Legislation must respect Catholic values
MADISON -- The director of the Wisconsin Catholic Conference (WCC) said that any legislation governing the treatment of rape victims must respect the religious beliefs and moral values of Catholic health care.
WCC Executive Director John Huebscher pointed out that Catholic health care is organized around a core belief in the dignity of every human life and that persons with disabilities, the elderly, the victims of crime, and newly conceived human beings are equally deserving of a right to life.
Huebscher noted that the Catholic health care presence in Wisconsin is considerable and that Catholic facilities treat thousands of ill and infirm people every day. He said the legislature must not act in ways that threaten the future of Catholic institutions.
Dedication of painting
PLATTEVILLE -- Members of St. Augustine University Parish in Platteville invite the community to join them for the dedication of an original painting titled, "Saints Augustine and Monica," on Saturday, Dec. 1, in the church's front entrance. The 6 p.m. event will follow Saturday's 5 p.m. Mass.
The parish recently commissioned artist Dick O'Brien of Blanchardville to create the piece.
"The painting's dedication will be a celebration of art's relationship to faith and church," said Fr. Jim Murphy, pastor of St. Augustine Parish. "The variety of performances will proclaim faith in their unique ways."
UW-Platteville student, Nathan Frank, will present a paper, "Church as Patron of the Arts." The poem, "Fishers -- of men, of light, of words," will be read by Franco Pagnucci. A dance, "A Reflection Journey," will be offered by Joy Schewe and Dana Lau. Violinist Molly Nordin will perform "Meditation of Thais" by Massenet.
O'Brien will be present and refreshments will be served.
MADISON -- "Hope at the Crossroads" is the theme of the 26th biennial National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC).
More than 22,000 teens and adult chaperones from across the nation will gather Dec. 6-9 at the Indiana Convention Center and RCA Dome in Indianapolis.
Joining the group will be 70 people from the Diocese of Madison, including Bishop William H. Bullock and Associate Director of the diocesan Office of Religious Education Ben Weisse.
Festival of Lessons
MADISON -- The Madison Diocesan Choir will present its annual Festival of Lessons and Carols on Sunday, Dec. 16, at 4 p.m. at the Bishop O'Connor Pastoral Center chapel on Madison's High Point Rd.
Those attending are asked to bring along a donation of non-perishable food for St. Vincent de Paul's food pantry.
This traditional presentation of the Christmas story in word and song will be repeated on Saturday, Jan. 5, at 7:30 p.m. at St. Joseph Parish in Madison, located at 1905 W. Beltline Hwy, just west of Fish Hatchery Rd. A free-will offering to support the ministry of the choir will be gratefully accepted.
The choir will sing many traditional carols from around the world. Everybody will have an opportunity to join in on some of the more familiar songs.
MADISON -- "The Festive Sounds of Christmas" will be performed on Sunday, Dec. 9, at 2 p.m. by the 45-voice adult choir at St. Peter Church, 5001 N. Sherman Ave.
The parish choir, directed by William Frederick, will be joined by the parish handbell choir, brass ensemble, and more. A formal hors d'oeuvres reception will follow. A free will offering will go toward the choir's trip to Rome in June of 2003.
SINSINAWA -- Sinsinawa Mound presents "Remembering Our Loved Ones at Holiday Time" on Sunday, Dec. 2, in Queen of the Rosary Chapel at 3 p.m. This ecumenical service will be held to honor family and friends who have died. A personalized ornament will be placed on a tree and may be taken home after the service. For information or to participate, contact Janice DeMuth, phone 608-748-4411, ext. 811, or e-mail at email@example.com.
Three ordained for diocese in Madison, Rome
By Mary C. Uhler
CATHOLIC HERALD STAFF
MADISON -- Three new transitional deacons have been ordained for the Diocese of Madison.
Tait Cameron Schroeder was ordained Oct. 4 at the Vatican (see related article below). Michael Eugene Moon and David Alan Wanish were ordained Nov. 16 in the Bishop O'Donnell Holy Name Memorial Chapel in the Bishop O'Connor Catholic Pastoral Center in Madison by Bishop William H. Bullock of Madison.
All three deacons are expected to be ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Madison on May 24, 2002 at St. Raphael Cathedral in Madison.
Rejoice in God's gifts
Bullock greeted those attending the ordination of Moon and Wanish by saying, "In light of recent world events, we ask God to make them agents of peace, justice, and love. We rejoice in the abundance of God's gifts."
