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A house Jesus might have known

January 20 to January 26, 2010 No 4659


The Mass Pope on of the his political Rubber Bullet vision

More on St Thérèse relics in SA

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What pope will tell Irish Church on clergy abuse

Inside Renewal for lay ministers It is important for lay Eucharistic ministers to perform a solemn renewal of their special charism every year, according to Bishop Barry Wood.—Page 2


Call to reform the reform The pope’s chief liturgist has backed calls for the reform of the post-Vatican II reforms of the liturgy.—Page 4

Vatican security ‘worked’ Safety procedures worked perfectly and security personnel performed excellently when Pope Benedict was attacked on Christmas Eve, according to an Italian security expert.—Page 5

Art for faith’s sake John Cowan discusses how the Church and modern art can fruitfully cooperate.—Page 9

Wrestling with myself In his monthly column, Henry Makori reflects on the struggles that are necessary to see through New Year’s resolutions.—Page 9

Don’t blame ads for your kids The effect of advertising on kids has been overstated, argues veteran marketing expert Chris Moerdyk.—Page 12

Pope Benedict pours water as he baptises a baby during a Mass in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican. The pope baptised 14 infants, calling it a “great day for these children” as through their baptism “they become participants in the death and resurrection of Christ, and begin with him the joyful and exciting adventure of the disciple”. The infants, seven girls and seven boys, were all children of Vatican employees, and the Mass was marked by a family atmosphere. The siblings of the baptised carried the offertory gifts, and the cries of babies echoed off the frescoed walls and ceiling of the chapel throughout the liturgy. (See also page 9 for Michael Shackleton’s explanation for infant baptism.) PHOTO: L'OSSERVATORE ROMANO VIA REUTERS/CNS

OPE Benedict’s pastoral letter in response to the child abuse scandals in the Church in Ireland will express his “complete abhorrence” of the crime and call on Catholic clergy and laity to renew Gospel values within the Church. In a preview of the pontiff’s letter expected on Ash Wednesday, Irish Catholic editor Garry O’Sullivan quoted Church sources saying the pope “will express his complete abhorrence at clerical child sexual abuse. There may well be a call for a proper understanding of proper sexual health among clergy but also in society, and a restatement of the Church’s position on healthy sexual morality,” Mr O’Sullivan said in an article in The Irish Times. “He will commend the child protection initiatives taken to date and ask that they be brought to fruition within the Church. “Finally, he will call on the whole Irish Church to sit in fellowship and ask that the Gospel be preached by clergy and religious, working together with the laity in order to bring about the renewal of Gospel values and faith in the Irish Church,” Mr O’Sullivan said.—cathnews

What do you think? In their Letters to the Editor this week, readers discuss St Christopher, the clergy abuse scandal, married Anglican clergy, and the reaction to controversial issues.—Page 8

This week’s editorial: Church on the margins

Secularists ‘as dogmatic as worst believers’


NGLISH Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster has said that secularists are “just as dogmatic as the worst religious believer and sometimes more stridently so”. His remark came as the bishops of England and Wales prepare to discuss the rise of aggressive secularism with Pope Benedict during their five-yearly ad limina visit. Speaking on BBC radio, Archbishop Nichols said: “Public life is not a neutral place. Some people might claim a neutrality, but in fact everybody comes with their own set of values. The question is how open we are about those values, how reasoned we are, and how much we are engaged genuinely in dialogue. Religion has as much right as anybody else to be there.” The archbishop repeated a call for dialogue between believers and non-believers to be “more reasoned and respectful” “That means getting away from soundbites and getting away from discussion that is always centred around oppositional conflict.” Archbishop Nichols, in pointing to the increasingly aggressive nature of secularism, echoed his predecessor Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor. The cardinal said in 2008 that secularism had created an “unfriendly climate” for people who hold religious beliefs, noting that faith was treated as “a private eccentricity”.—cathnews

SA Church declares war on trafficking BY BRONWEN DACHS


ATHOLIC officials are working to make sure South Africa’s hosting of the football World Cup in June does not endanger the nation’s citizens, especially women and children. While the World Cup provides a “wonderful opportunity for building global unity and friendships”, hosting it is full of risks and threats, including human trafficking and the marginalisation of the poor, said Dominican Father Mike Deeb, director of the Justice and Peace Department of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference. The local Church needs to highlight these threats “so that everyone is aware of them and those in authority are challenged to address them”, Fr Deeb said. Raising awareness of human trafficking among potential victims and their families and working with the police and other authorities to prevent it are the biggest challenges before the June 11-July 11 World Cup, said Holy Family Sister Melanie O’Connor, who since January 2008 has been coordinating the bishops’ efforts to combat trafficking. Criminals intending to establish prostitution rings at the sporting event “need to know that we’re ready” to stop them, Sr O’Connor said. She said thousands of people have been trained to assist the police in maintaining law and order during the games. “Working with the International Organisation for Migration and other groups, we teach people what to look out for, how and where trafficking is happening and how to

respond,” said Sr O’Connor, who has travelled the country, focusing mostly on rural areas where women and children are in danger of being taken from their homes and sent to the tournament’s host cities and towns. On a visit to South Africa’s Eastern Cape province to run training workshops, “I was appalled at the ignorance about trafficking,” she said, noting that she “heard many people there say they didn’t know it really happened”. Volunteers from parishes around the country are being trained to look out for women and children who may have been forced into prostitution—mainly those who have no identification documents, speak little English and are afraid of reporting their situation to the authorities—and to help them to contact organisations able to give them shelter and spiritual, material and psychological assistance, Sr O’Connor said.


arge syndicates that are ‘’bound up with drugs and pornography” are involved in trafficking in countries such as South Africa, Russia and Brazil, as are “smaller local rings that will take advantage” of the influx of tourists into South Africa for the World Cup, she said. Representatives of an international network of 252 women’s religious orders involved in combating human trafficking in 36 countries will visit South Africa in February to check on local readiness for the World Cup and give assistance where necessary, she said. The network, called Talita Kum (Aramaic for “Get Up”) was established in June at a

Rome meeting sponsored by the International Union of Superiors General and the International Organisation for Migration.


ather Deeb warned that “marginalisation of the poor threatens the social cohesion that hosting the World Cup could bring”. While the poor are among the country’s greatest football fans, most will be unable to attend the games because ticket prices “are way beyond their reach,” he said. While the World Cup is “very likely to boost South Africa’s economy”, with improvements to infrastructure creating many jobs and businesses, “there is no guarantee that the poor will benefit”, Fr Deeb said. “Some people view the World Cup as a waste of money that could have been better spent on poverty alleviation”, he said, noting that “it is interesting that people from the host cities are more positive about the tournament than those who live in rural areas and are unlikely to benefit”. South Africa’s high crime rate should not deter visitors, Father Deeb said, noting that, with thousands of extra police officers on duty during the games, “the chances of being a victim have been reduced, as long as fans are careful and vigilant.” During the World Cup, the Church plans to offer trauma counselling to crime victims, said Cardinal Wilfrid Napier of Durban. “It’s a big challenge to us as church to put together the infrastructure to cater for the influx of visitors,” Cardinal Napier added, noting that “we need to ensure that people know Mass times and where our churches are”.—CNS


The Southern Cross, January 20 to January 26, 2010


‘Solemn renewal crucial for Eucharistic ministers’ BY MICHAIL RASSOOL


BISHOP has said it is very important for lay Eucharistic ministers to perform a solemn renewal of their special charism each liturgical year. Bishop Barry Wood, auxiliary of Durban, said while this is not compulsory, parish priests are encouraged to hold such a ceremony, even if it is a brief one to be performed perhaps at a certain point during Sunday Mass. He said it is a service associated with the Mass itself and lies at the very heart of Catholic life

and worship. The bishop said there are two categories of Eucharistic ministers— extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, who take Communion to the sick and others unable to attend Mass, and extraordinary ministers of the eucharist, who conduct Communion services if a priest cannot be present to celebrate Mass. He said there were some extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, for example, who tend to hold on to their function without realising that it isn’t just about

them. However committed they may be, it is about the service itself which has its own special integrity. For this reason, he said, ideally new people in the parish should be encouraged to come forward and make themselves available to perform it. These should be chosen by the parish community, preferably through its pastoral council, Bishop Wood said. Canon law says the extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion may administer Communion only when there is no priest or deacon, when the priest is prevented by

Catechists complete training


Napier, is very strict about this role and how it is performed. For example, in a situation where a priest has to serve a huge parish that also consists of several outstations, a situation common in rural areas, the extraordinary minister of a given community may assist by performing Communion services. Or, when a priest unexpectedly cannot celebrate Mass because he has suddenly been taken ill or necessity has taken him elsewhere, and the minister—the only eligible individual there—has to step in to perform the service.

Refugees find solace in counselling programme BY MICHAIL RASSOOL


BY STAFF REPORTER HIRTY new catechist trainers celebrated having completed their three-year intensive training programme at Newcastle Pastoral Centre in the diocese of Dundee. Bishop Graham Rose of Dundee was present at the concluding Mass for the conferral of their certificates. Sixteen team members who had completed their course as trainers in 2006 received a special certificate in recognition of the extra three years (2007-09) they spent as members of the training team. One of the aims of these training courses, which have been running for many years in the Durban metropolitan, is to equip Zulu-

weakness or advanced age or some other genuine reason, or when the number of faithful coming to Communion is so great that the very celebration of Mass would be unduly prolonged. A brief prolonging of the function, considering the circumstances and culture of the place, is not at all a sufficient reason, the code of canon law says. Bishop Wood said some priests abuse this function; they go off on holiday and appoint the Eucharistic minister to act in their stead, which canonically they cannot do. He said his archbishop, Cardinal Wilfrid

Zulu-speaking catechists who completed a three-year catechism trainers’ course. speaking catechists to assist in the diocesan formation and training of catechists. “Emphasis is placed on the vision of catechesis as an ongoing journey of conversion and faith following the model of the Baptismal Catechumenate promoted by the Church since Vatican II and endorsed by the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference,” said, national coordinator for catechetics, Salesian Sister Patricia Finn. She said another aim was to

gradually change the mentality that catechesis is mainly a time of preparation for the reception of sacraments. “Instead, the reception of the sacraments of Christian initiation are the basic requirements of every baptised person to be actively engaged in the evangelising mission of the Church. “It is hoped that the content and methodology that these catechists receive is passed on to other catechists in their respective dioceses,” she said.

