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July 20 to July 26, 2016

Reg no. 1920/002058/06

How Pokémon Go app can help evangelise

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R8,00 (incl VAT RSA)

Catholics and their struggle with mental health

Eight great places of pilgrimage around the world

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Fr Maselwane death: ‘Stop the rumours’ By MAnDLA ZIBI


HE archdiocese of Johannesburg has slammed speculation and rumours following the death of Oblate Father Mohohlo Patrick Maselwane, a popular Johannesburg priest and Radio Veritas presenter described as “a real gem”. The priest died on July 8 after being hit by a train. The circumstances of his death were under investigation by the SA Police Services, the archdiocese said in a statement, adding: “We appeal to people not to spread rumours until this investigation has been completed.” The body of Fr Maselwane, 52, was found between Jeppe and Park train stations in Johannesburg. Fr Maselwane was born in 1963, and joined the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in 1986. After studying at Cedara and at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, he was ordained to the priesthood in December 1994 at Regina Mundi church in Soweto. His first assignment as a priest was as a formator in the pre-novitiate of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. He taught in the then St Peter Seminary in Garsfontein, Pretoria. He served in various parishes, including Molapo, Diepkloof, and Pimville. His last assignment was at Sacred Heart parish in Katlehong. Only days before his own passing, Fr Maselwane mourned the death of Pimville’s Deacon Eugene Moshe. Fr Maselwane sat on various boards, including that of Radio Veritas and of St Benedict's College in Bedfordview. He presented the Sesotho programme, “Letsemeng” on Radio Veritas, and held various positions in the archdiocese of Johannesburg and his congregation. These included vicar for family life, consultor, chairman of the Council of Priests in Johannesburg, district superior of the Oblate community in Soweto, and dean of the Soweto deanery. He also lectured at the Soweto School of Theology and was a member of the Protocol Conduct Committee. Fr Emil Blaser OP, station director of Radio Veritas, lamented the loss of a “great man in every way”.


“I had known Fr Maselwane for more than ten years. He had a great love for Radio Veritas and its listeners. He reached out to people and people in turn loved him on air. Although he had no formal training for radio, he had a natural flair for the medium,” Fr Blaser said. He described Fr Maselwane as a very straightforward perFr Mohohlo Patrick Maselwane OMI, who son who spoke the has died at 52. (Photo: truth at all times, “whether you liked it Lebo Wa Majahe) or not”. Archbishop William Slattery of Pretoria, who also presents on Radio Veritas, said Fr Maselwane had given “great service to the archdiocese of Johannesburg. The news of his death has brought great sadness to his many friends.” Archbishop Slattery said that through his work with Radio Veritas, Fr Maselwane “helped many people to understand and appreciate their faith. He communicated his own faith with enthusiasm.” Fr Mathibela Sebothoma of Pretoria, a friend of Fr Maselwane, called on the Church to use the passing of a communicator as an opportunity to invest in social communications. “My prayer is that Fr Maselwane’s death will serve as a reminder to the Church of the importance of investing in media. The Church sends priests for training all over the world but no one is being trained in communication. It is time that every diocese has a communication person or division,” Fr Sebothoma said. “A real gem of a communicator, that is what Fr Patrick was,” said Fr Sebothoma, who has studied journalism. Following memorial Masses, Fr Maselwane’s funeral was held on July 14 at St Charles’ parish in Victory Park. He was interred at Westpark Cemetery.

As part of the global Aids conference taking place in Durban, the Denis Hurley Centre is hosting a monumental sculpture of butterflies made from recycled yoghurt pots, as reported last week. This was created by 500 teenagers as a vision of an Aids-free generation and was funded by Pepfar, the agency of the uS government that supports extensive work to combat Aids in South Africa. Two of the teenagers who helped decorate butterflies are seen here with Frances Chisholm, the uS consul-general in Durban. The sculpture is open for viewing at the DHC until the end of July. (Photo: Sithembiso Shoba)

Priests needn’t turn around By COLLeen DuLLe


HE Vatican has made it clear that Pope Francis has made no changes to the liturgy after Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, urged priests and bishops to start celebrating Masses ad orientem, or facing away from the congregation, beginning on the first Sunday of Advent this year. Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi SJ in a statement indicated that Pope Francis had met with Cardinal Sarah to indicate no liturgical directives will begin in Advent. “Cardinal Sarah is always rightly concerned with the dignity of the celebration of Mass, that it might adequately express an attachment of respect and adoration for the eucharistic mystery,” Fr Lombardi’s statement said. “Some of his phrasing has been badly interpreted, as if he had announced new, different indications from those now given in liturgical norms and the words of the popes on celebration toward the people and the ordinary rite of the Mass.” He recalled that the General Instruction on the Roman Missal, which “remains fully

in force”, indicated that the altar should be built away from the wall so “that Mass can be celebrated at it facing the people, which is desirable wherever possible”. The statement also reminded people that when Pope Francis visited the offices of the congregation for divine worship, “he expressly recalled that the ‘ordinary’ form of the celebration of Mass is that foreseen by the missal promulgated by Paul VI,” and that the extraordinary form—the Tridentine Mass—permitted by retired Pope Benedict XVI “should not take the place of that ‘ordinary’ form”. At a conference in London, Cardinal Sarah had asked that “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”, priests face east when celebrating the liturgy of the Eucharist. Several liturgical experts said Cardinal Sarah does not have the authority to impose a change but is simply encouraging a practice that liturgical law already permits. Neither bishops nor Cardinal Sarah have the right to force priests to celebrate Mass “facing East” until there is an official change to the missal, the official liturgical law.—CNS

Imagine a Church without The Southern Cross

he past few years have been rough on The Southern Cross, as it has been on most newspapers throughout the world. This is especially so since The Southern Cross is entirely independent and unsubsidised. We survive solely on revenue and the kind support of our readers. The changing face of media, the economic crisis, and spiralling costs of production have hit us hard over the past few years.

On top of that, the Post Office’s chronic unreliability and periodic strikes have affected our income to such an extent that we have had to draw from our reserves just to continue operation. Our loyal staff have had to make sacrifices just so this newspaper can continue publishing every week, as it has done every week since 1920, almost 5 000 consecutive and uninterrupted weeks. Now we need to rebuild our depleted reserves—or the next postal

strike or any other disaster could kill us off. We can thank The Associates’ Campaign for our survival. Launched in 2002 to help us build up reserves and undertake important outreach work, The Associates’ Campaign is crucial in keeping The Southern Cross alive. If you want to see The Southern Cross survive and thrive, please support our Associates Campaign with an annual contribution. To do so is easy: choose one of the

categories of Associates you would like to join—Cardinal McCann Associate (R1 500 and above), St Maximilian Kolbe Associate (R500-1 499), or St Francis de Sales Associate (R100-499). Make your contribution into the account: The Southern Cross, Standard Bank, Thibault Square Branch (Code 020909), Acc No: 276876016. Please e-mail or fax payment details and your name and contact details to or 021 465-3850. Or visit

campaign for details. Cardinal McCann Associates receive a free subscription (print or digital) for the year. Two annual Masses are said for the intentions of our Associates and the repose of those who have passed on every year. We will report on our outreach programmes in the coming weeks. In the meantime, imagine a South African Church without The Southern Cross!


The Southern Cross, July 20 to June 26, 2016


Fix SABC crisis, bishop tells parliament By MAnDLA ZIBI


ARLIAMENT has to intervene in the censorship crisis currently engulfing the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), said the bishop who chairs the Justice & Peace Commission of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC). Bishop Abel Gabuza of Kimberley asked parliament’s communications portfolio committee to urgently reconvene to discuss the matter. Parliament is currently in recess until after the local government elections in early August. “Through its editorial policy and the subsequent crisis, an impression has been created that the SABC is failing to report fully and objectively on events that have the capacity to diminish the holding of free and fair elections,” Bishop Gabuza said in a statement. “Certainly, this is a serious matter that requires urgent intervention by the National Assembly. We urge the portfolio committee on

communications to demonstrate its oversight leadership,” he said. Parliament and portfolio committees are allowed to reconvene during recesses under National Assembly rule 223 if a matter is deemed urgent. Bishop Gabuza said he was concerned about the negative impact that such an “overdrawn crisis” could have on the elections. “People will not trust the outcome of the elections if the dispute regarding fair coverage and censorship by a public broadcaster is not resolved,” he said. “It is in the interests of the common good, and a matter of urgency, that public confidence in the public broadcaster be restored.” The bishop said he believed that Parliament has the ability to do this. The Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) ruled this month that the SABC must withdraw its resolution to ban the broadcasting of violent protests, following a public hearing into the

broadcaster’s decision which was held in June. In a move seen as being openly defiant, the SABC’s chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng said the broadcaster would take its fight against the ruling to the highest court in the land. In a show of support for Mr Motsoaneng, SABC board chairman Mbulaheni Maguvhe issued a statement saying the board maintains “that we are right” in implementing the editorial policy. He denied that the SABC had put out a “blanket ban” on protests, contending that it had decided only not to air any acts of property being destroyed, but allowed the broadcast of the damages. “For us it is not a blanket ban, it is just a veil. “You can see through because in any case we are showing visuals. If it was a blanket ban, there wouldn’t be any visuals at all,” Prof Maguvhe was quoted as saying. Following the Icasa ruling, the ANC, through its secretary-general

Bishop Abel Gabuza of Kimberley, chairman of the Justice & Peace Commission of the bishops’ conference, has implored parliament to settle the SABC crisis. Gwede Mantashe, warned against Mr Motsoaneng’s defiance of a Chapter 9 institution and slammed as “unconstitutional” the SABC’s banning of visuals depicting public destruction of state assets during

service delivery protests. The complaint against the SABC’s editorial policy was laid with Icasa by Media Monitoring Africa, the Save Our SABC coalition, and the Freedom of Expression Institute.

Election prayer service in Durban draws variety of stakeholders By KALIe SenyAne

T People of various faiths gathered in Durban for an election prayer service hosted by the SACBC’s Justice & Peace Commision, the Durban archdiocese J&P and the Diakonia Council of Churches.

HE municipal councillors who will be elected or returned at the local elections on August 3 must serve the people and ensure that community needs are heard, as this will positively discourage communities from rioting, Archbishop Stephen Brislin, president of the Southern African Bishops’ Catholic Conference (SACBC), told an election prayer service in Durban. The service was hosted by the SACBC’s Justice & Peace Commission with the archdiocese of Durban’s J&P and the Diakonia Council of Churches.

