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SA reaction to bid for deaconesses By MAndlA ZiBi
HE presence of ordained women deacons in the African Church would present a good challenge to patriarchy but their introduction would be difficult, a theological commentator has warned. Fr Anthony Egan SJ of the Johannesburgbased Jesuit Institute commented on Pope Francis’s intention to set up a commission to investigate the possibility of women being allowed to serve as permanent deacons in the Church. At a meeting this month with members of the International Union of Superiors General, a leadership group for superiors of women’s orders, Pope Francis accepted a proposal that the Church establish a commission to study the role of deaconesses in the New Testament and look at the possibility of women serving as deacons today. The Vatican, however, cautioned that this did not mean that Pope Francis had decided to permit women to become deacons. “The presence of ordained women in the Church will challenge patriarchy—a good thing,” Fr Egan told The Southern Cross. The priest said that if the Church were to eventually introduce women deacons, this would be easier in some countries and cultures than in others. “Many women may be uncomfortable with this change, fearing that their sisters will join the male clergy. It may even force them to face their own compromises with patriarchal culture, which I think is a good thing if it means not putting up with it anymore,” Fr Egan said. Noting that the ordained ministry evolved slowly and unevenly in the early Church, Fr Egan noted that “there is considerable evidence of women serving as deacons and deaconesses” in the past. With the rise of religious orders, “senior nuns were often given the role of deacon; reading the Gospel at Mass and preaching. The abbess in particular, in many great abbeys, had enormous influence,” he said. Fr Egan said that the issue of admitting women to the diaconate is “tricky”, pointing out that some would fear that the female diaconate might lead to calls for the ordination of women to the priesthood. “If we hold to a view of a fixed unchangeable Truth revealed and understood once and for all, this is a challenge,” he said. “However if we accept, as the Church does in theory and sometimes in practice, that doctrine develops—as Vatican II acknowledged— then we can see this as a deepening journey into the mystery of Truth, one that allows for change,” the theologian said. Archbishop William Slattery of Pretoria
Fr Anthony Egan SJ, Sr Hermenegild Makoro CPS and Archbishop William Slattery said Catholics and Christians throughout the world know that the “greatest examples of Christian life are women”. The archbishop said “there is no doubt” about the ability of women to perform the tasks of the permanent diaconate. “Deacons are servants of the poor, witnesses and martyrs of the faith. They share God’s word, and it is women who are the first to bring their children to Christ. Women are outstanding in these areas of work,” Archbishop Slattery said. “But the question is not just one of efficiency in the pastoral work of deacons,” he added, pointing out that 14 years ago the International Theological Commission “did an extended study on this question and concluded that the deaconesses mentioned in the Catholic Church tradition were not simply the same as deacons now”. “When I spoke with Pope Francis personally about extending the concept of ministry to include many of the works done today by men and women in the Church, the pope reacted immediately against the idea. He said he was afraid of the danger of extending clericalisation even further,” the archbishop said. He said the pope’s emphasis is on service and not on the idea of power which is sometimes present in the exercise of orders. Precious Blood Sister Sr Hermenegild Makoro, secretary-general of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, said she is happy with how her career had progressed in the Church. “I am happy with the impact I have made in the life of the Church and I am not looking for any clerical status,” she said in a statement. Sr Makoro added that she had been working with many different bishops and priests, and had never been undermined in any way by Church authority. If a possibility existed that the Catholic Church could allow women to become deacons, she had no problem with those who felt called to this ministry, she said. Sr Makoro is the only woman in all of Africa’s 37 Catholic bishops’ conferences serving at the high level of secretary-general. She is the second women to serve in that position at the SACBC.
Pope Francis talks with residents during a visit to the Chicco Community in Ciampino, italy, for his monthly Mercy Friday in the Jubilee year of Mercy. The community was founded in 1981 and houses 18 people with intellectual challenges. (Photo: l'osservatore Romano/Reuters)
How Pope Francis is ‘rebranding the papacy’ By Ed WilkinSon
OPE Francis has rebranded the Catholic Church and the papacy, and the media have taken notice. That was the message delivered by Basilian Father Thomas Rosica, CEO of Canada’s Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation and the English-language attaché to the Holy See Press Office at the Vatican. “Prior to Pope Francis, when many people on the street were asked: ‘What is the Catholic Church all about? What does the pope stand for?’ The response would often be, ‘Catholics, well, they are against abortion, gay marriage and birth control. They are known for the sex abuse crisis that has terribly marred and weakened their moral authority and credibility,’” said Fr Rosica in as speech in New York. “Today I dare say that the response is somewhat different. People are speaking about our leader who is unafraid to confront the sins and evils that have marred us,” he continued. “Pope Francis has won over a great part of the media.” The pontiff “has changed the image of the Church so much that prestigious graduate schools of business and management are now using him as a case study in rebranding,” the priest added.
Fr Tom Rosica Fr Rosica urged a prudent use of some of the new social media. “The character assassination on the Internet by those claiming to be Catholic and Christian has turned it into a graveyard of corpses strewn all around,” he said. “Oftentimes the obsessed, scrupulous, selfappointed, nostalgia-hankering virtual guardians of faith or of liturgical practices are very disturbed, broken and angry individuals, who never found a platform or pulpit in real life and so resort to the Internet and become trolling pontiffs and holy executioners! In reality they are deeply troubled, sad and angry people.”—CNS
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The Southern Cross, May 25 to May 31, 2016
J&P promotes Men as Peacemakers By kAliE SEnyAnE
WO officials from the bishops’ Justice & Peace Commission promoted the Men as Peacemakers (MAP) programme at a workshop in Durban. The workshop was co-facilitated by Kabelo Selema and Robert Mafinyori, with Kalie Senyane, Durban archdiocesan J&P coordinator, and Cyril Mwandla of the Diakonia Council of Churches. Held at Glenmore Pastoral Centre, the workshop was attended by 60 delegates from six out of the archdiocese’s seven deaneries. The facilitators dealt with spirituality of Justice & Peace, establishment and sustainability of parish groups, peacebuilding and transformation, and the MAP programme. MAP aims to encourage men to question their own social responsibility, learn to deal or address issues such as drug- and alcohol-abuse—
which in many cases leads to broken families—and to challenge men to address the issue of absent fathers. The workshop aimed to empower J&P members and offer them training to enable them to address social injustices within their communities in a peaceful manner. Fr Peter Lafferty CSSp introduced participants to relevant papal documents, especially Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on marriage and family life, and the encyclical Laudato Si’ on care for creation. The SACBC’s J&P Commission has a specific desk that deals with environmental justice to answer the pope’s call for care for creation. The archdiocese of Durban is committed to do more to address environmental injustices, especially within the communities of Wentworth and Bluff, with the help or in partnership with the Diakonia Council of Churches, the South Durban Community Environmen-
tal Alliance, and Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA). EDTEA has helped Durban’s J&P to start a programme in Catholic schools called Schools Educational Environmental Programme. The main goal of the workshop was for all parish groups to go back and advocate for the rights of their local communities in addressing matters of faith, love, injustice and crime. The archdiocese of Durban aims to reopen community resource centres once all parishes groups are well established and participating in the archdiocesan activities. J&P identifies issues of social injustices, gender-based violence, gender equality, racism, xenophobic attacks, and peacebuilding and transformation as priority areas, with a series of workshops and dialogues already having been hosted and more coming.
Donations pour in for parish hall
UR Lady of Good Help parish in Verulam in KwaZulu-Natal has undertaken a project to build a community hall with six catechism classrooms and a library. Taking up the motto “Trusting in God, trusting in our parishioners”, the community has raised money and gathered resources, including expertise provided free of charge. Responding to the lack of religious instruction in public schools, the parish believes it is critical to catechise its children properly and this was the driving motivation behind the R800 000 project, parish priest Fr Jude Fernando TOR told The Southern Cross. The parish hopes to complete the building by July 3—a date on which it has booked Bishop Barry Wood to bless and open the community hall. Building services and materials for the project have been donated mainly by parishioners, bolstered by generous anonymous cash donations. Facebrick for the building, costing R40 000, was also donated, tak-
durban’s Justice & Peace held a workshop to train parishioners in the Men as Peacemakers programme and to return to their communities to address matters of injustice.
CWL to hold bumper archdiocesan fête in Jhb
Fr Jude Fernando ToR is pictured blessing the building site of the new community hall at our lady of Good Help parish in Verulam, archdiocese of durban. ing care of one of the major costs. The rest of the finances are being fundraised through cake sales, fun runs and a flower exhibition. Led by Fr Fernando, who previously undertook to build the new church at St Anne’s mission in Mpophomeni, and assisted by
parish pastoral council chairman Anthony Vatakasami and financial chairman Joachim Chetty, Verulam parish hopes to attract more help for its community project. n To assist, please contact Fr Fernando on 032 533 1255 or 082 588 1691 or Frjudetor@yahoo.com
HE Catholic Women’s League in the archdiocese of Johannesburg will be hosting a Winter Fête on June 5 at De la Salle Holy Cross College, Victory Park. There is a R5 entrance fee and will be four large hampers drawn throughout the day for the lucky entrance ticket holder. The money raised on this day will go towards the CWL’s major projects, which include: • Mary Immaculate Queen preschool centre, Eldorado Park, providing affordable and thorough pre-school education. • The Adoption Society, which deals with foster caring, counselling and placing of babies for adoption locally and overseas. • St Anne’s Home for Elderly Ladies, Edenvale, which houses 36 women, 20 in frail care, many of whom are on limited pensions. The CWL provides funds to supplement the home’s income. • Kopanong soup kitchen, which
Southern Cross news editor Mandla Zibi (third from left in middle row) addressed the students of St Francis Xavier orientation Seminary in Cape Town on various issues concerning media, communications and the Church. He is seen here with the seminarians.
YEAR OF MERCY PILGRIMAGE
provides soup to nearly 300 pensioners while they queue to collect their pensions in Dobsonville. The CWL in its branches also assists with funeral teas and catering for parish events. It also supports Mmamohau Motshehetsi for orphans, vulnerable children and senior citizens; Wonke Wonke daycare in Soweto; and Thuto ke Lesedi nursery school in Thokoza. Support is also given to Barcelona squatter camp in Daveyton by providing social workers and before- and after-school care and meals. Over 60 parishes from all areas of the archdiocese are supporting the fête by hosting stalls selling various goods and food. There will also be entertainment for all the family. The fête will begin at 9:00 and finish at 16:00 at De La Salle Holy Cross College, Road No 3, Victory Park. n For more information contact Ann Scott on 083 449 7914.
Fr Larry Kaufmann CSsR The popular priest who has led many parish missions throughout South Africa
Bishop pays tribute to ‘Aunty Maggie’
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T the closing Mass of a parish mission in Worcester, Western Cape, Bishop Frank de Gouveia gave an inaugural blessing to the new principal of the local Catholic school, Hubert Titus. Mr Titus had already served the Worcester RK school as deputy and acting principal. His mother was in attendance, and three of her sons serve as school principals in the Worcester area. The Mass was concelebrated by Fr Francis Malaka and Jesuit Fr John Enslin, who had led the mission week. After the Mass, Bishop de Gouveia and Mr Titus paid a visit to the “grand dame” of the school, Sarah Neethling, the first principal of Worcester RK. Aunty Maggie, as she is affectionately known, was an anomaly in the male-dominated school management structures of Worcester in the 1960s.
Bishop Frank de Gouveia bless the new principal She believes that the Church showed courage in her appointment. Despite her fragility, she is serene and has retained her sense of humour.
The Southern Cross, May 25 to May 31, 2016
Emergency sirens woke up serene youth centre
By MAndlA ZiBi
SIREN split the sleepy morning air at the Mount Carmel Youth Training Centre in the diocese of Aliwal North one Saturday. A group of youth instantly ran outside the centre’s dining hall to see what was going on. The scene that greeted them was of a number of lifeless bodies strewn all over the grass, and two battered cars. One of the cars had its roof caved in and inside were two unconscious victims. The other car, a bakkie, was damaged almost beyond recognition and later caught fire. As the shocked bystanders watched the emergency services team arrive and methodically go to work, they noticed a few odd things: there was no blood and some of the victims did not look like they were in real pain. And then it dawned: this was a re-enactment of an accident scene. The re-enactment was part of an Emergency Crisis Awareness workshop organised by the South African Police Services (SAPS), the Fire & Rescue department, Disaster Management, the Traffic Department and the Emergency Medical Services (ambulance). Fifty-six youth from Aliwal North, Sterkspruit and Indwe regions attended the workshop. “The youth witnessed firsthand what being involved in an accident actually entails. Some of the youth, with the guidance of the emergency services teams, were part of the car accident scene,” said Nontu Ntaka,
Fr Martin Badenhorst oP and the dominican Sisters hosted talks and dialogues in Cape Town to celebrate this year’s 800th anniversary of the order.
(From left) Fr Matiwane, Ms Marela (disaster Management), district manager T Patu (EMS), deputy chief J Germishuizen (Fire & Rescue), nontu ntaka of Mt Carmel and Warrant officer Handile (SAPS) at the scene of an accident re-enactment for Mt Carmel youth. speaking for the Mt Carmel centre. “This simulation exercise was aimed at educating the youth about how emergency teams truly operate. At the accident scene, all these departments play a crucial role in assisting the victims. What came out clearly during the exercise was the professionalism, teamwork, and respect towards the victims and between the team members, just as it would be in a real accident scenario.” Ms Ntaka said the workshop also highlighted the negative role spectators at accident scenes can play. “In emergency situations, we often use our cellphones to capture
scenes to ‘spread the news’, which in itself leads to more chaos, rather than to assist the victims and the emergency teams. Community members should adopt and champion the culture of acting responsibly, rather than that of being gossip mongers,” she said. After the exercise, a debriefing session took place where each department explained to the youth what their actual role was in any given emergency situation. A question and answer session followed, which also involved the youth being advised on the steps to take for a career in the emergency services.
Dominicans host 800th year talks T HE Dominican Sisters and Fr Martin Badenhorst OP hosted a series of talks and dialogues in Cape Town on the Dominican spirit to mark this year’s 800th anniversary of the order. The Cabra Dominican Sisters own a number of Catholic schools in Cape Town so their sphere of influence has been significant. While the sisters continue to be influential on their Dominican school boards and on regional and national education boards, they no longer have any sisters teaching in schools. They have entrusted their schools to lay leadership in the hope that the Dominican spirit will continue to be honoured. Most Dominican schools in the region were originally girls-only schools where empowerment of women was central—decades before this was in vogue. Fr Badenhorst facilitated a programme which deepened under-
standing, surfaced relevant faith formation issues “and piqued our interest in some of the great Dominican personalities like St Catherine of Siena, St Thomas Aquinas and Meister Eckhart,” said Linda Corbello, secretary of the Catholic Schools Office in the Western Cape. The titles of Fr Badenhorst’s talks were: “The woman who is changing the world” (with special reference to St Catherine of Siena); “Does my faith make any difference?”; “Wake up the World! Pope Francis and the ordinary Catholic”; and “‘Let us drink!’ St Dominic: Education in the Dominican tradition”. “The conversations made us take stock of our own faith journeys and our responses to ethical situations,” Ms Corbello said. “But above all, we were left with a great sense of joy in being people of faith—that despite all the confusion and turmoil, we are on a blessed and joyful pilgrimage.”
The Southern Cross, May 25 to May 31, 2016
Unease as settlers take over Jerusalem homes By JudiTH SudiloVSky
O Children wait to receive treatment at a health centtr in kobo village, in a drought-stricken area of Ethiopia. Hunger is growing because of the worst drought in the country in about 50 years (Photo: Tiksa negeri, Reuters/CnS)
‘Service, not power, is the true Christian path’ By Junno ARoCHo ESTEVES
HOSE who seek only power and greatness, especially within the Church, follow a different path from Jesus, who told his disciples to serve and not to be served, Pope Francis said in a morning homily. Preaching during Mass in his residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae, the pope said Jesus speaks a language of humiliation, death and redemption, while others “speak the language of climbers” who only think of rising to the top of the heap. The pope focused his homily on the day’s Gospel reading (Mark 9:3037), in which the disciples argued about who was the greatest among them. “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all,” Jesus tells them. The pope said that although the disciples were tempted to think in a worldly way, Jesus teaches them a different path where “service is the rule”. The search for power, he said, “is a story that happens every day in the Church, in every community: ‘Who
is the greatest among us?’ ‘Who is in charge?’ Ambitions in every community—in the parish or in institutions—there is always this desire to climb, to have power,” the pope said. Those who have the “worldly desire” to seek vanity and power “spare no expense to get there through gossip” and destroying other people’s reputations, he said. “Envy and jealousy make these paths, and they destroy; we all know this. This happens today in every institution of the Church: parishes, colleges and other institutions, even among bishops—everyone. It is the desire of the spirit of the world which is a spirit of wealth, vanity and pride,” the pope said. This worldly spirit, he continued, is a temptation “to destroy the other in order to rise up,” which only “divides and destroys the Church”. “It would do us well to think of the many times we have seen this in the Church and the many times that we have done this, and ask the Lord to enlighten us, to understand that love for the world—that is, for this worldly spirit—is the enemy of God,” Pope Francis said.—CNS
N a tidy residential street of the Christian Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City, boys still play with marbles along the cobblestones, and neighbours call out to one another from balconies abloom with red carnations. Mounir Nasrawi, affectionately known by the traditional nickname Abu George, can pick up a few tomatoes for lunch from the street vendor on his way home from his grocery shop and, if he forgets his wallet, the vendor accepts a promise to pay. But the neighbourly relations end when he reaches his own front stoop and confronts the four-storey, multifamily structure converted from an old single-storey family home about six years ago. Jewish settlers bought it from a Catholic who lived there. The building is among 88 locations—mainly in the Muslim Quarter, but also at least four in the Christian Quarter—that, according to statistics from the Palestine Liberation Organisation Negotiations Affairs Department, have been taken over by Jewish settlers. The process began in the mid-1970s, and many see it as a decisive Israeli campaign to rid the Old City of both its Muslim and Christian Palestinian residents. “There is a feeling on the part of the Palestinians that the current Israeli government just wants a purely Jewish Jerusalem,” said Sami ElYousef, regional director for Palestine and Israel for the Catholic Near East Welfare Association-Pontifical Mission. Mr El-Yousef, who works and lives in the Old City, said the message is, “We are moving in because we want you out.” Some properties, like the building in front of the Nasrawis, were bought in a normal transaction, while others were bought under various false pretences. Aviv Tatarsky, a researcher for Ir Amim, an Israeli nonprofit organisation that focuses on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Jerusalem, said a majority of the acquisitions were carried out through the law of absentee property, which allows Jews to claim Jewish property lost in 1948 following the establishment of the State of Israel. Palestinians do not have the same right with property lost when they were expelled from West Jerusalem. Amnon Ramon, senior researcher at The Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, cautioned against terming the Old City settler movement as a unified Israeli government plan. With approximately 5 000 Jewish residents—including those living in the Jewish Quarter—among the
Mohammad Barakat looks at the barbed wire and fences surrounding an israeli settlement on the roof in the Arab Quarter of the old City of Jerusalem. The Jewish settlement is near the church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Christian Quarter of the old City. (Photo: debbie Hill/CnS) 30 000-40 000 Palestinian inhabitants, he said, it is clear that if there were such a plan on the part of some in the government, it has failed over the past 40 years. There are only a few hundred Jews living outside the Jewish Quarter, and most of those are yeshiva students, he said. “They clearly have government support, but to say that the Israeli government is using all its power to get the Christians and Muslims out of the Old City is exaggerated,” Mr Ramon said. “There are also some people in the Israeli administration who are opposed to this, and the security and financial costs are difficult.”
