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January 13, 1961     The Observer
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January 13, 1961

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By Father John Ryan WHAT IS THE MORAl, RESPONSIBILITY OF PAR- ENTS WHO REFUSE TO SEND THEIR CHILDREN, WHO ATTEND PUBLIC SCHOOLS, TO RELIGIOUS IN- STRUCTION CLASSES? Parents who refuse to provide .for the religious instruc- tion of their children, or who neglect to enforce attend- ance at classes of religious instruction which are provid- ed for their children, are guilty of serious sin. Without instruction the faith cannot be preserved. The Catholic religion is based essentially on the truths about God and His relations with man which reason discovers and which divine revelation confirms and supplements. !Those who are poorly instructed cannot the appreciation of its meaning for :i their lives which is necessary for resist- ing the appeal of an atheistic and immor- al civilization. Not to know about one's religion will mean gradual weakening of the ties which have bound one to the Church in the past. It is not enough to be born a Catholic. or to retain a sentimental attachment to the Church. There can be no excuse, therefore, for parents whose children attend public schools if they do not com- pel their children to take advantage of the religious in- struction classes which are provided for their needs. ARE CHILDREN WHO' HAVE BEEN CONFIRMED TO BE PRESUMED SUFFICIENTLY INSTRUCTED IN THEIR FAITH SO THAT FURTHER ATTENDANCE AT RELIGIOUS INSTRUCTION CLASSES WOULD BE UN- NECESSARY? The impression that religious instruction is no longer l~ecessary once Confirmation has been received is, of course, without foundation. The .purpose of the sacrament of Confirmation is to provide divine strength as one reaches the age at which the temptations of the world become more vehemently experienced. Ofie who has been confirmed is expected to become a soldier of Jesus Christ, ready and willing to lend his personal effort to the struggle which the Church must make to fulfill its divine mission. With Confirmation one receives added grace to understand and apply the truths of faith. At the age at which Confirmation is administered in this coun- try, religious instruction is even more necessary than be- fore It is wrong, therefore, to regard the sacrament of Confirmation as a ceremony of graduation from religious instrucUon classes. -k * * IS IT BETTER FOR A PERSON TO REMAIN IN THE SINGLE STATE AND LIVE A VIRGINAL OR CELIBATE LIFE OR TO MARRY? The first Christian pronouncement on this matter was made by Our Lord Himself. When asked about grounds for divorce, Christ enunciated His laws governing mar- riage and preserving its essential properties. No divorce until death. Some of His hearers protested that such se- verity makes marriage too binding and its obligations too strict, and it would' be better not to marry at all. Our Lord followed their line of conversation by pointing out that some do not marry because of a defect in their lives or because they are prevented, but there are still others who freely abstain from marriage "for the king- dam of heaven", and He concludes: "let him who can ~,~ it, taI.:~ it." Pope Plus XI[ in 1954 wrote a beautiful encyclical let- ter on this matter, "Holy Virginity" in which he uphold.~ the teaching of the Church which places voluntary and consecrated virginity and celibacy above the married state. This does not necessarily mean entrance into the pro- fessed religious life but a free choice on the part of a man or woman in the world to live in single chastity for the honor and glory of God and the salvation of their soul, Most creatures of God marry and must depend on the pr6per fulfillment of their married lives for their eternal salvation. But ho-d about those who perhaps pray- ed for marriage without success? It may be that the Lord wants them to lead the single life. Left single, their lives are not a .useless meaningless waste. The Church bids them to resign themselves in a conviction that they can freely turn their wills to the acceptance of this way of life in a higher calling than that of marriage, a consecra- tion of both body and soul to God, in their daily activity, endowing them with the highest moral nobility. Serving God this way brings great rewards, both here and here- after. Questions for "YOU ASKED IT" should be sent to: Father John Ryan, St. Joseph Rectory, Lena, HI, 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. Role of Laity in Council As every Catholic child learns fr o m his catechism, Christ committed the government of His Church to the apostles and to their successors, the bishops--in other words, to a "hierarchy". Does that necessarily mean that the rank