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April 30, 1982     Arkansas Catholic
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April 30, 1982

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!The GUard i [_  01fil uhh,J1ion 0, llc PAGE 2 I t APRIL 30, 1982 Priorities The Roman emperors said, "Give them bread and cir- cuses." Marie Antoinette announced, "Let them eat cake." The American answer seems to be, "Give them Super Bowls, beer and hot dogs." In a nation which gives a college football coach a contract for $1.6-million, higher than the salary paid for any educator, university professor, or scientist, it just seems that American priorities have gone awry. Meanwhile, we continue to hear about the truly poor. We are informed that the "undeserving poor" will be cut off the relief rolls. Unemployment statistics go higher, even if every statistic represents a human being, not a movie star, not a TV anchor person, not a theatre personality, but God's image. Possibly the judgment of God stands at our gates. Can it be that somewhere a prophet is saying, "How long, O Lord, how long?" The Catholic Accent Diocese of Greensburg, Pa. Essays in Theology Nicholi's 'Holiness' By Father Richard P. McBrien I rarely use this column to review books, much less to promote them. I make an exception this week because the book in question is too good to ignore and the subject matter too important to neglect. Even at that, this notice is tardy. The publication "date was sometime last fall. The book is "Holiness" (New York: The Seabury Press; paperback, $7.95) and its author is Donald Nicholl, an English Catholic layman who has taught at universities in England and the United States and who is now serving as rector of the Ecumenical Institute for Advanced Theological Research at Tantur, in Jerusalem. Nicholl's book is ex- traordinary for its simplicity, its ecumenical breadth and its balance. These are not the sort of words that fairly, or even accurately, describe so many other books on the same subject. Holiness is too often treated as if it belongs in some separate theological com- partment. Thus, "scholars" are supposed to worry about the nature of revelation, the doctrine of the Trinity, the consciousness of Christ and the mission of the Church, while "spiritual writers" are concerned with our union with God and our striving for sanctity. Such a dichotomy renders theology barren and tran- sforms "spiritual writing" into flights of pious fancy. If theology is done correctly, it is always spiritual theology. All theology, St. Thomas Aquinas insisted, is concerned with, and leads to, union with God. And if spirituality is truly of the Spirit, it will be rooted in a correct understanding of God and of God's relationship with us and the whole of creation. Donald Nicholl's book respects and preserves that balance It is at once spiritual writing of the highest order and solid theology of the most respectable sort. One is struck by the disarming modesty which runs through the work. "The very act of trying to write about holiness is itself a search for holiness. It is not as though you first achieve holiness and afterwards describe it, but rather that in trying to write about it the very process of writing serves as a kind of geiger counter which discloses holiness to you. "In other words," he continues, "this is meant to be a really simple, practical book in the quite straight- forward sense that as a result of it, so the author hopes, a number of people will grow in holiness - an area in which practice is everything and theory is nothing." Donald Nicholl's simplicity, however, is not to be confused with naivete. He notes, for example, how much renewed interest there is these days in "spirituality." But he cites a survey which discloses that many of the people who want to read books and articles on holiness aren't interested in books and articles on social justice. "This survey suggested...that since (these) readers were already suf- ficiently affluent to be eating cake they not only wanted the cake of affluence but they also desired on top of it the icing of spirituality and mysticism. "What the following pages have to offer," he asserts, "is certainly not cake, much less icing, but just a few crumbs of dry bread that only become sweet if well chewed." He appeals here to Jesus' in- junction to "pick up the crumbs that are left over, so that nothing gets wasted" ( John 6:12). "By recycling the crumbs Jesus gave an example for anyone who wants to grow in holiness. For many generations thousands of the most gifted and exemplary human beings have been devoting all their energies of mind and body to becoming holy; on the way they have let 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: Communications 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 Kodel I, O.S.B. Question: - Is tincture !dipping of the ilost in the Precious Blood) permitted in the U.S.? A. -- This method of Com- munion under both species is provided for in the General Instruction on the Roman Missal (nn. 246-247). It is permissible in the U.S. any time Communion under both species is allowed, but this method is discouraged when it deprives the communicants of the option of receiving under one or both species. Question: -- Why do the priests begin and end the homily without making the Sign of the Cross? It used to be done, but lately I have noticed it is not done. A. - There is nothing in the new rubrics about this practice, which grew up at a time when the. sermon or homily was considered an addition to the Mass. In those days, the priest would also remove his chasuble before preaching, as a sign that the homily was a sort of "in- termission " in the Mass ritual. Today, as in the ancient Church, the homily is con- sidered integral to the Eucharist, so the signs of beginning or ending a separate ceremony are no longer emphasized. Question: -- Why are we (the Church) not instilling fear into our little ones when we teach them about God? Scripture says that "The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom." A. -- Fear of God in I terms means him as for a loving fatl terror. A cringing feat is unbiblical. To do best for our little must teach them love for them. Father Jerome questions from subscribers. should be Rev. Jerome O.S.B., New Subiac 72865. i Budget Cuts and Human Lives Harsh Realities of Economic Alarmed by the possibility of another round of budget cuts for fiscal year 1983 in entitlement programs af- fecting the poor, particularly in the case of food stamps, Aid to Families With Dependent Children (AFDC) and Medicaid, Bishop Joseph M. Sullivan of Brooklyn, N.Y., testified before a House Committee on the Budget that such cuts would "constitute a denial of the most basic human needs." In testifying on behalf of the U.S. Catholic Conference and the National Conference of Catholic Charities, he further argued that "the churches and voluntary sector as a whole cannot be expected to fill the gap created by the budget cuts" and that the efforts of the churches "should not be viewed as a basis for the government's abdication of its own responsibility." In effect, the Bishop argues on the basis of Catholic Social Doctrine that further fall many crumbs of wisdom; it is a privilege, as well as a joy, to pick up those crumbs of wisdom and recycle them." The crumbs are in all sizes and shapes: Georges Ber- nanos, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Buddha, the Cure d'Ars, Dostoevsky, Duns Scotus, Meister Eckhardt, Lama Govinda, Baba Hart Dass, St. Isaac the Syrian, St. John of the Cross, C.S. Lewis, Father Maximilian Kolbe, Thomas Merton, Mohammed, Pascal, Seraphim of Sarov, Heinrich Suso, Teilhard de Chardin, Teresa of Avila, Mother Teresa (with whom Nicholl worked), St. Thomas Aquinas, Bhave Vinoba, Elie Wiesel, William Wordsworth - - not to mention the Old and New Testaments, with Jesus at the center. "Holiness" is a book which spurns no valid insight into the meaning of human life and its destiny. It is a thoroughly catholic work. And it is a thoroughly balanced work. It sees clearly why solitude and "koinonia" (community) are not in- compatible, "because the principle that unites persons in the most intimate 'koinoina' is the unique, in- communicable relationship with God which each person shares with every other person." Finally, it is a thoroughly Christian work. The quest for sanctity and the joy it yields are linked always with self- sacrifice. "The climax of the whole creation is self- sacrifice: that is the ultimate in reality: there is nothing beyond it; it is the end. There is the kingdom of heaven." But I have not even begun to do justice to the riches of this simple, yet profound, book. One has to taste the crumbs for oneself. governmental budget cuts affecting the poor would be in violation of basic human rights and human dignity. His full testimony follows: I am Bishop Joseph Sullivan of Brooklyn, N.Y. I am pleased to appear before you on behalf of the U.S. Catholic Conference, which is the national social action arm of the Roman Catholic bishops, and on behalf of the National Conference of Catholic Charities, which represents the largest network of voluntary providers of social services in this nation. These two institutions bring to your discussions two im- portant resources: 1) a rich heritage of social teaching on human rights; and 2) a wide range of direct ex- periences in providing for the needs of the poor in this country. From this per- spective I would like to suggest two points for your consideration: 1) that the impact of last year's budget cuts has already been so severe that voluntary agencies have nowhere near the capacity to take up the slack; and 2) that, consistent with the Catholic Church's social teaching, we strongly believe that when other social institutions are unable to do so the government has the responsibility to ensure that the basic needs of all the citizens are met. Therefore, we believe that additional