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Evansville, Indiana
January 10, 1992     The Message
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January 10, 1992
 

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The00/00[ E S S CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF EVANSVILLE VOLUME 29 NUMBER 14 E Janua 10,1992 Priest brings news of situation in Haiti FR. RICHARD WILDEMAN AND FR. JOACHIM ANANTUA PAUL R. LEINGANG, Message Editor :"Everybody is under fear. It is not normal life," said Father achim Anantua as he described life in Haiti since the coup against the resident, Jean-Bertrande Aristide. , , . , . Everybodv is on walt, said Father Anantua, as he searched for e English words to translate his thoughts from French. "A lot of peo- }.are hiding in woods far from their home." Father Anantua, 47, is a priest of the Diocese of Cap-Haitien. He is tor of the Catholic parish in Grande Riviere du Nord. He recently pleted a visit with members of his family, two sisters and a brother, rooklyn, N Y He also came to Evansville to visit a friend, Father '-hard Wildeman, pastor of St. Joseph Church Vaoderburgh County. While he was in New Yorkl Father }mantua Said he had feceAvel a !ephone-call from someone in his parish, warning him not to come ck: That's when he decided to accept an invitation from Father lldeman to come to Evansville tot a few days. He said he suspected that the reason for the warning was probably statement some soldiers must have made as part of their ongoing har- Ss.ment of the Catholic Church. The ousted president of Haiti is a tholic nriest, and since the couo, Catholic leaders have been threat- aed b " ' " " Y the military, he stud. he Father Anantua was able to bring news fbr two of' the paris s in  Diocese of Evansville, which have been participating in an "Adopt- -r.ar. ,, . . lsh relationship with some Hmtlan churches. if: "Father Anantua said that Father Gabriel Lormeus, a priest at Plaine i'a u eord, had fled from his parish. The parish at Plaine du Nord is the uopted parish of St. Joseph Church, Vanderburgh County. i'- tn.Pilate, soldiers tried to arrest the priest, but he also fled, accord- uhg to Father Anantua. The parish at Pilate is the adopted parish of St. resa Church, Evansville. The Haitian priest described other actions by the army which he said were designed to intimidate church leadership. In Ranquitte, an Oblate Sister was arrested and later released, he said. The pastors at Bas-Lambe and Bahan were arrested, hut later re- leased. At Dondon, solders shot at the church, rectory and sisters' house, he said. The church is now closed, voodoo signs and a "For Sale" sign have been written on the church building, he said. In Cite Lescot, an area of Cap-Haitien, some people were throwing stones and protesting, according to the priest's account. The soldiers shot at the protesters and killed some of them, he said. When the protesting continued, soldiers shot at the houses. The occupants scat- tered and fled, and are now forbidden from returning to their homes. That entire portion of the city is now empty, he said. Daily life is a stuggle in Haiti, said Father Anantua. People have no money to buy food or to buy fuel for Vehicles. The price of a gallon of gasoline has risen to $10, he said. The people of Haiti are suffering because of an embargo against the nation, but Father Anantua said the people accept the suffering be- cause they believe it is the right way to getAristide to return. Father Anantua acknowledged that Aristide is not universally ac- cepted. The former president had been criticized "for not being severe enough" in speaking against the use of the "Pere Lebrun" penalty setting afire a gasoline-filled tire placed around the waist of a victim. The popular name of the practice comes from a brand of automobile tire advertised heavily in Haiti. Several of former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier's pivate soldiers were killed by mobs using the "Pare Lebrun" penalty, and Aristide .re- portedly commented that people who 'have no justice make justice for themselves, Despite the violence and the danger, Father AnantUa said he was not afraid of what might happen when he returned in early January. "I expect just to meet my people, to help them have courage, to help them havehope, and to pray," he said, He also planned "to con- ....... tinue to'encourage them'to fightfOrtheir rfghts: ............ He said the people of Haiti have a right to fight "against 0ppres- sion, against dictatorship, against injustice, against lying, and to pro- mote the real values of the Gospel." Father Anantua estimated that there are 60,000 people in his parish, and of that number, about 6,000 are practicing Catholics. He has a church and a school in one location, and five chapels at other lo- cations in his parish. Each area and neighborhood of the parish has a designated leader, who helps coordinate the work of the church. Through the services of such "animators," the parish is able to provide many services for the people, including religious education, adult liter- acy classes and youth ministry. Among the activity in the parish is the organization of basic Chris- tian communities something feared by the former Duvalier regime, as well as by those struggling to maintain control now, according to Fa- ther Anantua. He said the United States formerly gave assistance to Du- valier, who tried to destroy basic Christian communities under the guise of fighting communism. 00lith new year comes hope for peace in world's troubled spots .s : ING'FON (CNS) -- e d 3egan, strife contin- lid Ugoslavia and the eat ast but new hope for 'trl lerged in some of the lg] de spots, includ- ,5: IS top John R. Roach hal and Minneapolis, Ire: of the U.S. bishops' e, Policy Commit- eg players in the le] process that led to :et ing of a peace "I vador. lg Particularly hearten- sh :now that 1992 will tel new beginning for !a of peace, and we LI, years of war and y at long last give "c justice and cl, in E1 Sal- id 'rchbishop Roach a. a statement issued tv th.an 75,000 people f e: ,pu m nearly 12 years ' War in the predomi- | nantly Catholic Central American country. After about 20 months of negotiations, tim Salvadoran government and leaders of the Faralmndo Marli National Liberation Front, a Salvado- ran rebel group, agreed to ju- diciary reform, human rights safeguards, electoral reform, a reduction of the armed forces, civilian leadership for the current militarized police and the conversion of the FMLN into a political party. The peace plan is sched- uled to go into effect with a Feb. 1 cease-fire. Final details of the peace treaty were to be concluded by Jan. 10, but both sides agreed to accept a U.N. com- promise if they were unable to meet the deadline. Meanwhile at the Vatican, as the new year began, offi- cials said the war in Yu- goslavia and ongoing tensions in the Middle East continue to cause concern. But they said holms for peace and jus- tice are valid there and in other world troubh; spots. "Many are the international situations that worry the .pope as pastor of the univer- sal church and Good Samari- tan on the road of the world," said Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican secretary af state. "In the first place, there is the drama of Croatia, which continues with many deaths, floods of refugees and never- ending destruction," he said. "Then there is the tension in the Middle East, which will not be resolved if the de- mand for justice long-awaited by those peoples is not met," he said. The church is also con- cerned about continuing guerilla wars in Latin Amer- ica, particularly in Peru, "where Sendero Luminoso is sowing destruction and death," Cardinal Sodano said. "There are tensions in Asia, and above all, there is a lack of religious liberty in China. For all these populations w,: pray with the pope." Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, told Vatican Radio about trips he made on behalf of the pope in 1991 to Sudan, South Africa, Lebanon and Yu- goslavia. "There is still much to do in South Africa," although the strict apartheid laws have been abolished; he said. The situation in Lebanon also improved in 1991, he said, but there are "many refugees who still do not dare to return because they are un- certain of their future in the country." Cardinal Etchegaray called the Middle East peace pro- cess "a timid start," but an important one for settling dis- putes in the region, Interreligious coot)oration is necessary there and in other places tlu'eateoed by war and ongoing political tensions, he said. Meanwhile, in the United States, a coalition of Chris- tian, Jewish and Muslim lead- ers urged U.S. presidential candidates not to destroy the "fragile" Middle East peace talks with "provocative cam- paign statements that might inflame issues and tensions." In an open letter to candi- dates released Jan. 4, the U.S. Interreligious Committee for Peace in the Middle East warned that the "delicate bal- ance" of the peace process could be ruined in "the winds and passions of Ameri- can election campaigns." "Every candidate will be challenged by constituents to answer very specific ques- tions about all aspects of the peace process," the commit- tee said.