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Arkansas Catholic
Little Rock, Arkansas
July 15, 1990     Arkansas Catholic
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July 15, 1990

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PAGE 3 ARKANSAS CATHOLIC JULY 15, 1990 "Curran," from page 2 Death from denial a dear one when the loss is fresh, but When they continue to cry after a year or so, we get weary of offering solace. We care about those who suffer chronic illness or depression but com- passion fatigue sets in when we feel our We live in a quick-f'Lx cul- ture, one that wants to apply a solution and be done with it. But we don't have quick- fix problems. No need to think Caring and resources dwindle. Our vis- Its with them get fewer and shorter. I think it's important that we accept that compassion fatigue is a normal reaction to ongoing needs. We can become paralyzed if we focus too much on our ability to alleviate all needs and suffering in our world. A natural reac- tion, if this paralyzation goes on too long, is to stop caring and become cynical. We live in a quick-fix culture, one that wants to apply a solution an~l be done with it. But we don't have quick-fix problems. Movements like nuclear freeze and environmental pollution will take years to achieve results. The needy, homeless, abused and addicted are not Applause going to disappear even after a year or two of intense attention. ,,fallw, then, do we avoid compassion ligue? By focusing on one or two areas of Concern and accepting the idea that a Small part in achieving change is all ~'e can do personally. I can teach par- HPILRI ]@ Ft. John Dietzen ah appreciated vour recent column out fundamentahsts and the Bible. In the last few para- ~aphs you state, Nothing we be- lieve can ever entradict or deny the Bible. Elsewhere, however, you re- ~eor to Matthew t~' Which refers the Sabbath, the Seventh Day ~entioned count- ess times in the Old and New Testa- ~ts. When we observe Sunday, the t day of the week, as our day of aren't we contradicting the Ten nts? Be Christians. We believe that the a long development of culminating in the coming expected Messiah. In other ~, we accept and understand Scrip- in the context of the Christian Ilrnent of all the past revelation of .JeSUs Himself calls attention to this enting skills to the homeless at Samari- tan House. It isn't going to change the world or even homelessness but it might keep one or two children from being abused. We can also change our area of concern occasionally. If we find our- selves wondering if we're achieving anything worthwhile at the soup kitchen, maybe it's time to give it up and volunteer to teach reading to illit= erate adults for a while. Finally, we can affirm each other more for what we do. We all need to be told we're performing a worthwhile service welt. "Thanks for caring," is a simple phrase and one which helps offset potential compassion fatigue. I strongly suspect that Jesus, being human as well as divine, had His bouts of compassion fatigue at times. He must have become weary of so many people asking to be healed. But we also know that He went out into the desert occa- sionally to get away and pray, to refresh His spirit so that He could return and minister to others. We can do the same. Copyright 1990 Alt Publishing Co. Share your point of view with our readers in: Columns should be about 500 words and address a single topic. ARKANSAS CATHOLIC Dear Editor: The recent pastoral statement by the Bishops of Texas condoning the with- drawal of nutrition and hydration from incompetent patients is unfortunate in the extreme. Food and water are the base line of human existence, without which no one - competent or otherwise - can live. To deny them to any person is to kill him by dehydration or starvation. A wise man once declared that what- soever one did to the least of His breth- ren, that also one did to Him. He also warned of the consequences of those who refused food to the hungry and drink to the thirsty. Today those in the state of Texas who purport to speak in His name have - evidently - a different slant on things. Compassion there will now be mani- fested by killing the helpless. That all of this should be performed in the name of He who multiplied the loaves and fish to feed the multitude is, indeed, passing strange. j. Fred Hart Jr. Jonesboro (The bishops outlined the "morally appro- priate" withdrawal of "artificial" nutrition/ hydration from "permanently unconscious" persons. See article, page 1. --- Ed.) Dear Editor: Now that both John Swindler and R.J. Simmons have been executed, the state of Arkansas has joined the ranks of a handful of states plus only two of the industrialized nations (the USSR and South Africa) that still practice capital punishment. I believe that capital punishment is immoral and that neither individuals development