Insight on the News
Priest Answers Pope
● In recent years a number of Roman Catholic priests in different countries have become involved in political activities supporting what are called “terrorist” or “guerrilla” groups. Such has been referred to as the ‘liberation theology.’ When Pope John Paul II visited Mexico he denounced priestly involvement in such causes. He acknowledged a need to help the poor, but said that priests must not become involved in political activities that lead to violence.
In this regard, the pope said: “The idea of Christ as a political figure, a revolutionary, as the subversive man from Nazareth, does not tally with the church’s catechism. The Gospels clearly show that, for Jesus, anything that would alter his mission as the Servant of Yahweh was a temptation.”
Similarly, other high church leaders say that priests should not align themselves with political activities that result in killing. But has this been the policy of the Church throughout history? Will it be in the future, if nations again become involved in war? Or is it a case of “they say but do not perform,” as Jesus observed?—Matt. 23:3.
Priest Ernesto Cardenal, a backer of one such “liberation” movement in Latin America, says it is the latter. He says that it is inconsistent for the Church to tell priests not to become involved in such political disputes when ‘the church for centuries has been blessing governments that kill.’ This contradiction also has been noted in a New York “Times” article that said: “In the past local Catholic hierarchies almost always supported the wars of their nations, blessing troops and offering prayers for victory, while another group of bishops on the other side publicly prayed for the opposite outcome.”
Germany a Missionary Field
● For centuries the churches of Christendom have dominated the lives of many people in Germany. However, the Lutheran State Church, supported by a number of independent religious groups, is now making preparations for 1980 to be a “missionary year” in the Federal Republic of Germany. Why? Because, as the “Swiss Evangelical Press Service” states: “Germany has become a missionary field.”
The press service notes that the Lutheran Church has been treating the work of evangelizing like a “stepchild” for centuries, taking for granted that Christian faith can be handed down from generation to generation automatically. But this is not happening now. The report observed: “Family, school, and society are by no means any longer dependable intermediaries or satellites of Christian faith. The internal and external emigration from the Church and from Christianity has taken on unexpected dimensions.”
Should Children Be Spanked?
● In the past, children were usually spanked when that became necessary. True, the practice has been abused by incompetent parents. One result of this is that most modern child psychologists are against spanking. While some now question this view, the majority opinion is still as New York columnist Brenda Woods writes: “It’s obvious that none of the experts feels spanking is a good idea, but they no longer want you to feel quite so bad about doing it occasionally.”
However, the enormous increase in juvenile delinquency is one evidence that the ‘no spanking’ view has not helped matters. Who, then, knows best what the balanced view is? Surely it is God, who created humankind. His inspired Word states: “Foolishness is tied up with the heart of a boy; the rod of discipline is what will remove it far from him.” (Prov. 22:15) The Bible is clear that discipline includes good teaching and example, but does it exclude spanking? No, for Proverbs 23:13 says: “Do not hold back discipline from the mere boy. In case you beat him with the rod [or hand], he will not die.”—See also Proverbs 13:24.
Such discipline should not be administered in anger and hate, but out of loving concern, with appropriate explanations to children old enough to understand. Parents who have such a balanced, godly view find that as the discipline takes effect, it becomes less and less necessary to spank.