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September 20, 1991     The Message
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September 20, 1991

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2 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 20, Legion of Mary to celebrate jubilee in Evansville The following article was submitted for publication by Bernice Wahnsiedler of Evansville. The Legion of Mary in two Evansville parishes celebrates 1991 as a jubilee year. The so- ciety was founded in Febru- ary, 1941 at St. Benedict Church by Father Walter Sul- livan and three months later by Father John Lynch at Sa- cred Heart Church. The Legion of Mary origi- nated in Dublin, Ireland in 1921. It anticipated Vatican II by many years in its empha- sis on the importance of a lay apostolate. Members consider it a privilege as well as a duty and responsibility to work for the spread of Christ's king- dom "Recognizing that no one is too bad to be uplifted; no one too good" (Legion of Mary handbook), members call on the sick and lonely in their homes and in institutions; visit residents in penal insti- tutions; give religious instruc- tions; invite the unchurched and those who have left Mother Church to attend the parish liturgy; disseminate Catholic literature and sacra- mentals; do house-to-house census; and do any other work the priest feels is useful to the parish. Evangelization follows for, even when not being actively pursued, it becomes a by- product of the work being performed. Throughout the world Le- gion groups have been formed in universities, grade and high schools, seminaries, even in prisons where in- mates witness to one anotherl In the not so far past Junior and Intermediate groups were also active locally. Those young people who were fortunate to have partic- ipated in the apostolate attest to its value in their formation as adult Catholics, aware of the spiritual treasure that is theirs. Unfortunately for parishes and families, these groups are presently non-ex- istent in our diocese and membership in the Senior groups has dwindled. Believing the situation is largely due to a misinterpre- tation of Vatican II, the Le- gionaries of today are work- ing to extend the Legion of Mary to its former status as a vital component of every parish. Their Handbook tells its members that "the object of the Legion of Mary is the glory of God through the sanctification of its members by prayer and active coopera- tion .... in Mary's and the ChurCh's work of advancing the reign of Christ." Relying on the power of the Holy Spirit and the caring love of Mary for her children, members pray, work and promote devotion to God !s own Mother. "Roman Catholics .... it0 not hold a monopoly on her. She belongs to all of us who profess her Son as Savio0r[ and Lord," said RevererJdl Donald C. Lacy, a Methodi!t[ minister, according to an A0'[ gust 1987 story in Our Su'] day Visitor. In that articlei I Rev. Lacy was quoted, statiC.g| that the Blessed Mother is| the key to authentic ecU menism in our day and time: With her help the Legion 0 Mary seeks to share the o# holy, catholic, apostoliC Church with every soul. Judge Thomas testimony draws to closei By PATRICIA ZAPOR mind in any consideration of[ abortion cases. During tl0[ third day of the hearingsi| Sept. 12, the federal jud 1 told Sen. Herb Kohl, )-WiS'| that "whether or not I have JI Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- As the Senate Judiciary Com- mittee prepared to conclude questioning of Judge Clarence Thomas, the tone of the con- firmation hearings softened somewhat, but the Supreme Court nominee still refused to say what he thinks of abor- tion rights. Several members of the committee persisted in trying to steer Thomas into disclos- ing how he might rule on abortion rights cases, but he continued to insist it would be wrong for a seated judge to do so. Thomas, 43, )as ap- pointed to the federal appeals court in early 1990 and also declined then to give an opin- ion about abortion at confir- mation hearings. After concluding question- ing by members of the com- mittee on Sept. 16, outside witnesses were scheduled to take the stand for most of the rest of the week. By one member's count, the committee had raised the question of abortion more than 70 times during the first three days Thomas testified. On the final day of ques- tioning the issue of the death penalty came up, and Thomas in response to ques- tions from Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said that "philosophically" nothing would keep him from upo holding the death penalty but thenominee stressed he'd urge all possible appeals be offered. There was little doubt among Senate watchers that the committee would ulti- mately confirm Thomas's nomination. That outcome was hinted at by a softening of questions from one mem- ber who generally is consid- ered a swing vote on judicial nominees. Sen. Howell Heflin, D-Ala., Sept. 13 focused testimony for a while on Thomas' back- ground, giving the nominee an opportunity to discuss his days as a civil rights and war protester while attending Holy Cross College in Worcester, Mass. Thomas explained how he had come to transfer to Jesuit- run