Bishop Barry Wood, auxiliary of Durban, and Archbishop Brislin prayed and laid on hands to political leaders who were present. These included Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) national chairman Glen Mashinini, IEC KwaZulu-Natal chairman Mawethu Mosery, Democratic Alliance national spokesman Phumzile Van Damme, and eThekwini deputy-mayor Nomvuso Shabalala (ANC). Other political parties were invited but did not attend. Mr Mashinini spoke about the preparedness and readiness of the IEC for the upcoming elections.

He emphasised that all parties had signed a code of conduct to ensure that the elections will be peaceful, free and fair. Any cases arising on election day will be handled by the IEC Court for a fast resolution. Mr Mosery said that in KwaZuluNatal there are more independent candidates standing for election, about 100 independent. Catholic faithful came in numbers to the service, among them SACBC secretary-general Sr Hermenegild Makoro CPS and SACBC J&P officials. Leaders of other churches also attended, a sign of churches working together for the common good.

Sant’Egidio organises meal for homeless By MAnDLA ZIBI

M Do you feel called to the Franciscan way of life?

ORE than 300 homeless people were fed when the Community of Sant’Egidio in South Africa, along with the archdiocese of Pretoria, hosted a Banquet of Mercy in celebration of the Jubilee Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis. Comprising a prayer service presided over by Archbishop William Slattery of Pretoria, the banquet took place at the church of Santa Maria dos Portugueses, west of Pretoria. Members of Sant’Egidio collected donations from various parishes and people of goodwill, with 380 blankets collected and distributed on the day. “Pretoria West has hundreds of homeless people who live on the streets or in shelters,” said Querisha Pestana Bastos, coordinator at Sant’Egidio. “Their number increases each year with desperate people looking for economic op-

portunities. They are often greeted by the harshness of life in the big city and end up spiralling into unfortunate and often, dreadful situations.” According to her, the Banquet of Mercy celebration was inspired by the Community of Sant’Egidio’s existing friendship with the poor on the streets of Pretoria. The community feeds about 100 people on a weekly basis in two parts of the city. “The poor are often afraid to come into our churches because they are dirty,” Ms Bastos said. She praised Archbishop Slattery’s comforting words: “Here you are welcome; the Church loves you and is your home.” Ms Bastos added: “The prayer was a joyous one and served as a concrete sign of the Church’s love for the poor.” The left-over food was packaged and distributed to an additional 150 people around the city, “much like the miracle of the two fish and five loaves”, Ms Bastos said.

Archbisop William Slattery of Pretoria meets those who attended a meal and prayer for the homeless in Pretoria West, organised by the Community of Sant’egidio.

Lesotho Church reacts to editor shooting By BROnWen DACHS

T Contact: Brother Evenie Turner O.F.M. 082 599 7718, 012 345 3732, PO Box 914-1192, Wingate Park, 0153,


HE shooting of a newspaper editor in Lesotho is the latest in a series of attacks on government critics, a Church official said. Lloyd Mutungamiri, editor of the Lesotho Times, was critically injured in the attack by unknown gunmen outside his home in the capital, Maseru. “The situation in the country is terrible and deteriorating,” said Booi Mohapi, who heads the Catholic Commission for Justice & Peace of the Lesotho bishops’ conference. “We need urgent intervention from the Southern African Development Community,” Mr Mohapi said, noting that the local Church has documented “alarming human rights abuses”.

The Justice & Peace Commission has called on the bloc to set up an office in Maseru to monitor rights abuses, he said, noting also that the situation could improve with an international presence. Sixteen soldiers charged with mutiny have been tortured and held in “appalling conditions” in Maseru’s maximum security prison, Mr Mohapi said. Their lawyers face death threats and their wives and children live in fear, he added. Justice & Peace has carried out extensive interviews with the families of the imprisoned soldiers and has documented its findings of abuses, he said. Commission members heard stories of soldiers “abducted in front of their families, including old parents and young children”, he said.

All Lesotho’s opposition leaders live in South Africa after alleging assassination attempts by defence force members. In July 2015, Archbishop Gerard Tlali Lerotholi of Maseru reported that he was on a hitlist. In its efforts to support the imprisoned soldiers and their families, the Church is providing counselling for family members and fundraising to assist with the soldiers’ legal fees and other needs, he said. Urging authorities to bring those responsible for the attack on the newspaper editor to justice, Amnesty International’s deputy director for Southern Africa, Muleya Mwananyanda, said the shooting “comes amid increased harassment and intimidation against the newspaper for its investigative journalism work”.—CNS


The Southern Cross, July 20 to July 26, 2016


Durban entertains its bishops


Riot police detain residents after a protest by taxi drivers turned violent in Harare. Violent protests in Zimbabwe reflect people’s frustrations in extremely difficult times, a Church official said. (Photo: Philimon Bulawayo, Reuters/CnS)

Priest: Life in Zim now ‘unbearable’ By BROnWen DACHS


IOLENT protests and a general strike in Zimbabwe reflect people’s frustrations in extremely difficult times, a Church official said. With rising poverty levels, “life is unbearable now for most people” in the country with an unemployment rate of 90%, said Fr Frederick Chiromba, secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference. The Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations said that the country’s challenges require “collective concerted efforts, wisdom, insight, cooperation and collaboration of all stakeholders and concerned friends”. Fr Chiromba is executive secretary of the umbrella group, which includes the bishops’ conference, the Zimbabwe Council of Churches and the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is “undergoing a very difficult patch, economically, socially, politically and spiritually”, the Christian leaders said. Taxi operators and angry youths have clashed with police. Other violent protests included the razing of a warehouse at Zimbabwe’s border posts with South Africa after the Zimbabwean government banned imports of a wide range of foodstuffs and other products. Protesters in the border town of Beitbridge barricaded a road with rocks and burning tires, forcing temporary closure of the border post. Civil unrest is rare in Zimbabwe, where 92-year-old President Robert Mugabe has ruled since independence from Britain in 1980. Mr Mugabe’s Zanu-PF government, which spends more than 80% of its revenue on wages for state workers, faces a worsening cash shortage. In a bid to end hyperinflation, it abandoned its own currency in 2009 and uses mainly US dollars. Fr Chiromba said the government is to blame for inconsistent policies, such as “the sudden banning of imports which has destroyed people’s livelihoods” and lack of effective leadership. “We need to revive the economy,”

he said, noting that formal sector retrenchments continue as industries close. He said the number of jobless youths is alarming. Most people in Zimbabwe, with a population of close to 16 million, survive on R15 a day. They eke out a living in small-scale informal trade, mostly selling goods bought in South Africa. With the ban on imports, “groceries cannot be sent across the border from South Africa, which creates difficulties for families who rely on these”, Fr Chiromba said. Zimbabweans who rely on remittances from family members in the diaspora “are also suffering” as amounts dwindle in the global economic downturn, he said. The bishops’ conference has launched an emergency appeal for food aid and is distributing contributions as well as making cash transfers to people in dire need, Fr Chiromba said. Many Catholic self-help projects, such as when people were given nuts to grind into peanut butter that they used to feed their families as well as to sell for some income, have been halted in the current drought, he said, noting that the agricultural products these projects rely on are no longer available. The church leaders said they “strongly believe that sustained dialogue provides the pathway” to resolving the country’s problems. Noting local Shona wisdom that Chara chimwe hachitswanye inda (One finger cannot crush lice), the leaders urged all concerned people to find a common approach to the difficulties Zimbabwe is enduring. “We believe that everyone wants a Zimbabwe that is peaceful, prosperous and united,” they said. Noting their opposition to violence, destruction of property and loss of life, the leaders urged “restraint and tolerance as people express their constitutional rights”. Zimbabweans “must air grievances using the frameworks provided by the law”, they said.—CNS

St John Bosco parish, Robertsham in Johannesburg, celebrated the 30th anniversary of the League of Margherita with a Mass of thanksgiving, followed by a social get-together. The sodality is named after Margherita Occhiena, the mother of St John Bosco, founder of the Salesians and patron saint of the parish. The league’s work involves helping families in the parish who have fallen on hard times by providing financial, material and moral support. They also do outreach work to prisoners, two schools in Jackson’s Drift and ennerdale, nazereth House and Mother Theresa House.

ARISHES from the Durban archdiocese honoured both their bishops, Cardinal Wilfrid Napier and his auxiliary, Bishop Barry Wood. This year, the cardinal celebrates his 75th birthday, 35th anniversary of ordination as a bishop (in Kokstad), and 15th of his installation as cardinal. Bishop Wood celebrates his 74th birthday and tenth anniversary of ordination as a bishop. The parishes selected top choirs, dancers and musicians for an afternoon of entertainment at Holy Family College in Glenmore. Highlights included the Rwandan cultural dancers from St Peter’s, singing nuns from Montebello, a praise poet from Elandskop mission, and the youth group from Emmanuel cathedral who sang a unique version of “Happy Birthday”. Each gave a personal message of thanks. In spite of the chilly, windy weather, the crowd was enthusiastic. Two birthday cakes were pro-

Cardinal Wilfrid napier (third right) and Bishop Barry Wood (fourth left) with emmanuel cathedral singers at a celebration event for the two bishops. vided by Gene Augustine. All present were given a fullcolour brochure with portraits of

Cardinal Napier and Bishop Wood which they could take home and frame.

Priest steps up with household aid

Fr Barney McAleer with kettles and household goods handed over to those whose shacks and belongings were destroyed in a fire near Moreleta Park in Pretoria.


