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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
January 5, 1996     The Message
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January 5, 1996

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 ....... ., The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 5 Bishop's Forum Requirements: What is a 'Catholic' school? have read in the public press dent Catholic" school is misleading, children, for theirs becomes a heavy burden. Iclependent Catholic No school can be independent of the Parents who choose to commit their children to established. n the same article, for which I was not asked to comment, there " the asserti-- ,4 . ". Is ,,^.t. .l, tna traditional nolic do " ,, ctrme will be taught. What does that mean? The author wrote that the school was being formed inde e the o,,. .... p ndent from alL.'. mvnc Diocese of Evansvill !ve]t not in .... e, voaCles.  " " uaravention of its net with the lead- in forming a pri- They indicated the ld follow the format of home schooling. to rent a church-owned facility. I denied To have approved the request would the Catholic Diocese liable for all the ac- there is no such entity as a Catholic of the teaching authority of the To use the identification as " indepen- ByBISHOP GERALD A. GETTELFINGER bishop and retain the title of Catholic. The school called "Anima Christi" is not a Catholic school. In our discussion I reminded the same leadership that they were to be careful not to call their school "Catholic" for that is reserved for those who, under my authority as bishop of the local diocese, comply with diocesan policy and practices. They understood. In the public press that prohibi- tion has been violated. I cannot as- sign responsibility. I regret the ap- pellation of the school as "Catholic" nonetheless. I learned from the article that Anima Christi has indeed been formed by this group of parents who have chosen to "home school" their children. I have no quarrel with their rights as parents to do so. I had affirmed their right to form such a school and have expressed my admiration for the courage they exhibit in assuming responsibility for each others' this school must also be responsible for the integrity of the education they receive. It must meet state ed- ucational standards for attendance and safety, not to mention teacher competency. As Chief Teacher of the Diocese, I affirm that ed- ucation of children is the responsibility of parents. In a corollary way it is the responsibility of the faith community to assist parents in meeting that re- sponsibility. In the Catholic Diocese of Evansville we make available where possible Catholic parochial and in- terparochial schools for parents choosing Catholic schools. For those parents who do not have access to Catholic schools or who choose to send their chil- dren to the public school the Church provides weekly religious education programs. Parents may choose to exercise their rights out- side the jurisdiction of the Catholic Diocese. In such cases, I as bishop and chief teacher, cannot be held accountable for the children's' education. Such is too grave a responsibility. ITy (CNS) II, who began magazine's "Man seen his repu- a year-long roller pope's popularity, 1995 was a rollercoaster out by leading in the Philip- ere Several million S Service !heered him and October came to the United Nations, preaching once GOspel must and political -ar drew to a suffered dis- in the public the pope's ex'communist President over church-supported Lech Walesa. In Catholic Ireland, divorce was legalized in a special bal- lot. Simplistic as it sounds to many in the Vatican, both votes were widely portrayed in the media as papal defeats. The pontiff, who celebrated his 75th birthday in May, walked without a cane for most of the year and seemed to have more energy than in 1994. He showed that talk of the "twi- light" of his papacy was prema- ture, issuing major documents on women, ecumenism, human life issues and the African church; traveling to five conti- nents; and resuming his full schedule of meetings with po- litical and church leaders from around the globe. His letter to the world's women in June won near-uni- versal praise for its positive tone and its apology for church mistakes in the past. But the Vatican came under fire at the Fourth World Con- ference on Women in Beijing in September, having to convince delegates and the world at large that its teachings on birth control, motherhood and the right to life do not limit women's role. In January, French Bishop Jacques Gaillot was removed from his diocese for his opposi- tion to church teaching on con- dom use, married priests and other issues. Many French Catholics protested the Vati- can action. German and Austrian Catholic petitions asked for women priests, democratically elected bishops and changes in teaching on sexual morality. The votes in Poland and Ire- land were characterized as "two slaps in the face for the pope" by the Economist, a pop- ular European magazine, which said the votes were evi- dence of the pope's weakened world influence. In the 1980s, the pontiff helped crack Soviet communism, but "since then, it is hard to think of anywhere he has managed to shape events," it said. The article also took to task the Vatican's statement in November that the all-male