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September 25, 1987     The Message
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September 25, 1987
 

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September 25, 1987 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Question Corner 9 Q&A By FATHER JOHN DIETZEN NC News Service Columnist What to do when Catholics marry outside the Church Q. Recently I was invited to the wedding of a Protestant friend and a divorced Catholic who is not free to marry in the church. It was his first marriage and her second. I attended the wedding and reception because of my friendship for the groom and because I worked for him for almost 15 years. Was my attendance a serious sin the eyes of God and-or the church? On another occasion my nephew married a divorced Protestant before her minister. Again, after a bout with my conscience I attended because of my love for my sister and her family. Sad to say, situations like these arise more fre- quently lately in my life and I have had to struggle with my conscience. People seem to have their own ideas of what is proper or right. Can you help me understand what is expected in these circumstances? --Massachusetts A. Decisions such as this, which face you and countless others, always are painful. They involve several obligations which seem in conflict: to show your love and affection to the people involved; not t'o give scandal by appearing to approve something you do not; not to alienate loved ones even though they're doing somethingyou consider wrong; to give the right message and example to others in your family about how Catholics believe and act; and so on. First, please realize that we're not talking here about sin, mortal or venial. Someone like yourself' who is praying and reflecting over the matter so conscientiously, is not about to deliberately do something you know is wrong. It's rather a matter of choosing what seems best among several options, none of which is perfect and without its pain. It seems to me a few things are worth consider- ing. One is that circumstances are quite different from one situation to another. Your attendance at your Protestant friend's wedding, for example, easily could be recognized as a demonstration of your friendship for him, not a judgment on the Catholic character of the marriage. Obviously the situation with your nephew is not the same. Your responsibility and desire to be clear about what you are doing is more direct and im- mediate. There may even be other adults and children in the family who could one day be in the same circumstances. Insofar as you have responsibility to give them good example and good witness, you obviously wish to avoid any misunderstandings about your convictions and beliefs. Let's say right here also that you need have no hesitancy or guilt over making those convictions known. It's not hard to feel pressured in these situations today by the claim that everyone has the right to "do his own thing." But that goes both ways. You have just as much right to do your own thing, even if it means saying "I don't agree with what you're doing." With a lit- tle thought I'm sure you can make your point with tact and kindness. This need be done only once. If he loves you he will appreciate your concern even if he doesn't agree with you at the moment. My own conviction is that in such circumstances much more is gained by honey than vinegar. Decide what you think is best. Then hope they ac- cept the love and care which lies beneath whatever you do. A free brochure explaining Catholic teaching on cremation and other burial policies is available by : sending a stamped, self-addressed envelope to Father John Dietzen, Holy Trinity Parish, 704 N. Main St., Bloomington, Ill. 61701. Questions for this column should be sent to Father Dietzen at the same address. (Copyright {c) 1987 byNC News Service) ; Golden jubilarians Mr. and Mrs. Yonderschmitt of Jasper will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on Sunday, sept. 27, with a Mass of Thanksgiving at 10:30 a.m. in Holy Family Church, Jasper. A dinner for invited guests will be held at the Knights of Columbus Home, Jasper, followed by an open house from 2 to 4 p.m. The couple requests no gifts. Mr. Vonderschmitt and Loretta Schnell were married Sept. 28, 1937 in Sacred Heart Church, Schnellville. RUXER FORD - LINCOLN - MERCURY JASPER ] [ 482-12OOJ I ._. COMPLETE INSURANCE SERVICE Auto! Homo! Fire & Lifol Your Personal Service Agent James L. Will Ins. Agency Inc. 311 N. Wabash 425-3187 Pope Continued from page 1 kind of grocery store where Catholics are free to take what they want and not take what they don't want." Regarding the statement that dissent would be an obstacle to reception of the sacraments, Archbishop Pilarczyk said that would be a pastoral matter that could be answered only in- dividually. "The status of church teaching is the same this after- noon as it was this morning (before the pope spoke}," he said. Later, Vatican press spokesman Joaquin Navarre- Vails said the pope "stated the moral principle. It is up to the bishops to apply it." Archbishop Pilarczyk was one of those who made presen- tations to the pope. Others were Cardinal Joseph L. Bernardin of Chicago, Archbishop John R. Quinn of San Francisco and Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland of Milwaukee. Arch- bishop John L. May of St. Louis, NCCB president, welcomed the pope. Pope John Paul also called on the bishops to: -- "Present as effectively as possible" the church's teachings against artificial con- traception. -- Continue their "excep- tional commitment and con- stancy" in opposing abortion. -- Promote the advancement of women but maintain the church's "quite clear" teaching that "women are not called to the priesthood." -- Work harder for vocations to the priesthood and religious life and resist the "prophets of doom" who say vocations wofi't come until church rules on priesthood are changed. -- Uphold the church's "un- popular" teaching against homosexual activity "in the pastoral care that you give to homosexual persons. ' ' -- Respect the primary "right and duty of parents" in any sex education program. -- Maintain church discipline restricting "the use of general absolution" as a substitute for individual confes- sion. -- Get more involved in Catholic colleges and univer- sities "to safeguard and pro- mote their Catholic character." Speaking to the pope, a nun and a priest both called for recognition of women in the church, though neither men- tioned the ordination of women specifically. Sister Helen M. Garvey, president of the Leader- ship Conference of Women Religious, and Marianist Father Stephen Tutas, president of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, spoke to the pope. Golden jubilarians Mr. and Mrs. Robert Holscher of Washington will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary with a Mass of Thanksgiving at 7:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 27, at St. Patrick Church, Coming. A recep- tion will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. in St. Peter cafeteria, Montgomery. Mr. Holscher and Stella Hess were married Sept. 30, 1937 at St. Simon Church, Washington. They have two children, Cordelia Zinkanof of Richmond, Ind., and Robert of Victoria, Texas, and four grandchildren.