IVE people burned to death and 300 shacks were destroyed in a recent fire in Plastic View, an informal settlement near Moreleta Park in Pretoria. Altogether, 1 600 people were left without a roof over their heads. Fr Barney McAleer of the Bishops’ Foundation decided to lend a hand by donating pots, kettles, frying pans, mugs, spoons, bins, Vaseline, tooth brushes and toothpaste to the value of R25 000. n Anyone interested in supporting the work of the foundation can contact Fr McAleer on 072 469 3710 or e-mail


The Southern Cross, July 20 to July 26, 2016


New Pokémon Go game gets people to church By MARy ReZAC


Syrian Muslim refugee children celebrate graduation at their Caritas-sponsored Latin Patriarchate School of naour in Amman, Jordan. unICeF estimates that more than 2,1 million children inside Syria and 700 000 in neighbouring countries are out of school.(Photo: Dale Gavlak/CnS)

Pope sorts watchdogs from the spenders By CAROL GLATZ


MPHASISING that financial reform requires a clear separation between those in charge of overseeing expenditures and those who do the spending, Pope Francis clarified that the Secretariat for the Economy would not be involved in the administration of assets. In a new motu proprio (on his own initiative), the pope said the secretariat, headed by Australian Cardinal George Pell, would continue to act as a body that controls and monitors budget plans and spending by the administration of the patrimony of the Holy See. However, the pope clarified that the administration, not the secretariat, would carry out procurements, payments and the administration of funds and property. Pope Francis established the

Council for the Economy, the Secretariat for the Economy and a general auditor’s office in 2014 and approved their statutes on a trial basis in 2015 as part of a major overhaul of the Vatican’s accounting and budgeting procedures. The Council for the Economy is charged with devising best practices for more ethical, effective and transparent financial management and administration and with inspecting the budget forecasts and final budgets of all dicasteries, offices and organisations of the Holy See and Vatican City State. The Secretariat for the Economy is charged with implementing the norms and suggestions made by the council and with the supervision and vigilance over all administrative, bookkeeping and financial activities at the Vatican, making sure spending follows approved budget plans.— CNS

Stepinac case studied in Rome By CAROL GLATZ


ROATIAN and Serbian experts met at the Vatican to clarify questions about the life of Bl Alojzije Stepinac—a national hero for Croats and a highly controversial figure for Serbian Orthodox and some Jewish groups who have accused him of being a Nazi sympathiser. The commission is made up of representatives of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Catholic Church in Croatia and the Vatican. It was created at the request of Pope Francis to conduct “a re-read-

ing together” of the cardinal’s life before, during and after World War II “to respond to the need to clarify some questions of history”, the Vatican press office said. The work of the mixed commission “will not interfere with the canonisation process”, still underway, because its work is a “scientific endeavour”, studying historical evidence in its proper context, the note said. The process of studying and determining a candidate’s cause for sainthood is a matter that strictly pertains to the Holy See, it said.—CNS

CAUGHT one!” Someone screamed this outside Fr Ryan Kaup’s rectory window in Lincoln, Nebraska, the other night, waking him up at 12:30am. That’s because Fr Kaup’s parish is a Pokéstop. What’s a Pokéstop? It’s part of Pokémon Go, the newest app craze released this month. The app—part geocatching, part exercise-tracking, part game—takes users through their real-life neighbourhoods in order to “catch them all”. It’s become so popular that within days of its release, the time people spent on the game surpassed time spent on other popular apps like Whatsapp, Snapchat and Instagram. Points, prizes and levels are gained by “catching” Pokémon and by going to Pokéstops—tagged locations in the real world where users can stock up on gear and points for the game. And many of those stops, it turns out, are located at churches. The phenomenon has some pastors and youth ministers, who are experiencing increased foot and road traffic to their churches, wondering how they can harness the popularity of the game for the good of the Gospel. “I figured out I lived at a Pokéstop when I downloaded the game,” Fr Kaup said. “I heard a bunch of kids in the parish talking about the game after Mass, rejoicing in the fact that they had caught a Charmanderzar [a character in the Pokémon animated

series] in the parish hall. After that I had to check it out,” he said. Fr Kaup’s parish is located in a residential neighbourhood, a bit off the path, so it’s not one that people typically stumble upon. But since the breakout of Pokémon Go, Fr Kaup said he’s noticed several cars slow down as they go by, or pull up into the parking lot for a few minutes to gather their Pokéballs. He said he explained the game to his secretary, and told her to expect to see some increased traffic around the parish in the coming days and weeks as the game picks up. “I told her that it’s a great opportunity to engage them and invite them in to pray,” he said. He’s also wondering how he can make his Pokéstop parish more inviting. “Anytime we have an encounter with another human being it is an opportunity for evangelisation,” he

said, adding that “being a Pokéstop brings people to our doors who never would have come otherwise...I’m toying with the idea of putting up a sign outside that says ‘Pokéstop. Come in and say hello!’ or something along those lines. Any chance we get to share the Gospel is a good thing.” The Christian thewardrobe blog even has eight tips for churches that want to capitalise on being Pokéstops, including putting out signs and having greeters, drinks and snacks available for whoever poké-stops by. Time will tell how long the game craze will last, but until then, if you see someone wandering around your parish parking lot with a phone in their face, you might want to ask them if they’re hunting some Pokémon.—CNA n Is your parish a Pokéstop? If so, let us know at

WYD pilgrims to receive practical faith app from Pope Francis By eLISe HARRIS


OPE Francis has established a tech-savvy track record as pope, and now in addition to breaking records on Instagram and becoming the first pope to use Google Hangouts, he will give World Youth Day pilgrims a new electronic app. From the creators of 2011’s “YouCat” youth catechism, a new version of the book called the “DoCat” has been developed, which intends to present the Church’s social teaching in a creative style more attractive and comprehensible to youth. The new book will be launched during




CK Storey Hall, behind Methodist Church, Main Road, Rosebank, Cape Town. Parking and Entrance via Chapel Road


World Youth Day in Krakow and given to young pilgrims by Pope Francis in the form of an app. Christian Lermer, CEO of the YouCat Foundation, said that they wanted to create something that would “make the teaching of the Church readable and attractive, without changing the content”. Bernhard Meuser, founder of the YouCat Foundation, said that following the YouCat’s publication they received several e-mails from youth saying: “Now we know what our faith is. What do we do? Please, do a Do-Cat!” The idea of publishing a new book on how to practically put faith into action initially began with those e-mails, he said, explaining that the concept was also supported by Vatican officials. Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, had suggested that if the YouCat organisation wanted to create a new book for Pope Francis, to do it on either the Bible or the Church’s social doctrine, Mr Meuser explained. Pope Francis himself wrote the preface for the book, which will be launched in Krakow on July 23, three days before the July 26-31 youth encounter. Rather than having a typical news conference for the book’s release, the YouCat Foundation set up an event with 200 youth from across the world who will study the DoCat and lead discussions on social teaching. Bishops and speakers from around the world “will set them on fire for social teaching as the fruit of the Gospel”. The event will be led by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna, and will also include a preparation workshop, outreach, and information spots for catechesis.

According to Mr Meuser, while Pope Francis’ preface for the YouCat provided a strong message about work, his preface for the DoCat focuses on the pontiff’s dream of “a new generation”. With many youth too lax when it comes to living the Church’s social doctrine, Francis “dreamed of young people who know everything about justice and peace, the Gospel and the love of God, and mercy”. The youth “gave us a lot of pictures and advice, so we produced the book in a process of participation with young people,” Mr Meuser said, noting that the idea is to engage young people with the world around them, guided by Catholic teaching. Mr Meuser said his hope for the DoCat is that it will be “a learning moment in social doctrine”. “We are living in the ruins of two great ideologies: of capitalism and of communism. Both destroyed the world,” he said, explaining that now “we have to change the world”.—CNA


The Southern Cross, July 20 to July 26, 2016


Lebanese Christians vow to defy fear By BROOKe AnDeRSOn


Greg Burke, the new director of the Vatican press office and Vatican spokesman, and Paloma Garcia Ovejero, the new vice-director, are pictured during an announcement of their appointments as journalists at the Vatican press office. (Photo: Paul Haring/CnS)

Lay journalists to lead Vatican press office By JunnO AROCHO eSTeVeS


OPE Francis named two experienced journalists—including its first female vice-director— to lead the Vatican press office. Greg Burke succeeds Italian Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, who retires after ten years as head of the Vatican press office. Spanish journalist Paloma Garcia Ovejero fills in Mr Burke’s spot as vice-director, making her the first female to hold that position. Mr Burke, an Opus Dei numerary, served as special communications adviser in the Vatican’s Secretariat of State starting in 2012 before he was named by Pope Francis as the vice director of the press office last December. A graduate of Columbia University’s School of Journalism, Mr Burke spent 24 of his past 28 years based in Rome as a journalist— with the National Catholic Register, Time magazine and the Fox News network. Mgr Dario Vigano, prefect of the Vatican’s Secretariat of Communications, paid tribute to Fr Lombardi’s ten years of service at the press office. He praised Fr Lombardi’s professional work and his “ecclesial vision” of the Church. Born in northern Italy near Turin in 1942, Fr Lombardi was named programme director of Vatican Radio in 1990 and general director of the Vatican television centre, CTV, in 2001. During the reorganisation of

Vatican offices under Pope Benedict XVI, Fr Lombardi was appointed general director of the radio in 2005 and head of the Vatican press office in 2006, while continuing to lead CTV. Before his retirement in 2013, Pope Benedict named Mgr Vigano the new director of CTV. Ms Garcia Ovejero, who studied journalism in Spain and earned a masters degree in management strategies and communications at New York University, worked as the Italy and Vatican correspondent for Spanish radio broadcaster Cadena COPE. “For me it’s an honour, it’s a service and it’s another way of serving the Church. But it is the same Church and, in some way, the same type of work: to proclaim the Good News and to transmit faithfully and with dignity the pope’s message,” she said. The Spanish journalist downplayed her role as the first female vice-director of the press office, saying that the first women who served the Church “were the ones who found the empty tomb and proclaimed the Resurrection to the apostles”. “I am in no way the first woman. The first woman above all in the Church, in the Vatican and in the press office is Mary,” Ms Ovejero said. She said she hoped her role will be to serve and fulfil “the will of God, the will of the pope and, in every possible way, the will of the journalists”.—CNS

OULOS al-Ahmar had just driven the ambulance to the scene of the explosion when more bombs detonated, killing him. When Majed Wehbe heard the first explosions near his home, he ran to the scene to help, only to arrive in time for the next set of explosions. These men died as heroes, unafraid to run toward disaster to help others, and their Christian village wants to honour their memory by shunning the fear these explosions were designed to instil. The Lebanese frontier village is mourning the loss of five residents to a series of explosions in late June. But within two weeks, the people were showing their determination to bring back life. “We will continue to have culture, activities and late-night celebrations. We’re not just going to survive. We're going to live our lives,” said Bashir Mattar, the mayor of al-Qaa, a village of about 15 000, predominantly Melkite Catholic, with some Maronite Catholic and Orthodox. They share the village with nearly 30 000 Syrian refugees who have fled war in their country, about six kilometres away.

