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August 6, 1993     The Message
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August 6, 1993

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8 The Message Monthly -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana August 6, 1993 Commentary by FATHER SY LOEHRLEIN Some Synod ot,00servations: Setting Goals Suppose a family fronl Newburgh wanted to travel to Washington. D.C. That family probably would drive, first west to 1-164, then north to 1- 64, and then turn east, finally pointed in the direction of Washington, D.C. We would say that this family had a short-range goal (I-164), a middle-range goal (I-64) and a long-range goal (Washington, D.C.). The short-range goal makes sense only if it is a good way to reach the middle-range goal, even though the family ap- parently starts out going in the opposite direction. And the middle-range goal makes sense insofar as it is a good way to reach the long-range goal. Our lives are like this. For instance, some people get an education hoping that it will help them get a job. Then they get a job hoping that it will help them get married. Our lives haw , shorter- and longer-range goals. Here in the United States of America we haw been very successful in working toward short-range goals. For in- stance, we know very well how to organize a factory around a short-range goal of making something. And, we know how to organize a store around a short-range goal of selling things. Once the item is made or sold, the factory or store hopes it will never see the product again. What hap- pens to the product after- wards is not the problem of the factory or store -- or at least that's how we tend to think. We don't like to think of longer-range goals. So we tend to think that "getting the job done" is all we need to succeed in life. We hear things like: "If you set yourself a goal and work hard to get it, you can do whatever you want in our country." Something is miss- ing here; it's the view of longer-range goals. There are organizations that are arranged around, not short-range goals, but around more distant goals. For in- stance, one of the main goals of the family is "raising the children." How do we know when a couple has reached that goal? Is it just a matter of the passage of time? Or is it when all the children have college degrees behind their names? How can you tell? The longer-range the goal, the more difficult it is to fig- ure out how well we have achieved that goal. That's be- cause the more material goals are short-range goals. The more distant goals are spiri- tual ones. And it is very hard to say if you have reached the spiritual goal with a material measurement. In other words, a family does not have to set up and reach any particular short- range goal for itself, like a fac- tory or store. The family is in- terested in the process rather than a product. The family is not there primarily to do, but to be. It should be a loving, spiritual support for its mem- bers. The Church is built around the ultimate goal: Heaven. Naturally, this goal is the hardest of all to measure be- cause it is most spiritual. There will be times when a Parish Pastoral Council may set a material short-range goal for itself (for instance, "to pave the parking lot"). Then, the Church should not mea- sure the reaching of this goal by a material standard, "Did we get the job done?" (Maybe with a lot of hurt feelings.) Rather, they should ask, "How well did we see the job as a sacramental?" (A mater- ial sign of God's spiritual grace.) The Parish Pastoral Council must proceed toward Heaven the way the Israelites pro- ceeded through the desert to- ward their goal of the Promised Land. "The Lord preceded them, in the day- time by means of a column of cloud to show them the way, and at night'by means of a colunm of fir(; to give them light. Thus, they could travel both day and mght. (Exodus 13:21)[ They lnoved when God moved, and they didn't move when he didn't. "Whenever the cloud rose from the Dwelling, the raelites wouht set out on journey. But if the cloud di not lift, they would forward; only when it did they go forward." dus 40:36-37). The we can be certain of our goal of Heaven is to God lead us every step ell way. That's why, in Draft 5' the Parish Pastoral Policies and Guidelinesi it most fitting that the given for the Cot "respond to the the Spirit within the That's also why we ing, "help us to see for the Church . . may plans be faithful to Yours.  Questions and answers about the new catechism .and answers about the Cate- chism are provided by the United States Catholic Con- ference. Q -- As the Catechism sets forth a systematic presenta- tion of Catholic doctrine, does it neglect the context for that doctrine, namely God's relationship with his people. Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfin- ger, Director of Schools Phyl- lis Beshears and Director of Religious Education James Corr recently attended a sym- posium on the Catechism of the Catholic Church  which is expected to be available in its English translation before the end of this year. The following questions Synod-Delegate: Orientation !I provided by the  washington Deanery :  ,:.St. lo:Church; ootee : t/0000st 25.:7:.op.m: A  The theme of "covenant" is evident throughout the new Cate- chism. It is one of the threads that weaves the Catechism into a unified whole. While it is true that both the German and French catechisms for adults organize their content around the "covenant," the new Catechism emphasizes that central theme of God's relationship with his people in an appropriate way with frequent references through- out the text. Q -- Does the new Cate- chism remove the content of faith too much from the lived Christian life? A -- The largest portion of the Catechism treats the con- tent of the faith (Book One), but the second largest treats the moral life (Book Three). The relationship between what one believes and conse- quently how one behaves on account of that belief is very clear and forceful in the new Catechism. This is especially evident in the section on the Church's social teachings. Faith, then, is presented as more than the systematic knowledge of doctrine. In me- diating the new Catechism within local churches, the re- lationship between faith and life needs continually to be demonstrated so that trans- forming power of the Christ- ian message might be evident. Q -- Since the Catechism is written in a declarative and expository rather than apolo- getic style, does it discourage searching and questioning? A -- The new Catechism sets forth the content of the faith in a comprehensive yet summary fashion and in a positive and explanatory manner. In this sense, it an- swers many questions about doctrine in a clear and unam- biguous way. On the other hand, however, the Cate- chism recognizes that faith is an ongoing journey on which questions and doubts come naturally and need to be ad- dressed at the opportune mo- ment. The new Catechism far from preempting discussion - provides accurate informa- tion with which to carry on informed discussion. Q -- Can an individual's quest for God be helped by the new Catechism? A -- While the Catechism is organized around traditional pillars of esis, it can be used as a able resource for the fo tion of catechumens group or for an indivk Since the Catechism do intend to offer a m, for catechesis or single learning pattern, content can be used in a ety of catechetical and settings with equal The Catechism has an ent flexibility that can c spend to the particular journeys of all believers' Q  Is the new CatechiS a spiritual hook in a sense? A -- The Catechisr's tuality rests on the tion of Trinitarian life' relationships among the sons of the Trinity prc the model for human tionships. Some ha' gested reading (Prayer) first to put the Catechism in of prayer. But the references to the the spiritual doctOx Church throughout chism make this LET US PRAY PRAYER FOR THE SYNOD Diocese of Evansville God of life and love, You sent Your Son to live among us, that we might know and love You, ,: ;: that we might serve and worship You as Your faithful people. Assist us in living holy lives as faithful disciples of Jesus, Your Son, so that Your presence may be known and felt in our midst, that others too may come to know and love You  : so they may begin to serve and worship You. Empower us with Your Spirit to use fully the many gifts You have given us. Increase our faith. ' .... Help us to see Your plan for the Church. :- ,:; As we look to the future, may our plans be faithful to Yours, so that we, the Church of Southwestern Indiana, may mrther Your kingdom through preaching and living Your gospel. ' : MI praise be Yours through Jesus Christ Ot, r Lord! AMEN!