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Arkansas Catholic
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December 15, 1991     Arkansas Catholic
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December 15, 1991

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ARKANSAS CATHOLIC DECEMBER 8, 1991 PAGE 3 [I( I U E el( Th "e at f, a~ tt (( count for one-third of its agricultural prod- ucts. Farmers are becoming a disappearing ~/~[~x~ [U]~ species in America. Why is this? Dear Editor:. * * * * The a~dde by John Thavis [11/24] tells Dolores-Curran In 1960, both Cathofics and Protestants of Operation Rescue's position outlined The end of the year is a good time to gave an average of 2.2 percent of their in- during the Pondfi~l Council for the Faro- dean up the files and sort out interesting comes to their churches, but while the ily. bits of information which don't deserve a percentage has held among Protestants, it Exploring anti-abortion strategies, Cardi- column of their own. The year, 1991, offers has dropped to 1.1 percent among Catho- nal Trujillo comments, a sharing of experg some interesting lics. Why is this? ences by proqife groups could better counter insights into our * * * * a "dangerous concentration of anti-life life as a mere too- After ten years in the making ofa pasto- forces." ment in history, ral on women, the American bishops were Operation Rescue's position is to "pub- Here's what I told by Rome that Third World women are licly excommunicate" politicians advocating found among my not ready for "Western" aspirations and that abortions. notes and clip- it is only American women who are un- Are not anti-life forces involved with the pings, happy with their Church status. If true, why death penalty, all wars, as well as abortions? * * * * is this? Excommunicating anti-life forces would More than 41 _/!' * * * * wipe out many of the clergy (at all levels) percent of civilians Children born in parts of New York have and the laity. called to military less chance of reaching their first birthday If prayer and our own living of Christ's duty for Operation than babies born in some Third World teachings fail to change the mores of our Desert Storm came countries. The Infant Mortality budget was time, how can civil disobedience succeed? from nine southeastem states that have less cut but a plan to close the Central Park Our professional adherence to doctrine than one-fifth of the nation's population. Zoo, which costs the city $2 million annu- has little value unless we recognize God's So the Reservists and National Guards had ally, was not. Why is this? Son our brother in the needs of human life a distinctly southern flavor. Why is this? * * * * around us and throughout the world. * * * * Pray during the Advent season for true Why is Ibis? joy and a faith that does not falter. Joe Herr Little Rock The gap between the rich and poor turned into a chasm in the 1980s. America now boasts 1.5 million millionaires. No parallel upsurge of riches has been seen since the late 19th century, the era of the Vanderbilts, Morgans and Rockefellers. Chief executive officers make 93 times the income of average factory workers. Why is this? According to MaryknoU Magazine, Europe's cathedrals are crowded, but only with tourists, qn many parts of Europe, Catholicism has become a cultural artifact rather than a living faith. Sociological stud- ies reveal that only seven percent of the French and 15 percent of Italians practice their faith." In the countiy which boasts the In the past 20 years, while the U.S. Catho- Vatican, why is this? And why is the Vatican lic population has grown from 48 million so concerned about America's faith? to more than 57 million, the number of * * * * priests has dropped from about 59,000 to More American children died from child 53,000. The number of seminaries in the abuse during the Persian Gulf War than U.K dropped from 450 in the 1950s to 240 U.S. soldiers killed in combat. Why is this today. When the world Synod of Bishops and why didn't this statistic merit media met last October to discuss priestly forma- attention? lion, mandatory celibacy for priests was not * * * * open for debate. Why is this? During Desert Shield, 50 Saudi Arabian * * * women dared to drive automobiles, which In the last 50 years, the share of Ameri- is against Islamic doctrine. For this, the cans who earn their livelihoods on farms counlw's morality police called for the death has dropped from 40 percent to two per- penalty. Our American leaders made no cent. The Great Plains today hold only three comment. Why is this? percent of the nation's people---and ac- C#pyri~ 1991 Alt Publishing Co. [ 1 Children enjoy a sleigh ride at Wheeler Historic Farm in Salt Lake City. Dear Edltor: Your artides on Advent and Hanukkah [12/01]were beautiful. Were needed some- thing like that for a long time. Also, the phot%n-aphs of the Advent and Hanukkah candles are superb. Great job! Betsy McNeil Rogers Ophdon o01mm for V' wpohat 500 words photo of author ARKANSAS CATHOLIC Post Office Box 7417 Little Rock, AR, 72217 Fr. INUilam Gould Zephaniah 3:14-18 * PhiUppians 4:4-7 * Luke The day had been diffi- cult and grim, but things began to change as. soon as I returned home. The rec- tory was filled with the sound of lilting, joy-filled music. I had forgotten to turn off the radio when I left. I am not musical, but this was all that was needed to lift my drooping spirits and set my heart dancing. 3:10-18 The opening phrases from our first reading are meant to do the same. They remainder of Advent. "Shout for joy, exult with all your heart, O daughter set the tone and mood not only for today but for the O daughter Zion! Singjoyfidly, O Israel! Be glad and Jerusalem!" St. Paul continues this theme in our passage from Philippians: "Rejoice in the Lord ahcaysl I say it again. Rejoice!" "That's fine for them," we g~mble. "But what do we have to "Shout for jo); O daughter Zion! bejoyful about.V' The world is in sorry Singjoyfldly, O Israeli" shape. People are homeless and hungry even in our own country. Un- employment rates have sky-rocketed, the streets are not safe, kid-killing drugs are every- where. Our nerves are fiazzled, we may be depressed. "And Christmas is coming!" we add as the final clincher. Zephaniah's people had more cause to feel hopeless than we. They had lost evet3Maing. But he ticks off a list of blessings for them. "You are no longer raider condemnation," he announced. God has turned S[3olx.qOr~ by: away your enenfies. He -- yotu- mighty Savior is here among you. 6 Then the Scripture adds these beautiful words: "He will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in His love." God comforted His people through the prophet's message. He also gave them a reason to hope for the future, a reason to be joyfuL Even I_ilt~a Rock though our world is also problem-filled, God is reminding us of some profound Wuths. He is telling us that we have as much cause for ~x:~riplure ~Udy rejoicing as did the ancient Israelites, He invites us to share in these promised blessings. "What ought we to do?"John's listeners asked him. That is also our question. "Fear not," Zephaniah tells us, "oe not discouraged!" St. Paul adds, "Dismiss all anxiety from your minds." He then asks us to center our lives on God and become people of real prayer. John the Baptist gives us some practical advice, too. He asks us to be honest, respectful of others, supportive of them. He urges that we help the needy, even at some sacrifice to ourselves. Today's readings are challenging as well as inviting. They ask us to make these things a real part of our lives. This will bring us to inner peace. We will also become as ~ of antidpation" as were John's audiences. This will make our coming (~.rimnas a time of real grace and uemendom blex4ng What do we have to rejoice about?Jesus' coming into our fives. If this is not ~good news,~ I am not sure what isl