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Rockford, Illinois
May 12, 1961     The Observer
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May 12, 1961

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t By FATHER JOHN RYAN WHY IS IT THAT SOME PRIESTS ASK QUESTIONS WHEN YOU GO TO CONFESSION AND OTHERS DO NOT? There are some general rules which help priests decide whether they should question a penitent or not. And al- though the application of these rules must be left to the individual confessor, the reason you are sometimes ques- tioned and sometimes not depends more on what you confess than on the priest to whom you make your con- fession. Here are some reasons why a priest may ask questions: 1. To make sure that real sins are being confessed. Unless some actual sin is con- fessed, the sacrament cannot be received. So if you were to confess that you had skipped y o u r morning prayers several times, missed Mass once through illness, and had impure thoughts, the confessor could not give absolution, at least not with- out some questioning. It is not a sin to miss your morning prayers. Illness apparently excused you from Sunday Mass. And "having impure thoughts" can mean that you merely w e r e tempted against purity. The confessor Would ask whether you con- sented to the thoughts and if you were not sure, he would ask you to confess some other sin which you cer- tainly committed in the past. 2. To make sure the number and kind of all mortal sins are being confessed. Persons who have been away for a long time usually need help in recalling their sins. The confessor is trained to assist them by well-directed questions. The confession may be too vague. It is not enough to say, "I missed Mass several times," if you can remember exactly or approximately how many times. The confessor must ask you if you do remember. "I broke the Sixth Commandment," is too general. With a question or two, the confessor will. help you confess more exactly the kind ofsin committed. 3. To make sure the penitent has a sincere purpose of amendment. Anyone with a habit of serious sin who takes the trouble to go to confession wants, in a general way at least, to break his habit. But he may not realize how much his sinning is connected with some person or situation in his life. The man who confesses frequent drunkenness will be asked whether his lapses occur in a, certain place or with a particular crowd. If so, he must take some practical steps to avoid this occasion: other- wise, he does not have a true resolution to avoid sinning in the future. 4. To give needed advice and encouragement. When the underlying causes of a person's sins do not come to light by what he says about himself, the confessor may ques- tion him. Such questioning has no purpose other than the confessor's being better able to give really helpful ad- vice. IS IT A SEN FOR A PERSON TO TAKE SOUVENIRS FROM RESTAURANTS AND NIGHT CLUBS OR TAKE SUCH THINGS AS TOWELS, ETC FROM HOTELS. DON'T THESE PLACES EXPECT THAT A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF PROPERTY OF THIS SORT WILL BE STOLEN AND CHARGE ACCORDINGLY? It is always a sinto steal. Souvenir hunters may find many opportunities to enrich their collections by taking the articles provided by hotels, clubs, restaurants, etc for that particular purpose--usually trivial little things that can be provided in quantity without incurring serious .expense. But it is poor logic to argue that no matter what a souvenir hunter takes will be paid somehow by some- one because the management expects a certain loss and charges accordingly. Stealing is a sin, grievous or venial, according to the amount stolen. Morever, the thief is always bound to re- stitution and this obligation binds the more seriously when the amount stolen is serious. To follow the line of thought presented: if the owner does not anticipate such loss and is the loser through souvenir hunters, they do him an injustice according to the amount stolen. If the owner anticipates considerable loss through this source and raises rates and prices to meet it, the injustice is done to those who have to pay the prices. Obviously, everyone would have to take home a souvenir to get his money's worth. The souvenir hunter should content himself with the match book, paper napkin and the like. WHAT IS THE CHURCH'S STAND ON' A CATHOLIC WHO PRACTICES BIRTH CONTROL, DOES NOT, CON- FESS IT AND EVEN GOES TO COMMUNION,AFTER- WARDS? If a serious sin is deliberately concealed in confession, the confession is sacrilegious. If the person receives Holy Communion after the bad confession, the reception of this sacramer~t is also sacrilegious, since one must be in the state of grace to receive Christ worthily. The person who makes a sacrilegious confession or feels he has invali- dated his confession through lack of true sorrow for sin must confess all the mortal ~ins committed since his last valid confession. DO THE DOMINICAI~ SISTERS GO BACK TO THE TIME OF ST. DOMINIC? Yes. This order of sisters was founded by St. Dominic about 1206. They are dedicated to the glory of God, per- sonal sanctity, and m a n y educational and charitable : works. ~t ~r 4r QUestions for "YOU ASKED IT" should be sent to: ,Father John Ryan, St. Joseph rectory, Lena, Ill. 