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July 11, 1998     Arkansas Catholic
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July 11, 1998

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Page 10 July 11, 1998 Pope John Paul II Continued from page 9 Christ, we know that "the good of the person lies in being in the truth and doing the truth" (Address to the International Congress of Moral Theology, April 10, 1986, : No. 1). In this Christian anthropology, the nobility of men and women lies not simply in the capacity to choose, but in the capacity to ARKANSAS CATH01J f form n ............... 0 i g men and women who are prepared to defend truths and values. It is when politics from any connection to the law written on the human heart. [1 If there is no objective standard {i to help adjudicate between differ" tt ent conceptions of the personal ~d [ common good, then democratic I politics is reduced to a raw conteSt for power. If constitutional and statutory law are not held account" able to the objective moral law, the choose wisely and to live accord- first casualties are justice and eq} ing to that choice of what is good. uity, for they become matters .0 In all of visible creation, only the personal oninion. Catholics in human person chooses reflectively, public life 'render a particularly IS Only the human person can dis- important service to society when cern between good and evil and th,ey, defend objective moral nor give reasons justifying that discern- as the unshakable foundation an ment. Only human beings can solid guarantee of a just and peace". I make sacrifices for what is good ful human coexistence, and he,. } and true. That is why, throughout of genuine democracy," for it is, t rl.t~gc Christian history, the martyr re- through our common obligau"il !r ~ ~or ' mains the paradigm of discipleship: to these moral norms that we co. for the martyr lives out the rela- to know, and can defend, ,~e. ~t g~ld tionship between truth, freedom, Celebratlng Mass in his private chapel wlth the bithops from Oldahoma, Texas, and Arkansas, Pope John i,, ii amlsmf 9n6 { { and goodness in the most radical Paul II reminded the group to speak out on moral truths and conscience. " '" " II e way ...... A climat P f moral relat,v,sm, [ By teaching the moral truth son to teach that consciences must this prohibition is both a grevious sin tery of God and the truth about hu- about the human person and wit- be formed, so that they can discern and a source of scandal (For steriliza- manity that is revealed in the rays- incompatible with democraCY' [ q nessing to the moral law inscribed what actually does or does not corre- tions cf. Congregation for the Doc- tery of God are not banished from That kind of culture cannot a;" ! lai on the human heart, the bishops spond to the etern,al, objective and trine of the Faith, Quaecumque public life. swer questions fundamental to a here! of the Church are defending and universal divine law which human sterilizatio, March 13, 1975, AAS This is especially important for democratic political commUnitY : promoting not arbitrary claims intelligence is capable of discovering (1976) 738-740). This and other such democratic societies, since one of the "Why should I regard my fe!O I made by the church but essential in the order of being (cf. Dignitatis instances are not, it must be empha- truths contained in the mystery of citizen as my equal?;" "Why J truths, and therefore the good of Humanae," 3; "Veritatis Splendor," sized, the imposition of an external our creation by God is that the hu- I defend someone else's rightS.; i t ] individuals and the common good 60). Because of the nature of con- set of criteria in violation of human man person must be "the origin, the "Why shou!d I work for the corO, 1 [ of society, science, the admonition always to freedom. Rather, the Church's. teach- subject and the purpose of all social mon good? If moral truths c.a0" [ [ If the dignity of the human per- follow it must immediately be fol- ing of moral truth "brings to light the institutions" ("Gaudium et Spes," not be publicly acknowledged, i son as a moral agent rests on the lowed by the question of whether truths which ( nscience) ought al,, 25) Our intrinsic dignity and inalien- such, democracy is impossible | [ [ capacity to know and choosewhat what our conscience is telling us is ready to possess (Weritatis Splendor, able fundamental rights are not the "Veritatis Splendor," 101) ThuSllt 11 is truly good, then the question of true or not. If we fail to make this 64), and it is these truths which make result of social convention: They pre- wish to encourage you to conti u, | I I conscience comes into dearer fo- necessary clarification, conscience- us free in the deepest meaning of cede all social conventions and pro- to speak out cle rlyand effectively J cus. Respect for the rights of con- instead of being that holy place where human freedom and give our human- vide the norms that determine their about the fundamental moral qt[es" [i I q, science is deeply ingrained in your God reveals to us our true good -- ity its genuine nobility, validity. The history of the 20th cen- tions facing people today Tobt i interest with which -d i national culture, which was formed becomes a force which is destructive Almost, 2,000 years ago, St. Paul tury is a grim warning of the evils man" of Y . in part by emigrants who came to of our true humanity and of all our urged ,us not be conformed to this that result when human beings are documents have been rece*W i i .; :: the New World to vindicate their relationships (cf. General Audience, world' but to live the true freedom reduced to the status of objects to be throughout society is an indicati0o [ ! i(! religious and moral convictions in Aug. 17, 1983, No. 3). that is obedience to the will of God manipulated by the powerful for self- that you are providingi t[ the face of persecution. American As bishops