Doesn’t our focus move from one to the other; people and planet?  When it’s election time we do focus more on peoples’ needs but then COP26 is happening at the same time as our 1 November local election.  COP 26 is mostly focusing on the planet, but on behalf of the people, of course.  Please consider signing the petition which is to be presented to the world leaders, begging them to take the required action towards a healthier planet by cutting carbon emission levels.

For general wellbeing of creation we have to keep both,  people and planet, in mind and I like to think that our 2021  MARFAM theme OUR WORLD, A FAMILY OF FAMILIES is deeply comprehensive, also bringing in the aspect of “family” which is applicable and common to both.

Right now the media in South Africa are mostly obsessed with the election and the people dimension and there has been very little focus on the environment.  The overall issues are fixing poor service delivery and providing clean and honest governance, as against the corruption that has dogged our footsteps for the last years. Political violence too is a frightening phenomenon. 

Each party has their take on the issues and if and where we place our X will make its contribution. The SACBC Pastoral letter calls us to consider carefully, calls us to moral renewal and follow our conscience. The prayer given below asks for guidance from the Holy Spirit that all citizens will do the same.   

Dealing with COVID-19 and its aftermath, addressing poverty and rebuilding the economy does feature, but in my view not as sensitively as it should, in the light of the environmental crisis.  On the issue of health, mental health has been raised often and it is good that it is being recognized and not seen only in the way it has contributed to violence and abuse.  Other health matters have tended to be neglected during this time, with non-essential surgery and many other procedures, even our regular visits to the dentist, were put on hold.  We featured the Organ and Tissue Donor Foundation on Radio Veritas recently which is still very important as there is currently a shortage of organs for those awaiting them, although not of donors.   

October is Breast Cancer awareness month and this form of cancer is a disease that doesn’t wait for the COVID pandemic or go on hold.  It does not require an organ either. In fact it’s sad reality is that a very important female organ is often sacrificed, as in the course of treatment – which tends to be very successful overall – a mastectomy is often performed with the removal of one or both breasts.  A new film “THE BRIGHT SIDE,” that I watched last weekend, highlighted how traumatic this is for many women, especially the young but older women too. Breast self-examination is a preventative measure that has to be continued constantly.      Whatever is facing us in the future the best response to HEALTHY PLANET, HEALTHY PEOPLE is care. Preventative care and restorative care.  Indifference is a serious problem, denial and resistance are evils too.   CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME is the message of Pope Francis in Laudato Si, and repeated powerfully by all the religious leaders from different faiths who gathered in Rome on 4 October the feast of St Francis, the patron saint of ecology.  God matters, God’s creation matters, in human families as well as in all ecosystems and families of creation. Family Matters too through our various programmes and Pope Francis’ videos and other materials from Amoris Laetitia.  For us here in South Africa in the upcoming local elections too every contribution counts towards a society of healthy people in healthy families.  

Prayer for Peaceful Elections

Heavenly Father, we pray that the Holy Spirit may enable us to choose upright leaders committed to human dignity and the common good. Give us the courage to work for your Kingdom through promoting justice and peace in our society. May your Holy Spirit continually transform us so that we become examples of your mercy and peace
in our families and to others. We pray for peaceful elections.
We ask this in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.  TR   FAMILY WEEKLY 27 OCTOBER 2021