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June 2, 1961     The Observer
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June 2, 1961
 

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By FATNER JOHN RYAN IF A GIRL IS OLD ENOUGH TO MARRY, ACCORD- ING TO CIVIL LAW, BUT HER PARENTS ARE OP- POSED TO THE MARRIAGE CAN A PRIEST PERFORM THE CEREMONY? The Code of Canon Law lays down this prescription: "A pastor shall gravely exhort young persons who are minors not to enter marriage without the knowledge or against the reasonable will of their parents; but if they refuse, he shall not assist at their marriage unless he has first con- sulted the Ordinary of the place" (Canon 1034). Now, according to the ruling of the Church, a minor is a person under twenty-one. Con- sequently, whatever the civil law may stipulate, a priest should not assist at the marriage of an eighteen year old girl whose parents are unaware of what she is doing or are reasonably opposed to the until he has first consulted the Bishop. CAN A CATHOLIC BE A COMMUNIST? No. This question was placed before the Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office in 1949: "Do Catholics who profess the materialistic and anti-Christian doctrines of communism, and do those especially who defend them and contend for them, incur excommunication specially reserved to the Apostolic See, as being apostates from the Catholic faith?" The Holy Office replied with one word: Yes. DOES THE STATE HAVE T H E RIGHT TO INSIST THAT ALL CHILDREN ATTEND PUBLIC SCHOOLS? No. Children belong to their parents, not to the state, However, both Church and state have a legitimate inter- est in the education of children. The duty to see that ehil- dren are taught to be good and useful citizens is partly the responsibility of the state. On the other hand, the Church has a divine obligation to provide proper religious instruction for its children. The state has no authority to monopolize the field of education. Freedom to select private schools for the training of the young is inherent in the American Constitution. Any infringement of this right is a grave violation of religious freedom and demo- cratic principles. DOES THE CATHOLIC CHURCH INSIST THAT THE LIFE OF A BABY BE SAVED AT THE COST OF THE MOTHER'S IF BOTH CANNOT SURVIVE A DIFFICULT BIRTH? No. The Church declares that direCt abortion is never permissible. That is, there can be no direct attack on the life of the child in order to save the mother. Neither can there be a direct attack on the life of the mother in an attempt to save the child. Indirect abortions are morally lawful when it is not the fetus, but some other condition, which endangers the mother's life. If abortion results indirectly because of the treatment of a pathological condition, this is morally ac- ceptable. Indirect abortion may be the" undesired result of surgery to remove a cancerous uterine tumor, for in- stance. The removal of the tumor, however, is not a di- rect attack upon the. fetus. Gerald Kelly, S.J in "Medico-Moral Problems" gives this example of licit abortion: "The indirect loss of one life, in an attempt to save another, is morally justifiable provided 'the doctor does what he can to save both lives. For example, if cancer develops in a pregnant uter- us and an operation cannot be safely postponed until the child is viable, the excision of the uterus .is justifiable, even though this inevitably means the death of the fetus. The mother is saved, not by the death or removal of the fetus, but by the removal of the malignancy. Hence, the death of the fetus is called an indirect result of the life- saving operation." IS THERE ANY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CROSS AND A CRUCIFIX? A crucifix has the image of Christ nailed to the cross. A cross lacks the sacred image. WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TRIPLE ~IGN OF THE CROSS ON T HE FOREHEAD, LIPS AND HEART AT THE READING OF THE GOSPEL? This signifies the dedication of mind, lips and heart to the word of God. 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- soual reply. However, Father Ryan reserves the right not to use unsigned questions. He also is a priest, Hi~self the offerer and the oblation. Of this truth He wishes there to be a daily sacred.sign in the sacrifice of the Church, where being the Body whereof He is the Head, learns to offer herself throughout Him. The ancient sacrifices of the saints were manifold and various signs of this true sacrifice. And to this supreme and true sacrifice all false sacrifices have given place. ---St. Au~gustine mtl The true greatness of our Church--and indeed her essential function--is in that intangible flow of spiritual life from Christ to His members. This is the so-designated "spiritual dimension" of the Church which is apt to escape our attention be- cause members of the Church have grown to take it for granted and those outside the Church some- times do not understand its implications. This "spiritual dimension" of the Church should be appreciated and talked about by members of the Catholic Church. In our pages this week (and in recent issues) we have attempted to portray this spiritual vigor of the portion of the vineyard in which we dwell. Exhibiting this spiritual life during the month