New Braunfels Herald Zeitung, December 13, 1985, Page 6

Publication: New Braunfels Herald Zeitung December 13, 1985

New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - December 13, 1985, New Braunfels, Texas Page GA H%xa\6 Zeitung, New Braunfels, Texas Friday, December 13,1985 Catholic Church must respond to major changes in society SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) - The Roman Catholic Church has had to respond to some unexpected changes in society, but it must continue to do more, says the Rev. Steven Preister. Preister, director of the Catholic University of America’s National Center for Family Studies in Washington, D.C., was part of a program on “Families and Marriage,” conducted recently at the Franciscan Renewal Center in Scottsdale. “I think the Catholic Church, like all religions, has had a strong interest in family and marriage,” he said. “There have been major, major changes in our lifetime that people didn’t anticipate.” Those changes have had a dramatic effect on the family, he added. “First, ifs women employed. That change alone affected the family in all kinds of ways.” The rising divorce rate was another change that the church did not expect, he said. With this came an increased number of single-parent households, the majority of which are headed by women. The church must also address the elderly issue, Preister said. The steady decline in the number of those entering religious life had also caught the church off guard, he said: “There simply will not be enough (clergy).” The Catholic Church in the United States is in the forefront in responding to these issues, Preister said. “Largely because of the efforts in the church in the United States, the church has changed its requirements on marriage annulments,” he said. “Before, people who divorced felt they had no place in the Catholic Church. Now, they don’t feel that way.” In 1975, the church as a whole granted only 300 marriage annulments, but in 1978, and every year since then, 40,000 annulments a year have been granted, he said. But there still are problems with annulments, Preister explained. “One of the problems with annulments is most people don’t understand it. I don’t think we’re doing enough (to explain). Only about IO percent of divorced Catholics file for annulment.” Divorced Catholics need to be educated on the new requirements for annulments, he said. Annulments are handled differently from diocese to diocese. Today, the process should be handled like a pastoral ministry by the diocese, which should help the individual recover from the divorce, he said. “Some treat it like a pastoral ministry, and others treat it like a court process,” he said. Because of the increase in the divorce rate, the church now requires a couple to attend a marriage preparation class before they can be married by a priest.    * “Marriage preparation helps couples address things that they otherwise wouldn't have. Also, couples who have taken it say they would go for help now if their marriage was in trouble, and they probably wouldn’t have done It lf they hadn’t taken the program.” To help the elderly, the church is becoming involved in programs of assistance, such as “Meals on Wheels,” the priest said. To combat the shortage of clergy, the church is giving more responsibility to the laity, he pointed out. The church also has shifted in Its attitude toward women, he said, adding it had once refused to condone women working outside the home. Now it “has encouraged a just wage for women who are employed.” In addition, the church has become concerned about the feminization of poverty, Preister said. “The largest problem for single parents is economics. The majority of these households are headed by women. If she is employed, she isn’t going to make as much as a man. The men out of the home, by and large, do not help support the children. The church is concerned about how many women are living in poverty.” On the issue of fair wages, the church first had to look in its own back yard, Preister said: “The Catholic Church in the United States employs 2 million people. Increasingly, a diocese is looking at its pay scale for women. The first thing we have to do is look at how we are paying our women employees.” Appalachian religion primitive KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - In coping with poverty and a sense of helplessness, Appalachians adopt a primitive, escapist religion like that of downtrodden people in the Third World, a researcher says. Poor people in both areas tend to worship in ways that afford them a little power in an otherwise meanspirited and uncaring world, says Mary Lee Daugherty, a Ph.D. and former theology professor in West Virginia She is examining the religious similarities between the two groups for a book. Often, their worship ceremonies include exercising power over animals they consider evil — tarantulas in South America and snakes in Appalachia. she says Mrs Daugherty, who