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July 13 to July 19, 2016
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Church lends support to anti-drug push By MANDlA ZiBi
ARDINAL Wilfrid Napier represented other religious leaders in Durban recently at an anti-drug addiction event organised by Durban University of Technology (DUT) and supported by the Denis Hurley Centre. As part of the internationally acclaimed “Support Don’t Punish” initiative, speakers and artists challenged society to look at creative ways of responding to drug addiction. Cardinal Napier spoke powerfully of the need to liberate people from drugs not by treating them as criminals, but by treating them as human beings. “A large number of drug users attended and they were motivated by the presence at the meeting of so many organisations, including the police, who wanted to help them,” said Raymond Perrier, head of the Denis Hurley Centre, and one of The Southern Cross’s columnists. “It was touching to see the cardinal spend time speaking one-to-one with drug users, many of whom are sleeping on the streets. “The ease with which Cardinal Napier engaged with people facing personal difficulties was very moving. As one of the placards held by a drug user said: ‘We are Human,’ so the cardinal really affirmed this statement,” Mr Perrier observed. Also present at the event were two other speakers: Razeen Dada, a local businessman and the current Mr India South Africa, and Dr Jairam Reddy, chair of the DUT council and a great supporter of the Denis Hurley Centre. Prof Monique Marks of the Urban Futures Centre at the DUT city campus was the organising brain behind the event. “‘Support don’t Punish’ is a worldwide campaign which explores new ways of fighting the scourge of drugs and drug addiction,” a statement on the campaign’s website reads. “The programme seeks to promote the case for drug policy reform, and to challenge existing laws and policies which prevent access to interventions which reduce harm to addicts. “For over half a century there has been a global consensus that drugs should be eliminated through punishment and repression.
A huge sculpture of butterflies, symbolising an Aids-free generation, has been created by hundreds of kwaZulu-Natal teenagers and will be unveiled this weekend at the Denis Hurley Centre in Durban in time for a global Aids conference later this month. Delegates will include the famous actor and health educator Pieter-Dirk uys, seen here at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival promoting the DHC’s butterfly project. the sculpture is open for viewing at the DHC until the end of July after which mini-sculptures will be sent back to churches and community groups whose teenagers helped to create it. For more information and photos, see Denis Hurley Centre on Facebook. (Photo: illa thompson)
Bethlehem mosaics restored By JuDitH SuDilovSky
Cardinal Wifrid Napier represented the Catholic Church’s support for a Durban meeting backing an international initiative on drug addiction. “But this ‘consensus’ has been ripped apart at the seams. Progressively more countries realise repression and punishment have failed. It’s time for change,” the statement noted. The campaign, which boasts a growing international following from drug-addiction experts and activists, was launched in 2013 and now has a presence in 100 cities worldwide. It includes the annual global day of action, as well as an interactive photo project—an online photo petition with more than 7 000 supporters from around the world. For international drug policy, 2016 has already been a big year, as witnessed by a UN general assembly special session on drugs in April, and a UN high-level meeting on HIV/Aids earlier in June.
N Italian team has completed restoration of Crusader-era mosaics in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. The work involved removing the layers of centuries-worth of soot and dirt—a result of the smoke of candles lit by pilgrims coming to venerate the site traditionally believed to be the birthplace of Jesus—from about 1,55 million tiny mosaic pieces that were reviewed and restored. “I think all the churches want to save this church because here Jesus was born,” said Giammarco Piacenti, CEO of the Piacenti restoration centre. It is important for all Christianity. For my professional life, this occasion is incredible.” Only 1 400 square feet of mosaics remain from the original 21 528 square feet that adorned the wall, he noted. The others were destroyed by rain leaking through the roof. Made of stone, mother of pearl, and glass and gold leaf, the mosaics portray scenes in the life of Jesus and the Church, including the disbelief of Thomas, the Ascension and Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem on a donkey. Mr Piacenti said the mosaic of the disbelief of Thomas shows the date 1155 and the
A worker from the Piacenti restoration centre works on a mosaic in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, West Bank. (Photo: Debbie Hill/CNS) names Ephraim and Basilius, presumably artisans who created the work. Some pieces of the mosaics remain missing and will not be replaced, he said, based on the theory of restoration that there should be a minimum of intervention on any piece. The next stage of the project will include restoration of the church’s 50 pillars and the church floor and the mosaics underneath.—CNS
the Southern Cross, July 13 to July 19, 2016
Diakonia: Bible never promotes racism By MANDlA ZiBi
HE Diakonia Council of Churches (DCC), an ecumenical, inter-church agency which incudes the Catholic Church, challenged the “racist views” recently attributed to a Sandton church pastor and a guest house owner in Sodwana Bay in which the two justified their statements on the Bible. “There have been two accounts of people who have justified their racist views by invoking the scriptures, and believing that God would endorse their views,” said the DCC in a statement. “These views must be chal-
lenged, and balanced with an alternative view which we believe to be closer to the intention of God as disclosed in the scriptures of the New Testament.” The statement pointed out that to preach a sermon, in a multi-racial congregation, that whites are superior to blacks because their work ethic is better, is a “misuse of the pulpit as there is no opportunity for constructive engagement in response to what is being preached”. Regarding the guest house owner, the council said: “We cannot accept his views on the subhuman nature of black people. His prejudice [even] extends to the dif-
ference between blue-eyed and brown-eyed people, in which blue eyed people are purer and smarter and more acceptable to God.” According to the DCC, the apartheid government and the Dutch Reformed Church of that era “manipulated the scriptures to support their point of view, and relied chiefly on scriptures from the Old Testament, which were then selectively used”. “They omitted to take their historical context into account, nor to look at a New Testament counterpoint.” The council pointed out that in the Old Testament creation narra-
tives, we are told that human beings were created in the image of God. “This was before race, nationality and religion separated us. The prophets, particularly Isaiah, point us to a time where every nation will come to the mountain of God. “The New Testament directs us toward a time when ‘a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language stand before the throne of God and in front of the Lamb.’ ” The DCC said the Bible shows a breaking down of the barriers between Jew and Gentile, an expansion of the idea of the people of God. “This was a challenge to people
of that time, as multi-racialism is a challenge, it appears, to people of our time. “The concept of rebirth, found in John 3, provides an opportunity to be reborn into a new humanity in which race, nationality, gender, and social standing are no longer relevant as dividers of people, but simply provide a richness of the tapestry of God’s creation. “The prejudices held by individuals need to be owned by them, and not justified as part of God’s ordained separation of people. God is about inclusion, not exclusion,” the DCC noted. n See the editorial on Page 6.
Church hosts Refugee Day event StAFF REPoRtER
HE Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), along with a number of other civil society organisations, faith-based organisations, the UNHCR, refugees and asylum seekers, and the Department of Home Affairs, commemorated World Refugee Day at the Catholic archdiocese of Johannesburg. Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba gave the keynote address. The importance of the event was that it was not just another celebration or commemoration of a day filled with pleasantries, but it was a day that raised conversation around the state of refugees globally and what protections they have and will continue to have in South Africa. The podcast of the minister’s speech was played on the JRS radio slot on Radio Veritas, with Fr David Holdcroft SJ, JRS Southern Africa regional director, commenting on the minister’s speech. The theme for the day was “Open Minds, Unlock Potential”. This was part of a message that was shared by the JRS international office, which urged that this year “we must remember to not only provide refugees with a safe place to stay, but with opportunities to grow and contribute to society”. To truly protect means keeping
(From left) Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba meets with Fr PeterJohn Pearson, director of the Catholic Parliamentary liaison office, and Fr David Holdcroft SJ, regional director of the Jesuit Refugee Service Southern Africa, at a World Refugee Day event at the archdiocese of Johannesburg. people safe from all evils, including poverty, isolation, exploitation, and neglect, the office said. “We need to reinvent our way of being together. We must show mercy to and accept one another, and this act of mercy must be mutual and concrete,” said JRS international director Fr Thomas Smolich SJ. “Opening doors is not enough; we must open ourselves and our minds to unlock our potential as a society.” Fr Smolich said access to quality
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Harry Flayser, a regular seller of The Southern Cross, is pictured after Mass among churchgoers at Sacred Heart cathedral in Pretoria.
Burundi, you are not alone StAFF REPoRtER
HE Denis Hurley Peace Institute, in consultation with the secretariat of episcopal conferences of Africa and Madagascar (Secam), arranged a solidarity visit to Burundi. Three SACBC bishops—Archbishop Stephen Brislin, Bishop Abel Gabuza and Bishop Sithembele Sipuka—went to Burundi and were joined by other bishops from the different regions. From their report, the South African bishops pointed out that in Burundi there had been some recovery but “beneath the surface there is anger and tension”. They said human rights were being abused, people were being assassinated, jailed unjustly, tortured and harassed. “The space for opposition to organise themselves has been closed, the independent media is not functioning, and leaders of civil society are under threat,” the bishops reported. They called for the conflicting parties to return to the spirit of the Arusha Agreement that had cultivated peace since 2005. One of the tenets of the agreement was that the president would be limited to two terms of office. Since early 2015, when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would seek another term of office, there has been turmoil in the country. The message of the bishops to the people and the government of Burundi was that “the only road to peace is through open dialogue, inclusivity and respect for all”. The Burundian bishops themselves explained that the current conflict was not caused by ethnic or tribal differences, as perceived by the international community. The conflict is viewed by the local bishops as a political crisis brought on by non-
Archbisop Stephen Brislin of Cape town gives Communion during a Mass held in Burundi during a visit to the country by three SACBC bishops, with other bishops from the Africa and Madagascar region. implementation of the Arusha Agreement. The visiting bishops also met with the first vice-president of Burundi, Gaston Sindimwo, and presented their concerns about the situation. In response, the vice-president blamed opposition parties for not having peoples’ interests at heart but only their own. He agreed that something needed to be done to curb violence, especially among the youth, and bring back those in exile. The visiting bishops were also able to meet with one of the opposition parties, which expressed its concern about the arrests, tortures, killings and exiling of those who opposed the current government. They also commented on the stance of the Burundian bishops in the midst of the crisis as admirable and courageous. Three Burundian bishops have been threatened
and have had to be guarded 24 hours a day by soldiers for protection. The opposition party felt that Burundi needed to be included in the African Union agenda at the next meeting. This point was affirmed by the Burundian bishops. In their address during Mass, the visiting bishops pointed out that they are aware of the pain of Burundi and the experiences of political instability. “The pain we feel is further deepened by the loss of life and property, the suffering that the people of Burundi have gone through and are still experiencing.” The SACBC bishops’ views gathered will be taken forward to be discussed at the Secam meeting later this month. The Catholic Church will also use the liaison officer based in the AU (in Ethiopia) to send across the message of Burundi.
