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March 3, 1961     The Observer
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March 3, 1961

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vvv~v I By Father John Ryan WHAT IS MEANT BY THE DEPOSIT OF FAITH? By the deposit of faith is meant that body oi revelation, containing truths to be believed and principles of conduct, which was given by Christ to the Apostles, to be pre- served by them and their successors with the guarantee of infallibility for the guidance of the Church. It em- braces the truths of both Scripture and Tradition. Some of the articles of faith are explicit in Scripture, for ex- ample, Christ is truly God: and others are implicit, for example, the Immaculate Conception. It closed with the death of the last surviv- ing apostle. It is entrusted to the infallible authority of the Church to preserve, unfold and defend this'Deposit. The term was not in common use before the sixteenth cen- tury, though the idea has always been familiar to the Church WHEN DID THE CHURCH INSTITUTE CONFESSIONS AS WE NOW PRACTICE IT? It is a Catholic doctrine that the Church from the earliest time believed in the power to forgive sins as granted by Christ to the Apostles. Moreover, the early Fathers of the Church spoke about the Sacrament of Penance as something everyone under- stood to be existing. St. Augustine (A.D. 430) warned the faithful: "Let us not listen to those who deny that the Church of God has power to forgive all sins." St. Am- brose (A.D: 397) rebukes the Novatianists who "professed to show reverence for the Lord by reserving to Him alone the power of forgiving sins. Greater wrong could not be done than what they do in seeking to rescind His com- mands and fling back the office He bestowed." St. Cyprian (A.D. 251) rebukes those who had fallen away in time of persecution; "Let each confess his sin while he is still in the world, while his confession can be received, while satisfaction and the forgiveness granted by the priests is acceptable to God." This and much other testimony can be adduced to show that confession of sins and the Sacrament of Penance was instituted by Christ as found in the text. John XX, 22-23 and was practiced through confession from the earliest days of the Church. IS IT KNOWN HOW THE DIFFERENT APOSTLES MET DEATH? We are told that all the Apostles with the exception of St. John suffered martyrdom. In most instances we have traditional evidence of the manner in which the Apostles went to death. St. Peter was crucified and at his own re- quest, he was hung head downward. St. Andrew, his brother, was nailed to an X shaped cross. Since, this shape of cross is known as the St. Andrew Cross. St. James the Greater, elder brother of St. John. was put to death by the sword. St. Philip was crucified. St. James the Less was stoned and clubbed to death. St. Thomas was run through with a lance. St. Bartholomew was flayed alive, that is, his skin ,was cut from his body' and then he was beheaded. St. Matthias, who replaced Judas, was crucified. St. Paul was beheaded. St. Matthew, St. Simon and St. Jude were probably crucified. There is not" a certain tradition as to the manner in which they died though they have, from apostolic times, been venerated as martyrs. SHOULD A PERSON KEEP ON GOING TO CONFES- SION WHEN HE KNOWS THAT HE WILL KEEP ON FALLING INTO THE SAME SERIOUS SINS? The answer m this question depends on the peniten; himself. He is bound to confess each time he goes to con- fession all mortal sins not previously confessed and re- pented of. He cannot receive absolution and forgiveness unless he is truly sorry, and true sorrow includes essen- tially an honest determination not to commit serious sin, If a penitent has all these necessary dispositions, he may and should go to confession to be absolved. The pries~ will determine whether or not his dispositions are suffi- cient. Sometimes the priest must conclude, in the case of a penitent who has fallen repeatedly into serious sin, that he is unworthy of absolution. Sometimes the priest will judge that deferring absolution will be helpful in arous- Lug in the penitent a stronger resistance to temptation and a more firm purpose of amendment. A penitent should not be discouraged by repeated falls into serious sin. The notion that it is impossible to resist temptation overlooks the power af divine grace to rescue even the most confirmed sinner, once he has resolved to amend his life. Those who despair of obtaining forgive- ness are invariably those who do not will to take the ne- cessary steps to avoid the occasions of sin and to impose on themselves the minimum of disciplinary restraint. It is useless for a person who has no desire to amend his life to go to confession. On the other hand. it would be wrong for a person to neglect confession when he has reason for thinking that he is sorry for his sins, The advice and encouragement of the confession and the supernatural help of divine grace will strengthen the faltering efforts of those whose inclination towards virtue has been weakened b~ long- standing habits of sin. The divinely appointed purpose of the sacrament of Penance is to help the sinner. No sinner should regard himself as incapable of receiving the sacrament. To do so is to intensify the discourage- ment which will lead ultimately to the sin of despair. Questions for "YOU ASKED IT" should be sent to: Father John Ryan, St. Joseph rectory, Lena, Ill. It is not necessary to sign your ncme unless yo.u wish a per- sonal reply. However, Father Ryan reserves the right not to use