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June 19, 1998     The Message
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June 19, 1998

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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana ROBERT L. KINAST Catholic News Service knows, members of have experienced ten- Council II in the 1960s. may not know that tthe first time in church s happened. r of the church is filled to situations we face help us to live our more fruitfully when ! the history of our ances-  example, the numerous gy witnessed in Vatican II. Most of the result of different doing theology. How such diversity? How ful to recall that, whole, it was fair- for diverse methods of Coexist and interact in The classic example of the various schools medieval universities. religious order in those to theology: the Benedictines, the the Dominicans. St. Thomas championed a new upon the philosophy r is not new for the by Vatican II of an area in which in mod- the church contended in the past? has tried, among to distin- devotional practices of the church. The "Does it help us to live our own history more fruitfully when we know the history of our ancestors in faith?" asks Father Robert L. Kinast. He Writes about how "the history of the church is filled with parallels to situations we face today." -- CNS photo by Bill Wittman purpose hasn't been to minimize devo- tions such as praying the rosary, com- pleting novenas, making the stations of the cross, celebrating Benediction, hon- oring saints. The purpose is to ensure that the liturgy is the central prayer of the people and that they participate in it well. But this effort pales by comparison to the difficult, different task that faced the church in the so-called Dark Ages. During the influx of migrating nations between the years 400 and 800, and for centuries thereafter, the church had to contend with the impact on religion of customs, sym- bols and references which were often extraneous to the purpose of worship and sometimes were superstitious. There is no doubt that we in the church face many challenges today. Some chat- in the faith faced similar situations and lenges come to us through our sur- challenges. We can team and draw hope rounding culture. Other challenges arise from this. from the relationships among the church's people and the effort to grip Father Kinast is the director of the Center the meaning of the Gospel for our time :  I /: The fact is, however, that our ancestors beach, Fla. Continued from page 8 episodes of violence, cowardice and com- promise. Do we have to include these in the telling of our church's story? We may reasonably guess that for the- ological purposes Luke left a lot out of his own account. But he did not refrain from including embarrassing episodes. Recall, for example, his accounts of simony, idol- exalted heroes. The Bible does not exces- sively beautify its narratives. Neither do we have to leave out all the unsightliness in our own church's story. In fact, biblical faith gives us every rea- son to be completely haest in telling the church's story. The point of so many Bible stories, after all, is to have us realize that even human sin and weakness cannot Marketplace ................................................. L point: is important for people now to learn from the past. from readers: You draw from the past, learning from your mistakes and your suc- gives you a road to follow toward the future." -- Mary Rose Cecola, Shreveport, La. learn from the past, you're doomed to repeat it. I know it's a clich4?, -- Karla Legato, Wilmington, Del. past allows us to change our attitudes and actions in the pre- we actually learn from the past." Barbara Calhoun, Yakima, Wash. new situations come up, often they are similar to old problems with The human condition doesn't change that much." Colleen Hughes, Girard, Ohio You live a life without knowing what had gone before? We learn and we build on that. We learn from the experience of other peo- -- Mary Geach, Hurley, Wls. asks: Do you ever turn to the Bible when praying? Why, to respond for tssible publicath,n, please write: Faith Alivet 32I 1 Fourth C. 20017- I100. atry and the contentious way Paul con- fronted Peter for insisting off circumcision as a condition of church membership. Paul's own writings, incidentally, also refer to a number of scandals in the early Christian church. Surveying the biblical accounts more generally, we cannot help but notice how honest they are in highlighting human weakness, even in the case of their most break down God's fidelity or destroy our capacity to trust in God's promise. Noth- ing we humans do can wreck that. Once we allow the whole story to sur- face in all its ambiguity, we find in it more than enough examples of heroic trust to nourish our hope today. Haught is chm'rman of the Theology Department at C, tmown Universi. t We can be glad we don't have to start from scratch when it comes to living a Christian life in this world.   whether in the year 100, or 1200, or 1900 have gone before us, clearing the way. That doesn't mean that the world in which we are making our way would be recognizable to the great figures of chumh history. Well have to figure out what St. Benedict's insights into the meaning of Christian hospitality and the spirit of welcome imply for our era of glohalization, with its vast potential for human solidarity. Still, Benedict's insights remain compelling guides. What's in church history for us? More than a jumble of dates and obscure events. During 1998, when people in the church everfwhere are becoming reac-. quainted with the Holy Spirit and the meaning of hope, it may be worthwhile to look to church history as a history of the Spirit in  worid The record of all the good the Spirit has done can inspire and motivate us. Furthermore, the record will show how often the Spirit has drawn good from something that, at the outset, appeared rather bad. That alone should give us hope. David Gibson Editor, Faith Alive!