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January 6, 1961     The Observer
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January 6, 1961
 

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k. t~ By FATHER JOHN RYAN WOULD IT BE PERMISSIBLE FOR A WOMAN TO TAKE HER LIFE IF SHE IS ABOUT TO BE SEXUALLY ATTACKED? It is never allowable for a person to take his life by an act of direct suicide. In the case mentioned, however, it would be allowable for the woman to try and escape, even though doing so would lead to her death. An act which would not be directly suicidal, but which would afford the means of escape from attack wou~d be allow- able according to the principle of the dou- ble effect. When two effects, one good and the other evil, follow from the same cause, and the cause is not in itself a morally evil act, the act may be performed in view of the good effect, provided this ef- fect is of sufficient importance to compen- sate for the evil effect, which could not be desired for itself. Under no circumstances, however, could a woman take her life by a direct act, such as shooting or stabbing herself, as a means of effecting her escape from an aggressor. * * #r WHY MUST WOMEN HAVE THEIR HEADS COVERED WHEN THEY ENTER A CATHOLIC CHURCH? The law of the Church requires that women wear a suitable head-covering when they enter a church, or whoa they assist at divine services, even outside of a church. The purpose of this law is to remind women of their obligation to be modestly dressed whenever they enter the house of God and to avoid any form of dress which would be inappropriate to the sacred surroundings in which God is worshipped. As far as possible, therefore, women should conform to this requirement. For some good reason, however, deviation from the letter of the law might be tolerated, but the directions of local ecclesiati- col authorities should be strictly observed. # * * SINCE ST. THOMAS WAS NOT PRESENT WHEN OUR LORD CONFERRED THE POWER TO FORGIVE SINp WHEN DID HE RECEIVE THAT POWER? There is no reason to think that Our Lord excluded St. Thomas when He instituted the Sacrament of Penance on Easter Sunday night. In conferring the power to forgive sin, He granted it to the Apostles as a group. There is no further mention of it in the Gospels but when Thomas, along with the others, was sent to preach the Gospel to every creature, he most certainly had the power to for- give sin. ~r #r , WAS THE SPANISH INQUISITION AN ORGANIZED PERSECUTION OF THE J E W S BY THE CATHOLIC CHURCH? No. The Spanish Inquisition was not organized by the Catholic church. It was established by Ferdinand and Isa- bella. It was a mixed tribunal of civil and ecclesiastical authority with the civil element predominating. It was not directed against the Jews as such or against Jews alone. Its purpose war to seek out those converts in. the Church who, though openly professing the Catholic Faith, were reducing Christianity to a mockery and secretly de- stroying the Catholic Faith. A serious situation prevailed in that there were subversive converts in the Church. some of them Jews, some others Mohammedans. who had gone so far as to become priests and bishops. They were a menace to both Church and State. The institution of the Inquisition can be judged only in the light of the times in which it existed. In times past, heresy was regarded as the real menace that it is. Since teaching error is a crime and always leads to great evils, it can be punishable by law. The Church always consider ing herself the guardian and the preserver of the truth, made every effort to avert or to destroy the damaging results of heretical teaching. IF THE MARRIAGE OF TWO NON-CATHOLICS BE FORE A NON-CATHOLIC MINISTER IS CONSIDERED VALID, WHY IS IT WRONG FOR A CATHOLIC TO BE THE OFFICIAL WITNESS AT SUCH A ~IARRIAGE? The marriage of two non-Catholics is considered valid by the Catholic Church provided they exchange consent to the marriage in an adequate manner and provided there is no impediment to the marriage arising in natural law. If the two non-Catholics are baptized validly, the mar- riage is a sacramental marriage, and. once the parties have begun to live together as man and wife, it cannot be dissolved by any human power In the marriage ceremony of two non-Catholics conduct- ed according to a non-Catholic ritual, we must distinguish the marriage contract from the religious ceremony in which it takes place. It is because of the religious cere- mony that the difficulty arises which has been indicated in the question. Catholics are forbidden to take an active part in a non-Catholic religious ceremony. To