unsigned questions. A spectre is stalking our diocese. It is the pos- sibility of having parishes without pastors a n d schools without religious Sisters. The facts were given in their stark realism by Bishop Lane m his recent letter on Vocation Month. With a steady annual increase in the Catholic population, there are scarcely enough newly ordained priests to re- place those who die in a given year. Almost every school is .feeling the pinch of strict limitations on the number of Sisters sent to teach while some parish schools face the issue of having no Sisters whatsoever. The good Catholic will respond to these facts with the personal question: What can I do about this? In the designs of Almighty God the sufficient supply of vocations to the priesthood and the re- ligious life rests on our prayers for this very im- portant intention. Christ could have made other arrangements, but He gave us this key position in the work of spreading His effectiveness for the salvaiion of men Consequently, each person must be willing to pray daily for this intention. Special concentrating on this is given during March but it should carry over into a perpetual part of each person's prayer life. A second help toward the soiution of the voca- tion problem will come if many people will ad- just certain attitudes they now have. First to go, must be the dangerously destruc'tive attitude of "no concern of mine." This interprets the Church as an organization apart from us to which we come to receive spiritual servicing. People think of themselves as "belonging to the Church" rather than "being the Church." If we considered our- selves a vital part of the Mystical Body of Christ, then all the needs and problems of the Church--- will be our own. It is too late to sit back and wait for thiogs to happen without effort on our pa'rt. The trfith is that vocations come from good Catho- lie homes and parents can completely destroy a germinal interest in the religio s 1 i f e by t h e selfish attitude that this is too great a sacrifice. A third help in the solution of t h e vocation problem will come through definite promotionjs of interest in this kind of life It is amazing much organization and money go into the recruit- ing by the Armed Forces to effect for enlistments in their particular branch of service. Every branch has its own staff of trained promoters. We might do well to take a few pages from the government mannuals in efforts to promote vo- cations. In the final analysis the vocation is t h e end result of a special grace from God extended to an individual who freely accepts this role in life. The supernatural builds on the natural. The young people must know through vocation pro- motion that this life is open to ihem and that it is a good thing in the opportunity it affords for dedicated service to mankind. To expect t h a t young people will suddenly be drawn to the re- ligious life by some kind of mystic call based on an inevitable divine predetermination is not good theology. In' view of the drastic curtailment of vocations in recent years a wiser course would be to stimulate interest in vocations by presenting the priesthood and the religious life as something open to any normally intelligent and moral per- son to whom the grace of invitation is given by God Himself. To leave everything in God's hands without effort on our part is to fail to appreciate how the supernatural builds on the natural. It also undermines a very high and important role given by God to the members-of the Church in this all-important work of nurturing vocations. We plant and water, and God gives the increase. Two recent feature reports--one by a national magazine, the other by a television network serve, by the extreme contrasts they depictI to focus our attention upon the urgen@ of the an- nual Bishops' Relief Fund Appeal, to which the faithful of the dioceses have been asked to con- tribute on Laetare Sunday, March 12. The first was a special section "all about money" in LOOK. Therein one is introduced to a cross- section of the new millionaires of America men and women who by ingenuity, daring and hard work rose to the summit of the economic ladder. Their philanthropies are mentioned as well as their extravagances. The general impression glven by the article is that many Americans have so much money that they hardly know what to do with it: and. further, that these same people are growing richer all the time. The second report was CBS' hour-long eyewit- ness documentary on Hong Kong. Even here the TV camera caught evidence of lavish and luxuri- ous living. But the lasting image was of a wretch- ed. overcrowded community, descnibed largely in terms of refugees, hundreds of thousands of them, living from day to day in tiny, filthy, rat-infested huts. under constant danger from fire and plague. These latter persons, the refugees of Hong Kong, are far more typical of the human race today than are the rich. or even the moderately well-off of our land. As a nation we tend to forget this. American Catholics, in other words, like Ameri- in general, find it difficult to believe that mil cans ]ions of people overseas are really and truly in dire need of absolute essentials, such as food, shel- ter. heat and medication. This lack of awareness probably explains why many of our people rarely think to give more than a dollar or two to the Bishops' Relief Fund col- lection. The presumption is that any apathy to- ward this particular campaign is rooted in lack of awareness It would be an unjust indictment to suppose that the faithful of our land have be- come to t h e i r indigent