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March 22, 1991     The Message
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March 22, 1991

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i, CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF EVANSVILLE VOLUME 21 NUMBER 27 MARCH 22, 1991 % ' Pope playing leading .... role ............... Circulation 'drive nears completion Approximately 1125 new names" have been added to the list of Message subscribers since the 1991 circulation campaign began on "Message Sun- day," Jan. 27. St. Joan of Arc Church, Jasonville, and St. Mary Church, Sullivan, are among the full circulation parishes in the diocese. Others include Pro- Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity, St. Theresa Church and Sacred Heart Church, all in Evansville; Blessed Sacrament Church, Oakland City; St. Thomas Church, Knox County; St. Vin- cent de Paul Church, Vincennes; St. Martin Church, Whitfield; St. Mary Church, Shoals; All Saints Church, Cannelburg, and St. Mary Church, Daviess County. A decision has been made at St. John Church, Newburgh, to end full circala- tion, at least for the present. New and renewed subscriptions from parishioners in tile diocese totalled 7,593, as of Tuesday, March 19. Three parish lists are not yet counted in that total. Subscribers who have not yet renew- ed will continue to receive the Message through the month of April. Subscrip- tions will not be discontinued without notification. Mk [east Christian churches are coping u ith ' var's aftermath WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Catholic relief assistance in the Middle East is making only a small dent in the massive human needs created by the Persian Gulf War, but the church's relief and Peace efforts could play a major part in limiting the Muslim-Christian rift that many predicted as one of the war's Casualties. At the same time, theArab-Israeli en- ities exacerbated by the war, especial- in the Israeli-occupied territories, nay have caused further harm to 'agile, already battered Catholic rela- ons with Israel. Pope John Paul II, who repeatedly poke out against the war, has played a ading role in efforts to reconcile Muslim and Christian communities and L prevent the U.S.-led war against Iraq t'0m bei: lg perceived as a new Christian Crusade, against Muslims. Jordan is a key swing nation in gaug- ing attitudes because of its official neutrality but pro-Iraq popular feeling luring the war and because of the .-vere economic problems the war 5 visited on the country, which lies be- tween Iraq and Israel. i Melkite Archbishop Saba Youakim of Amman said in a recent interview that Jordanian news a ers have been full of I'Very good tpaPs '' about the pope oecause of his peace efforts. The war has left many Jordanians bit- ter toward the West, but not toward the church, the archbishop said. " Following a March 4-6 Vatican sum- rait of Middle Eastern and Western church leaders, Pope John Paul con- ributed a symbolic $80,000 to relief ef- rts in the Middle East. Caritas Jordan, the national agency of a worldwide network of Catholic Charities organizations, was among the urst a e shl ostwar rehef su . g nciesto 'pp ' p- Plies to Iraq. It sent 12 tons of powdered milk, blankets and medicine into Iraq March 8, and the next day it contributed to a 31-ton shipment of medical supplies organized by the Middle East Council of Churches. Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. Catholic overseas aid agency, and the Pontifical Mission for Palestine, which relies heavily on U.S. Catholic con- tributions, have been contributing to relief work among Kuwaiti and Iraqi refugees in Jordan since Iraq invaded Kuwait last August. On March 18 CRS sent a first shipment of medicine from Jordan into Iraq and was planning a number of other shipments soon. Although Catholics in Jordan form only 1.3 percent of the population, Jor- dan Caritas has distributed more than $300,000 in aid to refugees since August. At war's end it was running a relief center in Amman, six health clinics for refugees and three vocational centers for Jordanians who fled Kuwait and Iraq and may not be able to return. A Jordanian bishop returning from a visit to Iraq said March 14 that the Iraqi Catholic minority is not eager to see President Saddam Hussein deposed, whatever they may feel about him. "Even if people there are more will- ing now to criticize Saddam Hussein, they believe that the alternative would be worse -- especially for the Chris- tians," said Bishop Selim Sayegh, Latin-rite vicar for Amman. "If the Shiites (the largest sect of Iraqi Muslims) take power, the Christian community would be destroyed," he said. He said the allied bombing of Iraq has destroyed its economy and is causing severe hardships. In Jerusalem and the Israeli-occupied territories, the strict curfew on Palesti- nians during the war has sharpened even more the anger of the Arab Palesti- nians, including Christians, against the Israeli government. Israel was provoked to impose the harsh measures by a number of factors -- among them, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's efforts to draw Israel.into the war with Scud missile attacks and the popular and potentially violent support for Saddam among the Palestinians. Local church leaders see Israeli policies hurting the church's work and further endangering the declining Christian presence in the Holy Land. Msgr. Richard Mathes, director of the. Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center, a hospice for Christian pilgrims, said in a mid-March interview, "I have 15 employees at Notre Dame who have not been able to come in to Jerusalem for two months because of a curfew." He said tax inspectors and armed Page 2 -- Washington photos border police entered the Vatican- owned center a few months ago deman- ding to see financial records and claim- ing the center owed $3.5 million in taxes. A sharp drop in Christian tourism in Israel has especially hurt Palestinian Christians who live near Christian holy places and depend on the tourist trade for their livelihood. Of 84 restaurants in Bethlehem, only four were open three weeks before Easter. Many Palestinians viewed the curfew and travel restrictions imposed on them during the war as further steps by Israelis to suppress them and force them out of the occupied territories. In a series of interviews in mid- March, residents of Belt Sahour in the occupied West Bank said the restric- tions paralyzed the local economy. A See POPE page 11 Page 4 -- Bmhop s schedule for Holy Week and Easter Page 7 -- People -- School Notebook ...................... ............. .............. ....... . .............. i I ,r