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December 6, 1996     The Message
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December 6, 1996

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1996 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 5 "- Bishop's Forum ..- It is always a delight for me .htehn:Y:ng child comes up to me - Q wine grin and announces proudly. "I,M .... , ,u golng to make my rst communion this yearP' Recently at Confirmation S!. Benedict's, recoils; .... at., -, -,.; u lamlly ,,arae ofa confirmand I ask oft , ed one bei: Seers if she had a brother a-" g nnrrned. She auickl ,ZnOWledged that it was so y mat she Would be confirmed ::d t Advent comes many times a year cer and Dad has only a few months to live." -- "It was a stroke.., and he is paralyzed and cannot swallow." -- "The accident caused severe head injury... he is in a deep coma.., the doctors say our little boy may live, but probably will never see." -- "They were going to be married next May... -- "I am a senior at Memorial." -- "When I graduate from Pur- due, I intend .... " -- "Next year, we will be here to celebrate our Golden Jubilee of Mar- riage." -- "The ultra-sound indicates that my wife and I are going to be parents of a baby boy." How often we hear these announcements of joyful "advents" Year. By BISHOP in day-to-day living, special periods GERALD A. of time in human life. Advents are L..__ fr0mav: u miner I received a call GETTELFINGER more than a block of time on a cal- kn0wn--v' masince  n Whom I have   endar Advents are hours, days, I^: . ae was a Boy Scout weeks and years of preparation for wilnneq:red as to whether or not I, as a bishov, ever sie-nificant events in the lives of individual human Wh u marriages and ce en I ass- . . lebrated a nuphal Mass. beings. Some are strictly personal, some are shared Weddin, n:.:: aim I did, he asked me to have his in community, but in all cases there is clarity in the Then t-  eptember 1997. . theme of anticipation and joyful expectation.  "I', ere.are the other familiar refrains: There are other advents and with their familiar daSlaer ? "" '- eighth grade at Holy Family in refrains: -- "Dad went to the doctor today. There is can- Advent is not reserved to the four weeks of preparation for Christmas. The Advent Season is a time of preparation for Jesus' birth, his arrival in our midst. The Church encourages us to consciously anticipate with joyful expectation the Mass of Christmas. Advent is also a bitter-sweet time, just as such a time can be in daily life. Jesus came out of love for us. He would die on the cross out of love for us. He rose from the dead so we could, too. He is to us a "bright promise of eternal life." For each of us, Advent is time to ponder who we are and where we are going, in joyful anticipation of eternal life in heaven. Lessons in life and death been much discus- Increasingly at my office, we expect that two teenagers, raised m the press sur- alleged infanticide The baby's are SUSpected of shortly after asking why this since COme from afflu- offer. Press Lrily external rea- must be if our soci- life and obsession with been factors. abortion devaluing lture t. of killing a m the womb, not take r types of killing well. In less we n. ington 4 after camps in asily reconcile Who stayed 1994 killings of md moderate of Hutus. fac- govern- remained m the refugee along of who feared stayed in OCCupy the of think- reconcilia. ago these "ng said. "We because troops) to the last two are clipping news articles about cases of infanticide. Our nation is currently involved in debate over euthanasia, now euphemistically termed "physician-assisted sui- cide," completing the transfor- mation of physicians from heal- ers to agents of death. While some have expressed shock at the death of a baby boy at the hands of his parents, little shock was expressed when, dur- ing floor debate on partial-birth abortion, this exchange occurred: Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) asked Sen. Russell Feingold (D- WI), "If that baby were delivered breech style and everything was dehvered except for the head, and for some reason that baby's head would slip out -- that the baby was completely delivered -- would it still be up to the doctor and the mother to decide whether to kill that baby?" Sen. Feingold replied, "I am not the person to be answering that question. That is a question that should be answered by a doctor, and by the woman who receives the advice from the doctor.., we should not be making those deci- sions here on the floor of the Sen- ate." Why, then, is it unrealistic to during the era of legalized abor- tion, could kill their just-born baby? This sad reality exposes the extreme schizophrenia from which our society is suffering. Last year, a drunk driver was convicted for killing