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January 24, 1997     The Message
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January 24, 1997

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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 5 " Bishop's Forum --- The following column contt ues ' "n- ideas conta---, . ,sea tn two prev" Uns, entitled "Is that a [act us and Izzat so/" '" " p_Nowcomes the pe lexm ,uotemtb ..... rp g inn. u_, "very uatholic Christ- d':"=. am I to do with factual, -mnentab , le, Information that ere has been an infraction of i er moral or civil law th .nin. o .... at is o  , uc least comvromising tot another member ty, hence tho , of the commu- Ilf " 'ctrlOllc community ,..As You can imagine, I am not Sielded from this Yselfat lno,  type of information. I must ask First i,[ tour very important questions. eralindepen_ae.reprted "fact" verifiable from sev- uent SOUrces? In other words, did ]t By BISHOP GERALD A. GETTELFINGER It's a fact happen? Is it fact? Then, and only, then the other three questions come into play. Second, if it is fact that a cer- tain individual or individuals have committed a serious violation of either moral or civil law, what am I to do about it? Third, do I have a civil or moral obligation to report such a violation? Fourth, who needs to know? Are there civil and moral authorities who need to be notified? Notice that I have used careful- ly the word "serious" violation of moral or civil law. The reality is that more often than not, the violations of a much lesser magnitude. The same questions apply. We who profess to be Catholic Christians are bound by the law of charity. Most notably the eighth commandment of the Mosaic law challenges us not to bear "false" witness against our neighbor. Howev- er, the fifth commandment of the same law states it clearly: "Thou shalt not kill!" Passing on hurtful information about another, although true, is a mode of killing another person's reputation unless there is reason to tell those who "need to know." Unless there is reason to report my coming to knowledge of a bit of information that is true even though not serious, I am obliged in charity to remain silent. I have no right to pass on information about another even though it be true. This is the greatest challenge to human kind. We are prone not only to pass on gossip or untruths, but also to relish in telling truths that lessen the stature of another. I suppose the best measure for our handling of such information is the lesson we learned from early childhood, Christ's words -- in common parlance, "The Golden Rule." Recall it! Recite it! Implement it! ing for the people we are about to serve t. by the Society of the Faith of two Sis- of a Francis Bra- Lg SOme 30 his com. people they raganza and Sisters of the to life to be with Lhe day* he Working in two Sisters g glve their and ,lag them in them ele- priest -rs about age, and celebrated lamp with insects swarming all around. Often a torture! (Can you feel them?) The near-silence of the forest is broken then by song, the people's "bhajans" or hymns. "They sing beautifully," Bish- op Braganza affirms. 'rhe whole congregation participates." From day to day, so many needs of the people are addressed. Some 300 Sisters, many engaged in medical work, serve in small dispensaries or possibly from a mobile clinic. In this culture in which girls do not ordinarily receive an education, the Sisters have had remarkable success in helping young women to study and graduate from high school. ,Now, among the priests and seminarians of the area, are sev- eral tribal men. About 60 lay cat- echists serve with the priests and the Sisters, and, Bishop Bragan- za says, "We are lucky to have a cloistered Carmel Convent with very generous and cheerful Sisters praying for the diocese." In the very area where Mass was celebrated under a tree near- ly 30 years ago, a large school now educates young students, tribal youngsters, whose parents would never have seen a book! Bishop Braganza says: "I am filled with gratitude to the good Lord for giv- ing us an opportunity to serve these poor people." With its challenges through the years of swarming insects, panthers roaring in the forest and sometimes a five-hour walk for a priest to reach a village mission, life in the Diocese of Baroda might seem light years removed from our own lives. But the missionaries of Baroda are part of our family, the family that is "all of us committed to the worldwide mission of Jesus." Bishop Braganza and those who serve with him - priests, Sis- ters, catechists depend very greatly on our love for Christ and His Church and our readi- ness to carry on His worldwide mission. So do those who serve in close to 1,000 other mission areas around the world! Will you be one of the people they can count on? One of the people who will pray and sacri- fice to help their people come closer to Christ? Will you make a special commitment to pray and sacrifice through the Propaga- tion of the Faith ? This year, the Propagation of the Faith is celebrating 175 years of encouraging prayer and sacrifice for the missionary work of the Church. Founded in 1822 through