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November 11, 1988     The Message
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November 11, 1988
 

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4 Editorial The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana November 11, 1988 By PAUL LEINGANG Message Editor It seemed like "Thunder on the Ohio," but it was only my unmuffled car in a heavy rain. The streets were flooded. Waves of water rose like walls on either side of my car. The exhaust system, which needed professional attention, was attracting a lot of embarrassing attention from other motorists. My car is large enough to make a "two-car garage" a liar. The engine, as big as a small car, has a voice to match its size. With a complete muffler and exhaust system, the car is silent. With a defect in the system, the engine rumbles and roars. It is an iron animal, full grown and full throated, calling to its family back home in Detroit. At steady speed, the noise lessens. It is almost comforting in its clearly spoken surety that all is functioning well. The slightest change in gas pedal It is our Christian calling to listen and to respond pressure brings a change in sound long before a change in motion is detectable. Acceleration brins a creater roar in direct response to the demand for power. Deceleration brings an occasional complaint. A muffler is a good thing, I realized. Such noise is not tolerable, not acceptable. But a muffler also limits the language of communication between engine and driver. We are all muffled. The ordinary noise of daily life is silenced. The limits of our pain and pleasure are channeled through a system to make them acceptable to those around us. Such a system is good. Society could not func- tion without such rules of behavior. Yet such a system may also remove a dimension of humanity, when communication is limited. Society tends to muffle the poor and the hungry -- especially when the pain is an everyday occurrence. Acceleration may bring some atten- tion, but the noise soon settles into a comfortable pattern. The voice of the homeless is muffled. A recent effort by syndicated newspaper cartoonists, calling attention to the life of the homeless, burst noisily into the consciousness of many readers\\;-- but only for a short while. Unmuffied pain may be too much to bear, but it is our Christian calling to listen and respond, to hear what is being spoken- whether it is from the full grown or the youngest of the young. It is not only the voice of pain which must be heard. So also should we hear another's joy. Such a response, too, demands Christian openness, to share in the power of another's life. Washington Letter Mounting controversy over France's abortion pill By ]ULIE ASHER NC News Service WASHINGTON (NC) -- Con- troversy over RU-486, a French "abortion pill," reached new heights when its developt,:, Roussel-Uclaf, said it would ull the drug off the market ecause of public protests. That decision was reversed quickly by the French govern- ment, which owns 36 percent of the colnpany. Proponents of the pill say it will alter the debate on abor- tion, making the decision to abort a totally private matter for a woman and one day eliminating the need for abor- tion clinics. They predict that the more U.S. women learn about the controversial pill the more they will demand it, possibly creating a black market. Its opponents, including the U.S. Catholic bishops, Catholic ethicists and the National Right to Life Committee and other pro-life groups, have called it chemical warfare on the human fetus and fear its use would lead to more abortions, not fewer. They also said not enough research has been conducted to show what harmful side effects are possible and claimed that rhoMESSAGE 4200 N. Kentucky Ave Evansville, IN 47724-0 i 60 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Published weekly except lest week in December by the Catholic Press of Evansville, Publisher ........ Bishop Francis R. Shea Associate Publisher .... Ray. Joseph Ztliak Editor .................. Paul Leingang Circulation Mgr .... Mrs. Rose Montrastelle Production Mgr ............... phil Soger Advertising Mgr ............... Dan Horty Address all communications to P.O. Box 4169, Evansville, IN 47724-0189, Phone (812) 424-5538, Subscrlptlot rate: $15 per yenr Entered as 2od clime matter at the pot of- rice in Evarmvlllo, IN 47701. Publication number 843800. Postrnastor: Roturn POD formJa 357g to the Offioo of Publication. C, opiaN t gm C.,athe Pro of Evmuwlb th6-more people know about it and the dangers to women and children the more alarmed they will be. Father Richard McCormick, professor of Christian ethics at the University of Notre Dame, is adamantly opposed to the pill and added that "it simply pro- duces abortions even though they are early." "Secondly it makes abortion a routine matter," he said in an interview Nov. 3. "It makes abortion part of ordinary, habitual birth regulation. Nobody in his or her right mind ought be doing that," he said. He added that another "very dangerous" aspect of making the drug available to induce abortions is that "it takes the abortion question out of the government's control, makes it a completely non-social affair." That, he said, is more signifi- cant than people realize, If the drug is found to be good for other uses, such as treating certain forms of breast cancer, reducing the need for Caesarean-section births and treating Cushing's disease -- as some researchers have discovered -- then it should be restricted