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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 --- Taking the time to make a difference-- Active listening leads to action "I had been visiting Sarah and Abe for a couple of months," the as- sociate pastor said in his parish newsletter column. "Abe was blind and nearly deaf.... Sarah was a bt forgetful." Both are in their eighties, said Father Edward, who had been visit- ing the couple regularly for several months. Abe is not Catholic, but Sarah is, he said, and he wondered why Sarah could not receive communion at the end of his visit. By PAUL R. LEINGANG EDITOR years. "Sarah was finally home." He also worked through the Church procedures "straightening out their wedding" and then re: turned for another visit to the cou- ple's home. "I went to their house where their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren had gathered. Sarah was in a dress and held a bouquet. Abe too was in his finest and wore a flower in his lapel. In the living room they made a sacra- ment of their 67 year romance. So one day, the visiting priest asked the woman why. She explained that she and Abe had eloped when they were young, and had been married by a Methodist minister. Father Edward continued, "I asked Sarah a few more questions and I discovered that she and Abe had been married for 67 years." He also found out that there was no reason they could not be married in the Catholic Church. "But the first thing that needed to be done, it seemed to me. was to bring Sarah back to the Eu- charist," the priest wrote. "She missed being active and because of her advanced age and other troubles, I kneiv that Eucharist could comfort her." . Father Edward said he heard her confession and gave her communion for the first time in 67 What did Father Edward do that was different than others before him? It seems to me that he was more than a good listener in this case. He was an active member in the conversation -- not just lis- tening but also questioning what he heard. In his column, Father Edward said that he wanted more people to know about some of his expe- riences as a priest. "I think they are important for you to know about because, as a priest, the work I do is not my work, it is the work of the church," he wrote. "I am the representative, but I am able to do priestly work because of the prayers and support of (the parish)," he concluded. * * How do you participate in the church" in your life? If you have children+l them about their role in the "church well as in their role in the larger parish dr+ gation. Talk with family members or experience of Sarah and Abe. church" play in their lives? * * The story about the young priest derly couple prompts some thinking possible course of action. If you are an active member of a munity, you might help visit the bers of your community. If you do not self a "church person  you can still and companionship to by making them a part of your dren, take them with you+ Christmas is a wonderful time mas carols, and Thanksgiving is a gifts of food. Decide today tc another less obvious time of the year. I dinary time" with the gift of your Questions and comments are Christian Family Movement, P.O. Iowa 50010. .... Vatican Letter Electing the next pope: How the new rules might By John Thavis Catholic News Service VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Time: The future. Setting: The Sistine Chapel. Characters: 116 cardinals, in full regalia. It's been a long and inconclu- sive conclave, with no end in sight. After 12 days, the first 33 ballots have been pretty evenly divided between Cardinal Brown, an American supported by a broad range of Third World and international prelates, and Cardinal Rosso, an Italian with strong European backing. Even after the prescribed "spiritual talks" designed to clear the air and move the papal election to a conclusion, neither man is able to win the required two-thirds majority. "We're stuck," mutters one cardinal as more grey-black smoke pours t.hrough the Sis- tne chimney. Now's the moment for the classic brokered solution, which could produce a compromise candidate acceptable to both blocs. It's been a way of break- The MESSAGE ' 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 47711 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 EStor ......... .. ........................... Paul R Leingang Production Technician ................ Joseph Dietrich Ad#ertising .................................... Paul Newland Staff Wer ............................. Mary Ant1 Hughes Address all communications to P.O. Box 4169, Evansville, IN 47724-0169 , . . Subscription rate: + $17.50 per year Single Copy Price: $.50 r' + Etttered as 2rid class matter at the post office in Evansville, IN 47701. Publca+ tion number 843800. Postmaster; Return POD forms 3579 to Offce of Publication Cowlt 1996  Press ot E - ing deadlocked conclaves for centuries -- the 1922 election of Pope Plus XI being a recent example. In these cases, a dark-horse candidate, and sometimes a virtual unknown, would end up with the fisherman's ring; the two main contenders would go back home knowing they came close.., but no tiara. Not this time. Under rules instituted back in 1996 by Pope John Paul II, there's a short- cut solution to a conclave im- passe, designed to leave one of the main candidates at the top. Paragraph 75 of "Universi Dominici Gregis," as Cardinal Noir of France points out to his fellow electors, makes it much easier for the cardinals to drop the two-thirds majority re- quirement. After 33 ballots, they can decide to elect a pope with just 50 percent plus one. At Cardinal Noir's prodding, the simple majority vote is adopted, but several ballots still fail to produce a pontiff. Cardinal Verde of Brazil keeps pulling about 20 votes --just enough to deny either of the two frontrunners the election. Cardinal Noir suggests tak- ing advantage of the next op- tion outlined in "Universi": lim- iting the ballot to the two leading vote-getters. But nei- ther camp is ready for that kind of showdown. Instead, maybe someone should have a chat with Cardi- nal Verde, it is quietly sug- gested on the bus ride back to the cardinals' residence. Per- haps Cardinal Verde could be persuaded to throw his votes to Cardinal Rosso. Not so fast, another cardinal whispers. Paragraph 81 of "Universi" clearly prohibits -- under punishment of excom- munication -- "any form of pact, agreement, promise or other commitment" that would oblige anyone to pledge his vote. But the same paragraph does allow a simple "exchange of views." Hmmm . . . a fine line. Just fine enough. That evening, whispers fill the corridors of the modern res- idence hall, the Domus Sanctae Marthae. The cardinals have been more comfortable here but still feel like prisoners, since they're unable to communicate with anyone on the outside or even talk freely with their own kitchen staff. The electronic shakedown that preceded the conclave turned up no cellular phones, as feared, but two computer- ized address books with mini- modems were confiscated -- they were capable, according to Vatican technicians, of plug- What happened to Pilate? To the editor, What ever happened to Pon- tius Pilate? In his most interesting book, Famous Trial Cases That Made History, (Readers Digest Books), Frank McLynn reports that in the year 36 A.D., Pilate was ordered back to Rome after the people of Samaria complained that he was too cruel. In Rome, he faced an im- perial commission of inquiry and was sentence to exile in Vienne, France. According to a fourth century account, he killed himself on the orders of the Emperor Caligula in 39 A.D. Jerome Schneider Jasper ging into cyberspace through the empty phone jacks in the rooms. The two cardinals pleaded naivetd. The "Domus Guards," as Vatican security people have been nicknamed, seem to be on the lookout for breaches of se- crecy. As protection against the TV cameras set up on the street below, cardinals on the top two floors are forced to keep their blinds drawn. That evening, with the guards out of earshot, the fol- lowing conversation takes place in a west wing lounge: Cardinal Noir: "Cardinal Rosso is impressed by your showing. He thinks you would make a good secretary of state." Cardinal Verde: "How inter- esting." Cardinal Noir: "But first, Cardinal Rosso must be elected pope. A word from you would help. Just a thought." Cardinal Verde: "Uh-huh." The Verde tells thinks make a fine nals lot to dinal BroWn. mentally h ceptance speec , Each ca rdinal I lot to the On a plate gilded box. are counted, torate realizes votes each. Suddenly t: scrutineer, out: He holds was folded the old waY Paragraph scribed folded twice. So out goes a hal RosSO, See Bishop's sc The following activities and events schedule of Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger: