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August 11, 1961     The Observer
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August 11, 1961
 

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It By FATHER JOHN RYAN WHAT IS THE TEACHING OF THE C A T H 0 L I C CHURCH REGARDING THE DESCENDANTS OF ADAM AND EVE? It is the teaching of the Catholic Church that Adam and Eve were the first human beings and that the entire hu- man race is descended from them. After their expulsion from the Garden of Paradise two sons were born to them, Cain and Abel. After the murder of Abel by Cain, Seth was born to Adam and Eve when Adam was 130 years old. They had many other children whose names were not mentioned. The sacred writers give a detailed account of the descendants of Cain and Seth. Cain's wife was his sis- ter; at this period marriages between brother and sister were necessary for the propagation of the race. Catholics are forbidden to bold either that there existed on this earth after Adam any human beings who did not take their origin through natural generation from Adam as the first parent of all, or that Adam was not a single being, but a col- lective t e r m designating an indefinite number of first parents. These ~)pinions were condemned by Pope Pins XII in the encyclical "Humani Genesis" in 1950. Beyond this point scholars are free to speculate on the difficult questiohs raised in relation to the age of man- kind and the number of generations prior to the period of history from which chronology can be definitely traced. Some scholars suppose intermediate generations between those explicitly rfientioned which would lengthen the se- ries to correspond with what science has indicated to be the age of the world. Others suppose extraordinary na- tural causes which would have increased the longevity of primitive man. In any event, the figures used in the sacred writings to indicate the age of the patriarchs do not afford a basis for accurate chronological calculation. It has been suggested that the figures have a symbolical meaning which has not yet been accurately determined, or that the sacred writer is simply reproducing an exist- ing document whose details he does not intend to guar- antee. No definite answer can be given, on the basis of evidence available at present, to the questions of the age of mankind and the manner in which man's origins are through history to our first parents. * * iv PLEASE EXPLAIN THE CEREMONIAL OF THE SAC- RAMENT OF BAPTISM. The ceremonies which surround the sacrament of Bap- tism may be grouped for convenience under five head- ings. First, there is the reception of the candidate at the door of the Church. The candidate, either personally or through his sponsor, is instructed in the fundamental ob- ligation of love o~ God and of neighbor. The priest claims him for God and commands the evil spirit to leave him. As a pledge that the candidate may have a taste for heavenly wisdom and 'be preserved from the corruption of sin, the priest places a few grains of salt on his tongue. Secondly, the priest carries on the ceremonies of solemn purification. The priest commands the evil spirits, in a rite of exorcism, to leave the one who is to be baptized. The sign of the Cross is traced on his forehead to sym- bolize the power behind this command, and his soul is commended to God as the priest imposes his right hand on his head. Thirdly, the candidate is led by the priest from the en- trance of the church into the church itself: Thus is sym- bolized the departure of the candidate from the realm of Satan and his willingness to enter the Kingdom of God. At this point the candidate makes formal renunciation of attachment to evil and profession of faith. This is what is sometimes referred to as the "vows" of Baptism. Fourthly, the waters of baptism are poured on the head of the candidate as the priest recites the form of the Sac- rament. "I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son ar.d of the Holy Ghost." This ceremony con- stitutes the essence of the sacrament, and this is what must be done when in case of necessity a layperson ad- ministers the sacrament. Finally, the newly baptized person is anointed with Holy Chrism, as a sign that, through Baptism, he has become a member of Christ's Church and is now qualified to have a share in Christ's priestly work of worshipping and sanc- 'tifying. This interior transformation is further symbol- ,ized by the white garment, which signifies sanctifying ',grace, and the burning candle, which signifies the living nce of Christ in the soul. iv iv iv FOR THE CATHOLIC LAWYER, WHAT DOES THE 3HURCH ALLOW OR FORBID REGARDING DIVORCE IS IT EVER PERMITTED A CATHOLIC LAW* YER TO TAKE A DIVORCE CASE? Yes, under certain circumstances. If the marriage in .