and file have only a passive part to play as lay Catholics? That once common notion has been greatly revised in recent years, thanks to the development of doctrine on the Mystical Body and the spread of lay apostolate. Now the coming Second Vatican Council puts the issue in a new and challenging form. It would seem that the laity has a positive role to play in that important event in the life of the Church. An exploratory article "Le Concile et les laics," by a Belgian theologian, Pierre Fransen, S J, appeared in the November, 1959 Swiss monthly, Choisir. The writer shows that there is ample precedent for lay participation (short of a deliverative vote in the proceedings) in the labors of a general council. It was an exception to the rule when the First Vatican Council (1869-1870) made no provision for such collaboration. The somewhat involved reasons leading to this exclusion do not seem to exist today. Father Fransen notes that, if the bishops have a mis- sion of authority, the laity, too, has a mission proper to itself in the Mystical Body--the task of bearing witness. The main problem is just what form this "witness" can take. It is known that some prominent bishops have al- ready consulted international lay organizations and for- warded their suggestions directly to the Holy See. It should not prove too impracticable for the council itself to seek the advice of these lay bodies which have, much to offer "for buiIding up the Body of Christ (Eph 4:12). America Vol. XXVI, No. 2 Jan. 13, 1961 THE MOST REVEREND LORAS T. LANE Publisher THE REVEREND ARTHUR J. O'NEILL Managing Editor THE REVEREND WILLIAM I. JOFFE -~ .Asst. Managing Editor MARJORiE GALLAGHER Women's Page Editor PATRICIA NORMAN Feature Editor BEULAH O'MEARA .~ Business ROBERT J. STARR Advertising PAUL W. COLLIN AdVertising ANN BERTOLASI Circulation The Observer, printed weekly at 413 Pleasant Street. Beloit, WIp eonsin, is the official newspaper o'f the Catholic Diocese of Rockford. Secor,d cla~ postage paid at Beloit, Wisconsin. Subscwiptions $4.00 per year prepaid in the United States ALL COMMUNICATIONS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO TNE OBSERVER. 1260 NORTH CHURCH STREE'I. ROCKFORD, ILLINOIS. POSTMASTER; Please seqd form 3579 to the OBSERVER, 1240 North ~kurdll Street, Rockford, MIInels. ems? The 87th Congress is now in session and t h e inauguration of a new president is the outstanding event of the coming week. Now all eyes will turn to Washington and the developments in the legis- lative branch of our government. Experts are pre- dicting that Federal aid to education measures will have top priority in the deliberations. We wonder if the proposed measures will really solve the education problem. President-elect Kennedy promised many times in his campaign speeches that he would support Federal aid for school building programs and that he also favored some help for increasing teachers' salaries. The prediction is that the first proposal ---aid for construction--will likely w i n the ap- proval of Congress but that the proposals for Fed- eral aid for increased salaries for teachers w il 1 have a tougher battle. Perennial Lobby Federal Aid for Education is not a new proposal. It has popped up frequently in recent sessions of Congress. For decades the American people have been conditioned to accept Federal aid to educa- tion as a necessity. The source of this long-term lobbying is interesting. Roger A. Freeman, ex- pert on school finance, has recently published a book called "TAXES FOR THE SCHOOLS," in which he presents the view that the main push for federal aid has come from school employees ---namely, federations of teachers, and that fed- eral aid has not been sought by State g o v e r n- ments or local school boards who de-facto have the responsibility for the progress of education. Freeman's book incidentally, was published by the Institute of Social Science Research, Washington, D. C. Some might suspect that it was written and published by persons groaning w i t h discontent because private schools have been cut out of all the proposals for federal aid to education. Free- man was dealing with his own experiences and research. His book will be on the bookstores very soon. But there is a definite swing toward federal aid to education. In fact the passing of appropriate legislation toward this end is almost inevitable. This situation prompts us to a s k the following pertinent (or impertinent?) questions: Is Federal Aid the answer to the education problem? Does Federal Aid have any hidden dangers? Merely Redistributes Is Federal Aid .to Education the answer? When problems present themselves (and we know there is a problem in education), a ready solution is too often sought by dumping the problem in the lap of the Federal