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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
July 22, 1994     The Message
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July 22, 1994

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4 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana July -- Perspective-- - Style of celebrating teaches theology It was quite a surprise to hear Catholic theology stated so clearly on a college radio station playing alternative rock. The statement was not your ordinary kind of theo- logical dictum, but it was what it was -- a true statement about the sacrament of marriage. Well, sort of. This was the situation. The news reporter had just finished a morning report at the half-hour, and the on-air personality was chatting with her before moving on to another song. It was a Monday morning. The on-air personality asked the news reporter about her weekend. She said she had gone to a wedding. They talked about it briefly, and he asked her about the wedding reception. "Did you dance the hokey-pokey?" She said, "No." He said he thought that was very unusual, By PAUL IL LEINGANG EDITOR that there could be a wedding re- ception where people did not dance the hokey-pokey. And furthermore, he joked, "It is probably not a legal marriage in southern Indiana unless you dance the hokey-pokey." Of course, what he said is not true. But what he said as a joke-has a lot of truth in it. Marriage is a sacrament in which the husband and the wife are the ministers and the Church is the witness. The sacrament is minis- tered in public. Maybe the mem- bers of the community don't have to dance the hokey-pokey at the reception, but the community ought to be there to make the celebra- tion complete. The new Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it this way, in Article 1631: "-- Sacramental marriage is a liturgical act. It is therefore appropriate that it should be cele- brated in the public liturgy of the Church; -- Marriage introduces one into an ecclesiRli order, and creates rights and duties in the tween spouses and towards their children; "-- Since marriage is a state of life in the Church, certainty about it is necessary (hence the obligation to have witnesses); " -- The public character of the the 'I do' once given and helps the spouses remain faithful to it." Traditions are shaped within ethnic groups families, and in geographical areas. The a sacrament, too, is shaped within local culture. From the viewpoint of the theologian, what is sential at a sacramental marriage is the human act by which the partners mutually selves to each other. : Within the experience of the faithful, be other essentials for a wedding. And for true to say, you do have to dance the __._ Washington Letter Abortion and health care: Drawing a line in the sand By NANCY FRAZIER O'BRIEN Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- When the U.S. bishops threw down the gauntlet to Congress on mandated abortion coverage in health care reforms, the re- sponses were quick and pre- dictable. tion "will fight for" the inclu- sion of abortion coverage, but said the decision is ultimately up to Congress. The bishops --who-have often outlined their criteria for health care reform but have never backed a specific piece of legislation on the topic -- were firm in their call to Congress. "Now is the time for congres- Ricard of Baltimore, chairman of the domestic policy commit: tee. "We write to say as clearly as we can that compromise must not come at the expense of unborn, the unserved, the undocumented and the unin- sured." Bishop Ricard said none of the four major bills now before I on the other side of the abor- tion question. "We feel compelled to convey to you our strong commitment that any health care reform package that comes before the House must contain coverage for contraceptive and abortion services if it is to gain our sup- port," said a letter to Foley from 68 House members. every insurance 38 percent said theY favor reform under cumstances. The decided or said their would depend on An even higher 65 percent would oppose health form "if it required Within hours after the bish- ops vowed to oppose any plan that requires abortion cover- age, more than 65 members of Congress said they would be just as likely to dig in their heels against any legislation that does not include abortion and contraceptive services in its mandated benefits package. House Democratic Whip David E. Bonior, a Catholic from Michigan, predicted that 35 to 40 House Democrats would heed the bishops' call to oppose any health care mea- sures that include abortion coverage. He is reportedly working behind the scenes on a proposal that would include universal coverage and give employees a choice on whether their health plans should cover abortion, a plan that might satisfy no one. White House health care spokeswoman Lorrie McHugh said the Clinton administra- ii ill II I II I II 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 .............. ihop Gerald/L Getast Edit ............................................ Paul I.ngang Production Manag ........................... Phil Boger Con .................................. Jkmy Housman .................................... Pa Newnd s'  ............................ Ma  Hs Address aJl communications to P.O. Box 4t69, Evansville, IN 47724-0169 Subscnption rate; $15.00 per year Single Copy Price: $.50 Entered as 2nd class matter at the post eft'ice in Evansville, IN 47701. Pubtica. tion number 843800. Po-tmasler: Return POD forms 3579 tO Office of Pubfication  C,,' Press ot Eva I! i t t i I sional leadership to rise above partisan and special-interest pressures and to bring to the floor comprehensive health care reform that will assure decent coverage for all and will not force Americans to partici- pate in the destruction of un- born children," said a July 13 letter from three Catholic lead- ers to House Speaker Thomas S. Foley, D-Wash. "There is much talk of com- promise these days," added the letter from Archbishop William H. Keeler of Baltimore, presi- dent of the bishops' conference; Cardinal Roger M. Mahony of Los Angeles, chairman of the bishops' pro-life committee; and Auxiliary Bishop John H. Congress meets the bishops' requirements on universal cov- erage or the exclusion of abor- tion. Criticizing the current health system "that serves too few and costs too much," Bishop Ricard urged members of Congress "not to cave in to the powerful economic inter- ests on universal coverage or to the abortion lobby on abortion coverage." "We cannot compromise on this," said Bishop James T. McHugh of Camden, N.J., a member of the bishops' pro-life committee. "Abortion must be excluded." But equally aggressive state- ments were coming from those Social justice exhibited To the editor:, form in the 1990s." I want to highly praise the Message and Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger and Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein and other bishops in Indiana. I am proud of this exhibition of social jus- tice! The first paragraph said the copy of the letter is being sent to Senators Dan Coats and Richard Lugar of Indiana. Bishop Gettelfinger said, "The Catholic bishops of Indi- ana and the United States are among the nation's strongest and most persistent advocates for comprehensive health care reform. We have called for de- cent health care for all since 1919, testified in support of na- tional health insurance since the 1970s and repeatedly called for comprehensive re- The bishop continued, "Man- dating abortion benefits would for the first time force our 19,000 parishes, 900 health fa- cilities and thousands of schools and other institutions, which employ hundreds of thousands of people, to subsi- dize abortion. It is both morally wrong and politically unwise to burden needed health care reform with an issue which so profoundly di- vides the nation." It would be a real tragedy for the American people to ig- nore the advice of Catholic bishops and others of good will and permit the special inter- ests to win another victory! Walter Hayden Evansville "That is not negotiable, it is not discussable, it is not com- promisable," said one of the signers, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D- N.Y. "We're saying there's a hard line here. There will not be a health care bill without abortion coverage, period." "Some of my colleagues threaten a fight if abortion re- mains in a final health care plan," said Rep. Peter A. De- Fazio, D-Ore. "I guarantee a fight if it is taken out." But everyone agrees that the Weeks before the expected con- gressional recess in mid-Au- gust will be critical in shaping the final version of health care reform, if such reform is to re- ceive approval before the No- vember elections. Public opinion seems to be on the side of the bishops, al- though their opponents claim otherwise. A poll commissioned by the bishops and released July 13 showed that although 70 per- cent of Americans support uni- versal coverage, the inclusion of abortion coverage in all the major plans currently under consideration in Congress erodes overall support for any reforms. Forty-nine percent of the re- spondents said they would op- pose health care reform "if it required that abortions for any reason must be covered by age of abortions for be taxi; Twenty-four percent would favor reform :. case. A poll by the Center -- also and unrelated to survey m found cent of Americans cluding abortion benefits [ health reform. cent said they clusion of abortion. : The margin of polls was just age points plus Few obs to see the reach the point but perhaps that evitable. "I for one had h( this direct public could have been wrote Archb] Hurley of in a comment on Foley. "But there cme when a line must the sand," he is not a matter al choice of an The injection of a vices into the form clearly matter affecting Bishop's sched The following activities and events are listed schedule of Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger. Return tram vacation,