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Arkansas Catholic
Litlte Rock, Arkansas
June 30, 1991     Arkansas Catholic
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June 30, 1991

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PAGE 2 ARKANSAS CATI-K;R.IC JUNE 30, 1991 _.!m The power of words to shape thoughts, and the ability of the media to manipuhte that power, is staggering. One stark example of the media's power to manipulate people's thoughts through the selection of words is fomld in the con- cept of "resistance." Consider, for a moment, the different connotations of the words Xreedom fighter" or "resistance fighter" as opposed to the words "rebel" or "guerrilla". In mediapolitik, the first two are used to describe forces hacked by the United States government; the second two are used to describe forces opposed by or out of favor with the U.S. government. Hence, Nicaraguan "contras" are de- scribed as "resistance fighters" while Salva- doran civilian troops are termed "rebels". And most Middle East resistance fighters are called "guerrillas", particularly the Pales- tinians. But one person's "guerrilla" is another person's "freedom fighter." And vice versa. None of us can keep up with, much less fully comprehend, the whole world all the time. We depend upon the media to tell us what's going on, and what events mean. Media usage of such words as =freedom fighter" and =guerrilla", disconnected as those words may be from reality, desensi- tizes readers who may not have sufficient background in an area to make an informed judgment of a situation or group of people. And after years of casual and unques- tioned use of these words, for instance in the case of the "Palesfinian guerrilla," we come to believe that all Palestinians are guerfilla Even the sound of the word - gorilla - is offensive, and paints a nasty image of an entire group of people against whom it is used. Were the "contras" resistance fighters or guerrillas Are Palesfinians guerrillas or free- dom fighter~ Are the Salvadoran civilian troops rebels or resistance fighters? There's a big difference. DKI-I ARKANSAS CATHOLIC IS published 48 tlm0~ -a yeaL for $15 per year, by the Catholic Diooue of Lille Rock, Arkanu,, C~holic, Inc., P.O. Box 7417, 2600 N. Tyler St::; Little Rock. AR 72217. (501) 664-0340 [FAX ss4-QOTSl. PUBUSHER : Most Rev. Andrew J. McDonald, Bishop MANAGING EDITOR R.v J. s=oo e, ~*'-~*J~'~*~::: : " EDITOR I "(C~IO~'~ :: Deborah K. Halter ,k~"l'DUlffPCIRCULATION MANAGER ~e .~*~'.~.~i .... Agnes Knitdg ..NAGE. I Rev, ~ M. Schratz .::~ EDffORIAL / PRODUCTION ASSISTANT ................. . ..... do Marie Sm~ Third dram poota0e Ixdd it Utile Rock. ARL Bua~m$ h00ma~. 8~30 ; 4. Monday - Fdday. Closed on Holy Days and ~ holda~. Offio~ are boated in Morris Hall, .SL John'= ~On~. 2500 N. Tyk~' St., L~le Rock. AR 72207. To =ubscdbe,.zend $1S with your name, address and pldeh t01.the address, above. .... here's hardly anything more au- tomatic and less thought provoking than putting a postage stamp on an envelope. Easy. We do it all the time. No problem until we come to looking for a stamp, the right stamp. Recently I opened the chaos that serves as my desk drawer to find a stamp. ARer rummaging around, I calculated that I had a half-day of wages lying around in stamps of differing denominations, commemora- tions, faces and flowers. There was Igor Sttavinsky glaring out unmusically with a 2 next to his eye. Under an old ca~ celled check was a 4 with books and eye- glasses and a message which read, "A Pub- lic That Reads: A Root of Democracy." Then there were those stamps which twicked my conscience, evidence of Greet- ings never sent, a plethora of Christmas classical Madonnas by Antonello and Murillo which brought holiday wishes to no one, a sheaf of 30 pence images of a thatched cottage from the Republic of Ire- land which were never posted on a ~/'~la You Were Here" card. There staring up at me are a hundred Roman Collars. But then, what's this? The Wright Brothers? U.S. Airmail, 31 cents? Bi-wings on a prop job? You gotta be kidding! But wait, all is not lost. There's long haired, bearded Buffalo Bill Cody who'll get the job done for only .15 USA. Compulsively digging deeper through the debris of paper clips, rubber bands, unopened mail and tops of pens with no bottoms, I see good ole George, the Fa- ther of our country, who undersells Bug Msgr. John 01)tureen falo Bill at 5. Washington's almost smiling. Stuck everlastingly to the bottom of the drawer are five at- tractive smmps em- : .... : blazoned with the g) simple message, "Love." I wonder [ what unsent Valen- tines they were -' meant for. Alas for Love's Labor Lost. The trick now is to see which de- nominations of which stamps can be put together for the required .29. No combinations seem to work. Either too much or too little. Actu- ally, one could fill the envelope with 2's, 4's, and old $'s, but then there would be no room for name and addrem It may look like the letter was coming from Mars. Since one can't be either stingy or ex- wavagant with the Federal Government, why not another trip to the Post