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July 24, 1998

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17= 1998 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 13 Abortion and excommunication By FATHER JOHN DIETZEN Catholic News Service Question: I am in a serious relationship with a who had an abortion when she was 'early 20s. the time she was not practicing her faith, but she has since confessed the sin. She is the abortion; says she p.reviously had asked did not realize prior to meet- le that she needed to go to confession. young woman now attends Mass regularly, taking her faith more seriously. that someone who has an abortion is r excommunicated from the church. Is As you can imagine, these are very serious ques- for me. Since she went to confession, is she back graces of the church? Will the church rec- marriage to her as valid? (New York) Answer: It is true that according to Catholic Church law, anyone who procures an abortion may incur an automatic excommunication. That includes, by the way, not only the mother but oth- ers directly involved in the act. However, several important conditions must be met before an individual personally is excommuni- cated. The person must be at least 18 years old. He or she must also be aware when the act is committed that excommunication will result if the abortion is carried through. Many people, even fairly knowledgeable Catholics, know abortion is wrong, but do not know an excommunication is incurred at the same time. In addition, if circumstances surrounding the pregnancy are such as to cause grave fear and con- fusion in the woman, or if she is under severe pres- sure from family or friends to have the abortion, again the excommunication would not be incurred. As you can see, there is at very least serious doubt that your friend was excommunicated. From your description of the situation, for example, it is highly unlikely that she was aware of this possible consequence. If after all this it turns out she was excommuni- cated (and how would we ever know?), in most of the United States priests can remit this type of penalty when the individual receives the sacrament of penance. One way or another, you have no worry about this affecting your marriage as Catholics. Some priests are uncertain about these aspects of excommunication and abortion. If they wish to look up references, the relevant canons are 1398, 1323, 1324 and 97. A free brochure answering questions Catholics ask about annulments is available by sending a stamped se(f-addressed envelope to Father John Dietzen, Box 325, Peoria, Ill. 01651. Questions for this column should be sent to Father Dietzen at the same address. mentioning00. ............. ........ .... ..... Ministry Coordinator named director of Catholic Campus Ministry University of Evansville for three years, has Campus Min- for the Diocese of Evansville. The appointment G6rald A. Gettelfinger was effective July 1. continue in his responsibilities at UE. He the added responsibilities of providing the tholic Campus Ministry, and coordinat- programming activities, staff and advisory for Catholic Campus Ministry at the Univer- of Southern Indiana, in Evansville, and Vincennes Vincennes. Catholic Campus Ministry is part of the Office of and Young Adult Formation. Michael Eppler is riding personal assistance to people recovering from substance abuse, helping senior citizens and visiting homes. Social Ministry workshop planned Nira, a nationally recognized parish social St. Louis Church in Austin, Texas, will at the Catholic Center, Aug. 22. Workshop, sponsored by Catholic Charities, is beginning or deepening their journey inisters typically spend about three week in various ways, including, working es who are trying to get off welfare, pro- infirmary administrator, Sister Dolores Folz; and an activities director still to be named. New members appointed to DPC The Diocesan Pastoral Council has new members: Steve Buechler of Jasper, Carl R. Walker of Whitfield, Benedictine Sister Leta Zeller of Poseyville, James E. "Jim" Wilsbacher of Newburgh, Pearl Spayd of Jasper, and William F. Keller of Rockport. The appointments to the DPC were made by Bishop Ger- ald A. Gettelfinger. Father Etienne appointed chaplain for TEC Father Bernard Etienne, pastor of St. Joseph Church, Princeton, was appointed to the additional responsibility of Diocesan Chaplain for Southwest- ern Indiana Teens Encounter Christ. The