Monday, April 8, 2013

Holy Week and Papal Appointments

Holy Trinity Braamfontein
Now Holy Week is past and catching up with work is almost complete I can catch up with Pope Francis and  a number of other things. In Holy Week I alternated between Holy Trinity, Braamfontein - my normal church - and Blessed Sacrament, Malvern.  They are two very different churches.  Trinity is Jesuit, liturgically excellent, musically superb and our new organ makes a huge difference as it is much more versatile and has a much 'brighter' acoustic. Blessed Sacrament is more conservative theologically, chorus-type music, words flashed on a screen, electric organ and much more family orientated because of the nature of the parish.
Blessed Sacrament, Malvern
Both churches have big congregations and have to deal with the overflow at this time of year.  I find them both satisfying churches to attend but in different ways though the music at Malvern would probably drive me nuts if I went there every week!  When you look at the words of these chorus-type hymns they are so noticeably egocentric and all about "Jesus and me" where as the hymns we sing at Trinity are much more communally worship orientated and 'I' hardly ever figures in the wording..."Hail the day that sees Him rise..... "

Pope Francis  
Thank goodness we live in the developing world and have more things to worry about than Canon Law and who's feet should or should not be washed on Holy Thursday!  I am amazed and saddened by some bloggers, Rorate Caeli is just one example, and their "Horror" at the election of Pope Francis..though they
subsequently attempted to distance themselves from their 'correspondent' by saying it wasn't their opinion.  I really find our new Pope's approach very encouraging and his appointment on Saturday of Fr Jose Rodriguez Carballo OFM, the Minister General of the Franciscans, to head The Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life & Societies of Apostolic Life as a step forward.  It makes sense to have a religious in that position.  Also it may ease the tension between the Congregation and the majority of Women's Orders in the USA.  Similarly he appointed his successor in Buenos Aires 15 days after his election as Pope.  That must be almost a record for appointments.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Pray for Pope Francis, the Problem of Rape and Cardinal Napier puts his foot in it.

Pray for Pope Francis, he needs our prayers.
Massimo Franco, one of Italy's shrewdest political editorial writers, commented in the Corriere Della Sera, "the era of the Pope-King and of the Vatican court is over".  I'm delighted!

I have been horrified by the invective coming out of some of the so-called 'traditionalist' blogs accusing him of being opposed to the Extra-ordinary Form of the Mass, mixing with Jews, Heretics and Infidels and reducing the Faith to a form of spiritual relativism.  He didn't wear the stole through-out his first appearance on the balcony, spoke Italian and not short we will probably all end up as Quakers.  (Worse things could happen.) They were obviously hoping for a reincarnation of Pio Nono.

You expect the secular press to try and find something damaging in his past because that is there job but naively I didn't expect it from our co religionists...or are they?

 Rape and Abuse

Fr Russell Pollitt SJ
At Holy Trinity we had a meeting on Saturday to discuss the issue of rape and what we, as a church, could do about it.  This came to a head as a result of the suspension of a lecturer at the University of the Witwatersrand for alleged sexual harassment and as we effectively house the University Chaplaincy our Paris Priest, Fr Russell Pollitt SJ, raised the matter in his sermon a couple of weeks ago and was inundated with women and students talking about  their experiences.  This has been on-going and many people felt that we had to do something.

I'm a bit cynical about the outcome as rape and women abuse as it is in many ways acceptable in South African society from the higher echelons of government to grass routes level.  Marches and T-shirts don't achieve anything beyond a feeling of self-satisfaction and a bit of money in the pockets of T-shirt manufacturers.  It's all very well saying that women should know their rights but it doesn't help much if they are not economically independent and cannot assert them as is the case with 99% of the female population.  We are not going to change this patriarchal attitude but we can help people who have been abused and can teach women how to react if they are in danger of being raped, are being raped or have been raped and provide support for them.

Cardinal Wilfred Napier
Cardinal Napier
I see our Cardinal has made headlines in the international press with an interview with the BBC where he said that paedophilia is an illness and paedophiles should be treated rather than punished.  I know what he is trying to say but why say it so badly and provide yet more ammunition for the anti-catholic lobby.  On the other hand it is a change from his usual obsession with condoms.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Back to the Blog, Sede Vacante, Stamps, Cardinals and Capsica

I'm amazed to discover that some people have missed this blog!  I had rather thought it would become boring and there was little interest in my opinions.  I know that I tend to be intimidated by those who consider themselves 'traditionalist', 'true to the Magisterium' or what-ever you like to call it and unchurch anyone who disagrees with them and that is why I have not written here for 10 months.  Sede Vacante seems to be a good reason to write again.  Apparently the stamps are going like hot cakes!

I've been busy reading all the possible papabilli comments ever since Benedict XVI abdicated but I am rather cynical about it as everyone was wrong about Cardinal Ratzinger.  He wasn't on any reporter's list probably up until John Paul II's funeral and his sermon before the Conclave.  Benedict XVI's abdication has certainly put a cat among the pigeons as this time there was no long visible dying process to allow the cardinals to think seriously about a successor long in advance.  I'm sure Benedict saw the results of an incapacitated Pope so close at hand and the problems it created that he was determined never to be in that position himself.  And, more to the point, how bad it was for the Church as a whole.

Everyone wants Super Pope, an able manager, a charismatic leader, a strong...but not too strong...personality, a multi linguist, a pastoral man, a brilliant theologian and above all a holy person, a man of prayer.  It seems impossible and so is the job.  Fortunately the Holy Spirit has a hand in this so such a man  may exist.

Adopt a Cardinal

What a brilliant idea and over 497 000 have responded so far.  Just click HERE to go to the site.  You have are given a cardinal at random to pray for during the conclave.  I imagine many people will keep him in their prayers afterwards as well.

I was given Péter Erdő, from Hungary, born 1952-6-25.
He's been a Cardinal since 2003-10-21 and he is Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary.  I had to look him up!

Incidentally I have these capsicums growing in my vegetable garden.  They are known as Bishop's Crowns.  They come from South America but grow well in the West Indies and also in Europe but aren't common in Africa. Is that a hint?  The 'wings' are sweet, there is little flesh and a very mild bite on the aftertaste.

I can also add that Cappuccino Coffee comes from the colour of a Capuchin's robes......