poor and the homeless.—CNS
Homeless pilgrims By GABy MAnISCALCO
OPE Francis will welcome several thousand homeless and vulnerable people from all over Europe when they make a pilgrimage to Rome in November. European organisations that help the homeless are invited to participate in the European Festival of Joy and Mercy, which will take place from November 11-13. The event organisers— the Fratello association—are inviting 6 000 homeless, vulnerable and marginalised people to take part. The pilgrimage includes an audience led by Pope Francis, a papal Mass, the Stations of the Cross and a tour of Rome. There will be a gathering to hear people’s personal testimonies and a prayer “Vigil of Mercy” with Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon, France. “This time of pilgrimage and opportunity to meet Pope Francis will give people from the most vulnerable sections of society, who are often treated as outcasts, a chance to discover that their place is in the heart of God and in the heart of the Church,” the Fratello association said. Those who assist the vulnerable on a dayto-day basis are also invited to attend. n For more information on the pilgrimage visit Fratello’s website at www.fratello2016.org.
The Southern Cross, May 11 to May 17, 2016
The Trevi Fountain in Rome is lit in red during an event to raise awareness of the plight of Christian martyrs. (Photo: Paul Haring/CnS)
‘World must act on ISIS genocide’ W
HILE religious freedom in much of the Middle East is under siege and the civil war in Syria seems to have no end in sight, the United Nations has been called to action at a conference sponsored by the office of the Vatican’s permanent observer to the UN. It was joined by In Defence of Christians and other organisations focusing on human rights abuses in the Middle East. Presenters included people who experienced or witnessed atrocities being committed against religious minorities. Led by remarks from Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Vatican’s permanent observer to the UN, the event had an intensely sensitive agenda. Sr Maria de Guadalupe Rodrigo, a member of the Congregation of the Incarnate Word who has spent 18 years in the Middle East as a missionary, spoke of her experience living in Aleppo, Syria, a major battleground in the civil war. “I remember the first two months when this all started, we all remained inside,” she said. “There were constant explosions and gun-
shots. We couldn’t sleep. But these weeks turned into months and the months into years.” Sr Maria de Guadalupe described how children playing on the street collect bullets and trade them with one another because they can find nothing else to play with. Children should not be concerned about safety, but safety is all they think about, she said. A child captured and tortured by ISIS also addressed the conference. Samia Sleman, 15, of Hardan, Iraq, a village north of Mount Sinjar, gave an emotional speech about her time in captivity. A member of the Yazidi minority, Ms Sleman spent six months sequestered along with other girls who were starved, raped and sold to other ISIS members. Ms Sleman brought attention to the many girls whom Islamic State members take as sex slaves while their mothers are killed for being “too old”. Some enslaved girls are as young as 7 or 8 years old, she said. Despite the horrific actions of her captors, Ms Sleman, whose family is still being held, spoke on their behalf so the UN and world governments would act to end the genocide taking place.—CNS Jesuit Father daniel Berrigan, an early critic of US military intervention in Vietnam who for years challenged the country’s reliance on military might, died on April 30. He was 94. The author of several books of poetry and one of the first US Catholic priests to receive a federal sentence for peace activism, he believed that Catholics are called to live a life of non-violence as expressed in the Gospel and to protest injustices when they are encountered. Fr Berrigan, with others, started the Plowshares movement to oppose nuclear weapons. (See also page 12)
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The Southern Cross, May 11 to May 17, 2016
LEADER PAGE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Editor: Günther Simmermacher
A culture of impunity
HIS year South Africa’s judiciary has declared its intolerance for the disease of impunity that has infected the country, from top to bottom. The Constitutional Court ruled on March 31 that the government has no authority to arbitrarily disregard the Nkandla Report issued by the Office of the Public Protector. In late April the High Court in Pretoria ruled that corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma may be reinstated. The message is clear: even the president and his government are not immune to justice. The courts have declared that they may not act with impunity. The courts might not have had it in mind specifically to communicate a broader point to the nation—the judges are tasked to interpret law, not to enforce national morality—but their judgments should serve as an impulse for a fight against South Africa’s culture of impunity at every level. To be sure, in a global system in which the rich and even elected governments brazenly collude to disadvantage the poor and the middle classes, a false idea takes hold that an injustice is wrong only when one doesn’t get away with it. Accountability is an increasingly vanishing virtue. This is true also in South Africa, and it is tempting to lose hope. The culture of impunity—a sense that one can do as one wishes because the threat of consequences for one’s action is diminished—has woven itself into the total fabric of South African society. The culture of impunity is visible in townships where whole communities are ruled by gangs who fear neither police nor the judiciary, but themselves spread fear among those who seek to live virtuous lives. The culture of impunity finds expression in crime, when even rapists fancy the odds of not getting arrested for their crime, or their victims even reporting it. Burglaries are reported to the police, if at all, not with a view to apprehending the perpetrators, but to satisfy the bureaucratic requirements of insurance claims. And sometimes insurance claims are made fraudulently, because that is believed to be a victimless crime—another fallacy that feeds the culture of impunity. The culture of impunity reaches such depths that criminals are even murdering police personnel.
Businesses also act with impunity. Taxes are avoided even as businesses utilise the public infrastructure which the public purse finances. Manufacturers collude in price-fixing, banks apply exploitative charges, incompetence in the boardroom is rewarded with payments of obscene bonuses (paid for by the consumer and underpaid employees); complaints about inadequate service are met with indifference. The consumer’s institutionalised powerlessness and government’s collusion and/or impotence further feeds this business sense of impunity. Many politicians buy into that mindset, trading honesty and accountability for venal self-aggrandisement. The Zuma government has encouraged the culture of impunity by trying to emasculate the judicial processes in appointing blatantly unsuitable people to key positions in the prosecuting authority and its investigative arm. A sense of impunity has infected even some who have genuine grievances, as the now almost inevitably destructive nature of protests and strikes shows. But we must not yield to disillusionment, and the judgments against Mr Zuma and his government must serve to encourage us. We must not cease to strive towards a regeneration of ethics, even and especially when it seems our efforts are futile. And that process of regeneration must begin with ourselves. The slippery slope of South Africa’s impunity starts with the motorist who throws a cigarette butt out of his window or the otherwise law-abiding person who buys a black market home entertainment system. Commuters witness this sense of impunity every day when minibus taxis violate traffic conventions, and other drivers follow suit because the taxi drivers are seen to be “getting away with it”. We see it on commuter trains where codes of social conduct are routinely abandoned. South Africa’s moral regeneration is tied to the defeat of our culture of impunity. To accomplish this, all who transgress must be held accountable for their actions: the corrupt politician, the burglar and the rapist, the exploitative capitalist and the destructive protester, the menacing taxi driver and the road-raged motorist—and even the casual litterer.
