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December 4, 1987     The Message
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December 4, 1987

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December 4, 1987 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 13 Question Corner p k Q&A By FATHER JOHN DIETZEN NC News Service Columnist A reader shares a lesson learned from his past Long-time readers of this column will know that a recurring concern of many Catholics is the church's prohibition of cremation and the Jilting of that ban in 1963. A European-born reader recently sent me an enlightening background on the subject. Only a few times have ] given the majority of this column space to a letter. I believe, however, that most of you will find interesting what he has to say. Dear Father Dietzen: " As a European I can perhaps say a few words of interest about cremation. Growing up in Austria I was aware of offices labeled, innocuously enough, "Vienna Society" ("Wiener Verein"), ostensibly a cooperative for burial insurance. That goes back to the early days of the, labor movement when funeral services were an exploitative business, as they still are sometimes in th United States and elsewhere. Vienna, in keeping with Social Democratic principles, has since established a monopoly on funeral services; no private morticians are allowed within city limits. That is the economic side. But when it started; the society was known as "Die Flamme" -- The Flame. Services explicitly specified cremation. iii i Perhaps that too had an economic side, reducing burial costs for working families. But there was more to it. Cremation was "rational," the practical thing to do in the age of Malthus, when cities were run- ning out of space to expand and began to swallow up the medieval "God's Acres" around country churches. More to the point, destroying the body was a symbolic protest against "that superstitious nonsense" of bodily resurrection. One must appreciate the hatred between the Socialist Labor Movement and the established, politically convervative Catholic Church. Even in the 1920s and 1930s, Socialist workers came by the truckload to disturb traditional processions on Corpus Christi day, trying to drown hymns and benedictions with atheist slogans. The church, in turn, all but sanctioned the bloody suppression of the workers' movements. There was a pro-cremation movement that was pointedly atheistic, as you have repeatedly pointed Out to your readers. Another motive was that death is not a time of cut-and-dried rationalism; the most economic way of disposing with a body may be in- appropriate for dea|ing with the grief of the be. ved,  The church also had a quite different problem i i ii Please patronize businesses which advertise in the Message! ' I CALL 424-5536 TO GET YOUR BUSINESS OR SERVICE LISTED BELOW! 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I Pres'd n, i GET THE SKILL AND CARE OF FATHER AND SON TEAMS IN GLASS REPLACEMENT SIEMERS AUTO GLASS CO. Ph. 4224149 1011 VINE ST. Quality Electric Service Reasonable Rates Residential Commercial Pfau Electric 426-9061 24 Hr. Emergency Service ., _'__-- - _ _  ; : -_ with contemporary rationalism. If I were a Marxist I might be tempted to argue that the church, as a matter of principle, opposed any move to oppose exploitation of working people. The Flame was only one case of many. To an American, I suspect, all this must sound odd. In short, it seems that the church responded to a local problem with a general solution. That is all in the past, of course, except that the more general issue, that local and specific problems should not be attacked by blanket worldwide sanc- tions,- remains very much alive in the church to- day. That is, I guess, my justification for beating at this dead horse, the hope we might learn something for future conflicts in the church. A free brochure on confession without serious sin and other questions about the sacrament of penance is available by sending a stamped, self- addressed envelope to Father. Dietzen, Holy Trinity Church, 704 N. Main St., Bloomington, ILl. 61701. Questions for this column should be send to , Father Dietzen at the same address. Copyright (c) I987 by NC News Sem'tce i Special jubilarians Mr. and Mrs. Paul Jarboe Sr. of Tell City celebrated their 44th wedding anniversary with a dinner at the Executive Inn, Owensboro, hosted by their six children, Paul Jr. of Colum- bus, Ohio, Sister Angola Jarboe of Indianapolis, Terry, Pat, Germaine Bauer, all of Tell City, and Tim of Newburgh. Mr. Jarboe and Mary Jo Bengert were married at St. Paul Church, Washington, D.C., on Nov. 5, 1943. They have five grandchildren. Leckey appointed WASHINGTON (NC) -- Dolores Leckey, executive director of the U.S..bishops' Secretariat on the Laity, has been named to head the newly established Secretariat for Laity and Family Life of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. The new secretariat will serve the NCCB Committees on Laity, Family Life and Women, and it also will be concerned with youth and young adult ministry. A separate ad hoc writing committee for a proposed U.S. bishops' pastoral letter on women will be unaffected by the new organization. Mrs. Leckey has served as the first executive director for laity "with distinction for a decade," said Msgr. Daniel F. Hoye, NCCB general secretary, in announcing the appoint- ment. "It is only right that she should head the new effort." "Where customers send their friends/" , ,,,.  Open nightly, til 9 p;m. OLD US 231 SOUTH - JASPER, IN , 482-2222 "SINCE 1913" INSURANCE -- REAL ESTATE 464-5993 AUTO HOME FIRE LIABILITY