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Arkansas Catholic
Litlte Rock, Arkansas
October 27, 1961     Arkansas Catholic
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October 27, 1961

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THE GUARDIAN OCTOBER 27, 1961--5 The Ouestlon Box t R a. o t B u t t R.u Little-Knowa Fact, to, catholic; I By M. J. MURRAY ot. zm. ..w.a. w,, By Rev. John E. Murphy, S.T.D. ,v,,o,,o,..',sc Professor of Moral Theology and Vice.Rector St. John's Seminary, Little Rock, Ark. non . Catholic argues only taught a way therefore all sects belief that teach churches. How him? taught a way of matter of fact, He in- He is "the way and and the life." But that, He established to be continu: d until time shall be founded a Church, , who would Sacrifice, sanctify oh, and govern. Christ is not an matter. First of all, follow Him in order souls; Secondly, we Him in the way Prescribes, i.e., through He appointed one who was given sole authority to repre- on earth. He made it that those who hear hear Him, and despise the Apostles, The sects of nity that differ with dation by Christ, and not one which has retained the sum total of Christ's teaching with- out error. The Catholic Church alone can claim the distinction of possessing the four marks which identify the one true Church founded by Christ (Uni- ty, Sanctity, Catholicity and Apostolicity) and the attributes with which Christ endowed His Church (Authority, Infalli- bility and Indefectibility.) Questions for J:hls eolunm should be addressed directly to the Rev. John E. Murphy, Vice Rector, St. John's Home Missions Seminary, Little Rock. Ark. They must be signed with the name and address of the person submit- ting them. Unsigned ques- tions will be ignored. Q.--To what extent may one ask for a "sign" when praying for a favor? himself in this practice. If capital punishment is right in the eyes of the Church, on what basis is it justified? A.--The infliction of capital punishment for crime is not contrary to the teaching of the Catholic Church. The power of the State to sentence culprits to death, and execute them, has a basis in both Sacred Scripture and theological teaching. The earliest divine pronouncement that seems to sanction the death penalty is found in Gen- esis 9:6: Whatsoever shall shed man's blood, his blood shall be shed: for man was made to the image of God." More explicit are texts contained in the 21st chapter of Exodus, in a code of legislation w h ic h prescribes death for many offenses: "He that striketh a man with the will to kill him shall be put to death" (12): "He that striketh his i'ather or mother shall be put to death" (15); "He that A.--"All things whatever you shall steal a man and sell him. ask for in prayer, believing, you being convicted of guilt, shall shall receive" (Mt. 21, 22). be put to death" (16); "IIe that true Church, take on to differ with arguing against Pet- successor, the Pope, with divine author- the Holy Sacri- Mass, they omit the the Christian Reli- .jecting three or four five) of the Sac- they reject, the neces- of Sanctifying Without which one can- his soul. multiple sects of belief (over 260 of is not one which its origin to the fouR- The above words of Christ offer ample assurance that our prayers will" be heeded by Al- mighty God. The Christian neither seeks, nor does he have any need of, further reassur- ances. "This is the confidence we have toward Him; that whatever we shall ask accord- ing to His will, He hears us ' (1 John 5:14). To seek "signs" from God is to beseech of Him an interven- tion which does not regard the normal order of His Providence. It is only at the expense of Christian confidence and pru- dence, that one can. indulge You 'Thank You' Most Rev. Fulton J. Sheen curseth his father or mother shall die the death". From this it is clear that di- vine law permits legitimate au- thority among men to exercise this right over life. There have been many movements against the practice of capital punish- ment, and in many countries, the law does..not exercise this right. The experiment of sub- stituting life imprisonment, or other pnalties, such as hard labor, has not yet proved any- tliing conclusive as to its ef- fectiveness. According to Catholic moral theology,, a criminal.xnay be ex. ecuted if. juridical proof has established moral certainty that he has committed grave crime, for which the State, in the in- te'rest of the common welfare, inflicts capital punishment, and if someone has been authorized by the State to execute the sen- tence. The right of the State to inflict the punishment of death, as a penalty for grave crimes against society, is necessary to its well-being, not only as a vin- life of everyone, Chris- for gladness exceed melancholy, partic- ularly when "oe dwells on the mercies of God and our own unwor- thiness. One wonders if more of our prayers would not be an- swered if we turned them into acts of rather than mak- Petitions. The Little this to be true, makes God more }estow graces on us. aul tells us to "give God for all things." cate this column to ;od for your kindness Father on Mission in remembrance the reminded you that religious commun- ln.stitutes doing Mis- for the Church and Only means the Holy to equalize distribu- of them is through for the Propagation the loving kindness who made extra to increase (mr an- ring of 27 cents a year 'ntiff for the Missions. in ore' hearts the self-denial, such as e pupils in two St. schools who aver- of $11 each per for the Vicar of thrills to our Dioe. who knows so there is a for the Mis is also a Mission Mission Tuesday, nissionaries. These and women spend every day of the glory of God in Africa, Asia and elsewhere. Nor are we unmindful of, but rather thankful for, those who give the Holy Father nothing for his 200,000 missionaries. Magdalene probably gave noth- ing the first time she heard Our Lord; the woman at the well was hesitant thr(mghout a long conversation with the dictive punishment, but also as a salutary deterrent to crime. St. Thomas Aquinas sees capi- tal punishment as lawful and just, because the criminal has, by his crime, become a destroy- er of the common good, and has fallen from the order of right reason. The law protecting so- ciety is justified in taking meas- ures strong enough to punish Lord; Zacheus was merely cu- and deter crime. If that meas- rious as he climbed a tree just- ure is the death of the criminal, to watch -- but they all came the State can exercise its right. through in the end. So will those who give nothnig now. They know our address and, God Love them, maybe "the last shall be first." Above all, we thank Our Lord and His