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January 23, 1998     The Message
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January 23, 1998

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23;1998 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 5 The 20th cer t and Shadows Nation 25 years after Roe vs. Wade statenzent was approved by the U.S. 12, 1997, and is issued olz the occa- ff the Roe vs. Wade decision. :y will not end without one more find us that this era of extraordi- also darkened by the shadows of Jan. 22, 1998, marks the 25th Supreme Court's rulings in Roe Bolton. Because of those deci- than 35 million children have been killed, e to justify abortion are now extend-  infanticide. Today babies are being killdd of delivery by a procedure called Many mothers have lost their , and countless others survive emotional or spiritual scars. Fathers also suffer grief for a child they honor to the Creator" ("Gaudium et Spes," 27). We recall what is best in our common national heritage: Human beings, simply because they are human, must be recognized as persons with funda- mental human rights. Our nation fought a terrible civil war because the practice of slavery was finally recognized to be inconsistent with our national ethos enunciated in the Declaration of Independence: All are endowed by their Creator with the inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Slavery is repugnant because it treats human beings as property to be disposed of at the will of another. It was morally absurd then to say: "I am personally opposed to owning slaves and would never own any myself, but I can't force my moral views on others. It is not the government's task to legislate morality. It is a personal choice." It is just as morally repugnant to say the same about abortion today. Our nation stands seen as an act of despera ..... of one's own child -- is now as a good and promoted as a Worse, a deadly blindness has come preventing many persons of the right of inno- to respect, acceptance and and an ethic of unlimit- " been used to undermine responsibility to protect life. has spread through our soci- powerless of all ages are Upon this panorama with shame, and I for all its victims. At the Council, Pope Paul VI said Good Samaritan" would guide with the world of today. So in a world blinded to the transcen- life, the church -- like the out- to come to the aid of the. eclipse of the spirit. It is in this spirit on this tragic anniversary. citizens we say: Abortion is an an act of violence against and the whole human family. unborn human life must be r nation. As the Second Vatican Council. us: "Whatever is opposed to life itself, w genocide, abortion, : illful self-destruction .... all these of their like are infamies indeed ....... society, but they do more harm them than those who suffer ; they are a supreme dis- ur condemnation of abortion is accompanied by an unswerving commitment to provide alternative solutions and compassionate care in respect for the dignity of all wounded by its violence. in judgment now, as it did more than a century ago: Are we to be a nation that honors its commitments to the right to life, or not? And if not, then just what does our nation stand for? No one has spoken more eloquently about the sacred value of human life than has our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II. It is he who reminds us that all who are "sincerely open to truth and goodness can, by the light of reason and the hidden action of grace, come to recognize in the natural law written in the heart (cf. Rom 2:14-15) the sacred value of human life from its very beginning until its end, and can affirm the right of every human being to have this primary good respected to the highest degree. Upon the recognition of this right, every human community and the political community itself are founded" ("Evangelium Vitae," 2). We see in our culturean ongoing conflict between good and evil, a conflict between life and death. As we strive to assure peace and justice, too often it is forgotten that the common good can only be served when the right to life, the right on which all ..... other inalienable rights of the individual rest and from which they develop, is acknowledged and defended (cf. "Evangelium Vitae," 101). In spite of the relentless propaganda in favor of abortion, most Americans have not become full',' insensitive to the killing of children so weak that they cannot cry for help. Indeed, the 1973 abortion deci- sions set in motion the broadest grass-roots move- ment this nation has ever seen. Our debt to those who serve the pro-life cause is immeasurable. They are the witnesses and bearers of our nation's most noble aspirations. In a special way, through the national debate on partial-birth abortion, they have focused the attention of Americans on the plight of the child. Perhaps the most uplifting sign of hope is the witness of those teen-agers and young adults who have come of age with legal abortion, but who are not seduced by its empty promises. They participate in the annual March for Life, fill our National Prayer Vigil for Life, organize supporters in their schools and campuses, run baby showers and write to us asking what they can do to end abortion. We especially honor the work of more than 3,000 pregnancy centers, as well as those hospitals, agencies and medical centers in radical solidarity with women in need of counseling, pre-and post-natal care, housing, material support and adoption services. And for those women who have had abortions and seek help to deal with its aftermath, Pro- ject Rachel and other post-abortion healing programs are available throughout the country. We pledge continuing support of these programs. Our condemnation of abortion is accompanied by an unswerving commitment to provide alternative solutions and compassionate care in respect for the dignity of all wounded by its violence. Such is the "spirituality of the Good Samaritan." To our fellow Catholics, we ask you to do even more for life. Reach out to women who are pregnant and in need of help, to families struggling with finan- cial or emotional difficulties. Stand by those who wish to choose life with the witness of solidarity, hope and service. Catholic families should be living symbols of our conviction that life is always, always a gift from God. Teach your children to respect human life from conception to natural death. Pray as a family for an end to this evil that destroys the weakest of the . weak, the poorest of the poor. May God strengthen us in our effort to bring about a culture of life and solidarity for the true good of the whole of human society (cf. "Evangelium Vitae," 101). Invites all Catholics to join statewide network CURTIS ic Conference of the 1998 General. - Under way, and many in are analyzed and diana Catholic Con- C can only be as atholic networkers if you will, but Catholics need to In fact, Ly that "par- obligation." t Years the ICC, the statewide coordinating body for the five Roman Catholic Dioceses in Indiana, has helped Catholics become active in the process. Its basic mission is to serve the spiritual, moral and material "In the Catholic Tradition, citizenship is a virtue, and participation in the political process is an obligation." -- Political Responsibility Statement of the Administrative Board of the U.S. Catholic Bishops 1995 well being of the people of the state by 1) assisting the five dioceses as a coordi- nation and communications center, 2) by following the activities of government at close range to discern trends, and 3) to officially represent the Catholic Church in public policy issues. Although there are more than 700,000 Catholics in the state, many are unaware of the Conference, its purpose and the Indiana Catholic Action Net- work (I-CAN). The ICC invites all Catholics to become part of I-CAN, a network that helps people participate in the political process by asking them to write and call state and federal lawmakers when important issues are being heard or when they are being voted on. Each bishop has appointed an ICC diocesan coordinator to direct formation of the networks within their dioceses. The Coordinators work with parish contact per- sons to build and main- tain the networks. They also serve as a link to the ICC staff. The ICC provides a newsletter called the I-CAN Update which gives networkers the information they need to stay on top of the important issues and also provides "Action Alerts" which give networkers information on whom to call when. For Catholics who like to surf the Inter- net, the ICC has provided position state- ments, links to state and national offi- cials, newsletters, e-mail and links to other state Catholic Conferences, on their home page ( Catholic networkers are encouraged to do five things. 1) Read the I-CAN Update Newsletter, 2) ome part of the telephone/e-mail tree, call other com- mitted Catholics in the local network to spread "Alerts," 3) Contact legislators to voice the reasons for supporting or opposing and issue, 4) Give feedback information to the staff regarding ICC issues, positions, and alerts, 5) Tell other Catholics about the ICC and how they too can join the ICC neV, vork. For more information on the ICC or to become part of the Indiana Catholic Action Network (I-CAN) contact your ICC diocesan coordinator: Diocese of Evansville, Judith Neff (812) 424-5536, e- mail The Word of Life Throughout the years I have been depressed, suicidal furious, outraged, lonely, and have felt a sense of loss .... Often I cry .... They say "ne heals all wounds .... But it doesn't heal the memories, at least not for me. ,,., Twen-fiw years have gone b: but the consequences of the aborticm are still going on .... Problems are not ended by alxrtion, but only made worse. -- Edith Young, mother of aborted child