Cardinal-elect says the church must “work much harder for reconciliation”

by Sheila Pires, SACBC Communications Office

The Cardinal-elect of the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference (SACBC) says he would like to see a Church that works “much harder for reconciliation,” as countries such as South Africa need “healing.”

In an interview with the SACBC communications office, the Cardinal-elect Stephen Brislin of Cape Town Archdiocese says he “would really like to continue the wonderful tradition that has been given to South Africa through” his predecessors Cardinal Owen McCann and Cardinal Wilfrid Napier “who always gave excellent service not only to the Church of Southern Africa but also to society itself and to the good of the country.”

“When I think of South Africa, and how we are faced with many problems, many difficulties, I think we are a country that’s very much in need of healing, and I suppose most especially the healing of relationships, and this is a type of healing that I think is not possible simply with human energy,” says the Cardinal-elect.

He says that as a nation and as a church, “We must call upon God to heal us.”

“I would really like to see in the coming years that we as a church work much harder for reconciliation, much harder for healing, that we can get over our apartheid past and get over classifying people as black or white or coloured or Indian and just to see ourselves as being South Africans and that we are working together for the good of our country and especially for the upliftment and the opportunities for the young people,” he adds.

In the wide range interview, the Cardinal-elect says his appointment as SACBC President in … thought him about the importance of “proclaiming the Gospel of good news,” amid the socio-political challenges faced in the SACBC region.

“My election as the President of the Conference for two terms taught me a lot about how important it is for the Catholic Church to remain what it is. It is a church, and it is leading people to God and proclaiming the Kingdom of God, proclaiming the Gospel of good news,” he says.

He continues, “But we don’t do that in a vacuum, we do that in a particular context. We do that in our own South African context and our neighbouring countries Eswatini and Botswana.”

He goes on to say that It’s very important that Church leaders “engage with politicians. As Francis has said, it is a noble calling to be a politician, but we have also to ensure that where things are going wrong that we speak out about it. But we do so not simply by throwing stones, we do so as fellow South Africans, as fellow Africans as well.”

In the Monday, July 10 interview, the Cardinal-elect spoke briefly about the 15th BRICS Summit scheduled to take place in South Africa from 22 – 24 August 2023. He called on the South African government to “be much clearer” in its stance of neutrality in the Russia-Ukraine war.

The Cardinal-elect Brislin also thanked SACBC members for their congratulatory messages and support.

Pope Francis at the end of his Sunday Angelus address, announced a consistory for the creation of 21 new cardinals, from around the world to be held at the Vatican on 30 September 2023, just before the beginning of the Synod on Synodality, set to take place with representatives from all over the world in October.

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  1. Congratulations Cardinal Elect Stephen Brislin and keep moving the Church forward in Love, Light and as a Living Reality.. True words you speak for how will the righteous govern if they are not in politics?
    “When the righteous govern the people prosper”. Much Love and Prayers. ❤️❤️❤️🙏

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