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Arkansas Catholic
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April 16, 1982     Arkansas Catholic
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April 16, 1982
 

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he Ouardian War and Religion It is tragic, but true, that so-called religious wars have been among the most bitter conflicts in world history. It is sad to think that men could be driven to conclude that their best service to God consists in shedding blood. It should be borne in mind that a war waged solely for religious motives is almost never verified. War is usually an instrument of foreign policy and, often enough, of domestic policy as well. The guerrilla war being waged in Ireland today is often oversimplified as a bitter feud between Catholics and Protestants. Differences in religion have helped to identify the participants and made the struggle more acrimonious, but 300 years of social repression, bigotry, colonialism and economic exploitation are the underlying causes. The civil right to freedom of religion is so basic a human right that its denial strikes at the innermost depths of its victims' souls. Because religion brings man to a consciousness of his own worth, totalitarian regimes often try to inhibit the dissemination of religious doctrine. At times, absolutist governments have tried to coerce men and women to accept a religious uniformity. This was the great folly of the Roman Empire. Since the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church has tried to maintain a dialogue with non- Christian religious groups as well as with the Christian Churches. It is hoped that a continuing inter-religious dialogue can help to reinforce a common understanding of man's relationship with GOd and his basic need to be free from undue civil restraint in fulfulling his religious obligations. If such a common understanding can be established, it might go far toward eliminating one of the most inappropriate causes of disharmony among men. Msgr. Joseph W. Baker St. Louis Review Archdiocese of St. Louis Essays in Theology Who Wants To Be Pope? By Father Richard P. McBrien The context of a remark is always crucial to its in- terpretation, but the context isn't always clear. How often does an angry or hurt ex- pression evoke an immediate word of assurance, "I was only joking"? This week's essay asks the question, "Who wants to be Pope?" Its meaning depends on its context. Posed in a parochial school classroom, the question is obviously hypothetical because there isn't a chance that any of the boys (much less the girls) will ever have the opportunity of accepting or declining the honor. Posed in a conclave of the College of Cardinals, the question carries a bit more weight. With the rarest of historical exceptions, a new Pope is always chosen from among the men gathered to elect him. Posed at this time and in this space, however, the question bears yet a third meaning: Given the burdens of the office and the misun- derstanding and criticism to which the incumbent is regularly subjected, who in his right mind would want it? Take John Paul II. He is an obviously gifted individual: a man of extraordinary in- tellectual capacity with an unusually rich personal history. He can touch and move a crowd of thousands with a gesture, so keen is his sense of audience. For many, even if not for all, he is just the right kind of Pope for the Church and for the world. Why, then, does he have so many problems? Surely not everything can be blamed on Catholic liberals, from Hans Kueng to a legion of lesser lights. --He travels to Leghorn, Italy, to underscore his sense of personal identification with Italian workers and, instead, he is greeted with hostility. Why is the Pope so preoc- cupied with his native Poland when there are so many other problems in the world today? Why do Church officials so often interfere with Italian politics? How can privileged people like the Pope really un- derstand what it means to be living on the edge of poverty or with the constant fear of losing one's job? "There are many questions I cannot answer," the Pope replied. "It's easier to put questions than to provide answers." --The Pope reaches out to rebuild a bridge between the Vatican and the Catholic Church in China and what happens? A very conservative Chinese Church (it still uses the traditional Latin liturgy) tells the Pope to mind his own business. Indeed, it denounces the Holy Father, accusing him of slandering their country because of Vatican Pope John Paul II has urged Catholics to make known their reactions to presentations by the press, radio, and television. Guardian readers may do this by mailing their com- ments to: Corn munications Department Diocese of Little Rock P.O. Box 7417, Little Rock. Ark. 72217 Letters will be duplicated and forwarded to networks. stations, sponsors or newspapers involved. Rev. Jerome