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March 13, 1992     The Message
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March 13, 1992

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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Perspective March 13, By PAUL LEINGANG Message Editor I was walking carefully around a muddy area toward the small stream which flows through a field near Sarto Retreat House. As I turned to cir- cle the area softened by the rains of spring, I looked up through a grove of trees and saw the re- treat house from an angle I had never seen before. It was Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, an unusual day to begin with -- but even more unusual because it had been set aside as a day of prayer. The special day provided opportunities for the people who work for the Church in southwest- ern Indiana to reflect on the process of planning that would lead to a diocesan synod. At the begin- ning of our Lenten journey, it was an appropriate time to reflect on the beginning of our diocesan journey toward a synod and beyond. The weather was warm and comfortable -- and so was the day itself. Symbols of water and Lent: Searching for solid footing on journey to Easter ashes -- comfortable and common Catholic symbols -- gave rise to reflection on universal religious themes. Life, death, and our relation- ship to our God. Following one of the presentations of that day, I took advantage of the pleasant weather and the general quiet to walk through a grove of trees near the retreat house. I walked further, through low-lying land sometimes flooded by heavy rain. I walked carefully through a field of small, recently planted trees. I searched out solid footing and avoided soggy areas. That is when I turned and looked toward the retreat house, and that is when I saw it from a com- pletely new angle. It is amazing how a simple act of taking a quiet walk on a warm day can turn into a sym- bol. As I searched for the best path to take, I re- alized that Lent provided the opportunity for me to search for solid footing on my own jour- ney toward Easter. It is the path of the synod, too -- one that must be planned with care and thoughtfulness, not a path to be chosen in unthinking hurried" ness. Just as there are young and fragile plants in the field, there are tender areas in my journey.. Easy damage can result from a careless step. And so it is on the way to the synod. The result of some reasonable care and con" cern may well be the same -- a surprising view of a familiar place from a new angle. Beyond Lent and Easter is the gentle turn of the Spirit who makes all things new. Somewhere in the twists and turns of the synodal process, we will look up and see our comfortable and familiar Church with new ey Washington Letter The candidates and abortion: Not as clear-cut as it seems By IANCY FRAZIER O'BRIEN Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS} -- In the 1992 presidential cam- paign, the differences on the question of abortion seem to break down clearly along party lines -- the Republican candidates support the pro- life stance, while the Democrats all favor the pro- choice agenda. The contrast seems espe- cially clear-cut on the Free- dom of Choice Act, which all the major Democratic presi- dential contenders have en- dorsed and which President Bush has vowed "will not be- come law as long as I am president." Patrick Buchanan, Bush's main adversary for the Re- publican nomination, also opposes the Freedom of Choice Act and has called Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision le- galizing abortion, "a tragic travesty of constitutional in- terpretation." Hearings on the proposed legislation, which would pro- hibit states from legislating ,abortion restrictions even if toe vs. Wade is overturned, opened March 4 before the The MESSAGE 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, 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. Gettelfinger Associate Publisher ............... Rev, Joseph Ziliak Editor ............................................ Paul Leingang Production Manager ........................... Phil Boger Circulation .................................... Susan Winiger Advertising .................................... Paul Newtand Address all communications to P.O. Box 4169, Evansville, IN 47724-0169 Subscription rate: $12.00 er year Single Copy Price: $.50 Entered as 2nd class matter at the post office In Evansville, IN 47701. Publica- tion number 843800. Postmaster: Return POD forms 3579 to Office of Publication  1902Prof House Judiciary subcommit- tee on civil and constitutional rights. The full House and Senate are expected to vote on the bill in July or August. In a speech to the National Association of Evangelicals March 3 in Chicago, Bush said the Freedom of Choice Act "would impose on all 50 states an unprecedented regime of abortion on de- mand, going well beyond even Roe vs. Wade." That stand and others like it led the National Right to Life Political Action Commit- tee to endorse Bush for presi- dent. "For his courageous de- fense of unborn children, President Bush has earned the gratitude of millions of pro-life Americans," said Carol Long, director of the political action committee, in announcing the endorsement March 2. The National Right to Life PAC announcement did not mention Buchanan, but it said another goal during the presidential campaign will be to educate voters "on the ex- tremist pro-abortion position of all the Democratic presi- dential candidates." U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, who withdrew from the presidential race March 9, is a co-sponsor of the Freedom of Choice Act, as is Sen. Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, who Questions and answers about Lent To the editor: I read the article about Lent on the front page of your Feb. 28 issue. It says that Lent be- gins Ash Wednesday and ends Holy Thursday evening. I was taught that Lent was 40 days, when I was young. They said it began on Ash Wednesday and ended on Holy Saturday at midnight. When I counted up the days on the calendar, I came up with a total of 46! When I asked father, he quickly explained that the six Sundays during Lent are not considered part of Lent. Thus, 46-6=40. If the diocesan view of Lent is currently Ash Wednesday through Holy Thursday, how do they come up with 40 now? John Frenz Vincennes Father William Deering, diocesan director of worship, responds. The answer is quite clear: ccording to current liturgical, practice, the days of Lent do not add up to 40. Lent, as observed by the Roman Catholic Church, runs from Ash Wednesday until the Mass of the Lord's Supper exclusive, according to "Gen- eral Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar" (#28). The Mass of the Lord's Sup- per is celebrated on Holy Thursday evening. Early Christians fasted two or three days, and at times for two or three weeks. The num- ber 40 is first noted in the Canons of Nicea (A.D. 325), likely in imitation of Jesus' fast in the desert before his public ministry. For centuries, however, the fast of "forty days" did not last for 40 days. In Jerusalem " in the fourth century, a fast of eight five-day weeks was ob- served, but some Eastern Churches observed seven five-day weeks. Meanwhile, in most of the West, six six-day weeks were used, until the seventh cen- tury, when the four days in the week of Ash Wednesday were added,, to make forty. withdrew March 5. The other Democratic candidates--for- mer California governor Jerry Brown, Gov. Bill Clinton of Arkansas and former senator Paul Tsongas of Mas- sachusetts -- all have an- nounced support for the leg- islation. Brown said the abortion issue is "something people ought to talk about. Govern- ment and politicians should stay out of the privacy of the ... women of America. There is a zone of privacy that is sacrosanct." Harkin and Brown are Catholics, and Brown once trained as a Jesuit seminarian. Clinton, describing himself as "very strongly pro-choice," said the country would be torn apart if Roe vs. Wade is overturned, "and I hope it doesn't happen." But on other abortion-re- lated matters, there are some differences among the ]Je" cratic contenders. . sas, As overnor of ArlS .... Clintgn has suooorted . quirements that m'inors'Pt ents be notified befffre is abortion is performed;--tic the only major DemO:z : candidate to backthem' ,, Tsongas, in response t0 Associated Press querY':i  he opposed laws reqU'c0' parental notificatio,n, .s0 sent for abortion, 'beep they result in young w. seeking abortions u n,; gerous conditions.', tions on abortion, be '1 "should not be impose,  government at any leveb ssd Clinton also has oPYid state payments to P.,i abortions for poor witl Arkansas, but said re',,*,, that he "would not vedt bill funding abortions o federal level. Bishop'sschedule The following activities and events are listed on tla0 schedule of Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger