SA President Zuma losing court battle ‘a great day for constitutional democracy’ – Archbishop Makgoba
The Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba, has called for a “tsunami of truth-telling” after the President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, lost a court battle brought by campaigners who alleged he bene ted from state funding of R246 million (approx. £11.65 million) for improvements to his private home, Nkandla, under the guise of security.
South Africa’s constitutional court ruled last week that South Africa’s Treasury “must determine the reasonable costs of those measures implemented … at the President’s Nkandla homestead that do not relate to security – namely the visitors’ centre, the amphitheatre, the cattle kraal, the chicken run and the swimming pool – [and] must determine a reasonable percentage of the costs of those measures which ought to be paid personally by the President”.
THE MIGHTY POWER OF GOD
The Easter season tells of the power of resurrection in the individual Christian, in the Church and in the world. Resurrection is the work of God, the eternal source of all life; it was by the power of God that Jesus was raised on the third day. As the Archbishop of Armagh stressed in his Easter sermon in Armagh, Jesus really did die on the first Good Friday; death was, for him, as it is for all of us, no small thing. Yet, by the power of God, as Dr Clarke said, Christ was “brought again from the dead”, raised triumphant over the final enemy, thereby bringing the Christian hope of a resurrection like his.
The mighty power of God is present in every Christian person, enabling each of us to rise to higher and nobler life. Life need not be a downward spiral, getting progressively worse and desperate until it comes to its end, the individual simply worn out by cares and sufferings. Spiritual life can get better and better all the time, undeterred by those things that in a lesser sense pull us down, so that we are always growing in spirit and becoming more Christlike each day – more like our Lord who bore his sufferings and endured the pain and truly died, only for the power of God at work in him to overcome all of these things. It is the power of God that enables the believer to overcome whatever his or her enemy may be.
The mighty power of God is present in the Church. With all its faults, from parish life upwards, the Church comprises a people called to be holy and guided by their Lord into all truth and peace. This is the call and this is the promise. As for the Anglican Communion, with its liberals and conservatives pulled ever further apart and with many in the middle left wondering why things have to be just this way, the testing times continue with the forthcoming meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council. To win through to renewed, common life in communion, there will have to be a patient watching for the Lord, a listening for his voice, for he alone is to be our guide. Christ is the one on whom all eyes must be fixed, the one who teaches us how to live not only in ourselves but also with one another.
The mighty power of God is at work in the world. The Church and the world are not somehow hermetically sealed off from each another. On the contrary, the Church and the world both are God’s creation and in both the Spirit moves. What the Church has to do is to discern the Spirit moving within its own life and in the life of the world around it. Discernment requires prayer, patience and the readiness to see Christ in unexpected places and saying unexpected things.
The world contains much goodness and much cruelty. The goodness is seen in countless acts of bravery, self-denial, kindness, concern and truly loving compassion. The cruelty is seen not only in tragic accidents and catastrophic natural disasters, but also in unspeakable terror attacks, the warfare that drives people from their homes to seek refuge in foreign lands, the hunger that abounds in a world of plenty, the oppression that is experienced at the hands of corrupt governments. Such a world is still God’s world and the Spirit is moving in it. It is for the Church to recognise God’s action, to affirm it and to draw others to see the eternal love of God, poured out for all humanity in Christ, the eternal Son of the Father.
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Letters to the Editor
Commemorating 1916 in schools
I WISH to express my disappointment at the attitude taken so far both towards and indeed inside Anglican ethos educational establishments in the 26 counties with regard to ‘Proclamation Day’ and the associated ‘Flags for Schools’ government campaigns.
Proclamation Day was introduced as an option in schools on Tuesday 15th March, to be observed annually from then on.
It may be said that there are two main competing narratives in modern Ireland and yet, given that in any period of historical reflection it is important to get a sense of both, especially when in the context of youth, I fail to see why apparently so many of our leaders are advocating the positives of this blind approval of physical force republicanism in our schools.
My own parish is close to the border. I work across it in that part of Ireland becoming increasingly comfortable with both British and Irish labels. Maybe it is much more striking
when I see the likes of the following questionable teacher- led ‘new proclamation’ emanate from our schools further south: “Thank you to the men and women of Ireland who lost their lives fighting courageously for our country, without you we would not have our identity or independence.”
I would like to think we as a Church are capable of speaking out against such narrow- mindedness in our schools, rather than naively give our backing to such sentiments. However, I personally know several examples where schools have been unwilling to show ‘disrespect’ to the government narrative, as they see alternative interpretations doing.
Are we really to believe telling a different story to our own children is showing disrespect in 2016?
The treatment both by government and some of our community leaders around this contentious period in commemoration is not offering us much hope for an Ireland
which includes a pluralist future. Seamus Farrell of the Community Resource Centre, the Junction, at a recent discussion on the Dublin rebellion in Donegal, had this to say to us: “It isn’t just about the legacy of 1916 but also the legacy of 2016.”
How right he is. Sadly, I don’t think our Anglican leaders in the 26 counties have quite got the memo.
In order to document better southern Protestant minority feeling on the commemoration in schools issue, I would draw affected Gazette readers’ attention to an online survey has been created at (http://j.mp/ risinginschools). All southern Protestants who are either parents, past pupils, teaching staff or current school children over the age of 16 are welcome to complete it. Aggregated results will be made public and sent to all participants.
Oak eld Raphoe Co. Donegal
UK referendum on European Union membership
THE REVD SID MOURANT (Letters, 25th March) gives an interesting historical context to the European referendum and takes us as far back as the Magna Carta.
However, the issues in this debate are about contemporary matters, particularly on the economy, and historical precedents are of limited value.
Another correspondent, Gordon Burrell, invites us to “step out in risk and vote to leave the European set up”.
The word “risk” is important. An emotional argument is easy to make but the economic arguments for remaining in the European Union are unanswerable.
The EU is our major trading partner and buys over 50% of UK exports.
The ‘No’ campaigners have already scored an own goal by referring to a trade agreement between the EU and Canada. This took over seven years to conclude and has still not been ratified.
Norway pays heavily for access to the EU single market and still has to accept free movement of trade and people.
In the UK, 3.5 million people are employed as a direct result of our membership of the EU, which has considerably strengthened laws relating to the environment and the fight against crime, to name but two areas.
To leave the EU would re-introduce border controls and require complicated extradition requests of criminal suspects. It would also leave us no longer eligible to avail of the highly effective European Arrest Warrant scheme.
At a time when the threat of global terrorism is at its highest level we should be standing together with other European countries in the exchange of intelligence and co-operation between respective police forces on the European continent.
We cannot “risk” our economy at a time when the threatening world economic and security picture does not encourage the taking of such risks.
Tom Campbell (Alderman) Alliance Party
Antrim and Newtownabbey Council
Mossley Mill Newtownabbey BT36 5QA
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