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September 11, 1987     The Message
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September 11, 1987

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,September 4, 1987 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Question C )rner 13 Q&A By FATHER JOHN DIETZEN NC News Service Columnist II I r Jet ish reader questions belief in salvation " and non-Christi.ans,, Q. I am Jewish and recently read your column of some weeks ago responding to a question posed by a rabbi regarding belief in Jesus as a requisite to salvation. ! see in your words a common Christian ap- proach whenever an article of Christian faith or dogma is questioned, in particular by someone of the Jewish faith. This approach is to appear to be saying one thing when in reality you really mean something else. You seem to imply that belief in Christ for salvation is a matter of choice and faith which in effect would preclude such a belief as a necessity for salvation. However, further on you state an ancient prin- ciple of Christianity: "God's saving grace is there for anyone who does not deliberately place an obstacle to that gift." By "saving grace" I assume is meant the sacrifice of Jesus as salvation for mankind and by "deliberate obstacle," I assume, is meant not believing. In reality, Christians must of necessity declare salvation only through Jesus Christ. )t. First, just a word about your last statement. We Christians (at least I speak for Catholic Chris- tians and our entire tradition) do believe that salva- Black Catholics Continued from page 3 who are in preparation so that they will not be discouraged. This can be done in a monetary or emotional way. We propose that Black priests, deacons and religious be invited to par- ticipate in parish events and/or conduct retreats, bible classes or revivals. HI. Seminarian Preparation: We propose the inclusion of programs and concerns of the Black Community in the tion is only through Jesus Christ. That is far from the same thing, however, as saying everyone must have a direct personal faith in Jesus Christ to be saved. We do not teach or believe, for example, that every man and woman who has never heard of Jesus, the Bible or perhaps even explicitly of God, (which today and through most of history would include most of the human race) is excluded from salvation. Our understanding of "salvation through Jesus Christ" is quite different from that. What you say you assume from what I said is not at all what I meant, nor what the Catholic Church means when it says that God gives grace, the gift of light for our intelligence and will and so on, to everyone on earth sufficient for salvation. The meaning of this doctrine in Catholic tradi- tion is simply that God gives to every person suffi- cient opportunity to choose the good as that person sees it. Some theologians have interpreted it through the centuries as "implicit faith in Jesus Christ." That simply means that the individual's intention is to do all that God wills, to do whatever is seen as good and right. Such a person, whether Jewish, Moslem, Hin- du or animist, would be disposed to believe in preparation of seminarians and religious. IV. Permanent Deacons: We propose to promote the Perma- nent Diaconate in each local parish and Diocese. PART IV - EMPOWERMENT AND LAY LEADERSHIP I. Training Centers for Lay Leaders: We propose that each diocese should establish a center for lay leaders that will take into consideration the CILari atic Mass andHealingS 00ice ::: Sunday Evening, Sept. 13th Chfist tl!e Cath, :Church 3109 Bayard Park Drive FATHER JERRY GLAHN of Owensboro, KY, who also has a ministry of inner healing, will be the " celebrant. Songs of praise with the Glory start at 6:30 p.m. -- Mass at 7:00 p.m. Everyone Is Welcome-Come And Bring A Friend cultural, spiritual and emo- tional needs of Black Catholics. We propose that each parish should strive to find leaders from each age category that will seek to be trained in the skills needed to participate on the local or diocesan level. We propose that pastors and parish councils should be will- ing to support training for its leadership and pay whatever it costs to do so. H. Shared Responsibility in Christ if he or she should come to see that belief in him as something God wishes and asks. Obviously this is a far cry from the kind of Christian belief you assume in your question. Q. My granddaughter who is Catholic married a Baptist man. She is expecting a child in the next six months. Will she have trouble having her baby baptized as a Catholic? A. If she herself is a practicing Catholic there should be no big problem. This would seem to fulfill the conditions required by our Catholic rite for baptism of a child. I have explained these requirements much more at length in past columns and in my brochure on infant baptism which is offered free to readers. A free brochure explaining Catholic teaching and practice on annulments is available by sending a stamped, self-addressed envelope to Father John Dietzen, Holy Trinity Parish, 704 N. Main St., Bloomington, I11. 61701. Questions for this column should be sent to Father Dietzen at the same address. (Copyright (c) 1987 by NC News Service) Parishes: We propose that pastors and other clergy and non-Black leadership should recognize shared responsibility for the development and em- powerment of Black Catholic leadership. This includes pro- viding opportunities for the emergence of the rich talents and gifts of Black people, iden- tifying Black Catholics with leadeship abilities and offering training in communication, in- teraction, Church teaching and leadership skills. This training should also include Black history, spiritual development and utilizing the latent gifts of Black spirituality. HI. Lay Leadership Develop- ment: We propose that pastors should encourage young people to participate. We propose that all parishioners should be en- couraged to use their talents and gifts. We .propose that people in the parish should be made aware of the programs that are available to them for training. We pro- pose that qualified lay persons should be invited to become ad- ministrators of parishes. IV. Appreciation of Lay Leaders in Parish: We propose that parish/diocesan leadership be helped to appreciate the uni- queness of the Black Communi- ty. We propose that where the leadership is white, special ef- fort be made to help him/her to understand the culture of the Black Community. We propose that programs highlighting Black History be made available so that all will understand the role Blacks have played in the Church. PART V PARISH DEVELOPMENT I. Parish as Center of Growth: We affirm the parish as the center of activity for social, educational and spiritual development of the members. We affirm that local leaders should be able to find training and support groups to help them in their own problems. We affirm that members of the community should find a place to recreate at the parish, allowing them time and a place to meet new friends and sup- port each other. We affirm that spiritual exercises beyond those of the Eucharist should be made available so that members of the parish and the community will be able to grow spiritually. H. Parish as Sign of Hope: We affirm that parishes should be the source of hope in a com- munity. We affirm that parishes should work with the other churches in the area to combat neighborhood problems. We af- firm that Black parishes should be the place where the com- munity knows that they will be able to go for leadership and support. We affirm that parishes in the Black community should in- itiate programs that will give leadership to affol*cs that will help the entire community. III. Fiscal Stability in Parishes: We affirm the need for parishes to have a sound financial base if they are to sur- vive. We affirm the encourage- ment of parishioners to tithe and thus take their parish from any possibility of subsidy. We affirm that members must be urged to share their time, talents and treasure. IV. Networking of Black Parishes: We support the parishes as a network with other Black parishes on the local, diocesan and regional levels. We support the parishes from both the rural areas and the cities as they seek to find mutual support and encourage- ment when networking takes place.