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- Sarah-Leah Pimentel

CardinalAmbongoCongoTVYoutube

A statement by Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) accusing political groups of fuelling ethnic tensions in the country has generated controversy in the region. Sarah-Leah Pimentel examines the Church’s duty in speaking out against any form of oppression, but points out the dangers that can cloud a sound discernment in speaking truth to power. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is a place of untold hardships. Violence, countless rebel groups, belligerent political groups, […]

The post Church in the Congo: The delicate balance of speaking truth to power by Sarah-Leah Pimentel appeared first on spotlight.africa.

- Matthew Charlesworth SJ

SACBC President speaks on Church’s pastoral plan, Eskom and electoral reform

The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) began their bi-annual plenary session on 22 January 2020 in Pretoria, Gauteng. In his opening address as president of the conference, Bishop Sithembele Sipuka spoke about the SACBC’s new Pastoral Plan, the position of the Church in society, engagements with the government, the state of the grant system in South Africa, the electricity crisis, and electoral reform. Bishop Sipuka began his address by renewing the Conference’s condolences to the families, dioceses and seminary […]

The post SACBC President speaks on Church’s pastoral plan, Eskom and electoral reform by Matthew Charlesworth SJ appeared first on spotlight.africa.

- José Luís Ponce de León

The new offices of the SACBC: A heart encouraging action

The new offices of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) were recently blessed and officially opened. Below is Bishop Jan de Groef’s homily from the opening Mass of the Bishop’s January plenary session for 2020. In it, he reflects on how the offices must function as a heart that encourages action. My dear brothers and sisters, I think that we all had the same experience at one or other time when we had to meet with one or other […]

The post The new offices of the SACBC: A heart encouraging action by José Luís Ponce de León appeared first on spotlight.africa.

- Fikile-Ntsikelelo Moya

StPeterClaverTumblrPropagandaFide

Fikile-Ntsikelelo Moya observes that religious art in his parish and many African parishes depict religious figures as white, while black people are depicted as those in need of saving. He posits that religious art in the African Church still needs to be liberated from the tropes of colonialism and the ideals of white supremacy. I am a parishioner in a church in Soweto. It is a 100% black church. The social divisions in the parish are the same as those […]

The post Overcoming whiteness in religious art by Fikile-Ntsikelelo Moya appeared first on spotlight.africa.

- spotlight.africa

South African Cardinal, Bishop and Sister interviewed in Plague: Untold Stories of AIDS & the Catholic Church

Journalist Michael O’Loughlin, from our sister publication, America Media, recently published a fascinating podcast called “Plague: Untold Stories of AIDS and the Catholic Church.” His investigation focuses primarily in the United States, but in the final episode he examines the context of HIV/AIDS and the Church’s response in South Africa. Michael O’Loughlin interviews Bishop Kevin Dowling of the Diocese of Rustenburg; Sr Alison Munro, of the SACBC Aids Desk; and Cardinal Wilfrid Napier OFM during the final episode of his […]

The post South African Cardinal, Bishop and Sister interviewed in Plague: Untold Stories of AIDS & the Catholic Church by spotlight.africa appeared first on spotlight.africa.

- Fikile-Ntsikelelo Moya

Parktown Boys' High School // facebook.com

Following the tragic death of young Enoch Mpianzi during a school camp, Fikile-Ntisikelelo Moya reminds us that despite the rightful call for justice, the media and the public also have a duty to respect the family’s need to grieve their loss. The call for justice, he says, should not be overshadowed by political posturing, and must be done with compassion for the human lives affected by this tragedy. A Johannesburg high school, Parktown Boys’, is becoming one of the best […]

The post Enoch Mpianzi: Demanding justice with compassion by Fikile-Ntsikelelo Moya appeared first on spotlight.africa.

- Ranjeni Munusamy

Ranjeni Munusamy // spotlight.africa

Pope John XXIII wrote in 'Pacem in Terris' that a person "has a natural right to be respected", to a "good name", "to freedom in investigating the truth", "and — within the limits of the moral order and the common good — to freedom of speech and publication," "the freedom to pursue whatever profession he or she may choose", and “to be accurately informed about public events”. To further the rights proclaimed in the Pope's 1963 letter, spotlight.africa publishes this article by Ranjeni Munusamy.

The post Me, Myself and Ranjeni: The unbearable heaviness of being by Ranjeni Munusamy appeared first on spotlight.africa.

