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February 27, 1998     The Message
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February 27, 1998

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127,1998 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 5 Fast and abstinence=. By BISHOP GERALD A. GETTELFINGER celebrated the "holy day" of Ash a holy day, yet it is the day on t'o focus attention on some particular toward holiness. with a call to acknowl- leads us into the celebration of each of you received the ashes as a your own mortality. 'ou and I decompose -- rot. The body earthly elements "Remem- and unto dust you shall Imust listen to the meaning of the blunt. They are descriptively real -- the end, not the ultimate life with God. of Ash Wednesday suggest the need rly the word of Ash Wednes- from the earth, we are :t as animals. We are made of the When animals die they rot. They dust of the earth from which they came. driven by instinct in order to protect Animals naturally reproduce them- selves. When threatened, they defend themselves. They act from instinct, not by choice. We humans have similar instincts in our very nature. We know them. Unlike the other animals, we have the gift of will by which we can keep those urges under control. We are very aware of the urges to reproduce ourselves. We are also conscious of the passion of anger designed to protect and defend the very life that is ours. Happily, we are more than animals. We are not only able to make choices, from our ability to know, we can come to believe in things we do not fully understand. We can choose to believe in God or not. Belief in the unknown is a matter of choice. We Catholic Christians believe that God has promised us the gift of immortality through his Son Jesus. There- fore, we believe that we do not die when the body is worn out; when it dies; when it returns to its natural elements of earth. Ponder what God has given us. God is a risk- taken God is not afraid to give us a will by which we choose how to act. In his generosity God has given us free will. God does not force us. Free will gives us the power to choose our own eternal destiny be it heaven or hell. The will is hard to control at times. Lent gives us a chance to reflect on our personal choices. It provides us a framework to bring our human and animal urges into check. The traditional Lenten practices are prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Lent is a time to be renewed in personal prayer. It is time when families are encouraged to gather in prayer at home either around the table or at bedtime. The dietary laws of fast and abstinence are imposed by the Church to encourage self-control. They are merely symbolic, yet if we practice them faithfully, we will learn greater self control and even lose a few pounds. The dietary requirements for Roman Catholic have been reduced to the minimum: Adult Roman Catholics of the age of 18 and in good health, are obliged to fast and abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Catholics 14 and older are obliged to abstain from the flesh of warm-blooded animals on all Fri- days throughout Lent. All Catholics are encouraged to practice self- denial and to reach outside of ourselves to be of assistance to those less fortunate. Almsgiving means giving money for the poor. It can also be done by giving time and energy in service to others. I invite you to join with me in an attempt to do a modified fast each day during Lent. Keep it simple. Try not to eat between meals. For those who have health problems, be faithful to what the doctors have prescribed for you. Further, for those of us who do not get enough exercise, let us be renewed in our resolve to exercise daily. Be generous as your heavenly Father is generous and this Lent will transform you -- from the ashes of Wednesday to the new and everlasting life of Easter Sunday. accord reached; church officials urge against force (CNS) and others the use of for an end to against Iraq secretary- officials a written Iraqi crisis )e that the Open the way to rgo against the :orament came Secretary- worked out officials to Weapons inspec- a of Iraqi tar- still cau- aCCord, which Iraq, its - agreement, te the action," said Joaquin said he hoped be ratified by r Council. United to attack Hus- capa- Weapons of including to U.N. gave weapons to sites. The sites declared off- Saddam for before the Feb. lI urged Annan to visit Iraq "as soon as possible." The pope's message, delivered verbally by Archbishop Renato R. Martino, Vatican nuncio to the United Nations, was, "It seems that your personal visit will be of great help toward the solution of the present crisis." The nuncio said Annan attended