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February 14, 1997     The Message
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February 14, 1997

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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 5 Bishop's Forum --- Valentines and presidents tone for the and 40 nights." in bodily form, us from the earth. It arth that our bodies will of life infused rnity. life has ed. One day, following of us to the body we know day of resurrec- there is life to be By BISHOP GERALD A. GETTELFINGER a of our need to be loved. for lack of a clearer location, that love and hate emanate. Love is most comforting -- and the us human beings. Hate on the )s most destructive. idence that a human tactile love will certainly coraes to the need for love we are all infants. Human life has innumerable examples of the ability of human beings to survive the most difficult of circumstances as long as they know they are loved. Recently in an unlikely circum- stance I had this brought home to me. I had gone to Taos Ski Valley for my winter "getaway." In order to acclimate to high altitude, we able to get into our hotel a day early to begin the "ski week." The St. Bernard Hotel prides itself on its European atmosphere. Its clients come for a week at a time. By arriving a day early, Father Mike Welch and I were coming into a dining room full of folks who had spent the week together. The seating of dining guests is arranged by the maitre d'. Since the hotel staff knew who we were, I expressed our desire not to disrupt the seating because it was the only night we would be with the current guests. Phyllis, the maitre d', placed us at a table for four. I reminded her that I did not want to disrupt things and she -- in her inimitable way -- remind- ed me that she had been doing this for some years and fully understood what she was about. We had a wonderful dinner in the company of a couple from Bloomfield, Michigan. As the evening unfolded we learned that we were in the presence of one of the three survivors of an ill-fated climb of Mount Everest in August 1996. His name is known and will become more familiar in movies to come. From the brief time we had together, however, I do not recall his name. For me, his story becloud- ed his identity. What was overwhelming to me was his state- ment that the "only thing that kept me alive was my promise to my wife that I would come home." His fidelity to that promise helped him to overcome his urgency for reaching the summit and to turn back without succeeding. That decision, made out of love, saved his life. Is there not a lesson for each of us? It is impor- tant to know that we are loved and that others need our love in return. Next week: Presidents' Week. Challenge to take a stand, to get involved January 22, known as Roe Unit- a legalized Has our this deci- answer this what Abor- procedure !nduces the or dead ients that we Crisis Preg. is the want question comes hear this dly a nick guilt and written by who wit- are six: two nurses, the not I is unex- like , earth, a tumultuous jarring. I see a move- ment. A small one but I see it. And then I see it again, and now I see that it is the hub of a needle in the woman's belly that is jerked first to one side then to the other. Once more it wobbles like a fishing line with a nibbling by a sunfish and again. "I know that it is the fetus that worries, thus the fetus that struggles against the needle struggling. How can that be? I think that that cannot be. I think the fetus feels no pain, cannot feel fear, has no motivation. It is merely a reflex. "I point to the needle. 'It is a reflex,' says the doctor. 'A reflex.' I hear him, but I saw something in that mass of cells understand that it must bob and butt and I see it again. "I have an impulse to shove the table. It is just a step, cease that needle, pull it out. We are not six, I think, we are seven. Something strangles there. An effort. Its effort binds me to it. I do not shove to the table. I take no little step. It would be mad- ness. Everyone here wants the needle where it is. Six do. No, five do. "Later, in the corridor, the doc- tor explains that the law does not permit an abortion beyond the twenty-fourth week. That is when the fetus may be viable. We stand together for a moment and he tells of an abortion when the fetus cried after it was passed. 'What did you do,' I asked? 'There was nothing to do but let it live,' he said. 'It did very well. A case of mistaken dates.' "Things like this make me come to understand that it isn't just a group of cells. It was a human being. It was a life.' What does God say about the life and personhood of a fetus? Persons have worth and identity your workslre wonderful, I know that full well." God's commandment forbids the taking of life. Exodus 20: 13, "You shall not murder." God is a God of restoration. He has a plan to take even the worst of sinners and sometimes they can become the greatest source of joy. God promises in 11 Chron- icles 7:14 "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their are not six, think, we are seven. II II I i before they are born. Jeremiah 1:5, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." Psalm 139:13-14 "For you cre- ated my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; land." To answer the question, "has our nation benefitted from the Roe vs. Wade decision?" No. We have gotten so far away from knowing what is right and what is wrong that we are in a moral crisis in our nation. We have the highest illegiti- macy, teenage birth and disinte- gration of the family rate in the world. We must decide to hum- ble ourselves and pray and seek His face and turn from our wicked ways, and then GOd will heal our land. Please decide to take a stand todayto bring our nation back to the morals that we were founded upon: We must today before it is too late. A great way to take a stand is by becoming involved with the Evansville Crisis Pregnancy Center either through your prayer support, financial sup- port, or by organizing a baby shower with your church or group and then donating the items to the "Love for Life" program. Wherever you feel the most comfortable getting involved I challenge you to do it and ,,, encourage others to get involved. Do it today and make a difference in someone's life. Your decision to get involved could save someone's life. Commentary submitted by Lori ,4. Devillez, director of New Life Pregnancy Services, Evans- ville. Abortion description taken from a tape recording by Steve Arterburn, at Minirth.Meier New Life Clinic, California. asks prayer breakfast to help reconcile hurting nation (CNs) _ asked for atmos- peo- an Prayer ttion of hurt," gath- parties need the most we With this and ehal- this enor. It's like somebody said, 'Here's this brave new world and I'm going to let you prepare for it and walk into it in the best shape you've ever been in.' And instead of doing that, half of us want to sit down and the other half of us want to get in a fight with each other." The National Prayer Break- fast draws people from around the country, from political, diplo- matic, military and business cir- cles. Actually just the main event of several days worth of workshops and speeches, the breakfast itself traditionally fea- tures an address by the presi- dent, as well as prayers and selections from the Bible, the Koran and other sacred texts read by politicians and clergy. Typically, the only news cover- age permitted of the events is of the president's address, which is released by the White House. As he did in his inaugural and State of the Union speeches, Clinton asked for a national spirit of cooperation and for political leaders to move beyond cynicism and negativism. He acknowledged that even he has fallen into the Washington tra- dition of trying to "get even," no matter with whom. "This town is gripped with people who are self-righteous, sanctimonious and hypocritical," Clinton said. "All of us are that way sometimes. I plead guilty, from time to time." Clinton asked for prayers as well as actions for the nation's poor -- such as providing jobs for welfare recipients  and for people elsewhere in the world who need the help of the United States  such as through the Urited Nations. But he spent most of his talk on the politicians and press who are "in the breach" of society. He said not long after he became president, he learned some of his conflicts with Con- gress and the Republican Party were part of the Washington way of getting even for past events. "I said, 'I didn't even live here tlien, why are they paying me back?" Clinton said. "They said, 'Oh, you don't understand, you've just got to pay back.' So then, pretty soon I was behaving that way. I'd wake up in the morning and my heart was getting a lit- tle harder. 'Now, who can I get even with?  "Sometimes you can't get even with the person that really did it to you, so you just go find some- body else, because you've got to get even with somebody," he said. "Pretty soon, everybody's involved in this great act." He said one of the things he's learned in life is you don't ever get even. The harder you try, the more frustrated you're going to be, because nobody ever gets even. And when you do, you're not really happy. You don't feel fulfilled," rhe United States is better than that,  said Clinton in ask, ing the audience for prayers for politicians, the press and others. "We need your help to get us out of it. We owe more than that to our people, to our future and to the world. We owe more than that to our heritage, to every. body from George Washington on that made us what we are today. And cynidsm and all this negative stuff is just sort of a cheap excuse for not doing your bst Tjth your life.: ........