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Pirate missals hit SA Church By MANDlA ZiBi
N investigation is underway by the Daughters of St Paul in South Africa into the sale of counterfeit copies of the Sunday Missal in a number of dioceses around the country. Through Pauline Publications – Africa, the sisters are the only legitimate distributors of the missal in the country, and they hold copyright to it from several international publishers, mainly in Italy, including the Vatican. “We were alerted to the fact that several copies of low quality and obviously fake missals were being sold in parishes in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal,” said Pauline Sister Paola Gloria Contardo. “This inferior copy is easily identified by the poor quality of the cover, the low quality of paper used and the inferior finish to the binding,” she said. “The distribution for sale of this illegal and inferior copy of our rightful publication causes damage to the reputation of Pauline Publications, where we pride ourselves on the good quality of all our publications.” Sr Paola noted that in addition to being the owners of all copyright to this printed work, the Paulines in South Africa also hold ownership of the “Sunday Missal” brand as a registered trade mark. The nun confirmed that a private investigation by their publishing company is underway, and that the matter is now being handled by attorneys. She added that the Paulines have alerted their international publishing counterparts about the issue, hinting that these would also pursue their own investigations. Sr Paola declined to comment on who might be behind the scam, saying that the Paulines preferred only to inform the public at this stage.
Cardinal Wilfrid Napier addresses Friday prayers in Durban’s Juma Masjid mosque in Grey Street as A V Mahomed of the mosque’s board of trustees (akin to a parish council) and Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini listen. (Photo: Rogan Ward)
The authentic missal is bound in a dark green cover; a fake missal is bound in burgundy. The fake missals are also inferior in quality. (Photo: Mariannhill Missionary Press) “We know that our local priests are not aware of this and so we want to urge them to be very vigilant,” Sr Paola said. “A lot of our parishioners do not find it easy to distinguish between the fake and the real thing, and so we humbly urge [Catholics] to ensure that they refrain from obtaining the illegal version of the Sunday Missal, and thank them for their continued support.” Sr Paola could not say how many counterfeit copies are in circulation. On average, 150 copies of the real missal are printed each month. She noted that none of the official Catholic bookshops in South Africa have been duped into stocking the pirated missal. How to spot the counterfeit missal: l It is inferior in nearly every aspect of the book. l The cover printing is not as crisp as that on the original l The paper is of a lower quality than that of the original. l The binding is not as well finished.
Cardinal Napier in mosque: All of SA needs renewal
ARDINAL Wilfrid Napier and the Zulu king were special guests of honour during Friday prayers in Durban’s Juma Masjid mosque in Grey Street. The mosque is located near Emmanuel cathedral and adjacent to the Denis Hurley Centre. As chairman of the KZN Inter-religious Council, Cardinal Napier welcomed King Goodwill Zwelithini to the mosque on behalf of the city’s religious leaders. Speaking in the mosque, Cardinal Napier pointed out that Pope Francis is leading a much-needed process of renewal and reform in the Catholic Church. The cardinal expanded that all of us need to be renewed and reformed, as individuals as well as South Africa as a country. This, he said, is necessary to improve relations between peoples. Cardinal Napier stressed that both Christianity and Islam have at their heart the same two fundamental truths: the equality of all humans and the importance of mutual respect and love. He ended by praying that the holy season of Ramadan would give Muslims the opportunity to reform their lives and renew their faith.
King Goodwill expressed his delight in returning to the Juma Masjid mosque after 40 years. He described the mosque as a place of light in an era of confusion and hopelessness. The king praised Cardinal Napier’s role in bringing together the different faiths of Durban, and made a point of greeting all the Indian communities in KwaZulu-Natal— Muslim, Hindu and Christian—and stressing how welcome they are in the province. With an implied reference to the xenophobia and anti-Indian racism of past years, King Goodwill stressed that any peace process has to be not only between institutions but also between individuals. The goal, he said, is to move from just tolerating to accepting each other. “After all, God has made only one race— the human race,” King Goodwill said. The religious leaders present included representatives from the Hindu and Jewish communities and Methodist Bishop Mike Vorster. The Denis Hurley Centre works closely with Muslim institutions in the city and its chair, Paddy Kearney, and director Raymond Perrier were both present and given places of honour.
The Southern Cross, June15 to June 21, 2016
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Kennedy recalls father’s speech in SA in 1966 By BRoNWEN DAChS
O country has done more to show the world how to address entrenched, legalised hatred than South Africa, the daughter of slain US politician Robert F Kennedy told a Cape Town audience. Overcoming hatred and establishing economic rights are the world’s greatest challenges, Catholic human rights activist Kerry Kennedy said at the University of Cape Town during a programme commemorating her father’s Day of Affirmation speech at the same institution 50 years ago. Ms Kennedy said that her father, a New York senator at the time, made “perhaps the most eloquent speech of his life” at the university during his four-day visit to apartheid South Africa in June 1966. “Hate is the most destructive power on earth,” Ms Kennedy said, citing the vicious attacks of the insurgent Boko Haram in Nigeria, the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq, and acts of genocide, homophobia and anti-Semitism. She also criticised Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for US president, as he campaigns on a platform “of hatred against Mexicans, Native Americans, women, immigrants and Muslims”. Ms Kennedy, president of the Robert F Kennedy Center for Human Rights and author of Being Catholic Now, was joined on her trip to South Africa by about two dozen family members, including her three daughters, and several members of the US Congress. While “the pain of apartheid is far from over” in South Africa, “no country has done more to show the world how to address entrenched, legalised hatred”, Ms Kennedy said.
Kerry Kennedy, daughter of slain US politician Robert F Kennedy, told a lecture in Cape Town that no other country has addressed entrenched hatred as much as South Africa. (Photo: Eric Silva) Her father’s talks in South Africa about freedom, equality and justice were informed by the US civil rights struggle, which he believed “would be won through law”, Ms Kennedy said. Other speakers included Graça Machel, widow of Nelson Mandela, and Patrick Gaspard, US ambassador to South Africa. Noting that the “tentacles of economic injustice are long”, Ms Kennedy said that “today, even 22 years after the apartheid system was dismantled, the economic op-
Sell that Southern Cross!
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HROUGHOUT South Africa, many parishioners participate in the Church’s social communications apostolate by actively selling The Southern Cross at the church door before or after Mass. One such friend of The Southern Cross is Pule Mokomela, who makes sure that the nation’s Catholic weekly gets into the hands of the faithful at St Gabriel’s parish in Gugulethu, Cape Town. “We at The Southern Cross are always very grateful to those who on their own initiative promote the newspaper in the parishes. Most of the time we don’t know them, but I would like to say ‘thank you’ to all of them for the important work they do,” said Günther Simmer, The Southern Cross editor. “The two best ways of promoting our Catholic newspaper are for priests to refer to stories in the latest edition at the end of Mass, and for parishioners, like
pression of one of the most cruel systems of mass disempowerment continues in full swing”. Literacy and mathematics understanding are low in South Africa, where only half the number of children who start school in Grade 1 complete Grade 12, she said, noting that “12 million South Africans will go to bed hungry tonight”. The challenge faced by today’s students is “not that of civil liberties”, but is “no less than sweeping down the mightiest walls of economic oppression and resistance,” Ms Kennedy said. Post-apartheid South Africans have freedoms, not as gifts but “because they are enshrined in law”, she said, noting that “South Africa has the greatest constitution on the face of the earth”. Her father’s words 50 years ago—“If you can sweep away unjust privilege, all of us will take heart; if you cannot, the shadow will be felt everywhere”—are equally relevant to young people in South Africa and the US today, Ms Kennedy said. Robert Kennedy, who had served as attorney general, was assassinated on June 6, 1968, at the age of 42 in California while running for the Democratic presidential nomination in the 1968 election. His death was exactly two years after his University of Cape Town speech, part of which is inscribed on his gravesite at Arlington National Cemetery outside of Washington: “Each time a man stands up for an ideal‚ or acts to improve the lot of others‚ or strikes out against injustice‚ he sends forth a ripple of hope. And crossing each other from a million different centres of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”— CNS
NOTED Canadian canon lawyer will deliver lectures on marriage annulments and the family synod for the clergy and laity of Durban. Oblate Father Francis Morrissey’s lectures on June 22 are hosted by the Interdiocesan Tribunal of Durban. Fr Morrissey is an international lecturer and has spoken in about 50 countries on matters relating to canon law, an area in which he is widely published. He has served as consultor to pontifical and episcopal conferences in the Vatican, and for the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. The 80-year-old priest was involved in the prepara-
Pule Mokomela of St Gabriel’s parish in Gugulethu, Cape Town, is a valued seller of The Southern Cross. Mrs Mokomela, to sell the newspaper to make it visible.” n Send your photos of parishioners selling The Southern Cross to firstname.lastname@example.org
tion of the Code of Canon Law that was commissioned by Vatican II and promulgated in 1983. More recently, Pope Francis appointed Fr Morrissey to the Special Commission for the Study of the Reform of the Matrimonial Processes in Canon Law. Fr Morrissey will speak on the new rules governing marriage annulments in Pope Francis’ document Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus (“Jesus, the Merciful Judge”), which aims to simplify the annulment process, and on the Synod of the Family which took place over two stages in the Vatican in 2014 and 2015. The June 22 lectures will be at St Joseph’s parish in Morningside, Durban, at 9:00 (for clergy) and 19:00 (for laity).
Contact: Brother Evenie Turner O.F.M. 082 599 7718, 012 345 3732, PO Box 914-1192, Wingate Park, 0153,
YOUR USED STAMPS can help in the education of South Africans for the PRIESThOOD at St Joseph’s Scholasticate, Cedara, KwaZulu-Natal. Please send them to: OMI Stamps, Box 101352, Scottsville, 3209
The Southern Cross, June 15 to June 21, 2016
Carport church needs help from donors By MANDlA ZiBi
S winter approaches, a parish priest is appealing for help to relieve an intolerable situation in which parishioners attend Mass in a carport-like structure exposed to the rain and cold. Fr Tom Maretlane of St Benedict parish in the Klerksdorp diocese township of Wedela lives in an RDP house and the church, attached to his house, doubles as a garage for his car. “I arrived here as parish priest recently, and the situation is just not
appropriate for doing the Lord’s work. I know this community is largely poor, but as a parish we can’t go on like this. We really need assistance from some good Samaritans to help build a proper church,” said Fr Maretlane. “The building plans for the new church are now ready. The only issue is the money to build the structure,” he said. Bishop Victor Phalana of Klerksdorp confirmed that he had personally made a commitment to the St Benedict community to “be part and parcel” of efforts to end their plight.