of May the outstanding events were the ordina- tion ceremonies of last week in Rockford and the various times and places in which the Sacrament of Confirmation was administered to adult con- verts. These were concerned exclusively with the administration of the Sacraments and in particul- lar with those Sacraments whereby we receive the power and the responsibility--in varying degrees --to aid in the spread of the Gospel through con- versions to the true faith. At times the so-called image of the Church--- the estimation of its nature and worth--is seri- ously distorted by worldly minded analysts who have interpreted the Church to be something dark and sinister from the middle ages and without relevance to the present needs of mankind. There is an even more subtle and dangerous "image" imbedded in the minds of many others---- some Catholics included--who view the Church as a tremendous international organization whose strength is measured by her materi l possessions and institutions to measure her impact on society. This gives a distorted image of the true function of the Church--a fuzzy materialistic view favored by many business men who happen to be Catholic. The true image is that the Church is the con- tinuation of Christ in time and space--the Mysti- cal Body having the power to nourish men's souls with grace through the Mass, the Sacraments and the Liturgy and the power to nourish their minds with truth and to guide them in the application of both the natural moral law and the positive decrees of the Divine Will. This is the Church which we love and esteem; this is the Church which we should strive to make known to others. In each parish, the spiritual function of the Church continues without interruption through the offering of the Holy Sacrifice, through the preaching of the Gospel and the administration of the Sacraments. There are times when emphasis is focused on certain basic needs. Such a time is now at hand, for example, in the promotion of the Apostleship of Prayer. The month of June is dedicated to a deeper appreciation of the love of God for man and man's need to love God as ex- emplified in the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Special urging is given for all to become active in the Apostleship of Prayer whereby men pledge themselves to recite daily the Morning Offering. It is a simple project and costs nothing m a material way. Yet it is a successful way to focus attention on the need for daily prayer. Because of the command of Her founder, the Church may not withdraw from the world or from conflict with the world. The Church is not a secret society of the elect. Yet the conflict of Catholic teachings with many of the accepted tenets of modern society goes on unabetted. An example of this is the outspoken series on ABORTION in the Saturday Evening Post. A potpourri of tragic cases involving abortion by unskilled practitioners and a general conclusion that the civil laws on abor- tion must be "liberalized", this series by John Bartlos Martin is by far the most glaring expose of modern man's efforts to live his live apart from any moral responsibility. There is however, one rather remarkable quote--a sort of backhanded compliment to the Church's adherence to princi- ple. One doctor is quoted as saying: "I sometimes wish I were an obstetrician in a Catholic hospital so that I would not have to make any of these decisions." (POST, June 3, p. 91) The Church has a mission to redeem the world. Her members must work toward this goal. It is only when they have the Church in sharp focus that Catholics are able to make any worth-while contribution to this mission. One of the hidden psychoses which f u t u r e psychiatrists may uncover as the biggest menace to 20th century America is the "crusader-c o m- plex" which asserts itself at the slightest pro- vocation. A case in point is the n a t i o n-w i d e organization known as "Fair Play for Cuba mittee." This organization has confined itself, for t h e most part, to college campuses in the States with chapters located at 35 colleges and 16 cities. It has been in operation for the past 11 years but has become more vocal in recent months. According to reports, a more apt name for the organization would be: "Defense of Cuba, Right or Wrong." There seems to be no emphasis placed on the "fair play angle" of their title as most of the efforts are confined to criticism of the poli- cies and actions of the United States and defense of Castro. A more important f u n c t i o n of the organization s e e m s to be t he collecting of funds from college students zealous for the nebu- lous cause. The leaders have been under scrutiny of the Senate International Security Subcommit- tee. SPOTLIGHT ON SOCIAL REFORM 415 HIJACKER ale in It is always with a little touch of sadness that I lead of the work of the so-called "Priest Workers', in other countries. My admiration for them knows no bounds as I scan a narrative that tells how they go down into thedust and grime of the mines in France or elsewhere, living at times under primitive economic conditions. They take jobs as la- borers on [he'docks, in the holds of ships, or in some other con- gested section of a city "to win back the work- ers to t h e Faith." These heroic men of God, men consecrat- ed as priests