Keep gambling out of church, government out of charity
Twice I have spoken with Cal Thomas about "church and state." Once at YSU where he signed one of his books and graciously gave it to me saying, "You must be Father Witt." The second occasion we were seated together on a flight to a ProLife conference. We agreed on some issues, differed on others, amicably.
Thomas' July 1 column on church and state leaves much to be said. There are not two but three agencies to be noted, each of which should be particularly devoted to one of three virtues. The virtues are justice, charity and truth. The province of government is justice, that of the church is to proclaim the truth and to practice charity. That of the third estate, namely the press, is to be ever vigilant to assure that both church and state practice the virtues and keep their houses clean. A tall order.
Vatican II reminded us that the church is "semper reformanda" -- always in need of reform." Thus when church officials fail to clearly proclaim the Gospel and the "hard sayings" of Christ, they cheat God's people of the nourishment needed to grow in holiness, as Jesus teaches in Matthew 5:19. What would Jesus do? Would he institutionalize and promote the gambling culture to support His mission? Does He want His Church to promote virtue, or to facilitate addiction to the creed of gambling?
With a whip Christ drove the gamblers out of the Temple, proclaiming, "You cannot serve God and money."
Furthermore, whenever the church abandons the works of mercy to the state, then Christianity has failed. (This is what the atheistic, socialistic, totalitarian states want: that people depend totally on the state for all health, educational and welfare services.) When charity, "that love of God which is poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit" (Romans 5:5) cannot motivate persons and resources to provide health services to the poor without appeal to "profit", Christ's revolution has been betrayed. We have His word for it in Matthew 25:31-46.
When the "third estate," the press, uses its great power to whitewash vice, or to "fudge" the truth, it seriously damages the community and will not escape the judgment.
Cal Thomas is right in much of what he says. But he can't say it all. Nor can I.
FATHER WILLIAM J. WITT, M.A., M. Div.
X Father Witt is pastor emeritus of St. Brendan Church.
Arts Council's role in Festival deserved credit
Those of us who worked to make the Summer Festival of the Arts on the YSU campus a success are grateful to The Vindicator for its support and for the front page article. However, we were disappointed that nowhere in that excellent article, or in the one that ran on June 24, was the role of the Youngstown Area Arts Council in this festival recognized.
Three years ago the Arts Council was invited to partner with YSU in the creation of a weekend-long festival, which entailed merging tour Walk On Wick, which had been presented for 18 years, with the larger event. It was a partnership we embraced wholeheartedly as it meant greater exposure for the Arts Council and all the non-profit arts organizations it represents as well as a chance to bring the arts to a greater audience in the Mahoning Valley. Much of what the Arts Council does, such as our Arts and Our Schools programs and our annual Outstanding Arts Teachers Awards, remain invisible to the public and this was a wonderful opportunity to make people aware of what the Arts Council is and does.
Under the direction of its coordinator, Sandra Elser Ciminero, the Summer Festival of the Arts has grown immensely in three years, and with the continued support of The Vindicator and its many other sponsors, we look forward to bigger and better festivals in the years to come.
X The writer is president of the Youngstown Area Arts Council.