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January 3, 1992     The Message
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January 3, 1992

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7/i [ ' ; {l t I 4 11,. Message -- for C, atholic, of Southwestern Indiana January Perspective ' "i By PAUL LEINGANG Message Editor I was buying gasoline in a service station in California when I heard the news that Iraq had in- vaded Kuwait. I was certain that the price of gaso- line would go up, but I had no idea I would ever meet members of a family who were caught up in that crisis. Soon, I learned about Joan Khaja, a native of New Harmony, who was unable to leave Kuwait, the land of her husband. Before long, we all learned about other fami- lies who were suddenly involved in the prepara- tion for war in the Mid East. And then came the war itself. Husbands and wives and children were in- volved, and the story of the war was not about a distant horror. It was about us -- you and me and the family down the street. In the stream of world events, the conclusion of the war in 1991 is all but forgotten. In the hearts of its participants and thei'r families, it will never be completely erased. Smoke rising on the horizon, the sounds of a reporter's voice describing the bombing of Bagh- dad from a hotel window, horrible photographs of the contorted bodies of the dead, the fear for the safety of a loved one -- these images roam freely in our memories and sometimes burst forth into prominence, as they will forever. 1991 is history. 1992 is an opportunity. What will the new year bring? The new year will bring the events of a rapidly changing world into our lives. What happens in our world will affect you and me and the family down the street. What happens in Haiti will touch us -- not Looking ahead to 1992 with 1991 perspective as a national or international event, but through the medium of some one person or family. The future of Haiti and its ousted priest-pres- ident will engage the whole world -- but particu- lar impact will be felt by parishes and organiza- tions in the diocese with "adopted!' parishes and social organizations in Haiti. What happens in what was once the Soviet Union will touch us. Some way, some how -- perhaps well beyond the power of our current imagination. What happens in the emerging unity of the European Community will touch us. It is after all, the ancestral home of many families in south- western Indiana. What happens in our own diocese will have an impact on us -- on you and me and the fam- ily down the street. What will it be? Predicting the future is foolish, but my awareness of walking on treacherous ground will not stop me from taking a few steps to get a better view of 1992. Many stories in the Message during the com- ing months will deal with the diocesan synod. That is not a prediction, that is a promise. Bishop Gettelfinger has repeatedly pointed to the syn- odal process as the means by which diocesan di- rections will be determined. A diocesan pastoral council will be estab- lished through the synodal process, the bishop has stated. A diocesan pastoral council will serve the diocese in the same way that a parish council serves the parish community. That there will be a diocesan council is a fact. All of the details -- the who, what, when, Where, why and how -- will be the content of news stories in 1992 and 1993. Clergy assignments in the diocese will reported in 1992. There is certainty in such ,a P! diction. Perhaps "parish staff assignments is.[ more accurate term, if what we have witnessed I. I the past is any help in looking forward, parisll [ leadership in the diocese is now provided bY[: priests, deacons and women religious, ill: | We anticipate some joyful events -- the thir. [:| anniversary of Bishop Gettelfinger's ordination ! [ |' April, a diocesan Teacher of the Year named i:[| May', and Gordon Mann's ordination to the prie# [: I hood for the Diocese of Evansville in June. I| Events outside of the diocese will have an i ]| pact on all of us. Among them is predictably [ | change in Church leadership in the Archdioce [| of Indianapolis, where Archbishop O'Meara is I [ failing health. I | And, of course, international events will c O" Ii tinue to make their impact on peonle in the dl ":[ | cese Many stories in 1992 will flow from the p eo; [ | pie and events we have already discovered I [[ 1991. o I The top 10 stories of 1991, according t Catholic newspaper editors, are: the Persian Go; War, the failed coup and other Soviet eventS, e, thanasia, abortion, recession, the civil war in .Y goslavia, condoms and "safe sex," the Columt quincentenary, the 100th anniversary of Rerg! Novarum, and the Supreme Court. What will be the top 10 stories of 19927 tainly some have already begun, certainly will be surprises. God alone knows the future. The rest of will learn about 1992 as we live it out da  here in southwestern Indiana. Washington Letter Health care reform: Lots of debate, no easy answers ethics in Creighton Univer- sity's Center for Health Policy and Ethics. "I think we've turned the corner on that question." With U.S. health care costs reaching nearly $700 billion in 1990 -- $2,050 for each American man, woman and child, the highest per capita cost in any country -- the deadline for resolving the na- tion's health care crisis is fast approaching, according to Catholic leaders in the health care field. "It's almost like the mood of the '30s, a hopeless feeling of 'What