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September 4, 1992     The Message
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September 4, 1992

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rerspectlve , The Message Monthly -- for Cathohcs of Southwestern indiana September 4, 1992 By PAUL R. LEINGANG Message Editor '. i ! It was not the best football game I ever saw, hut I knew more about what happened in the game than I ever did before. The reason I learned so much was quite obvious -- I was sitting near some former football players who commented about almost every play of the game. A Friday night high school football game is fun to watch. Such a game is as unpredictable as high school age players can make it. Skills and emotions are not ahvays in control. We played intramural football at the high school I attended, without benefit of coaching. When others talk about their high school football team, and the finer points of the game, I have to acknowledge that there were no fine points to the football we played. The only officiating in my high school games was done by mutual agreement of the players -- a kind of amiable anarchy where might was some- times right. A lesson learned at a football game A high school football game now involves some skills and manoeuvres that I don't always understand. I get faked out easily and watch the wrong player. I must not have the peripheral vi- sion to see all the parts of a certain play. Last Friday night, the former high school players sitting nearby knew what they were see- ing. They could look at the way the teams were lined up and tell in advance what was probably going to happen. They could watch the play un- fold and tell which player had failed to execute what was necessary to make it all work. They could look at a play that succeeded and tell why it had worked. Here's the point of this example: if you want to see how "Synod '93" will turn out, you have to start participating now. Come November 1993, Synod participants will already have extensive experience of what works and what does not work. Come November 1993, Synod participants will be able to look at what has happened so far, and know what to ex- pect. There may be flaws in tile comparison, but there should be no doubt in anyone's mind today, that teamwork and individual effort are needed to make the synodal process a success. There should be no doubt about the need for attention today to what is happening in so many different areas. Here is what to do: Learn the terminology. Language -- even the language of the Church -- changes and develops. Take part in the sessions at your parish or in your area of church involvement. Fill out the consultation form on the mission statement in this issue if you haven't filled out the one from August. Pray for the success of the Synod. Analysis New draft of pasl:,00ral defends male-0nly priesthood By JERRY FILTEAU Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS)  In June several U.S. bishops said the proposed pastoral letter  on women needs to explain and defend the curch's p0si- tion that women,cannot be ordained to the priesthood. A new draft of the pastoral letter does that in detail. The new text is the fourth major draft prepared for dis- tribution to the nation's bish- ops. Catholic News Service obtained a copy in late Au- gust after it was sent out to the 50- bishop Administrative Committee of the National Conference of Catholic Bish- ops, which sets the agenda for the bishops' national meeting in November. Draft three of the pastoral which the bishops dis- cussed when they met at the University of Notre Dame in June -- devoted only four of its 132 paragraphs to the question of "the ministerial priesthood." In the fourth draft the treat- ment of ordination itself is expanded to 10 paragraphs. In addition, four or five more introductory paragraphs on The MESSAGE 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville. IN 47720-0169 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Pubhed wee/dy except/aM week/n December by ie Calho//c Pres,s of Acre aiJ commtmicals to P.O. Box 4169. Evm"vlUe, IN 47724-0169 Subscription rate: $12.00 per year Single Copy Price: $.50 Entered as 2nd class matter at the post offce in Evatsvifle, IN 47701. Putica- tma nun"Zr 843800, Postmaster: Return POD forms 3579 tO Otfce of PubJcation  t .Cattr Press el EvatN the mystery of the church have been added to set the framework for the ordination argument. In draft three, the writing committee: Set Christ's call of "some men to the ministerial priest- hood" ,within,the co[ttext of service and the "common priesthood" of all Christians. Affirmed the 1976 Vati- can statement on ordination of women, summarizing its essence in two sentences: "This document affirms an unbroken tradition in the Catholic churches of the East and West of calling only men to ordained priesthood. This constant practice constitutes a tradition which witnesses to the mind of Christ and is therefore normative." Declared that "this pas- toral letter is not the appro- priate place to enter into a discussion of these complex issues." -- Urged "careful study" of various themes and issues surrounding priesthood and "continuing dialogue and re- flection on the meaning of ministry in the church." In the fourth draft instead of saying the pastoral letter is not the appropriate place to discuss the issue the bishops declare: "In our view, the pastoral role of the bishop in the church requires us to ad- dress even controversial is- sues and to reflect on the rea- sons which underlie the practice of two millennia of Catholic tradition regarding eligibility for the reception of holy orders." The new text defends the elements of the 1976 Vatican document in detail and at- tempts to rebut some of the principal arguments raised against that teaching. "The fact that the call to ministerial priesthood is ad- dressed only to men is not ar- bitrary, nor is it rooted in a view that women are inferior as persons," it says. It argues that the church tradition which is appealed to in this teaching is more than a simple continuation of past practices, but is based "on the sacramental nature of the priesthood, on the theol- ogy of the Eucharist ... and on the significance of the bibli- cal symbolism of Christ as the bridegroom of the church." "The priest is a sacramental symbol of Christ, who in his humanity stands among us as our mediator and high priest," the new text says. "The sacrament relies on the natural symbolism of gender to signify the relationship be- tween the priest and Christ, the head and bridegroom of the church. The conviction "that the church is unable to authorize the ordination of women," it says, "involves an under- standing of the mystery of the church, the nature of priest- hood and holy orders, the theology of sacrament and sacramental symbolism, and the limits of church authority over the sacraments." "There are further implica- tions," it adds, "from Christ- ian anthropology regarding both the way in which God's revelation has manifested it- self in Christ and the signifi- cance of human sexuality in God's creative plan." In response to the argument that denying ordination to women is "an injustice against half the members of the church," the new draft Bishop's answers by quoting a statement by the Catholic bishops of New Zealand, the question of injustice arise only "if the church in fact the authority to ordain women and then fails to d, so." i/I If the church does not ha that authority, the new dra says, then the accusation o[ injustice begs the question. "It would be wrong, thereJ fore, to see the exclusion 0 ! women from ordination as a denial of the equality women in the church," says. It argues for advancing th4 vision in the church of] priestly authority "seen an lived as a genuine service tO God's people." The more this I is done, it says, "the more]] will be allayed the suspicionS some women have that th link between such power an holy orders is a p-atriarcha .express!on,of domination andi| mequahty 1 schedule /