ost of the property in the Christian Quarter belongs to the various churches, and the Nasrawis have a long-term rental arrangement with the Greek Orthodox Church for their building, where they live in their street-level apartment with two of their adult sons. Their married daughter lives in the narrow secondfloor apartment with her husband and two small children. In addition to the complaints of the crowding created by the new building, Mr Nasrawi, 55, and his wife Ellen, 53, who are both Greek Orthodox, said they face tension and harassment from their Jewish neighbours. They said there have been numerous altercations over the years. Mr Nasrawi said although there have been moments of humanity and compassion—like when one of the Jewish neighbours who is a nurse rushed to the aid of a Palestinian boy who was choking—in general the settlers dislike their children playing with the neighbourhood Palestinian children. They demand that the neighbourhood children not play in the road in front of their building— which happens also to be in front of the Nasrawi home—and they rely on two armed security guards to escort
them whenever someone leaves the building. “Sometimes I am afraid of them because they all have guns,” said Mr Nasrawi. “When they come out of the building, their gun is always on their hip.” A spokesman for the Negotiation Affairs Department said that, as a result of the Jewish settlements, the main issue the Christian Quarter struggles with is the dramatic reduction of its public space. The Syriac Christian neighbourhood has been the most affected by the incursion of Jewish enclaves and has all but disappeared as a Christian area, he added. Only the Syriac church and a couple of houses are left, he said. “Their presence means an increase in security, which in and of itself is needless provocation, with armed escorts going up and down the streets—[and there is]) the usual stuff that comes with settlers moving into the neighbourhood, making it extremely uncomfortable,” said Mr El-Yousef. “There are barriers going up, flags go up, creating unnecessary tension. There are watch towers and cameras. This is unhelpful. When you have good neighbours, no one cares. Jerusalem would be the most beautiful city on earth if people would learn how to share.” Neighbours wonder who is going to sell next and how, he said. Often the transactions of these properties are shrouded in mystery, and people become suspicious of each other, wondering which leases of homes belonging to elderly neighbours have already been transferred to settlers waiting to take over the building after their death. “It is not just a pocket [of settlers], but a growing extension,” he said. “People begin to wonder what is planned for the future. There are a lot of unknowns.”—CNS
DRC election could turn violent
BISHOP has warned that the upcoming general elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo may be marred by violence unless the government of President Joseph Kabila and opposition parties work to reconcile their differences. Bishop Placide Lubamba Ndjibu of Kasongo said that Mr Kabila is facing term limits and is resisting international pressure to
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step down by the end of the year as the constitution requires. His primary opposition is Moise Katumbi, a former Kabila ally and former governor of Katanga province, a major copper producer. Bishop Lubamba noted that many government observers believe that Mr Kabila is considering changes to the constitution that would allow him to run for a third
term. Mr Katumbi’s supporters are resisting such a move and his supporters have amassed in protests in major cities only to be met with a harsh police response that have resulted in beatings and arrests. The Catholic Church is undertaking a national civic education campaign with the goal of educating citizens on the effectiveness of peacefully participating in the general elections.—CNS
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The Southern Cross, May 25 to May 31, 2016
Pope on religious freedom, abuse, SSPX By Cindy WoodEn
G People attend a canonisation ceremony for the victims of the Armenian genocide at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin complex near yerevan, Armenia. (Photo: Vahram Baghdasaryan, EPA/CnS)
Armenians will welcome popular pope in June By JAMES MARTonE
ANY Armenians say Pope Francis will be widely welcomed when he visits the country in June, thanks in part to a remark he made about genocide more than a year ago. In separate interviews, people of the landlocked, mountainous country in Eurasia said many Armenians view the pontiff favourably as well for his moral stance on pressing world issues and for his elevation of an Armenian monk to the rank of doctor of the Church. “It is an invitation from everybody,” said Mekhitarist Father Serop Tchamourlian, when asked about Pope Francis’ upcoming visit. Fr Serop predicted that “the whole population” would come out to greet the pope during his trip to Armenia. The Vatican has said the June 24-26 trip is in response to an invitation from the patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Catholicos Karekin II, and from Armenia’s government. Fr Serop and others in the Armenian capital, Yerevan, said that they felt the pope’s use of the term “genocide” in referring to their history was a boost to long-term disputes with neighbouring Turkey
over what they said had been a concentrated attempt to wipe out Armenians from territories under Ottoman control in 1915-18. Pope Francis is “very, very popular in Armenia”, said Nvard Manasian, who works as a communications expert for a development organisation and teaches at Yerevan State University. She said Armenians were looking forward to the pope’s visit and that local media had been talking about it for weeks. Ms Manasian said she, too, appreciated the pope’s April 2015 remark about the genocide; her paternal grandmother was the sole survivor of massacres perpetrated by Ottomans a century ago in what is now Turkey, she said. It was the pope’s active and compassionate position on such difficult issues—including refugees, poverty and global warming—that endeared him to her in particular, and to millions of others in general, regardless of denomination, said Ms Manasian who, like more than 90% of Armenians is a member of the Armenian Apostolic Church. “On so many issues,” she said, Pope Francis is “literally carrying the message of Christ through everyday life in whatever role he has assumed”.—CNS
World leaders urged to counter terrorist ‘narratives’
RCHBISHOP Bernardito Auza, the Vatican’s permanent observer to the UN, called for world leaders to take action with regard to “countering the narratives and ideologies of terrorism” during the Security Council’s open debate. The archbishop said in his statement that the debate is important because “it calls us to strike terrorism at its very roots and where it must primarily be fought: namely, in the hearts and minds of men and women, in particular of those who are most at risk of radicalisation and recruitment by terrorist groups”. He emphasised that the narratives and ideologies of terrorist groups, in addition to religion, are used to justify their acts of violence, and countering them is a responsibility of all religious leaders. “Religious leaders and people of faith must be at the forefront in delegitimising the manipulation of faith and distortion of sacred texts as a justification for violence,” the UN nuncio said. “Anyone who considers himself or herself a believer while planning and carrying out actions against fundamental rights and dignity of every man and woman must be condemned.” In the fight against terrorism, Archbishop Auza said that all religions must come together to confront terrorist groups in their “misuse of religion...religious big-
otry, stereotyping and disrespect for what people hold sacred”. To counteract the narratives and ideologies of terrorism, religious leaders must be educated in both the “history and the meaning of the sacred texts” to be able to identify the false narratives of extremists, said the archbishop. Many terrorist groups are targeting young people, who often come from poor immigrant families and are excluded from their communities. To address this, Archbishop Auza called governments to “engage with civil society to address the problems of communities”, to “achieve integration of those communities”. Finally, the archbishop highlighted terrorist groups’ use of cyber recruitment. He mentioned that their “access to cyberspace must be denied” to cut off their reach to “the hearts and minds of millions of people”. “The Holy See is convinced,” Archbishop Auza concluded, “that if we are to win the hearts of our children and young people and prevent their joining terrorists groups, we must build inclusive societies and prevent illicit arms, trafficking, build bridges rather than walls, and engage in dialogue rather than in mutual isolation.”—CNS
OVERNMENTS work best when they are secular, not confessional, but they must give ample space for people to express their religious beliefs, including by respecting the right of conscientious objection, Pope Francis told the French Catholic newspaper La Croix, in an interview. “National governments, he said, “must be secular. Confessional states end badly”. But a truly secular democracy fully respects the religious freedom of its citizens, including their right to publicly express their faith, the pope said. “If a Muslim woman wishes to wear a veil, she must be able to do so. Similarly, if a Catholic wishes to wear a cross. ” “In this sense, when I hear talk of the Christian roots of Europe, I sometimes dread the tone, which can seem triumphalist or even vengeful. It then takes on colonialist overtones.” Pope Francis agreed that nations have a right and obligation to control their borders and regulate immigration. But, he said, when immigrants are accepted “the worst form of welcome is to ‘ghettoise’ them. On the contrary, it’s necessary to integrate them.” Those held responsible for the Brussels terrorist bombings in March, he said, “were Belgians, children of migrants, but they grew up in a ghetto”, while London has sworn in a new mayor, Sadiq Khan, who is the son of Pakistani Muslims. “This illustrates the need for Europe to rediscover its capacity to integrate,” the pope said. Asked about a perceived fear of
Pope Francis smiles at the end of the jubilee audience in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican. (Photo: Alessaandro Bianchi, Reuters/CnS) Muslims in Europe, Pope Francis responded, “I don’t think that there is a fear of Islam as such but of ISIS and its war of conquest, which is partly drawn from Islam. It is true that the idea of conquest is inherent in the soul of Islam. However, it is also possible to interpret the objective in Matthew’s gospel, where Jesus sends his disciples to all nations, in terms of the same idea of conquest.”
he journalists asked Pope Francis about a case of clerical sexual abuse that has “shattered” Catholics in the archdiocese of Lyon where a priest, who ran a large Catholic school, has been charged with “sexual aggression and rape of minors” between 1986 and 1991. “It is not easy to judge the facts decades later in a different context,” Pope Francis said, but “there can be no statute of limitations for the Church in this field...As Benedict XVI said, there must be zero tolerance.” A s k e d Cardinal Giovanni Coppa, a about the Vatformer nuncio, has died at the ican’s ongoing age of 90. Born in Alba, italy, discussions on november 9, 1925, he with the tradiwas ordained to the priesttionalist Socihood in 1949. He served as a ety of St Pius latinist at the Second Vatican Council and later worked in the Vatican Secretariat of State. He served as nuncio first to Czechoslovakia and then to the Czech Republic from 1990-2001. He was made a cardinal in 2007. (Photo: Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters/CnS)
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X, the pope said, “They say they are Catholic. They love the Church. Bishop Fellay is a man with whom one can dialogue,” Pope Francis said. “That is not the case for other elements who are a little strange, such as Bishop [Richard] Williamson or others who have been radicalised.” Establishing a “personal prelature”, a sort of non-territorial diocese, for them “would be a possible solution but beforehand it will be necessary to establish a fundamental agreement with them”. Members of the society have objected to some of the teaching of the Second Vatican Council and to mainstream interpretations of it, especially the council documents on religious liberty, ecumenism, liturgy and relations with other religions. On the topic of the Synod of Bishops on the family, Pope Francis said: “I think that we all came out of the various processes different from the way that we entered. Including me.” In the postsynodal apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, the pope said, “I sought to respect the synod to the maximum. You won’t find canonical prescriptions there about what one may or may not do.”—CNS
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The Southern Cross, May 25 to May 31, 2016
LEADER PAGE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Editor: Günther Simmermacher
HE destructive manner in which political protest is increasingly expressed in South Africa is intolerable. There is no defence for the vandalism and burning of public property. When protesters damage or destroy schools, municipal offices or public transport infrastructure, they are harming their communities and undermine the potential for development in areas that are trapped in a cycle of neglect. But this is not to say that the reasons for the protests are invariably without cause. The burning of schools in Limpopo’s Vuwani protests can serve as a metaphor for the sentiments that underpin these acts. Schools as symbols of the future have been destroyed by people who evidently have lost hope for a better future. As a nation, we must be alarmed by the scorched-earth nature of protests throughout the country, a sense of anarchy which has gripped many levels of our society, from the unemployed poor to university students. Likewise, labour strikes are too often violent, ruinous and deliberately timed to inflict damage on others who are not party to the dispute. Are the voices of the poor and disaffected heard only through the fires of vandalism? Or are the callous scorched-earth protests provoked by political agents? Whatever the answers, there is no justification for killing the future of our youth by burning schools, or for preventing people from going to work by sabotaging public transport, or for vandalising universities. It must be clearly understood: Protests that target public property for damage or destruction amount to social sabotage. At the same time, our condemnation of these acts must be accompanied by an interrogation into their causes and how they can be stopped. Both questions require public debate and a lucid government response. Especially from the government we need more than spluttering platitudes and the evasion of responsibility for having left the cauldron of discontent on the boil. The fact that the legacy of apartheid continues to torment South Africa is indisputable. But the protests are not against a government that has been gone for more than two decades, but against the present government’s failure to improve on the conditions it inherited.
Sports minister Fikile Mbabula’s efforts to force racial quota systems on national sports teams illustrate the government’s misplaced priorities. Of course, quotas and black economic empowerment policies have their place, but schools are not being burned because the Springbok fullback has blond hair. The artificial cosmetic of a rugby team’s racial composition is less transformative than good facilities and qualified coaches in poor communities which might develop future Springboks. It is the infrastructure on the ground, and its quality, which will effect genuine transformation. There is no indication that the destructive methods of protest will subside. South Africa’s vulnerable economy does not allow for the meaningful development at the necessary scale, nor for the alleviation of unemployment and poverty. Moreover, the political will and capacity to address the distress of the poor is not always evident, with many public representatives more concerned with their own economic development than with that of the suffering masses. We are sitting on a powder keg of social discontent. There is a pressing need for a recalibration of our political environment. As our columnist Mphuthumi Ntabeni argues this week, a regeneration of our body politic would at its best draw from the Catholic Social Teachings, which are shared by other churches. At the centre of these teachings is the just pursuit for the common good. South Africa today needs wise, determined and unselfish political leadership that seeks to serve the common good in order to shepherd the nation from the abyss. In times of crisis, much is achieved by cooperation across the political and social spectrum. One way of activating such cooperation is by the formation of a government of national unity which would include the most talented and effective leadership offered by the political parties partnering in it. Such a coalition government would temporarily set aside political rivalries to serve the greater good. A government of national unity might well be an exceedingly optimistic proposition, but there are few better alternatives to South Africa’s present political quagmire.
Let us pray to our Mother of Africa
N Ash Wednesday, the sign is made with dust, the glorious acclaim of Palm Sunday reduced to ash, and we remember that our bodies’ dust particles will intermingle with those of every person (from our ancient ancestors to today) and every insect, animal and plant, rocks, water and gas, which our faith tells us God created. As we form part of the earth which produces the food for the next generation, we remain serving in the great recycle: “You take back your Spirit, they die, returning to the dust from which they came. You send forth your Spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of
TOOK the day off work to celebrate Ascension Day and clearly stated the reason as such on my application. I was fortunate to celebrate this joyous feast day in a beautiful church in my new hometown Pietermaritzburg. Yes, we did have an Ascension Day Mass and were fortunate to celebrate it again on Sunday, with the many people who could not make it—but we had a choice, which many were deprived of this year. However, the general consensus in other areas was akin to feelings of “the Grinch having stolen Christmas”. It was also sad that many people were unaware of this change, until the eleventh hour. First this important feast day ceased to be a public holiday, now we are banishing it into obscurity. What is next? Perhaps Good Friday should be moved as well. Sometimes (I mean this with the utmost respect) the “powers that be” should leave well alone. We as Catholics need to start honouring these special days, as other religions honour their days. We make time and accommodate many other things in our lives but often “relegate” God to the obscure corners of our life, so we are not inconvenienced in any way. We need to stand up proudly as Catholics and make some “noise” to oppose changes like this. We can be extremely vocal and righteously indignant on less important matters, so why not now? For me Ascension was a beautiful and happy day spent with Our Lord, but for others there was upset and even justifiable anger. Perhaps this is the reason why only the Father knows when the second coming will be...as we might take out our diaries and reschedule to accommodate all and inconvenience none. Rosemary Govender, Pietermaritzburg
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Become organ donors, ailing priest asks BY MANDLA ZIBI
A “I watch the sunrise, lighting the sky...” Fr Johan Strydom of George, Oudtshoorn diocese, took this photo of a cross in the sunrise overlooking Herold’s Bay, with the Atlantic ocean w a s h i n g u p o n t h e b a y ’s b e a c h . T h e p r i e s t s a y s t h e s c e n e b r o u g h t t o h i s m i n d t h e L o r d ’s Resurrection.
