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July 14, 1961     The Observer
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July 14, 1961

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By FATHER JOHN RYAN WHEN A PERSON HAS "A F I R M PURPOSE OF AMENDMENT" FOR PERHAPS A HUNDRED TIMES ABOUT SOME SINFUL HABIT, AND IS PRETTY SURE HE WILL FALL AGAIN, HOW CAN HE BE SINCERE? To have the purpose of doing something is not at all the same as making a prediction that you will succeed. If anyone decided it was impossible for God's grace, with his own free co-operation, to cure him of his iault, this time or any time, he would be falling into despair and would not be purposing amendment. But so long as he recognizes the true possibility, and here and now fully intends it, his purpose of amendment is perfectly genuine. CAN A CHILD WHO IS UNBAPTIZED ENTER HEAVEN THROUGH THE DE- SIRE OF HIS PARENTS? Anyone who enters heaven does so by God's free gift, giving a share in His life to a human being. Christ has revealed to us the manner of the giving of this gift by baptism (whether received sacramen- tally or desired). We can know nothing of God's giving of this gift except what He has told us, so we know nothing of any other manner He might have of dealing with souls whom baptism cannot reach. Theologians have evolved a theory of a state of natural happiness for these children, Limbo. A number of theo- logians are examining the documents of the Church which throw some light on this matter to see whether it cannot rather be said that, for all we know, they may attain to the fullness of God's life in heaven. Perhaps, it is sug- gested for instance, a dying infant does have the use of reason just before he dies and so can accept God's grace, thus accepting baptism by desire. But unless an authori- tative dogmatic pronouncement by the Church should show that something concerning this matter is definitely im- plied by God's revelation, we cannot say we know any- thing. We do know that God is all-merciful, but we cannot claim to know anything of how His mercy acts except when He has revealed it. -k -k -k ARE PRIESTS JUSTIFIED IN PREACHING THAT UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES IS DIVORCE EVER PER- MITTED ACCORDING TO CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES? Such a statement is indeed often made in sermons and instructions; but it should not be expressed in this abso- lute and unqualified form. In the first place, the Church authorities sometimes allow a Catholic to procure a civil divorce, without any idea of remarrying, in order to he protected against molestation from his or her spouse, or to be assured of alimony, etc. Again, in certain circum- stances a divorce in the full sense of the term--that is, the dissolution of a valid marriage with the right to re- marry--can be sanctioned or granted by the Catholic Church. Thus a divorce of this type takes place when the Pauline privilege is granted. To state the teaching of the Church exadtly on this point, it would be better to present it in this way: The Catholic Church never per. mits a divorce with the right to remarry in the case of a baptized couple who have been validly married and have lived together as husband and wife. AT WHAT AGE CAN A DECEASED CHILD BE GIVEN A REQUIEM MASS? A Requiem Mass--that is, a Mass celebrated for a de- ceased person at which the priest wears black vestments, and which has for its principal theme prayers for the re- mission of temporal punishment--can be celebrated only for a deceased person who has reached the use of reason, which generally takes place about the age of seven. Be- fore that time a child cannot commit formal sin, and ~ hence cannot have any debt of temporal punishment to "detain him in purgatory. However the Church allows a votive Mass of the Angels to be celebrated over the body of a baptized child who died before reaching the age of reason. The theme of such a Mass is gratitude to God for taking the little one to Himself in its baptismal innocence. DOES THE CHURCH OBLIGE US TO BELIEVE WITH DIVINE FAITH THAT MIRACLES ARE ACTUALLY TAK- ING PLACE AT FATIMA? While the Church teaches, and we are bound to believe, that God can work miracles, we are not obliged to ac- cept as truths of faith, those miracles that are not con- tained in the revealed word of God. Accordingly, if a Cath- olic held that the wonderful cures that take place in Fa- tima and Lourdes are not real miracles but are due to natural causes, he would not fail against the virtue of divine faith. However, any intelligent and honest person who examines these cures thoroughly will admit that in some instances, at least, there is no other reasonable ex- planation for the cures that have been wrought, except the miraculous intervention of God. WHO WERE THE SAINTS KNOWN AS THE FORTY MARTYRS? The Forty Martyrs were soldiers of a Roman legion sta- tioned at Sebaste in Armenia around 320. Ordered to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods, they refused and were sen- tenced to die by exposure on a frozen lake. Lying naked in the winter air, all but one of them per- severed until death. A pagan soldier who watched the spectacle was instantly converted by the herqism of the thirty-nine loyal Christians. He took off his clothes and lay down beside the martyrs, joining !hem in death. -k ~ -k 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. il An unforseen and certainly unintentional off- shoot from our system of Catholic education is the attitude growing in the minds of too many par- ents that the work of the total education of their children is something to be relegated to the teach- ers rather than delegated to them. The basic principle underlying the existence of our Catholic schools (and state-supported schools ~lso, for that matter) is that the school exists for the purpose of specialized work in education but only as the delegate of and with the Consent and cooperation of the parents. The existence of the attitude of total relegation in education is evidenced by the low-level of re- ligious information in the minds of many n e ~r registrants for first grade each fall. In fact, a sur- vey in the schools of Milwaukee some years ago revealed that about half of the newcomers to first grade did not know the fundamental Chris- tian prayers or even the Sign of the Cross. Now if these parents were totally negligent of the religious training of their children they would not bother to register them in a Catholic school. A possible explanation of this large-scale neglect of prayer habits in the pre-school children is that the parents probably had the idea that the privi- lege of teaching children to pray is the exclusive domain of the Sisters in school. Evidences of the existence of this "relegation theory" are four~d in areas beyond the first grade level. Too often the school has the full responsi- bility for the reception of t h e Sacraments of Penance and Holy Euchm:ist. The practice of First Friday Communion in most parishes with schools brings large numbers of children to the Commun- ion table during the school year. However, most pastors are concerned about the absentees during the summer months while the children are under the exclusive care of their parents. We might ask these questions with honest can- AT THE READY REAPINGS AT RANDOM dor and face the answers with equal candor: Do the parish schools assume too much responsibil- ; ity in the religious training of the y o u n g and thereby stifle the initiative of the parents or did the schools take over this total operation in a kind of desperation seeing t h a t the parents in general were not giving sufficient time and effort to this primarily parental responsibility? If the schools have stifled parental initiative, it is time for some drastic adjustments on basic principles. If the schools have taken over as a substitute in the face of parental neglect, it is time to rekindle in the hearts,of parents a zeal for their God-given role as the primary educators of their own children. These remarks may seem rather sharp; but the issue at stake is so very vital for future genera- tions. We are gratefully aware of the large num- ber of good Catholic parents who realize their role as educators and look upon their p a r i s h schools as agencies to help them in this task. It is the other group that needs constant prodding. There is a test for the rating of parents as re- ligious teachers. It can and should be given in the unclouded environment of summer time when school is recessed. The topic of the test is the re- ligious life of the child now exclusively under the guidance of the parent. The test has f o u r questions: attendance at Sunday Mass; frequency of Penance and Holy Eucharist; habits of family and personal prayer; the subject matter of con- versations and reading on the part of the chil- dren. Parents who are able to g i v e themselves a good score on these four points may be re-assured that they are filling their role as educators and presumably have the correct attitude that their parochial schools are their delegated agents to help in this noble work. Those who must g i v e themselves a low score and blushingly a d m i t that whatever religious practices are still exist- ing are the result of what "Sister said," should iace the fact that perhaps unknowingly, they have become relegators. We advise them to get rid of this attitude and to take on the role of leadership in teaching their children by word and example. A joy unknown before will reward their efforts. / It has been wisely noted that if all the money problems in the world w e r e straightened out there would be no threats to peace. Another evi- dence of this was brought out in recent develop- ments in the heretofore little known shiekdom of Kuwait. It appeared:that Britain and Iraq were about to clash over the border patrols hurriedly sent in by Britain when the indeper dence of Ku- wait was threatened. The real crux of the problem in Kuwait is not the freedom of the people but the control of the rich oil reserves. The Middle East will remain a tinder box for many generations because of the rich oil deposits. It is strange that the world pow- ers will gird for war over the possessions of oth- ers. But in the present arrangement of world af- fairs, control of the supply of oil is a vital neces- sity. / Britain acted no differently than any o t h e r power threatened with a loss of vital Supplies. But it is time that we recognize that the struggle for world domination springs mainly from economics rather than from dedication to ideals. Meanwhile at the United Nations, the Security Council attempted to stalemate the Iraq-Kuwait dispute by guaranteeing Kuwait!s independence. A Soviet veto killed the proposal. The Soviet