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May 31, 1996     The Message
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May 31, 1996

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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 5 lift : Bishop's Forum--- Seeing the face of God ByBISHOP GERALD A. GETTELFINGER I visited with the sc- our four Catholic L Schools. It was my joy to spend each class. It was r to ask me, their .any question, engage in dis- iSSue challenges. In short, forum for them to in a non- I visited Memo- Dei on one day. On a met the seniors at Catholic and Vincennes was the same Friday Went to see Les Miserables. connection? lesson? for a few more moments. e Play is about a man, Jean Valjean, who had to despair, to quit. He had loved his sis- They were starving. He broke the era bakery and stole a loaf of bread to save sent to a prison of slave He tried to escape. He ultimately Years in prison for that "crime." erwoven with many other charac- an equally miserable and tragic exis- is a young woman, Fantine. and father of her child, did everything she could to care for her. at a very young age, and early in the play. ssity, entrusted Cosette to foster Whom she had to pay. They were the sleaze man, Jean Valjean, after 19 years of slave released on parole. He was stalked by his was intent on catching him break- order to send him back to prison and Javert had been responsible for him serv- for his orginal "crime." was despairing. He was paroled with the brand on his chest as pris- oner 24601 and a piece of paper iden- tifying him as an ex-convict. No one wanted his presence. He had no life. He changed his name and be- came successful. He met Fantine twice in the intervening years. First he met her as a nameless employee in his factory when she was caught up in a fight. She was fired from her job in his factory. As mayor he was called to settle a dispute in a brothel. There he met her a second time. He was stunned to find her there especially since he had indirectly caused it by having her fired from his plant. She had resorted to prostitu- tion in order to pay for the keep of her child, Cosette. The story is tragedy compounding tragedy. Jean Valjean dared to hope. The life of prisoner 24601 changed when he found Fantine in a brothel. He pledged to give her a better life. She fell ill. As Fantine is dying, Jean Valjean vows to care for her daughter Cosette and be a father to her. His life of despair turns to one of hope. He makes a com- mitment. Javert is no longer a threat. Cosette, under his fatherly protection and care grew to maturity in safety and paternal love. In the story, when everything around them in Paris was falling apart and the poor were being op- pressed, a group of students generate a tragic revolu- tion. Hope for a new world ended again in despair. There was one exception, Marius, a student and revo- lutionary. He had seen Cosette one day in the slums of Paris. He loved her instantly. He alone survived the slaughter of the unfortu- nate revolutionary attempt. He was carried to safety by Jean Valjean who had learned in a letter of Mar- ius' love for Cosette. Jean Valjean and Cosette nursed Marius back to health. Marius and Cosette were married. Jean .Val- jean's mission was accomplished. Jean Valjean, dying in old age, was welcomed home to aeaven by Fantine, Cosette's mother. In this final scene of the play there is a most poignant encouragement to the audience to recall "the truth that once was spoken long ago, that to love another person is to see the face of God!" The lesson? It was only after Jean Valjean "got outside" him- self, to care for someone else that he once again re- gained hope. In that hope, he rediscovered a purpose for living. Look around. We have evidence that our world is falling apart. So much to be done. So many reasons to lose hope. Loss of respect for the very life God has bestowed on human kind! Prisons being filled up with so many of our young people who have lost hope. We older people, we can easily allow ourselves to be trapped by worrisome questions tinged with shadows of despair: ,rhat is our world coming to? What is to come of our children?" We must not turn in on ourselves. The connection? I have had the privilege to look into the faces of our graduating seniors from our Catholic high schools at least three times. For most of them, I have joyfully looked into each face when I anointed them in the name of Jesus at confirmation. I saw them again when I met with their class in a group as I do each year with all the senior classes. Then, again, I looked into the face of each one at graduation when I presented them their diplomas. Because of those experiences I am reassured. I do not fear the future. I look to it with great hope. Our young people are that hope! They are not only capable, they are good. They are children of GOd! I trust them! At graduation, I spoke to them briefly. My heart- felt message was simple: "As I look into your faces, I see the face of GOd!" bot expresses view on faculty firing 4 The following ' e-mail to Dioceso 'You have probably the media, St. , of Theology is a former professor and Dr. Carmel was removed on the school's 1995 by Bene- (then-Archabbot of St. Meinrad), because she publicly