EFUGEES fleeing violence and destabilisation are met with a harsher reality in South Africa associated with xenophobia and need counselling. This was revealed by people associated with a refugee counselling programme run by a Church-based organisation. At the heart of the programme is the knowledge that they are loved and accepted for who they are, said its coordinator Giulia Trèves of the Scalabrini Refugee Centre in Cape Town. She said it is a partnership between the centre and the psychology department of the University of SA (UNISA). Ms Trèves said UNISA psychology masters students have to serve internships, putting in 900 hours (six months to a year) of practical counselling, which some have done through the centre’s counselling

programme since it began last March. There are currently three counsellors subject to supervision, and a Congolese student from the University of the Western Cape will also serve an internship on the counselling programme, Ms Trèves said. She said the centre has also designed a life skills programme, which dovetails well with the counselling programme. The counselling ranges from one-on-one, voluntary counselling and testing as well as support associated with people with HIV, beading sessions, art therapy for homeless people, and complementary health that includes yoga and acupuncture. The Scalabrini Refugee Centre offers a range of welfare services to those in need, particularly from conflict-ridden Lusophone and Francophone African countries.

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LOCAL New lease for people living with HIV/Aids

The Southern Cross, January 20 to January 26, 2010



S Relics of St Thérèse of Lisieux (inset) will be in South Africa for six weeks.

St Thérèse’s relics for SA BY MICHAIL RASSOOL


ELICS of St Thérèse of Lisieux will be in South Africa for six weeks, from June 25 to August 6. Although the itinerary was still being compiled at the time of going to press, the dioceses of Johannesburg, Tzaneen, Aliwal North, and Umzimkulu were on board. Fr Shaun von Lillienveld of Johannesburg said he and other organisers were hoping many more dioceses come on board. Part of the period of the relics’ visit coincides with the football World Cup in South Africa, which is good for the different dioceses in whose cities and towns across the country the tournament is taking place, he said. This period was the only one available for the South African visit, Fr von Lillienveld said. He said millions of Catholics from all over the world would be descending on the country. The priest said the fact that St Thérèse’s relics are in South Africa provides a heaven-sent opportunity for the local Church to play a crucial spiritual role in the World Cup, and he hoped for a greater response from dioceses and parishes. A press statement from the visit’s organisers said that in Johannesburg the following places have confirmed that they would like to receive the relics: the Carmelite convent in Benoni and the cathedral, Yeoville, Victory Park and Edenvale parishes. Responses from Catholic schools in the archdiocese were still forthcoming. “People in authority are requested to release or pass this informa-

tion to those who may be interested, and not to dismiss this opportunity as an individual when it may benefit the community spiritually,” the statement said. The organisers requested that those dioceses, parishes or institutions that have organised for the relics’ presence on their premises cover their travel costs, by air or car, whether through sponsorships or fundraisers. They even suggested that funeral parlours, individuals or companies with suitable cars be approached for transporting them. The organisers also requested that a special collection or donation be forwarded to them to help cover travelling and administrative costs. The relics, they said, would travel from France to South Africa and back, and suggestions from potential donors, sponsors and helpers were welcome. They also said the privilege of having St Thérèse’s relics should be accompanied by a special parish, diocese, school or convent spiritual, liturgical and/or catechetical project or programme that promises to enrich the spiritual and social (community outreach) ministry. “We would like to stress that we hope that the coming of the relics will inspire people, strengthen their faith, and challenge us to live our faith and follow our callings, as St Thérèse followed hers,” the organisers said. For bookings, donations, and information, contact Frs von Lillienfield (083 763 0807) and Vusi Sokhela (072 149 8703, 011 487 2299, or 011 648 1014 (fax).


Our name identifies us and gives us our mission work in response to Jesus who shed His Blood out of love for all people. Why don’t you come to share with us in this redeeming love of Christ. Please Contact: Provincialate Eastern Cape Provincialate Mariannhill P.O. Box 261 P.O. Box 10487 MTHATHA Ashwood 5099 E.C. 3605 KZN Tel: 047 535 0701 Tel: 031 700 3767

T FRANCIS Care Centre in Boksburg, Johannesburg archdiocese strives for integrated improvement of the health and quality of life of people of local communities living with HIV/Aids, through committed care and attention at all stages in the condition's treatment. It serves 2,5 million people in the Ekurhuleni municipality, which forms the greater part of the East Rand. The centre, which was developed on what used to be a smallholding, contains a hospice, a home for 30 abandoned or orphaned children from birth to 7 years of age, called the Rainbow Cottage, and home-based care by four teams of caregivers who work in four local informal settlements. It also runs two free clinics where voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) is performed and anti-retrovirals (ARVs) and other drugs are provided. Centre manager Tilly Brouwer told The Southern Cross that the centre was founded in 1992, after Franciscan Father Stanley Brennan—who has worked in Boksburg and outlying areas for 60 years—had found people living with HIV/Aids banished to a remote part of a local hospital where he served as chaplain. They were ostracised, deprived

Fr Stanley Brennan (left) at St Francis Care Centre which tends to people living with HIV/Aids. and dying, abandoned and rejected by family and friends, she said. The priest enquired after these people, noticing how they were being treated by hospital staff, who refused to come near them, leaving trays outside doors and so on. He then asserted the fundamentals of his Franciscan charism, saying no person, regardless of their type of illness, should be rejected and abandoned because of it. He found a house in the middle of a Boksburg residential area with a view to providing a suitable environment for terminally-ill people, so they could die in a comfortable setting, an atmosphere of love and acceptance. Neighbours in a part of the then-Transvaal known for its ultra-conservatism objected to black people, let alone those with HIV/Aids, staying in their area, and took legal action. Fr Brennan,

defended by well-known antiapartheid advocate George Bizos, won his case after telling the then Supreme Court that, as St Francis had shared his life with lepers, the despised and rejected of the day, he lived with his charges. Fr Brennan started out with 11 beds and with 28 in the new premises, which he acquired on auction in 1995. This has developed exponentially over the years, with 48 adult beds, thanks especially to help received from the Japanese Overseas Missions Association, whose Fr Nicholas Nomoto, a now deceased Franciscan, played a crucial part. In all some 1 200 people receive ARVs, and some 5 000 have undergone VCTs over the last five years. The counselling emphasises knowing one’s HIV status and early identification of the virus so that a lifestyle that lends itself to staying as HIV-negative as possible is adopted.


The Southern Cross, January 20 to January 26, 2010


Papal liturgist: reform the reform BY FR MATTHEW GAMBER


HE pope’s chief liturgist, Mgr Guido Marini, has endorsed calls in the Church for a “reform of the reform” of Catholic liturgy. “For some years now, several voices have been heard within Church circles talking about the necessity of a new liturgical renewal,” Mgr Marini said. A fresh renewal movement would be “capable of operating a reform of the reform, or rather, move one more step ahead in understanding the authentic spirit of the liturgy and its celebration”, he said. Mgr Marini, who has served as master of papal liturgical ceremonies since late 2007, spoke to a conference of priests from Englishspeaking countries gathered in Rome to mark the Year for Priests. The conference was sponsored by the Australian and US Confraternities of Catholic Clergy, both conservative bodies for priests and deacons. The papal liturgist said the goal of the new reform movement “would be to carry on that providential reform of the liturgy that the conciliar fathers had launched” but which has “not always, in its practical implementation, found a timely and happy fulfilment”. Mgr Marini stressed that the liturgy celebrated by the Church should be marked by historical continuity. “I purposefully use the word continuity, a word very dear to our

Spanish Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, uses incense during a Mass in the extraordinary form of the Latin rite (or Tridentine rite Mass) at the basilica of St John Lateran in Rome. The Mass was held during a conference for priests sponsored by Australian and US clergy, at which the pope’s chief liturgist, Mgr Guido Marini (inset), endorsed calls for a liturgical renewal. PHOTO: PAUL HARING,CNS

present Holy Father,” Mgr Marini said. “He has made it the only authoritative criterion whereby one can correctly interpret the life of the Church.” Mgr Marini said that an appreciation of continuity would help bring together divergent schools of thought regarding the liturgy. “The liturgy cannot and must not be an opportunity for conflict between those who find good only in that which came before us, and those who, on the con-

trary, almost always find wrong in what came before.” The way forward for any liturgical renewal is “to regard both the present and the past liturgy of the Church as one patrimony in continuous development”. Mgr Marini offered suggestions for showing continuity in the liturgy and gave examples from current papal liturgical celebrations. The tradition of praying while facing East, and so symbolically


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Attacks after Allah ruling

facing the Lord, is now seen in the placement of a crucifix on the altar of St Peter’s basilica, he said. “Hence the reason for the proposal made by then-Cardinal Ratzinger and presently reaffirmed during the course of his pontificate, to place the crucifix on the centre of the altar, in order that all, during the celebration of the liturgy, may concretely face and look upon the Lord, in such a way as to orient also their prayer and hearts.” A renewed emphasis on “adoration”, explained by Mgr Marini as “union with God,” also will foster continuity with the past and should be a criterion for future liturgical practices, he said. Everything in the liturgy must be conducive to adoration, Mgr Marini said, including the music, the singing, the periods of silence, the way of proclaiming the Scriptures as well as the liturgical vestments and the sacred vessels. He said it was this same desire to renew a sense of adoration that prompted Pope Benedict to make it the norm in papal liturgies for the pope to distribute Communion on the tongue to people kneeling. “By the example of this action, the Holy Father invites us to render visible the proper attitude of adoration before the greatness of the mystery of the eucharistic presence of our Lord,” Mgr Marini said. The same attitude of adoration “must be fostered all the more when approaching the most holy Eucharist in the other forms permitted today.”—CNS