delegate insisted that nothing could be decided until the British troops w e r e with- draw*n because the presence of troops makes Ku- wait an "occupied country." The Soviets howev'er, side-stepped the claim of Iraq to sovereignty over Kuwait. It was not clear, as usual, just what the , Soviet delegate was trying to accomplish except to add to the confusion. II I I j I SPOTLIGHT O=N S0ClAL REFORM Lai e :Dining FATHER WILLIAM SMITH, S.J. I Discussions on the respective roles of the clergy and the laity in the Church have not yet reached the proportions of the Church-State controversy which blew up during the last presiden- tial campaign. Nor are our sep- arated brethren of the Protes- tant churches in any way involv- ed. But interest in the subject is growing in intensity and debate upon it is be- coming m u c h m o r e wide- s?read than it was even a year a~-T). ~ h e coming LEcumeni- cal council is ex- pected to deal with it at length and lay down s o m e ground rules, at least, as to what the Church considers the proper role of the laity. There seems to be little doubt that clarification of the laity's participation in the canonical, theological and .liturgical as- pects of the problem will come from the ardently expected council. Consensus ReaChed "On these points,''~ Pere M. J. Conger, O.P in an interview published in the magazine AMERICA writes, "we have reached a sort ofconsensus since 1950, thanks to two world congresses of the lay apostolate, to the discourses of the Pope, and to a number of books. I think it is quite possible today to determine the ecclesiological role of lay people in a positive ard constructive way." The .real difficulty will come when distinctions and defini- tions are sought, concerning the Never practice any mortifica- tion of a considerable character without counsel. The devil, when he can no longer keep us back, aims at driving us too far and too fast. Isaac T. Hecker respective role of the clergy and the laity in what is commonly called the temporal order. The social encyclicals have pointed out in a general way what the Church expects of the laity in influencing both Chris- tians and non-Christians alike in the every day world in which they live, work and exercise their vocation as laymen. The directives go beyond the idea of the lay apostle bringing the mes- sage of Christ merely by person- al exzlmple, by a Catholic living an exemplary religious life. They give encouragement to the 'thought of the layman exercis- ing influence, not only as an in- dividual but as an active parti, cipant in a social organization. Layman Carries Cause "By the nature of Iris calling," writes Pere Congar, "the priest cannot place himself completely in the political and professional order. This area is one of compe- tition and of rivalry; the priest must remain the man of God, the man of charity. The priest in the Latin Church has no family; usually he doesn't have a secu- lar occupation, except in an ac- cidental way as teacher or re- searcher, etc. Thus, it is the layman who actually carries the cause of the Church, the cause of the 'consecration of the world' of which Plus XII spoke." This ideal is recognized and accepted by clergy and laity alike. But the implementation of it and the practical carrying out of the prescription is still in need of probing and clarification. As the discussion develops, both on the level of the Hierarchy and at the level of the study club and convention floor; what the Church considers the role of the laity to be will become clearer and clearer. The opposite side of the coin, however, is not quite so clear. The co-related question is; "What does the Catholic lay- man in America, as of today, think the role of the laity should be?" Demonstrate Dissent The articulate, well educated, sincere and really dedicated Catholic layman (and there are thousands of them) are l~retty well convinced, that Catholic or- ganizations for the most part, as they exist and function at the present time, do not correspond to their idea of adequate vehi- cles for either expression or ac- tion by Catholic laymen. They demonstrate their dissent by ar- ticles and letters to the editor in Catholic publications. They em- phasize their displeasure by simply steering clear of parish societies as they are now consti- tuted. A student of the school of law, Southern Methodist university, Dallas, Texas, writing a letter in~ the June 17th issue of AMERI:C/~ commended the editor for recently articles that had appeared in the magazine AMERICA. Untapped Reservoir "Unhappily," the correspondent remarks, "this literature some- times finds it way to the racks at the door of the Church, but most often is not carried to the sacristy or the rectory. Pastors are simply unaware of the enor- mous increase of college and university trained people in to- day's Catholic community. Hence this vast reservoir of skill and competence among lay 15eo~le is often left untapped, and there seems to be no conscious direc- tion on the clergy's side to take advantage of its availability." This is,typical of the thinking of thousands of young and zeal- ous Catholic men and women of the laity. (To be continued) Coincidences are nothing to those who have a great simpli- city. The word is only intended to explain away the methods by which the good God arranges the affairs of His world. Katharine T. Hinkson To be a Christian is the great thing, not merely to seem one. And somehow or other those please the world most who please Christ least. St, Jeronie: Letters, 4th Cent. If self-pity is the only kind of pity that is entirely uSe'r less, confidence in God is the only kind of cgnfidence that is entirely proof against disappointment.