Holy Cross from Concep- tion Seminary in Missouri after encountering racism while studying for the priest- hood there. In a candid discussion of his activities in his college years, Thomas recounted how in his first year of college at Conception he was climbing a staircase behind a classmate who didn't realize he was there when someone shouted from a lower level that Dr. King had been shot. He said the student ahead of him, without realizing Thomas was nearby, said, "That's good. I hope the SOB dies," "It was at that moment when I decided to leave the seminary," said Thomas, who is black. Soon after that he joined various civil rights protest marches and partici- pated in other events that clarified his decision to leave Conception, he explained. Thomas was raised by his Catholic grandfather and at- tended segregated Catholic schools in Savannah, Ga., in- cluding a minor seminary high school. He and his wife now attend an Episcopal church. Earlier in the week, from a Faith Development Leadership Certification Program or Pastoral Associates, RCIA, School Personnel, DREs, CREs, Catechists, Youth Ministers and Adult Formation Leaders On Five alternate Saturdays 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. For college credit or non-credit i Off-Campus course and site: Basic Approaches to Catechetical Ministry ST. MARY PARISH CENTER, HUNTINGBURG, IN (Registration Deadline October 26, 1991) A meeting of all persons planning to take the course and all those who wish to inquire about taking the course will be held at St. Mary's Center, Huntingburg, on October 17 at 7 p.m. Brescia College personnel will be present to answer any questions. Funded by: Lily Endowment through Brescia College Owensboro, KY. For information and brochure, ca!l Sister Mary Emma Jochum, O.S.B. Religious Education Director (812) 424-5536 variety of angles, members of the committee attempted to get Thomas to voice some sort of opinion about a right to abortion. But Thomas con- tinued to politely repeat that he had made no personal de- cision about abortion and that "to take a position would un- dermine my ability to be a fair judge." At one point he said that whether he had a view on a legal right to abortion was "ir- relevant." Theology also would not be relevant in preparing to rule on a case dealing with abor- tion, Thomas told Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., when asked Sept. 11 how he would prepare for a hypothetical case about constitutional rights of a fetus. While medical testimony, legal precedent and other in- formation should be analyzed in such a case, "I don't see at this point where theology would be relevant," Thomas said. In one effort, Leahy ques- tioned Thomas about what sort of discussions he had en- gaged in while a law student in 1973 when Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court ruling le- galizing abortion, was decid- ed. But Thomas said he couldn't remember participat- ing in any such discussions or whether he had ever voiced an opinion about the ruling. He repeatedly told the committee he had not made up his mind about the consti- tutionality of abortion rights and that he had-no intention of doing so for their benefit. "I have no reason or agenda to prejudge the issue ... or a predilection to rule one way or another on the issue of abortion," he said. In response to questions from Sen. Howard Metzen- bourn, D-Ohio, Thomas said the thought of back-alley abortions pained him, and that he would keep an open I Main Street P00rmacy 217 E. Main St. - Downtown Washington Phone: 254-5141 view (on a legal right to ab0r tion) is irrelevant." In the first day of testiro: ny, Thomas said he belieV, a constitutional rightiff. in privacy -- the basis of t  Roe vs. Wade ruling  ai said he does not agree wit: the conclusions drawn in essay he once praised whi said under the theory of nat" ral law the Constitution prO' tects the life of the fetus. .h The nominee's 1987 spee to the Heritage Foundation 0  the essay has been cited frO" quently by those who .e tried to pin down how I' d, year-old federal judge 1 rule on abortie cases. ,! Thomas told the committ;[ he did not agree with the c0 | clusions drawn by consetV!] rive businessman Le]| Lehrman in the article, a| said he had merely cited it.[ a way of strikin a chord v | his audience. His referella| was directed at getting th to understand his about civil rights and law, Thomas said. Pressed to clarify w] he agreed with the the article, Thomas said "I | disagree with him to the 6| tent he uses natural laWi | make a,constitutional adjUO'[ cation. "  - The theory of natural 1 holds that individuals certain basic rights a those given by written -- particularly that sU rights come from God. l| Although he sidestepP. direct questions about his [ liefs on the onstitutiO| 'i basis for legal abortlO[ Thomas volunteered that believes the guarantees a general right privacy. The 1973 Roe) Wade case legalizing abort was based on the ruling t, the constitutional right to 10 vacy extends to a womM right to obtain a legal tion. Among Thomas' su on the committee were Hatch, R-Utah, noted toward the end of first week of hearings that! abortion issue had comO more than 70 times.