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November 14, 1997     The Message
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November 14, 1997

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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana November I CC urges governor to halt Burris execu IB Arch vishop Daniel M. Buecil- lein of indianaooh, WhO is the Genera', Chairman of the indi- ana Catholi: Conrerences Board of Directors. urged indi- ana Governor Frank O'Bannon to halt th execunoi of Gary Bums and commute his death sentence to life m prison with- out parole in a Nov. 8 letter to the governor. The archbishop's letter, writ- ten on behalf of the ICC Board of Directors, expressed a deep regret for the Indiana Parole Board's decision against rec- ommending clemency for Bur- ris, who was sentenced to death for the murder of Ken- neth Chambers. "As Catholics who follow Jesus Christ and his Gospel of Life, we believe that capital punishment perpetuates the cvcle of violence and under- mines the respect for life. We need to look to the example of Jesus who forgave those who put him to death. The life and teachings of Jesus call Christians to live lives of forgiveness," said Archbishop Buechlein. His letter went on to explain that the Catholic Church's opposition to the death penalty does not stem exciusiveiv from theological concerns. Many thoughtful people have com, to oppose the death penalty for a variety of reasons: It does not effectively deter serious crime in our nation. It does not alleviate the fear of violent crime or better safeguard the people. It fails to protect more effectively than alternatives such as life imprisonment with- out parole. * It does not restore the social order breached by the offenders. It is often imposed unfairly, falling disproportionately on racial and ethnic minorities and the poor.. It is not imposed in a way that prevents the execution of possibly innocent people. It is financially more costlv to our society to impose the death penalty than is life imprisonment. The Board of the Indiana Catholic Conference affirms the inherent dignity of all peo- ple because it believes all peo- pie are called into life bearing the image and likeness of God. The Indiana Catholic Confer- ence. the public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Indiana representing more than 700,000 Catholics, strongly reiterated its opposition to the death penalty in its statement Choose Life, released in Dec. 1996. In part, the letter to the gov- ernor stated: "The effects of violent crimes upon people are easily seen, and we share their fear at the increase in crime. We are trou- bled by the fact that little or no attention is directed to the needs of victims and their loved ones, and we believe that society must find ways to sup- port them, compensate them, and help them heal. "Our parishes have under- taken efforts to prevent vio- lence and promote reconcilia- tion and healing. Contrast those real actions with the reality of the death penalty, which allows no opportunities for reconciliation. In addition, the long process between con- viction and execution does lit- Religious women seek end to Religious communities of ernor Frank O'Bannon to commute the sentence from death to life in prison without the Burris is scheduled to die by lethal injection 20. He was convicted in 1980 of killing Kenneth W. a taxicab driver in Indianapolis. Participating religious communities Charity in Evansville and the Sisters of St. nand. Other communities throughout Indiana Carmelite Monastery of Indianapolis, sionary Sisters in Huntington, Poor l in Donaldson, Sisters of the Holy of St. Benedict at Beech Grove, Sisters of St. burg, Sisters of St. Joseph in Tipton, Sisters of St. Third Order of St. Francis, and the Sisters Mary-of-the-Woods. "As women of faith, we believe we are I not to kill; to forgive one another, not to seek vengeance and further violence Sister Diane Ris, general superior of the Sisters St. Mary-of-the-Woods. "We degrades and t fore, we oppose the use of capital punishment tle to foster healing for the vic- tims and loved ones and may, in fact, exacerbate their pain." Burris' execution is sched- uled to take place at the Indi- ana State Prison located in Michigan City on Thurs., Nov. 20, at midnight. For copies of the indiana Conference' s Choose contact the ICC diocesan tor, Judy Neff(8 mail NCCB Continued from page 1 national collection and the Office to Aid the Catholic Church in Central and Eastern Europe. Only a three-year exten- sion had been requested. The bishops' Ad Hoc Com- mittee to Oversee the Use of the Catechism got approval for a five-year extension of its nation- al staff office for the catechism. The office coordinates a wide range of projects dealing with implementation of the "Cate- chism of the Catholic Church." Getting a first look Nov. 10 was the proposed text of the first official Spanish-language Sacra- mentary for the United States. The Sacramentary is the book of prayers used at Mass. Until now, because there was no U.S. Sacra- mentary in Spanish, U.S. parishes have been able to choose from among several Spanish Sacra- mentaries approved by other bish- ops' conferences. The proposed U.S. text is based primarily on the Sacramentary developed by the bishops of Mexico. Dubois County Right to Life supports chastity-based program GLEN STURM AND CHERYL ADKINS The newly-formed Dubois County Peers Educating Peers program (PEP) has received a $1,000 donation from Dubois County Right to Life. Cheryl Adkins is the PEP coordinator; Glen Sturm represents Right to Life. PEP, a chastity-based pro- gram, is being introduced into Dubois County schools this year. High school peer mentors present a series of topics to par- ticipating middle school stu- dents. The program is designed to help adolescents in under- standing human sexuality while promoting the values of saving sexual involvement for mar- riage. "PEP is the best vehicle to help our local young people understand that chastity remains the most beneficial and responsible choice for them, and that they are not alone in their decision-making as our area has role models willing to share their own choice," Sturm said. "It is a proven program in use in other areas, and that is why Dubois County Right to Life is thrilled to have this program in our area, and why we want the community to know we sup- port such wholesome efforts." In the field of liturgy, the bish- ops were also scheduled to dis- cuss a proposal to transfer obser- vance of the feast of the Ascension to the Seventh Sun- day after Easter, as is done in a number of other countries. But a planned vote on the matter was removed from the agenda. Most U.S. bishops favored transferring the observance of Ascension to Sunday when the issue came to a vote in 1991, but the proposal did not achieve the two-thirds approval needed for passage. On another liturgical matter, the bishops approved English Mass prayers for the observance of the feast of St. Louis Mary de Mont- fort, following up on a 1996 Vati- can decision to add his feast, as an optional memorial, to the church's general liturgical calendar. A proposed second volume of a new English-language Lec- tionary for U.S. use, originally slated to come to a vote this November, has until the bishops next June because torial work on the could not be for the fal Later in t mittee on to ask the bishops to Strategic Plan for tions that would their Catholic Campaign and national ning and activi five years. The plan projects of national communications $3.3 million in 1 million in 2001. They were asked to budget of nearly for ities in 1998, $1 than the 1997 budget. $10 million is to diocesan Christmas memories requested from Message Do you have a favorite Christ- mas memory? Would you like to share it with the Message? Readers are invited to submit their favorite memories for pub- lication in the December 19 issue of the Message. Favorite memories might include a child's first Christmas, a couple's first married Christ- mas, families gathered together at Christmas, or special unex- pected gifts. If you special along with your phone number to: Hughes, The 4169, Evansville The deadline Paul E. lI2W.'