~stion is invalid, and has been so declared by the ec- authorities, the parties have a right to a di- action and a Catholic lawyer may take such a case, however, the marriage is valid and one or both of parties are Catholic, the case is to be referred to the )rdinary of the diocese. Before one sues for a divorce, he must prove that there is grave reason for the separation from bed and board and obtain permission from ecclesiastical authority, hav ing promised in writing that the divorce is intended sole- for the settlement of civil effects and that there will no }ubsequent attempt at marriage while both par- live. The Catholic lawyer must recognize the fact that cam- divorce of validly married non-Catholics, as well Catholics, is unlawful. Therefore, he may not act as attorney for a non-Catholic plaintiff in a divorce ac- unless, in the absence of scandal, he has the assur- that the divorce is intended solely for the settle~ ~ent of civil effects and the guarantee that there will be ao attempt at subsequent marriage by either party while ;he other still lives. iv iv iv Questions for "YOU ASKED IT" should be sent to: John Ryan, St. Joseph rectory, Lena, Ill. It is necessary to sign your name unless you wish a per- ~onal reply. However, Father Ryan reserves the Mght not use unsigned questions. 'ol. XXVl, No. 32 ~ August 11, 1961 'HE MOSt REVEREND LORAS 1. LANE Publisher EVEREND ARTHUR J. O'NEILL Managing Editor GALLAGHER Women't Page Editor BERT WILLEMS News Editor IEULAH O'MEARA Business ~OBERT J STARR Advertising BERTOLASI Circulation The Observer, printed weekly at 413 Pleasant Street Belolt Wis- ts the official newspaper o4 the Catholic Diocese at Rockford. Second class Postage paid at Beloit Wisconsin, Subscriptions $4.00 pm yem prepaid in the Unltea Jtatol ALL COMMUNICATIONS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO THE 1260 NORTH CHURCH STREE1 ROCKFORD iLLINOIS. Please send form $S79 to the OBSERVER, lUO 14e~tb ~ ~rlmt. Rockford, IJllnaM. It is a Catholic belief that both the soul and body of the Blessed Virgin Mary were taken to heaven after the completion of her life on this earth. This truth is commemorated by a Holy Day of obligation, Aug. 15, the Feast of the Assumption of Mary into heaven. Those who do not fully understand the teaching function of the Church Sometimes express the idea that before 1950, the date when this truth was defined as a dogma of faith by Pope Plus XII, no one had ever heard of the Assumption of Mary. The truth of the Assumption of Mary is not new in Catholic beliefs. Since the sixth century there has been a Feast of the Assumption of Mary. The defining of this as a dogma raised the truth to a new dignity and significance. When a divinely revealed truth is given the sta- tus of a dogma of faith, no one may deny the truth without sinning against faith. The definition of a dogma usually occurs when there is a special need to re-emphasize or clarify a point of Catholic teaching because of some widespread misunder- standing or misinterpretation of the truth which is already a part of Catholic teachings. For ex- ample, the dogma of the Holy Trinity was not de-L fined as a dogma until the fourth century when for the first time the Christian belief in the Holy Trinity was attacked. In our times the importance of the human body has been subjectd to two extreme views. The cult of physical beauty and strength as repre- sented by Hollywood publicity and extreme ath- leticism present the human body as an object of admiration apart from the soul which dwells in it. The utter contempt for the body as exhibited in the concentration camps of the Nazis and in the slave-labor camps of the Communists, rep- resents the other view. As Catholics we believe that the body of Mary was reunited to her soul and now enjoys the un- ending happiness of heaven in a state of radiant glory. This special privilege given to Mary's body was a consequence of her other special privilege of freedom from original sin and the punishment for that sin which is the dissolution of the body after death. These privileges of Mary were given in view of the fact that she was created to be--and freely accepted--the role of Mother of God In- carnate. The knowledge that the body of