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Catholic Northwest Progress
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December 25, 1964     Catholic Northwest Progress
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December 25, 1964
 

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President, Mast Revarencl Thomas A. Connolly, D.D., J.C.D. Second-Class Mall Privileges Auttmrizecl at Seattla, Wash. Published every Friday by the Catholic Northwest Progress Co. Mary eresnahan ............................ Associate Editor PAGE 4 Friday, Dec. 25, 1964- Keep Trying HE OLD adage "A saint is a sinner who keeps on trying" might be a little trite but it expresses a truism that is rather encouraging when Christians set about making their New Year's reso- lutions. There are two types of people who never make resolutions: those who think they are so perfect they don't need them and those who have become so dis- couraged by past failures that they have ,given up trying altogether. The first group sees no need, the second group sees no use. In each case, however, the basic problem is one of pride. Those who feel little or no need for improving their lives have set stan- dards far too low and are content and satisfied with far too little. They refuse to look at themselves in the mirror of truth and objectivity. Those who have given up because they have witnessed so many past failures may have set their standards high enough but are unwilling to accept the fact of original sin when they fail to achieve the goal. These poor people are very well aware of their own weakness and timidity, they see the need for change but feel somehow powerless in the face of their passions. Regardless of the category into which you fall, Christ gives all sufficient grace, to strive for something higher. Saul of Tarsus was a proud man who had all the answers and yet God in His mercy threw him to the ground and made him see his need for a conversion. Peter too was proud and overconfident, yet through failure he became the first visible head of the Catholic Church. Christ gave him the humility to try again. And on the other hand, the history of Christianity is filled with prodigal sons, Saint Augus- tines, who have found the strength and courage to keep on trying in the face of overwhelming human weaknesses. So no matter what reasons you may put forth for not making New Year's resolutions this year, be assured of one thing: they are all invalid. Christ does not insist upon perfect records or upon our becoming angels overnight; He does insist, however, that we set up a goal of perfection and holi- ness of life and that we keep on trying all of our lives to achieve it. If you meditate often upon the old cliche "A saint is a" sinner who keeps on trying" I am sure the quality of your New Year's resolutions will improve one hun- dred fold. Thoughts for Christian Living "But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in kindness and fidelity." --Psalm 85. "For years Saint Joseph lived in the awful sanctity of that which to the priest is but a moment."--Father Faber. "Human frailty is well known to God, who is moved to compassion, rather than to anger, by the re- lapsing sinner who humbly acknowledges and grieves for his faults." --Blosius "Every creature is a ladder to raise us to God." --St. John Climacus. "I think there are no souls with whom God is less pleased than those who are most pleased with them- selves." --B1.. Claude de la Colombiere. "If I ever wrote down a list of God's gifts to me I would have to compose a book. Everything and every- body--whatever I mention--is a gift of God for a definite purpose." --Anthony J. Paine, S.J. Comments on Education ACLU UN Qualifying Public Schools Editor, The Progress: I read with interest "There is No Substitute for the Catholic School" by John J. Eckhart in the De- cember 18, 1964 issue of your paper. I also wish to add my appre- ciation to the Church for its schools. The dedication of its teachers is outstanding and the devotion of the parents to duty is commendable. Having re- ceived most of my education within its doors, I know this from experience. However, there are certain conclusions that would seem to need qualification. As a of knowledge to the world around us. Through these ideas education has been extended to many non- learners and even to the re- tarded, not to mention chal- lenging the gifted. It might be of interest to know that the philosophy of Dewey is taught in a Catholic institution of higher learning which has been responsible for training countless teaching sis- ters in this area. These ideas are integrated into the curriculums of the pa- rochial and public schools alike. While not a complete adherent of Dewey, I believe in using the guidance of any educator who has constructive ideas to offer. Last but not least, I admire the understanding attitude of Mr. Eckhart and other count. former public school teacher less parents concerning large and the wife of a practicing class loads. However, I have school teacher, I would ask never met an educator, includ- for Mr. Eekhart's reference source when he states that "academic standards, profes- sioual credentials, and end products, -- are often sur- passing any alternate sys- tern." By "alternate system", I pre- sume he means the public schools of the area. While in no way questioning the stan- dards of the parochial schools, I would definitely question that they in any way "surpass." The academic testing norms referred to in Mr. Eckhart's ar- ticle are noteworthy. It must be remembered that many pa- rochial schools in the area ask that the