government. T h i s attitude over- looks one basic fact: the Federal government is not Santa Claus. Whatever money will be used to promote any Federal program must ultimately and directly come from the pockets of the tax- payers. In the ease of Federal expenditures there is also the increased cost of the necessary a n d (sometimes top-heavy) b u r e a u s to administer the program. What will happen with Federal aid is this: the Federal government will decide how the tax-payers education dollar is to be spent and also where it is to be spent. Why is Federal a i d necessary if we can assume that local education boards are able to maintain an interest and an adequate income to support the type of education they deem best for their locality? Hidden Dangers Are there any hidden dangers in Federal aid to education? We are of the opinion that the dangers are v e r y great. There is an old a d a g e which has apt application in this situation: "He who pays the fiddler calls the tune!" With the powerful influences brought to bear by the organi- zations of teachers it is naive to assume that the Federal aid would cease with the construction of classrooms. The next step is pressure and then the inevitable control. Then the boast of a free system of education is empty. Other nations have gone through the crisis of controlled education; we should not be anxious for that experience. ]f this seems like a lack of faith in the integrity of our federal government, be it known that the possible developments along the lines of rigid control would come we feel, from those who have been seeking a Federal Bureau of Education rather than from professional legislators and men engaged in strict- ly governmental careers. The hope that Federal aid will solve the prob- lems of education is resting on the dangerously thin-ice assumption that education is the responsi- bility of the federal government and is in reality a kind of gift to the people. By nature, the parent is the educator, and the state (and for that mat- ter, the Church) must act as the cooperator in this parental obligation. The delegation of this re-l sponsibility to the local school board and in turn 1 to the State government, is, we feel, a sufficient spread of the delegation considering again that it is the tax-dollar of these same parents that con- structs and operates their schools. As further proof that proposals for Federal aid have in mind a unified control rather than tem- porary stop-gap for needed classrooms, there is the blatant disregard of more than 6 million citi- zens who happen to be pupils in private schools. The fact that private schools are not included in proposed aid is, we submit, a step toward the establishment of a Federal system of education. The implicit hope seems to be, that private sys- tems of education will die on the vine or will be smothered by the grandeur of the Federal system. SPOTLIGHT ON SOCIAL REFORM i i I t t PERISHIONER AND PARISHIONER From time to time the ques- tion is raised, '"Why should Catholics these days, especially a Catholic priest, continue to support and defend the labor movement in America?" Unions are no longer weak and struggling or- ganizations, the :::::::::::::!:: ~ :. ::::::::.::::: :~. businessfinanciallyprises.SamesS metheofantargument e Cthe unions unions u of moderate r In ecountry the enter- parts more runS.have than are gi- ~:i:!:i:i:!:!,;::- ::::; :: z ::~:~:~ ' :~:!:!~:~: become politi- cally powerful. Corruption Exists No one can deny that corrup- tion exists in some International unions such as the teamsters. The AFL-CIO reform machine- ry, the Ethical Practices com- mittee, has bogged down and union rank and file rnembership seems lobe drifting more and more into a spirit of lackadaisi- cal indifference. The sympathetic, non-union well wisher of t r a d e unionism finds it i~articularly annoying and at times frustrating to wit- ness some of the c h e a p and chiseling tactics used by union officials on the local level, par- ticularly in building projects. An experienced labor attorney is of the opinion that in the bid of practically every contractor a sizable sum is added to costs to cover anticipated briberies, kick-backs and what-not. Violations of the Taft-Hartley law do take place. But the union business agent can put so many pressures on the contractor in other ways or at other times, the employer succumbs either to bribery in a specific case or pays twice for the work that is done by one man. Might Have Few Friends If one w e r e to look only at specific abuses of the trade un- ions in all parts of the country, labor unions might have very few friends except those who in one way or another find it prof- itable to support them. The pages of the credit ledg- er, however, that sum up the good deeds