“This is a flourishing parish and I feel for them. When I visited them last year for confirmations they decorated their church so beautifully, you could forget for a moment the sad state it is in. Any assistance would be welcome,” said Bishop Phalana. He said a fully-fledged local and international diocesan fundraising campaign would be underway soon. n Donations can be addressed to St Benedict Roman Catholic Church; cheque account; account number 51880005801; branch code 260641; First National Bank.
Parish priest Fr Tom Maretlane’s carport doubles up as the church at St Benedict parish in the Klerksdorp diocese. Moves are underway to fundraise for a church building.
Appeal for aid on Mandela Day By MANDlA ZiBi
Alessia Biscarini of Brescia house School, Johannesburg, among the 525 knitted teddies the school is donating to the Teddy Bear Clinic for Abused Children, Childline, and the Randburg Child Trauma Unit.
S part of its Mandela Day activities on July 17, the Look Forward Creativity Centre in Johannesburg is appealing for help in effecting repairs, maintenance and renovations at various structures under its care. “We are calling for volunteers to donate their time and money in reviving many aspects of our centre which have fallen into disrepair as the years have gone by,” a statement from the centre, an initiative of the Blessed Virgin Mary Centre for the Needy, said. The centre provides a home for needy children from the age of infancy until the time they start their careers and work. Each child has a space, their clothes, their stationery and their toys, and is given an opportunity to have a meaningful life. “The toddlers’ house and our
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main home for visitors are in need of repairs and maintenance especially the walls. This house is old and it needs that special professional touch to spruce it up so that it can be more comfortable for the babies.” The rooms at the boys’ home are also in need of a new coat of paint as the children have written and scribbled all over the walls. The centre needs paint and brushes for this task. In addition, the boys need a ping pong table to keep themselves entertained, while a built-up area is being planned outside the building which will serve as a carport as well as a storage area for donated items for the boys. “The ping pong table is quite expensive but we want to teach children discipline and responsibility as they grow bigger. The carport will serve to keep donated material safe from rain and the sun and to avoid moving things all the time you
want to use them,” said the centre. Next up is the damaged paving next to the grotto of Our Mother Mary at the centre which needs to be fixed as it might hurt children when they are playing. “Anyone with building experience is most welcome to join us on Mandela Day and assist us on this one,” the statement said. And lastly the centre wants to repair gutters and fix leaking roofs all around to ensure the institution is finally back to scratch. n Contact at 011 613 3867/011 613 4490, fax 086 546 5932, e-mail info@lookforwardcreativitycentre. org and website www.lookforward creativitycentre.org. The centre’s banking details are ABSA Bank; branch 632005; account number 9187891054; account holder Look Forward Creativity Centre; swift AB SAZAJJ; and e-mail lookforward email@example.com
The Southern Cross, June 15 to June 21, 2016
Bishops seek to unite Kenyan government By WAlTER ChERUiyoT
By CARol GlATZ
KENYAN bishop has challenged President Uhuru Kenyatta to meet with opposition leaders to resolve differences that have led to demonstrations in advance of 2017 elections. Bishop Cornelius Arap Korir of Eldoret, chairman of the Kenyan bishops’ conference’s Justice and Peace Commission, called for talks as weekly protests led by the opposition CORD alliance have turned violent in some locales. Two people were killed when police opened fire on protesters in Kisumu. Peaceful demonstrations took place elsewhere in Kenya, including the capital of Nairobi. The CORD alliance wants to overhaul the country’s electoral commission, which its leaders have accused of favouring Kenyatta. Elections are scheduled for August 8, 2017. The government has dismissed the complaints, saying the country’s constitution, rewritten in 2010, governs the electoral process. Bishop Korir has met with opposition leader Raila Odinga, a former prime minister, and Issac Hassan, election commission chairman, in a bid to resolve the differences. He told Catholic News Service that it was necessary for the government to meet with the opposition because the demonstrations have led to growing tensions that could mar the elections. Mr Odinga and opposition leader Moses Watengula recently met with Mr Kenyatta in Nairobi and report-
Pope: Now negligent bishops can be fired P
Bishop Cornelius Arap Korir of Eldoret, Kenya. edly both sides agreed to name a team of negotiators to end a stalemate. Mr Odinga named five negotiators soon after the meeting. The government, however, refused to name its team. No future meetings are planned. Mr Odinga announced that demonstrations will continue because the government was not ready to address existing grievances. As tensions build, Bishop Korir vowed to continue to work to unite both parties in an effort to prevent the ethnic violence that exploded after the December 2007 presidential election. Bishop Korir welcomed thousands of displaced people into the Eldoret cathedral during the fighting. “We all belong to Kenya and the opposition must be listened to since they have their supporters and for the sake of development then leaders must agree to work as a team and forget their political differences.” Bishop Korir said.—CNS
OPE Francis will set up a panel of legal experts to help him in deciding whether to remove a religious superior or bishop from office for failing to protect minors and vulnerable adults from sex abuse. Vatican offices will continue to investigate claims of negligence on the part of bishops, ordinaries or religious superiors under their jurisdiction. But the pope—who makes the final decision about a bishop’s removal from office—will now be assisted by a papally appointed “college of jurists”, according to procedures that take effect on September 5. In an apostolic letter given motu proprio (on his own initiative) the pope reaffirmed that bishops of a diocese or eparchy and those responsible for other kinds of particular churches can be “legitimately removed” for negligence. The letter clarified that it normally takes a “very serious” lack of due diligence for a bishop to be removed, however, when it comes to a failing to protect children and vulnerable adults from abuse, a “serious” lack of due diligence “is sufficient” grounds for removal. The new procedures are “clearly an important and positive step forward by Pope Francis”, said Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, head of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. The measures are meant to estab-
Judges must act on slave hunters By CARol GlATZ
OPE Francis urged prosecutors and judges to step up the fight against human trafficking and resist threats and pressures to close their eyes to injustice. “I know, too, that to be a judge today, to be a public prosecutor, means risking your life,” he told justice officials taking part in a summit on human trafficking and organised crime. More than 100 officials and experts attended the summit sponsored by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. The pope briefly attended the summit to sign its final declaration and speak off-the-cuff to participants. Judicial authorities, he said, should create a network, share experiences and work together to fight “the new slave hunters” and all forms of modern-day slavery: forced labour, prostitution, and drug and organ trafficking.
The Church must play its part and “stick its nose into politics” as part of its effort to come to the aid of those who suffer, he said. “Politics is one of the highest forms of love and of charity,” he said, quoting Pope Paul VI. Recognising the difficulties of their job, Pope Francis urged judges and prosecutors to remain free from outside pressures that can come from their own governments, private institutions, criminal organisations and what Pope John Paul II called “the structures of sin”, which are built up and strengthened by an individual’s own act of sin.
he pope praised the courage of those who resist such pressures because, without free and impartial judicial authorities, judicial power becomes corrupt and generates more corruption. When the renowned icon of Lady Justice loses her blindfold and
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it slips down from her eyes, the pope said, it covers her mouth and keeps her from speaking out. Recalling his many visits to prison complexes, the pope called for more female prison wardens. “This isn’t about feminism,” he said. In his experience, he said, prisons administrated by women were run better because they were more sensitive to the importance of rehabilitation. The final declaration, signed by the pope and all those taking part in the summit, said “all nations must recognise modern slavery, human trafficking, and forced labour and prostitution as crimes against humanity with commensurate sentences.” Organised crime that seeks to engage in or expand modern slavery “must also be considered a crime against humanity” and the crime of money laundering must be severely prosecuted, it said.—CNS
Cardinal Sean o’Malley head of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. (Photo: Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters/CNS) lish “a clear and transparent means for ensuring greater accountability in how we, as leaders of the Church, handle cases of the abuse of minors and vulnerable adults”, he said. “We are grateful that our Holy Father has received the recommendations from our commission members and that they have contributed to this new and significant initiative.” While all members of the Church have a duty to safeguard and protect children and others from abuse, bishops of dioceses, apostolic administrators and vicars, and those who lead a territorial prelature or abbacy must be especially diligent “in protecting the weakest of those entrusted to them”, the pope’s
letter said. With the new procedures, wherever there is a serious indication of negligence, the Vatican congregation charged with overseeing a particular jurisdiction “can begin an investigation”. In every case, the congregation’s decision must be approved by the pope, who—before making that final decision—will be assisted by a “college of jurists” he has appointed, it said. The new procedures spelled out in the motu proprio came after a year of study by numerous experts, he said, and are meant to address the need for greater accountability by bishops and superiors of religious orders.—CNS
Pope’s gift to elderly couple
N elderly couple with disabilities on the outskirts of Rome now has an electric scooter, thanks to a gift from Pope Francis. Both the man and the woman suffer from many health problems, including high blood pressure and diabetes, Vatican Radio reported. The woman’s leg was recently amputated. Thanks to the new scooter, the couple can be more independent. Papal almoner Archbishop Konrad Krajewski sent the gift on behalf of Pope Francis. The couple is being assisted by the Italian organisation Medicina Solidale which had planned to raise funds for the scooter before the pope’s gift. “The pope never ceases to amaze us,” said Lucia Ercoli, the group’s director. The group had received support in the form of medicine, food and an ambulance. “In this way, we feel less alone in our daily work, less abandoned
Pope Francis donated a scooter to a disabled elderly couple who live on the outskirts of Rome. by institutions,” she said. With Pope Francis “we feel close and always present”. Medicina Solidale was founded in 2003 to work with the poor, the disadvantaged and those who may be excluded from ordinary health care services.—CNA
Africa society elects new head
HE chapter of the Society of the Missionaries of Africa has elected Fr Stan Lubungo as new superior general. His election was followed by the election of the general council. Fr Lubungo, a Zambian born in Ndola in 1967, was ordained a priest in 1997. His first missionary appointment was to Ituri in the Democratic Republic of Congo. After five years of pastoral work he went for further theological studies in Rome and Dublin. In 2005 he was appointed lecturer and then rector at the society’s major seminary in Abidjan in Ivory Coast. Having studied for a doctoral thesis in dogmatic theology in Paris, in 2015 he was elected provincial superior of the Southern African province of the Missionaries of Africa, comprising South Africa, Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia. The superior general’s assistants, who form with him the general council, are Francis Barnes from Britain, Didier Sawodogo from Burk-
Fr Stan lubungo ina Faso, Michel Grenier from Canada and Ignatius Anipu from Ghana. This team will lead the activities of the Missionaries of Africa for the next six years. The Missionaries of Africa are active in South Africa in the archdioceses of Johannesburg and Durban. Bishop Jan de Groef of Bethlehem belongs to their society. The society has an international formation house with more than 40 theology students in Merrivale, near Cedara in KwaZulu-Natal.