children be tested be- fore being admitted to the first grade, not to mention the high schools. While not going into the pros and cons of this practice, it must be considered that aca- demic testing which eliminates students having low mental abilities, emotional problems, and habits of delinquency, is sure to prove better results. The "alternate system" has AFC Instead no such selective ability. All must be entered into their '* ACLU norms. Again let me stress, this is in no way a criticism of the parochial schools, it is merely qualification for clari- fication. Next I would tke issue with Mr. Eckhart'a descrip- tion of "Deweytsm", as being a chaos of permissiveness. ' The total philosophy of Dewey it is true, might not find com- plete success in every situs- lion. This man has, however, been in a large part responsible for education's present concepts of learning through doing, individ- ual differences, and application ing sister, priest, or layman, who does not feel that large classes are a great problem. Where, too, does the author find supporting evidence that those in a large class fare bet- ter academically than those in a small class as indicated in one of the concluding para- graphs. I have no wish to shake anyone's confidence in the pa- rochial school system in which their children partici- pate. My only hope is to re- assure those parents, who have children in the "alter- nate system", that all is not lost. The spiritual values, as Mr. Eckhart points out, are the reason for parochial instruction. With this every Catholic is in agreement. It is only through full understanding between both systems that the problems of beth can be solved. Mrs. Philip McEachern 447 S. 190th St. Seattle Editor, The Progress: Mr. Donald D. MacLean was correct in his letter appearing in The Progress issue of December 4th, in ad- vocating that we have been lax in not forming an organ- ization that would be a good substitute for the American Civil Liberties Union and ap- peal to those whose deep out- rage against injustice would provide a program of action. I would suggest that a good name for such an organization would be American Freedom Committee (AFC), b e c a u s after all the one thing we all want to protect is our Free- dom. As to his suggestion that we should persuade the ACLU that its approach is wrong, he is dreaming. The whole history of the organization is evidence that it has been steeped in the wrong approach during its en- tire existence. Those who direct the pro- gram of the ACLU today, are not interested in changing the approach. They are only inter- ested in enlarging the present program. The organization has al- ways been confused in that it mistakes "License" for "Liberty." As to Mr. MacLean's state- ment that The Progress edi- torial was based on demagog- uery, I challenge this. The edi- torial stated facts. What better conclusion can one come to than to judge any person or activities by the results they achieve--"thetr fruits." Mr. MacLean says that he is "sure that some members of the ACLU are embarrassed by some causes that some chapters of the organization have espoused." I ask him to specify some of these causes. I am sure that he will find every one of them have met with the approval of the na- tional organization. There isn't any doubt that there are members in every organization who do not fit into the organization and are a det- riment to it. The Warren report stipulates that Harvey Lee Oswald, Pres- ident Kennedy's assassin, was a member of the ACLU in good standing. Another example I know of in the ACLU, occurred at one of their annual meetings. The chairman of a committee was reporting on its success in blocking legislation against ob- scene literature. A member arose and asked:" "What can we do to pro- tect children from this kind of literature?" The chairman informed hGr that she was out of order, that the organization was not con- cerned in that aspect of the problem. I am sure that the incident that involved the Washington chapter of the' ACLU in relig- ious services in the corridors and tanks of the jail, was not based on any ulterior motive-- it was not interested in the proper dignity of these sere- Ices. Mr. MacLean used dema- gogic logic to infer that the ACLU was interested in this phase of the problem. I, too, agree that such services should be held in the chapel for those who desire to attend. Mr. MacLean also misin- terprets the statement "a gen- erul public for the most part untrained in making subtle distinctions." This is an ap- parent fact. Catholics are trained to make sultle dis- tinctions, and as such it is their burden to bring these problems to the attention of the general public and even to some members of the Catholic hierarchy. It is my hope that The Progress will repeat this edi- torial, "By Their Fruits" so that many who missed it may now have the opportunity to read this sincere, beautifully written message. William A. Forant, Lt. Col., Retired, Seattle. Foibles Of the UN Editor, The Progress: The news item and com- mentary in The Progress of December 4, by George N. Kramer, entitled, "Who's (sic) Side Is U Thant On?", asks a question with a rather obvious answer. It is, indeed, unfortun- ate that our local and national press cannot bring themselves to ask such a question in pub- lic as The Progress has done so candidly. First of all, U Thant repre- sents his own country, Burma, at the United Nations. Al- though Burma has only been independent since shortly af- ter World War II, it has, since that time, always been a "leftist" country. This is clear from declarations made by its first prime