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November 13, 1992     The Message
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November 13, 1992

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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Perspective By PAUL R. LEINGANG Message Editor There are martyrs in my family. That thought came to me the day I heard the news from Monrovia, Liberia, that five American nuns had been murdered. Two of the women were my second cousins. The terrible news was shocking, and hard to believe. My wife and I were in Mexico to attend the In- ternational Conference of Christian Family Move- ments. We were staying with a family in Merida, capital city of the state of Yucatan. Our host family -- father, mother and three children -- had wel- comed us with typical, but nonetheless wonderful, hospitality: Our house is your house. On Sunday morning, Nov. 1, the mother of our host family and I were looking at the local Sunday paper. She did not speak English; I do not speak Spanish, but I can figure out some words when I see them in print. November Family ties to murdered American nuns ries -- had been on page one of the metropolitan daily paper, but the Sunday story was inside. After looking at the pictures and trying to read a little of the conference report, I asked about other news events of the day. Our host mother pointed to two items on page one n story about the U.S. election, and a story about the violence in Liberia. I skipped the election story and went straight to the bottom of the page, where there were five pictures. Two of the persons pictured were my second cousins, Sister Shirley Kolmer and Sister Mary Joel Kolmer. The newspaper wards were in a language I could barely comprehend. So it was too with the central fact of the story. It was difficult to be- lieve, terrible news, a story a world away that was yet so close to me and to my family. My rel- atives were among the women reported mur- by members of our international conference.:! Representatives of 20 countries prayed to- gether in unity at the Mass offered by the bishop for the slain women. self The:ppropriateness of that Mass was it- hat of a shock: it was the Feast ofil All Saints...,o,11:::' Many in my family had lived lives of .:: faith. Now there were two who died because::: of that faith and their commitment to a life of i] i service. , Those who had died an ocean away fronl: i| their place of birth had not given up their fal'! I r had !:l ilies -- they had expanded them. The 3 performed the ultimate act of Christian hospii i ! tality. By their sacrifice they had said to the i::![ people they loved and served, "Our family is: !i! [ your family." IS[ Our host mother pointed out the story in the dered in Liberia. I know they have been received by Jes ::!!i  i paper that day about the conference my wife and I We prayed for them that day. A bishop from Christ with divine hospitality. To them I knoi were attending. Earlier reports  photos and sto- the Philippines presided at the Mass, celebrated he has said: My life is your life. 1 VATICAN CITY (CNS)  It was an unequal shift on the i: Vatican production line. ..... .... One commission is closing up shop after seven years, a major doctrinal volume com- pleted. The other is working overtime: Its first draft never got past quality control. This tale of two documents begins at the same place, the 1985 extraordinary Synod of Bishops. The synod, with Pope John Paul II's blessing, inaugurated a pair of impor- tant projects: a universal cate- chism and a study of the role of bishops' conferences. Today, the 430-page Cate- chism of the Catholic Church is at the printing presses, ready for a Dec. 9 unveiling. But the report on the "Theo- logical and Juridical Status of Episcopal Conferences" is still moving in curial slow- motion. The contrast illustrates why things don't always pro- ceed like clockwork at the Vatican. i The MESSAGE 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 47720-0169 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Published weKly except last week in December by the Catho Press of ................................. Paul klvV all ommtmilio  p.o. Box 4169, Evansville, IN 47724-0169 : Subscription rate: $12.00 per year Single Copy Price: $.50 Entered as 2rid class matter at the post offe in Evansville, IN 47701. Publica- tion number 843800. Postmaster: Return POD fors 3579 to Offce of Publicatio Cq   Press 0Evans" r Vatwan Lette Catechnsm and bnshops conferences: a tale of two document00 By JOHNTHAVIS The catechism was sug- bishops' conferences got off What propelled the cate- unusual personal inter Catholic News Service gested by Cardinal Bernard F. to a strong start, too. chism was a strong feeling at the project. :!i:, He apparently didn i " the universal catechi drag on like Curia refo{ years), canon law revisi0 years} or the normSi, Law of Boston on the synod floor, but the idea was al- ready a popular one in Vati- can circles. The pope gave it top priority, saying the church needed to "put an end to teachings or interpretations of faith and morals which disagree among themselves or are opposed to the universal magisterium." There were a few reserva- tions about the need for a "Roman" catechism, which was meant to be a reference compendium for dioceses and bishops' conferences. But by the following year a com- mission of cardinals and archbishops and an editorial committee were already at work. A first draft was sent to the world's bishops in 1989 and like most first drafts, this one came in for substantial criticism. Experts in the United States praised the work for its emphasis on so- cial justice and its sections on liturgy and prayer, but some described it as virtually ig- noring theology since the Second Vatican Council in areas of morality and Scripture. This is the moment when Vatican documents some- times stumble and fall into a desk drawer for a long time. But the pope personally wanted the catechism pub- lished and was eager for Round 2. There was to be no starting over. Led by the Vatican's doctri- nal watchdog, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the .com- mission reworked the text to respond, at least in part, to the criticisms on style and content. The section on morals was substantially rewritten, Cardinal Ratzinger said. The pope put the finish. ing touches on the text last . spring ...... .,, , . Launched in part by a U.S. synod representative, Bishop James W. Malone of Youngstown, Ohio, the idea was to provide clarity on the theological basis and teaching authority of the conferences. Several bishops were con- cerned at Cardinal Ratzinger's pry-synod remark that these conferences had "no theologi- cal basis" and did not belong to the structure of the church as willed by Christ. A first draft produced by a Vatican commission went out to bishops for worldwide consultation in 1988. The 30- page document argued that bishops' conferences are not collegial in the proper sense and as such have no mandate to teach  basically, the Car- dinal Ratzinger position. Severe criticism came from many quarters; U.S. bishops recommended scrapping the first draft and starting over and that's what apparently happened. The pope soon named a re-drafting commis- sion of three bishops and five experts. In 1990, Cardinal Bernardin Gantin, head of the Congregation for Bishops, in- dicated that the project had scaled down its ambitions: It would not try to settle the theological debate about the role of bishops' conferences, but would "allow a time for (positions) to mature." The project has not disap- peared; this November, a Vat- can team was working on it. "It still has another stage to go through, but we hope it won't be too much longer," said one official. He offered no timetable. There are reasons why the catechism stayed on the fast track and the bishops' confer- ence study fell off. The status of bishops' conferences was an open question in too many minds, and the Vatican recqg- nized this; the Vatican that the church should be able to state in a clear form what it believes and what it teaches  and that seven years was long enough to put it on paper. Catholic universities!: Another main difference years), three other Vatii was that the pope prodded undertakings that cra w|e the catechism commission completion during/i! from start to finish, taking an pontificate. :'" Et iW d Ti ern an me - There are set before you fire and water; ; to whichever you choose, stretch forth your hand. :i ! Before man are life and death, : whichever he chooses shall be given him. ::) [ ! Sirach 15: 1@ , : Time's an army made of "news" that's found :: [ Marching single-file before our view. I Eternity is one small "now" which grew So big that it's exploded all around. Time's the yo-yo of our fickleness " : ! Whose "up" and "down" maintain a constant pace. t Eternity's like being out in space [ Where "up" and "down" are simply meaningless. I Time is change; it is development: A fermentation for Eternity. From forming change Eternity is free: It is the aged wine of Time's ferment. | ! Time is alternating dark and light, ::: | The restless pirouette of earth's ballet. : ! And Eternity is endless day, ! or endless night... Father Sy Loehrlel ! Bishop's The following activities and events are listed schedule of Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger :,