SOUTH AFRICA: Lead Aliwal Diocese back to True Worship, Bishop Sipuka Urges Newly Ordained Bishop

ALIWAL NORTH, FEBRUARY 18, 2020 (CISA) – Bishop Sithembele Sipuka of the Catholic diocese of Mthatha has encouraged Bishop Joseph Kizito, the new ordinary of the Catholic diocese of Aliwal to ensure that it goes back to the true ways of Catholic worship.

Bishop Sipuka was speaking February 15 in his homily during the consecration ceremony of Bishop Kizito as the new bishop of the Catholic diocese of Aliwal.

“…your task as bishop is 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,” said bishop Sipuka who is also president of Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC)

“You can be sure that you will find existing erroneous ways of worship, which as a bishop you will have to correct. First of all you will find that the worship of God is weak, and in some situations nonexistent because the worship of God today competes with the worship of selling and buying,” he noted.

“…the command to keep the Sabbath day holy has been largely ignored. In this context, you and the Catholics that you will be leading in this diocese, have to find ways of remaining true to this commandment of keeping the Sabbath Holy for the worship of God,” he said.

Bishop Sipuka noted that while Catholics can learn a lot from other ecclesial communities and vice versa in matters related to worship and doctrine, the Catholic Church has a particular identity which should be retained.

“Modifications of worship and doctrine between the Catholic Church and other ecclesial communities if they are to be meaningful must be based on well thought out engagements…and not on emotional and superficial grounds,” he mentioned.

Bishop Sipuka also noted that there is need for balance between an intellectual and sentimental approach to worship.

“Many people leave the Catholic Church because it is cold, individualistic, mechanistic, and intellectual and does not respond to the human and spiritual needs of its members.   As a Catholic Church we have a lot to learn from other ecclesial communities in terms of creating a sense of communion and belonging and in terms of making the faith respond to the concerns and existential needs of sickness and material poverty of our people. Yet on the other hand, it would be careless and irresponsible of us to let go of the strength of our liturgy and doctrine that put emphasis on the cross and sacrifice,” he noted.

The consecration ceremony was presided over by Archbishop Stephen Brislin of the Catholic Archdiocese of Cape Town.