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January 21, 1994     The Message
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January 21, 1994
 

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4 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana -- Perspective-- Reading the scriptures in a starry night If you have ever seen two grade school boys in a fist fight, you know how intense they can be. If you have ever seen two kids stop in the middle of fight, you know you have witnessed an extraordi- nary display of power. Some years ago, I was working with some youngsters at an inner- city church in St. Louis. We took the kids to a state park not too far from the city, for a weekend of camping. The park may have been only a few miles away from the neigh- borhood where the kids lived, but it seemed a million miles away from the kind of lives they lived. The neighborhood around the church was not very pretty. The area was dotted with abandoned cars and abandoned houses. Among the residents, too, were some abandoned people. You could see the emptiness in their eyes. If you walked through the neighborhood in the daytime, you would see children playing on the side- PAUL R. INGANG EDITOR walks and sometimes in the street. If you walked through the neigh- borhood at night time, you weren't very smart. There was activity on the sidewalks and in the streets, but it was not play. As we drove toward the park, and daytime turned into night time, the excitement grew. As we arrived at the park and found our campsite, the excitement bubbled over -- and that's when the fight started. Two kids tumbled almost immediately from the bus onto the grass. Their words turned into name-calling, then pushing, and shouting, and the shouting went on into to punch- ing and wrestling. One boy fell over, the other on top of him, in the early evening of that summer night. Before anyone could intervene, the fight was about to produce a fist-in-the-face injury h but then it stopped. Something had changed in the face of the boy on his back. As he looked up at the fist about to (:' descend, his face changed so d boy on top stopped in mid-swing. his eyes. It was not the smoking retribution. It was, plain and of awe and wonder. The boy on his back had looked that was about to strike him. He the stars of a clear summer night. You might see a lot city at night -- but you don't see the stant, both fighters were on their at the sky. The power of the moment was so the other kids from the bus were and a reverential silence w just for placed their exuberant noise. The memory comes back to -- especially when I drift away Scriptures proclaimed at Mass. When have heard these words before, I knoW for me to pray for recovery have had at some time -- the awe hearing a story or seeing the stars .---- Washington Letter Health care reform or welfare reform: Catholic analysts By NANCY FRAZIER O'BRIEN Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- As the Clinton administration de- bated the idea of delaying its welfare reform proposals to give health care reform clear sailing in Congress, Catholic social analysts remained firmly committed to both. "My biggest concern is that health care reform and welfare reform will be pitted against one another, with Congress saying, 'There's not enough money for both. Which do you want?" said Jose Heiney-Gon- zalez, deputy to the president of Catholic Charities USA. "That's like asking, Do you give the poor food to eat today, or a Band-Aid for their bleed- ing wounds?" Heiney-Gonzalez added. "They need both." Catholic Charities is putting the final touches on a position paper on welfare reform, its top legislative priority this year. The problem is not welfare, but poverty- economic poverty, educational poverty, health care poverty, social poverty," the paper says. "Transforming The MESSAGE 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 47720-0169 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Published weekly except last week in December by the Catholic Press of Evansville Pt,ler. ........ .:..,rop Gera)d A. CteSngor .......................................... Paul I.jirja Uarr ........................... r r ffcuta .................................. Amy Houan Asir .................................... Paul Neard $t writer ............................ Mary Ann Hughes Addross all communica(lons to P.O. Box 4169, Evansville, IN 47724-0169 Subscription rate: $15.00 per year Single Copy Price: $.50 Entered as 2nd class matter at the post off.,e in Evansville, IN 47701. Publica- tion number 843800. Postmaster: Return POD forms 3579 to Office of Publication  1994 Press  E AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children) in a way that respects human dignity and attacks the country's wide- spread poverty requires con- structive changes that go well beyond the bounds of the AFDC system." Since the beginning of the year, administration officials have been quietly putting out feelers about postponing wel- fare reform, with one saying off the record that President Clin- ton was "genuinely undecided" about what to do. But the decision might have been made for Clinton by Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, D- N.Y., chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, through which both health care legisla- tion and welfare reform bills must pass. "We don't have a health cri- sis in this country. We do have a welfare crisis. And we can do both," Moynihan said on NBC's "Meet the Press" program Jan. 9. He hinted that health care legislation might be blocked in his committee if welfare reform proposals were not forthcom- ing. =Moynihan, who's a key player, has made it clear that without welfare reform there will be no health care reform," said Mark .Rein, an assistant professor of government and public policy at Jesuit-run Georgetown University in Washington. But according to Rein, no meaningful welfare reform can take place without health care reforms that give poor people a better chance to leave the wel- fare system without sacrificing their health care benefits under Medicaid. A system of universal health care "will make it easier for people to leave welfare be- hind," Rom added. Although he expects the health reform and welfare reform debates to take place simultaneously in Con- gress, he thinks that if they have to make a choice, legisla- tors "ought to do health care reform first." "Once they have solved the health care problem, some of the other problems (associated with welfare reform) will be easier to solve," Rom said. In its new position paper, Catholic Charities USA says the joint federal-state Aid to Families with Dependent Chil- dren program "does not exist in a vacuum," and that transfor- mation of the program depends on many other factors, includ- ing health care reform. "Strengthening the economy, providing a level playing field in the workplace, revitalizing the educational system, provid- ing adequate health care, in- creasing the supply of afford- able housing, supporting the family as a social asset, fur- nishing child care, restoring the status of marriage, provid- ing attractive life options to young people and curbing do- mestic violence are all impor- tant to the transformation of AFDC," the report said. "To assume that these im- Discussion on married priests To the editor:. I was very pleased that the Synod produced a discussion on a married clergy. I hope this is just the beginning of more discussion on this issue, and that it will spur action to hav- ing it placed on the agenda of the next National Conference Of Catholic Bishops. To all the priests who had to forfeit their ministry, thanks for the years you have given to our Church. Jeanette Knapp Evansville provements are in place as we reshape AFDC, when in fact they are not, would lead us to expect more from welfare re- form than such reform ever could deliver," it added. Meanwhile, the only real ac- tion on welfare reform contin- ued to take place in the states, as Colorado on Jan. 12 became the eighth state to receive a waiver from the Clinton ad- ministration to try major changes in their AFDC pro- grams. Another six states have gotten waivers from federal regulations regarding their Medicaid programs. The Colorado waiver allows the state to begin a five-year experiment that would perma- nently stop payments to wel- fare recipients after two years if they fail to take a job or get training during that period. About 10 state's 43,000 will be ment, which them to get bonuses dren schools and own penalty. , ii Although leaders have( state's welfare! cially those mothers who child while Catholic encourage state trends, ability are keY the welfare tion paper ties are provide and public Bishop's sc The following activities and events are schedule of Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger.