10/24/2013 3:25:00 PM IN HIS OWN WORDS: Excerpts from Bishop's monthly columns in The Evangelist, 1980-89
1982, first column: "Unemployment...involves not simply a loss of economic or social status; it is also a form of oppression. Human life is diminished when people cannot find creative expression for their talents and provide for themselves and their families through work and the income it provides. Work, in other words, is more than a way to earn a livelihood. It is an expression of God-given talents. A person's work is a gift to the whole community and a way of participating in God's plan for our world.....Our nation must provide jobs for those who can and should work, and a decent income for those who cannot."
1983, after returning from an 11-day interfaith pilgrimage to Israel and Rome with Jews and Christians from the Capital District: "Observing firsthand how the borders of Lebanon, Syria and Jordan are so intertwined with that of Israel gave one a deeper appreciation of the urgent concern which exists on all sides for secure borders....[Another] lingering impression drawn from this interfaith pilgrimage is the rich common heritage that we have as Christians and Jews....The final impression I would share from our interfaith pilgrimage is the real sense of caring which we developed for one another.....There is no one from the pilgrimage that I would hesitate to call upon, and not expect to be received with concern and understanding."
1984, regarding a newspaper headline, "Bishops told: Don't mix religion and politics": "If this statement means that bishops should not involve themselves in partisan politics...I would concur wholeheartedly. If, however, the statement suggests that bishops and other Church leaders have no right or responsibility to address issues in the public debate, I disagree strongly. Bishops are teachers....We must exercise our teaching role by defining the content of moral principles and by indicating how these principles apply to specific problems."
1985, on attending the college graduation of his niece, Kathleen Engleman: "Sitting in the stands of the Boston College stadium, watching a loved one reach a life's milestone, gave me a fresh appreciation of what a moving and meaningful occasion graduations are for the degree recipients and their families. It is good to be in the spectator role, to be a family member, not 'the Bishop.' The most moving moment of the day was the love and pride in my sister's and brother-in-law's eyes as they watched their daughter open her graduation gift, a wristwatch."
1986, on the appointment of then-Rev. Harry Flynn to be coadjutor bishop of Lafayette, Louisiana: "I prefer to assess the so-called 'crisis' in the shortage of clergy and religious personnel today in a positive sense, as an opportunity...to recognize the issues involved and to make the present moment a turning point for the better. We priests and religious must be willing to say clearly and precisely who we are, how we chose the vocation we live, who Jesus is for us, how we pray and what motivates, enlivens and sustains us in our ministry and personal lives....Bishop-elect Flynn has been called forth to serve the people of Lafayette, Louisiana. Who will replace him in Albany?"
1987, on the Blessed Mother: "The attractiveness of Mary is that her life tells us quite simply and beautifully that God loves us....Furthermore, Mary represents our capacity to be renewed and to begin again. When the angel appeared to Mary, he not only revealed the coming of Jesus; he also revealed to us that our God is a God of fresh starts, of new beginnings, of wiping the slate clean."
1988, in response to a petition to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (still not ratified by the U.S.): "A Comprehensive Test Ban agreement between the superpowers should continue to be a priority of our diplomacy and negotiations [for] four reasons: A test ban...would truly break the momentum of the arms race. A test ban would also stop the spread of nuclear weapons. A test ban would lead to a comprehensive freeze and reduction of nuclear weapons. Finally, a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty would alleviate the severe economic problems that plague both the United States and the Soviet Union....The arms race diverts human energies and material resources (that could better be used to serve human life) into the production of weapons that threaten death and make our socio-economic problems more difficult to solve."
1989, arguing against New York State reinstituting the death penalty (which it did in 1995, though it was ruled unconstitutional in 2004): "Respect for the sacredness of life is eroding wherever we look....Restoring capital punishment would be a draconian step backward to a code so antithetical to the Christian message, which speaks of forgiveness and reconciliation, and which always presents the possibility of conversion, rehabilitation and redemption....Violence only begets violence, and this hellish cycle diminishes us all, guilty and innocent alike."