Vol 40 No 3
THE CHALLENGE OF COMMUNICATION
DRAW THEM WITH THE BONDS OF LOVE: THE PRACTICE OF HEART SPIRITUALITY
A PAPACY COMMUNICATED: POPE JOHN PAUL II
BRINGING LIFE TO FAITH AND FAITH TO LIFE: FOR A SHARED CHRISTIAN PRAXIS
APPROACH AND AGAINST A DETRACTOR
WHAT’S IN A NAME? PART I: ‘MINISTRY’ AND ‘COMMON PRIESTHOOD’
SUSTAINABLE YOUTH MINISTRY: EXPLORING THE ROLE OF THE SPIRIT
O’Carroll and Chris Fleming
GOD AND PHENOMENOLOGY: RE-READING JEAN-LUC MARION
them with the bonds of love:
The Practice of Heart Spirituality
BARRY BRUNDELL MSC
JUST TWO preliminary remarks before I launch into what I have to present.
First, all of us are in some way tuned into the Heart Spirituality Movement.
We respond to the revelation of Gods love in the human heart of
Jesus. The Heart Spirituality Movement can be traced to the early days
of Christianity, even to the churches of the New Testament times.
I am writing from my particular foothold in the Heart Spirituality Movement:
I am a professed member of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, a congregation
of priests and brothers who have sought for the last 150 years to spread
the word about this love. That is who I am and where I am coming from.
But I am confident that you will not read me as writing only for my fellow
professed MSC but for all who are part of the movement; you will be able
to relate beyond the particular references to my life experience to our
Second, this is the seventh annual Bishop EJ Cuskelly MSC Memorial Lecture.
Bishop Cuskelly Cus to us who were privileged to know
him that wellwas guide and teacher to us in our training, Superior
General of the MSC Congregation, then auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese
of Brisbane. He left his mark in all spheres of his endeavours: on us
students, on the whole MSC Society, and on the Brisbane Archdiocese, especially
in its pastoral organization. He edited and wrote very popular texts on
Heart Spirituality, e.g. Man With A Mission, on Jules Chevalier, Founder
of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart and of the Daughters of Our Lady
of the Sacred Heart, and a collection of articles entitled With A Human
I feel deeply honoured to have this chance to do something in his memory.
We held a combined meeting in our parish church of the Sydney MSC Parishes
Pastoral Councils, and one of the visitors from another parish said: Your
church is forbidding on the outside, but beautiful inside! It struck
me that that might often be said for the Catholic Church as a whole. From
the outside it can look like an unattractive institution, but when we
have penetrated beyond the façade we discover great beauty. My
reflections are directed towards assisting our task of enabling people
on the outside to discover that beauty at the heart of our Church.
Catholic, Catholic Church, even Church
pure and simplefor many these are barrier-raising terms. We could
list all kinds of reasons why people respond to them as they do. Some
reasons do us creditwe do challenge the wider society on a number
of issues in the name of the Gospel. Other reasons do us less credit for
they alert us to regrettable blocks to our communication of the Good News.
Jesus was immediately attractive to the crowds who came pressing about
him to hear his words and receive his healing touch. There were some,
though, who reacted badly even to Jesus (e.g. Mk 6:1-6)a reminder
that we should not be too disheartened if we cannot get the message through
to absolutely everyone.
I want to talk about the MSC way of trying to get the message out to those
who are not of the fold.
I have been part of the MSC Australian province contemporaneously with
all but thirty-seven priests, brothers and bishops who lived and died
before I came along at the early age of thirteen to begin my training
at Douglas Park. I have known many MSC priests and brothers and many people
who have associated themselves with us over a long time. In my earliest
days I came to the conclusion, which I still agree with, that the quality
that most readily springs to mind when describing a Missionary of the
Sacred Heart is kindness. My subsequent encounters with MSC of other nationalities
have only further supported my conclusion.
What this says is that the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart have been
striving to live out our rule of life as set out in our Constitutions.
