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Evansville, Indiana
January 8, 1988     The Message
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January 8, 1988
 

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4 Editorial The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana January 8, 1988 By PAUL LEINGANG Message Editor January is appropriate time to look backward and forward One of the greatest truths of all time is not printed in the Constitution, the Bible, the Koran, or the Talmud. Several variations in wording are available for this truth, which is printed on the face of some automobile mirrors. You will find the words on many of the outside, passenger side "mirrors designed to give a wider view than ordinary fiat glass mirrors provide. The words are these: "Cau- tion: objects in the mirror are closer than they appear." The myffmlogical Janus - who could look both ways at once -- gave us his name for this month of beginnings and endings. January is the appropriate time to look backward and forward, but the warning on the mirror we hold up holds true in both directions. The past and the future may be closer than they appear. The Meage this week is packed with stories reviewing the happenings of 1987. Events and an- nouncements, developments and decisions, celebrations and commemorations -- all have had impact on us in Southwestern Indiana. As you read the stories, you may discover how much has happened in less than a year; once change becomes a part of our life, it no longer seems that a change has taken place. We may have forgotten how it used to be. Such a past is closer than it seems. Distant events, too, are closer than they ap- pear. For example, what happens to Haitians hap- pens to us -- to all who share in a humanity made holy through incarnation and redemption. What happens to humanity, be it hunger or satisfaction, illness or healing -- happens to each of us; it is closer than it appears. Much has happened to us and our church -- in the world, in America, in our diocese. Among the events of 1987 was an un- precedented "Convocation," a gathering of almost all of the priests who serve the diocese. Prepara- tion for a future of fewer priests was one of the ma- jor reasons for the gathering. Such an event is closer than it appears; the average age of the clergy is rising; the number of new priests is falling. Changes are occurring in the way we Catholics worship, in the way we organize our parishes and communities, in the way we are called to par- ticipate in the mission of the Church. Such changes are not as distant as they appear. No priestly ordination for the Diocese of Evansville is planned for 1988. Studies for the permanent diaconate will con- tinue in 1988 for a small group of men in the diocese. 1987 was the 10th anniversary of the or- dination of the first permanent deacons in the diocese. Ten years is a long time in the life of an individual, a short time in the life of the church. A change is on the way for the salaries of women religious, toward a level of compensation equal to the pay for lay employees of parishes and schools in the diocese. We do not yet have a clear view of the impact of such a development. %- A change is on the way in this diocese in this year 1988 -- the year of Bishop Shea's 75th birth- day. Bishops at 75 are expected to offer their resignations. The view of such a development is far from clear, as we live out the history of the Diocese of Evansville. Unclear is the impact on the people, priests, policies and institutions of the Catholic Church in Southwestern Indiana. January offers us the opportunity to look for- ward and backward. Next January will bring another chance to look back at what we now can only anticipate unclearly. What is clear is simply this: the events of 1988 are closer than they appear. I Washington Letter Churches, anti-liquor campaign and the constitution By LIZ SCHEVTCHUK NC News Service wAsHINGTON (NC) -- A debate over liquor-by-the-drink sales in Tennessee has spilled over into a First Amendment fight which Protestant plaintiffs and their Catholic allies hope the U.S. Supreme Court will resolve. Backed by the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the National Council of Churches and other religious groups, 13 Protestant churches are questioning a campaign ex- pense disclosure law, Touching on both the religious freedom and free speech provisions of the First Amendment, the case began in Jackson, Tenn., in 1984, during a local referendum on whether the town should permit sale of liquor by the drink. According to briefs on the case, various churches paid for anti-liquor newspaper, radio and television advertisements without forming political cam- 00o8800oe 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 4771 1 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Publi$hed weekly except lut week In December by the Catholic Pre of Evanevllle. Publisher ........ Bishop Francia R. 8hea Asaoblate Publisher .... Rev. Joseph ZlUak Editor .................. Paul .elnglmg Circulation Mgr,... Mrs, Rose Mdntrutblle Production Mgr ................ Ihll Boger Advertlelng Mgr ....... ........ Dan Horty Addreuall'cornmunlcaUon ;' 'IoP:o. BoX " 4169, Evansville. IN 47711, Phone (812) 424-5536. Subscriptlort rate: ' $15 per year Entered 88 2nd class matter at the post of. rice In Evansville, IN 47701. Publication number 843800. Postmaster: Return POD forms 3579 to the Office of Publication. paign committees and filing campaign expense disclosures as required by the Tennessee Campaign Financial Disclosure I Jaw. Ordered by the state to file the disclosures, the churches refused and went to court, challenging whether the law should apply to them or whether it was even constitu- tional. A lower court found the law applied to churches and was constitutional. Next, a state ap- peals court held that the law ap- plied to churches but that it was an unconstitutional violation of free speech when applied to referendums. Finally, the state supreme court, deciding that the only valid issue was that of free speech, determined that the law did not in fact infringe upon First Amendment freedom of speech. The case then went to the Supreme Court. As of Dec. 30, there was no word on whether the Supreme Court would take up the case, which unlike other recent ques- tions of church involvement in electoral campaigns, has generated little attention. Nonetheless, whether the high court hears the case or not, the involvement of the Catholic League: and other church groups suggests that the Ten- nessee law raises issues of na- tional importance. THE CASE "presents substantia! federal questions uider the, ligion clause and the free speech clause of the ..... Fffst Amendment because it in- volves court-sanctioned im- position of extensive govern- mental regulation of religious bodies attempting to speak publicly on matters of public concern," argued the Catholic League, National Council of Churches and other church- related groups in a friend-of- the-court brief. The First Amendment guarantees that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech." "Requiring churches to register as political campaign committees in order to address the most pressing moral and social issues or our day substan- tially burdens the free exercise rights of religious bodies," claimed the brief filed with the Supreme Court. The brief told the high court to consider the ramifications of the Tennessee court action "not simply upon the (Protestant) churches in this case but upon religious bodies throughout the country which have since the dawn of the republic regarded it as part of their religious ministry to announce their religious message on a wide variety of matters of social con- corn." If such laws can be applied to churches, then the ability of all churches to speak out on such issues as nuclear war, capital punishment, health care, im- migration reform and South Africa -- all often raised in the public forum by Christian chur- ches -- is threatened, the Catholic League and other religious groups argued. Furthermore, "when the government chills legitimate expressive activity crucial to ef- fective church' teaching on mat- ters of public concern, freedom of expression cannot flourish," the brief said. The state of T-ennesee, however, argued that the chur- ches "failed to present any substantial question regarding the constitutionality of Ten- nessee's (campaign} jaw within the context of the free exercise and' establishment clauses of the First Amdendment." Rather, it said in a Supreme Court brief, the churches "are asking this court to afford them a privilege not granted to any other group in the election pro- cess. Fundamental fairness and equality in the application of the disclosure law is clearly a compelling reason to justify its application to churches which participate in the election pro- cess for whatever reason." Excluding non-partisan i roups -- like the churches -- rom the law would "emasculate" the statute, the state argued. "Large politic aa contributions could then be made by utilizing these groups as intermediaries." In fact, it said, "compelled disclosure of contributions and expenditures" under such laws -',, ..... . is significantly related to m- forming voters of the election process and protecting the in- tegrity of the political system." .- plain warning. "With desola- tion is all the earth made desolate, because there is none that considereth in the heart." Only little consideration was required to tell our good presi- dent, and tells us what is right and wrong, and that a just God must punish sin. The least of the pro-lifers of the 92 counties are a blessing to us all, and to Christianity the world over. I must not fail to say that our Knox County and Martin County have been a big help to Mr. Kavanaugh's fine unit. Father John Shaughnessy Pastor Emeritus St. Thomas Church Letters welcome Letters to the editor are welcome. Brief let- ters are preferred. The Message reserves the right to select letters for publication. Letters may be edited. II Ill l To the editor, Of the 92 counties in Indiana, I will venture to say, none has a better Right to Life unit better than Daviess County because of the excellent leadership and helpers. The 99 business places, the churches and organizations which are listed as pro-life con- tributors make Daviess County a place to be proud of. The name Louis Kavanaugh is a credit to southwestern Indiana. The pro-life group bring distinguished speakers to Montgomery eind sponsor radio appeals for "the defenseless un- born." Always, they are in need of financial help and may this letter appeal for that. As President Reagan says, in so many words: I'm opposed to abortion and will be until it is proved beyond doubt that it is not the destruction of human life. As we all know, our once blessed country is now be- smirched in sin and crime and at the top of the list is abortion and child-abuse. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" gave us Proud of Rightto Life Letter to the editor