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February 25, 1994     The Message
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February 25, 1994
 

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-4 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana m Perspective -- Celebrating the Church of the home Things like this have probably happened to you, too. Last Sunday afternoon, we went to our parish to participate in a family activity focused on Lent. As soon as we finished the Way of the Cross, we rushed away to go to a birthday party for a two-year-old neighbor. That's quite a contrast. One minute, our thoughts and feelings were centered on the cruci- fixion, death and burial of our By PAULI Lord. A few minutes later, we were LEINGANG eating cake and ice cream. EDITOR That's what happens in every- daY, Ordinary life. Our parish activity had been well-organized and coordinated -- and it was fun, too. Family mem- bers worked together to make cocoons and butterfly wings -- symbols of death and resurrection. We planted some marigold seeds, with the hope they would rise from their burial sites as living plants. We concluded the planned activities by participating in a the Way of the Cross. As soon as our prayer service was over at church, we went to the birthday party, which was already in progress. Families were gathered at the 'home of the host family to celebrate a birthday -- an • event which also is filled with symbols. There were cards and balloons, and the children had worn party hats for a while. Cake and ice cream are important parts of the celebration, too -- per- haps we could consider them to be liturgical requirements for this cele- bration of the domestic church. The U.S. bishops write about the domestic church in their recent letter, "Follow the Way of Love." "As Christian families, you not only belong to the church, but your daily life is a true expression of the church," the bishops say. Continuing their letter to fami- lies, they offer a description of how ordinary daily life is holy. In part, they describe it this way: "You celebrate life -- birthdays and weddings, births and deaths, a first day of school and a graduation, rites of passage into adulthood, new jobs, old friends, family reunions, surprise visits, holy days and holidays. You come together when tragedy strikes and in joyful cele- bration of the sacraments. As you gather for a meal, you break bread and share stories, becom- ing more fully the community of love Jesus calls us to be." The bishops describe this ordinary life of the family as carrying out the mission of "the church of the home." Families "believe in God and that God cares about you." Families "love and never give up be- lieving in the value of another person." Families foster intimacy. For a perSon good and bad qualities to be accepted "is indispensable to forming a close • the Lord," the bishops say. Families evangelize, educate, welcome the stranger, forgive and seek tion and serve one another. That's all p life, and all part of the mission of the home. No domestic church does all of this but neither does the parish church san church. No family should consider be used for the Lord's purposes, the family is holy not because it is perfect, God's grace is at work in it, every day on the way of love." I have three suggestions to ever else you may be doing during Lent. ,: • Make the Way of the Cross at :: church• • Get a copy of the bishops and read it carefully and bishops generally refer to "family" stitute the words, "my family." • Go to a child's birthday party this celebration of the church of the home: After all, the Way of the Cross Love are somehow one and the same. ----- Washington Letter Religious rights law stirring up legal interest By PATRICIA ZAPOR plenty of reason to leave one of as the 47-year-old Americans ened. D. James Keil: Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- It's a field where victory is :'bs-ue'd?ii inches, where ,there isalmost certainly no fortune to be made and any glory is likely to be recognized within only a small circle. Yet a respected Washington attorney with diverse backing is about to launch a public in- : terest law firm to defend it -- religious liberty. At the same time a separate coalition of evangelical leaders is estab- lishing a defense fund to fi- nance efforts like his. • When the Becket Fund offi- cially opens in a month or so, it will join the well-established American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for Sep- aration of Church and State as well as the newer American Center for Law and Justice among the more prominent - specialists in religious liberty. " Its president and general _ counsel, Kevin J. Hasson, sees The MESSAGE 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. EVan@viUe, IN 47720-0169 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Published weekly except last week in December by the Catholic Press of Evansville Publisher .............. Bishop Gerald A. GetteSnger F.tor ............................................ Paul Leingang Production Manag ........................... Phil Boger CculatJon ................................... Amy Housrnan Advertising: .......... :::; .................... Paul Newlaod Stafff writer ......... : .................. MaP/Ann Hughes Address all communications to P.O. Box.4169, Evansville, IN 47724-0169 ", Subscription rate: :i"" $15.00 per year ' , Single Copy Price: $.50 .Enred as 2nd class matter at the post office in Evansvi|te, IN 47701. Publica- tion number 843800. Postmaster:Return POD forms 3579 to Office of Publication Washington's most prominent law firms to start a nonprofit firm to defend religious rights. "I'd been spending two- thirds of my time doing prod- uct liability cases and one- third of it on religious liberty law," said Hasson, a Catholic who holds a master's in theol- ogy in addition to a University of Notre Dame law degree. "I decided that while two-thirds of my practice I was proud of professionally, one third made me happy and made a contri- bution to society•" Hasson participated in the U.S. Catholic Conference's suc- cessful 1988 Supreme Court case in which Abortion Rights Mobilization sued over the USCC's tax-exempt status. In 1989 he defended the right of The Catholic University of America to deny tenure to Fa- ther Charles Curran in a dis- pute over the orthodoxy of some of his teachings. Since he was in college he's talked about specializing in re- ligious rights cases, so a year ago Hasson began the ground- work for the Becket Fund. Its diverse group of directors and advisers includes promi- nent Catholics: New York Car- dinal John J. O'Connor; Carl A. Anderson, a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and vice president for public policy of the Knights of Columbus; and Sargent and Eunice Kennedy Shriver. It also involves Mormon Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah; evan- gelical Christian Michael Mc- Connell, a University of Chicago law professor; and Jay P. Lefkowitz, former White House director of Cabinet af- fairs, who is Jewish. Having participated in sev- eral major religious rights cases, Hasson saw a conspicu- ous gap in interests repre- sented by such existing groups United for Separation of Church and State and those represented by the 3-year-old American Center for Law and Justice• Americans United was founded in response to con- cerns in the 1940s about the influence of Catholics on public school boards and the naming of a U.S. ambassador to the Vatican. While its membership has diversified to include people from a wide variety of religious denominations, its emphasis remains on rigid separation of church and state, often in school-related matters. Legal director Steven Green and a network of 60 to 70 volunteer attorneys around the country get involved in dozens of cases each year, advocating to elimi- nate church involvement in schools and other public insti- tutions. Like Hasson, Green agrees most legal work in religious rights comes in increments rather than in big cases that change the whole scene. "Though we may only win an inch here or there, sometimes there's a whole lot at stake," he said. On another end of the spec- trum, the American Center for Law and Justice was estab- lished by the Rev. Pat Robert- son, Protestant television evangelist, specifically to advo- cate for Christian interests "and the promotion of pro-lib- erty, pro-life and pro-family causes." The center most recently has begun a nationwide campaign to protect the rights of public school students to participate in prayer groups or Bible clubs. Hasson intends the Becket Fund to challenge restrictions on religious expression no mat- ter what the source, no matter whose voice is being threat- "In the Becket Fund, our view is, religious diversity is to be celebrated," Hasson said. His ideals for the new firm are echoed by the name it carries, for St. Thomas Becket, the 12th- century English martyr killed for defending religious liberty under King Henry II. For perhaps the same rea- sons that Hasson believes reli- gious rights need another orga- nization, a coalition of evangelicals is launching the Alliance Defense Fund to fi- nance work like his and that of the American Center for Law and Justice. Alliance Defense Fund presi- dent Alan Sears noted that al- though its founders include Donald Wildmon of the Ameri- can Family Association, James Dobson of Focus on the Family, Ridge Protestant the fund also rights activistS..o! Twenty P sources freedom to sa the balance pornography ily pre legal training Sears said grant will go ers who are "bubble be heard b Court in are lished at within which banned. Bishop's The following activities and events schedule Of Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger, :