often, contrasting His nor the state have the right to kill teaching with what God had revealed people for any reason. I am writing to and commanded in the past. Moses andcommend the Catholic Diocese of Little the Scriptures have told you one thing, Rock for taking a strong public stance He says; now I tell you something new. in opposition to the death penalty. I This fulfillment of revelation exists, want to thank Msgr. John O'Donnell we believe, essentially in the person of for his brave efforts to show that even Jesus Christ Himself. people on death row should still be Thus, it is Jesus and the early corn- treated like humans. I wish to praise munities of Christian believers we see reflected in the New Testament that St. Catherine Markey, the Diocesan bring Biblical revelation to its climax Director of the Office of Justice and and fulfillment. It is in this sense that Peace, for her courage to stand up in Scriptures are the "norm" of faith for public protest on the executions. us, a norm which no genuine Christian I also want to thank Rev. Jim Schratz believe can ever contradict or deny.and Rev. Warren Harvey for taking part The word "sabbath" comes from the in vigils opposing the death penalty. I also commend Bishop McDonald and Hebrew word shabbat, which means "rest," ceasing from activity, the Priests' Senate for their thoughtful Contrary to popular belief, to whichstatement opposing the death penalty you refer in your question, the "sub- which was published in the 6/24 issue of the Arkansas Catholic. I also thank bath day" properly means a day a rest, not the "seventh day." Deb Hilliard, the editor, for the excel- In the Hebrew calendar, of course, lent 6/24 issue of the Arkansas Catho- the day of rest was, and is, the seventh lic which provided important coverage day. not only of the events surrounding the (A free brochure, "Infant Baptism: Catho- first execution, but also the actions lic Practice Today," is available by sending taken by several Catholics in Arkansas a stamped self-addressed envelope to Fr. John in~ the days before the execution. Dietzen, Holy Trinity parish, 704 N. Main It is always difficult to publicly take St., Bloomington, IL, 61701.) an unpopular stand. I applaud the Copyright 1990 CNS leaders of the Catholic Church in Arkansas for doing so Walter Korfmacher Little Rock on tiffs issue. Dear Editor:. In regards to the article in your June 17 issue on Bishop Charles Herzig and the use of altar girls in his diocese, sooner or later it must be said: Altar girls are forbidden by the Holy See and the bishops are well aware of this. Therefore, those parishes that have installed altar girls are in violation of church law. If the bishops are aware of this, why do some priests allow this in their parishes and why do some bishops allow this in their dioceses? Some bishops forbid this practice, yet some of their priests allow this practice to continue and flourish in their parishes in direct violation of their bishop's instruc- tions; many bishops allow it to continue in their dioceses in direct violation of the Holy See's wishes in the matter. Any bishop or priest who is unable or unwilling to follow to the letter the instructions of his superi- ors is in the wrong business. At the time of his ordination, a priest takes a vow of obedience to his bishop. I assume that a bishop takes a similar vow of obedi- ence to the Holy Father at the time he is ordained. A bishop is in charge of his diocese and is running it, or he is not. A priest is in charge of his parish and is running it or he is not, and there is no middle ground on either of these. No bishop or priest should be free to think or do as he pleases in matters of church law. Holy Scripture, Church law and church teaching should be his thinkingl Any bishop or priest who is So spineless and gutless that he is unable and unwilling to enforce church law should be disciplined severely or removed from office. Most who serve in various capacities in the church do so out of love for our Lord and love of the church, although there are some who serve out of "love of the chief seats." At the same time, no woman or girl belongs in a man's or boy's place any more than any man or boy belongs in a woman's or girl's place. The lines of distinction should be drawn sharply and clearly, with no middle ground. If Bishop Herzig sincerely believes that if women can act as Eucharistic Ministers, girls can also act as altar servers, perhaps we have come too far in this direction and should restrict all girls and women from having any Eucharistic ministry at all. Remember, it was one step at a time for them in the Episco- pal Church, and now they have female priests and a female bishop. Bishop Herzig's thinking is not only scan- dalous, but pure insanity as well. The Holy See needs to revise Bishop Herzig's think- ing for him. Vincent Crane Hope