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. i Sacrifice is so called from being 'made sacred,' because i by mystical prayer it is consecrated on our behalf in it memory of the Lord's passion; whence at His command, we call this the Body and the Blood of Christ. Consisting of the fruits of the earth, it is sanctified and becomes the Sacrament, by the invisible operation of the Holy Spirit. The sacrament of the bread and chalice is called by the Greeks the Eucharist, which means thanksgiving in Latin. What is better than the Blood and Body of Christ? ~ --St. Isidore Not only do the priests offer sacrifice, but also all the faithful; for what the priest does personally by virtue of Iris ministry, the faithful do collectively by virtue of their intention. . . .- --Pope Innocent llI . = * v,J sss L~ Vol. XXVI, No. 19 ~ May 12, .4 THE MOST REVEREND LORAS T. LANE Publisher THE REVEREND ARTHUR J O'NEILL Managing Editor THE REVEREND WILLIAM |. JOFFE Asst Managing Editor IL~ARJORIF GALLAGHER Women's Page Editor ROBERT WILLEMS News Editor BEULAH O'MEARA " . Business ROBERT ). STARR Advertisir~} ANN BERTOLASI Circulation I The Observer, printed weekly at 413 Pleasant Street Beloit, Wis- consin, is the official newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of RockfOrd. Second class oostage paid at Beloit Wisconsir~ Subscriptions $4.00 pet year prepaid in the Unified States ALL COMMUNICATIONS SHOULD BE ADDRESSEDro THE OBSERVER 1260 NORTH CHURCH STREEt ROCKFORD ILLINOIS. POST/v~kSTER: Please send form 3579 to tbe OBSERVER, 1260 Norltb ~wrc.b $~r~t, Rockford, Ulinais. il NU| I News releases from Springfield concerning events in the current session of the State legisla- ture have brought to light steps under-way to abolish the existing regulation on the so-called 60 day "cooling-off" period required between fil- ing and signing of divorce decrees. This is a most regrettable development. The primary reason given for the proposed regression is the inconveneint delay caused for attorneys and judges handling divorce cases. It seems to us that the basis of the decision to keep or to abolish the "waiting period" should rest on something a little more vital than the inconve- niences of the members of the bar. How about / . a little conslderatmn for the good of the com- munity? We think that the existing legal waiting period before the granting of a divorce is very bene- ficial to the common good and has the possibility of effecting the reconciliation of the parties at least in some cases. The very name "cooling-off" period is a recognition that most of the divorce proceedings are begun under tremendous emo- tional strain which presumably affects the de- cision making apparatus in the ordinary person. Furthermore, the waiting period emphasizes the geriousness of the step to gain civil dissolution of an existing marriage thus raising marriage, in civil status, s6mewhat above the process of ob- taining title to a new home or car. When the "cooling-off" clause became law in Illinois some few years ago it was hailed both by I II I I I II I I i ROLL OF HONOR REAI INGS AT RANDOM co By GERARD E. SHERRY The great gap that exists between what we know the Church is and what our non-Catholic neighbors see when they look at Her creates serious problems. They cannot be addressed to anyone but ourselves. It is we and we alone who can rectify the matter. What is going to be our first principle? Since we admit that we are marked men that all of our friends and asso- ciates know that we are Catholics, and that they judge the Church by what they see us doing, our first principle must be that "we shall become what we are". We are Catholics, by Baptism, by ~~:i~: training and by choice; but we fall short~ "::~::::"::~::~ of this glorious name in actual practice. :~i So we must become what we are. For Instance We are Catholics--that is, we are mem- bers of a world-wide family of brothers, united in Christ. A family which is cen- !~i~: tered on God, and y~t concerned for men; ii~!i~ii!