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Arkansas Catholic
Little Rock, Arkansas
August 12, 1990     Arkansas Catholic
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August 12, 1990

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i PAGE Z ARKANSAS CATHOLIC AUGUST 12, : ,Why do you plan-to run a story on Archbishop Marino's resignation?" That's what I was hit with over the weekend. My thanks to the questioner for spurring these reflections. While it mayseem like bishop- bashing, the story appears in this issue for good reasons. First, it is factual. In the past 20 years, our Church history texts and classes have become more factual, less apologetic. It's harder when it comes to contemporary events, but facing the facts is just as necessary and salutary. As individuals and as Church, we Catholics do best when we accept what is real in our experience and deal with it openly. The alternative is denial, and denial is unhealthy. Further, if we were to ignore the story while the secular media reported it, we would leave people wondering what else is being concealed. Clear, consistent and accurate reporting of the facts is the best way to defuse rumor and speculation. Finally, reporting the Marino story puts us in touch with the mystery of the incarnation. The Word became flesh, and continues to dwell among us in the Church. Members of the Church, leaders and laity alike, are frail human beings in need of God's grace and mercy. By reporting this tragic event, we hope all of us will be moved to greater acceptance of our own human- it}', love and forgiveness for Archbishop Marino, and prayers for him and all our Church leaders. AJS Remember to send us your news. ARKANSAS CATHOLIC ARKANSAS CATHOLIC Is l~A~d 48 tlmN, a yeir, for $12 per yeir, I~ tl'e e.~hollc Diocee of IJtlle Roc~ A,'kan1~l ~holc, Inc., 2500 N. TylBr $1., Rock, AR 722O7 (~I) ~ FAX (501) e~.,-g07~. PUB~: Mos! Rev. AmlmwJ. McOomJd, Blshop MM~GING EDITOR: Rev. Albert J. Schneldw EDITOR : Deborah I.Imlard ADVERTISING / MARKEnNG DIRECTOR : Ron IL PROOUCTION MANACdER: Roy. Jim Schndz CIRCULATION MANAGER : Agnes Knlmo Third chu~ p~ta0e paid at ~ Rock AR. POSTMASTER : Send change of addmu to: ARKANSAS CATHOUC. PO BOX 7417. LffTLE ROCK, AR 72217. Busl- houri ire 8.30 to 4. Monday - Friday. CJoeed on weeker~s, Hob/Da~l, and National Holidays. Offices ire kx:ated In Mon~ Hall. SL John's Center, 2500 N. Tyler, Little Rock, AR, 72207. To subscribe, send coupon with -- I check for $12 to the above address. I I I l Name I I I Address I I 6, I was privileged to sit near the top of the "Kingdome" in Seattle as more than 48,000 people congregated for the largest meeting of its kind in history. My seat gave me a panoramic view of this great mass of humanity. Absorbing the sights and sounds and reflecting upon the miraculous event un- folding before me, I experienced in one parod0xical moment a spiritual insight into the Universal insignificafice and the Unique significance of each of us. This was the International Convention of Alcoholics Anonymous, a celebration which has occurred every five years since 1950. This one commemorated the 55th anniversary of our fellowship, when Dr. Bob S., an alcoholic physician from Ak- ron, OH, was able to stop drinking because a New York stockbroker shared the spiri- tual experience that had relieved his alco- holic obsession. During the meeting, Bill W., the stock- broker, conveyed to Dr. Bob his profound belief that his continuing sobriety was dependent upon sharing his spiritual awak- ening with other alcoholics. He stressed that the sharing was important to his re- cover/. Dr. Bob's sobriety would be de- pendent upon his developing a relation- ship with a "Power" greater than himself and his willingness to share his experience with others. That was June 10, 1935. That simple concept created a chain reaction of one alcoholic sharing his so- briety with another alcoholic that 55 years later would fill the Seattle stadium, repre- senting a mere fraction of the millions attending local meetings around the world and the millions of other lives touched by these personal recoveries. There were many things which made this a unique world gathering. People from 78 countries were present, speaking many languages. There were interpreters and signers for the hearing impaired, yet all understood "the language of the heart." Being an aggregate of men and women of all ages, races, creeds, cultures, nation- alities, and political and economic back- grounds, alcoholics are by definition IIIIWID()IIIW "people who ordinarily would not mix." Yet, as our "Big Book," Alcoholics Anonymous, says "there exists among us a fellowship, a friendliness, and an .... understa;nding, which is indescriba- bly wonderfuL" The meeting began with a pro- cession of the par- ticipants' national flags. Over 76,000 groups exist in 118 countries and con- tinue to spread at a breathless pace. During the procession, countries having members present at the convention were announced in alphabetical order, each receiving applause. While none was considered more impor- tant than any other, the most enthusiastic reception was given to members experienc- ing the most difficulty being with us, in- cluding El Salvador, Communistic-bloc nations and South Africa. When Soviet Russia was announced all rose as one and cheered for several deafen- ing minutes, the sound reverberating in the stadium. The crowd stood and cheered again for the flag of our host country, the U.S. We had accomplished what the United Nations had been unable to do, and I re- called that AA is "not allied with any poli- tics, organization, or institution" and "nei- ther endorses or opposes any causes." At the end of the meeting, all 48,000 people stood and joined hands as Christians recited the Lord's Prayer in their native tongues. Agnostics, Jews, Catholics, Protes- tants, Buddhists, Hindus, Moslems and members of other Eastern religions stood silently out of respect. AA is not allied with any religious sect or denomination. The spiritual energy of that moment was electricl I pondered the words of , Big Book, 'I'he tremendous fact for one of us is that we have common solution. We have a way out t which we can absolutely agree, and which we can join in brotherl, nious action." All who approach AA with a desire stop drinking, which is the only merit for membership, is assured do not have to believe in a particular or tenet, but simply be willing to come believe that a Power greater than can restore them to sanity and be to live along spiritual lines. Alcoholics onymous is not a religion, but as a way life it is one ofthe most powerful movements of the 20th century. As a Catholic who returned to Church as a direct result of the found in AA, I am grateful for found in the back of the Big Book, Catholic priest, a non-alcoholic Dowling, SJ: "Alcoholics AnolymouS natural; it is natural at the point nature comes closest to the su namely in humiliations and humility. There is something about AA, too, and Catholic in it almost invariably results in Catholics becoming better Catholics." My final thought as I walked with masses out of the Kingdome was has allowed me to witness a great Tens of thousands of alcoholics who be dead or locked in jails or tutions had gathered to share the their recovery with each other. And had been accomplished by no power, money or prestige. Two drunks coming together grace of God 55 years ago had passed legacies of recovery, unity and service no political power; no financial wizard, deed, no church has been able to plish. (Due to the AA tradition media, which reminds us to place before personalities, the author of this remains anonymous.) WIIIi IIIII I I I !III)11 Ft. Eugene Hemrick isn't a politician being Great- ened with excommunication, then it is the pope speaking on the economy or bishops writing on peace. The Church is visible in the realm of public "affairs. Some would question all this public involve- ment on religion's part. They would like to see the Church minding the affairs of its churches and not the affairs of state. But suppose the Church did exactly that? What would be the consequences if the Church remained aloof from is- sues of public policy? Would society See "Hemdck," next page TION OF VIRGIN" . J rounded by Mary rises heaven as de in this painting the Flemish Sir Anthony Byck.