Pastor’s Perspective – September 25, 2022

* “Vote No on Proposal 3” Plan of Action: What We Will and Will Not Be Doing at St. Regis

Because the ballot proposal titled “Reproductive Freedom for All” has been certified and will appear on the November ballot as Proposal 3, an extraordinary amount of effort will be given to educating people about this proposal, encouraging people to get involved in the effort to “Vote No on Proposal 3,” and offering resources for helping others understand—including people who favor access to abortion under some circumstances—just how extreme the Michigan ballot measure is.

What we will be doing. Each week, up to the election we will be doing the following:

· In the bulletin, usually on the front page, we will be highlighting aspects of the “Vote No on Proposal 3” efforts. Each week will have a different focus. This week, as you can see, the focus is “The Significance of Proposal 3 and the Need to Get Involved.”

· Elsewhere in the bulletin, often under this “Pastor’s Perspective” or other staff member’s columns, we will provide additional encouragements for getting involved and voting “No.” For example, today’s bulletin includes Archbishop Vigneron’s letter to all of us on this matter and a one-page summary on the ways Proposal 3 goes to extremes.

· Each week up to election time, the Prayers of the Faithful will include petitions focused on this matter.

· We will offer a couple of different opportunities to talk about this proposal after the weekend Masses, for those who wish to have some conversation on these matters.

· There will be bulletin inserts some of the weekends.

· We will be highlighting some of the ways the Church and groups within the Church support pregnant mothers.

· We will be handing out a “Fighting Like Heaven” Prayer Card which is being used in this campaign, and encouraging as many as possible to focus on Tuesdays as a special day of prayer and fasting up to Election Day.

· We will keep our “Vote No on Proposal 3” News post on the website up-to-date with links to resources. If you have suggestions for further ones, let me know.

What we will not be doing. We will not be turning Sunday Eucharist into a focus on this proposal alone. During the month of October when we always focus on “Respect for Life,” I have invited the guest priests and Deacon Francis to connect their homilies to matters of human life and dignity, when they can, but I have asked them not to make the proposal the sole focus of their homilies. There is no doubt where the Church officially stands on this issue (“No to Proposal 3.”) Sunday Eucharist must not ever become a place where some people feel welcome and other feel unwelcome. We are all sinners and have brokenness within us.  Eucharist is to be a safe place, a place of healing and forgiveness, and even when the gospels challenge us to repent and do better, it is aimed at all of us—those voting “No,” those abstaining from voting, and those still thinking of voting “Yes.” It would be a tragedy, if in our just pursuit of shaping the vote on this proposal, the Sunday Eucharist became unwelcoming to people who have a different conscience-based view on this matter.

At the same time, as you can see from the summary above, we will not be shy about ways to get involved in helping to defeat Proposal 3. I direct you especially to the page on our website. There you will find a number of links with further information which can help you form your conscience on this matter prior to Election Day.

You will notice as well that we will not be focusing on the issue of abortion as such. Again, the Church’s teaching on this matter is known and clear (“All intentional, direct abortions are intrinsically evil and therefore never morally permissible.”) This proposal, of course, affects what will happen in Michigan in terms of access to abortion. It is one of the reasons why the leadership of the Church is so heavily involved in efforts to stop Proposal 3 from becoming part of the Michigan State Constitution. Proposal 3 should not be viewed simply as anti-abortion versus pro-abortion. Even those who believe women need access to abortion under some circumstances need to be encouraged to take a deeper look at this proposal and its far-reaching, foreseeable implications. There are good reasons for reasonable people to vote “No” on Proposal 3, even if they believe in legal access to abortion under some circumstances. The definition of who qualifies as a qualified health person and their lack of accountability; talking about “reproductive freedom” as a “fundamental right” without any qualifications; the vagueness of the term “fetal viability” and the exceptions of mental health; the very reasonable possibility that minors, no matter their age, would have access to procedures without any parental consent or involvement—these and other portions of the amendment make it the wrong vehicle for addressing these issues.

Finally, no matter the results of the vote on this proposal, we have an ongoing responsibility to improve health care and support for all pregnant   (continued on page 4)

mothers, the new-born, indeed all who live in the United States. Unfortunately, the United States still ranks terribly high among the more resource-rich nations of the world in terms of maternal and new-born deaths. Our voting needs to be followed by advocacy and generosity so that all pregnant women, no matter their background, have proper maternal care and support.

*Detroit Priests’ Retirement Collection

Each year, in your packet of envelopes, there is one for the “Detroit Priests Retirement Fund.” Priests such as myself, or Msgr. Budde or Fr. Kaiser, are priests of the Archdiocese of Detroit and responsible for our own living arrangements and expenses in retirement. To that end, every parish pays yearly into a Pension Plan for any priests who serve in the parish. Then, when a priest comes to age 70, he is able to draw a monthly pension (along with supplemental health care, car insurance, and professional expenses) from that fund. St. Regis is being assessed approximately $10,000 this year as its payment into the fund. Any money received through the yearly Detroit Priest Retirement collection offsets the parish’s obligation to the yearly payment. In other words, this collection is a way to both support the parish, and to know where the money will be going—to support current and future retired priests of the Archdiocese of Detroit. Thank you for all who contribute in this way.

*Sunday Readings

The First Reading and Gospel reading today are very appropriate for our current situation. In the midst of severe social divides, significant climate-related tragedies, war and violence in a number of areas of the world (especially Ukraine), increased costs on basic necessities that affect those on the lower end of the economy, and other such challenges, we can very easily become complacent. We think: “No way can we address all these problems,” or “At least we will be able to get through these tougher times.”  The Scriptures remind us that the living conditions of others, when some have so much and some have so little and struggle terribly, act as a judgment on ourselves. We are not responsible for solving all the problems of the world, but we are responsible for the common good of all. That means working toward a just societc, where the sum total of condition of life—food, water, health care, education, access to culture and political representation, wages and conditions for workers—allows for every person’s human dignity to be protected and supported. Who is the Lazarus in our life that reminds us of how easy it is to become complacent and a spur to do better? Let us not wait till it is too late.

Fr. Buersmeyer

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