Kodell, O.S.B. Question: - Until recent years, The Guardian published a list of churches in the diocese where the Forty Hours Devotion was to be held each week. In emphasizing the importance of the Mass, does the Church not en- courage the various devotions such as Novenas to the saints, Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament and the Forty Hours Devotion? It's true there is the option of private as well as family prayers in our homes, but it just seems there is a great need for public prayer and petition. Does a priest have to seek permission from liturgical sources to have the Forty Hours Devotion in a parish? A. -- The current discipline concerning Forty Hours Devotion is stated in Canon 1275 of the Code of Canon Law: "The Forty Hours Devotion shall be celebrated each year with the greatest possible solemnity in all parochial and other churches where the Blessed Sacrament is habitually reserved, on the days fixed with the consent of the local Bishop. Where the exposition cannot without great inconvenience or danger of irreverence be continued day and night for forty consecutive hours, the local Bishop should arrange that the exposition be held in a more solemn manner on certain days for several consecutive hours." The observance of Forty Hours is scheduled so that it occurs throughout the year at various parishes in the diocese. Question: - My daughter and her children have joined the Mormon Church. is it just another cult and not con- sidered a Christian religion? A. - The Mormon Church, or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, was founded by Joseph Smith in 1830. The Mormons consider the Bible inspired, but have other inspired writings, in- cluding the Book of Mormon. Their notion of the Trinity is tritheism (three Gods); this and other variations on Christian doctrine make their teaching different in some important areas from other Christian Churches. Question: -- Is the parish council an outgrowth of Vatican Council It? A. -- Yes. The Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity directed that parish councils, as well as diocesan, regional and national councils, be established (paragraph 26). The Decree on the Pastoral Office of Bishops encouraged pastoral councils (paragraph 27). Question: -- Several of my Protestant friends have asked me to explain the first ten verses of the 23rd chapter of Matthew's Gospel. Jesus says not to call anyone father except the heavenly Father. ilow come C-'tholics still feel it is per.,issible to call priests fathe, : A. -- In Matthew 23:7-10, Jesus says that his disciples are to avoid the titles Rabbi (which means teacher), father and teacher. When Jesus made this statement, he was referring to the misuse of these titles by some of the religious leaders of the time who were "fond of places of honor" and "marks of respect" (verses 6-7). He was not condemning the use of these titles in every case, but when human beings were being treated as if they took the place of God, who is the real Rabbi, father and teacher of us all. His listeners and the early Christians did not see in Jesus' words a blanket prohibition of these titles. Otherwise, we couldn't call our human parent "father," and from the history of the early Church, we know that the first Christians already called their spiritual guides "father" as well as "mother." In both instances, they un- derstood their human parents and their spiritual guides as communicators of God's fatherhood. Even in the New Testament, St. Paul and St. James speak of Abraham as "our father" (Rom 4:17; James 2:21 ). "Teacher" is legitimate title whe correctly. St. Paul teachers in the community (1 Cor 4:11) and calls teacher (2 Tim 1:11); that a bishop teacher (1 Tim 3:2). we call instructors understanding that only, taking God's we call priests images of God's fatherhood. Question: - in 14:10. the Bible God's wrath as the out of wine full that mean that it is a. j drink wine? Did they) water down wine biblical days and no II drink wine? A. -- God's regularly described in terminology by the the cup (Is 51 : 17) ; Ezek 23:31-34). The have nothing to do propriety of drinkin Common wine in often slightly sour; it b. customary to dilute water before drinking meals. Father Jerome questions from subscribers. should be Rev. Jerome O.S.B., New SubiaCO, 72865. Pope John Paul II Defends Celibacy in Message to World's Washington (NC) -- In a Holy Thursday message to priests, Pope John Paul II strongly defended priestly celibacy and suggested that any relaxation of the church's celibacy rule would be giving human weakness priority over God's love. The Pope's message was released in Washington by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. In it, the pontiff acknowledged with sadness the crises in vocations and priestly identity that have confronted the church in the charges that (at-holics in China are persecuted. When the Pope names a new archbishop there, his