the Southern Cross, July 13 to July 19, 2016
Catholic in the running for Public Protector post By MANDlA ZiBi
S South Africa appoints the new Public Protector in October this year, among the final 59 nominees for the post is a wellrespected Catholic legal mind and local government administrator. Vincent James Botto is director of Forensics, Ethics and Integrity at the City of Cape Town. A Harvard graduate, he grew up in Athlone, on the Cape Flats, in a “quintessential Catholic family” of 15 siblings. “My father died when I was 12 and our mother brought us up all by herself. My fondest memory was attending Sunday Mass with her at 7 in the morning,” said Mr Botto. Asked about his nomination, he said he felt “honoured and humbled” and that his colleagues at the City of Cape Town had congratulated him and were excited. “I see the office of the Public Protector as a series of phases of development,” Mr Botto said. “The establishment phase was with the first Public Protector, Selby Baqwa, and his successor Lawrence Mushwana. Thuli Madonsela represents the awareness phase, with the office becoming widely known. “With the upcoming appointment we enter the accountability phase. This entails bringing the Public Protector from high-profile people and cases down to the level of the average citizen,” said Mr Botto. Following the announcement of the list of nominees, the next step involved the endorsement or objection by members of the public of
vincent James Botto the names on the list. This stage ended on July 8. Each candidate also completed a questionnaire for the parliamentary ad hoc committee charged with the appointment of the new Public Protector. These are designed to help the committee with the shortlisting and interviewing process scheduled for early August. The Public Protector is appointed by the President, on the recommendation of the National Assembly. He or she is required to be a suitably qualified South African with a reputation for honesty and integrity. The incumbent is subject only to the Constitution and the law, and must be impartial and without “fear; favour or prejudice”. No person or organ of state may interfere with the functioning of the Public Protector’s office. He or she has the power to investigate any
wrongdoing at any level of government or state enterprise, and must be accessible to all citizens and communities. Following such an investigation, the office has to report on the matter and can take appropriate remedial action. Other organs of state must assist and protect the institution to ensure its independence, impartiality, dignity and effectiveness. In a previous issue of The Southern Cross, Mike Pothier of the Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office expressed his confidence—amid fears of an ANC political partisan as the next Public Protector—that the new incumbent “would be an example of how our national parliament can reach consensus on the great questions of the day in South Africa”. “Many people assume that, given the fractious relationship between Thuli Madonsela and the governing party, the ANC would be keen to see someone more amenable to it, and to the government, stepping into her shoes.” Although the ANC has the votes to achieve this, it has proved exceptionally difficult for the party to get all its MPs into parliament at once, Mr Pothier noted. “Seventy-five of them are either ministers or deputy-ministers, occupied mostly outside the National Assembly,” he said. “It is also very likely that more than nine ANC MPs would absent themselves from parliament rather than be involved in pushing through a partisan or otherwise unsuitable candidate.”
Assumption Convent in Johannesburg students, who were part of the teams that came second and third in the inter-Catholic Schools Bible Quiz this year, donated their prize winnings to buy soup for the St vincent de Paul’s soup kitchen. they handed over 250 packets of soup.
Young priest gets M&G vote By liNDA DokE
ATHER Lawrence Ndlovu has been voted one of 200 young South Africans making a difference by the Mail & Guardian. “I see myself firstly as a Catholic priest, then as a youth activist, writer, speaker and a big believer in community-based initiatives,” said Fr Ndlovu. He worked for some time in the Catholic Youth Office of the archdiocese of Johannesburg, and was a facilitator of the Education For Life programme of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference from 2002 to 2007. “In this development space, we were able to work with young people across southern Africa, including Botswana and Swaziland. We have worked with young people in schools, correctional facilities, the Church and different communities.” Fr Ndlovu is motivated primarily by his faith, but South Africa, and
Fr lawrence Ndlovu its wonderful people and potential, also inspire him. “Working with people, especially young people, in the forgotten pockets of this country and in its over-populated cities, I am often moved by what they have had to go through.” A regular columnist for the Daily Maverick, Fr Ndlovu uses his voice to reflect on issues of national importance, ranging from politics to dayto-day matters.—Reprinted with kind permission of the Mail & Guardian.
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the Good Shepherd project in Ba-Phalaborwa, Mopani district, was one of the groups that benefited from the SACBC Aids office’s blanket and mattress project. one hundred and fifty-seven children in 54 households, who had been identified through home visits, afternoon school sessions and school visits, received blankets and mattresses.
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the Successful Candidate will: * Preferably be a practicing Catholic. * Have an understanding and be committed to the Catholic ethos and mission of the school. * Prior experience in a Catholic School will be an advantage. * Have the necessary academic qualiﬁcations for the post. * Have an understanding of present development in education. Experience in IEB will be an advantage. * Be familiar with the Religious Education Policies and Programmes in the Catholic Schools. * Have strong leadership skills. * Have good interpersonal skills and the ability to communicate at all levels in diverse situations. * Have excellent organisational skills. * Have a minimum of 10 years teaching experience. * Have held the position of Principal or at least Deputy Principal in a school in South Africa. * Have a satisfactory record of innovation, commitment and professionalism * Be registered with SACE. * Be a South African citizen or hold permanent residence in South Africa.
Key responsibilities * Uphold & promote the Catholic Ethos of the school. * Ensure that the school acts in accordance with the Vision Mission of the Dominican Sisters * Conduct the school as a Christian community in accordance with the teachings of the Catholic Church and the charisma of the Dominican Sisters. * Collaborate with the Catholic Schools’ network, ISASA and other community bodies. * Manage and provide leadership in accordance with principles and policies of the school. * Policy review and enforcement. * Co-ordinate the management of the School’s facilities. * Co-ordinate and direct the Academic, Extra Curricular, Liturgical and Religious programmes in the school and be aware of all legal requirements. * Ensure that all staﬀ meet appropriate professional standards. * Provide appropriate pastoral care and oversight into the morale, ethos & discipline staﬀ and learners. * Manage the promotion and marketing of the school. * Manage operational support activities of the School. * Manage Quality Assurance in the school, including Umalusi submissions. * Be accountable to the relevant authorities mainly the Dominican Sisters and the Board of Governors * Facilitate strategic and ﬁnancial planning and ensure appropriate development. * Administer and take responsibility for the annual budget approved by the Board. applicants must submit a comprehensive CV together with 2 professional and character references to the school at 31 Piercy avenue, Parkhill Gardens, Germiston or electronically to email@example.com . Closing Date: 22 july 2016
The Dominican Sisters’ reserve the right not to proceed with the ﬁlling of the post. An application in itself will not entitle the applicant to an interview or appointment. Failure to meet with the requirements of the post will automatically disqualify the applicant. If you receive no correspondence from the school within30 days, please consider your application unsuccessful.
the Southern Cross, July 13 to July 19, 2016
Bishops: 6,5 million Malawians need food aid I
Pope Francis plans to visit Assisi, italy, on August 4 to make a “simple and private” visit to the Portiuncula, the stone chapel rebuilt by St Francis to mark the 800th anniversary of the “Pardon of Assisi”, also called the Portiuncula indulgence, which can be earned as part of a solemn annual celebration each August 2. the chapel, now contained inside the basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli, is where the saint founded the Franciscan order. Pope Francis previously visited the site on the feast day of the saint—his namesake—in 2013. St Francis restored the chapel in 1207. it was where he founded his religious order and where St Clare publicly professed her vows. St Francis requested the pope to institute a plenary indulgence for pilgrims who would come to the Portiuncula prayerful and repentant. (Photo: Paul Haring/CNS)
Franciscan foundress dies at 75-year jubilee Mass By MARy CHAluPSky
OTHER Rosemae Pender, 94, foundress of the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist, died unexpectedly during a Mass of Thanksgiving for Consecrated Life celebrated at the order’s motherhouse in Meriden, Conneticut, to honour her 75 years of consecrated life. The event also marked jubilee celebrations for four other sisters in the community. After renewing her vows with the other sisters, Mother Rosemae presented the constitutions of the religious community to retired Archbishop Henry Mansell of Hartford, principal celebrant, during the offertory procession. She returned to her chair and then was taken to a nearby room, where she received the sacrament of the anointing of the sick. She died during the Mass. Before the conclusion of Mass, Mother General Shaun Vergauwen, co-foundress of the order, announced to the congregation that Mother Rosemae had died. The international congregation of more than 80 Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist was founded on December 2, 1973. Mother Rosemae and Mother General Shaun, along with 53 other Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration of La
N Malawi, where 40% of the population needs food aid, the country's bishops have called for international help to avert a crisis. It is “disheartening and painful to think of our 6,5 million brothers and sisters” needing humanitarian assistance, the Episcopal Conference of Malawi said in a statement signed by its chairman, Bishop Thomas Msusa of Blantyre. At least 6,5 million people will be food insecure in the coming year, according to a May government assessment. Malawi has a population of 16 million people. “Our hospitals are already reporting higher rates of malnutrition cases,” the bishops said, noting that the situation is likely to worsen as the country approaches what in normal times is a lean period. Malawi is considered the worst-affected country in the southern African region, which is suffering drought blamed on an unusually strong El Nino weather phenomenon. The country’s staple corn crop has been destroyed through flash floods and drought. The bishops commended President Peter Mutharika for declaring a state of national disaster and said that the “gravity of the situation” requires long term as well as immediate solutions. “We are informed that the country needs about $307,5 million to
Refugees wait for food rations from the united Nations at a camp in Mwanza, Malawi. in Malawi, where 40% of the population needs food aid, the country’s bishops have called for international help to avert a crisis. (Photo: Erico Waga, EPA/CNS) support the affected population,” the bishops said. Noting that these funds would save lives, they urged national and international stakeholders and people of good will to “come forward in supporting our brothers and sisters in need of food aid”. Food security policies and strategic plans “are nothing” without actions, the bishops said, noting that Malawi needs a “paradigm shift in the way we do things”. The country needs “sustainable
and innovative ways” of supporting farmers in the rural areas where most of the population live and where the prevalence of food insecurity is highest, they said. With “agriculture as the country’s economic mainstay”, urgent improvements must be made to agricultural infrastructure, which is dilapidated, the bishops said. “We call upon the government to be committed to food security in Malawi by enacting the Right to Food Bill,” they said.—CNS
Respect the rights of seafarers By CARol GlAtZ
T Mother Rosemae Pender, 94, foundress of the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist, died during her 75-year jubilee Mass. Crosse, Wisconsin, made up the newly founded order. Mother Rosemae had held leadership positions in her former order, having been a teacher, a principal, a college professor, director of postulants, director of junior sisters and a member of the order’s general council. Mother Rosemae had served as the mother general of the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist since its founding until 2005.—CNS
HE hard work and dangers that mark the lives of most seafarers demand people’s attention, said the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travellers. Not only must their human and labour rights be protected, they also need spiritual care, the council said, urging the world’s bishops “to establish and support the maritime apostolate as ‘a visible sign of your affectionate attention to those who cannot receive ordinary pastoral care’.” The council’s invitation came in its written message for Sea Sunday. The message, signed by Cardinal Antonio Maria Veglio, council president, was released in four languages by the Vatican. “Seated comfortably on the sofa in our living room, we find it difficult to understand how much our daily life is depending on the maritime industry and the sea,” the message said, noting that almost 90% of
all cargo is transported by sea. Nearly 1,2 million seafarers, many from developing nations, work onboard 50 000 merchant ships carrying food, clothing, furniture, appliances, petroleum and many other products, it said. Thousands of men and women also work on cruise ships helping make sure passengers enjoy a comfortable holiday, it added. In addition to their own duties, crews on merchant vessels have often been the first to intervene and rescue “thousands of people trying to sail to Europe on board overcrowded and unseaworthy vessels, inflatable rafts”, it said. Seafarers risk their lives on the open seas because of “the hazards of the forces of nature, piracy and armed robbery” and they risk psychological harm when they are denied regular shore leave or must be away from their families for months, even several years, at a time. “The human and working dignity of the seafarers is at risk when they
are exploited with long working hours and their wages are delayed for months or in cases of abandonment not paid at all,” the message said. It also raised concern over recent measures that treat seafarers as criminals in cases of maritime accidents, including marine pollution. The Apostleship of the Sea stands “at the side of seafarers to reiterate that their human and labour rights must be respected and protected”, the message said. It also called on governments and maritime authorities to strengthen the implementation of the International Labour Organisation’s Maritime Labour Convention from 2006 that seeks to ensure seafarers “have access to shore-based facilities and services to secure their health and wellbeing”. “We would like to remind all Christian communities and each individual how important and essential are the seafarer profession and the shipping industry for our daily life,” it said.—CNS
Pope:Critics won’t stop me
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N his most recently published interview, Pope Francis expressed his dislike of conflict with socalled “ultra-conservative” Catholics, but added that he’s not held back by it. “They do their work and I do mine,” the Pope said in Spanish during his interview with Joaquín Morales Solá, a journalist of the Argentine daily La Nacion. It was Mr Morales who used the term “ultra-conservatives” in his question. Francis responded, saying, “I want an open, understanding Church which accompanies wounded families,” whereas ultraconservatives in the Church “say no to everything”. However, the Roman Pontiff suggested he was undeterred by such attitudes. “I continue my path without looking over my shoulder,” he said. “I don’t cut off heads. I have never liked doing that.” “I repeat: I reject conflict.”
