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December 20, 1996     The Message
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December 20, 1996

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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 5 "" Bishop's Forum-- and Brothers, of Jesus' Birthday drawing to a close. are special to all of us, - Important for of Jesus, the the Messiah, our as to this ith joyful hope made us, ing to earth sadness hope that came about said yes for the cam- choice was not for herself but was in request from Almighty God. She Conditions to her choice to trust the d and the message he bore. no "what ifs" to her acceptance. stories about baby boys by the Pharaoh. She had often COurage of Moses' mother saved him. harsh lesson of a "modern" to kill baby boys under two years of that there was one among as a new king of the Jews. She was to elpless mother standing ch was transfixed the dead son executed at the insistence against our sisters and brothers is not is not new. Assisted suicide is not of it all is not new. Why is it that exists in our time despite Jesus' -, dying on the cross that all sins lat we must'all bear the shame of n and in need of redemption. We have not only been fir- also been empowered by the gift avoid sin and to show others how us. To do that we must stay and Watch. We challenge the signs abortion, suicide have taken on a new Christmas 1996 By BISHOP GERALD A. GETTELFINGER character, a great play of the powers of evil. There is now "death by design!" Designer violence is ram- pant in children's toys, video games and cartoons. Designer abortion has been dressed up in the ultimate act of self-centered individualism called choice. Designer suicide is trumpet- ed as the true solution to human pain and suffering. It is all so clever. We must be vigilant for no one of us is exempt from marketing tricks meant to play on our emo- tions. It may bare been the Pharaohs and Herods and Sauls in the past who were guilty. Today theye is a sophisticated industry built up to sell all of the abhorrent acts of violence we can imagine. Of course the wares are designer types. They are top-of-the-line, There are also marketing outlets in designer clothes offering death-by-design prod- ucts. Unfortunately, there are no faces in this corpo- rate world. Who is to speak out? To whom should one speak? Lest there be a silence as loud as that made by German citizens of Nazi Germany in confronting the death machine of Adolph Hitler, we who believe otherwise must exemplify respect for all life and challenge any who would debase and kill any human being, born or unborn. Recently a group of Evansville leaders approached Planned Parenthood of Indiana seeking a meeting with its board. It has been reported that Planned Parenthood is considering an abortion clin- ic here in Evansville. They are allegedly responding to a national study which had shown Evansville as "under-served" since there are two sizable college campuses located here and there is no abortion ser- vice available to "needy clients." There had been rumors in the past that Planned Parenthood had designs on Evansville. At that time I wrote a column denouncing such an abortion service in Evansville. This time, in order to challenge Planned Parenthood, our small group first sought to verify its intent to open an abortion clinic, designer code for a death mill for the unborn. Hence, we sent a letter requesting a meeting. We asked the courtesy of response within a reason- able time. The date came and went. Finally there was a phone call from the CEO of Planned Parent- hood of Indiana. He stated that Planned Parent- hood of Indiana had no intent to establish an abor- tion clinic in Evansville. Let us not be comforted by that news. Planned Parenthood has been successful in placing clinics in Bloomington and Indianapolis, both sites of large educational institutions. There is yet another anniversary of Roe v. Wade in January. Many of our community will trav- el to Washington, D.C. in a pilgrimage for life. "Par- tial-birth abortions," other words for infanticide, are still legal in our land. May our efforts to demon- strate respect for life bear fruit. Next spring the Supreme Court will hear a case concerning a physician who practices "assisted suicide" in New York. He employs this designer code for murder of the suffering by giving overdoses of barbiturates to ease pain. Let us pray to God that respect for life will prevail. We as individuals and as a community of believers must first exemplify respect for human life from its earliest moment until natural death. Violence must have no place in our homes, schools, offices, Church or communities. Further, we must not be silent on behalf of those who cannot speak for, nor defend, themselves, be they the unborn or those ravaged by pain and suffering. We must not lose hope in our efforts. Yes, there is reason to remain filled with hope, that which only the Prince of Peace makes possible. Let us take our heaviness of heart to the altar and be strengthened. In community let us singly loudly the song of the angels, Gloria in excelsis Deo! May the Prince of Peace abide in your hearts and in your homes this Christmas and always! Faithfully yours in Christ, issues remain in news d9 (CNs) recent abor- of COngres. tember,- the Spokes_ Confer. to Con. a ban and what Was pro- Women 3f their as "the r future ble claim when he says mothers ' would be damaged by trying to deliver babies with enlarged heads," Johnson told Catholic News Service Dec. 17. Of the few thousand partial- birth abortions known to be per- formed annually, he said, "only a tiny sliver of the cases involve hydrocephaly," or enlargement of a baby's head. Alvare, director of planning and information for the bishops' Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities, said "It is now the nearly unani- mous opinion ofob-gyns that this procedure is never medically nec- essary." British pro-lifers to field parliamentary candidates MANCHESTER, England (CNS) -- Pro-lifers in Britain hope to field at least 50 candi- dates for Parliament in the next general election and may use television to draw attention to the issue of late-term abortions. One possibility being consid- ered by the alliance is to show a film of a late-term abortion. The date of the election is still a matter of speculation. Most commentators agree that the likeliest date" for the election would be in May, possibly as early as the flint of the month. Supreme Court stays exe- cution of Virginia death-row inmate WASHINGTON (CNS)  The U.S. Supreme Court stayed the execution of Joseph Roger O'Dell III, a Virginia death-row inmate whose case attracted the atten- tion of Pope John Paul II. On Dec. 17, the day before the scheduled execution, the court issued the one-paragraph order pending a review of O'Dell's appeal for clemency, which is like- ly to take place in January. In 1986, O'Dell was convicted of the February 1985 rape and murder of Helen Schartner out- side a Virginia Beach nightclub. According to Amnesty Interna- tional, a DNA test supported O'Dell's claims of innocence, but the results were ruled inadmissi- ble because they were presented after a 21-day maximum period imposed by state law. Nathanson says his bap- tism into Catholic church 'inevitable' NEW YORK (CNS) -- The transition in the life of Bernard Nathanson had been gradually developing until baptism into the Catholic Church was =just inevitable," he says. Nathanson, the former leading advocate and performer of abor- tions who became a key figure in the pro-life movement, was bap- tized Dec. 9 by Cardinal John J. O'Connor in an early morning ceremony at St. Patrick's Cathe- dral in NewYork. The sacrament "tbrmalized what I had been feeling," he said in an interview Dec. 13 in his office. Prayer for the Fourth Week of Advent Dear God, our fourth candle reminds us of the star which guided the Magi to the stable where Jesus lay. Thank you for sbartngJesus with all tim world. " , . Helpi00 with each other at Christmas are reminders of the gift that Jesus ts to us. Amen. From Dear God: Prayers for Families with Children. by Kathleen Finley. Used with permission from "lkventy-Third "* Publications, Mystic, CT 06355. (800 321-0411.