9. CATHOLIC LAY ASSOCIATIONS (SODALITIES)
Christ is like a single body, which has many parts; it is still one body, even though it is made up of different parts. In the same way, all of us, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether slaves or free, have been baptized into the one body by the same Spirit,and we have all been given the one Spirit to drink.If the whole body were just an eye, how could it hear?And if it were only an ear,how could it smell?As it is however,God put every different part in the body just as he wanted it to be.There would not be a body if it were all only one part. As it is there are many parts but one body.
( 1 Corinthians 12, 12 – 20).
The on-going development of the sodalities in the parishes and diocese requires that their members understand the constitution of their sodality and that they be committed members faithful to the spirit and content of their constitutions. The leadership of the different associations should ensure that they complement one another and together assist in the common apostolic services of the Church in a spirit of Catholic communion. There is a special need for the development of a Catholic men’s association in all the parishes of the Diocese of Tzaneen. All our Catholic associations and sodalities need to cultivate a deep solidarity with the Catholic communion in service of parish and diocesan needs. There should be no rivalry or superiority or inferiority complexes among them but a clear awareness of their special charisms and how they complement and complete the building up of the one and same Body of Christ which is the Church. Priests and pastoral leaders should be especially concerned about ensuring that this Catholic communion be maintained and that any signs of unhealthy competition and conflicts be addressed immediately for the sake of the Christ and the unity of His Gospel.
Various syncretistic movements and sects have sprung up in Africa in recent decades. Sometimes it is hard to discern whether they are of authentically Christian inspiration or whether they are simply the fruit of sudden infatuationwith a leader claiming to have exceptional gifts. Their nomenclature and vocabulary easily give rise to confusion, and they can lead people in good faith astray. These many sects take advantage of an incomplete social infrastructure, the erosion of traditional family solidarity and inadequate catechesis in order to exploit people’s credulity, and they offer a religious veneer to a variety of heterodox non-Christian beliefs. They shatter the peace of couples and families through false prophecies and visions. They even seduce political leaders. The Church’s theology and pastoral care must determine the causes of this phenomenon ,not only in order to stem the haemorrhage of the faithful from the parishes to the sects ,but also in order to lay the foundations for a suitable pastoral response to the attraction that these movements and sects exert. Once again, this points to the need for a profound evangelization of the African soil.(Africae Munus,91).