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Rockford, Illinois
May 18, 1961     The Observer
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PAGE 12 THE OBSERVER FRIDAY, MAY 19, 1961 THEOLOGY FOR EVERY MAN More important than the much-discussed "population explo-I '" alan," more expensive than the problems of surplus food, closerI to home than the troubles in Laos, Cuban or the Congo is Amer-/ tea's perennial and growing problem, the crime rate. PoKce! forces are better staffed and more efficient than ever, crime- prevention activities are organized on a vast scale, etc. Still, the rate of crimes committed in the United States continues to in- crease, Why tMs is so and what can be do, e about it are the subject of this commentary, prepared at St. John's Seminary, Brighton, Mass. It is reprinted from the Boston Pilot. I Q. TO WHAT EXTENT HAVE RECENT STUDIES BEEN1 ABLE TO DISCOVER THE CAUSES OF CRIME? A 'There has been an enormous increase in crimes throughout the world during the last half century. Crime has thus becomeI a cause of major concern, not only for religious leaders, who view it as sinful violation of the law of God, but likewise for so- ciologists, who study crime in its observable relations with the common good. Historically, the increase in the incidence of crime began to be noticed after World War I, as families were tempo- rarily or permanently broken up, and the normal progress of young men was interrupted by service with the armed forces. Economic disturbances consequent upon World War I led to the 1930's. World War II and the inability of men to keep pace psychologically with the advances of science have contributed to the disturbed condition of international relations and to wide- spread fear and insecurity among individual men. . THE BASIC CAUSE OF CRIME, however, at any period of history is the destruction of moral values upon the separation of religion and morality. In the last analysis, men avoid crim- inal acts because they are convinced that they are real:ally wrong. When other considerations, such as fear of punishment and the unrest caused by crime within society are urged as reasonsI for avoiding crime individual men will tend to weigh these rea- sons in the balance with their own selfish objectives. Selfish- ness and desire for personal satisfaction are strong forces in anyone's life. The feeling of community responsibility, when it arises in a purely materialistic philosophy of life and finds sup- port only in ideals of earthly happiness and security, will have little force against the pressure of individual selfishness. LACK OF EDUCATION and faulty education, have been shown to be significant factors in the cause of crime. Educa- tion does not necessarily make ~/ person morally good. To some extent, however, education can make a person law-abiding. Criminals in large numbers have suffered from sub-standard education. Mere acquisition of knowledge, occuring in an educa- tional environment from' which all religious and moral irfflu- ences have been excluded, can have the effect simply of chang- ing a clumsy criminal, who falls easily into the clutches of the law, into a clever criminal, who can continue to commit crime under the protection of the law. THE GOOD THIEF--St. Dismas, whose feast is celebrated Oct. 12, has become the symbol of hope for many prisoners in the United States and abroad with over 400 correctional institutions here and in Canada celebrating "Good Thief Sunday" annual- ly. Dismas is the name most commonly used for the unidenti- fied thief crucified beside, Christ who asked the Lord to re- member him when He came into His Kingdom. More important than improper education, however, as a cause of crime is the breakdown of the home. Parents may fail, young person who violates the law by criminal activity has first of all, by neglecting their children, or by giving them wrong often developed from the child who was not taught to respect example within the home. When small children are left to them- and obey its parents during the years of character formation. '~ O selves by parents who must w rk, or who have become separ- The selfishness that is so often significant in the establishing ated, it becomes next to impossible for them to resist the in- of criminal tendencies is often the result of the failure of par- fluence of a criminal environment outside the home. Again, ents to impose proper discipline. homes in which immGrality or drunkenness is scandalously evi- dent, or in which there is constant quarrelling or dissension, In addition to these basic causes, there are other factors of are only too likely to become schools of vice for impressionable minor importance that may be related to criminal activity. children. Pornographic literature, films and recordings, comic books, ra- dio programs --- all these may provide media in which crime SOME PARENTS INJURE their children by spoiling them, or may be glorified and natural resistance lowered towards crim- by refusing to exercise their authority within the home. Th, Purchase Program For Everyone! Pagel's Rental Purchase Plan Pagel's FHA New Home Plan Pagel's Trade In Plan Pagel's 10% Down Plan Pagel's WorkCredit Plan Almost Anyone Can Buy a Home New Homes and Apartments Now Available Dare to Compare! Construction Co" 536 Windsor Rd. Rockford, IlL Call TR 7.7804 Today inal and immoral tendencies. People who are economically un, stable may become morally upright or morally degenerate un- der the influence of their environment. It is thus of great im- rtance that the community make every