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S outher n C ross

November 16 to November 22, 2016

Bishop Dowling: How to resist injustice

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This is the Real Presence at Mass

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Cremation FAQ: What’s allowed, and what isn’t

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Watch out for bogus ‘bishop’ BY MAnDlA ZIBI

T Jezzy the cat from Muizenberg in Cape Town enjoys a back issue of The Southern Cross from 2005 while reader Magdalena Kus was having a spring-clean clear-out.

Forest secretly grew Celtic cross


HE Celtic cross, an emblem of Irish Christianity for centuries, greets passengers who fly into the Northern Irish city of Derry—but its origins were long a mystery. More than 90m long and 60m wide, the cross is set on a hill, made of thousands of lighter trees amidst a backdrop of darker trees in a forest in County Donegal, just across the border in north-western Ireland. While the cross has been visible for several years, its origins remained a mystery, until recently when Irish TV station UTV uncovered the history of the wooded cross. It was planted by the late forester Liam Emmery, who died in 2010 at the age of 51 after suffering from poor health for a couple of years. The cross had remained mostly a mystery even to his family, until recently. “Liam was in an accident and he was unwell for two years, and he had suffered brain damage. So that’s why I suppose I had forgotten” about the Celtic cross in the forest, Liam’s wife Norma told UTV. “Because if he was here, we’d all have heard about it because he would have been so proud.” Gareth Austin, a horticultural expert, said that the cross was a feat of horticultural engineering. The dry autumn has made the cross particularly visible this year. “For Liam to have created that and to give

The Celtic cross that is visible from the air in a forest in Country Donegal, Ireland. (Photo: YouTube) the gift of that to the rest of us, we’re going to be appreciating this for the next 60 or 70 years,” Mr Austin said. Mrs Emmery said that it made sense that it was the symbol her husband chose to plant in the forest. “He just loved things to be perfect, and I think the Celtic cross is perfect for him.” The origins of the Celtic cross have been debated by historians for years. Some say the ring around the cross-section of the cross represents the halo of Christ, while others say it is a symbol adopted from pagan beliefs about the sun, to show Christ’s supremacy over the life-giving pagan solar deities. Many believe that either St Patrick or St Declan introduced the cross to Ireland.—CNA

HE Southern African bishops and the Vatican have warned local Catholics to be on the lookout for a man who claims to be the Nigerian-born Catholic bishop of Highveld diocese. There is no such Catholic diocese—though there us an Anglican diocese of that name— and there are no Nigerian-born bishops in South Africa. Dr Simon Peter Nnolumfu, the bogus bishop, styles himself as the leader of the Order of Missionaries of Mercy, “The Vatican and the Nigerian Catholic Church are mystified by the claims of this man,” Archbishop William Slattery of Pretoria told The Southern Cross. “Bishops are appointed by the pope in public ceremonies. The pope issues a personal letter to the appointee, which is read in public. Then there is a laying of hands on him by three other bishops,” said the archbishop, who is also the spokesman for the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference. “No such ceremony took place for this man,” he added Therefore, Dr Nnolumfu has no authority to act in the name of the Catholic Church in South Africa or anywhere else, Archbishop Slattery said. “People should not believe him, nor should they contribute funds to his church,” Archbishop Slattery said. Dr Nnolumfu is not the first person to present himself illicitly as an ordained leader of a mainstream church.


oreover, it is not uncommon that founders of micro-churches give themselves the title “bishop”. “In certain sections of the Christian denominations in South Africa, men are continually declaring themselves ‘bishops’,” said Archbishop Slattery. “Religion in South Africa is the least regulated of the professions. The Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL Rights Commission) spoke of the abuse of belief systems, but their recommendations are far from satisfactory,” he said. The commission, chaired by Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva, was tasked among other things with investigating questionable and

abusive religious practices in order to make recommendations to parliament for changes in the law. At the moment, religious bodies are governed by the same legislation as non-profit organisations, which is problematic because “the administration of a soup kitchen and that of a church earning millions were simply not comparable”, Ms Mkhwanazi-Xaluva has said. Mr Nnolumfu, the bogus bishop, is the subject of a letter by former Vatican Cardinal Francis Arinze to the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples in Rome. In the letter, the Nigerian prelate relates how he first met the “bishop” at a papal Mass at the Vatican. “This man…attended the concluding papal Mass in St Peter’s Square on the solemnity of the Sacred Heart on 3rd June 2016 and concelebrated the Mass as one of the bishops. “He greeted me while we were vesting and told me that he was a bishop in South Africa and that he originated from Agulu town in Awka diocese in Nigeria. My doubt on [sic] him began that day,” Cardinal Arinze said in the letter.


n his letter, Cardinal Arinze mentions reports that Mr Nnolumfu recruits “doubtful candidates”, after which he organises for them to be ordained as priests in Yaounde, Cameroon, “by some bishop said to be of some Oriental rite”. “One of such ‘priests’ tried to function in Oguta in Owerri dioceses without success.” Elsewhere in the letter Cardinal Arinze noted: “It would seem that [Mr Nnolumfu] regards himself and his ‘church’ as part of the Old Catholic Church. [He] speaks of this socalled church as having some married bishops under special conditions.” On the Who’s Who in South Africa website Dr Nnolumfu makes no reference to leading a breakaway sect. On LinkedIn he claims to head the “Catholique Diocese of Highveld”. His Facebook page, on which he is “friends” with many local Catholics, features official Catholic logos, including one depicting the papal coat of arms and the legend, “I stand with the Catholic Church”. The Congregation for Evangelisation has issued a warning concerning the activities of the Order of the Missionaries of Mercy and Dr Nnolumfu.


The Southern Cross, november 16 to november 22, 2016


Bishop calls for alternative to violence STAFF REPORTER


ISHOP Kevin Dowling of Rustenburg has called for an alternative vision to “the use of violence to force through whatever one wants to get, the destruction of property, the violation of the human rights of others, the culture of impunity and so on”. The bishop delivered the 21st Annual Hurley Lecture in Durban to a packed hall of people from across the religious spectrum. The lecture was organised by the Justice and Peace Commission of the archdiocese of Durban and the Denis Hurley Centre, where it took place. “For me, it is people like Oscar Romero, Denis Hurley, Pope Francis, Mahatma Gandhi—and in my own faith, the person of Jesus—who give me hope that there is another way,” Bishop Dowling said, adding that “all of them were or are the very antithesis of the violence to which so many seem committed”. Archbishop Romero analysed violence in our world thus: “If we really want an effective end to violence we must remove the violence that lies at the root of all violence—structural violence, social injustice, exclusion of citizens from

the management of the country, repression.” During the struggle against the structural violence of apartheid, the Catholic Church “tried to tread the challenging path of Archbishop Romero—being constructively supportive through solidarity and action with the poor, the suffering and oppressed; actively engaging in the quest for change and a peace based on justice,” Bishop Dowling said. “Archbishop Hurley left us a legacy which has been taken up by the Denis Hurley Centre in its imaginative responses to the structural violence of poverty, marginalisation and exclusion,” the bishop said. “His legacy also continues in the Denis Hurley Peace Institute in Pretoria [which] began an outreach to our sisters and brothers in Africa suffering the consequences of violence and war.” Bishop Dowling is a patron of the Denis Hurley Centre and also a board member of the Denis Hurley Peace Institute. The bishop said that the “practical alternatives to the cycle of violence, wars, atrocities” are those of Jesus: the way of non-violence. “The choice is to be peacemakers who work to relieve peoples’ suffer-

Bishop Kevin Dowling with a statue of Archbishop Denis Hurley in the Denis Hurley Centre in Durban. Bishop Dowling delivered the annual Hurley lecture. (Photo: Zanele Zulu, The Mercury) ing and remove or transform the underlying causes of violence, conflict and war so that there can be sustainable peace and economic justice—but to do all this without any form of violence,” Bishop Dowling said. He noted that a study—

Chenoweth & Stephan’s “Why Civil Resistance Works”—showed that non-violence is more effective than violence. The study examined 323 violent and non-violent campaigns from 1900 to 2006, and found that non-violent resistance campaigns succeeded, in terms of stated politi-

cal objectives, about 54% of the time, compared to 27% for violent campaigns. “This vision of active non-violence and just peacemaking is a challenge we need to take up in South Africa, to develop a different way of thinking about violence in all its forms—to be able to see that violence is not the way to solve any problem or any conflict,” Bishop Dowling said. During the evening the audience of 150 heard who the three finalists for the Hurley Choral Scholarship would be. This will be at the new Drakondale Girls Choir School founded by John Tungay, an old friend of Archbishop Hurley, who also founded the original Drakensberg Boys Choir School. The evening also saw the launch of a Denis Hurley memorial pilgrimage to Lourdes, Paris and Rome in September 2017, presented by the Denis Hurley Centre. The pilgrimage will be led by Bishop Barry Wood OMI and the centre’s director, Raymond Perrier. n For more information about the pilgrimage visit www.fowlertours. For a copy of the full text of the lecture, e-mail news@

Never leave politics to the politicians, say bishops BY MAnDlA ZIBI


VER 80 bishops from 78 ecclesiastical territories in the Southern Africa region will combine spiritual and socio-economic insights for a more holistic view of environmental issues when they meet in Maseru, Lesotho, at the end of this month. The gathering is the latest plenary, held every three years, of the Inter-Regional Meeting of the Bishops of Southern Africa (Imbisa). Besides the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (South Africa, Botswana and Swaziland), Imbisa comprises the bishops’ conferences of Angola and São Tome & Principe, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

Under the theme, “Empowering the laity for effective engagement for social-political-environmental issues”, taking Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical Laudato Si’ as a point of reference, the bishops are expected to discuss “how to empower active Catholics to engage in social justice issues, political decision-making and in protecting the earth as our common home”, said Fr Oskar Wermter SJ of Imbisa’s pastoral communications department. In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis critiques consumerism, irresponsible development, environmental degradation and global warming, calling on all people of the world to take “swift and unified global action”. “Obviously [the bishops] do not go along with the slogan that ‘poli-

tics should be left to politicians’, a slogan that suggests defeat, resignation, fear, and timidity. The faithful want the bishops to speak up on social justice, economic reforms, and environmental issues,” said Fr Wermter, who is based in Harare.


ut this is not solely an episcopal responsibility, he emphasised. “Earth does not belong to the bishops—she belongs to all of us, parents, young people, lay people, religious, all of us. Therefore we all have to accept responsibility for the Earth,” the Jesuit said. “Water is a key issue. Lesotho provides many countries in the region with water. Let us be grateful for the water we find in our region and use it sparingly,” he urged.

