March 2004


March 2004

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Ambassadors of reconciliation
The Editor

Reconciliation in the New Testament
Luke Timothy Johnson

Luke Timothy Johnson is Professor of New Testament at the Chandler School of Theology, Emory University, Georgia, USA. Here he explains how the New Testament, particularly St Paul, understands reconciliation as ‘an invitation that requires a response’ although God is the one who takes the initiative in restoring good relations with sinful people, through his love for us.

Albert Nolan OP

Albert Nolan, South African author and Dominican Vicar General, was recently awarded the Order of Luthuli in Silver for his life-long dedication to the struggle for justice in his country. Here he suggests that ‘Reconciliation in South Africa has been due in no small measure to the faith communities.’

Peace-making: a rough guide
Duncan MacLaren

Caritas Internationalis is a Confederation of 162 Catholic relief, development and social service agencies operating in over 200 countries and territories and is one of the largest humanitarian networks in the world. Here the Secretary General, Duncan MacLaren, explains how the Confederation was led to take peacemaking and reconciliation seriously.

A good confession:
1. Preparing and making
Pia Buxton IBVM

How can confession be a spiritually helpful experience, and not the mere recital of a list? Sr Pia Buxton trains spiritual directors and directs people from many traditions. She believes that the pilgrims seeking God have the map and the compass in their own knapsacks, but they may need guidance to look in them. As so few Catholic parishes make spiritual direction available, here she suggests ways in which preparing for confession can be part of a process of spiritual direction for everyone.

A good confession:
2. Hearing and guiding
John Sherrington

Fr John Sherrington is a priest of the Diocese of Nottingham. He lectures in moral theology at St John’s Seminary, Wonersh, where he is also the Director of Studies. Here he offers some reflections to support priests in the hearing of confession.

Addiction and hope
Tony Briggs

Tony Briggs tells the story of when he became an alcoholic and how he was able to waken out of the nightmare of compulsive drinking. He owes, he says, the healing of his life to the grace of God and offers this account in the hope of helping others who are either in a similar situation or who help those who are.

Preaching and teaching the Word
Brian O’Higgins

Brian O’Higgins is parish priest of St Michael’s, East Ham, London, in the Diocese of Brentwood. Here he offers some reflections on the lectionary readings for the Sundays and Holy Days of April.

How to be a welcoming parish
Eddie Butler

St Teresa’s is an ordinary urban parish in Stoke-on-Trent, in the Birmingham Archdiocese. However, it has had considerable success in recent years in attracting and welcoming new members. The parish priest explains some of the approaches that seem to have worked there, and ‘where handing our church back to the people is the greatest service we can render if a parish such as ours is to survive’.

Saving religions for the world
Francesca Murphy

Francesca Murphy, Reader in Divinity and Religious Studies at King’s College, University of Aberdeen, reflects on the book The Dignity of Difference: how to avoid the clash of civilisations1 by the Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, which involved him in controversy with his co-religionists. The book, she finds, ‘speaks to people outside any faith, put off by the antagonism between different religions’.

Postscript: Learning how others see us
Pat Jones


Original Sin: origins, developments, contemporary meanings
Tatha Wiley
, £US$19.95
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The Sacrament of Reconciliation
David M. Coffey
Liturgical Press, £12.87
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Fortress Church: the English Roman Catholic bishops and politics 1903-63
Kester Aspden
Gracewing, £20
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Being Human: fulfilling genetic and spiritual potential
Peter Vardy
Darton, Longman and Todd, £7.99
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