- spotlight.africa

President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa // Flickr, GovernmentZA

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has issued the following New Year Message to all South Africans. He reflects on the highs and lows of the previous year and notes we “enter this New Year and this new decade, encouraged by the progress we have made under difficult conditions, knowing that we still have many mountains to climb, and many treacherous rivers to cross.” He invites us to turn adversity into opportunity since “upon the conduct of each depends the fate […]

The post President Cyril Ramaphosa’s 2020 New Year Message by spotlight.africa appeared first on spotlight.africa.

- Matthew Charlesworth SJ

In another prison? Migrants in Johannesburg

On Tuesday, 10 December 2019, in commemoration of the United Nation’s Human Rights Day, the Jesuit Institute South Africa, in collaboration with the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), premiered their new 21-minute documentary entitled “In Another Prison? Migrants in Johannesburg.” The documentary highlights the trauma that female migrants and refugees suffer on their journey to Johannesburg as a result of gender-based violence; a chilling reminder at the close of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. In the documentary, several […]

The post In another prison? Migrants in Johannesburg by Matthew Charlesworth SJ appeared first on spotlight.africa.

- Vatican News

Pope writes Apostolic Letter on the significance of the Christmas crèche

Pope Francis has written an Apostolic Letter on the meaning and importance of the nativity scene. He signed the Letter during his visit on Sunday afternoon to the Italian town of Greccio. Vatican News reports. Greccio is the mountain village where Saint Francis of Assisi created the first crib scene in 1223 to commemorate the birth of Jesus. Pope Francis returned to the town on Sunday to deliver his Apostolic Letter entitled, “Admirabile signum”. An enchanting image The Latin title […]

The post Pope writes Apostolic Letter on the significance of the Christmas crèche by Vatican News appeared first on spotlight.africa.

- Ranjeni Munusamy

Ranjeni Munusamy // spotlight.africa

Pope John XXIII wrote in 'Pacem in Terris' that a person "has a natural right to be respected", to a "good name", "to freedom in investigating the truth", "and — within the limits of the moral order and the common good — to freedom of speech and publication," "the freedom to pursue whatever profession he or she may choose", and “to be accurately informed about public events”. To further the rights proclaimed in the Pope's 1963 letter, spotlight.africa publishes this article by Ranjeni Munusamy.

The post Me, Myself and Ranjeni: The unbearable heaviness of being by Ranjeni Munusamy appeared first on spotlight.africa.

- Sarah-Leah Pimentel

Waiting for the Messiah in imperfect times

It is nearly Christmas but Sarah-Leah Pimentel finds it difficult to focus on the meaning of the season in the midst of bad news and other daily distractions. She has found that while it is might not be possible to totally withdraw from the busyness, she looks for the Christ Child amid the day-to-day events. It’s less than a week to Christmas. It’s been a difficult year for South Africa. The economy remained stagnant and jobs elusive. The general election […]

The post Waiting for the Messiah in imperfect times by Sarah-Leah Pimentel appeared first on spotlight.africa.

- Mike Pothier

Traditional South American Statue, Catholic News Agency

Mike Pothier comments that the media storm around the controversial display of an indigenous Andean goddess at the Amazon Synod distracted the Catholic world from the weightier issues discussed at the Synod. The real idolatry, he says, is not a wooden carving, but the extreme importance given to celibacy and a male priesthood, especially if these outward forms get in the way of ministering to the People of God. Far too much has been written over the past few weeks […]

The post Idolatry and the Amazon Synod — wooden carvings and religious forms by Mike Pothier appeared first on spotlight.africa.

- Paulina French

Soweto Marathon 2019, Facebook

Paulina French recently ran the Soweto Marathon and shares her experiences: from the welcome the runners received from Soweto residents to the reality of poor service delivery. She reflects that the inner strength needed to push through the most difficult parts of the race is the same kind of response South Africa requires in light of the ailing economy. Springbok captain Siya Kolisi’s words give her hope that it is possible for South Africans to pull together to solve the […]

The post Miles of Hope — sporting and economic marathons by Paulina French appeared first on spotlight.africa.

- Fikile-Ntsikelelo Moya

DroughtChillerVirusPixabay

Parts of South Africa are, once again, facing water scarcity. The authorities are refraining from describing the emptying dams as a crisis, but Fikile-Ntsikelelo Moyo says that the current drought in Gauteng is a reminder to South Africans that the water that flows so easily from our taps is a precious commodity for those who live without it. It urges us to further solidarity with the plight of the poor and challenges us to change our own consumption habits. It […]

The post Water scarcity — Don’t panic but change consumption habits by Fikile-Ntsikelelo Moya appeared first on spotlight.africa.