nomi- nee is rejected and the ap- pointment written off as provocative and insulting. Meanwhile, a dozen new Chinese bishops have been ordained without Vatican approval. --For the first time since King Henry VIII's break with Rome, formal diplomatic relations between the Vatican and Great Britain have been restored. The Pope prepares for an historic conciliatory visit to England at the end of May. But what faces him there? Both the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury and the Catholic Archbishop of Liverpool have been jeered and booed because of their role in encouraging the papal visit. Archbishop Robert Runcie of Canterbury has been particularly reviled by his own flock. They shouted "Traitor" and "Judas" at him when he tried recently to preach at a Liverpool church. So intense and prolonged was the protest that the service had to be ter- minated and the Archbishop departed amidst the foulest of curses. "Calvary, Not Popery." the past 15 years. But he repudiated calls to "give up this tradition and heritage" of clerical celibacy, saying that the real solution to the crises lies in faith and confidence in God's love. "May we 'curtail' this love?" he asked. "Do we not do so whenever, because of man's weakness, we decree that the demands that this love makes must be renounced?" Speaking of Christ's redeeming love and his gift of the Holy Spirit to guide the church, the pontiff asked: "Can anyone who lets himself by guided by living faith in the founder of the church doubt this love, to which the church owes all her spiritual vitality? "Is it permissible to doubt," he added, that Christ will kindle in Christian souls, especially of the young, "not only a desire for the priesthood but also that readiness to accept the gift- of celibacy for the sake of the kingdom of heaven of which both in the past and still today whole generations of priests placards proclaimed. --A former Episcopal clergyman who awaits Vatican approval of his re- ordination as a Roman Catholic priest has defended himself and his fellow con- verts against charges that they as Anglican priests, had difficulty obeying their bishops. What could their future Catholic bishops expect from them? More of the same truculence? No, we are told. After all, they have joined a Church "where tone) can be assured that episcopal authority, because of the magisterium, cannot make a mistake." Surely, he's got to be kid- ding. Or else these new converts from the Anglican priesthood haven't been reading the papers -- for a long, long while. in the Catholic Church have that priests would given proof?" from "grieving" Pope John Paul indirectly Spirit "by rebuked those who question itself as a desire to the church's requirement of priesthood before men; celibacy for its priests, avoid all g "Is it proper," he asked, "to continue, in opposition to the ministry, he prayed voice of the recent that priests not ecumenical council (Vatican Spirit "by whatever II) and the Synod of Bishops, end bring one to the to declare that the church ration to run away, ought to give up this tradition pretext of the and heritage?" freedom.'" The "Is it not rather (he duty of richness of our us priests to live out our added, is in glwng commitment with generosity God and "acc and joy, helping by our wit- the priesthood." hess and by our action to He also prayed ttu spread this ideal?" would not grieve The Pope's message to "by secularism priests was his annual one for wishing at all costs Holy Thursday, the "bir- to the mentality thday" of the priesthood, world." Unlike his past messages, this year's was written in the form of a 2,500-word prayer on the priesthood "dictated by faith Id.,,,f ....... No and coming from my heart," Publ,sd Wkly by Tm which the pontiff asked the P,s.lc world's priests to look at as a oN Vvr St. L,ff 'shared meditation." E nfeed as cond class 21. 1911, at the post office of Much of the prayer con- ArkansaS. under the Act of sisted of thoughts celebrating March |, 11191 the special spiritual gifts of Seoedass the priesthood and mediating SUBSCRIPTION pRI on the central place of the S7 00 per year in Eucharist, preaching and cana$,0o Fore nl prayer in priestly life. PUBLISHER But the Pope's meditation MOST ANOREW J M also addressed specific Sish controversies of today. Besides the issues of celibacy PRIEST C and the vocations crisis, these aEV. BEaNAR included questions of clerical MANAGIN( identity and garb, depar: MRWILLIAMW tures from the priesthood and EDITOR t secularizing tendencies. MR. KARL A. CHRIS Address All OllrtmtS I On priestly identity, he FORREST PARK spoke of the priest as preacher of the word of God, Buslness minister of the sacraments, a.M. to  e servant of God's people and confessor. "May no place be .'ntmn, found in our souls for those currents of ideas which  noba,ysd diminish the importance of  send chnnge the ministerial priesthood," to, m 3sTt he said. p.o. t.u On priestly garb. he prayed