act as an official witness to the marriage would involve this degree of forbidden participation. It would not be wrong, how- ever, for the Catholic to assist in a non-active capacity at a non-Catholic marriage in the circumstances indicated, provided there-were no danger of scandal. Questions for "YOU ASKED IT" should be sent to: Father Jolm Ryan, St. Joseph Reetory, Lena, I11. It is not necessary to sign your name unless you wish a per- sonal reply. However, Father Ryan reserves the right not to use unsigned questions. Participation Much has been made of the saying of Pope St. Plus X: "The primary and indispensable source of the true Chris- tian spirit is active participation in the sacred mysteries - and in the public, solemn prayer of the Church." The ob- vious teaching here is that active participation in the pub- lic prayer of the Church, the most perfect expression of which is Holy Mass, is an authentic formula for holi- ness. We do the Liturgy in the right spirit of submission, desire, yearning hope: we try to understand the content and spirit of the prayers, scripture, and actions that make up the Liturgy; and Christ will more than gratify our deep hunger for Him. He will impart His personal holiness to us. Of course His giving us His holiness is not automatic: for He is free and we are free (and our participation is always more or less defective). We cannot force His generosity. But we need have no fear of His not doing His part if we use our minds to understand His sacred aetiv- 'ity in the Mass and our wills and hearts to welcome Him into our lives.--Fr. Emeric A. Lawrence, O.S.B in the Voice of St. Jude. "o ~*mss t~ VoI. XXVI, No, | Jan. 6, t961 REVEREND LORAS T. LANE Publisher ARTHUR J. O'NEILL . ~ ManagingEditor ILLIAM I. JOFFE: Asst. Managing Editor "LER ~. Women's Page Editor Feature Editor Advl~rtising Advertising Circulation weekl~ at 413 Pleasant Sfreet. Beloit, Wis- Catholic Diocese of Rockford. at Betoit Wisconsin. the United States IONS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO ~THE CHURCH STREET. ROCKFORD, ILLINOIS. to the OBSERVER, 1260 N~ Rockford, Ulinois. prised If you have the opportunity to practice t h a t almost forgotten corporal work of r~ercy--burying the dead, you will undoubtedly be surprised when at the conclusion of the Funeral Mass, the priest sings "Requescant in Pace" and ~hen d e p a r t s without reciting the accustomed "Last Gospel." This is one of the recent change; in the Rubrics of the Breviary and Missal effe,:ting the public prayers of the Church. As a matter of fact there will be other Masses in which the Gospel by St. John will not be used. We have already grown accustomed to this omission in sdme of the Divine Services of Holy Week. Now this will be noticed also in Funeral Masses and in those Masses which are followed by a procession. Seeking a reason for this new regulation, we might imagine that the Church is making an ef- fort to shorten some of the public ceremonies. This, however, is not the reason. The history of the prayers and ceremonies surrounding the Holy Sacrifice gives a better reason. The practice of reciting the "Last Gospel" was entirely unknown in the early Church. Actually the first verses of St. John's Gospel are a summation of the great mystery of the Divinity of the Word and the In- carnation. It was used in the Church as a kind of blessing of the sick (this use p r e v a i 1 s in the ritual of the blessing of the sick and in the prayer for good weather). Oftentimes the priest recited these sublime words privately as he r e t u rn e d from the altar after Mass as h i s thanksgiving. Other priests sometimes said it aloud for t h e people to hear. In 1570, Pope St. Plus V m a d e this Prologue of St. John an official part. of the :Mass prayers. Since the Last Gospel is primarily an act of thanksgiving and a summation of the marvelous things that have happened during Mass, it is not too difficult to see a certain note of "not-fitting- in" on those occasions when the ceremonies are not as yet concluded, as is t h e situation in a Funeral Mass of those Masses when a procession tt t t I | is to take place. It is well for us to be aware of the history and development in the prayer life of the Church. There is no point in being alarmed or upset be- cause of changes. The Holy Sacrifice given by Christ has been richly surrounded with a setting of beautiful prayers and ceremonies. At times it is deemed wise to change certain portions of the setting and the basic reality of the S a c r i f i c e should thereby be brought into a sharper focus. to Parents The Feast of the Holy Family, Sunday, Jan. 