Families live in modest homes, often decorated with canopies of grape vines. Syrian refugees live nearby in informal tented settlements. “We will continue helping Syrian refugees so that they can live in dignity,” the mayor said at a town hall meeting, the first of its kind since the explosions, which led to

Vatican and Muslim uni to restart dialogue, cooperation By CAROL GLATZ


HE Vatican and Sunni Islam’s leading institution of higher learning have begun looking for ways to restart formal dialogue. Acting on Pope Francis’ expressed desire, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue has sent a toplevel official to Cairo to visit al-Azhar University. Spanish Bishop Miguel Ayuso Guixot, secretary of the pontifical council, attended a preliminary meeting with Mahmoud Hamdi Zakzouk, a member of the university’s Council of Senior Scholars and director of the al-Azhar Centre for Dialogue. Archbishop Bruno Musaro, the apostolic nuncio to Egypt, was also in attendance. The meeting, which was requested by the pontifical council following the pope’s “expressed desire, will evaluate how to begin the resumption of dialogue between the

‘Savonarola’ cardinal dies By CAROL GLATZ


TALIAN Cardinal Silvano Piovanelli, retired archbishop of Florence, died at the age of 92. The cardinal, who was born on February 24, 1924, long supported the sainthood cause of Girolamo Savonarola, a controversial yet popular Dominican preacher who was burned at the stake in 1498 after denouncing moral corruption in society and the Church. Pope Alexander VI, the infamous Borgia pope, excommunicated the Dominican, but Fr Savonarola defied the papal order and tried to provoke the pontiff's removal from office. He was burned in the main square of Florence and soon after was revered locally as a saint. Cardinal Piovanelli was ordained to the priesthood in 1947. He served as auxiliary bishop of Florence for one year before being named its archbishop in 1983. Elevated to the College of Cardinals in 1985, he retired at the age of 77 in 2001.—CNS

Farha nasrallah stands with her 3-year-old daughter on the front steps of St elias Melkite Catholic church in al-Qaa, Lebanon. (Photo: Brooke Anderson/CnS)

the arrest of more than 200 Syrian refugees in the area. “If they get an education and have hope, especially the children, then they won’t turn to extremism and terrorism.” Four suicide bombers hit the town in two separate incidents. They killed themselves and the five residents and injured more than 30 others. “Al-Qaa is the door to Lebanon. If it falls, then Lebanon could fall,” said lifelong resident Georgette Farha Taom, emphasising that she still considered the village’s Lebanese and Syrians to be on good terms. “We’ve always had a good relationship with the Syrians. They’re more scared than us. They fled their country. They have nowhere to go.” Worshippers, including some local Muslims, filled St Elias Melkite Catholic Church, to pay tribute to the fallen. Fr Elian Nasrallah gave an impassioned sermon urging people not to be scared. He thanked the Lebanese army and honoured the victims of the attacks, whose names and photos appeared at the main entrance to the church. “This is the first time since the attacks that the church is filled with people,” said Fr Nasrallah. “There was no life after the attacks, but it’s coming back slowly.”—CNS

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Pope Francis talks with Ahmad elTayeb, grand imam of egypt’s alAzhar mosque and university. (Photo: Max Rossi, Reuters/CnS) Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and al-Azhar University”. The encounter follows the landmark meeting at the Vatican between Pope Francis and the university’s grand imam, Ahmad elTayeb. It was the first meeting between a

pontiff and a grand imam after five years of tension and top-level silence since the Muslim university in Cairo suspended talks in 2011. Established in 1998, the formal dialogue between al-Azhar and the Vatican started to fray in 2006, after now-retired Pope Benedict XVI gave a speech in Regensburg, Germany. Al-Azhar officials and millions of Muslims around the world said the speech linked Islam to violence. Al-Azhar halted the talks altogether in 2011 after the former pope had said Christians in the Middle East were facing persecution. AlAzhar claimed that Pope Benedict had offended Islam and Muslims once more by focusing only on the suffering of Christians when many Muslims were suffering as well. Al-Azhar is considered the most authoritative theological-academic institution of Sunni Islam.—CNS


The Southern Cross, July 20 to July 26, 2016


Editor: Günther Simmermacher

Call in the experts


HE Church’s handling of the distressing news of Oblate Father Patrick Mohohlo Maselwane’s death this month has provided an object lesson in how not to do public relations in the modern age of communications. This experience should prompt the Catholic leadership throughout South Africa to take stock of the state of the Church’s social communications, including and especially crisis management, and address its shortcomings. In a world where the Internet, and especially social media such as Twitter and Facebook, disseminates information instantaneously, it served no good purpose for the archdiocese of Johannesburg and the Oblates of Mary Immaculate to issue statements confirming Fr Maselwane’s death only a day later. By then the news of the priest’s death from unnatural causes had been widely spread on the social media—in some cases accompanied by inappropriate speculation about the circumstances. For all its benefits, the social media has few protocols of decorum. It is appalling, of course, that some relatives of Fr Maselwane should have learnt of the priest’s passing on Facebook—amid the usual videos of kittens and photos of people enjoying themselves— before they could be informed by the family. It is understandable, therefore, that Archbishop Buti Tlhagale of Johannesburg joined Fr Maselwane’s family, friends and confréres in reproving especially those who posted this information for the transient glory of having scooped the news. He was also within his rights to ask the faithful to cease speculating about the circumstances of the priest’s death, even though such requests are usually fruitless. But the social media cannot be controlled. We must engage with it on its terms, regardless of our own inclinations. In this instance, while the archdiocese and Oblates sought discretion by asking for the name of the priest to be withheld and his death not to be discussed, they instead inadvertently sowed confusion. And confusion always leads to the spreading of rumours. Where the faithful needed some clarity through confirmed facts, they were left with uncertainty, gossip and speculation— and this found expression on Facebook. The situation required

leadership from those in authority, and this was not in evidence. A better way of handling this delicate situation would have been to issue a statement on social media platforms, as soon as the family and others close to the priest were informed, confirming his identity and cause of death, invite prayers, and emphatically ask the faithful to desist from conjecture and gossip until the archdiocese and religious congregation would be able to issue further information. Such a statement might not have stopped the rumour mill, but it would have slowed it down. And it would have given the many people who wanted to register their shock and grief on Facebook or Twitter a legitimate opportunity for doing so. This is not the first time, of course, that Church authorities have handled their relations with the public poorly. And when things go wrong, the blame tends to be appointed to others. One cannot simply improvise crisis management, less so when there is no coherent media strategy in place. It is a specialist area for which consultants charge a lot of money. Our bishops and clergy should not be expected nor should they presume themselves to be experts in media and public relations, much as they cannot be required to be proficient in accounting, architecture or plumbing. But the Southern African Church has access to a pool of Catholic media experts who would gladly share their knowhow and wisdom with the bishops, in terms of strategy development and specific counsel in times of difficulty—if these professionals are asked to. One way of improving the local Church’s social communications would be by establishing a media advisory committee comprising the region’s leading Catholic communicators which might guide the bishops on longterm strategies and, when needed, formulate instant responses in times of crisis. Best practice requires the contribution of those who are experts in the field. The counsel of professionals must be sought and trusted, so that the Catholic leadership can communicate most effectively with all the faithful and the public in general. The People of God deserve no less than that.

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.

Canaan, Hebrews and peace LIE Wiesel, the well-known Holo- faith in a post-Alexander the Great E caust survivor, has died (July 13) era which saw Greek influence and we Catholics have to be thankful spreading throughout the region. that St John Paul II played such a huge role in restoring trust between us and the Jewish fraternity. The Gospel stories fall into a timeframe when extreme animosity existed between the Jewish community of Jerusalem and their northern countrymen from Samaria (the Samaritans) and Galilee. One still needs to question the overall purpose of Matthew’s continuous narrative of Jesus criticising the Pharisees. Today, this could very well be seen as hate speech. Jewish historians record that the Pharisees were the spiritual fathers of modern Judaism. They were a sect who struggled, and succeeded, in retaining their authentic Jewish

Focus on the do’s, not the dont’s


ATHER’S homily a few weeks back concerned our “way of life”, and he ended up by telling us to not worry too much about what not to do, but what we should be doing. I grew up in the time of Pius XII, under the care of nuns and religious brothers, and I can recall a whole raft of “don’ts”, but very few “do’s”. Religion was a stern business, and most of the religious seemed to me longfaced and very serious. Seemingly everything was forbidden, including attendance at any religious non-Catholic service without permission from the parish priest, or the absence of a hat on a female’s head at Mass. There have been some great changes in the Church since then— things are far more tolerant. A Gospel of love has spread through the Church, and Pope Francis represents this so well. Which brings me to Father’s point: when asked, the Lord quoted two commandments: “Love the Lord your God with your whole heart, your whole mind, and your whole soul; and love your neighbour as yourself.” I don’t recall Jesus quoting any “don’ts”—in any case all “don’ts” follow from those two; we would not offend or injure either our God, or our neighbour, if we truly loved them. And loving doesn’t imply not offending either; we are obliged to act positively in both cases, which means we have to be “doing” things, not refraining from action. One could take an example from sport. AB de Villiers does not go in to bat to preserve his wicket—he goes out there to knock the stuffing out of the ball, he intends scoring runs from the moment he is called in to bat. And in consequence he is

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The Sadducees had fallen under Greek influence which, in about 88BC, eventually led to internal civil war among the Jews. The culmination of the threeyear civil war led to the Sadducees’ influence in religious matters being curtailed and the Pharisees gaining the upper hand and retaining their Jewish religious heritage. Another contentious incidence in the Old Testament is God leading the Hebrews to the “Promised Land”. This particular land was inhabited by the Canaanites who, one would assume, were living quite happily there. When the Hebrews arrived, the Canaanites were given an ultima-

highly successful. In Dale Carnegie terms it’s called “the power of positive thinking”. And perhaps that’s what we need to instil into our religious practice: the will to act, to do something, not just to avoid making mistakes. It’s our attitude to our worship, to our relationships with our neighbours that may need looking at. Let’s be positive, let’s, as Father suggested, concentrate on the things we, in our hearts, know we should be doing. We may discover something about ourselves, our God, and our neighbour that we hadn’t realised before. Tom Drake, Johannesburg