and the worthy proj- ects and objectives of the trade unions so overshadow the minor- ! FATHER WILLIAM SMITH, S. J. ity of evils and misdeeds, that logic and common sense de- mand continuec' support of the movement as a whole. Deserve Public Support Add to this the fact that a strong, free, militant organiza- tion of working people is an ab- solute essential for the proper functioning of the free enter- prise system. The "power of labor" is caustically blamed for many things. The economy, with plentiful profits, however, keeps zooming ahead. On average, the labor unions are deserving of public support. One brighter aspect of the pic- ture has shown forth in recent years which could not be observ- ed, say, 20 years ago. Frank and courageous criticism of the movement itself by union offi- cials is being heard. An example, if perhaps not a typical one, of outspoken obser- vations can be cited from one of our weekly panels conducted at St. Peter's institute The speaker had been in the labor movement for 46 years. He has seen the big shots come and go: Be had witnessed the changes that have taken place since the Wagner act was passed. The following excerpt sums up, partially at least, his reac- tions to the AFL-CI0 merger movement and a few other con- siderations as he views the scene today in the light of 46 years of practical experience. He re- marked: Not A Happy One "The psychological situation in the labor movement today is not a happy one. Harmony with- in the organization does not ex- ist. There are some bitter ha- treds among the leaders that are the result of not only divergent philosophies and methods, but in many cases, jurisdictional differences. This is true not only with the top echelon but extends down into many of the states. "There has been no true rap- port of the merged groups. In my talks with international un- ion officers, as well as state and city officials, I find this is true. True it is that in some places the mergers have been peace- ful and harmonious. In almost every instance w h e r e this is true, it is because one side or the other was in a great majori- ty. en What About the Worker? "What about the psychology of the worker himself? What is his outstanding trait? Where does he aim to go? Let me give you my version. Let me, at the outset, make this observation that may not set so good with some of you. The average work- er is as pragmatic as any other member of society. He may have ideals and ideas, but bread and butter come first. Ideals are something to play around with at some later date, but when the baby and the family car both need shoes -- well, they need shoes. What About Leaders? "What does he think of his leadership? He thinks of his leader in terms of what the lead- er is able to deliver, primarily. After that, he looks to him to furnish the incentive for any other union activities aside from contract requirements. He pects his leaders to do a multi- tude of other things, political leadership, welfare activities, etc. In other words, he expects much more from him than he does from his elected public o~ ficials. He does not have to reg- ister to vote in his local union and consequently the union lead- er i[ far more exposed to his constituent's wrath or approval than are public officials. "And yet, many, many times I have seen the rank and file rise up to tremendous heights of accomplishment when they were inspired by the right cause and the right leadership. Give the rank and file a leader they trust implicitly and they will' follow him blindly. But, once that trust has been violated, that leader is in for trouble. "Summing up this short analy- sis, let me venture the opinion that the psychology of labor, its leaders and members, are not too different from that of any other group It all depends on the occasion, the need and the degree of desire as to just what labor thinks and wants." Not Better or Worse This last paragraph just about sums it up. Trade unionists are no better or worse than the rest, of America. They are deserving of p r a i s e for what is praise- worthy and of criticism for their defects. But the good far out- weighs the evil REAPINGS AT RANDOM By Gerard E. Sherry Recently we commented on the different interpretations given the Annual Statement of the U. S. Hierarchy con- cerning personal: responsibility, and we suggested that Catholic conservatives had read into it a boost for their position. And the spate of letters I received later on the subject more or less confirmed my first views. This subject of controversy is not dead, and the latest entry from a rather sage Bishop in Nevada makes inter- esting reading. Bishop Robert Dwyer of Reno in his Jan- uary 6th syndicated column makes the following observa- tion on the Annual Bishops' Statement: Appeal for