Highlighting the communal aspects of human activity such as praying, dialogue and learning towards a common goal, Fr Wermter said: “There is no escape. The assumption that politicians will solve our problems is illusory. Our active presence is needed in the political scene.” He said Laudato Si’ is all about uncovering the intimate relationship between poverty and the state of our planet, the conviction that everything in the world is connected—the local, the national and the international; the social, economic, cultural and the spiritual. The priest invoked passages from the document encouraging local political activity which can be “directed to modifying consumption, developing an economy of waste disposal

and recycling, protecting certain species and planning diversified agriculture and rotation of crops”. In his encyclical, Pope Francis wrote: “Results take time and demand immediate outlays which may not produce tangible effects within any one government’s term. That is why, in the absence of pressure from the public and from civic institutions, political authorities will always be reluctant to intervene, all the more when urgent needs must be met.” Pope Francis wants to demonstrate how inseparable the bond is between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace, Fr Wermter said. The plenary runs from November 21-26.

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The northern Deanery of the archdiocese of Cape Town made a pilgrimage to the parish of St Francis de Sales in Malmesbury on the Cape’s West Coast to celebrate the Year of Mercy. Mass was celebrated by the dean, Fr Michael van Heerden of Durbanville, and the priests of the deanery, together with the deacons. The rain that morning did not prevent the pilgrims from celebrating Mass and a very meaningful pilgrimage of faith. (Photo: From Eugene Jackson)

The Southern Cross, november 16 to november 22, 2016


Bishops’ Aids Office builds homes for poor


VER the past six years the Aids Office of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference has received funding from individuals as well as from a couple of NGOs to support the construction of basic two-roomed housing for poor families in rural areas. Beneficiary families are often struggling with unemployment, inadequate housing, poor access to services for health care and various forms of abuse. “When the SACBC Aids Office was first approached by an organisation in Holland to be the implementing partner of a building project, we saw it as a wonderful opportunity to assist some of the vulnerable families in the areas where we were supporting HIV and Aids programmes, especially those working with children,” said Sr Alison Munro OP, coordinator of the office. More than 500 houses have been built, mainly funded by the Dutch organisation, but also by individuals from Germany and South Africa. This year, 60 houses were completed. In two dioceses the project also received support to have some orphaned youth trained in basic building skills, followed by their building of some houses in their local area. The houses are very simple, just two rooms, and do not have water and electricity connected as part of the project. In some cases the municipality provides connections to allow for pre-paid electricity. Water sources for these houses vary; in some cases people continue to collect water from rivers, while in others there are municipal pipes and taps near to where houses are built. The SACBC houses have a water tank to collect rainwater from roofs.

Depending on the area, the municipality provides toilets while elsewhere the SACBC project includes pit toilets as part of the project. “Beneficiary families are identified by Church personnel, by neighbours and by the chiefs of the local areas,” Sr Munro said. “They are often living in very poor conditions, sometimes in tin shacks, sometimes in mud houses which collapse over time, and sometimes in space provided by neighbours because they have none of their own.” Sr Munro said that families are sometimes broken up by social circumstances such as death and divorce, a breadwinner migrating in search of employment elsewhere, or a simple lack of space to accommodate the number of people living sometimes in one or two rooms. “Often the new houses are built alongside those that are already occupied by the families. This allows the beneficiaries to make choices around allocation of space. In other instances houses are built on plots allocated by the chief who can vouch that the beneficiaries are known to him,” Sr Munro said. Families receive various forms of support from local Church projects, including education and health services for children. Sometimes these were in place before the construction of the houses. At other times they are initiated according to what is possible locally, she explained. “The SACBC Aids Office, the dioceses and beneficiary families are grateful for the support received for the project,” Sr Munro said. n To see the work done by the SACBC Aids Office, visit www.aidsoffice.

Airport Mass takes off BY MAnDlA ZIBI


TTENDANCE at afternoon Masses at OR Tambo International has increased since they were reintroduced at Easter. Catholics travelling through OR Tambo can enjoy the benefit of Sunday Mass at the airport chapel every Sunday at 15:00. Earlier this year, Archbishop Buti Tlhagale of Johannesburg appointed Fr Arvin Tauro OCD as the airport’s chaplain. The idea of an airport chapel originated from a 1995 article in The Southern Cross by the journalist John Cowan, in which the newspaper called on the Airports Company of South Africa to create space for a chapel at OR Tambo, which led to a room being allocated on the mezzanine floor of the domestic arrivals section of the airport. That room was lost when the airport was remodelled. The initiative grew into what is now called the OR Tambo International Airport Christian Ministry, an interdenominational service comprising Methodists, Anglicans and other churches. While the Catholic involvement has now been formalised through Fr Tauro, the rest of the ministry is run by a group of volunteers.

OR Tambo airport chaplain Fr Arvin Tauro OCD says Mass in the airport chapel. “We realise that a lot of Catholics are not aware of this service and therefore we wish to let them know that it is now a regular feature of activity at OR Tambo,” said Fr Tauro. “The Church has realised the importance of establishing the chaplaincy, which is also in line with international practice at similar airports worldwide.” And according to Tricia Lovell, one of the directors at the ministry, plans are underway to build a more permanent and accessible structure soon, as some visitors

have found it hard to locate the venue. It is in the domestic arrivals hall. “Annually there are 16 million passengers passing through the airport, with over 1 800 employees working there on a daily basis. It is obvious that there is lots of ministry to be done around South Africa’s major airport,” she said. “So next time you are travelling and you have missed Mass just know that you will be able to attend it at OR Tambo before your flight,” said Fr Tauro. Retired Capuchin Father Didacus McGrath of St Theresa’s parish in Welcome Estate in Cape Town, was visited by learners of St Theresa’s Primary School, wishing him a happy 87th birthday.

Daughters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Workers complete an SACBC Aids Office two-roomed home for poor South Africans in rural areas.

SVP celebrates 160 years in SA with Mass for founder


HE Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) commemorates the 160th anniversary of its establishment in South Africa on November 17. The SVP was founded in 1856 at St Mary’s cathedral in Cape Town during the tenure of Bishop Griffith. The initiator was a young man who had recently arrived in Cape Town from Glasgow, Scotland. Inspired by the good works of the SVP in Scotland, young Alexander Wilmot was determined to establish the same society in many parts of South Africa. A civil servant in the then-Cape Colony, wherever he was sent he established and encouraged groups of like-minded people to serve the poor with prayers and good works. His second conference was started at St Augustine’s in Port Elizabeth; the third at St Patrick’s in Grahamstown; and the fourth in Oudtshoorn. Wilmot went on to establish more groups in Cape Town, King Williamstown, Kimberley, Uitenhage and Johannesburg. Today there are more than 2 500 members, all of them volunteers, working in 200 parishes across the

country, visiting those in need and attending to their spiritual and material needs with whatever resources they have at their disposal. A major factor contributing to the success of the movement is the generosity of the many donors who contribute both in cash and kind. On December 3, a wreath will be laid at the grave of Alexander Wilmot at Cape Town’s Maitland cemetery (Gate 1). The ceremony, which starts at 14:00, will be conducted by Fr Mark Pothier. All SVP members are invited. The following day, on Sunday, December 4, a thanksgiving Mass will be celebrated by Archbishop Stephen Brislin at St Mary’s cathedral in Roeland Street, Cape Town at 14:00. “The society welcomes new members and if you feel that dropping a few coins in the tin shaken by the hand of a poor person when you stop at a traffic light is not the way to go, then why not speak to your parish priest and he will point you in the direction of the society which now serves the poor in countries throughout the whole world,” the SVP said in a statement.


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The Southern Cross, november 16 to november 22, 2016


Cardinal apologises for Bishop issues 'Roadmap' coerced adoptions for dialogue with Islam BY SIMOn CAlDWEll



N English cardinal has apologised for the “hurt caused” to young unmarried mothers pressured by Church agencies in the mid-20th century to surrender their children for adoption. Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster expressed regret for the actions of the Church in the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s when about 500 000 British women were encouraged to give up their babies for adoption. “The practices of all adoption agencies reflected the social values at that time and were sometimes lacking in care and sensitivity,” Cardinal Nichols said. He added: “We apologise for the hurt caused by agencies acting in the name of the Catholic Church.” The statement from Cardinal Nichols comes at the conclusion of an ITV documentary, which was broadcast in the UK this month. The film, Britain's Adoption Scandal: Breaking The Silence, examines the experiences of women who were urged to give up their babies because they were unmarried. According to ITV, some women were told that if they truly loved their children, they should hand them to the care of married couples. Most of the adoption agencies involved were overseen by the Catholic Church and Church of England while the Salvation Army, a Christian charity, ran hostels for mothers and babies. Lawyers acting for some of the mothers are calling upon the government to investigate the practice of adoption in the 30-year postwar period. Carolynn Gallwey of Bhatt Murphy Solicitors told ITV: “These women were told not to speak about what had happened to them. “But now they’re entitled to


Cardinal Vincent nichols of Westminster, England, who on British TV has issued an apology on behalf of Church agencies for their role in pressuring young unmarried mothers to give up their children. (Photo: Paul Haring/CnS) have their experiences recognised, and the only way to do that is through a public inquiry,” she said. Adoption in the UK reached a peak in 1968 when 16 000 babies born to unmarried mothers were sent to new families. The 1967 Abortion Act came into force that same year, and the rates of adoption declined sharply in subsequent years as abortion became more prevalent. From March 2014 to March 2015, 430 children under the age of 12 months were adopted in the UK. The role of the Church in adoptions in the 1950s was examined in the 2013 movie Philomena, which tells the true story of the search by Philomena Lee for her son some 50 years after nuns in Ireland persuaded her to give him up for adoption.—CNS

HERE is a roadmap for dialogue with Islam, and its three landmarks are peace, justice and education, says a leading bishop on the subject. Bishop Miguel Ayuso Guixot, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, explained: “On a theological level, differences still remain, and they are known. Beyond any theological difference, however, we take each other’s hand, to build together the common good.” There is a “diverse and rich dialogue with many Islamic institutions”, the bishop said. Bishop Ayuso discussed how the dialogue with Islamic institutions is progressing. He gave special mention to the restoration of relations between the Holy See and the Al-Azhar mosque in Cairo, which, along with its companion university, is the most prominent institution of Sunni Islam. Al-Azhar had broken relations with the Holy See back in 2011, when the Grand Imam Ahmed elTayeb labelled Pope Benedict XVI’s reaction to Christmas attacks on Alexandria churches as “interference” in Egyptian internal affairs. Only this year has the Holy See succeeded in restoring dialogue with this institution. Bishop Ayuso made a first visit to AlAzhar on February 16 and met with the mosque’s deputy imam, Abbas Shuman. Then Grand Imam el Tayeb came to visit Pope Francis in the Vatican on May 23. While there, the grand imam decried Islamic extremist attacks against both Christians and Muslims. Bishop Ayuso made follow-up visits to Al-Azhar in July and October. The aim of these frequent visits is to prepare a meeting in Rome to mark the official restoration of dialogue between the Holy See and Al-Azhar. This meeting should take place in April 2017, though

Pope Francis meets with the Grand Imam Sheik Ahmed Muhammad AlTayyib at the Vatican. (Photo: l’Osservatore Romano/CnA) no official date has been set. “The dialogue we are entertaining with Al-Azhar,” Bishop Ayuso stressed, “is aimed at organising joint initiatives to promote peace.”


his is the first landmark of the map for dialogue, the bishop said. He added that “in our initiatives, we will focus on a revision of the religious discourse and on how this religious discourse is renewed within our communities, both Muslim and Christian”. This is the commitment for peace, as “a new narrative would be able to prevent many dark paths recently taken in the name of religions”. Justice, which is “the twin sister of peace”, is the second landmark on the roadmap, said Bishop Ayuso. This means that “we have to insist on much in relations among religions, so that these good relations will lead everyone to have the sacrosanct right to citizenship for everyone”.