The Southern Cross, June 15 to June 21, 2016
Pope approves new office for laity, family By JUNNo ARoCho ESTEVES
T Mother Brigida Graziosi and Sister Aloisia Uttenthal, both with the Bridgettine order, place votive candles near relics of new saints as Pope Francis celebrates the canonisation Mass for two new saints in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican. Behind the nuns is Carlos Miguel Valdes Rodriguez, who is accompanied by his parents. Mr Valdes’ cure from a brain tumour was the miracle accepted for the canonisation of St Mary Elizabeth hesselblad of Sweden, who refounded the Bridgettine order that had died out after the Protestant Reformation. Also canonised was St Stanislaus Papczynski of Poland, founder of the Marian Fathers of the immaculate Conception. (Photo: Paul haring/CNS)
Pope: ‘Good priests get their hands dirty’ By JUNNo ARoCho ESTEVES
IKE the Good Shepherd, good priests do not privatise their time and demand to be left alone, but rather are always willing to risk everything in search of the lost sheep, Pope Francis said at the closing Mass of the Jubilee for Priests and Seminarians. “He stands apart from no one, but is always ready to dirty his hands. A good shepherd doesn’t know what gloves are,” the pope said. Celebrating the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus with thousands of priests in St Peter’s Square, the pope said the feast serves as a call to contemplate two hearts: “The heart of the Good Shepherd and our own heart as priests.” “The heart of the Good Shepherd reaches out to us, above all to those who are most distant. There the needle of his compass inevitably points, there we see a particular ‘weakness’ of his love, which desires to embrace all and lose none,” he said. The feast also serves as a reminder to priests to ask themselves toward which direction their hearts gear and which treasure they seek. “There are weaknesses in all of us, even sins, but let’s go deeper, to the roots. Where are the roots of our weaknesses, of our sins? Where is that treasure that distances us from the Lord?” he asked. A good priest, he continued, does not have a “fluttering heart” that is easily taken by “momentary whims” and “petty satisfactions,” but is “firmly rooted in the Lord” despite his own sins.
Departing several times from his prepared homily, the pope gave them advice: seek and include those who are far away and live joyfully. He also lamented those in the priestly ministry who set aside private time and space or demand to be left alone rather than give their lives in the service of others. “Woe to the shepherds who privatise their ministry,” he said. “A shepherd after the heart of God does not protect his own comfort zone; he is not worried about protecting his good name; he will be slandered like Jesus. But rather, without fearing criticism, he is disposed to take risks in seeking to imitate his Lord. Blessed are you when they insult you, when they persecute you,” he said. A good shepherd excludes none of his flock and does “not await greetings and compliments” but is the first one who reaches out to others, listening patiently to their problems and accompanying them with compassion. “He does not scold those who wander off or lose their way, but is always ready to bring them back and to resolve difficulties and disagreements. He is a man who knows how to include,” the pope said. A priest with the spirit of the Good Shepherd is “changed by the mercy that he freely gives” and is happy to be a channel of mercy that brings “men and women closer to the heart of God”, Pope Francis said. “Sadness for him is not the norm, but only a step along the way; harshness is foreign to him, because he is a shepherd after the meek heart of God,” he said.—CNS
HE new Vatican office for laity, family and life will begin functioning on September 1 and the separate pontifical councils for laity and for the family will “cease their functions”, the Vatican announced. Pope Francis has not named the new officers of the expanded office, but the statutes specify that it will be headed by a cardinal or a bishop, will have a secretary “who may be a layperson” and three undersecretaries who will be laypeople. The Vatican explained that the office would be responsible “for the promotion of the life and apostolate of the lay faithful, for the pastoral care of the family and its mission according to God’s plan and for the protection and support of human life”. Each section—for the lay faithful, for the family and for life—will be led by an undersecretary.
The Pontifical Council for the Laity, currently headed by Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, had been charged with overseeing the apostolate of the laity and “their participation in the life and mission of the Church”, both as individuals and through organisations and movements. While the new office’s section for the lay faithful will continue the former pontifical council’s mission, it will also “encourage the active and responsible presence of the laity in the advisory organs of governance present in the Church at the universal and particular levels”. The section for the family will continue the mission of the Pontifical Council for Family established by St John Paul II in 1981 to promote pastoral ministries and apostolates aimed at supporting families and the defence of human life. It will also “offer guidelines for courses preparing couples for marriage and for pastoral programs to support families in the education of
young people in faith and in ecclesial and civil life, with special attention to the poor and the marginalised”. The current head of the Pontifical Council for the Family is Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia. The new office’s section for life will coordinate activities to encourage responsible procreation and the protection of human life from conception to natural end, the Vatican stated. It will also promote “formation on the main issues of biomedicine and of the law regarding human life and the ideologies developing in relation to human life and gender identity”. The Pontifical Academy for Life will continue to exist as a separate entity studying life issues and will refer to the new office in its dealings, according to the new statutes. Pope Francis approved the statutes ad experimentum (on a trial basis) for an unspecified period of time.—CNS
Bishop saves a life with his kidney By ANToNio ANUP GoNSAlVES
CATHOLIC bishop from the southern Indian state of Kerala has a special way to celebrate the Year of Mercy: he donated his kidney to save a young Hindu man battling for his life. “It’s only a simple sacrifice for a fellow being,” said Bishop Jacob Muricken, 52, auxiliary bishop of the Sryo-Malabarese diocese of Palai. He donated his kidney to save 30year-old Sooraj Sudhakaran, from Kottakkal, about 160km north-west of Palai. Mr Sudhakaran is the only breadwinner of his family, and supports his wife and his mother. The lowcaste Hindu man has lost his job, and sold his house to pay for the treatment costs of dialysis. He was diagnosed with kidney failure two years ago. The bishop said that the recipient being from another religion was never a matter of concern for him and that the donation served him with an opportunity to act on his sermons. “Our Church and Pope Francis
Bishop Jacob Muricken donated a kidney to save a young man’s life. truly believe and back such acts of organ donations. It’s in the spirit of the Church. I believe this should be a strong message for people around me, to be open to donate organs,” Bishop Muricken told Kerala’s NDTV television station. Bishop Muricken helped to pay for lab tests as well as ancillary costs for the treatment. The surgery was successfully conducted at Kerala’s VPS Lakeshore Hospital. According to the Kidney Federa-
tion of India, this is the first time that a serving bishop has offered to donate his kidney. Bishop Muricken was inspired to kidney donation by Fr Davis Chiramel, founder of the Kidney Federation of India. The organisation has arranged for 15 priests and six religious sisters to donate their kidneys to unrelated, needy recipients. A year ago Bishop Muricken attended a seminar on organ donation organised by Fr Chiramel, and he took the challenge personally. People of diverse beliefs have praised the bishop’s decision to donate his kidney. “Donating an organ while living to save a life requires tremendous courage and is worth more than donations of money or wealth to institutions,” said Anil Belurkar, a local businessman. “The bishop, in his own way, has set a great example especially for all types of leaders to set love in action rather than merely preaching by words,” Mr Belurkar added. He said Bishop Muricken’s act would help break down taboos in India against organ donation.—CNA
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The Southern Cross, June 15 to June 21, 2016
LEADER PAGE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Sisters certainly not undermined
Editor: Günther Simmermacher
Halftime in Holy Year
E have passed the halfway point of the extraordinary Year of Mercy, and this presents us with a timely opportunity to take stock of the impact the Holy Year has had on our Church, our parishes and, perhaps most importantly, on ourselves. In doing so, the measure is not really the number of times we have crossed the thresholds of holy doors—edifying though this is—but whether we are experiencing the conversion Pope Francis calls us to. In launching the Holy Year, the pope had several applications of mercy in mind. Chief among these, of course, is the mercy of God, who welcomes all who sincerely seek him—even and especially sinners. The Holy Year serves to remind us that God’s mercy has no limits. This means that the Church’s mercy must be without limits. Pope Francis wants a Church that understands the situation of people, rather than one that insists rigorously on conformity with the laws and doctrines, even as the pope calls us to submit to the teachings of the Church. He frequently criticises those who place the law above mercy, as he does in his recent apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia. In this, Pope Francis has Jesus on his side: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces” (Mt 23:13). The Church’s primary function is to lead people to salvation through Christ. When the Church fails to welcome even those who don’t live up to the ideals of Catholic doctrine, we “shut the door of the kingdom of heaven” in their faces. Pope Francis wants those in most need of God’s mercy inside the Church, and he wants the Church’s doors to be open to all, just as Jesus was open to all who sincerely sought him. This means not only the sick, the oppressed, socially marginalised and so on, but all those who sin—and nobody can claim to be exempt from the latter category. In the gospels Jesus always favours the marginalised—even those whom good people would despise for understandable rea-
The Editor reserves the right to shorten or edit published letters. Letters below 300 words receive preference. Pseudonyms are acceptable only under special circumstances and at the Editor’s discretion. Name and address of the writer must be supplied. No anonymous letter will be considered.
