Local News Archive
Print Issue: January 25, 1968
Archbishop's Notebook: New Look In Atlanta
Last week the front page of The Georgia Bulletin proved one thing: The Archdiocese of Atlanta is one of the liveliest places in American Catholicism.
There was an announcement of the Christian Unity Service scheduled at the Cathedral in which both Catholics and Protestants were to take part. That service has now taken place and everyone agrees that it was a memorable occasion. The homilist was Dr. Bevel Jones, Methodist pastor in Decatur. Other Protestants read the scriptures, and Bishop Joseph Bernardin and Father Matthew Kemp were the Catholic participants.
More big news was Interfaith, Inc., in which our archdiocese is joining with Presbyterians, Episcopalians and Unitarians to help provide modern housing for low-income groups. Father Noel Burtenshaw is the Catholic representative. This is a significant ecumenical breakthrough. For the first time different religious groups are jointly sponsoring federally financed housing.
But the lively activity was not entirely constructive: The Marist School Chapel had a fire, too. A two-inch layer of wine, water, wax and smut was the description given by Father Vincent Brennan, S.M.
What Does She Mean?
The Abortion Bill (#281) is still being debated in the General Assembly. It is an interesting point that many lawmakers, so careful about the legal rights of children, seem to be so calloused about the taking of human life in the womb. Perhaps the reason is that their constituents feel this way too. One woman who testified put it this way: I dont know what objections to abortion exist. I am in favor of optional abortion if the mother chooses to have one. Japan, Sweden Tried
Japan and Sweden tried abortion-on-demand too, but gave it up. Meanwhile in Georgia, let us hope that the voices of restraint will prevail.
One of the vital factors in the stand against abortion was the strong part played by laymen. This time, aside from an editorial I wrote on the topic, we depended upon a splendid lay group, including one of our outstanding doctors and lawyers, three very active women leaders, and a number of other top-rate laymen. Sister Mary Venard who works with exceptional children also took part in the hearing.
This sets a new pattern. Too often in the past, in many states, bishops lobbied heavily, and citizens in general simply grew tired of such terms as hierarchy, clerics, and U.S. Bishops.
We have not yet won, but the matter is still open. There may be a tightened up bill that will make abortion much more difficult.
Meanwhile, Catholics can remember that the taking of human life in the womb is morally wrong. No matter what the state may decide, Catholics themselves value human life. They will continue to place this same high value on every unborn child.
By our fight we are defending thousands of children. We are increasing the care, research and scientific knowledge needed to help both deformed children and endangered mothers. Perhaps we should also note that underneath the bill is the desire to cut the costs of welfare, especially of the needy.
Catholics need make no apology for their stand. The day will come when Georgia will be grateful for it.
The Now Look
It was Jerry Lackamp of the Catholic Hour (NBC-TV) who used the phrase. Jerry was in Atlanta for several days last week preparing for a show built around Atlanta, Oklahoma City, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.
Jerry found many things here. He spent a great deal of time with those involved in our liturgical and inner-city apostolates, St. Josephs High School and Vista, certain groups of sisters, and the Community of Christ Our Brother.
This is not boasting. We have a long way to go.
But all this shows why the Catholic Hour chose Atlanta for its program. And it shows, too, why page one of The Georgia Bulletin can hardly be ignored by our Catholic people.
Paul J. Hallinan
Archbishop of Atlanta