~ a family which is in this world, and is interested in this world, but which seeks a better world in the hereafter. The trunk of our family tree is two thousand years old, but its roots go back through the Jewish experience to the most remote ages of man; and its boughs reach~ out to the most remote future. Our job is to so live in this family that all Others will see it for what it is. Let's take a "for instance." In reality the church is Catholic. In reality our family circles the globe. Her members are in every country, of every color, of every degree of culture, 'of all stages of development. When my'neighbor sees me, does he see .this wonderful uni- versalist, a Catholic, or does he see some petty, parochial provincial, whose horizon is limited by his toes and his nose; whose concerns may include the other members of his own little tribe, but certainly no one else? Aid or Kick ! When I buy Catholic, or vote for a man because he is Catholic, or pay attention to a rabble rouser because he is nominally a Catholic, am I being Catholic or merely clannish. Our times are wracked wRh the problem o~ r~. Dur religious leaders and sociologists expert in the field of domestic relations as a forward step in the effort to impede the divorce racket. It was aimed not so much at the people seeking divorce as at the members of the legal profession handling their cases. To abolish the time restriction is to open the door for further abuses in the divorce racket. The modern recipe for divorce is well known and made up of the following ingredients: 1) a husband and wife not fully adjusted to re- sponsibilities of marriage--emotionally immature: 2) an outside interest by one party in the prospects of another mate, (this ingredient is optional but it gives added zest and adds quick-boiling point): 3) some domestic incident of disagreement or vio- lence: 4) visit by one party to attorney preferably experienced in divorce cases: 5) contact with an- other attorney by the other party: 6) drawing up of stereotyped document of guilt--cruelty on two definite dates: 7) attorney of first part and attor- ney of second part well blended either during office hours, at the club or simply over the telephone: 8) attorney of first part approaches sympathetic judge--no contest allowed,--judge signs divorce decree--no contact with defendant necessary. (Suggested time for simmering this stew: about one week.) Whether or not the "cooling-off" p e r i o d has actually cut down the high incidence of divorce is difficult to tell because of other elements bring- ing stress on the sacredness and stability of t h e home. The current Cries from certain members of the legal profession are proof enough that t h e "cooling-off" period has done something to slow doWn the speed with which quick divorce was aco complished before the days of "cooling-off." A full examination of the problem should in- clude the moral' evil--the sin side--of quick, easy, unwarranted divorces. It should emphasize t h e broken contracts, the perjured testimony, the col- lusion, the illicit adulterous unions which quickly follow most divorces. But the moral aspects will have little hearing. What should have more bear- ing, however, is the good of the community. After all, the legislators are dedicated to the enactment of laws for the public good. The sociological evils resulting from the quick-divorce situation a r e numerous: broker h o m e s, delinquent children, Aid for Dependent Children, unpaid alimony and child support, and in general the unhealthy pic- ture of a society made up of homes built on foun- dations of sand. By streamlining the divorce laws and by elimi- natir/g legislation of previous sessions w hi c h served to deter the divorce racket, the present session of the legislature will be levelling t h most high-powered artillery at the basic structur of society--the home. The law should protect the home rather than make it possible to destroy it. The lawmakers should take the wide view and not be swamped by the lobbyists who are seeking their own interests--in this instance a s m a 11 clique of attorneys who want the go-ahead sign for the full scale nefarious racket of home-wreck- ing. For the success of an individual citizen or a state, a definite policy of consistency is necessary. It is difficult for us as a group to realize that principle must underlie action. SPOTLIGHT ON SOCIAL REFORM II I II I ican Two hundred thousand work- ing people from all parts of the world will gather in Rome on Monday, May 15th, for a gigan- tic demonstration. The occasion will be the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of a fa- mous papal message published world-wide in the year