Vicar on earth, the Holy Father, for calling us to this noblest of all work--the fulfilling of the mandate of Our Lord: "Go make disciples of all nations." It is consoling to love a parish, a diocese, a state or a nation, but it is exhilarating beyond words to love all peo- ples, all races, all religious so- cieties. Abraham, when he had not a foot in the Promised Land, built an altar and offer- ed thanks to God. Though The Society for the Propagation of the Faith may not be in all lands, we thank God that it is advancing. And it will advance more as we live out the in- escapable message to reveal the Wounds of Christ's Passion in our lives that we may share in IIis Glory. (All those who are thankful for having been thank- ed and who wish to show it may do so by sending their sacri- fices to The Society for the Propagation of the Faith!) GOD LOVE YOU to D.J.N. for $5 "This represents my World Series winnings which I want the Mission to have." . . . to Mrs. F. F. for $25 "I prom- ised a contribution to the So- ciety if I regained my health." . . . to Mrs. A.V. for $50 "On our fiftieth wedding anniver- sary we would like to donate this $50 to help the poor." * * * Q.Will you please tell me why secret societies are forbid- den to Catholics? A.--The secret societies con- demned by the Church are those which are dangerous, in their formation and activities, ' to the Church or the State. The members of such societies are bound to undue secrecy and ab- solute obedience to the head. Their rituals employ certain ceremonial equivalent to reli- gious sects. Catholics arc forbidden mem- bership in such societies. Free- masonry is forbidden under pain of mortal sin and excom- munication, automatically in- curred. Membership in the fol- lowing societies is also forbid- den under pain of mortal sin." Odd Fellow, Knights of Pythias, Sons of Temperance and the In- dependent Order of Good Tem- plars. The same applies to secret organizations of women, and to the women's group af- filiated with the above named societies. Q.What is Ambrosian Chant? A.--Ambrosian Chant is ap- plied to hymns and parts of the Mass written by St. Arbrose, or his contemporaries, in the 4th Century. They are syllabic in form (a single note to each syllable of text) and originally of a simple rhythm but underwent many changes leading up to later de- velopments which were fore- runners of Gregorian Chant. 'tie Life of Our Lord Fin, ,ing in the Temple By Frank J. Sheed When, at the end of the first day of the return journey, Mary and Joseph found that the Boy w a s not with them they .went looking for Him among their relations and their friends, then started back or Jerusalem, asking every group, asking at every house they passed on the way. Back in the City, they knocked at every probable and improb- able door. On the third day of separation "they found Him in the Temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them and asking them questions." We have got into the way, some of us, of thinking that the twelve-year-old Jesus was teach- ing the most learned men of Israel: But this it not what St. Luke says. What was happen- ing was an example of a daily custom in the Temple. Groups would gather round a Rabbi, and ask him questions, on the- ology or morals or ritual. He would glee them the benefit of his learning, which would usually be very considerable learning. As part of his teach- ing, he would put questions to them. It was in one such group that His parents found Jesus. He was not teaching the doc- tors. He was "hearing them, and asking them questions." It is clear that He was answering the questions put by the learn- ed men who conducted the group: but we must realize that they were not searchers after truth asking Him to enlighten them, but teachers using ques- tions as part of their teaching method. HiS replies must have been brilliant, at any rate for a boy: because Luke tells us that all who heard Him "were astonished at His wisdom and HIS answers"--and the Greek verb used is a good deal strong- er than our word "astonished", they were quite "taken out of themselves!" We, as we read the story, are not astonished, for we know who He was. Obviously He would have brilliant answers. What we should like to know is what were the questions He asked. Why did He pick those particular questions, whatever they were? Was it simply for the increase of His experimen- tal knowledge, getting a kind of instruction that His teachers in the little school at Nazareth could not provide? Or was it to set the Rabbis' minds moving iR a new direction? If only St. Luke had told us one of the questions! .Mary and Joseph wondered too, and once again the Greek verb is stronger than the Eng- lish: it was as if they had a sort of electric shock. Why? Not, one imagines, because Itis an- swers were brilliant: for they know that He was God. Most probably what startled, almost stunned them, was to see Him showing His brilliance. In Nazareth He had always be- haved much like anyone else in these matters, attracting no par- ticular attention. And the quality of His ques- tions and answers was not the only v)riation from Ills normal conduct in Nazareth; there was also His behaviour to them- selves as His parents. As God, He had given the fourth com- mandment, Itonour thy father and thy mother; as man tie did not ignore it. We know that when this strange episode was over, He returned to Nazareth "and was subject to them" once more. But clearly in separat- ing from them without even telling them in advance, He was not being "subject" to them. That perhaps is why it was Mary who spoke to Him and not Joseph. Joseph was the head of the family, and at Naz- areth it was for him to make the decisions and give the com- mands. In any family a small boy who absents hhnself with- out permission for three days may expect to hear from his father! But both parents knew that this was no ordinary oc- casion: for the moment Jesus was not acting as an ordinary boy. It was IIis mother who spok to Him. '"Son, why hast thou done so to us? Behold, thy fath- er and I have sought thee sor- rowing." There was no rebuke here: she was not calling upon her small son for an explana- tion of an act of disobedience. She was simply telling Him of Joseph's grief and hers. We can still feel the anguish in her, can almost feel it as our own. So much anguish, we feel, must surely have called for a flood of tenderness from Jesus. But in fact nothing could have been cooler and more matter-of-fact than what He actually said--"Didn't you know . .7" We must look more closely both at her words and His, especially hers. There is mm'e depth of anguish in them tharL we may have realized.