ALAYSIAN Catholic bishops have called the escalation of violence against Christian churches in their country a “worrisome and delicate”, situation, according to Fides, the Vatican’s missionary news agency. “The Malaysian Church is concerned and did not expect that the question of the use of the word ‘Allah’ would be followed by a reaction of this kind, with attacks against churches and Christian buildings,” the bishops said. “There is an urgent need to work for dialogue and social harmony, to defuse the conflict that fundamentalist groups are trying to ignite in the nation.” The violence was triggered by a recent Malaysian court ruling that the national Catholic weekly Herald could use the word “Allah” to refer to God and that the home ministry’s order banning certain uses of the word was illegal. The court decision met with opposition by many in the Muslim-majority nation, and some Malaysians responded with violence. A series of reprisals on Catholic and other Christian churches, including firebombings and acts of vandalism, began soon after the court decision.—CNS

A degree in perseverance celebrated


ETHLEHEM University officials travelled to the Gaza Strip to celebrate with Berlanty Azzam the completion of her bachelor’s degree despite having been deported to Gaza three months earlier. The papal nuncio to Israel and the Palestinian territories, Archbishop Antonio Franco, and Christian Brother Peter Bray, Bethlehem University’s

vice-chancellor, were among those who travelled to Gaza to mark the occasion during a Mass at Holy Family Catholic Church. Ms Azzam, a 21-year-old Christian business administration student originally from Gaza, was detained and deported on October 28 after being stopped at an Israeli checkpoint on Palestinian territory. The Israeli army claimed she was in

breach of a travel permit given to her in 2005. She had only two months of studies when she was deported. Despite numerous legal appeals to the Israeli High Court through lawyers from Gisha, an Israeli organisation that works to protect freedom of movement, Ms Azzam was not permitted to return to Bethlehem to complete her studies.—CNS

Madagascar’s pilgrim cardinal dies BY CAROL GLATZ


NOWN as a pilgrim-pastor after visiting almost all of the parishes in his former diocese, often on foot, Cardinal Armand Gaetan Razafindratandra of Antananarivo, Madagascar, died on January 9 at the age of 84. He was born in 1925 to a large Christian family in Ambohimalaza, where his grandfather was governor. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1954,and was sent to the Catholic Institute in Paris to study pastoral catechesis and social studies. Returning to Madagascar, he was appointed director of catechesis for the archdiocese of Antananarivo. In that post he

drafted catechetical manuals for all religious education programmes for students age 12 and older. He directed the National Centre for Catechetical Formation for ten years, served as rector of the minor seminary and as director of the major seminary. Appointed bishop of Mahajanga in 1978, he began his pastoral visits to the parishes spread over some 100 000km 2. It was the first time a bishop had visited many of the church communities. Cardinal Razafindratandra


was involved in starting the Ecumenical Commission of Theology, which drafted the statutes of the national Council of Christian Churches, a movement that has played an important role in the democratic development of the nation since 1989. Catholic and other Christians make up about 41% of the population of the Indian Ocean island-state. Leaders from the Christian churches supported government reforms that led to the 1990 lifting of a ban on political parties and to democratic elections in 1991. The cardinal was appointed archbishop of Antananarivo in February 1994 and made a cardinal by Pope John Paul II several months later.—CNS

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The Southern Cross, January 20 to January 26, 2010


Pope’s on his political vision BY CINDY WOODEN


Injured people rest outside the destroyed cathedral in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in the massive earthquake that struck late in the afternoon on January 12. The cathedral, presidential palace, schools, hospitals and hillside shanties collapsed in the disaster. Among the tens of thousands of dead was the city’s Archbishop Joseph Serge Miot (inset) PHOTOS: EDUARDO MUNOZ, REUTERS/CNS & L'OSSERVATORE ROMANO

Archbishop died in quake


MONG the tens of thousands who died in the major earthquake that devastated Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas was the city’s Archbishop Joseph Miot. Archbishop Miot”s lifeless body was found under the rubble of the archbishops’ residence. Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Vatican’s apostolic nuncio in Haiti, told the Vatican missionary news agency Fides: “The cathedral and the archbishop’s residence, all the big churches, all the seminaries are reduced to rubble.” Archbishop Miot, 63, had served the archdiocese of Port-au-Price as coadjutor archbishop since 1997. He was installed as head of the archdiosese in 2008. Archbishop Auza said he had toured the capital on the morning

after the earthquake: “I found priests and nuns on the street, who no longer have homes.” The rector of the seminary survived, and so did the dean, but the nuncio found seminarians under the rubble. He said a study institute for men and women religious had collapsed, with many students inside as they attended a conference. The nunciature withstood the quake, and there were no injuries there. Caritas Internationalis, the Vatican-based umbrella organisation for Catholic charities, mobilised immediately to provide assistance to Haiti. Caritas’ humanitarian director Alistair Dutton, who led the emergency relief team, said that Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere with weak infrastructure, complicating relief efforts.

AR, hunger, oppression, environmental degradation and the current global financial crisis are all the result of selfishness and a lack of respect for the human person created in God’s image, Pope Benedict told diplomats from around the world. “If we wish to build true peace, how can we separate or even set at odds the protection of the environment and the protection of human life, including the life of the unborn?” the pope asked ambassadors from the 178 countries that have diplomatic relations with the Vatican. In his speech, the pope highlighted his hopes and concerns regarding the state of the environment, ongoing wars and violence, military spending and the arms trade, restrictions on religious freedom and attacks on the unborn and on the traditional family. Much of his talk focused on the environment, echoing his message for World Peace Day, which had as its theme “If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation”. The pope told the diplomats that a “self-centred and materialistic way of thinking” which ignores the fact that human beings are creatures, triggered the current global economic crisis and is also the attitude behind the devastation of the environment. “The denial of God distorts the freedom of the human person, yet it also devastates creation,” the pope said. He said the truth of that statement could be seen in the countries of the former Soviet bloc where economic and religious

Pope attack: Vatican security ‘worked’ BY CAROL GLATZ


AFETY procedures worked perfectly and security personnel performed excellently the night Pope Benedict was knocked down by the same woman who had attempted to get close to him a year before, according to an Italian security expert. Salvatore Festa, the prefect in charge of coordinating the work of several branches of Italian security who protect the pope, said despite careful security measures, “it’s also clear that there are many other factors that come into play and many times these are random and unpredictable”. He made his comments in an interview with the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

“That night everything worked perfectly, according to the usual standards” of security, he said. The pilgrims and visitors who entered St Peter’s basilica had all been thoroughly screened for weapons and potentially dangerous objects, “and I can guarantee that not even a straight pin got in there without proper authorisation”, Mr Festa said. Domenico Giani, director of Vatican security services, “reacted in a split second” and immediately intervened to prevent the woman from harming the pope, Mr Festa said. Susannah Maiolo, 25, jumped a security barrier at the start of the Christmas Eve liturgy as Pope Benedict processed into St Peter’s basilica. As Vatican guards tackled her to the ground,

she was able to grab the pope’s vestments, causing him to lose his balance and tumble to the floor. The Vatican newspaper article said it would have been impossible for guards to have recognised Maiolo from among thousands of pilgrims who streamed through security. “Not even the most sophisticated video scanner can guarantee recognising a subject,” the article said. One visible change in security measures since adopted involved the placement of the barricades lining the central nave of St Peter’s. The aisle cleared for the pope has been widened by almost 1,5m, which means a slightly smaller seating capacity for papal events, but more room for guards to manoeuvre.—CNS

freedoms were denied by communism and government policies left in their wake the pollution of the air, water and soil. “It follows that the protection of creation is not principally a response to an aesthetic need, but much more to a moral need, inasmuch as nature expresses a plan of love and truth which is prior to us and which comes from God,” he said. Pope Benedict decried “economic and political resistance to combating the degradation of the environment,” which he said was evident at the UN summit on climate change in Copenhagen in December; he said he hoped that follow-up conferences this year would lead to effective international policies for protecting the environment. But he also said that the devastation of the world’s forests, the spread of its deserts and the pollution of its water cannot be reversed without moral education and changed lifestyles.


he Catholic Church and other religious bodies can play a major role in helping people accept their responsibility for caring for the earth, but only if they are given their rightful place in society, he said. “Sadly, in certain countries, mainly in the West, one encounters in political and cultural circles, as well as in the media, scarce respect and at times hostility, if not scorn, directed towards religion and towards Christianity in particular.” While the church and state have separate roles to play, the pope said, “denying the social importance of religion” creates only confrontation and division,

rather than cooperation. Pope Benedict also faulted moves in Europe and North and South America to equate marriage and homosexual unions by claiming they are fighting discrimination. In fact, he said, they ignore the natural order of creation and the differences between the sexes. Turning to military spending, Pope Benedict expressed hope that talks scheduled for May in New York on nuclear non-proliferation would succeed because “enormous resources are being consumed” to maintain and develop nuclear arsenals. The arms trade, in general, is a scourge, and “helps to perpetuate conflicts and violence as in Darfur, in Somalia or in the Democratic Republic of Congo”. The pope also remembered Coptic Christians in Egypt who were subjected to violent attacks in early January and the violence faced by Christians in Pakistan. He told the diplomatic corps he was worried about the continuing migration of Christians from the Holy Land, who are “assailed in various ways, even in the exercise of their religious freedom”. The pope repeated the Vatican’s position that Israel has a right to exist in peace and security, but that the Palestinian people also have a right to their own homeland. “I also would like to request the support of everyone for the protection of the identity and sacred character of Jerusalem, and of its cultural and religious heritage, which is of universal value,” he said. “Only thus will this unique city, holy yet deeply troubled, be a sign and foreshadowing of that peace which God desires for the whole human family.”—CNS


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The Southern Cross, January 20 to January 26, 2010

IN FOCUS Edited by Clutton Patsika

READY FOR 2010: Members of the Aliwal North diocese parish pastoral council are ready to serve after receiving training from the Rural Development Support Program (RDSP). The training took place at Sterkspruit parish and involved memebers from four parishes. In the picture, seated second left, is Eugene Jackson of the RDSP

DEARLY MISSED: Aidan York Eales died on December 23. The family were on holiday in Natures Valley in the Cape when his condition suddenly deteriorated. The Requiem Mass at his parish church of Our Lady of Loreto in Kempton Park, Johannesburg, was concelebrated by Frs Joseph Mari, Joaquim Rodrigues, Peter Rebello and Sussaikannu Essack. Mr Eales was instrumental in selling The Southern Cross at his parish and regualrly contributed pictures for its news and community pages. He was an active member of the Society of St Vincent de Paul and for many years a facillitator on the pre-marriage programme run in the Edenvale parish.

