Add your voice to the sentiment expressed in this letter to:

Right Reverend Sithembele Sipuka,

Bishop of Mthatha and President of the SACBC


to the Sacred Heart of Jesus & The Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Your Excellency

I had the pleasure to read and note the contents of Your Excellency’s homily on the occasion of the Episcopal Consecration of Mgr Joseph Kizito in Aliwal North in February.
Many of the points you raised clearly extend way beyond the borders of Aliwal North and indeed are indicative of a deep malaise in our country, both within the Church and most spheres of public life. Needless to say, your timely comments found great resonance with Family Action South Africa, whose activities carried out under the South Africa Needs Our Lady campaign name, are geared towards generating a great faith awakening in South Africa – precisely as an antidote to the multi-faceted crises facing both Church and society. 
For the benefit of others invited to add their voices to this appeal, and unfamiliar with the gist of that homily, allow me to recall some of the vitally cogent points you emphasised, with which we find ourselves in complete consonance…
Your Excellency warned strongly against the temptation of worshipping at the altar of false Gods and singled these out as: Sunday work, with the distinction between Sundays and weekdays basically of no significance within the frenzy of commercial buying and selling; learners required to attend school on Sundays; sports events scheduled for Sundays along with an inordinate attachment to Sunday TV Sports. The obvious effect of these things being a weakening in the Faith dispositions of Catholics and demeaning of the Sabbath.
Your Excellency summed this up somewhat succinctly with “Sport has dethroned God” and that “man does not live on bread alone and that happiness on this earth does not constitute the fullness of our happiness because our complete happiness lies in the future with God for which we must prepare ourselves. And so the worship of wealth and money leads to doom because the more you get of it, the more you realize how poor you are.” You simultaneously warned against the frenetic pursuit of the latest and best in technological gadgetry.