Tired of modern society? Become a missionary BY CAROL GLATZ
OUNG women and men who are tired of today’s self-centred, materialistic society should consider becoming missionaries, the heroes of evangelisation, Pope Francis has said. “Life is worth living” to the full, “but in order to live it well, ‘consume’ it in ser vice, in proclamation and keep going for ward. This is the joy of proclaiming the Gospel,” the pope said during morning Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae in the Vatican, where he lives. So many men an families, homeland Gospel to other c said. So many of th dying in mission la tyrdom—”offering These missionaries Church.” Many missiona having ser ved and said. “They ‘consum and their loved one could say, “what I h O t th
Pope Francis says young people who are tired
PORT ELIZABETH priest with a rare and deadly lung disease has called on the Church to do more in the campaign for organ donation in South Africa. Fr Xolisile Augustine Kondlo is campaigning in the Eastern Cape where he visits schools, churches and other gatherings as part of the national effort to raise awareness around the dire condition of donor donation in the country. Three years ago the 37-year-old priest was diagnosed with acute interstitial pneumonitis, a rare and severe lung disease. It has no known specific cause and usually attacks healthy lungs and renders them ineffective. Talking to The Southern Cross during one of his “countless” stays in hospital, Fr Kondlo urged the Church to join the fight against widespread ignorance and indifference around issues of organ donation in society. “The Church is silent on this huge matter. Therefore I am calling on the leadership of the Church to do more. Here I am, one of their sons, struggling with my health, but I’m still willing to do awareness. It is frustrating to sit around my flat all day long.” Fr Kondlo described how the disease had taken over his life and how his health had deteriorated tremendously. “Daily I am fighting for every breath I take, and the only cure is for me to get a new set of lungs via a transplant,” he said. Fr Kondlo now breathes through a portable oxygen machine, 24 hours a day, seven days a
Pity poor priests on homilies
EGARDING the letter “Weak homilies can’t be tolerated” (May 4), why not thank God you have a priest? Mass can be celebrated without a homily. If it’s intelligence that you seek, remember “God chooses the simple to confound the intellectual”. If it’s possible, try going to your nearest seminary for intellectual sermons—you might hear the meaning of the crucifixion, that is, the Holy Mass, sacrifice of the body and blood of Jesus Christ, really present on the altar, under the appearance of the bread and wine. Please don’t knock the priests God has sent to all of us. The poor priest can please only some of the people some of the time; he can’t please all the people all of the time, and there are some people he can never please at any time. As the evangelist Angus Buchan said on Mother’s Day on e.tv: “If you leave your church because the pastor upset you, take a good look in the mirror.” Sheila Curror, Emahlaleni, Mpumalanga
Easter failures in two parishes
CANNOT but find myself in full agreement with your correspondent in the letter “Easter disgrace in preparation” (April 20). For example, at one parish where I sometimes worship, during the distribution of Holy Communion at the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Maundy Thursday, the parish choir sang, among other things, the Taizé refrain Surrexit Christus, Alleluia (Christ is risen, Alleluia)—’nuff said. Then, even though the chapel in the church has a tabernacle, it was not used. Instead, the ciboria and earthenware Communion “bowls”
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the earth” (Psalm 104:29-30). Why then, if we are all part of God, brothers and sisters to the earth and all on it, is the following still so relevant: “God...here is our world. Like distant thunder, we are forever reminded that all is not well. Still nation fights nation ...holds to ancient hatreds, power and money rule with no mercy, and your law of love depends not on opportunity but on politics. “How you must grieve. We cry to you, not for selfish gain, but for our poisoned world. Guard and guide, strengthen and uphold. Lead your peacemakers. Lift up your servants. Be hope to those in despair.
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Fr Xolisile Augustine Kondlo, who is campaigning for organ donation awareness. called #1DonorSaves7Lives and created a Facebook page by the same name. “I have been to churches already, where I talk about the need for South Africans to overcome their fears, prejudices and indifference about organ donation.”
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ne donor can potentially save seven lives—hence the name of Fr Kondlo’s campaign—providing a heart, two kidneys, liver, pancreas and two lungs, provided all seven organs are healthy and har vested correctly. The Organ Donor Foundation (ODF), a non-profit organisation which Fr Kondlo works closely with, painted a bleak picture of the state of organ-donation in South Africa. “There is a critical shortage of organ donors
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“And may we all, by your courageous Spirit, lift our heads and dare to speak, act, and stand for your peace wherever we may be heard.” (Let There Be—praying the new millennium”, compiled by Churches Together in England 2000) On Pentecost Sunday, the reading (Acts 2:10) mentioned people “from Egypt and parts of Africa near Cyrene” plus other parts of the world. A bidding prayer appealed for prayer for “SA, Africa, and the world”. Let us join other individuals and groups praying the St Francis peace prayer and the rosary, asking for the intercession of Mary, Mother of Africa and the world. For a free leaflet, SMS your name and postal address to 083 544 8449. Athaly Jenkinson, East London containing the Blessed Sacrament were all placed on a table covered with a white altar cloth, themselves then covered with the humeral veil. All of which paled into insignificance when I heard that in another parish the parishioners were advised that if they attended the Stations of the Cross para-liturgy on Good Friday morning, they would not be “obliged” to attend the liturgy of the Lord's Passion in the afternoon. When was Good Friday declared a holiday of obligation? Much worse, Holy Communion was distributed to the faithful at the Stations of the Cross para-liturgy. The long-standing rule of the universal Church is that from the beginning of the sacred triduum— from and including the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper until the Easter Vigil—Holy Communion may be distributed to the faithful only at the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper and at the celebration of the Lord’s Passion. A recent letter from Pope Francis bears quoting here. Among other matters the pope writes: “A pastor...is called to serve...Our role, our joy, the joy of the pastor [should be] truly in the helping and the stimulating. Laypeople are part of the holy faithful people of God...We are called to serve them, not them serve us.” It seems that the pastors of the two parishes mentioned above, the pastor of your correspondent’s parish and many others would do well to read this letter by Pope Francis. Robert van Aswegen, Johannesburg 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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The Southern Cross, May 25 to May 31, 2016
Why we must heal the sick racists Kevin O Roussel UR country is at the verge of a significant breakthrough on racism. Political, economic and social forces are peacefully colliding into a national debate on the type of country we want to have and the type of leadership required to achieve this. Racism could not be more transparent, overwhelming and ultimately vulnerable as it is today. We can see the promised racism-free land in front of us and there is no going back. This year began with a furore over a racist Facebook post and dehumanisation of people enjoying a day at the beach, the revelation that a high-ranking banker held racist tendencies, the conclusion of four cases of racially motivated assaults. More recently we had the controversy surrounding a judge who made racist comments. Common to all of these is that the perpetrators are people classified as belonging to a white minority, and the offended are people classified as belonging to a black majority. The fact that these classifications and so-called race groups remain relevant is a true reflection of our distance from the World Day of Peace 2015 theme, “No longer slaves but brothers and sisters”. When we speak of race we concern ourselves with the effect on the victims and what they can do without seriously interrogating the dehumanising causes and illness of the perpetrator. We are quick to judge the racist without sympathy for what must be very sick individuals, alienated from their inherent dignity. We concern ourselves less with restoring justice than with seeking punishment and revenge. After all, we find racists morally and socially repugnant; our default is to ignore their suffering and desperate need for treatment. We believe accountability and responsibility, not mercy and love, are what is required.
If we applied this logic to other health conditions, the world would be devoid of any human life. If the sick are judged and told to be responsible instead of healed, humankind would be eradicated. Justice cannot be born from injustice and humanity cannot survive on accountability alone. I think of Chris Hani, a Catholic who was murdered by Janus Walusz, another Catholic. How could two people brought up in the same tradition end up believing they belonged to different sides in a secular worldview?
n Islam, the murder of one Muslim by another is considered to be so sinful that not only the murderer but also the murdered go to hell. This is taught to young Muslims to remind them of the sacredness of being members of a brotherhood. Have we as Catholics lost our way? Is our communion with Christ so watered down that the secular world we live in takes precedence over the family of the Church and that we ignore the teaching and example of Christ?
next time you’re confronted by a racist, don’t be angry but say: “you are very ill, you need treatment.”
Are we ‘of the world’? T HE ancient Greek philosopher Plato believed that in a democratic political system, money and power dictates public policy. This is why he was so critical of democracy, the system he felt most susceptible to manipulation by the elites (aristocrats), the power-mongers, the greedy and the oligarchs. Plato preferred the hierarchy of the “philosopher king”, what today we would call a benign dictator. There is sufficient evidence in history, even in our era, to vindicate Plato’s misgivings about the system of democracy. There is a growing unease among many people about democracy’s ability to make real change in people’s lives because of the unresponsiveness of elected governments to the needs and opinions of the population. Voting seems instead to entrench the state capture of the elite who buy politicians to promote policies that serve the insatiable greed of the money class. We see this concern in the resurgence of the straight-talk politics of benign dictators. The popularity of Donald Trump in some quarters in the United States might be explained that way. South Africa is also showing symptoms of growing attraction to populist politics, for example in the form of Julius Malema. The growing influence of far-right-of-centre conservatism in European politics falls under the similar trend of the rise of radicals. Still, in August we will go to the polls to vote for our municipal governments. When we do, we must be conscious of the fact that councillor candidates contesting their constituency wards are still appointed by political parties. This means that whoever wants to be on the party list, be it as a ward candidate or as a proportional representative, one is still appointed on the basis
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of party-loyalties. Unless candidates stand as independents, voters still have to take into consideration the political parties and their policies. Policy is not everything, but it gives you an idea of what the party and its candidate would do for your ward, given the opportunity. A track record is also important for those parties who have had opportunity to govern. Good policies that are not backed by real action are misleading; the same applies to naïve, impractical populist policies. More than any other election in the past 22 years, this year’s local elections are going to demand serious moral judgment from the voters, in particular those voters who demand ethical and moral values from their government representatives.
outh Africa is confronted by a politics of anger that seeks to reduce activism into a visceral exercise. It is fanned, though not caused, by the populists, narcissists, anarchists, leftist and rightists in our political brigade whose real beef is more with the ruling party than it is with virtuous intentions for our common good. Just about the only thing on which there is a consensus is that our political culture is sick. And we are just about reaching a stage when we can’t stand even the cures to our vices as professed by our political parties. So the conditions seem to be ripe for a benign dictator to relieve us from the burdens of our freedom. But because our democratic culture is an ongoing experiment in self-governance towards building a humane nation, we dare not despair. As Catholics, the only map we have to navigate the public square is the Catholic Social Teachings (CST). Catholics, and those who share the principles of the CST, must be the creative minority for recovering true human dignity, the common good, sub-
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As Catholics and believers in God who made man in his image, the word was made flesh and the spirit of God dwells among us. So how is it possible that the sin of racism continues to enslave us? Why do people believe we need to categorise and think in boxes, that we are conditioned to sin instead of being a people of love as our vocation at baptism requires us to be? Why do we not heal the sick racist? The answer is simple: our perception of power is located in our worldview and not in our faith-view. As the people of God we have allowed man-made perceptions of power to enslave us. We are in captivity seeking salvation when all we need to do is cast our nets on the other side. God is the source of our liberation but we have become blind to his power and create our own sad reality. We all say, “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” and yet we ignore perilous behaviour that moves us further from the will of God. We have become complicit in the sin of racism, a broken and ill people staying as far away from healing as possible. We have the power to change this. The next time we are confronted by a racist statement, behaviour or attitude, please say to the perpetrator: “You are very ill, we need to rush you to treatment.” Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children of God. n Kevin Roussel is the director of Welfare and Development in Cape Town. He writes in his personal capacity.
