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Arkansas Catholic
Little Rock, Arkansas
July 11, 1998     Arkansas Catholic
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July 11, 1998

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/ SAS gCATHOLIC July 11 1998 Page 9 ' , ...... ..... ) !i!' ii 'ili!iiiiiili i .... : IC: ii i: i:i::i i:!iii i i ~ ~:~iiiii iiii!ii!?!~!#i~i~i~i~:i iii::~iii!ili?i~! ,i iii~ii~ i)iiiii~ili!i!~iill i~i!ii!i:iii~ i iil ' iii iii iiii !i!iiiii i i !i!iiiii!! i ......... iiiii ii!i ~~/~:bUowin isa~ .... of ~ ~ autonomy is superficially attrac tive; endorsed by intellectuals, the !i media, legislatures, and the courts, it becomes a powerful cultural force. Yet it ultimately destroys | the personal good of individuals !i! Dear brother bishops, I and the common good of soci- I warmly welcome you, the ety. Freedom-as-autonomy, by its pastors of the Church in the states single-minded focus on the au- r 0fTexas, Oklahoma and Arkan- tonomous will of the individual !as, on the occasion of your "ad as the sole organizing principle r 1' ' ' .... I i~ ~tna v~s,t. In my meetmgs so .... ~ :iI ! of public lif~:, dissolves the bonds ! ~ tar this year with the United ~ L~ of obligation between men and ~'~ States bishops, we have consid- ~i ~ il Ill i women, parents and children, the ~*~ ~. eted SOme principal aspects of the ~ ~ ~ I I ~ strong and the weak, majorities ~ Ii ~ ..... new evangelization called for by ~i i ~ II | and mmormes. The result ~s the | the Second Vatican Counci!, the ~:~ ~ II | breakdown of civil society, and a ~ great event of grace by which me i; f I II | public life in which the only ac- Holy Spirit has prepared the II | tors of consequence are the au- .daurch to enter the third Chris- '~ ~ ~ i tonomous individual and the i;i nan millennium One essential II | state This, as the 20th century part of this task is the proclama- I II II ought to have taught us, is a sure ! tto.n of moral truth and its appli- I | prescription for tyranny. ~ ~,on to the personal lives of .... ~ ~ I I At its roots, the contemporary hristians and to their involve- . ....... .... II | crisis of moral culture is a crisis aent in the world Therefore, I ,, II II of understanding of the nature of Wish to reflect with'you today on I II | the human person. As pastors and Your episcopal ministry as teach- li!I: I I | teachers of the church of Christ, ers of moral truth and witnesses ...... | II you remind people that the great- to moral law. Pope John Paul II hands Bishop McDonald a copy of'his written address to the bishops of Texas, Oklahoma ness of human beings is founded n ' hmma to rec sely in the,r bern creatures n every age, men and women and Arkansas duri g the group s ad " ' "s'tRome. P .... g need to hear Christ the Good of a loving God, who gave them Shepherd calling them to faith crease awareness of the powerful ac- the future of society as a free and scribed in our humanity, which we the capacity to know the good conversion of life (cf. Mk tivity of the Spirit in the world, for democratic way of life. can come to know by reflecting on and to choose it, and who sent 1:15). As shepherds of souls, you it is through his grace that we expe- How should we define this crisis our nature and our actions, and his Son to be the final and ~t he Christ's voice today, en- rience a radical personal and social of moral culture? We can glimpse its which lays certain obligations upon unsurpassable witness to the trt,~th raging your people to redis- renewal capable of ensuring justice,, first phase in what Cardinal John us because we recognize them as uni- about the human condition: In COver "th- ~ ~._ c oeautv of truth, the solidarity, honesty and openness Henry Newman wrote !,n his letter versally true and binding. This, it is Christ and through Christ, God liberating force of God's love, and (ibid., 98). to the Duke of Norfolk: In this cen- frequently said, is an abrogation of has revealed himself fully to man- ~tr~e value of unconditional fidel- Given the circumstances of con- tury (conscience) has been superseded ,f, reedom. ,But what is the concept of kind and has definitively drawn ~.