Our MSC Constitutions describe and prescribe the MSC way:
The spirit of our Society
is one of love and kindness,
humility and simplicity. (no. 13)
Following the example of Jesus,
we will strive to lead others to God
with kindness and gentleness,
to unite them to him by love
and to free them from fear. (no. 12)
These are the words used in our current Constitutions, revised according
to the directives of the Second Vatican Council. (PC 2) and approved in
1984. Our earlier, 1891, Constitutions told us to draw them [people]
with the bonds of love, which I read as conveying the same meaning.
The reference is to the loving God of Hosea 11.3-4, who said through the
I myself taught Ephraim to walk,
I myself took them by the arm,
but they did not know that I was the one caring for them,
that I was leading them with human ties,
with leading strings of love,
that, with them, I was like someone lifting an infant to his cheek
and that I bent down to feed him.
The leading strings of love refer to the way fathers and mothers
used to teach their infants to take their first steps. The mother and
father held on to the ends of two strings; the toddler was tied by each
of the strings in such a way that the parents were able to keep it upright
on its feet; and the parents would in turn pull in and let out the strings
so that the toddler would take steps, and so begin to walk with a lot
of help from its parents.2
We MSC obviously cannot claim to have a monopoly on kindness; it is not
as if we claim kindness as our own thing/virtue and everyone else has
to find something different. But above-all-be kind is the
maxim for communicating with each other and with everyone else that is
typically MSC. As a maxim, it is an ideal for behaving that is presented
to us. That sometimes we live up to the ideal is a reason for giving glory
to God. That at other times we do not live up to the ideal means that
we need to repent and resolve to do better. But kindness is our aim. That
is the MSC way when we walk it and when we do notkindness above
No doubt we can all think of counter-instances, of individuals who were
not especially kind. Hopefully these instances are rare in our personal
experiences. One of the stories I heard was of an MSC priest teacher in
one of our Colleges who had given a certain boy cause to think the teacher
was not kind. This boy saw the priest stroking the college cat, and was
heard to remark loudly to one of his mates: Well, at least hes
kind to animals!
Kindness is a virtue that flows directly from our MSC core spirituality
and mission: to make the heart of God known and loved everywhere. The
heart of God is the divine love, compassion, kindness that is incarnated
in Jesus. But before I seek to develop that line of thought there are
a number of questions and objections that I would like to respond to early
in my reflections rather than later, for instance:
Is this kindness-above-all policy not too soft for our hard times? Is
it ever going to work? Or is it doomed to failure because it is inadequate
for meeting the challenges we are facing? Have we not ample evidence already
that it is a failurefor instance, from the collapse of Church discipline
over the past forty years? Just look at the results of taking the soft
line in the Church: religious observance is now much more casual and often
near to non-existent. Do we not need to tighten up again, insist on firm
and clear discipline, restore some religious obligationsweekly Mass
and frequent attendance at sacraments, especially the sacrament of Penanceintroduce
some new, and re-introduce some traditional, practices and make them obligatory?
And what about peoples grasp of the faith? Do we not need to present
clear teachings, and insist on them as to-be-believed if one is to remain
in the Catholic community? Is there not too much free-thinking going on,
too much questioning even of basic truths of the faith?
What is being suggested is that we need to take a more authoritarian approachindeed,
that we are forced to do so by the alleged failure of a less authoritarian
The quick response I would make to such questions is: even though I see
the evidence and feel the pain, even though I am dealing with the difficulties
at first hand, and even though there might be some momentary personal
relief in pounding the table about the things I believe are going wrong,
nevertheless, in our day such methods simply will not work. This is not
a time for telling people off or commanding people to do things. It is
not a time for teaching in dogmatic fashion. People will not take any
Our world has moved on in recent decades. No longer are people passively
faithful. For better or for worse we are all affected by the politico-social
world we live in, which is democratic and emphasises personal judgment,
personal conscience and individual autonomy, and which encourages in us
an expectation of being involved in decision-making.
