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Arkansas Catholic
Little Rock, Arkansas
February 18, 1990     Arkansas Catholic
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February 18, 1990

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" "PAGE'2." A IqSAS CATHOLIC rEBRLIARY 18, 1@0 Ouch. This week's issue is packed full of uncomfortable things: *Popular black charismatic Fr. George Stallings excommunicating himself from the Church; *Covenant House founder/director Fr. Bruce Ritter being investigated for sexual misconduct; *The Vatican draft of the long-awaited Catechism for the UniverSal Church getting a thumbs-down by the panel of Catholic scholars who reviewed it. Surely, the weakhearted will say, these are signs of illness in the Church. To the contrary. These are healthy signs that the Church is filled with adultswilling to defend their faith while publicly facing up to their problems. Fr. Stallings, having failed to convince many people that he truly attempted to work for change within the institutional Church, has left and taken his follow- ers with him. But the questions he has raised (apart from his obsessive ego- tism) about racism in the Church will remain with us, and we need to address those questions. Ft. Ritter's dilemma is reminiscent of Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart, with one profound exception: He had no detractors. The man has been admired around the world. Perhaps he will be cleared. If not, he will join the ranks of men who fell along the path. The reviewers of the new catechism say the draft could be used as a method of "disciplining" scholars and catechists to bring them in line with Rome. They say the draft slams the door on sensi- tive issues. Through all this chaos, one thing is clear: You're reading the truth about these things in your diocesan paper. No one is trying to keep the truth from you or even water it down. You're being trusted with the facts. That's an encouraging sign. DKH ARKANSAS CATHOLIC Is publi#/m148 tirn~ a year, for $12 per year, by the Catholic of Little Rock, A duu~um Catholic, Inc.. 2500 N. Tyler St., Llffie Rock. AR 72207 (501) 664-0340 [FAX (501) 664-g075]. PUBLISHER: Most Rlev. Andrew& McDonatd, Wshop MANAGING EDITOR: Rev. AII~'I J. Schneider EDITOR : Deborah Hillisrd ADVERTISING & MARKETING MANA. GER : Ron 14. Hall PROOUCTION I~NAGER: Rev. Jim !kthratz CIRCULATION MANAGER : Agnes Knittlg Third dams postage paid at Little Rock, AR. POSTMASTER : Send change of address to:'ARKAN~AS CATHOUC. PO BOX 7417, LII-rLE ROCK. AR 72217. Busl- nots ho~t$ ate 8:30 to 4. M onday Friday. Closed on weekends, Holy Day=, and National Holiday=. Offices are located in Morris Hall, St. John's Center, 2500 N. Tyler, Little Rock, AR, 72207. To subscribe, send coupon with check for $12 to the above address. I I I Name. I I I ! Address I I I I,,,Padsh ______________----J The story of Matthew and me is a story of presence, of being there. In that birthing room five years ago, Matthew looked around at his world with awe, fear and wonder. So did I. My head reeled from the miracle that had just unfolded as I looked at him and felt the responsibilities that parenting held for me. Those first 12 months were a time of great excitemenL I watched Matthew grow in size, in his ability to better control his environment, to take his first steps, to make those first sounds. His appreciation for little things - a stream, the snow, a squirrel at the window - made alive what I had taken for granted. Yet, well before I got up to give those 2 AM feedings, those midnight pacings with a colicky baby, those doctor's appoint- ments, I knew that parenting meant more than bringing home the bacon. It meant sharing equally the caregiving and house- hold responsibilities with my wife. It meant mothering and fathering, nurturing and caring, building and being strong. Several weeks after Matthew's first birth- day, my wife decided she wanted to end our marriage. She said she needed time to decide where her life was headed. In the midst of the stark emptiness of rejection and shattered hopes and dreams, I clung to my son in fear:, fear that in losing my wife, I would also lose a relationship with my son, and fear that my son would not have the opportunity to see his father taking an active role in nurturing and running a household. The