South African Prelate Establishes Redemptoris Mater Seminary of Cape Town (Part 2)

Archbishop Stephen Breslin Speaks on Forming a ‘New Clergy’ for a New Evangelization

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By Salvatore Cernuzio and Junno Arocho

ROME, NOV. 20, 2012 ( According to a South African archbishop, the new evangelization needs a new type of priest.

Archbishop Stephen Brislin says a priest of the new evangelization must incarnate the ardor and zeal being called for by Benedict XVI, and Blessed John Paul II.

Archbishop Brislin of Cape Town, South Africa, was in Rome last week to sign a decree establishing a diocesan missionary seminary in his archdiocese.

It is a Redemptoris Mater Seminary, a diocesan missionary seminary linked to the Neocatechumenal Way to aid in accomplishing the Church’s call for a new evangelization. This year alone, 10 new Redemptoris Mater seminaries have been opened, bringing the total number of these seminaries worldwide to 95.

According to a communique released by the Archdiocese of Cape Town, «these international seminaries are not seminaries that belong to the Neocatechumenal Way, since the Way is not a religious order nor has clergy of its own.  All the Redemptoris Mater seminaries are fully diocesan seminaries, whose seminarians have arrived at their vocation as result of their Neocatechumenal path and the rediscovery of their baptism as lived through small Neocatechumenal communities.» 

Archbishop Brislin spoke with ZENIT on the significance of the Redemptoris Mater in Cape Town and its role in the New Evangelization.

Part 1 of this interview was published Monday.

ZENIT: You have stated in the past that you would like to form a new type of priest in South Africa. How do you see the Redemptoris Mater seminary in fulfilling that goal?

Archbishop Brislin: I think we live in a very, globalized world at the moment and I think that the issue is to try and understand that as a globalized world, we are all connected with each other. Therefore, the fact that the seminary is an international seminary, I think is an absolute asset — that we are getting people from various cultures, various nationalities who are coming under one umbrella and who are being formed in the Church of Cape Town and are then being sent out to different parts of the world in order to do the missionary work.

I think that when we say that we want to form a new type of priest, what we are looking for is that ardor, that zeal that Blessed Pope John Paul II spoke about and which certainly Pope Benedict XVI himself has spoken about. And that ardor shouldn’t be confined to the priest, of course. But that ardor, that zeal for Christ belongs to each and every person. We should have that zeal for proclaiming Christ and also to find new ways of bringing Him to people, particularly among the young, the youth, in ways that they can understand and in ways that they can really understand the message of Jesus Christ; that Christ is our Savior; that He is Lord; that through his passion, death, and resurrection we are saved. And I think the way that it is communicated to people has to be reinterpreted from generation to generation. The message doesn’t change – we are preaching Christ – but the ways we present that have got to be in ways that people will understand.

ZENIT: What is the significance of the fact that the decree establishing the seminary is going to be signed at St. Peter’s Basilica?

Archbishop Brislin: You know yesterday we had the great privilege of seeing the bones, the relics of St. Peter and we were just, once again, so moved and touched to feel ourselves connected with the first Pope, the first of the apostles. I think that what this is saying is that the message we preach is the same message that St. Peter preached, that the Apostles preached. This is the same message that has been preached for the past 2,000 years and we are a part of that. In signing this at St. Peter’s, what we are saying is that we are a part of that long tradition, that we are a part of that Catholic Church, which is the universal Church, and that we are preaching what the Church teaches, and bringing what the Church teaches to all the people with their hearts open to receive this message. So it is a connection of the long tradition of the Church and of saying that ‘This is the faith that we have, this is the Rock on which the Church was built’.  And despite Peter’s frailty, despite his weaknesses, he was the chosen vessel; he was the chosen means that Christ chose. We are saying that despite our own weaknesses, our own frailty, we continue upon that Rock which was given to us by Christ and we preach the same message.

ZENIT: One final question, we have many ZENIT readers from Africa; do you have any message for them in this Year of Faith?

Archbishop Breslin: The post-Synodal document, Africae Munus, gave a long section to the new evangelization. While faith is very alive in Africa and we can certainly rejoice in the faith that we have and the fact that most African people are people who are deeply spiritual, we should not avoid the necessity to continue to have that ardor, to continue to have that energy and enthusiasm for proclaiming Jesus Christ.

Just because faith is alive in Africa, we shouldn’t think that we can be exempt from the secularism which is facing so much of the world. Therefore, we have to have that ardor and we too must continue to find new ways of proclaiming the message of Jesus Christ. It is also true that Africa is a country that has many problems, many difficulties, and we turn to Christ as the hope of Africa. That it is Christ who can save Africa and therefore we turn to him and to his teachings and to say that this is the way of salvation. If we can bring Christ into the hearts of people and if we can truly evangelize cultures, countries and nations, we can bring about justice, peace and reconciliation, which are the great themes of Africae Munus. Reconciliation, of course, is the first step and from there flows justice and peace. 

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