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November 15, 1963     Catholic Northwest Progress
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November 15, 1963
 

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,b--THE PROGRESS Friday, Nov. 15, 1963 Pandora's Box? God's World: What Reader's Indigestion he food for thought prepared by the editors of Reader's Digest is becom- ing more difficult to masticate and some- times impossible to swallow. After forcing down a few pages of the Novem- ber issue entitled, "Catholics and Birth Control--A Bold Re-examination," we felt desperately in need of a bottle of "intellectual Alka-Seltzer. The article to which we refer was written by George Barrett and condensed from The New York Times. The author seems to take it for granted that artificial birth control is the accepted and necessary means of population control in modern society. It follows, therefore, that since the Catholic Church has traditionally condemned this practice as immoral and sinful, the Roman Church will have to change her ancient doctrines if she is to serve humanity in the 20th Century. Now, the author doesn't say this himself, at least not in the condensed version which we read. Instead (and this is a clever bit of journalistic art) he looks around to find Catholics to say it for him. Those in favor of change and "re-examination" are the "good guys"wthe honest, "bold," cour- ageous Catholic intellectuals. Those who uphold the traditional doctrine appear in the article as conservative, old-fashioned stuffed shirts. pparently all one has to do today is quote the little story about Pope John opening a window when asked to describe the purpose of the Second Vati- can Council. Then in the name of "fresh air in the Church" any subject or sacred institution is fair game. Pick at random a controversiM topic--say birth control-- decide what you consider to be a fresh Catholic approach to it and then inter- view a lot of Catholics. Eventually you will collect a sufficient number of re- spected Catholics who, if quoted out of context, appear to agree with you. Add to these a few misinformed or confused Catholics, and behold, you have the mak- ings of a real shocker. Thus, in the name of objective reporting there is generated great interest and even greater confusion. Sometimes we modern Americans tend to forget that Divine Law is the result of God's Inspiration and mot the brainchild of democratic processes nor, least of all, the contrivance of imagina- tive ]ournalists. Fathers of the Council of Trent did not take up a "dogma popularity poll" among 13th Century Catholics in order to determine Chris- tian Doctrine. Nor are the Fathers of Vatican II interested in counting heads to calculate morality. Catholics and birth control, as it appears in Reader's Digest, is a good object lesson for all of us. It reminds us that the secular press is not the place to study Catholic theology. The actual changes that are coming out of Vatican II are indeed encouraging to all of us. But many of the anticipatory articles we discover in popular magazines leave us with nothing short of reader's indigestion. ONALD KNOX o n c e wrote that you can Simplicity or SK' ilk lgg, ,xv? By REV. JOHN B. SHEERIN, C.S.P. not sure whether the ban was loyal emulation, mutual rev- inspired by a higher source About Purgatory? BY REV. LEO J. TRESE UR knowledge of purgatory is rather limited. We do know that it is the place or state where a soul receives its final furbishing, if needed, in prepa- ration for heaven. The word "place" is somewhat ambiguous, as this word means a particular position in t h e created uni- verse, whereas a disembodied soul is not subject to the limi- tations of material creation. As far as the soul is concerned, purgatory would be "any place" where the soul cannot see God. The inability of the soul to see GOd is the essence of the suffering of purgatory. Housed in its physical body, the soul in this life is shielded from the powerful attraction which GOd exerts upon the human spirit. Released from the body by death, the soul feels the irre- sistible pull of God's attractive- ness. Like a rocket from i t s launching pad, the soul tries to go to GOd along with all the power of its being. Temporary Barrier But, although God is every- where, no soul with the least taint of self-love can see Him who must be the total object of our love. One who dies free from grave sin has not rejected God. Yet, even unrepented ve- nial sin or unfulfilled penance for sin constitutes a barrier be- tween the soul and God. This is not a permanent barrier, as mortal sin is; but this tempo- rary barrier must somehow be demolished before the soul, completely purified of self, is erence, friendly concord w free for union with Him Who FATHER TRESE son who has worthily received the Holy Annointing in his last illness would be in no need of purgatory. This w o u ! d be true also of anyone who has gained a plenary indulgence just before death, or who was able to make an act of perfect love for God in his final mo- ments. Nevertheless, I o v e dictates that we take no chances in pre- maturely canonizing those who have gone before us. Many or few, the souls in purgatory plead for the charity of our remembrance. What Is Life's than the Vicariate and wheth- never jealous competition or must be our all. Pur-ose Mt 1 " "'croscop'c View enjoy your voyage on Pc- eritforbadethesaleormere- troublesome polemics, no, As