Preaching support


ESPONDING to Father Chris Townsend’s article on preaching (June 29), I’m sure most priests do their best to give a decent homily. Preachers are like teachers, born not made. The best preacher I have heard was a pretty miserable excuse for a human being, while the two worst were wonderful, much-loved and respected priests. I know which I would rather be and I suspect you would too, Fr Chris. Since some people will never be satisfied and love to air their dissatisfaction, I wouldn't let it bother me too much. Deirdre Lewis, Cape Town 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 or faxed to 021 465-3850

tum: “Live peacefully with us, or face the might of our army.” History records that the Hebrews eventually conquered all the Canaanite tribes, thus securing for themselves their land. Witnessing what is happening in Israel and the West Bank today, one can understand why the Canaanites refused the offer of peaceful co-existence, because their reasoning told them the Hebrews’ intentions were not peaceful at all. We all know that peace is a fragile commodity, and we in South Africa have to begin working a little bit harder to maintain our peaceful coexistence because racial comments that are becoming more common indicate an “us” and “them” mentality, just as what happened in Israel 2 000 years ago and is continuing today. Patrick Dacey, Johannesburg

Marriage works


AVING been very happily married to the most wonderful woman for over 60 years, I found your editorial on married life (June 29) most interesting. Marriage can be the most joyous relationship between two people and creates a very beautiful form of love and friendship; it’s also the most important decision anyone of us is ever called upon to make. It does, however, require a serious commitment on both sides to make it work, as well as an ability to forgive each other—but at same time each partner must never take advantage of the willingness to forgive. I am convinced the main reason there so many divorces is because the law makes it so easy. Of course, a marriage will never run smoothly all the time, and if it did, how boring that would be. One must experience misery to appreciate happiness. In addition, the next valley always looks greener, but one never knows what one might find there. It’s not for me to ever judge others, but I thank God I have been so fortunate. There are so many books on Christianity that for some reason have a tendency to complicate things, whereas our Lord and Creator made it so basic and easy for anyone to understand and achieve happiness in this wonderful world. For example, my greatest concern is that when I appear before the seat of judgment—and not too soon I hope—I will be confronted with the following: “You have always been very willing to ask help in your prayers, whenever you or any of your friends or relations are sick, or if you have wanted something special. But have you been so willing to obey my commands?” And I shall hang my head in shame and bitterly confess that I have not. Roy Glover, Tzaneen

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The Southern Cross, July 20 to July 26, 2016


With God on our way I WAS born on the island of Mauritius where life was simple. Although we lived on an island where there was a great mixture of different religions and cultures: Muslims, Hindus, Christians through Chinese, Indians, Creoles, French, and English etc. We learnt to all work together and accept and respect each other. We went to school together, swam and played together. Living on a small island, we had no choice but to get on. When the cyclones came, we braved the storms together, and built up the community together. The devastations of the cyclones—although a negative event—were the very things that brought the islanders closer together. My family and I immigrated to South Africa in 1974. Having come from a small island, everything seemed so big. Trying to fit in was a challenge. I found that when one is different—in language and culture—one can expect rejection and alienation. In all the things we experienced, we knew that we had to try and win people’s approval to feel accepted. Although this was our human way of surviving, it was not our dependency of people’s approval that God was seeking; but for us to depend on him and his acceptance of us. Life has never been easy, but God provided for us all the way. When we found that we could not manage in our strength, we experienced God’s strength the most. This was the foundation of our faith, through God’s faithfulness. Through each of life’s experiences, God was present. It did not matter what the circumstances, we knew that God was using the circumstance to strengthen our faith and our dependency on him. He became our lifeline in every storm we faced. He shaped and moulded us so we could experience his peace in spite of all the storms; in sickness and in health, through richer or poorer. Looking back at our journey, we’ve come to see that through our losses we’ve come to appreciate what we have even

more. We’ve come to appreciate family and friends who walk beside us, encourage us and believe in us. We’ve also been tested through our loved ones, to see if we would seek what they want and expect from us, or what God expects from us (our calling and vocation). Obedience to God is important in order for his plans and purpose to be achieved in our lives. No one knows that plan and purpose, unless we seek God individually. When we spend time meditating on his Word and take time to nurture our personal relationships with God, we will seek and find him.


he closer we draw to God, the closer we draw to each other. We then understand his plans and purpose for our lives. We are not to compare ourselves with others and seek to be who we are not called to be, but to appreciate our uniqueness and fulfil the plans and purpose that God has for us. It is encouraging each other to pursue their own calling, and not what we think they should be doing. It is encouraging each other to use the gifts that God has given us to fulfil his purpose in our lives. Often what prevents unity in a community are the sins and weaknesses of our humanity. To dominate, to give in to jealousy and envy, pride, ego, to insist on our own way

With every step on our way through life, God is always with us.

Catherine De Valence

Point of Reflection

and our right to be right; to do things with the wrong motives, seeking the glory instead of giving glory to God. Fr Godfrey Solomon, a Cape Town priest, once reminded us: “We need to seek the Lord of the work in order to do the work of the Lord.” These words inspired me to see our need to seek God’s Spirit, his merciful compassion, his humility and divinity, his patience and peace, his will and ways, his Word and instructions. When we align our spirit with God’s Spirit, we will achieve far greater things than we are ever able to do in our strength. This is how God is glorified. The journey through life has many lessons to be learnt. At times we repeat the same mistakes and follow our own will and desires. We complain when things don’t go our way, only to find out it was not God’s way to begin with. We experience confusion and frustration on that path. The Israelites would have made the journey to the Promised Land in 11 days as opposed to 40 years, but they needed to be inwardly transformed in that time. Their fidelity to God was tested; their dependency on God was tested. Today our faith is tested too. The renewal of our minds and attitudes are tested daily, until we develop a better reaction and action in the Spirit of God. We know that we are aligning our Spirit with God when we are content, no matter what the circumstance. We no longer live in fear but in faith, and love others with God’s agape love. When we seek the wellbeing of others and celebrate their success, we know that we are closer to the purpose and plan of God. Jesus did not come for the healthy, but for the sick. He came for the poor, the outcast, the sinners and those who struggle. He came to save, to heal, and to extend mercy and compassion. In Christ we have the same calling, born for that purpose.

So much hot air in SA’s political debate Mphuthumi W Ntabeni HEN the Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office (CPLO) hosted a roundtable debate on the election for the three major political parties recently, I was glad the United Democratic Movement, the party I represent, was not invited. Being present nonetheless provided me with the opportunity to listen from the floor. The scales fell from my eyes. It is a worrying thing to watch from the floor politicians speak with big temperament—competing voices of mostly intellectual mediocrity—and then to think that is how you also sound when speaking from that platform. They all just got stuck on the grievances and complaints about several things. It does not help when the floor is also full of drowning people with their socioeconomic scars and fresh bruises, all wanting to thump their fists on the table. And put in the mix the messianic militancy of the red-brigade who want to unite people based on a beggars’ bowl of grievances. Then the harangues start to sound like commands, and things begin to look like prayers addressed to the fate of the now seemingly inevitable Mzantsi Spring. The absence of disciplined thought is worrying. Indeed, we are in a politically bad space not unlike that which afflicted Germany was in the early 1930s. Real political leadership is about shaping the raw material of people’s pains and needs, and channelling these into sustainable solutions. But in these debates, our political parties tend to concentrate more on closing down each other’s arguments. Their representatives come with a flurry of (often false) statistics to spray into each other’s faces—their mistaken idea of evidence-based politics. Facts—real or made-up—determine debate, rather than people. Participants, with the ground support they bring with them, become scoffers and merciless mockers. The politicians everywhere, not only here— churn out their soundbites and truisms with rehearsed thunderous applause from planted supporters, and hysteria from their opponents who play along in this game. And those with semblance of integrity struggle to say anything of true moral value

Pushing the Boundaries

above the din. Meantime an edge of impatience in the audience’s voices grows with every ignored question of theirs. Professor Cherell Africa from the University of the Western Cape—the debate sweeper—quoted in warning the words of the American political scientist Christopher Achen, that “voters do not ignore information they have, do not fabricate information they do not have, and do not choose what they do not want”. She warned that our socio-political space is in a vulnerable situation, that many people are cynical because they feel betrayed by politics. She pointed to the massive upheaval and unrest in the country that suggests that our people are no longer just restless but, in fact, gatvol. Basically, she painted a dire picture and a lack of Balm in Gilead (Jeremiah 8:22).


he major problem comes from the fact that we are seeking political answers to moral dilemmas. The politics might give the platform, but the implementation of solutions we all agree on, even if in different ways, relies on the moral courage to do what is right. Political will requires moral courage because it is usually the socioeconomic powerful forces that stunt the implementation of authentic solutions. But this is what is mostly lacking. One of the things Prof Africa lamented most was the lack of collaborative political leadership among opposition parties, which make them respond with divisive politics to the tricks of divide-and-rule. In the Western Cape in particular, ethnic passions have emerged as a means for political bargaining.

The rise of demagogic public rhetoric is perhaps at the centre of eroding the quality of our democratic vision. To show how deeply dyed our political minds are, none of the panellist answered Prof Africa’s concern, nor those that came from the floor—because they didn’t fall into the brief of the rehearsed soundbites. Judging by our political debates I would say that our democracy has become thin, sensationalist, reflexive and divided. That’s why the populists seem to be the only ones making significant inroads. They master the use of scare-mongering tricks to recruit voters from those who feel threatened by our social-political decline. Political debates are supposed to be the tools for enhancing our democracy. It is where we are supposed to engage with people directly to foster conversational collaborative democracy, towards finding ways of responding to popular concerns. That is not really happening with us. Our politics are not really serious about facing up to the authentic challenges faced by our societies, much as they pretend to be. As such, our democracy is fast becoming an X-Factor style of popular vote. Populism is fought by confronting the arguments of fundamentalists in a non-superficial manner. This, I suppose, is the CPLO’s brief. Unfortunately, the kinetic nature of our political debating betrays this brief. Politicians are too self-absorbed, unresponsive, and not very insightful—all the things that contribute to the waning of our institutions of participatory democracy. High praise though for our political energies even if this withers to hot air under the heat of the blast. What worries me most is to see even the language of democracy and freedom hijacked by this hot air. Indeed, our era needs not the preachers but saints, those who preach by actions than words.

Bishop Edward Risi OMI


Point of Liturgy

What is the point of a homily?


ATELY there have been comments in The Southern Cross and other publications about homilies. Some are fair comment; others unfair and unhelpful, especially when sweeping generalisations are made. Most priests are, I believe, serious about their Sunday homily. Naturally, some are better homilists than others. We are not equally gifted in the art of giving a homily. Or maybe one of us may have just returned from a harrowing experience. Vatican II’s reform of the liturgy made a shift as regards preaching during Mass. The homily is to be a reflection on an aspect of the Word of God presented in the Scripture texts for that day. It should be in touch with people’s lives and help them to enter more deeply into the mystery being celebrated. Pope Francis deals with this superbly in The Joy of the Gospel (135-159). The pope’s own homilies are excellent models of a good homily. The homily is not a sermon. Though it may contain echoes of these, it is not a catechesis, not a moral exhortation, nor a lesson in exegesis or doctrine. Other gatherings provide opportunities for instruction, meditation or discussion on a topic. Such gatherings, which include services of the Word, as in parish missions, lectures when lay people may preach or give talks, offer the advantage of engagement with the Word of God and Catholic teaching in greater depth and for a longer time. If the only time we engage with the word of God in Scripture or learn about our Catholic Faith is during the Sunday readings and homily, then we have indeed become poorer. The celebration of Mass is primarily prayer, worship and the celebration of the Mystery of Faith. During the liturgy of the Eucharist, after the consecration, the celebrant proclaims “The Mystery of Faith”. The homily is similar. During the liturgy of the Word, after the reading of the Scriptures, the homilist proclaims the Mystery of Faith. It is meant to help the prayerful dialogue between the Lord and his people. My encouragement and admiration go to all priests who strive to proclaim the Word in this way when they celebrate the Eucharist. A poor homily or a homily which contains faulty or imprudent statements often causes irritation, discomfort or distress. On the other hand, allowing oneself to remain consumed with anger during and after the homily, or, worse still, leaving Mass as a sort of protest, is hardly helpful, least of all to the person who has come to take part in the celebration. Better to enter as best one can into the liturgy of the Eucharist, and, if possible, approach the preacher later to offer some constructive feedback. The homily is part of the celebration of the Eucharist, but the Eucharist is much more than the homily. Good homilies are to be encouraged, but whether the homily is good or not, the wonderful reality remains that in each Mass, the central Mystery of Faith, Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit, gives himself completely to his people and to the Father.

n Bishop Edward Risi of Keimoes-Upington chairs the Department of Christian Initiation, Liturgy and Culture of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference.


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The Southern Cross, July 20 to July 26, 2016


Oblate Father John de nobrega celebrated his 95th birthday and 62 years of priesthood at nazareth House in Johannesburg with Oblate provincial Fr Ronald Cairns, friends and nazareth House sisters. Pictured with Fr de nobrega are (from left) Sr Margaret Craig, Sr Bridget Ambrose and Sr noeline.

Don Bosco Centre in Walkerville, archdiocese of Johannesburg, hosted a LoveMatters workshop with attendees from various parishes in the south deanery.

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Please be patient as there is a queue of photos to be published St Theresa’s Convent School in Coronationville, Johannesburg, celebrated Catholic Schools week by reciting a decade of the rosary and released balloons shaped in a rosary into the air. Pupils also hung decorated crosses around the school.

Fr John Thompson SDB lifts up a baby boy and blesses him during Mass at St John Bosco parish in Robertsham, Johannesburg. The presentation of babies to the congregation is a West African tradition and demonstrates the cultural diversity of St John Bosco parish. Parents and relatives gave gifts of thanksgiving to God for blessing them with a child.

Fr Henry nwokoro CSsR of St James parish in Schauderville, Port elizabeth, presented a recollection for the Divine Mercy group with the theme “Our Lady, Mother of Mercy in God’s plan of salvation”.

Fr Albony Mbekezeli Zamisa and children of the northern part of umzimkhulu diocese, in KwaZulunatal, visited Lourdes Mission, passing through the Door of Mercy.

The children in umzimkulu diocese brought clothes for the poor to Mahone mission as part of their “Clothe the naked” work of mercy. The children also said four Hail Marys, one for the living and three for the dead for their “Pray for the Living and the Dead” work of mercy. Sr Zithobile Zondi LSMI is pictured with the children.


St Angela Merici founded the Ursulines in the 16th century, naming them after St Ursula, leader of a company of 4th century virgin martyrs.

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The children of St Joseph’s parish in Goodwood, Cape Town, received their first Holy Communion from Fr Mari Joseph OCD (centre). (Photo: Tracy Lopes Photography)

The Southern Cross, July 20 to July 26, 2016



What I learned from Catholics with psychological struggles When journalist MARy ReZAC sounded out her Catholic Facebook friends on mental health and faith, the response taught her some important lessons.

these situations. While the psychologists I spoke with had, for the most part, excellent relationships with many local priests, I also spoke with several lay faithful who had less than desirable responses from priests when it comes to mental illness. When I spoke with a recently-ordained friend of mine, he said that most US seminaries in his experience have a house counsellor who speaks with every seminarian at some point, and does ongoing work with seminarians. He also said that everything in his training has taught him to not overstep his bounds when it comes to psychological issues. So it seems that while the training is there, in practice it does not always play out perfectly. Perhaps ongoing training throughout the priesthood is necessary, as well as more open relationships between Catholic psychologists and priests.


FEW weeks ago, I put out a little blurb on my personal Facebook wall. It went something like this: “Hi friends! I’m working on a story about whether Catholics tend to over-spiritualise psychological problems, and whether there’s a stigma in the Church against those with mental health illnesses. If you have had experience with this and would like to comment, feel free to shoot me a personal message!” Normally my friends on social media are actually pretty good at responding to these sorts of requests, but the response I got to this little Facebook post was overwhelming. So many people either messaged me to share their own experiences, or were able to refer me to professionals they knew. Family, close friends, people I haven’t talked to in a while, friends of friends of friends—I heard from people across the board. The topic has been on a to-do list of features that we have at the office, but it was a particularly personal story for me to work on because depression runs in one side of my family. I also have several close friends who have depression, anxiety and other psychological struggles. It’s a topic that’s not easy. It’s a topic that required some extra prayers to Mary and the Holy Spirit, pre-and-post-interviews, so that the peace of Christ would reign over these difficult but necessary conversations. An article can only be so long, and can only delve into so much. So here are some things I learned while working on this piece that couldn’t fit into my article.

You are not alone If you’re dealing with psychological illness as a Catholic, you’re not a failure, and you’re not alone. There are so many people who, at the sight of a Facebook post, were willing to share their experiences with me. It’s also important to remember that despite appearances, nobody has it all together. A psychologist, Dr Jim Langley, told me: “The most common thing I see is the families that are at church, and everybody thinks they’re just the most wonderful, put together family that’s out there. And I’m seeing half of them in therapy probably because no family is perfect. The problem is when families are so focused on appearances or coming across as this wonderful Catholic family that they just don’t want to deal with it.”

You can’t ‘pray it away’ Prayer is a very powerful and necessary part of psychological healing. But just as you wouldn’t tell a cancer patient to “just pray it away”, you also should not tell someone with mental illness to “just pray it away”.

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Mental illness and faith

That said, there are powerful forms of healing and deliverance prayers that I have personally seen work small miracles in people’s lives—including my own. One woman I spoke to shared with me that it was soon after praying a deliverance prayer that she was hospitalised for her depression. She doesn’t consider this a coincidence—she considers it the moment when she finally allowed Jesus to enter those places of her life that she hadn’t let him enter yet, and through that prayer he led her to the miracle of modern medicine and psychological help that she needed to begin to fully heal. A great source for healing and deliverance prayers is the 2003 book Unbound: A Practical Guide to Deliverance by Neal Lozano ( This is the book—and corresponding ministry—that I have seen most often endorsed by reliable, holy priests. (There are likely other healing books and ministries available as well, but I would ask a trusted priest to review them before engaging with any of them.) Some parishes are also starting to offer healing Masses specifically for intentions of healing of various kinds, where there are often priests and lay faithful available to pray very deliberately with you, and it seems like the Church is just starting to unlock the power and graces available through these particular Masses.

want to go out. “People don’t enjoy time spent with depressed and anxious people. Yet we need people to sit with us, to pull us out of the dark mess that is our minds,” one interviewee told me. “That can mean sitting silently during a movie, or reading in the same room, or trying to take me out for a walk and understanding I’m not being a jerk if I don’t respond much or seem surly—I’m sick. I need accountability to do the most basic human activities.” Help them get connected to sources—priests and psychologists— that can offer them expert help. If you’re looking for Catholic psychologists, your local diocesan office is a good place to start. But it’s also okay to recognise your limits. One person I interviewed said she appreciated it when her friends established clear bound-

Love, don’t dismiss If a friend or family member reaches out to you about mental illness, don’t dismiss them, but love them. Listen to their concerns, talk with them when they are lonely, reach out frequently even if your friend might not always respond or

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aries for the sake of their own peace of mind and for the sake of the friendship. Being upfront about boundaries and establishing them early is the best approach, rather than realising after the fact that you’ve crossed a line. It’s also important to remember that God, through both prayer and mental professionals, is the ultimate healer. While it’s so very important to be like Christ to them, it’s okay to recognise that you are not Christ, and will not be their ultimate source of healing or happiness. As a friend with depression once told me, it’s not worth dragging other people down with you, so it’s perfectly okay to recognise your limits.

Are priests trained? Someone in a comment box asked about whether priests are given sufficient training to deal with

The prayer life of someone struggling with mental illness might look rather different than someone without mental illness. It’s probably going to be rather difficult for someone with severe anxiety to meditate in front of the Blessed Sacrament for long periods of time. Those who have been hurt by the Church may find going to Mass difficult, or sometimes impossible, and the best way that they can love God in their circumstances is to follow what their psychologists have told them. “Sometimes one of the most spiritual things I do in a day is take my anxiety medicine,” an interviewee told me.

A Theology of the Mind This is an important topic and conversation that needs to continue. Someone I spoke to for this article put it best: “We are so comfortable as Catholics talking about theology of the body and human dignity, but what about theology of the mind? I think Catholics with mental health problems can pave a way to balancing the spiritual and the practical by being vulnerable. The problem I have seen is that we lean one way or the other in our world, and we need both.”—CNA


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Eight great places of pilgrimage Pilgrimage destinations like the Holy Land and Rome are well-known, but there are many others. PAT McCARTHy looks at eight hugely popular sites.