Msgr. Paul J. Swain, vicar general and diocesan director of vocations, called forth the two candidates for ordination, testifying to that they are worthy to be ordained.
"We rely on the help of the Lord God and our Savior Jesus Christ, and we choose these men, our brothers, for the order of deacon," said Bullock.
The congregation gave their consent by saying, "Thanks be to God," followed by applause as the men were presented for ordination.
In his homily, Bullock noted, "It is a joyous night for our diocese but a moment of unique joy to the families of Mick Moon and Dave Wanish. Thank you for giving us your son and your brother. Welcome to all persons here tonight who have in one way or another helped foster the vocation of each of these three men."
Bullock gave special thanks to the diocesan vocation team -- Swain, Fr. John Stillmank, and Mrs. Kate Wiskus -- and former vocation directors.
"Sometimes the ordination of transitional deacons gets slighted or de-emphasized because they will soon be ordained to the priesthood," the bishop pointed out. "And yet having professed their faith and declared their freedom, Mick and Dave will make three lasting declarations this evening regarding celibacy, Liturgy of the Hours Prayer, respect and obedience to the Bishop.
"The first is they will make their public commitment to celibacy. To the secular world that's nonsense but to those who surround you, Mick and Dave, to those who love you, it makes good and great sense," said Bullock. "It is a life-long discipline but it is a way of life that allows you to more fully enter into contemplation and a true ministry deeply rooted in Christ."
The bishop said celibacy is a sign and motive of pastoral charity and it is a source of spiritual fruitfulness in the world. "Celibacy is for the sake of the kingdom," he said. "Living the celibate life in our world is not easy; it carries with it some struggles but it also carries with it deep, penetrating joys when done for the sake of the kingdom.
"The second declaration you make tonight is a statement that you will prayerfully celebrate the Liturgy of the Hours. The prayer form places us in touch with the psalms, the prayer of Christ, and while the psalms follow the rhythm of Hebrew poetry, they offer us a rich history of salvation at worship.
"The third element in your promise is that of respect and obedience to the Bishop. Once again the world honors such concepts as: 'do your own thing' or 'don't let anyone tell you what to do.' The Church wisely exacts both respect for and obedience to the Bishop. This promise does not make you a mindless puppet of the Bishop but rather a willing servant of Christ and the needs of the whole diocese."
Let your light shine
Bullock told the new deacons he sees them "as true ministers of Christ, as men deeply rooted in the faith of Christ. It is no one less than the Master of the Harvest, himself, the Lord God, who has sent you forth as laborers, to work, to witness, to proclaim and preach, pray and promote discipleship.
"As you exercise your diaconate let your light shine, allow people to see your faith, allow them to love you and above all, help our Catholic people reclaim their Catholic Identity by guiding them to bring their faith-life to their work place, to their families, to their friendships.
"The tragic terrorist events of September 11th in our country still cause us anguish," the bishop noted. "But you can nourish your people with your homilies; lead them in solid truth, in prayer to practice to true holiness. Then they will be filled with new hope."
Bullock noted that both men come from backgrounds of service to people. Moon worked with Catholic Charities in Janesville and has served Spanish speaking people. Wanish was in the Peace Corps and has proficiency in the Nepali language.
Liturgical ministers included Deacon Bill Stack, deacon of the Word; Frs. Nicholas Okere and James Bartylla, masters of ceremonies; and Asif Habib and Sr. Julianne Koch, readers.
Music ministers included the Ordination Choir directed by Patrick Gorman; Glenn Schuster, organist; Denise Boychuk Gorman, cantor; Mary Leavell, flute; and Frank Hanson, trumpet.
Schroeder ordained in Rome
VATICAN CITY -- Tait Cameron Schroeder was ordained a transitional deacon for the Diocese of Madison on Oct. 4 in the Basilica of Saint Peter, Vatican City, by Cardinal Pio Laghi, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Catholic Education and former apostolic nuncio to the United States.
Schroeder was one of 37 seminarians from the United States attending the Pontifical North American College who were ordained at the Vatican at the Altar of the Chair of Saint Peter.
Deacon Schroeder is the son of Darlene and Timothy Schroeder of Sauk City. His home parish is St. Norbert Parish, Roxbury. Schroeder is completing his fourth year of theology studies at the Pontifical North American College in Rome.