Personal Understanding "This particular document was an eloquent appeal for a clearer understanding of personal responsibility in the whole range of human affairs. It was widely and warmly acclaimed by the press, secular no less than Catholic, and an unusually large number of editorials deemed i~ worthy of extensive comment. "But here in the strange result. If words have meaning, can be defined according to historical context, are not sub- ject to arbitrary interpretations, this was essentially a liberal document. It was based upon that concept of hu- man freedom wherewith Christ has made us free. "But it was understood by many commentators in the opposite sense as being an expression of an ultra-conserva- tive viewpoint, as though the Bishops were projecting themselves into the arena of national politics for the purpose of denouncing certain libertarian trends of gov- ernment. Worthless for Definition "The plain fact of the matter is that the terms liberal- ism and conservatism have undergone so long and inten. sire a process of attrition in the past century as to be almost worthless for practical purposes of definition." I am convinced that the Bisho~ has focused on one ol QVOC the main confusions in the current dialogue between con- servatives and liberals withi~ the Church. America, the national Jesu{t weekly review, also edi- torializes on this dialogue in its January 7 issue The only trouble with America's observations is that it seems to say "plague on both your houses", and does not come up with any cpnstructive alternative. Yet, I think we can look at this matter in a constructive and objective light. Are Aptly Named Few will disagree that Catholic conservatives are aptly named. This, because not only are they Catholics, they are also conservatives in a political sense. I am sure that William F. B~ckley and Father Richard Gender will go along with me in this observation. This, despite the fact that, to many of us, the conservative view is completely outmoded. To paraphrase a recent remark by Sen. Hu- bert Humphrey--the modern Catholic conservative spokes- men would make excellent script writers for Eighteenth Century Fox. Difficult to Characterize Returning to Bishop Dwyer's comments, we find it is much more difficult to truly characterize the so-called Catholic liberal. He is surely a Catholic, but what about his liberalism. It is certainly not the liberalism of Locke and Hume or the liberalism of Rousseau. These men were European secular liberals whose 17th Century political philosophy has been improved on by modern secular liber- als. It has no religious connotation. Secular liberalism worships only mankind and its achievements. It cannot be accepted by Catholics. Why then call the Catholic op- posite to a conservative, liberal? Probably for the want of a better label. There was a time when political liber- alism meant a system or tendency opposed to centraliza. tion and absolutism. This description of liberalism is cer- tainly not contrary to Catholic teaching. in "Li ral erms" The main thing is that the so-called Catholic liberal spokesmen in this country today cannot be equated with secular liberals Obviously a new label is needed which better fits the description of these sincere and competent Catholics. The Catholic liberals of whom I speak are certainly pro- gressive; but you can't call them Catholic Progressives. Henry Wallace destroyed the usefullness of this label a decade ago. To many people it has a leftist meaning. It is a pity that we cannot keep the name liberal. Alas modern political liberals have destroyed its As Bishop Dwyer observes: "To the extent that liberalism in America has taken over the Hegelianism and Marxism of European liber- alism (and there is ample evidence that the process of conversion is in full swing), we are confronted with the same disastrous confusion of language that has bedeviled the West for the past century. Plead for Different Liberalism "The Bishops, in the present instance, plead for a liber- alism which is totally at variance with the ersatz version which goes by the same name. "The Bishoph mean freedom under God, the modern liberals mean tyranny under the omnipotent state. "We need nothing quite so much as a new vocabulary to clear the air." Bishop Dwyer is so right. I think, however, that only the liberal label needs to be changed. But, to what? Prac- tically every label has been taken over by the politicians. It's awfully hard to find a better label for the Catholic liberal. The dictionaries don't help because practically everything has more than one meaning. Maybe our readers can come up with a constructive suggestion. I will offer a book prize for the best three labels suggested to me. I am serious. We'll publish the winners in a later column. .m