Mary is now in heaven is an incentive toward proper respect for the body as the companion of the soul in the serv- ice of God. The body has no other reason for ex- istence. This knowledge should help conquer the temptation to glorify the human body because of its physical beauty only. On the other hand, the belief in Mary's assumption gives a special dig- nity to the body and should serve as an incentive to respect the worth of the lowliest human being since all are fashioned by the same Creator and all have the same destiny now enjoyed by the Vir- gin Mary. OWS A disheartening story recently published in the Chicago Tribune showed that in the windy city during the past year more than $330,000 w a s spent to replace windows broken by v a n d a 1 s Other types of vandalism cost $90,000 in t h a t same year. Futhermore, this has been going on for some time, since the cost over the last ten years for replacing property destroyed by vandalism has amounted to more than three million dollars. The facts on Chicago have b e e n published. What about the rest of the country? Other com- munities have the same p r o b le m. An over-all study of vandalism would probably reveal t h a t most communities have about the same alarming rate of destruction according to population. We are well aware that education is an expen- sive and necessary item. We hear c o n s t a n t 1 y about the billions needed to expand the physical facilities of public education. We ourselves a r e paying heavily to build and operate a system of private schools to meet expanding needs. When we hear that in Chicago the c o s t of replacing windows broken by vandals in one year is enough money to build a new school, there is certainly cause for uneasiness. The underlying cause of this wastefulness is certainly an attitude of irresponsibility toward public property. This is disregard for the law of God designed for the common good. Destroying public property is a sin of theft just as much as robbing a bank. In this wave of destruction of school property there is also evidence of a decline in that sense of loyalty to existing institutions and c u s t o m s which has been part of our American culture. Loyalty goes with having roots in a community and wanting to preserve and perpetuate its in- fluence. The loss through vandalism is far more tragic than the actual money spent to replace the broken windows. Something went out the windows be- fore they were broken. We must see that that something returns or there is little need for hav- ing schools of any kind. Plan to attend the HOLY NAME RALLY, Rockford, Sunday, Sept. 24, 4 p.m. Beyer Stadium. The Most Rev. Fulton J. Sheen will be the speaker at this Rally to alert us to our role in combatting the influence of Commu- nism. The Rally is open to the general public, both men and women. SPOTLIGHT ON SOCIAL REFORM II II III II I II I I . I I dlb "WELCOME TO THE FRONT. MAC" / "onaJ The NATIONAL REVIEW is a weekly magazine of opinion. It is not a Catholic publication. The editor and some of the staff are Catholic, but it calls upon a wide circle of writers of various shades of conserva- tive opinion to fill up its con- tents. It is considered by many as a symbol of right-wing sophisti- cation. Others see symptoms .' ~i~."~.~ of intellectual ~ ~nobbery. The iiiiiii::::ii iii::i::i editorial com- ment reveals a flair for f I i p- pancy. The ~ barbed j e s t s are often more f 1 a m b oyant than funny. T h e philoso- phy, expressed or implicit, of the pundits is not profound. The intensity of its anti-liberal denouncements falls just short of incipient obsession at times- Calls Letter Sprawling In the J u 1 y 29th issue an editorial writer over-reached himself. A column of comment on the recently promulgated encyclical of Pope JG, hn XXIII gives rise to real concern. For arrogant assumption and juvenile judgment, the writer of that piece set a standard which will be difficult to surpass. The first sentence of the comment set the tone of the article. It refers to the "large sprawling document released by the Vati- can last week." The w o r d "sprawling" can hardly be con- sidered complimentary. T h e writer goes on to say "(it) will be studied and argued over for years to come." He then pro- ceeds not merely to "argue over" this "sprawling" d o c u- ment but to argue against it. Venture in Triviality "Whatever the final effect," be cruely concludes, "it must strike many as a venture.in triviality coming at this p a r- ticular time in history ' A VENTURE IN