the soul "strains at the T , jL -,.j ter's bark provided you don',t ly the display of the books, never!" leash" to reach God, yet cannot HE immigrant-packed SS The controversial "pop- ulation explosion" prob- lem was placed under a mcroscope in Detroit and received a high- powered going over by some 150 Catholic physicians and clergy. The day-long scientific pro- gram at the Pick-Fort Shelby Hotel was part of the 25th jubi- lee celellration of the Catholic Physicians' Guild of Detroit. Theme of the meeting was "The Church, the Physician and the Population Expansion." Discussing the social aspects of population expansion, Rev. John L. Thomas, S.J., of St. Louis University, said there is a "backlog of bitterness" growing among today's young married couples who have "the right and the obligation" to the moral principles and the medical knowledge regarding sex and regulating the family size but who are not getting it. Father Thomas said it is amazing the number of cou- ples who have seized on the implication of change arising from the Second Vatican Council to convince them- selves that the Church will somehow ease her opposition on such things as contracep- tive devices. The widespread ignorance of couples regarding sexual mar- ality in marriage calls for a "whole new system of educa- tion and training" as well as a "rethinking" of the moral principles and premises in this area, he said. "We have an obligation to prepare these young people to make adequate decisions once they are married. They need this moral training and medi- cal information when they are still free, not when they have become a party to a sacred contract," Father Thomas said. Dr. Thomas Burch of George- town UmversRys Center for Population Studies, Washington, D.C., said there is no cer- tainty standing-room-only signs will be placed on this earth, just because demographers pre- dict a rapid population growth. "Something will happen to change this situation," he claimed. The more dynamic view today, he said, is that man will not sit idly by but will strive to solve the prob- lem of over-population. Dr. Bernard Pisani, head of the rhythm research clinic St. Vincent de Paul's Hospi- tal, New York, urged doctors to "open avenues of com- munication" on the subject of love and procreation between parents, clergy and physi- cians. Explaining the work of his clinic, founded in 1961, Dr. Pi- sani said studies indicate that the rhythm system has been employed with "a remarkable percentage of success" among the 300 couples under study. Although data available is in no way final, Dr. Pisani dis- closed the results prompted the New York Archdiocese to open similar clinics in other Catho- lic hospitals. "The search to perfect the rhythm method will do much to create happier families," Dr. Pisani stated. The Ray. Michael J. O'Leary, of Sacred Heart Seminary's philosophy department, Detroit, scored advocates of govern- taunt-sponsored birth control programs for their use of econ- omic pressures to promote their ideas against the con- science of individual. He also criticized promot- ers of "selfish love" by means of novels, movies and other communication means which affect the attitudes of "many of our own Catho- lics." Father O'Leary said that "it would be a tremendous bless- ing" if doctors would become better informed on the subject of periodic contenance and would pass on this information to those patients who need this knowledge. Council Tidbits By R/EV. PLACID JORDAN, O.S.B. OME (NC)  Council Fathers who have their seats on the Gospel side of the council hall in St. Peter's can watch a mysterious amber light on a camera posted just behind a big statue of the Prince of the Apostles. The light is bright red when flashed on. and when it is, that means Pope Paul VI is watch- ing! In his private study, the Pontiff has a special televi- sion receiver which he uses from time to time to follow council proceedings. The am- ber light is his link. "The Father's eye," the engi- neers in charge have called it. "When 'il Papa' is looking," they say, "the 'boys' better be- have... !" Since he is probably the best known among the council's lay auditors, Raimondo Manzini, editor of the Vatican City news- paper "L'Osservatore Romano," has been given a special title by some of the bishops: They like to call him endear- ingly and facetiously, "Father Auditor." The Italian for "Father" be- ing "Padre," and "Padre" be- ing the title used for priests who are Religious, Manzini feels rather complimented oc- cupying the unique position of a "lay padre"! Archbishop Pericle Felici, the council's general secretary, is a pretty strict boss. I-[e sees to it that order is kept in the hall. He has announced that he does not want to see council go down to the engine room. Which means that your Catho- lic life can be serene provided you don't visit official Rome, the engine room of the Church. The reference, of course, was not that one might be scandal- ized by sins of the flesh in of- ficial c i r cles but by bureau- cratic sins of duplicity, chi- canery and red tape. This Council has been insist- ing on a spirit of apostolic simplicity as a basis for re- FR. SHEERIN form in the Church, It is true that it is building a bridge of understanding to the contempo- rary world but it rejects world- liness in all its shapes a n d forms. Pope John said he wanted to let some "fresh air" into the Church and so the Council Fa- thers are getting rid of t h e musty cobwebs and rubbish that stand in the way of aggior- namento. Hush-Hush Manner The old skullduggery, how- ever, is making a frantic at- tempt to stave off reform. Some weeks ago, the Council Fathers were shocked by the hush-hush manner in which a ban was imposed on the Kaise/" and Xavier Rynne books on the Council. To this day we are uncer- tain as to the extent of this ban which was issued by the Vicariate of Rome. We are Fathers wandering about be- hind their seats during debates. No promenading! says his oral ukase. Of course, the bishop may go to the much.used coffee lounge, but there they find another "Verboten": "No smoking." It is tough for some of them, but the fire hazard in St. Peter's is too serious to take a chance on, even in cloakrooms. Vatican guards on duty in the papal gardens feel sad because these days they rarely if ever get to see the Holy Father. "Pope John," said one, "used to take his walks here every day, but Pope Paul .... He seems so terribly busy. He houldn't neglect his exercise. We'd love to see him once in a while anyway." @ 907 Terry Avenue, Seattle 98104 Telephone MAin 2-8880 Second-Class Mail Privileges Authorized at Seattle, Wash. Published every Friday by the Northwest Progress Co. President, Most Reverend Thomas A. Connolly, D.D., ff.C.D. REV. JAMES H. GANDRAU--Edltor MARY BRESNAHAN--Associate Editor At any rate, the authors were not given their day in court to defend themselves. At this moment Rome is buzzing with another story. It concerns a circular reported to have been sent by Cardinal Am tonuitti of the Sacred Congre- gation of Religious to superiors- general of religious orders which have a house at Rome. As Le Monde (Oct. 30) says: "The circular puts t h e m on guard against 12 Council ex- perts, among whom are Fathers Congar, Kung and Ratzinger." I need not mention the reac- tion of the American bishops generally to such maneuvers: behind - the - scenes tampering with a man's good name is particularly obnoxious to the American sense of fair play. (Remember the outcry at the time of the banning of the four Catholic scholars at Catholic University.) But what is the reaction of Pope Paul and the Council Fathers generally to this sort of thing? Necessary Reforms Naturally the Pope cannot be expected to get involved in every little cause celebre in Rome. But he has revealed his mind recently by lauding Fa- ther Congar several times and by his admonition to the Later- an University on the eve of All Saints. From this university have issued a number of bro- chures attacking Teilhard de Chardin, certain Biblical schol- ars and various Roman institu- tions: Pope Paul said that he ex- pected the Lateran's relation to other groups to be one of "... fraternal collaboration, In his opening address to the Council, the Pope called upon the Council Fathers to bring about necessary reforms. He said that they would not turn the Church's way of life upside down or break with what is essential but that they would strip the Church of what is un- worthy and defective, correct- ing "those imperfections which are proper to human weak- ness." The Council F a t h e r s have been following his advice willingly--and even the pomp and ceremony of the Vatican have met with their criticism. Servants Imperfect How does it happen that the Bride of Christ, the Church, is spotless within but sadly im- perfect in some of her serv- ants? This is not an easy ques- tion to answez' but I think the main source of the trouble has been the false concept of the Church that has been all too prevalent. We have thought of the Church almost exclusively in terms of a highly organized, juridical body not unlike the political kingdoms of the world. Is it strange that the officers of such an organiza- tion should tend to imitate the practices of political bureauc- racies? Fortunately, that one - sided concept of the Church is being overshadowed at the Council by the concept of the Church as the People of God. This con- cept emphasizes the Godliness of the members of the family of Christ, all of whom help each other and are served by ministers who are pledged to a life of Gospel simplicity, humil- ity and unselfish service. . 1 , 1 I Ab, II II !  'Mystical Experience' By REV. G. JOSEPH GUSTAFSON, S.S., Ph.D. Professor of Philosophy, St. Thomas Seminary, Kenmore E have read at least three articles within the last two weeks about a drug called LSD-25. It's now the fad among a restricted number of so-called intellectuals to take this unproven stuff for, as they say, a "mystical experience." Harvard (whose economists must have been taking it?) just got over a rather nasty scandal and had to fire two professors. Well, these wonderful experiences range, it seems, from utter exaltation to profound depres- sion. We quote Time: "California Prison Psy- chologist, Wilson Van Dusen, for example, imagined himself in a black void in which 'God was walking on me and I cried for joy. My own voice seemed to speak of His coming, but I didn't believe it. Suddenly and unexpectedly the zenith of the void was lit up with the blinding presence of the One. How did I know it? All I can say is that there was no possibility of doubt'." Why no pussibilty of doubt? The professor was, apparently, as high as a kite. No, we must repeat this old-world simile--he was in a self- induced subjective area of outer space. When one contrasts this nonsense with the experience of the recognized mystics of world