Texas Gulf Coast Catholic (Corpus Christi, Tex.), Vol. 10, No. 29, Ed. 1 Friday, December 12, 1975 Page: 2 of 6
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TEXAS GULF COAST CATHOLIC
Friday. December 12. 1975
by Sebastian MacDonald, CP.
The story is told of the proverbial donkey who
starved to death, standing between a corncrib
and a bale of hay, because it couldn't decide
which to choose.
Decision is difficult even for us, though in
God's design for us it is our crowning
achievement. In the complexity of the adult
world, we discover, truly free decisions come
painfully. Often our decisions are not free
at all, but patterned responses dictated by the
influences around us, both persons and things.
Morality entails freedom, not only as a birth-
right, but also as a daily experience. In fact,
freedom must be exercised in term ^ of
deliberation, choice and decision. It is a matter
of God's design for us. He has made us in His own
image, to share in His creative and providential
activity. He has placed the wide world before us,
to be transformed by us into our image and
thereby into His own. Each day we venture into
this world bent on this task of humanizing our
CHOICE & MORALITY
surroundings. It is an encounter between
freedom, exercised in our decisions, and
determinism, lodged in the fabric and structures
of our world.
Our task is to impress God's image upon our
environment, or, in the simple language of our
childhood, to achieve the good and avoid the evil.
Each act of choice bears the burden of this en
terprise. We are made such that no one decision
of ours is totally successful or unsuccessful in
this endeavor. We require a whole series of
1 'vSrd& world
choices not only to completely activate ourselves
in God's image, but also to achieve the eventual
transformation of our surroundings into His
image. This is the work of a lifetime; it is the
task of humanity, whose final triumph will be to
help establish God's Kingdom here on earth. Sin
lies in the failure of choice. The danger here is
great, not only because of the multiplicity of
choices afforded us, but also because sin goes
under the guise of the good. We rarely choose
moral evil in its raw repulsiveness. Rather, we
choose it in view of its often alluring benefits.
For something good is always attached to moral
evil, and we try to fool ourseives into thinking we
are choosing the good and not the evil.
This deception would all too often succeed
were it not for the instruction and education we
have received from family, church and school.
Thanks to this we know that we can never
deliberately choose moral evil (sin) regardless
of the "goodies" attached. But complications
arise as we move into adulthood which tend to
restrict the relevance of early childhood
training. There are times, for instance, when we
seem to be faced with a choice between two evils,
with no good option available. Then (and this is
often the fruit of experience) we seek the lesser
evil, as we see it. The city of Boston, for instance,
recently decided to sanction a red-light district
in the downtown area—an undoubtedly evil
choice, but one legitimated by an even worse
choice of allowing lewdness to proliferate
throughout the city.
At other times the situation is not so opaque.
We may have a clear choice of the good and
rejection of the evil, but not without some
semblance of evil attached even to the good we
choose. For instance. Catholic medical ethics
permits the choice of indirect abortion to a
woman suffering from a terminal case of uterine
cancer; this entails the surgical removal of the
uterus with the consequent death of the fetus.
Here the choice of life entails death In its wake,
foreseen but deplored.
Not infrequently we are faced with a different
kind of choice, where only degrees of good are
involved—a question of the good, better, best. A
• inancially sound person may be approached by
a needy friend for a "loan" likely to become a
gift; it suffices that the need be met. There is no
imperative to do the better thing by giving more
than was asked for.
As we move through Jife choosing the good,
avoiding the evil and deploring its often
unavoidable presence, we ourselves become
good. Furthermore, we give good example,
witnessing to the God Who has made us like
Himself. The world will be a better place for our
presence here, and it will become the stuff of the
Father Sebastian is a member of the Passionist
Community-and professor of ethics at Catholic
Theological Union, Chicago.
REAP THE PART AGAIN WHERE HE CHANGES "HE
BINGO MARKERS INTO GOLR UNCLE FRANK r
Talks with parents
A phone call for
By Dolores Curran
Most parents of teenagers would treasure a
day without a phone call but thousands of
American parents want only one Christinas
gift this ye*r, a call announcing, “Hi, Mom.