sona, such as the tax collector Zacchaeus—precisely because they are in most need of his compassion. At the same time, Jesus is severe on those who have power but don’t use it in merciful ways, such as the Scribes and the Pharisees. The story of the woman caught in adultery (Jn 8:1-11) is at the centre of the Year of Mercy. When the Pharisees bring before him the woman caught in adultery, they present Jesus with a challenge: Are you for or against the doctrines of our faith? Jesus challenges those of them without sin to throw the first stone. Nobody throws the first stone; the prosecution—of Jesus and of the woman—ends there. When the people are gone, Jesus tells the woman to go and sin no more. What he doesn’t add is: “And if you do sin again, don’t come to me.” Of course, she can come back to him every time she falls, as she inevitably will because she is human—and as we inevitably do, too. This is central to what Pope Francis is trying to get across: the Church must never cease to include and welcome those who seek it, even if they don’t live up to the Church’s high standards. And it is not our business to judge people, even as we hold views on their actions. When a person falls—physically, spiritually, morally—our Christian response must be to help them up. Mercy should not be understood only in terms of power relations but also as a generosity of spirit that makes allowance for the inevitable fact that none of us is perfect and none without sin, and we must respond to that reality with tenderness. Tenderness, the pope writes in Amoris Laetitia, is a virtue which is “often overlooked in our world of frenetic and superficial relationships”. In the context of family, Amoris Laetitia calls us to be consciously and deliberately loving, understanding, forgiving and respectful of one another. And the pope is asking that these same qualities be applied in the Church.
AM delighted reading the statement by Sr Hermenegild Makoro CPS in connection with the issue of deaconesses (May 25). I too worked with different bishops and diocesan administrators without ever having been “undermined”. On the contrary, the late Bishop Paul Mogale Nkhumishe, then of
Adulterers face same punishment
HE letter from June Boyle (June 7) is devoid of objective scriptural truths and is off-base. Both men and women who committed adultery faced the same punishment (Lev 20:10; Deut 22:22-29). To be true, stoning for an adulterous act does seem extremely severe. In its historical context in the ancient world, however, many sinful acts were punishable by stoning (Ex 8:26; 19:12-13). One can certainly argue that the punishment does not fit the crime when viewed through our modern lenses. What is obvious is that marriage was considered a sacred covenantal act between a man and a women and required complete obedience and fidelity of both spouses. In our times, how many reckless drunken drivers have received a life sentence in prison for causing the death of innocent children or adults? Our modern legal jurisprudence is certainly wanting when we see the many acts of injustice where “light” jail sentences are given for what many will consider as serious crimes committed. St Paul’s epistle to the Romans speaks unambiguously against the “shameless acts of men with men” and the punishment such actions will bring (Rom 1:26-32). “[F]from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female… [A] man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife” (Mk 10:6-7). In the story of the adulterous woman we see Jesus being merciful to the woman. We don’t know the fate of her accomplice. The fact that the learned Scribes and Pharisees who brought the woman to Jesus left without any further counter-arguments may suggest that some of them had witnessed or heard of earlier acts of mercy and forgiveness from Jesus that led them to a conversion of heart and mind. They certainly could have ignored Jesus’ words and continued to apply the sentence of stoning. Jesus forgives the sinner, but not the sin. “Has no one condemned you? Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again.” The Church in her teaching fol-
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Witbank, once told someone that he had not expected to be treated so well by me as he was! What a statement, since he had asked that I become his secretary and we, as a religious community, first even declined. I asked myself, what did he actually expect? Could experiences with
lows the teaching of Christ by condemning the sin and appealing to the sinner to have a change of behaviour, heart and mind. However, Ms Boyle stubbornly wishes to impose her stance and insists that “the Church will have to change”. To suggest that the Church approve sinful acts makes a mockery of Christianity and condemns it to the ancient ash heap of paganism. St Augustine wrote: “Wrong is wrong even when everyone is doing it. Right is right even when no one is doing it.” My appeal is that Ms Boyle and those who find her sentiments appealing read the scripture in context and submit to the teachings of the Church that Christ established. Henry R Sylvester, Cape Town
Amoris Laetitia needs clarity
S the full impact of Pope Francis’s Amoris Laetitia sinks in, I, as a lifelong Catholic, cannot but express my great disappointment with its contents. Some commentators talk about the softening of some of the pope’s language, yet the Church’s fundamental disciplines continue to stand. The Family Synod did indicate that there would be a review of the Church’s pastoral application of the teaching on marriage. Today we live in the 21st century where life is very different to that of only 50 years ago, yet Mother Church does not recognise this fact. It needs to pronounce in clear terms a revised outlook to guide both laity and clergy. We have to accept that in the modern world marriages do fail. The causes can be many: infidelity, abuse (both physical and mental), drug or alcohol dependency, problems of finance, to name a few. Very often such problems seriously affect the entire family. All too often marriages that become untenable should be brought to an end for the benefit of the innocent spouse and children. The couple should be civilly divorced. The problem then arises if the innocent spouse wishes to remarry or does indeed remarry outside the Church. As matters stand the Church “disowns” such persons. The remarried party could resort to an annulment by the local diocese. However, too often the former spouse will not cooperate in such a application or cannot be found. Surely the time has come for the pope to set very clear guidelines for bishops whereby such persons can be readmitted to the sacraments. The wording of Amoris Laetitia does talk about the sanctity of personal conscience which I interpret as leaving the decision of a divorced and remarried Catholic to decide for themselves, after careful thought, to return to the sacraments. However, I believe that such persons should be encouraged to seek spiritual guidance from their local designated clergy before taking such a step. I use the word “designated” on purpose. I believe the very clear guidelines referred to above should provide for bishops to appoint clergy and lay persons who could, as a committee, review the circumstances of the person seeking guidance. All such applications would be in the strictest confidence. Such a process would, I believe, stop many devout but innocent divorced persons and their children from leaving the Church. Mervyn Pollitt, Waterfall, KZN
some white people have made him anticipate that whites just have to display superiority as time goes by? I actually doubt that, because in my 12 years working in his office I never heard him making a general negative remark about whites. All in all, I am grateful to him for his example and to Sr Hermenegild for hers. Sr Marianne Tieber FIC, Middelburg
HOSE of us who listen to, or watch, EWTN’s The Coming Home Journal, hosted by convert Marcus Grodi, must surely notice how many former anti-Catholics have converted to the Catholic Church after gaining access to the writings of the those saintly and learned men and women, Catholics, who lived immediately after the apostles and for the next seven or eight centuries or so. Thank you Holy Spirit, EWTN, Mother Angelica (RIP) and Marcus Grodi. Anti-Catholics seem to go out of their way, feigning ignorance of the Church Fathers’ existence, or fearful of the effect their writings may have on the faith of their fellow believers. And rightly so! Fundamentalists and other antiCatholics are under the distinct impression that their form of Christianity is what was believed by the early Christians. It is correctly said that to be immersed in history is to be deeply Catholic. One well-known former evangelical Christian, now well-known Catholic, American Alex Jones, after rejecting the former arguments he had heard, that the Catholic Church was the promoter and repository of error, began to read the Fathers, whose existence most evangelicals seem to be ignorant of, or brush aside for fear of what they may uncover. He took up Clement of Rome (96AD, while the apostle John was still living), Justin Martyr (100165AD, just ahead of St John), Iranaeus (130-200AD) and the rest, and found that the religion they adhered to was distinct from his own fundamentalism and, distressingly, was identical with Catholicism! As we know, Mr Jones and many of his congregants became Catholics eventually. Such is the power of the Fathers of the Church. Fundamentalists and Evangelicals will not be persuaded by appeals from papal encyclicals. For them the arguments must be restricted to local inferences from scripture and early Christian history, the latter being found in the writings of the Fathers. Few Catholics even seem to know of the Fathers. For many, “ancient Catholicism” refers to the time immediately preceding Vatican II, that is, prior to 1965. The fundamentalist who is curious about the beliefs of the first Christians, by reading about the Church Fathers (for instance the work of Fr John R Willis) will find his worst fear confirmed. They believed as Catholics and wrote as Catholics because they were Catholics. All Catholic Christians who are in love with Jesus and his Church, and are thirsting for new ways to evangelise, should consider Marcus Grodi’s TV programme The Coming Home Journal as indispensable equipment and ammunition in this new evangelisation. John Lee, 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
Be a generation of hope F ORTY years ago they said: “We want better!” Forty years ago they united and walked from their schools all over Soweto to Orlando Stadium. Forty years ago they were shot down by the police. The Class of ’76. Twenty-two years ago, they saw that their defiance had born fruit. Twenty-two years ago, they stood in line to vote for a new country. By then they were in their thirties and hoped their children would have a better country. Today their children and their children’s children live in a different country. Many have become entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, nurses, teachers. Many own large and small businesses. Some are in government, trying to make a difference. Some have been able to send their children to better schools. A few have made international headlines as groundbreakers and innovators. But what about the millions of children who still attend overcrowded schools with questionable standards of education? What about the pupils of Vuwani in Limpopo (and many other places throughout the country) who have seen their schools torched? What about university students at Fore Hare, Tshwane University of Technology, Cape Town University of Technology, University of Johannesburg, who have had their classes disrupted and infrastructure destroyed? What about the youth who still cannot enter tertiary education for lack of economic access? Who will fight for them today? It was with something akin to awe that I watched the disciplined young people demand their rights in a responsible way towards the end of last year. They took on the government and won some concessions. It gave me hope that a new generation of South Africa’s youth would continue to fight to a better life for all. Then the student protest movement lost some of its direction, as it became more militant, allowed itself to be influenced by political rhetoric, and a frustrated violence took hostage many of our country’s tertiary institutions.