TRIVIALITY! Where will one find so insulting, so stupid a statement as that? Who is the fearsome one who has "ventured" to express "tri- vial" opinion on matters of lit- tle consequence? The reference is not to some hack writer or irresponsible journalist or loose- lipped liberal. The writer in this National Review article is re- ferring to His Holiness, P o p e ,evlew rsus FATHER WILLIAM SMITH, S.J, John XXIII, the Vicar of Christ, presently reigning Sovereign Pontiff of the Catholic Church. The document referred to is one that is based on all the wisdom the Church ha'~ accumulated over almost two thousand years, with particular summaries of works of Leo XIII, Pins XI and Plus XII. In composing t h i s document, the Holy Father had at his command the most talent- ed experts of the C h u r c h in every field of thought. The pa- pal pronouncement immediate- ly won acclaim from great minds in every part of t h e world. But it was left to an editorial writer of the NATION- AL REVIEW to stigmatize this gigantic and truly magnificent work as a "venture in trivial- ity." Protest Just No one wishes to d e n y to anyone freedom of the press and freedom of t~e pen. But when a spiritual intellectual giant of the stature of P o p e John XXIII is ridiculed by a hypercritical pigmy, the shout of protest should be loud and lasting. THE NATIONAL REVIEW goes on to chide the Holy Fa- ther for not emphasizing suffi- ciently a few phases of the so- cial problem, which he, the cri- tic, in his superior knowledge, wisdom and experience, f e 1 t were neglected. Seed for Schism The last sentence of the of- fensive column has a unique significance which cannot be passed over vithout comment. "It is not unlikely," predicts the social seer, "in the y e a r s ahead Mater et Magistra will suffer from comparison w i t h the American Bishops' hier- archy of emphases, in their no- table annual message of No- vember 1960." The meaning of that comment should n o t be lost. The Bishops' message was "no able"; the Pope's pro- nouncement not up to par. This is the kind of stuff from which seedling schism sprout. If the learned writer hopes, through this tactless compari- son, to gain some sympathy for himself from the American Hierarchy he is going to be a v e r y frustrated and forlorn young man. Perhaps he should be reminded that the Bishops of the American Hierarchy are Catholic. They do not pit an official statement oI their own against an official pronounce- ment promulgated to the world by the Vicar of Christ. Where Do They Stand.* The Ar~erican Bishops' mes- sage of 1960 was but a single, small, precious stone in t h e mosaic of the historic, universal teaching of the Catholic Church. The interpretation of that mes- sage belongs to the Hierarchy themselves. The Bishops' mes- sage of 1960 did not suddenly become the "whole law and the prophets" of Catholic tradition and teaching as some of the conservative admirers of t h e document attempted to make it. THE NATIONAL REVIEW is not a Catholic publication. Ac- cording to report, it has a good many Catholics among its sub- scribers. It also has a consider- able following of easily aroused, emotionally-charged admirers. If they find a conflict of loyal- ties between t h e encyclical Mater et Magistra and the sad little commentary of the NA- TIONAL REVIEW, for t h e health of their own souls they' should make up their mind and make it up quickly on which side their loyalty stands. Touches Sore Spot THE NATIONAL REVIEW certainly displays no sense of loyalty, admiration, apprecia- tion or acceptance of P o p e John's encyclical. It did not even have the sense to observe a discreet silence. The new encyclical of Pope John XXIII--Mater et Magistra --evidently touched the editor and the staff o~ the NATIONAL REVIEW on a very sore spot. More than that. The new papal message simply ignored the one- s i d e d, near-sighted, predomi- nantly negative attitude and in- adequate, philosophy that has been consistently expressed by the editors of the NATIONAL REVIEW. Sounds Death Knoll For Amercan Catholics t he encyclical, Mater et Magistra, should sound the death knoll of the type of conservatism advo- cated by THE NATIONAL RE- VIEW, the National Association of Manufacturers and other al- lies afflicted with the s a m type of thinking. The encyclical Mater et Ma- gistra is the official, authentic, divinely protected teaching of the Catholic Church. THE NA- TIONAL R E V I E W is not a Catholic publication REAPINGS AT RANDOM e IO ron By GERARD E. SHERRY Our readers will recall the tremendous propaganda bar- rage made against the Foreign Policy 'association b~ the Cardinal Mindzenty foundation earlier this year. The Mindzenty foundation's assaults on the FPA con- sisted mainly in reprinting documentation of a condemna- tion by the Fulton County (Georgia) Grand Jury of April, 1960. What they failed to add was that this particular grand jury presentment had been repudiated by many Georgia officials soon after it had been made public. New Jury--New Tune, We noted at the time the 1960 present- ~'~ ~!