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December 16, 1995     Arkansas Catholic
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December 16, 1995

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'I~:TARKANSAS r,9 CATHOLIC ~ _ " 1 ......... December 16, 1995 Page 11 1Pope remains world s foremost rehglous figure in 1995 I By Jerry Filteau In Slovakia he made an unexpected Physicians must work for the ~lf ] ~,THOLICCATHOLIC NE!ANEWS SERVICE stop to pray in the rain at a monument "moral renewal" of their profession lk- to 24 Protestant martyrs killed by Catho- at a time when "medicine has grown S~ ed ~er ill, tO at ds WASHINGTON (CNS) m For five days in October Pope John Paul II drew the ~ation's attention to the Catholic Church as he visited four U.S. dioceses and ad- dressed the United Nations. The pope, who turned 75 in May, re- ~aained the world's foremost religious fig- Ure in 1995. Overcoming health problems he had suffered with a slow-healing broken leg in 1994, he resumed his world travels with renewed vigor and spoke out forcefully 0n major issues confronting the Church {h and the world. ~ photo by Michael Okoniewski ,If, tHe issued two encyclicals: . Pope John Paul II leans against his I~ In "The Gospel of Life he reaf- : s firmed the sacredness of all human life crozier at a New York Mass. and condemned abortion and euthana- Bosnia. As representatives of the warring ~n- ~ The U.S. bishops reflected on that factions worked out a peace accord, he Ld. teaching in ,their own statement, Faith- called the bishops of the region to,Rome ci- ful for Life. , to work out plans for the Church s con- ~e ~] In "That All May Be One, he tfibutions to peace and reconstruction. ht praised B0 years of ecumenicM progress, In late November and early December, ld Called for a new commitment to Chris- he convened the bishops of Lebanon in a tian unity and asked other churches to synod in Rome to discuss deep divisions in of share with him their ideas on how a re- Lebanese civil and religious life. at hewed papacy might serve a ministry Of In January the pope visited the Philip- ar unity to all Christians. pines, New Zealand, Australia and Sri ~e Closely linked to his encyclical on Lanka. In the Phillipines, where he pre- ~r eCUmenism was ~s apostolic letter, "The sided at World Youth Day observances, t." Light of the East, in which he called for where one papal Mass drew a crowd es- a fast-West church unity and said Western timated at 4 million people - believed to s. Catholics should discover and appreciate be the largest congregation ever as- the rich monastic, spiritual and liturgical sembled for a Mass. to traditions of the Catholic and Orthodox He went to Belgium to beatify Father churches of the East. Damien de Veuster, making up a visit aa He repeatedly condemned the war inpostponed in 1994 because of his leg. d- d-a Senate approves partial-birth abortion bill Dec. 7 le e9 WASHINGTON (CANS) --- Boston Car- tlinal Bernard F. Law and other oppo- nents of abortion challenged President 121inton not to veto a bill approved by the Senate Dec. 7 that would for the first lime since Roe vs. Wade outlaw a specific type of abortion. In a 54-44 vote, the Senate passed a hill banning so-called partial-birth abor- tions. With a provision for saving the life of the mother, the bill differs slightly from a House version approved Nov. 1 in a $88-139 vote. But House leaders said they expected the Senate version would be aCceptable, ensuring it would be sent to ~nton. "It is encouraging, though not surpris- ing, that the Senate voted last night to ban the direct killing of children who are'in the very process of being born alive, Cardinal Law, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee for Pro-Life Activi- ties, said in a statement. ~hat is astonishing is that 44 sena- tors are still willing to defend this gro- tesque late-term procedure that cannot ~early be distinguished from infanticide," ue said. "I urge President Clinton to allow the ban on partial-birth abortions to become law, so our nation can begin to restore Partial sanity to its abortion policy," Car- di al Law said. haWhen the House bill passed, Clinton d indicated he would veto any version that did not include an exception for the Procedure to be used to protect the ~other's health. "Will the president really defend even babies alive from the womb in to abort them?" asked Douglas legislative director for the National to Life Committee, in a statement. As described by supporters of the leg- islation, a partial-birth abortion involves the doctor grabbing the feet of the fetus with forceps and pulling the body, up to the head, through the birth canal. The doctor stabs scissors into the base of the skull. A catheter is then used to suction out the brains, causing the skull to col- lapse and allowing easier removal of the head to complete the procedure. Supporters say if the fetus were just a few inches further out before the scissors are applied, the procedure would clearly constitute murder. Opponents of the bill argue that by the time the fetus reaches the birth ca- nal, death has occurred as a result of the anesthetic given to the mother. But that claim has been strongly contested by an- esthesiologists. In November Dr. Norig Ellison, who is president of the 32,000 member Ameri- can Society of Anesthesiologists, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that some types of general anesthesia might sedate a fetus to a degree but would not harm the fetus. The Senate bill was amended to pro- vide an exception permitting the proce- dure to be used "to save the life of the mother whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, illness or injury, pro- vided no other medical procedure would suffice for that purpose." Serrin Foster, executive director of Feminists for Life, said the bill is "a first step toward restoring consumer protec- tion laws enacted by the early feminists and overturned by Roe vs. Wade a cen- tury later." In its 1973 Roe decision, the U.S. Su- preme Court legalized abortion virtually on demand. lics in 1687-- an important gesture of reconciliation to the Lutheran minority in the largely Catholic country. He went to Cameroon, South Africa and Kenya in September, and also pub- lished "The Church in Africa," his apos- tolic exhortation on Church and social issues in Africa. In the United States Oct. 4-8, Pope John Paul celebrated outdoor masses at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ., Aqueduct Racetrack and Central Park in New York City, and Oriole Park in Balti- more. In homilies and other talks he repeat- edly urged Americans to be faithful to their traditions of openness to immigrants and care for the needy, of respect for human dignity, family values and the sa- credness of life. At the United Nations he urged an international agreement on the "rights of nations" recognizing national rights in much the same way that the 1948 Uni- versal Declaration of Human Rights rec- ognized the rights of individuals. He also called for an international "ethic of soli- darity" moving the world toward a fu- ture of participation, economic growth and a just distribution of goods." As the world geared up for the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in September, Pope John Paul wrote a "Letter to Women" in which he apolo- gized for past sexism in the Church and called for full use of the gifts of women in society and the Church increasingly mechanistic, commercial and soulless," Cardinal Joseph L. Bernardin told the American Medical Association Dec. 5. "Failure to ground the profession in a strong set of moral values risks the loss of public respect and confidence, and with that the profession faces the further erosion of its independence," the Chicago archbishop said in a major address to the AMA House of Delegates because he is head of an archdiocese with more than 100 health care agencies, a member of the Administrative Com- mittee of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and a board mem- ber of the Catholic Health Association. Belgian Cardinal God fried Danneels of Maline~Brusseis said li- turgical renewal should be pursued with attention on the "profound and significant" sacredness of the Mass and without too much emphasis on innovation and relevance. Otherwise, the gathering is triviallzed into a hu- man community that is "celebrating itself," he said, speaking Dec. 2 at a symposium on liturgical renewal at the University of Notre Dame. Cardinal Danneel's talk on "Liturgy 30 Years After the Council m High Point or Recession?" was a highlight of the event which had as its theme "To Worship the Li ng God in Spirit and in Truth." to a end video at 7 y, Dec. 21 p.m. in the of Bishop andrew d. as celebrant