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Arkansas Catholic
Little Rock, Arkansas
April 25, 1998     Arkansas Catholic
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April 25, 1998

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ARKANSAS t.9 CATHOLIC April 25, 1998 Page 11 IEDITORIAL ................... LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Cardinal John O'Connor was blasted in a New York daily news- paper for his "sermon on the mound" about his personal boycott of major league baseball because they played on Good Friday. In his April 16 column for Catholic New Fork, he said he would not at- tend any games this season because many teams played between noon and 3 p.m., which are known are the %acred hours." "I love the Yankees, I love the Mets. I love baseball," he wrote. 'q'his was to be the summer that even if the creek rose, I was going to get to some games. Not this year." The cardinal took notice of one team the Boston Red Sox --- that played after 3 p.m. and ended be- fore Passover began at sundown. The Yankees' response to the cardinal's column was to say that they WOuld consider his comments. While the cardinal was right in pointing out his views on playing baseball on a solemn day, he would / be within reason to point out many more teams and sports that don't stop either for Good Friday or even the feast of all feasts --Easter. Joining the major league teams on Good Friday, several NBA games were played, professional golfers teed off at the Masters and tennis players volleyed a few over the nets. Locally, people bet at the track at Oaklawn and the Univer- sity of Arkansas, Arkansas State, the Uni- versity of Central Arkansas and the Uni- versity of Arkansas at Monticello played baseball. On Easter, the Masters tournament ended, more baseball, including games involving the Yankees and Mets, was played and NBA teams hooped it up. Again, within the state, college baseball was played and the Junior Easter Invitational tennis tour- nament ended. Cardinal O'Connor pointed out one of many problems in professional and college sports. Pressure is put on high school and college athletes to leap to the pros, players that don't make $10 million a year whine in public and bad mouth their teams and sports stars who get angry choke their coach and commit other crimes. And for that, they get paid more and maybe a slap on the wrist for their offenses. Reform whether it's tak- ing one or two sacred days off dur- ing the season or reigning in the out- of-control salaries and players -- should be coming from within the sport. Owners, players associations and coaches should be looking at what's wrong within sports and find ways of making it better. Then there would be no reason for the "sermon on the mound." Fayetteville RCIA program a team concept As coordinators of the Christian Initia- Esther Breeding, the team which we coor- tion program for St. Joseph Church and dinate includes Mark and Donna Draper St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Fayetteville, and Robin Krasnesky, as well as Fred and we appreciated the nice article by Connie Christie. We depend upon the participa- Hendrix-Kral about Fred and Christie tion of numerous guest speakers and the Spiegel, highlighting their journey from involvement of many parish organizations, conversion in 1994 to their current posi- as well as support and assistance from the tions as members of our leadership team diocesan level. We obviously could not even ("Fayetteville RCIA coordinators help oth- begin to do the things we do without the ers through conversion, April 11, 1998). enthusiastic participation of many people. It is difficult to overstate the importance Our team concept is modeled after St. of people who have come into the Church Paul's description of the functioning of through the Christian Initiation program the Body of Christ. Although specific indi- who then choose to pass on what they vidual responsibilities are delegated to have received to others by remaining in- each team member, each person plays an volved as sponsors and perhaps by ulti- equally essential role in the economy of mately moving into leadership positions, the whole. Without the contribution of This is especially true in view of the num- each team member, our program could ber of people needed to implement the not function successfully. team concept by which our program op- We as coordinators are eternally grate erates, a concept which we feel is a crucial fill that God has granted us the privilege factor in the success we have had. of playing a small role in this process by Here in Fayetteville under the director which He draws people into the Church. of Father Dennis M. Wood, Deacon Paul Richant and Moilyanne Lloyd Cronan and St. Thomas campus minister Fayetteville irit Nearly half of all U.S. Christians the action or power of the Holy Spirit. Catholics Evang 37% / Holy Spirit Experience 75% Don't Know Sourte: 1998 New~eek poll by Princeton Sur~ey Research ~ietes. Vhat children nation was horrified March 24 When two boys --- one 13, the other Were arrested for killing four stu- and a teacher at Westside Middle in Jonesboro. PlP.arently, the two pulled the school's .mama, then shot at students and aCllers as thev evacuated the building. Ola' trly aCCounts s-uggested that the 13-year- r_.u Was angry at some girls who had JeCted his romantic intenuons. rle ki]Flngs come in the wake of simi- recent incidents. Last Dec. 15, for a 14-year-old shot and killed fellow stu'dents at Stamps High in Stamns, Ark On Dec. 1, a 14- teatt ld shot in 'o a student prayer group high school in West Paducah, Ky., t ltl -g. three. And on Oct. 1, a 16-year- - takii e-'killed mother, then shot and i two students in Pearl, Miss. ron call dents have oc Ctlrr " y, these inc" ed even as overall Juvenile violent e rates have fallen. Pundits have busily debated the Jonesboro boys' alleged actions. They have trotted out the usual suspects: guns (and the need for gun control); the ef- fects of divorce; lack of parental control; abuse (indeed, reports now indicated that one of the boys may have been sexually abused); and violence on television, movies and video games. Thus far, however, no clear explana- tions have emerged concerning what happened in Jonesboro. But when one considers some other news items from the same period, some- thing of a pattern emerges. The day before the Jonesboro shootings, convicted killer Gerald Eugene Stano was executed in Florida. That same day, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to take on a case that could have limited partial-birth abor- tions. And on the very day of the shootings, an 80-year-old woman became the first person to die legally by assisted suicide under Oregon's Death with Dignity Act. In his 1995 encyclical "Evangelium Vitae," Pope John Paul II spoke propheti- cally of this growing "culture of death." He noted that the weak and defenseless have become targets of increasing vio- lence "in the name of the fights of indi- vidual freedom." He observed that the circumstances under which the death penalty is justi- fied are ' ery rare if not practically non- existent." He pointed out that growing accep- tance of euthanasia and abortion, in particular, have darkened and condi- tioned our consciences, making "it in- creasingly difficult to distinguish between good and evil in what concerns the basic value of human life." Through our culture's acceptance of the death penalty, euthanasia and abor- tion as solutions to various problems, we are teaching our children that vio- lence is acceptable. In some cases, they themselves are the victims of the virtual worship of the "rights of individual free- dom" --- a supposed right that places the wants and desires of the individual above the needs of others, including our children. Tragically, it appears some troubled youths have simply built on the lessons they have been taught. Indeed, Luke Woodham, the 16-year- old charged in the Pearl, Miss., slayings, explained his actions by declaring, "the world has wronged me, and I couldn't take it anymore." Perhaps fewer individuals would see violence as a solution to wrongs inflicted by society if we heeded the pope's ad- vice: "Society as a whole must respect, defend and promote the dignity of ev- ery human person, at every moment, in every condition of that person's life."