“Members of every religion,” Bishop Ayuso underscored, “must all feel citizenship in their country, so that they can take part in building the common good and the social good.” This is why Al-Azhar and the Holy See are called “to work together on the issue of religious freedom”, the bishop said. The third landmark of this roadmap is education. The bishop said ignorance is the reason for many evils, adding “we always experience how great religious ignorance is”. Religious leaders “are called to undertake again within their community the commitment to give a sound religious education”, he said. “This education should be founded on the respect for the other person, as well as giving information on the other person that can enrich personal identity,” since “identity must always be preserved and valued”.—CNA

South African victims in Mozambican organ trade BY JunnO AROCHO ESTEVES


OZAMBIQUE is plagued by trafficking in human organs and witchcraft is to blame, said a religious sister working in the country. And often the victims are South Africans. Scalabrinian Sister Marines Biasibetti, secretary general of the Commission for Migrants, Refugees and Displaced Persons of the Mozambique bishops' conference, has worked in Mozambique for more than two years and attended a conference at the Vatican sponsored by the Santa Marta Group, an initiative supported by Pope Francis to help the victims of human trafficking. Mozambique’s worsening socio-political situation, Sr Biasibetti explained, is driving people towards healers who practise witchcraft; they believe the healers not only can restore people to health, but they can help people get basic necessities or even “riches and easy money”. “The sorcerer performs his rituals and tells them that in order to have better living conditions or to obtain what he or she is asking for, he will ask him or her to bring a person’s head, hand or tongue. And if people believe this, they will go, kill someone and that’s the end of it,” Sr Biasi-

Children in Quelimane, Mozambique. Children and migrants are most at risk from organ trafficking. (CnS photo/Kevin Sutherland, EPA) betti said. The unfortunate victims of these attacks, she added, are often migrants coming in from South Africa who are regarded as a “disfavoured class”. “Efforts to help refugees who are targeted in attempts to harvest organs are hampered due to cultural fears of confronting those who engage in such practices,” Sr Biasibetti said. Sr Biasibetti, who hails from Brazil, said that while the problem of human and organ trafficking has existed for many years in Mozambique, it is only “now through the Church that we are beginning to speak about this issue”. “This problem has always ex-

isted but now it is being discussed, especially regarding the trafficking of organs because it is related to magic and cultural beliefs. People are very afraid to speak on the issue: both victims and the general public,” she said. Those involved in sorcery and witchcraft are also very well organised and leave little evidence for investigators to follow, she said. “Ninety-five percent of the organs trafficked are for sorcerers and healers due to cultural beliefs that are still very much ingrained in the people,” Sr Biasibetti said. While local and government authorities have been hesitant or shown little interest in tackling the problem, Sr Biasibetti said her office is trying to educate people and prevent organ trafficking. The trafficking and commercialisation of organs and body parts “is a sad, unfortunate phenomenon that continues to grow in Mozambique”, she said, but cooperation between religious and local authorities can help save lives and souls. The Swazi Observer recently reported that the body of a South African man, who died after consulting a traditional healer in Mozambique, was found abandoned at the Swaziland/South African border.—CNS


The Southern Cross, november 16 to november 22, 2016


Vatican: Let’s see how President Trump acts P

last year’s Christmas tree and nativity scene in St Peter’s Square after a hail storm. The Vatican’s Christmas tree and nativity scene this year will feature unique designs and decorations made by children highlighting several issues close to Pope Francis, including care for the environment, the sick and migrants. (Photo: Paul Haring/CnS)

Vatican Christmas tree, creche decorated by kids


25-METRE spruce tree will be the centrepiece of the Vatican’s Christmas holidays, the governing office of Vatican City said. The tree was harvested in the Lagorai forest near Scurelle in the northern Italian province of Trent and will benefit from a unique gesture in keeping with the pope’s call for the care of creation: Elementary school students “will plant nearly 40 new spruce and larch seedlings in a nearby area where some trees affected by parasites fell in autumn”, the governing office said. The Vatican added that the tree will be adorned with handmade ornaments featuring drawings made by children receiving treatment at several Italian hospitals. “These children, with their parents, participated in a ceramics recreational therapy programme” organised by the Countess Lene Thune Onlus Foundation, a nonprofit organisation dedicated to therapeutic recreation for young boys and girls suffering from oncological and haematological disorders, the Vatican said.

While the towering tree and its decorations will come from Italy, the Nativity scene will be donated by the government and archdiocese of Malta. Artist Manwel Grech beat out several local artists in a contest held last year to determine the Nativity scene’s designer. Mr Grech will join representatives from Trent and Malta, as well as several children who designed the Christmas tree ornaments, in an audience with Pope Francis on the morning of December 9, before the tree-lighting ceremony. Measuring an astounding 17m wide, the Nativity scene will feature 17 figures dressed in traditional Maltese attire as well as replica of a “luzzu”, a Maltese boat. The boat, the Vatican’s governing office said, “not only represents tradition—fish and life—but also, unfortunately, the realities of migrants who in those very waters sail on makeshift boats to Italy”. The lit tree will remain in St Peter’s Square until the feast of the Lord’s Baptism on January 8.— CNS

Pope calls for new kind justice system BY JunnO AROCHO ESTEVES


FTER celebrating Mass with detainees and people who had been in prison, Pope Francis called on governments to mark the end of the Year of Mercy by extending clemency to deserving inmates. The pope also called for renewed efforts to ensure justice systems not only punish crimes but also work to give prisoners hope for the future. The pope’s appeal for “an act of clemency toward those imprisoned who are considered eligible to benefit from this measure” came after his celebration of a jubilee Mass for prisoners. Some 1 000 current and former prisoners from 12 countries, as well as priests, religious men and women and laypeople who work in prison ministry, attended the Mass. Detainees from several prisons in Italy and Spain were given special permission to attend the Mass for the Year of Mercy. Inmates from Italian prisons in Brescia, Busto Arsizio and Palermo were altar servers, while a choir composed of prisoners and volunteers from the Dozza prison in Bologna provided the music for

the celebration. In his homily, the pope reflected on the Sunday readings, which he said acknowledged “God as the source” of hope. The jubilee celebration is a time for prisoners and those who have served time to remember that while a price is paid for breaking the law, “hope must not falter”, he said. “Paying for the wrong we have done is one thing,” the pope said, “but another thing entirely is the ‘breath’ of hope, which cannot be stifled by anyone or anything.” Those who are behind bars are not the only ones who are imprisoned, the pope warned. People can also fall into “a certain hypocrisy” that judges the current and formerly incarcerated “as wrongdoers for whom prison is the sole answer”, he said. “I want to tell you, every time I visit a prison, I ask myself: ‘Why them and not me?’ We can all make mistakes; all of us. And in one way or another, we have made mistakes,” the pope said, departing from his prepared text. While the past cannot be rewritten, he said, learning from one’s mistakes “can open a new chapter of your lives”, the pope said.—CNS

OPE Francis’ top aide has called on US President-elect Donald Trump to help “change the global situation, which is a situation of serious laceration, serious conflict”. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state, assured Mr Trump “of our prayers that the Lord would enlighten and sustain him in his service to his country naturally, but also in serving the well-being and peace of the world”. Speaking during a meeting at Rome’s Pontifical Lateran University, Cardinal Parolin was asked about the polemics that arose earlier in the year between Mr Trump and Pope Francis over the question of immigration, especially concerning the US-Mexico border. “Let’s see how the president acts,” Cardinal Parolin said. “Normally, they say, it is one thing to be a candidate and another to be president, to have that responsibility.” He added: “It seems premature to make judgments” until Mr Trump is inaugurated and begins making decisions.” During an in-flight news conference after a trip to Mexico in February, the pope said that “a person who thinks only of building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, isn’t Christian”. Mr Trump called Pope Francis a politician and pawn of the Mexican government. Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the US bishops’ conference, said the con-

ference is looking forward to working with Mr Trump “to protect human life from its most vulnerable beginning to its natural end”. He insisted “that our brothers and sisters who are migrants and refugees can be humanely welcomed without sacrificing our security”, and said the bishops will “call attention to the violent persecution threatening our fellow Christians and people of other faiths around the world, especially in the Middle East”. “And we will look for the new administration’s commitment to domestic religious liberty, ensuring people of faith remain free to proclaim and shape our lives around the truth about man and woman, and the unique bond of marriage that they can form,” Archbishop Kurtz said.


hile the main focus of the voting was on the election of the new president, senate and congress members and governors, ballots also included policy initiatives. This year, voters rejected nearly all of the ballot initiatives backed by Catholic leaders and advocates, except the referendums on minimum wage increases and gun control measures. Voters passed an assisted suicide measure in Colorado and voted in favour of the death penalty in three states, and in favour of legalised recreational marijuana in four states and against it in one. They also voted for minimum wage increases and

gun control measures in four states. In Colorado, the only state with an initiative to legalise assisted suicide, voters passed the measure, making the state the sixth in the US with a so-called “right-to-die law”, joining Washington, Oregon, California, Vermont and Montana. The three death penalty referendums before voters this year all ended in favour of capital punishment. Bishops and Catholic conferences in these states had engaged in efforts to educate Catholics in particular on this issue and urge them to vote against it. Oklahoma and Nebraska voters re-approved the use of the death penalty; in California voters defeated a ballot measure to repeal the death penalty. Voters in California, Massachusetts, Nevada and Maine approved recreational marijuana initiatives, while Arizona voters rejected it. On minimum wage ballots, voters in Maine, Arizona, Washington and Colorado voted to increase the minimum wage. Gun control measures passed in three states—California, Nevada and Washington—and lost in Maine. Although gun control has not been taken up by the US bishops as a body, some bishops have spoken out in favour of gun control measures, including Cardinals-designate Blase Cupich of Chicago and Kevin Farrell, the former bishop of Dallas who is prefect of the new Vatican office for laity, family and life.—CNS



Papal audience

S outher n C ross Pilgrimage


Led by Archbishop William Slattery OFM Pilgrimage Highlights Holy Land: Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Sea of Galilee, Jordan River, Cana (with renewal of wedding vows) and much more... Rome: Papal Audience, St Peter’s Basilica, Major Basilicas, Ancient and Baroque Rome, and much more... Assisi: The places associated with the lives of St Francis and St Clare, including their tombs, and much more... Greccio: A special excursion to the place where St Francis and companions stayed. It is here where St Francis invented the Nativity Scene. Cairo: Pyramids, Sphinx, Hanging Church and more...