That people respond to authority differently in our times is accepted
in Church documents and by Church leaders. We find it in the opening words
of the Declaration on Religious Liberty of Vatican II (Dignitatis Humanae):
Contemporary men and women are becoming increasingly conscious of the
dignity of the human person; more and more people are demanding that they
should exercise fully their own judgment and a responsible freedom in
their actions and should not be subject to the pressure of coercion but
be inspired by a sense of duty.
In his first message for the World Day of Peace (2006) (par. 9) Benedict
XVI repeated the words of John Paul II in his peace message of 2002 who
warned against attempts to impose, rather than to propose for others
freely to accept, ones own convictions about the truth:
To try to impose on others by violent means what we consider to be
the truth is an offence against the dignity of the human being, and ultimately
an offence against God in whose image he [she] is made.
Some years ago the bishops of Quebec summed up well what is needed:
It is not sufficient to insist that the Church is not a democracy,
even if that statement is correct. Integration into the Church in a democratic
society leads to a new relation to authority and a different manner of
proclaiming the gospel. What is required is a certain degree of participation
and a careful listening to all the voices that want to be heard. othing
can be imposed simply by authority. (Annoncer lévangile
dans la culture actuelle au Quebec, Fides: Montreal, 1999.)
My more considered reply to the question whether the gentle approach should
be abandoned in the face of its seeming general failure and whether we
should return to more authoritarian methods is somewhat lengthier. I begin
by posing a counter-question: should we even try such stronger methods?
Are heavy-handed responses to the spirit of our times the right and Christian
way to deal with people, especially when we are trying to help them find
God and live as followers of Jesus? I answer my own question with a short
No! Further, I claim that the gentle approach is the only
way to serve Gods people, not just for our times but for always:
it is the only way allowed for a follower of Christ.
To support my contention I argue from the example of Jesus practice,
from the pastoral approach opted for by the Church in the Second Vatican
Council, and from some fundamental principles of contemporary moral theology.
My conclusion will be that our MSC approachkindness always and above
all elseis perfectly aligned with best Christian practice. It characterises
the pastoral approach that is presented to us as the correct one.
The Way of Jesus
So, let us reflect a little on Jesus pastoral approach, on his way
of dealing with people and enabling them to hear his Good News.
Jesus was the Good Shepherd who went out to seek and bring back a recalcitrant
sheep. St Asterius of Amasea (ca. 400 AD) gave a beautiful little homily
on this gospel parable in which he exhorted his hearers to be shepherds
after the style of Our Lord, to learn from him to be considerate and kind.
When one of the sheep wandered off, St Asterius tells us, the shepherd:
Followed it through countless valleys and ravines, climbed many difficult
mountains, searched with great trouble in lonely places, until he found
it. When he had found the lost sheep, far from beating it or driving it
to return to the flock, he laid it on his shoulders and gently carried
it back and returned it to its fellows
The whole story has a sacred meaning and it warns us not to think of any
man as lost or beyond hope. We must not easily despair of those who are
in danger or be slow to help them. If they stray from the path of virtue,
we should lead them back and rejoice in their return and make it easy
for them to rejoin the community of those who lead good and holy lives.
(Asterius of Amasea, Hom. 13; Prayer of the Church, vol. 1, p. 109-110.)
The Good Shepherd story describes the incarnation and redemption. Just
as the Good Shepherd followed the lost sheep through countless valleys
and ravines, climbed many steep mountains, searched with great trouble
in lonely places, till he found the lost sheepso, in Incarnation
language, the Son of God bridged the great chasm that had opened up through
human sinfulness down the ages. Jesus left his glory behind, the glory
that he had with his Father. He emptied himselfwe call
this the kenosis or emptying of himselfto assume the
form of a servant, taking on our human condition. We had become a lost
human race and in Jesus the Saviour God reached out to us and joined himself
Through the Incarnation Jesus entered into solidarity with the whole human
race. He came to where the lost sheep was, and shared the lot of the sheep.
