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May 13, 1988     The Message
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May 13, 1988

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May 13, 1988 The Message" for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 9 View Point By FATHER JOSEPH L. ZILIAK Associate Publisher A few ways the nobility of the human spirit reveals itself Signs of the nobility of the human spirit show themselves with great frequency. It is good for us to remember that when we wonder if the world is going forward or backward. The USS Bonefish, a diesel powered sub- marine, was hit with explosions and fire several weeks ago while under water off the east coast of the United States. It quickly surfaced. A nearby naval vessel was able to take the 89 sailors who fled the disabled submarine. At this time there were three of the sailors unaccounted for. Toxic fumes and smoke forced the evacuation. It was nearly three days before rescue search teams could enter the drifting vessel to check if the miss- ing sailors were on board, or not. Rescuers did find the bodies of the three sailors. They were still at their posts. Two were in the control room and one in an administrative compartment. One account of the tragedy made reference to the sinking some years ago of another submarine. ii Letter The statement continued that due to the three remaining at their posts it was quite possible that the others were able to evacuate the vessel instead of the whole crew going to a watery grave as in the earlier situation. Is this story not an dramatic example of the statement Christ made to his disciples shortly before undergoing his own passion and death? "No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends." (John 15:13) We have just celebrated Mother's Day and in a few weeks will celebrate Father's Day. Is there a role that exemplifies that same selfless giving than that of a dedicated parent? We may wish to make a big issue about parents here and there who seem far removed from such dedicated parents. Such persons make news precisely because they are dif- ferent from the norm. We simply take for granted that mothers and fathers put off for a long time rewarding themselves, so that their children may have a bet- Tontinued from page 4 that all there is? .... Is there nothing we can do?" My spirit is disturbed by the stark realiza- tion inescapably drawn from the words of the pastor that we are well on our way to a priestless community of faith. Can we have a Eucharistic faith without priests? Of course not. Can the Church, the Body of ,hrist, the one, holy, catholic and apostolic faith exist without the Blessed Sacrament? Certainly not. Hence, the terri- ble emptiness I feel. For the message from the pulpit taken to its logical end told of a truly abominable worst case scenario without offering sound pastoral advice to a community of believers facing sacramental ex- tinction. With all due respect to the homilist, a priest I pray for daily, it could be that his pastoral advice was stated in conspicuous silence in hope that this bleakest of news would pierce the hearts of the sheep of his flock. Then, in humility and obedience to the Holy Spirit, we would respond by giving ourselves fully to Christ. This I pray. Could it be God's will that there be no priests? I think not. In fact, where the Church is growing on the earth, the numbers of vocations to the priesthood and religious life are also growing. But such is not the case in most of America nor in Europe. Is there some key to understanding this critical shortfall in priestly vocations? Perhaps our material wealth and technological progress are merely hollow blessings which threaten our very being insofar as we hunger for them rather than forsaking all for Christ. Renowned spritual writer and Dutch-born priest Henri J.M. Nouwen has commented that the malaise which the Church suffers in the Netherlands results from nearly universal af- fluence there. Has not the Church in America been swallowing the same poison as the Dutch Church? Are we not caught in the wake of a society tottering on the brink of destruction as we reel headlong into a morass of death characterized by over four thou- sand babies being destroyed every day and a medical-legal system that winks at growing ter life than they themselves had. If that is not heroism, following the model of Christ, I do not know what is. Last week we wrote of teachers at various levels and their quiet and unassuming ways of sharing life and values. Since then Sister Kathleen Finis was named Teacher of the Year. Do 50 years of dedication mean anything? Surely it does. We are happy that she was chosen for this first prestigious award -- Teacher of the Year. There were 28 nominees for the award. Each one possessed an impressive record. Doubtless all present at the awards dinner were struck by the years and dedicated service witnessed within the lives of the nominees. Remember, that now all the teachers were even nominees. These are but a few ways in which the nobility of the human spirit revealed itself in the past few weeks. Our task is to continue in the ranks of those noble spirits whether we receive special recogni- tion, or not. practices of infanticide and euthanasia. Moreover, all of these murderous activities are advocated and executed under the guise of "compassion and dignity." What a horrible lie. Sadly, our society and many others which united to fight Hitler are now cooperating to give him a posthumous victory. While Madison Avenue pushes glitz and glamour down our throats and many of us res- pond by gorging ourselves on material excess, the huddled hungry are despised; deformed young and enfeebled old are deliberately starved; the wrenching destruction of drug and alcohol addiction spreads its ugliness; trillions of dollars are spent on weapons of mass destruction; and all too often the cries of our poor and suffer- ing brothers and sisters fall on deaf ears or stone-cold hearts. The Old Testament contains a very pertinent passage. After Solomon had finished the tem- ple the Lord appeared to him at night and said: "When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or com- mand locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear them from heaven and will forgive their sins and will heal their land .... "But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and com- mands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and wor- ship them, then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. And though this tem- ple is now imposing, all who pass by will be appalled and say, 'Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and to this ,temple?" People will answer, 'Because they have for- saken the Lord, the God of their fathers, who brought them out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping-and serving them that is why he brought all this disaster on them.'" (II Chronicles 7:13-14, 10-22) What can we do? We can humble ourselves, pray, seek the Lord's face and turn from our wicked ways. The Lord has not abandoned us, we have abandoned the Lord. Let us return faithfully to the daily family Rosary, to regular adora- tion of Our Lord Jesus Christ truly present in the Blessed Sacrament, to frequent in- dividual sacramental confes- sion of our sins, and to prayer- ful study of, meditation upon, and obedience to Sacred Scrip- ture and the authentic teaching documents of the Roman Catholic Church. If we do so, the Lord "will hear us from heaven and will forgive our sins and will heal our land." Yours in Christ, Bill Beckman Bardstown, ICy. We are building a magnifi- cent skyscraper of wealth and prosperity on a foundation of broken and discarded people. Some say our modern morality and sophistication give us so much "freedom," but oh what a price we pay for the bondage we are purchasing. i ,,- ,::.,,, ....... ,.,: ,I, Some readers may now be 7;' thinking, "Why is he talking all You ... We 71 this gloom and doom?" I say it enjoy the take care because I believe it must be easy of the said. Consider all the examples listed above of a society gone living..." rest. mad and then think of the message from the pulpit: a Church without priests. What can we do? We can turn from I DO I  sin and give ourselves to God -- heart, mind, soul and strength -- without reservation. about our Regency Series! --  815 ERIE AVENUE " 473"6070 9 tO, 6 Mon.-Ffi., 10 to 5 Sat., Noon to 4 Sun. A Quality Manasement By . Resency Management Service, Inc. Bishop Continued from page 1 accept the Gospel message of fraternity and solidarity. Please support the efforts of the Catholic Communication Campaign and the diocesan communications office. Help promote the responsible use of modern communications technologies. Continue the CA TERING FOR ALL OCCASIONS NO OBLIGATION- CONSULTATION AVAILABLE Weddings Party Trays Reunions Coffee Service Picnics Popcorn, Box Lunches Hot And Cold Hers d'oeuvres To Rt All Occasions CallUs Toda ff You Are Plannlng A Gathering 426-1453 spiritual mission of the church. Your generosity piovides the means by ,which the message of the Gospel can touch the life of another and make a difference.' Please pray that the press may he an instrument that helps people to know and understand one another better. Pray that radio and television, informa- tion and advertising, may work for the common good. Pray that theatre, cinema and television may be sources of true art. Help spread the joyful word of God to all people. Sincerely yours in Christ, Most Rev. Francis R. Shea Bishop of Evansvifle