- Parish and Church
Caritas is a new department of the Archdiocese of Johannesburg under the leadership of Auxiliary Bishop Duncan Tsoke, at different levels within the diocese.
Training for volunteers starts this month, from 4 to 8 September in Pretoria and Johannesburg.
Parish priests are invited to promote Caritas at parish level and, more precisely, at the level of the basic Christians communities. This makes a presence in society to fulfil and carry out effectively the work of charity.
According to Pope Benedict XVI, in his document Intima Ecclesia Natura, Caritas is the social arm of the Catholic Church and, as such, it is under the responsibility of the Catholic bishops, who send Caritas to fulfil the mission of charity.
The work of Caritas is one of the three dimensions of the mission of the Catholic Church: diakonia (ministry), Martyra Kerygma (preaching of the Gospel) and Litourgia (liturgy). The three are inter-linked and pre-suppose each other and consequently, Diakonia becomes part of the mission of the Church (Pope Benedict XVI Encyclical- Deus caritas Est).
As the socio-pastoral instrument of the Church, Caritas, along with the other Church organisations, and under the leadership of the Bishop, is called to implement the work of charity in coordination with the other services of the Church.
The mission of charity is a pedagogical work of building a community of love and solidarity as was the case in the early church – charity liberates and restores social justice for the poorest.
Caritas Johannesburg follows the social teachings of the Catholic Church. The Caritas interim coordination committee has met with some deaneries and would like to thank to the deans and the priest for the support and appreciation shown to them. They will continue to visit other deaneries according to the schedule given to the department.
On 25 August, a Caritas meeting was held with the interim committee, coordinators of each parish and other organisations. Caritas Johannesburg is growing and God is blessing us with many people eager to volunteer themselves for the most vulnerable people in our communities.
Caritas South Africa has organised training for diocesan Caritas coordinators to be held in Pretoria from 4 to 7 September, who will be trained by Aloysius John and Moira Monacelli from Caritas Internationalis.
Further training will be taking place on 8 September for the coordinators of Caritas Johannesburg, including parish coordinators and Catholic charitable organisations. The venue will be at the Small Hall of Cathedral of Christ the King from 9:30 to 15:00.
For more information, please contact the Caritas Johannesburg Office at the Chancery of Johannesburg on 011 402 6400.
Sr Maria de Lurdes
National Co-ordinator of Caritas SouthAfrica
A statement by the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference
It is widely accepted that the matter of land ownership in South Africa calls for urgent attention. The consultations conducted throughout the land have evoked and are evoking strong feelings which cannot be ignored or simply brushed away. A nerve with strong historical roots and which cries out for healing and the restoration of justice, has been touched.
Based on Biblical teaching (1) and further developed by the Social Teaching of the Catholic Church, we affirm that the land is meant for all the peoples of the earth and is held by us in a sacred trust. There is no such thing as the absolute ownership of land. (2) Human Beings are always at the centre of our social and economic life. It is a matter of human and divine justice that people have access to the land and that it be equitably distributed. In this perspective, priority has to be given to the poor and the landless. (3)
To ignore these fundamental realities is to invite a backlash that can only be harmful to all the citizens of our land.
The framing of the debate in terms only of the expropriation of the land without compensation is at best only the beginning of the process, at worst the opening of a Pandora’s box. There is no easy or simple solution to this vexed matter. In order to appreciate the complexity of the matter we have only to consider the following facts amongst others:
the magnitude of the demand for land; the shortage of land in sought-after urban areas; concurrent claims to the same land; the problem of long and drawn-out litigation; the reality and danger of corruption in the process; the limited capacity of the State in dealing with the whole process – cf. the present backlog… And so, the list continues…
It is no exaggeration to say that the present situation calls for a great leap of creativity. At this crucial time in our history we have to make this leap.
In urgently seeking a creative response we need to broaden the conversation beyond that simply of expropriation without compensation. (4) Amongst the many factors that have to be taken into account, are the following:
the unacceptable gap between the rich and the poor; a pervasive greed both old and new – a stubborn holding on to and a relentless pursuit of privilege; the collapse of the rural economy and the influx of people into our cities; the involvement of Traditional Leaders and security of land tenure; the productivity of the land; the building of capacity and access to markets; a destructive and dehumanizing consumerism; …. etc.
We affirm the need at all times for the following: respect for human life and human dignity; a democracy at the service of the common good; transparent and incorruptible leadership; responsible dialogue; non-violence; respect for the Constitution and the judicial process; practical wisdom and the rejection of populism…etc.
Both old and new ideas must be revived and re-imagined, as for example: the publication of successful models of shared ownership; the active encouragement, development and incentivization of such models; the generous involvement of civil society and business; renewed economic decentralization and the revival of rural areas; the opening up of marketing bodies; support for socially responsible entrepreneurial initiatives; the encouragement of voluntary initiatives and the promotion of simple and selfless lifestyles…etc. These examples only serve to highlight the urgent need for new creativity in the conversation around land and the other factors of production.
We the Bishops of the Catholic Church, maintain that these and other broad human and divine values are imperative. To ignore these would be dangerously irresponsible, morally unacceptable and harmful to human persons and the common good. Our call is addressed not only to our own Catholic leaders and communities but also to all people of goodwill who are passionately concerned to see a true and just flourishing of our Beloved Country – and indeed of the whole Southern African region and further afield.
At this critical time and recalling the best of decisions leading up to 1994, we believe we are once again called to respond to the critical challenge of this time. Guided by the noblest of human values and divine truths we pledge ourselves to be a part of this creative process.
President Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference
Archbishop William Slattery OFM
Archbishop of Pretoria and Spokesperson for the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference
+ 27 83 468 5473
Pope Francis in his encyclical ‘Laudato Si’, quotes Pope John Paul II as follows “The principle of the subordination of private property to the universal destination of goods, and thus the right of everyone to their use, is a golden rule of social conduct and ‘the first principle of the whole ethical and social order.’”
The event was organised by the Department of Pastoral Care for Migrants and Refugees, Bienvenu Shelter, the Department of Justice and Peace, the Jesuit Refugee Service and the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa.
Mass was celebrated by the episcopal vicar for Pastoral Care for Migrants and Refugees, Fr Pablo Valesquez and Fr Thabo Motshegwa. They were assisted by deacons Raymond Oupa Matseke and Philippe Lukusa-Lumpunga.
Wishing to drive home the importance of the four pillars that Pope Francis speaks of in his 104th letter for the World Day of Refugees, he enlisted the help of children to help dress a teddy-bear. This was aimed at welcoming, protection, promotion and integration of refugees.
Fr Pablo drew parallels between St John the Baptist and refugees in that John was regarded as an outcast, was persecuted, jailed and even killed.
Robinson Sathakge from the City of Johannesburg said as South Africans, we need to understand the push and pull factors that drive refugees to flee their native countries and the challenges they go through. He encouraged South Africans to understand, embrace, welcome and protect them until their issues are resolved. “Together with organisations like Pastoral Care, the City host events, dialogues and promote social cohesion in communities,” he said.