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March 31, 2005 Edition

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Contact senators:
Don't use abortion support as litmus test for judges

As citizens of the United States, we elect the president and members of Congress. But we do not elect federal judges or justices of the Supreme Court; instead, they are appointed by the president with confirmation by the Senate.

Even though they are not elected, these judges exert tremendous influence on our society. They can make or break laws passed by Congress and signed by the president. Their decisions can have far-reaching consequences, as we have seen in cases dealing with everything from abortion to the death penalty to same-sex marriages.

Litmus tests. The appointment of judges is critical. Appointees by the president can be stalled by filibusters by the opposing political party. "Litmus tests" for appointees may be determined by political parties, tests which can thwart the appointment of very qualified judges.

One of these "litmus tests" in recent years has been the issue of abortion. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities and the National Committee for a Human Life Amendment (NCHLA) are undertaking a postcard campaign urging U.S. senators not to make support for Roe vs. Wade a condition for serving as a federal judge.

Postcard campaign. The target date for postcard signing is the weekend of April 9-10. Program materials have been prepared for interested persons, organizations, and parishes. These include: postcards for each state's two U.S. senators, an educational flier, and instructions.

The materials are available from the Diocese of Madison's Office for Justice and Peace: phone 608-821-3086 or via e-mail at justiceandpeace@straphael.org

Decisions flawed. In its flawed 1973 decisions of Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs. Bolton, the U.S. Supreme Court created a new "right" to an abortion. The court made abortion legal throughout the full nine months of pregnancy. The court has even used Roe to justify partial-birth abortion.

U.S. Senators,
Senate Office Building,
Washington, D.C. 20510:

Senator Herb Kohl:
Office: Hart 330
phone: 202-224-5653

Senator Russ Feingold:
Office: Hart 506
phone 202-224-5323

Legal scholars - even those who support abortion rights - have criticized Roe as bad law. Supreme Court Justice Byron White called Roe "an exercise in raw judicial power."

On the other side of the abortion issue, abortion advocates have announced plans to spend $10 million a year to keep Roe vs. Wade the law of the land. They want to block judicial nominees suspected of not supporting this goal.

Write to senators. The USCCB and NCHLA encourage concerned citizens to write postcards to their U.S. senators urging them not to use support of Roe vs. Wade as a standard for assessing anyone's fitness for judicial office. People may bolster their postcard message with letters, phone calls, and e-mails.

Roe vs. Wade - flawed on both moral and legal grounds - has been called the Dred Scott decision of the 20th century. Write to Senators Russ Feingold and Herb Kohl telling them not to use abortion support as a litmus test for judicial office.

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.

Send letters to:
The Catholic Herald
P.O. Box 44985
Madison, WI 53744-4985

Fax: 608-821-3071
E-mail: info@madisoncatholicherald.org
Need prayers for life daily

To the publisher:

We are a group of people who resides in Janesville. We belong to different parishes of the city. We have noticed that little attention has been given to the promotion, awareness, and support to the sanctity of life in our daily Mass. As members of the Diocese of Madison, and as members of the Catholic Apostolic and Roman Church, we, the "Sacred Heart of Jesus Prayer Group," would like to know if you could integrate as part of the daily intentions of the holy Mass an intention specifically for the unborn, the end of abortion, and the sanctity of life.

The lack of respect towards the great creation of life has grown to such a magnitude that sadly it has become almost an acceptable part of life, even among our own brothers and sisters in our Catholic religion. We feel that it is our duty as Christians and Catholics to speak up in this matter and to promote in all our churches the sanctity of human life. The Holy Father has called "abortion" the greatest sin in humanity, and since God has called all of us as his disciples, we urge you to integrate in the petitions of the holy daily Masses a special prayer for the end of abortion and for the respect and dignity of human life.

Until we can win the battle against abortion, we have to continue to fight this evil. Let's not allow ourselves to comfortably sit back and ignore the spiritual battle that is before us.

Our Lord is watching our action closely and we as Catholics will some day have to account for the action that we took or didn't take in regard to our Lord's request to fight the evil of abortion.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus Prayer Group, Janesville

Editor's note: In its monthly chancery mailing, the Diocese of Madison sends out suggested intercessions for life in both English and Spanish prepared by the USCCB Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities. These are available for use by all parishes.

Feast of Divine Mercy

To the editor:

In 1936, Jesus appeared to a Polish nun and told her that he wanted the church to celebrate a special feast in honor of his Divine Mercy on the Sunday after Easter. That feast is called Divine Mercy Sunday (celebrated April 3 this year). These are the words of Jesus that St. Maria Faustina Kowalska recorded in her diary:

"I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to me, though its sins be as scarlet . . . It is My desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy."

Jesus promised that if we went to Confession during the week of Divine Mercy (the week after Easter) and Holy Communion on Divine Mercy Sunday (the Sunday after Easter) all our prior sins and punishment will not be remembered. I sincerely hope that every person who reads this letter will do this. May our souls be pleasing to Jesus and God the Father!

William J. Coady, Springfield, Ill.

Thanks for article on disabled

To the editor:

Thank you very much for Mary Uhler's wonderful article on Catholics with disabilities and barriers to their full, active, participation in the liturgy [March 17, 2005 print edition, page 10].

Patrick Gorman, director of the Office of Worship, became aware of the hidden barriers people with disabilities confront in their parishes and has moved to address these problems.

Uhler's article and Gorman's work to resolve this situation are real signs of hope for many of us. Please continue to print articles of interest to Catholics with disabilities.

I urge Catholics with a disability to contact Gorman when they find problems gaining access to sacramental celebrations.

Peggy Rakow, Madison, Catholics With Disabilities

We wouldn't starve animals

To the editor:

If I would decide to kill a dog or cat by the slow process of starvation and dehydration, the Humane Society would be on my case big time. I would be arrested, fined, and jailed. Plus I would be labeled for life by society as a deranged individual.

In the case of Terri Schiavo the courts - contrary to the teachings of Pope John Paul II - ordered the judicial execution of Terri by the horrible process of starvation and dehydration. The courts condoned this process of euthanasia for a human being in contrast to what the courts would order for an animal. Even medical doctors agree that death by starvation and dehydration is an ignominious death.

Charles J. Sippel, Waterloo

Priest's descriptions accurate

To the editor:

Fr. David Wanish authored a March 3 article for the Catholic Herald [print edition only] describing his observations on a visit to Cuba. In recent years I visited Cuba twice with two different groups of people from the United States. We were able to travel where we wished and were able to interact with thousands of people throughout the country.

Father Wanish's observations very accurately describe what we had experienced: Always feeling safe and being the recipients of the warm hospitality of people living with dignity who had their basic needs satisfied.

A far different experience from the grinding poverty, beggars, and choking pollution I witnessed on my December 2004 speaking tour of El Salvador. There were soldiers everywhere with their fingers on the triggers of their rifles, reflecting an atmosphere of fear.

Those who wish to belittle Father Wanish's reflections need to visit Cuba as he did to see for themselves.

John Kinsman, LaValle

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