Mr Morales said Pope Francis smiled when he gave his final, cryptic remarks to the question. “Nails are removed by applying pressure to the top. Or, they are set aside to rest, when retirement age arrives.” The question regarding ultra-conservatives was an aside from the bulk of the interview. The interview with La Nacion, which is based in Buenos Aires, was largely centred on Argentine politics and the state of the Church in that country.—CNA
Cardinal: Priests should say Mass facing the East
ARDINAL Robert Sarah appealed to priests throughout the world to begin saying Mass facing the same direction as the faithful, suggesting that the season of Advent would be an opportune time to do so. “I believe that it is very important that we return as soon as possible to a common orientation, of priests and the faithful turned together in the same direction—eastwards or at least towards the apse—to the Lord who comes, in those parts of the liturgical rites when we are addressing God,” the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship said during his opening address at the Sacra Liturgia conference being held in London. “Dear Fathers, I ask you to implement this practice wherever possible, with prudence and with the necessary catechesis, certainly, but also with a pastor’s confidence that this is something good for the Church, something good for our people. Your own pastoral judgment will determine how and when this is possible, but perhaps beginning this on the first Sunday of Advent this year, when we attend ‘the Lord who will come’ and ‘who will not delay’ may be a very good time to do this.” Cardinal Sarah’s encouragement to priests to say Mass ad orientem was part of an address on how the Second Vatican Council’s document on the liturgy can be more faithfully implemented. He began by recalling that “God, not man is at the centre of Catholic liturgy”, and that “we must be utterly clear about the nature of Catholic worship” to be able to read correctly and implement faithfully Sacrosanctum Concilium. The cardinal recalled the intention of the fathers of the council, including a limited use of vernacular languages at Mass and appropriate inculturation. Speaking of proper in-
Pope: Stop funding arms for Syrian war By CARol GlAtZ
T Cardinal Robert Sarah celebrates Mass in the Brompton oratory for the Sacra liturgia conference in london (Photo: lawrence oP) culturation, the Guinean noted that “the liturgy is not the place to promote my culture. Rather, it is the place where my culture is baptised, where my culture is taken up into the divine”. He presented the liturgy of the Anglican Ordinariates “now in full communion with the Church” as a “beautiful example” of how “cultures and other Christians bring gifts with them into the Church”. Cardinal Sarah urged looking again at Sacrosanctum Concilium and the intention behind it saying: “I do not think that we can honestly read even [its first article] today and be content that we have achieved its aims.” Cardinal Sarah then turned to his call for priests to say Mass facing in the same direction as the people. He noted that this is “permitted by current liturgical legislation” and “is perfectly legitimate in the modern rite”. “Indeed, I think it is a very important step in ensuring that in our celebrations the Lord is truly at the centre,” he added.—CNA
Holocaust survivor was ‘world’s conscience’
LIE Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor, Nobel Peace Prize recipient and prolific author who died on July 2 at age 87, has been remembered in tributes from around the world for standing up for human dignity and for being a witness to the world of the atrocities of the Holocaust. When Pope Francis received the Charlemagne Prize for promoting European unity, he quoted Wiesel urging Europeans to undergo a “memory transfusion”, to remember their fractured past when confronting issues that threaten again to divide it. L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, said Wiesel’s legacy was his “appeal for collective responsibility in the face of horror and his call to unite the abilities of each person in pursuit of what is good”. That sentiment has been echoed by many. President Barack Obama described Wiesel as “one of the great moral voices of our time, and in many ways, the conscience of the world”. When Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, the citation said he was a “messenger to mankind”, whose “message is one of peace, atonement and human dignity. His belief that the forces fighting evil in the world can be victorious is a hard-won belief”. He accepted the award with a stern call that all who witness suffering and humiliation must take sides. “Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented,” he said. Wiesel is most known for Night, his autobiographical account of the horrors he witnessed in concentra-
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HE world community needs to get serious about ending the conflict in Syria and call out those who claim to support peace while making money off of arms sales, Pope Francis said. “While the people suffer, incredible quantities of money are being spent to supply weapons to fighters. And some of the countries supplying these arms are also among those that talk of peace,” the pope said in a video message. “How can you believe in someone who caresses you with the right hand and strikes you with the left hand?” The pope’s message was part of a “Peace Is Possible” campaign for Syria launched by Caritas Internationalis—the Church’s worldwide aid and development organisation. The same day, Caritas unveiled a new website—syria.caritas.org—to highlight the lives of some of those caught up in the conflict and give people ideas for how they can help. In his video message, the pope invited everyone to help in building a more just world. He encouraged everyone “to live the Holy Year of Mercy enthusiastically, to overcome indifference and proclaim with strength that peace in Syria is possible!” Calling for prayers and prayer vigils for Syria, the pope also invited people to organise local initiatives to raise awareness and spread the message of peace, unity and hope. “I invite you to call on those who are involved in peace negotiations to take these agreements seriously and to make every effort to
Rebel fighters carry their weapons as they take part in military training in Daraa, Syria. the world community needs to get serious about ending the conflict in Syria and call out those who claim to support peace while making money from arms sales, Pope Francis said. (Photo: Alaa Al-Faqir, EPA/CNS) facilitate access to humanitarian aid,” he added. “Everyone has to recognise that there is no military solution for Syria, but only a political solution,” he said. “The international community must therefore support the peace talks heading toward the construction of a government of national unity.” Recognising the “unspeakable suffering” that the Syrian people are experiencing as they are “forced to survive under bombs or to find escape routes to other countries” and leave behind everything, the pope underlined the particular burdens Christians face. “I also think about the Christian communities, which I give my full support to for the discrimination they have to bear,” he said.
Benedict XVI talks resignation, papacy, in new book By CiNDy WooDEN
R Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor and author who fought for peace, human rights and simple human decency, died on July 2 aged 87. (Photo: Gary Cameron, Reuters/CNS) tion camps as a teenager. It was published in 1960. When he was 15, the Nazis sent him and his family to Auschwitz. His mother and his younger sister perished there. His two older sisters survived. He and his father were later transported to Buchenwald, where his father died. The Catholic French author Francois Mauriac encouraged Wiesel to write the book, breaking his silence about his experience. The work not only is an account of what happened but a reflection on faith and God’s presence amid unspeakable horrors. Wiesel was born on September 30, 1928, in Sighet, a small village in Romania. In 1963 he became a US citizen In 1993, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington opened with Wiesel’s words carved in stone at its entrance: “For the dead and the living, we must bear witness.”—CNS
ETIRED Pope Benedict XVI has given another interview to the journalist and author Peter Seewald, and a German publisher announced it would be released worldwide on September 9. Titled “Letzte Gesprache”, (which translates as “Last Conversations”), the book includes an indepth conversation with the retired pope about the background of his resignation in 2013, said the German publisher, Droemer Knaur. Information about an English translation and publisher was not immediately available. The Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, which has the rights to an Italian newsstand edition of the book, reported that Pope Benedict admits to Mr Seewald that he knew of “the presence of a 'gay lobby' in the Vatican composed of four or five people and he says he was able to remove their power”. Pope Benedict also says he kept a diary during his pontificate, but he plans to destroy it, even though he knows that historians could find it valuable, Corriere reported. On its website, Droemer said Pope Benedict speaks about the priorities of his pontificate, the VatiLeaks scandal, which saw the conviction and jailing of his butler, and about Pope Francis and the “controversial issues” of his papacy. Pope Benedict discusses the challenges facing the Catholic Church today, but also looks back to memories of his family and formative events in his life, Droemer said. The retired pope speaks of his “surprise” when Pope Francis was elected and his “joy” in seeing how the new pope prays in public and is able to communicate with a crowd, Corriere reported. He also discusses the ways in which he and Pope Francis are alike and are different. Before he was elected pope, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger collaborated with Mr Seewald on two book-length interviews: Salt of the Earth, published in German in 1996, and God and the World, published in German in 2000. As pope, he and Mr Seewald released Light of the World in 2010.