Every society has had its runaways. The
French Foreign L, eg ion existed on them.
Dickens made a living writing about
them. Our own frontier was opened by them.
But that doesn’t make it any easier on ihe
anguished mother of a 15-year-old girl who
lies awake at night wondering if her
daughters body is lying in a ditch
somewhere. It doesn’t help the greying father
of a teenage son who blames himself for his
son’s departure and his wife's grief.
No, running away as a tool of independence
isn’t new. What is new is society’s implied
criticism of parents and the whole bag of guilt
the fad fosters Once upon an era. a child who
ran away “had an itchy foot”; today, his
parents don’t understand him. Upon another
era. there was a “ Black sheep in every
family.” Today, the lamb's parents have
So many thousands of kids take to the road
weekly that police departments don’t even try
to locate them; Because over 90 per cent show
up back home within two weeks, it’s un-
derstandable that other needs take precen-
dence in law enforcement agencies.
But, oh, the suffering of that other 10 per
cent: Families who live in vain hope for word
of a son or daughter, dying a bit each time
they read a newspaper account of jme
unidentified body found eight states away;
mothers who won't leave home for groceries
because The Call might come; parents who
build great hopes on the one time the phone
rang and they answered to a listener only.
‘I’m sure it wasn't a wrong number,” they
bolster themselves. “It must have been Sandy
calling to hear our voices, If only I had.....”
If only — these are the words runaways’
parents live on; if only I hadn’t be*n so harsh,
so lenient, so busy, so indulgent, so deman-
ding, so caring; if only 1 could be like those
parents who shrug and say. “Well, when they
get tired of running, they’ll come home.”
Meanwhile, the runaway isn’t necessarily
any happier than his parents. As often as not,
he’s run away to adventure and excitement as
much as he's run away from harsh and
.restrictivehomes. Maybe he intends to return
soon, maybe never.
Whatever the case, his parents deserve
the peace of knowing he's alive. That’s a
simple enough request. Most of them would
be satisfied, overwhelmed, in fact, with a
postcard or call giving the skeletal in-
formation, “Dear folks, just want you to know
And those of us who aren't living their hell
can help parents and runaways by posting
this column or a similar appeal where tem-
porary runaways might see it, in bus depots,
school bulletin boards, teenage hangouts.
Few youthful runaways can crash long
without the knowledge and help of adults
somewhere. When we hear of a youth’s
crashing, we can take the incentive by con-
tacting his parents, not as stool pigeons but as
Christians offering the simple information
that their child is alive and well. It's a very
parent kind of gesture and one thf.t gives
meaning to the message of joy and peace.
to the ed....
Texas Gulf Coast Catholic
Father Hugh Clarke
Editor and Business Mgr.
I am really sorry to have waited so long to
answer your call to participate in enlarging
the ciuculation of your paper here in Alice.
I have awakened, to the fact that in order to
fulfill our obligation to the commandment,
“Love one another,” we must communicate
better. What better way to do this than by
subscribing to the Texas Gulf Coast Catholic,
writing letters to the editor, asking questions
about the important issues that confront us
Enclosed you will also find som:; material
that 1 want you to publish week ly in your
newspaper. It will be a line with the 4itle
VERSION VELA in which I will write on \*
different themes. '
I will start my line in Spanish but really I J,;
want it published in English also, if (he C
readers want it in both languages. *£
I include $4.00 for a year's subscription.
Please send me complete information about
selling advertisement for your piper.
Yours Indy, '
Raul L. Vela
From St. Gregory the Great:
"Rightly is Christ born in Bethlehem,
for Bethlehem means the house of bread/
He who was bom there and who said,
'I am the living bread which came down
texas Qulf coast
Published weekly, except the last week of December and the last week erf July
Official Newspaper of the Diocese oF Corpus Christi
Editor and Business Manager
Advertising Manager...... •
Reporter . ................
Most Rev Thomas J. Drury. D.D.