8, is a day for Catholic families to receive Holy Communion together and it ushers in Catholic Family Week. It has been found that the assign- ing of specific weeks of the year to specific pur- poses serves to highlight the importance of the event, product or institution so honored. Of course the effort to instill Christian princi- ples into family life is a perennial and constant challenge. Efforts to keep before our minds the importance of the solidity of the home m u s t be made without. Insistence that the home is the basic school of Christian living is constantly needed. Programs of education to draw the mem- bers of the family into closer unity of purpose and action will always be in order because of the fail- ure of many to realize what a treasure the home is. The portrayal of the home as the basic unit of a sound social order must become more vivid as sociological studies warn of the dire effects on society coming from the' breakdown of home life. ~et with all these storm clouds, we think it necessary during Catholic Family week to ex- press gratitude for the rich blessings received through home life and to point out the heroism shown by so many in the fulfillment of their vo- cation in matrimony. Every community and every parish is blessed with good Christian homes in abundance. The home of little or no Christian influence, is we i t t t i t t t t t i t t t t t think, the exception. Proof of this will be very evident on Holy Family Sunday when literally thousands of families will be brought to the Com- munion table by good fathers and mothers for whom this is not merely an annual event but a part of their ordinary religious life as a family. One facet of Catholic Family Week, is a well- deserved salute to those good parents who have grasped the significance of their role of parent- hood as a participation in the creative and re- demptive work of Almighty God. We pay them tribute and hope that their good example will serve to encourage others for whom this great reality seems to have little or no meaning. Tips Does the postal ].abel with your name on page 1 have a code 2-61? This means that your subscrip- tion expires at the end of February. It is time then for renewal of subscriptions. The a n n u a 1 diocesan-wide campaign for subscriptions will be launched Jan. 29. We hope t h a t you will not neglect your renewal. Your pastor will announce from the pulpit the campaign plah in your parish. Some parishes wi strive for FULL COVERAGE directed by t priests. Other parishes will choose to use t h e SCHOOL CRUSADE PLAN in which the school children are the salesmen wrqo will ring your bell to pick up renewals or to get new subscriptions. All present subscribers will receive a renewal envelope already addressed. This is the m o s t convenient way to renew either in the PARISH COVERAGE or the SCHOOL CRUSADE p 1 a n. Parishes and Schools will have subscription en- velopes or forms for all new prospects. It will be a great help to us if you--our faithful readers--will influence s o m e o n e to try t h e OBSERVER. Don't say: "Are you going to get the OBSERVER?" rather--"Did you send in your subscription yet?" Help us make this 1961 campaign the best in OBSERVER history. SPOTLIGHT ON SOCIAL REFORM | t t t i | O II II I II J ~ ~, ~ --/~ ~-: ;.~ >- :~ ~ o ,: ; :--.- .: . ,- ! UNCLE TOM'S TENT REAPINGS AT RANDOM FATHER WILLIAM SMITH, S. J. The history books may give it merely a page or two. But the political campaign waged last fall by the two candidates for the Presidency was a social ac- tion spectacle of tremendous proportions. Nothing like it had ever been witnessed in the his- tory of the nation, Simply from the aspect of ::::::: ::::::::::::::::,:::::::::: ::::::::::: ~m. equal. Millions i!: !i of dollars were expended; mil- lions of men and women partici: pated: millions of miles of space were trav- ersed : millions of hours consumed in meetings, conferences, travel. Everything was fitted into the master plan by equally matched experts on dach side. The consequences of this gi- gantic contest are of immeas- urable importance. The signi- ficance, world - wide. Yet, when all is said and done. when you sum it all up, it can be reduced. as St. Paul would have ~-educed it, to a Irenzied contest for a "corruptible crown." Twelve men -- uncouth, un- cultured, unlearned and crutle men -- once conducted a cam- paign. They owned a few home- made fishing nets and a boat or two, which they discarded. ~ut they had chosen the Holy Spirit as their "campaign manager." All except one (and he was un- successfully boiled in oil) ended their careers with martyrdom. Before it