OR a Catholic, a pilgrimage is a journey to a sacred location— sacred because of its place in the Bible, its association with a holy person, or its connection with a miracle or apparition. Millions of Catholics set out on pilgrimages each year. Untold numbers go to the Holy Land, visiting sites directly associated with the life of Christ; to Rome, with its basilicas and museums, the burial place of St Peter and the seat of the papacy; and to sites in Greece and Turkey, where St Paul preached and early Christian communities were founded. Apart from those destinations, each of the following shrines receives more than two million pilgrims a year: l Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico City: The shrine contains the cloak of a devout Indian, Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, to whom the Virgin Mary appeared in 1531, just a decade after the Spanish conquest of Mexico. The cloak, or tilma, is imprinted with a miraculous image of Mary with native features and in native dress. Devotion to this image of Mary as Our Lady of Guadalupe quickly spread, and millions of native Mexicans became Catholics. St Juan Diego was canonised in 2002. The shrine receives 20 million pilgrims each year. l National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida, Brazil: The shrine’s basilica—the second-largest church in the world, after St Peter’s in the Vatican—houses a miraculous statue of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. In 1717 local three fishermen prayed to Our Lady to help them catch fish for a banquet to honour a visiting dignitary. They caught no

fish, but one of them netted the headless statue. With his next cast he netted the head. When the trio cleaned the statue and renewed their prayers they caught all the fish they needed. The statue was identified as the work of a monk from São Paulo around 1650. This shrine attracts about eight million pilgrims a year. Pope Francis visited it during World Youth Day in 2015. l San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy: The body of St Padre Pio of Pietrelcina is displayed here. This Capuchin friar, priest and mystic died in 1968 and was declared a saint in 2002. Besides bearing the stigmata of Christ, Padre Pio manifested the gifts of healing, bilocation, levitation, tongues, prophecy and extraordinary abstinence from both sleep and food. On one occasion he is recorded to have subsisted for at least 20 days with no other nourishment than the Eucharist. To people who came to him with problems, his advice was: “Pray, hope and don’t worry.” About seven million pilgrims visit his shrine each year. l The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, France: This is where 14-year-old Bernadette Soubirous received 18 apparitions of the Virgin Mary at the Grotto of Massabielle in 1858. The sanctuary is especially a destination for sick pilgrims who bathe in water from the Lourdes spring, although only 69 cures have been recognised as miraculous by the Church. With three basilicas (one underground) and several churches, the sanctuary has 22 separate places of worship. Lourdes receives about six million pilgrims each year. l Jasna Gora Monastery at Czestochowa, Poland: This national shrine has been home to the miraculous icon of the Black Madonna of Czestochowa since the 14th century. The painting is in a traditional Byzantine style, with the Virgin May directing attention from herself to the child Jesus as the source of salvation. Its name comes from the soot residue left by centuries of

The Marian shrines of Guadalupe in Mexico City, and Aparecida in Brazil. (Photos: P Mudarra & Roosevelt Cassio, Reuters)

San Giovanni Rotondo in south-eastern Italy, and Lourdes in southern France (Photos: Günther Simmermacher)

Jasna Gora in Poland, and Fatima in Portugal. (Photos: nancy Wiechec/CnS & Günther Simmermacher)

The Holy House of Loreto in eastern Italy, and St Joseph’s Oratory in Québec, Canada. (Photos: Rabanus Flavus & Guilherme Duarte Garcia)

votive candles. The origin of the icon and the date of its composition are uncertain, though one tradition asserts that it was painted by St Luke on a table used by the Holy Family. About 4,5 million pilgrims visit the monastery each year.

l Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima, Portugal: This site commemorates apparitions of the Virgin Mary in 1917 to three children, Lucia Santos and her two cousins, Jacinta and Francisco Marto, while they guarded sheep. Mary, identifying herself as Our

Lady of the Rosary, said God had sent her with a message of prayer, reparation, repentance, sacrifice and turning away from sin. The apparitions culminated in the Miracle of the Sun on October 13, 1917, witnessed by more than 30 000 people, including several newspaper reporters. The sun appeared as a spinning disc, shining multi-coloured lights across the landscape, then careering towards the earth in a whirling pattern. About four million pilgrims visit Fatima every year. l Holy House of Loreto, Italy: This small stone structure is reputed to have been Mary’s house at Nazareth. Legends surround its transportation to Loreto “by angels” in 1295, after Islam overran the Holy Land. More credible evidence indicates the stones may have been taken by the aristocratic De Angelis family, to save the house from destruction by Muslims, and reassembled at Loreto on Italy’s Adriatic coast. The primitive building has only three walls and no foundations. Its dimensions and limestone construction appear consistent with being a one-room dwelling originally standing in front of the cavegrotto over which the basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth now stands. The Holy House, now encased in marble within a huge basilica, receives four million visitors a year. l St Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal, Québec: This national shrine, Canada’s largest church, contains the remains of St André Bessette. St André, a lay brother in the Congregation of the Holy Cross, was credited with thousands of miraculous healings during his lifetime. He eventually needed four secretaries to handle the 80 000 letters he received each year. He attributed all the cures to St Joseph, for whom he began a campaign to build a chapel on the slopes of Mont Royal in 1904. Br André died in 1937, aged 91, and was canonised in 2010. The oratory attracts two million visitors a year. n Pat McCarthy directs the website which details each site of pilgrimage in the Holy Land.

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RANCISCAN Father Myles Russell of Pretoria, a former seminary rector, died on July 2 at the age of 82. Born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1934, he was the eldest son of the late Tom and Marie Russell. His brother Tom also became a Franciscan priest. Fr Myles entered the Franciscan order in 1952 and in 1960 was ordained a priest after studies in Rome. He came to South Africa the same year, where he worked for 56 years. Although he was mostly known as rector of St John Vianney Seminary—from 1977 to 1984 when St Peter’s Seminary and St John Vianney came together—he also worked in parishes in Vanderbijlpark, Boksburg, Durban and Harare, Zimbabwe. He is remembered as the for-

mator of many priests who became bishops in South Africa. The current rector of St John Vianney, Fr Paul Manci, was also a student of Fr Myles. “Fr Myles was a very responsible and conscientious person. Though a bit reserved, he had a very good sense of humour. He

also had a good memory for people, especially for the priests who passed through his hands,” said his fellow Franciscan, Archbishop William Slattery of Pretoria. For a number of years he suffered ill health, but that did not dampen his commitment to the Church and to the Lord. At his funeral, tributes were made by Bishops Graham Rose of Dundee, Jerry Masela of Polokwane and Joao Rodrigues of Tzaneen. “As in all Franciscan funerals, the friars said goodbye to Fr Myles with a joy arising from a trust in the goodness of God. They saw Fr Myles as a gift, a friend and loyal brother, “said Archbishop Slattery. “The funeral was celebrated by his brother, Fr Tom Russell, who with his expertise in liturgy, made it a profound experience.”

Fr Xolisile Augustine Kondlo


ATHER Xolisile Augustine Kondlo, who died on June 18, was born in Port Elizabeth on October 26, 1978, the son of Daliwonga and Julia Kondlo. He attended primary school at Ilongwe in Dunbrody, Nosipho in Kwanobuhle and Vezubuhle in Swartkops Valley. The highlight of his primary school days was when he entered the school pageant and won the title of Mr Vezubuhle. He went to Vulumzi High School, Motherwell, where he completed his senior certificate and excelled in athletics, particularly the 100m sprints. He had a great love for soccer and was a member for the Swartkops Valley United Brothers team, where he played right wing. In 1998 Xolisile went to the Academy of Learning to do practical bookkeeping and in 1999 he

attended Vista University to do a BCom. During his second year Xolisile left Vista to pursue his calling to the priesthood and started his philosophy studies. He completed his philosophy in 2004 and went on to study theology which he completed in 2008.

Liturgical Calendar Year C – Weekdays Cycle Year 2 Sunday July 24 Genesis 18:20-32, Psalms 138:1-3, 6-8, Colossians 2:12-14, Luke 11:1-13 Monday July 25, St James the Apostle 2 Corinthians 4:7-15, Psalms 126, Matthew 20:20-28 Tuesday July 26, Ss Joachim and Anne, parents of Mary Jeremiah 14, 17-22, Psalms 79, 8-9.11.13, Matthew 13, 36-43 Wednesday July 27 Jeremiah 15:10, 16-21, Psalms 59:2-4, 10-11, 1718, Matthew 13:44-46 Thursday July 28, St St Anne and Mary, Victor in Lourdes Jeremiah 18:1-6, Psalms 146:1-6, Matthew 13:47-53 Friday July 29, St Martha 1 John 4, 7-16, Psalms 34, 2-11, John 11, 19-27 or Luke 10, 38-42 Saturday July 30, Ss Justin de Jacobis and Peter Chrysologus Jeremiah 26:11-16, 24, Psalms 69:15-16, 30-31, 33-34, Matthew 14:1-12 Sunday July 31 Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:21-23, Psalms 90:3-6, 12-14, 17, Colossians 3:1-5, 9-11, Luke 12:13-21

On April 27, 2012 Fr Xolisile was ordained to the priesthood at Pawulos Oyingcwele parish. He worked in numerous parishes in the diocese of Port Elizabeth and also worked for the pastoral development office as a translator. In 2013 he became ill and was diagnosed with acute interstitial pneumonitis and often had to be hospitalised to receive oxygen. By 2014 he became reliant on a 24hour oxygen machine and was restricted to staying in his flat. He continued to do translating work from home and started a campaign to educate people about his condition in the hope that one day they would become organ donors. He never lost his faith and continued in the hope that a compatible lung donor would be found. He leaves behind his mother, siblings, aunt, cousins and many nephews and nieces.

Word of the Week

Holy Chrism: the special oil used in the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and holy orders. Inquisition: The court established by the Catholic Church in the 13th century in order to stop and punish heretics. If the individual(s) would not recant, then they were turned over to the secular government for punishment—often resulting in death.

