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Little Rock, Arkansas
June 6, 1998     Arkansas Catholic
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June 6, 1998

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/ RKANSASt, CATHOLIC Se, e.d4,o/Z 'a, bth June 6, 1998 Page 7 Trinity symbolizes God's importance to Catholics!: ' Proverbs 8:22-31 Romans 5:1-5 John 16:12-15 Fr. William Gould W coat's a catchy way of beginning a lumn about the Trinity? S QUite frankly, I don't know. Trinity U.nday's column gets more difficult to Write with each nassin~ year. Most he0 . . u . v pie think that the doctrine is abstract and Unrelated to their everyday life. "1 always just pray to Jesus," a parish ! ,nember once told me. Another con- ed half-apologetically, "I believe in the it), but I don't know much about It.- Once while on vacation in my aOther's parish, the homilist promised !0 "explain everything about the Trin- Ity" to the congregation. He was, of COUrse, doomed to failure from the word "go." abThe Trinity is a mystery. This truth f: ut the inner reality of our God goes ar beyond our human mind's ability to Understand. The two clearest expressions of what we believe !ieve, about the Trinity are, I be- . contained in the Nicene Creed hic.h we recite together every Sunday IsP'u m the Preface of the Trinity, which used this. SUnTTYrinity'~" all about~ And So what is the r nt to ~Vhytls~ should the Trinity be imps ta ~e~anuThe Trinity is God, and God is im- tnto us. Most of us may lack any ,L aerstandin~ of the relationship u at exists between~the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, but we love God and Want Him lives, to become a part of our ,,,LT day's first reading proclaims that ~ Wisdom of God" "(often identified he-. Uae Holy Spirit) existed from the jgtaning, was involved in creation, and -',~t~ "del .... light lght in the sons of men. De- IS a pretty strong word! la the second, St. Paul reminds us: that we have been justified by We are at peace with God through esus Christ." Because of Him not only gained access to the need, but are able to use even things of life to become and more deeply Christian hope will not leave us disap- because the love of GOd has out in our hearts through ly who has been give to gospel, Jesus assures His dis- us, folks) that they will not alone, but will receive a guide bring them m "all truth." essential that we understand God would have found some make this possible. It obviously is essential is that we be accept Him into our lives I and that we work in with Him. I lliam Gould's column is spon- Little Rock Saipture Study. as exam By Maureen McGuinness CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE ALBANY, N.Y. -- WWJD. These are not the call letters for a new radio or television station; they're part of the lat- est teen-age trend. The letters stand for '`what Would Jesus Do?" and can be found on bracelets, key chains, baseball caps, T-shirts and other merchandise popular with teen-agers. The merchandise can be purchased in accessory, craft, discount, and religious goods stores, and on the Internet. 'They're selling very, very well," said Bill O'Connor, of William B. O'Connor Church Goods in Latham, in an inter- view with The Evangelist, newspaper of the Albany Diocese. According to O'Connor, both adults and teens are buying the items, which his store has been selling steadily for two since he heard about them from a The popular bracelet thatteens .are years friend in the South. wearing help remind them tobe, ust O'Connor compared the craze to the peace symbol that was popular during the Viemam War. "That kept us in busi- ness when people weren't buying reli- gious goods," he said. But the WWJD products have "more meat" to them, he added. '.The symbol- ism is comprehensible. What would Jesus like Jesus. do in this situation? It's right to the point." While the popularity of WWJD items may be fairly recent, the question "What would Jesus do?" has been around for quite some time, according to Rick Pierson, whose Greenfield, Ind., corn- pany produces bracelets, key chains and jewelry bearing the logo. The question was posed in a book rifled "In His Steps," written by Charles Sheldon in 1896, Pierson said. The book sold 30 million copies. "The teens are the driving force," said Pierson, who said he didn't know what led to the current surge of interest in the WWJD items. "We're shipping prod- ucts all over the world. It' phenomenal." For Josephite Sister Ellen Secci, cam- pus minister at Bishop Maginn High School in Albany, the WWJD movement "brings an awareness of a