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September 29, 2005 Edition

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After 33 years:
We still need Respect Life Program

Perhaps the U.S. Catholic bishops had a premonition. Maybe they could see into the future . . . and what they saw was a growing lack of respect for human life in our country.

In 1972 - a year before the court's infamous Roe vs. Wade decision legalizing abortion - the Catholic bishops began their Respect Life Program. I'm sure the bishops hoped this program would eventually become obsolete. They hoped people would regain respect for all human life.

Unfortunately, 33 years later, we still have far to go in transforming our culture of death into a culture of life. We still need the Respect Life Program.

This year's theme. The program kicks off on Sunday, Oct. 2, which is observed as Respect Life Sunday in virtually all of the 195 dioceses and thousands of parishes throughout the United States.

The front page of this week's Catholic Herald [print edition only] features this year's Respect Life poster and theme: "Help build a world where human life is always loved and defended, every form of violence banished." The theme is derived from Pope John Paul's prayer to the Virgin Mary on December 8, 2004.

As you can see, the Respect Life Program for 2005-2006 focuses on human life in all its aspects, from abortion to bioengineering to capital punishment to peace issues. The Catholic Church emphasizes the value and dignity of human life at all stages, from the tiny embryo to the elderly person with a terminal disease.

The Respect Life Program seeks to brings information about church teaching on the value and dignity of human life to the Catholic community and the wider public. The program combines education, prayer, services, and advocacy.

Cultural attitudes. Cardinal William H. Keeler of Baltimore, chairman of the Committee for Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), said the Respect Life Program looks at cultural attitudes hostile to life, such as radical individualism, moral relativism, materialism, and utilitarianism. "These attitudes are leading to acceptance of 'medicalized' euthanasia of the disabled and dying, as well as the destruction of human embryos for research," he said.

The Catholic Herald will be publishing excerpts from articles in this year's Respect Life Program packet throughout the month of October. We will also be including articles on pro-life efforts in the Diocese of Madison.

A special feature this year is a series of Respect Life letters written by Bishop Robert C. Morlino each week during October. An introductory letter is published in this week's paper on Page 2 [online here]. Bishop Morlino has also authorized a pro-life collection to be taken in parishes the weekend of October 1-2 or 8-9 to benefit local respect life efforts. Please be generous in supporting this collection.

Pray for life. Besides educating ourselves, contributing to pro-life causes, and getting involved, we must also continue to pray for respect for all life. The USCCB has provided a liturgy guide including Intercessions for Life and a sample Holy Hour for Life and Novena for Life (both with many prayers taken or developed from the writings of Pope Benedict XVI).

Respect Life materials may be ordered from the Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities: phone toll-free 866-582-0943; fax 301-779-8596; or go to www.usccb.org/prolife/programs/rlp/index.htm

Let's keep working to make the Respect Life Program obsolete!

Mary C. Uhler

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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

Morality of vaccinating children

To the editor:

I must comment on the morality of vaccinating our children. There is a growing number of parents (over two million) who are opting out of the vaccine program. It is a matter of preventing physical and mental illness and even death.

There is a 20 percent genetic link to an inability to excrete toxins. In 2001 a law was passed to take mercury out of the MMR. It did and is causing autism. Doctors are healing these children by removing the toxins from their little bodies.

Tom Cruise is not completely off the wall. I am listening to the doctors who are healing the children. They are beginning to talk, potty train, and enter regular classrooms in less than a year's time.

Autism is only one of the neurological illnesses which is developing. Colitis is found in these children and many other physical illnesses are developing in adults, but these illnesses can be put in remission.

I believe it is immoral to sacrifice 20 percent of the population. Is your child at risk? For more information go to: www.nvic.org

There is a state law and parents have a legal right to choose not to vaccinate their children. Toxins are also passed in utero.

Pray for our grandchildren.

Laurie Favreau, Footville

Inspiring celebration in Dickeyville

To the editor:

I enjoyed the 75th anniversary of the dedication of Dickeyville's Grotto on Sunday, Sept. 18. The outdoor Mass was celebrated at the very spot where the 1930 dedication Mass was offered. Father Steffen, parishioners, and committees helped to make it an inspiring celebration. Bishop Bullock preached and presided at the Mass.

Since we lived three miles from Dickeyville, two boyhood pastors participated in the original dedication. My dad enjoyed visiting with this friendly priest as he built the Grotto. He admired him. Dickeyville is proud of their Grotto. So are their neighbors!

Father Wernerus reminds us that we have a rich tradition of priests, nuns, and lay persons who contributed much to our parishes. We are deeply moved when we name and pray for deceased priests at our Presbyteral Assembly. When we sit around the campfires or gatherings, we often share colorful stories about past priests. Some wish these stories were recorded. To know who we are and where we are going, it is good to know where we came from.

I think Father Wernerus and others provide models for priesthood as do Saints Francis Xavier, John Vianney, and other saints. They join the uncanonized saints we honor on All Saints Day.

Fr. Don Lange, Madison

Thoughts on future planning

To the editor:

The data supplied in the Catholic Herald of August 25 under the story "Planning for the future" brought two things to my mind.

Why is the Madison Diocese not aggressively pursuing the recruitment of permanent deacons with the projection of the continued shortage of priests? I am not inferring this would be the answer, but it would help.

The building of a new cathedral is unnecessary considering the number of empty pews in Madison. That location might better serve as a homeless shelter. Maybe God was giving us a message with the unfortunate fire.

God bless your strategic plan process.

Dick Jaeger, Blanchardville

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Diocese of Madison, The Catholic Herald
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Phone: 608-821-3070     Fax: 608-821-3071     E-Mail: info@madisoncatholicherald.org