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Evansville, Indiana
October 6, 1995     The Message
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October 6, 1995

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October 6, 1995 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 5 "- Bishop's Forum --- Late last week there was an [ article in the local paper about two eighth grade boys. There was trou- ble between them. The fourteen- year-old solved the problem be- tween himself and the thirteen-year_old. The older boy brought a handgun to school. He shot the younger classmate. He died. This past Monday morning in the Evansville Courier there ap- peared a poignant picture of a Small Chinese boy riding on his fa- ther!s shoulder. They were making their way through Tlanamen r was pointing a Square in Beijmg The youngste toy gun toward an unknown target. On the side o[the gun were the words "Sub Machine Gun." All three children were sons of their parents. All three are members of families. One is dead. What will become of the other two boys. Life is taught, not just bestowed. Respect for life is learned first at home. The verbal insistence of parents that their children respect their own lives and those of others is not enough. Unless par- Life and the Family ByBISHOP GERALD A. GETTELFINGER ents themselves demonstrate such respect for each other and their children consistently -- and always -- words are empty. I grew up in a home where guns were present. They were tools for hunting wild game. They were weapons to ward off predators. They were used to kill varmints bent on destroying fields, flocks and herds. The gun was sometimes necessary to "take down" diseased animals to prevent infecting others. As children we learned first hand the power of the gun to kill. Its purpose, and that of other weapons, is frightening clear. There is no such thing therefore as a "toy gun." Our parents made it very clear that a gun -- toy or otherwise -- was never to be pointed at an- other human being. Human life is too precious even to suggest "toying" with it. Killing of human beings is commonplace in our living rooms each night on television. It is no wonder that human life has been devalued as if it were currency. As television can be a source of devaluation of human life, so can it also be a source of lessons -- if parents would use those occasions of television reports to talk with their children about the life that God has given each of us. How precious it is. How fragile it is. How each of us should be con- cerned about human life. How each of us is respon- sible for preserving and respecting this great gift in ourselves and others. There is yet another serious lesson to be learned at home: the earthly finality of death. Children can come to believe that, as in the Roadrunner Cartoon, a human being will pop up alive on the next screen after being run over by a truck. How often I wonder whether young people consider the finality of dying and the permanent state of death. Life and death lessons must be learned in the home. Parental words of teaching and counsel must be supported by actions demonstrating re- spect for all human life, born and unborn, young and old, healthy or sick. Respect for the dead too is a lesson in life, for the body is a temple of the Holy Spirit and merifs respect both in life and in death. Succot, the Festival of the agathering (referring to the ang of crops), or the of Booths (referring to temporary huts in which Jews lived), begins "ust fiv Ys_after Yore Kin ,h e u, Atonement, end:' The nail is driven into the suc- even before the fast is bro- on Yore Kippur. SCH the Bible it is commanded festival when the spoke to Moses as recorded iCus 23:33-36, saying: children of Israel: On day of this Seventh there shall be the [Succot] to seven days..." on in Leviticus "For in booths the children of Is- Well when I brought of the land of Egypt." the New Testament, You shall dwell in the Succah the Feast of Booths or Taber- nacles, as Succot is called, is mentioned in John 7 as the background for Jesus' appear- ance in Jerusalem. In John 7:37, it says Jesus, on the last day of the feast, called the ones who thirst to come to him is connected with the custom of pouring water from the first to the seventh day of the feast that was common in the time of Jesus. Anita Diamant and Howard Cooper describe Succot in their book, Living A Jewish Life, as the festival which " a cele- bration of the rewards of the growing season, of the harvest, of the fulfillment of labor, and of life itself." It is described in Deut. 16:13 to coincide with the final harvest of the year "after the ingathering from your threshing floor and your wine press..." In ancient times, the flimsy, temporary huts or booths were constructed near the ripen crops at harvest time. It sym- bolized the fragility of life it- self. As in ancient times, fami- lies today build a succah in their yards and eat their meals there for seven days. The succahs can be built in several ways: it can be a leanto against a house, a tent-like structure, or free standing. You can build it of many mate- rials: plywood, bamboo and even plexiglass. It is enclosed on three sides, with the walls covered with fabric, plywood panels, or whatever material you might have. I have read that the roof is the most impor- tant part of the succah. You can cover the top of the succah with anything that grows: palm branches, corn stalks, limbs from evergreen trees etc. It is suppose to be thick enough to provide more shade than sun. But at the same times, you must be able to see the stars. The inside is gaily