minister, U Nu, U Thant's friend and advisor. After 10 years as a delegate from Burma, U Thant became Secretary General of the United Nations and commenced with all kinds of impartial ideas, as properly befits the head of such a peace-loving organization. He has openly requested rec- ognition and advocated the seat- ing of Red China in the United Nations; he has attacked the United States for conducting nuclear tests while at the same time ignoring the fact that Rus- sia was doing the same; he has suggested the establishment of UN command posts in the Ca- ribbean in order to prevent the United States from invading Cuba; he was the driving force behind the UN's shameful at- tacks on freedom-hungry Ka- tanga. And now, we have the current United Nations session and its most unusual procedures. Rath- er than a showdown, as prom- ised, which would have forced either a long-overdue payment of assessments or a loss of vote from the Russian dele- gates, U Thant introduced a brilliant resolution which elim- inates, for the time being, items from the agenda which would require a vote. Since the resolution also ap- parently required no vote, it was accepted without ques- tion. If that's the way to have a showdown, our man, Adlai, needs some lessons in poker playing. Next, a new president of the United Nations was appointed, not elected (no voting, remem- ber), but appointed by U Thant. The appointee? Why, he is Alex Quaison-Sackey, the distinguish- ed delegate from the new Afri- can Republic of Ghana. Ah, Ghana, the Communists' "home away' from home". Ghana, whose prime minister, Kwame Nkrumah, the "Lion of Africa", recently received the Lenin Peace Prize, was also the lucky recipient of a $25,- 000,000 grant from good old Red China. No one knows for sure how much they will receive for their recent aid to the Congolese feb. els who are using priests and nuns, among others, as decoys for target practice. Meanwhile, back at the UN, three new members were ac- cepted into the fraternity. No voting, no questions, no an- swers, they're just in. Red China should have it so good. T h e deplorable conditions which are now beginning to manifest themselves at the UN, will probably continue as long as our ambassadors maintain their current policy of accom- modation. It is reasonable to predict that the Russians never will pay their bill and that some high-sounding alibi will be forth- coming from Mr. Stevenson to justify an about-face regarding the seating and recognition of Red China. Therefore, the rather facetious question, "Whose Side Is U Thant On?", can probably best be answered by a slight cor- rection to the last sentence of the news item in question. Rather than "All of which makes the UN look like a Mos- cow-ridden farce", as the ar- ticle summarizes, simplify it to, "The UN is a Moscow-ridden farce". Edward L. Poole 11500 3Sth Ave. N.E. Seaftle A Betrayal Of Christians By REV. G. JOSEPH GUSTAFSON, S.S. IKE so many others, as Christmas ap- proached, we bought a sheet of a hundred stamps. We got at the same time pictures of holly, mistletoe, pine cones, and poinsettias -- a bunch of pa- gan symbols. We got the mistletoe symbol from the ancient pre-Christian Druids of Ireland who so bitterly fought St. Patrick. Today it is an ex- cuse for kissing (indiscriminately or worse). We neither know nor care how holly and the rest came to be associated with a sacred day meaning the Mass of Christ. We do know, however, that a special day set aside to honor the birth of Christ goes back to the third century or so. And we realize rather keenly just now that pagan customs centering around the January calends (in Ro- man calculation) tended to push their way into Christian customs. Christmas presents, cards, and the like serve as an example. Many of us also know that the Puritans for- bade the celebration of Christmas in their days of power in England. After the restoration of Charles II, they continued to call Yuletide "Fool- tide." What we may easily forget m: fail to un- derstand is that severe as they were, they had a point. Christmas has, alas, been associated for centuries with a lot of tomfoolery. The office Christmas party serves as sufficient evidence. But we still think that these amateurish "art" products of the Bureau of Engraving have no excuse for being. It is not merely the fact that for years we have deprecated the uglines / of U. S. stamps, compared with the beautifulIP' stamps we receive from many foreign countries. The present issue is simply an arrogant act of the betrayal of a Christian people. Rep- resentative Melvin Laird of Wisconsin seems to share our attitude. He has urged the issu- ance of stamps with a religious theme. A "Again this year," he wrote the postmaster general, "The post office has issued a highly commercialized stamp . . . which in no way symbolizes the true meaning of Christmas." And what, he asks, does all this have to do with the separation of Church and state? "Christmas is celebrated each year to honor the birthday of Jesus Christ. Even those who do not acknowl- edge Him as the Son of God recognize that he was a great figure in history." One could conceivably, with equal propriety I issue a commemorative stamp in honor oJ Buddha or Calvin or Mohammed -- to use his examples. But at least the stamp should be meaningful and representative. And a Merry Christmas but no fooltideI The Divine Discontent By REV. JOHN B. SHEERIN, C.S.P. "LAOMENTOUS changes sweep the |YI Catholic C h u r c h in America." This is the cover caption on the Satur- day Evening Post of November 28 an- nouncing an ex.tensive report on Amer- ican Catholicism by