Obervations from the 12/3/04 edition of The Catholic Key

Pope: U.S. vocations a 'stark challenge.' By Sarah Delaney of Catholic News Service
Yes, indeed. Men must make an excrutiating choice when entering the priesthood. I am not one of the many in favor of allowing priests to marry. However, I acknowledge the challenge that the church faces by requiring its priests to be celibate. I think those willing to make such a sacrifice are ready to give their whole lives to the church. As far as the link between celibacy and sexual abuse, I think it is bunk. Sexual predators are deranged people that would be harmful to children whether or not they were in the preisthood.

Students explore living with a disability: Diocesan ministry designed program. By Kevin Kelly, Catholic Key associate editor
7th grade students from a Blue Springs junior high school participated in exercises "designed to show them how hard life can be for the disabled." They tried to pick up buttons and tie shoes while wearing work gloves and walk with a cane while blindfolded, among other difficult challenges. Hopefully, the exercises will help the students appreciate their own abilities by understanding how hard it would be to live without them. However, I'm not sure that the program will achieve the stated goal of its creators, which is to "look at the dignity of the person, rather than at the disability itself......because people with disabilities don't want to be treated any differently from the way that you want to be treated." How does stressing the difficulty of life for a disabled person contribute to a 7th graders perception that disabled people are not any different than themselves? More likely, the junior high schoolers are going to remember how much more difficult it is for disabled people to achieve every day tasks. I agree that the students will gain respect for such difficult life circumstances. This brings to mind an important topic: Why do we have to pretend that differences do not exist? Disabled people, minorities and other marginalized groups, and their advocates, often state that they just want to be seen like "anyone else", and that they do not want charity or special treatment. I think what they are really asking for, and what they are entitled to, is respect. Respect does not mean that I have to pretend that a person with one arm is "like myself." He is not. Indeed, no two people in the world are alike. This is precisely the reason that I have such a difficult time with concepts of multiculturalism. In a sense, everyone is their own culture. I don't believe that anyone should be persecuted for any reason. In summary, I hope that the students in Blue Springs get the message that it is important to respect individuals with disabilities, and that it is possible to do so without ignoring their problems.

Reflect on meaning of Sunday, pope says. By John Thavis, Catholic News Service
Too many people, including myself, treat church service as a place to socialize, politicize or receive a theological lesson. While all of these might be acceptable benefits of going to church, they should not be the motivating factor. I am going to work towards a more spiritual experience on Sundays. This should inlcude prayer and sacrifice.

AIDS patients find hope, health at Catholic-run center in Thailand. By Anto Akkara, Catholic News Service
The world would be poorer without the efforts of some Catholics, along with people of other faiths, to reduce suffering and poverty.

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