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August 7, 1998     The Message
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1998 The Message m for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 11 i:i .... : Animals in the next life? By FATHER JOHN DIETZEN Catholic News Service Question: Recently our long-time family pet dog It caused a lot of grief for all of us, espe- children. It raised the question, What is the church's teach- the next life? hard to believe that God would have a place mls without having a place for them in hereafter. (Pennsylvania) AnSWer: During the past 3,000 years or so, a great non-Christian philosophers lans, as well as plain ordinary folks, have the same question. The answers are varied, but by far the majority in the same vein you suggest. Not only but all material creation, will share in the universe of the "new creation" spoken )ture. And that includes animals. Aquinas is the most well-known teacher who perhaps thought otherwise. In respect for the sacredness of all creation, including material beings, he wrote at one point that only human beings, the "elements" (earth, air, fire and water) and heavenly bodies will continue in the coming age. Animals, plants and other corruptible bodies will not (Compendium, Ch. 170). No one matches St. Augustine, however, in the assumption that all the beautiful and enjoyable things of nature, plants, animals, food, the skies, all the delights that image God and lead us to him in this life will do so even more perfectly in the next. He admits that all will be changed and made incorruptible in the new creation, but he counsels that when you question yourself about what will be there, "you can take away corruption, and then add whatever you want" (Sermon 242). Most Christian thinkers and writers and poets echo those insights. Underlying these convictions most of all are the numerous biblical texts pointing to very earthly, and earthy, realities as foretastes of what God has planned for our future life. Isaiah speaks of the time when death is destroyed forever, when the Lord will provide Choice wines and rich foods, and tears are wiped from every face. Other prophets, the Psalms, the Song of Songs, the New Testament, expand on this image of the corn- ing new creation. As the letter of Peter puts it, "What we await are new heavens and a new earth," which God has promised (2 Peter 3:13). These questions about what eternal life with the Lord will be like are treated brilliantly and with remarkable scholarship in the book "Land of tile Liv- ing," by Father James O'Cmmor (1992 Catholic Book Publishing Co.). In his Foreword, Cardinal John O'Connor speaks of the harmony Christ will bring to that transformed but enduring universe, explicitly referring to dumb animals. "If, indeed," he writes, "all things were made 'through him,' and if he is the same, yesterday, today and forever, then should it be out of the question that all things will somehow endure?" While the church has no explicit teaching on your question, that in a nutshell reflects the way most Christians have answered it through the centuries. A free brochure, in English or Spanish, answering questions Catholics ask about baptism practices and spon- sors is available by sending a stamped, self-addressed enve- lope to Father John Dietzen, Box 325, Peorht, IlL 61651. Questions for this cohmm shouht be sent to Father Dietzen at the me address. among group to help ly disabled Chinese MAURA ROSS! News Service N.J. (CNS) -- Sis- Gebhard, a social :al psychother- !the Paterson Diocese, will group of 25 U.S. reed- traveling to .15-27 at the invitation officials there. Gebhard, 68, said the trip is to participate with Chinese professionals about techniques for working mentally disabled. ' Gebhard, who is a Sister iSOrrowful Mother, has director of the Parbler- Social Services in 1977. The partner-  agencies of the Diocese's Catholic Fam- Community Services. JOHN MANGIN Owner g Corner 21 L South IN 475O1 Home: 254-3087 kv , INC. &IR CONDmONING REFRIGERATION I 426-1440 t au=t = I Store... I7  s;' s. wa,t.n iN 47s01 81-254 1035- 812 24075 f:AX She is also-one of three New Jersey members of the Ameri- can Psychotherapy and Psycho- analysis Board of Disabilities and Rehabilitation selected by the Chinese ministry of health to come to China as part of the board's people-to-people pro- gram for peace. In an interview with The Bea- con, Paterson's diocesan news- paper, Sister Gebhard said she will be speaking on drugs and alcohol, which she described as an "acute problem" for the Chi- nese and an area she has stud- led for 40 years. While in Beijing, the group will visit various educational institu- tions for the handicapped and disabled. In Xi'an, they will meet with the Shaanxi Province Asso- ciation for Disabled Persons. In Suzhou, they will visit a silk and embroidery factory, and stop at a school for mentally handi- capped children. In Shanghai, there will be meetings with more Hear it from the source! Vatican Radio World News Men. - Fri. at 5:30 p.m. 0nly on WUEV-FM 91.5 University of Evansville On the air or on your computer at www,evansville odu/-wuevweb i = Ed. L. Lee = Mortuary 101 North Meridian Street Washington, IN 254-3612 [ II I II I Dr. Jane A. Hormuth Chiropractic Physician 474-0704 t.-,:th Croact tk: 1111 S Green River RO. Suite 104 i i i i professionals, and discussions will focus on the evaluation of people disabled on the job, retraining, governnlent support for training and future opportu- nities for disabled workers. "It will be a great experience, with a lot of interesting meet- ings in both institutional and private settings, and the oppor- tunity to meet the children," said Sister Gebhard. "The Chinese are a very old people, with a very beautiful but painful history, and they are strong people with many gifts," she said. Before her departure, she was working on learning some Chi- nese, but was glad to report that interpreters would be traveling with the group. Sister Gebhard has several degrees, among them a master's in social work from Fordham University and a doctorate in gerontology from Yeshiva Uni- versity. A native of Bamberg, Ger- many, she joined her religious order in 1950. Two years later she came to the United States to complete her novitiate in Mil- waukee. Her first profession of vows was in 1953, and she made her final vows in 1960. q Golden Jubilations Donald and Virginia (Janusiak) Greattinger of Jasper will cele- brate their fiftieth wedding anniversary with a Mass of Thanks- giving at 10:.30 a.m. Aug. 16at St. Mary Church, Ireland. An Open House will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Jasper Kof C. They were married Aug. 28, 1948, at St. Mary Church in South Mil* waukee, Wis. Father Harry Spaeth officiated. They are the parents of four children: Diane Hildenbrand of Indianapolis, Donald Greattinger Jr. of Boonville, Daryl Greattinger of Monticello, Ky., and Debra Dittmar of Elkhom, WIS. They have nine grandchil- dren. Mr. Greattinger retired from Bucyrus Erie Co. in 1982. Mrs. Greattinger is retired from Aristokraft. . , ., , , ,, , i J Q @ Papua New Guinea tragedy The tragedy that struck residents of the north- em coast of Papua New Guinea recently was a tragedy for the Propagation of the Faith family, said Msgr. Clarence A. Schlachter, diocesan direc- tor of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. "Catholics in this country, through their prayers and support, have been united with the Catholics in that part of the developing world for years," he id, noting that st)me 75 percent of the txpulation of the Aitape Dioct. is Catholic. "For all of us committed to the Church's worldwide mission, this tragedy really hits home. What the people there need most now is out continuing support, and above all, our prayers." Correction The July 17 Message slory about the celebra- tion and dedication at St.  Chu.,t Fer- dinand, incorrectly identified Deacxm Thomas Holsworth as Father John Schipp. Deacon Holsworth, rut Father Schipp, assisted in the Mass and dedication. The Message regrets fle em)r