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Evansville, Indiana
January 18, 1991     The Message
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January 18, 1991
 

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.4 i ! iiii i i I" Editorial I II I II The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana i i iii i i i i i i i ii i i ii i i i , i i i i i i ii ii i i lU III I January 18, 1991 .... 4 " By PAUL LEINGANG Standing up to be counted: impact is on ourselves I have a habit of saving stuff. It's probably a bad habit, but now and then, it is useful. Among the stuff I save is a stack of articles from various newspapers and magazines and from the Catholic News Service that I plan to read some day. One of those articles caught my attention the other day. I had just returned from a news conference, where religious leaders from several faiths and organizations had expressed their concerns about peace. Msgr. Kenneth R. Knapp, vicar general of the Diocese of Evansville, was one of the participants. Msgr. Knapp had called for people to put aside their political differences and join together in a common concern for peace with justice, not only in the Middle East, but throughout the world. He encouraged prayer. Rev. F. P. Miller, a Baptist minister in Evansville, had also called for prayer, driving home his own feelings with the quotation that "Man's extremities are often God's opportunities." Speakers from other denominations and from the Islamic Society made their views known. In discussing various letters and statements in political anal religious arenas, they offered different approaches to counter the forces of war, but the common theme was spoken by all: pray for peace. Some of the questions asked by the reporters following the statements were still unsettled in my own mind as I returned to the office. There, one of those articles I had saved for future reading caught my attention. "Priest urges New Year's Resolution: Dress Up for Mass," read the headline. My first thought was to disregard the article as a piece of fluff, certainly of little significance in these days building up to war. On second glance, however, my eye caught the name of the priest who. had made the state- ment. He was somebody I remembered from school, somebody whose ideas I had respected back in those old school days. What Father James Telthorst of St. Louis said in that article was that he was not leading a cam- paign for suits and ties, but rather for a type of "Sunday best." "A child can come to church dressed any way he wants, but he can't play soccer unless he has the special outfit," he was quoted as saying. "Why doesn't he have a special outfit, as it were, for church?" "We are people of sign and symbol, but we forget that," he said. "Our faith is not simply a matter of correct teachings and right practices.., but of 'specialness' and tradition in which we remember that Sunday is special, perhaps even by reason of our dress," he reasoned. His thinking seemed reasonable -- but not earth-shattering, I thought. But one sentence in the middle riveted my attention. People who argue about getting dressed up on Sunday and say that God does not care what you wear are missing the point, said the priest. The question is, do we care? The comment brought me back to the unset- tled questions in my mind about the "prayer for peace" news conference. Several reporters' questions in various forms boiled down to this: "With so many people calling for war, do you really think a few prayers will make a difference?" Or, "What efffect can a few Evansville area religious leaders have on a world bent on military action?" How God answers our prayer is not the ques- tion. What is important is that we pray, and that we not be silent. What impact a call for peace will have on the  world is yet to be determined in the world, but the impact on the individual is clear: it is a witness of faith and conviction -- a sign and symbol to those who may be indifferent, to Say clearly that we care. If I stand up and am counted, I may never know the impact of such an action on others. But I i will never forget the impact on myself Washington Letter Black on white on brown: race attitudes in 1991 By LAURIE HANSEN Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Despite school desegregation, affirmative action efforts and open housing laws; negative racial stereotypes persist in the United States. A majority of whites ques- tioned in a new survey con- ducted nationwide said they believe blacks and Hispanics are likely to prefer welfare to hard work and tend to be lazier than whites, more prone to violence, less intelligent and less patriotic. Auxiliary Bishop Carl A. Fisher of Los Angeles, one of the nation's 13 black bishops, said the survey results did not surprise him. "My opinion is that, unfor- tunately, racism is very alive and well in America," Bishop Fisher told Catholic News Ser- TheMESSAGE 4200 N. Kentucky .ve. Evansville, IN 47724.0169 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Published weekly except le:,t week in December by the Cetholi,, Press of Evansville. Publisher .... Bishop Gerald,.. Gettelfinger Associate Publisher .... Roy. Joseph Ziliak Editor .................. Plul Leingang Production Mgr .............. Phil Beget Cir./Adv, Mgr ........... Pa JI A. Newland Address all communication.', to P.O. Box 4169, Evansville, IN 4T'2l..0169. Phone (812) 424-5536. Subscription rate: $1 7.50 per year Single Copy Price: 50 Entered as 2nd class matte,- at the post of- rice in Evansville, IN 47701. Publication number 843800, Postmaatar: Return POD forms 3579 to the Office of Publication. Copyright 1991 Catho/Ic Preu at Evansville i i i vice in a Jan. 11 telephone in- terview. "Just two days ago a Jewish youth center in Hollywood was firebombed. Police believe it was race motivated," he com- mented, noting that such in- cidents had become almost commonplace. The survey results were released about two weeks before the nation was to com- memorate the birthday of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who fought to eliminate racial stereotypes up until his assassination in 1968. Authors of the survey, con- ducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the Universi- ty of Chicago, said the results released Jan. 8 show that despite progress in race rela- tions since the 1950s, whites' negative images of blacks and other minorities continue to be pervasive. The survey found that a ma- jority of white, Hispanic and other non-black respondents -- 78 percent -- said blacks are more likely than whites to "prefer to live off welfare" and less likely to "prefer to be self- supporting." Sixty-two percent said blacks are more likely to be lazy; 56 percent said they are violence prone; 53 percent said they are less intelligent; 51 percent said they think blacks are less patriotic. Hispanics were rated similar- ly. Among non-Hispanics, 74 percent said Hispanics are more likely to prefer to live off welfare; 56 percent thought them to be lazy; 50 percent thought them more violence- prone; 55 percent thought them less intelligent and 61 percent thought them less patriotic. Thirty-four percent of respondents said Asians are likely to be lazy; 30 percent said they are violence-prone, 36 per- cent said they are less in- telligent; 46 percent said they prefer to live off welfare; and 55 percent said they are less patriotic. On many of the survey's questions, whites rated Jews higher than themselves, with the exception of patriotism. The survey found that be- tween 1970 and 1990 white support for school busing rose from 14 to 29 percent and white disapproval of laws prohibiting interracial marriage rose from 48 to 77 percent. The survey, conducted last Letters to the editor Encourages belief in the real presence To the editor, I often re-read the short stories of Flannery O'Connor, a great American writer whose solidly orthodox Catholic theology is subtly present in all her fiction. Not so subtle, however, was her defense of the basic Catholic tenet of the Eucharistic Presence. A famous instance is her response to Mary mccarthy, a lapsed Catholic and qually celebrated writer, who, at a cocktail party, casually re- See LETTERS page 8 year, involved individuals in the U.S. Catholic Conference'S  randomly selected households Domestic Policy Committee, in 300 communities. Of the told CNS racism in the United 1,372 survey respondents, States has changed a lot from i about 170 were black, 50 were when he grew up in Mississip- Hispanic, 30 were Jewish, pi. "That was overt racism, te- l fewer than 10 were Asian and day more often it's covert in- the rest were white, stitutionalized racism," said Ronald G. Jackson, a public Jackson. f policy analyst at the National One can see its effects in the Urban League and a member of See WASHINGTON page' I II I Bishop's schedule The following activities and events are listed on the schedule of Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger: ti 1