Education takes one of the largest slices of our state budget. This year, the government allocated R54 billion for education infrastructure. But none of this seems to be helping matters. How much more will have to be spent to rebuild the schools that are being destroyed in the ongoing service delivery protests? Communities perceive that the government is not doing anything to alleviate their poverty and suffering—and in the face of the large-scale corruption among the ruling elite, the people are justified in their anger. However, burning schools and the ailing infrastructure that already exists is not the answer. Their actions send the wrong message to our nation’s children. Where must the Class of 2016 draw their inspiration?
t 35, the sun is setting on my own youth and I get ready to pass on the baton. For years, I’ve worked on various youth programmes, catechism classes, and organised youth meetings. My contributions have been small in
youths at a Bosco youth camp in Johannesburg assist one another.
The Mustard Seeds
the face of the overwhelming amount of work that is still left to do. I draw my inspiration from the incredible young people I have had the pleasure of meeting and befriending since I started my first youth group at 16. I draw my inspiration from the woman who fought insurmountable barriers to make it to university. I draw my inspiration from the young people who see beyond themselves and hand out soup to those who live on the streets. I draw inspiration from teenagers who partner up with their counterparts in less privileged areas and help them through their schoolwork, as together both prepare for exams. I draw my inspiration from the young woman who, after earning her engineering degree, struggled for two years to find work, but tenaciously went to stand at an intersection with her CV written on a piece of cardboard (then Radio 702 heard about her and before day’s end she had an interview). I draw my inspiration from an anonymous young man who in the aftermath of the violent Hammanskraal protests a few weeks ago, took it upon himself to start cleaning up the streets so that cars could circulate and life could return to normal I admire each young person who does not lose hope in spite of the many obstacles in their way. I admire the young men and women who overcome selfishness and laziness and use their youthful energy to improve the lives of those around them— even if it is just by picking up the rocks and remnants of burning tyres. As I hand over the baton, I also raise the challenge: I challenge every Catholic youth group in this country to actively participate in nation building. Come together in your dioceses or deaneries. Encounter each other across the divides that still exist in our country. Get to know each other. Pray together. Sing together. Socialise. Reach out to those of different faiths and share the wealth of our many Continued on page 11
Our yearning for the Holy Eucharist Emmanuel Ngara I N the last two columns we sought to appreciate how precious the sacrament of the Eucharist is: how what we see as bread and wine has been transformed into the body and blood of Jesus; how, as we walk towards the altar to receive, we should be aware that we are going to be in the real presence of Jesus whose reality is only veiled under the species of bread and wine; how receiving Holy Communion in the here and now is a foretaste of the heavenly banquet to which Jesus will invite us in the next life in the company of his saints and angels. So what should we do? What should be our disposition and attitude to Holy Communion? How often and under what circumstances should we present ourselves at the Table of the Lord in this life? Because we are men and women of little faith, we often do not realise what a privilege it is to have the opportunity to receive Christ himself in this earthly life! O, Christian believer, know that Jesus himself is inviting us, speaking to you and me as he did to the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well, saying: “If you knew the gift of God.” Yes, Jesus, the gift of the Father, is really here to give us the living water, the bread of heaven and the food of angels! If the above is true, as we know it to be, should you and I not burn with a desire to echo the Sons of Korah who sang, “As the deer that pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you my God” (Ps 42:1)? And when, because of sin or other cir-
Fr Pawel Michalowski SDB administers Communion to a child at Robertsham parish in Johannesburg. (Photo: Mark Kisogloo) cumstances, we are deprived of the opportunity to receive Christ in the Eucharist, should we not cry out as they did, “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God” (Ps 42:2)?
s Christian believers privileged to receive the bread of life, we might ask: How often can I go and receive Jesus? How often can I present myself at the Table of
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the Lord to quench my thirst with the living water? The answer is that the Church encourages us to receive Holy Communion whenever we participate in the celebration of the Eucharist. The Church also obliges us to receive at least once a year. The Church also warns that we should not receive when we are in a state of mortal sin: “Anyone aware of having sinned mortally must not receive Communion without having received absolution in the sacrament of penance,” says the Catechism of the Catholic Church. St Paul makes this very clear: “So then, whoever eats the bread and drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord” (1 Cor 11:27). So, Christian soldier, we should examine ourselves before we eat of the bread and drink from the cup. And if we are convinced we are in a state of grace, or have received absolution, we should be happy to repeat the words of the Sons of Korah as we join the Communion queue, “Then I will go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight” (Psalm 43:4)!
The Southern Cross, June 15 to June 21, 2016
Does the Church allow cremation? What is the Church’s stand on cremation? Is it OK to be cremated? There seems to be nothing in the Bible that mentions cremation. Nowadays more and more people are opting for it. Walter Middleton
REMATION in itself has never been forbidden by the Church. It is the motives behind cremation that the Church has a problem
with. From the time of the Apostles, the Church followed the Jewish tradition of burying the dead. It scorned the way the people of the Roman Empire cremated their dead, seeing this as an unchristian rite. So for centuries the Church did not need to forbid cremation because it was practically unheard of among Christians. The bodies of the baptised were reverenced as temples of the Holy Spirit destined to rise from the grave. Things changed in the 19th century. Physicians and sanitary engineers in England were concerned that waterlogged and overcrowded cemeteries were harmful to the health of the living. They lobbied for cremation to be legalised, and European nations followed their lead. In this way cremation became legal. Standing firm in its belief that our mortal bodies will rise from the dead, the Church remained suspicious of the motivation behind this new direction. It especially resented those who gloated that the law showed up the futility of belief in resurrection. In 1918 canon law banned cremation except for a good reason, such as to avoid the spread of disease or contamination. The new Code of Canon Law of 1983 recommends the custom of burial and then says that cremation is not forbidden “unless this is chosen for reasons which are contrary to Christian teaching” (1176,3). Burial is the norm and cremation is a legitimate alternative for Catholics. Human ashes must be treated with the same respect as the human body and should be carried and transported as such. The Church does not approve of scattering ashes, seeing it as an irreverence towards the baptised. The Church has never lost its conviction that the body of a baptised person belongs to Christ who was himself buried in a grave, in the form of a tomb. It is preferable that human ashes be interred in the earth or placed in a columbarium above ground with some form of identity of the deceased. Neither the Old nor the New Testament forbids cremation as a means of disposing of human remains. There is a reference to cremation in 1 Samuel 31:8-13, where the bodies of Saul and his sons were burned and their bones buried, but this was on the battlefield and not the norm, which was interment into the earth.
n Send your queries to Open Door, Box 2372, Cape Town,
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The Southern Cross, June 15 to June 21, 2016
The archdiocese of Durban’s Justice & Peace Commission held a diocesan workshop attended by 19 parishes and 60 delegates, and co-facilitated by Kabelo Selema and Robert Mafinyori from the SACBC J&P Commission and Kalie Senyane.
infants were baptised at St Peter Claver parish in Pimville, Soweto, Seminarians from St John Vianney seminary by Fr Tom Segami oMi, assisted by Deacon Thokoane. (Photo: Sello are pictured with driver Mr Joseph during their Mokoka) Mothers Day trip.
Parishioners of Corpus Christi parish in Wynberg and St Joseph’s parish in Goodwood, Cape Town, went on pilgrimage to the holy land. Spiritual leaders Fr John Christopher Jesudhason SAC (right), Fr Mari Joseph oCD (left) and Deacon John Sheraton accompanied the group.
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Fr Papi Mothai oMi of Bloemfontein with members of the St Rose Missionary Associates of Mary immaculate, a lay organisation that collaborates in themission of the oblates of Mary immaculate. The associates celebrated Fr Mothai’s tenth anniversary of ordination and birthday at Thabo ya Kriste church in Thaba Nchu with a reception. (Submitted by Mongali Chabalala & Tshepo Zikhali)
Please be patient there is a queue of photos awaiting publication
First holy Communion candidates from St Mary’s cathedral in Cape Town, received the sacrament with Fr Rohan Smuts. This is the largest group of candidates that the cathedral has had in many years. (Photo: Michelle Perry)
youth Alpha was launched in holy Family and our lady of Fatima parishes in Bellville, Cape Town, supported by Fr Bogdan Buksa. youth Alpha is a ten-week programme, consisting of 14 interactive sessions which is available for all youth. Each session is started with prayer and reflections and snacks, followed by praise and worship. A video and discussion on relevant topics help the youth along a path imitating Christ.
ST ANTHONYS CHILD and YOUTH CARE CENTRE Keeping Children safe within families
St Joseph’s parish in Primrose, Germiston, held a supper and bingo evening organised by the Catholic Women’s league as part of its fundraising. (Photo: Anna Accolla)
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Ninety-five parents and guardians of orphaned and vulnerable children graduated from the Family Matters Programme at leseding Community Development Project in Brits, archdiocese of Pretoria.
The Southern Cross, June 15 to June 21, 2016
How the Pill has failed women’s lib Are women ess ree han a 1950s housew e? ANN SChNE BlE akes a ook a how con racep on a ed women s bera on
She cited the reassurance men often give to their pregnant girlfriends—“I’ll support you whatever you decide”—which, she said, is simply the man passing on his responsibility. “They’re really saying: ‘Actually, I can’t be bothered. I’m not going to make any kind of a comment here. I’m going to leave you to go through it. I’ll sort of make reassuring noises, before I disappear into the next adventure’,” she said. “The contraceptive culture has completely destroyed any respect for women,” which in turn has “left women a lot more vulnerable,” she said.
