Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Year Later, the Cardinal Marches On

Hard to believe where the time's gone -- Monday marked a year since the emergent "growth and dynamism" of the church in the American South went global with the historic entrance of its largest fold's leader into the Pope's Senate.

Down in H-Town, however, Dan DiNardo kept to form, not using the day to celebrate, but to shine a light on bigger things as he led a "Pilgrimage for Life":
The mile-long march began outside the Huntsville Planned Parenthood clinic and passed through the Sam Houston State University campus before reaching the Walls Unit, site of the Texas execution chamber. Observers said it likely was the largest such demonstration in Huntsville history....

"We're not here to demand. We're here to pray," said the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese's DiNardo. "There will be no slogans. We'll fall on our knees for intercession."...

DiNardo, speaking at a morning Mass at St. Thomas Catholic Church that began the activities, told the congregation the "Gospel of life applies to everyone, no matter how little or seemingly insignificant."

After DiNardo admonished the group that "we need to make the truth known in a persuasive way — one by one, not always in massive doses of rhetoric," marchers were bused across town to Huntsville's Planned Parenthood clinic....

Among those at the gathering were Florence and George Scheuchenzuber of Magnolia. "We're here hopefully to let people know about our feelings of support of life from conception to natural death," Florence Scheuchenzuber said.

Her husband said he favored capital punishment until two months ago.

George Scheuchenzuber said he revised his thinking on the issue because he concluded the death penalty can end a prisoner's life before he repents and, possibly, finds salvation.

"Murder is murder," he said. "Abortion is murder. And if a grown person kills someone, that's murder." Execution, he said, is murder by the state.

Texas is the nation's leading death penalty state, where 423 people have been put to death since the punishment was resumed in 1982....

For being such emotionally charged ground, DiNardo's concluding remarks [at the execution chamber] were mild.

"We're not here to do anything but pray and witness," he said. "We're here to ... pray for life."
...and CNS has more:
"We know that the announcement of the good news that a child is born at the beginning of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke is not only a reflection on the birth of Jesus, though it is that," Cardinal DiNardo said. "It is reflection on the conception and birth of every human being.

"There is nothing more innocent than innocent human life at its beginnings. Therefore a claim is made on us for the protection of all human life; most especially that most delicate, brilliant and yet frequently violated human life through the act of abortion," Cardinal DiNardo continued.

The Catholic Church and its members are "absolutely committed" to the eradication of abortion, Cardinal DiNardo said. The way to show that commitment is through prayer, he added.

"(We must) beg the Lord to transform first our hearts and then the hearts of all this culture by prayer and persuasion to respect this human life," Cardinal DiNardo said.

The Catholic Church also opposes the death penalty, because at the core of the issue is the same basic question as abortion: the dignity of the human person.

"We are also in Huntsville today in another dimension of the pro-life movement which is guilty human life," Cardinal DiNardo said. "For the last 25 or 30 years the bishops of Texas have quietly tried to persuade, argue and explain to the people of this state and beyond that in fact what is exercised as the death penalty is frequently unjust."...

"None of this is easy, friends. If we thought that we would do it by pure human means then we would be as St. Paul says the most pitiable of all," Cardinal DiNardo added.
Days earlier, DiNardo headed up an ecumenical group in "taking aim" at current Federal immigration policy -- a key issue-point throughout Texas, but especially in the newcomer-heavy Houston church.

Earlier this month, of course, the US bishops elected the "Cardinardo" to the chairmanship of the conference's most prominent policy committee: Pro-Life Activities.

The post might always be held by a red-hat, but it hasn't gone to one so young in almost three decades -- the Southern cardinal turns 60 in late May.