possible effort to im- )rove those conditions of environment which are conducive to ',rime. Q. WHAT STEPS TOWARDS THE PREVENTION OF CRIME CAN BE TAKEN ON A COMMUNITY LEVEL? A. It would be impossible to envision a community of human beings in which crime would be entirely suppressed. On the other hand, much can be done to prevent premeditated crimes, and crimes that are organized by powerful agencies of the under- world. Of capital importance from these latter points of view, is the state of public opinion. When the majority of the cam- President Appreciates Prayers MINNEAPOLIS -- President tration. Kennedy has thanked students He sent a letter of acknowl- of St. Margaret's Academy for edgement to Carole Lombard, offering First Friday prayers president of the academy's for the success of his adminis- Catholic Students Mission Cru- Jerry Powers Harvard, Ill. Cleaners & - Laundry 65 NORTH AYER STREET WHitney 3-5425 ===========================================================:: ::::: Ti~!iii~i~" PAUL CARLSON AGENCY INSURANCE- REALTY MODERN PLATING CORPO'ATIO. N Complete Electroplating Servtce GENERAL OFFICE AND PLANT ' 121-129 SO. HANCOCK AVENUE "YOUR Insurance Policy Is .4 Symbol of Security" Eric FREEPORT, ILLINOIS TELEPHONE: ADAMS 2-6139 BRANCH PLANT 2500 N. MAIN STREET ROCKFORD, ILLINOIS TELEPHONE: WOODLAND 2-6451 sade. She had written him of the prayers offered by the stu- dents. The President said the knowl- $7.00 WILL MAINTAIN A STUDENT FOR ONE WEEK WILL YOU HELP HIM ALONG? Write or Phone Us for Details and Estimates Dubuque la.--608 Main St. Clinton, la.---222 6th Ave. S. Rockford--105 North Main St. Dispensing Glasses Prescribed by Dr. H. Coren--Optometrist Rockford--Rockford Plaza Dispensing Glassea Prescribed by Dr. H. Partoll--Optometrist Aurora---6 N. Broadway Dispensing Glasses Prescribed by Dr. Win. Lindley--Optometrist Dixon---110 East First St. Dispensing Glosses Prescribed Sy Dr. B. Rubin---Optometrist Sterling---21 W. 3rd St. Dispensing Glosses Prescribed by Dr. R. Cobb, Dr. N. L. St. Germain--Optametrists Elgin--121 S. Grove Dispensing Glosses Prescribed by Dr. H. Mall---Optometrist HELP HIM TO REACH HIS GOAL edge he is "being remembered in spiritual bouquets and indi- vidual prayers of the people is a source of great strength and satisfaction" to him. Imunity are indifferent to the prevalence of crime, or unduly tolerant of criminal tendenCies, it becomes extremely difficult for the police to demand strict observance of the law. THE FIRST STEP TO BE TAKEN, therefore is to create gen- eral awareness of the serious dangers which follow upon the committing of crime. Crime can never be checked unless the great majority of the people disapprove of it. When there is sen- timental sympathy for criminals as victims of their environment, a social climate develops that is not favorable for the enforce- ment of the law. Public opinion must not become excessively vindictive, but it must be stern and intolerant in relation to crimes that threaten the Ioundations of society. * Again, the laws of the state that aim to prevent crime must be reasonably enacted and impartially enforced. Unless laws are reasonably enacted, human beings, who tend naturally to make reasonable judgments, will find it easy to justify disre- gard for them. And unless reasonably enacted laws are proper- ly enforced, those who make the laws cannot be expected to have in mind the best interests of the comnmnity. LAW-MAKING IN A PLACE in which enforcement is lax will inevitably fall to the level, of partisan politics, and will become a means of protecting the selfish interests of powerful groups. When penalties for violations of the law are certain to be in- curred, they act as deterrents for those who are not moved by moral and religious convlctions. Recalling what was said above about the causes of crime, we may note that much of the effort to prevent crime in a long- range program should radiate from the home, the school and the church. Q. WHAT IS THE PHILOSOPHICAL JUSTIFICATION OF PUNISHMENT IN RELATION TO CRIME? A. When a creme has been committed, the right order of so- ciety has been disturbed. The person responsible thus becomes liable to punishment, which aims principally to undo the harm which crime has caused. Society, destined by God to enter into the development of individual human beings, has the right of self-protection. Duly constituted authorities in the state, there- fore, must be recognized to punish crime by means that will be effective and necessa-ry for the preservation of the social structure. PUNISHMENT IS ALSO A LEGITIMATE MEANS of deter- ring other criminals. And a secondary aim of punishment should also be the correction and rehabilitation of the criminal him- self. The most drastic form of punishment is the death penalty. Many authorities today regard the death penalty as a survival of the past which serves no good purpose and occasionally claims an innocent victim. Many more el.aim that for major crimes which threaten the foundations of society, the death penalty is indispensable for its deterrent effect on potential criminals. In any event, it cannot be questioned on speculative grounds that the state, as the protector of the common good, has-the right to inflict the death penalty when no oLher defense'against major crimes will be effective. Q. WHAT PRINCIPLES JUSTIFY AND ORIENTATE THE INFLICTING OF IMPRISONMENT AS PUNISHMENT FOR CRIME? A. Imprisonment as punishment for crime began to be inflict- ed towards the end of the 18th Cen'mry. The early prisons were purposely made unpleasant and