The Letter to the Hebrews meditates on that truth, emphasising that this
was the way he had to take in order to redeem us:
Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every respect,
so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service
of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people. Because
he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who
are being tested. (Heb. 2:17-18)
Jesus has been through what we experience, he has been here and knows
what we are going through. He has experienced human pain, weakness, darkness:
He is able to deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself
is subject to weakness. (5:2)
Jesus Feels for us. He sympathises with us. He feels compassion for us.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our
weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we
are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with
boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time
of need. (4:15-16)
Echoing the words of St Asterius, he did not easily despair of those who
are in danger, nor was he slow to help them. When we strayed from the
path of virtue he came to lead us back, rejoicing in our return, our rescue,
and made it easy for us to rejoin the community of those who lead good
and holy lives.
Jesus way is the way of all followers of Christ. We are to be shepherds,
as St Asterius told us, after the style of Our Lord, and learn from him
to be considerate and kind.
The Way of Vatican II
I now wish to focus our attention on the approach deliberately adopted
by the Fathers in the Second Vatican Council. When one reads the documents
of Vatican II along with some of the speeches of the Fathers during the
sessions of the Council and in the meetings of the various preparatory
Commissions, one finds abundant material for encouragement and assurance
that the gently-gently approach was the one officially adopted
by the Council.
The Council Fathers rejected calls for heavy-handed methods of dealing
with modern ills and with all that Catholics saw as going wrong in the
world. They rejected calls to denounce and anathematize as other Councils
had done For instance, they rejected calls to condemn atheism and Communism,
though many Italian Fathers, influenced by the political situation in
Italy of the time, were agitating for such a condemnation. In the final
draft of the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World we
do not find a condemnation of communism, simply a firm statement of why
the Church opposed systematic atheism (LG pars. 19-21).
Cardinal Seper, who was later to become the Prefect of the Congregation
for the Doctrine of the Faith, made an impassioned speech in the Preparatory
Commission for the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World
which well represented the collective mind of the Council Fathers. We
are pastors, he said to the assembly. We must today speak to people
whose lives are largely if not entirely lived outside the Church: there
must be no condemnations.
As the title of the document Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the
Modern World suggests, the Council aimed to be a pastoral Council, not
a dogmatic Council that talks down to the world from on high. As one bishop,
speaking for many, said, there had been in the past too much potestas
(exercise of power by Church authorities) at the expense of service and
A new spirit was moving in the Council, a spirit of dialogue, of reaching
out for dialogue, of readiness to enter into dialogue. Cardinal Walter
Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian
Unity (successor in this role to Cardinal Cassidy) reflected on this recently
when speaking about the Council Decree on Ecumenism (Unitatis Redintegratio)
forty years after its promulgation. He said:
Because of the differences that remain, the Council warned against
superficiality and imprudent zeal.
He then quoted the Decree itself:
Ecumenical activity cannot be other than fully and sincerely Catholic,
that is, loyal to the truth we have received from the Apostles and the
Fathers, and in harmony with the faith which the Catholic Church has always
professed. (UR 24; EV 1/571)
Thus, we must state our beliefs clearly and faithfully. We owe that to
our partners in the dialogue. He continued:
But the Church also puts us on our guard against polemics. It is significant
that the word dialogue is repeated like a refrain at the conclusion
of all the sections of this part of the decree (UR 19; 21; 22; 23). That
expresses once more the new spirit in which the Council intended to overcome
the [ecumenical] differences. (Walter Kasper, Le Décret sur
loecuménismeUne nouvelle lecture quarante ans après.
Rocca di Papa, 11-13 November 2004.)
Another important theme during the Council and afterwards was the need
to discern the signs of the times. Originally put onto the Councils
agenda by Pope John XXIII, the phrase signs of the times is
a reference to Jesuscomplaint to the Pharisees and Sadducees in
Mth 16.3 You know how to read the face of the sky, but you cannot
read the signs of the times.
