Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Is The Southern Cross Subversively Promoting Dissidence

I recently wrote about the fact that there were liturgical observers, outside of South Africa, who shared my view that South African Catholics were deliberately setup to create a negative reaction to the new Roman Missal. I also expressed my opinion, in my recent blog titled “Priest Resistance to Change – Natural”, that I believe that the motive of The Southern Cross is to specifically promote a negative reaction to the new Roman Missal.

The editor, Mr. Simmermacher, has of course fiercely denied such a motive. On the Southern Cross Facebook Page, Mr. Simmermacher this week referred me to his recent editorial, titled “Let the new missal bring harmony”, as evidence that the editor has no such motive.

Mr. Simmermacher also states on the Facebook Page that The Southern Cross is running a series of articles to help with catechesis on the New Missal. Yes, Chris Busschau is publishing seven articles on the new missal in The Southern Cross. These are under the banner “New Missal Decoded” and provide catechesis on the new translation. This week sees the fourth part, of the seven part series, being published. Sadly, I cannot but help feeling that these articles and the editorial are simply window dressing by the Southern Cross. Let me explain why I believe this:

1.  The Southern Cross has a Facebook Page. To this Page it posts articles, editorials and even its blogs from the newspaper. I do the same on our Parish Facebook Page and instinctively I always publish what I believe is of greater importance for the Catholic reader. I think any normal person would naturally do so and a newspaper editor would most certainly do so. Strangely enough, the editor of The Southern Cross has yet to publish one of these articles, by Chris Busschau, on it’s Facebook Page. Surely this catechesis should be distributed as widely as possible? I wonder why this has not happened?

2.    It should be noted that the critical blog, by Fr. Pollitt, on the new English translation of the Mass, did in fact make it onto The Southern Cross Facebook Page and, in fact, it made it there the very next day after it was written. I wonder why this happened so quickly?

3.    I then went onto the webpage of The Southern Cross. I conducted a search, using the search facility of The Southern Cross webpage. I searched for “Chris Busschau”, “New Missal Decoded” and then for each of the titles of Chris Busschau’s articles as published by The Southern Cross. These are in reverse order, “What we say at Mass”, “Missal: The tale of two translations”, “How we got to English” and “Getting ready for new words at Mass”. The search facility did not find one of these search terms. I wonder why?

4.   To be certain that I was not doing anything wrong I did a search for “Fr. Russell Pollitt” and then for “Implementing the New English Translation of the Mass” which is the title of his critical Blog. They were both found immediately! I wonder why?

5.    I also went manually looking through The Southern Cross’ website. I looked under sections on the website such as “Perspectives”, “Other Writers” and various other places. I did not find one of these articles by Chris Busschau, which the editor so proudly holds up as the newspapers contribution to catechesis on the new Roman Missal. I wonder why?

If you subscribe digitally to The Southern Cross, which I do for penance, you will already have seen the following cartoon on the back page of the newspaper.

The Southern Cross, Oct 26, 2011

At face value, this cartoon may seem as nothing more than a mildly amusing insert into the newspaper. However, consider its tongue in cheek dig at the Church hierarchy, in the context of the consistently negative or critical portrayal of the New Roman Missal by The Southern Cross.

In May 2010 the editor of The Southern Cross said in an editorial titled The New Missal, “The implementation of liturgical changes must now be preceded by timely and effective catechesis and workshopping [sic] on every level of the Church. This will be essential especially in parishes, where the revised liturgy will need to be thoroughly explained and rehearsed. The Southern African Church is preparing to do just that, as we report this week.” Mr. Simmermacher then goes on to say that, “This programme must not be undermined by profitless hostility by critics or defenders of the new texts.” I wonder if Mr. Simmermacher really meant this to apply both ways, since the trend in the newspaper seems instead to promote criticism of the new Roman Missal, while doing very little to defend it.

I have yet to be convinced that The Southern Cross is not engaged in a program of subversively promoting dissidence amongst South African Catholics in the face of the new Roman Missal!


  1. The Chris Busschau articles are intended to be run on the website as a full series upon their conclusion. The reason for that is that, as a series, it makes sense that the first article actually appears first on the page, and then run on sequentially.

    You could have asked The Southern Cross first before launching a rather confused and contradictory attack. Surely we cannot be "consistently" against the new translations of the missal if the editorials effectively call for obedience and the Busschau articles even promote them.

    I might have called for civility in the debate about the missal in my editorials, but I cannot enforce it. Alas, you are adopting a most hostile tone yourself, thereby helping to turn the Holy Eucharist into a battlefield with undue aggression. Are you not ashamed of yourself?