25 Aug - 8 Sept 2017 st Peter’s

sea of Galilee

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The Southern Cross, november 16 to november 22, 2016


Editor: Günther Simmermacher Editorial: Editorial Advisory Board

Leave it in the ground


HEN pumped or squeezed out of the earth, oil pollutes both the natural and moral environments. Land is blighted by it; governments become corrupted by it; wars are fought over it. Oil is the cause of both economic and political instability. If it were not part of God’s creation one would be inclined to say that oil is cursed. Of course, it is what we do with it and how we use it that curses it, and there is a late but accelerating realisation that we have, in our consumerist gluttony, greedily overused and abused it. Now we are locked into the use and abuse of it, our transport systems being so dependent upon it. That is why we are, despite this dawning realisation, still using up over 90 million barrels per day. If we had been using this scarce and non-renewable resource wisely, we would not be in the quandary that we find ourselves. But our use has been truly extravagant. This has been because we have used oil for much, much more than transport. Cars serve as a status symbol and a marker of one’s position in the pecking order of class, wealth and power, and so their size and speed count. The absurd fact that most cars can travel at speeds far in excess of the legal limit speaks volumes about how cars are more than mere vehicles. Would it not be simpler, safer, and vastly more economical if all vehicles—obviously with the exception of police cars and ambulances—were designed to travel at no more than 120km/h (or 110, which is the standard limit in other countries)? Or if the government insisted that all manufacturers fit a device for keeping the speed below a certain level? The absurdity stems from the fact that rather than adopt such a rational solution, we have to have a whole system of traffic police and a vast outlay on ambulances and trauma units to deal with the crashes that occur because of speeding on our freeways. No one, it seems, has thought to tackle the problem at source and make cars mechanically incapable of breaking the

upper speed limit. The fact that any politician who suggested such reforms would be politically lynched by driving voters and the car manufacturers is simply another indication of the craziness that we consider to be our normal situation. An obvious and simple solution cannot be articulated. But it seems that some things that would have been unsayable until very recently are now being spoken about. There is the “leave it in the ground” campaign and the campaign for disinvestment from coal and oil. The former is talking about the scientific assessment that in order to have a chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change we will have to leave up to 80% of fossil fuels where they are: deep in the earth. The latter is the move to persuade investors to make sure fossil fuels stay where they are by taking money out of oil, gas and coal companies and reinvesting it in renewable energy projects. From being on the fringes, these movements have grown dramatically and have recently challenged large investment banks, universities, charities, churches, industry, governments and even the United Nations, to broach the previously unmentionable. Perhaps the point when it got really serious was when the Rockefeller Brothers Fund announced that it was moving $50 billion of its assets out of fossil fuels. That kind of money really does talk. These campaigns are going to impinge on us all in the end, much like the anti-apartheid disinvestment campaign. As individuals we will be challenged to be an active part of the transition from fossil to climatefriendly generated energy. If we hold investments in coal, oil and gas, pressure will be on us to disinvest from these and reinvest in green sources of energy. Organisations that resist, even the Catholic Church, will be held up to scrutiny and find they have a bad press. Individuals who continue to drive gas-guzzlers will find themselves on the moral low ground vis-à-vis their more frugal neighbours with the small electric car. It’s going to get tough out there; forewarned is forearmed.

Uprooting bad habits and tough trees


UKE 17 has Jesus telling how a faith strong enough could uproot a sycamine tree and throw it into the sea. In a twist new to me, our parish priest in his homily compared the sycamine to a bad habit one would be trying to get rid of. As the name sycamine is unfamiliar to me, I looked it up, and I found that it is an alternative name for the mulberry. And I now understand why one would wish to make Father’s comparison, why one would wish to consign such a tree to the ocean! A few years back a mulberry grew uninvited alongside our driveway. Earlier times were OK but then mulberries started to appear, a bonanza

Centering Prayer a New Age fad


HILE I have learned a lot from Fr Rolheiser’s columns, I beg to disagree with him on Centering Prayer (October 19). Centering Prayer is a syncretistic New Age tool: “It is simply transcendental meditation in a Christian dress” (Fr Emil Lafranz SJ). The founder of the Malawi Poor Clares, Mother Veronica Le Goulard PPC, who taught transcendental meditation for years, said: “Centering Prayer is transcendental meditation and nothing else.” I still have a letter from Abbot Thomas Keating, in 1979, who told me he and others had decided to work on a new programme based on transcendental meditation as the abbot’s colleague Fr Pennington had praised Hindu transcendental meditation as “an authentic method of contemplative prayer” and that it “corresponds step by step to classical Christian teaching”. This is certainly not true as there is no equivalent to transcendental meditation/Centering Prayer in classical teaching. Traditional Christian prayer consists of meditating or mulling over scripture like Mary in Luke 2:19 until we feel our hearts burning within us (Luke 24:32). God can then intervene with infused contemplation—a gift, not a technique. Our mind and imagination are still, and in darkness, but our heart launches out towards God by loving desire, as a laser beam cuts through all obstacles like cloud and turbulence, to reach its goal—God. So contra Fr Rolheiser, there are feelings in true contemplation, feelings for God: “Heart speaks to heart.” Christianity is a religion of the heart as well as the mind. In New Age and Eastern meditation, there are no thoughts and no feelings. The Jesuit William John-


For the price of one issue of The Southern Cross you get a chocolate bar – with a bite taken out The

of free fruit for birds. But the fruit was excreted for the most part on nearby parked cars or the driveway—a rich, dark, mulberry colour. And these stains were not that easy to remove, particularly on rough-surfaced concrete. So I determined to remove the tree, which had not reached huge proportions as yet. I cut it off about 40cm from the ground, got rid of the foliage. It sprouted from the remaining stem. I cut off the sprouts—it sprouted again. I roughened the top and pour acid on it. It sprouted again. Eventually I undertook the task of removing the whole root system, a task of great magnitude. This took much labour, much sweat, much 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

ston says: “The heart of Christian mysticism is a mystery of love, whereas both in Hinduism and in Buddhism, it is primarily a transformation of consciousness.” So Christian meditation is more holistic than Eastern kinds, which tend to be very cerebral and do not require a good moral life. Eastern and New Age meditation use mantras but there is no such word or concept in Christianity. But what of the Jesus prayer, John Cassian and the Cloud of Unknowing prayer? These are not mantras. They are not suitable as “meaningless shields to ward off thoughts” as in Eastern forms or for inducing altered states of consciousness. Altered states of consciousness and mind-voiding, especially in children, are dangerous and can lead to depression, madness and openness to the demonic. So Centering Prayer or the Christian meditation of John Main or Laurence Freeman can be a form of child abuse if taught to children. Traditional Christian prayer and meditation, as exemplified by the work of St Teresa of Avila and St John of the Cross, is best—and safest. Fr Finbarr Flanagan OFM, Pretoria

Alexander and the Septuagint


OW often do we see admired personalities of the past peering out at us from the pages of history, almost “beckoning to us” to know

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intemperate language, not to mention the damage to the surrounding flower beds and my letterbox. But eventually I was sycaminefree, free for the most part (there were other similar trees in the vicinity) from dark purple stains on cars and driveway. So I know how difficult it is to get rid of a mulberry tree, and I have a greater understanding of Jesus’ words. And it is a very fair comparison that Father made—a bad habit is very difficult to eliminate. It is only with faith, with belief, with the help of the Almighty, that some of these may be got rid of. When you see a mulberry tree, think of me and my problems, both with the tree and with my bad habits. Cecil Cullen, Alberton

them better. Such for me is the personality of Alexander of Macedon, son of Philip and Olympias, known to the world as Alexander the Great, who lived from 356 to 323BC. He left no heir to carry on his dynasty. He married the princess Roxana and later made Darius’ daughter his second wife. The only son, a possible heir, died young. As a demonstration of his greatness, when Alexander was begged by the daughter of Darius to have pity on the lives of the royal household and herself after defeating the Persians, the 20-year-old Alexander bowed down before her and said: “You are indeed a queen. You and your family shall stay with me in the royal palace in freedom.” When this great king conquered a nation, he would instruct his soldiers to marry among the women of the conquered, a thing unknown before, and learn as many of their customs as possible. Near the river Hydaspes, Alexander fought his greatest battle against the Indian rajah, Pours, but was forced to return to Babylon where he died at age 33, conquerer of the then-known world, of what is thought to have been malarial fever and a life of dissipation. When Alexander was addressed by the Jewish priests after conquering Jerusalem, he was told his name is mentioned in the Great Testimony of the Hebrew God (the Old Testament) in the Book of Daniel. As a result, Alexander ordered the translation of our Old Testament scriptures into Greek (the Septuagint), which is the language in which Jesus and those of his time studied the sacred scriptures and is an official canonised version of the Old Testament used by the Catholic Church. We cannot deny the profound effect Alexander had on history, civilisation and even Catholic Christianity. John Lee, Johannesburg


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State Capture Report: Thank Dominicans STAFF REPORTERS


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HE Public Protector’s report on State Capture was initially prompted by a complaint filed by the Dominican Order in South Africa. In March this year, the Dominicans made a submission requesting a systemic investigation into the relationship of the Gupta family with the Zuma government and state institutions. The document was signed by Dominican Fathers Stan Muyebe and Brian Mhlanga. Their petition was followed by those of Democratic Alliance leader Musi Maimane and an unidentified third complainant. Thuli Madonsela, then the Public Protector, told President Jacob Zuma of the Dominicans complaint. In a transcript of an interview she conducted with Mr Zuma and his lawyer, she said: “The three Complainants are a group of Catholic priests. They were the first ones to complaint to us,” before mentioning the other two submissions. She also noted that she had excluded two elements in the Dominicans’ complaint— into licences that may have been given to the Gupta family and state contracts—from her investigation. The transcript was released as part of the State Capture Report, which was made public after a legal dispute earlier this month. The Dominicans said that they were pleased with the release of the report and would study it closely. “We are happy that the report has achieved some of the objectives that we wanted, namely that there should be an independent and accountable process to uncover the truth behind the allegations. We hope that such a process continues through the Hawks and a judicial commission of enquiry,” said Fr Muyebe, the Dominican vicargeneral who also serves as the coordinator for the bishops’ Justice & Peace Commission. “This was our tiny contribution to the concerted efforts to renegotiate a new social

contract for South Africa and Africa,” he said. “One of our charisms as the Dominican Order is seeking the truth in the society through the lens of the Gospel. “The gospels speak of Jesus’s option for the poor, his respect for the Dominican vicar-general dignity of all, and Fr Stan Muyebe his emphasis on the good of all, irrespective of gender, class, race and so on,” he said. “The Dominicans therefore seek the truth in the society from the perspective of the option for the poor, human dignity and the common good. In their complaint, the Dominicans asked the Public Protector to investigate allegations that the deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas and MP Vytjie Mentor were offered cabinet positions by members of the Gupta family in exchange for favourable executive decisions and beneficial business interests. They also asked for an investigation into the sudden appointment of Des van Rooyen as minister of finance in December 2015 was known in advance by the Gupta family. They also requested an investigation into allegations that two “senior advisors” linked to the Gupta family were appointed to the national treasury, without following proper procedure. Moreover, the Dominicans requested that the Public Protector look into all business dealings of the Gupta family with any government department to determine whether there were irregularities, undue enrichment, corruption and undue influence in the award of tenders, mining licenses, government advertisements in the Gupta-owned New Age newspaper and any other government services.