Loss of Catholics seeking new spirit
N his letter (March 23), John Lee paints a sad picture of the Catholic Church losing many thousands of its members to the lively Pentecostal ministries. He offers a number of statistics which, if taken to heart, speak of a terrifying leakage in quantity but not necessarily in quality of faith. This is, surely, not surprising. It is happening in many regions of the world. Basically, the reason is ignorance of their Catholic faith based on
Viva Ascension and Assumption
ISHOP Edward Risi (April 20) has explained the bishops’ intentions behind the transferral of the solemnities of the Ascension and the Assumption. While one does not doubt the bishops’ good intentions, the benefit gained by larger numbers attending Ascension or Assumption liturgies on Sunday would surely be outweighed by the dilution of the significance of the feasts, the pain of the loss of all but one of our remaining Holy Days, and the demoralising effect on practising Catholics. Bishop Risi states that the intention is that the feast be kept on the traditional days in schools and other institutions, and might even perhaps be commemorated, albeit in a more low-key way, on the proper days, in parishes. Will our bishops then strongly urge our priests to make sure Ascension and Assumption Masses are celebrated on the traditional days, for those who feel the pain of the days’ loss? Will such Masses be widely available—vigil Masses, early morning Masses, lunch-hour Masses, evening Masses—as they have been on Holy Days, so that it is feasible for people to attend on the traditional days? Will the bishops back up laypeople who want to take leave on these days for religious reasons, or keep their children out of school—or will we be told the day is now of no significance to our faith? I sincerely hope the bishops, and our priests, ensure that Ascension Thursday and Assumption Day Masses are as widely available as possible, and will support our strong longing to keep these days special and holy, in a way that transferral to Sunday cannot but dilute. In the meantime, we will continue untiringly to petition our bishops, and the Holy See, to reconsider this sad decision and to restore our Holy Days, even while allowing observance of the feasts on Sunday in rural or other priestless commu-
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Bishop: Beware of get-rich schemes BY MANDLA ZIBI
HE Justice and Peace Department of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference has expressed concern about a ponzi-like scheme likened to “playing Russian roulette with your money”. “People must be vigilant about any scheme that promises outrageous returns. Any financial arrangement that depends on donations in order to pay out to others is not sustainable,” said Bishop Abel Gabuza, head of J&P. The Hawks have opened an investigation into the scheme following an inquiry by the National Consumer Commission. The scheme in question is called MMM, named for its Russian founders, Sergei Mavrodi, his brother Vyacheslav Mavrodi, and Olga Melnikova— the three Ms standing for their surnames. Bishop Gabuza called on people to educate themselves about MMM as he had personally seen how investors in previous schemes had lost their whole life savings. “Many of our people are so desperate. They
an aggressive TV advertising campaign. At its peak, the company took in 100 billion rubles. But that attracted the attention of the taxman; just one of their subsidiaries owed 50 b i l l i o n r u b l e s , a n d t h e m a i n c om p a n y o w e d about 100 billion rubles. The company declared bankruptcy in 1997 as the scheme collapsed, resulting in at least 50 suicides by people who lost their fortunes. It was one of the world’s largest ponzi schemes and led to stricter regulations on Russia’s stock markets. In 2007 Sergei Mavrodi was found guilty of defrauding 10 000 investors out of 110 million rubles. South Africa’s version of MMM, which is run by a Nigerian, encourages its members to donate money to others by rewarding them with the Mavros—a bitcoin-linked virtual currency. MMM’s claims of a 30% per month investment return through a “social financial netwo rk” falls foul of the Consumer Protection Act, which says that only a maximum of 27% can be offered annually
A group of Grade 10-12 learners from Brescia House School in Johannesburg visited their sister school in the US, the Ursuline Academy in North Carolina. The girls were given a very spirited reception to the Ursuline Academy by their host sisters as they entered the school, fo l l o w e d b y a ce re mo n y p re s e n te d b y th e i r s c h o o l c h o i r a n d th e s c h o o l b o d y. Th e g i r l s fr o m South Africa assisted at a Sunday Breakfast Mission in central Wilmington which provides a meal for the hungry and homeless.
Beloved social activist now on sainthood path A CANONICAL inquir y into the life of Dorothy Day (pictured right), co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement, will begin soon and extend to the end of the year, according to the archdiocese of New York, which is sponsoring her sainthood cause and is where Day oversaw Catholic Worker houses. The Dorothy Day Guild, established in 2005 to promote her life and works, said on its website that the names of 256 people had been submitted as potential eyewitnesses to Ms Day’s life. Of those, 52 have been chosen
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poor catechesis, and the wrong emphasis in our dogmatic approach. These thousands are seeking a live Jesus and the New Life he alone can offer. I do not believe those bold statistics tell the whole story of those who seek Jesus in other assemblies where one can experience the Pentecostal spirit. But that spirit is the essence of our Catholic faith—or should be! That is what Charismatic Renewal is all about. We are, in fact, the Pentecostal Church.
nities. Readers are invited to visit the Facebook page “Catholics Want Feasts” to be kept informed of our initiatives to maintain and restore our special feasts. Nicholas Mitchell, Port Elizabeth
Keep Holy Days
ECENTLY I have read various debates about South Africa keeping Ascension and Assumption as days of obligation. When I was growing up, Ascension Thursday used to be a public holiday. Why this changed and how the Catholic Church accepted it, I have no idea. I do understand, though, that South Africa resolved to accept and accommodate all denominations, but I think the Catholic community could have prevented the scrapping of these Holy Days. Our essence and belief lies in days such as these. Isn’t observing Holy Days of obligation one of the precepts of the Church and, according to the catechism, literally obliges us to participate in the principal liturgical feasts that do not fall on a Sunday, for our moral wellbeing and nourishment by the liturgy? Our Catholic Church is decreasing in number as many people, especially the youth, leave. If we keep our Holy Days, especially Ascension and Assumption, as days of obligation and as public holidays, the essence I grew up with that these days are precious for me, my faith and my Church, will be restored. Praying during these days and marking them is a way of building up our parish communities and our universal Church. Opinions expressed in The Southern Cross, especially in Letters to the editor, do not necessarily reflect the views of the editor or staff of the newspaper, or of the Catholic hierarchy. The letters page in particular is a forum in which readers may exchange opinions on matters of debate. Letters must not be understood to necessarily reflect the teachings, disciplines or policies of the Church accurately. Letters can be sent to PO Box 2372, Cape Town 8000 or firstname.lastname@example.org or faxed to 021 465-3850
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However, we know—but do not understand why—bishops and clergy have rejected Charismatic Renewal, although at least three recent popes have lauded this renewal. We must not be surprised if thousands seek Jesus in other avenues of joy. They have not lost faith; they have found a renewal in their once-Catholic faith. And one day they will come to realise that the Catholic Church has so much more to offer—but only if we “do not extinguish the Holy Spirit” says Paul (1 Thessalonians 5:9, Ephesians 4:30). Isabella Kemp, Cape Town
I hereby request that the SACBC and the Holy See not transfer Ascension and Assumption to Sundays. Let us save our Holy Days in South Africa. Jeanette M Lesisa, Midrand
REBUKE by a critic because there is no crucifix in the Denis Hurley Centre is countered by the centre director, Raymond Perrier, as follows: “A crucifix can remind us of the Passion. But since we are not idolaters, we must remember that the crucifix is still just a symbol.” Mentioning the crucifix and idolatry in the same breath is a contradiction. Would your contributor’s censure include aesthetically commonplace prints of the Sacred Heart of Jesus such as the one my husband bought in 1966 which hangs, framed, in a place of honour in my house? My eyes light on that picture daily as I give thanks to God for the graces of the past and present, and implore his continued blessings in the future. It is the last of my possessions that I’d ever give up. Cradle Catholics of my generation had crucifixes in every home and in each classroom in our Catholic schools. A sign of the times occurred at a Catholic school when a biology teacher was replaced by a non-Catholic one. He scornfully eyed the crucifix before telling the boys: “That thing comes down first.” In 1965 in Zambia I discovered the power of the crucifix. A feisty Zambian witchdoctor, cousin to my housekeeper, showed up at my house to buy a wardrobe. When she spotted the crucifix, she went pale at the lips, turned and ran. Her cousin, who lived with her, resigned the following day: “I like you and your children, Ma’am, but my cousin says there is an evil influence in your home.” I paid her off in resigned heartache but kept the crucifix. With its image of the suffering Christ, the crucifix is no mere symbol but a constant reminder of our dear Lord’s agony and death for our redemption. Its presence would be an asset to the Denis Hurley Centre. Luky Whittle, Kroonstad
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Each in our own language T HE Pentecost miracle is being read out at Masses this weekend. Nervous lectors will be struggling over that long list of strange countries—Phrygia and Pamphilia—while the skilled ones will demonstrate their verbal dexterity with the pronunciation of “Cretans”. And we remain as amazed as those crowds were on the first Pentecost Sunday that poorly educated fishermen from an obscure regional province could stand up in the square of the capital city and speak so eloquently “that everyone could understand, each in their own language”. If only it were so easy today. Part of what defines us are the differences in language between countries and, as we know all too well in South Africa, even within countries. So we hold on dearly to our own language; we are pleased when we can use it and when someone else tries to communicate with us in it. But language differences are not fixed—they evolve over time for social, political and economic reasons. When I was growing up there was a country called Yugoslavia that spoke a language called Serbo-Croat. Now there is a country called Serbia that speaks Serbian; and a neighbouring country called Croatia that speaks Croat. The Christian missionaries who came to this continent knew that learning the local language was key to being able to share the Christian faith. It is not a coincidence that very often, around the world, the first written form of a language was devised in order to write down Christian prayers or even the whole Bible. French missionaries did that in Lesotho and German ones in KwaZuluNatal, which explains why seSotho is written in the French way with the words separated and isiZulu in the German way with the words strung together. And it is not just in Africa that this happened—the alphabet in which Russian and many other Slavic languages is written is called Cyrillic after St Cyril the earliest Christian missionary to those lands. The Second Vatican Council allowed Mass in local languages (“the vernacular”). This was part of the Council’s desire that in liturgy there should be “full active participation of all God's holy people”. The impact was revolutionary. Being able to share a profound experience like the Mass within one’s own group in the language of the group is hugely important.