Send photographs, with sender’s name and address on the back, and a SASE to: The Southern Cross, Community Pics, Box 2372, Cape Town, 8000 or email them to:

HONOURED: Members of the Catholic Women’s League of St Stephen’s in Macassar, Somerset West, received their 10-year badges for their dedication to the league.

PARTY TIME: The Catholic Women’s League of St Peter’s parish in Strand, near Cape Town, hosted a Christmas party for the aged members of the parish. Fr Christian Franz (top right) officiated.

SURROUNDED BY LOVE: Mrs McGowan of Cape Town celebrated her 90th birthday on January 5 with family and friends. In the picture: Deacon Gary Lawrence and his wife, from the church of the Resurrection in Tableview, Joe McGowan, Mrs McGowan, her daughters and grand-daughter.



Little Company of Mary Sisters …….. called to be there for the suffering, the sick and the dying of our world today…….just like what Mary was for Jesus on Calvary. John 19: 25-28

RECOGNISED: Voluntary educators at Friends of Martin De Porres in Etwatwa, Johannesburg, received certificates of commitment for their dedication and generosity towards improving the quality of life for learners in the community.

CENTENARIAN: James Nicholson, long-time member of Christ the King parish in Pinelands, Cape Town, celebrated his 100th birthday on January 15, with wife of 65 years Shirley, children, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren. PHOTO: ROSALIE HOLMES

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BIG STEP: Fr Christian Frantz (right back) and Deacon Lester May (left) with first communicants of Our Lady Queen of Apostles parish in Overberg, Cape Town


The Southern Cross, January 20 to January 26, 2010


The day 28 mitres passed for justice The press dubbed it “the Mass of the rubber bullet”, preceded by all of Southern Africa’s mitred bishops in illegal procession through the streets of Sebokeng in the Vaal Triangle. On its 25 anniversary, PATRICK NOONAN OFM recalls a remarkable day in the life of the local Church.


HEY came in solidarity “with all who have suffered in the recent unrest in the Vaal Triangle and in other towns in South Africa”. On Sunday January 27, 1985, all 28 bishops of Southern Africa poured into Sebokeng township and celebrated Mass at Emmanuel church, Zone 14. It was dubbed, perhaps condescendingly, by The Sunday Times as “the Mass of the rubber bullet”, because a rubber bullet was brought up in a solemn procession during the highly emotional service. In fact other symbols of people’s anguish and grief were also brought up to the altar, such as a rent invoice symbolising the rent and services strike, the bishops’ historic booklet on South African police brutality in those days of apartheid, school books symbolising problems in the inferior education system, a burnt teargas canister used to squash resistance, a list of those killed by the police on the streets of the town, and a plastic bag containing a change of clothes for a detainee of whom there were many thousands at that moment. Through the bishops’ public relations officer, the tireless Sarah Crowe, this event was given widespread international exposure. We, the clergy, under severe pressure from the regional Security Branch, felt this was crucial to its success. It had been planned with particular care with this in mind. Much later Fr Edward “Teddy” Lennon, Fr Lucas Bambezela and I smiled at the memory of “inciting” the community, including the bishops of South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland, to ignore the emergency regulations by arranging a “march” (entrance procession) through the township to the church at a time when such acts were strictly forbidden by law. It was the most openly furtive liturgical entrance procession in South

Archbishop Denis Hurley greets people in Sebokeng during the historic visit of all Southern African bishops to the Vaal Triangle township on January 27, 1985. PHOTO: PAUL WEINBERG African history. We had deliberately given the visit a low regional profile so as not to provoke the police to over-react. After the lengthy supercharged Mass we arranged for the bishops to spend the day in small groups visiting places of past conflict and the homes of the victims of police shooting. The Security Branch was, however, intensely angered when next day they discovered what had happened. The fearless Rand Daily Mail gave the procession of hundreds of laity and bishops full colour treatment on its front page. Press photographers couldn’t resist columns of bishops in full regalia walking the muddy uneven streets of the township. Looking back afterwards I thought there was a hint of Verdi’s opera Aida about it. I mean, how often do you see 28 bishops’ mitres slowly edging their episcopal way down a township street? Never. The Church was clearly making a point both to the people and to the state. The churches would not

be cowed. The police agents monitoring the township’s political pulse had been taken by surprise. Frs Teddy and Lucas and I were delighted, thrilled even. We had successfully staged an internal and external liturgy with powerful spiritual, historical and prophetic implications. One policeman parishioner—a catechist—was questioned by security police next day about what Archbishop Denis Hurley had said at the service. He replied with feigned innocence and false eagerness to cooperate (playing the police) that he spoke about love. The catechist-policeman did not tell his superiors what Hurley added: “There must be change, for without it there can be no peace, and without change my greeting to you is a complete and utter mockery.”


n executive member of the right-wing Christian Resistance Group and Johannesburg regional chairperson of the Conservative Party, Clive Derby-Lewis, con-

demned the event as “heresy” and “open rebellion against the admonitions of the pope” (as reported in The Citizen January 28, 1985). Mr Derby-Lewis has since left the Catholic Church in a huff. He is currently in jail serving a sentence for the murder of ANC leader Chris Hani. The prophetic presence of Catholic bishops on the streets of a black township in the mid-’80s was a powerful gesture of support to the churches working on the ground. Here was a conference of Catholic bishops acting collegially—and not individually—who preached the Gospel by their corporate presence in the public market place. Our Anglican brothers under the creative guidance of Bishop Desmond Tutu had done the same. Here was a college of Catholic bishops taking time off from their annual gathering streaming into one of the most violent regions at that moment in South African history and doing what they were ordained to do. Here were bishops walking ghet-

to streets in solidarity with the oppressed people of God. Here were people, traumatised from police brutality, coming out in their thousands to greet their spiritual leaders. Here was Cardinal Owen McCann and the bishops of Southern Africa fearlessly giving witness to the social teaching of the Church before 40 million South Africans and the world at large. Here regional priests and ministers saw and felt the support of Catholic bishops at a time when they were under severe pressure from the security organs of the apartheid state. (In the final years of apartheid more priests and church ministers were arrested in this region than in any other part of South Africa.) Twenty-five years later the people have not forgotten the Christian witness of the churches at that time. The powerful, intense liturgy of that day spoke memorable volumes to both Catholic and other churches alike. It was extreme ministry at its best. As an aside, perhaps as church we need to re-engage like Christ in this type of ministry, in more incisive pastoral witness, symbolic gestures, and interventions in the areas of Aids, crime, care for the environment, youth, healing, charismatic spirituality and friendship with the media. But not all were happy with the events of January 27, 1985. It caused consternation in state security circles. Police anger intensified against the churches. It was turning to rage. Informers were failing to provide accurate information to their handlers and were increasingly nervous. Police field men were overstretched and many were showing visible signs of severe stress. In reality, at that moment, senior officers in the security police were examining more creative approaches to curb the influence of the clergy. To neutralise the influence of the Vaal churches the Security Branch were about to enlist the aid of right wing organisations—the International Freedom Foundation—financed by Military Intelligence and with foreign links to infamous and presently jailed Washington lobbyist, Jack Abrammoff. But that’s another story. This is an updated extract from Fr Noonan’s book They’re Burning the Churches.


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The Southern Cross, January 20 to January 26, 2010

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Editor: Günther Simmermacher

St Christopher is alive and well

Church in the margins


RCHBISHOP Vincent Nichols Of Westminster is right when he compares the dogmatic stridency of some secularists with that of “the worst religious believer”, a characteristic that allows for little charity of thought, never mind tolerance for contrary views. For radical secularists and religionists, God is the subject of a debate that must be won or lost, with the defeated being vanquished and no openness for mutual accommodation. And in some regions, particularly in Europe, Christianity is becoming increasingly marginalised in the public discourse. The results of a recent survey on the state of Catholicism in France, conducted for the French Catholic daily La Croix, make for bleak reading. Respondents identifying themselves as Catholic declined from 81% in 1965 to 64% last year; weekly Mass attendance from 27% to only 4,5%. And among those who described themselves as practising Catholics, there seems to be a profound cleavage between what the Church teaches and what they believe. For example, 75% want a new teaching on contraception, and 68% on abortion. Within Catholic circles, there will be much debate to find an explanation for such figures, which presumably could be replicated throughout much of Europe. Many will be tempted to place the blame on that ill-defined “Spirit of Vatican II”, but that would be a wholly inadequate premise. Europe’s disaffection with Christianity is nothing new. It has been a slow process, preceding the Second Vatican Council by more than a century, arguably beginning with the French Revolution of 1789. The secularists have started “winning” only over the past few decades, in a phenomenon that touches all Christian churches. But the secularist “victory” will never be complete. While more than two-

The Editor reserves the right to shorten or edit published letters. Letters below 300 words receive preference. Pseudonyms are acceptable only under special circumstances and at the Editor’s discretion. Name and address of the writer must be supplied. No anonymous letter will be considered.

thirds of France’s practising Catholics reject their Church’s teaching on abortion, they have not rejected what the radical secularists object to in particular: the belief in God. To the secularists, the Christian’s faith in God is an eccentric superstition; for some it is so childish that they regard the believer, with extraordinary arrogance, as intellectually deficient. The secularist propagandists are baffled when they do find common purpose with the Church. Not infrequently, religion is sidelined as supposedly irrelevant, even when it could be contributing (and sometimes the Church is then attacked for apparently doing nothing). Pope Benedict referred to this in his address to diplomats at the Vatican when he said that the Catholic Church and other religious bodies could contribute in persuading people of environmental priorities, if given the chance. “Sadly, in certain countries, mainly in the West, one encounters in political and cultural circles, as well as in the media, scarce respect and at times hostility, if not scorn, directed towards religion and towards Christianity in particular,” the pope noted. South Africa is still mostly a religious country, though some of the country’s secular media, organisations and even politicians have adopted positions such as those decried by Pope Benedict. For South African Christians, the response to that must take the form neither of surrender nor of engagement in a dogmatic culture war, but of respectful dialogue. Archbishop Nichols points the way: “That means getting away from soundbites and getting away from discussion that is always centred around oppositional conflict.” At the very least, sincere and open dialogue may clear the air of the suspicion, ridicule and antagonism between Catholics and secularists.