are we going to do?'" said Sister of St. Joseph Catherine Pinkerton, a lobby- ist for the Catholic social ac- tion group, Network. The statistics are daunting. A report released Dec. 18 says that an additional 1.3 million people became medically nninsured between 198.q and 1990, bringing the total of Americans living without any health insurance to at least 35 million. Another 60 million are estimated to have inade- quate health insurance. The report, prepared from census data, was released by the Public Citizen Health Re- search Group, Physicians for a National tiealth Program and the Center for National Health Program Studies at Harvard University. All three groups support a national health insurance plan. But the health care issue goes far beyond the question of insurance to such matters as fair distribution of human ongoing debate about health table to debate and help ,, and material resources, bu- reaucratic inefficiency and waste, and discrimination against certain groups of pa- tients and certain diseases that carry a social stigma. Both Network and the St. Louis-based Catholic Health Association are working to address the full picture in separate health care policy statements. Network's "vision state- ment," released in November, criticized the country's "lack of a national health care pol- icy" and called it a "failure which leaves the most vul- nerable people unprotected and which jeopardizes our nation's future." Among other things, Net- work recommends develop- ing financing mechanisms to fund health care, changing li- ability laws with regard to ;r, alpraclice., addressing the high cost of prescriptions and diagnostic testing and elimi- nating unnecessary duplica- tion of services. The Catholic Health Asso- ciation, through a 20-member Leadership Task Force on Na- tional Health Policy Reform, is working to produce its own plan for reforming the U.S. health care system. The task force hopes to 'present its final proposal to the CHA board this spring. The CHA plan, now the subject of regional meetings throughout the country, is de- signed to make a uniquely Catholic contribution to the care reform, according to William E. Kessler, president of St. Anthony's Health Cen- ter in Alton, Ill., chairman of the CHA board and a member of the task force. The CHA plan foresees es- tablishment of a national health board, indeperLdent from the legislative and exec- utive branches of govern- ment; state health organiza- tions to assess community needs and distribute re- sources; and "integrated de- livery networks" of physi- cians, hospitals, nurses and social workers to provide care. Key components of the plan are universal access, a patient- centered care deliv- ery system, choice of delivery networks, reduced adminis- trative costs and incentives for rrfw,,t;v; and primary Ctl'U. "While our proposal is in harmony with our ministry values and the teachings of our church, it will also be ap- pealing to a broader U.S. au- dience," he said. "It ... will provide the Catholic health care ministry a place at the health care reform." The difficulty of ing a comprehensive was demonstrated in cember when the visory Council on curity ended two-and" years of work by that it could not a plan to reform the public- private health ance svstem.  "A lnajority of the c=i concludes that at this t"-i there is no one'rizht ch,l,i the council saidin its tv'd report, made public Dec. "-The national co nsenstlsi_l essential to the sucCe' systemic reform ,the co.m' believes necessary has cle not developed." .,= la Four of the counCl* olY members issued a str ffle worded dissen't, sayi.g ','; council had "f',i led lff, ', major mission" by re 'a,l mending only graU,er changes, along with ftlrt study. cil "In essence, the c;r" me new 11 urges us to buy so "s 0 niture for a house that  tll0 the verge of collapSe.; dissenting members salu. Bishop's schedule The following activities and events are listed on th0 schedule of Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger By NANCY FRAZIER O'BRIEN Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Health care promises to play a major role both in the 1992 presidential campaign and in the household budgets of av- erage Americans. At a debate on health care issues Dec. 19 in Nashua, N.H., eight Democratic candi- dates for president agreed that affordable health care is a fundamental right of all Americans, but found little else to agree on. "National health reform is going to be a major issue" in the 1992 elections, said Ruth Purtilo, professor of clinical The MESSAGE 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 47720-0169 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese Of Evansville Published weekly except last week in December by the Catholic Press of Evansville Publisher .............. Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger Associate Publisher ............... Rev. Joseph Ziliak Editor..: ......................................... Paul Leingang Production Manager ........................... Phil Boger Circulation .................................... Susan Winiger Advertising .................................... Paul Newland Address all communications to P.O. Box 4169, Evansville, IN 47724-0169 Subscription rate: $17.50 per year Single Copy Price: $.50 Entered as 2rid class matter at the post office in Evansville, IN 47701. Publica- tion number 643800. Postmaster: Return PODforms 3579 to Office of Publication Copyright 1992 Catholic Press of Evansville