But it is also important to enable people to share between groups. Thus it was recognised that it would be useful if all the places in which English was spoken used the same English version. Otherwise we might have had Jesus after the Resurrection telling his disciples in SA-English that he would be coming back “now now”. So a Durbanite attending an English Mass in Delhi, Detroit or Derby will be able to participate in the same prayers without hesitation. But wasn’t that already true when all Masses the world over were in Latin? It seems an irony that, just at the point in history when international travel was taking off, and people might have benefited from being able to attend Mass everywhere in the world in the same language, the Church’s reforms meant that Mass would now be in different languages in different countries. Universal Latin probably did not mean that everyone could participate equally well wherever they were, but rather everyone could participate equally badly wherever they were.
ut vernacular has also resulted in something that I am sure was not an intention of the Council Fathers: worshippers being divided by language not just between countries but between parts of the same country or even between parts of the same parish. How many of us avoid attending a particular Mass on a Sunday because it is wholly or partly in a language that is not our own? The English-speakers and the Zulu-speakers might nod at each other as one group is leaving church and the next one is arriving but that hardly makes for a united parish. Unfortunately, the power that language has to include people within a group, at the same time can be a power
Faith and Society
that excludes people who are outside that group. That is precisely why close communities, such as schools and prisons, develop their own slang words. The Pentecost experience is called the birthday of the Church because it was at this point that for the first time the followers of Christ showed their desire to include the whole world, with all its languages and differences; the word “catholic” after all means universal. How can we as parishes and dioceses show that we are able to worship “each in their own language” but still worship together showing that there can be unity within diversity? We need to do this as a Church for our own benefit, but also to set a model to inspire broader society around us. The official recognition of 11 national languages in South Africa was an important way of righting the wrongs of the past when particular languages had been forced on people and their own languages denigrated. But the 11 languages have also given people a way of reinforcing and justifying social separation when our focus should be on integration. Do we perhaps use language as an excuse not to integrate? And is this made worse because we avoid the reality that one of those languages, English, stands out from the rest. While all 11 languages have equality of status this should not disguise the very obvious difference that they do not all have equality of impact. Debates have been raging on our university campuses about the colonisation of language. If there are lectures in Afrikaans, why can’t there be lectures in Xhosa? I suspect the question is starting in the wrong place. Whether we like it or not, English has become established as the world’s academic language. So surely we should spend our limited university resources on ensuring that all our students are truly competent in the important skill of speaking and writing good English. Afrikaans in a university classroom is then just as inappropriate and wasteful as Xhosa. This is a sensitive question but my proposal has a pragmatic intent. It also has a wider one. If we want to create a country in which there is unity as well as diversity, we need to make sure that we are promoting a way
Let the Holy Spirit work in families Toni Rowland I T is a happy coincidence that on May 15, which is Pentecost Sunday for us Catholics, families everywhere can also commemorate International Family Day. Often we talk of a “good team spirit” or of a spirit that is lacking in some situation. People are enthusiastic and committed or bored and disinterested. An angry spirit shows something is not right. In such a sense it has to do with an atmosphere, a mood, something not quite identifiable but that can be felt nevertheless. In Africa we could call a good spirit moya. We use that seSotho word for the Holy Spirit, God’s Spirit of love who inspires, who guides and comforts. The Church teaches that the gift of the presence of the Spirit is received in baptism, and confirmed at confirmation. Each Pentecost he can be invited to renew his gifts to us. Even at other times we pray the prayer for a renewal of the Spirit and some groups believe more strongly that we need to be reborn in the Spirit to live life to the full as Jesus promised. In 1994 the United Nations invited the nations of the world to commemorate the 1st International Year of the Family. Because of the importance of families in society, it was agreed to hold an annual International Day for Families on May 15 with a specially chosen focus theme. Countries, churches and other institutions as well as families in their homes can reflect on how things are and consider how they could “build homes of merciful love”, as Marfam invites in 2016. The official 2016 International Family Day theme is “Families, healthy lives and sustainable future” (or the longer version “Promote healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages”). This is in fact Sus-
A Pentecost banner announces the gift of the Holy Spirit (Photo: Mark Kisogloo) tainable Development Goal 3. The UN writes: “Families remain at the centre of social life ensuring the wellbeing of their members, educating and socialising children and youth and caring for young and old. From a policy perspective, taking families into account in the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals has a potential to speed up the achievements of many targets relating to individuals' wellbeing.” It goes on to say that where there are policies they need to be implemented effectively.
In South Africa there are national priorities too for strengthening families. The Department for Social Development works with this in conjunction with other departments, but we, on the ground or in our homes, all need to be part of that. We can do this through the presence of the Holy Spirit. I believe that this spirit is also a family spirit. We all know when there is a good atmosphere, a good or happy or at times also a negative atmosphere in our homes. Maybe the Spirit is present or has been chased away because we are not practising mercy in our relationships. The Spirit offers us his gifts. We identify them as wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord. We could even add mercy as a gift of the Spirit this year. As individuals or in families, which of these gifts are most needed for ourselves and to build our homes, our little domestic churches, of merciful love where we live healthy lives and plan as best we can for our future? The fruits of the gifts such as love, peace and joy will show us how God is present. Families can pray for the Spirit’s guidance during this Year of Mercy as Pope Francis does: “May the Holy Spirit, who guides the steps of believers in cooperating with the work of salvation wrought by Christ, lead the way and support the People of God so that they may contemplate the face of mercy” (The Face of Mercy, 2015).