Michel Roy, secretary-general of Caritas Internationalis, told Vatican Radio that while humanitarian aid reaches Syrians living in refugee camps abroad, it doesn’t reach those living in Syria and displaced from their homes. At least 7 million people are internally displaced, representing “a terrible crisis”, he said. “And the international community fails to address this.” Everyone needs to get involved in putting pressure on all governments in the world to help put an end to the 5-year-long conflict in Syria, he said. “You can’t leave everything just to the great powers like Russia, the United States or the European Union. Everyone must make an effort,” he said.—CNS
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LEADER PAGE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Editor: Günther Simmermacher Guest editorial: Michael Shackleton
Truth and truthfulness
HE Diakonia Council of Churches (DCC) was established in Durban in 1976 when Archbishop Denis Hurley envisioned an efficient, organised inter-church structure that would highlight and tackle the injustices which ordinary people suffered under apartheid. While apartheid is no more on the statute books, the DCC persists in its worthy task of discouraging racial and any other prejudices that are still haunting the social fabric of this land. The council has now challenged the views attributed to a Sandton pastor who in a “misuse of the pulpit” preached the superiority of white people because of their work ethic. It has also rejected the stance of a guest-house owner who would not accommodate black people because blue-eyed people were purer and smarter and more acceptable to God. As the council insists, such views are indefensible. The DCC reminds us that some churches misused the teachings of the Bible for the purpose of propping up the apartheid ideology. It is the influence of this misuse of sacred scripture that lingers on in the minds of too many South Africans today. Historians have indicated that the Boers who trekked away from the settlement at the Cape of Good Hope around the turn of the 19th century were an agricultural and cattlebreeding people, products of the sprawling veld. In their isolation they became aware of themselves as a people distinct from all others. The Bible was their only daily reading and when the harsh realities of living in the wild afflicted them, they
turned to God and their clergymen. They believed they had been chosen by God and, like the Israelites of old, would receive divine deliverance from the pagan peoples around them. This spirit was also fostered by their memory of the darkskinned slaves brought into the Cape of Good Hope by the Dutch East India Company to do the manual work. The Old Testament emphasises the fact that God chose the Israelites to be his own people to whom he gave the promised land to the exclusion of other peoples. There are remnants of this kind of elitism among South Africans today who want to identify themselves with a wild fantasy that white people are like the Israelites, chosen by God to be superior to all others. The New Testament carries the message of inclusivity: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (Jn 3:16). St Paul makes no bones about it: “You have clothed yourselves in Christ, and there are no distinctions between Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female, but all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28). The New Testament’s teaching is often ignored in relation to racial prejudice. When the Bible is invoked in defence of an enterprise, it must be done with truthfulness. The Catechism of the Catholic Church presents it in this way: “Truth or truthfulness is the virtue which consists in showing oneself true in deeds and truthful in words, and in guarding against duplicity, dissimulation and hypocrisy” (2468).
Economic good sense from the Bible
DO not have an “econom c” bra n and have very tt e understand ng o market orces and uctua t ons but have a ways thought that we have been g ven the b uepr nt or a success u econom c mode n the O d Testament When oseph went down nto Egypt as a s ave and was then ra sed to a pos t on o respons b ty he stored and saved dur ng a t me o p enty
When ean t mes came he re eased what had been stored and saved back nto the commun ty We tend to do exact y the oppo s te n boom t mes we tend to spend spend spend ho d av sh part es buy uxur es and so on Then when recess on or down turn comes terr ed we ho d t ght y on to the tt e we have e t and so the s tuat on becomes worse Jud th Leonard Knysna
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.
St Catherine misrepresented T HE comments attributed to Dr Nontando Hadebe in the article “What would St Catherine tell Pope Francis today?” (June 1) cannot go unchallenged. Anybody who has read a life of St Catherine of Siena would certainly find jarring the idea that “St Catherine would challenge him on inclusion of homosexual people” and “… he is not doing the listening around homosexual people”. Also “St Catherine would challenge him on equal inclusion of women”, which might be a reference to the worn-out appeal for women priests. It is easy to speculate on what such a great Catholic soul might have advised the reigning pope, not having the opportunity to refute such statements. A strong case could in fact be
Proudly gay and Catholic
HIS letter is a response to the daily meditation for June 27 in the weekly church bulletin. It invited one to record the instances of grace in one’s life, just like photos that capture moments of bliss. Since I came to Cape Town, three pivotal moments that punctuate my faith come to mind. I am a gay Catholic man. Unlike back home in Namibia, there is pride here. I had the opportunity to wear the T-shirt “Proudly Catholic” and I took it. The leader of the Catholic student chaplaincy at the University of Cape Town lent me the shirt. I asked him if he had any reservations about wearing it at LGBTQIA+ Pride. “Do you believe it is a problem?” he asked me. “If not, then go ahead.” This resonates with my second experience. I sat in during a parish discussion of Amoris Laetitia just last week. The priest explored the document, emphasising that the pope calls each believer to use their conscience as a guide. The Church, according to Francis, ought to allow LGBTQIA+ people to live according to their consciences, as we seek God's will in our lives. The last experience was on the Sunday following that talk, at this same parish. I had just met a young man whose parents had given me a lift home after the talk. It was after Mass, and one of the priests greeted the young man, after which he turned to me to ask “So what are you doing in his life?” The parents related that the two of us, the young man and I, were new acquaintances. Yet I could have answered “I have fallen in love with him”, had this actually been the case. I have had moments of grace. Pancho Mulongeni, Cape Town
No hellfire but true suffering
N the 1995 movie Powder, a superintelligent man places his head on a young deer that has just been shot and his other hand on the hunter’s shoulder. The hunter begins to shout in anguish. His friend shouts: “What are you doing to him?” The man replies: “I am making him feel the horror of what he did to this innocent creature.” This, I believe, is a good model for describing the suffering of purgatory or hell. John Newman observed that firstorder communication uses pictures, metaphors, stories, the imagination, art, to inform the reader. Second-order language unpacks the primary symbols, theorises, theologises, analyses, and uses referential, scientific language. The Bible is written mainly in primary forms. Therefore, to argue that hell or purgatory means a place of fire is not a necessary conclusion. Fire is a symbol. I opine that God will restore a person’s full humanity and then leave the person to experience regret, remorse, sorrow, horror, sadness, loneliness at the harm done to others and to their own soul. The extent of this will of course vary according to each person’s circumstances. Flames of 1 000 degrees centigrade? This to me makes God opinions expressed in The Southern Cross, especially in letters to the Editor, do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editor or staff of the newspaper, or of the Catholic hierarchy. the letters page in particular is a forum in which readers may exchange opinions on matters of debate. letters must not be understood to necessarily reflect the teachings, disciplines or policies of the Church accurately. Letters can be sent to PO Box 2372, Cape Town 8000 or email@example.com or faxed to 021 465-3850
seem like a monstrous revengeseeker, a torturer. We make our own purgatory or hell by our choices. I have no doubt that this is an extremely painful experience in the spiritual and emotional sense. The late St John Paul II referred to hell as a state of being rather than an actual place. Fr Pierre Goldie, Cape Town
Homilists need our attention too
HE letter “Open up homilies to prayerful laity” (June 22) refers. The gift of delivering a homily, or even a speech for that matter, is not given to all, and the practical suggestions offered by Sr Judy Coyle IHM in her letter are very valid. I am convinced homilists do take preparation seriously. There are, however, other factors that help fuel the current discourse on the subject. It would be interesting to know how many parishioners go through the readings and reflect on them before attending Mass on Sunday. Catholics are privileged to have liturgical calendars and of course the Catholic Link where readings are listed. To come to Mass and listen to the three readings for the first time puts one at a great disadvantage in fully appreciating the homily. For the homilist there are also challenges. Some powerful homilies get lost in translation; a case being the language diversity of the congregation. It would serve the Church well to invest, at seminary level, in public-speaking classes. I am sure there are a number of Catholics who are members of Toastmasters who would volunteer their services. Christobel Mazibuko, Durban
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made for the exact opposite of what Dr Hadebe conjectures when we look at the great saint herself, on the very topic of homosexuality. El diálogo, on the life and work of St Catherine (Madrid: BAC, 1991), states: “St Catherine of Siena, a religious mystic of the 14th century, relays words of Our Lord Jesus Christ about the vice against nature, which contaminated part of the clergy. “Referring to sacred ministers, He says: ‘They not only fail from resisting this frailty [of fallen human nature] … but do even worse as they commit the cursed sin against nature [...] For this not only causes me nausea, but displeases even the demons themselves, whom these miserable creatures have chosen as their lords [...] “It is disagreeable to the demons, not because evil displeases them
and they find pleasure in good, but because their nature is angelic and thus is repulsed upon seeing such an enormous sin being committed. “It is true that it is the demon who hits the sinner with the poisoned arrow of lust, but when a man carries out such a sinful act, the demon leaves.” I suspect something of the “homosexual agenda” at play here in these comments of Dr Hadebe and a lot of thumbsuck. It should be quite clear to the average reader, especially in the light of this short biographical account of the extraordinary St Catherine’s life, that advice she might give to the pope today would express in letter and spirit the perennial magisterium of the Church and that she would not make common cause with the dissident camp challenging all and every aspect of our apostolic faith. BT Tuffin, Ladismith, Karoo
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‘SA politicians fuel violence’ BY BRONWEN DACHS
O u r L a d y o f M e r c y i n D u r b a n ’s c a t e c h i s m c l a s s v i s i t e d t h e D e n i s H u r l e y C e n t r e ’s f e e d i n g programme in the inner city with gifts of cake and farm vegetables. As part of their catechism and Year of Mercy courses, they shared a meal with some of the city’s homeless, unemployed and refugees. (From left) Evan Raaths, 10, Abdul Hakkem and Jordan Durkin, 9, enjoy cake together. (Photo: Rogan Ward)
OUTH African Church leaders have urged an end to pre-election violence and criticised politicians for fuelling it. “We are disappointed that our political leaders have not been loud enough in their condemnation of recent factional violence and political assassinations,” said Bishop Abel Gabuza of Kimberley, chair of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference’s Justice & Peace commission. At least three people have been killed in the Tshwane area around Pretoria, in riots triggered by the ANC’s choice of a mayoral candidate for municipal elections, scheduled for August 3. Shops have been looted and cars and buses set alight in violent protests over economic hardship. Politicians “are mobilising the young people in our communities, especially the unemployed youth, to engage in pre-election violence,” Bishop Gabuza said. He urged young South Africans “not to allow themselves to be used by politicians who show signs that their primary interest is greed for power and government tenders”. The SA Human Rights Commission warned that politically motivated murders and other acts of intimidation ahead of the polls are endangering citizens’ constitutional rights.
