Local/State News National/World News
The Catholic Herald: Official Newspaper of the Diocese of Madison Front page Most recent issue Past issues
May 19, 2005 Edition

 Search this site:

Bishop Speaks
You are here: Editorial/Letters
About Us

How to submit photos/ads to the Catholic Herald
Catholic Herald Youth page
Jump to:
Mailbag policy


As abortions drop:
It's time to take a second look

The number of abortions continues to fall in the state of Wisconsin, according to the annual report released by the state Department of Health and Family Services. (Ironically this report is issued in the month of May, when we celebrate Mother's Day.)

There were 614 fewer abortions in 2004 than the previous year, a decrease of 5.8 percent. In addition, the number of abortions performed for each 100 live births declined from 16 to 14.

More mothers choosing life. "Abortions went down in every age group in 2004 from the previous year," noted Barbara Lyons, executive director of Wisconsin Right to Life (WRL). "It is clear that mothers are choosing life for their babies in Wisconsin and saving themselves from a lifetime of emotional pain.

"Wisconsin Right to Life is ecstatic that Wisconsin abortion numbers continue to plummet. Wisconsin abortions performed in 2002 and 2003, at 10,489 and 10,577, respectively, were the lowest ever recorded since 1974. The 2004 number of 9,943 abortions represents another substantial and fantastic decline," said Lyons.

Significant factors. Although WRL admits that it is not possible to know for sure what caused the plummeting numbers, the organization points to several significant factors:

• Younger people are far more pro-life than their predecessors.

• Wisconsin Right to Life's educational efforts are reaching millions of Wisconsin residents each year.

• Pro-life public policies initiated by Wisconsin Right to Life have a dramatic impact on the abortion decline.

WRL estimates that at least 62,206 human lives have been saved in Wisconsin since 1987 due to the efforts of pro-life efforts. "We commend our supporters and volunteers for their tremendous, selfless dedication which has meant so much to so many," said Lyons.

Of course, we would be most happy if there were no abortions to report in our state. It would be even more wonderful if we could say that every pregnant woman carried her baby to term. That every unborn baby had the chance to be born. That every child would be welcomed, either by his or her own parents or by a loving adoptive home.

Support for abortion declining. The support for abortion seems to be declining in our country. According to a national survey of women published by the Center for Gender Equality, only 30 percent of women think abortion should be generally available. In fact, most women say abortion should be substantially limited or never permitted:

• Seventeen percent said abortion should never be permitted.

• Thirty-four percent said abortion should be permitted only in cases of rape, incest, and to save the woman's life.

And when asked to rank 12 issues in order of importance for the women's movement, women ranked "keeping abortion legal" next to last.

Taking a second look. This information was revealed in "Roe Reality Check #7" produced by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities. It is part of a new campaign on abortion, the Second Look Project, which asks, "Abortion - Have we gone too far?" Go to the Web site - www.secondlookproject.org - for excellent information on abortion.

While abortion has been legal in the United States for over three decades, the Second Look Project reminds us that many people do not have very basic information about abortion. This includes when it is legal during pregnancy or why it is generally performed. The Second Look Project offers information to help people make informed decisions based on fact, rather than emotion.

One page on the Web site focuses on fetal development. It includes color photos of human development from fertilization to the growth of the baby in the womb. Anyone considering an abortion should be encouraged to go to this site before making a decision to terminate that young life.

As the number of abortions continues to decline and support for it lessens, we hope more people will take a second look at abortion and consider pro-life alternatives.

Mary C. Uhler, editor

Jump to:   Top of page


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
Weigel should respect other Catholics' points of view

To the editor:

I am saddened and angered at the mean-spirited and polarizing column of George Weigel in the April 28 Catholic Herald in which he categorically labels anyone who questions certain church practices as Catholics who want to know, "How little can I believe, and how little can I do, and still remain Catholic?" He must believe you can label people of opposing viewpoints "minimalist Catholics" and thus negate their legitimacy as Catholics.

Surely he knows that unrest among some Catholics is primarily because of church practice and not because of church doctrine or dogma. He must also know that "practice" does not have equal status as dogma or doctrine. He must also know that "practice" has been revised and reformed down through the ages. Indeed, institutions refusing self study and revision when necessary suffer the consequence of stagnation and death. It is love for the church and loyalty to that church which requires some Catholics to question practices outside dogma, doctrine, and infallibility.

He further states that this conclave, "May mark the moment at which the 40 year effort to force Catholicism to tailor its doctrine and its message to the tastes of secular modernity crashed and burned." Does he not accept Vatican II whose constitutions and documents were approved by a pope and the assembly of cardinals and bishops at that time? Does he negate them and the many learned and respected theologians and "people in the pews" as people of strong faith and deep love of the church? Why is he so afraid? Why are understandings to new questions so frightening? Why are people who raise questions so threatening?

Mr. Weigel is a columnist with an opinion. I respect that. However, his readers are loyal Catholics with opinions also. He would do well to write respectfully of them.

He won't bring me to even entertain his point of view until he recognizes the dignity of Catholics who love their church as he does but whose informed conscience brings them to a different conclusion.

Joan Prendergast, Janesville

Thanks bishop and clergy for education, inspiration

To the editor:

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Bishop Morlino for the spiritually challenging Confirmation Ceremony he conducted at St. Victor Parish on May 8. Bishop was indeed the "Good Shepherd" leading his flock with staff in hand, as he blessed the confirmed with the gift of the Spirit and the gift of wisdom.

Using his mild manner and subtle humor, Bishop painted the scenario of the secular definition of "Heaven." Using the local brewery, pop culture idols, and today's lifestyle, he assured them "that was not Heaven." Being no stranger to the difficult decisions they are facing, he reassured them that making the right choices leads to heaven. What a perfect time and place to call for "Catholic Accountability."

At the end of Mass using two of the confirmed, Bishop gave an animated and heartwarming plea for young women and men to seriously consider vocations. His two shining examples of what a difference they can make in our church and community, were Monroe's own favorite sons, Msgr. Tom Campion and Fr. Mike Klarer.

Special thanks to Bishop Morlino, and all the clergy, for their "education and inspiration" which keeps the Holy Spirit alive in our hearts and our diocese!

Dorene Shuda, Jefferson

Bells not necessary today

To the editor:

The two-page article by Matthew Herrera on Sanctus bells (April 21 issue [print edition only]) is astonishing, both for its sloppy thinking and for the amount of space you give it.

Herrera states three rationales for the use of Sanctus bells, each of which would be better served in another way. Creating a joyful noise to the Lord is far better accomplished by good, participative music than by ringing a one-note bell. Second, signaling to those not in attendance that something supernatural is occurring can only be accomplished by the use of tower bells.

His third reason is to "wake up" the congregation to the consecration. The use of Sanctus bells was no doubt necessary when the priest turned his back toward us and spoke in Latin. We do have a similar problem today in that the consecration prayer, while in English, is in such stilted language that many Catholics daydream through it.

But we also know it is possible to create engaging consecration prayers because those intended for congregations with children are stated in simple, inviting terms that compel one to pay attention. How much better it would be to make the consecration interesting than to use bells to wake us up!

Don Haasl, Cross Plains

Jump to:   Top of page

Front page           Most recent issue           Past issues

Diocese of Madison, The Catholic Herald
Offices: Bishop O'Connor Catholic Pastoral Center, 702 S. High Point Road, Madison
Mailing address: P.O. Box 44985, Madison, WI 53744-4985
Phone: 608-821-3070     Fax: 608-821-3071     E-Mail: info@madisoncatholicherald.org