The job of Church top brass How is an archbishop, cardinal and apostolic nuncio selected? What is the process involved and by whom is he selected? What qualifications should the candidate have? What are his duties, to whom does he report and from where does he get his financial support? Diana Lensen
n my previous column I responded to the first part of your question about the selection and duties of bishops. This is the second part of that question. An archbishop is not selected in the way a candidate for bishop is selected. Usually, it is the diocese itself which has the status of an archdiocese, and whoever is appointed to it automatically becomes its archbishop. An archdiocese is a diocese like any other except that it is the central diocese of an ecclesiastical province. For instance, the archdiocese of Johannesburg is the central diocese of the province of Johannesburg whose territory embraces the dioceses of Klerksdorp, Witbank and Manzini (in Swaziland). The archbishop of Johannesburg is known as the metropolitan of this province and the other dioceses are known as his suffragan sees. He has no power of governance over them but has certain canonical rights and responsibilities in their regard. Often an archbishop was a bishop in a smaller diocese before his appointment to an archdiocese. For example, Archbishop Stephen Brislin of Cape Town previously was the bishop of Kroonstad; Cardinal Wilfrid Napier and Archbishop William Slattery were both bishops of Kokstad. Cardinals have the privilege of electing one of their number to become bishop of Rome. Historically, they were the pope’s assistants in the running of the Rome diocese and beyond. The pope alone chooses whom he wants to be given the honour and obligation of being a cardinal. Canon 351.1 prescribes that the candidate must be a priest who is outstanding in doctrine, virtue, piety and prudence in practical matters. One who is not a bishop must receive episcopal ordination. Cardinals have many duties, most of them in supporting the pope in the government of the Church. Some are resident bishops and others are heads of Vatican departments. They all report directly to the pope. Cardinals’ financial support could depend on the type of post they hold in the Vatican or locally or both. The Holy See, that is, the Church’s seat of government, represents the position and authority of the pope as universal pastor. It has sent envoys and missions to kingdoms and countries over many centuries in order to pursue and preserve justice and peace. An apostolic nuncio is a diplomat with the rank of archbishop who represents the Holy See to a state or international organisation. He is like any other accredited ambassador in such a position. The nuncio will liaise between governments and the Holy See in matters of mutual concern. Of course, he also will liaise between the Holy See and the local Church, in particular with the regional conference of bishops. As its ambassador, the nuncio’s financial support will come from the Holy See.
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The Southern Cross, May 11 to May 17, 2016
Children received their first Holy Communion at Christ the King parish in Worcester, diocese of Oudtshoorn. They are pictured with parish priest Fr Ashley Orgill OPraem.
Michelle Beaton and Tony Murphy were married at St James parish in Port elizabeth.
Auxiliary Bishop duncan Tsoke of Johannesburg with Knights of da Gama at Holy Family parish in Turffontein. (Photo: Alexis Santana Callea)
Tony Wyllie & Co.
The band of Christian Brothers College in Pretoria won the northern Command’s annual bugle band competition from its inception in 1956 to 1963. danie Truter won the trophy for the best bugler from 195759 while Peter Reynolds won the best drummer trophy from 1961-63. The two champion bandsmen got together to reminisce.
Comboni Missionaries working in South Africa gathered in an assembly meeting. They work in the archdioceses of Pretoria, Johannesburg, durban and in Witbank diocese. They also publish the missionary magazine Worldwide and the Worldwide Liturgical Calendar.
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Bishop Joe Sandri of Witbank with members of the Catholic Men’s Union at their diocesan AGM at Maria Trost in Lydenburg. Kroonstad diocesan priests marked Vocations Sunday by visiting the Holy name parish in Wesselsbron to talk to young people about vocations to the priesthood. (From left) Frs Patrick Anyawu, Molula Mokhoamathe, emmanuel ntomane, Br Sipho Mtimkulu, Frs Vincent Mepa, Thabo Chomane and Michael Rasello.
The Southern Cross, May 11 to May 17, 2016
When the ‘holy bird’ came at Pentecost The Holy Spirit is traditionally represented by the dove, the “holy bird”. FRAnCIS AMPOnSAH OP reflects on the meaning of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples.
The Holy Spirit is depicted as a dove in a stained glass window above the Altar of the Chair in St Peter’s basilica in the Vatican. (Photo: Günther Simmermacher)
LEARNED Japanese writer once said: “I think I understand about God the Father and the Son, but I can never understand the significance of the ‘Honourable Bird’.” The Holy Spirit has traditionally eluded the comprehension of scholars and preachers—a bird in flight resists capture. This bird-like Spirit flies higher than any aeroplane; it flies across the vast expanse of lands and oceans; it could go down the valleys, along creeks and above the highest mountains. It brings blessings, healing, new life and hope. It is difficult to contain or even describe “Spirit”. However, spirittalk suggests life, movement and energy. We talk of creative energy in inspiration; an energy which has the power to break through barriers, break records, and go beyond the expected and the mediocre; the energy that breaks through the locked doors of convention and is not bound by any kind of restriction. This divine energy is manifested in creation, when it brought life out of nothing. The Spirit is that Breath of Life that came from God and made humans living beings (Gen 1: 1ff; 2:18-26). The same divine energy, the Spirit, also showed his presence and power in the form of Pillar of Fire and Cloud to protect and guide the pilgrim people
He sent them out: The Great Commission As Catholics we are to be evangelists, people who become vibrant witnesses to the mercy which God showers on us in Christ, as CLIFFORd yeARy explains.
HE Book of Acts is a fastpaced account of the Church’s beginnings and a fascinating description of Christian faith in action. For 40 days following his resurrection, Christ met with the Apostles, eating with them and speaking with them concerning the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3). In one last instruction before ascending to the Father, he tells them: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The Apostles are to be Christ’s witnesses, beginning in Jerusalem, but eventually proclaiming the Gospel to the ends of the earth— which, from the focus of the Book of Acts, we understand to be Rome, the capital of the empire dominating the Mediterranean world. Through all manner of opposition and persecution they will be his witnesses, but not until they have received power from the Holy Spirit.
Readers of Luke’s gospel will recognise the importance of the Holy Spirit’s power in every stage of Jesus’ ministry. The Virgin Mary conceives Jesus when the Holy Spirit comes upon her and “the power of the Most High” overshadows her (1:35). At his baptism by John in the Jordan “the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove” (3:22). Led by the Holy Spirit into the desert where he resists all temptations, he returns to the region of Galilee to enter fully into his mission “in the power of the Spirit” (4:1-14). The Apostles are to await the outpouring of the Holy Spirit because their witness to Christ means continuing the ministry of Christ “to the ends of the earth”.
fter receiving the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, they boldly proclaim the Good News of Jesus’ death and resurrection, but their witness is not limited to words alone. They extend God’s love for all by performing the same merciful acts Jesus performed in his ministry. Because they have been sent in the power of the Holy Spirit, they can offer healing from illness, power over every evil affliction and a new life for an estranged humanity in a loving community. Their evangelising quickly brings about a new community, one whose life together is itself a witness to the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.