to that, said Father Russell Smith, director of education for Pope John XXIII Medical-Moral Center in Brain- tree, Mass. He said RU-486 had been put on the market "without ade- quate testing," and he said the drug has been "hailed as a cure- all," which should never be done, he said, even with new cancer treatments. Frances Kissling of Catholics for a Free Choice/which op- poses church teaching on abor- tion, said opponents of RU-486 would like to constrain "critical research" on such compounds at a time when women "have too few options for good contraception and for safe and effective methods of abortion." In developing countries alone, she said, half a million women a year die as a result of either illegal abortions or dif- ficult pregnancies. But Dr. lohn Willke, a physi- clan and president of the Na- tional Right to Life Committee, which has said it is unalterably opposed to the drug, has called it a chemical "time bomb," similar to thalidomide or DES. Thalidomide is a compound formerly used as a sedative un- til it was found to produce severe defects in children -- creating flipper-like arms and legs -- born to mothers who had taken the drug during early pregnancy. He said RU-486 has a chemical structure similar to DES, a synthetic estrogen wide- ly used in the 1950s and 1960s to prevent miscarriages but ultimately proven ineffective. It later was linked .to certain cancers or severe defects in the reproductive organs of women whose mothers took it. RU-486 taken in conjunction with prostaglandin induces a miscarriage in the early weeks of pregnancy by blocking cells in the uterus from receiving progesterone, a hormone need- ed to prepare for and continue a pregnancy. Without the pro- staglandin, the drug has been shown to work80-85 percent of the time, and with it, 90 percent of the time. The company says the drug removes the need for surgical abortions. Some experts said a surgical abortion would be re- quired if the RU-486 treatment See WASHINGTON page 15 Letters to the editor ] St. Monica Oct. 14 Message -- not in an in the Bible? Why does the argumentable way, but in a way Church encourage us to read To the editor, that might encourage and the Bible privately? God can I enjoyed this week's column challenge him and others that and does speak to us in many by Father Ziliak on St. Monica. may feel the same way about ways. He speaks through the Having just returned from the Bible. Is the Church really teaching of His Church. He can Rome and a visit to Ostia An- opposed to the private study speak in a very strong way tica, followed by a careful re- and reflection of the Bible? I through others if we will only reading of St. Augustine's think just the opposite is true. listen. If we can tune the world "Confessions," which I en- The writings of Church leaders, out and be quiet He can speak joyed much more this time than including the present pope as directly to us. But He also when translating it in fifth well as past popes, encourage speaks directly to us through Latin, I noted this detail of us as Catholics to reflect on His wold in Scripture. And that interest: Scripture as the word of God to is where I feel the tragedy is in "...die none aegritudinis us. I would agree that we must not reading the Bible. Our Lord suae QUINQUAGESIMO ET stay informed about what the has so many things He wants to SEXTO anne aetatis suae anima Church teaches in all areas in- say and if we cut off one of the ilia religiosa et pie corpore cluding Scripture. And, main ways that He can speak to solute est..." Jerome, you may be surprised us then we miss so much. We These words are found in how many "ordinary" all have down times and it is Book IX, Chapter XI. They are Catholics "under 50" are both very comforting to be able to preserved in stone on a placard informed on Catholic tradition pick up the Psalms and hear in Ostia, marking the spot and whose faithis strengthened Himtellme bow much He cares where Monica and Augustine by, reading and praying the and His love for me and that He spent their last happy days. Of Scriptures. Your concern about is always there. Or His en- all the biographers who our central doctrines being not couragement to be joyful no speculate about the age of seen as scriptural to those who matter the circumstances. Monica atthe time of her death, read the Bible is disturbing, There are so many things He I feel her son's recollection especially sincethosedoctrines wants to say to us through should put to rest the specula- that you mentioned are all Scripture that will make our tions of the speculators, grounded in Scripture. Sure, a Catholic faith come alive, not What a mother! What a son! person may be confused, for ex- kilt it. What joy must be theirs in ample, when Matthew talks Paradise! about Jesus' "brothers." But a And so I encourage you and good Catholic Bible with foot- challenge you to check what the n o t e s w i I 1 e x p I a i n t h a t Church teaches about Scripture Father Eugene Dewig "brothers" in Aramaic also. and its private use. Also, I want Pastor means "relatives" and to thank you for your letter. It St. Philip Church therefore shouldn't conflict challenged me to think about St. Philip, IN with our belief in the virginity what I believe and it also en- II ai tn ti|Ol "ea-'ng-e -'-'e ofMary thoughtsC°Uragedwithmeyou.t° share my But none of the above is the To the editor, real mason for writing this. I would like to respond to Why should Catholics study Jerome Scheider's letter in the and reflect on God's word to us Tom Goerlgen Evansville, IN !