HAT started as a means to liberate women seems to have taken an ironic twist. The past century has witnessed the widespread normalisation of artificial contraception, with its promise of empowering women and teenage girls to gain freedom over their bodies and fertility, along with a level of sexual liberation equal to that of men. This freedom has emerged from what is seen as a longstanding culture of misogyny—exemplified by the so-called “1950s housewife”— where women were expected to marry young and dedicate their lives solely to homemaking, placing the comfort and desires of their husbands before their own interests. Thanks to contraception, its proponents say, women can finally achieve their true potential and earn the respect they deserve. Yet, little more than a decade into the 21st century, the sexual exploitation of women and girls is at an all-time high, and the dream of woman’s liberation—as promised by contraception—seems to be falling far short of the reality. Provocatively-clad women are regularly used in advertising campaigns to sell everything from car insurance to sandwiches. Studies reveal an alarming percentage of young teenage girls being coerced into sexual activity with their boyfriends, with similar trends colloquially seen among adult women. Victims of a “rape-culture” at universities are speaking out in increasing numbers about widespread sexual violations on their campuses. Then there’s the pornography industry, which has so normalised depictions of degrading and aggressive sexual acts towards women that mainstream films and television shows are following suit for the sake of entertainment. All of this begs the question: Did
The Pill has not liberated women, says Fiorella Nash (inset), but placed greater burdens on them. the 1950s housewife in fact have it better than women of the 21st century when it comes to sexual freedom and respect? And could contraception be at least in part to blame for the current climate?
ne expert who believes that contraception is actually damaging to woman’s freedom in society is Fiorella Nash, a Catholic novelist (writing under the name Fiorella De Maria) and researcher for a London-based pro-life group, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children. Instead of liberating women, a culture which readily encourages the use of contraception in fact “undermines female autonomy,” Ms Nash said. “We’ve created a situation where, in order for women to be equal to men, they have to make their bodies a little bit more like men.” Ironically, this discrepancy between contraception’s promise of freedom and the tendency to make women more susceptible to coercion begins with their fertility. Ms Nash cited the example of the Pill which is widely prescribed to treat a host of conditions, from painful periods to acne, while the core causes of these ailments are routinely neglected. “It suggests that women can’t
look after their own fertility,” Ms Nash said. Consequently, many women are uneducated when it comes to their own bodies. “Fertility is very essential to women’s lives, and it ought to be something that we work with, rather than [something we’re] constantly trying to manipulate,” she explained. “There is something very patronising to me about the fact that we circumvent knowledge by giving an artificial way out, almost as if women need a cure for being female.” Contraception is often touted for its role in opening the doors to greater sexual freedom. However, rather than being a means of empowerment, Ms Nash explained that contraception actually makes women more vulnerable. While it is not a new phenomenon for men to be non-committal, or to abandon women they have made pregnant, Ms Nash said, “the contraceptive culture has given men a licence to do that”. “Why should you stand by a woman if she gets pregnant? If she had only read the instructions on the package, she might not have got pregnant. And, there’s always abortion, so there’s a way out, isn’t there? “It has almost allowed men to get out of their responsibilities—a lot more so than women,” she said.
oing beyond relationships, the acceptance of contraception has wider implications in society as well, Ms Nash suggests: for instance, its role in the breakdown of marriage, the increase of recreational sexual activity, the objectification of women —even violence. “A book like 50 Shades of Grey would never have been produced in a culture that respects women,” she said. “The whole story behind it is very reflective of a society that does glorify the abuse of women.” This mentality translates into the so-called “rape-culture” at universities, Ms Nash suggests. On the one hand, she did stress that it is important to understand the context of the situation; for instance, taking into account the increased tendency to report assault cases, and a better overall understanding of what constitutes a sexual offence, and so on. However: “If you create a culture where women are regarded as objects for sexual gratification, and where there’s always an assumption that that’s what girls want, the onus is always going to be on the women to explain that she’s not interested, rather than the onus being on the man to ensure that the woman is consenting,” Ms Nash said. Films like the James Bond franchise have contributed to the confusion with regard to boundaries and consent, Ms Nash said. She cited he example of a scene which shows Bond walking into a woman’s shower and having sex with her, without her objecting.
A pro-life doctor’s consultation GB El S o mag nes a woman pa en s consu aon w h a pro- e doc or Th s s wha he doc or m gh say
OOD morning, Angie, good to see you again. How is the baby getting
on? Please do sit down. I see from your file that while I was away, Dr Louis gave you a prescription for the Pill; is that correct? Do you really want to use artificial birth control? I have been your family doctor for several years now, and must say I would not have prescribed it for you, and especially not the Pill, for the following reasons. This drug is mainly used to prevent pregnancies, and is generally prescribed by many doctors only for this purpose. However, contrary to its manufacturer’s designs, it does not always prevent “accidental” conceptions—new human lives. To counter this it is made in such a way that it destroys these new lives by making the womb hostile to the reception of the fertilised egg, and they are then rejected by the womb, undetected, soon after conception resulting in, effectively, early abortions. This abortive function of the Pill—described as an abortifacient function—is in fact stated in its container’s medical pamphlet to
Mercy Sister Karen Schneider, a paediatrician, talks with the mother of a child. Writer GB Eliso outlines a pro-life doctor’s advice. (Photo: CNS/Bob Roller) assure women that it is a “fail safe” prevention of all possible pregnancies, even if it has to abort them. As you know, most of us don’t read those pamphlets. Other abortive birth control methods which, however, are intentional and not accidental, are the birth control injection, the “loop” or intra-uterine device, the “morning after” pill and the RU 486 “do-it-yourself” abortion pill, which has been aptly termed a “human pesticide”. There are also many serious health risks associated with the Pill such as clots, strokes, heart attacks, cancers, especially breast cancer, blindness through glaucoma, and other complications. Did you know that in 2005 the World Health Organisation classified birth control pills as a Group 1 carcinogen—that is the highest-risk category of carcino-
gen. Tobacco and asbestos are two well-known carcinogens in this category. As you and Brian, like myself, are Catholics, you will know of the Church’s total prohibition of all forms of artificial birth control, including those methods which are only contraceptive and prevent conception without destroying it, like the abortifacients I mentioned earlier. Examples of these, which are termed the “barrier methods”, are the condom and the diaphragm. But if you and Brian wish to space your children, then for serious reasons you may morally do this by the method of natural fertility regulation guided by the excellent book The Billings Ovulation Method by a Catholic medical couple, which also sets out the many advantages, graces and blessings that strengthen couples who use this method. Do read it when you can, and we will discuss it at our next consultation when Brian can also be present. Before you go, I want to leave you and Brian with the following thought about the Pill to reflect on. Because of its abortive potential, persons who have used it may well be the mothers and fathers of children, now with Almighty God, who were never given the chance to be born, and whom they will only meet for the first time if they achieve their eternal salvation.
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This phenomenon places “a huge burden on women”, she said, because it occurs within a culture where men “believe that they have a right to take what they want”. “If we were really so emancipated, if women were so empowered, it really shouldn’t be happening as much,” Ms Nash said. Along with cases of serious assault, women and girls, in turn, are often pressured into sex with their partners. Ms Nash cited a recent study in the United States that revealed a high proportion of teenagers being forced or coerced into sex, often out of fear of losing their boyfriends, having to prove themselves, and so on. “It does raise the question about how much coercive sex, at least, is going on in society...because, they feel the need to keep hold of a boyfriend, because they feel the need to do the right thing by their husband, et cetera.” Ms Nash referred to British TV personality Davina McCall, who reportedly said a wife must satisfy her husband in the bedroom “even if you’re absolutely exhausted”. If not, the celebrity warned, “he will go somewhere else.” Following the statement, many critics compared Ms McCall to a “1950s housewife”. But, Ms Nash said, “that’s not a comment from the 1950s. That is the sexualised 21st century speaking”. “There’s nothing that odd about [McCall] saying that within the context of a very sexualised society that says people have a right to sex, they have a right to sexual gratification, and therefore, frankly, women should just be expected to deliver it,” Ms Nash said. “Is this really what emancipation was about? Is this really what the suffrage movement was fighting for a hundred years ago? How much progress have we really made?” Although Ms Nash acknowledges the extensive progress made in woman’s rights, she nonetheless holds that contraception and abortion have in many ways increased the challenges for women. “Once you throw ‘choice’—or, it’s really a false choice—contraception into the equation, then everything’s a woman’s fault.”—CNA
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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
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.”
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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Hot potatoes are important because we care Fr John Baldovin SJ, will be in South Africa for Winter Living Theology 2016 to talk on “Worship and Social Justice – the implications of belonging to a worshipping community”. Fr RUSSEll PolliTT SJ, spoke to Fr Baldovin ahead of his visit.
OR Jesuit Father John Baldovin, coming to South Africa won’t be an entirely new experience: in 1998 the theologian spent what he calls “a very memorable semester” teaching at St John Vianney Seminary in Pretoria. Fr John Baldovin is currently professor of historical and liturgical theology at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. He has taught at Fordham University, New York, the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, California, and in various other places as a visiting professor. Originally from Clifton, New Jersey, he entered the Society of Jesus in Syracuse, New York, on August 14, 1969. He was ordained at Fordham University church on June 14, 1975 by Cardinal Terence Cook of New York. He served on the United States Catholic Bishops’ Advisory Committee on the Liturgy as well as on the advisory committee of International Commission for English in the Liturgy (ICEL) from 1994 to 2002. Recently he co-edited a commentary on the new translation of the order of Mass, with Edward Foley, Mary Collins and Joanne Pierce, published by Liturgical Press in 2012. Previously he wrote a book titled Reforming the Liturgy: A Response to the Critics (Liturgical Press, 2008).