“They devoted themselves to the teaching of the Apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers” (Act 2:42). The “communal life” was one where no one among them suffered from a lack of any necessity, for “all who believed were together and had all things in common” (Act 2:44). We know that this was a rather idealised vision of what life was supposed to be like in the early community because of how soon we learn of acts of greed and deceit within the community (Acts 5:1-11). In presenting the ideal, Luke was intentionally calling his own local church into striving for the ideal. That it was, at best, a shortlived ideal in the earliest Christian community does not detract from the fact that true Christian fellowship can and will produce communities of genuine love and care for all. In the power of the Holy Spirit, Luke’s vision could even come to describe our own parishes and our own family life. After all, the essentials for such a community still belong to us. The Holy Spirit has been poured into us. When we devote ourselves “to the teaching of the Apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers” (Acts 2:42), we fulfill what we profess about the Church in the Creed, that it is “one, true, holy and Catholic”. n This article was originally published in Arkansas Catholic.
of God as the march to freedom across the desert (Ex 14). This divine energy is the Consuming Fire that ate up the sacrifice of Elijah, the prophet when he challenged the false prophets. The same Spirit lived in the prophets who spoke courageously against the social, moral and religious evils of their time. Mary, the virgin, was overshadowed by the power of God, the Holy Spirit, at the conception of Jesus (Lk 1:18 ff). This “Honourable Bird” appeared again at the baptism of Jesus in the river Jordan (Mt 3).
ow, 50 days after the resurrection of Jesus, a group of dispirited followers of Jesus had gathered and locked themselves in the Upper Room. There was more perspiration than inspiration in the room; there was fear and suspicion, and they listened attentively to every footstep on the staircase; waiting for the executioners to knock at the door. They must have been praying that no one would discover their hiding place. In contrast to their expectation, there came the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit; the Spirit takes this group of dispirited folk and fills them with new energy, enthusiasm and confidence. The presence of the Holy Spirit takes away fear, and makes the disciples open their lives to others. The Holy Spirit bears the fruits of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness and faithfulness (Gal 5:22). One interesting thing about
Pentecost is that all those who receive the different gifts of the Holy Spirit spoke the same message that was understood by everyone who gathered in Jerusalem from various cultures and nations of the world. The message is LOVE. Love has the same sound, texture, effect and power in every person, culture, race and country. When love becomes the language we all speak, the powerful breath of God will energise everyone. For the Jewish believers the feast of Pentecost was a harvest celebration. For the Christian community it is the celebration of God’s planting the Holy Spirit to bring about a spiritual harvest. Jesus breathes upon them and offers them the same breath or Spirit that brought about order from chaos as recounted in the book of Genesis. He is telling them that as he was sent into the world to bring order into the lives of all, so they were as well, the incarnations of the Spirit who themselves are sent to bring order out of chaos. No more sitting around and worrying or wondering who we are and what we are to do. Jesus did not give them any further instruction except to “Go”—“As the Father sent me, so am I sending you” (Jn 20-21). This in itself was encouraging and energising. The “Honourable Bird” was now flying in and through them. n Francis Amponsah OP is based at the Dominican house in Pietermaritzburg
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The Southern Cross, May 11 to May 17, 2016
The deep faith of Egypt’s Christians Who are the Copts and what is Christianity like in Egypt? In the ninth part of his series on the recent Pilgrimage of the Peacemakers, GünTHeR SIMMeRMACHeR looks at the faith in Egypt.
HERE are very few good things to say about the likes of Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi or Bashar al-Assad— yet, Christians in Iraq, Libya and Syria have reason to look back to their dictatorships with some wistfulness. These dictators were iniquitous, but under their rule Christians were protected. Once Saddam and Gaddafi fell, and Syria entered its long civil war, Islamic militants began the brutal persecution of Christians and other minorities. This is why Egypt’s Christians, about 10% of the population, have been supportive of their military ruler, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, even though he runs a repressive regime. Discriminatory laws are still in force, but at least President Sisi offers relief from the anti-Christian pogroms that coincided with the brief rule of the Muslim Brotherhood, which was elected in June 2012 and overthrown by Sisi— with the broad support of the public—in July 2013. In that time and the troubled months after, around 40 churches were torched and another 23 attacked throughout Egypt. For all his brazen repression, Sisi’s grip on power is weak, and Egypt’s Christians have every reason to be concerned about what kind of regime might come should Sisi fall. The country’s Christians are known as Copts, and the Christian Church as Coptic. The term “Copts” means “Egyptians”, and the nation’s Christians see themselves as the descendants of the Pharaonic Egyptians, whereas the Muslims are from Arab descent, arriving after the Muslim conquest of 642 (of course, many Copts also converted to Islam). The word Copts describes all of
(From left) Br Joaquin explains the life of St Bishoy, whose tomb is behind him, at the monastery founded by the saint in the fourth century • The group before Mass at the Anafora retreat centre, 75km north of Cairo • The exterior of the church at Anafora. (All photos: Günther Simmermacher) Egypt’s indigenous Christians, but most are Orthodox. The roots of Egypt’s faith go back to the earliest days of Christianity. Tradition holds that the region was evangelised by St Mark, author of the earliest gospel, at a time when Egypt was ruled by Rome. Egyptian Christians, mostly from Alexandria, had a great influence on the early Church, especially Origen, the “Father of Theology”. The first three ecumenical councils of the Church were headed by Egyptian patriarchs, including the watershed Council of Nicaea in 325. And the monastic life has its roots in Egypt. St Benedict was the founder of Western monasticism, with its religious orders, but that came two centuries after the first monasteries were founded in Egypt. Indeed, Benedict drew from the teachings of St Pachomius the Great, the Egyptian founder of monastic community life.
he Pilgrimage of the Peacemakers group visited two of four pioneer monasteries on the edge of the Western Desert, near the dirtpoor town of Wadi El Natrun: the St Bishoy and Virgin Mary (or Syrian) monasteries. The monastery of St Bishoy, founded in the fourth century, is Egypt’s most important. We were welcomed to the striking complex of ancient and new buildings, all painted in the same warm tone and most featuring domed roofs, by the amiable Br Joaquin. Br Joaquin wore the traditional
garb of Coptic monks—a thick, black robe and a tight, black skullcap and hood called the qalansuwa with six crosses on two halves. His white beard conveyed wisdom and authority, his eyes alertness, and his smile kindness. He explained to us that the monastery has an age-old tradition of inviting the poor and travellers to eat with the monks. It also has a resident doctor and dispensary to treat the monks and indigent locals. The monk took us to the monastery’s most important place: the church of St Bishoy, named after a man few people outside Egypt know but who is one of the most important Coptic saints. The church holds his tomb. The story of St Bishoy is remarkable. Born in 320AD, he became a desert hermit at a young age, eventually settling down in a cave at what is now the Syrian monastery. He soon became known as a man of compassion, humility and wisdom. Other hermits who came to him for spiritual direction then just stuck around, eventually becoming a community. This was the beginning of the monastery of St Bishoy. The saintly monk also reported to have apparitions of Jesus. In one Jesus promised to appear on a mountain, to be seen by the faithful. On the appointed day, the tradition holds, the people went up the mountain to see the Lord. Bishoy was lagging behind the crowd when he spotted an old man who was struggling to walk.
A panoramic photo of the monastery of St Bishoy, one of egypt’s most important Christian sites, on the edge of the Western desert.
