Sex, Divorce Hot Topics at Catholic Church

By Mziwandile Nkosi

September 30, 2008

Reports of sexual abuse and the Roman Catholic Church's stance on contraception and divorce took centre-stage at the first synod of the Archdiocese of Johannesburg.

Congregates on Sunday packed the historic Regina Mundi Cathedral in Soweto for the mass, which was officiated by Archbishop Buti Tlhagale to mark the end of the five-day synod.

The theme was: "The faithful should be afforded the opportunity of expressing their needs, their desires and their opinions with regard to the topics being dealt with in synod".

Tlhagale urged parishioners and the clergy to work together in developing the youth and raising spirituality at congregation level to facilitate outreach programmes deemed necessary for the surrounding communities.

Director of the synod Father Duncan Tsoke said: "This is important since the church is like a hospital, where those who are spiritually ill can get help.

"On the issue of sex scandals, it was found that most were untrue and no information was published to dispel them. This saw the church experiencing some damage, which is unfair," said Tsoke.

"Most of these allegations were reported under anonymity, and I think there should be no secrecy in telling the truth," he said.

Most of the issues were discussed in a two-day workshop conducted at the Birchwood conference centre, where both laymen and the clergy sought resolutions to some of these pressing matters.

"It has never happened before that both the clergy and laymen could be under the same roof to discuss these issues," said Tsoke.

Shoba Msezane, an altar server, speaking on issues facing the youth said: "We take comfort in that our problems were heard and the archdiocese has promised to get back to us."

"We will revisit these issues in the next synod to gauge our progress," Tsoke said.


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