“I wrote that in response to the critics of the reform of the liturgy at Vatican II. This has been an ongoing debate in the Church, and so I felt a response was necessary to some of what the critics were saying about the reform. I wrote the book around the time that the latest revisions of the liturgy were taking place,” he said in the interview which follows below. Why did you choose to study liturgy? I came of age during the Second Vatican Council. I had loved the Church’s liturgy in my youth and now it became an exciting part of a renewed Catholicism. I had originally been interested in studying the New Testament and early Christianity after college but during my theology studies as a Jesuit I discovered that liturgy combined the historical, theological and pastoral and I found this very attractive. The mid-1970s were a very fertile time in liturgical studies and in liturgical reform. Of course, the latter began to chill somewhat after 1978. The topic this year for the Winter Living Theology is “Worship and Social Justice – The implications of belong to a worshipping community”. What will you be looking at in this series? I have long been convinced that Christians compartmentalise their religious faith. This is well exemplified in American college students. They are very eager to engage in service projects but relatively uninterested when it comes to worship. It seems to me that this is because we haven’t been able to make the connections between liturgy and life. As far as I can tell, being “for” liturgy and being “for” social justice are not mutually exclusive. On the contrary faith, liturgy and jus-
Jesuit Father John Baldovin, who will present this year’s annual Winter living Theology series of lectures in five Southern African centres. tice (ethics) need to be related and balanced in order to have and live a full Christian life. That’s what I hope to explore in
this series in a practical way. Liturgy is often a “hot potato” in parishes, dioceses and the Church—yet it is also a symbol
of the Church’s unity. How do we manage that tension of what divides also unites? Liturgy is a “hot potato” because it’s so important! Like all ritual symbols, liturgy affects us on a very deep, often unarticulated, level. Our deepest values and concerns are touched. So it’s no surprise that the temperature rises when liturgy is discussed and put into practice. It is ironic that what is meant to unite us so often ends up dividing us. As someone who was trained in an ecumenical atmosphere and had high ecumenical hopes, I find it particularly painful that we are so alienated from one another in the Christian churches. It also seems to me that we need to learn how to distinguish between unity and uniformity. You have taught in Jesuit universities in the United States and spent a semester teaching in South Africa 18 years ago. What has been, for you, the best part of your ministry as a scholar? I find it hard to pinpoint just one aspect. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of this ministry. I love teaching—except for marking papers!—and learning from my students. I never thought I would like long-term research and writing, but I found that once I started I never stopped. I love the engagement with other scholars in my field. So I guess there is no best part. It’s all good. n This year’s Winter Living Theology takes place in July and August in five centres around Southern Africa: Johannesburg July 12-14; Port Elizabeth July 19-21; Cape Town July 26-28; Durban August 2-4; Manzini, Swaziland August 12; and Bloemfontein August 1618. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 011 482-4237
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God sent Jesus out of love Cackie Upchurch
F not for sin, would God have sent his only Son into the world? Did Jesus come primarily to save us from our sinfulness, to offer atonement for the evil we have done? What if the pristine conditions of God’s original creation had endured? What if we had not messed it up with selfishness and pride and envy and lust and anger and gluttony and laziness? Our Church’s teachings have preserved two prominent ways of seeing this issue, both of which have some foundation in Scripture and in the centuries of sacred tradition that followed. There are several key biblical passages that paint a picture of a hoped-for suffering servant who will rescue God’s people and pay a price for their sin (Isaiah 42:14; 49:1-6; 50:4-9; 52:13–53:12). In the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, as well as in Paul’s letters, we can find passages that speak of Jesus ransoming us from our sin. Many centuries later, St Thomas Aquinas would interpret these passages and conclude that the incarnation, the coming of Jesus as a man, was God’s remedy for sin. His teaching has had wide influence and even later was stretched to paint a particular picture of God who needs some sort of sacrifice to remedy the human condition. In the generation following Aquinas, another theologian, Bl John Duns Scotus, began to offer a different interpretation of these Bible passages as well as a look at some additional passages. It seemed to him that the approach described above gave an
year of Mercy
awful lot of power to human sin, so much so that it could cause a change in plans from the master of the universe. Scotus taught that the incarnation was not caused by human action, especially sin. Rather, God’s intention was always to be in relationship with us in the most intimate way. God would have sent his Son into the world as a pure act of love. Saving us from sin is not the cause but the result. Salvation history offers numerous testimonies to God’s desire for loving intimacy with his creatures. It can be seen in Genesis 3:8 as God is pictured walking in the garden of Eden where Adam and Eve could be found. God’s desire for intimacy is seen in his commissioning Moses to help set his people free from slavery in Egypt (Exodus 3:1-8).
he covenant given at Mount Sinai (Exodus 20) is a gift of intimacy, as is the promise God made to abide in Jerusalem with his people (Psalm 48). His presence with his people in exile (Leviticus 26:44) and upon their return is a testament to God’s gift of intimacy. A covenant written on the hearts of his people (Jeremiah 31) also testifies to God’s desired intimacy with us, God’s free gift of love and mercy. The New Testament demonstrates the extent to which God
will go to show his love and mercy. John 3:16 captures this beautifully: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” St Paul echoes this somewhat in describing God’s design: “God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ” (Ephesians 2:4-5). The motivation for God’s Son to take on the human condition was divine love. This is the ultimate act of mercy—not simply to witness human suffering from far off, or even to remedy that suffering with a divine snap of the fingers, but to enter into our suffering as an act of love, to embody all that it means to be human and, in that unity with us, to offer redemption. Jesus embodies the love and mercy of God in such a way that we can see how we might also enter into that love, surely surrender to it, as we turn away from sin. The Jubilee Year of Mercy offers us an opportunity to become merciful people, to do works of mercy, be they spiritual or corporal. Perhaps, though, we will be better equipped to become merciful if we meditate on the loving purpose of God’s mercy toward us. And then, seeking to respond to God in love, our words and deeds of mercy will flow from the same love shown to us. n This is the fourth column in a 13part series. This article was originally published in Arkansas Catholic.
Liturgical Calendar Now is the time to be Year C – Weekdays Cycle Year 2 Sunday June 19 Zechariah 12:10-11; 13:1, Psalms 63:2-6, 8-9, Galatians 3:26-29, Luke 9:18-24 Monday June 20 2 Kings 17:5-8, 13-15, 18, Psalms 60:3-5, 12-14, Matthew 7:1-5 Tuesday June 21, St Aloysius Gonzaga 2 Kings 19:9-11, 14-21, 31-36, Psalms 48:2-4, 1011, Matthew 7:6, 12-14 Wednesday June 22, StThomas More 2 Kings 22:8-13; 23:1-3, Psalms 119:33-37, 40, Matthew 7:15-20 Thursday June 23 2 Kings 24:8-17, Psalms 79:1-5, 8-9, Matthew 7:21-29 Friday June 24, birth of St John the Baptist Isaiah 49:1-6, Psalms 139:1-3, 13-15, Acts 13:2226, Luke 1:57-66, 80 Saturday June 25 Lamentations 2:2, 10-14, 18-19, Psalms 74:1-7, 20-21, Matthew 8:5-17 Sunday June 26 1 Kings 19:16, 19-21, Psalms 16:1-2, 5, 7-11, Galatians 5:1, 13-18, Luke 9:51-62
John the Baptist
a generation of hope Continued from page 7 ways of worshipping God. But take it further. Do more. Bring your talents and your energy and take up projects that make a positive difference. Raise money to feed the poor and shelter the homeless. Work with communities to create vegetable gardens and teach skills that can create employment opportunities. Engage with the youth of every community, helping them to find a hope that is so sorely lacking in our country. Teach self-worth and social responsibility, not in theory, but through concrete actions and real initiatives. Spread faith, hope and love (1 Cor 13:1-13). Be the generation that changes the ominous course on which we seem to be headed. Be the generation that 40 years from now will be praised by those who come after you for your contribution to this South Africa’s future with the same respect we accord to the youth of 1976. Be a generation of hope! n Read more articles by Sarah-Leah Pimentel at www. scross.co.za/category/perspectives/sarah-leahpimentel
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OSBOrne—Katy. Died May 30, 2016. indeed a privilege to have known this amazing mummy, grandma and great grandma. Rest in peace. lots of love, Solly, Sally, Zania and family.
o holy SPiRiT, in thanksgiving for favours granted. Chris h ST JUDE, in thanksgiving for favours granted. Chris h.
ABOrtiOn is murder. Silence on this issue is not golden, it’s yellow! Avoid pro-abortion politicians. See www.hli.co.za ABOrtiOn WArning: The truth will convict a silent Church. See www. valuelifeabortionisevil.co.za fOr All rOSArY requirements, chain rosaries in various colours and sizes, also luminous ones, contact Fr Dominic Muheim CMM, cellphone: 082 489 0706 or write to Po Box 11077, 3624 Marianhill, KZN reStOrAtiOnS Of StAtUeS, immaculately done. Please contact Jade, 011 665 2921/061 409 4406. St BOnifAce cOMMUnitY is presenting its annual church bazaar on Sunday, 28 August 2016. Starting with an open-air Mass at 9.00 at the St Boniface Community Centre cnr Puttick Avenue and Kowie
Road, Sundowner Ext.8, Randburg. Tel. 011 7953651 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.
HeAr me, lord, on behalf of all those who are dear to me, all whom i have in mind at this moment. Be near them in all their anxieties and worries,give them the help of your saving grace. i commend them all with trustful confidence to your merciful love. Remember, lord, all who are mindful of me: all those who have asked me to pray for them; all who have been kind to me; all who have wronged me, or whom i
Southern CrossWord solutions SOLUTIONS TO 711. ACROSS: 3 Thousands, 8 Calm, 9 Traumatic, 10 Ignore, 11 Slake, 14 Trent, 15 Anne, 16 Hello, 18 Reel, 20 Virus, 21 Remus, 24 Onward, 25 Moneybags, 26 Deny, 27 Persuader. DOWN: 1 Scripture, 2 Slanderer, 4 Hire, 5 Usual, 6 Alaska, 7 Dais, 9 Troth, 11 Sales, 12 Entreated, 13 Feast days, 17 Ovens, 19 Lepers, 22 Umbra, 23 More, 24 Ogre.
Word of the Week
Abba (Aramaic “Father”): Familiar name used by Jesus for God, his Father. From this derives Abbot, the superior of a monastery of men, and Abbess, the equivalent for women. In either case the monastery can be called an Abbey.