a World Day of Peace Mass celebrated by Cardinal John J. O'Connor Feb. 15 at St. --U.S. Patrick's Cathedral in New York. In the homily, Cardinal O'Connor also encouraged Annan to visit Iraq in an effort to prevent war, Archbishop Martino reported. Annan responded by saying he was "touched" by the expres- sion of papal interest and asked Archbishop Martino to convey thanks to the pope for his prayers, the nuncio reported. Speaking in an interview with the Italian magazine II Regno in mid-February, the Vatican nun- cio to Iraq, Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzamtto, criticized the embar- go of Iraq, the U.N. weapons inspection efforts there and what he said were U.S. economic interests behind the threat of mil- itary action. Archbishop Lazzarotto said it was time that world opinion rec- ognize that the tactics adopted against Iraq "are against human rights and, in reality, hide enor- mous economic interests." He said the U.S. policy deci- sions were explained by the fact that oil prices had decreased to the point that oil companies were losing millions of dollars a day. Iraqi Chaldean-rite Patriarch Raphael I Bidawid said he thought the current crisis in Iraq could be solved quickly if the West would lift the "humiliat- ing" trade embargo against his count. In an interview with CNS Feb. 18, the patriarch said he did not understand why Americans and others believe Saddam is amass- ing new weapons or making tion was in defense of Iraqi chil- dren who have been subjected to the seven-year, U.S.-backed embargo against Iraq. Latin-rite Patriarch Michel Sabbah of Jerusalem told an international gathering of Chris- of the U.S. attornev's office. Vatican share the same basic In Bethlehem, West Bank, concerns about protection of some 1,500 high school and uni- humans in the region. versity students demonstrated "The United States and the agah'Lst a military strike on lraq. Vatican are as one as far as the Students stud the demonstra- protion of human: HgI iS '?: / concerned" and in their desire Ambassador to the Vatican Lindy Boggs plans to use them. He charac- terized such accusations as "illusions." Patriarch Raphael also said he had written to U.S. President Bill Clinton several months ago, urging him not to use "the pol- icy of two measures" when judging Iraqi actions. He said he thought it was unfair for the United States to accuse Iraq of being a threat to peace in the region without making the same accusation against coun- tries like Israel. Mairead Corrigan Maguire, winner of the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize for promoting peace in her tians during the third interna- tional Sabeel Conference Feb. 14 that the continuing U.N. sanc- tions against Iraq and a possible military strike would lead to "tragedy and the violation of human rights." The conference took place at various locations throughout Bethlehem, and Patriarch Sab- bah made his address at Bethle- hem University. Despite U.S.-Vatican differ- ences on the possible use of force against Iraq, U.S. Ambas- sador to the Vatican Lindy Boggs said she believes the Clinton administration and the for "peace, goodness and pro- tection of the people who are least able to provide protection for themselves," she said in an interview Feb. 17. She said the United States, like the pope, is particularly worried about the fate of the children, the sick and the elder- ly in lraq. But Boggs said it was impor- tant for people to remember that the U,S. goal is to restrain development of dangerous new kinds of weaponry that threat- en the'region. A married couple who visited Iraq in January said children there were the real victims. John Heid and Jane Hosking, members of a Duluth, Minn., ' Catholic Worker comnfunity known as Loaves and Fishes, made a two-week mission to deliver medical supplies and meet with Iraqi citizens and reli- gious leaders. "The impact of the embargo is falling squarely on the backs of the Iraqi people," Heid told the Catholic Herald, the diocesan newspaper of Superior, Wks ...... native Northern Ireland, was arrested Feb. 16 for her nonvio- lent protest of the threatened use of U.S. force against Iraq. Maguire staged her protest by refusing to leave the Federal Correctional Institution in Petersburg, Va., where she vis- ited jailed peace activist PhiUip Berrigan. The next day, Maguire appeared before U.S. District Judge Richard L. Williams, who dismissed charges at the request When contemplating the worth of human life, the [ implications of Christ's sacrifice are trulystagger- [ ing. if God's Son laid down his e for us, then in ] some mysterious, g, humbling way, the value [ of our lives is linked with the value of  life! [ Rev. Andrew Lansdown, [