Bishop Victor Phalana of Klerksdorp, head of the Department of Ecumenism of the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference, told Spotlight that the highlight of the recent plenary for him was the encounter with people of other religions and Christian denominations. He also said that the bishops wanted to meet with newly elected ANC president, Cyril Ramaphosa, so that they could dialogue with him and see how they can best support him.
As the spectre of Cape Town approaching the dreaded Day Zero looms increasingly large, it is also emerging that at stake is more than the availability of water. Day Zero is asking tough questions about our social pact. Fikile-Ntsikelelo Moya says this is the time for the Church to teach.
On the last day of the bishops' January plenary session in Pretoria, Bishop Sithembele Sipuka, bishop of Mthatha and first vice-president of the bishops' conference, spoke to Fr Russell Pollitt. In the interview he clarified the remarks he made about lazy, materialistic and money-loving clergy. He also explained why he cautioned against "Zuma-bashing".
Representatives from the Muslim, Bahai, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish and various Christian communities spent time with the Catholic bishops of Southern Africa in Pretoria where they reflected on the Church's role in society over the past 200 years and discussed ways of working together in the future. Bishop Victor Phalana of Klerksdorp, who heads up the Department for Ecumenism for the bishops' conference, told Spotlight that this encounter was the highlight of the plenary for him. "We have had wonderful discussions", he said.
How will the Catholic Church in Southern Africa best respond to the challenges of the times? At their January plenary the bishops have been considering this question as they deliberate on the much awaited new pastoral plan entitled 'Serving God, Humanity and Creation'.
In his message for World Day of Social Communications, Pope Francis has asked journalists, and all people of goodwill, to reflect on the spreading of disinformation or fake news. He has told journalists that theirs is not a job but a mission. The Holy Father said that journalism should not be concerned about breaking news but, rather, promoting alternatives, understanding and peace. The pope also said that the first fake news can be found in the scriptures.
The bishops of Southern Africa have evaluated Mini World Youth Day (MWYD) which was held in Durban in December 2017 and concluded it to have been a great success. They have now decided to focus on similar events and World Youth Day (WYD) in Panama in January 2019.
Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Peter Wells has called on the Church's leadership to focus on communication in Southern Africa. Firstly, to engage with and listen to youth in the light of the upcoming Youth Synod and, secondly, to consider how the Church communicates credibly and consistently through the media – especially in the age of ‘fake news’ and ‘infotainment’. In the second part of his address he spoke about the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and explained how the Holy See is careful to insist on integral human development that resists any form of ‘ideological colonisation’. Matthew Charlesworth SJ reports on the address.
During his opening address of the January plenary of the SACBC, Archbishop Stephen Brislin of Cape Town has confronted problems facing society of the current time and encouraged members of the Church to remain hopeful, and to work for the country we all want.
The Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference (SACBC) January Plenary opened with a mass celebrated by Conference President, Archbishop Stephen Brislin of Cape Town on the evening of 23 January. Spotlight Africa was there to learn more about the Church's plans for the year ahead.