Pushing the Boundaries
sidiarity (action from the lowest level) and solidarity in our nation. The question is whether, as the salt of the nation, have we lost our taste? Are we on the slippery path of a lifestyle libertinism that is in service to hedonism and unbridled freedom? Or are we squandering our just anger on the rabbit hole of fantastic anger tales told by those who resent having been excluded from the gravy train? Or do we stew ourselves in a Samsonian anger whose explosion would destroy ourselves too? As Catholics, our Church’s social teachings are the only hope for lancing the boil of the nation’s political discontent. The reconstruction of our moral political culture is essential, and it will not happen without us moving out of our comfort zones from which we observe in dread the march of the apocalyptic horsemen. The problem is, often we demand from our politicians what we ourselves do not live. How many Catholics actually pay attention to the Church’s social teachings? How often do we betray them, with impunity and without guilt, because we fail to internalise them? If we did, we would vote only for political parties or candidates that espouse, knowingly or not, Christian moral values based on social democracy, democratic capitalism, worker solidarity, subsidiarity and the rest of what Catholic Social Teachings counsel us towards. As it is, most of us don’t even know what all these entail. Yet they’re supposed to be at the centre of how we interact with the world. Have we become “of the world”?
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Pray with the Pope
Don’t forget the lonely General Intention: That the aged, marginalised, and those who have no one may find—even within the huge cities of the world—opportunities for encounter and solidarity. ONELINESS is sometimes referred to as a contemporary disease, a scourge which afflicts modern, urban people. The word “disease” is not entirely metaphorical. Researchers are discovering a correlation between loneliness and poor physical health, and not just in the aged but in the young as well. Common sense tells us that this is obviously right, that we have a greater sense of wellbeing and security when we have supportive family and social networks and that when these are disrupted or broken we get physically and psychologically ill. An extreme case of loneliness involved a man who was put in solitary confinement in a cell which was almost completely soundproof—a formula for causing terrible disorientation and eventual madness. The only external noise the prisoner heard was the very faint whirr of a vacuum cleaner which went past the door of his cell every 24 hours. This sound became vitally important for the preservation of his sanity because it meant that there was another human being nearby and it provided him with a sense of time. Jesus himself experienced loneliness in Gethsemane. The Christian view of the human person would state that, although a certain solitude can be good for us if it helps us to be more aware of God, we are communal beings made for one another in the Body of Christ and to be cut off in loneliness is to suffer a kind of spiritual death. Hence the fact that there are significant numbers of people who because of age, economic marginalisation or some other reason, have been torn from the fabric of society is a terrible social evil. The pope’s prayer intention implies that loneliness is more prevalent within the massive urban centres of today and herein lies a clear irony—that people can be surrounded by thousands of other people and yet not have any true human contact with them. The Body of Christ cannot be truly itself if it is thus dismembered.
Wisdom of mentors Missionary Intention: That seminarians and men and women entering religious life may have mentors who live the joy of the Gospel and prepare them wisely for their mission. HE difficulty in finding mentors is in the demographics. Formation requires a certain maturity and wisdom which means being of a certain age and that older, mature generation is a little thin on the ground. Another problem is that the work of formation is not universally popular because it has particular challenges. Everyone in the congregation or diocese agrees that it is a vital work but most hope that someone else will do it. The fact is, it ties one down. As a formator at a seminary, I know that young people can be difficult and rebellious, even in religious life. And, as someone said to me recently: “You are under continual surveillance.” I think he meant by the students! Conditions today make it harder than in earlier times. In a previous era houses of formation were a kind of two-class ship in which you had a large community of novices or students being looked after by a smaller community of formators. Today the numbers are much smaller and so effectively there is a single community comprising the formators and those in formation. Hence, for a mature man or woman to be living at close quarters with people a fraction their age requires great patience and a level of energy they may be lacking. Young people can be noisy and ill-disciplined and yet they often believe they know it all and are highly virtuous. This is just the nature of the young, all very endearing but quite hard work if you are in your sixties and preferring companionship which is quieter and more adult. And when candidates leave and the numbers are down, the formators can come in for severe criticism. So please do pray for us!
The Southern Cross, May 25 to May 31, 2016
in preparation for the 100th Anniversary of Fatima next May let us take heed of these many teachings filled with simple Heavenly truths! The message of Fatima seems to be another love letter from Heaven written in code to be understood gradually by those simple enough to read it on their knees. Its first dimension reveals that in Fatima, the LADY of HEAVEN came as a CATECHIST! She revealed in a simple form for the Portuguese people all those teachings of faith that would be put into doubt by many modern theologians of the Twentieth Century.
In the following statements written by Sr. Lucia, we find many teachings filled with simple heavenly truths:
1. The Existence and Intercession of Guardian Angels: In the first angelic apparition in 1916, the angel said to the children Âł<RXZLOOWKXVGUDZGRZQSHDFHRQ\RXUFRXQWU\,DPLWVGuardian Angel, the Angel of Portugal. Above all accept with submission the VXIIHULQJZKLFK7KH/RUGZLOOVHQG\RXÂ´ 2. The True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist: 7KHWKLUGDQJHOLFDSSDULWLRQ6LVWHU/XFLDUHYHDOHGÂł:HVSUDQJXSDQGEHKHOG the angel. He was holding a chalice in his left hand, with the Host suspended above it, from which some drops of blood fell into the FKDOLFHÂŤWKH$QJHOVDLG'Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men. Make reparation IRUWKHLUFULPHVDQGFRQVROH2XU/RUGÂŤ-HVXV&KULVWpresent LQDOOWKHWDEHUQDFOHVRIWKHZRUOG Â´ 3. The Truth of the Dogma of the Trinity: Also, sister Lucia writes that during the third angelic apparition - Âł7KHDQJHOknelt down beside us and made us repeat three times Âą 'Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore you profoundly and I offer You the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity RI-HVXV&KULVWSUHVHQWLQDOOWKHWDEHUQDFOHVRIWKHZRUOG Â´ 4. The Proper Reverence by Creatures before the Blessed Sacrament: During this same apparition - Âł/HDYLQJ WKH chalice suspended in the air, the angel knelt down beside us and he prostrated himself on the ground and repeated with us, three WLPHV PRUH WKH VDPH SUD\HUDQG WKHQ GLVDSSHDUHGÂ´ (Today many Catholics struggle at even the simple gesture of genuflecting. If an angel, a heavenly creature, prostrates himself before the Blessed Sacrament, why shouldn't we?) 5. The Power of the Rosary for the Salvation of the World: During the May 13th apparition, Our Lady requested - Âł3UD\WKHRosary every day in order to obtain SHDFHIRUWKHZRUOGDQGWKHHQGRIWKHZDUÂ´During the July apparition she added - ÂłContinue to pray the Rosary every day in honour of Our Lady of the Rosary, in order to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war, because onO\VKHFDQKHOS\RXÂ´ 6. The Call for Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary: During her second apparition Our Lady said - Âł-HVXVZDQWVWRPDNHXVHRI\RXWRPDNHPHNQRZQ and loved. He wants to establish in the world devotion to my ,PPDFXODWH+HDUWÂ´ I will never forsake you. My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead \RXWR*RGÂ´ 7. The Existence of Heaven and Purgatory: Sister Lucia tells us that during the first apparition of Our Lady - Âł,UHPHPEHUHGWRDVNDERXWWKHWZRJLUOVwho had died recently; 'Is Maria das Neves in heaven?' - 'Yes she is.' (She was about sixteen years old) Âą 'and Amelia?' - Our Lady responded Âą 'She will be in Purgatory until the end of the ZRUOG Â´ 8. The Existence of Hell: During the third apparition, Our Lady spoke after showing the children the vision of hell - ÂłYou have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. 7RVDYHWKHP*RGZDQWVWRHVWDEOLVKLQWKHZRUOGGHYRWLRQWRP\,PPDFXODWH+HDUWÂ´ Fourth apparition - ÂłPray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to hell, EHFDXVHWKHUHDUHQRQHWRVDFULILFHDQGSUD\IRUWKHPÂ´ 9. The Seriousness of Sin: Sister Lucia reports that during the last apparition - Âł/RRNLQJYHU\VDG2XU/DG\VDLG'Do not offend The Lord our God any more, because He is already so much offended.' Âł And on the third apparition - Âł7KH ZDU LV JRLQJ WR HQG EXW LI SHRSOH GRQ W FHDVH offending God, a worse one will break out during the SRQWLILFDWHRI3LXV,;Â´7KLVZDVDUHIHUHQFHWR:RUOG:DUDQGZDVconditional on the people's response. 10. The Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart: During the July apparition - Âł7RSUHYHQWWKLVZDUVIDPLQHDQGSHUVHFXWLRQV ,VKDOOFRPHWRDVNIRUWKH consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart and the Communion of Reparation on the first (five) Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted and there will be peace; LIQRWVKHZLOOVSUHDGKHUHUURUVWKURXJKRXWWKHZRUOGFDXVLQJZDUVDQGSHUVHFXWLRQVRIWKH&KXUFKÂŤÂ´
There can be no doubt regarding what Heaven says about the EUCHARIST! ....and the urgent need for us to make REPARATION for the sacrileges and abuses committed against Our Eucharistic LORD!