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The Southern Cross, July 20 to July 26, 2016



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CONGRATULATIONS Mum and dad (Dorothy and Billy Deane, from St Anne's parish, Sydenham, Durban) on your 60th wedding anniversary from your children Margaret, Arthur, edward and Sandra, grandchildren Lauren, Anthea, Denzil, Kaylee, Ashley, Micaela and Tineal. Great-grandchildren Aliyah, Miah, Gabriella, ethan and Matthew. A love story journey from Mariannhill (dad training as a bricklayer and mum as a nurse ) to a wedding in the eastern Cape and currently to life in Durban.


CERFONTYNE—Michael. In loving memory of our dear son and brother who passed away July 16, 2010. We will always love and keep you in our hearts.


ABORTION WARNING: The pill can abort (chemical abortion) Catholics must be told, for their eternal welfare and the survival of their unborn infants. See www. downloads/bcpill.pdf ABORTION WARNING: The truth will convict a silent Church. See www. VISIT PIOUS KINTU’S official website http://ave This website has been set up to give glory to the Most Holy Trinity through the healing power of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. View amazing pictures of Pious Kintu’s work in Congo and various African countries since 2007. Also read about African Stigmatist Reverend Sister Josephine Sul and Padre Pio among others.

LORD, inspire those men and women who bear the titles “husband” and “wife”. Help them to look to you, to themselves, to one another to rediscover the fullness and mystery they once felt in their union. Let them be honest enough to ask: “Where have we been together and where are we going?” Let them be brave enough to question: “How have we failed?” Let each be foolhardy enough to say: “For me, we come first.” Help them, together, to reexamine their commitment in the light of your love, willingly, openly, compassionately.

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ALMIGHTY GOD, from whom all thoughts of truth and peace proceed, kindle in the hearts of all men the true love of peace, and guide with your pure and peaceable wisdom those who make decisions for the nations of the earth; that in tranquility your kingdom may go forward, till the earth be filled with the knowledge of your love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


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18th Sunday: July 31 Readings: Ecclesiastes 1:2, 2:21-23, Psalm 90:3-6, 12-14, 17, Colossians 3:1-5, 9-11, Luke 12:13-21

S outher n C ross


EXT Sunday is the feast of St Ignatius Loyola, and Jesuits will be thinking their own thoughts, but the rest of us shall be asking the important question: “What are the things that really matter in life?” The first reading is from Qoheleth, a fascinating book; not the least fascinating question is how it ever made it into the Bible, since what some scholars describe as its “weary agnosticism” sets it somewhat apart from other biblical texts: “Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth, vanity of vanities” (in other words, there is no real point in life). Our author offers the example of someone who toils knowledgeably and wisely, and then his work is “given to a person who did not toil over it”. And many readers will nod in agreement at the statement that “all their days are full of pain…even at night their heart does not rest: this is also vanity”. Is there any hope? The psalmist is never defeated for long, and in the psalm for next

Sunday, although the poet is facing the grim fact of mortality, he does at least address his prayer to God: “You turn man into dust, and say ‘Go back, sons of men.’ ” But at least our singer is making the effort to see things through God’s eyes: “For a thousand years in your eyes are like a day, yesterday.” Other images are “a dream” or “grass that flourishes in the morning, and in the evening it has withered away”. As so often, the psalmist is dealing with real human issues; but above all, he brings it back to God: “Come back, Lord, how long? Have mercy on your servants!” In the second reading, Paul invites us, precisely because “you have been raised with Christ” to “seek for the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God”. Our task is to keep an eye on what really matters. If you have your eyes on God and on Jesus Christ, then your attention is not distracted to “fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is worshipping a false god)”. If we are honest, we are aware that we


how hostile to us, that we are not unconditionally loved and forgiven. And, because of this, we harbour a certain paranoia and hostility towards others. Their energy is a threat to the welcome we desire.



ere’s how the Trappist mystic Thomas Merton diagnosed this. Commenting on the negativity in the politics, churches, and communities of his time, he offered this reason for the bitterness and division: “In the climate which is not that of life and mercy, but of death and condemnation, the personal and collective guilts of men and of groups wrestle with one another in death struggle. “Men, tribes, nations, sects, parties set themselves up in forms of existence which are mutual accusations. They thus seek survival and self-affirmation by living demonically, for the demon is the ‘accuser of the brethren’. “A demonic existence is one which insistently diagnoses what it cannot cure, what it has no desire to cure, what it seeks only to bring to full potency in order that it may cause the death of its victim. “Yet this is the temptation which besets the sin-ridden dasein [German for existential situation] of man, for whom a resentful existence implies the need and decision to accuse and to condemn all other existences.” And, when this is true, Merton submits: “God becomes a tribal totem, a magnification of the self-seeking existent striving to establish its autonomy in its own void. “Can such a God be anything but the

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Sunday Reflections

have a regular tendency in that direction, and there never comes a time when our attention is disciplined enough to concentrate only on the things of God. The author warns us against “telling lies to one another” and wants us to “take off the old ‘you’, along with all that it got up to”; instead we are to “put on the new ‘you’, the one that is being renewed in the direction of recognition in accordance with the likeness of the One that created you”. If we do that we shall see the irrelevance of those artificial human constructs that distract us from what is important: “Jew and Greek, circumcision and uncircumcision, foreigners and Russians, slaves and free people: no—Christ is all in all.” In the Gospel for next Sunday, Jesus sharply resists the invitation to get involved in the things that do not matter. He is asked to be a referee or a tribunal between two brothers over their parents’ inheritance, and instead simply warns them against the “desire to have more”, what was described in the sec-

Letting go of our hatreds HY don’t we live happier lives? Why are we forever caught up in frustrations, tensions, angers and resentments? The reasons, of course, are too many to name. Each day, as Jesus himself tells us, brings problems enough for the day. We’re unhappy for reasons too many to count. And yet it can be helpful to ask ourselves sometimes: Why am I so chronically sitting just outside the gates of happiness? Our initial answer would probably focus on the tensions in our lives that have to do with tiredness, with our health, with stress in our relationships, stress in our work, and anxieties about security. There’s always something! A second reflection would, I suspect, drag up deeper reasons: unacknowledged disappointment with how our lives have turned out, with what our lives have come down to, and with the many dreams we had which were frustrated. But a still deeper reflection, I believe, would shine a light on something else, something that lies beyond the ordinary stresses and deeper disappointments in our lives. It would, I submit, reveal an underlying, unacknowledged insecurity which works at perennially turning the positive into the negative, has us habitually cursing rather than blessing, and has us projecting a negativity and bitterness right in the God and religion we believe in. What is this insecurity? This insecurity is, at root, a feeling that we are not sufficiently welcome in this world, that God and the universe are some-

Nicholas King SJ

What matters in life?

ond reading as “worshipping a false god”, because “it is not possessions or a surplus that gives a person life”. Then he tells one of his uncomfortable parables, this about a wealthy man whose crops have done well this year, so he builds bigger granaries to store them, “and I’ll gather there all the grain, and all my possessions; and then I’ll say to my life: ‘Life—you have many possessions heaped up for a number of years: chill out, eat and drink: party-time’” (have you said that to yourself?). And then the chilling pay-off line: “Mindless one: this very night God is asking you for your life.” And the story ends with the grim warning, to which we shall do well to pay attention: “So it is with anyone who heaps up treasure for themselves, and does not get rich towards God.” What are you being challenged, this week, to recognise as unimportant?

Southern Crossword #716

Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI

Final Reflection

embodiment of resentments, hatreds, and dreads? It is in the presence of such idols that vindictive and death-dealing orthodoxies flourish. “These gods of party and sect, race and nation, are necessarily the gods of war.” And this, according to Merton, can be remedied only “when men [people] realise that they are all debtors, and that the debt is unpayable”. And isn’t all of this so true today? How vicious, demonising, polarising, and stalemated are our own political processes, churches, and communities! How resentful we all are! How much we have turned our God in the embodiment of our resentments, hatred, and fears! How much we are selling death-dealing orthodoxies as religion! How much our communities and churches are creating their own tribal gods! We see this, of course, most clearly in the religious terrorists who bomb and kill in the name of God, but no one is exempt. We all struggle to believe in a God who actually loves everyone and who is not just our own tribal deity. Indeed, part of the historical reason for present-day religious terrorism has to do with our own longstanding paranoia and how we have projected our own resentments, fears and hatreds into the God we believe in and the religion we practise. But Merton shared also the secret of how to move beyond this, of how to stop projecting our own resentments and fears into God and into our churches. His answer? Things will change when, at the root of our being, we accept that we are debtors and that the debt is unpayable. Then we will finally accept God’s welcome and love and, accepting our own welcome, we will no longer resent others. It’s only when we know our own welcome that we can let acceptance, and not judgment, flow out of our lives. And then, and only then, can we let our God be too the God of others. At the root of our deepest resentment sits an insecurity about our own welcome in the world and with that comes a failure to understand the real nature of God, that is, because we feel threatened, we invariably create a God and religion that protects us against others.


1. Contradiction of doctrine (6) 4. Fish taking a nap on the ocean bed? (6) 9. Vatican attraction lies in patches, broken (7,6) 10. Oats pie contains drugs (7) 11. Papal edicts concern farm animals (5) 12. he walked with God (Gn 5) (5) 14. Celebrities in your horoscope? (5) 18. A profit for a second time (5) 19. Adorn the walls with newsprint once more (7) 21. Say mantra “Viol” to join Christian host (9,4) 22. Observing writing the musical score (6) 23. Took a breather (6)


1. Purge me with... and I shall be clean (Ps 51) (6) 2. Classic dance you can enjoy in Moscow (7,6) 3. hairy garment for the penitent (5) 5. Dwell where you see the clothed monk (7) 6. The acclaimed games people play (7,6) 7. Take pleasure in Shirle (6) 8. Stop! (5) 13. hold in no act (7) 15. Person alters one letter for the preacher (6) 16. Centre for cerebral activity (5) 17. Asked for divine assistance (6) 20. Bamboo-munching giant (5)

Solutions on page 11



WO men considering a religious vocation were having a conversation. “What is similar about the Jesuit and Dominican orders? ” the one asked. The second replied: “Well, they were both founded by Spaniards—St Dominic for the Dominicans, and St Ignatius of Loyola for the Jesuits. “They were also both founded to combat heresy—the Dominicans to fight the Albigensians, and the Jesuits to fight the Protestants.” “What is different about the Jesuit and Dominican orders?” “Met any Albigensians lately?”


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