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September 18, 1987     The Message
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September 18, 1987

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8 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana September 18, 1987 - I U.S. pa " Pope accentuates the positive, calls for adherance to teachings By AGOSTINO BONe NC News Service Pope John Paul II accentuated the positive in American Catholicism during his Sept. 10-19 visit to the United States while calling for closer adherence to church teachings. Even when those teachings go against the grain of contem- porary cultural values, Catholics must persevere in following them, the pope said. "The Gospel, in its continu- ing encounter with culture, must always challenge the ac- complishments and assump- tions of the age," he said. In New Orleans, he asked Catholics to reject "the ineffec- tiveness of divorce, and its ready availability in modern society." He told youth that the church teaches "that sex is a great gift of God that is reserved for mar- riage" and that they should follow that teaching even though their contemporaries would call them "backward" and "reactionary." But the stress was on the positive side of the U.S. church. The pope praised the integration of minority groups into the church, the extensive Catholic school system which educates people in the faith, and the dedication of U.S. priests in trying to come to grips with the sensitive and concrete pastoral problems of their flocks. The pope struck the positive note even before touching down in Miami, his first stop, and often reiterated it. Answering questions from journalists on the flight from Rome, the pope said the U.S. church is a "very good" church in which the "great silent ma- jority" hew to doctrine even though dissent is a "serious problem." CATHOLICS WHO believe they can violate church teachings and still he .good Catholics are mistaken, he said, because "it is necessary to follow the teaching of our Lord expressed through the church." Only hours later, at a meeting in St. Martha&apos;s Church in Miami with 600 representatives of the 57,000 U.S. priests, he said priests must follow the magisterium even when deal- ing with "sensitive issues." He praised a "merciful and gentle and forgiving" pastoral style, but if "what is claimed to be a gesture of mercy goes con- trary to the demands of God's word, it can never be truly com- passionate or beneficial." A day later, in Columbia, S.C., he praised the American tradition of freedom but called on Americans not to lose sight of freedom's"true meaning." "We must account for the good that we fail to do and for the evil that we commit," he said at an ecumenical service which drew 60,000 to the University of South Carolina's Williams-Brice Stadium. "America: You cannot insist, on the right to choose without also insisting on the duty to choose well, the duty to choose in the truth." He said "sins against love and against life are often presented as examples of 'progress' and emancipation," and asked: "Are they not but the age-old forms of selfishness dressed up in a new language and presented in a new cultural framework?" Although the pope came on a pastoral visit -- not in his role as head of state -- President Reagan, accompanied by Mrs. Reagan, nevertheless flew to Miami to greet him. In an airport ceremony, the president told the pope that "no one can speak with greater force to our own generation than you yourself," and declared: "As you exhort us, we will listen with all our hearts." The trip was the pope's se- cond major U.S. visit since the beginning of his pontificate nine years ago, although he had touched down on U.S. soil EVA NS VIL L E SER VICE AND SHOPPING GUIDE CALL 424-5536 TO GET YOUR BUSINESS OR SERVICE LISTED BELOW! Bit II B EQU E RIBS-CHICKEN PORK-BEEF INSIDE DINING.BURGOO COMPLETE CARRY-OUT SERVICE CLOSED ON MONDAYS 425-1616 3119 W. 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His earlier visit, in 1979, had taken him to the East and the Midwest. The itinerary for this trip spanned 5,331 miles and included nine dioceses in the South, Southwest and Far West. On the itinerary were Miami; Columbia, S.C.; New Orleans; San Antonio, Texas; Phoenix, Ariz.; Los Angeles; Monterey, Calif.; San Francisco and Detroit. OVERALL THEME OF the visit was "Unity in the Work of Service." The schedule called for the pope to deliver 45 speeches and homilies, and to listen to presentations by representatives of various groups. As Pope John Paul moved out to meet American Catholics, there was an underlying Vatican concern over an ap- parent split between those strictly adhering to doctrine and those favoring more flex- ibility based on personal cons- cience. The situation had caused some strained relations be- tween American bishops and Vatican officials, who sometimes viewed dissent as a result of doctrinal leniency by bishops. Those tensions were on the unwritten agenda for a closed-door meeting between the pope and more than 350 U.S. bishops in Los Angeles midway through the trip. But even before he arrived, the pope dismissed the notion of an American church schism by telling journalists who raised the question during the flight from Rome: "Don't exaggerate. '' The task facing Pope John, Paul was to show the nation'Y 53 million Catholics how the particular strengths of American Catholicism must be rooted in a strong faith an- chored in church teachings if they were to have a lasting ef- fect. There were suhthemes at each stop on the itinerary. In Miami, in addition to the pope's meeting with priests, his agenda focused on Catholic- Jewish relations. His meeting with 200 ]ewish leaders was almost scuttled See U.S. page 19 Photos of Pope's Visit to The United States Available From The Associated Press <" Pope John Paul II Visits Americal A package of five dramatic color photographs of the historic visit are available from The Associated Press. These dramatic 8 x 10 quality photos can be purchased through this newspaper at the low cost of only $29.95. The five photos are very suitable for framing. They capture all the emotion and excite- ment of the visit. Send for this memorable package of photos today by using the attached coupon. Order today. I POPE JOHN PAUL II VISIT I (Name of your newspaper) c/o The Associated Press I 50 Rockefeller Plaza New York, N.Y. 10020 I I I ! I I L Enclosed is $, Please send me .sets of photos of Pope John Paul II's visit to the United States at $29.95 each. NAME: ADDRESS: CITY: STATE ZIP CODE Please make cheek or money order payable to The Assorted Press I I I I I I I I l I _I