the vision of a young French lay woman, Pauline Jari- cot, the Propagation of the Faith has become the very heart of the Church's worldwide mission support. From the "penny-a-week" sought by Pauline Jaricot (and this was a real sacrifice for the fac- tory workers who were the origi- nal members of the Propagation of the Faith), sacrifices now are gath- ered from Catholics of the world. These sacrifices become the basic support of the daily work of young churches such as Baroda in India, just as others' sacrifices were basic support for the Church in the United States during the last cen- tury. To join in the work of the Propagation of the Faith, you resolve to: include in your daily prayers the people in mission dioceses and those who bring them the good news of God's love in Christ, serving them in truly life-changing ways. offer your personal sacrifices (your anxiety, your pain, your disappointments, your loneli- ness) in union with the suffering of Christ for the redemption of all people. In helping in this way, you are in holy company. St. Therese of Lisieux, who died 100 years ago this year, never "went" to the Missions, but she offered her many sufferings so that others might come to Christ. Pope Plus XI named St. Therese as patroness of all the missionary efforts of the Church, with St. Francis Xavier, patron of the missions, the great missionary to the Far East. offer your financial support through the Propagation of the Faith for mission priests, Sisters and Brothers, Religious and cat- echists. (When St. Therese was a school girl, she saved her small coins in a box. As she wrote in her Story of a Soul, "It was from this box that I drew my offerings on the big feasts when there were special collections for the Propagation of the Faith or sim- ilar works.*) Today, the Propagation of the Faith asks a sacrifice of $10 for each annual family membership, You may enroll yourself, a fami- ly member or a friend, whether living or deceased. Each person you enroll will receive the grace of the 15,000 Masses celebrated for those who make this special commitment every year by mis- sion priests. Please resolve today to make Jesus' worldwide mission a part of your daily life and then write to Msgr. Clarence Sehlachter at P.O. Box 4169, Evansville IN 47724-0169. Baptized into Christ, we are called -- each one of us -- to be His missionaries to the people of all the world. Here is a special opportunity to say "Yes" to the Lord. And pray for the people you are about to serve! n speech cites cardinal's words about gift of time trice (CNs)  In ch about and the late of and US," nothing small. - timeless own acrimony the Weeks before he died of cancer. The car- dinal first announced the project in mid- August. "Fellow citizens, we must not waste the precious gift of this time," Clinton added. "For all of us are on that same jour- ney of our lives. And our jour- ney too, will come to an end. But the journey of our Amer- ica must go on." His speech emphasized the challenges the country faces as a new millennium dawns. =We began the 19th centu- ry with a choice, to spread our nation from coast to coast," he said. "We began the 20th century with a choice, to harness the Industrial Revo- lution to our values of free enterprise, conservation and human decency. Those choic- es made all the difference. "At the dawn of the 21st cen- tury, a free people must now choose to shape the forces of the Information Age and the global society, to unleash the limitless potential of all our people, and yes, to form a more perfect union." .inton k J, quotes 00rdinal Bernardin: 'It is wrong to waste the precious gift of time on acrimony and division.' I I II I I H H I , ,,, Clinton said the nation has resolved its great debate over the role of government. =Today we can declare: government is not the problem and govern- ment is not the solution. We -- the American people  we are the solution." The president said every American must assume per- sonal responsibility not only for ourselves and our families, but for our neighbors and our nation." Echoing the thoughts of one of several ministers who spoke at a prayer service just hours before the inauguration ceremony, Clinton warned against accepting "prejudice and contempt, cloaked in the pretense of religious or polit- ical conviction .... " "These forces have nearly destroyed our nation in the past,  he continued. "They plague us still. They fuel the fanaticism of terror. And they torment the lives of millions in fractured nations all around the world. "We cannot, we will not, suc- cumb to the dark impulses that lurk in the far regions of the soul everywhere. We shall overcome them. And we shall replace them with the generous spirit of a people who feel at home with one another." At the earlier prayer service, the Rev. Anthony Campolo, founder and president of the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of F_Aucation, told Clin- ton and the other politicians pre- sent "if you are to be the leaders you are called to be, you must be ready to resist the dark forces2 He said that includes the forces who, under the cloak of religion, say =if you don't agree with us we will persecute you."