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August 14, 1998     The Message
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14, 1998 The Message w for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 11 Who was Mother Agreda? By FATHER JOHN DIETZEN Catholic News Service Question: Are you familiar ,, with the book "The Mystical 0f God, by a Mother Agreda? ! have a strong devotion to Mary, but I can't some of the bizarre events described in actually took place Ls an American bishop's imprimatur. Does the hierarchy accept these revelations of gritty of Mary's life? (Louisiana) wer: For those unfamiliar with the work, !Mystical City of God" is a life of the Blessed Vir- on personal disclosures to Mother Mary of anish nun who lived from 1602 volumes totaling nearly 3,000 pages, the reportedly at Mary's command, what m ecstasy over many years. Lct, the book is more than just a life of Mary. claims it "contains information about the world, the meaning of the Apocalypse, rebellion, the location of hell, the hidden life of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, intimate details about our Lord's life and many other enthralling topics," in other words subjects about which odd and sensation- al "information" always fascinates a lot of Christians. To respond to your question, the book describes one of many hundreds of "private revelations," mes- sages revealed to individuals but which are in no way part of the content of Catholic faith. Some of these (at Lourdes, Fatima and Guadalupe for example) have been recognized as authentic and true by church authorities. By far most of them, including those to Mother Agrecla, have not. About all these, including several dozen current claims of private revelations, it is worth noting how the Catechism of the Catholic Church approaches them. They do not belong to the deposit of faith, nor do they improve on or complete Christ's definitive reve- lation. In ways the faithful themselves must discern, they can help people in certain periods of history to live more perfectly the way our Lord has revealed (No. 67). In other words, such revelations, even those rec- ognized by Catholic authorities, place no obligations of belief or action on the Catholic faithful beyond those already contained in the faith passed down to us in the church from Christ. All this applies to the revelations claimed by Mother Agreda. If they help one to live the Gospel message more perfectly, fine. But no one is obliged to accept or believe in them. An imprimatur (which means "it may be print- ed") is simply a declaration, usually by a local bish- op, that the work contains no doctrinal or moral errors. It does not indicate approval of or agreement with the opinions and statements expressed. Imprimaturs on books concerning private revela- tions, therefore, in themselves imply neither recom- mendation or approval of the contents, or even the genuineness of the revelation itself. All these are good points to keep in mind when dealing with private revelations and official state- ments concerning them. A free brochure attswering questions Catholics ask about cremation and other funeral practices is available by sending a stamped, self-addressed envelope to Father ]ohn Dietzen, Box 325, Peoria, Ill. 61651. Questions for this column should be sent to Father Dietzen at the same address. ................. t, ........... i .......... 00!en Ion. , Campus ministry named for Vincennes University Ron Campbell, well-known at Vincennes University in V'mcennes as the Director of Housing for 10 years, is the new director of Catholic cam- pus ministry there. Campbell started in his new position Aug 10, reporting to Michael Eppler, diocesan director for CAMPBELL youth and young adult for- marion. '"I'm real excited about the challenges of serving a college," Campbell said, noting that the of students run the gamut from recent high graduates to students who are much older. Campbell, 40, is himself a commuter. He lives in Loogootee. He has held various positions at Vin- cennes University since 1986. Students and families will find him at his office in Vigo Hall or in the Campus Ministry Office. His e- mail addresses are rcampbell@excitemail.com and rcampbell@indiana.vinu.edu. Assisted suicide forum to air on TV Open Forum II, Perspectives on Assisted Suicide, will be aired six times on WTSN, cable channel 17 in Evansville and cable channel 14 in Newburgh and Owensboro. The program features Dr. Robin Bernhoft, an inter- nationally known expert on assisted suicide. Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger is a member of the panel. The program will be aired Sunday, Aug. 23 at 3:30 p.m.; on Frida); Aug. 28, at 6 p.m.; on Monday, Sept. 7 at 2 p.m.; on Saturday, Sept. 12 at 6 p.m.; on Mon- day, Sept. 14, at 9 a.m.; and on Sunday Sept. 20 at noon. The program will also be broadcast on Channel 9, WNIN, Evansville, on Sunday, Sept. 13, at 1 p.m. National Catholic Rural Life celebrates 75 years The seventy-fifth Anniversary Celebration of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference will be held Nov. 13 and 14 at the Hotel Fort Des Moines in Des Moines, Iowa. " ......... ' Marty Strange, co-founder of the Center for Rural Affairs will give the keynoteaddress, "Justice for the Jubilee." Other addresses will focus on "Implement- ing the National Small Farm Commission Report" and on the challenges of the rural church. i i [CHARE NYBERG Catholic News Service Germany (CNS)- students returning to the bizarre prospect a word wrong w and right. is in the midst of a reform to be compleb t will affect every- language reform touches students, bible publishers one in one way or another, including Catholic institutions. In the meantime, under new spelling and grammar rules that took effect Aug. 1, pupils will not be penalized for writing down words using outdated orthography. Leniency will also be grant- ed to journalists, authors and others who continue to spell ne endowment benefits Saint program for lay ministers Meinrad School of The- as announced that an s established to Ecclesia Seminars Continuing Edu- Program. The Ecclesia Offer a wide spectrum rams for individuals [in parish and diocesan adowment was estab- tOugh the generosity of le benofa :tors John and /itting. lys in the back of my John Witting said, .ranted to do .something rther the work of the 'eSpecially through the ( , , . tt ,.! lay and rehgtous adnumstration. ministers in our parishes. Any- thing we can do to enhance the possibility of this is in Our inter- est. We need these people." In a statement provided to Saint Meinrad, the WiRings said, "Saint Meinrad has always been a leader in education of candi- dates for priesthood. While voca- tions have declined, the need for ministerial and administrative management services in dioceses and parishes continues to grow. Saint Meinrad's expanded Con- tinuing Education Program is designed to help fill this gap by supporting education and pro- fessional careers for lay and other religious in ecclesia (Church) words the way they always have. Civil servants are expect- ed to use the new spellings, and other sectors of society are being encouraged to follow suit This grace period with paral- lel spelling rules will end July 31, 2005, when Germany is to complete its transition to the new system. These spelling changes, known collectively as the "Rechtschreibre- form," have provoked discord within academic circles and among some parents who charge that the new rules are superficial and confusing. Other observers say the changes are helpful and man- ageable and should be tolerat- ed. The last substantial reform of the German language was made in 1901. Elementary schools seem to be affected the most, but many educators have prepared. "For us it is not so new," said Ludwig Bley, principal of the Catholic elementary school in the Bonn suburb of Buschdorf. "We bought language books with the new rules, and we start- ed already last year with the spelling and grammar change. "l was somewhat concerned ahead of the Corttitutionai Court. decision, that they would rule against the changes. Otherwise we would have purchased so many books for nothing," he said. Most challenging for Bley's grade schoolers, back in class by mid-August, are new rules for separating syllables as well as for spellings using "ss" instead of a the sharp "S" character, which looks like a crooked capital "B" with a tail. Examples include "nass" (wet) and "dass" (that). The language reforms have prompted publishers to print new editions of Bibles and other books to meet religious educa- tion needs. "You can basically say the entire Bible text, Old and New Testaments, must be ed, at least for the school Bibles in Germany," said Wolfgang Hein, an editor with the Catholic Bibelwerk publishing house in Stuttgart. In addition, educa- tional material for religious instruction must be revised according to the new rules. The first copies of the new Catholic version of the Bible, the "Einheitsuebersetzung," are expected to roll off the pre at the earliest in the summer of 1999, after the Gemn bishop" conference approves hhe revi- siorts, Hein said. Revisiorts to stu- dent Bibles will be the first prior- it); with theological, pastoral and other .holafly works being pub- lished in the years ahead. Hein .said he could not esti- mate how much the changes would cost the publishing house. "Rechtschreibreform" got under way two years ago when culture ministers from Ger- many, Switzerland, Austria, and officials from German-speaking regions of Italy and Eastern European states agreed to pro- ceed with changes they believed would simplify their language. The German language has notoriously tricky grammatical construction and seemingly endless compound words like "Langzeitarbeitslosigkeitsta- tistik" (long-term unemploy- ment statistics). C, ermany's highest court, the Constitutional Court in Karls- ruhe, ruled in July that in spite of some resistance, the language reforms should go ahead in time for the new academic year. Nine of Germany's 17 states are ctanp!ying; others ate taking a wait-and .-see approach, while reform opments in Schleswig- Hohtein may hoM a refenmdum which could blk the changes.