- Stan Muyebe OP

FarmWorkersJusticePeaceCommission

Farm workers are among the most exploited of labourers in South Africa. Stan Muyebe OP explains the challenges around the precariousness of labour in our strained economy and shines a light on the efforts of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) Justice and Peace Commission to secure basic rights for rural farm workers.

The post Farm workers’ struggle for dignified working and living conditions by Stan Muyebe OP appeared first on spotlight.africa.

- Mike Batley

SouthAfricanMoney

South Africa’s financial situation remains constrained despite hopes that President Cyril Ramaphosa would create much-needed jobs and restore investor confidence. Mike Batley warns of the dangers of unilateral solutions for South Africa’s economic challenges. He calls for a more holistic and reflective approach to overcome the endemic structural inequalities of our economic landscape. Recent major news stories about the new levels of unemployment in our country have rightly been labelled as an indication that we are in a “crisis”. Added […]

The post South Africa’s economic crisis — How ordinary citizens can shape new policies by Mike Batley appeared first on spotlight.africa.

- Stan Muyebe OP

TshekisoTebaloMiners

The 26 July settlement to compensate former miners who contracted lung diseases is a victory that merits celebration. Stan Muyebe warns, however, that those affected will draw direct benefit from this ruling only if the trust charged with compensating the miners is well-managed. The Justice and Peace Commission continues to promote the transformation of the extractive industry to eliminate mining-related illnesses. On 26 July, the Gauteng High Court approved a R5 billion settlement between gold mining companies and former mineworkers […]

The post The R5 billion silicosis settlement is a victory, but miners’ struggle for justice continues by Stan Muyebe OP appeared first on spotlight.africa.

- Mike Pothier

ScalesofJusticeSuccoPixabay

The Constitutional Court has sanctioned the public protector, Adv Busisiwe Mkwebane, for abusing the position of her office in failing to report her findings in an objective manner. Legal expert Mike Pothier considers the possible reasons for the public protector’s chequered performance.

The post Legal sanctions against public protector suggest incompetence or deliberate sabotage by Mike Pothier appeared first on spotlight.africa.

- Chris Chatteris SJ

Génération Identitaire press conference

The upsurge of extreme-right politics on the global stage is alarming. Chris Chatteris SJ looks at a French movement promoting a dangerous and exclusionary worldview that appears, simplistically, to be anti-migrant. But their real qualms are deeper and, perhaps, they need to be heard.

The post Nostalgics, not Nazis but dangerous nonetheless by Chris Chatteris SJ appeared first on spotlight.africa.

- Sarah-Leah Pimentel

CardinalAmbongoCongoTVYoutube

A statement by Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) accusing political groups of fuelling ethnic tensions in the country has generated controversy in the region. Sarah-Leah Pimentel examines the Church’s duty in speaking out against any form of oppression, but points out the dangers that can cloud a sound discernment in speaking truth to power. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is a place of untold hardships. Violence, countless rebel groups, belligerent political groups, […]

The post Church in the Congo: The delicate balance of speaking truth to power by Sarah-Leah Pimentel appeared first on spotlight.africa.

- Matthew Charlesworth SJ

In another prison? Migrants in Johannesburg

On Tuesday, 10 December 2019, in commemoration of the United Nation’s Human Rights Day, the Jesuit Institute South Africa, in collaboration with the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), premiered their new 21-minute documentary entitled “In Another Prison? Migrants in Johannesburg.” The documentary highlights the trauma that female migrants and refugees suffer on their journey to Johannesburg as a result of gender-based violence; a chilling reminder at the close of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. In the documentary, several […]

The post In another prison? Migrants in Johannesburg by Matthew Charlesworth SJ appeared first on spotlight.africa.

- Anthony Aduaka SJ

StuxPixabay

A spate of reporting in Kenya on crimes of passion causes Anthony Aduaka to reflect on the reasons why the principles of love have become so distorted. He calls for a restoral of values and the importance of healthy relationships in the family. He adds that the church can play a pivotal role in giving young people a healthy understanding of love. An analysis of Standard Media Kenya reveals that between April 2018 and September 2019 10 women were murdered […]

The post When love ends badly by Anthony Aduaka SJ appeared first on spotlight.africa.

- Stan Muyebe OP

Abinism_Beautiful

People living with albinism in southern Africa fear for their lives. Many are killed for their body parts, which are then used in rituals. Stan Muyebe OP calls on government to enact legislation that deliberately cracks down on the ritual killings of people living with albinism, and further urges parishes to use Albinism Awareness Month to create awareness and debunk the myths that encourage violence. September is Albinism Awareness Month. At the moment, the nation is focused on gender based […]

The post Albinism Awareness Month – an opportunity to debunk harmful myths by Stan Muyebe OP appeared first on spotlight.africa.

