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October 9, 1987     The Message
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October 9, 1987
 

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-j 4 Editorial II The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana October 9, 1987 By PAUL LEINGANG Message Editor Hiking to Ferdinand and the foolishness of our inflexibility The first time I saw Ferdinand, I was 12 or 13 years old. Exact age is not the important part of the story. I saw Ferdinand that first time from a tower or look-out point somewhere at St. Meinrad Arch- abbey. The exact spot of the first sighting is not the important part of the story, either. The first time I saw Ferdinand, it was from about five miles away, over at least several hills from where I was standing. I was on a high point; Ferdinand is on a high ridge. Getting to Ferdinand is what this story is about. Ferdinand was to be our destination, the end point of a boy scout hike. The scout leaders had allowed us to climb to a vantage point at St. Meirtrad, so we could pinpoint the location of our destination on our compasses. Up on high, it was easy: there was the tall steeple of St. Ferdinand Church gleaming against the summer sky, and just beyond the steeple to the northeast were the-domi- nant stone and buildings and gleaming tile roofs of Convent Immaculate Conception. It was easy, up on high. Back down on the ground, I remember there was a lot less certainty about the plan to walk through the woods and fields trusting our travel to the compass needle of steel balanced in a circle of clear fluid. Our destination was unmistakable while we could see it. Once we lost sight of our goal, our faith in our own ability to find it was as shaky as that compass needle. About a mile away from St. Meinrad, I was pretty sure that the first time I saw Ferdinand would also be the last time. There were other groups of scouts on the same hike. Among the amazing discoveries of the day was the sudden realization that our group was alone in the woods. We had all started at the same point. We all had the same destination. We had all used compasses to point our boots along the right path. The route should have been obvious and identical for all the patrols. Such diversity remains a mystery. My group was faithful to the compass. At one point, I remember, we climbed over a barbed wire fence directly in our path. It slanted off to the right. Ten yards later, we crossed another barbed wire fence, slanted off to the left. Looking back, one of our group discovered that we had just cut across the very corner of a fenced-in field. Had we moved a few feet to the side, we could have avoid- ed both Crossings completely. We, however, were walking the straight and narrow, we believed. We would not tolerate a shift to the side. At the top of the next hill, we saw Ferdinand again. At this high spot in the woods, we made the next of our amazing discoveries: Ferdinand was not directly in front of us where it should have been. Several reasons were discussed for such a happening: one possibility was that the hills were full of iron and had confused our compasses; anothertheory was that somehow our scout leaders had tricked us; still another theory suggested that the church and the convent had been moved to another hill while we were down in the valley be- tween hills; the least favored suggestion ma was that we had misread our compasses. If truth were to be settled by a majority vote, the truth of the matter was a combination of the first two reasons: we determined there was some kind of magnetic disturbance in the earth, and that our scout leaders knew about it but failed to tell us. The truth we had discerned was borne out as we made our final approach to our destination. As far as the eye could see, to the left and to the west, to the right and to the east, there were groups of scouts approaching. Every group had followed a compass; every group had followed the straight and true path to the goal; every group was miraculously hiking to Ferdinand from a slightly different direction. There are probably several lessons to be learned from the experience. One lesson has to be" tolerance -- the realization that other people, too, believe they are on the right path. Another lesson has to spring from the foolishness of our inflexibility -- refusing to look to the left or right may force us up against more barbed wire and barriers than are necessary on the way to our goal. The hike to Ferdinand proved, too, that it is easy to lose sight of a goal, in the middle of a journey. In the end, probably the most powerful lesson of all was that all guidance pales in the presence of persistence. We all knew there was no magnetic disturbance, no trickery. What we lost through in- ability to read a compass, we gained through sheer determination to get where we were supposed to go. We may have walked a few miles out of the way and crossed a few unnecessary fences, but we reached our goal. There is, I now realize, more than one way to get to Ferdinand. I know that you can get to where you want to go, even if you'can't read a compass. Otherwise you may not recognize success when you achieve it. You just have to remember what you are look- ing for. Making a wrong turn is not the biggest mistake you can make on a journey; the biggest mistake is forgetting where you want to go. Washington Letter Surrogate motherhood poses moral legal dilemma By JULIE ASHER NC News Service WASHINGTON (NC) -- A South African woman who gave birth Oct. I to triplets has made history. As the world's first sur- rogate mother for her daughter's transplanted em- bryos, she gave birth to her own grandchildren. That has pushed the debate about the ethics of surrogate motherhood a step further, rais- ing a host of fresh moral and legal questions. In surrogacy, an infertile woman and her husband con- tract with another woman to be 0000,088aO0 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 4771 1 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Published weekly except last week in December by the Catholic Press of Evansville. Publisher ........ Bishop Francis R, Shea Associate Publisher .... Rev. Joseph Zlllak Editor .................. Paul Lelngang Circulation Mgr....Mrs. Rose Monlrsstelle Prmrluchon MOt ............... Phil Booer Advertising Mgr ............... Dan Ho rty Address all communications to P.O. Box 41e9, Evansville, IN 47711. Phone (812) 424-5536. Subscription rate: $15 per year Entered ss 2nd clm matter at the post of. fios in ,Evlmsvllie, IN 47701. Publlcatlo number 843800. Poetmsiter: Return POD forms ' 711 tO the OfflP.,e of Publication. i artificially inseminated with the sperm of the husband and carry and give birth to the child, then give up the baby for adoption by the infertile cou- ple. In many cases surrogate mothers provide the sere 'e for pay. But the South African w ,man was implanted with the ova of her 25-year-old daughter fer- tilized with her son-in-law's sperm through in vitro fertiliza- tion. Embryo transfer, in vitro fer- tilization, sex predetermina- tion, amniocentesis and other reproductive technologies are being used increasingly in con- junction with surrogacy. Surrogate motherhood has been described as a major social experiment, an experiment that has evolved in the absence of appropriate laws to guide its practitioners. , The Vatican has condemned surrogacy, saying it "represents an objective failure to meet the obligations of maternal love, of conjugal fidelity and of respon- sible motherhood." Other Catholic leaders, in- cluding U.S. bishops, have said it also violates the marriage covenant, amounts to illegally trafficking in human lives and is "a legal outrage and moral disaster." Organizers of a newly formed national coalition against the practice branded it a "new form of slavery" that has created a class of breeder women. SURROGACY'S PRO- PONENTS include attorney Noel P. Keane of Dearborn, Mich., who arranged a sur- rogate contract between Mary Beth Whitehead and Elizabeth and William Stern. Last March Mrs. Whitehead lost a landmark custody battle over "Baby M," the child she agreed to bear for the Sterns for $1o,00o but whom she refused to give up: The case was on ap- peal to the New Jersey Supreme Court. Keane, who in 1978 arranged one of the first surrogate births in the United States and has ar- ranged 177 others since then, has said surrogacy is a "fur- therance" of what he believes is an infertile couples' constitu- tional right to procreate. "Most critics aren't aware of how hard infertility hits peo- ple," Keane has said. "If we have an infertile woman mar- ried to a fertile man, why can't they incorporate the use of a surrogate in the furtherance of their constitutionally protected right to procreation?" The first legislation on sur- rogate motherhood was in- troduced in Alaska's House of Representatives in April 1981, and since then legislation has ' been proposed in a number of states on various aspects of sur- rogacy. But to date only Louisiana has a law dealing specifically with the practice. The state's lawmakers passed a bill earlier this year declaring surrogacy 1. contracts null and void and "unenforceable as contrary to public policy," effective Sept. i Letter to the editor Thank you, Holy Father To the editor, Our Holy Father, Pope John Paul, was here. His ten day visit was a real Spiritual Renewal. I can only reldort what I heard and saw on TV. He said, "May it be record- ed that I come to America to in- vite you to pray. "If you really wish to follow Christ; if you want your love for Him to grow and last, then you must be faithful to prayer. It is the key to the vitality of your life in Christ." The Holy Father came to us at a time when we are experienc- ing a sharp increase in crime, costing our nation billions of dollars. Immorality is rampant. Dissent is everywhere. Indeed, we are living in a troubled world. It is not strange that opposi- tion should arise for Catholics have been opposed since the beginning when Christ himself was crucified. This same op- position was repeated again when the pope met AIDS vic- tims in the Mission Dolores Basilica in San Francisco, California. Inside the church, five-year-old Brendan O'Rouke, a hemophiliac, who contracted AIDS, the dreadful disease from a blood transfusion, was being held in his father's arms. As soon as he saw the Vicar of Christ, the little boy reached out and flew into his arms. The pope continued to pray with the AIDS patients "and he touched them. He said he prays for the AIDS patients every day and that God loves you all. While at the same time, the homosexuals and women lib- bars' were outside the Basilica chanting and carrying signs for the pope to be more understan- ding and to show his love towards the AIDS patients. I saw one sign which read, "Pope, go home." .Again, thank you, Holy Father, for the Spiritual Renewal and may you live a long time. Viola Weaver Ja', ladies