Stephen J. McKinney, Honor Hania and Robert J. Hill

Pope Francis has made it one of the aims of his pontificate to challenge slavery. This article discusses two responses to the challenge of contemporary slavery. First, we explore a scriptural response (Matthew 5.21-48 and the Decalogue) and second, the response from Catholic Social Teaching. Stephen J. McKinney and Honor Hania are from the University of Glasgow, Robert J. Hill is parish priest of
St Matthew’s, Bishopbriggs.

In a previous article in The Pastoral Review (September-October 2014)we explored the phenomenon and disturbing frequency of slavery in the contemporary world. We were prompted by the public statements of Pope Francis who has consistently taken a strong stance against slavery since he was in post as the Archbishop of Buenos Aires. We stated that the response of Catholic Social Teaching is one of abhorrence and condemnation but the scriptural attitude towards slavery was ambivalent. We concluded by stating that the inclusive vision of early Christianity effectively undermined slavery and also that, despite the ambivalence of scripture on this topic, a basis for opposition to slavery could be discerned in the Old and New Testaments.

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November/December 2014

Zoe M. Davis

A Benedictine nun reflects on the experience of hearing and using the new translation of the Mass. Zoe M. Davis is from the Priory of Our Lady of Peace, Turvey Abbey, Bedfordshire.

I would like to place my reflections on the new translation in the context of my personal history and current life situation. I was raised in the United States in a practising Episcopalian family. Attending Sunday Eucharist was a foregone conclusion and I grew up with the old Book of Common Prayer. The language, though quite foreign to everyday speech, was beautiful and memorable. It was written to be heard. To this day and after a gap of forty years I can still call to mind many of the prayers and psalms we used on Sundays. I was received into the Catholic Church in the early 1970s and joined the Benedictines in 1975, where I have been a sister ever since.

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November/December 2014

Claire Fernandes

Claire Fernandes offers ideas for celebrating Advent in Catholic schools. She draws on her experience as a lecturer in Primary RE and as a children’s catechist trained in ‘Catechesis of the Good Shepherd’ methodology.

Advent is a time of preparation, a time of prayerful waiting when we remember Christ’s coming 2000 years ago, and we look forward in anticipation of his second coming.

How can we encourage children to make that journey with us this Advent? I suggest that this reflection on one of the Messianic prophecies could be used in class acts of worship in primary schools.

Class act of worship in primary school
Resources: candle, low prayer table with purple cloth, scripture card – with verses written out and backed on purple card, small stand for scripture card, images of desert landscape, map.

Introduction: Show pictures of rugged, desert landscape.

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November/December 2014

Priscilla Noble-Mathews

Each November we remember the dead and also mark Armistice day. This article asks if war can ever be ‘just’ and looks at Scripture for guidance. Priscilla Noble-Mathews is a retired doctor and has studied Theology.

It is vital to be very clear on the principles underlying the decision to engage in war (ius ad bellum) as opposed to the actual conduct of such a war (ius in bello). Arguably today, such factors have allowed the boundary between the decision as to whether the war is to be considered just, and the means used in war, to become blurred. One can argue that whether a hail of arrows or a nuclear bomb is used, is immaterial to the actual principle of whether the proposal in the first place to engage in war is just. The force available may well influence the decision as to whether or not to proceed, but should not be put in the melting pot of the decision as to whether or not the war itself may have the label ‘just’.

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November/December 2014

Pippa Bonner

Pippa Bonner, who ran a hospice bereavement service, writes about grief and finds some help from Scripture. She is a member of the Dympna Circle, three women who write about spiritual and therapeutic matters.

We think about those who have died particularly in November. We remember family, friends and those who have died in war. Some thoughts here may be useful from my experience of running a hospice bereavement service.

I would like to consider two aspects of bereavement. One is about how people grieve. The other is the miracle of Jesus, Lazarus, Martha and Mary (John 11) where we reflect on how Jesus and his friends grieved.

Many of us support others in their grief but it is important that we also look after our own losses, so as to be present for others. Most receive support from families, friends and church communities.

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November/December 2014

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