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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
March 8, 1991     The Message
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March 8, 1991

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;4 Editorial By PAUL LEINGANG Message Editor We are challenged to make promises for the future "On my honor 1 will do my best." Words from the Scout oath stand out from my memories of a weekend ceremony for my son Matt his Eagle Scout court of honor. It is hard to write about my feelings. I do not want to appear overly proud, or "use my space in this paper to boost or brag. The truth is that I am proud of the ac- complishments of both of my sons. And as for boosting or bragging, it is a father&apos;s right and responsibility. Some of us have more public oppor- tunities to give praise to others, and giving praise where praise is due is also a columnist's right and responsibility. In part of the weekend ceremony, my son was challenged to make a promise for the future. It is a challenge that comes from the scouting tradition, but it is certainly not limited to scouts. The challenge is universal. It applies to me. It applies to you. It is the promise to remain loyal to your God, to your country and to your principles. Here are some of the thoughts about citizen- ship expressed in the challenge: "If you demand wise and honest government Washington Letter in your city, your state and your country, you must recognize that wise and honest government is the product of wise and honest people, and nothing else. "If you demand that crime be punished, you must support honest law enforcement in your com- munity without any personal privileges or excep- tions for yourself. "If you demand balanced budgets of your government, you must not advocate expenditures which, when demanded by all citizens, bring un- balanced budgets. "If you demand freedom of worship for yourself, you must respect the rights of all other creeds. "If you demand free speech, you must not suppress it in others, or use it to destroy the government from which that privilege flows. "If you demand that the government give you complete economic security, you must not forget that a nation's strength comes from each person standing on his own feet. "If you would like to live in a community in which you may have pride, then dedicate yourself in a spirit of humility to your own responsibilities in that community." Such were the challenges proclaimed to Matt, but not only to Matt. They were spoken publicly for all who were present. They are repeated here. We are all citizens and members "of groups -- families, neighborhoods and communities. We are all members, too, of the people of God -- and with membership comes the same challenge. If you want wise leadership in the parish or congregation or community of your choosing, you must participate with all of your own wisdom and lead to the best of your own ability. What you want for yourself, you must not sup- press in others. What you want for yourself, you must share with others. To be a member of the people of God demands more than a personal and singular relationship with God. It also demands involvement with the people. And simply put, the individual's responsibili- ty to the community is this: "On my honor, i will do my best." Hitting the halls of the House and Senate By PATRICIA ZAPOR Catho ic News Service As part of a national con- ference on Catholic social teaching, participants heard presentations about poverty in the United States and updates about pending legislation. Then, armed with renewed en- thusiasm, they hit the halls of the House and the Senate, urg- ing support for a civil rights bill, for a family and medical leave law and for a variety of other measures. Not "all of the conference delegates were able to see their congressional representatives, but many met with House or Senate staffers. One group from New York arranged a session with Sen. Alfonse M. D'Amato, R-N.Y. Others just showed up in their congressman's office, taking a chance on grabbing  few minutes with the righl I  son. While the conference p,, ticipants generally had only a few minutes of their legislators' time in which to make their pit- vh'MESSAGE 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 47724 O169 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Published weekly except la't woe< in December by the Catholic Preus of Evansville. Publisher .... Bishop Gerald A. Get!elfir jet Associate Publisher .... Rev. Joseph 7u al< Editor .................. Ful Leingang Production Mgr .............. Phll B3ger Cir./Adv. Mgr ........... Pe,JI A. Nev,. r d Address all comrnunication to P,O. B,Jx 4169, Evansville, IN 4772,-0169. Phone (812) 424-5538. Subscriptlort rate: $1 7.50 per year Single Copy Price: 50 Entered as 2nd cleu.matte at the post of- rice In Evansville, IN 47701. Publi0ation number 843800. Postmaster: Return POD forms 3579 to the Office of Publication. Copyright 1991 Catholic Press of Evansville mmmmm= ches, such visits can be quite successful as part of a multipronged lobbying effort, according to Sharon Daly, director of domestic social development for the U.S. Catholic Conference, who helped arrange the conference marking lO0 years of Catholic social teaching. For most voters it's simply impossible to personally show up on their senator's doorstep in Washington; sometimes a grass-roots campaign using the mail can do the trick. Members of Congress were inundated a few years back by paper plates sent through the mail as letters complaining about a school lunch policy. Even on a strictly local level, well-orchestrated mail cam- paigns can make a point better than all the phone calls and per- sonal visits in the world. In Dennis, Mass., a selectman -- comparable to a town coun- cilman -- has for several mon- ths been receiving hundreds of tea bags in the mail. Owners of summer cottages in the Cape Cod community resorted to the symbolic reminder of the Boston Tea Party as a way of protesting what they consider taxation without representation in a property tax proposal. Daly warned that such cam- paigns generally only have an impact the first time they're us- ed, and that "can only work when lots of them come in." Not to be discounted are ap- pointments when the senator or representative is in the home state, and the quick few minutes voters may be able to grab when the politicians stop at hometown Kiwanis pancake breakfasts or founder's day parades, Daly believes. "Influencing a member of Congress to do the right thing is a matter of educating people over a long time," she said. i I Letter t the editr I Supporting one another on journey To the editor, we should not salute "Black I was disheartened to read that Ann Ennis took offense at the closing remarks of a pastor about Catholic Schools at the church she attended on Jan. 27 -- the beginning of Catholic Schools week in our Diocese. I feel the pastor, knowing what a large percentage of parish income is used to operate the school, was really thanking the people for their continued support of a system of which we Catholics are justly proud. His remarks were not meant to put down public schoolsbut to salute .the Catholic Schools during their special week. Perhaps Ms. Ennis also feels History Week", "Mental Retar- dation Sunday", "Secretaries' Week", "Catechetical Sun- day", "Teacher of the Year" because those of us who do not fit into these categories might be offended and made to feel se- cond class. When groups of people or in- dividuals receive public praise and recognition a truly well rounded person does not take offense but rather rejoices with and for them. Let us all be slow to criticize but quick to support one another as we continue on our journey. Joan Preske Evansville The same principles apply to influencing state legislators, county supervisors, or city council members. Often what is most effective is a combina- tion of letters, phone calls, visits and five-minute conversa- tions at political gatherings. Another technique can be to bring an elected representative face-to-face with the issue at hand. Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children's Defense Fund, told conference participants of success in con- vincing legislators of the need for programs by showing them the actual conditions at a homeless shelter. Bishop's schedule The following activities and events are listed on the schedule of Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger: I