divine master who loves unconditionally. It's a wonder- ful way to recognize Jesus in our lives." WWJD bracelets were brought to the school by Debbie Buff, a teacher and coach of the girls' basketball team. She first encountered them at a basketball camp last summer. "It was a reminder to be a good sport," Buff said. "It also helps with people skills off the court, like to be honest, to be kind and to do community service." Val Klopfer, a senior at Bishop Maginn and a basketball player, wears one of the bracelets. And during basketball season she put one on her sneaker, she said, so when she'd look down at it, she'd see 'Jesus was always there." Catholic funeral service regulations not as strict in the 90s | ecently, a nationally prominent Catho- who had been divorced and re- married, was buried at a Catholic service. What counts in a case like this? Money? Fame? I am divorced, and if I had re- married I surely couldn't have a Catholic funeral. Another was mar- ried several times before having a Catholic funeral. NO wonder we ~/F.S/ION all have questions. Situations such Fr. John Dietzen as this in fact hap- pen often. It's just that most of them do not involve famous people who get the publicity. The questions you and others have asked reveal some lack of awareness about Catholic teaching and rules concerning funerals. Let's start with Church law. Regulations are considerably less strict today about de- nial of Catholic burial than they were before 1983, when the present Code of Canon Law went into effect. Those denied a Catholic funeral by law include, among others, heretics, schismat- ics and "manifest sinners for whom eccle- siastical funeral rites cannot be granted without public scandal to the faithful" (Canon 1184). Note that even if someone is a "mani- fest sinner" (which needs its own careful explanation), Catholic rites are not de- nied unless there is "public scandal." As I hope you know, public scandal is more than just surprise or perplexity. It involves the question, Would this action move a mature, knowledgeable Catholic to loss of faith or some other spiritual harm? Obviously, in many such circumstances the answer would have to be no. Already. !0 ye s before the present code, the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith addressed the ques- tion of Catholic burial for Catholics in irregular marriages. Such people should not be denied Catholic funeral rites, it said, if they have kept their attachment to the Church and have given some sign of repentance, aud if public scandal "has been removed." These are the factors which need weighing. In case of doubt, the local bishop is to make the decision. Another point to remember is that, in providing its burial rites, the Church never presumes to judge the spiritual condition of the person deceased. We are all sinners, we are all members of the body of Christ and at our deaths the Church commends to the mercy of God both the dead and those who have been grieved by that death. And that brings us to the final point. In the Church's centuries-old understm~d- ing, rites celebrated at the time of death are, as St. Augustine once said, more for the living than for the dead. The funeral liturgies are among the most solemn, instructive and humm~ of all the Church's rituals. For anyone who reflects thoughtfully and prayerfully, they help those left behind to learn from the life of the one who died and to recommit themselves, at least a little, to a fuller Christian life. If nothing else, these thoughts should help us realize the Church does not act lightly or without good reason in these special circumstances. ., ,~,~ ~Pm.:.;,', n ~ "F-~ L!- '.kdl ;, ,?JL_~.'~ Lr Ln J, ~ L_GLt, z~ / C ountclown He was born in Italy and died in Bethlehem after one ofthe most distinguished lives in the history of Christianity. H~ was an author, translator, Scripture scholar and mystic. Some fiave cailed hln~ the most learned man of his time. He was criticism of priests who were lax doomed his chances of election. Moving to the Holy Land to live in monasteries in Jerusalem and Bethlehem ,Jerome may be beet known for his translations of and commentaries on the Old and New St. Jerome. Secretary to Pope Damasus,Jerome was thought to be in line to become the next pope. But h is strict, ascetic lifestyle and Testaments. Father of the Church, saint and Churchman par excellence, Jerome is often shown in art with a lion as his companion in study. ELSEWHERE IN TIME Roman soldiers begin evacuating England...records of Japanese history begin to be pre erved...Visigoths poise to invade Italy. to 9000.