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February 12, 1993     The Message
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February 12, 1993

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The Message  for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Perspective February 11 LEINGANG Message Editor !:'  .. The Vatican's top communications official has proposed "10 commandments for basic parish communication," according to a recent story writ- ten by Cindy Wooden with Catholic News Service. Archbishop John P. Foley is the president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications a title that is itself somewhat difficult to com- municate. Before he went to the Vatican, Arch- bishop Foley was a Catholic newspaper editor in Philadelphia. The "10 commandments" are common sense items, all worth repeating: Put up signs outside the church giving Mass times, office hours, the names of the clergy and a notice of welcome to visitors. Publish attractive and informative weekly bulletins. ,, Have a monthly parish newspaper featuring parish activities and personalities, notices welcom- ing new parishioners and congratulating newly baptized members and/or their parents. Give the local community newspaper regular press releases on parish and school activities. Write letters welcoming everyone m Catholic or not -- who moves into the parish boundaries and organize a visit by a few parish- Washington Letter Communications By PAUL R. commandments apply to all By NANCY FRAZIER O'BRIEN Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Catholic officials see signs for optimism that President Clin- ton's legislative agenda will jibe with the Catholic Cam- paign for Children and Fami- lies on nearly all issues but abortion. The Family and Medical Leave Act, long backed by the U.S. bishops, was signed into law by Clinton Feb. 5, becom- ing the first major social leg- islation to reach the new president's desk. The bill, which was vetoed twice by President George Bush, was lassed Feb. 3 by the House grad a day later by the Senate. , And there were indications fhat economic support for families and health care re- rm would get quick action m the Clinton administra- tion. The two issues have [men judged "top priority" on fhe'domestic scene b3, the ::: The MESSAGE 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. ..... Evansville, IN 47720-0169 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Published weekly except last week in Oecember by the Catholic Press of Evan./f/e Publs ........... ,shop Gerald A. Gette Ega ............ .............................. Paul ogang Pro.,,.. ........ : ............ Plaor .................................... Pout Ne.d Staff Wrer.:........ ................ Mary hnn Hues Address all communications to P.O. Box 4169, Evantle, IN 47724-0169 Subscription rate: $12.00 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 Offce of Publication I loners and/or a priest. Invite members of the neighborhood to an annual open house where clergy and parish leaders are available to answer questions and to show their interest in the community. Occasionally distribute to every house- hold with the parish boundaries a pamphlet out- lining Catholic beliefs, prayers and practices. Sponsor a parish library with religious books, videos and audiocassettes. Promote subscriptions to Catholic maga- zines and newspapers. Provide information about television and radio programs of special interest and provide moral evaluations of those programs as well as of current films. The "10 commandments" Archbishop Foley suggests are certainly solid ideas for improving communications in a parish -- or even in a dio- cese. Not all of these "commandments" might be kept by every parish in our diocese. Some may not be possible, considering parish staff and size and other considerations. Some parishes are doing quite a good job at these communications commandments. I am sure we could find. examples of how every one of these "commandments" is being followed at one or more parishes in the diocese. What I find most important to add to ths archbishop's comments is the realization tha!i what we can't do alone, we can do When the diocesan newspaper is included the parish communications plans, imagine : what we can do together! During the year, the Message will publish Mass times, list clergy and staff app welcome new readers and new Catholics, coni gratulate people on their accomplishments distribute monthly newspapers to everyone the diocese during the synodal process, readers about books and movies and other forms of entertainment. The next year's issues of the be filled with news and information diocese and news about the universal Church: for the diocese. After all, as Archbishop Foley insists, of us together are called to reach out and with others the good news of Jesus Christ. Clinton, Congress and the children's campaign agenda for economic support cination against preventable Gall Quinn, executive of families includes a refund- dseases such as measles, tot of the U.S. bisho able children's tax credit, nlumps and diphtheria, tariat for Pro-Life stronger enforcement of child But Catholic officials were "These, and perhaps U.S. Catholic Conference De- partment of Social,Develop- ment and World Peace. Clinton's efforts -- and those of the church -- come at a time when economic pressures are putting increas- ing strain on the American family. A recently released Census Bureau study that tracked families in the 1980s showed that poor parents were nearly twice as likely to separate or divorce as those with more money. One out of seven married couples living below the U,S. poverty line broke up, com- pared to one out of 13 cou- ples with incomes above poverty level, said the report. Although details of Clin- ton's economic package were not to be made public until his State of the Union address Feh. 17 and his proposed budget wasn't expected until March 23, his recent talks have shown many areas of agreement with the Catholic Church on social policy. "It is not foreordained that in this country we'll have a higher percentage of children living below the poverty line, growing up illiterate, drop- ping out of school, being dys- functional, being in jail, than any other advanced country in the world," Clinton said in a talk to Georgetown Univer- sity students two days before his inauguration. "We can do better than that." In talks to the National Governors' Association in early February, Clinton de- scribed in broad strokes his plans for welfare reform and health care reform. As outlined by Nancy Wisdo, USCC director for do. mestic social development, the bishops' legislative  i i I' ! support, and weifare reform that provides a minimum na- tional welfare standard. In a Feb. 2 talk to the gover- nors, Clinton called for tougher child support en- forcement and expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit for working parents. He did not specifically mention the Children's tax credit, but has supported it in the past. On welfare, he said, "I think all of us want what mast people on welfare want,. a country that gives you a band up, not a handout." Clinton also indicated he would give states greater lee- way in experiments to reduce dependency on welfare. The Catholic Church has opposed some of the pro- posed state experiments, such as those that reduce benefits to women who have more children while on welfare. On health care, the bishops have called for a comprehen- sive reform package that ex- pands access to quality health care and includes Medicaid and prenatal care. Clinton supports a similar plan, but has not made specifics avail- able. Other ideas recently floated by administration officials that are likely to gain Catholic support include: -- A proposal by Housing Secretary Henry Cisneros to use old military bases and other unused federal property to house the homeless. Cuts, hinted at by Clin- ton, of up to $60 billion a year in defense spending. A suggestion that the federal government might buy childhood vaccines in bulk to assure universal vac- dismayed when Clinton is- sued executive orders loosen- federal restrictions on abortion on his second ful] day in office, and the abor- tion issue remains the biggest bone of contention between the Clinton administration and the Catholic Church. "The church is committed to economic and social pro- grams that protect and assist families and children," said i Bishop's The following activities-and events are listed schedule of Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger. care reform in areas where the tion could find the cll one of its strongest tors." But, she .id, "the administration will big mistake if it assumes the church in any lessen its commitment 'tect unborn children, i will be no trade- offs." :