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Since all the pilgrims had passed the old man without offering assistance, the monk picked him up and carried him up the mountain. Progressively he felt the load getting heavier; when Bishoy could no longer continue, the man revealed himself as Christ. Of course the people asked Bishoy why the Lord hadn’t turned up for the appointment; the monk told them that the Lord had in fact come, but that they had just passed him by. Fact or parable, the story holds an important lesson for us. In the second apparition, a man appeared at the monastery and, as he always did when visitors came, Bishoy washed the dust off the stranger’s feet. It was then that he recognised Jesus by his crucifixion wounds. St Bishoy fled the area when the Berbers invaded it in 407. He died in exile in 417. His body was relocated to his monastery in 841. As promised by Christ at the apparition on the mountain, St Bishoy’s body is incorrupt. Every year on his feast day, July 15, the Coptic pope leads a celebration in which St Bishoy’s body is unwrapped and scented with herbs. The previous year’s herbs are then used in prayer cards, with which Br Joaquin presented each one of us. The Coptic Church has had a pope since apostolic times; St Mark is generally regarded as the first archbishop of Alexandria and therefore as the first pope—a title the Copts have used since 232AD, almost three centuries before it was first used by a Roman pontiff, Pope John I. The present Coptic pope, Tawadros II, is the 118th pope. His predecessor, Pope Shenouda III, headed the Coptic Church from 1971 to 2012. The hugely popular pope lived through some tough times for Christians, especially under President Anwar al-Sadat, who banished Shenouda to the monastery of St Bishoy. He was allowed to return to Cairo only three years after Sadat’s assassination in November 1981. A passionate ecumenist, Shenouda was the first Coptic pope to visit the Roman pope and Greek Orthodox patriarch since 451. When he died, a million mourners came to Cairo’s St Mark’s cathedral. Shenouda’s tomb is at St Bishoy monastery.
opts frequently come together in big numbers, especially in Cairo. On some of such big gatherings, huge crowds have witnessed what have been claimed to be Marian apparitions. On several occasions from 1968-70, crowds of hundreds of thousands, Christians and Muslims, gathered outside St Mary’s church—where tradition holds the Holy Family stayed during the Flight into Egypt—in Cairo’s Zeitoun district to witness inexplicable appearances in the sky above the church of a huge luminescence in the vague shape of a woman. This would happen as often as two or three times a week. The Coptic Church investigated these luminous phenomena in the sky, as did the Egyptian police. Nobody
could explain them. Police confirmed that no device could be found within a radius of 25km which might have had the capacity to project the image. Of course, counter-arguments have been presented, including our old friend, the “mass delusion”, which supposedly led hundreds of thousands of people to simply imagine these inexplicable lights. But if this was so, were cameras also deluded? The abundance of photos, many held privately, rules out the possibility of manipulation. There have been other reports of apparitions in Cairo—between 1986-91 at St Demiana church and in 2009 at the Virgin Mary and Archangel Michael church in Giza—but these are not necessarily inexplicable. The apparitions attract not only Christians but also Muslims, who also venerate Mary. In fact, it was a Muslim who first saw the apparition of Zeitoun. It is common in Egypt to see Muslims entering a church to venerate the Blessed Virgin.
e closed our day on a thoroughly ecumenical note at Anafora, a retreat and conference centre and organic farm which sustains the small Coptic community that lives there. Located about 75km north of Cairo, Anafora—a Coptic word meaning “offering” and “uplifting”—is an oasis of tranquillity. It welcomes people of all faiths and backgrounds to aid them in their spiritual growth, in structured retreats or by providing an environment conducive to quiet contemplation. All that with a huge T-shaped pool to cool off in. A young, non-consecrated sister guided us through the centre, which was founded in 1998 by Coptic Orthodox Bishop Thomas. It is an impressive set-up. It is solar-powered, and candles are used instead of electricity. The food is organic, and the atmosphere is relaxed. At first sight Anafora might be mistaken for some kind of New Age commune but for the manifestations of the profound faith that gives this place its meaning. At its centre is the large church, where Mass is said daily. Our group had Mass there, and it was a unique experience. The church has no pews in which to sit. The congregation sits on woven multi-coloured striped rugs and pillows that cover the entire space (though there are chairs for those who wish to sit). It is likely that at the Last Supper Jesus and the apostles sat on rugs much like these when the Eucharist was instituted. After Archbishop Stephen Brislin, our spiritual director, had administered Holy Communion to us, we returned to our places to pray and give thanks on our colourful woven blankets and cushions—much as the Twelve probably did on that momentous night in the Upper Room.
n Next week: The faith in Cairo. Catch up with previous articles on pilgrimages by Günther Simmermacher at www.scross.co.za/category/features/ pilgrimage
The Southern Cross, May 11 to May 17, 2016
Professor Tim Dunne
IM Dunne, emeritus professor of statistics at the University of Cape Town, was killed in a car accident on the N1 in Bellville, Cape Town, while on the way to fetch a stepdaughter from work on April 17. The eldest son of Edward and Pat Dunne, Timothy Terrence Dunne was born in Pietermaritzburg in 1948 where he was educated at St Charles’ Marist College. He studied briefly for the priesthood before deciding that his calling was in secular life. He graduated from the University of Natal with a BA, a BSc (Hons) in statistics, and a BEd. A well-known personality on the Pietermaritzburg campus, he served two terms as president of the SRC in a time of political turmoil with increasing security police interference on the old English-language campuses. He was also a vice-president of Nusas. Long-time friend Graham Duminy said that Tim’s “eloquence gave voice to student anger, but his innate gentleness tended to keep student militancy flowing in non-violent streams, even under the provocation of police baton charges”. “What the police never understood was Tim’s irreverent sense of humour and his enjoyment at taking the mickey out of those in positions of power, authority and pomposity.” It was at this time that Tim became a member of the Durban archdiocesan Justice & Peace Commission, which gave
him a lifelong admiration for Archbishop Denis Hurley’s courageous stand for justice. After lecturing at the University of Natal in the biometry and statistics department in the early 1980s, he was recruited as a staff member by UCT where he completed his PhD degree. From 1981 until his retirement in 2013, Tim lectured at UCT becoming head of statistical sciences from 2001 to 2009. Ian McDonald, UCT’s dean of actuarial science, said that Tim “touched the lives of everyone he met. In addition to being an esteemed academic, wonderful colleague and mentor, and a significant contributor to all facets of the academic community at UCT, he was deeply committed to improving the lives of the poor and marginalised”.
ributes pouring in from around the world show how highly he was regarded by the international statistical community. In his latter years Tim was a committed supporter of the Denis Hurley Centre in Durban, travelling from Cape Town for their major events and giving substantial donations. In 2015 he wrote a letter to The Southern Cross passionately calling for the process of Archbishop Hurley’s canonisation to be commenced as soon as possible. Tim is survived by his son Rowan, his first wife Lucille Hattingh, his second wife Dee Wills and his six stepchildren and
Communicating in our own language Continued from page 7 of communicating that brings people together, within this country and with people from other countries. The late President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania recognised that when he promoted Swahili as a predominant language for Eastern Africa. That required compromise and sacrifice but the result was a way of fostering unity. If we continue to treat 11 languages as equally interchangeable, then we fail to encourage good communication and we also deceive our children that English is not a passport to success in the wider world. Maybe one day there will be a Pentecost App which enables each of us to hear in our own language regardless of the language being spoken. But until then we would do well as a country and as a Church to help promote one language in which we can all speak to and listen to each other.
A PRAYER LORD, May everything we do begin with Your inspiration, continue with Your help, and reach perfection under Your guidance.
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seven stepgrandchildren, to all of whom he showed much love. The Requiem Mass was concelebrated in a packed St Michael’s Church in Rondebosch, by parish priest Fr Harrie Hovers, Cape Town vicar-general Fr Peter-John Pearson and judicial vicar Mgr Clifford Stokes, as well as Fr Hugh O’Connor of St Francis Xavier Seminary. Jeremy Hurley, nephew of Archbishop Hurley and one of Tim’s closest friends right from their student days, wrote: “One thing I really loved and admired about Tim was that he always gave people time and respect. He had an unwavering belief in the humanity of all people.” Tim, in his own eulogy for another great friend, John Morrison, said: “We have all shared a hunger for justice, for the triumph of goodness and for the alleviation of suffering. It has always been that way, despite our personal frailties.” By Paddy Kearney
Liturgical Calendar Year C – Weekdays Cycle Year 2 Sunday May 15, Pentecost Sunday Acts 2:1-11, Psalms 104:1, 24, 29-31, 34, Romans 8, 8-17, John 14, 15-16, 23-26 Monday May 16 James 3:13-18, Psalms 19:8-10, 15, Mark 9:1429 Tuesday May 17 James 4:1-10, Psalms 55:7-11, 23, Mark 9:3037 Wednesday May 18, Pope St John I James 4: 13-17, Psalms 49: 2-3.6-11, Mark 9: 38-40 Thursday May 19 James 5:1-6, Psalms 49:14-20, Mark 9:41-50 Friday May 20, St Bernardine of Siena James 5:9-12, Psalms 103:1-4, 8-9, 11-12, Mark 10:1-12 Saturday May 21, Ss Christopher Magallanes & companions, Saturday Mass of Our Lady James 5:13-20, Psalms 141:1-3, 8, Mark 10:1316 Sunday May 22, Trinity Sunday Proverbs 8:22-31, Psalms 8:4-9, Romans 5:1-5, John 16:12-15
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PARKERWOOD—Sheela Margaret June (née Coughlan). Born June 14, 1941 passed away May 28, 2002. May Almighty God Bless you my darling. Lovingly remembered by Tony Snr and 3 sons Vincent, Tony Jnr and John. We all hope to meet again. We still miss you terribly. Praise be to you Almighty God.
ABORTION WARNING: The pill can abort (chemical abortion) Catholics must be told, for their eternal welfare and the survival of their unborn infants. See www.epm.org/static/up loads/downloads/bcpill.pdf ABORTION WARNING: The truth will convict a silent Church. See www.valuelifeabortion isevil.co.za FOR ALL ROSARY requirements, chain rosaries in various colours and sizes, also luminous ones, contact: Fr dominic Muheim CMM, cellphone 082 489 0706 or write to PO Box 11077, 3624 Marianhill, KZn. VISIT PIOUS KINTU’S official website http://ave maria832.simplesite.com this website has been set up to give glory to the Most Holy Trinity through the healing power of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. View amazing pictures of Pious Kintu's work in Congo and various African countries since 2007. Also read about African Stigmatist Reverend Sister Josephine Sul and Padre Pio among others.
O HOLY SPIRIT, in thanksgiving for favours granted. Chris H.
ST JUDE, in thanksgiving for favours granted. Chris H.
HOLY St Jude, apostle and martyr, great in virtue and rich in miracles, kinsman of Jesus Christ, faithful intercessor of all who invoke you, special patron in time of need. To you I have recourse from the depth of my heart and humbly beg you to come to my assistance. Help me now in my urgent need and grant my petitions. In return I promise to make your name known and publish this prayer. Amen. Leon and Karen O VIRGIN Mother, In the depths of your heart you pondered the life of the Son you brought into the world. Give us your vision of Jesus and ask the Father to open our hearts, that we may always see His presence in our lives, and in the power of the Holy Spirit, bring us into the joy and peace of the kingdom, where Jesus is Lord forever and ever. Amen. THANKS be to thee, my Lord Jesus Christ, For all the benefits thou hast won for me, For all the pains and insults thou hast borne for me. O most merciful Redeemer, Friend, and Brother, May I know thee more clearly, Love thee more dearly, And follow thee more nearly, For ever and ever. LORD, inspire those men and women who bear the titles “husband” and “wife”. Help them to look to you, to themselves, to one another to rediscover the fullness and mystery they once felt in their union. Let them be honest enough to ask: “Where have we been together and where are we going?” Let them be brave enough to question: “How
Our bishops’ anniversaries This week we congratulate: May 8: Bishop José Ponce de León of Manzini on his 55th birthday. May 9: Bishop Adam Musialek of De Aar on his 57th birthday.
Southern CrossWord solutions SOLUTIONS TO 706. ACROSS: 3 Upon a time, 8 Monk, 9 Word of God, 10 Elixir, 11 Bleed, 14 Frail, 15 Earn, 16 Diana, 18 Chef, 20 Frere, 21 Rands, 24 Deceit, 25 Announcer, 26 Tick, 27 Decrement. DOWN: 1 Imperfect, 2 Antipater, 4 Poor, 5 Nadal 6 Toffee, 7 Mood, 9 Wield, 11 Brass, 12 Daredevil,13 Undertake, 17 After, 19 Favour, 22 Denim, 23 Once, 24 Dean.
Word of the Week
Basilica: A church to which special privileges are attached. It is a title of honour given to various kinds of churches.
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have we failed?” Let each be foolhardy enough to say: “For me, we come first.” Help them, together, to reexamine their commitment in the light of your love, willingly, openly, compassionately. FATHER, you have given all peoples one common origin. It is your will that they be gathered together as one family in yourself. Fill the hearts of mankind with the fire of your love and with the desire to ensure justice for all. By sharing the good things you give us, may we secure an equality for all our brothers and sisters throughout the world. May there be an end to division, strife and war. May there be a dawning of a truly human society built on love and peace. We ask this in the name of Jesus, our Lord. Amen.
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Trinity Sunday: May 22 Readings: Proverbs 8:22-31, Psalm 8:4-9, Romans 5:1-5, John 16:12-15
S outher n C ross
OW can one possibly bridge the gap between God and humanity? One way to cross the divide is by way of the Trinity, whose solemnity is celebrated every year on the Sunday after Pentecost; for the doctrine that God, who is One, is also Three, offers a richness that allows us to think of God as a community, and as offering us access. It is not as though this was a sudden invention of Christians, as our first reading shows. What we have here is the “personification” of Wisdom, seen as another “person”, very close to God (“the Lord begot me, the beginning of his ways”), and already with God at the moment of the creation of the universe: “Before the mountains were put in place, before the hills, I was brought forth… when he established the heavens I was there…I was his craftsman beside him, and his delight, day by day.” Do you see how this offers a picture of Wisdom that is somehow the same as God, and yet somehow different? And notice the final line, indicating that this is open to all humanity: “My delight was in the children of Adam”.
The psalm for next Sunday makes the same move; it sings to God as creator “when I see the heavens, the work of your hands, the moon and the stars which you established”, and then turns to the human race: “what is man that you remember him, the child of Adam that you keep him in mind?”, before giving us a very high status indeed: “and you have made them a little less than God, and crowned them with glory and honour” (these last two nouns are of course qualities of God). Then humanity is placed above the rest of creation: “sheep and oxen…even the beasts of the field, the bird of the air and the fish of the sea”. Already you can see here a view of human beings as exceptionally close to God, and the beginning of the journey towards what we now call the “Trinity”. The second reading for the feast is from that part of the Letter to the Romans where Paul is giving the Christians in Rome grounds for confidence: “We have peace with God, through Our Lord Jesus Christ.” This expression, putting God the Father and Jesus on the
same level, in the same breath, is matched at the end of the reading by the reference to the Spirit: “The love of God is poured out in our hearts, through the Holy Spirit that was given us.” But we need to notice that it is not just a matter of empty doctrine; it relates to our life as human beings: “We boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction brings about endurance, and endurance brings about attested character, and attested character brings about hope—and hope is not put to shame.” So who God is, the incomprehensibly mysterious Three and One, is already relevant to how we are to survive. There is much to reflect on here. In the Gospel, we are in the Upper Room, where we have been for many of the Sundays since Easter, as Jesus gives his final speech to his disciples, encouraging them to cope with his absence and with the darkness that threatens them from outside. Once again we are offered this threefold “shape” of God. He tells us that there is still
Death of a peacemaker ‘B
EFORE you get serious about Jesus, first consider how good you’re going to look on wood!” Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan wrote those words and they express a lot about who he was and what he believed in. He died on May 2 at age 94. No short tribute can do justice to Dan Berrigan. He defies quick definition and facile description. He was, at once, the single-minded, obsessed activist, even as he was one of the most complex spiritual figures of our generation. He exhibited both the fierceness of John the Baptist and the gentleness of Jesus. An internationally-known social justice advocate, an anti-war priest, a poet, a first-rate spiritual writer, a maverick Jesuit, he, along with his close friend Dorothy Day, was one of our age’s foremost advocates for non-violence. Like Dorothy Day, he believed that all violence, no matter how merited it seems in a given situation, always begets further violence. For him, violence can never justify itself by claiming moral superiority over the violence it is trying to stop. Non-violence, he uncompromisingly advocated, is the only road to peace. Like Dorothy Day, he couldn’t imagine Jesus with a gun. Fr Berrigan lived by the principle of non-violence and spent his life trying to convince others of its truth. This got him into a lot of trouble, both in society at large and in the Church. It also landed him in prison. In 1968, along with his brother Philip, he entered a US federal building in Catonsville, Maryland, removed a number of draft records
Nicholas King SJ
Wonder of the Trinity
and burned them in rubbish bins. For this, he was given three and a half years in prison. But this also indelibly stamped him into the consciousness of a whole generation. He was forever after known as a member of the Catonsville Nine and once appeared on the cover of Time magazine. I was in the seminary during those tumultuous years in the late 1960s, when anti-war protests in the US were drawing such huge crowds and Fr Daniel Berrigan was one of their poster boys. Moreover, I was in a seminary where almost everything in our ethos was asking us to distrust Fr Berrigan and the anti-war movement. In our view at that time, this was not what a Catholic priest was supposed to be doing. I wasn’t a fan of his then. I’m a late convert. That conversion began when, as a graduate student, I began to read Fr Berrigan’s books.
WAS gripped by three things: First, by the Gospel challenge he was spelling out so clearly; next, by his spiritual depth; and, finally, not least, by the brilliance and poetry of his language. He was, flat-out, a very good writer and a very challenging Christian. I envied his vocabulary, his turn of phrase, his intelligence, his wit, his depth, and his radical commitment. I began to read everything he’d written and he began to have a growing influence on my life and ministry. I had never before seen how non-negotiable is Jesus’ challenge to act not just with charity but also with justice.
much to say, “but you cannot bear it now”; there is, you see, no pretence that life is easy. However, because of the richness that is God, it is possible to cope: “When That One comes, the Spirit of Truth, he will guide you in all truth.” And why is this? Because the Spirit is not on his own: “He will not speak on his own account; whatever he hears, he will utter and will announce the things that are coming to you.” This means, of course, that God is there, enabling us to live out our Christian life. This comes about, first, in relation to Jesus: “He will glorify me, for he will take from what is mine and announce it to.” And, secondly, it relates to the Father: “Everything that the Father has is mine.” This deep mystery of the identity of our God is profoundly related to our human existence, and to how we can manage to keep going.
Southern Crossword #706
Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI
Fr Larry Rosebaugh, an Oblate colleague who also went to prison for anti-war protests and who was later shot to death in Guatemala, shares in his autobiography how, the night before he performed his first act of civil disobedience that landed him in prison, he spent the entire night in prayer with Daniel Berrigan. Fr Berrigan’s advice to him then was this: “If you can’t do this without becoming bitter and angry at those who arrest you, don’t do it! Prophecy is about making a vow of love, not of alienation.” There’s a thin line here, one that’s too often crossed when we are trying to be prophetic. Ironically, for all his critical counsel on this, Fr Berrigan, by his own admission, struggled mightily with exactly this, namely, to have his protest issue forth from a centre of love and not from a centre of anger.
T age 62, he wrote an autobiography, To Dwell in Peace, within which he candidly shared that he had never enjoyed a healthy relationship with his own father and that his father had never blessed him or his brother Philip. Rather, his father was always more threatened by his sons’ energies and talents than being proud of them. With this admission, Fr Berrigan went on to ask whether it was any wonder that he had forever been a thorn in the side of every authority-figure he ever encountered: presidents, popes, bishops, religious superiors, politicians, policemen. It took him 60 years to make peace with the absence of his father’s blessing; but God writes straight with crooked lines, the radicalness this fired in him helped challenge a generation. In his later years, Fr Berrigan began to work in a hospice, finding among the dying a depth that grounded him against what he so feared in our culture, shallowness. His own generation will give him a mixed judgment: loved by some, hated by others. But history will speak well of him. He was always on the side of God, peace, and the poor. Daniel Berrigan RIP. n See also Page 5
3. See 23 8. He’s in a religious community (4) 9. They proclaimed it boldly (Ac 4) (4,2,3) 10. Drink of eternal life! (6) 11. Lose some circulation? (5) 14. Infirm (5) 15. Some learning to gain by labour (4) 16. Goddess of the Ephesians (Ac 19) (5) 18. Kitchen boss (4) 20. Religious song named Jacques? (5) 21. Ridges made of money? (5) 24. This is fraud (6) 25. Good newsreader (9) 26. Mark of correctness (4) 27. The decrease to mend Crete (9 Solutions on page 11
1. Not without fault (9) 2. Jason’s son (1 Mac 12) (9) 4. Blessed are the ... in spirit (4) 5. Durban’s monsignor seen at Wimbledon? (5) 6. Some priests cannot sing for this sweet (6) 7. Emotional state (4) 9. I can control when I weld (5) 11. Metal at the top? (5) 12. This is a reckless demon (4-5) 13. Pledge yourself to bury the dead (9) 17. Later and more towards the ship’s stern (5) 19. A kind deed (6) 22. Fabric that’s badly mined (5) 23 and 3. The tale begins like this (4,4,1,4) 24. Head of the chapter (4)
HREE sons left home, went out on their own and prospered. They discussed the gifts they were able to give their elderly mother. The first said: “I built a big house for her.” The second said: “I sent her a Mercedes with a driver.” The third said: “You remember how our mother enjoys reading the Bible? I sent her a remarkable parrot that recites the entire Bible.” Soon after, their mother sent out letters of thanks. “James,” she said, “the house you built is so huge. I live only in one room, but I have to clean the whole house.” “Gerald,” she said, “I stay most of the time at home so I rarely use the Mercedes. And that driver is so rude!” “But Donald,” she said, “the little chicken you sent was delicious!”
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