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December 27, 2007 Edition

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World Day of Peace 2008:
Pope emphasizes importance of families in building peace

We often pray for world peace privately and at Mass. But I imagine most of us think of world peace as some nebulous goal - not something we can do much to achieve.

Editor's View
Mary C. Uhler

Yet in his message for the World Day of Peace to be observed on January 1, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI says we each have a responsibility to work to bring about a world of peace. And where does this begin? It begins within our families.

Importance of the family

The Holy Father says that the family is "the first and indispensable teacher of peace." The family is a model of justice and love between members, respect for legitimate authority, care and concern for weaker members, and readiness to accept and forgive.

A Prayer for Peace

To the Queen of Peace,
the Mother of Jesus Christ "our peace,"

I entrust my urgent prayer for all humanity at the beginning of the year . . . to which we look with hearts full of hope, notwithstanding the dangers and difficulties that surround us.

May Mary show us, in her Son, the Way of peace, and enlighten our vision, so that we can recognize Christ's face in the face of every human person, the heart of peace!

-- Pope Benedict XVI,
World Day of Peace Message

People around the world draw inspiration from the values on which the family community is based, said the pope. But he also insists that the family must live by a common moral law that endures the protection of the weak "from oppression by the strong" and promotes a just distribution of wealth.

He also observes that we must protect the environment on our planet, because that is the "common home" in which the global family lives. He warned, too, that the arms race and violent conflicts around the world cast "dark shadows" on the human family. He says that demilitarization and reconciliation are necessary for a peaceful future.

The Holy Father challenges every individual to recognize his or her place in the human family and to work to bring about a world of peace.

I encourage people to read the full text of Pope Benedict's 2008 World Day of Peace statement at: www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/messages/peace/index_en.htm

Praying and working for peace

Of course, we can and should pray for peace, not only in the world, but also in our families, neighborhoods, workplaces, and communities. We can also try to act in a peaceful way with people we meet and deal with every day.

Peace would also be a good topic for discussion in our parishes and Catholic schools. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Department of Justice, Peace, and Human Development has plenty of resources available, including a list of small group discussion questions for use with the 2008 World Day of Peace message. Go to www.usccb.org/sdwp/international for more information on how parishioners can learn more about the Church's engagement in issues of global peace and justice.

Let's remember the prayer of St. Francis: Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.

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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
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Madison, WI 53719-3522

Fax: 608-821-3071
E-mail: info@madisoncatholicherald.org
Emergency contraception
could cause abortion,
violate conscience protection

To the editor:

Legislation that would force every Wisconsin hospital, regardless of religious affiliation, to inform a rape victim about "emergency contraception (EC)" and provide it upon her request is on the fast track in the Wisconsin State Legislature. Sadly, so-called "emergency contraception" will often act to cause a chemical abortion by preventing a tiny embryonic child from implanting in his or her mother's womb should fertilization occur.

I deeply sympathize with victims of sexual assault who have a right to defend themselves from conception. It is impossible, however, to determine whether or not fertilization has occurred at the time EC is directed to be taken. The situation can be likened to a hunter who sees something moving in the bushes and holds his fire until he is sure that it is not a person. We must act with the same restraint in protecting newly conceived human life.

As a nurse working at a local health care facility, I can't imagine being forced by law to give a medication against my conscience or better judgment. The legislation (SB 129/AB 377) contradicts the Wisconsin Constitution which expressly protects the rights of conscience. The bill also violates the First Amendment to the United States Constitution which guarantees the right to freely exercise our religious convictions.

If SB129/AB377 becomes law, in what other situations will the state attempt to force medical professionals to violate their consciences? Will healthcare providers of conscience be forced to leave our state rather than face a legal penalty?

Mary Weigand, West Bend

'Therapeutic abortion' reasons can be twisted

To the editor:

Does David Newby, president of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO, realize that Planned Parenthood and other abortion mills have been justifying the performance of abortions for years based on categories of "therapeutic abortions" such as emotional, social, and psychological reasons? [read David Newby's letter to the editor]

These reasons can approach the infinite. Symptoms of these reasons can be stretched and twisted to meet required standards.

The "Healthy Wisconsin" proposal as written will cause the blood of unborn babies to flow like rivers.

Charles J. Sippel, Waterloo

No tax dollars for abortion

To the editor:

I'm writing in regard to the "Healthy Wisconsin" being introduced into law.

Abortion is murder. It is a violation of the sixth commandment, "Thou shall not kill." I do not believe state tax dollars should be used to provide for it.

Mrs. Julius Riek, Sauk City

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