The signs that the Council Fathers were seeking to discern were especially
the aspirations of peoples, their spiritual uneasiness, their hopes and
anxieties in this modern, industrialised, urbanized world of today. (LG
4-10) Then, having discerned what people were aspiring fortheir
deepest longingsthe Church was called to be of service to the world,
to go out and join the world in its struggles. The Church, the Council
Fathers affirmed, is a Servant Church, modeled on Christ the Servant.
The Church is to serve the world.
So, Vatican II put the Church on the course of joining the human race.
The task of the followers of Christ, the Fathers stated, was to join in
solidarity with the whole human race in its struggles to overcome the
shortcomings of human existence and reach a higher form of life. This
was expressed in the famous opening words of the Councils Pastoral
Constitution on the Church in the Modern World:
The joy and hope, the grief and anguish of the men of our time, especially
of those who are poor or afflicted in any way, are the joy and hope, the
grief and anguish of the followers of Christ as well. Nothing that is
genuinely human fails to find an echo in their hearts.
In this statement the Fathers affirm that Christian believers are in solidarity
with all human beings, especially those who are afflicted.
The phrase followers of Christ is a key phrase. By now we
should be hearing the Good Shepherd theme echoing loudly. The followers
of Christ are followers of Christ the Good Shepherd. The Vatican Council
stated that, as followers of Christwith Christ as our modelwe
are in complete solidarity with our brothers and sisters and feel for
them and with them in all that happens to them.
We might also add: our human hearts are to be like the human heart of
Jesus. Like Jesusas followers of Christwe are to feel for,
sympathise with, and feel compassion for our afflicted brothers and sisters.
It is worth pausing a moment to reflect on the meaning of compassion.
The word compassion is derived from the Latin words pati and cum, which
together mean to suffer with. Compassion asks us to go where
it hurts, to enter into places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear,
confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those
in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears.
Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable,
and powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion in the
condition of being human.8
Moved with compassion, the followers of Christ will want to do something
for their suffering brothers and sisters. Jesus was moved with compassion
and a desire to aid suffering humanity, which desire led him to actionhe
brought the Kingdom of God into our history; he gave up his life for suffering
humanity. So, also, we are to be moved with compassion and a desire to
aid suffering humanity, which desire must lead us to action.
To those who wanted the Church to teach the world its doctrine, the Councils
reply was: in dialogue we express our truth, maintain that we have truth,
for the Church knows in Christ what is the truth about humankind. We do
not sermonize or moralise, or preach; but we do seek to lead our contemporaries
to discover the Creator and in so doing discover the truth about themselves.
The Church gives its witness, speaks from its faith, and seeks to speak
to all peoples in a language they can hear.
The person and spirit of John XXIII was in the background throughout this
major shift by the Council away from previous Church practice to a new
way of speaking and relating to people. (Congar 2002, I, 383). Pope Paul
VI was to follow adopting the same pastoral approach, as is especially
evidenced in his Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelisation in the Modern World
Thus, in the Second Vatican Council, the Church declared that Jesus
way, the way of the followers of Christ, was its way also.
Our MSC way, I suggest, is fully in harmony with Jesus the Good Shepherd
and with the Teaching Church.
Now I make a further claim: there is no other way permitted to us. To
support my claim I appeal to some fundamental principles of contemporary
Contemporary Moral Theology
In the parable of the Good Shepherd the wandering sheep is not compelled
to returnit returns because it wants to, and the shepherd would
have returned without it if the sheep had refused to come.
God has given us the gift of freedom. Considering the havoc that has ensued
through misuse of that gift, God took an almighty risk in giving it. But
God will not take back his gift, even when we abuse it to enslave ourselves
and harm others.
God only loves; God does not compel. He wants a response to his love.
The shepherd loves the sheep and if it responds to the shepherds
love, the sheep will come back with him. Humanising the sheep for a momentor,
rather, bearing in mind that the sheep in the parable refers to human
beingsthe response of the wandering sheep, letting itself be brought
back home, needs to be a response from the heart. No lesser response will
Moral theologians have been reacting for some years now against schools
of ethics and moral theology in which heart is not mentioned.