of 1891. The mhssage was that of Pope Leo XIII's encyclical "On the Condition of the Working Class- es". The Latin title given to this society~shaking m e s s a g e is "R e r u m No- varum" which really m e a ns "C o n cerning N e w Things" or "Of Revolu- tion". Pope L e o' s w o r d s Were " re vo 1 u-, tionary" in thought, in con- t e n t and in their effect. In a sense, christ was again chasing the money changers out of the temple. The original proclamation, published May 15th, 1891, had an electrifying impact on tl~e society of that day, particular- ly in Europe. Age of Automation The world was on the thres- hold of a new era. The wide- spread use of machinery was under way. The value of the human hand alone in the pro- duction of goods was obsolete. One machine could do the work of a score of men--the Indus- trial Revolution was on. As a matter of fact, this was the beginning of the age of auto- mation. In some places angry work- ers with clubs and iron bars smashed the machinery. The new weapon in, the hands of ex- ploiting factory bosses a.n d owners s e e m e d destined ~o drive the human worker down into even lower depths of eco- nomic degradation than they had known before. There was no one to raise a voice of challenge in defense of the rights of the working people but the revolutionary II FATHER WILLIAM SMITH, S. J. Socialists. The Church and the wealthy were depicted by the radicals as allies and a com- mon enemy. "Take over the means of production--workers of the world unite--you have n o t h i n g to lose but your chains" rang out from work- ers' quarters in many places. Voice Still Re-echoing Then--with a rhetorical roar like the take-off of a jet plane~ the mighty message of Leo XIII accurately analyzing the conditions of the time, defend- ing t h e workers' rights at every level, boldly proclaiming religion and faith in God as the only sound foundation for hu- man society and human rela- tions, resounded around t h e world. That voice is still re- echoing in every nation. In America we have witness- ed many c!langes since those first days of monopoly capital- ism. We have seen the right of workers to organize given prop- er recognition. We have seen collective bargaining become the national policy of the Unit- ed States. The principle of the living family wage, if not al- ways realized in practice, has become a part of the American ideal. The duty not only of pri- vate individuals and groups, but of the government itself to strive for full employment is no longer derided. Pension plans for ordinary ' workers are now accepted as a normal concomitant of indus- trial relations. Social Security life that even the politician~ who, in principle or for reasons of expediency, would like to op- pose the trend, does not dare to advocate a repeal of any law of this kind that has been en- acted. Some there are who still would utter the shrill cry of "Socialism!" Yet our economy functions and flourishes today on a,much sounder basis than it did before the tragic depres- sion of 1929. New Era Again In no small measure the so- cial progress we have made in our own country is due to the valiant and pioneering p r o- nouncements of principle first proclaimed by Leo XIII seven- ty years ago. But again today we are en- tering upon a new era. The panorama of human events is wider and deeper and a million times more complex and com- plicated than that of even decade ago. The material al- dance in America is matched by comparable almost nation- wide poverty and suffering in many other lands. World order and world peace are seriously threatened by the very help- lessness of so many smaller, underdeveloped lands now oc- cupying strategic places on the world scene. Our own prosperity and well- being may be placed in jeop- ardy by threat of war from Without, while automation and and supplementary aids for the-- the disregard of social prin- aged are acclaimed as a social ~ ciple give rise to a n x io u s necessity and major disputes on the subject revolve around how it can best be accom- plished. Economy Florishes Safety measures of all kinds have b e e n introduced into American plants and factories. Various t y p e s of insur~ance, public and private, are taken for granted as necessary props for our social .structure both for the individual and for the public welfare. Social action and social legis- lation have become so much a part of the American way at thoughts at home. The time is opportune for a new call to the peoples of the world, a call for hope, for cour- age. for faith in our fellow-men and in God, the Supreme Law Giver. Not till the whole human race is made new will its literature be