ST. KIZITO CHILDREN’S PROGRAMME St. Kizito Children’s Programme (SKCP) is a community-based response to the needs of orphans and vulnerable children, established through the Good Hope Development Fund in 2004 in response to the Church’s call to reach out to those in need. Operating as a movement within the Archdiocese of Cape Town, SKCP empowers volunteers from the target communities to respond to the needs of orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs) living in their areas. The SKCP volunteers belong to Parish Groups that are established at Parishes in target communities. Through the St. Kizito Movement, the physical, intellectual, emotional and psycho-social needs of OVCs are met in an holistic way. Parish Groups provide children and families with a variety of essential services, while the SKCP office provides the groups with comprehensive training and on-going support. In order to continue its work, SKCP requires on-going support from generous donors. Funds are needed to cover costs such as volunteer training and support, emergency relief, school uniforms and children’s excursions. Grants and donations of any size are always appreciated. We are also grateful to receive donations of toys, clothes and blankets that can be distributed to needy children and families.
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have Wronged by ill will or misunderstanding. Give all of us to bear each other’s faults, and to share each other’s burdens. have mercy on the souls of our loved ones who have gone before us. Grant them peace and happiness. Amen.
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Traditional Latin Mass Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Chapel 36 Central Avenue, Pinelands, Cape Town Call 0712914501 for details. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org The
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13th Sunday: June 26 Readings: 1 Kings 19:16b, 19-21, Psalm 16:1-2a, 5, 7-11, Galatians 5:1, 13-18, Luke 9:51-62
S outher n C ross
HAT matters above all for us is that we should hear God’s word and then do it. That is what Elijah does in next Sunday’s first reading, when God tells him to anoint Elisha as a prophet in succession to him. At first sight, Elisha is not quite so prompt to obey, for he asks permission to go and kiss his parents. Elijah takes that as a refusal, and says: “Off you go; return, for what have I done to you?” Watch how Elisha reacts, however, and it is certainly not a simple refusal: in about three-and-a-half minutes flat, he sacrificed his twelve yoke of oxen, boiled their flesh, and “gave it to their people—and they ate. And he arose and went after Elijah, and served him”. That is a rapid response. The psalm for next Sunday would not contemplate any delay in answering God’s call: “The Lord is my portion and share”, he sings…“I shall bless the Lord who counsels me”, and he will do whatever is asked: “You will make me know the way of life.”
In the second reading, we are coming near to the end of Paul’s attempt to make his Galatians understand what it is that the Lord is asking of them: “For freedom, Christ set us free—so stand firm, and don’t go back to putting on the yoke of slavery.” The point is that when God calls us, it is to freedom, not slavery (remember Elisha breaking up his oxen’s yoke, and finding freedom in going after Elijah). So the Galatians are advised to “be slaves of each other through love”. Paul then follows this up with a reference to something that Jesus had said: “For the whole Law is fulfilled in a single word, in this: ‘You are to love your neighbour as yourself.’” That is an excellent way of listening to God; and Paul takes it deeper: “If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under Law.” The Gospel deals with the same issue; and Jesus is leading the way in hearing God’s word by starting his journey to Jerusalem (and we know what is going to happen there). See how Luke tells the story: “It happened when the days of his taking-up were fulfilled,
and he set his face to journey to Jerusalem.” On the one hand, that is a perfectly good thing for an adult Jew to do, make the pilgrimage for Passover. There is more to it than this, however, for “he sent messengers [‘angels’] before his face”. So this is going to be something of an event. But it does not necessarily win friends for Jesus, because the “angels” precede him “into a village of the Samaritans”, where “they did not give him hospitality, because his face was journeying to Jerusalem.” We may occasionally have encountered the same phenomenon when doing what God seemed to be asking of us. This leads us into the next stage of the story, when James and John want to explode the inhospitable Samaritan village, at which Jesus “turned and rebuked them”; that kind of terrorist response would not be listening to what God was saying. All that is necessary is what happens next: “They journeyed to another village.” Now on to the next stage, and there is someone ready to hear the word of invitation: “I shall follow you wherever you are going.”
Why faith can make us suffer F
mand our suffering? Why is a certain inflow of pain necessarily concomitant with taking God seriously? Pain will flow into us more deeply when we take God seriously not because God wants it or because pain is somehow more blessed than joy. None of these. Suffering and pain are not what God wants; they’re negatives, to be eliminated in heaven. But, to the extent that we take God seriously, they will flow more deeply into our lives because in a deeper opening to God we will stop falsely protecting ourselves against pain and become much more sensitive so that life can flow more freely and more deeply into us. In that sensitivity, we will stop unconsciously manipulating everything so as to keep ourselves secure and pain-free. Simply put, we will experience deeper pain in our lives because, being more sensitive, we will be experiencing everything more deeply. The opposite is also true. If someone, as a crass expression might put it, is so insensitive so as to be thick as a plank, his own insensitivity will surely immunise him against many sufferings and the pain of others will rarely disturb his peace of mind. Of course, he won’t experience meaning and joy very deeply either—that’s the price tag for insensitivity.
number of years ago Fr Michael Buckley, a Jesuit from California, preached at the first Mass of a newly ordained priest. In his homily, he didn’t ask the newly ordained man if he was strong enough to be a priest, but rather if he was weak enough to be a priest.
ATHER Daniel Berrigan SJ, in one of his famous quips, once wrote: “Before you get serious about Jesus, first consider carefully how good you are going to look on wood!” In saying this, he was trying to highlight something that’s often radically misunderstood from almost every side, namely, how and why authentic religion brings suffering into our lives. On the one hand, all too common is the idea that if you welcome God into your life you will have an easier walk through life; God will spare you from many of the illnesses and sufferings that afflict others. Conversely, many others nurse the feeling, if not explicit belief, that God means for us to suffer, that there’s an intrinsic connection between suffering and depth, and that the more painful something is the better it is for you spiritually. There is, of course, some deep truth in this—spiritual depth is inextricably connected to suffering, as the Cross of Jesus reveals; and Scripture does say that God chastises those who draw close to him. But there are countless ways to misunderstand this. Jesus did say that we must take up our cross daily and follow him, and that following him means precisely accepting a special suffering. But we might ask: Why? Why should suffering enter into our lives more deeply because we take Jesus seriously? Shouldn’t the opposite be true? Does true religion somehow stand against our natural exuberance? Is suffering deep and joy superficial? And, what does this say about God? Is God masochistic? Does God want and de-
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He gets a discouraging response from Jesus: “The Son of Man does not have anywhere to lay his head.” The next stage is perhaps equally discouraging, for when Jesus tells another person to “follow me”, he makes the (perfectly reasonable) excuse that he would like to bury his father, which earns another chilling response: “Let the corpses bury their corpses; and as for you, off you go and spread the news of the Kingdom of God.” Another one sounds as if he has the right idea: “I shall follow you, Lord; but first let me say goodbye to those in my house” (which is what Elisha was rebuked for in our first reading, of course). He gets a reply that is worthy of Elijah himself: “Anyone who puts their hand to the plough and looks backwards is not suitable for the Kingdom of God.” Our task is to hear what God is saying and then follow the invitation.
Southern Crossword #711
Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI
In teasing out what’s contained in that paradox, Fr Buckley helps answer the question of why drawing nearer to God also means drawing nearer to suffering: “Is this man deficient enough so that he cannot ward off significant suffering from his life, so that he lives with a certain amount of failure, so that he feels what it is to be an average man? Is there any history of confusion, of self-doubt, of interior anguish? Has he had to deal with fear, come to terms with frustrations, or accepted deflated expectations?” Fr Buckley then goes on to make a comparison between the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates and Jesus, as a study in human excellence, and highlights how Socrates appears, in many ways, to be the stronger person. Like Jesus, he too was unjustly condemned to death, but, unlike Jesus, he never went into fear and trembling or “sweated blood” over his impending death. He drank the poison with calm and died. Jesus, as we know, didn’t undergo his death with nearly the same calm. The superficial judgment, Fr Buckley suggests, is to see their different reactions to death in the light of their different deaths—crucifixion is so much more horrible than drinking poison. But that, Fr Buckley submits, while containing some truth, is secondary, not the real reason. Why did Jesus struggle more deeply with his death than Socrates did with his? Because of his extraordinary sensitivity. Jesus simply was less able to protect himself against pain. He felt things more deeply and consequently was more liable to physical pain and weariness, more sensitive to human rejection and contempt, more affected by love and hate. Socrates was a great, heroic man, no doubt; but, unlike Jesus, who wept over Jerusalem, he never wept over Athens, never expressed sorrow and pain over the betrayal of friends. Socrates was strong, possessed, calm, never overwhelmed. Jesus, for his part, was less able to protect himself against pain and betrayal, and consequently was sometimes overwhelmed.
3. Saul has killed his... (1 Sam 18) (9) 8. All is ..., all is bright (carol) (4) 9. Atrium act results in shocking kind of experience (9) 10. Disregard this region (6) 11. Satisfy your thirst (5) 14.Town council here is famous (5) 15. She turns up where the antenna ends (4) 16. Greeting from the underworld circle (5) 18. Reverse the lever, lose five and dance (4) 20. Infection from Latin man to ourselves (5) 21.He’s twinned with the founder of Rome (5) 24. Direction of the Christian Soldiers (6) 25. Wealthy person having cash containers (9) 26. Refuse to admit the truth (4) 27. One who influences you to use draper (9)
1. Sacred texts (9) 2. His malicious words harm your reputation (9) 4. Rent and move upwards, we are told (4) 5. Habitual (5) 6. Ask with article the French combine to have in North America (6) 7. Said it’s a platform (4) 9. It is plighted at the altar (5) 11. St Francis of the marketing profession? 12. Supplicated (9) 13. Liturgical occasions to tuck in? (5,4) 17. Microwaves (5) 19. Only one of these ten thanked Jesus (6) 22. Thumb ray is partly seen in the eclipse (5) 23. St Thomas could not be less (4) 24. Giant is a bit of a dog, really (4) Solutions on page 11
PRIEST is driving down to Johannesburg and gets stopped for speeding. The traffic cop smells alcohol on the priest’s breath and then sees an empty wine bottle on the floor of the car. He says: “Father, have you been drinking?” “Just water,” says the priest, fingers crossed. The traffic cop says: “Then why do I smell wine?” The priest looks at the bottle and says: “Praise be to God! He’s done it again!”
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