On 10 December, 1925 Lucia received a visit from Mary with the Child Jesus, who said, "Have compassion on the Heart of your Most Holy Mother, surrounded with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce Her at every moment, without there being anyone to make an act of reparation in order to take them away." Our Lady then promised Sr. Lucia that she would: assist at the hour of death, with the GRACES necessary for SALVATION, all those who on the first Saturdays of five consecutive months:-
1. go to Confession (within eight days before or after ) 2. receive Holy Communion (obviously in a state of grace) 3. say 5 decades of the Rosary (ie one mystery)
4. keep Her company for 15 minutes whilst meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary 5. all this with the intention of consoling and offering reparation to Her Immaculate Heart
On May 29, 1930, Our Lord explained to Sr. Lucia why five First Saturdays: Âł0\GDXJKter the reason is simple. Against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, five kinds of offenses and blasphemies are committed: Ć‡DJDLQVWWKH,PPDFXODWH&RQFHSWLRQ Ć‡DJDLQVWWKH9LUJLQLW\RI2XU/DG\ Ć‡DJDLQVW+HU'LYLQH0DWHUQLW\- the refusal to accept her as Mother of all mankind. Ć‡WKRVHZKRSXEOLFO\VHHNWRVRZLQFKLOGUHQÂśVKHDUWVLQGLIIHUHQFHFRQWHPSWDQGHYHQKDWUHGIRUour Immaculate Mother. Ć‡WKRVHZKRLQVXOW+HUGLUHFWO\LQ+HUKRO\LPDJHVVWDWXHVÂ´ on and Francisco Francisco and and revealed revealed aa three three part part secret secretto to OnJuly July13, 13,1917, 1917,our Ourlady Lady appeared appeared at at Fatima Fatima to to the the three three seers seers lucia, Lucia, Jacinta Jacinta and them. which was so terrible that lucia later declared that if it were not for our ladyâ€™s presence, KHOOZKLFKZDVVRWHUULEOHWKDW/XFLDODWHUGHFODUHGWKDWLILWZHUHQRWIRU2XU/DG\ÂśVSUHVHQFH them.The Thefirst firstpart partwas wasa avision visionofofhell, they the vision vision was wasover, over,Our OurLady Ladyspoke spokethus: thus: theywould would have have died died of of fright. fright. After After the
Âł<RXVDZ+HOOZKHUHWKHVRXOVRISRRUVLQQHUVJR7RVDYHWKHP*RGZLshes to establish devotion to my Immaculate Heart LQWKHZRUOG,IWKH\GRZKDW,VKDOOWHOO \RXPDQ\VRXOVZLOOEHVDYHGDQGWKHUHZLOOEHSHDFHÂ´ Âł,ZLOOFRPHWRDVNIRUWKH consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart (MMP 351e; 356e; 437k) and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays (MMP180). If they listen to my requests, Russia will be converted and there will be peace. If not, it will spread its errors throughout the world, promoting wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have PXFKWRVXIIHUDQGPDQ\QDWLRQVZLOOEHDQQLKLODWHGÂŤÂŤÂ´
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Act of Consecration to The Immaculate Heart of Mary Â´2,PPDFXODte Heart of Mary, Queen of Heaven and earth, and tender Mother of all, in accordance with your ardent wish made known at Fatima, I consecrate to you myself/my family/my parish/my diocese/my country, and all those I love and pray for. Reign over us and teach us how to make the Heart of Jesus reign and triumph in us, and around us, as it triumphed in You. Reign over us dearest Mother, that we may be yours in prosperity and in adversity, in joy and in sorrow, in health and in sickness, in life and in death. O Most compassionate Heart of Mary, Queen of Virgins, watch over our minds and hearts. Preserve and heal them from the deluge of impurity which You lamented so sorrowfully at Fatima. We want to atone for the many crimes committed against Jesus and Yourself.
We want to call upon our country, and the whole world, the peace of God, in justice and charity. :HZDQWWREHSXUHOLNH<RXÂľAmen.
The Southern Cross, May 25 to May 31, 2016
Should we still believe in miracles? In a world of science, does it still make sense to believe in miracles? Deacon BERnARd FARREllRoBERTS explains why we can.
GREW up believing in miracles because I was told by the Church that they existed. However, in today’s world, is that enough? Today it seems that we are often told what to believe and not to believe by our scientists, and that many scientists do not believe that miracles can happen, because they understand that these would contravene the laws of nature. So, does it make sense to talk of miracles in the 21st century, in a universe of which we now know so much, when miracles so clearly don’t fit in with our now considerable scientific knowledge? These are the questions that spring into practically everyone’s minds, but the reality of a miracle is not really so strange, and in fact there is no necessary incompatibility with science. A bold statement you might think—if so, read on!
What is a miracle? A miracle is made up of three elements. The first of these is that it surprises us. It does not seem to be possible. It does not appear to fit in with nature and what we understand to be the natural order. It is astounding. The second element is that it is significant, it has a significance be-
yond first sight. Floribeth Mora, a Costa Rican woman diagnosed terminally ill by doctors due to a brain aneurysm, made a full recovery. The added significance? Firstly, Pope Francis canonised St John Paul II, this miracle forming an essential element of his canonisation process. And secondly, this miracle, just like others, is also not just a sign of God’s power—it is an act of love, an act of mercy directed by God towards an individual, in this case Floribeth Mora. The third element is the ontological one, and this is considered by many to be the most difficult to understand and accept. In the past many notable thinkers, such as Voltaire, felt that to believe in miracles was insulting to God, as this was tantamount to saying that God got his creation wrong! However, this manner of thinking came about as a result of the knowledge that existed at the time, that understood creation to have been a single act in which everything was created. Now we see our universe as one in evolution, as a universe that is becoming more perfect. God, as the source of being, empowers and perfects the world in order to lead it to its fullness, and this empowerment by God does not act against the universe—quite the contrary, it is the empowerment of the universe itself.
How does a miracle occur? St Thomas Aquinas used a cause and effect diagram to explain this. An alarm clock—the cause—wakes you up—the effect. A natural cause may have many effects, although these will always occur within a
these acts. At all levels of the books of the New Testament we find such accounts, leading to the belief that they did in fact happen, and are historical acts.
Miracles vs nature?
There is no inherent contradiction between the science of nature and the Christian belief in miracles. range of possibilities. In the case of a miracle, however, the cause produces an effect that goes beyond this natural range of action, and for this reason it causes in us a feeling of amazement. We did not expect it, because the cause exceeded its expected possibilities. How can this happen? For Aquinas it is only explicable if we think of God as the source of all being and of all the actions of all created realities. In the case of a miracle, God is able to enrich the natural ability of a cause so that on this occasion it is able to do more than it ordinarily does. Since God alone is the source of all being and actions, only he is able to enrich this cause, to empower this additional action, and for this reason only God is able to perform miracles.
Why shouldn’t we think of a miracle then not as something that acts against nature, but as an enabling of the universe, an enabling of nature, something that falls within nature, and not outside it. God opts to give to a cause a strength that goes beyond what it is ordinarily capable of now, and for this reason it is able to do more than it ordinarily can. In the gospels there are some 40 accounts of miracles performed by Jesus, many involving the curing of specific individuals, and some miracles performed over nature, such as the walking on water. But did these actually take place? The weight of evidence points at just this. In the gospel of Mark nearly 50% of the verses up to the Passion refer to miracles, and even the adversaries of Christ, such as the Pharisees, admitted that he carried out
How the Church tells real miracles apart from the fake W
HAT do a grilled cheese sandwich and the tilma of Our Lady of Guadalupe have in common? Both bore what appeared to be images of Mary. One was determined to be authentically miraculous, the other was not. Not to spoil any secrets, but it’s not Our Lady of the Grilled Cheese that converted Mexico and continues to draw millions of people on pilgrimage every year. But have you ever wondered just how the Church determines the bogus from the divinely appointed? In his new book, Exploring the Miraculous, Michael O’Neill gives readers a crash course of sorts in Miracles 101—including common questions about the importance of miracles, an explanation of the approval process, and descriptions of the various types of miracles found within the Catholic Church. Catholics by definition are people who have to believe in at least two miracles, Mr O’Neill said: that of Christ’s incarnation and his resurrection, two pillars on which the Catholic faith rests. For modern-day miracles, belief is never required of the faithful. The highest recognition that the Church gives to an alleged miracle is that it is “worthy of belief”. Investigations of reported miraculous events—which include extensive fact-finding, psychological examination and theological evaluation—may result in a rejection if the event is determined to be fraudulent or lacking in supernatural character. Or the Church may take a middle road, declaring that there is nothing contrary to the faith in a supposed apparition, without making a determination on whether a supernatural character is present. But while official investigations can take years, the mere report of a miracle can bring Catholics from long distances, hoping to see some glimpse of the divine reaching into the human. And it’s not just the faithful who find miracles fascinating. “It's important for atheists and sceptics, those people who don’t believe, they’ve got to have an explanation for the inexplicable,” he said. “There’s something for everyone.” The universal nature of the experience of the miraculous is also what draws people from all belief spectrums to these stories, Mr O’Neill added.
A statue of our lady of Guadalupe. Marian apparitions are just one of several categories of miracles. (Photo: Victor Aleman, Vida-nueva.com) “We all pray for miracles of one sort or another. They can be these really sort of small things like praying for an impossible comeback in a football game, or it can be a lost wallet or wedding ring,” he said. “But they can also be these really big things, such as our loved ones, they fall away from the faith and we want them to return, or somebody from our friends or our family is very sick and we desperately implore God’s help for them. It’s something that everybody experiences.”
he author’s own fascination with miracles started in college, when for an archaeology assignment he studied the miraculous tilma of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a Marian apparition to which he’d inherited his mother’s devotion. He had heard stories about miracles associated with the image, both from within his own family and from the larger Church, and he wondered how much truth there was to the tales.
He also started learning about the larger tradition of miracles within the Church, and was struck by how the Church has carefully investigated thousands of claims over the years, only to select certain ones that it eventually deems as of divine origin. “I thought that was fascinating that the Church would stick its neck out and say these things are worthy of belief,” he said. A miracle is “a way that people feel connected to God, they know that God is a loving father watching out for them, so it’s one of those things—a miracle is a universal touchstone”, he said. “No matter how strong we think our faith is or want it to be, we always want to know that God is there for us, and miracles are that sort of element that bridges the gap between our faith and our connection with God.” In his book, Mr O’Neill provides descriptions and examples of every basic category of miracle within the Catholic Church, including healing miracles from saints in the canonisation process, biblical miracles, apparitions, locutions (audible messages from God or a saint), miraculous images, Eucharistic miracles, incorrupt bodies (those that either partially or fully do not decompose after death), and stigmata (the wounds of Christ appearing on some living people). The most popular kinds of miracle, and Mr O’Neill’s personal favourite, are Marian apparitions—when Mary appears in a supernatural and corporeal way to a member of the faithful, most often with a message. Curiosity about Marian apparitions was also a large part of what spurred Mr O’Neill to create his website, miracle hunter.com, where he files information about miracles in their respective categories and provides information on their origin story and whether or not they have been approved by the Vatican. Mr O’Neill also loves Eucharistic miracles, because unlike several other types of miracles, whose validity are largely determined by faithful and reliable witnesses, science can be applied. “They can check to see if it’s really human blood, and what type of blood, and in some cases you have heart muscle in these hosts that have turned into true flesh,” he said.—CNA
We must always bear in mind that there is still an awful lot that we do not know about nature. Despite the incredible pace at which the sciences are developing today, we only have to look around to see countless examples of “truths” of the past that are no longer true in the present. Bloodletting occurred until William Harvey told us that blood circulated the body. Metal objects couldn’t fly until our understanding of aerodynamics developed. Organ transplants were not possible until we discovered that it was possible to counteract a body’s natural rejection of donor organs. Just because we believe that something is not possible for nature, does that mean that it really isn’t? We must keep open minds, living according to current knowledge, but always remaining open to future correction, and open to the empowering acts of God, the Creator of all nature. You can find out more about miracles, and other matters from the dialogue between science and faith, by studying the online courses offered at www.scienceandfaithonline.com n Deacon Bernard Farrell-Roberts is the course director and senior tutor of the Science and Faith in Dialogue programme at the Theological Faculty of Barcelona, Spain.
