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November 1, 1996     The Message
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November 1, 1996

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November 1,1996 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 5 "- Bishop's Forum -- We the citizens of the United States have a moral obligation to take part in the election process of our country. To be blunt about it, not to take part in this precious freedom is a sin. Sin for those of us of the Judaeo-Christian heritage is both personal and communal. Through personal sin, I affect my relation- ship with God. As a member of the !mmunity, when I sin, I weaken :community. There are both onal and communal results from ray achons or Omissions. We do not live in isol tion. Citizens of COUntries hava God-given right and :;aponsibility to assume their proper role in the life n ae country. Ha pily, in our re u o-oraea a. .... . p bhc, we are -e roll exercise of th the res,,o--' ..... at right. Accepting v 'lOll]ty is up to each of us We must not 0000,ic00to,t To .ou,00 to om,0000ion Because 2t is God-given, the rightto partici" "p in the life of our countr take ate ter A ....... Y s on a sacred charac- ..... ormngly, the exer Sacredl. .... clse of that mght takes on a thi, ,.',racter. To either dismiss the exercise of -',s-withc " " sinful Ymcmm or avoid t with apathy is In the Roman Catholic Church there is, cur- mayrentlY'beaassessedPPu!ar asW''rd'c It appears to be in vogue. It terlzation .:_ amp. No matter the charac- , uJs.cernment is an act that relates to aklln:n:Cns" Acts of discernment may be per- either"- c^ " aeymaybe deliberations of a ou In never thd: e' individual citizens are engaged.grIi;:is same fbllowing such efforts of serious dia- By BISHOP GERALD A. GETTELFINGER Elections 1996 logue, negotiations, compromise and consensus. In our society, when consensus fails, the "fallback" posi- tion is the majority vote according to the familiar "Robert's Rules of Order." The election of civic leaders is a process that calls for a majority vote. The rules are strictly defined However the act of voting is most personal. Our country has endowed us with a most precious gift, the secret ballot. Recently I was contacted at my home. The caller asked me how I was going to vote in the upcoming elections The caller had to have been a hireling. When I reminded him that my vote was protected by secrecy, he retorted that it was his obligation to ask the question. However, to exercise the right to vote by secret ballot in a responsible way requires effort. Each of us must do personal homework, not only to know the candidates running for high office, but also to know the issues that must be addressed to maintain and nurture the common good. To remain ignorant in these matters by choice is a sin against the same common good. To be responsible is to be knowledge- able. That is where discernment comes in. Personal discernment is accomplished by using diligently one's God-given talent to study and by applying one's own insights from life experiences. The fruits of such effort will make the trip to the ballot box a responsible one. It is not my right to ask you how you will vote in the upcoming elections, so, I won't. I will chal- lenge you to do your homework well, so that you will be responsible and vote. As I go about my homework, my attempt to dis- cern wise choices for election day in November I am having great difficulty. I am striving not to be cyni- cal and at the same time struggling to make choices that will, in my judgment, be good for our country, for the common good. I will be bold enough to share two such difficul- ties. As a Roman Catholic, and as a bishop, I am on" record as unalterably opposed to the killing of the unborn in any intentional way, no matter the ratio- nale or method. Both candidates for president of the United States are on record as being opposed to abortion except .... The exceptions are problematic to me. The second difficulty I have concerns election promises and a candidate's ability to keep them. In our country, the president, does not legislate. He either signs congressional legislation or vetoes it, He can propose legislation, but he cannot enact it. I have difficulty in taking any candidate seriously when the promise to deliver a desirable outcome is clearly empty. It is easy to make a promise knowing that the legislative branch would reject such pro- posed legislation. Such rhetoric leaves me less than convinced of a candidate's personal and professional integrity. My prayer for you and for me is that each of us will do our best to discern and vote according to our best insights despite personal stumbling blocks along the way. This column was also published by the Evans- ville Press, Oct. 26. rs Continued from page 4 IT the editor: cOnce i aitor in the Messa e race. ng the g al the ei " Congressional Con.. . ght district between hTtset e state the reasons Uld SUpport Jonathan -eZapfel. F" ..... .tholic, a  ),t, he ]s a ,"ond, h ,.,u t am a Catholic. nave ),^_  is a Democrat and ecrat all my L i Democrat 'can no longer belong to the party' life. Although, as a Catholic it seems to me that Mr. Weinzapfel is sending the wrong signal for a pro-life legislator when he has Congresswoman Pat Schroeder, a pro-abortion supporter as a fund raiser speaker and appoint- ed a former paid executive direc- tor of Monroe County's Planned Parenthood for his campaign coordinator in that area. (I am also concerned about) the thousands of dollars in false advertisements by the labor union bosses in his behalf. The golden rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," has