decision to seek full parental cus- tody was one of the most difficult, heart- felt and crucial I have ever faced. Through that year-long fight for custody, and subsequent single parenting and a remarriage, there was much I learned of Antoinette Bosco was at a other journalists plain written off by a woman who was quite a bit younger: In her estimation I ap- parendy had two drawbacks to being taken seri- ously as a profes- meeting recendy with when I found I was just sional. One, I have too ..... many children (no matter tl-cat they are all grown and talented profes- sionals themselves now). Two, I smile too much. She, on the other hand, had only one child arid seldom smiled. Apparently she was too sophisticated to smile. My natural tendency to smile proba- bly can be traced back to my mother who still smiles frequendy. She was wonderful with her "momilies." She raised me on quotations about smiling. Her favorites were: "Smile and the world smiles with you. Cry and you cry alone." "Let a smile be your urn- Mark Lombard myself, of preconditioned gender roles, of mothering and.fathering. I learned about developing a special relationship, an un- .breakable bond ...... with my son. I learned week- end morns face enormous social censure from a society that sdil be- lieves mothering to be a solely female occupati0n. . I : learned custodial dads face intense scrutiny from men and women who believe that males are somehow mentally, physically or emotion- ally disabled - incompetent to raise children. Women friends questioned how any mother could leave her child. Men friends asked in astonishment, how could I want to "saddle" myself with a child and give up my freedom? An uncomfortable judge wanted to know, "Why do you think that you could possibly raise a child?" The message was clear: women have the primary responsibility for caregiving. Men are to d what they can to help, as long as it does not adversely impact upon their freedom, their careers, their lives. Yet, I never believed that a mother is a mother by virtue of being the bearer oi" a child; neither is a father a father by plant- ing a seed. What could I, who had the seemingly far- fetched notion that a male can be an active brella." "It takes three times many face muscles to frown as to smile." Whatever the reason, Mom'g Words about smiling appealed tO me. I filways feel that when a person greets you With a smile, it's not long before comfort and ' parent, who committed the unforgivable sin of being born into the wrong sex tO assume custodial care, offer my son? There was so much about the world I wanted my son to know: from a sled hurtling down a mow-covered drumlin, to summer sunseU, or the stars shining brightly on a brisk fall evening; from art and architecture to current events and global concerns.: I - wanted him to know of a world made new II ery da , and to s aare these momentS .f I[ 'discovery with him. I[ I also wanted to be there whenhe [| needed his diapers changed, his bottles I[ warmed, his clothes washed" when~he [ happily splashed bathwater on the flOor and when he turned up his nose in disal> I[ proval at the vegetable of the day I wanted i to hug and hold him and to d~ his tc,a~, I[ when he hurt and reassure him th~tt,Ii indeed, sometimes "big boys do cry." t[ An ancient Eastern saying suggests a [ man will carry his father on his back 10t eternity. And what Matthew will carry, into [ the opportunity he will someday have to [ parent, is directly related to the lessons he j learned through his own experience [ father. " 'i.- 11 Matthew helps me when I make'# I1 omelette for breakfast, and he looks for ][ ward to sharing the washing of the dish,@ It : I especially ff he can use the sprayer, tt. l~ i helps sort clothes for the washer and fold [ them when they are dry. He's as famil~ t| I with a vacuum cleaner as he is with a iav~ I| , mower. ~tl]i Matthew knows throu=h experience I! re risibilities and roles have nothitlg~ I[ I spo ,~l I~ " t do with gentler. : .'~:_E,~ II 1 (Mark Lombard is Research and Dewto . Jl a Officer~or Catholic Neras S~miu. Bq~ud .~ [ Vermont Woman.) " :!j[ 1 relaxation take over. Come up agair Slll automadC I scowler and see how you turn away. "..d That woman who had a problem Wu'| smilin was not the first I have enCO ' g ,, _, See "Boseo~ nex~ I'=, ! OU6tT TO GO . TO COUJI BIA- 0 _TIO t)0PE