disagreeable; only the punitive character of imprisonment was insisted upon. The prisoner was a person who was being Iorced to pay a debt to society for his anti-social activity. workers. It is generally agreed that few prisons in the United States are thoroughly unsatisfactory, but that most of them are in need of improvement. Poorly trained personnel and poorly planned programs seem to be the principal sources of difficulty. ON THE OTHER HAND, it is quite certain that the prison sys- tem does serve as a powerful deterrent against crime. Without prisons as places of punishment, the incidence of crime would reach frightful proportions. Imprisonment should be one element in a larger program of dealing with crime and criminal tendencies. Before a criminal is sentenced, his case should be carefully studied. His psychologi- cal pattern should be determined and his educational and family background should be evaluated. His sentence of imprisonment should be suspended if it seems likely that he will derive greater benefit from a period of probation. For those who have not become hardened in vice, probation is greatly to be preferred to immediate imprisonment. Association with persons of criminal background, inevitable in any prison, cannot but be harmful. One of the biggest problems that prison authorities have to meet is to prevent prisons from becoming schools of crime in which delinquents who are fundamentally good will become perma- nently vitiated. O A WELL PLANNED system of parole is likewise necessary i prisoners are returned to society after complet4ng their terms. Obtaining proper employment for newly liberated prisoners and continued contact with responsible officials will be effec- tive in preventing relapse. Prison programs are seriously hamp-. ered unless prisoners are released at the right time and under the proper supervision. Little good can be accomplished by sociological measures un- less steps are taken to restore in the prisoner's mind the relig- i ious and moral outlook on life that was lost in the committing of his crime. Only tbe supposition of free will in the delinquent can make any program of rehabilitation reasonable. THE THE REV, EVERETT J. HILLER was born in McHenry, Ill. on Feb. 3, 1924, the son of Wil- liam J. Hiller and Susan Schmitt. He attended Sacred Heart seminary, Geneva, Ill for his high school and college . work finishing there in 1948. He was then assigned to St. Mary's seminary, Baltimore, Md for his philosophical and theological studies. He was ordained on May 27, 1954 in St. Joseph church, Harvard, by the Most Rcv. Raymond P. Hillinger. Immediately following his or- dination, Father Hiller was as- signed as assistant pastor at St. Joseph church, Elgin, until Jul~e 12, 1957 when he was as- signed as assistant to St. Joseph church, Aurora, where he is presently stationed. Want That New Home!! YOU CAN -- THE MILES WAY THE BEST BUILD-IT-YOURSELF DEAL ANYWHERE No Money Down -- I.ow Monthly Payments Your Credit Is Good -- First Payment From 60 90 Days Can Include AT THE BEGINNING of the 19th Century a new point of view towards imprisonment began to develop. The possibilities of rehabilitating prisoners and restoring them to society at use- ful citizens began to open up as new discoveries were made by psychologists and sociologists. The best thought today among penologists is in the direction of finding a way to combine these II Materials for Foundation -- Plumbing - Heating -- Wiring two concepts of prison life. Efforts are being made to separatell RLII'*I ~ ~ = TT tl S rre names I hardened criminals, who offer little hope of reform, from those IVllle " who seem to have fallen into crime against their deeper inclin- I I ations. Prisons thus aim to combine Security measures with thell Frank J. McBride " ~;~'~r0~'5~u" t maximum o f 1348 6tn ~en,e v v " f reedom for those who seem worthy of being l| =--"~"'--"" "~ """E " trusted and helped b] l~D l~()J~ l~l~]~b G~kI-~LUtorU W 0 Iz --" In a pris n that aims at reform, the daily routine is Carefully Manufacturers of Highest Quality Ice Cream Ice Cream Mix Genuine Italian Spumoni Sold at Better Food Stores in the Rockford Area BANANA SPLIT "Scoop of the Month"--Fresh Bananas Pineapple --- Cherries 1128 S. Winnebago r WO 2-0604 Rockford planned with a view to keeping the inmates busy and providing them with opportunities Of self-improvement. Professional serv- ices are made available from physicians, phychiatrists and social God's Flashbulb VIENNA --(NC)-- A little girl of about four and a slightly older boy had taken refuge from a~vio- lent rainstorm on the porch of a village church in the Tyrol. The little girl began sobbing with fear when a vivid stroke of lightning, followed by a crashing thunderclap, lit up the scene. "There's nothing to be afraid of," said the boy. "That was only Jesus taking a flashlight photograph." Scientific Coating for Office, School and Display Windows "SOLARPAQUE'" Allows daylight to stream through your win. daws but filters and subdues the damaging Ioower of the sun's rays. Cuts air conditioning costs; reduces glare and heat. Prevents fading damage. Available in color ~ints. For CompMto Details Dial WO 5-2482 SERVICE IN THE ROCKFORD DIOCESE OF NORTHERN ILLINOIS .-- 523 W. JEFFERSON ROCKFORD In our Div;ne Word Sem;ner;es ;n lhdia, Philippine s end Japan, we have a number of rfudents preparing for the priesthood. MANY ARE VERY POOR end need finan- cial help to continue their studies. TEAR FF ------ Dear Father, $ e i thood weeb. 0 ux t MAIL TO CANADIAN STYLE Y01JVE NEVER TASTI D IT S0 GOOD !.