They criticize moral theologies which were not based on Scripture, and
which did not reflect the rich scriptural presentation of the heart as
the place of communication between God and the human person, where the
call of God is heard, and whence (from the heart) the persons response
Since the seventeenth century morality was usually presented as knowing
what was right and doing it, the application of moral principles to concrete
situations. The emphasis was on using our intelligence to know moral principles
and apply them. Even the cognitive-development approach of Kohlberg has
been criticized for over-emphasising the place of intelligence and reason
in moral life. Lawrence Hinman wrote, for instance:
I certainly do not want to argue that the standard view of morality
is completely wrong. Clearly it captures something important about the
moral life, namely, that it is in part constituted by rules, impartiality,
and specific choices. Yet at the same time, it is equally clear that it
leaves out an important aspect of the moral life, namely the development
of character, moral sensitivity, and vision.9
The term morality of the heart is now in use among moral theologians
(cf. Shelton 1990). And this term reflects Scripture. The heart is the
place of true faithfulness to the will of God. Nothing less will do than
conversion of the heart. It is to the hearts of people that we must speak,
and they are to respond from their hearts.
To speak to the hearts of people, though, the moralists point out, we
need to empathise with people. Empathy precedes compassion. Empathy is
an affective response that is more appropriate to someone elses
situation than to ones own (Hoffman 1981, cf. Shelton 1990,
42.). Empathy engenders compassion, a feeling of sympathetic distress,
from which develops concern and a desire to aid others. The spring of
our (moral) response to other people and their situations, especially
of those who are poor or afflicted in any way is empathy.
Concern for the poor and needy, action for justice and for the promotion
of human dignity, and morality of the heart belong together.
We speak of a morality of care with empathy as its basis, acknowledging
the vital role empathy has in forming caring responsesthis is heart
spirituality in action.
It is to the hearts of people that we must speak, and they are to respond
from their hearts. Will they respond from the heart? It will be for them
to do so or not. We can only reach out from our hearts. But Jesus is our
model in all this. What we have been describingempathy, compassion
and action for peoplewas his way.
Thus Jesus, the Good Shepherdour model as we strive to be shepherds
ourselves (and we are all called to be shepherds, whether we are ordained
or not)the Church, servant of humankind, which seeks to be part
of the struggles and aspirations of the whole human raceand as well,
the moral theologians who are to help us discern right from wrongall
tell us that our pastoral practice in seeking to draw them with
the bonds of love is correct practice, best practiceindeed
the only practice permitted.
Other ways have been tried, as we can all remember; ways of impatience;
ways of compulsion; ways of
panic. They are ways of reaction: ultra-conservative
reactions, relying on dogmatism, suppression, and fundamentalism of one
kind or another. It is difficult to convince people that these ways are
wrong when they are already persuaded that more disciplinarian ways are
needed if we are to set the Church and world in order again.
But we must remind ourselves that we are all on a journey. We can only
grow in ourselves if we are allowed to be free, thinking and responsible
subjects. We are called to accept responsibility for our own lives. We
cannot hand over this responsibility to anyone.
On the other hand, it is easier now to promote the message and pursue
the way of kindness. Over many centuries the Church has been closely aligned
with one form of political government or other. At one timethe time
of ChristendomChurch and government were closely allied, so that
Church authorities had to be involved in keeping order, waging wars, punishing
and imprisoning people. Since the late nineteenth century, however, that
link with secular powers has been removed, and the Church is free to operate
more in accordance with its true self. We are now in a post-Christendom
The ndrangheta, the criminal organization of Calabria in southern
Italy, which corresponds to the Mafia and the Comorra in other parts of
Italy, has raised the barrier in recent times, with murders, including
that of the Vice-President of the Calabrian Regional Council. I want to
read to you the statement of Bishop Raffaele Nogaro, bishop of Caserta,
a diocese in the area dominated by the ndrangheta:
I am more and more convinced that denunciations corrode and depress
and do not edify. Absolutely we must be indignant in face of evil, and
we must defeat it wherever possible. It is important that we Christian
believers commit ourselves and replace evil with good. I believe that
in every society there is a stream of the resurrection. It is proper to
accompany it with all understanding and with pardon. By pardoning we build
new lives. Our Church must not be primarily one of condemnation of criminality,
but always acceptance of the person who, as well as being apparently bad,
is suffering. And human suffering is always greater than sin. Only the
Church which responds with mercy is the true Church. (Bishop Raffaele
Nogaro, bishop of Caserta, Il Regno 20/2005, 654.)
