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October 25, 1996     The Message
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October 25, 1996

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25 1996 :The-MesSage -- for Catholics of Southwestern-Indiana 5 -- Bishop's Forum --- On Friday evening, Oct. 18, the Feast of St. Luke, the Physi- cian, there was a "Celebration of the Medical Profession's Ethical Heritage.,, I was privileged to par- uclpate in that special evening lvhen physicians, spouses and fam. ., members gathered to re-affirm their professional oath to care for those in need of healing and to protect life. It was inspirational and reassuring for me as friend of all and Catholic pastor of many. In our time -- and most likely not much different than in the past  physicians are men and WOmen who are deeply committed to their profes- sion and indeed, ministry of service in v terms T  . ocational aey make themselves available to 1 patients oA L " the'r '* hours a da since sl ther th .... Y ckness respects nei- cocK nor the calendar. c- Many, if not most, of our physicians are dedi- ated to family life. Their " lng little e .... hme is consumed, allow- _ ,ur activities beyond their profession of lauicine and Vocation to Besides t._ marriage and family. -use COmmitments, they must take time to keepthemselves healthy. a a culture that r Our Phvs;," ...... p omotes violence and death, i  L - ,,as tirelessly devote themselves to life. - aer reflections during the concluding prayer ser- Solidarity for life ili  !!i;!i!!i!i!i!i: i:i ..... By BISHOP GERALD A. GETTELFINGER vice, Doctor Linda Ramsey asserted that she is one of what she called "the silent majority" of physicians who uphold life and have dedicated themselves to the cause of life. Lest the rest of us forget the high ideals of those men and women who are physicians, I wish you could have witnessed the physi- cians standing in solidarity for life as they renewed their pledge to be faithful to the ancient Oath of Hip- pocrates. It was moving to hear them repeat the words of the oath which they once spoke as they entered the medical profession. Dr. Paul A. Byrne, a neonatologist from Toledo, Ohio, was keynote speaker. He addressed the grave issues confronting themedical profession and all of us in the years to come. Not only have we been dealing with the effects of the Supreme Court Deci- sion Roe vs. Wade in 1974, now we await its deci- sion on two cases concerning doctor-assisted sui- cide, a euphemism for doctor-imposed death. He challenged the physicians present to remain true to the basic ethical principles embodied in the Oath of Hippocrates. He also suggested that physicians can- not resolve all the ills of the medical profession, but should be comforted in doing their best and leaving the rest to God. olic Cemetery Sunday observed Oct 27 Cemetery Sunday is We recall the earliest days of Day, which is also a special day each year set aside to the Church when the faithful of remembrance, All Souls Day attention to the vaClemetery and its ,ue to all Catholics. onal Catholic ference ICem.etery, these two 'atholic and Ceme- ls.eparable. This Ls for the inter- al departed quired and justified .Purpose of carrying hurch to faithful, in life Little Leaf sprinkled with Sunshine; in their autumn nd. along, one little ray shoulder. :CLINTON the that this high in a SOme shade and summer long on its final leaf touch forest of human- away, each hay- function to lives of to eterni. exactly how come about. great each leaYhma Own distinct rn be said, and md Worth and :t place .... needs to each, life: .... worshipped with the Mass cele- brated on altars of catacomb- crypts where their loved ones rested in peace awaiting resur- rection. Their reverence and care for their deceased earned from pagan Rome their very right to exist. The Church was recog- nized as a "Burial Society". This has been our constant tradition. The very special event for us is the Rite of Christian Burial. This brings together the two sacred places in Catholic life and wor- ship. Mass is celebrated al the altar of the parish church. The mortal remains of our loved one are ritually laid to rest with rev- erence and care in the other sacred place  the blessed grave or crypt in the Catholic Ceme- tery. This is the special event that occurs daily -- the individ- ual, personal, family celebration that lies at the very heart of all that we are and all that we do. It is the last farewell for a loved one, both a memory of a past life and the expectation of life to come -- and endless life. It is not by accident that the last Sunday in October is desig- nated Catholic Cemetery Sun- day. It is the last Sunday before All Souls Day. Unlike Memorial is uniquely Catholic. Memorial Day is a national and civic idea that refers chiefly to war dead. All Souls Day involves all fami- lies and all those who have left this earthly life, and is not just a patriotic theme for a limited roster of heroes past. This day not only looks back to remem- ber, it looks to the now and to the future. It says plan for life, plan for the moment of entry into eternal life. What will that experience mean for us and for our loved ones? How may we best prepare for ourselves and for them? Catholic Cemetery Sunday, then, is a reminder of our her- itage that dates back to the ear- liest Christians and the burial of their beloved in the sacred "Sleeping Places". It reminds us of the Christian Burial of the lowly and the mighty through- out the centuries in the ubiqui- tous churchyards. It brings to mind our loved ones who now rest in modern cemeteries that are sacred places just as the cat- acomb or churchyard. It brings into focus just how important that one word -- "Catholic" -- is to give full meaning for us and to our cemetery. Washington Continued from page 4 trated that there are no candi- dates who support a consistent ethic of life,  Wisdo said. For instance, those who campaign opposing abortion may also sup- port ending programs that help the poor or advocate expanding the death penalty. Many react like the universi- ty student Wisdo encountered who decided she simply would not vote because every candi- date seemed to have some posi- tions the student found objec- tionable. "At that point we say to peo- ple, 'Political responsibility is not just about these issues, it's not just about this election," she said. Shellabarger told of a conver- sation with his daughter, who is preparing to vote for the first time and was upset to realize candidates didn't fit her expec- tations. "Welcome to being an adult,' I told her.  Wisdo said finding the choice The spiritual facet of the work of a physician is a very key element to the healing process and in fac- ing the reality of impending death. I was personally most pleased to hear Dr. Byrne remind the physi- cians of this privileged aspect of their profession. The physician plays a special role in assisting the patient's spirit to be receptive to the Holy Spirit. He encouraged the doctors to pray for their patients and when praying with their patients who are dying to be ever conscious of the person's religious tradi- tion. These acts of prayer by the physicians are life- giving and life-preserving into eternity. Let us pray for our physicians daily. They have a most challenging task with little time for reflec- tion before they are called upon to minister to a patient whose life is threatened. Their commitment to life is especially difficult in a world and culture that applauds violence and death as solutions to personal and communal problems. Let us not forget to pray for the spouses and family members of our physicians. They too are most generous and are deprived of moments, hours, and days when their physician- spouse or parent is assisting the members of someone else's family. With them all, let us stand in solidarity for life. To that end, I am having reprinted on this page the Oath of Hippocrates, that you too may know the solemn commitment that our physicians have made for life. We would all do well to make the same pledge for life. Oath of Hi endorsed by the Value of Life Committee, Inc. , I I I swear in the presence of the Almighty and before my faro- I ily, my teachers and my peers that according to my ability I and judgment I will keep tSis oath and stipulation: [ To reckonall who have taught me s art equal dear to: I me my paints and the samd ifit aria deditiOn: ] knowledge of the art of me to others, Il of candidates unsatisfactory doesn2 justify not voting. "Don't feel like everything has to hinge on this one vote,  she suggested. "We're just now beginning a political process and it's a long process. Ifyou're frus- trated, instead of leading you not to vote, it should lead to you become more involved in the 'p/ess." I Stewardship by the Book I I We fulfill the commandment te i ] love our neighbor when we exer. ] ] cise good stewardship --joyfully [ ] sharzng our gifts of life, abilities ] ]and resources to meet our neigh- ] ,! br,, 's n eed., ,,, .................. .... , I