ILY FYNN in her letter “Are weddings past tense?” (January 6) says that “St Christopher is no more”. As the parish priest of St Christopher parish in Plettenberg Bay, I have to say that St Christopher has always been alive and well. We know he was a martyr in Asia Minor in the 3rd century, and his feast day is July 25. But that is all we know. St Christopher has been removed from the universal calendar of saints because all the stories

that surround him are not historical but pious and beautiful legends. To celebrate a saint universally when people today ask for historical evidence may create the impression that we take the legends literally. The legends have a powerful message, however, such as that we are all called to be St Christophers—that is Holy Christ-bearers—but they must be seen as stories and not factual. His feast may be celebrated locally, as many churches throughout the world are dedicated to him, and he can still

Children need protection

strongest language in condemning those who lead children astray. If drowning with a millstone around the neck was his warning, how could the Church allow these men to carry on as priests? A priest who wants to marry a woman is forced to leave the priesthood, although there is no sin involved, whereas a priest who leads children astray and even causes them to lose their most precious gift from God, their faith and eventual salvation, was protected by a curtain of secrecy and allowed to continue as a priest. He then often could go on to abuse more children and endanger the salvation of more souls, while under protection by the Church. Not to mention the loss of faith for the families of the children, who feel terrible anger at what they see as betrayal of trust by the Church as a whole. What are the bishops thinking of? Shaun Moolman, Johannesburg


OU reported (December 23-29) that the Irish bishops have apologised “as a group” for clerical abuse of children. The fact that there has been such widespread abuse in several countries, and that all the bishops seem to have reacted in the same way makes me wonder if they were all following orders given them by their superiors. Older clergy are probably still much influenced by pre-Vatican II attitudes, one of which was that the worst thing anyone could do was to bring scandal on Holy Mother Church. Why did the bishops not remove perpetrators from contact with children? This God-given instinct of parents to protect their children is surely the strongest of all. Priests don’t have it because they don’t have children. I think it important to clear the air by stating who was responsible for such acts. This would limit the harm done to the morale of thousands of wonderful priests, and prevent the hierarchy being distrusted by the laity for decades to come. A Haylett, Howick


FULLY agree with readers who have expressed concern which ordinary Catholics also have over the way the Church hierarchy appears to have viewed the scandal of child abuse in Ireland and elsewhere. The effect of abuse has really serious consequences for the victims, leading most of them to leave the Catholic Church, and often even to lose faith in Christianity completely. Surely then, any attitude other than complete condemnation, leads one to feel that the bishops did not take this sin seriously. Jesus used some of his

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self-righteous disgust, or would you have considered the seal of confession just a bit of a problem? Would I like to broadcast my sins against all the commandments from the pulpit, or would I prefer to hide in the little box when I confront them? Again, should a bishop be always self-righteously honest? Should he and his brother priests break the seal of confession? In his shoes would you really have acted differently? As a bishop what would you have done to a paedophile brother. Put him in a seminary to teach and endanger the morals of the seminarians? Or is there a bigger picture? Bernard Cole, Krugersdorp The failings of Irish Church administrators in handling allegations of sexual abuse by clergy usually had no relationship with the sacrament of Reconciliation. Nobody has reasonably made such a claim in defence of the guilty bishops.— Editor.

What would you have done?

Priests used to wed



OUR letters page shows how willing many people are to condemn the apparent wrongdoing of others. Pope Pius XII is condemned for not standing up to Hitler and condemning the Holocaust atrocities. Do these judges ask themselves: “If I was in his shoes, responsible for the whole Catholic Church, would I have condemned Hitler and possibly as a result condemned every bishop in Germany to the Jew lover’s fate in the concentration camps and every professed Catholic to a life similar to that of the Jews?” One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is prudence. Then again, the several condemnations of the bishops of Ireland. If you were in their shoes, would you have handed over the paedophiles to the authorities in

ELLO Mokaka (December 16-22) complains that Anglican clergy who enter the Roman Catholic Church are married. Perhaps he is unaware that for centuries Catholic clergy were allowed to marry, until Pope Gregory VII disallowed it, to retain hold on Church property. The Anglican movement to join the Catholic Church has been going on for years. Peter Onesta, Johannesburg Opinions expressed in The Southern Cross, especially in Letters to the Editor, do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editor or staff of the newspaper, or of the Catholic hierarchy. The letters page in particular is a forum in which readers may exchange opinions on matters of debate. Letters must not be understood to necessarily reflect the teachings, disciplines or policies of the Church accurately.


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be invoked as patron of travellers. I also liked what Mphuthumi Ntabeni said in his column of January 6. Indeed the sound of one clerical tree falling makes more noise than the sound of the entire forest growing! He states correctly that we lack progress towards moral truth. In South Africa we also have to remember that since liberation from “slavery in Egypt” in 1994, if we try to by-pass Mt Sinai where the moral Ten Commandments were given, we will not reach the Promised Land of Canaan but end up in godless Babylon. Fr Johan Strydom, Plettenberg Bay

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Art for faith’s sake

Henry Makori

Reflections of my Life


Kicking up dust, wrestling with myself


N the dying days of 2009, I ventured to make a few resolutions for the New Year. Isn’t the birthday of Jesus Christ and the start of another year quite a fitting time to try to cross some bridges in personal life? Naturally, my resolutions consisted of a number of things I wanted to change. New Year’s resolutions generally mean admission of our own failures and embarking on a serious struggle to become better persons. But I didn’t quite like that bit about struggle. I imagined wrestling myself to the ground every day in vigorous efforts to become a better person. At the end of each day, I figured wistfully, I would be a dusty wreck nursing selfinflicted bruises in addition to the myriad stresses of everyday life. Was that really what I wanted in 2010? I remembered an article I once read in which the author wondered why all the images and icons of the saints showed them in sombre moods. Were the saints never happy persons, bright with warm smiles? Why did they appear to have spent every minute of their lives with their teeth clenched and brow furrowed in pursuit of holiness? I didn’t want that, yet I needed to become a better person in 2010. It looked impossible without a struggle. There is a Swahili proverb which says that if you want to pick up something from under the bed you must bend. No chance that I could keep my New Year’s resolutions without breaking a sweat. I was about to throw the entire resolutions thing out of my mind and get on with life as it unfolded when my memory took me back to a remarkable day ten years ago. I had been working at quitting smoking. I had admired the habit since childhood because in the rural village where I grew up, every man smoked cigarettes. In my innocent eyes they looked cool. After years of imitating my village heroes, I finally lit up the real thing and kept at it for ten years. Then I began to know better. There was absolutely nothing cool about such a wasteful and unhealthy habit. But quitting was tough. Towards the end of 1999, I resolved yet again to exhale my last column of tobacco smoke. I fixed my D-day. I had decided I would stay up the whole night to reflect deeply on my decision and to pray for strength to uphold it. That is what I did. As the rays of the rising sun bathed the horizon in gold in the early morning of December 5, I broke the chains of my addiction to nicotine. What a joy! I recall being extremely excited for days afterwards. As I remembered this happy event late last month, I realised the lesson of my own experience: any New Year’s resolution made without being prepared to pay the price for it is a joke. You can’t change a bad habit or achieve any other goal in life by mere good intentions. A do-or-die, bare-knuckled struggle is often the price. Most New Year’s resolutions are never kept because they are simply good intentions not backed by real conviction and effort. The way out lies in first of all putting aside time to think deeply about our resolution. We need to have a clear picture of exactly how the decision will improve our life and the lives of other people affected by our choices. Once we are firmly resolved on this, we must make a solemn commitment in our heart and pray to God for strength. We must decide that we are ready to do all that it takes—kick up a lot of dust wrestling ourselves to the ground if need be—to keep the resolution. It will work. A firm commitment to keep our wellthought-out and sincerely made resolutions means we are also determined to pull ourselves back to our feet and continue the journey whenever we falter. We must never give up no matter how many times we fail. Keep your New Year’s resolutions. Happy 2010!

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ANY people say that religious art needs some serious updating—and the president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture agrees with them. Archbishop Gianfransisco Ravosi claims that the marriage—“once made in heaven”—between art and the Church has long been “on the skids”. Although today’s Church has kept pace in part with modern architecture and, as a result, has commissioned and erected a number of New Style architecture churches such as St Charles in Johannesburg, the same isn’t true when it comes to the world of figurative art. Instead, there remains almost unvarying repeats of what a lot of younger folk regard as “Rusty Old Medieval Madonnas”, quite out of keeping with the architecture that surrounds them. But then, who can blame clerical imaginative hesitations when we look at what is sometimes being passed off as art today. Certainly there are a lot of people, both laity and clerical, who will decidedly choose to look the other way when confronted by the piece of “art” entitled “Nona Ora” in which the artist Maurizio Cattelan portrays Pope John Paul II lying crushed beneath a meteorite. Then there’s the piece of modern sculpture showing of a crucified green frog as well as a painting in which an artist depicts Jesus and the apostles in a gay relationship. Nonetheless, all is not lost. Right now, the Church is reaching out to modern artists. Last November, in an effort to renew some friendship and dialogue between the Church and these artists, Pope Benedict met with several hundreds of them from all around the world and all disciplines of the arts. What’s more, he did this inside one of the world’s most fantastic art treasures, Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. A whole crowd of artists, sculptors, architects, musicians, film directors and even a prima ballerina sat and listened as the pope told them that he wanted to be their pal. He genuinely wanted to renew the Church’s friendship with the world of art. He told them that, in a world that’s lacking in hope and where there are ever-increasing signs of aggression and despair, there is now an even greater need for a return to spirituality in art. The artists listened as he pointed out that faith takes nothing away from their creative genius or art.


roof of what he was telling them is easy to find. Here’s an example. Not all that long ago that now famous 20th century painter Henri Matisse demonstrated how his far out “wild beast” artistic genius successfully went along with faith. Around 1903/4, Matisse came across the Pointillist painting style of Paul Signac who was experimenting with juxtaposing dots of pure colour

The Matisse-designed chapel at SainteMarie du Rosaire in Vence, France.