to His service, are ~compelled by c 1 r c u m- stances to en- gage in these extreme meas- ures "to make contact with the people." The remark has been attributed to' Plus XI that the tragedy of the last century had been the loss of the workers of the Church. Changing Relationship "How could[he clergy get so far away from the people?" is a perfectly natural question that one living in our times and in our country migh~ ask. The whole history of the Church in Europe and on the Continent seems to be written between the lines of these unusual, extraor- dinary experiments. Books have been written about the rise and fall of the Church in particular countries. Until the end of time other volumes will be published on the same sub- ject. Revolutions of all kinds, violent, political, educational, spiritual, have contributed to the changing relationships between the clergy~ and the .people. From the vantage point of our FATHER WILLIAM SMITH, S.J. spirit of camaraderie" in the Faith. Same Strain Present No one doubts that the Cath- olic laity in this country re- sl~ects its clergy. No one doubts that a genuine manifestation of reverence is shown to the clergy by the laity. Basically, I pre- sume, the respect and reverence of modern generations is built upon the "immigrant" Faith that our forbearers brought with them to this country. Each gen- eration modifies and adjusts its attitudes in line with the "think- ing of the times." But under- neath, the same strain is there. The Catholicity of the laity ex- presses itself in this respect and reverence for the clergy. It is as American as hot dogs, baseball and the Fourth of July. Some years ago (when the priest-worker movement was be- ginning in France) a young Jes- uit.priest asked me if it would be advisable for him to seek per- mission to spend a month as a worker in one of our American factories. I urgently counselled him not to attempt it. The American workman (or the av- erage American of any class for that matter) doesn't want his priests to be "a comrade on the assembly line" with him. Know Priest's Role In this country a worker is a worker, a lawyer is a lawyer, a banker is a banker, a doctor is a doctor, a teacher is a teacher, and a "priest is a priest." And so it goes all along the line. We know where the lines of demar- cation are, and if we don't we soon find out through experi- ence. Fortunately, history has smiled upon us. ~aFOr the most part American tholics have delineated fairly well their concept o.f the role of the priest in their daily lives. By mutual, if unexpressed, agree- ment both laity and clergy have own American Catholicity, it come to understand where "the would be impossible to ignore priest fits into the picture." the fact that nowhere in the There may still be some lines world do we see the same kind in regard to social and political of contact between clergy and action which have not yet laity as we have in America. It emerged into an "entirely clear would hardly be an exaggera- perspective. But no one is think- tion to characterize it as "a ing about instigating a revolt or starting a revolution in regard to them. Laity's Role Uncertain Paradoxical as it may seem, we have not yet discovered the true role of the layman in our Catholic Church in America. But a hunt for the solution of the problem is on the move. There is no question of the laity at- tempting to infringe upon the spiritual functions of the clergy in Chtholic American life. The~'e is a big question mark looming up, however, as to the complete and comprehensive role of the laity in the political and social orders; a role which from but is not independent the function of the clergy. The election of John F. Ken- nedy as President of the United States and the position he has taken in regard to specific poli- tical issues reveals a very point- ed indication of how hundreds of young, intelligent, alert, deeply fervent Catholic laymen are thinking today. One Notable Difference The problem in Europe and America differs in many ways. There is one difference that can be definitely noted. In other countries very, very many po- tential leaders among the laity have been lost to the Faith. They are outside the Church. The young enthusiasts in Ameri- ca, seeking a new responsive and responsible role as effective lay apostles, are, thank God, within the Church. They yearn to be apostles in the political and 'social order of America. But they do not want to be "dominat- ed" by the clergy in those par- ticular 'fields. If you haven't heard of this trend before, you will hear a good deal of it in the future, I can assure you. Make yourself a seller when you are buying and a buyer when you are selling and then you will sell and buy honestly. St. Francis de Sales Let that Eucharist be held valid which is offered by the bishop or by one to whom the bishop has committed this charge. St, Ignatius of Anltoch It ~11 be no small sin for us, if we. depose, from the episcopacy men who have blamelessly and in holiness of. feted up sacrifice. --Pope St. Clement I There is nothing evil save that which perverts the mind and shackles conscience. St. Ambrose Vol. XXV[, No. 22 June 2, 1961 THE MOST REVEREND LORAS T. LANE ' Publisher THE REVEREND ARTHUR J. O'NEILL MoneBIng Editor THE REVEREND WILLIAM I. JOFFEwJ~st. Mona in0 Editor MARJORIE GALUAGHER = : - WOmon'l I~age Editor ROBERT WlLLEMS News Editor BEULAH O'MEARA Business ROBERT J. STARR Advertising ANN BERTOUASI Circulation The Observer, I~rinted weekly at 413 Pleasant Street Befoit, Wis- consin, is the official newspaper of the Catholic Diocese af Rockford. Second class postage paid .