priesthood has been "infallibly" taught hy the church. By rais- ing the issue of infallibility, it said, the Vatican showed "it lacks confidence in it argu- ments." The article, quoted in Italian newspapers and circulated among Vatican officials, stung bitterly -- so much that the Vatican newspaper came to the pope's defense. In an unusual Page One commentary Dec. 6, it said a pope's success cannot be measured by election re- sults or opinion polls. The Vatican newspaper went on, in an increasingly in- dignant tone, to say that "intol- erance" toward the pope's mes- sage was more offensive than the 1981 assassination attempt on the pope's life. It said some of the criticism -- with dis- paraging refrences to the pon- tiffs Polish nationality -- bor- ders on racism. But while the pope's com- ments on abortion, divorce and euthanasia may not always find favor among the powerful, he is not about to play "court chaplain" to the powers-that- be, the newspaper said. The pope, a man who has never treated the papacy as a popularity contest, knows how quickly media praise can turn into disapproval. In January, asked about his selection as Time's 1994 "Man of the Year," he replied: "That was last year." Today, he might be thinking:. Bring on 1996. nselor's commentary: Marriages and miracles that tonight asleep is Iraele happens Problems are u Were asleep OCcurred you anything You awaken, to notice are different Problems are is the first when in ur problems COme for mar- g this miracle of the first could be as- to this "I would Palace- or "I see a win- on ray bed." and fanciful mstulated, surprised at the answer I hear in the vast majority of instances when I ask that question. Most often the individual will say, "he (or she, meaning their spouse) would say good morning." If I ask what would happen next to further indicate that this miracle had truly happened they will inevitably say "I would say good morn- ing." Continuing along this same path of what would hap- pen next, they usually say that the conversation would be: "How did you sleep?" "Fine. How did you sleep?" "Fine." Sometimes it is hard for me to believe that couples who come to counseling with multi- ple problems, and some even on the verge of divorce, can say that the first indication that a miracle has happened and their problems are gone is to have their spouse say "good morning." The importance of this brief greeting has always been known to marketing pro- fessionals and others who in: teract with the public, but it also seems to be of great im- portance when interacting with one's spouse. It seems that in problem saturated mar- riages this simple greeting is often not present. At the risk of sounding overly simplistic, when a couple who has an- swered the miracle question in this fashion decide to change and say "good morning" it can lead to other changes that di- minish the problems they are having. Many times very sim- ple small changes such as this can have a ripple effect that can start to change the whole relationship. Further responses to the miracle question might be, "I wouldn't wake up feeling tense or like I had a knot in my stomach." Another very com- mon response would be, "When I get home from work he/she would give me a hug and ask me how my day went." Further replies usually go along these lines: "We would have a relax- ing dinner with the kids, then after they go to bed we would have a nice conversation with both of us listening and talking and then we would go to bed." Another common response would be, "We would laugh again." One of the most interesting aspects about this miracle question is that if you ask the person what makes them reply in that manner they will usu- ally say, "Oh, that is the way it was with us before the prob- lems." This statement seems to indicate two things. First it seems to show that the real "problem" most people have is not their problems but the way they go about solving their problems. The second thing that it shows is that the solu- tion to the "problem  is known by the couple and has even been used by them before. Sometimes when new "prob- lems" appear such as those re- lated to children, new job, or other outside influences a cou- ple "forgets" to use their famil- iar problem solving skills and fall into habits that are de- structive to their marriage. By helping them see how their life will be when their problems are solved they can change their behavior to a familiar style they exhibited when things were better. Often when the couple relates their miracle vision they can see how some- times some of those things they describe are already hap- pening. Maybe, for example, in the recent past they were greeted with a "good morning" or a hug when coming home. By seeing these exceptions the couple realizes that part of their miracle is already hap- pening. Sometimes people ask me if I believe in miracles. I always tell them that in the counsel- ing business I see miracles happen every day. I believe that God loves to help bring about miracles in the marriage relationship and He provides all the graces needed to make it happen. We must do our part, however, and accept his grace to change our minds and soften our hearts so our behav- ior change will follow. How about it? Are you ready for your miracle? Graham is a marriage coun. selor and director of parish outreach for Catholic Charities.