Pilgrimage to the Holy Land Spiritual director: Fr Kaleekaparampil Organised by John Sheraton September 2010 With a Rome extension Call Elna at 082 9750034 E-Mail:

The Southern Cross, January 20 to January 26, 2010

Michael Shackleton answers your question

Open Door

John Cowan

Point of Art pigment to create the strongest possible visual vibrations of really intense colour. Matisse decided to adopt this technique and then modified it even further by using broad strokes of powerful way far out colours. Then, in an exhibition alongside the works of André Derain and Maurice de Vlaminck, Matisse exhibited some of the boldest colour images he’d ever created in his paintings. As a result the art critics named him and the others in his group les fauves, “the wild beasts”, just because of their use of vivid colours, their distortion of shapes, and the extremes of emotionalism in which they seemed to have indulged. Matisse was regarded as the les fauve leader in this radicalism of the arts. Then came the crunch. Later, in his old age and during his friendship with an artistic Dominican sister, he offered to design and build a chapel for the Dominicans of Vence. They commissioned him to design and decorate a small chapel, now known as the chapel of Sainte-Marie du Rosaire at Vence, near Cannes in France.


rom 1948-51, Matisse drew up the plans for this building, with all the details of its decoration: stained glass windows, altar,ceramics, stalls, stoup, confessionals, priestly ornaments— the lot. This was the first time in history that a painter entirely designed every detail of such a monument, from its architecture to its furniture. The first stone of the chapel of Sainte-Marie du Rosaire was laid in 1949 and the inauguration and consecration of the Notre Dame of Rosaire, took place in 1951, three years before Matisse’s death in 1954. The Rosaire chapel remains a unique sacred art monument. In the words of Matisse: “This work required me four years of an exclusive and entiring effort, and it is the fruit of my whole working life. In spite of all its imperfections I consider it as my masterpiece.” Proof enough that faith takes nothing away from any artist’s genius or modern art style. Cherry on top: the invitation of some of the artists who took part in the landmark meeting in November: “Ask and you shall receive. The art world is ready to collaborate with the Church in creating inspirational modern art. If the Church wants art to support its mission, all it has to do is ask.” The Sistine Chapel is an artistic venue where many of the artists felt inspired by the pope’s message and his encouragement to focus their work on and be aware of the eternal truth that the Church stands for and the message of the Gospel. That’s exactly what’s happening. Next year the Vatican is to exhibit its works of art in its own national arts pavilion at the world renowned Venice Biennale, in a move to counter what it sees as blasphemous and sacrilegious modern art, such as the portrayal of Pope John Paul II crushed beneath a meteorite. Ah yes, John Paul II, the pope who loved art and saw the urgent need to encourage contemporary artists to reclaim their spiritual mission, just as the “wild beast” Henri Matisse did with the Sainte-Marie du Rosaire at Vence a mere six decades ago.


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Why we baptise babies young Many years ago when my first child was born, I was told by my parish priest that I would commit a mortal sin if I did not have him baptised within two weeks of birth. Today the Church refuses to baptise a child if the parents do not attend church regularly. We were also taught that unbaptised souls can not enter heaven (even if limbo has finally departed from our theology). Where do we stand today? Carmen Smith OLLOWING the 1917 Code of Canon Law, the Church required parents to see to it that a newly born child was to be baptised as soon as possible. This was considered a grave obligation, and moral theologians interpreted that to mean that a delay of up to two months could result in a grave (mortal) sin. This could explain why the priest you mentioned gave you that warning. Vatican II required that the 1917 Code should be reformed, and the revision came into force in 1983 on the instructions of John Paul II. Here, inter alia canon 867 states: “Parents are obliged to see that their infants are baptised within the first few weeks”, adding that if the infant is in danger of death, it is to be baptised without any delay. You will gather from this that the Church still considers parents to have a heavy responsibility to ensure that their child is baptised sooner rather than later. That responsibility is founded on Christ’s admonition that unless a person is born through water and the Spirit they cannot enter the kingdom of God (Jn 3:6). Christ’s words imply that those not baptised cannot get into heaven, and so theologians have come up with such teachings as baptism of desire and of blood for adults, which the Church has accepted. The Church has no teaching from Christ about the fate of unbaptised babies, and so the Catechism (1261) says the matter should be left to God’s mercy. The Catechism (1250), nevertheless, drives home the Church’s traditional belief when it says: “The Church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer baptism shortly after birth.” Moralists would see gross negligence here as reprehensible. Historically, the Church’s view remains that baptism should not be administered to a child if there is no reasonable certainty that it will be brought up in the faith.


Send your queries to Open Door, Box 2372, Cape Town, 8000; or e-mail:; or fax (021) 465 3850. Anonymity can be preserved by arrangement, but questions must be signed, and may be edited for clarity. Only published questions will be answered.



The Southern Cross, January 20 to January 26, 2010

Tourists could bring peace to Holy Land If there is one thing Israelis and Palestinians agree on, it is on the desirability of Christian pilgrimage. JUDITH SUDILOVSKY reports.


ILGRIMAGE to the Holy Land can become a bridge to peace, said an Israeli tourism official, noting the positive effect the spring pilgrimage of Pope Benedict had on creating cooperation between Palestinian, Jordanian and Israeli officials. “There are many disputes in the Holy Land, but something we don’t have disputes about is when it comes to pilgrims,” Rafi Ben Hur, deputy director general of the Israeli Tourist Ministry, said during a press conference.

He said Israeli and Palestinian tourism officials have been working together to promote the region as a pilgrimage destination. There also has been cooperation with Jordanian tourism officials, he said. “We are putting our first priority on pilgrimage; pilgrimage in particular is a bridge to peace,” he said, citing how the Holy Land visit of Pope Benedict in May created “tremendous” cooperation between Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian tourism officials. The papal visit has helped attract pilgrims despite the worldwide economic slump, he added. Israel also was endorsing Bethlehem—which is in the Palestinian West Bank—as an important part of the pilgrimage experience with tour operators abroad, he explained. “Here is an opportunity to show that it is safe [to go to

Bethlehem] and this once-in-alifetime opportunity should be taken,” he said. Israeli tourism minister Stas Misezhnikov saw Christian religious leaders not only as “real friends” in the endeavour to promote the Holy Land as a pilgrimage site, but as “real partners in creating bonds with Israel and her neighbours”. Tourism and pilgrimage “can be a real uniting force through joint economic interests and job creation,” he said The year 2009 was another peak year in tourism with nearly 3 million visitors estimated to have made the trip to Israel by the end of the year. Mr Misezhnikov said about a third of them also have visited Bethlehem. “A peak year in Israel also translates into a peak year in the Palestinian Authority,” he said.—CNS

Workers with the Israel Antiquities Authority excavate an ancient house in Nazareth. The remains of the house from the time of Jesus have been found near the church of the Annunciation, which can be seen in the background, traditionally believed to be the site of where Gabriel appeared to the young Mary to announce her role in humanity’s salvation. PHOTO: GIL COHEN MAGEN, REUTERS/CNS

Tour guide Fr Garret Edmunds OFM leads a tour group around the Dome of the Rock in the Old City of Jerusalem. An Israeli tourism official has said Israelis and Palestinians work together to promote pilgrimage in the Holy Land. PHOTO: DEBBIE HILL, CNS



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The 1st century house in Mary‘s neighbourhood BY JUDITH SUDILOVSKY


UXILIARY Bishop GiacintoBoulos Marcuzzo of Jerusalem has said the Christian community in Nazareth was joyful at the recent discovery of the remains of a first-century dwelling. “This belongs to the time of Jesus and we can now see how [people lived],” said Bishop Marcuzzo, noting that the dwelling had remained largely intact throughout the ages. “The ruins…were not destroyed during history. There were lots of [wars and battles] which destroyed buildings but that house was kept safe. Why? We don’t know why, but certainly there is a reason why that house was kept safe.” As the first dwelling from the period to be discovered in Nazareth, the remains are of “utmost importance” and reveal new information about how people lived during Jesus’ lifetime, said Yardena Alexandre, excavation director at the Israel Antiquities Authority. She said several tombs from that time period had been found in earlier digs but, until this house, no evidence of a human settlement had been uncovered. The structure was found next to the basilica of the Annunciation, where the floor of a former convent was being removed in a salvage excavation conducted by the antiquities authority to prepare for the construction of the International Marian Centre of Nazareth. The Association Mary of Nazareth said it would incorporate the archaeo-

logical remains inside its planned centre. Nazareth is where Mary received the revelation from the angel Gabriel that she would conceive a child. Jesus spent most of his life in Nazareth, preaching throughout the Galilee region. Archaeologists know that in the first century Nazareth was a small village, located in a valley, said Ms Alexandre. “The discovery…reveals for the very first time a house from the Jewish village of Nazareth and thereby sheds light on the way of life at the time of Jesus. The building that we found is small and modest and it is most likely typical of the dwellings in Nazareth in that period,” said Ms Alexandre. She told the Associated Press it could be concluded that, as a child, Jesus may have played near and around the structure and that, as an adult, he may have been familiar with the building. The uncovered building consists of two rooms and a courtyard with a rock-hewn cistern used to gather rainwater. A few artifacts—mainly fragments of pottery vessels from the first and second centuries— were recovered from inside the building. The modern basilica of the Annunciation, consecrated in 1969, was constructed above Crusaderand Byzantine-era churches. A cave in the middle of these churches was already ascribed as the house of Jesus' family, although no archaeological evidence exists to prove the claim.—CNS

on DStv audio channel 170 & streamed on

The Southern Cross, January 20 to January 26, 2010

Free-rosaries man dies at 71


EVILLE Stiles, known to Southern Cross readers through his Our Lady’s Rosary Distrib-utors organisation, died on December 12. He was 71. His brother-in-law, Dirk Strydom, reports that Mr Stiles lived a “Mother Teresa” lifestyle, serving the poor in many ways. He finished school in Mafikeng, completed an artisan apprenticeship on the railways, then joined the merchant navy as a junior engineer on the famous Pendennis Castle. He moved to Uitenhage in 1967 to join his mother. He worked until retirement in 1997. “He learned his charitable habits from his mom and sisters (I am married to one),” Mr

Neville Stiles, known as the distributor of free rosaries. who died in December, seen dancing with his sister Stella, who also died last year. Strydom said. “He remained a bachelor all his life. After retirement he went through several stages of charitable action.