- Anthony Aduaka SJ

Xenophobia or ignorance: changing the narratives

Anthony Aduaka SJ tries to understand the psychology behind the xenophobic attacks in South Africa in early September. He argues that much of the distrust by black South Africans towards other black Africans stems from South Africa’s failure to overcome the racial divisions of apartheid and create the educational and economic conditions for black South Africans to overcome historic injustices. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Lk 23:34) I am aware that so many […]

The post Xenophobia or ignorance: changing the narratives by Anthony Aduaka SJ appeared first on spotlight.africa.

- Chris Chatteris SJ

FirefightersPixabay

The massive forest fires in the Amazon have reached unprecedented proportions. Chris Chatteris comments on the lack of political goodwill in putting an end to the fires, and far more importantly, a change to environmental policies. The victims, he says, are the world’s people, but expresses hope that public activism will put politicians under increasing pressure to change the way we treat our common home. The Amazon rain forests are burning. An area the size of Manhattan is going up […]

The post Amazon fires — political ploy to privatise public land by Chris Chatteris SJ appeared first on spotlight.africa.

- Martin van Nierop

Amazon1_MartinVNierop

Martin van Nierop responds to the reports of widescale fires in the Amazon that have made headlines in the international media. He relates his experience of visiting the Amazon and the people who he met there. Nierop reflects on the direct consequences these fires have for those communities and the far-reaching impact on climate change in South Africa and worldwide.

The post Burning Amazon — World’s lung under threat by Martin van Nierop appeared first on spotlight.africa.

- Chris Chatteris SJ

Bob Blob, Unsplash

Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg has captured the imagination of climate change activists. Chris Chatteris SJ examines the environmental impact of a consumer economy on the future of the planet.

The post Teen climate change activist challenges global economic model by Chris Chatteris SJ appeared first on spotlight.africa.

- Chris Chatteris SJ

The new asceticism

Ancient ascetic ideas seem to be making a resurgence but, as Chris Chatteris reflects on an article recently published by a French sociologist of religion, it seems that it now has more secular than religious appeal.

The post The new asceticism by Chris Chatteris SJ appeared first on spotlight.africa.

- Fikile-Ntsikelelo Moya

Israel Folau catches a high ball // David Molloy, Flickr

Australian rugby sensation, Israel Folau and those who support his outrageous comments on social media might think that his actions make him a martyr for Christianity. For Fikile-Ntsikelelo Moya, his posts make him a bigot.

The post Folau gives faith a bad name by Fikile-Ntsikelelo Moya appeared first on spotlight.africa.

- Chris Chatteris SJ

AgeAnger, Pankaj Mishra

Our society — not just South Africa — seems to have become increasingly violent. People are angry. Political and economic exclusion has often been pinpointed as the reason for the anger and resentment of our times. Chris Chatteris SJ reviews the 2017 treatise by Indian novelist and thinker, Pankaj Mishra, Age of Anger: A history of the present, who explains that the current extremist movements are inspired less by religion than they are by exclusion. If you’re looking for a […]

The post Age of Anger: a history of the present by Chris Chatteris SJ appeared first on spotlight.africa.

- Anthony Egan SJ

AnneHopeStruggleFreedom

On 17 October, Stephanie Kilroe launched her new biography about Anne Hope, a South African anti-apartheid activist, the president of the lay Catholic community, The Grail, and the founder of community development programme, Training for Transformation, at St. Augustine College. Anthony Egan SJ reviews the book, describing it as a “spiritual biography” that shows “how deep faith engages with the public and private lives of a complex person.” Although Anne Hope (1930-2015) was well-known in certain Catholic circles in southern […]

The post Book review — Anne Hope: The Struggle for Freedom by Anthony Egan SJ appeared first on spotlight.africa.

- Anthony Egan SJ

‘In the Closet of the Vatican’ — the impact of a book on the Catholic Church today

A recent book touting homosexuality among senior clergy in the Catholic Church by French author Frédéric Martel has provoked a mixed reception. Anthony Egan SJ shares the power that he believes such a book could have for the scandal-plagued Catholic Church, today.

The post ‘In the Closet of the Vatican’ — the impact of a book on the Catholic Church today by Anthony Egan SJ appeared first on spotlight.africa.