absolutely no respect in this regard. For a TV station to accept money for untruthful advertisements is almost the same as a person knowingly accepting stolen goods for profits' sake. For these reasons he can- cels my support. Even now I hold an elective position as an adviso- ry board member of Vincennes Township Trustee, a position I have held for many years as a Democrat. However, in good con- Lffebo a t sent to rescue a drowning nation' ])r , t.,,-; F t''vandaFrantz, PresidentaeN; In a letter echoing that and Senate." ites," ational Right to Li thought, Congressman Henry (Quotations from National le do,Teare trul,, st .... re, Hyde writes, It would be the ful- Right to Life News, October a),L  -umat fillment of one of my greatest 1996) vate d rt. e most anxiously dreams .... imagine the untold If further incentive is needed L htStorv hfe POhtical victorv thousands -- even millions -- of to stir the pro-life Christian com- )1" rsiden-,l( ;c"" a Stron. g pro-hfe'f'e unborn babies who would ulti- munity to get out there and fight, I, l d Pro.lif e _pr.esldent, and a mately be saved from horrible consider that lurkingin the wings ':"es of *-" J"aJ rit in h tsa.. me U.S ,- y bo_ abortion deaths if we win the is the next administrations *ery,.., presidency and establish asolid appointment of Supreme Court s nought.' pro-life majority in the House Justices. Already the rumors are  [--'d flying that if Bill Clinton is re- elected, pro-abortionist Ruth ential voting dilemma Bader Ginsberg will be the next editor: a good Catholic Christian. You , your party's your candi- .Very, very clear going to rtion. Lence tells you another candi- he's pro-life, tell you he votes do? Follow your conscience Vote for life -- the eternal life of your soul. Our life on earth isn't even a blink of the eye compared to what eternity is going to be. If you don't like the opposing candidate just don't vote for that office We pray daily that you will have the courage of the Holy Spirit to vote the right decision. The above thoughts have been discussed, agreed and prayed for by the bible study prayer groups and daily communicants. Viola A. Wagner Jasper Chief Justice and Colorado's noto- rious pro-abortion representative, Pat Schroeder, will be appointed Supreme Court Justice. (Source of information: Action Life League Newsletter of Octo- ber 1966) More and more Bob Dole (along with John Hostettler in a conservative Congress) would appear to be that proverbial lifeboat sent to rescue a drown- ing nation. Best that we all grab hold and hang on, if we want to be pulled out of the wicked quag- mire into which we've sunk! Catherine Russell Patoka science, I can no longer belong to the Democratic party any more than I could belong to the Nazi Party of Adolph Hitler's Ger- many. This does not mean that I will not vote for good Democrat statesmen in the future. I feel this strongly when President Clinton proudly vetoed the par- tial birth abortion bill, that was the straw that broke the camel's back for me and I'm sure for mil- lions more across the country. When a president of this nation proudly usurps the moral laws of God and imposes those rules on the citizens, we become a pagan society and (this) can only lead to the destruction and downfall of this once great nation. Abraham Lincoln once said that if this great nation ever falls, it will not be from a foreign power, but from moral decay within. This prophecy is coming true even though we would like to wish it away. God will not be mocked. Now back to John Hostettler. I will vote and support him because he is a man of Christian principles. Concerning partial birth abortion, I wrote to Con- gressman Hostettler urging him to vote against this bill. I received a prompt reply from him stating, "As I have said before, contrary to the opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court in the famous Roe v. Wade, I believe that the practice of abortion ter- minates an innocent human being's life. For this reason alone the practice should be repugnant to every American and should be eliminated. I also believe that the practice of abortion gives rise to a world view which under- mines the moral integrity of our nation and threatens our inalienable right to liberty." In this same letter he stated that he co-sponsored Bill H,R. 1833 which would make it a fed- eral crime to perform a partial birth abortion. Thank you, Congressman Hostettler for bravely standing tall in behalf of the future of America by defending God's moral law for the Christian peo- ple of the eighth district ofsouth. ern Indiana. Quoting from the Indiana Right to Life, Inc.., July 1996 newsletter, "On April 10, Bill Clinton joined the ranks of the Ayatollah Khomeni, Muhammar Khaddafi, Saddam Hussein, Daniel Ortega and Fidel Castro as one of only six political figures whom Pope John Paul II has ever publicly denounced for human rights violations by veto. ing the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act." On April 16, 1996, the nine Cardinals of the U.S. composed and signed a letter to President Clinton condemning his veto of the Partial Birth Abortion Bill. In closing, I want to compli- ment the Message for printing a most informative article on this moral issue in the July 19 issue entitled, "Election '96: Bishops say moral principles should l guide party p atforms. In their 20-page written testimony the abortion issues was number one on the list of their concerns. They said, "In a nonpartisan way we seek to persuade people .. of certain fundamental moral principles which we believe are sectarian in nature, but which are universal and are for the benefit " ot all. Richard Vieck Vincennes