Office? Strange how we think nothing of spending dollars for gas in order to save pennies on some- thing else. Probably a sheet of a hundred 4's would match up with the pile of 25's scattered in the drawer. The postal clerk slaps the sheet on the counter, I pay my four bucks and I'm mes- merized. There staring up at me are a hundred Roman Collam Behind the cob lars is none other than the famous Father Hanagan of Boys Town. The stream/scream of consciousness overwhelms me. I stand Rev. Eugene Hemrick 'G ene, my stroke has been a blessed stroke of luck and given me new life!" Those are the words of a friend, who had a stroke. Nonetheless, it didn't diminish his spirit. He became an example of how the human spirit rams adversity into blessing. After partial re- covery from the stroke, new vistas began to open up for hirrL He lives more for the moment and dwells neither on the future nor the past, following the advice found in the book of Ecclesiaste not say, How is it that former times were better than these? For it is not in wis- dom that you ask about ~" Consequently my friend enters com- pletely into the moment and enjoys it to the fullest. He is resigned to his fate, yet he does not lack goals- goals he pursues vigorously. Now the goals are not his alone, but are con- nected to a higher being who, as my friend sees it, is responsible for the energy needed to reach them. This friend is a priest. One would expect him to have faith. But he does not just believe in a good God. Rather, this priest has been sorely tested and come out true in the process, again reflecting the wisdom in what Ecclesiastes say~ "Sorrow is better than laughter, be- cause when the face is sad the heart grows wiser." All of us know that we should take time to stop and smell the flowers. The scent is heavenly and the pause is refreshing. Yet, there always seems to be some urgent need that takes priority, hurrying us to the point of being out of control. My friend is still very much in rune with urgent issue But he handles them with a calm that shows his priorities are in their proper place. Oh yes, he needs to take more naps to replenish his energy, and there are had days, which he handles welL They are the new order of his day. 'he world breaks evet ne, and after- ward many are made stronger in the bro- ken places," Ernest Hemingway wrote. My friend's stroke broke him physica11 and tested his spirituality, but now he is stronger in the broken places. His stroke took from him, but it also there flooded with memories of one of the first movies I was permitted to see, ~Father Flanagan of Boys Town," starring Spencer Tracy. I remember the caption on the monument in front of the orphan- age: "He Ain't Heavy, Father, He's my Brother." I recall Flanagan's dictum: ~I'here's no such thing as a bad boy." I think, "Oh yeah? You should have talked to my father. He didn't believe that." Driving my stamps hack to the rectory the reverie continues. Across my vision comes another priest and another movie. Father Duffy, played by Pat O'Brien, in 'q'he Fighting 69th," the exciting saga of a New York Infantry Division in the First World War. I start humming 'q'he Bells of St. Mary's" and "Going My Way" as Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald appear in the rear view mirror as priests from the nostal- gic fog of another era and other movies. I wonder how many guys were attracted to the priesthood by the exploits of Flanagan and Duffy and the imaginative O'Malley? How many calls to the chivalric Christ came in movie houses, novels and the Lives of the Saints rather than the dry bones ser- mons at the parish church on Vocation Sunday? Arriving at the hard reality of the rec- tory desk, I had long since forgotten why I went to the Post Office in the first place. Flanagan was thrown into the menagerie of Swavinsky, the Wright brothers, good ole George, and that lonely little stamp that has a rose. Maybe someday in the third millenium, the 4 Flanagan will sur- face as just the right additive to a stamp that will send an Easter Greeting to a Muslim who's celebrating his Bar Mitzvah. (Msgr. John O'Donndl is pastor of Immacu- late Omrch in North Little Ro& ) gave. What it gave was wisdom - the ability to take time to identify the real priorities i~ life and a gratefulness for being able to act upon them. "Sormw ter, because when the face is sad the heart grows wiser." St. Jerome's words are alive in him: "Foe what has a person more than a fool, except the knowledge of how to live?" Robert Browning Hamilton once wrot# "I walked a mile with Sorrow, And ne'er a word said she, But, oh, the things I learned from her When Sorrow walked with me." My friend would calmly nod in the affff" madve. All of us know someone who is disable~ No doubt we are sympathetic and, also, thankful it is not Often we think to oursek that life is constant movement, and that when disabilities slow the movemettt down life stOlX Many disabled people may seem stopped or slowed down, but don't count them out, Through suffering they gain wisdom about life and control over it that only suffering can produce. Copyrig~ 1991 CNS