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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
February 1, 1991     The Message
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February 1, 1991

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4 Editorial The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana February 1, 1991 Message Editor You can bring life to 'lifeless in,,;truments' There's a wrench on top of my terminal, the terminal where I write for the Message, in the basement of my home, The wrench is heavy enough to hold a small lamp in place. It is the kind of lamp with a small shade at the top, a flexi- ble neck in the middle and a large spring-assisted clip at the bottom. The shade helps keep the light out of my eyes while directing the light to the keyboard. The flex- ible neck makes adjustment easy. The large spring- assisted clip is designed to hold tight to a shelf or something else. The wrench is that "something else." The wrench did not find its way to the area of my terminal by accident. My terminal is on an old desk near a corner of the basement, beneath the gas meter. I put the wrench next to the gas meter and told the members of my family where it was, back in the early December days of Dr. Iben Browning. (Remember him?) If earthquake or any other calamity should call for quick action -- such as shutting off the natural gas supply to my house, the wrench will be handy. And ever since I clipped the lamp to it, the wrench will serve a useful purpose even if we never have an earthquake or some unspecified calamity. A wrench is a useful thing. A wrench is also a dangerous thing. I will never forget the twisting tension I felt in my stomach one night long ago, when I was in my ' teens. The driver of the car I was in had made a comment to the driver of another car, who ob- viously did not intend to let the shouted words go by without response. The driver of that other car pulled over to the curb, so that his companions could go to the trunk to retrieve tire irons and lug wrenches. They were not planning on changing a tire. They wanted to express themselves in an unforgettable fashion to all of us in the first car. If a wrench on top of a terminal helps hold the lamp in place so that I might see, a wrench waved aloft by an angry arm also brings a lot of clarity to a situation. We "saw the light" and drove away as quickly as possible -- perhaps even beyond the rate of speed that was legally acceptable. Such is the power of a wrench, such was the strength of what had been communicated. There is a point to this comparison, but it is still a thought away. Here is that thought. In preparing for World Communications Day, which is to be observed May 12, Pope John Paul II said that the purpose of communications media should be to draw people together and help them understand one another. The power of modern means of communica- tions demands "a lofty sense of responsibility" on the part of communicators and their audiences, the pope said. Newspapers, radio, television and film, as well as newer means of communicatibns such as com- puters and videocassette recorders, should be used "to draw us closer together" and "to help us to go forward in the pursuit of our human destiny as God's beloved sons and daughters," said the pope. To all the modern means of communications, let us add a primitive one: the wrench. But like the wrench, so too are television and computers and the paper on which these words are printed. The media are "lifeless instruments" that depend on human intervention, said the pope. And he is right. A wrench will not hold a lamp or threaten a kid, unless somebody uses it for that purpose. The same holds true for all means of communications. The means are only the means. We are the ones who must use the means as a channel and ex- pression of truth, justice and peace, good will and active charity, mutual help, love and communion. It is of no consequence to the wrench, whether it holds a lamp or threatens a life. But even when wrenches and words are used for noble purposes of communication, what is given must still be received. It comes finally to this end. The light in the basement is lifeless -- and useless -- if finally at the end of the struggle to put words together, there is no one to read them. Please subscribe to the Message. Washington Letter , , War brings few changes to Washington life By'PATRICIA ZAPOR Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS} -- As the reality of war in the Middle East settled over America, daily life in Washington took on new elements beyond heightened appreciation for Cable News Network. Just as in the rest of the coun- try, most people went about their daily business distracted- ly, their conversations and thoughts focused on the ramifications of being at war half a planet away. But in Washington, with its politicians, embassies and military installations, attention turned to the city's potential as a target for terrorism, causing many people to change their travel plans and leading others to wonder about the safety of their homes, places of employ- T00'MESSAGE 4200 N. Kentucky ,.ve. Evansville, IN 47724.0169 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Published weekly except la'..t week in December by the Catholic Press of Evansville. Publisher .... Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger Associate Publisher .... Rev. Joseph Ziliek Editor .................. F&ul Leingang Production Mgr ...... i ........ Phil Beget CIr.Adv. Mgr ........... Ps JI A.' Newland Address all communiomtion=, to P.O. Box 4'169, Evansville, IN 47'2,t-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 477(/1. Publication number 843800. Postmaster: Return POD torrne 3579 to the Office of Publication. Copyright 1991 Catholic Pre of Evansville ment and public buildings. The size of the crowd at the 18th annual March for Life Jan. 22 on the anniversary of the Supreme Court's abortion deci- .sion was the first sign that Americans may be a bit leery of joining large crowds, par- ticularly in the capital of a na- tion newly at war. According to official estimates, this year's crowd was only one-third the size of last year's. While frigid weather may have kept some people home, march organizers acknowledged that fear was a factor as well. At least one state's delegation of 1,000 people or more decid- ed the day after war broke out to cancel plans to attend the march. The organizer of the Missouri Right to Life caravan, Loretto Wagner, who attended each of the previous marches, issued a statement saying the 24-bus contingent was staying home because it would be inap- propriate to divert the nation's attention at this time. She also noted that marching on the streets of the capital would create additional securi- ty problems for police agencies. Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey also had cancellations, although many marchers still came from those states. :Elsewhere in the :ity,ecuri- ty tigh'tened a/,ourld embassies, the White House and other of- ficial buildings. Public tours of the White House were even canceled for the first time since World War II. But it has been retty much business as usual r the various large Catholic institutions around Washington. Father Timothy M. Dolan, first secretary for the Vatican nunciature, said the embassy has had no security problems -- either before or after the start of the war. However, he added, the nunciature benefits from tougher security measures in the neighborhood -- Vice Presi- dent Dan Quayle's residence is across the street and security has clearly been stepped up there. The principal Catholic tourist attraction in Washington, the National Shrine of the Im- maculate Conception, also has taken few additional special. steps. Michael Warsaw, direc- tor of communications at the shrine, said security personnel were told to be more aware of who is in the building-and where. Beyond that, there hasn't been the need for in- creased security, he said. The shrine's security officer met with representatives of the FBI and District of Colombia Police and was told to be careful, but that the shrine was not considered a potential ter- rorist target. While it's a slow time of year forthe shrine anyway, Warsaw added that there were 50 to 100 fewer peo- ple who stayed overnight for the vigil before the March for Life. Normally several hundred people pray through the night at the shrine before the march, he said. Next door to the shrine at Catholic University, Father Robert Friday, vice president for student life, said he's picked up on changed attitudes among students since the fighting started in the Persian Gulf. The reality of war seems ,to have sobered them, and some have voiced fears about Washington being a terrorist objective, he said. While they don't think their school is in danger, some fear public buildings or the Metro, Washington's subway system, may be targets. Some fears were easily dismissed or explained. Nor- mally the March for Life begins at the Ellipse, a broad park be- tween the White House and the Washington Monument. This year's route was shorter, start- ing halfway down the Mall. Considering the timing, some wondered whether the change was a security measure for the marchers or the White House. It turned out the route had been shortened long before war began, simply because the crowds last year overwhelmed the one Metro stop near the Ellipse. The new locale was within walking distance of four Metro stops. Even Mother Nature had something to say about Washington's war jitters. Early one morning, some residents were awakened by a loud, low rumbling in the distance :nql thoughts that the bombing of the capital might have begun. It turned out that colliding warm and cold fronts over the area created a small, unforecast thunderstorm, a reminder that there are other things besides war to interrupt a good night's sleep. Bishop's schedule The following activities and events are listed on the schedule of Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger: I