Thoughts for the Week on the Family FAMILY CALENDAR: 2010 FAMILY THEME: “Families Play the Game.” JANUARY: The Game of Life January 24, 3rd Sunday of the Year C. In the 2nd reading St Paul compares the Church to a body, with different parts all having different functions, all together forming the Body of Christ. A family is a little church, and as in the big church different members have different tasks and functions. Parents have the particular task of giving life to each other and to their children. Everyone, including children, has the task of valuing life in all its forms in the world around us. Let the children teach us what they are learning at school about climate change and protection of the environment. Discuss and identify some ways to be eco-friendly.


Our Lady Help of Christians 2010 Jubilee Pilgrimage 9-19 May Visiting Vatican City (with papal audience), San Giovanni Rotondo, Monte San Angelo, Assisi, Padua, Milan, Turin (famous Shroud) and Paris Organised by Mr Clarence Schoonraad. Accompanied by a Spiritual Director. Cost: R22 976 Tel: (031) 266 7702 Fax: (031) 266 8982 Email: All pilgrimages can be viewed at

Grassy Park Parish, Cape Town will be hosting a

PARISH MISSION from 1st March to 7th March 2010 (19h00) Preached by Fr Sean Collins CSsR and team in all three of its churches at Queen of Peace, St Gerard’s and St Clement’s For more information Please Contact Parish Office: 021 706 1570 (9:30 – 14:00)

“One of his sisters taught him to use a sewing machine. He designed a small teddy bear, made hundreds, and gave them to needy children in hospitals.

“He collected secondhand leather shoes, repaired them very professionally and gave these to the poor. “He then set about making thousands of rosaries. He advertised in The Southern Cross with offers of free beadsets to anyone who wrote to ask for one.” Mr Strydom said that after Mr Stiles’ death, huge boxfuls of beads were found among his belongings with crosses, chains, and tools for the making of rosaries. “He was also something of an author. He wrote children’s stories for the Evening Post Port Elizabeth newspaper, as well as occasionally for The Southern Cross.” The requiem Mass was celebrated in St Joseph’s church, Uitenhage, on December 16.

Mass readings for the week Sundays year B, weekdays cycle 1 Sun January 24, 3rd Sunday of the year: Neh 8: 2-6.8-10; Ps 19: 8-10.15; 1 Cor 12: 12-30; Lk 1: 1-4; 4: 14-21 Mon January 25 (week 2 of the year), Conversion of St Paul: Acts 22:3-16 or Acts 9:1-22; Ps 117:1-2; Mk 16:15-18 Tue January 26, Ss Timothy & Titus: 2 Tm 1:1-8 or Ti 1:1-5; Ps 96:1-3.7-8.10; Lk 10:1-9 Wed Jan 27, St Angela Merici: 2 Sm 7:4-17; Ps 89:4-5.27-30; Mk 4:1-20 Thur January 28, St Thomas Aquinas: 2 Sm 7:18-19.24-29; Ps 132:1-5.11-14; Mk 4:21-25 Fri January 29, feria: 2 Sm 11:1-10.13-17; Ps 51:3-7.10-11; Mk 4:26-34 Sat January 30, feria: 2 Sm 12:1-7.10-17; Ps 51:12-17; Mk 4:35-41 Sun January 31, 4th Sunday of the year: Jer 1:4-5.17-19; Ps 71:1-6.15-17; 1 Cor 12:31–13:13; Lk 4:21-30

COMMUNIT Y CALENDAR BETHLEHEM: Shrine of Our Lady of Bethlehem at Tsheseng, Maluti mountains; Thursdays 09:30, Mass, then exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. 058 721 0532 DURBAN: The Retrouvaille Marriage Programme starts on January 22-24. 082 850 0500, e-mail dur, or register online at JOHANNESBURG: The Retrouvaille Marriage Programme starts on January 29-31. 011 867 7229, e-mail, or register online at First Saturday of each month rosary prayed 10:30-12:00 outside Marie Stopes abortion clinic, Peter Place, Bryanston. Joan Beyrooti, 782 4331 PRETORIA: First Saturday: Devotion to Divine Mercy. St Martin de Porres, Sunnyside, 16:30. Shirley-Anne 361 4545. CAPE TOWN: Adoration Chapel, Corpus Christi church, Wynberg: Mon-Thur 6am to 12pm; Fri-Sun 6am to 8pm. Adorers welcome. 021-761 3337 Holy Hour to pray for priests of the diocese, 2nd Saturday monthly at Villa Maria shrine Kloof Nek Rd 16:0017:00. Blessed Sacrament exposed daily Monday to Friday 09:00–22:00 in Holy Redeemer church, Bergvliet Rd, Bergvliet. Visitors welcome. Entries in the community calendar, which is published as space allows, are free of charge. To place your event, call Gene Donnelly, 021 465 5007, or email




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BIRTHDAY HAPPY birthday, Basil, on January 16. May Our Lord and His mother and all the guardian angels and saints be with you always. Love you. Tina, Taryn and Bronwyn Langley.


greater glory of God, and I shall honour you and sing your praises for ever. Glorious St Rita, you miraculously participated in the sorrowful passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. Obtain for me now the grace to suffer with resignation the troubles of this life, and protect me in all my needs. Amen.” Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be, for graces received. Alan Kaye


DA SILVA—Terence. In loving memory of my husband who passed away January 25, 2006. Rest in peace. Lovingly remembered by his wife Mary, family and friends and the Legion of Mary. VILJOEN—Leon. Passed away January 25, 2005. In loving memory of my dearest husband, father, grandfather and greatgrandfather. Always in our hearts and prayers Geraldine, Peter, Craig, Sally and Mandy.

PRAYERS “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.” JJH. “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.” Marlene and Julian. “O ST MARTHA, I resort to thee and to thy petition and faith, I offer up to thee this light which I shall burn every Tuesday for nine Tuesdays. Comfort me in all my difficulties through the great favour thou didst enjoy thy Saviour lodge in thy house. I beseech thee to have definite pity in regard to the favour I ask (mention favour). Intercede for my family that we may always be provided for in all our necessities. I ask thee, St Martha, to overcome the dragon which thou didst cast at thy feet.” HC. “ST RITA, holy patroness of those in need, you were humble, pure and patient. Your pleadings with your divine Spouse are irresistible, so please obtain for me from our risen Jesus the request I make of you” (mention it). “Be kind to me for the

IN sincere and humble thanks to Holy St Jude whom the Father has blessed with grace of unceasing and unfailing intercession through this Novena in hearing and assisting all who invoke his aid, even the most seemingly hopeless case. Stephen. THANKSGIVING to St Anthony for prayers answered. Merle T.

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HOLIDAY ACCOMMODATION AZARS B&B — Olde worlde charm in Kalk Bay's quaint fishing village. Luxury double ensuite/private lounge/ entrance. DSTV/tea/coffee. Serviced 3 times a week. Minutes from Metrorail. Enjoy breakfast at different restaurant every day (included in tariff). Holy Mass Saturdays/Sundays within walking distance. Tel/Fax 021 788 2031, 082 573 1251. grizell@ CAPE WEST COASTYzerfontein—Emmaus on Sea B&B and selfcatering. Holy Mass celebrated every Sunday at 6pm. 022 451 2650. FISH HOEK—Self-catering accommodation, sleeps 4. Secure parking. 021 785 1247. FISH HOEK, Cape Town: Self-catering holiday accommodation from budget to luxury for 2 to 6 people. Special pensioners’ rate from May to October. Tel/fax 021 782 3647, e-mail: alisona GORDON’S BAY—4-star self-catering. Uninterrupted seaviews, private balcony, DStv, fully equipped kitchen, automated garages. Sleeps 2. Contact Lynn 084 520 4777 or www. GORDON’S BAY: Beautiful en-suite rooms available at reasonable rates. Magnificent views, breakfast on request. 082 774 7140. E-mail: bzhive KNYSNA—Self-catering garden apartment for two in Old Belvidere with wonderful Lagoon views. 044 387 1052. MARIANELLA Guest House, Simon’s Town: “Come experience the

peace and beauty of God with us.” Fully equipped with amazing sea-views, secure parking, ideal for rest and relaxation, Special rates for pensioners and clergy. Malcolm Salida 082 7845675 or mjsalida@ PIETERMARITZBURG— St Dominic Guest House. Beautiful old house recently renovated, adjacent to Dominican Priory, Chapel and Conference Centre, near the University and a shopping mall. Self-catering, fully equipped kitchen, safe parking and Internet access. Sleeps 8 in single and double rooms. 033 345 2241, 033 845 9103, 083 301 3354, Fax 033 345 2246, guest SANDBAAI/HERMANUS —Relaxing weekend away. Reasonable rates. Contact Jacqui Ferreira. 082 924 5807 SOUTH COAST—3 bedroom house. Marine Drive, Uvongo. Donald 031 465 5651, 073 989 1074. STELLENBOSCH: Five simple private suites (2 beds, fridge, microwave). Countryside-vineyard/ forest/mountain walks; beach 20min drive. Affordable. Christian 021 880 0242 Brothers UMHLANGA ROCKS: Fully equipped self-catering 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house, sleeps 6, sea view, 200 metres from beach, DStv. Tina, 031 561 5838 VIC-HAVEN RETIREMENT VILLAGE is situated in tranquil, secure surrounds on a small farm 35km east of Pretoria (10km from Bronkhorstspruit). We have 1 and 2 bedroom Duets for retirement rental at approx R3 100pm. Daily Mass (Resident Priest). Use of Wellness Centre. Optional meal provision, etc. See Gavin 079 538 2631 WILDERNESS—Rustic farm cottage, sleeps five, 073 478 self-catering. 9038.