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Fr Larry Kaufmann CSsR (right) holds Michelle Williams after her baptism in the Jordan river in the West Bank during the Southern Cross Year of Mercy pilgrimage. She is aided by her godfather, Nilo Ajello. See page 8 for more photos from the pilgrimage

Pilgrim on Jordan river baptism STAFF REPORTER


HEN Catholic pilgrims to the Holy Land come to the Jordan river, they usually renew their baptism. But one member of The Southern Cross’ Year of Mercy group in October actually received the sacrament of baptism in the river where St John baptised his cousin Jesus. Now Michelle Williams is planning to undergo the preparations necessary to be confirmed in the Church. Redemptorist Father Larry Kaufmann, the spiritual director of the pilgrimage who performed the baptism, said he would accompany Ms Williams on her conversion journey. Mrs Williams was raised as a Hindu, but her husband and children are Catholics. Before the group went to the Jordan, only three people knew of her plan to be baptised in that holy river: Fr Kaufmann, tour organiser Gail Fowler, and the group member whom Ms Williams had chosen as her godfather, Nilo Ajello. “It was quite a surprise for the group and a very emotional moment,” said Ms Fowler. Mrs Williams said the moment feels like a

blur. “I just felt overwhelmed. I started to cry, and people in the group were also crying, guys and ladies,” she recalled. While some Catholics re-enact their baptism in the Jordan, tour guide Gaby Makhlouf said, it is not a sacrament that is being performed if one has been already baptised. “As Catholics, we have only one baptism,” said Mr Makhlouf, himself a Roman Catholic. He said he had never had the experience of seeing the actual sacrament being performed at the Jordan. “Not even my father, who has been a guide of many Catholic groups for over 35 years, has ever had somebody in his group be baptised as a Catholic in the Jordan river,” Mr Makhlouf added. And yet, the special moment almost didn’t happen. In the week before departure to the Holy Land, Mrs Williams’s passport was delayed by the Post Office. “We even put up a post on Facebook asking people to pray to St Anthony for his intercession,” Ms Fowler said. The very next day the passport arrived— and Mrs Williams was able to begin her journey to the river Jordan.

S o u t h e r n C r o s s Pilgrimage HOLY LAND • ROME •ASSISI • CAIRO 25 Aug - 8 Sept 2017 • Led by Archbishop William Slattery OFM For more information or to book, please contact Gail or 076 352-3809

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Don’t ninja-dump granny over a wall Fr Chris I Townsend LOVE this Month of Prayer for the Dead. It holds a special part in my own seasonal highlights for the liturgical year. It’s a very human and very caring moment when we remember the reality of the relationships that somehow continue to exist in the “God who is love”. I welcome the recent clarification by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on the practice of cremation. In my own family, cremation is just normal. All my grandparents have been cremated and their ashes interred in our home parish. It’s a beautiful consolation to visit there and spend a moment in the peaceful garden to remember how so much of our family history—from building a church to weddings and baptisms and deaths and an ordination—keep us linked to a bigger family. I love going to the garden and hearing the stories of long-dead parishioners I remember from when I was growing up— catechism teachers and school mates and those whose stories were remembered and even sometimes whispered. In my Pretoria parish of Queenswood, we have a beautiful garden. Peaceful and pretty. I often spend a quiet moment, as many others do, in this very Catholic cemetery. Every year we bless our cemetery and every year, more and more families find this a centring and consoling space. This is why the clarity offered by the Church (not by the Vatican, but the Church) is solidly and quietly reassuring. As a parish priest I have been approached on a number of occasions with some interesting ideas, practices and re-

quests. The idea of the integrity of the ashes is an important corrective for the growing phenomenon of scattering them in significant places. Recently, in the Kruger Park, I noticed a growing number of signs asking people not to leave and scatter ashes in the ecosystem. I’ve had people report scattering ashes at sports grounds, a flower market, a dragrace strip. I’ve heard of others actually climbing over walls into long-sold family properties and ninja-dumping Granny there.


he reverence with which bodies need to be treated in life and in death is a central ideal for our faith. The develop-

“In the Kruger Park, a growing number of signs are asking people not to leave and scatter ashes in the ecosystem.”

Pastor’s notebook

ment of the custom of reverential burial was a major departure by the early Church from the Roman custom of cremation. The expectation of the imminent Second Coming of Our Lord led to the excavation of the catacombs, and from there this has translated into a Church preference for burial. This is no longer feasible in South Africa where we have very few Catholic burial grounds. Mostly, we have a Catholic section in a municipal cemetery. Often these are badly maintained and not safe. Increasingly Catholics (and, indeed, other Christians) opt for cremation, and I’m very comfortable with this. Taking a reverential stance on this means that we also need to change our language about where we bury or inter the ashes of the dead, especially when we are talking about facilities in our parish properties. So let’s begin by discouraging the use of euphemisms such as “Garden of Remembrance” and call our cemeteries what they are, without using hushed tones, even if they are on our parish grounds. They are cemeteries, used for the reverential burial of the dead, and a place where people can visit their loved ones who have died.

Seeing grace in Alzheimer’s disease Judith Turner O N a radio show I listened to a few weeks ago there was a very interesting and deeply moving discussion about Alzheimer’s disease. The guests on the show were giving advice and guidance to people, especially home-based carers, who were taking care of people living with Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behaviour. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with standard daily tasks. Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of ageing, although the greatest known risk factor is increasing age, and most who have it are 65 and older. But Alzheimer’s is not just a disease of old age. Up to 5% of people with the disease have early onset Alzheimer’s, which often appears when someone is in their 40s or 50s. I have no personal experience of living with a person suffering from Alzheimer’s; that’s why the radio show was so touching and deeply moving to me. To summarise what the guests on the show said (allowing for generalisations): it is important to treat Alzheimer’s patients with courtesy and respect. A person with memory impairment is a lot like a child. Gradually stripped away of all skills, talents and high brain-functioning, they gradually regress from high-functioning adult to teenager, to primary schooler, to toddler, to infant—but never in any particular order. A person could display behaviours of all these age groups in one day. Living with or caring for people with Alzheimer’s is not easy. But let’s also look at the graces. People with Alzheimer’s can be playful and funny and wonderfully tender and affectionate, just like a child. Every day

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“People with Alzheimer’s can be playful and funny and wonderfully tender and affectionate, just like a child.” and every moment is brand-new for them, just as it is for a child. And, yes, just like small children, they sometimes have temper tantrums, anxiety and tearfulness over seemingly small things. They have trouble expressing themselves in words due to a limited vocabulary, get frightened of things they don’t understand, and pick up things that look interesting to them—even if it’s your purse!


ike most children, they are starved for attention. We must be willing to enter their world, wherever they may be in that particular moment. Sometimes grown women want to walk around with baby dolls and they treat the dolls as real babies. We should then do likewise. It would be cruel and inappropriate for us to shame and criticise them and say: “That’s not a real baby! That’s just a doll!” The loving choice is to say, “Oh, what a beautiful baby! What’s her name? May I hold her?” This actually honours the dignity of the person with

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Alzheimer’s disease. As a general rule of thumb, never shame or criticise them. They see the world through the eyes of a child and our job is to treat them with the same gentleness and patience we would a child. However, they aren’t children. They are adults who have lived long, rich, productive lives, and it is important to honour their dignity and treat them with respect. Therefore, we must never patronise them or talk about them right in front of them as if they aren’t there. From a spiritual perspective, our loved ones with Alzheimer’s are our greatest teachers. How many religious and spiritual teachings encourage us to live in the present moment? Like children. We are encouraged to let go of the past and stop worrying about the future, for all we really have is the present moment. Be present. Be still. As Psalm 46:10 says: “Be still, and know that I am God.” It is hard to know God when we are so caught up in our busy adult lives and striving to achieve and acquire. We miss moments of the divine when we remain so caught up in our mode of driving ourselves so hard. What greater example of adults “being” as children and “living in the present moment” than our family and friends with Alzheimer’s? Listening to that radio show was a real spiritual experience, because how we treat the person living with Alzheimer’s is how we should treat everyone. It is also how we would want to be treated.

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The Southern Cross, november 16 to november 22, 2016


Michael Shackleton

Open Door

Evidence for Christ’s peace? As someone who feels depressed, can you give me hope? Jesus said: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you, not as the world gives do I give to you” (Jn 14:27). What is this peace that the world does not give? Where’s the evidence? Johanna


HE words you quote from John 14 carry on as follows: “Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” So, the first thing to understand is that Christ’s peace is his gift to our hearts through the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22). It is a serenity in the firm confidence that God’s will for us is to keep us in his loving care, because we are destined to be at peace with him forever. But if that were all, then we would be on our own, not affected by the people around us. We know that we are not on our own and real peace in the world around us is a minefield of setbacks that continually destroy our notion of a world of peace among all peoples. In earlier centuries peace referred to the absence of war in Christian Europe where the ideal was for neighbouring rulers and their subjects to demonstrate Christian charity to one another. In recent times the Church realises that its message of peace has to be adapted to each stage of history unfolding around it. There is a longing for peace as we confront a humanity now in a position to destroy itself. Christ’s call for peace on earth is a fragile warning that must be heeded by every world leader and every single one of us in our own lives and responsibilities. I think that Pope St John XXIII’s 1963 encyclical Pacem in terris (Peace on earth) put it bluntly in its opening words: “Peace on earth, which man throughout the ages has so longed for and sought after, can never be established, never guaranteed, except by the diligent observance of the divinely established order.” I advise you to read this encyclical. It is so logical and clear as it spells out the contrast between the disordered works of individuals and nations and the perfect order God has established in the universe. The evidence of the non-worldly gift of peace that Christ gives us is to be found in our hearts and our inborn desire for peace, and in the Church’s constant diplomatic efforts to broker peace and justice among nations, Christians and others. It is so easy to become depressed as we see the hope for peace on earth almost fading away completely, but we must stand firm in our faith in Christ. And our initial step is to hold on to this: “Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid”.

n Send your queries to Open Door, Box 2372, Cape Town,

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The Southern Cross, november 16 to november 22, 2016


St Peter Claver parish in Pimville, Soweto, welcomed 16 new members to the Sacred Heart Sodality. The new members are pictured with parish priest Fr Tom Segami.

