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August 16, 1991     The Message
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August 16, 1991

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._August 16, 1991 The Message --for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Bishop's Forum 9 By BISHOP GERALD A. GETTELFINGER The Roman Catholic Church revised its code of laws. It published the revisions in 1983 after many years of work. It was the first complete re- vision since the Code of Canon Law of 1917. The universal law of the Church is distinct from local Church law. However, no local law can be against the universal law. The revised law made provisions for national conferences of bish- ops to make decisions appropriate to particular countries. With that as background, let us take a look at the issue of national feast days, more commonly known as holy days of obligation. We should all be aware that "holiday" is an alternate spelling of "holyday." In our country the aspect of holiness is mostly forgotten except when holidays and holy days coincide as Christmas and New Year's Day do. In Catholic countries throughout the world, holy days are not the same. The universal law of the Church (the Code of Canon Law) names ten feast days to be observed by Catholics of the Roman Rite. Sunday of course Holy Days of Obligation: A proposal for U.S. cl:anges is a weekly obligation. The ten are: Christmas, the Epiphany, the Ascension of Christ, the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi), the feast of the Mother of God (New Year's Day), the Immaculate Conception, the Assumption, the feast of St. Joseph, the feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul, and lastly, the feast of All Saints. The law further indicates that Conferences of Bishops -- our own National Conference of Catholic Bishops is among them -- may, with prior approval of the Holy See, suppress certain holy days or transfer them to the following Sun- day. You may have experienced the confusion that arises since we are able to anticipate both the Sunday and the holy day masses. When a holy day falls on a Saturday or a Monday, we have great problems not only of scheduling but more critically of understanding. Following the revision of the law, the Na- tional Conference of Catholic Bishops was faced with deciding what to do since our holy days did not match the requirements of the law. In short, the Bishops of this Country chase not to address the issue, but rather sought to maintain the "sta- tus qua" namely to reaffirm the six holy days we were used to celebrating before the revision. Just recently the Bishop's Committee on the Liturgy issued a report that recommends that the bishops again address the issue. It may very well become an item on the agenda of the November meeting of the bishops. This committee recom- mends that there be but two holy days of obliga- tion in our country: the Birth of our Lord (Christ- mas) and the patronal feast of our country, the Feast of the Immaculate Concaption: The com- mittee suggests that the other Holy Days be trans- ferred to the Sunday following the traditional day. Please note that this possibility is provided for in the revised code of canon law. My person- al hope is that the bishops approve this recom- mendation and present it to the Holy See for ap- . proval for our country. Surrogate Grandma South Dakota case is considered troublesome; Catholics By NANCY FRAZIER O'BRIEN Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The case of a South Dakota Woman pregnant with her own grandchildren "avoids raany of the problems usually associated with surrogacy" but still is contrary to Catholic teachings, according to a church theologian and ethicist. Arlette Schweitzer, 42, of Aberdeen, S.D., is six months pregnant with twins, implant- ed after her daughter's eggs Were fertilized in a laboratory dish with her san-in-law's sperm. Her daughter, 22-year- City, Iowa, was born without a uterus. It is believed to be the first such case in the United States and the second in the world. A South African woman gave birth to her daughter's triplets in 1987. But Marianist Father John A. Leies, research fellow at the Pope John XXIII Medical- Moral Research and Educa- tion Center in Braintree, Mass., said the Catholic Church "has a problem with any kind of in vitro fertiliza- tion, regardless of the circum- stances." Father Leies, who also is a professor of moral theology at St. Mary's University in San wrongly assume that the church supports a married couple's "right to have their own genetic children." But there is no such right, he said. In its 1987 "Instruction on Respect for Human Life in its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation: Replies to Cer- tain Questions of the Day," the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith con- demned surrogate mother- hood as "an objective failure to meet the obligations of ma- ternal love, of conjugal fideli- ty and of responsible mother- hood." The Vatican stand on in vitro fertilization is based on "the two purposes of the mar- ital act," Father Leies said. "The procreative aspect is there, but the unitive love as- pact is not." When in vitro fertilization takes place, the "union" of man and woman occurs "in a petri dish by some lab re- searcher," he said. "This is not what God intended." Some of the moral difficul- ties raised by surrogate moth- erhood do not apply to the Schweitzer case, however, Father Leies said. Because the daughter has no uterus, "it's not just for convenience' sake," and because no money is involved, "it's not a case of a hired womb." the surrogacy arrangement is "in the best interest of the child psychologically," but said the answer would not come for many years. "We don't have much of a history on this," he said. In an Aug. 6 interview with The Associated Press, Pat An- thony of Johannesburg, South Africa, said she had no re- grets about bearing triplets for her daughter, Koran Ferreira- Jorge, in October 1987. "I prayed to God. I knew if he wanted it to happen then God would help me," said Mrs. Anthony, who has been reported to be a Catholic. "I'm not worried about what old Christa Uchytil of Sioux Antonio, said some people the fact that it does not fulfill He also questioned whether other people think." i 00-m'tT00 I k LLUm 'B'M-NYJ [ Mortuary Subscribe W to the YOUR FIVE STAR SERVICE BANK J Washington, IN 254-3612, . , . 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