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January 16, 1998     The Message
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January 16, 1998
 

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4 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana . A look at life in the middle By PAUL R. LEINGANG Editor It was a thought-provoking comment. It came from the director of the movie, "Titanic," and it concerned one of the difficulties in making the movie. The news article I was reading included some of the details about the movie -- how much it cost, how diligently the director worked to reproduce the car- peting and the furnishings and the diflnerware and so on. But the one thing that impressed me the most there would be acts of brutal cowardice as an ulti- mate game of "me first" was played with life-and- death stakes. The passengers could know nothing of the future. All they had was the present, but theirs was a present at least for some  full of luxury and extrava- gance, and empty of the fear that would fall upon them so swiftly on a dark night in the ocean. And at least for a while, I found I could put aside the certain knowledge of impending doom, and for a while, I could enjoy this life on a grand excursion. Oftentimes, it seems to me, we who are residents of the world today judge the people of the past not by was the challenge that the director faced in telling the the details of their daily lives, but by what happened story of the Titanic to people who knew how it ended. We all know the Titanic sank. The passengers had no such knowledge. The task of the director was to get the members of the audience to suspend their knowledge of his- toric fact, and to experience at least a little of the excitement enjoyed by the passengers, who knew only that they would be traveling on what was at that time, the largest moving thing ever built by man. We who watched the movie knew the ship would hit an iceberg. We knew there would be a great loss of life. We knew there would be heroes giving up their own lives so that others could survive. We knew in the end. We forget that they could not see the end- ing of the story the way that we can. We know that Mary said "yes" to be the mother of Jesus -- and at times we think it must have been easy, because we know how the story turned out. We don't know what it was like to hope for a cure from a wandering teacher whom some said was the Messiah -- the same one some said was a carpenter's Son who would never amount to anything. Examine the life of a person you admire. Search for the signs of faith, the dedication and the commit- ment along the way. Examine the other side of the picture, the side that includes people society judges as clothes make the man? What can you human dignity of a person or a in z of the people in the jail guilty? Talk bers or friends about the quick j often make in a neighborhood or church or ty. What is the basis for thinking you ing to a person's story? Examine your conclusions about parents or ancestors. Try to imagine their middle, before the conclusion they foreseen. Take the time to get to know one's life in the middle. Help a child to become aware of the ney, what it was like to live in the the prejudices of knowing how Search inside and outside of your .... about people in your your conclusions about Read the middle portions of the of the life and works and faith of Jesus. Help another avoid "jumping to can make a difference. Comments about this column are prleing@cfm.org or the Christian Famil Box 272, Ames, Iowa 50010. New mood, new approaches for 25th anniversary of Roe vs. By NANCY FRAZIER O'BRIEN Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- A particularly gruesome form of abortion and a particularly ardent supporter of legal abortion in the White House may have changed the face of the pro-life movement forever. "There's a different mood in the pro-life movement" as the 25th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs. Bolton decisions approaches, according to Bishop James T. McHugh of Camden, N.J., who was there at the beginning as director of what was then called the U.S. bishops' Family Life Division. "At 25, the pro-life movement is more convinced that it has to go for the long, long road," Bishop McHugh said. Even five years ago, the movement "did- 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 47711 ! Weekly newspaper .-' of the Diocese of .%-]d" Evansville ta.  Jn Decerrr by the CatholC Press of Evanslte ............. st,,op Gerald A, Getnger E .....................................  R. t Productio Tan ............... J0rall Dietrich Advertising .................................. Pau{ Neancl Staff Writer ............................ Mary nn Hues Address al commun,ations to P.O. Box 4169. Evansville, IN 47724-0169 Subscription rate: $17.50 per year Single Copy Price: $50 E,eed as perr..a rler at the post office n E,rar',4te, IN 473'01 Pk:aton number 84380 Po'vste: F1m PO0 torn, 3579 tO Off,...e f n't have such a clear vision" and was plagued with "competing approaches," he said. He attributed the changes to a number of factors, including President Clinton's "deter- mined, resolute pro-abortion effort," which he said has been "a bracing factor for the pro-life movement," and the education of Congress and the U.S. people about the realities of partial- birth abortion. Clinton's efforts against any restrictions on abortion -- even partial-birth abortions -- has "pulled the pro-life movement together" by showing "how powerful and how obstruction- ist presidential power can be when applied" to a single issue, he added. Also crucial to the change, Bishop McHugh said, is the looming threat of assisted sui- cide, once considered by many just a theoretical part of the "slip- pery slope" but now a real dan- ger to the elderly, disabled and other vulnerable populations. In its twin rulings on Jan. 22, 1973  Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs. Bolton -- the Supreme Court declared the abortion statutes of Texas and Georgia unconstitu- tional, effectively throwing out similar laws of 44 other states in the process. On the 25th anniversary, the March for Life in Washington will have a new look, courtesy of the national Knights of Columbus, who have paid for 15,000 new placards to be car- ried by the marchers and for two 10-foot-by-20-foot bill- boards along the march route The placards and billboards bear such slogans as "Pro-life: Here until no more children die, no more women cry," Mother Teresa's description of abortion as "the greatest destroyer of peace and love," and "Abortion kills. It's that simple." Helen Alvare, who helped to develop the placards and bill- boards in her role as director of planning and information for the U.S. bishops' Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities, said the new materials are aimed at two audi- ences  "the pro-life people themselves in D.C. for the march and the public watching the pro- life activities at home and won- dering 'Who are these people?"' Although Jan. 22 will be "a Washington Letter Abortion fight: What we can do To the editor:. The 25th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade is coming, millions of abortions are being done, including the horrible partial birth abortion. We have to continue our efforts to rid our country of this terrible injustice to human life. We must notify our senators and representatives and sup- port the upcoming post card campaign against partial birth abortion. We must offer finan- cial support to Right to Life organizations and crisis preg- nancy centers. We must spend time volunteering. Last, but not least, our efforts must include daily prayer. God will hold us accountable for our apathy. Margie Dannheiser Evansville day to mourn" the 25-year-old decisions legalizing abortion, Alvare said, it is also "a day to thank the pro-life people for all that they have accomplished." One accomplishment of the pro-life community has been to put the lie to various claims about abortion put forth by those who want it to remain legal, she said. One of those lies is that women who have abor- tions feel only relief -- and per- haps a tiny twinge of regret after it is over. An exhibit on the 25th anniver- sary put together by the pro-life secretariat quotes an unnamed woman after an abortion. "Every- thing I read on abortion before [ experienced it told me that women who have abortions do not suffer from depression or regret afterward .... I could expect to feel relieved," she says. "Where did they get that from? I will never be the same again." As awareness of post-abor- tion trauma continues to grow, Alvare said, there will be greater efforts to reach the women who have failed to deal with that pain and have repeat abortions. With statistics showing that half of all abortions are per- formed on women who have had abortions before, the grow- ing outreach to women after abortions "could be a tremen- dous way to affect 50 percent of all abortions," she said. The pro-life movement's efforts to confront lies about abortion got a unexpected the 24th Wade when Ron ] executive Coalition admitted that ber of the) the perception" issue and won't She expressed i more i has accom what it was how it has at large. In a nat the National cational own answer. "Rather dicted 'cure' like teen abuse, not only problems societal evils no ( imagined in citing part and "The bottora said, "is condone killing good results fror Bishop's schedu March for Life, Washington, D.C., day, Jan. 21 and 22. Confirmation at St. Benedict Church, da); Jan. 24, 4:30 p.m. CST : i