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Arkansas Catholic
Litlte Rock, Arkansas
April 8, 1977     Arkansas Catholic
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April 8, 1977
 

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Official ublication o tile iocese o[" ltle och APRIL 8, 1977 Guest Editorial Dying Made Easy Probably at some time, all of us are faced with the op- portunity of sharing spiritually with someone near death or in a terminal illness. It is likely at such times that we feel our own spiritual inadequacy as well as an unwillingness to openly face the fact of approaching death. No one is quite willing to admit it out loud, at least not in the presence of the sick person. So the tendency is to say a few vague words, offer a cautious prayer and lapse into silence or take our leave. Perhaps a lot of this bedside uneasiness could be relieved to the spiritual good of all if the approach of death were acknowledged and then readings taken from Sacred Scripture to provide strength and consolation to the sick person and to the ones at the bedside. There is a power in the word of God that heals the human spirit and confers a new strength even in bodily weakness, a strength that allows the sick person to face death more serenely, and allows those at the bedside to find peace in the spiritual victory which a Christian death is. In the ritual for the sacrament of the anointing of the sick, many such readings are provided for optional use, to be read to or by the sick person. It would be a good practice to read some of these passages occasionally, even when there is no sickness involved, to prepare one's own mind for the day when they may take on a special importance for self or for dear ones. The most beautiful description of death in Christ is given us in Jesus' own words in chapter 14 of the Gospel of John. We learn there that death is not a plunge into a void. It is Jesus himself coming to take us to the place he has prepared for us because he wants us with him. He describes it in these words: "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Have faith in God and faith in me. In my Father's house there are. many dwelling places; otherwise how could I have told you that I was going to prepare a place for you? ! am indeed going to prepare a place for you, and then I shall come back to take you with me, that where I am you also may be" (John 14: 1-3). This particular passage had special significance recently for a terminally ill person with whom ! shared this reading. For this person, death became not a leaving home but a going home as we shared our thoughts on the meaning of this passage. Another passage in the gospel of John also had special meaning: "God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him may not die, but may have eternal life" (John 1:16). Here Jesus clearly states the love of the Father, as so often in the gospels. It is im- portant for one approaching death and separation from loved ones to know that one is also going toward a great love, divine love, in fact. For persons who look back on their lives in dismay at past sins, there is a new strength in the lines of the repentant criminal who had been crucified with Jesus: "He then said, 'Jesus, remember me when you enter upon your reign.' And Jesus replied, 'I assure you, this day you will be with me in paradise.' " (Luke 23:42-43). The Apostles clearly understood the message of our Lord about eternal life. St. Peter opened his first letter with this passage: "Praise be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, he who in his great mercy gave us a new birth: a birth unto hope, which draws its life from the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead; a birth to an imperishable inheritance, incapable of fading or defilement, which is kept in heaven for you who are guarded with God's power through faith; a birth to salvation which stands ready to be revealed in the last days" (1 Peter 1:3-5). Saint Paul, too, was always strengthened by this eternal hope, and many passages in his letters direct us to this mystery of God's love. I can mention only a few of his texts here and invite the readers to turn to their own bibles to read these passages meditatively: Romans, Chapter Eight; First Letter to the Corinthians, Chapter Fifteen; Second Letter to the Corinthians, Clapters Four and Five; and there are many other references in his letters, in- cluding his statement of readiness in his Second Letter to Timothy, Chapter Four, Verses Six to Eight: All of the New Testament is rich in the consolation of God for those who turn to him in faith and hope. These and many other passages can become frequent sources of support for each of us, and especially for those who, like Paul, feel that their time is near at hand. Rev. David Flusche, O.S.B. New Subiaco Abbey ,"HIGH00VO00 D P0000/CII. " Letters to the Editor Welfare Benefits Traced to Larceny Dear Editor: Property rights were established by God in the Ten Commandments. I have no right to take from one person to help another, regardless of the conditions and circumstances involved in a needy case. In- deed, I have a God-given duty and responsibility to help those in need with my own time, talents and money. "Thou shalt not steal" establishes the fact that , you own your property and I have no right to take it from you. Does the same Commandment not apply to people in Government and Government as a whole? Does divine law not supersede civil law? Government taxation solely for the purpose of collecting and redistributing the wealth is stealing. Where does the Government get its right to take from me and give to someone else? Government welfare is im- moral. It takes from the haves and gives to the have nots -- a la LBJ's Great Society. Govern- ment welfare discourages the work ethic; encourages sloth and irresponsibility; it fosters the attitude of getting something for nothing; and it encourages people to become dependent on the State rather than upon God. True charity is the giving of one's own money, while government welfare is the giving of someone else's money (which, of course, is the reason it is so popular). The individual is responsible for his own welfare and that of his family. The Church, the mystical body of Christ, is responsible for the helpless, widows and orphans. That leaves no place for government welfare! Read I Timothy, chapter 5, verse 8, "If any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith and is worse than an infidel." Catholic people should be instructed to help get Big Brother out of the welfare business, and encouraged to accept their individual responsibility to perform works of charity. Government welfare is socialism. Socialism is a destructive force that eats itself out. To promote socialism is to promote the destruction of the Republic. Mrs. Kathleen Terrell Vicksburg, Miss. Dear Editor: I am a sophomore in a Catholic high school. The religion classes contain no Doctrine, just thought of the modern day. They appeal to no one. I had to take the time to write a letter of encouragement and praise to Msgr. Scheper I am on the same side as he, side of Christ. If some faithful Catholics don't speak out, against the non- Catholic teaching of some of the priests, we all will hurt as a result. I am glad that Msgr. Scheper has the knowledge of the True Faith, and is willing to fight for the Church Christ left us. Msgr. Scheper should be praised for his courage and love of Holy Mother, the Church. If it were to come down to denouncing the Faith or being martyred, I think Msgr. Scheper would die for His Faith and His Love for Christ. Let's look forward to more letters, from good holy priests, defending our One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Faith, which is under attack in these modern times. Dennis L. Calaway Marion, Arkansas Dear Editor: After He raised Lazarus from the dead, Jesus said to His followers: "Loose him, let him go." Lazarus could not do much with his new life as long as he was bound up in the grave clothes of that time. "Loose him, let him go." Jesus has been saying this to His followers in the church ever since, especially during Lent. In baptlsm we were raised from the dead to a new life in Christ, but we tend to tangle ourselves in the grave clothes of our time. Whether we consider God's life in us to be a theoretical appendage to carry around dormant while we mis- function in the demands of the world, or whether we let our- selves forget the new life en- tirely and become completely wrapped up in the world, we need to be loosed to live. On Ash Wednesday, Our Holy Father spoke of three "worlds:" (1) God's world of creation; (2) humanity, in the sense of the human race which God so loved that He provided for its salvation and elevation to the association of man with the very life of God; and (3) the world of darkness, "referring to the domination of the Devil over the Earth and over men themselves, dominated, temp- ted and ruined by the spirit of evil, called the 'Prince of the World.' The world, in this sense, again means humanity ... which refuses the light of Christ, and lives in sin and which conceives the present life with criteria contrary to the law of God, to faith, to the Gospel." If we have been stripping ourselves daily during Lent, of one worldly (in the third sense) thing after another, and are partly loosed from grave clothes that hinder our life in SEE LETTER ON PAGE 8 IBy Father Jerome Kmieil, O.S.B. New Subiaeo Abbey Subiaco, Ark. Question: One of the students in my religion class wanted to know why we are baptized "In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit" when in Acts (2:38 and 10:48) it states only that they be baptized in the name of Jesus. Also when did it become a practice to baptize infants, and why? A. -- Baptism "in the name of Jesus" is also mentioned in Acts 8:16 