Postscript: There Are Limits
Only when all hope is lost does the time come to take other approaches.
There are limits.
There was a sequel to the above. The ndrangheta committed a further
series of acts of ferocity. The last straw was their concerted attacks
on farming communes established by the bishop of Locri-Gerace, employing
hundreds of young people, some of them ex-prisoners. Employment meant
they were sheltered from the mafia organization. In March this year someone
poured weed-killer in the storage tank containing the fertilizer, causing
the entire harvest to be lost as well as 10,000 raspberry plants. The
damage was estimated at 200,000 Euros. The bishop of Locri-Gerace, Bishop
Giancarlo Maria Bregantini, excommunicated the perpetrators on the 2nd
On the 8th April there was another strike by the ndrangheta on another
farming commune inspired by the bishop. Clearly their aim was to destroy
the whole co-operative movement that was connected with the bishop, to
make a statement in response to the public outrage expressed in Calabria
and throughout the whole of Italy, and to regain their hold on the youth.
Sometimes, as Jesus discovered, strong actions have to be taken. But that
is so only when all else has failed.
I give the final word to our MSC Constitutions:
We learn from [Jesus the Good Shepherd] who is gentle and humble of
heart. (No. 7)
We share the sentiments of the Heart of Christ. (No. 11)
Barry Brundell MSC has lectured in theology in Sydney and Rome. He is
Parish Priest of Erskineville, Sydney, and Visiting Fellow in the School
of History and Philosophy of Science, UNSW. He is the editor of Compass.
1. Publications by Bishop Cuskelly are: (1963) A Heart to Know Thee: A
Practical Summa of the Spiritual Life, The Newman Press, Westminster,
Maryland; (1965) Gods Gracious Design, The Newman Press, Westminster,
Maryland; (1965) The Kindness of God: A Mew Look at Catholic Doctrine,
The Mercier Press, Cork; (1975) Jules Chevalier: Man with a Mission 1824-1907,
Casa Generalizia MSC, Roma; (1978) A New Heart and a New Spirit: Reflections
on MSC Spirituality, Casa Generalizia MSC, Roma; (1999) Walking the Way
of Jesus: An Essay on Christian Spirituality, St Pauls Publications, Strathfield.
2. The text and interpretation of this passage in Hosea is much discussed.
The interpretation I have accepted fits the majority of modern translations.
3. For example, calls by Bishop de Mello in Vatican II, Acta Synodalia
Sacrosancti Concilii Oecumenici Vaticani Secundi. Libreria Editrice Vaticana,
Città del Vaticano (AS), vol II, part II, p. 114; and by Cardinal
Micara, AS II, II,123-4.
4. Bishop Franic in Congar, Y., 2002, Mon Journal du Concile, 2 vols,
Editions du Cerf, Paris, vol. 1, p. 422; AS II, I, 442-4.
5. Congar, op. cit. II, 110; [6th June, 1964].
6. Bishop Pont y Gol, AS II, II, 479-481.
7. AS II, I, 425-7; Cardinal Léger, AS II, II, 223-5; Congar, op.
cit. I, 438.
8. McNeill, D., Morrison, DA, and Nouwen, HJ, 1983, Compassion: A Reflection
on the Christian Life, Garden City, NY: Image Books, p. 4.
9. Hinman, L., 1985, Emotion, Morality, and Understanding,
in Moral Dilemmas, Harding, C. (ed.), Chicago: Precedent Publishing Co.,