appointment by Bishop Gettelfinger, made in February 1998, was inadvertently omitted from pub- lication in the Message. Completing terms of service ,or the DPC are Dr.,. TEC tre#i will be held Aug. 9 in Ireland Bernie Kemker Sr., Chuck Froehle, Benedictine Sister Members the TEC (Teens Encounter 0 V"! Geraldine Hedinger, Margaret Wallace, Jim Krodel munity and their friends are invited to attended a day and Mike Beshears. Key positions filled at Ferdinand monastery Benedictine Prioress Joella Kidwell appointed two members of her community to key positions: Sister Mary Celestin Maurer as subprioress and Sister Dolores Ann Kiesler as motherhouse coordinator at Monastery Immaculate Conception. Sister Kiesler's duties involve directing the daily living of the community and the pastoral care of the home sisters. She will work with a team of sisters, including her assistant, Sister Mary Roman Dall; the retreat Aug. 9 at St. Mary's Community Center;  land. The theme for the retreat is "I'm Worth Waiting For!" The day will be based on the Promise to Keep sexual abstinence program by Eve Jackson from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. The retreat begins at 10 a.m. and ends at 7 p.m. Father Kenneth Steckler, associate pastor at St. Joseph Church, Jasper, will celebrate Mass for the partici- pants. For additional information, contact Eppler at (812) 424-5536. ed from page 1 Senate. Leader Trent has said he wants legislation and get it adjourns in October. The vote did not get needed a threatened White 'Veto. Michigan judge ordered the of a 12-year-old preg- Stock" :l.& up slightly higher) _ $37.95 sq. $18.95 to $29.95 sq. galv, in Stock Stock B2SO.O0 RAFTERS uP to 100' span :KAGES "" Call for Free Quote| ; COUNTY METAL E., Cannelburg. nant girl not to take her to Kansas for a partial-birth abor- tion. The restraining order was pending the outcome of psy- chological tests on the girl, who is 28 weeks pregnant by her 17- year-old brother. Abortions past the 24th week of pregnancy are banned in Michigan, unless a mother's life is endangered. The testing was expected to take two weeks and another hearing was to be held within 30 to 40 days of the order. I Thanks to all our clients for their confidence in Fleck Insurance Agency, Inc. Jasper, Indiana I I ] II II There were two other recent abortion-related congressional votes. The House Appropriations Committee failed in a 26-26 vote July 14 to approve an amend- ment that would have required family planning organizations receiving Title X funds not to provide abortions at the same site where family planning information is dispensed. The amendment to the fiscal 1999 appropriations bill for the JASPER LUMBER CO. COMPLETE BUILDING SERVICE Ph: 482-1125 RT. 4, JASPER @btSO" Christian Books & Gifts Bey & Chludie Mendel, owoe z)ll.nN ,=leJackzSL Japa.IN47S441 ii departments of Labor and Health and Human Services was proposed by Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Kan., who said he would ask the House Rules Committee "to protect this amendment so that a full debate on this important issue can take place on the House floor." Also, the House voted 224-198 July 16 to require most federal employees" health care plans to cover the costs of prescription contraceptives, some of which can cause abortions, An amend- ment that would have prohibit- ed coverage of prescription abortifacients such as RU-486 was defeated 222-198. The birth of a baby girl in Ari- zona during what was sup- posed to be a partial-birth abor- tion June 30 has set the stage for I I Btt SaJr Than $ MOo.,. & OK Satm  " l I I JII I I I a planned July 23 House attempt to override President Clinton's veto of the Partial- Birth Abortion Ban Act. The baby was born when the doctor who had begun to per- form a partial-birth abortion stopped the procedure after see- ing that the child was much fur- ther developed in the womb than an ultrasound test had indicated. The baby suffered a broken skull and two deep facial lacer- ations, possibly from instru- ments used in performing par- tial-birth abortions, but no brain damage. "Miraculousl); in this instance, a little girl who was sentenced to die is alive today," said a July 9 statement from Rep. Charles I". Canady, R-Ra., sponsor of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act In the Diocese of Galvton- Houston, Bishop Joseph A, Fiotmaza |uly 10 condemned mt add attacks on four abor- lion clinics in Houston.