.... Father Hugh Clarke
...............Mrs. Irene Doyle
..............Mrs. Alice Price
. Gabriel Rivas - Ray Madrigal
Address all communications to
TEXAS GULF COAST CATHOLIC
PO Box 2184. Corpus Christi. Texas 78401
Telephone #82 6} 91 Ext 14
Price: $4 00 per year
Entered as Second Class Matter United Slates Post Office
Corpus Christi, Texas
The brown monk and Percy
The Brown-Clad Monk sat before God and
prayed. It was Advent, the time of
preparation for Christmas, and the Brown-
Clad Monk thought of all that the coming of
Jesus to Bethlehem meant to him. Soon it was
clear, however, that he could not pray long at
this time, for suddenly, there before him was
a small bright figure...and another...and
“Twinkle!” said the Brown-Clad Monk,
“and Bumpsey! And the Miki-angel!” And
truth to tell, he was a little surprised, for the
little angels never interrupted him when he
was at prayer. This must be an emergency
then. The Brown-Clad Monk looked closer and
noticed that his little friends were not their
usual happy selves. Indeed, they seemed
upset and frustrated.
“Is something wrong?” asked the Brown-
* Clad Monk with concern.
“We’re tired,” said Twinkle.
“And frustrated,” said Bumpsey.
“And discouraged,” said the Miki-angel.
“My!” sa?d the Brown-Clad Monk “And in
Advent at that,” for usually the little angels
were quietly and peacefully happy during
Advent, waiting for the birthday of the Savior.
“But this year,” explained Bumpsey who
looked as if he had been more bumped around
than usual, “we are God’s messengers to the
boys and girls of the City. Our Message is to
invite them to prepare spiritually for the
coming of Jesus on His birthday. But have
you been to the City lately?”
“Well, ves,” said the Brown-Clad Monk.
“And 1 can imagine what you are finding.”
Boys and girls go....and go....and go....”
said Twinkle tiredly. "All the time — they
never seem to stop long enough for an angel to
deliver a Message.”
“None of them?” asked the Brown-Clad
Monk who knew when his angel-friends were
By Sister Kathleen, l.W.B.S.
“We-ell,” said Twinkle, “many of them.
There are some here and there who seem to
hear what we say. But it is discouraging when
so many don’t.”
“And those who hear the Message,” said
Bumpsey, “often lose it again in die noise of
die City. Have you heard recently the blare of
music in the Mall, the roar of traffice, the
constant voice of the radio? How can one
small angel voice be heard — and remem-
bered — in the midst of such noise?”
“But don't forget,” pointed out the Brown-
Clad Monk gendy, “those whose hearts are
quiet and who find moments for prayer in the
middle of all the noise. Your inspirations are
not lost on those. Bumpsey. and I think there
are probably more of them than you are
conscious of right now.”
“And the celebrations.” put in the Miki-
angel who did not want to be forgotten. “And
the bright lights everywhere! The birthday
has not yet come, the spiritual preparations
are not yet made, but people are already
celebrating even while they forget Him
Whose birthday gives the reason for
But already the angels' talk with the
Brown-Clad Monk was beginning to bear ^
fruit. They looked less upset, less frustrated, £
more joyous than they had been when they yj
“It is true,” said Twinkle to the Brown-Clad \
Monk, “that we have been looking on the
darker side of things. The rush and the noise J
and the lights and the celebrations are all in
the City, and it is hard for angel inspirations
to be heard. But, as you keep pointing out,
there are always some boys and girls who
hear us and try, in the middle of it all, to keep
Advent in their hearts.”
“You just lost your sense of perspective for
a little while.” said the Brown-Clad Monk.
“Now continue to look at those who really love
the Lord. They may seem few at times, but
when you angels gather up the fruit of their
efforts, you will find that you have a beautiful
gift for the Child on His birthday.”
“Let’s return to the City,” said Twinkle to
the other two angels. "We have much to do to
prepare our gift for the Savior.”
And with new hope, the little angels
resumed their task while the Brown-Clad
Monk turned once more to God in prayer.
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Clarke, Hugh. Texas Gulf Coast Catholic (Corpus Christi, Tex.), Vol. 10, No. 29, Ed. 1 Friday, December 12, 1975, newspaper, December 12, 1975; Corpus Christi, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth835863/m1/2/: accessed June 17, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; .