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March 4, 1988     The Message
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March 4, 1988

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4 Editorial The Message-- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana March 4, 1988 - mpact of 3 ByPAU'I" ' ' lt:is time to notice i 00n00GANG ri Message EditOr:? battles on neighbor' s garde our n Some events you try to remember. Some you try to forget. Some events poke their way into your consciousness just when you least expect them. Just such an incident from several years ago pop- ped into my memory a few days ago. Our small garden, at our former home, could accurately be described as less than successful. A private hedge bordered the east end of the garden; it was the hedge which marked the boundary line ' between our yard and the neighbor's. Shade from that hedge, a neighboring maple tree and a large lilac bush made garden growth dif- ficult; the morning sunlight could not reach our plants. Not far away was our garage, blocking the sun from the west; darkness reached our garden before night time. Only the noonday sun reached our plants, some times with enough light to help them grow, some times with enough heat to help them die. The garden we made was built up Of dirt, walled between railroad ties. Earlier owners of our, house had used the space not for planting but for parking. We had raked and scraped the gravel before starting our garden, but there was much we missed. Beneath the gravel was hard packed clay. The dirt we added was mostly clay, hard as a Tock when dry, sticky and choking when wet. Little by little each year, we improved the garden with a little topsoil or peat moss. It was never a success, but occasionally an early row of lettuce prospered, a tomato fared well, a bell pep- per plant produced salad ingredients. It was a small garden but it required a lot of effort. It added a little taste to our meals and some beauty to our yard. i The incident that popped into my mind hap- pened one year when the neighbors in the rented house on the other side of the hedge did not have a garden. Their yard was small, with a gravel driveway creeping into what could have been lawn. It was a place for a party one night, a hot summer evening party which continued into the night. "Continued" is not the best choice of words for the party. "Escalated" would be better. There was a disagreement of some sort between two of the men at the party. The disagreement grew into an argument. The argument grew into a fight If the party noise had been unpleasant, the noise of the fight was frightening. It was a fight of words and insults at first, of name-calling and threatened violence. It moved relentlessly into a kind of a circling dance, as each man sought an advantage, a distraction, an opportunity to push forward and quickly retreat. Quickly what smouldered between the two broke out into open flame -- a fist fight of dramatic and drunken proportions. The two men crashed heavily through the separating hedge into our garden; they fought their way back to the other side before the fight finally finished. Daylight brought a chance to examine the garden, the broken hedge, the trampled tomatoes, the twisted plants. The fight was over, the new neighbors soon moved away, but the garden did not recover that year. Pope John Paul II is telling the same story this year, in his encyclical, "On Social Concerns," the pope condemns the foreign policies of both East and West. He says the two power blocs are fighting in the third world garden, where it is already hard enough to grow food. Tall shadows are cast by East and West, in lands where soil is poor. The pope says East and West have used the Third World as a political battleground for bringing more nations in- to their areas of influence. "A world which is divided into blocs," he says, "can only be a world subject to structures of sin." The pope says the ideological and political battle not only causes damage to the garden; it causes damage within those who are battling. He condemns the "crass materialism" in the West which makes people "slaves of possessions."He criticizes the one-party system of the East and the suppression of the "right of economic initiative." He condemns equally "consumer materialism and theoretical athiesm. The pope says it is the duty of the church to scrutinize the signs of the times and to interpret them in the light of the Gospel. The pope insists that the most serious duty of the more developed nations is to help the developing countries, but he maintains that "development which is merely economic is incapable of setting man free; on the contrary it will end by enslaving him further." It is our duty to read and study this encyclical, and other social encyclicals. The pope describes our times as "the eve of the third Christian millen- nium," an age "characterized by a widespread ex- pectancy, rather like a new 'advent' which tO some extent touches everyone." It is almost spring, and time to notice the im- pact of our battles on the neighbor's garden. Washington Letter The powerful and powerless in Washington, D.C. By LAURIEHANSEN adults studying English in NC News Service special classes, and at least 43,000 Hispanic and Asian WASHINGTON (NC} -- children enrolled in local Across the street from the White schools. House, three men huddle overa The greatest numbers of steam grate to keep warm on a newcomers came from Laos, cold Februaryafternoon. Cambodia and Vietnam after Down the block, an elderly the end of the U.S. presence in Korean street vendor quietly Southeast Asia in the mid packs away brightly colored 1970s; from Ethiopia after woolen hats and mittens before Marxists took power from closing up shop. Emperor Haile Selassie in 1974; Oblivious to the rest, two and from E1 Salvador as h result Salvadoran children skip past of the bloody strife which chattering in Spanish as they escalated inthe 1980s. slowly make their way home from school. While the nation's capital may be thought of most often as the place where the rich and politically powerful con- 0000Lessaoe 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 47711 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville. Published weekly except last week In December by the Catholic Pre of Evatmville. Publisher ........ Bkzhop Francis R. Shea ANocllte Publllher .... Rev. Joseph Zlllek Editor .................. Paul Lelngang Circulation Mgr.... Mrs. Roas Montrastelle Production Mgr ............... Phil Bogor Advertialng Mgr ............... Dan Hotly Addre all communlcatlone to P.O. Box 4189, Evansville, 1N 4T/'11. Phone (812) 424-5536. Subscription rate: $15 per year Entered as 2nd class matter at the post of. rice in Evansville, IN 47701. Publication number 843800, Pommemter: Return POD forms 3579 to the Office of Pub.cation. gregate, the reality is that the Washington metropolitan area has become home to an economically and ethnically diverse population. "Living and working in the city that most would agree is the capital of the free world are some of the poorest, most out- cast and powerless people," said Washington Auxiliary Bishop Eugene A. Marine in a Feb. 25 interview. While Washington is 65 per- cent black, has elected a black mayor and a predominantly black city council, "the white minority has control of the pursestrings, control of con- struction, of borrowing and lending, of jobs and unions," commented Bishop Marine, one of the nation's 12 black bishops. In addition to the large U.S. black population, the D.C. metropolitan area is home to the nation's third-largest con- centration of Central American immigrants, fourth-largest group of Koreans and largest group of Ethiopians outside of Africa. In addition, the Afghan population is growing. Its presence became especially ap- parent during the U.S.-Soviet summit in December when Afghan residents marched down Pennsylvania Avenue to show Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev their opposition to Soviet involvement in their homeland. The area has an estimated 85 Ethiopian-owned businesses, 21,000 Hispanic and Asian LIKE OTHER U.S. urban areas where poverty and underemployment flourish, the city where the president lives and the nation's laws are made is increasingly riddled with drug-related crime. Execution-style murders committed Feb. 20 in North- west Washington brought the number of homicides in the District this year to 49, twice the number at the same time last year. Especially hard hit have been the D.C. area's black neighborhoods where often both killers and victims caught up in local drug wars are under 18 years of age. PCP and crack consistently claim lives in the same town whore the Drug En- forcement Administration has its headquarters. As a church leader working in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol, Bishop Marine said he feels a responsibility to both the powerful and powerless. I I To the poor, he said in the in- terview, the church must preach the Gospel message, and provide material assistance, ad- vocacy and education. "But we must also call upon the powerful -- those who con- trol the institutions of our socie- ty, who speak with the authori- ty of the masses because of their elected offices -- to recognize their responsibilities to the poor. They must be reminded that the value of a civilization is measured by the way it deals with its powerless," Bishop Marine said. Addressing the Senate' Agriculture Commitee in 1981 on the importance of continu- ing the food stamp program, Bishop Marine reminded the senators of the "many human beings within earshot of these hallowed halls who do not receive a nutritionally adequate diet and who go to bed with the pains and tears of hunger." In the interview, he said liv- ing and working in a city fraught with poverty does not always have the impact it should on legislators and top administration officials. "People can live very close to. poverty and violence, but block them out because they are too disturbing,", said Bishop Marine. He said he regularly sees homeless people in the city's alleys "because of where I drive, walk and park ... but I'm sure there are people who com- mute to Capitol Hill from the suburbs each day that don't see them." Robert T. Hennemeyer, former ambassador to Gambia who now works in the USCC's Office of International Justice and Peace as a specialist on Europe and the Far East, said he always carries a pocketful of ": quarters because of frequent en- counters in downtown D.C.- with homeless people asking for change. A native of Chicago's ethnic neighborhoods, Hennemeyer said he is pleased to find his once all-white suburban Bethesda, Md., community now has "a strong Spanish flavor, and there are blacks and Orientals moving in." Most outsiders think of, Washington as "parades going by, flags flying and limousines pulling up at the White House," said Sister Mary Oliver Hudon, a School Sister of Notre Dame who is project director of the Tri-Conference Retirement Project and works at the USCC. On the contrary, she said in a Feb. 25 interview, "you can't walk by "the White House without being confronted by, the homeless and the poor. "It's a real moral cry," said Sister Hudon, who lives in a. -all-black neighborhood in " Washington's Anacostia, just around the corner from whore the victim of 1988's murder number 45 was found. "The poor am crying for justice at the seat of justice," she said.