history (Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Arabic, Indian), one can only laugh. The lofty Plotinus did, indeed, experience a union with the One (to use Van Dusen's bor- rowed terms); but he wasn't intoxicated. He was, quite possibly, inspired not by drugs hut by God's Grace. St. Paul was rapt to the third Heaven, and he paid an awful price for it, not being aware of LSD, way back when. John of the Cross, an authentic mystic, was even per- seeuted by the Spanish Inquisition. There must always be a dogmatic test avail- able to discern the God-intoxicated man from the over-stimulated, drunk on fortified wine or on drugs. Else everybody is a mystic, if the parW lasts that long. And you should consult not the Bible or the Koran or the Upanishads but the "tank" in your city jail! find Him, it experiences inde- scribable anguish. It burns with a consuming but frustrated de- sire for God, and this agony of frustration is the very suffer- ing which purges the soul of the last traces of self. There comes the moment when the soul, restored to its pristine purity, receives the spiritual vision which theolo- gians call the Light of Glory. Suddenly God bursts upon the soul in all His infinite beauty and goodness and lovabillty. The soul possesses God and is possessed by Him. The soul is in heaven. Time as we know it--hours and days and months--is a measurement of the physical universe. A disembodied spirit is outside the limitations of ter- restial time. Therefore it seems pointless to ask how long par- gatory may last for any par- ticular soul. One hour of ex- cruciating pain can seem like a year. As measured by o u r wordly time, the suffering of purgatory may endure for but a momenta moment which, to the suffering soul, may seem like an eternity. Whether we speak in terms of "shortening the time" or of "lessening the pain," We who are still upon earth can help the souls in purgatory. They cannot help themselves. Their time of personal merit ended at death. They only can suf- fer with patience, awaiting the blessed moment of heav- en's thundering dawn. How- ever, God in His goodness has given us the privilege of help- ing these, our brothers and sisters, in their distress. God gladly will accept our prayers and penances in their behalf. Is Purgatory Crowded? How populous is purgatory? No one can know, but purga- tory is probably not as crowded as some persons think. I re- member that when I was a child in catechism class, the good Sister said that almost everyone, even saints, will at least have to "pass through" purgatory. I suspect that Sis- ter's appreciation of God's holi- ness somewhat overshadowed her understanding of His love and mercy. Since the sacrament of Ex- treme Unction removes all the "remains of sin," a per- Queen Frederica edged away from the pier at Naples. Contem- plating t h e excrement and emotion of the tear- drenched immigrants was a young Italian girl, with wist- ful blue eyes and athletic stance. She found herself standing on deck beside an American priest returning to the United States. Full of curi- osity, eager to try her school- learned English, she startled the priest with a searching question. "Father," she said, "these crying people who stay behind to weep and we, on this sturdy ship, heading for the open sea to a strange new land--what is the purpose of it all? What does man want? What are we forever seeking?" The priest frowned, and then he smiled. He was being asked his catechism by a young Ital- ian girl whom he had only met. "Those on shore, and we, heading for the open sea, men in Naples and children in San Francisco-all have one supreme and paramount purpose in life: to know God, to love Him and to serve Him, that we may behappy with Him forever in heav- en." "Is that why we were born?" she asked again. "Why then do we witness such con- fusion and perplexity and so many tears?" "St. Augustine suggests that it may be because we haven't found God," the priest replied. "Thou h a s made us for Thyself, O God, and our hearts are restless, until they rest in Thee." Then the priest thought to himself: "Maybe this Italian girl is wiser than many of our educators, who construct their systems and build their schools, but forget to ask the basic question: What is a man for? What is the purpose of life?" Calendar SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 17, TWENTY- FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, MASS: Dicit Dominus--The Lord said (Green). Introit, Grad., Al- leluia, Off., and Com. Ant. from 23rd Sun. after Pent. MONDAY, DEDICATION OF THE BASILICAS OF SS. PETER AND PAUL, MASS: Terribilis -- Awesome is this place (White). GI. TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 19, ST. ELIZABETH, W I D O W, MASS: Cognovi--I have known (White). G1. 2nd pr. of st. Pontianus. WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER --Walter J. Sullivan, m C.S.P. tl 20, ST. FELIX OF VALOIS, CONFESSOR, MASS: Justus -- The just man (White). G1. THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 21, PRESENTATION OF B.V.M. MASS: Salve -- Hail Holy Mother (White). GI., Pref. of B.V.M. FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 2"2, ST. CECILIA, VIRGIN, MAR- TYR, MASS: Loquebar -- I spoke of thy testimonies (Red). G1. Abstinence. SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 2g ST. CLEMENT, POPE, MAR- TYR, MASS: Dicit Dominus -- The Lord said (Red). GI., 2nd Pr. of St. Felicitas, Com. PreL