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August 2, 1996     The Message
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August 2, 1996

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5 2, 1996 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana ,. e-sex from page 1 as heterosexual couples, criticized the action as "legitimize a moral the church opposes discrimination against but the resolution for "legal approval of ho- practice," which he morally admissible." is the text of the "State- on Same-Sex Marriage" issued July 24 by Bishop L. Charron of Des Iowa, chairman of the on Marriage and of the National Confer- Catholic Bishops, and William S. Skylstad of Wash., chairman of the Committee on Domestic Policy of the U.S. Catholic Conference. The Roman Catholic Church believes that marriage is a faith- ful, exclusive and lifelong union between one man and one woman joined as husband and wife in an intimate partnership of life and love. This union was established by God with its own proper laws. By reason of its very nature, therefore, marriage ex- ists for the mutual love and sup- port of the spouses and for the procreation and education of chil- dren. These two purposes, the unitive andthe procreative, are equal and inseparable. The in- stitution of marriage has a very important relationship to the continuation of the human race, i I to the total development of the human person and to the dignity, stability, peace and prosperity of the family and of society. Furthermore, we believe the natural institution of marriage has been blessed and elevated by Christ to the dignity of a sacra- ment. This means that Christian marriage is more than a con- tract. Because they are married in the Lord, the spouses acquire a special relationship to each ther and to society. Their love becomes a living image of the manner in which the Lord per- sonally loves his people and is united with them. Living a Christian, sacramental marriage becomes their fundamental way of attaining salvation. Because the marital relation- I ship offers benefits, unlike any other, to persons, to society and to the church, we wish to make it clear that the institution of mar- riage, as the union of one man and one woman, must be pre- served, protected and promoted in both private and public realms. At a time when family life is under significant stress, the principled defense of mar- riage is an urgent necessity for the well-being of children and families, and for the common good of society. Thus, we oppose attempts to grant the legal status of mar- riage to a relationship between persons of the same sex. No same-sex union can realize the unique and full potential which the marital relationship ex- II ii III presses. For this reason, our op- position to "same-sex marriage" is not an instance of unjust dis- crimination or animosity toward homosexual persons. In fact, the Catholic Church teaches em- phatically that individuals and society must respect the basic human dignity of all persons, in- cluding those with a homosexual orientation. Homosexual persons have a right to and deserve our respect, compassion, under- standing and defense against bigotry, attacks and abuse. We therefore urge Catholics and all our fellow citizens to commit themselves both to up- holding the human dignity of every person and to upholding the distinct and irreplaceable community of marriage. rish Stewardship conversion: The short course Commentary :i! : i i!!i!i!: i :ii!!i::  i:: :: :::ii:::  i if?  Director, Office of and Development William Houck of Mississippi, recently in- this "Short Course in Relations" in his weekly column: SIX most important "I admit I made a mis- "The FIVE most important did a good job." FOUR most important "What is your opinion?" most important words: "If you please ..." The TWO most important words: "Thank you." The ONE most important word: "We." The LEAST important word: Let's see how these words can be applied to parish stewardship efforts. We call our version "Parish Stewardship Conver- sion: The Short Course." "I admit I made a mistake.  We begin every Mass by ac- knowledging our sinfulness and asking forgiveness. We can choose to be overwhelmed by guilt, or we can consider our sins and mistakes as opportunities for learning and growth. Throughout history, many mag- nificent inventions and accom- plishments have followed a se- ries of trial-and-error miscues. Great leaders often make mis- takes; their greatness lies in their ability to admit and learn from them. Parish stewardship conver- sion efforts are often hit-and- miss. The key to their success is the parish's creative capacity to change mistakes into stepping stones toward a stewardship way of life. 'ou did a good job." Human Potential psychologists refer to the pinnacle of personal devel- opment as "Self-actualization." "Self-actualized" people know they are worthwhile; they are confident, self-motivated, and don't need others to tell them they have value or that they do good work. Unfortunately few people ever reach "self-actual- ization." Most of us need occa- sional praise and encourage- ment from others. We also know from motivational research that more than anything -- people want to feel that they are worth- while and appreciated. This feel- ing of being valued by others is more important than material possessions or any of the usual trappings of "success" in our so- ciety. Parishes engaged in steward- ship conversion must regularly, consistently and publicly ac- knowledge the dedication and good works of those many peo- ple who give the parish its life. "What is your opinion?" How often do organizations make de- cisions about products, programs or services without first consult- ing those who are most directly affected by those same products, programs and services! Busi- nesses must know their cus- tomers. Politicians