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Rockford, Illinois
July 21, 1961     The Observer
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ons on By FATHER JOHN RYAN WHEN IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO RESTORE STOLEN PROPERTY TO ITS RIGHTFUL OWNER, WHY MUST IT BE GIVEN .TO THE POOR? Giving it to the poor is only a-last resort. The owner cannot be found, or perhaps he is unknown. After the own- er, the poor have next best claim to it because they need it most. The thief has no claim at all on what he has stolen. It simply is not his. WHY, OUT OF ALL THOSE WHO HAD A HAND IN THE DEATH OF OUR LORD, IS PON- TIUSPILATE ONLY MENTIONED IN THE CREED? He was better known than the rest. His- tory records that Pontius Pilate was gov- ernor of Judea from 27 to 37 A.D. By af- firming that he was the one who cam- damned Christ, we make very clear our belief that Christ was a real person who lived at a definite place and time in hiS- tory. IF IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO LOSE HEAV- EN ONCE YOU HAVE GAINED IT, HOW DID THE ANGELS LOSE HEAVEN? Usually when we speak of heaven, we mean that per- fect happiness which consists in seeing God face to face. Nothing can disturb this happiness. In it, sin is impos- sible. This perfect happiness the angels did not have when they sinned. They were in "heaven" only as distinct from earth. Heaven in this sense raeans a state in which pure- ly spiritual beings without bodies live. Before being admitted to the vision of God, the angels had to prove their fidelity to Him. But some of them re- belled against G0d, By their sin they lost forever the chance to live in that heaven which the good angels then gained. WHAT IS THE LAW OF THE CHURCH ABOUT WOM- EN WEARING GLOVES WHEN RECEIVING H O L Y COMMUNION? The only general regulation concerning women and their attire when receiving Holy Communion is Canon 1262 of the Code of Canon Law. This law states that they should have their heads covered and be modestly dressed when they approach the Table of the Lord. There is no men- tion of gloves. It seems that a woman ought to conform to the pattern set by the majority of women, who re- ceive Holy Communion without gloves. DOES THE FACT THAT THE GREAT SAINTS EN- DURED EXTRAORDINARY SUFFERINGS INDICATE THAT NO ONE CAN GET.TO HEAVEN WITHOUT EN- DURING GREAT SUFFERING, E I T H E R IN THIS WORLD OR IN PURGATORY? No definite answer to this question is possible. Those who commit sin must pay the debt of the temporal pun- ishment incurred by sin even after their sins are forgiven. The debt is discharged by both prayer and suffering, and also by the benefit of the suffrages of the faithful which, in one way or other, are applied to one's soul after death. It is impossible for anyone to calculate the measure of satisfaction which he must make, or the manner in which it is to be made. Only God can determine the extent to which our personal satisfaction must be made through acts of suffering. The sufferings of the saints may likewise be looked at as works of penance freely accepted and applied to the . process of discipline and purification which must pre- cede and accompany the union of the soul with God by grace. There is every reason to believe that the intensity of suffering in saintly souls has been in proportion to their growth in God's grace. Suffering has been efficacious in the lives of the saints to the extent that it has been freely endured and supernaturally directed. We should not seek suffering for its own sake, but we may and should strive to imitate the saints by accepting in a spirit of resignation the trials and evils of the present life, and by ordering all our activities in accordance with the will of God. IS IT A DOGMA OF THE FAITH THAT A PERSON CAN NEVER BE CERTAIN WHETHER HE IS IN THE STATE OF GRACE OR NOT? .' No, it is not a dogma of the faith, for God can reveal it ~to an individual, and in the case of several saints God ] seems to have done so. When God reveals to an individual ; the fact of his being in the state of grace, that person can I be certain of it with the certainty of divine and super- } natural faith. Normally, however, God gives no such reve- lation; therefore normally persons can only be certain ] of this fact by way of natural human certainty, as they .' are certain of other facts of the inner life. l A person who bestows reasonable care on the examina- i tion of his conscence, and who habitually devotes him- self to the love and service of ~, can be quite certain that he has not committed any mortal sin since his last confession; in other words, that he is in the state of grace. It is this certainty which authorizes him to go to Holy Communion. The presence or absence of sanctifying grace in the soul is, of course, not directly and in itself ascertainable by any natural human means, for grace itself ~oes not come under human devotion. But the human acts on ac- count of which grace is given or withdrawn come under , the ordinary means of human knowledge. A man can be absolutely certain of his own inner innocence, even though ~such certainty is not supernatural or part of his Chris- ] tian faith. * * ",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- $onal reply. However, Father Ryan reserves the right not ] to use unsigned questions. c i i It is a fundamental human right, a privilege of nature, that every man should worship according to his own con. c victions; one man's religion neither harms nor helps an- other man. It is certainly no part of religion to com- pel religion. --Tertullian i i VoL XXVt, No. 29 July 21, 1961 THE MOSt REVEREND