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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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PAGE 3 ARKANSAS CATHOLIC AUGUST 12, 1990 August Survey Question: Should Catholic lay or- ganizations expel members who support legalized abortion? Yes Q No Missing the mark? Responses need not be signed, but only this form (no photocop- ies) will be accepted,phone calls, please. Mail to: Arkansas Catholic Survey PO Box 7417, Little Rock, 72217 Additional comments welcome. july's question: Is the death penalty moral? Yes: 68% No: 32% Our respondents want an eye for an eye. Some comments: ...I am Catholic. I believe in the Death Penalty. These people don't deserve free rent and meals for the rest of their lives after what they have willfully done. ...Jesus was put to death for all....animals like Swi.'ndler deserve to die. ...I certainly believe the death penalty is justified and would be a real deterrent "Hemrick,,, from page 2 really benefit if the Church disengaged lself entirely from current issues - if the Church were uninvolved? I believe that underneath it all - whether the issue is abortion, ecology or the rights of children - what reli- gi0n has to offer society is a sense of Sacred. It is this sense of the sacred at more and more people find miss mg in their world today. "The madman," G.K. Chesterton, i nce Wrote "is not the man who has st his reason .... He has lost everything . ut reason. He has become like the lunar moon, encircled by his own thOUghts with no ooenin for escape." . "When reason is not governed by'be- !ief in God it tends to rationalize everything. Often people defend the st bizarre behaviors, arguing that ese behaviors reflect art or-the man spirit in pursuit of its true self. In the recent history of Communism Nazism, we have seen murder U.sophically condoned on grounds at was for the ood of the state. r0ticism h u . L. as been nursued to most UiZarre " ~depths on grounds that it enhances the sensual in the human spirit. Again, scientific discoveries gave some the idea that they had found God's secret of life and now could play god. Today, we are hearing calls for reli- gion to reassert its role in society, whether in the public - policy arena or the realm of social life. The reasons for doing so are many. First, there is the fea/that those who govern without following some type of religious principles could lead us into There is a natural need in everyone for the sacred. calamity. Without a sense of the sacred, it is too easy for policymakers to be- come self- serving, setting themselves up as demigods, neither conferring with conscience, consulting others nor revering God's creation. Second, those who let reason and the sensual rule their lives are learning that emptiness is the result. Every important human relationship, for example, needs to bebased on the kind of true respect Life issues Fr. John Dietzen I hpe you can help me. I was preg- llalat and m husband was iy ser " lee. I Went to the h spital to have ~ay baby at 6 PM and until 10:15 Mat night I was ~!rapPed to the ~al~le. The Catholic doctor Was mad l~d Went home ~aUse I was so long having it. I really dTli,t terrible time; I was scared and Aft know what to do. t~ e r almost a year my husband re- th~qeti home and I became pregnant d0~t~at~ae month. I had a different I t r. He staved until it was over, but "'lad another terrible time. ,aerl I became pregnant again I thought I just couldn't stand it. The doctor said he would take care of it. I never even thought about it as taking a life. I really thought llfe began after you had the baby. I have thought about it and prayed all the time that God will forgive me. I cannot go to the priest in my parish for reasons which I cannot explain now. The only place I go is to church and to the store as I am afraid I might be in a wreck and be killed. It is a heavy burden on my mind and I can't be myself until I get this straightened out. While deliberate abortion is unques- tionably a very serious sin, judging from what you tell me in your letter it is extremely doubtful that you were aware enough, or morally free enough, to make what you did a serious, mortal sin. You may remember the old basic catechism requirements for a mortal sin. It must be a serious matter, there must be sufficient awareness and reflec- tion on the fact that it will be a mortal to murder if it were mandatory in cases where all doubt has been cleared that the person did plan and kill another person resulting in convictions of first degree murder. ...It is encouraging to again see "moral or immoral" applied to all as- pects of human actions and not merely as synonyms for sexual behavior. ...I definitely cannot cheer when someone is put to death, but I have lived many years and have seen too many convicts paroled, escaped, or let out of jail to kill again. ...I think people who support execu- tions are the real animals. of one person for another that really constitutes a respect for the sacred. Otherwise the relationship, smothered by a tendency to possess, will not grow or last. Finally, there is a natural need in ev- eryone for the sacred. Death needs to be explained; life needs to be cele- brated, its joys grasped and understood; there is a need to face the world around us with a balanced sense of awe - to rec- ognize the wonder of it all. One theme constantly repeats itself throughout history: Society needs the sacred. For those who are-tired of seeing religion in the news, this is worth think- ing about. Ultimately, it is a sense of the sacred that religion should bring to society. It still makes sense for religion to be concerned about the public and social realm - about the sacred dimensions of our lives here on earth. Copyright 1990 CNS I IiI II sin, and one must be emotionally and otherwise free to make an honest-to- God choice. Judging from your description of the situation, the last two of these require- ments are at least in serious doubt. I suspect, however, that you will not feel this is totally resolved unless you talk with a priest about it personally. This may be in or out of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, at least to start with. There are other priests in the gen- eral neighborhood of your community. Why not try to talk with one of them? I hope you will take my advice. God certainly does not wgnt you to continue suffering this anguish over a long-past action. Please read again carefully what I have said above and talk with someone soon. (A free brochure outlining Catholic prayers, beliefs and precepts is available by sending a stamped self-addressed envelope to Fr. Dietzen, Holy Trinity parish, 704 N. Main St., Bloomington, IL, 61701.) Copyright 1990 CNS l)ear Editor: I was angry and disappointed at your Perspective column in the July 29 issue. You took one offhand remark by a pro- life woman caller and twisted it into a contemptuous essay aimed at, suppos- edly, pro-lifers who lambast "the press" for their own failures. You said the woman was "missing the mark." You also subtly accused her of being "single-is- sue" minded. The only way a pro-life organization can be effective is to limit its purpose and concentrate all energies on it. These small groups of hardworking, sometimes frustrated in- dividuals who, despite great odds (mostly from people who don't take time to fully understand their purpose) continue to work diligently trying to save unborn lives. The woman was merely asking for coverage explaining her organization. You hit your own mark-you need to look at your own short comings' before judging other people's, and using them for your own ends. You would do well to get off your high horse of heavy handed rhetoric and feature more ar- ticles about the Lord's work done by the average Catholic in our diocese. Cathy France Little Rock Dear Editor: In response to Dolores Curran's Family Life article [7/29] in the Arkan- sas Catholic, there is something that just doesn't hit me fight when I have been told to feel the same way about the life of an innocent baby and the life of a convicted killer who possibly mutilated and sexually abused his victims before they died. It's true these are both "life" issues but there is no comparison. The killing of thousands of innocent babies is go- ing on every day. For the most part it is ignored. Do we really think about it happening right under our noses - in our communities, by our neighbors, our co-workers? There are the pro-life groups that try to keep it in the lime- light - and they are criticized for it. But the death penalty is a big news story in the media. It doesn't happen very often, but when it does we hear a lot about it. I haven't made up my mind on the death penalty, but if pushed I would probably be against it. Maybe I should be as strong against the death penalty asi am abortion. But right now, at this time in our society, the killing of innocent babies - day af- ter day - is just too overwhelming. Don't throw this "life" issue in with a long list of others. There's just no comparison. Jamie Hentschel Springdale ........