-.; Beloit. Wisconsin. Subscriptions $4~00 per yem prepold in the United stores ALL COMMUNICATIONS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO THE OBSERVER. 1260 NORTH CHURCH STREET ROCKFORD~ ILLINOIS, POSTMASTERs Please send form ~S?9 to the O|$|gY|R, 1161 NMll 61bulb ~t, neckford~ Ulhillk % REAPINGS AT RANDOM I I acial $1 li By GERARD E. SHERRY There is much that could be said about the disgraceful happenings in the deep South, where an interracial group of "Freedom Riders" are attempting through peaceful means to point up the problem of racial injustice. How- ever, we would prefer to point out that the situation em- phasizes the skirting of a fundamental principle--respon- sibility. It appears that no one wants it, but that all de- sire it for someone else. Thus, white people condemn Negroes for lowering stan- da/'ds of education, for ruining neighbor- hoods and ~or committing crimes out of proportion to their numbers, but little is done by white people in the way of ex- pressing interest in and in doing some-~ thing to help colored people. Negroes, like- wise, while justifiably indignant at being deprived of equal rights in many social and civic areas, nonetheless have not ac- cepted their share of the burden. The educated and skilled Negroes, especially, don't do enough to uplift the ideals of their people; and the great masses of colored people just seem to go along in undis- turbed domestic activities. Challenge to Catholics There is sufficien~ mpterial in the preceding paragraph to light a tier:./- conversation. If that is so; perhaps a greater number oi persons will realize that epch has a responsibility before God in the administration of His gifts, an obligation that is personal mad which canaet be CU transferred or be set aside unused. All this, therefore, constitutes a particular challenge to the Catholic, to whom much has been given by God and of whom mu'ch will be required. Ma~y, many Catholic have shunned ~their re- sponsibility before Almighty God, largely because the blessings received in the Faith have not been understood. Difficulties between white and colored people' are not of recent origin, nor have white Catholics only lately begun to exhibit irresponsible attitudes in dealing with Catholic or non-Catholic Negroes. One hundred years ago, an En- glish priest visited our country. He was Father Herbert Vaughan, soon to found an international missionary corh- munity and later to be named Cardinal-Archbishop of Westminster. Father Vaughan saw the plight of a still- enslaved Negro population i)- the United States but his stomach turned especially at the indifference of priests, religious and lay Catholic~ who "smiled at the colored as though the latter had no ~ouls." Core of Difficulties God's wisdom and His ever varied creative act were overlooked ~nd still are. Even today~many Catholics re- sent colored people. The Catholic, sharing in the divine life of God Himself, gives less of God's love to Negroes than do the r~on-sharing non-Ca[holics. Even Catholics among t:',e Negroes ~t!ll are slighted or denied care in some Catholi.3 hosp~.t:~Is; [he7 ar.e rarely seen in some Catholic high schools, "and ~:hlte Catholic people still liter- ally run from them when Negro families appear in a new neighborhood. This avoidance of responsibility--what it means to be a Catholic i$ at ~e ~re ~ our local and nationM difficul- / ties. There are enough Catholic people in Rockford and in the United States to leaven the entire population and to make its laws and its customs Christian. But this will never be until the Catholic alerts himself to the obliga- tions of his baptism in, the life of God. When Catholics joln in with the spirit of racism, join also iq attacks upon the very roots of the Faith. heart of Catholicism is love springing from the very being of God and expressed in human terms in the mystical body of Christ. The late lamented Pope Plus XII, described the loss of understanding of love as the worst error of our time, for it rejects Jesus Christ and~ the purpose of I-~s coming. Law of Love We are commanded indeed by God Himself to love Him with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, and with all our mind. Further, that we love our neighbor" as we love ourself. There is no room h God, nor can there be in the Catholic, a~ area wherein pride of race may flourish. As so fittingly described by St. Paul, referring to the baptized, "Here there ~s no more Gentile and Jew, no more circumcized and uncircumcized; no one is bar- bariam 'or Seythian, no o-,=e is slave or free n- an; there is nothing but Christ in a:Jy of u:'." The law of Christ goverrs the Catholic Church and all of its members. Thi:~ law h,~s been redur:~d to tv, n simple terms: 1.=re Gad ~L~d love yc,~:r neig! hor. The Cethollc, therefc, re, must str;ve for the bette::nent of l-.i~ neighbor. Forflf!ed by a trim k; owledg; of his Fa~'~'~, the Catkclic will find tlmt there is only one a~'~wer to questtou$ of