~ t,o all the demands of the temporary culture, your episcopal by a counterfeit, which the 18 cen- freedom at work here? Is freedom close to it; at the same time, in s law, even in the most dif- ministry is especially challenging and turies prior to it never heard of, and merely an assertion of my will -- I Christ and through Christ man aIr situations" ("Veritatis Splen- the situation which you face as teach- could not have mistaken for it:,ifthey should be permitted to, do this be- has acquired full awareness of his ,,,-, *o/). The question posed ers of moral truth is complex. Your had. It is the right ofs, elf-will. What cause I choose to do it ? Or is free- dignity, of the heights to which ..... the rich young man in theparishes are filled with Catholics ca- was true in Newman s 19th century dot the right to do what I ought to he is raised, of the surpassing " 0Spel . -- ._ eacner, what gooo ger to lead responsible lives as spouses, is even truer today. Culturally pow- do, to adhere freely to what is good worth of own humanity, and 'n t I ,, a, do to have eternal hfe? " .... parents, citizens, workers and profes- erful forces insist that the rights of and true (cf. Homily at Baltimore, of the meaning of e,xastence 19:16) ___ is a perennial hu- s onals. These men and women, conscience are v olated by the very Oct. 8, 1995).. ("Redemptor Hommts, 11). In question. It is asked in onewhom you meet daily in the course idea that there exists a moral law in- The nouon of freedom as personal See Pope John Paul II page 10 :i ~!.I '~ or another, explicitly or of your pastoral mission, know that , piicitly, by every human being they should live morally upright lives, .... " every culture and at every but often they find it difficult to i 0nlent in the drama of history, explain exactly what this implies. !i ii ' answer to that' quest,on" This difficulty reflects another side I lt.fllow him in doing theof contemporary culture: the skepti- ,t fhis Father- is the key to cism regarding the very existence of I , ?*e fullness of life which he prom. ' moral truth and an objective moral * [ ' Obedience to God's coa- l andments, far from alienating in the cultural institutions that influ- i -- iL ! t~ ~trom our humanity, is the ence public opinion, and, it must be ~ ~ ~ I !~ I ! UaWay to genuine liberation and said, is commonplace in many of I " esource of true happiness, your country's academic, pohucal'" and ! i ,t ln this year of preparation for legal structures. In this situation, i [ e,gr-eat jubilee dedicated to the those who try to hve accordmg to . L J Our"tYeffoSpirit' let us remember that the moral law often feel pressured by forces which contradict the things .... i ! ! urts to preach the Good i I and teach the moral truth they know in their hearts to be true. " , J .. ut the human person are sus- And those responsible for teaching ned h the ' " i I Y Sat, who ,s the moral truth may feel as if their task ,~ ~'me'Pal agent-- Pm me ..... ~nurcn s is virtually impossible, given the ~': i~ 0 .. .oworo , oso=rn 'cu'tu* '.ro ,, ( . Evangehum i [ ' "tiandi,- 64). It is the Holy sures. I I trtt who "brings about theThere have been similar moments -- t | :l hing of Christian moral life in the course of the Church s 2,000- [ | | .t the witness of holiness amid year history. Yet today s cultural r i I great varie , of vocations, sis has distinctive characteristics t " ''' respons biiities, conditions ikyour task as moral teachers a / | i' ;Phndr'"life situations"108). In YO?ur("VeritatiSt omCe U eentt Th iurge c u h SACRED LITURGY Bi ho McDonald described concdebratm M and parishes, I ur e yo t a - g truth contained in the Gospel and -- " p " " g ass with Pope John Paul II in his | "ant etfort this year to in- the magisterium of the Church, and private chapel as "a very sacred moment in our lives." , ~ " ~ ~~' ~ ~',~ ~:,~2 ............. ~ ........................