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July 3, 1998     The Message
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July 3, 1998

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'!998 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 5 A time for everything under-heaven! By BISHOP GERALD A. GETTELFINGER Michael Wolf sat proudly in the sanctuary Benedict Church on Sunday afternoon June 26, Holy Trinity parishioners and friends retirement from Holy his sixtieth anniversary of priesthood. to a wheelchair, he was garbed in robes and atop his head was the biretta pompom signifying his rank as a "Domestic more commonly known to us as "Monsign- of honor. two faithful helpers sacristy where he vested for the con- He, Msgr. Kenneth R. Knapp, and I in identical vestments. Many other us for this dual celebration for Msgr. gave way to an equally delightful liturgy. of St. Benedict hosted the Jubilee Mass r providing inspiring music and enthusi- enditions of Monsignor's favorite hymns. L ray homily, I mused with the congregation about priestly characters of the )riests have even queried as to "whatever such characters in our time?" I suggest- Wolf remains one of those happy char- "-" a character, yes, but an ever faithful priest God's people. of the Thirteenth Sunday of Ordi- year provided a rich source of lessons that celebration. As Elisha the prophet by Elijah's cloak, each of us has been given even greater power through baptism to pro- claim Jesus to others. It was Msgr. Wolf's parents who gave him life through their loving cooperation with each other and with God. It was they who presented him for Baptism through which he received the mantle of "Christian" and brother to Jesus, our Savior and Eternal High Priest. They gifted him with the same faith they enjoyed. Msgr. Wolf, in his childhood, somewhere along the way "heard the call" of Jesus to serve in the min- istry of priesthood much like Samuel the prophet. Having heeded it, Michael Wolf eventually presented himself to the bishop who transferred the mantle of Jesus' priestly power to offer the Eucharist. He became known thereafter as Father Wolf. It is a title of implying priestly service to all God's people. For 60 years he has lived up to that title in an exemplary manner. On a small table in the sanctuary, there were five items symbolizing active ministry in which Msgr. Wolf has actively engaged besides his compulsion to be ever present for the celebration of the sacraments, especially the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Recon- ciliation. This hallmark of generosity was a way of life for Msgr. Wolf. Though less active now, the spirit of generosity is a "fire in his belly." There was a crown on the table. Monsignor Wolf was the faithful chaplain for the Daughters of Isabella in our Diocese for many, many years. He also served as State Chaplain for the Daughters of Isabella. Therewas a Rosary depicting his long-standing work and presence to the Legion of Mary. Again, his self-less generosity provided support and guidance for the Legionnaires. There was a simple loaf of white bread in its bak- ery wrapper. No one ever came hungry to the Recto- ry of Holy Trinity and left without food to eat. It was simple fare but nourishing food. Monsignor never gave out food that he himself was not willing to eat. He shared with the indigent. The fourth symbol was a beautiful red rose. Mon- signor Wolf has been a most active leader in the cause to protect the life of the unborn. The red rose reflects this drive to respect the life of the most fragile and the voiceless. There was a fifth symbol with which most of you can relate. Again it is simple: it is a candle. Monsign- or Wolf is astute at finance. He learned that when one buys candles in quantity there are savings. When can- dles are bought in large quantities there are even greater savings. He, in his generosity, has become the "Candle Man." Not only have parishes saved a lot of money due to Msgr. Wolf's ability, but liturgical wor- ship has been enhanced by glittering candlelight through his consummate generosity of service. You must understand. He did not have to do this. He did not need to be bothered by the headaches of book- keeping nor the doorbell ringing by priests or janitors seeking cheap candles. He did it out of a love of ser- vice -- a compulsion of his generosity. There was no symbol -- nor did I take note of it until nov,, --of his personal generosity and prayer for priestly vocations. On second thought, a greater reminder of God's call to celibate commitment and priestly service was the sight of Msgr. Michael O. J. Wolf himself. No one present could miss that symbolism. He has been and is an exemplary priest; a character extraordinaire, Although retired from parish ministry, his work has not ended. His work has changed to simply being the priest that he is! message to parents of homosexuals revised, reissued ,TEAU News Service (CNS) -- The Committee on and Family has reis- Children," a e addressed to several revisions cleared through the Congregation for of the Faith "has L the textual modifica- told us it is satis- "said Bishop O'Brien of Phoenix, a let- to the U.S. bishops. Core message, tone and Our Chil- the same as in the Bishop O'Brien modifications have order to ensure the to clarify the paStoral statement." of "several of the text" ISSued last Oct. 1, worked out the ax COnsultation with Daniel E. Pilarczyk, Committee Anthony president then submit- the Vatican's for | received copies of in the June 26 version was also July 2 issue of vice documentary service, with the changes highlighted in bold print within the text and spelled out in marginal notes. "Always Our Children" urges parents with an adolescent or adult child who is homosexual to "respond lovingly" and never to break off contact or reject the child, whatever emotions and conflicts arise. "Your child may need you and the family now more than ever," it says. "He or she is still the same person.' .......... It says loving an adult child does not mean approving all of his or her choices. "In fact, you may need to challenge certain aspects of a lifestyle which you find objection- able," it says. Seven modifications were made in the original pastoral statement.. One change was a single word, from describing sexual orientation as "a fundamental dimension of one's personality" to "a deep-seated dimension of one's personality." A second modified passage, discussing ways to "seek appro- priate help for your child and for yourself" originally referred to adolescents "experimenting with some homosexual behav, iors as part of the process of coming to terms with sexual identity." It said that "isolated acts do not make someone homosexual" and suggested that during such adolescent confusion, "some- times the best approach may be a 'wait-and-see' attitude, while you try to maintain a trusting relationship and provide various kinds of support, information and encouragement." The revised version refers to an adolescent "displaying traits which cause you anxiety such as what the child is choosing to read or view in the media, intense friendships and other such observable characteristics and tendencies." It goes on to say: "What is inherent dignity of every per- son, the overall topic of the pas- toral statement could lead read- ers to misunderstand "sexual identity" as meaning "sexual orientation." Following a passage on the call of all people to chastity, whatever their state in life, and the need to struggle against sin and draw strength from the sacraments of penance and he core message, tone and direction of 'Always Our Children' remain the same as in the first printing. called for on the part of parents is an approach which does not presume that your child has developed a homosexual orien- tation and which will help you maintain a loving relationship, while you provide support, information, encouragement and moral guidance." A third modification was the addition of a footnote to a pas- sage which says that a homo- sexual orientation in itself "can- not be considered sinful." The footnote quotes from the "Cate- chism of the Catholic Church": 'q'his inclination, which is objec- tively disordered, constitutes for most a trial." A fourth modification was the deletion from the text of a quote from the catechmm, "Everyone. . should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity." Although the quotation was Eucharist, the revised version adds a paragraph: "Further- more, as homosexual persons 'dedicate their lives to under- standing the nature of God's personal call to them, they will be able to celebrate the sacra- ment of penance more faithhfl- ly and receive the Lord's grace so freely offered there in order to convert their lives more fully to his way."' The quotation in the paragraph is from the Vati- can doctrinal congregation's 1986 letter, "The Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons." A sixth revision deals with the document's statement, "Nothing in the Bible or in Catholic teach- ing can be used to jurail T pudi- cial or discriminatory attitudes and behaviors" toward those with a homosexual orientation. adds a footage: "In mat- ters where sexual orkntation has placed in a paragraph about the a dear relevance, the common good does justify its being taken into account, as noted by the Con- gregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 'Some Considerations Concerning the Response to Leg- islative Proposals on the Nondis- crimination of Homosexual Per- sons,' 1992, No. 11." The final revision shortens an original passage which advised those in church ministry: "Use the words 'homosexual," 'gay,' "lesbian' in honest and accurate ways, especially from the pulpit. In various and subtle ways you can give people 'permission" to talk about homosexual issues among themselves and let them know that you're also willing to talk with them." The revised passage reads simply: "When speaking pub- licly, use the words "homosexu- al,' 'gay" and "lesbian' in honest and accurate ways." That ohange is the only re.r, ion in the pastoral recommendations to parents and church ministers which form the final section of "Always Our Childish," The document's fundamental message to parents, to continue loving and communicating with a homosexual son or daughter, is untouched. At one point the statement tells parents, "You can help a homo- sexual person in two gem! ways Fu'st, encmxrage him or her to cootx, rate 8rin ortolive  " :, cmmmat, on tbe ft, on the homosexual orientation .... God loves every person as a unique individual .... Our total penonhooci is more e00ompsss- ins than sexuad orientatim,00"