must be re- sponsive to their constituents. In our parishes, parishioners are our "customers." How can a parish staff evaluate and de- velop programs and services without ever asking parishioners what they think about the parish's needs, hopes, shortcom- ings, and strengths? A good parish stewardship conversion process must include systematic feedback from those who have the greatest stake in the parish and its future. "If you please..." When was the last time you asked someone for help and were turned down? It's a rare person who says "No" to a personal plea for some of his or her tithe, talent or treasure when it was truly needed. Parish stewardship conver: sion activities must include an annual stewardship renewal: four to six weeks during which parishioners hear intense mes- sages about stewardship as the way Christians express their dis- cipleship. At the end of the re- newal period, parishioners are personally invited to make their time, talent and/or treasure com- mitments for the coming year. The key words are: "personal" and "invitation." "Thank you." So simple to say, yet so often overlooked. When people give generously of their time, talent and treasure, should they not expect someone, some- time, and in some way to ac- knowledge their generosity? "Thank you" is the fuel that fires philanthropy and volunteerism. Parishioners may tell you they don't need to be thanked, but fail to show gratitude and see how long their good works for your parish continue! "We" vs. "I:" There's a simple way to measure where you fall on the "We vs. I" continuum: can you get through an entire day of interacting with others without using the words "I,  "me" or "my?" (As one wag recently said: "Just because it happened to you doesn't make it interesting!") More than ever, our parishes need all of us to pull together as true faith communities. "we" is twice as big as "I" -- and many times stronger! Suggestion: If your parish is engaged in a process of steward- ship conversion, or if you are considering one, use this Short Course" to review and evaluate your plans and activities. page 4 with 15, 000 mem- 5, 000 nuns and representatives of the Ordination Confer- Catholics Speak Out; As- for the Rights of in the Church; For a Free Choice; Feder- Ministries, I and Pax Christi/Maine who clearly stated and vigorously supported the differences be- tween the Roman Catholic Church and what is being in- creasingly identified as the American Catholic Church. There is hope. Mrs. Helen Hitchcock, convert, founder and director of Women For Faith and Family of which I am a member, has emerged in the U.S. Catholic Church, dedicated to defending the Church and to supporting the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II. Pope John Paul needs our support. The address for Women For Faith and Family is P.O. Box 8326, St. Louis, MO 63132. Viola Weaver Jasper shares outcome of pro-life discussion I unequivocally stated that I could not vote for any pro-abor- tion candidate. I feel that the American peo- ple are afflicted with social-con- science schizophrenia -- "per- sonally I don't believe in abortion, but who am I to say what others should do?" I pointedly asked Mrs, Ride- out-Lambert if she would have voted for the continuation of partial-birth abortions if she had the opportunity to do so. She replied that she didn't think so, but she only knew "one side" of the story. I would inquire of our the editor: in response to letter on "abor- the Message, 1996. just met with my Sally Ride- on July 17, 1996, I others the out- OUr discussion. Mrs. Rideout-Lambert Was not aware before her that she was pro-choice come to confirm that is not pro- Personally, but would pro-life legislation. me that it that her opponent i s Catholics if there exists "an- delivered. I politely informed Mrs. Ride- out Lambert that there is a very strong pro-life community in Spencer and Dubeis Counties people who are "willing to put their money where their mouth is." I am certain, when I left, that she understood my dismay at her pro-abortion position, in her job as my elected representative. Politicians, historically, seek to elicit the votes of the elec- torate whom they represent. Perhaps we, as Catholic vot- ers, have not made clear enough to them our displeasure. ., Jaqueline C. Berg Dale Singing in the rain My favorite bird {next to the Cardinal) is the robin; when storms and rain silence nearly all other songbirds, the robin sings on -- even in the rain and Commentary By MSGR. CLINTON HIRSCH I storm. Anybody can have a song in their heart when the sun is shining, but we need to have a joyful heart when it is dark and the clouds are pouring down rain. There are times in our lives when we are lost in the shad- ows, when moods are dark, when the world seems hostile, when our best efforts fail, when we become full of fear and doubt. We feel as though the light has gone out of us because we do not see the whole picture. But things are never as bleak as they seem .... Out of failure, pain and sorrow can come great progress. The storm clouds will pass, and so in the meantime, let's- " continue to have a song in our hearts  even in the rain. Washington Continued from pole 4 spokesman told CNS July 26. He said a final decision on RU-486 will be made by the di- rector of the relatively new divi- sion of reproductive health drugs, following review by a di- vision team that includes a chemist, toxicologist, pharma- cologist and bicstatistician. The decision was expected in September. If the drug is ap proved, it would be sold by Ad- vancee in Health Technology and could be available in 1997. II II I I ] - II I " ] Stewardship by the Book In Sunday's Gospel, Jesus feeds the 5,000 with five loaves and two fish. The message ofstewardship that God s bdRs, :shared, will always be more than enough. ........ _ ....... - m. ,ml i i , ( , ....