The newly established upington comitium of the legion of Mary was blessed by Bishop Edward Risi. (From left) Bishop Risi, senatus vicepresident Felicity Febana, comitium treasurer Sr Mouton, senatus president Jacinta Connolly, senatus secretary lillian Stuurman and legion of Mary chaplain Fr Patrick Julie. (Back) Comitium secretary Jolande Theunis, assistant secretary Petrus Cloete and comitium president Alida Coetzee.

The Secular Franciscans OFS in KwaZulu natal celebrated the feast of St Francis at Kevelaer mission in Donnybrook. The following regions were present: Mariannhill, Durban,umzimkhulu, Kokstad and lesotho. They are pictured with their chaplain Fr Mxolisi ndlovu TOR and Deacon Khulekani Dube TOR

Ten trees were donated to little Eden’s Edenvale home in Johannesburg by the energy planning and market development department, in Eskom’s Transmission division in Germiston. The indigenous River Bush willows were planted by the Eskom team. (Front) Richard Mahlong and Al'louise van Deventer, (back) Keith Bowen, Morore Mashao, Kathy Horn of little Eden, Elizabeth Makhura, Karen van Reenen, June Willis, and Dipuo Magapa.

Sacred Heart College in Johannesburg was visited by superior-general of the Marist Brothers, Br Emili Turú, who visited the five Marist schools in South Africa. Br Turú addressed high school learners on the new culture that Pope Francis is implementing among the youth—a culture of encounter. The superior-genral noted that the students of Sacred Heart College live this encounter and that they are an example of encounter for the rest of South Africa and the world.

Assumption Convent School in Johannesburg announced its leaders for 2017. (Back) Vanessa Alves, Brittany Dennison, (third row) ngozi Ejike, Brodie Stevenson, Danica da Silva, Cebile Maseko, (second row) Mr Workman, Fallon Santowski, Julia Pita Olival, Courtney Oerson, Aliah Abrahams, (front) head of religion Marilyn Cilengi, head prefect Monica Alves, deputy head prefect Megan Miller. Bishop Peter Holiday of Kroonstad diocese danced with joy holding an envelope of R22 000 which he received as a gift from the Sacred Heart Sodality of Kroonstad at their retreat in Welkom. In the wheelchair is the Sacred Heart chaplain, Fr Modibeli of Maokeng parish.

Our lady of the Angels parish in Park Rynie and St Clare’s parish in Scottburgh in Mariannhill diocese celebrated a children’s Mass with Fr Sbongiseni Joseph Msomi (centre) and about 56 children.

The St Vincent de Paul Society in Durban celebrated its 160 years with society members displaying their papal and apostolic blessings.

The St Vincent de Paul Sodality of Sacred Heart parish in Port Elizabeth did a trolley run throughout Port Elizabeth diocese in aid of the less fortunate.

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Our Mother of Perpetual Help parish in Malabar, Port Elizabeth, held a Eucharistic procession led by Fr Joslan Goji reciting 5 chaplets of the Divine Mercy rosary at various stations.

St Joseph’s parish in Primrose, Johannesburg, held a family fun day with many activites, including an Italian food stall and a tombola.

The Southern Cross, november 16 to november 22, 2016



Violence against women betrays Jesus Discrimination of women and gender-violence betray the teachings of Jesus. COllEEn COnSTABlE explains.


N a recent reflection on gender violence, Cardinal Napier raised some points about the relationship between men and women to which I will try to provide an alternative line of thought. In doing so I hope to refresh thoughts on Church teaching drawing from Pope John Paul II, scripture and research linked to scientific facts of social justice issues. First it is only fair to restate what Cardinal Napier wrote in his “Cardinal’s Corner” article in the August newsletter of the archdiocese of Durban, headlined, “In Reflections on Women’s Month and 16 Days of Activism against Violence towards Women and Children— Rooting out Violence from the Home and from Society”. Cardinal Napier calls for a “continuous campaign for men to regain their self-worth, self-esteem and self-respect”. He has indeed over the years called for a dedicated men’s ministry. In his article, the cardinal associates the use of violence by men against women to retaliation for their loss of power, and suggests that “man must be given back his position as leader in the relationship that his family and community have lived and passed on from generation to generation for centuries”. Cardinal Napier writes that men are resentful because laws and policies have stripped him “of his selfimage, dignity and self-worth”, and our Constitution has stripped “man of his rights, in order to affirm women’s rights”. He notes that “the historical problems caused by colonialism and apartheid…stripped men of their manhood”, but “today it is the ideology of exaggerated and enforced equality that continues the damage. Powerless to resist, let alone redress, the situation by persuasion, man will inevitably resort to using what nature has given him in abundance—brute physical strength!” Invoking scripture, the cardinal holds that the “most basic relationship between man and woman is found in the early chapters of Genesis…an explicit expression of God’s will for them to complement each other, not to compete with each other for superiority or control”. Cardinal Napier’s reflection raised issues linked to genderpower relations and masculinity, empowerment, gender discrimination and equality and the biblical viewpoint. These theological, anthropological/sociological, psychological and legislative aspects influence and shape the everyday lives of 21st century women and men. We live in a rapidly changing world: our adaptability to change is challenged on a daily basis. How we respond to transformation determines the quality of the lens through which we view the world. We either adopt a traditionalist and conservative approach, or a liberal and progressive approach. We are influenced by laws and legislation, policies and constitutions. We are influenced by biblical teachings. We are influenced by culture and early childhood experiences. As People of God we are required to discern thoughtfully, guided by our conscience as we seek to obey God’s will for us.

Going back to Genesis First, the Old Testament teaches us that both men and women were created in the image and likeness of God. In the Old Testament we find expressions of both “feminine” and

“masculine” characteristics of God. The New Testament sets the scene of a God who came to live among us. We learned about the “will of the Father” through the Son. It ushered in an era where women and men find “equality in Christ”. St Paul wrote that “there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28). Pope John Paul II referenced St Paul’s letter to the Ephesians when he noted: “Jesus’ attitude to the women whom he meets in the course of his Messianic service reflects the eternal plan of God, who, in creating each one of them, chooses her and loves her in Christ” (Mulieris Dignitatem, 1988). Second, Jesus was the most renowned advocate of women’s liberation, the most respected social justice activist, the world’s foremost promoter of non-violence, the most peace-loving and compassionate man who ever lived on earth. He set an irreversible example. His death has redeemed women and men from sin. His words and actions towards women during his brief earthly ministry have liberated women from oppression and male domination. It was a woman who anointed Jesus before he undertook his sacrificial offering. He accepted the gesture of respect, silencing his disciples by saying: “She has done a good thing for me…what she has done will be spoken of in memory of her” (Mt 26:10-13). The liberation of women is included as part of God’s plan for the human race. Matthew 1 mentions the four women in the genealogy of Jesus, whom we understood to have been sinful women or foreigners. According to the African Bible, “aspects of Christ’s conduct showed how he wished to free women from their inferior position and to treat them as equals ( Lk 8:13, 10:38-42, Jn12). Women have their apex in Mary, the Mother of Jesus. The history of salvation has been based in a special way on women and not on men.”

Pope’s apology to women Third, St Pope John Paul II led a ground-breaking moment in 1995 when he apologised for Catholics’ role to perpetuate gender discrimination. In his letter to the 4th World Conference in Beijing he said: “Women’s dignity has often been unacknowledged and their prerogatives misrepresented; they have often been relegated to the margins of society and even reduced to servitude. This has prevented women from truly being themselves and it has resulted in a spiritual impoverishment of humanity.” Fourth, in his 1988 apostolic letter Mulieris Dignitatem, John Paul clarified the man-woman relationship as found in Genesis, a chapter that is sometimes mischievously quoted to justify gender discrimination. With reference to Gen 3:16— "Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you”—the pope stated: “The woman cannot become the ‘object’ of ‘domination’ and male ‘possession’. These words of Genesis refer directly to marriage, but indirectly they concern the different spheres of social life: the situations in which the woman remains disadvantaged or discriminated against by the fact of being a woman. “For whenever man is responsible for offending a woman's personal dignity and vocation, he acts contrary to his own personal dignity and his own vocation.” John Paul emphasised that “in all of Jesus’ teaching, as well as in his behaviour, one can find nothing which reflects the discrimination against women prevalent in his day. On the contrary, his words and works always express the re-

Violence is preventable

In response to Cardinal napier’s reflection on male-female relations, Collen Constable looks at gender inquality and gender-based violence from many angles. (Inset) St John Paul II, whose apostolic letter Mulieris Dignitatem deals with Jesus’ teachings and behaviour towards women. spect and honour due to women”. The pope noted that in this Jesus went against “the prevailing custom at that time”. The need for “setting women free from every kind of exploitation and domination”, the pope said, is rooted in the Gospel and “goes back to the attitude of Jesus Christ himself”. In his letter to the Beijing Conference, he thanked “women who work”. Addressing them directly, he said: “You are present and active in every area of life—social, economic, cultural, artistic and political. In this way you make an indispensable contribution to the growth of a culture which unites reason and feeling…to the establishment of economic and political structures ever more worthy of humanity.”

No justification for violence Fifth, patriarchal violence can never be justified. The assertion made by Cardinal Napier, linking men’s loss of power and status to violent behaviour, has not yet been scientifically evaluated. It is an analogy that recently emerged in the public space. It attempts to offer justification for violations of women’s rights. It should not be used to perpetuate the sensitivities surrounding gen-

der-discrimination or patriarchal violence. Neither should the analogy be dismissed, unless it is tested. Scientific facts through numerous international studies—of which some include South Africa—undertaken by leading international institutions and organisations suggest that the causative factors of violence against women and children are broad. Men are indeed profiled as prominent perpetrators of violence against women and children—statistics are factual. More than one in three women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate-partner violence or non-partner sexual violence. Over 75% of women, who were physically or sexually abused since age 15, have been abused by both partners and non-partners. Studies done in Australia, Canada, Israel, South Africa and the USA show that 40-70% of female murder victims were killed by their husbands or boyfriends. And studies from eight countries, including South Africa, indicate a strong relationship between intimate partner violence and child abuse. A study in India found that the occurrence of domestic violence in a home doubles the risk of child abuse.

Sixth, scientific findings further suggest violence is preventable. A multi-sector approach based on the ecological model, encompassing all levels (individual, relationship, community and societal) is required to achieve efficacy. Factors associated with men’s tendency towards violence against women and children includes young age, heavy drinking, depression, personality disorders, low economic achievement, low income and witnessing or experiencing violence as a child; relationship issues (marital conflict, marital instability, male dominance in the family, economic stress and poor family functioning). Factors associated with interpersonal violence include weak community sanctions against domestic violence, low social capital and lack of access to sanctuary (shelters or support), and societal factors such as traditional gender norms and social norms supportive of violence. While men are indeed profiled as perpetrators of patriarchal violence, they also perpetuate male on male violence. It is the root causes of an attitude of gender discrimination and a culture of violence that should be addressed. Violence is preventable. We need to build a peaceful society, based on love and respect for the dignity of the other. We need to acknowledge the presence of God in every person. Men should strive to adapt to a rapidly changing world where the traditional norm of “masculinity” has become outdated. A men’s ministry, therefore, should respond to “the signs of the times”, following in the footsteps of Jesus, imitating his irreversible example and upholding the spirit of St John Paul II, our pioneer of reconciliation on gender-relations. n Colleen Constable is founding CEO of the South African Institute for Violence Prevention and an institutional transformational consultant. She is a former deputy director-general and CEO of the National Council Against Gender-based Violence. She has also served the country in the South African Police Services and Metropolitan Police Service at senior management level.