brethren abroad w h a t Dives was to Lazarus in the Gospel story uncon- cerned and uncaring. The record of the past years speaks otherwise. In conscience one mus come to the assistance of one's fellowmen m need. Consequently no Catholic is morally free not to give as much as he can to the Bishops' Relief Fund. Nor is this a harsh doctrine. There is no duty of a follower of Christ that is not also meant to be an act of love. And acts of love for the Saviour cannot possibly be a burden. I SPOTLIGHT ON SOCIAL REFORM i I BACKLASH FATHER WILLIAM SMITH, S. J. One of the major targets of from others who held to a more to this shopworn subject of It- Catholic Social Action in the liberal viewpoint. If either side berals and conservatives. His pioneering days in this country had a mind "'to read the other Excellency writes: were the saloon keepers and his- out of the Church", the chal- Polarized at Extremes tributors of alcoholic beverages, lenging rtance was based on de- "Unfortunately the s o c i a 1 For twenty-five years or more, tense of some Catholic principle, philosophies to the ']eft' and before the turn of the century, Today Catholic p r i n c i p 1 e those to the 'right' have polar- the issue engaged the lvigorous seems to be lost in a fog of con- ized at thnir extremes, with a attention of both c}ergy andfusion and controversy. Either consequent antagonism, bitter in laity. " " f our the principles themselves are its sharpness, between those in With seventy mflhon o inadequately perceived or at- both camps who might normal- citizens estimated to be "social tempts to apply them bog down ly be reasonable ~oderates. drinkers" a n d from inaccurate interpretation. This antagonism is reflected in . . ~.:.:,:.:.~:+:.:~:::::;;:::~ ~.~.'~" :.e.'4~ five mflhon of ~::i!!i~~l Guilt By Association the spirit of suspicion with them victims of i::~;:::i; Too many among Us, it seems, which men approach one an- the dread dis-!: ! have fallen back upon a most other who disagree, however ease of alcohol- ~ii~i ism, one would~~! fallacious social attitude and slightly, on social legislation. It gather this par- ~~iii!'::i: argue from the premise of is reflected also in the intem- ticukr social ~~ii::i "guilt by associati6n", perate name-calling by which o b j e c t i v e L~ There are Catholics who wish men of 'conservative' instinct or to be known as "liberals". judgment increasingly, f i n d achieved a re-~::~ There are others who glory in themselves dismissed as 'Fas- latively m il d~ the role of the conservative, cists' or ~reactionaries' while success. Per- Both types are bound by thethose of more 'l~eral' impulse haps too many adopted the slo- same identical principles, spirit- or vision find themselves de- gan, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em." l~entioned Previously This little item is but one of many which can be culled from a reading of Professor Aaron I. Abell's book. "American Catho-, licism and 'Social Action" to which I made reference in a previous column. Dr. Abell's volume is P "com- prehensive study of the Catho- lic Social Movement in the Unit- ed States from 1865 to 1950." It is a competent, historical survey of how the Catholic popu- lation in America faced its so- cial problems over a period of seventy-five years. Get Clear Picture From a reading of the book you get a pretty clear picture of conflicting trends of thought among Catholics,on the social problems of those days. You can. for instance, distinguish leaders of conservative attitude He who says that some lies are just, must be judged to say no other than ~at some sins are just, .and therefore same things are just which are un- just; than which can be more absurd, St. Augustine. ual and social, which the Church teact~es. Confusion arise s, I think, when the advocates of either school of thought allow themselves to be too closely associated with ex- tremists in either camp. From confusion of identity, it is just a step to an aceqsation of "guilt by association". Lines Drawn Loosely So loosely are the lines of thought drawn in so many in- stances, that one group of Cath- olics will often save their sharp- est barbs for fellow Catholics who may chance to disagree with them on some specific poli- tical issue. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, by no stretch of the ~magination could the spe- cific political issue be consider- ed as a genuine "Catholic" is- sue. Any Cathciic would be per- fectly free to take either side of the controversial subject no matter what type of citizen might at the same time be de- fending and publicizing a sim- ilar viewpoint. Pointed Observations In one of a remarkable serms of articles in the CATHOLIC MIND for~ November - Decem- ber, 1960, Bishop John J: Wright of Pittsburgh makes some very pointed observations in regard cried as if they were all 'revolu- tionaries' or 'anarchists'. Extremists Are Spokesmen "Even more disastrous is the manner in which, as a conse- quence, extremists on every side become tre symbols and the spokesmen of the caml~s with which they are identified, even when they are neither typical nor worthy representa- tives of these camps, being more often than not unwelcome rmisances to their own side of 'center'." The Editor, introdtcing Bish- op Wright's article, pinpoints the issue/rather neatly when he notes: "We need a 'vital center', where social 'conservatives', anxious to preserve the heritage of the past, will have a common ground on which to meet with social 'liberals', anxious to en- large the hope of the future." r Two of the hundreds af medi- cal research scientists who have worked under March of Dimes grants, Dr. John Enders of Harvard University and Dr. Linus C. Pauling of the Cali- fornia Institute af Technology, have received Nobel prizes. REAPINGS AT RANDOM I When it seems that God shows us the faults of others, keep on the safer side--it may be that thy judgment is false. On thy lips let ,silence abide. And any vice which thou mayest as{tribe to others, do thou ascribe at once to them and to thyself, in true humility. If that vice really exists in a person, he will correct himself better, seeing himself so gently unde~'stood, and will say of his ow~ ac- cord the thing which thou wouldst have said to him. --St. Catherine of Siena ='4, Ss kS"~ Vol. XXVI, No. 9 ll~--- Mar. 3. 