and 19: 5. It is possible that this was a simple early formula used in the baptismal ceremony, but that is very unlikely. The texts are not talking about the words used in the ceremony, but indicating that in baptism the person receives the name of Jesus: that is, the baptized-person accepts the claims of Jesus and is accepted by Jesus. Elsewhere baptism is said to be "in the Holy Spirit" (Mk 1:8; Acts 1:5). This is another way of describing what happens in baptism, but does not mean that these particular words were used. The customary formula comes from Mt. 28:19. Though baptism of infants is not mentioned specifically in the New Testament, it seems to have taken place from earliest times. There are several reasons for this conclusion. For example, Paul baptized the jailer at Philippi "with his whole family" (Acts 16:33-34); there is no mention that only adults were baptized. The Bible never says that the baptism of sons and daughters of Christian parents were postponed until they were grown up: The earliest Christians found support for infant baptism in Jesus' words to the Apostles when they were turning the children away from hin: the little children come and do not stop them; such as these of God belongs" (Lk 15: Some Christian postpone baptism so recipient will be old make an adult act of response to the gospel. This procedure $ one Christian value at pense of some others. act of faith in necessary when one maturity, but this is so or not the person was in infancy. The received in the accepted actively person reaches isn't a case of automatic an adult doesn't accept rejects it. But infant baptism, s the initiative of Goa salvation. God cooperation in really doesn't need it. save the newborn insane or the fully mature. And he can own life freely At an adult can say gift" and "Thank yoU, the baby doesn't what's under the parents have to accept in his name. But he nevertheless, and will be appreciate it some day  though baptism is passively, it still infant into the full family in the Body Because of the life-giving Spirit in through the growing baptized infant will prepared to make response of comes. Sum and No More Vietnams/ By Father John B. Sheerin, Passing by the Washington Monument recently, I saw hundreds of brightly-colored kites flying in the sky. It was a beautiful sight. There was a time when kite-flying was banned in the District of Columbia, apparently because of the danger that the kites might become entangled in electric wires. Watching the kites, I was reminded of President Carter's address to the United Nations on March 17. It was a colorful address, magnificent in its sweep of global concerns. But now that I have thought it over in detail, I wonder if some of his proposals may entangle us in risky, high-voltage in- ternational relations. What I have in mind especially is Carter's proposals on human rights. He came on strong for defense of human rights anywhere and everywhere. It sounded very idealistic and traditionally American but ... John F. Kennedy proclaimed that Americans should be ready to go anywhere: to protect human freedom. He even sent military advisers to Vietnam, the advance guard of our American invasion force. Today some of the blame for our in- volvement in Vietnam is at- tributed t'o him. At the time, it all sounded very righteous d democratic and noble. In ct, his suc- cessors in the pr?ddency, Nixon and Johnson, echoed the idealistic rhetor',c of Kennedy. They said they were sending troops into Vi,:;:nam not to dictate to Vietn:,.mese how to run their couatry but to guarantee and protect the right of the Vietnamese peasant to cast a free vote at the ballot box for the candidate of his choice. Nixon and Johnson claimed they wanted only to safeguard the human rights of the Viet- namese. know that such the affairs of another bad business, no idealistic it sounds. in the domestic af another country is as butting into the quarrel of a husband True, Carter was for an invasion of some other forei language was cautiouS that we have a human rights, aJ demonstrate this I will seek proval and sign covenants on and cultural rights "l United Nations is the ,%, forum dedicated to the- and well-being of eve Ju dividual -- no matter hW.:l or poor. But we have all0'. human rights ntaehinerY, ignored and soe " IIm politicized." [0f " Fine - had he worked 1 protection of human f' through the peace# ,,.,,a ! machinery of the IJN,.J[]lVa Paul would have aPebLI him. But President [I.... delivered his address oSY] or two after the government dispatCili  pmne-maos of paraw l supplies to Zaire. c  Sedretary of State V- e dered this move with*  " suiting the PresidentY# possible. Equally incr. ,g Vance's explanation $,1 paramilitary gear was , Vance said would i !IP stability of Zaire. % Zaire? It is said to be frte the United States but it of violations of humaa " just as badas thatO which is sending troops into Zaire, Carter is anxious f# SEE VIETNAM ON Pg]