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Some very timely counsels were reserved for a false understanding of different religions and a sharp warning against the “we are all the same” philosophy which seemingly counts on ever more adhesion. You mentioned the existence of a “syncretism or a confused merging of traditions of worship from all the other ecclesial communities that exist… The painful truth about Christianity is that we are a divided religion. While it is true that there is a lot that is common among Christian denominations, and there is a lot on which we can cooperate, yet there is also still a lot where we differ, and with respect and love we must work out these differences until we become one as Jesus desired us to be one. And until we have worked out these differences, we have to live with this painful reality of being different.”
 The following item from your homily is also most poignant and worthy of full quotation: “Catholics are not Lutherans, Anglicans are not Methodist, Presbyterians are not Zionist, and so on. Yet sometimes during worship in the Catholic Church you wonder if you are in the Catholic Church or in any of the other ecclesial communities that I have mentioned. While we can learn a lot from other ecclesial communities, and they from the Catholic Church in matters related to worship and doctrine, we each have a particular identity, and the reason why you took an oath yesterday (referring to Mgr Kizito) is to ensure that this identity which is Catholic is retained, otherwise there remains nothing Catholic if we merge in a confused and syncretic manner the traditions of worship.”
Your Excellency referred to many other interesting points which I have passed over due to space constraints, but one which we know has much resonance in many sectors of Catholic public opinion is that of “meaningful” liturgies and the ever dominant theme of cultural manifestations…
Your Excellency wisely noted: “The other point of consideration about worship is to consider its true nature, namely that it is an act directed to God and not to ourselves. It is good to feel happy when we worship God and to dance as David did, but we must guard against making worship or the liturgy an opportunity to entertain ourselves. Often one hears a comment from people when they come from Church, “it was nice,” but the question is “was it worship?” After worship, the question is, “have I worshiped God, am I transformed by the worship, am I more detached from my sins through worship, am I more eager in my missionary work because of worship or have I focused more on the consideration that it was nice? Does worship minimize or eliminate my sin of pride, envy, meanness, indifference, injustice and anything else that blinds me from the divine truth and mercy that Christ calls us to have?”
You advised also on the importance for the new Bishop “to give guidance about the Catholic understanding of worship, which includes dignity, silence, proper spiritual preparation, appropriate postures and gestures fitting signs and symbols, conversion and of course joyful songs occasionally as well.”
The last point I would like to recall in reference to this timely homily, is your cautionary on worship “to conduct it in a culturally meaningfully way without making it a cultural entertainment gathering, where the end result will be only that ‘it was nice.’”
Before continuing, I would like to offer our congratulations on this homily which was not only refreshing and indeed encouraging, but in a sense, ground-breaking as it sought to confront head-on, and without equivocation, many of the difficulties confronting Church life in our country!
All this has relevance in that our dear country, South Africa, like many other countries, finds itself today at a crossroads – and this brings me to the crux of this letter.
We are essentially facing three major sets of problems:
The first and most glaring, unnerving and immediate is the Corona virus and its potentially catastrophic aftermath in what this may portend (especially for the poor) in terms of unemployment, deepening impoverishment and increasing social disintegration. The strains on government and its incapacity to deliver are likely to exacerbate the fall-out…
Secondly, a Church and her communities struggling to be relevant in a world opposed to transcendent values and assailed by multiple temptations (as amply laid out in Your Excellency’s homily). And all this unfortunately at a time when the Church has lost much of the prestige she once counted on to attract and lead… The current situation, not unique to our country, is aggravated by a loss of the sense of the sacred and a radical decline in the knowledge and practice of the fundamentals of our Faith. The end result is at best a lukewarm adherence to the Holy Church and at worst, complete apostasy – and all transpiring within a climate of growing secularisation and de-Christianisation.
Thirdly, the country faces a plague of corruption and moral disintegration – the latter evidenced for example by legalised abortion and “same-sex” marriage, to say nothing of divorce, pornography (aided, abetted and fuelled by the technological revolution), gangsterism, drug abuse, promotion of CSE, Satanism, etc., etc… The net result of all this is the collapse of the family institution – the most important organism for building and sustaining a healthy society.
It is our earnest opinion that the various problems present humanly speaking almost an insoluble tsunami and that we need to urgently place our country and its difficulties under the protection of the Twin Hearts: The Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ and Immaculate Heart of Mary!
The time is ripe for this act of Confidence – the accomplishment of which I am convinced may save our country from growing dissolution, anarchy and even social revolution.
This then, is an appeal to Your Excellency, from the heart, to grasp this historical moment and in union with your Brothers in the Episcopate, the Faithful and all people of good will, to call on Heaven’s assistance to decisively intervene and aid our beloved country in her hour of need!
I would not pretend to advise a date or formula, but feel called to suggest for example Friday, 19 June 2020 – Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, or 20 June 2020, the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This would also allow sufficient time to make of such an event a most serious occasion with nation-wide participation. May I suggest that such a Consecration take place at the same time in all the Dioceses of the country, even if Corona-related restrictions remain in force and prevent full participation of the faithful.
The fact that the country has been consecrated to Our Lady of the Assumption should not deter us from undertaking further consecrations as situations arise along the course of history necessitating different and even repeat actions. 
 By way of precedent and to show that we will be joining a growing group of select and blessed nations, it is heart-warming to note that on 24 March 2020, the Feast of the Annunciation, 24 countries were consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The consecration was initiated by the Bishops of Portugal in response to the Corona virus pandemic. This marked at least the third time the Portuguese Episcopate has consecrated Portugal to the Immaculate Heart of Mary – the first being 13 May 1931 when the Spanish Civil War threatened to engulf Portugal. The country was saved and the beneficial fruits for Catholic social life were unimaginable! The second time was just prior to the 2nd World War – 13 May 1938. The country was once again saved from being dragged into an infernal conflagration!
Apart from Portugal, the 23 other countries consecrated were Albania, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Slovakia, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Mexico, Moldova, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Kenya, the Dominican Republic, Romania, Spain, Tanzania, East Timor, and Zimbabwe.
With sentiments of cordial esteem and pledging our support in this endeavour, we once again beseech Your Excellency, boldly and confidently to initiate the Consecration of South Africa, by name, to the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts. May we simultaneously beg Your Excellency to exhort our Catholic Faithful to adopt the daily Rosary as the most effective weapon to change hearts and souls as requested by Our Lady at Fatima in 1917, so as to attract the grace of Almighty God on our nation and avert the great punishments now threatening mankind.

Asking Your Excellency’s Blessing,

I am sincerely yours,

In the Hearts of Jesus and Mary,

Bernard Tuffin
Family Action South Africa