Beloved people,South Africa is about to host the 17th United Nations Conference on Climate Change (Conference of the Parties—COP 17) which will be held in Durban from 28 November–9 December 2011.
Our precious world and the whole of Creation – which God gave us and “saw was very good” (Gen 1:31) – is now threatened by climate change. While climate change is a process that occurs naturally, there is now general agreement that human activities are causing it to happen much faster than it naturally would. This is due to far too many ‘greenhouse gases’ like carbon dioxide and methane being emitted into the atmosphere
- through our excessive burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil, petrol and gas;
- through the chopping down and burning of forests that should be absorbing carbon dioxide; and
- through intensive livestock farming.
We are all already feeling the effects of climate change which has dire consequences especially for the poor, while endangering all forms of life on the planet.
This global climate crisis poses a great spiritual challenge to all Christians, people of all faiths, and all people of goodwill as it is the consequence of the destruction of God’s creation in which we have all participated in one way or another. It calls for a change of mindset, and a change of lifestyle to reduce our dependence on fossil-fuel energy like coal and oil.
We call on all parishes, communities and organizations at local, regional and national levels, as well as individual Catholics
- to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions by using your own properties productively to grow trees that will absorb carbon dioxide;
- to grow vegetables and crops organically to reduce the use of chemical-based fertilizers; and
- to share the food thus grown with the hungry and malnourished in your midst.
As this global climate change crisis continues to grow, individuals are also called to link their efforts to those of national governments and the United Nations to achieve the goal of lessening the carbon footprint (which is our contribution to carbon emissions) on the planet for our sake, the sake of future generations and that of all living beings.
The gathering of the world member states at the upcoming UN COP 17 Conference offers a unique opportunity to take crucial decisions that will reduce the causes and impact of climate change.
We therefore appeal to all people to pressurise and encourage the Government of South Africa, which is chairing the Conference in Durban, to support the following resolutions:
- that global greenhouse gas emissions (especially of carbon dioxide), the primary factor responsible for climate change, be substantially reduced so that temperature rises remain below 1, 5 º C degree;
- that present decisions pertaining to economic development be not based on immediate economic needs only, but on the survival needs of future generations;
- that high emitting industrialized countries meet their obligations to finance developing countries to reduce their own emissions and to adapt to the negative impact of climate change;
- that South Africa, the world’s 13th highest global emitter of carbon dioxide, demonstrates political will by pledging much higher targets of renewable energy production, by phasing out coal and nuclear production, and by developing the job creation potential of renewable energy;
- that the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 be extended and that the treaty becomes a binding agreement;
- that concrete measures be adopted to monitor the implementation process of the agreements, so that they are adhered to especially by industrialized countries and other large emitters in developing countries.
Finally, we invite you to pray for a successful outcome of the UN Conference on Climate Change, and to lead by example in your own lives:
God, creator of the universe, all life and goodness comes from you.
You have made us in your own image and likeness to care for and use with moderation the goods of the earth.
Yet, we have sinned against You by exploiting natural resources with greed and selfishness, causing great damage to the life on our planet.
Forgive us Lord! Help us to amend our ways and to become more responsible stewards of the goods entrusted to us, mindful also of the needs of future generations.
Come Holy Spirit and renew the face of the Earth!
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ your Son who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit one God forever and ever. Amen
Yours in Christ,
On behalf of the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference,
Archbishop Buti Tlhagale OMI
President of the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference
See also: www.unfccc.int
From the 15 November to 5 December, we will have open time sale from 8:30 to 16:00.
- 1 Bull: R 6 000
- 14 Full Mouth Milking Cows: between R 4 500 and R 5 500
- 21 Heifers: between R 4 000 and R 5 500
- 10 Calves Heifers: between R 800 and R 2 500
- 11 Calves Tollies: between R 400 and R 1 500
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ
Greetings from the Bishop’s House.
At the beginning of Advent this year we will introduce the new translation of the Roman Missal in all our Eucharistic celebrations. As from then it will be the only text approved for the celebration of the Eucharist. We got already used to the new dialogues through the early introduction of the responses of the faithful in South Africa.
Our Diocese does not have many English-Speaking communities. However, also the Sesotho and isiXhosa speaking Catholics should know about the changes and not be surprised when attending a Mass celebrated in English.
We got used to the first English translation after the Second Vatican Council. It was a great step to celebrate Mass in the vernacular. Many local Missals were based on this English translation.
It is always a challenge to change something one got used to. We experienced this already with the introduction of the new responses. Instead of being flabbergasted by the changes let us take the opportunity to discover with curiosity what insights the new text can give to us. It is much more than just a closer fidelity to the original Latin text.
Attentive listening to proper praying (reading) can already open many venues for reflection as well as catechesis. The new translation was concerned to bring out more fully the biblical roots of the Eucharistic celebration. This can be a call for those less familiar with the Bible to discover this founding document of our faith. For the many that benefitted especially from Gospel Sharing it will be much easier to discover these biblical roots.
Some new wording really needs to be explored. This is normal in any setting: nurses have to learn special vocabulary in order to be precise. Te same applies to any profession as in the law-community, the engineering or chemistry-community. This is a challenge for priests, Pastoral Councils and whole communities to creatively deepen our understanding of faith. It is an old conviction that our way of praying informs our way of believing.
It is sure that the liturgical language is different from everyday language. Some complain about this. Others love this idea. They prefer to have special styles of speaking in different contexts. Initiation schools in African cultures make use of this – and they enjoy it. I hope that the new language srves a deeper initiation into our faith.
This needs catechesis. Catechesis is a special task for priests. A DVD on the liturgy and the new translation can be a good guide for such catechesis. It contains a lot of material that can be printed and used for liturgical formation.
The choirs can be challenged with catechesis and practicing the singing of the proper texts of the Mass. They are called to guide the community in the transitional time when one has to get used to the new way of singing. The singing is new, of course, because of the new wording.
I wish that we will deepen the sense of a dignified celebration. This does not depend on language alone. Preparation is important. The priests will have to acquaint themselves with the new texts so that they can prayerfully guide the faithful in prayer. The faithful can prepare themselves. New Sunday Missals will be available that contain the new texts of the Mass.
When we commence using the new translation as from 1 Advent 2011 we are all concerned about unity. We will share the new texts, we will share their exploration and we will share our deepening of faith. Indeed, our faith-sharing may gain new quality: People who picked up new explanations elsewhere – for instance when visiting people somewhere else around Christmas – may share this with their fellow believers at home and vice versa.
Let us welcome the new translation of the Roman Missal as an opportunity to renew our faith and our witness. Let us speak with one voice. The liturgy can teach us this. It can be the daily or weekly training space for speaking with one voice. This is what we need in daily life: speaking out with one voice on behalf of the Lord. We need to experience that we are together and never alone when we stand up for the values and virtues of Christ which found such clear expression also in the social teaching of the Church and its principles.
I hope that the new texts will contribute to our unity and become a powerful instrument for God’s grace in our lives.
May almighty God bless you all!
Bishop of Aliwal