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The Southern Cross, november 16 to november 22, 2016


Cremation: What’s allowed, what isn’t The Vatican recently issued a document on cremation, outlining what is allowed and what should be avoided. Here are the answers to Frequently Asked Questions.


N 1963, the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued an instruction permitting cremation as long as it was not done as a sign of denial of the basic Christian belief in the resurrection of the dead. The permission was incorporated into the Code of Canon Law in 1983 and the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches in 1990. However, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the present prefect of the congregation, said that Church law had not specified exactly what should be done with “cremains”, and several bishops’ conferences asked the congregation to provide guidance. That request led to “Ad resurgendum cum Christo” (“To Rise With Christ”), an instruction “regarding the burial of the deceased and the conservation of the ashes in the case of cremation (see The Southern Cross of November 2). The document was approved by Pope Francis after consultation with other Vatican offices and with bishops’ conferences and the Eastern churches’ synods of bishops. Release of the new document has prompted many Catholics to ask whether it changes any regulations about cremation. The document says that tradi-

tional burial is preferred. Does that mean cremation is wrong? If the Church saw cremation as “wrong”, it wouldn’t permit it! Sometimes cremation can truly be necessary. However, the ancient custom and the preference of the Church is to bury the body, whenever possible. What should I do if I’ve already scattered the ashes? We can’t change the past, of course, and if you truly didn’t realise at that time that it shouldn’t be done, then you shouldn’t burden yourself with guilt. Remember that what happens to a person’s body after death has no bearing on what happens when that person’s soul meets the Lord on judgment day. However, you might wish to offer extra prayers for the person’s happy repose. If I plan to donate my body to science, after which it will be cremated, is that OK? What if the laboratory disposes of these ashes? This would seem to be a valid reason for cremation. However, it would be important to make sure that arrangements are made for a funeral Mass, and that a trusted relative or friend is able to receive the remains and see to their proper burial. How do I convince my dad to let me bury my mother’s ashes, which he now has at home? Only you would know the best way to approach a situation like that, and it would depend a lot on his reasons for keeping the remains and on his own personal faith. Perhaps making him aware of the Church’s preference would be enough to convince him? Or the assurance that his own earthly remains will one day be

A man’s ashes are preserved in an urn. The Vatican’s new document on handling the ashes of a body after cremation clarifies what should be done, and what should be avoided. buried alongside those of his wife? Also, the Vatican’s instruction itself articulates some compelling reasons: “The reservation of the ashes of the departed in a sacred place ensures that they are not excluded from the prayers and remembrance of the Christian community. It prevents the faithful departed from being forgotten, or their remains from being shown a lack of respect…” (n. 5). Entombment of ashes is expensive; is there any ‘consecrated ground or consecrated place’ where Catholics can place ashes for free? That would vary from place to place. There have been some Catholic dioceses and cemeteries that have even

organised special opportunities for the interment of cremated remains for no cost at all, just as a way to encourage people who might have been keeping the remains without a good idea of what to do with them. You might wish to bring this question to the office of your local bishop—the people who assist him might be able to help you find an appropriate place, particularly if the expense is an important factor. When my daughter died, I could not afford to bury her, but I had her cremated and her ashes will be buried with me. I also had some ashes put in crosses for her kids. I am distressed I did something very wrong. Clearly you did that with good in-

tentions, and weren’t aware of what the Church wants us to do with the mortal remains of our loved ones, so you shouldn’t burden yourself with guilt over this. Would it be possible now to find a cemetery plot where you can bury her remains, and make arrangements so that your own remains can someday go into the same location? If at all possible, the ashes in the crosses should also be buried or interred along with them. Many people die and are never buried properly. Perhaps they die at sea or in an explosion or whatever. Why is the Vatican worried about something like this when there are so many other problems in the world? This instruction isn’t concerned with those kinds of situations. Burial at sea is necessary at times, as is cremation. The main purpose for this instruction is to help foster a healthy respect for the human body, even after death, especially in light of the move in recent years away from traditional burial in favour of more expedient and economical means. Where contemporary culture today may well question what difference it makes, the Church is reminding us to recall that the human body is an integral part of the human person deserving of respect even after death. The earliest Christians buried the bodies of their dead, and this set them apart from many of their contemporaries. We bury our dead out of reverence for God our creator, and as a sign that we look forward to the resurrection on the last day.— CNS

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The Southern Cross, november 16 to november 22, 2016


Diocese investigates priest over foetus on altar BY RHInA GuIDOS

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REED—Mandy Margaret. Beloved wife of Chris, father of Jennifer and Bernadette, mother-in-law of Robert and John and grandmother of Michaelluke and Thomas-Owen, passed away in Johannesburg on Friday, november 4. She suffered her illness bravely, and went peacefully. MHDSRIP. We are missing you.


HE diocese of Amarillo, Texas, said in a statement it is investigating the incident of a pro-life priest who placed “the body of an aborted foetus” on an altar and broadcast it on Facebook Live to get people to vote for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, now the President-elect, causing “the desecration of the altar”. “We believe that no one who is pro-life can exploit a human body for any reason, especially the body of a foetus,” said Bishop Patrick Zurek of Amarillo. Pro-life supporters in the Catholic Church denounced activist Fr Frank Pavone. “He used a dead aborted baby, laying naked and bloody on an altar, as a prop for his video,” wrote Ed Mechmann, a public policy director, in a blog for the archdiocese of New York. But Fr Pavone said he was trying to drive home, in a visual and impactful way, what it meant to choose one presidential candidate over the other on election day. Fr Pavone, appealing for votes for Mr Trump, said he was showing “the Democrats’ support of baby-killing”. Bishop Zurek said the diocese “deeply regrets the offence and outrage caused by the video for the faithful and the community at large. The action and presentation of Fr Pavone in this video is not consistent with the beliefs of the Catholic Church.” Many agreed with the bishop. “When a photo of a pro-life priest with a naked corpse of an unborn child on an altar is used to get out the vote, it’s time to say: Enough!” wrote Dominican Father Thomas Petri of Washington on Twitter. But Fr Pavone said that everyone should be repulsed by the act of abortion and that’s what he was trying to show. “You can’t do it with words,” he said, about why he chose to do a Facebook Live video.



Fr Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for life, speaks in front of the uS Supreme Court at a March For life in Washington. Pro-life supporters have denounced Fr Pavone over a controversial election Facebook live video he posted. (Photo: Bob Roller/CnS) Fr Pavone said he was alone, in a chapel with the body, which he said was given to him by a pathologist who had received it from an abortion clinic. “This person had enough of a conscience to say, ‘I’m not going to throw it away’ and gave the body to a pastor, and the pastor, knowing my role, contacted me and we both arranged to honour the child with a viewing,” he said.


ut the viewing was a very public affair. By election day, it had been viewed 707 000 times. Fr Pavone said he has apologised to those who were offended and has posted an apology but has not taken down the video. He said anger should be directed at Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton, who supports abortion. He said he doesn’t see what he did as improper in any way. “I don’t know what in the world these people are talking about,” he said. “What did I put on the altar? This is a human child.” He said he has bishop advisers and canonical advisers, as well as legal advice, when he undertakes

Liturgical Calendar Year C – Weekdays Cycle Year 2 Sunday November 20, Christ the King 2 Samuel 5:1-3, Psalms 122:1-2, 4-5, Colossians 1:12-20, Luke 23:35-43 Monday November 21, Presentation of Our Lady Zechariah 2:10-13 (14-17), Responsorial Psalm Luke 1:46-55, Matthew 12:46-50 Tuesday November 22, St Cecilia Revelation 14:14-19, Psalms 96:10-13, Luke 21:5-11 Wednesday November 23, Ss Clement and Columban Revelation 15:1-4, Psalms 98:1-3, 7-9, Luke 21:12-19 Thursday November 24, Ss Andrew Dung-Lac and Companians Revelation 18:1-2, 21-23, 19: 1-3, 9, Psalms 100: 1-5, Luke 21: 20-28 Friday November 25, St Catherine of Alexandria Revelation 20:1-4, 11--21:2, Psalms 84:3-6, 8, Luke 21:29-33 Saturday November 26 Revelation 22:1-7, Psalms 95:1-7, Luke 21:34-36 Sunday November 27, 1st Sunday of Advent Isaiah 2:1-5, Psalms 122:1-9, Romans 13:11-14, Matthew 24:37-44

actions that help him advance his cause against abortion. In 2014, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York cut ties with Fr Pavone and his group Priests for Life, saying the priest refused to allow an audit of the group’s finances. In the statement from the diocese, Bishop Zurek said Priests for Life “is not a Catholic institution, but a civil organisation, and it is not under the control or supervision of the diocese of Amarillo”. The Catholic blog Patheos, whose bloggers denounced Fr Pavone in several posts, pointed out that the code of canon law spells out how the altar should be used and that canon 1239 says that it “must be reserved for divine worship alone”. “It is a violation of canon law, which states that the altar is consecrated for one purpose and one purpose only,” wrote Patheos blogger Scott Eric Alt. “It is consecrated for the holy sacrifice of the Mass. It is not consecrated so that a dead child can be placed there as part of a political stunt to lobby for a favoured presidential candidate.”—CNS

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PRAYER TO THE HOLY SPIRIT–Holy Spirit, you who makes me see everything and shows me the way to reach my ideal, you who gives me the divine gift to forgive and forget all the wrong that is done to me and you who are in all instances of my life with me. I, in this short dialogue, want to thank you for everything, and affirm once more that I never want to be separated from you no matter how great the material desires may be. I want to be with you and my loved ones in your perpetual glory. To that end and submitting to

God’s holy will, I ask from you..(mention your favour). Amen. This prayer should be said for 3 consecutive days. After the 3rd day, your sincere wish will be granted no matter how difficult it may be. Promise to publish it on granting of your favour. The idea is to spread the wonder of the Holy Spirit. THANKS TO THE HOLY SPIRIT. Our lady of Fatima, and St Christopher and Holy St Jude, apostle and martyr, great in virtue and rich in miracles, kinsman of Jesus Christ, faithful intercessor of all who invoke you, special patron in time of need. To you I have recourse from the depth of my heart and humbly beg you to come to my assistance. Help me now in my urgent need and grant my petitions, in return I promise to make your name known and publish this prayer. Amen. CH. FATHER, you have given all peoples one common origin. It is your will that they be gathered together as one family in yourself. Fill the hearts of mankind with the fire of your love and with the desire to ensure justice for all. By sharing the good things you give us, may we secure an equality for all our brothers and sisters throughout the world. May there be an end to division, strife and war. May there be a dawning of a truly human society built on love and peace. We ask this in the name of Jesus, our lord. Amen.