Edward Sheehan. "The mood of American Catholicism today is one of discontent," says the author, "... noth- ing seems too sacrosanct to escape their dissat- isfaction." Yet he goes on to say that the artic- ulate minority which is dissatisfied does not question the essentials of the faith but the state of mind of what he calls the power-structure. The Second Vatican Council, according to the writer, has raised among Catholics a "revolu- tion of rising expectations." As I see it, the tension in American Cath- olicism is a sign of vitality. The Church here is alive as never before and the tension is a cre- ative tension. The immigrant Church has left behind the protective shell of its "ghetto" and its members are on tl/e march, anxious to apply their faith to the vast, new challenges of our bustling American way of life. There is a new breed and thank God for iL There is "a revolution of rising expectations" that has been generated by the Council and we have the Holy Spirit and Pope John to thank for it. The important thing is to make the most of this restless impatience to apply the Gospel to the problems of the modern world. Some may describe the tension as a reaction against the power-structure or against the siege- mentality or against Romanita or against cleric- alism. In the council, it seems to me, the ten- sion or conflict was between those bishops who emphasized obedience and those who empha- sized initiative. These two forces in Catholic life must be synchronized and in council discussions, in the give and take of debate, the Holy was at work synchronizing obedience and ini- tiative. * Take for instance the council speeches on the document of propositions on Religious. There were some Bishops who urged with great vehe- mence that religious superiors treat their sub- jects as adults, respect their freedom, help them to develop mature personalities and a high sense of personal responsibility. Bishop Andrew Sol, speaking for the Indo-I nesian Episcopal Conference, contended that the draft document on Religious failed to show how traditional principles of the religious life could be reconciled with the problems of today, i.e., how religious obedience might be harmonized with the growing sense of personal responsibility. The Superior General of the Society of Mary, Rev. Joseph Buckley, speaking for 130 counci Fathers, said that the so-called "crisis of obedi ence, today may be more on the part of superiors than of subjects. "Young people today do not accept easily the archaic formulas ac- cording to which the voice of the superior is purely and simply the word of GOd." On the other hand, there were bishops who laid a strong stress on the virtue and the vow of obedience. The aim of the council discus. sions was to arrive at a balanced concept of d religious life that would keep obedience from ! stifling personality and initiative and at the same time prevent personal initiative from wrecking community discipline. The laity are in the same Church with the Religious and they too need the same balanced concept of obedience synchronized with initiat. ive. There will always be tension between the two but it is a creative tension like the inter- action of positive and negatve to produce tricity. Make Every Moment Count By REV. LEO J. TRESE A FARMER plowed his field. He disked the field. He fertilized the field. He planted the field to corn. Then he moved on to other tasks as he waited for the harvest. Unknown to the farmer, however, the seed corn had been exposed to radiation. The germ of life was dead within it. The seed rotted in the ground. When it became evident that there would be no harvest, the farmer's disappointment was bitter. "All that' work gone for nothing," he grieved; "all for nothingI" The wasted labor of the farmer in this lit- tie parable is pitiable enough. Yet, it is only a dim figure of the squandered efforts of the per- son who lives his life, or any part of it, cut off from God by grievous sin. "Without Me you can do nothing," Jesus has said. His meaning is plain. Unless we are united with Jesus in faith and in love, nothing that we do has any significance as far as God is concerned. Even the "good" actions we do at such a time go unrecorded by GOd. We may give an aim, we may help a neighbor, we even may say a prayer (unless it be a prayer of repen- tant love) and not one bit of it counts for eter- nity. It cannot count, because the line of corn- munication between God and man, which love, has been severed. This is one of the great tragedies of life-- that so many people should be living respect. able lives, yet be sowing their field with dead seed from which there can be no harvest. These are the persons whose virtue remains on the natural level. They are honest and truthful and chaste and neighborly, not to please God but to please themselves. They feel that they owe it to themselves as human beings to be de- cent and upright persons. They are right, up to that point. But they do not go the one step further and see their goodness as something which, they owe to God even more than to themselves. Their natural virtue does have a value. It keeps their spiritual faeulties from becoming completely atrophied and makes more hopeful their eventual acceptance of God's grace.{ By baptism we have been elevated to a su- pernatural level of being. We are sharers in God's own life. We no longer have the right to do anything, however noble, solely for our own satisfaction or solely for humanitarian mqtives. All that we do, even such a homely act as blowing our nose, must be done in union With Christ, must be His activity as well as our own.