~!~.:f ment was issued, Father Richard Ginder, ~:::~iiii~i!i verbose columnist for Our Sunday Visitor, gave it a great play. "He failed to tell his readers, however, that a vast number of leading Americans, beth Republican and Democrat, were members of the Foreign Pplicy association: and that a Catholic Bishop was on its Board of Directors. With his typical abandon (and without any real facts to back it) Father Ginder tried to build up a picture of the FPA as a haven of Communist sympathizers. Well, the chickens always come home to roost. A new grand jury convened in Fulton county this year. In the May-June term it again investigated the Foreign Policy associztion. But what a difference. This grand jury issued its presentment which stated that "the Foreign Pol- icy association serves a useful function in the United States and is a i~itive weapon again~ h~r eaemim." ury. Foreign Policy up Not Subversive The Grand Jury also concluded that the Great Deci- sions Discussion groups materials prepared by the For- eign Policy association are "a fair and nonpartisan pre- sentment of the great international probtems which con- front our nation, and a stimulus to study and discussion of international relations, which is their purpose." The grand jury also noted that the Foreigt~ Policy-as- sociation is not and never has been on the Attorney Gen- eral's list of subversive organizations and has the endorse- ment of President Kennedy, former Presidents Truman and Eisenhower, and former Vice President Nixon. Obliged to Right Wrong Long before this latest grand jury's presentment on the FPA your Reaper had made the same points. He was scoffed at and ridiculed by both priests and laity who appear to want to believe anything so long as it is anti- Communist. The fact that the reputation of some perfectly good Americans has been unjustly sullied does not appear to move the FPA critics. We can only hope that Father Ginder and the Cardinal Mindzenty foundation will now right the wrong they have committed against the Foreign Policy association. There is a moral obligation to undo the harm that their unjust attacks have caused. Let me not be misunderstood. I am not suggesting for a moment that Father Ginder or the Mindzenty foundation have to agree with the Foreign Policy association. They have a perfect right to disagree; they have a perfect right to criticize what they l~elieve are weaknesses in the FPA ~)rograrns. ~ut the, F have ~o zig~ to destrox tlJe &ood name of the association or its members merely because they disagree with them. Wanted Informed Public One of the major criticisms of the Foreign Policy asso- ciation has been in relation tO the FPA's Great Decision program. This is a fact sheet and outline discussion guide offered for a period of some eight weeks. Many different aspects of national and international problems are pre- sented. No opinions are fostered on any one. Each citizen taking part in the discussion is free to form his own opin- ions. In other words, the FPA is encouraging an informed public. The Great Decisions program has the backing of the National Council of Catholic Women, which recommends it to all its diocesan affiliates. Several other Catholic or- ganizations and Catholic schools participate in the pro- gram with the approval of their Bishops. It is safe to as- sume that those authentic guardians of our faith and mor- als would not give their blessing to such work if they thought for a moment that the views of Father Ginder or the Cardinal Mindzenty foundation were correct. Wrong Approach There is a lesson to be drawn from those who pillory -the FPA for no other reason than its lack of hysterical anti-Communism. It is this: negative anti-Communism which has as its basis political theories rather than spir- itual direction will never save America. Furthermore, we are convinced that negative Communism which sets citi- zen against citizen, Catholic against Catholic, will cer- destro~ us all