The Faith Delusion?

CDs from Winter Living Theology 2013
‘The Faith Delusion?’ with John Moffatt SJ

Last year Fr John Moffatt travelled five cities across South Africa helping people to explain faith in the face of reason.
His lectures were deep and insightful and were not afraid to tackle difficult topics such as evolution, science, revelation, and conflicts between Church teaching and modern morality.For those who missed the lectures, and those who would like to hear them again, we have good news for you.
A set of 8 CDs of the lectures is now available on sale at a price of R200.00 plus R50.00 for posting
To order a set, or for more info: Email –
John Moffatt is a British Jesuit working in South Africa. He studied Classics at university and since joining the Jesuits has done further studies in Philosophy and Theology. His main work in the UK has been as teacher and chaplain in the
Jesuits’ high schools in London and also as university chaplain at Oxford. He has become particularly interested in questions surrounding faith and reason and in developing a positive dialogue between traditional Christianity and secular culture.

‘Our’ Girls

‘Our’ girls 

by Raymond Perrier.

It is not surprising that, the world over, people are concerned about the 230 teenage girls abducted in Northern Nigeria.  Although this incident has happened tens of thousands of miles away from the centres of economic and media power, everyone from Michelle Obama to girls in South African schools have been caught by the story and want to show their concern.  And in the age of social media adding the ‘hash tag’ #bringbackourgirls has become the recommended act of protest.

Solidarity is a key virtue in Catholic Social teaching – taking an interest in the needs of people not like us and making their concerns our concerns.  The reason why solidarity matters is that we as humans are naturally tempted to be more concerned about people who are close to us or like us – I prioritise my family over other people, my nation over foreigners, my ‘race’ over strangers.  Breaking through this is the starting point of that most famous of parables – the Good Samaritan who reached across cultural divides to help the person in distress.

But note that though he started with a sentiment of fellow-feeling, he didn’t finish there: he carried on and took action.  And the action that he took involved risk and sacrifice and financial cost to him.  Does # really make the same demands on us?

In a globalised world, in which we know as much about social problems in Nigeria as we do about ones on our doorstep, the starting point of solidarity is made much easier.  How could we not have fellow-feeling when we see photos of these girls or videos of their grieving families?  Especially when we are encouraged in that fellow-feeling by media campaigns, social fashion and even announcements at church?  But how much do we contribute with our Tweets or our facebook postings or our on-line petitions?  And even if we walked in a march or waved a placard what is the risk or sacrifice or financial cost involved there?

I felt very uncomfortable watching the leading ladies of the ANC Women’s League protesting – on the TV news – about the abducted girls.  It is right that they should care.  But I don’t recall them protesting so vociferously about the way which their own party has failed ‘our girls’ by not providing education that will get them jobs, or clinics that will keep them healthy, or policing that will protect them from rape.  And wasn’t this the same ANC Women’s League that a few years ago was silent when a high-profile ANC leader was accused of rape and admitted to having sex with a woman half his age?

Of course, we should show solidarity but solidarity demands real action not just feelings of empathy.  There is little that we can do that will make a difference to the plight of the Nigerian girls (sadly).  But we can act in our own communities to read with the girl who is struggling at school, or to offer a lift to the young woman walking vulnerably along a lonely road, or to help the woman trapped in domestic work to get some qualifications.  But that demands a lot more from us than just #.

The Leaders we Deserve?  Prof Al Gini, international expert on leadership and public ethics, will deliver this year’s Winter Living Theology lectures: Durban (26-28 May) and Cape Town (3-5 June).  There are also evening events in parishes and business schools in each city.  Contact for more information. 

If you want a weekly article like this for your parish bulletin click here and we will send it to you earlier in the week in time for publication. For more Jesuit Institute perspective go to

Knights of the Holy Sepulchre

Mgr Clifford Stokes and Fr Peter-John Pearson were invested into the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre by Archbishop Stephen Brislin at Corpus Christi church in Wynberg on April 3. Archbishop Brislin is the prior of the order in South Africa. In his homily, Archbishop Brislin called for solidarity with the Christians of the Holy Land, most of whom are Palestinians. In his closing remarks, Fr Pearson outlined the suffering of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and especially Gaza, which is suffering from a blockade by Israel. The Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, who do developmental work in the Holy Land and encourage pilgrimages there, were represented by local magistral delegate Joseph Quinn and knights and a dame of the order from Britain. (Photo: Günther Simmermacher)

Pictured are (from left): Fr Christopher Jesudhason, parish priest of Corpus Christi, Wynberg, Dcn Lionel Cooper, Fr Peter John Pearson, Archbishop Stephen Brislin, Nancy Quinn (a Dame of the order from the UK), Mgr Clifford Stokes, Joseph Quinn, and David Smith and Michael Cowley (Knights of the order from the UK).

Holy Land Lecture

Rimon Makhlouf, a leading Catholic Holy Land tour guide from East Jerusalem, is visiting South Africa in April.

He will speak on:

The Fifth Gospel – Locating Christ in the Holy Land

JOHANNESBURG: Monday, April 7 at 19:00, Immaculate Conception parish, Rosebank.

PRETORIA: Tuesday, April 8 at 19:00, Christ the King parish, Queenswood.

CAPE TOWN: Thursday, April 10 at 19:00, St Michael’s parish, Rondebosch.

Free entrance and all welcome!

RSVP: or SMS 076 352-3809