--The Liguorian The hardest job a Catholic child can~ have is learning to be a good Catholic without the good example of its parents. --The Liguorian By GERARD E. SHERRY The somber news emanating from Moscow and other capitals of the world leads us to wonder whether the American people are aware of the awesome dangers that lie ahead. The realities of the future point to a possible war be- ~I~'M.~ fore the end of 1961. Mr. Khrushchev has given an ulti- !#fq'~t ~{Cp~ ~t~ #~~H~ matum on Berlin, Chinese Communists have given ulti, matums in Southe~ast Asia; and in the Middle East the relative quiet the past two years seems about shattered ~ ~.~ ~ gl.~,7.~db~a=R in the rumblings of Kuwait and Iraq. ~tss-~ , Vol. XXVI, No. 28 ~ JUly 14 1961 We are not about to press the panic but- ~g~:~.~ ton. We do not suggest a gloom and doom ~!ii~iiii ~ . ~ attitude. But we do wonder whether our ~iii!::i THE MOST REVEREND LORAS T LANE Publisher readers, and our fellow Americans every- ~~!iiiii THE REVEREND ARTHUR J O'NEILL Managing Editor where, fully understand the seriousness of ~ii THE REVEREND WILLIAM I JOFFE Asst Managing Editor MARJORIE GALLAGHER Women% Page Editor the situation and the demands that will ~ii ROBERT WtLLEMS News Editor be made upon us ~~:~:" ~: BEULAH O'MEARA Business Not Prepared ~]! ROBERT 1. STARR Advertising ANN BERTOLASI Circulation We have tile confidence that our gov- ~i!~ The Observer, ~rinted weekN at 413 P,eosant Stree~ Betei'------~Wi--~ ernment is taking all the necessary mill- ~:i~ onsin, is the official newspaper o* the Catholic Diocese at Rockford. tary and economic arrangements to in- ~:i!~ Second class postage paid at Beloit Wisconsin. sure that we are prepared for any even- .u ~:;::m,m::~ Subscriptions tuality. We are confident that there will be $4.00 pet yea~ prepaid in the UnlteO States no appea'sement of the enemy. We are likewis~e confi- ALL COMMUNICATIONS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED ro THE OBbERVER. 1260 NORTH CHURCH STREE'i ROCKFORD ILLINOIS.'dent that if the dreadful drums of war are rolled across POSTMASTER: Please send form 3579 to the OBSERVER, 1260 N~rl.k ~he world, Americ~ and her Allies will not be found want- C~burcb Street Rockford, Illinois. ing in military and economic areas. ngers But what about our people, and the citizens of other lands, who ~vould be involved with us in the fight against the subversive forces of Communist conquest? Have we the spiritual strength and dedication necessary to back fully the steps our government may find it necessary to take? To us it is very doubtful whether the vast majority of our people are so prepared. The symptom of. "better tO be Red than dead" is an attitude held by many people. It can be found popular not only in pacifist circles in Eng- land but also in New York, Washington, San Francisco, and indeed, in practically every capital of the world. The reason for this is very simple. Dedication Lost The search for material contentment has led men of all races, colors and creeds to lose sight of the ultimate goal of man. We in America have lost our forefathers' spirit of dedication to the ideals which made the nation great. The material abundance which we now enjoy is our main concern Many of us will fight Communism if it means the protection of our suburban home with its television sets, freezers, hi fis and two-car garages. But if it is a question of a defense of our spiritual ideals we have the feeling that there wili be few volunteers. We have to face the fact that our secularistic society has produced an abundance of Judases. And all the while this major crisis faces us, the leader of the John Birch society announces that he is compiling Lie a list of Communist dupes and liberals whom he claims are almost selling out to the enemy. In additidn, some of our so-called Catholic anti-Communist groups are plan- ning further pillory of dissenterS. Nowhere in the grams of these so-called patriotic societies do we any plan to indoctrinate the people with sound morals and a sense of dedication. The tocsin that is sounded is one of fear, not of hope and courage. Need Positive Program This is the basic problem with us all. Our approach is always to the dangers involved rather than the oppor- tunities presented to each and every one of us to prove our real worth as Americans. Anti-Communism or pro- Americanism based solely on fear of the enemy will see us go down to defeat. What is needed is a solid, positive program which will bring out those qualities that pro- duced the victory of 1776. We don't want fear mongers or hate mongers to tell us what to do. We need simply a sense of history and a courage developed through a great- ;er knowledge of God, Time is short: but it is time enough for us to contem- plate and meditate on our responsibilities as God-fearing citizens. There is always time for spiritual rehabilitation, and for us in this hour the time is now. Let us pray fer- vently that whatever the time of testing, we will be pre- pared and willing to die if necessary to defend not only the material but the spiritual heritage which is ours.