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Evansville, Indiana
January 27, 1995     The Message
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January 27, 1995

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4 TheMessage -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana -- Taking the time to make a difference-- f Finding a place to dream, a place to pray It was a comment I will never forget. I might not remember the exact words, but I remember what my brother said. It was the first time he saw our new house. Well, not a new house -- but a house that was new for our young family. It was a big, roomy, older house which, as a real estate salesperson might say, offered a lot of opportu- nities. The "new" house had been empty for some months, and had not been By PAUL R. LEINGANG EDITOR would have provided aview of the neighborhood, if they had been clean enough to see through. He looked at the marvelous expanse of floor space which faded into darkness at the edges where the roof line dipped to meet the floor. My brother spoke with the wis- dom of a child -- or perhaps, with the wisdom of the father of a child -- and said: In a place like this, you could be whatever you wanted to be. And he was right. The attic was a place just begging tents there and stay forever, back down the mountain and work of building the kingdom. Is there a place in your home where you ! whatever you want to be? Where a child rience the freedom to escape from the homework and other kids' expectations? If there are children in your them about the world of imagi: their world is the place they can be want to be? ! Everyone needs a place to be plan, to dream, to imagine, to pray. given much care, obviously, for many months. Our old house had been so small that a person could vacuum every room in it without unplugging the vacuum cleaner. It had one story, two bed- rooms and no basement. Our new house had two floors, three bedrooms, a basement and -- most wonderful of all -- an attic. The attic was bigger than the entire upstairs floor of my parents' home. When my brother and I lived at home with our parents, he and I used to share one of the two upstairs rooms. Our three sis- ters shared the other. Both of those bedrooms could have easily fit into the attic space of our "new" house. But it was not the size of the attic that seemed to impress my brother. He looked around the dimly lit space beneath the rafters. He looked at the windows -- which to be furnished by imagination. If you looked out of the window, you could be an airplane pilot, a ship's captain or the commander of a space vehicle. There was no end to what you could see, in the eye of your imagination, when you looked at the darkness where roof and floor seemed to guide your senses toward infinity. Here was a place to be whatever you wanted to be. * * * We live in another "new" house in another city now. But whenever I hear the Gospel account of the transfiguration, I think of that attic. Perhaps you remember the setting: Jesus took Peter, James and of retreat in your church or your you are free to explore the infinite? , * " Take the time to find a quiet place life, to pray, to dream. :: Establish an occasion in your nation and creativity suspend the space and time for your family. four hours or for a weekend. Take care of a neighbor's kids, so a can find the time for a retreat. Take make a difference. John up a high mountain. Jesus was transfigured -- his face shone like the sun and his clothes be- came as white as the light. Moses and Elijah ap- peared. And although Peter wanted to build three Questions and comments are welcome Christian Family Movement, P.O. Iowa 50010. : : Washington Contract with America: Boon or bane for nation's child By NANCY FRAZIER O'BPJEN Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- As Congress begins to debate the specifics of the Personal Re- sponsibility Act and the Fam- ily Reinforcement Act, parts of the GOP's "Contract With America," children's advocates are wondering whether the contract will be a boon for the nation's children or a disaster. Among the first aspects of the contract to be discussed at committee level in the House were the proposed $500-a-child tax credit for families earning up to $200,000 and the planned $5,000 tax credit to defray adoption expenses, such as legal fees. Both are part of the Family Reinforcement Act. The U.S. bishops, whose Oatholic Campaign for Chil- dren and Families entered its third year in January, have been longtime advocates of a refundable tax credit to assist low-and moderate-income fam- ilies and have urged public The MESSAGE 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, iN 47711 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Published weekly except last week in December by the Catholic Press of Evansville Punisher .............. Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger Ecttor ............................................ Paul I.singang Pr0dtction Manager ........................... Phil Boger Cv, ulan ................................... Amy Housman Adve.g .................................... Paul Neutral Staff Wdter ............................. Mary Ann Hughes Address all communications 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 office in Evansville, IN 47701. PubliCa- tion number 843800. Postmaster: Return POD forms 3579 to Office of Publication  15 Press of E I I I i " lii policies that promote adoption over abortion. But aspects of the Personal Responsibility Act -- including a welfare reform plan that would pena].ize teen mothers and women who give birth while on welfare, and cuts in federal nutrition programs that would place a vastly in- "creased burden on charitable groups -- are sending a shiver of fear through children's advo- cates. The Child Welfare League of America, at a recent briefing for congressional staff memters, centered on one widely discussed aspect of the legislation -- its call for the establishment of new institutions to care for children whose families cannot afford to keep them. "Orphanages, group homes and adoption have been pro- posed as an alternative for mil- lions of children who would be denied AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children} ben- efits simply because their par- ent is under a certain age and unmarried or because the child's paternity is not estab- lished," said David S. Lieder- man, executive director of the Child Welfare League, at the Jan. 12 briefing. "The welfare reform debate should not be about orphanages, but about the well-being of mil- lions of children," he added. "Do we want government policies that break up families, or poli- cies that protect children and sustain families?" Besides, the proposal doesn't make economic sense, the Child Welfare League con- tends. It costs about $2,644 a year for the government to pro- vide AFDC and food stamps for a childi about $4,800 to place the child in family foster care and a whopping $36,500 yearly for care in a residential group facility spch,a art ophanage. Witnesses before the House Ways and Means Committee Jan. 18 found much to praise, however, in the proposed tax credit for adoptions. "It's a great way for govern- ment to build families -- with- out creating more programs," said Dave Thomas, founder of the Wendy's restaurant chain who was himself adopted at age 6 weeks. "I know firsthand how im- portant it is for every child to have a home and a loving fam- ily," he added. "Without a fam- ily, I would not be where I am today." Thomas, who founded the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption three years ago, said many of nearly 100,000 chil- dren available for adoption re- main without families because of the average $9,000 cost of adoption. Only families earning under $60,000' would be eligible for the full $5,000 credit. Those making between $60,000 and $100,000 could get a partial credit. It would not be avail- able to those adopting a spouse's child. Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., a Catholic who has co-chaired the House Pro-Life Caucus, said the projected $900 million cost of the adoption tax credit over five years would be "a modest price to pay for helping to bring homeless children and loving families together." Smith also sees the tax credit as a way to support pregnant women who might consider abortion if they don't feel sure their child will find a good home. In contrast, the Child Wel- fare League and other chil- dren's advocates say the wel- fare reforms proposed in the Personal Responsibility Act could separate children from tle, it,fa.milies greatly increase the need for child care while taking no steps to provide it, and unfairly penalize children for the "sins of their parents." For example, the legislation provides that children born while their mothers were on welfare or whose paternity cannot be established would be barred for life from receiving welfare. Rich Fowler, new director of diocesan relations in the bish- ops' Secretariat for Social De- velopment and World Peace, said he and other Catholic offi- cials will be as various prOP through working to islation meets certain "The bisho clear that we helpful policie they life, whether and reward they preserve a the derly "Those are the be using.  Bishop's sch The following activities and events are schedule of Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger