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May 29, 1998     The Message
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10 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Actor Phil Hartman reflects on life after I .  By MARK PATTISON Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- NBC arranged press interviews k)r Catholic actor Phil Hartman to talk about his role on the comedy series "NewsRadio" and his guest appearance on another sitcom, "3rd Rock From the Sun." But Hartman spent as much time talking about his faith and his father, who died in late April after a three- year struggle with Alzheimer&apos;s disease. In dealing with death, "our faith prepares us for what lies ahead, and tells us that it's a mystery to us, and we tremble before that mystery," Hartman told Catholic News Service in a telephone interview from Hollywood. "Ours is a Catholic family. We have some prepara- tion for this," he said. Hartman is one of seven children. The goal now for him and his siblings is to make their 79-year-old mother's remaining years "as com- fortable as possible," Hartman said. "I've been blessed with a lot of spare income, and I can really help Morn." Hartman said his father's death was "probably as good as it gets. His seven children and his wife of 60 years at his side. It was wonderful for us to be there and kiss him and say our goodbyes and see him off and help our mother through all this." The funeral was at St. Mark Church in Lake San Marcos, Calif., where the Hartman family goes to church. Hartman dwelt on the stages of life, but mostly on the meaning of death. "My faith has guided me to believe it's a rebirth," he said. "We are set free from the mortal coil, and we'll see wonders beyond our imagination. We'll get close to the Creator," he continued. "I've believed that all my life even when I've questioned other aspects of my faith. I'll be there with my father in heaven." On more temporal matters, Hartman dis- cussed his reprise of a thuggish character he created for "Saturday Night Life" on the "3rd Rock" season finale, scheduled to air May 20 on NBC. The character "never caught on with the public, but it was very funny in the office," he said. The reprise reunited him with onetime "SNL" performer Jan Hooks, in a guest role, and writers Terry and Bonnie Turner, who are the executive producers of "3rd Rock." As for "NewsRadio," it's a question whether it will return for another season. Its ratings have fluctuated throughout its history as NBC has tried to find a perfect time slot for it. It's currently on 8:30-9 p.m. EDT Tues- days. Hartman likes being able to contrast his over-the- top characterizations from "Saturday Night his more nuanced portra3 on "NewsRadio." Week after week "the audience would down by too heavy-handed a performance," said. After four years of portraying McNeal, to settle into it and the performance becomes m0re ural. I find I can get laughs in the most subtle ways out having to push, and I find that Hartman said the things one can do y faith has guided believe [death] is a "a way of saying, 'Laugh now.' And there are people who want to be led (that way)." If "NewsRadio" is yanked for next man said, if asked, he would to "and I would do it gladly." In fact he ducing team told him, "Call us celed." But he'll continue to sail with ,,NewsRadi" the end. "I'll go down with the ship," Hart "because the work is so satisfying." South African bishop urges use of pro-life CAPE TOWN, South Africa (CNS)  Bishop Edward Adams of Oudtshoorn, South Africa, has urged the South African government to use pro-life groups as resources to help women with unwanted pregnancies. In a letter to Thandi Chaane, the deputy director of maternal health in Gauteng province, Bishop Adams proposed that all health care organizations in the country meet to set up structures "to work out ways and means to assist women in need to show that abortion is not the solution." The bishop said that if insti- tutions that perform abortions could be "amalgamated with the many institutions of pro-life groups in the country, much more good could be achieved for both pregnant women and unborn babies." He said there are 22 institutions in Gauteng that routinely perform abor- tions and many others in South Africa's other eight provinces. The bishop's letter, published in Cape Town's morning news- paper, The Cape Times, April 29, was in response to media reports of Chaane's claims that more than 27,000 legal abor- tions have been performed in Gauteng since the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act became effective in February 1997. The law provides for abor- tion on demand in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Abortions may also be performed up to 20 weeks under certain condi- tions, such as if the woman's social and economic circum- stances would be detrimentally affected, and beyond 20 weeks in circumstances such as if the woman's life is in danger. "It seems that this 'success' is really spurring you on to attain even greater heights," Bishop Adams wrote to Chaane. "It seems you feel that Gauteng, although the forerunner in implementing this cruel act, needs more institutions to save unfortunate, from having street abortions," he "Killing the pragmatic sol end, will be individual in for society ir. bishop said, adding society is" gradually pay a heavy price ..... morally." A copy of to Health Minister Zuma. What if ! already use oral contraceptives? According to Randy Alcorn, a research in reproductive tech- nologies, more than 40 different brands ot oral contraceptives are commetcially available and used by about 14 million women in 2 " NEWS &ND COMMENTARY By OZI SCHELLER tPuting writer U;' : the States. Despite the rejectio of contraception by the Catholic ' Church, American Catholic families tend to rely on oral contraceptives as much as the general population does for family planning needs. Until 1930, all Christian denominations recognized the dangers of contraception and renounced its use. In 1930, the Anglican Church sanctioned the use of contraception for married couples in extreme conditions. Subsequently, after much strug- gle and debate, other denomi- nations followed suit. By the 1960s, new markets for contra- ceptives opened when laws against them were struck down. Today, oral contraceptives and other means of contraception have gone from being consid- ered immoral and illegal to being a part of the American way of life. However, birth control pills cannot meet all the family planning needs of a couple. For example, women often dis- continue the use of oral con- traceptives when they experi- ence negative side effects such as nausea, fatigue, weight gain and reduced libido. Oral con- traception can also increase the risk of heart failure, strol<e and pre-cancerous conditions. Women discontinue birth con- trol pills when they want to have children or to breastfeed. After using oral contraception for many years, women quit because birth control pills are not designed to be a long term solution for a lifetime of fami- ly planning needs. Women discontinue oral con- traception when they discover that birth control pills cause abortion, Sometimes the pri- mary and secondary mecha- nisms of oral contraceptive measures fail to prevent ovu- lation and conception. After conception, a third oral contra, ceptive mechanism prevents successful implantation and the pregnancy can be lost in the first week undetected by the parents. Women also dis- continue oral contraception when they feel it interferes with their spiritual well-being. Some grow in appreciation of the Catholic Church's teaching against contraception. Some seek to regain the freedom that comes with openness to life. Natural Family Planning cen- ters around the country and here in the Diocese of Evansville serve many families who desire to learn more about their own fertility after discontinuing oral contraception. They serve cou- ples Who intend to achieve a pregnancy, or to avoid one. After a woman discontinues oral con- traception, her cycles may not be regular at first. First, the NFP Practitioner supports the couple during this important transition time by helping them recognize" the return of their fertility and gain confidence in their use of the method. Third, the practi- tioner also encourages couples in creative ways to express their love for each other in non-geni- tal ways often leading to a high- er level of communication between the spouses. Next week's column offers more information about NFP's role in providing effective, alternative therapy for Premen- strual Syndrome frequently managed through oral contra- ceptives today. For more one of Family Mary's Medical 485-4110; the tion Jasper at (812) 852-7295; or The Americas NFP cennes at To make services in the ville, please call l dation at (812) Natu al Matters covers the NFP sion and He'""'n ST. M medical news fromaCat.hol!c l.th C perspect,ve ,s Hea are a Courtesy of Services ,