'Rigorous discussion' led to approving research
|Next in a series of articles reporting on the conference, "Stem Cell Research: New Frontiers in Science & Ethics," held Oct. 17-20 in Milwaukee sponsored by the Wisconsin Catholic Conference, Marquette University, and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.
By Mary C. Uhler
CATHOLIC HERALD STAFF
MILWAUKEE -- The University of Wisconsin-Madison has been involved in a "very rigorous discussion" of the issues involved in embryonic stem cell research, reported Dr. Norman Fost at a recent conference in Milwaukee.
Fost is professor of pediatrics and the history of medicine and director of the UW program in bioethics. He has chaired the UW Health Sciences Human Subjects Committee for 23 years and chairs the university's Bioethics Advisory Committee (BAC).
Fost recalled that discussions began as early as 1994 when UW Professor James Thomson anticipated the likelihood of doing research with human embryonic stem cells. "There was very serious reflection before anything was done," stressed Fost.
In 1998 the Bioethics Advisory Committee was appointed by the dean of the UW Graduate School. In that year, Thomson published a paper on pluripotent human embryonic stem cells.
Fost said the BAC members were recruited from the fields of science, medicine, and philosophy; they included representatives of the clergy, UW administration, and the community. They met 16 times from 1998 to 2001.
"This was not a rubber stamp committee," Fost insisted. "It involved serious reflection."
Fost said the controversy involving embryonic stem cell research was primarily about federal funding, which was banned in 1996. President Clinton subsequently approved public funding for research on stem cells obtained privately. President Bush suspended this approval until his decision in August of this year allowing limited federal funding using some cell lines.
The underlying premises of discussion on embryonic stem cell research at the UW included:
This research provides the potential for substantial clinical benefit for treatment of such diseases as diabetes and Parkinson's disease and the opportunity to relieve human suffering.
There should be academic freedom to pursue avenues of research as long as they are not hurting anyone.
Procurement of cells
Fost said the committee discussed ethical issues surrounding procurement of stem cells used in research, including source of the tissue, the moral status of the embryo, creating embryos for research, and consent.
The use of "adult" stem cells was not too controversial, said Fost. Cells could be obtained from newborn babies and cord blood. Some cells could be taken from dead fetuses, including "products of abortion," said Fost.
Another controversial source of stem cells was from embryos about to be discarded at in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinics.
As to the use of less controversial adult stem cells, Fost said the scientific view is that they are "necessary but not sufficient" for stem cell research.
Using cells from aborted fetuses, Fost said, might "legitimize abortion" and make it more acceptable.
Status of embryo
The moral status of the human embryo was a topic of indepth discussion by the BAC, said Fost. "Is it a person in the usual sense? Some argue 'yes,'" he said. "Is it being deprived of the opportunity for a full life? Does potentiality equal personhood?"
Stem cell glossary
Adult stem cell: A cell taken from mature tissue that can renew itself but has a limited ability to transform into specialized cell types.
Embryonic stem cell: A cell from an embryo that has the potential to become a wide variety of specialized cell types.
Pluripotent: Capable of giving rise to most tissues of an organism.
Fost said the BAC reviewed literature on all sides of the issue of the personhood of the embryo. He noted that an embryo "doesn't look like a person. It can't experience suffering. Potentiality is not the same as personhood."
He also observed that embryos are not counted in the census; there are no penalties for destruction of embryos; and they are not covered by health insurance.
Is the embryo deprived of an opportunity for full life? Fost admitted, "Yes, but not as a consequence of research." The alternative for embryos left in fertility clinics would be mandatory adoption or permanent storage, which is costly.
Fost said members discussed the relevance of the "queasiness" or "yuk" factor. He said there was "widespread public uneasiness" about research involving embryonic stem cells, even among so-called "pro-choice" people.
This queasiness is a "signal that there may be an ethical issue," Fost admitted. But, he said, such things as "insects, headless pigs, and snakes" also make people uneasy.
The BAC's conclusion: "Feelings are an unreliable guide to moral conclusions. Queasiness recedes after people become more educated," said Fost.
The BAC said embryos should be treated "with respect." They shouldn't be "used trivially" but only for "important research" with "rigorous scientific review."
The university's committee said there were "unresolvable moral differences" which must be "resolved legally and politically," said Fost. There is no federal prohibition on embryonic stem cell research, although some states do prohibit it. Fost said there is "increasing political consensus" that this research is "not only acceptable but desirable."
The BAC did not authorize creating embryos for research at this time, but, "if an embryo is not a person, this is not a problem," said Fost.