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January 20 to January 26, 2010


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4th Sunday - Year C (January 31) Readings: Jeremiah 1:4-5,17-19; Psalm 71: 1-6,15,17; 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13; Luke 4:21-30 NE of the most important things that any of us can possibly do is to find our vocation; if we can discern what it is that God wants us to do with our life, then nothing else matters, and our existence will have meaning. This is something that emerges from the readings for next Sunday. In the first reading, Jeremiah is recounting the story of his calling. Later on he is going to be quite cross about it; but for the present he is simply saying how powerful was that first experience of God, as he hears God say: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you as a prophet to the nations.” Then he finds out what he has to do (and we should remember not to panic at this point; for Jeremiah’s vocation is not the same as ours): “Gird up your loins; up you get, and say to them everything that I command you”; and just in case Jeremiah takes the option of indicating his own unsuitability for this difficult calling, he is reassured: “Look—I have made you today into a fortified city and


Trust God with your life’s vocation Fr Nicholas King SJ

Scriptural Reflections an iron pillar…they shall fight with you, and they shall not prevail; for I am with you”. We need to hear those words, as we struggle with the all-important question of what our vocation might be. The psalm tells us the story of the calling from the point of view of an older man, at the end of his life; it picks up the birth-imagery from Jeremiah: “I depended on you since my birth; from my mother’s womb you have been my strength.” In one breath, this tells us how radical is the vocation that comes to us from God and at the same time how absolutely we can rely on the Almighty. And the psalmist is quite clear what is his task “my mouth shall tell of your justice, all the day…O

God you have taught me from my youth, until now I have proclaimed your wonders”. In the second reading, one of those purple passages that make us forgive the Apostle all his prickly defensiveness, Paul is making yet another attempt to live out his vocation, which here means persuading the Corinthians to be united. Here, his aim is to persuade them not to think too much about their spiritual gifts, which are (oddly enough) the source of their divisions, but to recognise that without love they are empty (“an echoing brass or a clashing cymbal”). Then Paul lists the various possibilities in his vocation (languages, prophecy, knowledge, faith, generosity, asceticism), and makes it clear that “if I do not have love, I am in no way helped”. He then draws the portrait of what love looks like; and you will not go far wrong if you detect in the painting the lineaments of his beloved Jesus (long-suffering, kindly, not jealous, not bearing a grudge, not puffed up…); and Paul draws out for those Corinthians what it will look like when they have

Don’t blame ads for your kids A

LL over the world, advertising stands accused of turning children into moneygrubbing, materialistic little monsters. Scores of pressure groups, do-gooders and myriad moral custodians of our society all point with conviction at ads for iPods, cellphones, designer jeans, Big Macs and Nike running shoes and scream: “Guilty, off with their heads!” And canny politicians, quick to spot opportunities for vote-catching by the bushel, can’t wait to roll out the chopping block and wield the axe by passing legislation limiting, restricting or banning advertising altogether. Sweden, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Quebec, among many others, have outlawed advertising to kids. Those health warnings on cigarette packets that smokers worldwide seem to ignore completely are now going up on liquor bottles, packets of sweets and fast food menus. Australia, New Zealand, the USA, France and Brazil want to ban fast food ads altogether, and in more countries that I am able to mention no sports star, celebrity or cartoon character is allowed to endorse anything advertised to children. And from what I can gather, the world’s fastest growing nanny-state, South Africa, would just like to ban the whole advertising shebang. Wow! After 40 years of market research showing me how incredibly difficult it is to get kids or even grown-ups to actually take any notice of an ad, let alone react to


‘…and for what we failed to do…’

Chris Moerdyk

The Last Word it, I now find all those pressure groups and politicians telling me that advertising is the mother of all powerful persuaders. None of them seem to have ever bothered with an even rudimentary study of the complexities of advertising. But, by heaven, they’re all experts. What worries me about putting all this blame on ads generally and TV advertising in particular, is that when I was a teenager in the 1950s we also drove our parents dilly, almost preferring suicide to not being able to be seen wearing the latest stovepipe trousers, blue suede shoes and flaunting the latest Elvis record within nano-seconds of it coming off the presses. We were just as materialistic in those days as our kids are today. The only difference is that in the 1950s there was no advertising for stove-pipe pants, blue suede shoes or the latest Elvis record. There was no TV and only one commercial radio station that only advertised things like soap powder and toothpaste to adults. It wasn’t advertising you see, but pure peer pressure. I have yet to see an ad for crystal meth, known in South Africa as Tik,

the drug that is destroying so many young lives in this country. And in their frenzy to pillory advertising, all those pressure groups and politicians seem to ignore the fact that peer pressure has far more influence on children than parents, priests, Hollywood and advertising put together. What seems to be happening is that modern parents are trying as much as they can to abdicate their responsibility to nurture and protect the morality and health of their children. Because it gets in the way of doing much more exciting and fun things. Not to mention careers and sport. And with advertising being such a politically correct and rewarding thing to complain about, well, if one can get government to take responsibility for protecting kids from materialism, junk food, and the odd smoke behind the school bog—why not? But something that has had a noticeable impact on children is television. In essence it has reduced the overall average attention span of children from an hour to roughly 45 minutes in the past seven years. So, what has caused this erosion in attention spans, now noted by psychologists, teachers and occupational therapists alike? According to some psychologists the youth of today have become “fragmented” in the sense that their attention is drawn by myriad demands on their sensory systems. One of the fundamental reasons for this phenomenon is the infused television culture and more specifically the television remote control device. The latter enables children to change channels every few seconds and surf indiscriminately until something holds their attention. In other words, they are not forced to attend or focus on any one specific activity at a time. That which does not engage them immediately is simply zapped. They are, according to a panel of psychologists, known to multi-task proficiently while watching television, many times doing their homework while still attending to their favourite programmes, and sometimes even engaging in other technologically engrossing activities such as playing computer games. However, no longitudinal informationprocessing studies have been conducted to date to confirm whether all the information entering the brain while multi-tasking is actually processed efficiently and stored in long-term memory for later retrieval. In other words, are these kids actually exhibiting the enhanced ability to memorise and ultimately utilise the information that they are ostensibly absorbing? Frankly, I reckon there is nothing to beat good old parental common sense when it comes to bringing up kids.

their vocation right— “for the greatest of these is love”. The gospel continues the story of Jesus’ first sermon in the synagogue at Nazareth, and the impact it had “they all bore witness to him, and were astonished at the gracious words that came forth from his mouth”. But there is a sign that they are in the end not too impressed, for this is the “local boy” (“Isn't this Joseph’s son?”); but Jesus is not remotely fazed by this, and rather goes on the attack. “You’re obviously going to tell me the proverb about ‘Doctor, cure yourself’”, and then refuses a request that they have yet to make, but indicating how Elijah and Elisha turned their ministry away from Jews and towards Gentiles. Then we get a glimpse of where his vocation will later lead him, as Jesus’ compatriots try to murder him. He effortlessly gets out of their clutches; but we know already that death lies at the end of this particular vocation-story. And where will your vocation lead you, this week?

Southern Crossword #374

ACROSS 1. One betrothed to Joseph (Lk 1) (6) 4. Try to find the truth (6) 9. Honouring in remembrance (13) 10. Learn NT and find the light (7) 11. Declare invalid (5) 12. Inflicts injury (5) 14. Feudal system’s workers (5) 18. He points you to your pew (5) 19. Father of Isaac (Genesis 21) (7) 21. The Eucharist (4,9) 22. Was deficient (6) 23. They're classified with births and marriages (6)

DOWN 1. The sung parts of the Mass (6) 2. Church member born in the Eternal City (5,8) 3. Admire next girl and see her here (5) 5. Emit what the tea name suggests (7) 6. Rule of Jesus (5,2,6) 7. Not a lowly way to show esteem (6) 8. Climb hill of olives (Luke 19) (5) 13. I’m clear about this wonder (7) 15. The bus he likes holds the measure (6) 16. Ruth’s mother-in-law (5) 17. Make them in compensation (6) 20. Wake up (5)

SOLUTIONS TO #373. ACROSS: 1 Posy, 3 Cheap oil, 9 Darkest, 10 Pieta, 11 Ethnological, 13 In cash, 15 Sharon, 17 Hair of Samson, 20 Allot, 21 Inroads, 22 Residual, 23 Dean. DOWN: 1 Padre Pio, 2 Sarah, 4 Hot dog, 5 Amphitheatre, 6 Open air, 7 Lead, 8 Demonstrated, 12 In unison, 14 Charles, 16 Africa, 18 Suave, 19 Fair.


s the burglar was tiptoe-ing through the living room he suddenly heard a loud voice say: “Jesus is watching you!“ Silence returned to the house, so the burglar crept forward again. “Jesus is watching you,” the voice boomed again. Frantically, the burglar looked all around. In a dark corner, he spotted a bird cage and in the cage was a parrot. He asked the parrot: “Was that you who said Jesus is watching me?” “Yes,” said the parrot. The burglar was relieved, and asked: “What’s your name?” “Clarence,” said the bird. “What idiot gave you that stupid name?” the burglar sneered. The parrot replied: “The same idiot who named the Doberman Jesus.”

Send us your favourite Catholic joke, preferably clean and brief, to The Southern Cross, Church Chuckle, PO Box 2372, Cape Town, 8000.

The Southern Cross - 100120  

January 20 to January 26, 2010

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