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Evansville, Indiana
May 29, 1992     The Message
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May 29, 1992
 

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..........................................  ; .  Message :-::..far. C.thoKcs..of Southwestern Indm Perspective By PAUL R. LEINGANG Message Editor So what do you think about Murphy Brown? Vice President Dan Quayle said recently that the central character of the popular television sit- com was not a good role model. The fictional newscaster, 42 and divorced, had a baby. The fa- ther has no continuing part in the story. "Bearing babies irresponsibly is, simply, wrong," Quayle said. "Failing to support children one has fathered is wrong." The sitcom story line began early in the sea- son when Murphy became pregnant after a brief reunion with her ex-husband who thought about settling down but decided that marriage and a child were not what he wanted. A recent story in the Evansville Courier indi- cated that people who took the time to phone in their views overwholmingly agreed with the vice president. Catholic News Service reported varied reaction. Annette Kane, executive director of the Na- Clarifying our values as we discuss 'Murphy Brown' tional Council of Catholic Women, said anyone who has been a parent knows that it is not an easy job, and that the sitcom makes single par- enthood look easier than it is, according to CNS. Kane said that while she opposes making single parenthood an American model -- just another lifestyle choice -- she did not want to put down anyone who chooses giving birth over abortion. should find solutions. And Mercy Sister Mau" reen Joyce, who works with unwed mothers in Helen Alvare, pro-life spokesperson for the U.S. Catholic bishops, said the television series makes light of the situation, introducing a child into the plot just "to make Murphy Brown interesting." "This portrayal is flippant," said Alvare. "It just doesn't consider what's best for the child and makes light of tough situations that a lot of single mothers are facing." Joe Heiney-Gonzales, deputy to the presi- dent of Catholic Charities USA said instead of dealing with a television program, Quayle Albany, N.Y., said Quayle should have con- fronted thepeople in big business, and governe ment who support and cultivate a subsisten level of living for many single parents. So what do you think? "Murphy Brown" is just a television series. It is no more powerful -- and no less power- ful -- than was "Father Knows Best" or any other sitcom in imparting family values to con" temporary society. Its values are certainly better than those of "Maude" and many other serieS, And consider this: the Murphy Brown storY, and the vice president's comment about it, have ' triggered more discussion about social and f axn ily values than any 10 other events in recent hiS" tory. If we as Christians fail to seize this opp or- tunity to bear witness to our values, then it is not the fault of Murphy Brown or Dan Quayle. Vatican Letter Dueling cardinals: the pros and cons of birth cont00 By AGOSTINO BONO Catholic News Service VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The search for unity within diversity led two giants of modern Catholicism to Re- gensburg, Germany, last September to debate birth control. The two cardinals argued with the passion of youth and the experience of decades. One jabbed away atthe cur- rent teaching, criticizing the "irritating distinction be- tween 'artificial' and 'natural' contraception." The other de- fended the moral need to keep sex absolutely tied to procreation within marriage. Doing the jabbing was Car- dinal Franz Konig, 86-year- old retired archbishop of Vi- enna, Austria. The defender was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, 65, head of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith since 1981. During the day-long con- versation in front of a tape recorder, the two cardinals jousted in German over nu- merous church issues. Cardinal Konig said he 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 Zifiak Editor ............................................ Paul Leingsng Pumi0n Manager ........................... Phil Booer Circulation .................................... Susan Winiger Advettisit .................................... Paul Newland Address all communications to P.O. Box 4169, Evansville, IN 47724-0169 Subscription rate: $12.00 per 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 I originated the idea to show "Catholics of good will" that it is possible "to live very concretely the unity of the church even when differ- ences persist." Cardinal Ratzinger chose the spot, his brother's house in Regens- burg. The German weekly Die Zeit published the transcript of the debate. An Italian translation was published in May by Jesus, a monthly Catholic magazine. Regarding birth control, the cardinals found unity in the need for sex to be guided by morals, but quickly began walking different paths. "The rule of prudence should be of value even on the subject of birth control," said Cardinal Konig. "Here we have ended up in a bottleneck" because of the distinction between "artifi- cial" and "natural" birth con- trol "as if even from the moral viewpoint what is im- portant is the 'trick' of cheat- ing nature," he said. "In a world in which sex- ism and promiscuity are spreading, the goal of the magisterium (the church's teaching authority) should be to humanize sex within mat- rimony and the family," he said. Cardinal Konig added a practical reason for rethink- ing birth control: "The ques- tion of world overpopulation cannot be simply ignored!" Cardinal Ratzinger an- swered that, with pills and condoms, "sexuality has be: come easily available mer, chandise, to be used at any moment 'without danger."' If sex is separated from re- production and reproduction becomes a technical matter, then "sex has almost the same relationship to morality as drinking a cup of coffee," said Cardinal Ratzinger. Cardinal Law urges president to receive Haitians on U.S. vessels WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Cardinal Bernard F. Law of Boston, comparing the Haitian boat people to Jews trying to escape persecution, urged President Bush to allow U.S. vessels to pick up fleeing Haitians. Cardinal Law, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Migration, made the plea in a May 22 letter to Presi- dent Bush. A day earlier the U.S. Coast Guard began refus- ing to pick up boatloads of Haitians fleeing their country unless their rafts were judged to be unseaworthy. The cardinal said the Haitians should be brought to a processing center in the United States or a Caribbean nation. He compared the Haitian boatpeople to the Jews re- fused entry to the United States at the time of the Holo- caust. "The sad memory of Jews being refused entry before World War II should teach us that never again should we turn our back on a human being pleading for our help and hospitality," wrote Cardi- nal Law. "In the name of all that is decent, we cannot turn our back on poor Haitians willing to take heroic measures in order to escape a hopeless sit- uation," said Cardinal Law. The Coast Guard reported May 21 that its ships were full of Haitian refugeesand that the refugee camp at the U.S. naval base at Guan- tanamo Bay, Cuba, was about to pass its 12,500-person ca- pacity. The Haitian exodus began last October after Haiti's armed forces overthrew the nation's elected civilian pres- ident, Father Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The consequences include "a growing loss of the impor- tance of marital fidelity" and a "strong explosion of homo- sexuality," he said. Regarding world popula- tion, he said the Catholic Church is wrongly blamed "as if overpopulation were caused by the fact that the Catholic Church prohibits use of the pill." Both cardinals debated the role of individual conscience regarding birth control. "Too little is said of the fact that conscience is the final standard. Everyone is called to decide according to their own conscience," said Cardi- nal Konig. Cardinal Ratzinger an- swered: "The danger is ex- actly that conscience could become nothing else than a superficiaI conviction and thus be degraded to a mecha- nism for making excuses. Hitler and his accomplices, for example, performed their crimes in a state of fanatic conviction, therefore with ab- solute tranquility of con- science." Thrusts and ued on other conversation pr( surprises. Both agreed that needs a "process ticeship" in giality, the between the pope 8 world's bishops. Cardinal Konig showed some SYr Cardinal "One often gets sion that envious highly themselves, the Congregati, trine of the efforts to get status Konig. Cardinal that he is not posed to scholarly "A theology t solely of the the papal be completely teachings of the po a substitute for me said. Bishop's sche The following activities and events are listed oft e schedule of Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger