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January 19, 1996     The Message
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0 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Faithful for Life the misuse of the helpless by those who should have been their protectors. Cain's response also makes one think of modern re- fusals to accept responsibility for our brothers and sisters. Often we see a lack of solidarity towards our society's weakest members -- the old, the sick, immi- grants, children m and .an indifference toward the world's peoples even when basic values such as sur- vival, freedom and peace are involved (Evangelium Vitae, 9). Jesus has shown us that his Father's only desire for sinners is forgiveness and restoration, for those who will accept it. Our cry to heaven over violations of trust must include an appeal for the forgiveness and salvation of any who have failed to be their brother's In preaching Christ's gospel, att of l,00s must speak these th{ngs a00oud00, Abortion and euthanasia are crimes and be00:0000aya00s which00 repeatedly arid consistently over the ages, the Church has condemned as contra00'y to Catholic faith00 or sister's keeper. Abortion and euthanasia are be- trayals of fidelity for which we Catholics should show a special dismay, while showing a specifically Chris- tian compassion for those involved. Fellow disciples of Jesus Christ, we'are called to be a welcoming community to all -- both those we choose, and those who are sent to us. Abraham of- fered hospitality to three strangers who emerged from the wilderness. Mary offered life and birth to a Child sent by God, and Joseph offered a home to them both. St. Martin of Tours shared his winter cloak with a shivering beggar, and St. Francis of Assisi kissed the open sores of a leper. They all realized the same thing: It was the Lord! When we take another into our keeping, it is not just our brother or our sister. When we go out of our way to help, it is not just our neighbor we serve. We serve the Lord of life, and we become truly alive ourselves. The Samaritan who was making his perilous way from Jerusalem to Jericho had every reason to be pre- occupied with his own endangerment and survival. But the sight of a stranger in more urgent need made that stranger a neighbor! It is often when we feel most at a loss that we encounter the Lord who comes in the guise of a stranger. At such times he comes as if his very life depends upon our welcome; but it is our lives, not his, that most depend upon it. As Pope John Paul II has said in his encyclical let- ter, Evangelium Vitae: "a great prayer for life is ur- gently needed, a prayer which will rise up throughout the world" (Evangelium Vitae, 100). And so we take his prayer as our own and invite all to pray: O Mary, bright dawn of the new world, Mother of the living, to you do we entrust the cause of life. Look down, 0 Mother, upon the vast numbers of babies not allowed to be born, of the poor whose lives are made difficult, of men and women who are victims of brutal violence, of the elderly and the sick killed by indifference or out of misguided mercy. Grant that all who believe in your Son may proclaim the Gospel of life with honesty and love to the people of our time. Obtain for them the grace to accept that Gospel as a gift ever new, the joy of celebrating it with gratitude throughout their lives and the courage to bear witness to it resolutely, in order to build, together with all people of good will, the civilization of truth and love, to the praise and glory of God, the Creator and lover of life. (Evangelium Vitae, 105) RECOMMENDED READING Related Church Documents Faithful for Life: A Moral Reflection addresses most directly the issues of abortion and euthanasia. At the same time, it draws on a consistent tradition of Church teaching on these and related concerns. Fol- lowing is a sampling of documents that are recom- mended reading for those who wish to learn more about the Catholic Church's teaching on specific is- sues touching on human life. Moral Teachings: General The Gospel of Life: (Evangelium Vitae), 1995, En- cyclical Letter of Pope John Paul II. Washington, D.C.: OPPS (No. 316-7). Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994. Washing- ton, D.C.: USCC Office of Publishing and Promotion Services (OPPS) (No. 511-9). The Splendor of Truth (Veritatis Splendor), Pope John Paul II, 1993. Washington, D.C.: OPPS (No. 679-4). Instruction on Respect for Human Life in Its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation: Replies to Certain Questions of the Day (Donum Vitae), Sacred Congre- gation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Boston: St. Paul Books & Media. Abortion The Gospel of Life: (Evangelium Vitae), 1995, En- cyclical Letter of Pope John Paul II. Washington, D.C.: OPPS (No. 316-7). Declaration on Procured Abortion, Sacred Congre- gation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 1974. Boston. Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities: A Reaffirma- tion, National Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1985, Washington, D.C.: NCCB Secretariat for Pro-Life Ac-, tivities (No. 7412). Resolution on Abortion, National Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1989. Washington, D.C.: NCCB Sec- retariat for Pro-Life Activities (No. 8908). Euthanasia The Gospel of Life: (Evangelium Vitae), 1995, En- cyclical Letter of Pope John Paul II. Washington, D.C.:OPPS (No. 316-7). Declaration on Euthanasia, Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 1980. Boston: St. Paul Books & Media. Statement on Euthanasia, NCCB Administrative Committee, 1991. Washington, D.C.: NCCB Secre- tariat for Pro-Life Activities (No. 9111). Nutrition and Hydration: Moral and Pastoral Re- flections, NCCB Committee for Pro-Life Activities, 1992. Washington, D.C.: NCCB Secretariat for Pro- Life Activities (No. 9213). Health and Health Care Ethical & Religious Directives for Catholic Hospi- tals, National Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1994. Washington, D.C.:OPPS (No. 029-X). A Framework for Health Care Reform: Protecting Human Life, Promoting Human Dignity, Advancing the Common Good, U.S.Catholic Conference, 1993. Washington, D.C.: OPPS, (No. 678,6). Health & Health Care, National Catholic Bishops, 1981. Washin 830-4). Called to Compassion and Responsi sponse to the HIV/AIDS Crisis, of Catholic Bishops, 1989.Washington, (No. 327-40). Marriage and Family On the Family (Familiaris Consortio), Paul II, 1981. Washington, D.C.: OPPS Letter to Families, Pope John Paul II, occasion of the Year of the Family. OPPS (No. 793-6). Putting Children and Families for Our Church, Nation, and World, U,I Conference, 1992. Washington, D.C.: 4). On the Regulation of Birth (Humanae Paul VI, 1968. Washington, D.C.: Follow the Way of Love: A Pastoral ilies, National Conference of Catholic Washington, D.C.: OPPS (No. 677-8). Peace The Harvest of Justice is Sown in tion of the National Conference of B Tenth Anniversary of The Challenge Washington, D.C.: OPPS(No. 705-7). The Challenge of Peace: God's Promse sponse, National Conference of 1983. Washington, D.C.: OPPS (No. Called to be Peacemakers and 1995 World Day of Youth Resource ton, D.C.: OPPS (No. 053-2). Social Justice/Various Issues A Century of Social Teaching, U.S. ence, 1990. Washington, D.C.: OPPS (No. The Hundredth Anniversary of R, (Centesimus Annus), Pope John Paul ington, D.C.: OPPS (No. 436-8), On Social Concern (Sollicitudo Rei John Paul II, 1987. Washington, D.C.: 5). Economic Justice for All, National Catholic Bishops, 1986. Washington, 101-6). Homelessness and Housing: A Moral Challenge, U.S. Catholic Confer Washington, D.C.: OPPS (No. 216-0). Renewing the Earth: An Invitation Action on Environment, U.S. 1992. Washington, D.C.: OPPS (No. Political Responsibility: Democracy, U.S. Catholic Conference, ton, D.C. ',: Violence Confronting a Culture of Framework for Action U.S. Catholic Washington, D.C.: OPPS(No. 028-1). When I Call for Help: A Pastoral mestic Violence Against Women, of Catholic Bishops, 1992. Washingtn'i (No. 547-X). When You Preach, Remember Me' t starter video on helping to break the violence (with study guide), 1993. D.C.:OPPS (No. 680-8). Women Strengthening the Bonds flection on Women in the Church. Catholic bishops of the U.S. at their in November 1994. Washington, 6). On the Dignity and Vocation of Dignitatem), Pope John Paul II, D.C.: OPPS (No. 244-6). :! 'Faithful for Life' printed with help from Catholic Charities, U.S. Faithful for life : A Moral Reflection was issued by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in June 1995. Reprinting the text of the statement aged by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Evansville, and it is reprinted with financial assistance from the Secretariat for Pro-life Activities, of Catholic Bishops. The statement emphasizes faithfulness, or fidelity, to "those we choose and, beyond them, to others we do not choose," the bishops say. "It is chosen to go out ouf our way for them." The bishops also note that "The family has a special role to play throughout the life of its members, for it is that neighboring begins  or does not." Principals and teachers at six schools in the Diocese of Evansville haveordered additional copies of this issue of the Message, in order to study .... ment with ,heir students. Photo credits are as follows: photo of priest speaking with a young woman  photo by A1 Stephenson/USCC; Mother Teresa with baby -- photo by Mannion, young girls with babies  photo by Good Counsel, Inc.; cover photograph  photo by USCC. Faithful for life :A Moral Reflection. Copyright 1995 by the U.S. Catholic Conference, Washington, D.C. Reprinted with permission.