has worked with the Knoxville-based Commission on Religion in Appalachia to prepare pastors to work in the 13-state region’s rugged and remote areas, also studied religion in Brazil for five years as a Presbyterian educational missionary. She described life in both regions as simple and rural, surrounded by power structures that are flexing more authority over them while becoming more indifferent to their welfare. “There’s a sense of powerlessness both in the Third World and in Appalachia, in not being able to own land or have any say about taxes, government, mineral rights,” she says “Also, there’s an increasing cycle of poverty that is going on in both places. The tax base is eroded, there are fewer health programs, fewer government programs " People in both areas therefore adopt a religion that offers them an escape from their grim surroundings and an outlet for their need for con trol over their lives, she says, ad ding: “There are certain ways in which they reach out for a sense of being worth something They move toward an escapist form of religion. “For example, in our region theres a larger attendance at Pentecostal churches, with highly emotional, almost erotic religious ceremonies. You also see that in Latin America, where there s a more primitive (worship) as a way of cop ing with their lives.” Ms Daugherty says poor people in Brazil conduct religious ceremonies with tarantulas and snakes, which they believe represent evil. “When in Brazil, you’d see fire-handling. speaking in tongues, spiritual operations with the laying on of hands That’s not too dissimilar in some of the rural churches here. The serpent is a symbol of evil but also of life, death and resurrection. “They focus their anxieties on the serpent and then ... reach out, take up the serpent and conquer — by not being bitten — and so they do have a sense of having power and being loved by God. “That really is the phenomenon that you witness in both areas.” Self taught religious leaders in both regions reflect their people’s more literal and personalized interpretations of God. rather than any intellectual approach, she says and adds. “I would say the predominant religious coalitions are selfgoverned, self-started churches which have indigenous leaders. They are self appointed and usually have no theology training.” She says that because rural churches in Itoth world regions have no formal bases, congregations gather at homes, yards and wherever they can to worship. ★ Briefs. Continued from Page SA residence at Baylor University, told a convention of Texas Baptists that Southern Baptists are middle to upper middle class Americans who have isolated themselves from the poor Although churches need buildings, he said. “we’ve gone overboard,” providing ail sorts of facilities — family life centers, bowling alleys, saunas and gymnasiums. Thousands “who drive by those buildings every day are angry at the injustice those buildings represent,” he said. “We as individuals need to learn what it means to invest our lives in people and in the word of God.” Officials urges rejection of death penalty WASHINGTON (AP) - Declaring U.S. Catholic bishops are “deeply troubled” by trends indicating a shrinking respect for life, an official of the US Catholic Conference has urged Congress to reject extension of capital punishment to the federal level. ★ Gift Continued from Page SA greatest gift, Jesus Christ, still working in around and through us to establish the kind of peace that cannot be wrapped, baked or mailed It is the success of God using Christmas to get the message across that can make even the exchange department at the store not so bad when the gift didn’t fit! This Christmas so many people are willing to give of themselves for the sake of others that “Ifs beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go!” May this Christmas season and the New Year be what God has in store for you so that you will be what God has in store for others, a special gift all wrapped up in love. SUS IS BORN \\ Vt*f By LANNY WOLFF, IX)N MARSH, and BOB BENSON presented by First Baptist Sanctuary Choir SUNDAY Dec. 15 at 7:00 PM 14K GOLD JEWELRY OUR ENTIRE STOCK OF FIVE SHELLJEWELRY Count on Bealls to bring you more than half-price savings on 14K-gold jewelry, right before Christmas. Come choose from a dazzling array of chains, bracelets, earrings, charms and add-a-beads. Originally 10.00-600.00 SALE 4.50-270.00. SPECIAL PURCHASE SERPENTINE CHAINS The shimmering, flexible favorites in necklaces and bracelets. Necklace    17.99 Bracelet    7.99 Bealls Seguin Rye Courts Mall 10 A.M. to 9 P.M. Mon.Sat. 12:30 P.M. to 6:30 P.M. Sunday OPEN 8 A^MHSAT. New Braunfels Courtyard Cantar 10 A.M. to 9 P.M. Mon.Sat. 12:30 P.M. to 6:30 P.M. Sunday ;

  • Bob Benson
  • Jesus Christ
  • Lanny Wolff
  • Mary Lee Daugherty
  • Steven Preister

Share Page

Publication: New Braunfels Herald Zeitung

Location: New Braunfels, Texas

Issue Date: December 13, 1985

RealCheck