South Texas Catholic (Corpus Christi, Tex.), Vol. 20, No. 14, Ed. 1 Friday, April 5, 1985 Page: 4 of 16
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April 5,1985 • 4
The connection between worship and work
By Msgr. George G. Higgins
NC News Service
Not once in some 20 conferences on the first draft of
the U.S bishops’ economics pastoral that 1 have at-
tended has anyone referred to its concluding section,
“A Call to Wholeness and Holiness,” which calls for
‘ ‘a deeper awareness in the Church of the integral con-
nection between worship and the world of work.”
The section would have been applauded by the late
Benedictine Father Virgil Michel of St. John’s Abbey
in Collegeville, Minn. A pioneer of the U S. liturgical
movement, l ather Michel thought the Catholic social-
action movement in the United States overemphasized
purely "natural” or secular measures of social reform
and neglected the supernatural.
Specifically, Father Michel thought the social-action
movement (up to the time of his death in 1938) paid
too little attention to the liturgy, which he considered
the indispensable basis of Christian social reform. His
views are recorded in an excellent biography, Virgil
Michel and the Liturgical Movement, by Father Paul
Marx, who is also at St. John’s Benedictine.
According to the book, Father Michel was even
critical of one of the greatest American Catholic social
reformers and his personal friend and colleague, the
late Msgr. John A. Ryan, who was the first director of
U.S. bishops’ social action department.
“Despite his admiration of the pioneer work of the
great John A. Ryan,” Father Marx states, “Michel
confided to intimates his belief that Ryan...tended to
be too purely ‘economic’ and ‘statist’ in his approach
to the social problem, that there was nothing cultural
about his program and too little insistence on the ab-
solute need of the spiritual in social reform and on the
need for a general spiritual revival for a complete pro-
gram of Christian social regeneration.”
This is honest reporting, but Marx hastens to add
his own observation that Michel and other critics
“would have been more effective as social reformers
had they had the grasp of economics that was the
pioneering Ryan’s, without whose specialized work
there would hardly have been a social movement in the
1930s and 1940s.”
This is typical of Father Marx’ scholarly objectivity.
While he generally agrees with Father Michel’s rather
severe criticism of the Catholic social-action move-
ment, he strives to see the problem in full perspective
and to be fair to everybody concerned.
Like Father Michel, Father Marx is interested solely
in demonstrating that the liturgical movement is “the
primary apostolate.” Put another way, he believes the
social-action movement is doomed to failure or, at
least, only partial success if it neglects the liturgical
Catholic circles will continue to debate whether the
social-action movement neglected the liturgy to the ex-
tent that Father Michel and his competent biographer
maintain. My own impression is that thev have exag-
gerated this weakness in social activists while underem-
phasizing the failure of too manv liturgists to relate the
liturgy to contemporary social and economic problems.
Comparisons of this sort are rather meaningless, if
not odious. Many American Catholic social actionists
have been active liturgists and vice versa. That the an-
nual meetings of the Liturgical Conference bring the
two groups together in such great numbers is surelv a
This is a great step forward and would have gladden-
ed the heart of Father Michel. Well in advance of his
time, he stressed the relationship between the liturgy
and social action, which was so perfectly exemplified in
his own remarkably diversified and extraordinarily
The 1985 Texas Abortion Regulation
Bill: S.B. 129—H.B. 486
By Colleen Unger Crawford
Legal Chairman, Diocesan Pro Life Center
“Would the mother forget the child within her
womb?” the prophet Isaiah asked the question
rhetorically many years ago. He would probably
be shocked to hear that over 20,000,000 babies
have been killed in the United States since the
misguided Supreme Court decision of Roe v.
Wade in 1973 which stripped the unborn of his
constitutional right to life and sanctioned abor-
As a young attorney reading Roe v. Wade, I
was horrified to hear the unborn child described
as “not a person” and therefore without anv
rights. Yet, the Supreme Court permitted that
state laws be enacted to limit abortion. I assumed
that Texas has such a law. This is not the case.
Many politicians assert that they cannot take
such action because there is not a public consen-
sus against abortion. As good and concerned
Catholics we must write to our state senators and
urge them to save future unborn Texans by
sponsoring and voting for Senate Bill #129 and
House Bill #486, the Texas Abortion Regulation
1. Prohibits the current inhumane abortion of
a child in the last trimester of pregnancy when he
2. Requires informed consent of the mother
including explanation of physical and emotional
3. Requires parental or alternatively judicial
consent for abortions performed on minors.
Presently, there is a flurry of abortion-related
bills before the U.S. Congress and our national
leaders are watching to see how anti-abortion
legislation is received on the state level. (See
related story on page 9.)
The national movement will build momentum
from our local involvement and hopefully the
Unborn Children’s Civil Rights Act of 1985 pro-
posed by U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms will be voted in-
to law. But none of this can became a reality
without our support and encouragement.