was over for them, nevertheless, they had establish- ed the Kingdom of God on earth and the world was on the way to a new life, Their crowns are not only still incorruptible but eternally untarnished. The Catholic Church in Amer- ica, some of the sooth - sapers are telling us, is about to enter upon a new era. It could be. I don't know. I have no crystal ball. One thing I think I do know. If the Church in America ~s to emerge as a dynamic new spiritual force in the midst of all the old influences we have known, it will not be because a Catholic has broken the sound barrier of bias and got himself elected as President of the na- tion. In his official capacity, Presi- dent-elect John F. Kennedy will hold in his hands a power for go~d and possess an influence of moral leadership greater than any of the contemporary heads of State anywhere else in the world. His mam concern, both as a citizen and as the nation's Chief Executive, will be the faithful fulfillment of his oath of office. His contribution to the so-called new era of the Church in America will be in propor- tion to the example he sets in following the dictates of a right conscience. If the Catholic Church in America is to enjoy a greater abundance of spiritual advances in the years ahead, it will not be because a member of the Faith holds the highest office in the land or that the number of public officials who profess our Faith is increasing in many of the States in the Union. As a matter of fact. the worst fate that could befall the Church would be to have her dependent upon politicians, Catholic or otherwise, for her existence, freedom or proper functioning. The Holy Spirit is still the "campmgn manager" for the successors of the Apostles as He was for the original twelve. If the zeal. enthusiasm and energy displayed by the participants in the recent Presidential cam- pmgn were to be taken as a norm of contrast, the image of the new era looks slightly blur- red even now by comparison. Unless the modern American Catholic can transfer some of the dynamic spirit which spurs him on in his pursuit of "cor- ruptible crowns" to the cause of Christ and the things of God, the new era may merge into "the age of barbarism" which Father John Courtney Murray, S.J spelled out so clearly and so forcefully in a recent issue of Time magazine, The challenge of the Catholic today is to transform the life each one of us lives from a pas- sive surrender to the environ- ment about us to a positive, persevering, day - by - day con- quest of circumstances, We must go on the offensive -- spiritual- ly. We must make our Faith mean something to us. We must know our religion. We must love it. We must be willing to sacri- fice for it. The Church is the Mystical Body of Christ. He is the Head, we the members. Prayer, the sacraments, the sacrifice of the Mass must have a daily mean- ing for us. In a word, if the Church i~ America is to have a Secorld Jq Spring, as Cardinal Newman called it, we as Catholics, both clergy and lay, must stir up the grace that is in ,us and be Catholics. To know the complete and full meaning of that exhortation takes a life-time of living and of learning. Each day, however, can be the beginning of a New Year. a new life. What can we, you and I, do for Christ today-- which we did no~ do yesterday? There will be a new era in the Church in America when enough of us are asking our- selvesthat question each day-- and answering it with concrete, positive action. Really Lost An interpreter at SHAPE headquarters in Paris was try- ing to make his way through a maze of American slang during a talk to German visitors by a young American army officer. He carried on bravely, but when the officer decided to en- liven his talk with a funny story, he got completely lost. However. the punch line was greeted by a roar of laughter from the Ger- man visitors. Later. the officer Iearned that when the interpreter saw that the story was going to fall flat, he had implored.the guests in German: "I'm sorry, but I have gotten lost. When the offi- cer finishes his story, will you please all laugh very hard?" By GERARD E. SHERRY I suppose we have all given or have received the trite greetings of a "Happy New Year." And yet, have we ever thought how unhappy it may turn out to be, espe- cially in international affairs. If the happenings ol 1960 are anything to go on, we're in for a very rough new year. The greatest threat, it ap- pears to me, comes from the organization in which we have placed the most hopes for peace in our times. I refer, of course, to the United Nations. Way back in September when Mr. Khrushche~.was tub- thumping his