entitlement cuts proposed for fiscal year 1983 should be rejected. I speak this morning not as an economist or a policy technician, but as one con- cerned about the moral dimensions of federal budget policy and who has had ex- tensive experience in the administration of human service programs. I am here to share the experience gained from my church's ministry among the poor and to voice its conviction about human rights and about the essential role that govern- ment has to play in protecting these rights. I am aware of the size and complexity of the economic and budgetary choices that confront this Congress. But I am also conscious that behind the many statistics and the rise and fall of economic indicators there lie human lives and individual hopes and tragedies. The Catholic Church's position is that our nation's policy and the federal budget in particular must reflect the broad values of social justice and human rights. Decisions about the federal budget and about the economy are not devoid of moral content. Such decisions ultimately have to do with the fundamental dignity and the basic rights of human persons. They reflect how well the economy is serving human needs and how the task force, if well the government is ser- Even now, however, ving the common good. I hope all the final data, we that my remarks this morning lot about the im will help to emphasize and budget cuts. We know clarify the moral dimensions the people affected of these economic and budget cuts show up budgetary choices, doorsteps of Catholic parishes Impact of Last Year's country. They show Budget Cuts hundreds of Charities agencies As the budget was being stitutions and at debated last year, we numbers of other were assured repeatedly that sponsored programs it would not be balanced on poor. the backs of the needy, that.a Before the "safety net" would be ference of Catholic maintained and that the finalized its impact budget cuts would streamline we did a phone surve social programs by improving agencies of varying efficiency and eliminating the in different geogr non-needy. While my own regions. Ineachcase work at Catholic Charities of services is being suggests that last year's cuts significantly have not produced a more federal and state efficient system, I believethe chment. In only one more important question to be the state moved to addressed is: What has been the difference the impact on the poor? The the federal cuts. In news is not good. Catholic Charities Last year, in a letter to have been reduced Congress, Bishop Thomas amounts ranging Kelly of the USCC wrote the of $50,000 in a small following: "If these budget which had little in the cuts are enacted, elderly men purchase of and women will go unfed, contracts, to more women and children will go million in a without necessary health care agency. All agencies and social services, some of large increase in the working poor will be working in their forced onto welfare and and also a heavy families across the nation will the number of people go without adequate for emergency housing." housing, food and a Unfortunately his predic- services. tion has been all too accurate. Despite the budget What we have heard from overall level of across the country -- from increased in these individual, bishops, from How long they can Catholic Charities agencies, such increases is from inner-city pastors, from organizers of self-help See Bishop on programs for the poor, from volunteers who are running soup lines, food pantries and emergency shelters -- is Id4mhflcollon NO essentially the same message: The cuts in ca- Pub,s, W.eklv by The titlement programs have hurt pre,,c 2SN Tyler St. Little Rock the poor severely. E n lered as second class ma II Some people are going 21, 1911. at the post office of Li! without the bare minimum Arkansas, ,r the AO of March 8. 117 required for a decent stan- Second class dard of living. In many states L,.' the full impact of last year's SUBSCRIPTION $7 O01er year in the United cuts has not yet been felt. It canasgoo Feh will take until later this spring and summer for all the PUBLISHER changes to have their com- MOSTREVERENO ANDREW J McDONALD, plete impact. In many cases S,shof Little Rock the resources of the states are already pressed to the limits PRIEST CONI in their ability to cushion the REv BERNAROE blow of federal cuts. MANAGING EDIT( The National Conference of MR WILLIAM W O'OONNELI Catholic Charities has asked EDITOR its member agencies and MR. KARL A. CHR institutions (some 750 around AIr$ All Ortmen P. the country) to complete an FORRESTPARK STATI impact survey on the effects TelePhneli10140 of the fiscal year 1982 budget a..i,,, on their programs and ser- A.M. to 4 eM. vices, on the number of clients through Friday on .hlturdays. served and on the numbers of Nauo.aa new community-service  xoL programs initiated. This  P.Imaster: send change OI I survey is not yet complete or Im Tt to compiled, but we would be Pess. p.o. happy to furnish its results to i.i., ah