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The Southern Cross, May 25 to May 31, 2016
Priest: My illness is now my ministry A young priest’s life and ministry changed when he was diagnosed with a rare illness. Here Fr XoliSilE kondlo tells his story.
lungs via a transplant. My job as a Catholic priest requires me to get up in front of the congregation and deliver the word, to be in contact with people, and generally talking all the time. I have performed baptisms and retreats. I have officiated at funerals as I supported families as they lay their loved ones to rest. Y name is Fr Xolisile AuI have stood up on Sundays celgustine Kondlo. I am 37 ebrating Mass, preaching the homyears old and live in Port ily, giving Communion to those Elizabeth. who have entrusted us with their On April 27, 2012, in one of my faith. I have blessed children and proudest moments, I gave my life given parents advice in accordance in service to the Catholic Church with the Holy Scriptures. and was ordained as a Catholic I have been “human”, too, and priest. had great conversations with peers I dedicated my life to ministry, and friends of all spheres, and enpreaching and being a translator for the Church. It is something joyed quality time with my family that gave me purpose and joy. over great meals. I have laughed, I have cried, Each day I woke up was a blessing and every day I could touch the and in all that I had no idea how lives of my congregation, and the much the use of my lungs played a pivotal role. population at large. All those times, seem like a time This journey, however, was of luxury now. I have great diffishort-lived. Life as I knew it took a turn, culty in doing most or even all of when I was diagnosed with the things listed interstitial pneuabove. I cannot talk s s ss o r C n her monitis in 2013. S o u tth longer than two minAcute interstitial utes without unconpneumonitis— trollably coughing which is also Become organ and struggling to g n i l i a , s known as acute inr dono breathe. terstitial pneumopriest asks After those many A nia—is a rare and visits to the emervery severe lung disgency rooms, folease. It has no Tired of modernonsoacryiety? issi lowed by lengthy known specific Become a m Y stays in various hoscause, and usually, as pitals across South in my case, attacks Africa, my breathhealthy lungs and ing was assisted by renders them ineffechospital oxygen tive. machines. When I had a lung biopsy the hospitals condone in August of firmed me stable, they would send 2013. The results came back inconclusive. Since then the me home, and I would again land disease has taken over and my up there a few weeks later in need health has deteriorated tremen- of the oxygen their machines prodously. Daily I am fighting for vided. every breath I take, and the only I finally had to be sent home cure is for me to get a new set of with an oxygen machine which I
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a rare and TH priest with PORT ELIZABE ase has called on the ise deadly lung d re in the campaign for mo Church to do ica. n in South Afr organ donatio gustine Kondlo is campaign Fr Xolisile Au n Cape where he visits aster rt ing in the E s and other gatherings as pa he ss schools, churc l effort to raise awarene n na of the natio condition of donor donatio re around the di . as in the country go the 37-year-old priest w Three years a te interstitial pneumonitis, u c a n h , who is camdiagnosed wit lung disease. It has no know ustine Kondlo y re Fr Xolisile Aug an donation awareness. a rare and seve nd usually attacks health rg a paigning for o specific cause rs them ineffective. a Facee d n e es and created during on of lungs and re onorSaves7Liv Southern Cross Talking to The ys in hospital, Fr Kondlo called #1D y the same name. I ” sta st book page b lready, where his “countless ch to join the fight again to churches a icans to overr u ce h n “I have been C e r e e Afr f urged th nd indif need for South nd indifference ignorance a . talk about the widespread rejudices a tion in society of organ dona is huge matter. come their fears, p n.” around issues silent on th rgan donatio s i o t e h u c h r o t u b f a h o C p i e h h s r “T leade save seven calling on the ir Therefore I am ore. Here I am, one of the n potentially ne donor ca e name of Fr Kondlo’s m ill th Church to do with my health, but I’m st lives—hence two kidneys, g it s , n i t l r o g t a g e g u h r n i t t a s a , r g s t s n n i u o s fr ovid all wareness. It is campaign—pr and two lungs, provided willing to do a ll day long.” d liver, pancreas healthy and harvested cor ta around my fla scribed how the disease ha en organs are Fr Kondlo de nd how his health had de- sev . , ) tion (ODF a life a rectly onor Founda taken over his ndously. The Organ D sation which Fr Kondlo e e, teriorated trem ghting for every breath I tak of organi a bleak picture t of non-profit “Daily I am fi with, painted . o get a new se works closely n-donation in South Africa ure is for me t rs ga and the only c plant,” he said. the state of or itical shortage of organ dono ns gh a portable lungs via a tra “There is a cr breathes throu Fr Kondlo now 4 hours a day, seven days a ne, 2 oxygen machi ed
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F Xo s e Augus ne kond o add esses a pa sh n h s campa gn o a se awa eness on o gan dona on The 37 yea o d p es su e s om a a e ung cond on ha can be hea ed on y h ough an o gan ansp an nse n o he ex on he e s as week s on page w h an a c e on F kond o s campa gn now have to be on 24 hours a day. It is a source of life for me. Over time, to make life a little more bearable, I was fitted with a portable oxygen machine, so as to enable a bit of mobility. This has been nothing short of a miracle in my life, as it has given a glimpse of normalcy. It enables me to step outside the confines of my apartment for a short period of time, carrying it like a handbag everywhere I go.
mportantly, as I walk outside I can now again feel the sun’s rays on my skin, giving me an illusion of receiving fresh air—although in reality, the only air I get is that flowing from the nostril tubes to the portable machine. In 2015 my medical aid finally
gave me the news I had long waited for: it finally gave the allclear for me to be placed on the donor recipients’ list for a new lung. I was then sent to Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg, where various tests were done. These tests were to verify if I was a suitable candidate to receive donor lungs. Upon successfully passing the test, I was placed on the waiting list— which undoubtedly is long. This journey over the past four years has been one that tested my faith, and renewed it at the same time. It has taken me from an all-time high, to the lowest point of my life, walking in and out of hospitals, almost lifeless at times. It has also taught me how to ap-
preciate life, and exposed me to others who have been gripped by the claws of this disease. I have watched my friends and family go through all the emotions possible as they see a loved one suffer daily; in a sense, they suffer too. I have watched my mother feel helpless, seen her on her knees time and again, wishing for the strength to yank this ruthless disease from my body. I have sat alone at night wishing God would show me what he has planned for me. As I once saw my purpose in ministry, I am now blinded, inactive and most of the time out of breath. It then dawned on me that my situation was my mission in life. I had been through it, I can tell the story and I can help those going through it as well. I can help the many campaigns out there encouraging organ donation. I now have a purpose. I am embarking on a speaking tour to our churches, to talk about my condition and spread knowledge on being an organ donor. One person’s organs could save up to seven lives—one heart, two kidneys, two lungs, one pancreas and one liver (and add to that lifechanging transplants, such as the corneas of eyes). Would it not be the greatest gift, to give life to others? Or to know that our loved one who is now resting left behind the legacy of life to people wanting another chance of life? Or would you not be grateful to have a donor save your life or that of a loved one, if that is needed one day? I have created a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/1DonorSaves7Li ves) on which I try to tell of my everyday experience, as a person who is waiting for a lung transplant. And please visit www.odf.org.za to register as an organ donor—it is easy and it’s free. Be an organ donor, you never know whom you could save.
Become a Southern Cross Associate! Your contribution makes a difference The Assoc ates Campa gn s an ntegra support to The Southern Cross ensur ng that t continues ts aposto c outreach, deve op ng the means of transm tting our Catho c va ues n the new forms of med a and safeguard ng ts future n these uncerta n econom c times.
By BECOMInG OR REMAInInG An ASSOCIATE yOu WILL:
• Safeguard the future of The Southern Cross. The Assoc ates Campa gn s a bedrock n wh ch the ex stence of The Southern Cross s rooted. • Enab e us to deve op our presence on the constant y evo v ng techno og ca p atforms to meet young Catho cs where they are. Th s s a substantia but abso ute y essentia undertak ng wh ch our ncome from sa es and advertis ng s mp y cannot cover. • Support our aposto ate to pr soners to he p them convert to a fe w th Chr st. As St Pau admon shes us: “Keep n m nd those who are n pr son, as though you were n pr son w th them…s nce you too are n the one body” (Heb 13:3). Our outreach current y A serves 24 pr sons as we as s x army bases; t s funded entire y by the Assoc ates Campa gn. • Ensure that a our sem nar ans may have access to The Southern Cross so that they rema n n touch w th the events and th nk ng of the oca and wor dw de Church. • He p us g ve young ourna sts a foundation n re g ous reporting at a time when the secu ar press covers our Church on y n re ation to bad news. N
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The Southern Cross, May 25 to May 31, 2016
Fr Ivo Pisacane SDB
ALESIAN Father Ivo Pisacane, a long-serving educator in Johannesburg and Cape Town, died on April 24 at the age of 88. He was born the sixth child of an Italian family in Glasgow, Scotland, on April 12, 1928. His parents had emigrated from Italy to Scotland. As a teenager Ivo attended a Salesian boarding school which served as a missionary college. He formally applied to join the Salesians of Don Bosco in his last year of school and was admitted to the novitiate, making his first profession at the age of 20. After ten years of formation and studies in philosophy and theology, including practical teaching experience, he was ordained as a Salesian priest. Shortly after his ordination, he was sent to South Africa where he began to study for a Bachelor of Science degree through Unisa while teaching and performing all the assisting tasks required to educate teenaged boarders at St John Bosco College in Daleside. In 1969 he successfully completed the BSc through Wits University. He then went on to teach at Savio College in Lansdowne, Cape Town, for several years before returning to Daleside as rec-
tor where he continued to teach science, chemistry and maths. He also built up a science laboratory that would have been the envy even of a university. Fr Ivo took great delight in extramural activities and made good use of the bush areas and hills of the farm to introduce the pupils to the wonders of nature. A keen stage performer, he shared his skills at entertaining, organising and participating in concerts, magic shows and singing. He was much loved by his pupils who continued to keep in contact with him years later. Bosco College closed as a boarding school in 1993, much to the chagrin of Fr Ivo who was then 65 years of age but still working with a full teaching schedule, as well as supervising a dormitory with 65-70 boarders, maintaining the swimming pool and pursuing many extramurals. As an enthusiastic Salesian educator, he adapted quite easily to parish ministry in BooysensRobertsham in Johannesburg for eight years and then in Lansdowne-Hanover Park for another seven. In 2007, he “retired” to Bosco (Daleside), which had become a youth centre, still able at 79 to relate well to the young people, es-
Southern CrossWord solutions SOLUTIONS TO 708. ACROSS: 5 Odin, 7 Omnipotent, 8 Zeal, 10 Daffodil, 11 Sticky, 12 Dodger, 14 Builds, 16 Laxity, 17 Dishes up, 19 Lily, 21 Theologian, 22 Itch. DOWN: 1 Boaz, 2 Biblical, 3 Monday, 4 Leafed, 5 Otto, 6 Incidental, 9 Enthusiast, 13 Doxology, 15 Sister, 16 Lapels, 18 Hath, 20 Yank.
Our bishops’ anniversaries This week we congratulate: May 31: Bishop Patrick Zithulele Mvemve,retired of Klerksdorp on his 75th birthday.
Word of the Week
Ad limina visits: Visit by diocesan bishop to the Holy See, usually every five years. Mariology: The theology concerned with the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ.