- Mphuthumi Ntabeni

REVIEW — Living with the Gods

In ‘Living with the Gods’, Neil MacGregor says that a set of shared beliefs and assumptions (faith, ideology, religion, etc) are at the centre of human existence and progress. Mphuthumi Ntabeni was enthralled by MacGregor’s idea that no organised society, in the past, has ever been able to thrive without a shared set of beliefs. It is simply a crucial part of our shared identity. Living with the Gods by Neil MacGregor. Penguin Books (Imprint: Allen Lane). Published: 17/09/2018. ISBN: […]

The post REVIEW — Living with the Gods by Mphuthumi Ntabeni appeared first on spotlight.africa.

- Anthony Egan SJ

Peter Storey at the launch of his autobiography in Cape Town. // Izak de Vries, Twitter

Retired South African Methodist Bishop Peter Storey’s autobiography evokes on one level the chaotic and heroic struggle of the churches against apartheid in the second half of the twentieth century. But on a deeper level it is a profound meditation on conscience, courage and what it is to be human writes Anthony Egan SJ.

The post REVIEW — I beg to differ: ministry amid the teargas by Anthony Egan SJ appeared first on spotlight.africa.

- Russell Pollitt SJ

Br Alois at a prayer gathering in Basel City // Spotlight.Africa

Br Alois Löser is the Prior of the ecumenical Community of Taizé in France. Next year he will visit South Africa where his community will host a gathering called “The Pilgrimage of Trust on Earth”. Some brothers are already living in Cape Town preparing for the meeting which will attract thousands of young people from across the world. Br Alois was in Rome for the Synod of Bishops on Young People. He spoke to Russell Pollitt SJ about South Africa […]

The post South Africa teaches the world to hope, Taizé Prior says by Russell Pollitt SJ appeared first on spotlight.africa.

- Russell Pollitt SJ

Pope Francis greets a young auditor at the closing mass of the Synod of Bishops on Youth //Vatican Media

On Sunday 28 October Pope Francis celebrated mass in St Peter’s Basilica to mark the end of the month-long worldwide gathering of bishops for the Synod on Young People. The final document of the Synod was released late Saturday evening. Russell Pollitt SJ has been following the Synod in Rome, he takes a look at the final document.  Late in the evening of Saturday 27 October the final document of the Synod of Bishops on Young People, the Faith and […]

The post Synod 2018 – ENDS: Women, sex abuse & a synodal Church by Russell Pollitt SJ appeared first on spotlight.africa.

- Russell Pollitt SJ

Pope Francis surrounde by Synod Fathers at Mass in St Peter's Basilica //Vatican Media

The Primate of all Ireland said at Friday’s Synod of Bishops press briefing that he has not engaged with and encouraged young people enough, writes Russell Pollitt SJ from Rome. A graced month Both Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Austria and Archbishop Eamon Martin of Ireland said that the Synod has been a time of grace – despite their personal apprehension before it started. Cardinal Schönborn said that when appointed he was concerned about being away from Vienna for such a long time. […]

The post Synod 2018 – Now “determined in missionary spirit” by Russell Pollitt SJ appeared first on spotlight.africa.

- Russell Pollitt SJ

Synod Father and an auditor address the press on Thursday //Vatican Media

On Thursday two main issues were discussed at the press briefing for the Synod of Bishops on Young People: Synodality as the way forward and the scandal of sex abuse in the Church. Russell Pollitt SJ writes from Rome. The Synod Fathers and auditors did a 6 kilometer pilgrimage today from Monte Mario to St Peter’s. At St Peter’s, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation, presided at Mass.  The Holy Father […]

The post Synod 2018 – “Synodality” is the keyword by Russell Pollitt SJ appeared first on spotlight.africa.

- Russell Pollitt SJ

Holy See Press Briefing for Synod on Youth //Vatican Media

Although many young people attend mass and go to confession, and despite 12 years of catechism, God still remains an abstract thought for them, a bishop says at Wednesday’s press briefing. Russell Pollitt SJ reports from Rome. On Wednesday the Synod Fathers discussed the draft of the final document of the Synod of Bishops on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment. A letter to young people, from the Synod, was also read out in the General Assembly. It is […]

The post Synod 2018 – God is an abstract thought for the young by Russell Pollitt SJ appeared first on spotlight.africa.

Spotlight.Africa

Spotlight Africa strives to be a reliable, reasoned and informed source. It is a ministry of the Jesuit Institute South Africa and will shed light on the social, political and economic happenings in Southern Africa.
It offers analysis and commentary – informed by Catholic Social Teaching and Christian ethics – covering, specifically, things that are and should be important for the local Church and Catholics in Southern Africa.

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