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Evansville, Indiana
January 15, 1988     The Message
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January 15, 1988

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January15,1988 View Point By FATHER JOSEPH L. ZILIAK Associate Publisher The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Receiving Catholic literature and Mass attendance figures 9 Have you ever had ideas and projects that you never got around to fulfilling or completing? I suspect all of us have had similar experiences. It is the kind of gnawing realization that causes us all to know that frustrations are not just textbook issues. One of my unverified feelings is that the Message and other products of the Catholic press do make a difference in people's knowledge and attitude toward their faith. One of my unfulfilled projects as editor of the Message was to carry out some sort of readership study to help provide some hard statistics on the question. The resulting answers would then be of invaluable help in the larger ministry of the Diocese of Evansville. The statement then would read in some similar fashion: ifreceiving Catholic literature in the home proved to be of measurable help in form- ing and sustaining the Catholic moral ethic, then we should see to it that all our people would have access to such materials. It makes eminent good sense to me that such an assumption should be true, but I have no final positive information from our local people. There is evidence from local, regional and national studies that subscribers to Catholic newspapers and magazines do evince a greater awareness of Catholic issues and their meaning in our contem- porary world. The issue that intrigues me even more is to find out what happens to those who might not be among those who attend Mass on a weekly basis or more often. Secondly, what effect is had among those who receive such Catholic publications although they have not paid directly for the subscription? Local readership surveys for the Message shows a significantly important role for the Catholic press. We have not tried to pinpoint some of the readers, or receivers, of the paper that we have mentioned above, namely, those who do not attend church regularly, and those who do not directly pay the subscription price. Some cross studies on Mass attendance provid- ed, perhaps, some clues, but no definitive answers. There was no real correlation between receiving the Message and attending Mass. Parishes that had full subscription to the Message did not necessari- ly show a high percentage of Mass attendance. That data comes from just a cursory study of percentages reported to the diocese from parishes. But does the newspaper get to people's minds and hearts? In the course of a year do individuals, let us presume that we are speaking of those who do not attend church regularly, pick up that Catholic literature a few times and read something that is informative or inspirational enough to make a little difference in their minds and attitudes? W'e don't really have data on such questions. If we as Catholics do not reach out to our own who may be on the fringes, who will? There is a lot of competition for people's attention. If we are not among the choices that people have available to them, then we surely do not have a chance at capturing their attention. My personal feeling is that if we do not take such steps that put God's Word into people's lives, then we are abdicating our position and not taking the initiative. We grit out teeth and moan about the loss of our people from our pews. What do we do to turn the tide around? Bishops ask singles to be chaste TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (NC) -- the body language of a lifelong body," it continued, is a sacred In a pastoral statement on unconditional commitment ... reflection of God's love for human sexuality, the nine its very nature requires that it humanity and, therefore, merits Florida bishops Jan. 14 urged be reserved until after you are "enormous" respect. spguses to be faithful to each married." The statement reminded other and single persons to "We love you and we pray parents that they are the refrain from sex. that you will not allow confu- "primary educators" of their "When married we remain sion in the world to cause you children. "Your child learns faithful, respecting the holiness to despair, or to do things that from you about God, the of persons and our conjugal your heart tells you are wrong," church, the world and sexuali- relationship. If we are single, they said. ty," it said. we refrain from genital activity Human beings cherish friend- When humans fail in efforts as morally unacceptable," the ship and intimacy, the state- to be chaste or faithful, 1,120-word statement issued by merit said. "We long to love "remember that God never fails the Florida Catholic Conference and to be loved, to understand in his mercy," the statement said. and to be understood, to trust said. "His compassion and "Countless men and women and to be trusted. These human forgiveness are always available through history and continuing needs often seek their expres- in the sacrament of reconcilia- today have integrated a chaste sion in genital relationships," tion." expression of their sexuality it said. The Florida bishops are Arch- and their love into happy and But genital intimacy "in- bishop Edward A. McCarthy full lives," the statement said. volves a much deeper level of and Auxiliary Bishops Agustin In a section of the statement relationship," said the state- A. Roman and Norbert L. that singled out youth, the ment. Dorsey, all of Miami; Bishop bishops urged young people to "The act of sexual inter- Thomas J. Grady of Orlando; see themselves as "precious in course is designed by God to be Bishop W. Thomas Larkin of St. the eyes of God and of the a sign of total self-giving. The Petersburg; Bishop John J. church." . body is saying: 'I give myself to Snyder of St. Augustine; "You are anxious to share you without reservation, Bishop J. Keith Symons of your love and your life," the w i t h o u t I i m i t a t i o n o r Pensacola-Tallahassee; Bishop bishops said, adding their con- restraint,'" the bishops' state- Thomas V. Daily of Palm viction that the young must mentsaid. Beach; and Bishop John J. "realize that enital intimacy is The "love language of the Nevins of Venice. II I I I I I I Inter-Denominational PRO-LIFE Prayer Service WednesdaY, January 20, 1988 Holy Family Catholic Church Hwy. 162 Jasper, Indiana / 7:30 P.M. - 9 P.M. A special education and spiritual program in observation of the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. GUEST SPEAKERS High School'Youth Crusaders" From Catholics United For Life, New Hope, KY. All high school religious ed. classes and parishioners are invited to join us for a program of education and prayer. An opportunity to become active in Pro-Life causes Sponsored by Teens For Life in conjunction with Oubois County Right to Life I I I IIII II IIIIII I TeleBriefing for Bishops Bishop Francis R. Shea participated January 7 in new service launched by the Catholic Telecommunications Network of America (CTNA) -- a monthly "telebriefing for bishops" offered to more than 100 dioceses in the United States. The series of brief. ings -- uplinked to a satellite by CTNA, and received by satellite dish by network affiliates around the country -- is intended for top diocesan leadership and invited guests. The new series is an addition to established CTNA offerings. The inaugural "telebriefing for bishops" featured Dolores Leckey, who spoke about her experiences at the Synod on the Laity at the Vatican in October, 1987. Leckey is National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) Secretary on Laity and Family Life. According to the plan, each telebriefiug begins with a statement from the featured guest, followed by live telephone questions from bishops around the country. Plans for the future include a March 10 session with Sister Mary Oliver Hudon, who is responsible for helping religious communities find the means to meet their retirement needs. -- Message Photo by Paul Leingang I iii i i ii Please patronize Message advertisers! ] i I ii