way through the General Assembly, taking off his shoes, and generally acting like a boor, the Ad, ministration and many newspapers prophesied that the Soviet Union had lost friends and couldn't influence peo- ple. It was suggested that Mr. Khrushchev's attack on UN Secretary, Dag Hammarskjold, had strengthened the West's position: and that. in crucial votes, the West's position would prevail. Later on, during the presidential election, when our prestige abroad was questioned, our leaders suggested that the support we were receiving in the UN belied such talk. Knew What They Were Doing " Alas. Mr. Khrushchev and his wrecking crew knew what they were doing The so-called crudities at the United Nations by Soviet and Red Satellite representatives can be said to have succeeded. The final votes on the C~go situation; the side-tracking of m a n y important i-,sues which the West favored, and the personal attacks ca the UN Secretariat. prove the Russians made far more prog- ress than we did. For instance, they were able ,o defeat a Westm.n resolution proposing a free hand for the UN in the C.)ngo. They did it through the defection of one ear vote--but it was enough. The so-called neutral nations are no longer neutral. It is true that many of them like neither the West nor the Soviet camps. But they have learned the art of playing one against the other. The newly emerging nations of Africa and Asia voted purely on theAines of self-interest, and it was this self-interest of theirs that was expertly exploited by the Communists. India Abandons Lofty Attitude One of the ~reatest disappointments for the UN was tl~e abandoning by India of its former lofty, moral atti- tude in relation to the Cold War and the growth of thd UN organization. This is tragic, and for no other reason than that India in the past has been a useful mediator in East-West crises. Now it is obvious that India leans more to the Soviet view on every major topic of UN discussion. Tragically enough, the man who has engineered all this is one of Nehru's chief lieutenants. Krishna Menon--- India's Defense Minister who also headed its UN delega- tion. Menon is a Marxist Socialist who will tell you that this doesn't mean he is a Communist. However, he had always held the West's position in contempt. I can never forget the time he was asked by a newsman about Rus- sia's colonialism in the Baltic States of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. 'He had the gall to deny that they were an- nexed by the Soviets after World War II. He even re- fused to admit that they were ever States with sovereign rights. His hostility ~o American newsmen is shown at every interview. He denies facts about Communist oppres- sion and lumps all American charges against the Soviet Union as simply products of the Cold War. Afraid to be Counted Many astute observers at' the UN credit Krishna Menon with being one of the prime influences when many African hTime e, states refused to side with the West on the Congo. No amount of moralizing by India's Prime Minister Nehru can blind us to the fact that, when the UN is confronted with a black and white ,issue of right and wrong, India is afraid to stand up and be counted. There is a further tragic note to all this. The smaller nations which hold the deciding votes in the UN fail m see that their tactics in blocking positive moves might well see the world organization disappear as a means to effective world peace. Neither the Soviet camp nor the West control the vote in the UN. If the so-dalled neutrals continue their disruptive and cowardly practice of ab- staining on black and white issues, then the UN can fold its ter~ts. If this happens, the nations that will suffer the most will be India and all the smaller African and Asian countries which now seek the protection and ass~staffce of the world body. Not a Pretty Picture It is not a pretty picture for the future. And to those who believe in the UN, as yor Reaper does, the situation becomes alarming. Yet, we still wish ourselves a "Hap- py New Year." The realities of the situatioh point to anything but a happy one. If this sounds pessimistic--so be it. After all, a commentator must be honest and call the strikes as he sees them. It's a pity that we cannot come up with an optimistic picture of the future. However, these are dangerous times. We must be prepared for any eventuality; we.must not be afraid of the future, we should steel ourselves to face whatever dangers that migLt beset us. Finally, we can do something practical by praying the Lord will protect us and give our leaders the wisdom to do what is right-. whatever the costs. / i