challenged Pope John Paul Irs directives on the ordination of women. For a Catholic seminary professor to publicly challenge the Church's leader is a very serious action. Her removal was a Church matter and was handled ac- cording to Church Law. Dr. McEnroy chose not to address the matter within appropriate Church channels, but elected to bring a civil lawsuit against us. As a result, her charges do not address the religious ramifica- tions of her action, but rather bishops for against dissent t have heard and Nebraska's di- we say who endan- flock. But that at least shepherd Curtiss of a pastoral dissent. of his arch- up lead- roles in the being a council, a a religious sup- or church Lion. forbidden to be active Masons, he added. To those who say these actions are "not Christlike" -- that Christ is "all loving,  I suggest they re- view scripture. Christ admon- ished Peter with =Get thee be- hind me, Satant" He displayed "tough love  when he cleansed the temple of the money lenders (I often wonder what Christ would have done to those ruffi- ans -- rm sure with daggers and whips of their own -- if they would have attacked him). There is a Spiritual Work of Mercy that goes like this: Admonish the sin- ner! I join the many who applaud these two bishops for their courage and loyalty to the Holy Father. Jerome W. Schneider Jasper attempt to fashion this as a sec- ular question. So, in her law- suit, Dr. McEnroy alleges "a pattern and practice of discrim- inating against women profes- sors." This claim is especially painful to us at St. Meinrad be- cause we know u and those who really know St. Meinrad know -- that her claims are just not true. I am writing this letter be- cause I recognize that the only information you, the Catholic public, are going to hear and see on this matter is from Dr. McEnroy's perspective. St. Meinrad is defending.itself in this lawsuit. It is not appropri- ate, nor advisable, to debate these claims in the media, no matter how outrageous they may be or may become. We will answer Dr. McEnroy's charges before the U.S. District Court and therefore will not prejudice or hamper that process by de- bating the specific details of these charges in public. As with Dr. McEnroy's complaint, any- thing we say publicly may be distorted and mis-characterized to hurt St. Meinrad and many individuals who have nothing to do with the removal of Dr. McEnroy. We are confident that the Court will agree that the ac- tion taken against Dr. McEnroy for public dissent falls within the jurisdiction of the Church. Operating a seminary for the Catholic Church is an impor- tant responsibility. It's an un- dertaking St. Meinrad takes very seriously. Every decision that affects our Schools -- from faculty, to curriculum, to rain- istry assigpments, to prayer and liturgy -- is taken with de- liberation and prayerful thought. And the fundamental guides for what St. Meinrad does are the Gospel of Jesus, the Holy Fa- ther in Rome, the Church lead- ership in the United States and the Rule of St. Benedict. For 140 years, St. Meinrad has per- severed in its mission of prepar- ing priests and lay leaders for the Catholic Church. This legal action will not distract us from the work we do for you and the Church. I hope you will realize, as we have, that not everything re- ported in the media is the com- plete truth. There is always an- other side. In the case of this lawsuit, the allegations of wrongdoing against St. Meinrad are groundless. The full story Washington .... Continued from page 4 Payne complained that Congress in particular has been slow to acknowledge that the problem of church burnings is growing. =It was only after the FBI in- vestigated over 50 incidents of desecration of black churches and Jewish synagogues that a hearing was scheduled," Payne said. Yet last year, congres- sional committees spent more than 10 days in hearings about the incident at the Branch Da- vidian compound in Waco, Texas, and additional days air- ing views about the rights of self-styled =militias," he said. about these charges is that the Archabbot made a decision, under Church law, that a pro- fessor who publicly disputed Church directives should not be permitted to teach in the semi- nary under his jurisdiction. That was his authority, his re- sponsibility, and his burden. Dr. McEnroy will not accept this truth and has chosen instead to make allegations that are incor- rect and irrelevant. Dr. McEn- roy's lawsuit is an unfortunate but not unexpected develop- ment. It won't deter us from moving ahead with our impor- tant work for the service of the Church. As we do so, I ask for your continued prayerful sup- port. Archabbot Lambert Reilly, O.S.B. St. Meinrad Archabbey II iuj We should have the same ef- fort put into church burnings," Payne said. =There is a disparity in the way justice is being dis- pensed in this country." Benedictine Sister Evelyn Dettling, who works with the Glenmary Justice Commission in Neon, Ky., told Catholic News Service she was pleased nation- wide attention was being brought to an issue that is a fact of-life for people in poor areas like Appalachia, where she works on social justice issues. =The middle class is being squeezed, so some people feel the need to retaliate and scape- goat,  she said.