Liturgical Calendar Year C – Weekdays Cycle Year 2 Sunday May 29, Body and Blood of Christ Genesis 14:18-20, Psalms 110:1-4, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, Luke 9:11-17 Monday May 30 2 Peter 1:2-7, Psalms 91:1-2, 14-16, Mark 12:112 Tuesday May 31, Visitation of Our Lady Zephaniah 3:14-18 or Romans 12, 9-16, Isaiah 12:2-6, Luke 1:39-56 Wednesday June 1, St Justin 2 Timothy 1:1-3, 6-12, Psalms 123:1-2, Mark 12:18-27 Thursday June 2, Ss Marcellinus & Peter 2 Timothy 2:8-15, Psalms 25:4-5, 8-10, 14, Mark 12:28-34 Friday June 3, Sacred Heart of Jesus Ezekiel 34:11-16, Psalms 23, Romans 5:5-11, Luke 15:3-7 Saturday June 4, Immaculate Heart of Mary 2 Timothy 4:1-8, Psalms 71:8-9, 14-17, 22, Mark 12, 38-44 Sunday June 5 1 Kings 17:17-24, Psalms 30:2, 4-6, 11-13, Galatians 1:11-19, Luke 7:11-17
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pecially the volunteers on the youth ministry team, while at the same time keeping himself busy with a whole range of maintenance tasks around the house. He had always been a talented handyman, making do with the materials at hand, earning him a second nickname, McGyver, after the TV show character. Fr Ivo had always enjoyed robust good health, which began to decline only in his mid-80s. In December 2015, he was admitted to the frail care section at Nazareth House. He was admitted to hospital on his 88th birthday, where he died peacefully in his sleep 12 days later. Fr Francois Dufour SDB
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NIGEL (GAuTENG) The ugandan Christian community in South Africa will celebrate the solemnity of the uganda martyrs at our lady of Sorrows, nigel. The Mass will be presided over by Bishop duncan Tsoke. June 5 at 11:00, at 26 Ramsay Street, nigel.
jOHANNESBuRG Public lecture by Prof Raymond Suttner on “Ethical Political Conduct and leadership”, June 1 at 19:00 at St Augustine College’s auditorium, Victory Park. For more information www.staugustine. ac.za/news-events/pub lic-lecture-prof-raymond -suttner
PRAYER My past life, O God, to Your mercy; my present life to Your love; my future life to Your providence.
SETSuBI—Eugene Themba. All things grow with time, except grief. The fateful night, May 11, 2005, reminded us that God has guarded and defended our beloved deceased from the foe malign in death’s dread moments and made him only His. He called him and bade him come to Him on high that he might praise Him with the saints forever. your Family.
7 To 20 JunE
PILGRIMAGE TO DIVINE MERCY AND MEDjuGORjE
Visiting Poland - the Divine Mercy sanctuary, Kalvaria Sanctuary, the Black Madonna at jasna Gora monastery and Medjugorje in Bosnia.
Spiritual Leader Fr Graham Bowers OFM Organised by Mrs Annie Dierx Cost from R26 365 Tel: (031) 266 7702 Fax: (031) 266 8982 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
O HOLY SPIRIT, in thanksgiving for favours granted. Chris H ST juDE, in thanksgiving for favours granted. Chris H.
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 /uploads/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 Mariannhill, 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.
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. Pat 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. Thank you for prayers answered. HOLY SPIRIT you make me see everything and
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show me the way to reach my ideals. you give me the divine gift to forgive and forget. in all instances of my life you are with me, protecting me and opening for me a way where there is no way. i thank you for everything, and confirm once more that i never want to be separated from you, no matter how great the material desires. i want to be with you and my loved ones in your perpetual glory. Amen. Thank you for prayers answered. 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.
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10th Sunday: June 5 Readings: 1 Kings 17:17-24, Psalm 30:2, 46, 11-13, Galatians 1:11-19, Luke 7:11-17
S outher n C ross
S God on our side or against us? We often find ourselves asking that question, when things seem not to be going quite right; and of course the answer is that God is utterly on our side, but at the same time, he is kind enough to depend upon human assistance. In the first reading for next Sunday, the question is brutally posed for a widow woman whose son has apparently died, even though she has just been utterly generous to the prophet Elijah. Not unreasonably she asks the prophet: “What is there between you and me, man of God?” Elijah, however, shows complete trust in God, and takes the boy’s body upstairs to his room, and “called on the Lord… ‘Lord my God, return the breath of this lad into his body’. And the Lord paid attention to the voice of Elijah”. The woman now gives her verdict: “At last I know this: that you are a man of God” (she knew it before, of course, but now it means something different). The psalm for next Sunday could have been written by the boy, now grown up; for
it is a song of thanks: “I shall extol you, Lord…you brought my soul up from Sheol.” This concludes, to give us courage: “that glory may praise you…Lord my God, I shall thank you forever”. In Sunday’s second reading, Paul is trying to get his Galatians sorted out, insisting that the Gospel he has been preaching to them is from God, and that therefore they do not need to worry about circumcision: “I did not receive it from a human being, nor was I instructed: no—it was through a revelation of Jesus Christ.” To demonstrate this, he reminds them of what he had been like before: “I used to persecute the Church of God and ravage it, and I outstripped in Judaism my contemporaries, being a real fanatic for my ancestral traditions.” Then the change happened: “When God, who had set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, to gospel him to the Gentiles…I did not go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; no—I
went off to Arabia, and then went back to Damascus.” However, human help was also required, so “after three years I went up to Jerusalem to get information from Kephas, and stayed a fortnight with him” (how one would love to have been a fly on the wall at those discussions!). The point is: this is really God’s work, but human beings can help. The Old Testament God is always on the side of widows and orphans, and we are privileged to see something of this in Sunday’s Gospel. Jesus enters a city up in the Galilee, called Nain, along with “his disciples and a big crowd”. Luke paints the picture with characteristic detail: “As he drew near to the city gate, look! A dead man was being carried out.” Then we get further details: “the only-begotten son of his mother—and she was a widow”. So it is a grim situation, and we feel that there can be only one outcome, even though “a fair old crowd from the city was with her”. We watch in amazement Jesus’ reaction:
How youths really are A
SEMINARIAN I know recently went to a party on a Friday evening at a local university campus. The group was a crowd of young students and when he was introduced as a seminarian, as someone who was trying to become a priest and who had taken a vow of celibacy, the mention of celibacy evoked some giggles in the room, some banter, and a number of jokes about how much he must be missing out on in life. Poor, naïve fellow! Initially, within this group of millennials—people born from the 1980s to around 2000—the seminarian’s religious beliefs and what this had led to in his life were regarded as something between amusing and pitiful. But before the evening was out, several young women had come, cried on his shoulder, and shared about their frustration with their boyfriends’ inability to commit fully to their relationship. This incident might serve as a parable describing today’s young people in our secularised world. They exhibit what might aptly be called a bi-polar character about faith, Church, family, sexual ethos, and many other things that are important to them. They present an inconsistent picture: On the one hand, by and large, they are not going to church, at least with any regularity; they are not following the Christian ethos on sexuality; they seem indifferent to and even sometimes hostile to many cherished religious traditions; and they can appear unbelievably shallow in their addiction and enslavement to what’s trending in the world of entertainment, fashion, and information technology. Looked at from one perspective, our
Nicholas King SJ
God is indeed on our side
Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI
kids today can appear irreligious, morally blasé, and on a heavy diet of the kind of superficiality that characterises reality television and video games. More seriously still, they can also appear myopic, greedy, pampered and excessively self-interested. Not a pretty picture.
ut this isn’t exactly the picture. Beneath that surface, in most cases, you will find someone who is very likeable, sincere, soft, good-hearted, gracious, moral, warm, generous and searching for all the right things (without much help from a culture that lacks clear moral guidance and is fraught with overchoice). The good news is that most young people, at the level of their real desires, are not at odds at all with God, faith, Church and family. For the most part, youth today are still very good people and want all the right things. But, that isn’t always so evident. Sometimes their surface seems to trump their depth so that who they really are and what they really want is not so evident. We see the surface and, seen there, our youth can appear more self-interested than generous, more shallow than deep, more blasé than morally sensitive, and more religiously indifferent than faithfilled.
They can also manifest a smugness and self-sufficiency that suggests little vulnerability and no need for guidance from anyone beyond themselves. Hence their bi-polarity: Mostly they want all the right things, but, too often— because of a lack of genuine guidance and their addiction to the culture—they aren’t making the kinds of choices that will bring them what they more deeply desire. Sexuality is a prime example here. Studies done on millennials indicate that most of them want, at the end of the day, to be inside a monogamous, faithful marriage. The problem is that they also believe that they can first allow themselves 10-15 years of sexual promiscuity, without having to accept that practising 1015 years of infidelity is not a good preparation for the kind of fidelity which is needed to a sustain marriage and family. In this, as in many other things, they are caught between their cultural ethos and their own fragile securities. The culture trumpets a certain ethos, liberation from the timidities of the past, complete with a smugness that belittles whatever questions it. But much of that smugness is actually whistling in the dark. Deep down, our youth are pretty insecure and, happily, this keeps them vulnerable and likeable.
aybe Louis Dupre, the retired philosopher, captures it best when he says that today’s young people are not bad, they’re just not finished. That’s a simple insight that captures a lot. Someone can be wonderful and very likeable, but still immature. Moreover, if you’re young enough, that can even be attractive, the very definition of cool. The reverse is also often true. More than a few of us adults suffer from our own bi-polarity: we are mature, but far from wonderful and likeable. This makes for some strange, paradoxical binaries. So who is the actual young person of today? Is it the person who is wrapped up in his or her own world, obsessive about physical appearance, addicted to social media, living outside marriage with his or her partner, smug in his or her own nontraditional moral and religious views? That, I believe, is the surface appearance. The actual young person of today is warm, good-hearted, generous, and waiting—waiting consciously for love and affirmation, and waiting unconsciously for God’s embrace.
“When he saw her, the Lord was gutted for her, and said to her, ‘Don’t carry on weeping’.” She might have retorted rather along the lines of the widow in our first reading, but Luke does not vouchsafe her response. Instead, we watch in astonishment as Jesus “approached and touched the bier” (thereby making himself ritually impure), and “the bearers stopped, and he said, [just as though the young man were still alive], ‘Young man, I’m telling you: be raised up’.” Then comes the climax: “The young man sat up and began to speak—and he gave him to his mother.” Now comes the popular verdict: “Awe took hold of all of them, and they started glorifying God, saying ‘A great prophet has been raised up among us’ and ‘God has visited his people’.” There can be no doubt, here, on which side we find our God.
Southern Crossword #708
5. Some Scandinavian god in here (4) 7. Motion pent up of unlimited power (10) 8. Religious fervour (4) 10. One of Wordsworth’s golden host (8) 11. Adhesive (6) 12. Dickens’ artful lad (6) 14. Does something constructive (6) 16. Ten among non-clergy show negligence (6) 17. Serves the food when ship’s due (6,2) 19. She might be found in the water (4) 21. Divinity scholar (10) 22. A desire that may need to be scratched (4)
1. Man of great wealth (Ruth 2) (4) 2. Like the Scriptures (8) 3. Weekly dynamo turn (6) 4. Like a tree or book (6) 5. German saint sees Old Testament both ways (4) 6. Kind of music occurring for a movie, by the way (10) 9. One who displays 8 ac (10) 13. Hymn of glory to God for moving goodly ox (8) 15. Consecrated woman in the ward? (6) 16. A spell for coat collars (6) 18. Has said the old English way (4) 20. Pull the American’s leg Solutions on page 11 (4)
HE 98-year-old Mother Superior from Ireland was dying. The nuns gathered around her bed trying to make her comfortable. They gave her some warm milk to drink but she refused. Then one of the nuns took the glass back to the kitchen. Remembering a bottle of Irish whiskey received as a gift at Christmas, she opened it and poured a generous amount into the warm milk. Back at Mother Superior’s bed, she held the glass to her lips. Mother drank a little, then a little more and before they knew it, she had drunk the whole glass down to the last drop. “Mother,” the nuns asked in earnest, “please give us some wisdom before you die.” She raised herself up in bed and with a pious look on her face said: “Don’t sell that cow.”
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