you have to teach that (Rm 12:2). In teaching the truth ish gain or for ideological reasons. In needed uuidance when you [ : society's historic admiration for freedom of conscience is never free- about conscience and its intrinsic proclaiming the truth that God has evetyon , and especiall; Catholic !1 men and women of conscience is don from the truth but always and relationship to moral truth, you will given men and women an inestimable citizens and Catholic political leaa" i !' the ground on which you can teach only freedom in the truth. This un- be challenging one of the great forces dignity and inalienable rights from ers, of the essential bond betWee" f [ i the truth about conscience today, derstanding of conscience and its re- in the modern world. But at the same the moment of conception, you are freedom and truth. I The Church honors conscience lationship to freedom should clarify time, you will be doing the modern helping to rebuild the moral founda- Dear brother bishops, a time ! as the "sanctuary of the human certain aspects of the question of world a great service, for you will be tions of a genuine culture of free- "crisis" is a time of opportunity t person: here, men women are dissent from church teaching. By the reminding it of the only foundation dom, capable of sustaining institu- well as a time of danger. That .i [ "alone with God, whose voice will of Christ himself and the life- capable of sustaining a culture of free- tions of self-governance that serve the certainly true of the crisis ofmr" echoes in the depths of their hearts, giving power of the Holy Spirit, the don: what the founders, of your common good. culture in the developed world. a [ summoning them to love good and church is preserved in the truth and nation called self-evident truths. It is a tribute to the Church and day The call of the Second Varal 0 [ avoid evil (cf. "Gaudium et Spes, "it is her duty to give utterance to, From this perspective, it should to the openness of American society Council to the People of God I t 16). Conscience is that inner place and authoritatively to teach, that be clear that the Church addresses that so many Catholics in the United witness to the truth about I ! where "man detects a law which truth which is Christ himself, and to issues of public life not for political States are involved in political life. human person amidst the joy [ he does not impose upon himself, declare and confirm by her authority reasons but as a servant of the truth As pastors and teachers, your respon- hope, grief and pain of the i [ l0 but which holds him to obedience those principles of the moral order about the human person, a defender sibility to Catholic public officials is temporary world is a call to al to r (ibid.). This being the case, the which have, their origin in human of human dignity and a promoter of to remind them of the heritage of us for a personal commitment dignity of conscience is demeaned nature itself' ( Dignitatis Humanae," human freedom. A society or culture reflection on the moral law, on soci- effecuve" episcopal-" leadership in t a,e when it is suggested, as the de- 14). which wishes to survive cannot de- ety, on democracy, which they ought new evangelization. By focusing ;" fenders of radical individual au- When the Church teaches, for ex- clare the spiritual dimension of the to bring to their office, attention of the faithful and . tonomyclaim, that conscience is a ample, that abortion, sterilization or human person to be irrelevant to Your country prides itself on be- your fellow citizens on the wholly independent, exclusively euthanasia are always morally inad- public life. Cultures develop as ways ing a realized democracy, but democ- tremely serious moral choices personal capacity to determine missible, she is giving expression to of dealing with the most profound racy is itself a moral adventure, a fore them, you will help to ! what constitutes good and ev,,il (cf. the universal moral law inscribed on experiences of human existence: love, continuing test of a people s capacity about that renewal of moral go . r "Dominum et Vivificantem, 43) the human heart and is therefore birth, friendship, work, death. Each to govern themselves in ways that ness, solidarity and genume c[ Everyone must act in accor- teaching something which is binding of these experiences raises, in its serve the common good and the good don which the United StateSrt ,t. I dance with conscience. But con- on everyone s conscience. Her abso- unique way, the question of God: of individual citizens. The survival of the world urgently need. Ent ' ~" e rieSW science is neither absolutely inde- lute prohibition that such procedures at the heart of every culture lies the a particular democracy depends not ,ng your mm,stry, and th I pendent nor infallible in its judg- be carried out in Catholic health care attitude man takes to the greatest only on its institutions, but to an religious, and laity of your dio _,, menu; if it were, conscience would facilities is simply an act of fidelity to mystery: the mystery of God"even greater extent on the spirit which to the protection of Mary, p.atr I be reduced to the mere assertion God's law. As bishops you must re- ("Centesimus Annus," 24). American inspires and permeates its procedures ess of the United States under . of personal will. Thus it is pre- mind everyone involved--hospital Catholics, in common with other for legislating, administering and great title of her Immaculate ai cisely a defense of the dignity of administrations and medical person- Christians and all believers, have a judging. The future of democracy, ception, I cordially impart mY conscience and of the human per- nel --- that any failure to comply with responsibility to ensure that the rays- in fact, depends on a culture capable ostolic blessing ......... :~,::: : .................. ....... . ~ ~ ~. ~ :~'~: ......... .:~~ : 8 .:5~: :" ~ ~ ~'~ ........ ....