decorated with different things hanging from the roof to make it pretty and pleasant. Fruit, of course, is used to signify the harvest, pictures and sometimes Rosh Hashanah cards are also used for decorations. This is a project for the whole family, and if a family desires, a kit for a succah can be purchased. A special holiday meal is eaten in the succah on the first night of the Festival. In addition to saying blessings over the candles, bread and wine, the following blessing is also recited: "You Abound in Blessings, Our Lord, You make us holy with commandments and call us to live in the suc- cah." Most synagogues will also build succah for those who are unable to have one at home. The services in the synagogue on the first and second day of the festival involve two sym- bols of Succot: the lulav and the etrog. The lulav is actually made of three kinds of branches -- a palm branch, a myrtle brand-and a willow branch, all bound together into a single unit. The estrog is a citron. With the lulav in the right hand and the etrog in the left hand, the congregants waves them in six directions, at each point of the compass and up and down to signify that God is everywhere. Children and adults take turns marching around the sanctuary holding the lulav and etrog. These symbols can be ordered through synagogues, so that everyone who wishes to have them can do so. Thus, this month many Jews will follow the ancient custom of building a succah to cele- brant a good harvest and most of all to celebrate life and the presence of God. Edith Schulman is a free- lance writer living near Or- lando, Florida. the editor, :ently) I was watching and going through when I came 44 show that a WOman going to Initially I assumed part of a show that going to confes- Part of the plot. I con- to Watch the show and learned that the about a WOman who Various Catholic m the town where the being filmed and g in the confession. When her confession a penance and en leave the report back to her producers as to _ of her penance. Dur- Cuurse of the show she general claims to about her thoughts and that this was "sin" that she was confessing. At the end of the show the show producers tal- lied her various penances, prayers and some suggestions of some priests that she read other materials or seek psycho- logical counseling. The point of the show was basically that de- spite similar "sins" the penance which she received varied from priest to priest. At first I could not believe that this was really happening, but I then I realized that this was Channel 44, FOX TV. I was so angry I called the sta- tion and, of course, received nothing but an answering ma- chine. Later during business hours I contacted the manager of FOX 44 and explained to him my concerns that the tele- vision show was having a woman participate in the sacrament of confession and then turn around and use this as some type of joke or sad commentary on the sacrament of penance. The stationman- ager had not Seen the show and could not speak about its content. He indicated that he could not control what FOX broadcasts on a national basis, but in view of the fact that FOX would be changing chan- nels in the near future he was happy to know that he would not have these problems in the future. He was apologetic, but he explained that his hands were tied and there was noth- ing he could do in the future about this. I would point out that the show was a series called "TV Nation." It has appeared in the past and the Channel 44 sta- tion manager indicated this was the last "TV Nation" show for this season. I am writing to (the Message) in an effort to publicize the fact that FOX TV takes this particu- lar attitude toward the Catholic religion. I consider what they did (having a woman take part in the sacrament of penance under false pretenses) to be sac- rilegious in nature. I can live with the fact that non-Catholics may not believe in the sacra- ment of.penance or that they may even make fun of the fact that Catholics do. What upset me so greatly was the fact that the woman involved participated in a sacrament and led each Catholic priest involved to be- lieve that she was in fact partici- pating in a sacrament. I hate to think of the future, but I can en- vision a wine specialist cri- tiquing sacramental wine or a baker critiquing the taste of the bread used for the Eucharist after (the hosts) have been con- secrated. It is apparent to me that FOX TV has absolutely' no re- gard for the religious practices or beliefs of Catholics. I do not intend to contact FOX televi-' sion to relay my disgust with their television programming. I must admit that I am biased because I consider most of the FOX TV network to have noth- ing but trash for viewers to see. If other viewers wish to see (this kind of programming) there is nothing I can do about it, but I do not intend to accept this attack on the Catholic church. It is my belief that protesting this to the FOX tele- vision network would only give them satisfaction of knowing that they have angered one more Catholic to the extent of writing a denunciation of this television show. I am certain that the FOX television net- work only understands one thing and that is money. I in- tend to contact advertisers on the FOX television network and explain to them that I will not buy their products as long as they advertise on that net- work. It is unfortunate in our society that financial pressures must be used to implement moral outrage, but it is my sin- cere belief that this is the only effective way to work toward the elimination of this attack on our religion. Curt J. Angermeier Evansville