National Catholic Register



BY Jim Cosgrove

January 20-26, 2002 Issue | Posted 1/20/02 at 1:00 PM


Where Vocations Flourish

The “Third Continental Congress On Vocations to the Ordained Ministry and Consecrated Life” (“Summit Draft Ignores Successes in Vocations,” Jan. 6-12) should be the subject of the sincere prayer of every faithful Catholic — indeed, every concerned Christian. After all, we are enjoined by the Lord himself to pray for workers for the harvest!

I think your article is exactly right — we need to honestly assess the real situation in order to better focus our prayer for the Church and her mission. There simply is no vocations crisis. There may be a distribution problem, but there is no crisis. Let me explain.

In those dioceses where the faith is being lived, proclaimed, demonstrated; where the clergy are living lives of sacrificial love and heroic virtue; where the lay faithful are remaining faithful and families are truly demonstrating what it means to live as a domestic church; where consecrated religious are filled with the joy that emanates from living the evangelical counsels; where the wisdom of the magisterium (the teaching office) is being received as a sure guide and not opposed with a party spirit — in places like this, the seminaries are filled to the brim.

In places like this, old religious communities are being renewed and new ones are being birthed. Deacons are finding a place of service as an order of clergy moving from the altar and ambo into the world. There, spring is breaking out already! In these dioceses, the sacred liturgy is being offered with dignity and reverence, drawing the faithful like the magnet of beauty and the invitation to communion that it is; piety, old and new, is flourishing.

There, new associations and movements birthed by the Holy Spirit are springing up in response to the call to the “new evangelization.” Authentic efforts at Christian cooperation are flourishing. Christians of other communities and confessions are growing in deeper respect for the beauty of the Catholic faith. In fact, many of our brethren are knocking at the door, seeking full communion with the Church to which they are already joined by baptism.

If you do not see it, open your eyes and look around. See the new associations and movements that Pope John Paul calls the “signs of spring.” Some have their own seminaries and they are full. They are dynamically influencing culture with the values informed by faith and leading the renewal of the Church from which they were birthed and to which they are unquestionably faithful.

“Vocations” are a fruit. When the Catholic Church is alive with the Gospel and when dynamically orthodox faith is preached, demonstrated and lived; when people are catechized into the beauty and full splendor of truth that is the Catholic faith and live it with joy — it is there that the fruit falls from the trees and the faithful are fed.

DEACON KEITH A. FOURNIER Arlington, Virginia

The writer is founder of Common Good.

Righteous Redwall

Regarding the letter titled “Harmless Harry,” written by a 14-year-old named Will Gross (Dec. 16-22):

Will stood up for Harry Potter, but condemned the Redwall books by Brian Jacques. He said, “Where violence is glamorized and glorified and made to look honorable” with regards to Redwall.

This is not really true! All the characters in Redwall are appalled at unnecessary violence and only fight when they have to! Isn't it noble to fight for peace and one's country? They don't go off and fight for the sake of fighting. Violence is not good when done for no reason, but sometimes it is necessary.

King Arthur was a hero, and he fought, and so did Robin Hood and Ivanhoe. In the Redwall books, only the bad guys believe in magic, and the good guys are courageous and honorable. In Redwall one of the main objectives is peace. I don't know what book Will read, but I know one thing, everyone I know who has read the Redwall books has not had the same impression as Will Gross.

Here is a poem that is in one of his short books that expresses Mr. Jacques’ intentions:

When others run I stand and fight,

Alone for what I know is right,

Repelling wrong and villainy,

Ready and true I vow to be,

I stand for family and friend,

On my word they may depend,

Respect for young and old I give,

So long as I shall live,

Courage grows with honesty,

Old fears are conquered constantly,

Defending peace I hold so dear,

Ever faithful find me here.

(The Warrior's Code, included with the “Build Your Own Redwall Abbey” kit)

LEAH D’ETTORE, AGE 11 Brampton, Ontario

Let Redwall Ring

This is in reference to the letter titled “Harmless Harry” in your Dec.16-22 issue.

As for Harry Potter, I have never read the books, and furthermore, I feel no desire to do so. However, I was very upset to read the way Brian Jacque's Redwall books were criticized in the article. It was said that in the books, “violence is glamorized and glorified and made to look honorable.”

First of all, I would like to point out that the heroes and heroines are only protecting their loved ones, or trying to stop a spreading evil. These evil characters are completely evil, and try to destroy all things that are good. On the other hand, the good creatures of Redwall are gentle and peaceful, and only rise up in defense against the attacks of evil.

It is never violence being glorified or made to look glamorous, for the gentle Redwallers hate violence. It is in the defense of one's country that force is promoted in the defeating of evil. Martin the Warrior earned his title because he was the courageous protector of Redwall when it was first being built. He followed the warrior's code, a code that sought to protect the defenseless, and to fight evil in an honorable fashion, instead of stooping down to its level.

It would not be a great stretch to compare the heroic action of Redwall's characters to the brave action of Marines, Green Berets and other Special Forces in Afghanistan. In both situations we see evil, and those who try to stop it!

ELIZABETH BARTON, AGE 13 Brampton, Ontario

Taming Tantrum-Throwers

Your Family Matters column regarding misbehaving children is encouraging; however, the commands for a quiet minute without direction is ambiguous as far as the child is concerned (“Time Out,” Jan. 6-12).

Temper is learned from the parents or whomever is responsible for the children's conduct. Just spend a few hours in a store and you will witness the threats and assaults on children by mothers and grandmothers that [require] correcting a situation that should have never been created.

Every parent should take responsibility as a parent. A “no-brainer” “time-out” procedure only [causes] the child's resentment to smolder and come out during the next confrontation. Furthermore, the solutions in your column seem to exclude the male parent and, without his authority, the child will continue to challenge the parent and push the envelope of misbehavior to a point where she will have no control whatsoever.

I think the old-fashioned mother/father, basic, family core-concept is the only solution to help our children to develop into teenagers and adults who respect moral authority that will contribute to the higher quality of life as citizens and productive members of society.

I do not intend to criticize your article. This only an opinion of a father of seven children, grandfather of 13 and great-grandfather of eight.

JIM VONDRAS Florissant, Missouri