LORAS l, LANE Publisher THE REVEREND ARTHUR J O'NEILL Managing Editor THE REVEREND WILLIAM I, JOFFE ~ Asst Managing Editor MARJORIE GALLAGHER Womer ! Page Editor ROBERT WILLEMS .News Editor BEULAH O'MEARA ~ Busine l ROBERT I STARR Advertising ANN BERTOLASI Circulation The ObserveF printed weekly at 413 Pleasant Street Belelt, Wit- : onsin. is the official newspaoer o the Catholic Diocet~l af Rockford, Second class 10ostage ooid at Beloit Wisconsin. Subscriptions $4.00 pea yem prepaid m the Unltea Stehm ALL COMMUNICATIONS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO THE :OBbERVER 1260 NORTH CHURCH STREEt ROCKFORD ILLINOIS. POSTMASTER: Please send form 3579 to the BSERVER, '12i0 Neigh ~,hurcb Street Rockford, Ulinala. S A recent bulletin to pastors and principals of elementary schools from the Rockford Diocesan Bureau of Education has recommendations which will mark great strides forward the continued improvement of our parochial elementary schools. We single out for special comment the new di- rective on the maximum number of pupils per classroom and the restriction on money collections from and by the pupils. Maximum Pupils Per Teacher Noting the increase in school enrollment over the past four years and the corresponding in- crease in the number of lay and religious teach- ers, the Education bulletin sets the standard for the maximum number of pupils per classroom at 50 with an expressed preference for a maximum of 45. The establishment of this standard will be en- couraging to the overburdened teacher and also to those parents who have, silently or other- wise, worried over the large number of pupils in some of our classrooms. There are many theories concerning the num- ber of pupils for an i d e a 1 classroom situation. h any times it depends on the ability of the teach- er. But there is a definite 1 i m i t for the m o s t talented and experienced teacher. Some specialists place the ideal number of pupils per room as low as 25. This sounds mo e like a proposal of t h e teachers union than an honest appraisal of reality. Others, with an eye on the use of closed-circuit television and other electronic aids, maintain that a good teacher is able to teach a number much larger than that found even fn the most crowded present day classroom. Experiments along these lines have shown favorable results on the college level, but the effectiveness on t h e elementary level is open to serious debate. Our diocesan standard of a maximum of 45 to 50 pupils per classroom is neither idealistic nor experimental. It strikes a happy medium and is based on present facts. During the past year our elementary schools enrolled 22,079 pupils, and I I i iii i i FOUNTAIN OF HOPE REAPINGS AT RANDOM 1 By GERARD E. SHERRY This has been called the age of the laity, but I am won- dering whether it really is. We find exhortation in bish- ops' pastorals, from the pulpit, and in the Catholic press, calling on the laity to take a more active part in the work of the Church. In recent years the verbal tempo of the lay apostolate has been speeded Up. Yet,/can we say that the laity has responded to the call? It must be admitted that our lay organizations have in- creased their membership rolls. But this has not resulted in a corresponding in- crease of lay activity. Apart from fund raising, bingo, carnivals and Communion breakfasts, the lay apostolate in this coun- try has not yet come to grips with the real problem of Christian influence in the sec- ular world. Reasons for Failure Some laymen> and women are doing a magnificent job, but the vast majority are not touched at all. Why? To me there are but two basic reasons for this failure of the lay apostolate to have an impact. One is the point brought up several months ago by Donald Thorman, man- aging editor of Ave Maria. He said, in effect, there was a lack of real communication between the laity and the hierarchy. The other is a lack of understanding by both priests and laymen of the fact that the laity are an inte- gral part of the Church. There is much contact between the bishop of the diocese and the laity as a whole. This comes about through the pastorals and the doctrinal teaching which the bishop's office imposes upon him. But the real failure as I see ' t were staffed by 505 teachers. This places our 1960- 61 school year average at 43 pupils per teacher. Restrict Collections The diocesan bureau of education restriction on the collection of money from the pupils will also receive wide acclaim from both parents and teach- ers. Parents have been heard to ask: "Are o u r children going to the parish school to learn sales- manship or Christian living?" Harrassed teachers have, in some localities, quotas to m e e t e a c h month to meet minor operational expenses. Many pastors have long ago banned all commercialism from their parish schools. We must face the fact hat the operation of our schools is an expensive proposition. The sale of candy and Christmas cards or the promotion of sales of secular and religious magazines certainly cannot be the backbone of the financial support of our schools. These projects will never make or break our schools financially. Sometimes the pro- ceeds of these sales help meet minor expenses. Oftentimes they are for little extras that from the point of view of better education could well be omitted completely. Most Qften, these promotions and gimmicks create a long-drawn-out distraction from the real issue--Christian education. ont The Church is sometimes accused 0f withdraw- ing to the sanctuary to concentrate on ritualism to the neglect of the social problems of mankind. At other times; the Church is accused of meddling in world affairs outside her orbit of influence and thereby neglecting her admitted function of teaching men to know God. Neither accusation gives a true picture of the work of the Church. The true and balanced function of the Church is exemplified most strikingly in the recent and widely-acclaimed letter of Pope John XXIII titled "Mother and Teacher". Written to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the great social encycli- cal, "Return Novarum"; by Pope Leo XIII, this lengthy and positive encyclical of Pope John ap- plies to our times those Christian princip'les of Justice and Charity which Pope Leo applied to the problems of his day. In his own words Pope John stated that his let- ter, "Mater et Magistra" is a continuation of the teachings of Christ-- "this is how the teachings of Christ continue in every age to radiate the full- ness of His intentions and of His mission. The Divine Savior did not limit Himself to traveling through Palestine announcing the Gospel, but He performed miracles for the benefit of suffering humanity, which needed bread, comfort and re- lief." In the days of pope Leo XIII the most urgent social problem was the plight of the workingman bought and sold as a commodity in the market place of rugged and individualistic capitalism emerging from the industrial revelution. In these days of Pope John XXIII, the most pressing social problem is still the maldistribu- tion of the goods of the earth, but the scene of the crime has shifted mainly to the new and emergent nations. These nations and their problems receive the special attention of Pope John. He stated in simple terms: "We are all equally responsible for the undernourished people." The fate of any papal encylical is dubious; sometimes they become classroom study mater- ial; sometimes they are completely ignored. Even today the great social principles enunciated by Pope Leo XIII, Pope Plus XI and Pope Plus XII are either not known or deliberately ignored by many Catholics. We trust that the fate of "Mater et Magistra" will be that it will be studied and applied by all Christians -- to whom it was ad- dressed. Considering the serious problems of the world" and that these are all due to man's injustice to man, it is not yet too late for the world to heed the basic principle of Christ reiterated by Pope John -- the possession of the goods of the earth carries with it a responsibility for its proper use which is termed "stewardship". The Church as Mother and Teacher will keep on saying this. If the lesson is learned and applied by all mankind, all social problems will be solved. SPOTLIGHT ON SOCIAL REFORM I II I I II I I I II an II There are two phases of the question on the role of the laity in the Church which seem to be cropping up more and more. Neither aspect is touchedupon by any papal encyclical. The first is the extent to which the Catholic laity may rightly ad- vocate the social principles of the Church as they pertain to specific issues in the political and social sphere. Some have a yen to take de- finite positions, for instance, on controversial public issues and let it be known that, while not speaking offi- cially for the Church, t h e y a r e definitely represent- ing a Catholic layman's view- point on the subject u n d e r discussion. The argument seems to run something like this: Assuming that their posi- tion is grounded on sound Cath- olic principle, they feel they should be free to voice their sentiments in the public arena .not merely as American citizens but as American Catholic lay- men with or without an express- ed approval by the Hierarchy. Right to Autonomy The basis for this viewpoint rests on the fact that the issues emporal FATHER WILLIAM SMITH, S.J. practical questions and problems of this kind can hardly be anti- cipated at present. But, t h e question ,is pertinent to the times. The second phase of the sub- ject concerning the same tem- poral order has manifested itself in some of the writings and cor- respondence that have appear- ed recently in Catholic journals, It is a much more delicate and sensitive type of query. More than one of our prominent young lay leaders has raised the ques- tion*not merely of the role of the laity in the temporal order of the world about them, but of the temporal administration of the Church itself. Good Thought Some seem to be saying, in effect, "We understand that it is proper for the laity to take up the collection. What happens to the money after it has been col- lected ?" Some others, as noted in a let. ter to the COMMONWEAL re- cently, are saying, "many of the good priests now engaged (in any given diocese) in functions that are basically within the layman's competence could be released for other duties, if and when a sufficient number of adult Catholics were thoroughly prepared with theological train- ing." Certainly this is a very far-seeing thought and the let- ter writer quite correctly pre- sumes that it will not happen in tions?" Since the burden of financial support falls upon them, they ~vould like to lend a helpful hand insofar as they are competent to do so. They feel they are "outsiders" consistent- ly excluded from at least some functions in which they could be "insiders." It can be taken for granted that this writer has no intention of attempting an answer of any kind to these questions. I simply bring the points up as examples of the trend of thought in the minds of some of our educated and talented laymen. Step Forward In the long run we will have to wait for the coming council for definitive answers to many of these problems. In the mean- time, I think practical sugges- tions might be in order. In vari- ous parts of the country laymen are discussing this topic. If lo- cal and regional meetings could be called for the one purpose of finding out just what the lay people are thinking, it would be a step in the right direction. Let them first prepare an agenda and list all the points that they seem to think fall with- in the proper confines of lay ac- tivity and thrash questions out until a consensus is arrived at. Present Convictions Let them then reduce their findings to writing and either have it published in the Catholic involved are not of a spiritual the lifetime of the present gen- nature. They are in the political ' eration. But it is another angle and social order. Since, they on the subject. Theological train- contend, as has been said so . ing courses at the parish level is offered as a substitute for 'the often by so many authorities, the realm of the temporal foe- longs to the laity, they should have a right to a certain degree of autonomy in regard to such matters. Whether the Ecumenical coun- cil will bring light to bear on Self-love is cunning, it pushes and insinuates itself into every- thing, while making us believe it is not there at all. St, Francis de Sales endless discussion of picnics, cake sales, parking space for ushers and the rest of it' which engages so much time and at- tention at parish meetings to date. Want to Help The plaint of the laity gets pretty much down to the ques- tion, "How much of a voice should the parishioners have in the plans, the programs and even the policies of the tem- poi-al administration of Catholic parishes, schools and institu- press or submit it to diocesan authority as their genuine con- victions in regard to this sub- ject. Such an approach might obvi- ate possible problems in the fu- ture. As one correspondent put it in a letter to a Catholic pub- lication, "Either the present situation will be corrected or~ we must eventually see a rise in anti'clericalism"' Growth means the unfolding of interior capacities through the assimiliation of external sub- stances R: H. Benson / Is eaJ it, is in the other side of the communication. Most lay people meet their-bishop only at Confirmation time, or at an annual meeting of this or that organization. They sel- dom meet him personally. Their problems are often com- municated to him second hand. The link between the Shep- herd an the F~ithful is not as close as it should be. Met by Rebuffs For instance, there are quite a number of laymen who on hearing the call of their bishop genuinely wish to par- ticipate as true apostles in the work of the Church. Yet, on a parochial and organizational level they are met with frustrations. Some men and women do something despite the rebuffs. Too many others respond by withdrawing. "One often comes across the case of a talented lay per- son who has offered his services to the pastor only to be told to mind his own business. There are many places where the only jobs open to the laity are that of serving on fund raising committees or in the pure externals of parish life. Of course, there are some places where the pastor will invite real cooperation of the laity in all the works of the parish only to find that few will follow him. But I think, in the main, that the cIergy has a greater mistrust of the laity than vice versa. Want Recognition This mistrust is engendered, I believe, through the sad experience of the 19th century evil of lay trusteeism. But those days are gone. Laymen do not want to run parishes. They realize that it is the function of the pastor. But they do want to have a say in the works of the parish. And this because they are members of the parish community and are part~ of all its functions. An awful lot of the frustra- tions of the laity would be eliminated if they were accept- ed as important to the spiritual as well as the temporal order of things. v Christ's Kingdom is spiritual because it is for souls, but these souls are of men. The function of the laity is to grow with Christ without losing their human identity or character in their activities. Some lay people try to find Christ merely through re- treating from the world even though they have to live in it. Others try to work in the world compromising the spir- itual to the benefit of the material. The Kingdom of Christ is aimed at men who will continue to live as men with all the physical, inte]lectual and social capabilities at their command. This does not mean they cannot attain the sanctity and spiritual formation which is their heritage. Words for Reflection What we need is a greater collaboration and genuine participation by layme~ in the Church. The laity of them- selves do not have the power or the authority to continue or to realize a genuine apostolate. The laity are complete- , ly dependent on, and subordinate to the hierarchy. Alas, this is often interpreted to mean that the laity has neither the say nor the right to collaborate in the spiritual as well as the temporal works of the Church. If anyone should think that I have spoken out of turn, let him reflect on these wise words from the late-lamented Pope Plus XII: "The tasks of the Church are too immense today to leave room for petty disputes: In order to preserve the sphere of action of each, it is suffiicent that all should pos- sess enough spirit of faith, disinterestedness and mutual esteem and confidence. "Respect for the dignity of the priests has always been one of the most typical characteristics of the Christian community. On the other hand, the layman also has rights and the priest must recognize them."