The commission’s statement came after arrests for the murders of two ANC members in KwaZulu-Natal, said to be politically motivated. South Africa’s political leaders have not “been vigorous enough in disciplining their candidates and members involved in disrupting campaign rallies of other parties and in creating no-go zones,” Bishop Gabuza said. “At the root of many social ills, including the current upsurge of pre-election violence, one finds greed and patronage politics.” This political culture must be stopped before it destroys the country and sends it “into a downward spiral from which it will struggle to recover,” the bishop said. The SA Council of Churches, of which the bishops’ conference is a member, asked clergy to intervene in politically divided communities before the elections. “The ugly scenes we have witnessed in Tshwane are totally out of place in the democratic culture of our countr y‚ and we condemn this in the strongest possible terms‚“ the Johannesburg-based council said. “Sinful greed leads to the killings of people who stand in the way” of a preferred election candidate or a corrupt business deal, it said. The council urged members to “intensify prayers and inter ventions in communities where peace must be restored‚ to maintain coexistence across political divisions”.—CNS
Benedict ‘feels protected’ by Francis BY JUNNO AROCHO ESTEVES
N his first public address in almost a year, retired Pope Benedict XVI expressed his sincere gratefulness to Pope Francis, saying that his goodness “from the first moment of your election, in ever y moment of my life here, touches me deeply”. “More than the beauty found in the Vatican Gardens, your goodness is the place where I live; I feel protected,” Pope Benedict said. He also conveyed his hope that Pope Francis would continue to “lead us all on this path of divine mercy”. Pope Francis led a Vatican celebration for the 65th anniversary of Pope Benedict’s priestly ordination. The two were joined by h h d fV i ffi d i
from the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. Those gathered gave Pope Benedict a standing ovation as he made his way into the Clementine Hall. A few minutes later, Pope Francis entered the hall and made a beeline for his predecessor. Pope Francis has made no secret of his admiration for the retired pontiff, often comparing him to a “wise grandfather at home”. Pope Francis praised Pope Benedict’s life of priestly service to the Church and recalled his writings on Simon Peter’s response to “Jesus’ definitive call: ‘Do you love me?’” “This is the hallmark dominating an entire life spent in priestly ser vice and of the true theology that you have defined—not by h ‘h hf h b l d’
continue to give witness to today,” he said. When Pope Francis finished speaking, Pope Benedict clasped his hands together to signal his thanks to the pope. He rose to his feet and stretched out his Pope Benedic tion 65 years ag a priest ordaine membrance car tomen” (“We giv “I am convi many dimension that can be said pope said. The word “e bring ever yone sion” of thanks f d h
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Jesus: Hope in an age of hopelessness Sarah-Leah F Pimentel EW things make me think more deeply about my faith than my parish's RCIA programme that I help to facilitate. One thing about adults trying to discern their place within the Catholic family is that they ask really tough questions! The kind of questions that cannot be simply satisfied with the stock answers from the old Penny Catechism or even the more modern YouCat. Last week, we were discussing how Jesus is both the centre and summit of our faith. We had tracked how Jesus' birth had been foretold in the Old Testament and how in his earthly ministry, Jesus always points us back to the Father. So far, so good. Then we got to the passage: “I am the the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (Jn 14:6). At this point, one lady asked: “So if we are saved only through Jesus, then what about people of other faiths? What about atheists? What about those who’ve never had the opportunity to encounter Jesus? Are they automatically separated from eternity with God because they haven’t accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour?” One of the facilitators gave a beautiful answer, explaining that God’s mercy and love are more abounding than we can imagine. So even if someone of a different faith or no faith at all lives an upright life, there is a trace of Christ living in them and they are also on their journey to the Father. God’s love excludes no one, but rather takes our imperfect search for the Good and brings it to perfection. There was a brief silence. Then a voice from the back of the room said: “So then, what’s the point of being Christian? If every person of goodwill has already been saved by God, then what are we doing here? “It’s a lot to commit one night a week for a whole year if you’re just going to tell us that it makes no difference whether I’m a
Catholic, or a Muslim, or a Jew, or an atheist.” Another facilitator picked up the question. He said Jesus is the surest way to God. He gave the analogy of Jesus as the highway that takes us straight to our destination instead of meandering through back roads and getting lost for lack of good signage. If we know the shortest route, why would we choose the detour? That seemed to satisfy the RCIA participants and the lesson continued. However, the question remained with me. How has my faith in Jesus made the difference in my life? Before going to bed that night, I sat on the couch with a cup of hot chocolate, contemplating the chaos of my flat (it was the night before I moved). Our lives often resemble the state of my flat: A few areas of our lives are neatly packaged into boxes, while others spill out of the crates we try so hard to contain them in. Many more bits and pieces are strewn on the floor, threatening to overwhelm us. And then there’s the wind outside that will blow everything all over the place if we open the
Religious life or married life?
Which is a nobler calling? the vocation of married life or the dedication of religious life?
HE last two columns on the sacraments invite us to reflect on the question which is greater and holier, religious life or married life? In the Latin rite of the Catholic Church, the normal practice is for priests, sisters and brothers not to marry. Young people have to choose between the one life and the other. If, as a young Catholic, God has called you to religious life, whether as a priest, a nun or a brother, you are greatly blessed. Religious life is a noble calling, for as a religious person you are dedicating your life to the service of God and the Church. Your heart and mind are not divided between serving God and serving the world. You are responding to the call, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few” (Lk 10:2). As a religious, you have the opportunity of receiving the sacraments frequently, and
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in particular, the opportunity to receive Holy Communion daily. If you are called to the priesthood, you will be in the privileged position to administer the sacraments, to serve the people of God and to preach the Gospel daily, for it is through the priesthood that the good news of the Bible is principally proclaimed. You may not have a biological family of your own, but the people you pastor become your family, your children. So much for religious life, but let us stop for a while and reflect on the benefits of married life: There is a sense in which the sacrament of holy matrimony precedes all other sacraments, for it was instituted with the creation of man and woman. After creating Adam, God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Gen 2:18). The Bible goes on to state: “That is why a man leaves his father and his mother and is
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front door too wide. But we can’t stay locked away in our fortresses. We are constantly bombarded by news of violent protests, politicians’ empty promises, the very real threat of terrorism. Closer to home, our relationships are messy, often bearing a measure of the hurt we have caused and the injuries done to us. For some, our careers sap the life out of us, while for others unemployment drives us to desperation and addiction. Hopelessness. That is probably the word that best describes our age. We need only look at the number of dystopian movies (The Maze Runner, Hunger Games, The Giver are just a few examples), to realise that we live in an age of hopelessness. There is a sense that the human race has run its course and even if we can find a way out of the mess we’ve created, the world we’ll inherit is pretty dismal. It’s within this context of hopelessness that my Christian faith takes root. What separates me from my friends who don’t believe in the existence of a God, is that I have hope. Even though I have the same daily struggles as everyone else, I’m confident there is something beyond this life. I’m not setting my sights on the here and now, but am looking in the direction that Jesus has pointed me to: the Father. This Jesus I know speaks with the same voice of love and compassion as his heavenly Father. He is love. He is mercy. He is gentleness. He is the one who soothes my pain. Continued on page 11
united to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Gen 2:24). This is an indication, not only of the love between a married couple, but of the indissolubility of marriage. Jesus confirmed this when he said: “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate” (Mt 19:6). This union between a man and a woman reflects the love of God; and, together, the two are endowed with the power of what may be called “secondary creation”, the power to participate in the perpetuation of the human race through procreation. There is joy in bringing life into the world and in raising and educating children. There is joy in the fact of being “the domestic church”, for the family is the first school of Christian life. It is in the family that the faith of the future priest, nun, brother or bishop is first nurtured. Properly understood, married life is as much a vocation as religious life is a calling and a vocation. Furthermore, without the family there is no priest, no nun, no brother, no bishop and no pope! The question that arises is which is greater and holier, religious life or family life? Which is the nobler calling? Who is more important, the one who has the power and licence to proclaim the Word, or the one who begets the one who proclaims? This question, together with the challenges of each of these vocations, will be discussed in my next column.
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Reverence for the altar? At a Mass a priest invited parishioners into the sanctuary to sign them up for a fundraising campaign. He did this directly on the corporal on the altar itself, with people milling around and talking in front of the tabernacle and with their backs to it. Is this conduct acceptable? Name withheld
ECAUSE you mention that the priest used the corporal as a surface on which to place papers for parishioners’ signatures, I presume that this occurred during the course of the liturgy after the corporal had been opened out in readiness for the Offertory of the Mass. If that is so, then the priest’s action is certainly odd. Using the corporal as a surface for the signing of the papers would surely make it the least likely spot for signatures. The corporal is a linen cloth on which the Eucharist rests during the sacred rites. Being linen, one would think its texture too unstable for writing on. Did the priest have some significant reason for using the corporal on the altar as a sort of office desk? I cannot guess what his reason would be, but his action could be perceived as unworthy of the sacredness of the sanctuary and its purpose during the Church’s supreme liturgical act of worship. The sanctuary is the area in the church which is reserved for the ordained clergy to celebrate the sacred liturgy. It may not be used for any other purpose. The priest ought to have located the fundraising gathering to the sacristy or any other suitable place. We must make the distinction between the Church’s formal acts of liturgical worship and the informal moments when people are in the sanctuary and the body of the church. During the formal process of a marriage ceremony, for example, the celebration follows the prescribed rubrics and the conventional local customs that the bride and groom are are comfortable with. There are also informal moments when those present in the sanctuary or in the pews pass humorous remarks as the nervous couple dither over the words that solemnise their vows to take each other in a life-long covenant. Being human, priests and people easily slip from our formal long faces into our broad and informal grins, even at very sacred moments. In the case that you mention, it strikes me that, odd as it was, this was not a case of the priest neglecting to show the reverence due to the holy actions he was performing. He was gathering generous people who have faith in Christ around the altar to ask them to support a worthy cause at a moment he knew they would be at Mass. They milled around and chatted, something our Lord would understand, but strict liturgists would probably not.
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the Southern Cross, July 13 to July 19, 2016
youth at St Paul’s parish in Rammolutsi, viljoenskroon, were confirmed by Bishop Peter Holiday of kroonstad (centre). Parish priest Fr Gabriel Baraza MHM (centre right) and Br Johny Motsamai Mphatse (left) are pictured with the teens. Bishop Frank de Gouveia of oudtshoorn (centre) with parish priest Fr Steven Scheepers (left) and Redemptorist Father larry kaufmann, attended the closing of the parish mission for St Christopher’s parish in Plettenberg Bay. Fr kaufmann, who preached the mission, is leading the year of Mercy pilgrimage to the Holy land and Egypt in october (see www.fowlertours.co.za/kaufmann for further information).
the St Anne’s sodality of kreste Modisa in Makgobistad district received four new members, after going through a one year probation period. St theresa's Convent School in Coronationville, Johannesburg, has built a “Garden of tranquilty”, a peaceful and tranquil place for its learners. Many learners enjoy quiet time at the grotto and many RE lessons are taught there.
