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September 18, 1987     The Message
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September 18, 1987
 

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September 18,1987 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 3 It was the chance of a lifetime The big picture It is estimated that 60,000 gathered in the Louisiana Superdome to hear Pope John Paul ll's address to youth last weekend. At left is the view the Marian Heights contingent had. Above, Norma Castelo, Kristi Paacek, chaperone Mary Harmeier and Lourdes Garcia applaud the pope's speech. Pope challenges U. S. values during trip By AGOSTINO BONe NC News Service Pope John Paul II's U.S. visit went beyond a personal en- counter with American Catholics. It also became a challenge to U.S. society in i general to rethink some of its values and to rediscover the religious roots of its freedom- oriented political system. During the Sept. 10-19 trip the pope challenged the social effectiveness of divorce, asked that scientific and technological progress be con- trolled by moral values, and told Americans that they must be morally accountable for the way they use their freedom. He attacked a materialistic society in which the iim is to accumulate wealth rather than Papal souveniers bring bucks All over New Orleans, people were cashing in on Pope John Paul II. His picture was on baseball hats, buttons and candles. A T-shirt teamed the pope up with the New Orleans Saints football team. Bookstores carried a book called, "The Pope Does New Orleans." Street artists were sket- ching him. People posed for pictures beside cardboard cutouts of him -- for $5 a shot. Even a fast food mar- quee proclaimed, "Wendy's welcomes Pope John Paul II." There were "Pope on a Rope" soap, keychains, plates, scarves -- the list goes on and on. Everywhere you looked, people were cashing in on the Holy Father. Lourdes Arivzu, a student at Marian Heights Academy, Ferdinand, was turned off by the blatant commercializa- tion of the Holy Father. "Some people were using the pope only to earn money," she said. Instead of the T-shirts, she would have liked to have seen more religious and inspirational articles for sale. Kate Grote, also from Marian Heights, thought a lot of the papal souveniers were "really tacky." However, she said some keepsakes for sale, were "good reminders of the pope and visit." Grote said she bought a replica of the Vatican flag which she hopes will help her remember "one of the funnest weekends I've ever had." A street artist in the French Quarter finishes a portrait of Pope John Paul II during his papal visit to New Orleans. He told a Message repoer that he would sell the rendering for $800. share it. He asked greater economic opportunities for minorities, better social ser- vices for the needy and said that forgiveness should guide negotiations on refinancing the foreign debts of poor nations. In Miami, the first stop, he stressed the spiritual roots bas- ed on a belief in God that motivated the Founding Fathers. He cited the Declara- tion of Independence and the Constitution, the foundation stones of the U.S. governmental and legal system. The pope praised the U.S. political system which protects individual freedom, but said this requires "moral accoun- tability" on how this freedom is used. "America: you cannot insist on the right to choose without also insisting on the duty to chose well," he said. "We must account for the good we fail to do and for the evil that we commit," he add- ed. Moral values must guide "the new frontiers of scientific research and technological achievement," he said. "What is technically possible is not for that very reason morally admissible," he added. "Make this society a place of full and absolute respect for the dignity of every person, from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death," he said. This precludes "the great evil of abortion and euthanasia" and requires "the need to safeguard the life and integrity of the human embryo and fetus," he added. REGARDING THE renegotia- tions of Third World foreign debts, the pope said the "blind justice of financial mechanisms" should be superceded by forgiveness and mercy. "Blind justice alone cannot solve this problem in an ethical way that promotes the human goods of all parties," he said. "Merciful love calls for mutual understanding and a-' recognition of human priorities PAPAL and needs, above and beyond the blind justice of financial mechanisms," he added. On an individual level, he criticized a materialistic value system "whore the pursuit of wealth is treated as the supreme good." "There is a very special and pitiable form of poverty: the poverty of selfishness, the poverty of those who have and will not share," he said. The pope also questioned the effectiveness of divorce as a solution in human relations. He said it is not the church which is "lacking in compassion" in upholding the indissolubility of marriage. Divorce "often develops into a bitter dispute about property and, more tragically, about children," he said, "What must be seen is the in- effectiveness of divorce, and its ready availability in modem society, to bring mercy and forgiveness and healing to so many couples and their children, in whose troubled lives there remain a brokenness and suffering that will not go away," he added. The pope also called for greater economic and legal equality for minorities, especially blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans. But his call went beyond a criticism of the racism at the roots of social inequality. It was also a strong statement that these groups and their cultures already have made positive contributions to U.S. society and must continue to make these contributions if society in general is to progress.