an eight and- one-half-month old wanted fetus, yet the child's mother could have legally requested the child's death in an abortion clinic. So, while the alleged actions of the young parents are detestable, they are also foolish; if they had gone to an abortion clinic even one day earlier for a partial-birth abortion, they would not have been arrested, they would have been lauded for exercising their "rights." While all of this is hideous, we should not be surprised. If these teenagers are indeed guilty, they were acting upon lessons taught to them all of their young lives. If we look hard at what this child's death reveals, then this baby boy's short life will have had real meaning. Michele Arocha Allen is the Communications Director for the National Right to Life Commit- tee, the nation's largest pro-life group. years in refugee camps domi- nated by the well-armed Hutus responsible for the 1994 mas- sacre, s, 600,000 people picked up their few belongings and walked home in mid- November. The dramatic exodus from a volatile political and military situation in Zaire swelled the population of Rwanda by 10 percent in 96 hours. International aid agencies esti- mate as many as 600,000 Rwan- dan refugees remain in Zaire, in camps controlled by the militias or used as human shields by the former Rwandan Hutu soldiers. Some Hutu militias and refugees are believed to be scattered across eastern Zaire, on the run from Zaire's Tutsi rebels who are trying to expand their foothold in that country. As the situation in Zaire intensifies, aid agencies expect more Rwandans to return to the relative calm of their own coun- try. That will only add to the I I stressful situation faced by the refugees who returned in November, said Winter and Pal- asits. While there were joyous reunions with family and friends, many returning Hutu refugees found their farms and houses occupied. In some cases, the new residents were Tutsis who had returned to Rwanda since 1994 after 30 years in exile caused by previous unrest. Rwanda's new government is making progress toward rebuild- ing the country and recently approved the legal framework for prosecuting the perpetrators of the 1994 massacre, according to Winter. But there isn't nearly enough housing and productive farmland to accommodate the needs of its population. The shortage of resources cou- pled with suspicion, fear and lin- gering anger makes the task fac- ing CRS and the Committee for Refugees a complex sociological problem as well as a basic res- cue project. Prayer for the Second Week of Advent Dear God, Our second candle reminds us of the dark night u,benJoseph and Mary found light and warmth in the stable Help us to have room in our hearts and in our home for other persom; who need us. We thank you for friends and strangers who have received us when we are lonely, or afraid, or tired, Thank you for those who listen to us, bug us, and care for us when we're sick or sad Please help us to love others tn those same ways. Amen. From Dear God: Prayers for Families with Children, by Kathleen Finley. Used with permission from Twenty-Third Publications, Mystic, CT 06355. (800) 321-0411. "Most of the survivor popula- tion in the country saw these ter- rible things," Winter said. "Now we're asking them to reconcile when there's been no justice. "These are people who have nothing, going back to villages that have nothing-- no services, no schools and somebody's occu- pying their house," he said. "I have a feeling the shortage of housing alone is going to be a major threat to Rwanda's stabil- ity." Palasits said CRS is approach- ing the task by being as trans- parent as possible -- making goals clear, discussing every- thing with the community involved, generally trying to head offmisinformation and sus- picion. That is done by hiring natives, by meeting regularly with every- one in the communit); and "try- ing to create a.situation so peo- ple who might not otherwise talk to each other have the space to do so," he said. Palasits said the Catholic bishops of Burundi, which is experiencing similar upheaval, have been fairly successful in insisting that all decisions affect- ing an area include local chief- tains, farmers, government and any other faction. "The bishops have told us that these communities are far less vulnerable to extremist manip- ulation," Palasits said. Winter is encouraged by sev- eral things happening in Rwan- da, including the steady -- albeit slow -- progress toward prose- cuting the perpetrators of the massacre. The U.S. embassy in Kigali, Rwanda, reported at least 350 former soldiers have admitted their part in the massacres, Win- ter said. He thinks the peace-building approach may succeed, he said. "If we can help make this hap- pen, it will be one of the great- est victories the refugee commu- nity has ever seen7