Prison Care and Support Network Caring for Inmates, Ex-inmates and their Families UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH PBO 930033684
About 60 parishioners and their friends celebrated the feast of St Anthony at St Anthony’s parish in Sedgefield with an italian dinner. Fr Augustine Mbekwa is pictured being served his lasagne meal by Felicity Frankland and Judy venter.
the youth ministry team of Bosco youth Centre spend a year as volunteers in the youth ministry department of the centre. those interested can call Fr Pawel SDB @ 011 949 2360.
lions District Governor Sue Charles of kommetjie parish in Cape town, inducted Patrick Pillay of Parow parish as the incoming President of lions Club De Grendel.the De Grendel lions Club has eleven Catholic members from the Parow, Elsies River, Bothasig, Goodwood and Milnerton parishes.the club feeds over 13 000 meals per annum to the needy.
St John Bosco parish, Robertsham, Johanesburg held an induction ceremony for St Anne’s Sodality by parish priest Fr John thompson SDB. this is the first time St Anne’s Sodality has been introduced into the parish.
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Higher education is one of the most power deterrents to crime and re-incarceration. Education transforms a ƉĞƌƐŽŶ͛ƐƐĞŶƐĞŽĨƐĞůĨĂŶĚƚŚĞǁĂǇƐƚŚĂƚĂƉĞƌƐŽŶƌĞůĂƚĞƐ to his or her family, community, and the world. In this sense, higher education transforms the lives of students and their children and promotes lasting transitions out of prison. Study after study has demonstrated that education, particularly higher education, is one of the most effective ways to break cycles of poverty, incarceration and re-incarceration because higher education creates inroads of advanced education in communities that suffer from a chronic lack of access.
"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." - Nelson Mandela
Prison Care and Support Network (PCSN) provides learning opportunities for offenders and parolees, allowing them to use their sentences constructively and focus on a positive future. The aid include financial support to 21 beneficiaries during 2016, together with emotional support and monitoring during incarceration and after release. Fields of study include Higher Diploma in Adult Basic Education & Training; Diploma in Marketing Management; Diploma in Public Relations; SMME; Diploma in Public Relations; Bachelor of Accounting Science; Diploma in Electrical Engineering, etc. The organization receive hundreds of applications to study annually, however are not able to assist the majority due to funding constraints. Join hands with Prison Care and Support Network today by assisting a number of offenders with rehabilitation through tertiary education to obtain their qualification.
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Capuchin Father Didacus McGrath celebrated his diamond jubilee of ordination at St theresa's parish in Welcome Estate, Cape town. Fr McGrath was ordained in ireland on May 10, 1956. A few months later, he was sent to South Africa, arriving in Cape town in December 1956. over the years, he has served in the parishes of Parow, langa, Belgravia, Bridgetown, and also Welcome Estate, where he is currently still resident. the Jubilee Mass was concelebrated by Capuchin Custos Fr odilo Mroso with Frs Donal Sweeney and Anstey kay in attendance. Holy Cross Sisters are pictured behind. (From left) Fr Sweeney, Fr kay, Fr McGrath and Fr Mroso.
the Southern Cross, July 13 to July 19, 2016
Archbishop Hurley was an Aids pioneer in SA From July 18-22 Durban will host the World Conference on Aids. PADDy kEARNEy recalls how the city’s late Archbishop Denis Hurley was a pioneer in addressing what would become a national emergency, going back to 1987.
URING the 45 years that he was bishop and then archbishop of Durban (1947–92), Denis Hurley took up many social issues, such as opposing all forms of injustices. In 1987, at the age of 72 he became aware what a huge issue Aids would be for South Africa. Though he was nearing the end of his episcopal ministry, he began to put much energy into ensuring that the Church would play a significant part in preventing the spread of the disease and in caring for people affected by it. He was alerted to the Aids tsunami about to hit South Africa by Jesuit Father Ted Rogers, an Aids pioneer in Zimbabwe. By 1987 Fr Rogers was already involved in spreading the message about Aids to clergy and lay people after being asked by the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference to organise a national programme. When he attended the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) plenary session that year, Fr Rogers was invited to address the bishops about Aids. The person who seemed to be most stirred by this presentation was Archbishop Hurley, at that time president of the SACBC. From what Fr Rogers told the bishops, he realised the huge challenge facing them, and could see what a dramatic response was needed and needed urgently. He immediately organised a meeting in Durban to begin the process of alerting his diocese to Fr Rogers’ message to the plenary session. At this first Catholic meeting about Aids in Durban, when it came time for questions and comments, Archbishop Hurley noticed that there were two people who seemed most interested in the topic: Liz Towell, at that time working for the Department of Health, and Dr Hermann Schumann, a district surgeon. The archbishop invited these two health professionals to meet with him as soon as possible to set up a committee that would work out a strategic plan for raising awareness about Aids throughout the archdiocese. Ms Towell suggested that Mike du Preez, a psychologist from Addington Hospital, also be invited as well as her parish priest, Fr Joe Money OMI, who could do
spiritual counselling. “Archbishop Hurley got that meeting going in no time,” said Ms Towell, “and we met at the cathedral.” Others invited included Iris Pillay from Shifa Hospital, Martha Swart from St Aidan’s Hospital, and Mgr Paul Nadal, the vicar-general at that time. The plan they came up with was first to get the message to deanery meetings from which it could then go on to parish level. At the deanery meetings the committee members were to explain that Aids was a disease, that it would have a big social impact and that people would have to consider their moral and sexual behaviour, as well as to have compassion and sympathy for those who were HIV+ or who had full-blown Aids. The disease was not to be regarded as God’s punishment for sinfulness. All of this was, of course, rather embarrassing for Church audiences. “You could see it. Everyone was cringing, but never, ever, did Archbishop Hurley cringe,” Ms Towell recalled. She quite quickly realised that not only medical people should be invited to participate in the archdiocesan Aids campaign, but also people who knew about Catholic moral teachings as well as being eager to work on Aids, and having love and compassion for those who were suffering so much.
he early meetings of the Aids Committee were informal—an opportunity for the members to share with each other what they had learnt about the disease and the most effective ways of spreading awareness and information, and providing care. Archbishop Hurley was determined to keep abreast of new information about the disease so Ms Towell and Dr Schumann would pass on to him any new scholarly articles they came across. They could see that he had read what they had given him because he would ask for explanations of anything he hadn’t understood. On subsequent visits, they would learn more from Fr Rogers about what he was doing in Zimbabwe, and share with him their own activities. In those early days, when Aids was still seen as a “gay plague”, the stigmatisation and rejection of people with Aids was appalling. “It just exacerbated the hideous racial situation of South Africa,” Ms Towell said about how black people with Aids were treated. Committee members would come back from visits to communities and tell the archbishop what was happening on the ground. He would always encourage them to persevere despite their distress at seeing how communities rejected people who were HIV+.
Archbishop Denis Hurley with the first Aids workers in the archdiocese of Durban: (from left) iris Pillay, liz towell, Martha Swart. The message that Archbishop Hurley wanted his committee members to pass on in their contact with sick people was “a message of loving and caring for them. People with Aids were just so shunned, so rejected, so stigmatised that the only thing he wanted us to do was to love them,” Ms Towell said. They were not to judge or preach to people with Aids. Archbishop Hurley’s attitude to the use of condoms, which were generally frowned on by the Catholic Church, was to encourage the archdiocesan Aids team to decide in conscience what they should do in relation to each case they came across. “What does it feel like to you?” he would say. “What are you hearing? What is God telling you to do?” When Bishop Kevin Dowling of Rustenburg came under attack for promoting condom usage in situations where one partner in a marriage was HIV+, Archbishop Hurley publicly supported his view. Ms Towell was also impressed by how much Archbishop Hurley understood the plight of women in relation to Aids. He realised how difficult it was for them to speak to their partners or even to their priests about the moral dilemmas they faced in a patriarchal society. She admired how well informed he was about women’s lack of rights and the obstacles to their becoming empowered. To do her Aids work for the archdiocese, Ms Towell initially used her own car. Eventually when it was driven into the ground and she had no money to buy another, she went to Archbishop Hurley and said that she would have to give up the work. He immediately contacted Missio, a German funding agency. Within a week, their Aids specialist, Dr Edith Sollider, came out from Germany and drew up a full budget for the Aids Committee—including a salary,
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ater on, when he was no longer in office as archbishop and was what he called “acting parish priest” at Emmanuel cathedral, on several successive Sundays he invited Ms Towell to speak at all the Sunday Masses at the time of the homily, urging her to be “100% forthright and accurate about Aids”. He wanted his people to be fully informed about this disease ravaging their communities. Cathy Madden, who had by this time joined the Aids Committee, helped Ms Towell to prepare what she was going to say in these Aids awareness “sermons”. They included moving stories about the impact Aids was having on families and individuals, and the great struggles of
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Mgr Paul Nadal 5 to 7 August 2016,weekend Theme: Reflections on the year of Mercy
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equipment and a car. Two weeks later, funding came through from Missio. Archbishop Hurley made sure all his priests knew about Aids and so he invited Ms Towell to address them on one of their study days. He encouraged priests to ask questions, saying: “You have to ask everything you need to know here, and I’ve told her [Ms Towell] she has got to be as explicit as possible.” And so she proceeded to tell the priests in great detail exactly how the disease was spread—and also how it was not spread. “Nobody was looking at me, except for Archbishop Hurley who was sitting right up there next to me, and I thought, ‘Wow! [The priests] were really uncomfortable. [There were] almost no questions. Only two young priests raised their hands’.” Archbishop Hurley urged the priests to weigh up the consequence for any family or couple of the methods they might use to protect themselves from HIV-infection, and that the priests should start talking about these issues and encouraging their people into faithful relationships.
Aids orphans and child-headed households. Archbishop Hurley was a “handson” chairperson especially from 1993 when he was no longer in office as archbishop. He liked to accompany the home-based carers on their visits to the communities. He wanted to see exactly what the situation was like, to meet and pray with people with Aids, speak to their children and other relatives. In his 80s, he had to be helped to make his way over rough terrain to humble shacks in informal settlements. He composed special prayers for such visits, to bring spiritual comfort to patients and volunteers as well as the families of those affected, prayers suitable both for Christians and people of other faiths. Archbishop Hurley was acutely aware that “99,9% of our [homebased care] volunteers were women who already had a huge job in their homes, under very difficult conditions, but were still giving of themselves to help others—and also that they were suffering from the disease themselves and could do very little about it”. Though the archdiocese could not afford to pay these volunteers for their work, every year they organised two “thank you” events for them—one mid-year and the other just before Christmas. Food parcels would be distributed and, at Christmas, presents for each of the volunteers as well as certificates of thanks. At the centre of these events was the archbishop, together with Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, delighted to have this opportunity to thank the volunteers and tell them how important they were “in fulfilling God’s plan of providing care for the suffering”. Archbishop Hurley was also central to the fundraising efforts of what had come to be known as Sinosizo (We help). When people knew he was associated with this organisation it added enormously to their credibility. He wrote beautiful personalised letters of thanks to each donor, however small their gift might be, and insisted on making personal visits to those local donors who had given major gifts. At the time of his sudden death in 2004 there were still appointments in his diary for visits he was planning to make to such donors. As we approach the World Conference on Aids taking place in Durban from this month, it is good to remember the pioneering work done by Archbishop Hurley—his emphasis on love, care and compassion for all affected by the disease, the need for accurate information, and the primacy of a well-informed conscience in making decisions in such difficult pastoral situations. There is much to think about in this Year of Mercy.
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Where church and pagans live side by side In Glastonbury, England, Christians live side by side with pagans and hippies. JoNAtHAN luXMooRE visited the historical town.
N Magdalene Street in Glastonbury in south-western England, proud parents gather before the stone facade of Our Lady St Mary church, as their offspring, smartly attired, prepare for first Communion. Along the busy street, near the walls of a ruined monastery, the Goddess Temple offers sessions in tarot reading and bio-resonance, while up ahead a traveller with beads and dreadlocks window-shops outside The Speaking Tree. Welcome to Glastonbury, Europe’s hippie capital, where ancient churches stand alongside New Age bookstores and shamanic restaurants. “It takes some getting used to, but we have long experience of living together here,” said Catherine Woolmer, administrator of the shrine of Our Lady of Glastonbury at the church.
“Whatever their differences, people of all faiths and none make every effort to get along and work for the community,” she said. First settled in Neolithic times, Glastonbury was a well-established village a millennium before Jesus was born. Today’s population of the town, which is located 23km south of Bristol, stands at less than 9 000. It’s famous for its links with energy points and ley-lines, Celtic mysteries and Arthurian legends. In the Middle Ages, when it was surrounded by marshlands, local monks said it was the mystical Avalon, final resting place of King Arthur, and even claimed, in 1190, to have discovered the grave of Arthur and his queen, Guinevere. Glastonbury Abbey, where the remains were reburied, was endowed in the seventh-century by King Ine of Wessex and enlarged by its bestknown abbot, St Dunstan. But some chroniclers claimed it was founded by St Joseph of Arimathea and that Jesus visited Glastonbury as a child—a legend which inspired Romantic poet William Blake’s poem “Jerusalem”. Research has shown how such legends were promoted to make the abbey profitable as a pilgrimage center. But remnants of the Glastonbury
Glastonbury High Street, where churches stand alongside New Age shops with names like the Speaking tree and Moon Mirrors. (Photo: David Gearing)
Thorn, which supposedly grew from St Joseph’s staff, can still be seen in the town. The abbey, by now one of England’s richest, was brutally suppressed during the dissolution of the monasteries under King Henry VIII in 1536, when its last abbot, Bl Richard Whiting, was hanged, drawn and quartered as a traitor. He is one of 19 Catholics with local associations who have been beatified by the Church as martyrs. “Glastonbury draws people for all kinds of reasons, but what underpins its attraction is that it’s an ancient, dynamic place of prayer,” explained Fr Christopher Whitehead, evangelisation director for the Catholic diocese of Clifton, in which Glastonbury is located. “Everyone is welcome, and there’s harmony and tolerance here. Most people, whatever their backgrounds, have something of the joy of faith written on their faces.”
he ruined abbey is linked to Glastonbury’s Anglican St John the Baptist church, which runs an open forum with other denominations to foster “sharing and fellowship”. It also shares the town with at least 70 sects and cults from the International Order for Krishna Consciousness to the Ancient Order of Druids. Many such groups converge for the annual Glastonbury Festival, a performing arts event that attracts 200 000 fans every June (this year’s music festival billed acts such as Coldplay, Adele, Art Garfunkel, Laura Mvula, Muse and Earth, Wind & Fire). Glastonbury’s Christian links are highlighted each July with an ecumenical pilgrimage and procession. Fr Whitehead said he is impressed by the warm reception given by Glastonbury’s non-Christians. “The pilgrimage is a very public witness, which takes in the whole town, and though we get the odd taunt, this isn’t intended anti-religiously,” he said. “It’s a wonderful gathering under Our Lady’s patronage of the peoples and cultures who’ve made their home here, walking the same cob-
Daughters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
the ancient Glastonbury Abbey, once one of the most powerful monasteries in England. Glastonbury has a rich Christian history, but is also home to sects and cults such as the international order for krishna Consciousness and the Ancient order of Druids (Photo: Wieslaw Majczuk) bled streets where the faith has been upheld over centuries.” The area’s mystical links are most vivid on Glastonbury Tor, a hill rising sharply just east of the town that commands views towards Stonehenge and the Anglican cathedral of Wells. Early writers cited the tor as the location of the Holy Grail, while some researchers say it represents Aquarius on a gigantic astrological zodiac. What’s certain is that it was the site of a church destroyed in a 1275 earthquake, of which only the tower, dedicated to St Michael, now survives. The Rev Diana Greenfield, an Anglican priest who advises on “alternative spiritualities”, said her own church has “robust and healthy relations” with Glastonbury’s cults and sects, seeing them as part of the area’s “rich spiritual heritage”. Phil Gibbons, spokesman for the Clifton diocese, agrees. “Glastonbury gains vibrancy from all the spiritual things on offer, but we practise the Catholic faith here as we would in any other town,” Mr Gibbons said. “We welcome everyone who wishes to join with us, and we count on other groups welcoming us too. I’ve never heard of any interfaith tensions.”
Our Lady St Mary church, built in the 1930s to replace a Marian shrine destroyed in the Reformation, is hosting a Holy Door for the Jubilee Year of Mercy. Along the road, a couple of greyhaired women in black cloaks stride past shops with names such as Moon Mirrors and Ying and Yang, while a bearded man in a gold bowler hat emerges from Glastonbury’s Labyrinth bookstore and heads into the Wonky Broomstick café. Ms Woolmer, the Marian shrine administrator, doubts that Catholics have much inclination to dabble in Glastonbury’s alternative faith scene, but says sect adherents routinely visit Our Lady St Mary church in search of peace and quiet. Fr Whitehead is similarly relaxed. He thinks Glastonbury, in all its strangeness, is just a microcosm of society. “I think we’re still exploring our spiritual natures, and it’s the yearning for a deeper sense of meaning which draws such an eclectic group of people here,” Fr Whitehead said. “The Church’s role is to live alongside society in all its diversity, gently accompanying it on its path of discovery. Some may find Glastonbury odd, but I’m sure there are odder places.”—CNS
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Entire universe shares in God’s merciful love
ndeed, before you the whole universe is like a grain from a balance, or a drop of morning dew come down upon the earth. But you have mercy on all, because you can do all things; and you overlook sins for the sake of repentance. “For you love all things that are and loathe nothing that you have made; for you would not fashion what you hate. How could a thing remain, unless you willed it; or be preserved, had it not been called forth by you? But you spare all things, because they are yours, O Ruler and Lover of souls, for your imperishable spirit is in all things!” (Wisdom 11:22– 12:1) No one can possibly attempt to imagine the universe in either its immensity or its complexity, but scientists do attempt to work in teams to piece information together to provide theoretical frameworks they can work with. Some of the very brave speak confidently of eventually deriving a single grand theory for how everything in the universe functions together. Others think the complexity of the universe will always add a new layer of mystery. There remains, of course, one ultimate mystery concerning the universe that only faith can address with confidence: why there is something instead of nothing. All the subsequent mysteries of Christian faith fall back on our belief that there is something rather than nothing because of the Creator of all. The Vatican has an official astronomer, Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno. If any Catholic is
year of Mercy
competent to discuss the vastness of the universe, its 14-or-sobillion-year history that begins with the “big bang” and the subsequent cosmic processes that had to take place for the formation of earth and our solar system, it should be him. And he assures us that science and faith should be able to communicate with each other with respect for what is important to both. After all, this is a man with deep commitments to both realms of knowledge. I admit to being dumbfounded by it all. On those rare occasions when I have had the privilege of resting under the shade of a beach umbrella on a sandy shore, my mind reels in amazement, falling eventually into a state of wonder and awe by the fact that there are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on all the beaches of our tiny, little, insignificant planet. Being a person of faith, though, amazement is a tool which nourishes my faith. This is when the passage above from the Book of Wisdom springs to mind in its declaration that “before you the whole universe is like a grain from a balance, or a drop of morning dew come down upon the earth”. The vastness of the universe only hints of the greatness of the Creator. The same passage goes on
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Liturgical Calendar Year C – Weekdays Cycle Year 2 Sunday July 17 Genesis 18:1-10, Psalms 15:2-5, Colossians 1:2428, Luke 10:38-42 Monday July 18 Micah 6:1-4, 6-8, Psalms 50:5-6, 8-9, 16-17, 21, 23, Matthew 12:38-42 Tuesday July 19 Micah 7:14-15, 18-20, Psalms 85:2-8, Matthew 12:46-50 Wednesday July 20, St Apollinaris Jeremiah 1:1, 4-10, Psalms 71:1-6, 15, 17, Matthew 13:1-9 Thursday July 21, St Lawrence of Brindisi Jeremiah 2, 1.3.7-8.12-13, Psalms 36, 6-11, Matthew 13, 10-17 Friday July 22, St Mary St Apollinaris Magdalene 2 Corinthians 5:14-17, Psalms 63:2-6, 8-9, John 20:1-2, 11-18 Saturday July 23, St Bridget Jeremiah 7:1-11, Psalms 84:3-6, 8, 11, Matthew 13:24-30 Sunday July 24 Genesis 18:20-32, Psalms 138:1-3, 6-8, Colossians 2:12-14, Luke 11:1-13
to assure us that everything in the universe, no matter how large or small, shares in God’s merciful love. This is something only faith can tell us, and what joy it must be for Br Consolmagno to be able to behold the universe with the penetrating acuity of a scientist while embracing through faith God’s love for us and everything in the universe. The wonder of faith extends far beyond our joy in believing in God as the Creator. The depth of our joy resides in turning to God as our redeemer. While God loves all things that are and loathes nothing that he has made, not all is good in our world. We know there is evil. There is hatred. We witness wave after wave of terror spewing from human activity. When we acknowledge the turmoil created by our presence in the world, we must ponder the fact that God’s love for us is absolutely an act of God’s mercy. Perhaps the greatest wonder of all is God’s patience with humanity. “How could a thing remain, unless you willed it?” (Wisdom 11:25) Our sins are overlooked, not because they are ignored, but because God’s mercy awaits our repentance. Beyond our repentance, Christ calls us to be living signs of God’s mercy. During this Year of Mercy, let us remember the prayer of St Francis: “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace, where there is hatred, let me sow love.” n This is the fifth column in a 13part series. This article was originally published in Arkansas Catholic.
Jesus: Hope in an age of hopelessness Continued from page 7 He is the quiet stream where I can wash my weary feet, the eagle that carries me when I can no longer go on my own strength. In the words of St. Paul: “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf” (Heb 6:19). For me, being a Christian is not just about securing my salvation and my place in heaven someday. Believing in Jesus is the hope I need when I’m faced with the storms within my own soul as well as those storms that rage in the world around me. “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” says Jesus. If he were speaking to us today, I’m certain that he would add: “I am the hope you need to find your way to me, to search for truth in a world filled with falsehood masked as truth, and to find meaning for your life amidst so much meaninglessness.” Jesus: Hope in an age of hopelessness.
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LETORD—Roger. in loving memory of Deacon Roger of Durbanville, who passed away seven years ago on July 19, 2009, aged 96. Will always be remembered by his family Helen, Stephen, Matthew, thérèse and kieran, Janet, Dean, Michael and kyle, Anne, Basil, Sarah, Warren and Jessica and Joan Swanson. May his soul rest in peace WILLIAMS—owen. in loving memory of our former colleague of The Southern Cross, who died on July 20, 2007.
tance. Help me now in my urgent need and grant my petitions. in return i promise to make your name known and publish this prayer. Amen. MB.
O VIRGIN Mother, in the depths of your heart you pondered the life of the Son you brought into the world. Give us your vision of Jesus and ask the Father to open our hearts, that we may always see His presence in our lives, and in the power of the Holy Spirit, bring us into the joy and peace of the kingdom, where Jesus is lord forever and ever. Amen
HOLY ST JUDE, apostle and martyr, great in virtue and rich in miracles, kinsman of Jesus Christ, faithful intercessor of all who invoke you, special patron in time of need. to you i have recourse from the depth of my heart and humbly beg you to come to my assis-
JWARA, Siegfried Mandla, Rt Rev Msgr CMM. We congratulate you on you appointment as Apostolic vicar for the vicariate of ingwavuma. We pray for you that the good lord will give you strength and courage to lead the flock entrusted to you with good example and sound judgment. lord may everything we do begin with your inspiration, continue with your help and reach perfection under your guidance. May the servant of God Abbot Francis Phanner pray for you and make powerful intercession for you before the throne of God. From Bros Daniel Ambrose David Manuel and
Our bishops’ anniversaries This week we congratulate: July 17: Bishop Francisco de Gouveia of Oudtshoorn on the 6th anniversary of his episcopal ordination. July 19: Bishop Michael Wüstenberg of Aliwal on his 62nd birthday.
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17th Sunday: July 24 Readings: Genesis 18:20-32, Psalm 138:1-3, 6-8, Colossians 2:12-14, Luke 11:1-13
HE extraordinary thing about Judaism and Christianity is that intimacy with God to which the People of God feel that they can lay claim. Next Sunday’s first reading presents us with God worrying about whether he should tell Abraham what is going to happen to Sodom (and indeed whether things are as bad as they are reported—so messengers are sent to find out). Abraham is now permitted to take the initiative, and asks God: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?”, and starts to negotiate about how many righteous are sufficient to save Sodom: “Fifty?” “Forty-five?”, “Thirty?”, “Twenty?”, then, “What about ten?” We are left with the assumption that not even ten just persons were found in Sodom, because the next story recounts a dreadful breach of hospitality on the part of the city’s inhabitants, and the city is duly destroyed. For our purposes, however, what is of most interest is that it is permissible for Abraham to bargain with the Maker of the Heavens and the Earth. That is a God of a different stamp, and our hearts should lift with this realisation. The psalms always provide a good model
S outher n C ross
for the possibility of our telling God exactly what we think, and next Sunday’s psalm offers just such a model. It starts with gratitude (always a good place to begin): “I shall thank you, God, with all my heart; in the presence of God I shall sing to you.” The poet has a very strong sense of reverence, we notice: “I shall worship towards your holy Temple, and praise your name”; and he knows that it is permissible for him to ask for things, and to expect a response: “On the day I called, you answered me.” And the poem ends with immense confidence: “Your steadfast love lasts for ever; do not abandon the work of your hands.” In the second reading there is an immensely strong sense of identity between Jesus and the believer, who is described as “buried with him in baptism…raised with him through faith in the activity of God who raised him from the dead”. There is a real intimacy here that we are invited in these days to rediscover, expressed as God’s “free gift [with regard to] all our transgressions”.
That intimacy is right at the heart of Jesus’ message, and we see that in next Sunday’s Gospel. Prayer was clearly something that was always important to Jesus; and Luke has him praying at every key moment of his ministry. Here you can feel the disciples impatiently waiting for him to stop, and then one of them speaks, but not (as we might have suspected) to tell him to get on with real life, but asking if they can catch up with other similar groups: “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” In response, Jesus gives them what we call the “Lord’s Prayer”, though not in the more familiar version that we find in Matthew’s gospel. It may be worth just pausing over it: “Father, may your name be held holy.” For our point of view, the interesting thing here is the intimacy implied in calling God “Father”. Then come the requests: “May your kingdom come, give us the supersubstantial bread which is daily.” (And if you find that impossible to understand, then don’t blame the translator). “And let us off our sins; for we have let off everyone who is in debt to us.
Struggling with grandiosity W
E live in a world wherein most everything overstimulates our grandiosity, even as we are handed fewer and fewer tools to deal with that. Several years ago, Robert L Moore wrote a very significant book entitled Facing the Dragon. The dragon that most threatens us, he believes, is the dragon of our own grandiosity, that sense inside us that has us believe that we are singularly special and destined for greatness. This condition besets us all. Simply put, each of us, all seven billion of us on this planet, cannot help but feel that we are the centre of the universe. And, given that this is mostly unacknowledged and we are generally ill-equipped to deal with it, this makes for a scary situation. This isn’t a recipe for peace and harmony, but for jealousy and conflict. And yet this condition isn’t our fault, nor is it in itself a moral flaw in our nature. Our grandiosity comes from the way God made us. We are made in the image and likeness of God. This is the most fundamental, dogmatic truth inside the Judeo-Christian understanding of the human person. However, it is not to be conceived of simplistically, as some beautiful icon stamped inside our souls. Rather, it needs to be conceived of in this way: God is fire, infinite fire, an energy that is relentlessly seeking to embrace and infuse all of creation. And that fire is inside of us, creating in us a feeling of godliness, an intuition that we too
Nicholas King SJ
Our intimacy with God
have divine energies, and a pressure to be singularly special and to achieve some form of greatness. In a manner of speaking, to be made in the image and likeness of God is to have a micro-chip of divinity inside us. This constitutes our greatest dignity but also creates our biggest problems. The infinite does not sit calmly inside the finite. Because we have divine energy inside us we do not make easy peace with this world, our longings and desires are too grandiose. Not only do we live in that perpetual disquiet that Augustine highlighted in his famous dictum: “You have made us for yourself, Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you!” but this innate grandiosity has us forever nursing the belief that we are special, uniquely destined, and born to somehow stand out and be recognised and acknowledged for our specialness. And so all of us are driven outwards by a divine gene to somehow make a statement with our lives, to somehow create a personal immortality, and to somehow create some artifact of specialness that the whole world has to take note of. This isn’t an abstract concept; it’s utterly earthy. The evidence for this is seen in every newscast, in every bombing, in every daredevil stunt, and in every situation where someone seeks to stand out. It’s seen too in the universal hunger for fame, in the longing to be known, and in the need to be recognised as unique and special.
And do not bring us into a place of testing.” Whatever this means, there is a profound intimacy here that we shall do well to imitate. And that intimacy is carried on in the parable that immediately follows, as Jesus paints various images of what our relationship with God might be like. In particular, we are encouraged to be persistent in prayer, as though God were a grumpy friend who is reluctant to get out of bed. And so we are encouraged: “Ask and it will be given you; seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you.” The idea here is that we are talking about a God who is interested in human needs, and glad to be asked; and then we get the little joke about fathers not giving a snake when asked for a fish or a scorpion instead of an egg; but the real teaching comes right at the end: “Your Father from Heaven will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.” There is something to make us think this week.
Southern Crossword #715
Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI
But this grandiosity, of itself, isn’t our fault, nor is it necessarily a moral flaw. It comes from the way we are made, ironically from what is highest and best in us. The problem is that, today, we generally aren’t given the tools to grapple with it generatively. More and more, we live in a world within which, for countless reasons, our grandiosity is being overstimulated, even as this is not being recognised and even as we are being given fewer and fewer religious and psychological tools with which to handle that. What are these tools?
sychologically, we need images of the human person that allow us to understand ourselves healthily but in ways that include an acceptance of our limitations, our frustrations, our anonymity, and the fact that our lives must make gracious space for everyone else’s life. Psychologically, we must be given the tools to understand our own life, admittedly as unique and special, but still as one life among millions of other unique and special lives. Psychologically, we need better tools for handling our grandiosity. Religiously, our faith and our churches need to offer us an understanding of the human person that gives us the insights and the disciplines (discipleship) to enable us to live out our uniqueness and our specialness, even as we make peace with our own mortality, our limitations, our frustrations, our anonymity, and create space for the uniqueness and specialness of everyone else’s life. In essence, religion has to give us the tools to access the divine fire inside us and act healthily on the talents and gifts God has graced us with, but with the concomitant discipline to humbly acknowledge that these gifts are not our own, that they come from God, and that all we are and achieve is God’s grace. Only then will we not be killed by failure and inflated by success. The task in life, Robert Lax suggests, is not so much finding a path in the woods as of finding a rhythm to walk in.
4. Lazarus lived here (Jn 11) (7) 8. Not so transparent (6) 9. What Jesus did to the rough waters (7) 10. Ebb (6) 11. Skilful (6) 12. Ancient Greek historian put L chart up (8) 18. Kind of letter from the shepherd (8) 20. Ornament for your limb (6) 21. Hebrew name of God (6) 22. Holder of the book of readings (7) 23. Mary’s troops in your parish, perhaps (6) 24. Pass away (7)
1. Morally depraved (7) 2. Inner sacred place (7) 3. Treeless Arctic region (6) 5. He slept during Paul’s sermon (Ac 20) (8) 6. Assistant (6) 7. Required for what the baker did, we hear (6) 13. Go into these with great enthusiasm (8) 14. Very old fashioned (7) 15. Pope for a Year of Mercy? (7) 16. Block your progress (6) 17. Dress novice in the habit (6) 19. Cultivator of the soil (6)
Solutions on page 11
CHURCH CHUCKLE MAN is angry because he has it in his head someone stole his wallet. AHethat walks into a church to steal someone else’s wallet, but he has a change of heart during the service. He confesses to the priest afterwards about what his intentions had initially been. The priest asks: “What made you change your mind?” The man says: “In your homily on the Ten Commandments when you got to ‘Thou shall not commit adultery,’ I remembered where I left my wallet!”
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