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October 7, 2004 Edition

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Year of the Eucharist:
Connected with life issues

Our Holy Father is dedicating a special year to the Eucharist. It begins at the International Eucharistic Congress in Mexico Oct. 10-17, 2004 and will end with the Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist in Rome Oct. 2-29, 2005.

Catholics also observe October as Respect Life Month and the Month of the Rosary. Now we have the Year of the Eucharist. Are there connections? You bet!

Eucharist and pro-life commitment. There is a close relationship between the Eucharist and our church's pro-life commitment. Pope John Paul II pointed out that the Eucharist stands at the center of the church's life. "In it Christ offers himself to the Father for us, involving us in his sacrifice, and gives himself to us as the bread of life for our journey along the paths of the world. All those who come worthily for nourishment at his table become living instruments of his presence of love, mercy, and peace," said the Holy Father.

How do we become those living instruments of Christ in the world? One of the most important ways is respecting the dignity of all life, from the tiny baby in the womb to the oldest dying person - and all those in between.

Resources from Priests for Life. Priests for Life (an organization open to all people, not just priests) has prepared resources on the relationship between the Eucharist and pro-life issues. It has brochures, prayers, and even a music video, This Is My Body (see www.priestsforlife.org/eucharist).

Some connections between the Eucharist and life issues noted by Priests for Life include:

1. Sacrament of Faith -- If we can see Jesus in the tiny host, we can see him in every human person, including the tiny unborn child.

2. Sacrament of Unity -- The Eucharist draws us all to Jesus, and therefore all to one another and in one body. While abortion divides the human family, the Eucharist unites it, making us members of one another.

3. Sacrament of Perfect Worship -- The attitude of "pro-choice" is that my choices belong to me. The attitude of worship, which reaches its summit in the Eucharist, is that all our choices are submitted to Jesus, our King, and true freedom is found only in him.

4. Sacrament of Love -- Love says, "I sacrifice myself for the good of the other." Abortion says, "I sacrifice the other for the good of myself." Abortion is the opposite of love. The same words are used for both: This is my body.

Month of the Rosary. It is also appropriate that the Year of the Eucharist begins during the Month of the Rosary. The rosary focuses on the life of Christ and his mother, Mary, our perfect model as Christians. It seems to me that the new Mysteries of Light are especially appropriate for the Year of the Eucharist, most particularly the fifth mystery - the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper.

During the Year of the Eucharist - at the request of Bishop Robert C. Morlino - the Catholic Herald will publish articles each month reflecting on various aspects of the Eucharist. We hope these articles will enrich your understanding of the Eucharist so central to our Catholic faith.

In October, let us take time to reflect and pray about the connections between the Eucharist and life issues. I also encourage people to attend Mass more frequently and pray the rosary for greater respect for all human life.

Mary C. Uhler, editor

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Mailbag policy
We reserve the right to edit or reject letters. Limit letters to 200 words or less. All letters must be signed. Please include your city or town of residence.

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The Catholic Herald
P.O. Box 44985
Madison, WI 53744-4985

Fax: 608-821-3071
E-mail: info@madisoncatholicherald.org
Drinking, theology can mix

To the editor:

Mary Cruger's discomfort at the thought of "Theology on Tap," expressed in her letter to the editor last week, is understandable. Our nation's Puritan heritage has left us with a vague sense that drinking is somehow bad, a notion sadly reinforced by an unhealthy drinking culture among many young people.

Nevertheless, as Catholics we have always maintained against the Puritans, Gnostics, and Cathars of the world that beer and wine are gifts from God to gladden the hearts of men. As with all of His gifts, some people do misuse them, and some even tragically fall into alcoholism; hence we should always remember, as G.K. Chesterton wrote, to "thank God for beer and burgundy by not drinking too much of them."

That said, however, I can think of no better place to praise God, outside of Mass, than over a pint of beer, or perhaps a glass of wine. And indeed, if we want to come to know Christ, we could do far worse than to begin where He worked the first of His signs, at Cana of Galilee.

Anders Hendrickson, Madison

Check votes on abortion ban

To the editor:

U.S. District Judge Richard C. Casey said, "The Court finds that the testimony at trial and before Congress establishes that D&X [partial-birth abortion] is a gruesome, brutal, barbaric, and uncivilized medical procedure . . . [and finds] credible evidence that D&X abortions subject fetuses to severe pain."

Even though Kerry claims he believes that life begins at conception, Kerry voted against passing a ban on partial-birth abortion every chance he got - six times in fact.

Also, Sen. Feingold voted against banning partial- birth abortion. In fact on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Sen. Santorum asked him what if the baby completely slipped out of the mother's body during a partial-birth abortion . . . Feingold said it should still be a decision between mother and doctor.

Kerry and Feingold use the "health" exception as an excuse, which in the abortion context was defined by the U. S. Supreme Court in Doe vs. Bolton (companion decision of Roe vs. Wade). That "health" exception includes taking into consideration a woman's age, her family situation, her psychological state, etc. In other words, this exception completely negates any legislation purportedly to ban late term abortions.

The medical testimony before Congress, even from those medical professionals who believe partial-birth abortion should be legal, said that there is never a situation where performing a partial-birth abortion would protect a woman's health.

Kerry and Feingold do not deserve your votes based on their positions on this horrific procedure. Each baby should remind you of their positions.

Patricia Hawthorne, Janesville

Abortion issue more critical

To the editor:

There were two items in the Sept. 23 issue of the Herald that gave me some concern. The first was the letter to the editor from Patricia La Cross and James Pencyzkowski. This letter, by referring to the "current administration," is obviously an effort to change the administration to the other political party.

While I can accept some of the criticisms listed, the total ill effect of all of them does not come anywhere near that of the killing of thousands of babies each year through abortion. If the administration is changed by the coming election, that slaughter will continue. The potential leader and second in command have both stated that they approve of the procedure, certainly something that cannot be accepted from a professed Catholic.

"We reserve the right to edit or reject letters" appears at the base of the Mailbag column, and this is one that serious consideration should have been give to its rejection.

The second item was the article regarding the death penalty, supplied by the Catholic News Service [print edition only]. I, too, oppose the death penalty and would hope that action will be taken to eliminate it nationwide.

However, as stated in the article, "Most U.S. provisions for the death penalty are at the state level," so the president can only have direct influence on the action taken on violators of federal law.

The question might be raised as to how the relatively small number of individuals, who lose their life as a result of this federal law, compares with the thousands that lose their life through abortion. In other words, if Kerry is elected, as the article seems to recommend, it is possible the law supporting the federal death penalty could be repealed and a few lives will be saved. However, since he favors abortion, thousands of babies will continue to be slaughtered.

It is apparent that both of these items are in support of presidential candidate Kerry, who openly is in favor of abortion, and certainly raise the question of whether they should ever have appeared in a Catholic publication.

Mat Dietrick, DeForest

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