1961 THE MOST REVEREND LORAS T. LANE Publishee THE REVEREND ARTHUR J O'NEIL Managing Editor THE REVEREND WILLIAM I JOFFE Asst Managing Editor MARJORIE GALLAGHER Women's Page Editor BEULAH CCMEARA Business ROBERT ~ STARR Adverhsmg ANN BERTOLASI CirculChon The Observer Drlnted weekly at 413 Pleasant Street Beloit Wis. onsm =s the official newsDaDer o~= the Catholic Oiocese of Rockford. Secona class postage paid of Beloil Wisconsin. Subsc riptions $4.00 pet yea~ prepeid in the Unlfee Stele! ALL COMMUNICATIONS; SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO THE OBSERVER 1260 NORTH CHURCH STREE1 ROCKFORD ILLINOIS. ll41~T~STER:" Please send form 3579 to the OBSERVER, 12(d) North C, dlreb StreW, Rockford, Llllnois. upreme in on by Gerard E. Sherry The Supreme Court ruling confirming the Constitu- tionality of public transportation for parochial school children b/'ings up a r~her il%teresting set of observations, Ih some of our Catholic newspapers, this present group of nine Justices has come in for some very harsh criticism. Indeed, it has been labeled the "Warren Court"; the Court that doesn't under- stand the Communist menace; the Court which is packed with liberals. Further- more, whenever the Justices have made rulings which have not conformed to the thinking of some of our editors it has been denounced as a bad court; one which rides rough-shod over the Con- stitution. This same group of men has now, for' the second time in recent weeks, come up with a decision more in keeping with Catholic viewpoint. The other ruling , concerned movie censorship. What are the Catholic opponents of'the Supreme Court to say now? Are these decisions which now favor the Catholic line considered to be good or bad? Was the judgment correct simply because it confirmed Catholic mghts under the Constitution? Or has this present cOurt LOt nine Justices suddenly reformed in the eyes of their critics? It's a very interesting point, ;$: $~} :: ~:::~y: ~ - :.:.: :~::~:~:!$ !iii~: ii !N One cannot 'have it both ways. If the Court is a bad Court; if it is full of liberals who ride rough-shod over our Constitutional rights, why then should we get ex- cited over the two decisions which favor ou~ view point. After all, we presume these nine men act in good Faith, apply the same legalistic criteria to~ every given situa, tion. If they are wrong when they set free an alleged Communist whose Civil .liberties have been denied him, then surely ,they m~iy be wrong over school transporta- tion. I have no doubt that the Protestants and other Americans Unite'd for the Separation of Church and State will label the Court Catholic dominated. The whole thing is farcical. My point is that we should view the Justices of the Supreme Court with the same objectivity that we would want them to have in judging the issues before them. The Justices are:human like the rest of us. They are not chosen so much for their labels~ as for their competence. Some may be more competent~than others. But we would be wrong to suggest that the Court is deliberately par- tisan. In reality, it is neither a conservative nor a liberah Its decisions in the past few years have proven beyond doubt that it is under the influence of no one Justice. At times, the so called liberal Justices have joined forces with the so called Conservative. Many-times they are unanimous. It seems unfair to suggest or to desir~ that it always follow some Party line. It follows, therefore, that there will be times whoa lec the Supreme Court will hand down rulings which won't please us either as a Church group or a political group. This, however, is no reason to denounce it as a bad~ Court or a left-wing Court. Each of the Supreme Court Justices has'sworn to up- hold the Constitution of these United States. They also swear to judge the issues without fear of favor. Until it is proven otherwise, we should accept the fact that they carry out th~ implication of their oaths to the letter. Of course, to some extremists, in both the secular and religmus press, and in religious and political groups, this isn't good enough. They want only rulings which they can agree with; otherwise it is a "packed" Court, and a menace to the country. The extremists on both sides obviously want a dictatorship. Certainly, they don't act as though they believe in Democracy. No one group can have its way all the time. We should be thankful to the Supreme Court for its present ruling on transportation for parochial school children But let's not use a double standard. Either the Court is objective, or it isn't The ~'ule of the extremists is anarchy; and where there is anarchy there is no freedom: not even to worship and be educated the way we want to be. This is the crux of the matter. We would do well to view the Supreme Court in an objective light rather than in the light of pressure groupings, be it political or reli- &ious.