The state senate will recess in May so we must
write our senators now. The Texas Abortion
Regulation Bill (SB #129) is now being studied
by a favorable committee, but they are our
representatives and are eager for our opinions.
So far only nine out of 31 senators have made a
committment in favor of these crucial measures.
The following sample letters are suggested, but
your own ideas in your own words and w-riting
will be most effective.
“I am writing to request your efforts on behalf
of ur.born future Texas citizens. As a represen-
tative of this area you must continue to lobby for
the rights of the unborn child. Many young girls
don’t know that a baby dies when an abortion is
committed because no one tells them. You can
make laws that will make it possible for a woman
who requests an abortion to be informed of the
serious consequences, and of the risks to her own
physical and emotional health as well. She should
be apprised of her alternatives, especially since
there is a long waiting list to adopt babies. Please
continue to sponsor and vote for the bills now
pending to save lives.”
“El derecho de la vida es el altissimo derecho
de un Americano. Pero cada dia, en nuestra
patria los bebes son matados por la abortion. Le
suplico, como mi re present ante, que termine esta
atrocidad. Le pido que vuelven el respeto de la
vida, no solamente a) nino pero tambien a la
madre. Muchisimas gracias.”
All state representatives receive mail at: P.O.
Box 2910, Austin, Texas 78769 or:
Senator Carlos Truan, P.O. Box 5445, Cor-
pus Christi, TX 78405; Rep. Hugo Berlanga,
3649 Leopard, Suite 411, Corpus Christi, TX
78408; Rep. Eddie Cavazos, P.O. Box 7547,
Corpus Christi, TX 78415; Rep. Ted Roberts,
433 Parade, Corpus Christi, TX 78412; Rep. Ir-
ma Rangel, 318 North 7th St., Kingsville, TX
78363; Rep. William N. (Billy) Hail, Jr., 2501
O’Kane, Laredo, TX 78040; Rep. Ernestine
Glossbrenner, P.O. Drawer 2188, Alice, TX
78333; Rep. Robert Earley, P.O. Box 554,
Portland, TX 78374
Also please write to our representatives in
Senator Lloyd Bentsen, Room 240, Russell
Bldg., Washington, D.C. 20510; Senator Phil
Gramm, 179 Russell S.O.B., Washington, D.C.
20510; Congressman Solomon Ortiz, 3649
Leopard St., Corpus Christi, TX 78408.
While Jerusalem sleeps
By Cindy Liebhart
NC News Service
It is dawn.
Jerusalem still sleeps as the sun breaks through the darkness,
enveloping the horizon in brilliant light.
A short distance from the city, a group of women approaches
the rocky tomb. Their bowed heads, drawn faces and drooping
shoulders reveal the heaviness of their mission.
In front of the tomb, the composure of the Roman guard has
One soldier is sprawled on the ground, an arm raised above
his head as if to shield his eyes. Two others crouch low, burying
their heads into their knees, seemingly paralyzed >y fear.
Two guards, helmeted and clutching spears, peer anxiously
into the dark mouth of the tomb. One kneels to pick up a fallen
weapon, his gaze riveted on the dazzling apparition of an angel
seated atop the stone rolled away.
Behind the angel, the clouds part and Jesus, engulfed in a ra-
diant halo, rises from the tomb.
This is the scene depicted in “The Resurrection,” an
engraving by the 16th-century Flemish artist Pieter Brueghel
The uniqueness of the engraving lies in the way Brueghel
retells the Easter story through the eyes of the men and women
who encounter the empty tomb. He captures their likely reac-
tions and emotions—grief, incredulity, fear, wonder.
Another portrayal of the Resurrection, a drawing by
Michelangelo, shifts the focus away from the people at the tomb
and concentrates instead on the rising Jesus.
Michelangelo sketches a well-muscled Jesus being drawn
forth from the tomb in a convulsion of energy—his head thrown
back, his mouth open as if in a gasp, his arms raised above his
head. One foot still in the tomb, Jesus surges forth, wresting
himself from the grip of an unseen power.
Throughout the centuries, artists have been fascinated with
the life, passion and resurrection of Jesus. At one time religious
art was used to instruct the illiterate masses in the truths of their
We still use art—whether nativity scenes at Christmas or the
stained glass in churches or illustrations in Bibles—to teach.
Somehow the words of a familiar story take on new life, color
and vibrancy when translated into a painting or sculpture, a
stained-glass window or a tapestry.
Ultimately, when touched by the beauty of art, or filled with
a sense of wonder at the ingenuity with which it was created, or
moved to a new way of looking at things, we also encounter the
presence of God Who is the source of all creativity, beauty and
Here’s what’s next.
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Freeman, Robert. South Texas Catholic (Corpus Christi, Tex.), Vol. 20, No. 14, Ed. 1 Friday, April 5, 1985, newspaper, April 5, 1985; Corpus Christi, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth840488/m1/4/: accessed March 25, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; .