pure and true. If you would in fact have a literature of saints, first of all hgve a na- tion of them. Cardinal Newman. me country is faced with a choice of being heroically faith- ful to its most ancient gnd honorable ideals, or of locking itself in a trap made by money and supported by neuro- sis. At this time of such a frightful choice, does America get any help from her Catholic people. When the injured man of color looks at you, does he find a helping hand or ,another boot poised for a kick? When the warped man who hates turns to you does he find fire for his prejudice, or does he find the cool balm of reason and the reassur- ing strength of maturity? Resign Unless . . . By very definition, a Catholic is an integrationist. Can we honestly say that America has found this to be la fact, or must we admit that we have sold our heritage of Faith for the porridge of acceptance. In this area, if you want something real practical to do, write the president of any Catholic organization you may belong to and tell him that you are resigning, unless your organization integrates im- mediately. Tell him that you cannot claim to be a Cath- olic and belong to a so-called Catholic club, which is un- Catholic in its membership. Beyond the problem of race, there is the awareness of the solidarity of the human race. There is the onrushing realization that this is indeed one world. And the tragedy is that it was the not Catholics who were first aware of this: nor was it the Catholics who fostered the first grop- ing steps of this development; but some 'little-minded Catholics, working with others, are doing their best to wreck the one hope we have of arriving at the one world in peace, instead of pieces. If we are opposed to the UN in principle, at least have the honesty to admit that our principles are not Catholic, that they are contrary to what the Popes of our century have taught, and that in this area we~are being decidedly non-Catholic. Must Share Unity Heming~vay, who is no Catholic, knew for whom thel bell tolled; do we? The old line socialists lived solidarity, even though they had no respectable reason for it, but our heritage preaches solidarity as its essence; do we live it? Our Commurtity o:: Faith is a Catholic Communion, its all embracing'arms enfold everyone ~nd anyone. The soul of the Communior is the Holy Spirit of God Himself. The stumbling steps of our times strive for unity, strive for brotherhood, but the old serpent of sin stops it every time. Only a G0d-given unity can heal the wounds that split the human family. We have this God-given unity, but we have it not to huddle to our weak chests, but to share i,t with those who do not have it. They will never see it, unless we, you and I, show it to them. And the only way we can show it to them is to live it; to make it so much a part of our I~eing that it shines forth from every pore of our body, and from every one of our actions. We must become what we are--Catholic. World of the Spirit Let's take another "for instance." I said earlier that ou family is God centered. I Would like to tell you a little story. About five years ago a politician in the Midwest had two guests for dinner. One was a Presbyterian theolo- gian, the other was a Benedictine monk. These two cler men hit it off so well with each pther that the Bene- dictine invited th Presbyterian to come to his monastery for vespers. When the minister had finished vespers, he was very quiet, but he asked" the monk if he could come back and go through an entire day w]th the monks. Sev- eral weeks later he did this, getting up in the early morn- , ing and chahting the office with the community all during the day. When this experience was over, he told the monk that this was the first time he ever realized that Catholi- cism was anything but a power bloc. This was the first time he had ever seen the world of the spirit behind the forbidding walls of the Catholic Church. Live Your Religion In this area, our witness is to the fact that we are a religion--that is, a family which is committed to God-- and we must be absolutely certain that we are always living our commitment. The world in which we live has lost God. Our world has never known the God of Abra- ham,of I~aac and 6f Jacob, the God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. If we talk about God, but act as if there is no God; if we prattle about the things oi God but live in an ungodly fashion (to use an ot~ but adequate term); if we really hit' the religion bit on Sunday but live the other six days as pagans; if we live these contradic- tions, how can we be surprised when ,our neighbors treat us ks irreligious people.