THANKS be to thee, my lord Jesus Christ, For all the benefits thou hast won for me, For all the pains and insults thou hast borne for me. O most merciful Redeemer, Friend, and Brother, May I know thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, And follow thee more nearly, For ever and ever.


ABORTION WARNING: The truth will convict a silent Church. See www.valuelifeabortion


CAPE TOWN: looking for reasonably priced accommodation over the December/January holiday period, come to Kolbe House. Set in beautiful gardens in Rondebosch. Self-catering, clean and peaceful. Safe parking. Close to all shops and public transport. Contact Pat 021 685 7370 or GORDON’S BAY: Harbour Park. Sleeps 2 adults and 2 children. Fully furnished. R2 100 per week. Phone Alison on 084 577 1356 or Delton on 083 414 6534.

CHRISTMAS IS NEAR! Greet friends and family through a classified ad in the Christmas edition of The Southern Cross (Dec 21) ONLy R1,60 a WORD!

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Send your ad with payment to Christmas Greetings, Box 2372, Cape Town, 8000, to arrive by December 2, 2016, or contact yolanda at email, phone 021 465-55007 or fax 021 465 3850

Helpers of God’s Precious Infants. Mass on last Saturday of every month at 9:30 at Sacred Heart church in Somerset Road, Cape Town. Followed by vigil at Marie Stopes abortion clinic in Bree Street. Contact Colette Thomas on

083 412 4836 or 021 593 9875 or Br Daniel SCP on 078 739 2988. DURBAN: Holy Mass and Novena to St Anthony at St Anthony’s parish every Tuesday at 9:00. Holy Mass and Divine Mercy Devotion at 17:30 on first Friday of every month. Sunday Mass at 9:00. Phone 031 309 3496 or 031 209 2536. Overport rosary group. At Emakhosini Hotel, 73 East Street every Wednesday at 18.30.


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1st Sunday of Advent: November 27 Readings: Isaiah 2:1-5, Psalm 121:1-9, Romans 13:11-14, Matthew 24:37-44


EXT Sunday we start the new round of the Church’s year, and Advent begins; but our readings make it clear that is not to be an excuse for mindless carousing; instead there is a sense that something new is on the way, with vague hints of discomfort. In the first reading, Isaiah, at a difficult time for Israel, foresees something very new for his country: “It shall be at the end of days that the mountain of the House of the Lord shall be established as the top of the mountains; and it will be lifted up above the hills.” Now those who first heard Isaiah knew perfectly well that the hill on which the Temple was built was by no means the highest mountain in Jerusalem; but he was pointing to the future. And the prophet was certainly correct in saying that “all the nations shall stream to it”. The point, however, is not really about foretelling the future, but about what God is going to do, “that he may teach us some of his ways and we may walk in his paths”. That is the name of the game, and then “they shall beat their swords into

S outher n C ross

ploughshares and their spears into pruninghooks”; and that is what our world needs, tired of war as it is. So our slogan to take us through Advent is: “House of Jacob, come let us walk in the light of the Lord.” The psalm for next Sunday is one of the pilgrimage songs that they used to sing on their way up precisely to Jerusalem; and we should notice that it begins “I”, but soon turns to “we”. That is what pilgrimage does for you. The poet is captivated by Jerusalem’s beauty, and desperate that we should pray for peace: “Ask for peace for Jerusalem; may they do well, those who love you.” And we hear the pilgrims’ response, indeed we might make it our Advent prayer: “I shall say, ‘Peace be upon you. For the sake of the House of the Lord I shall look for your good’.” In the second reading, Paul has a sense that he must stimulate the Romans into realising what time it is. “Know that it is the right

time, because it is the moment for you to wake from sleep.” He tells them (and us) that the moment is coming, “the day has drawn near” (so there is a sense of urgency here); and that means that it is time for appropriate behaviour, not the kind of thing that those office-parties will soon be asking you to do—“carousing and hard drinking, sexual intercourse and licentious living, quarrelling and fanaticism”. Instead we are invited to “put on Jesus Christ”, like an actor playing the greatest of all roles, and not to “make plans for cravings”. The Gospel is also pretty stark, reminding Jesus’ hearers of “the days of Noah, before the flood”, when they just carried on with their ordinary living, unaware of the imminence of God’s time “until the day when Noah went on board the ark. And they didn’t get it until the flood took them all away”. Then Jesus applies this to “the coming of the Son of Man”, a time when “two men will

The real presence at Mass W

the fact that the real presence is not just in the bread and wine, it is also in the liturgy of the word and in the salvific event that is recalled in the Eucharistic prayer, namely, the death and resurrection of Jesus. Most churchgoers already recognise that when the scriptures are celebrated; in a liturgical service God’s presence is made special, more physically tangible, than God’s normal presence everywhere or God’s presence inside our private prayer. The word of God, celebrated in a church, is, like Christ’s presence in the consecrated bread and wine, also the real presence. But there’s a further element that’s less understood: The Eucharist doesn’t just make a person present; it also makes an event present. We participate in the Eucharist not just to receive Christ in communion, but also to participate in the major salvific event of his life, his death and resurrection.


hat’s at issue here? At the Last Supper, Jesus invited his followers to continue to meet and celebrate the Eucharist “in memory of me”. But his use of the word “memory” and our use of that word are very different. For us “memory” is a weaker word. It simply means calling something to mind, remembering an event like the birth of your child, your wedding day, or the game when your favourite sports team finally won the championship. That’s a simple


HEN I was a graduate student in Belgium, I was privileged one day to sit in on a conference given by Cardinal Godfried Danneels of Brussels. The cardinal, now retired, was commenting on the Eucharist and our lack of understanding of its full richness when he highlighted this contrast: If you stood outside a Catholic church today as people were coming out of it and asked them: “Was that a good Eucharist?”, almost everyone would answer on the basis of the homily and the music. If the homily was interesting and the music lively, most people would answer that it had been a good Eucharist. Now, he continued, if you had stood outside a Catholic church 60 or 70 years ago and asked: “Was that a good Mass today?,” nobody would have even understood the question. They would have answered something to the effect of: “Aren’t they all the same?” Today our understanding of the Eucharist, in Catholic circles and indeed in most Protestant and Anglican circles, is very much concentrated on three things: the liturgy of the word, the music, and communion. Moreover, in Catholic churches, we speak of the real presence only in reference to the last element, the presence of Christ in the bread and wine. While none of this is wrong—the liturgy of the word, the music, and communion are important—something is missing in this understanding. It misses

Nicholas King SJ

Advent no time for levity


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Sunday Reflections

be in the field; one is taken and one is left; two women grinding at the mill; one is taken and one is left”. After this comes the point, to which you and I are invited to pay careful attention, a lesson from ordinary life with which we can easily identify in our world: “Be aware of this, that if the householder knew at what time the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake, and would not have let his house be broken into.” So in our time, as Advent goes its way, we are instructed: “Be ready—for at an hour when you’re not thinking, the Son of Man is coming.” There is food for reflection here. And notice: it is not yet time to be speaking of Christmas; that only comes at the end of December. For the present we are simply waiting for the Lord’s coming, however that may work out.

Southern Crossword #733

Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI

Final Reflection

remembering, a passing recollection. It can stir deep feelings but it does nothing more. Whereas in the Hebrew concept out of which Jesus was speaking, memory—making ritual remembrance of something— implied much more than simply recalling something. To remember something was not simply to nostalgically recall it. Rather it meant to recall and ritually re-enact it so as to make it present again in a real way. For example, that’s how the Passover supper is understood within Judaism. The Passover meal recalls the exodus from Egypt and the miraculous passing through the Red Sea into freedom. The idea is that one generation, led by Moses, did this historically, but that by reenacting that event ritually, in the Passover meal, the event is made present again, in a real way, for those at table to experience. The Eucharist is the same, except that the saving event we re-enact so as to remake it present through ritual is the death and resurrection of Jesus, the new exodus. Our Christian belief here is exactly the same as that of our Jewish brothers and sisters, namely, that we are not just remembering an event, we are actually making it present to participate in. The Eucharist, parallel to a Jewish Passover meal, makes present the central saving event in Christian history—Jesus’ passover from death to life in the paschal mystery. And just as the consecrated bread and wine give us the real presence of Christ, the Eucharist also gives us the real presence of the central saving event in our history: Jesus’ passage from death to life. Thus at a Eucharist, there are, in effect, three real presences. Christ is really present in the word (the scriptures, the preaching, and the music). Christ is really present in the consecrated bread and wine; they are his body and blood. And Christ is really present in a saving event—Jesus’ sacrificial passing from death to life. And so we go to Eucharist not just to be brought into community by Jesus’ word and to receive Jesus in communion, we go there too to enter into the saving event of his death and resurrection. The real presence is in both a person and in an event.


1. Two companies on track to insect cover (6) 4. Fit for hungry Israelites (6) 9. The oldest expression of Christian belief (8,5) 10. Up it ran to find a very moral person (7) 11. Printer’s pad (5) 12. Are bishops the lords of these? (5) 14. Vengeance is mine, I will ... (Rom 12) (5) 18. The entire sum (5) 19. Show rage about the hair brush (7) 21. Superlative 9 ac (8,5) 22. Said my consternation (6) 23. Check progress of the criminal (6)

Solutions on page 11


1. Mr Caps has muscle contractions (6) 2. She’s a leader in liturgical song (5,8) 3. The eight players (5) 5. Eastern device may delude you (7) 6. Could be the hour to partake after morning Mass (9,4) 7. Senior citizens in the church (6) 8. It’s a reality and could be human (5) 13. St Paul wrote to the Christians here (7) 15. Put on the boards for parish entertainment (6) 16. Humiliate with a hard knock (5) 17. Overheated poker hand? (3-3) 20. Deduce (5)



PRIEST and a nun are on a trip when their car breaks down and they have to spend the night in a hotel, which has only one room available. The priest says: “Sister, I don’t think the Lord would have a problem. I’ll sleep on the couch and you have the bed.” The nun says: “That’s OK.” Ten minutes later the nun says: “Father, I’m so cold.” The priest says: OK, I’ll get you a blanket. Ten minutes later the nun says: “Father, I’m still cold. The priest says: “OK Sister, I’ll get you another blanket.” Ten minutes later the nun says: “Father, I’m still terribly cold. I don’t think the Lord would mind if we acted as man and wife just for this one night.” The priest says: “You’re probably right…get up and get your own blanket.”


HOLY LAND 18-27 March 2017 Fr Brian Mhlanga OP of Radio Veritas

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16 November - 22 November, 2016


16 November - 22 November, 2016