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March 22, 1996     The Message
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March 22, 1996

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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Pro-life coordinators attend Day of Recol By PAUL R. LEINGANG Message editor Individualism and self-cen- teredness are like computer viruses in our society, accord- ing to Jim Collins, director of Catholic Charities in the Dio- cese of Evansville. He said those qualities have been im- planted "in the software of our own homes," and many people are not even aware of their presence. Collins was one of the speak- ers at a Day. of Recollection fro pro-life coordinators, held at the Catholic Center, Evansville, March 16. Nineteen pro-life co- ordinators from parishes in the Diocese of Evansville partici- pated. The computer virus compari- son surfaced during a lunch- time discussion. During his presentation to the group, Collins spoke about the efforts of the U.S. bishops to take a stand against abortion and eu- thanasia. He cited the recent statement of the bishops, "Faithful for Life." Ziba Graham, director of parish and community services at Catholic Charities, told the pro-life coordinators that a marketing effort was under- way in the United States, to make euthanasia acceptable. He pointed out similarities to the way in which pro-abortion forces emphasized "choice" in their marketing. Graham pointed out that the pro-euthanasia forces were using the phrase, "death with Pro-life coordinators take a break before lunch, at a Day of Recollection, March 16. Par- ticipants include, from left, front row, Deanna Goossens, Debbie Brockman, Pat Flake and Grace Robertson; back row, Brian Market and Mary Flake. -- Message photo by Paul R. Leingang dignity." and trying old people as have the right  Bene Linton pointed expressed by about "the fraying c Father ular culture the language of duty aid people have o be independ( longer recognize dependence. Father the group, al! Mass at In the story ( in Genesis, Cain asks Goc brother's keep swer is The people threatened in those who are -- the unborn, formed and tl death row --" said. Father LintOn pastor Evansville. He the January Washington, on sary of the Roe vi: sion. :: Cardinal Mahony urges appeal of assisted suicide LOS ANGELES (CNS) Cardinal Roger M. Mahony of Los Angeles has urged the state of Washington to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a federal appeals court deci- sion legalizing physician-as- sisted suicide. "If ever there was an issue of extraordinary national impor- tance and urgency for the U.S. Supreme Court to consider, this terribly flawed decision is it," the cardinal wrote in a let- ter March 15 to Washington state Attorney General Chris- tine O. Gregoire. On March 6 the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 8-3 that the Washington law forbidding anyone to assist in the suicide of another is uncon- stitutional. The 9th Circuit, based in San Francisco, has ju- risdiction over nine Western states, including California. In his letter Cardinal Ma- hony noted that while the case had been argued only on behalf of competent terminally ill peo- ple voluntarily choosing death, the court said the decision of an incompetent patient's "duly appointed surrogate decision- maker is for all legal purposes the decision of the patient him- self." "This particular decision now strips away any sound legal protections for those who are dying, and in fact actually provides for surrogates to make these kinds of decisions for comatose patients -- even if they themselves would never have requested assisted sui- cide," Cardinal Mahony wrote. In a separate statement March 16 he described the ap- peals court ruling as "incredi- ble." "All of us who have been speaking up for and striving to protect each precious human life are still in shock," he said. He said opponents of the Supreme Court's 1973 deci- sions legalizing abortion have long warned that those deci- sions placed the nation on a "slippery slope" toward eu- thanasia. "In fact, there is no more slope left -- we have now hit rock bottom in our care and concern for the value of human life in this country,  he said. He quoted part of the 9th Circuit majority ruling: "The legalization of abortion has not undermined our commitment to life generally; nor, as some predicted, has it led to widespread infanticide. Simi- larly, there is no reason to be- lieve that legalizing assisted suicide will lead to the horrific consequences its opponents suggest." "Pardon me?" the cardinal asked. "Our commitment as a nation to life generally has not been undermined since the in- famous 1973 abortion deci- sions?" Noting the millions of abor- tions in the United States over the past 23 years, Cardinal Mahony said, "Our commit- ment to life generally has been undermined and it has eroded. We have now created the 'cul- ture of death' in our country whereby no human life is safe from being destroyed for a whole host of 'reasons." "The had a fect upon pecially upon ple," he said. Referring to court's surrogate competent Mahony sat( that a matose, may euthanasia e person has and the perSOn rights in such sion." "This coU placed every risk of being others may ity of life' nor we may or ay ciety," he said. Balkan religious tensions remain despite harmony Most Orthodox clergy fled during Croatia's recapture last August of Serb-held territory. The Croatian bishops, at their March 12-14 conference meeting, also expressed con- cern for the fate of Catholics in Bosnia and supported initia- tives for the return of all refugees and displaced persons to their traditional homes. At the conference meeting was Bishop Franjo Komarica of Banja Luka, in Serb-controlled Bosnia. He said ways must be found to allow Muslims and the mostly Catholic Croats who fled the region to participate in upcoming elections. If the non-Serb population is prevented from voting, all au- thority in the territory will re- MILLER & main with said, making possible for displaced non-Serbs tion that hundreds Ca Zagreb, Belgrade tiny were ing for II sto But war might By Agostino Bono Catholic News Service ROME (CNS) -- Several months after the Dayton peace accords, tensions continue be- tween the Balkan Catholic bishops and their Serbian Or- thodox counterparts. At the same time, Croatia's bishops have urged Orthodox clergy who fled before advanc- ing Croat forces to return to their churches. The tensions reflect the reli- giously linked ethnic divisions that have marked the fighting. Both Catholic and Orthodox leaders have criticized the ac- cords as de facto solidifying of ethnic cleansing. As of mid-March: A Serbian Orthodox dele- gation refused to attend a meeting with Croatian and Bosnian Catholic bishops in Switzerland. -- A Catholic bishop in Bosnia-Herzegovina said his church's existence in a Serb- controlled region is threatened unless ethnically Croatian Catholics who fled from the re- gion are allowed to vote in up- coming elections. The Croatian Catholic bishops met to discuss ways of getting Serbian Orthodox priests who fled Croatia to re- turn. The Orthodox-Catholic meet- ing was to have taken place March 16-19 in St. Gallen, Switzerland. It was organized by European Christian leaders. But the Serbian Orthodox delegation decided not to at- tend because of the Serbian ex- odus from the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo, according to a statement issued by the orga- nizers. The Orthodox were referring to the flight of Serbs from neighborhoods coming under control of the Bosnian Muslim- Croatian federation, as stipu- lated in the Dayton accords. The hope is that the meeting will take place at a later date, said one of the meeting's orga- nizers, Cardinal Miloslav Vlk 0f Prague, Czech Republic. The relationship between the Catholic and Orthodox bishops is "open and serious," he told Vatican Radio after the meeting's postponement. "We want to reinforce them.  Cardinal Vlk is president of the Council of European Catholic Bishops' Conferences, one of the meeting's co-spon- sors. The other co-sponsor was the Council of European Churches, a grouping of more than 100 Orthodox, Anglican and Protestant churches. Prior to the postponement of the meeting, the Croatian Catholic bishops announced that they would seek ways of organizing ecumenical meet- ings to induce Orthodox priests who have fled Croatia to re- turn.