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Evansville, Indiana
March 29, 1996     The Message
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March 29, 1996
 

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4 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana -- Taking the time to make a difference-- Ending violence, starting with our own fami "Violence romps through our children's playgrounds, invades their bedroom slumber parties, ter- rorizes their Head Start centers and schools," according to a recent state- ment from the Children's Defense Fund. Violence "attacks their front porches and neighborhoods, abuses them or a parent at home, tanta- lizes them across the television screen," the statement continues. Violence "nags and pricks at their minds and spirits" and snuffs out "the promise and joy of childhood and of the future. * * * Day after day we are bombarded with images of violence. Children in Chicago drop a little boy out of a high rise window, to his death 14 stories below. Six-year-olds are discovered inside an Evansville store, where a display window was bro- ken by the two boys trying to steal a videotape copy of the movie,.Pochahantas. The morning radio talk show "news reporter" giggles through a story about a young man who died in a fishing accident. The death of someone's son, someone's friend, is a joke on Indianapolis radio. * * * "In the face of widespread violence, many people are frightened, confused, frustrated, angry, and per- By PAUL R. LEINGANG EDITOR haps worst, feeling powerless." That's how they see it at the Par- enting for Peace and Justice Net- work in St. Louis, but they are not willing to stop with that observa- tion. The people involved with that network, along with others who have similar concerns, want to gather together families and those who care about families, to say "Enough! No more violence! We can do better!" They want "to express a moral voice, a voice of outrage, that calls all families and our whole culture to reject violence and violent 'solutions' to problems," They may feel as frightened, confused, frus- trated and angry as you and I are -- but they are not powerless. Neither are we. From the Institute of Peace and Justice, here are the actions we can -- and must -- take, as we acknowledge that nmking peace must start in our own family. Listen. Listen carefully to each person, espe- cially someone who disagrees with me, and try to see the othe r person's side instead of insisting on having my own way. Communicate better. Share your feelings hon- estly. Look for safe ways to express your anger, and work at solving problems peacefully. Speak positively. Affirm other family mem- bers and avoid needless Respect others. Treat with respect by avoiding physical attacksi words. Respect nature. Treat the all living things, especially your and care. Play creatively. Select that support our family's values and ment that makes violence look ceptable. Be courageous. Challenge forms, whether at home, at school, community; and support others who are fairly. Forgive. Apologize when forgive others, and hold no grudges. Are these actions easy? Of help in keeping committed to these ing for Peace and Justice plans to offer document, a "Family Pledge of You will be able to use the gathering, birthday party, prayer in Lent or-at any time you find your family. To ask for your copy, contact Peace and Justice Network, 4144 Louis, Me 63108. Or call (314) 5 Questions and comments are Christian Family Movement, P.O. Iowa 50010. Washington The Catholic vote: Changing patterns interest both ]By NANCY FRAZIER O'BRIEN Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Groups as diverse as the Mary- land Catholic Conference and Catholics for a Free Choice agree on at least one thing -- Catholic voters could be crucial to the 1996 presidential elec- tion. As Senate Majority Leader Robert Dole appeared to clinch the Republican Party nomina- tion March 19 and prepared to lead his party into battle against Democratic President Bill Clinton, both candidates were eager to increase their ap- peal among the estimated 30 million voters who call them- selves Catholic. "Now more than ever, the Catholic vote is 'up for grabs' and parties and their candi- dates know that it is," said a report prepared by Richard J. Dowling, executive director of the Maryland Catholic Confer- ence. "Increasingly, Democrats The MESSAGE 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 47711 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Published weekly except last week in December by the Catholic Press of Evansville Publish .............. Bishop  A Gettelfinger ....................................... Paul R. Leingang Production TectWcian ................ Joseph Dietrich lv .................................... Paul Newland Staff Writer ............................. Mary Ann Hughes Address all communications to P.O. Box 4169, Evansville, IN 47724-0169 Subscription rate: $17.50 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 Office of Publication Copyig Igg5 Cathoc Press ot Evansv will be concerned about further erosion of their 'Catholic vote' and work hard to prevent it," the report added. "Republicans will look to the prospect of in- creased Catholic support and work just as hard to win it." In another report, Catholics for a Free Choice quoted Wash- ington Post columnist David Broder's comment that the Catholic vote "has become one of the most contested prizes in politics" and said "right-wing Catholic and Protestant groups have made ready to capitalize on this fact." Catholics for a Free Choice has been denounced by the U.S. bishops for its support of legal abortion. The report summarized what the organization called efforts by the Catholic and Protestant right "to organize and set agen- das for the 1996 electoral sea- son." Stephen J. Wayne, a profes- sor of government at George- town University in Washing- ton, said that although polls show that the Catholic vote "has been moving more and more Republican" in recent years, Catholics are "not a co- hesive bloc" in their voting pat- terns. The U.S. Census Bureau an- nounced in mid-March that 196.5 million Americans will be old enough to vote in the Nov. 5 presidential election. Of course, only a percentage of them reg- ister and vote, and the Census Bureau says up to 15 million of those who are voting-age are not eligible to register because they are not citizens. But Catholics, who make up about 23 percent of the U.S. population, comprise about 28 percent of the national elec- torate in a typical election and thus can have an even greater influence that their numbers would indicate. Looking at the situation from a historical viewpoint, Dowling said in his report that the 1994 off-year elections "reinforced some pollsters' suspicions that Catholic support for Ronald Reagan in the 1980s was the beginning of an historic shift, not a short- lived phe- nomenon." The Catholic shift toward the Democratic Party actually began in the 1972 election, when "a majority of Catholics joined Richard Nixon's 'new majority,"' Dowling said. When Jimmy Carter in 1976 "urged Catholics to return to their traditional Democratic home," he added, "home they came, but with only enough luggage for a visit." In congressional races, Catholic voters' support for Democratic candidates aver- aged more than 60 percent be- tween 1976 and 1992, Dowling said, but in November 1994 "nationwide Catholic support for congressional Democrats plummeted 10 percent," from 58 percent in 1992 to 48 per- cent. As political candidates seek to capitalize on those changing voting patterns by increasing their "identification with the church and its leadership," Catholics must be particularly cautious, Dowling warned. "More and more often, candi- date-suitors will seek audi- ences with bishops, volunteer to serve as usl charistic ml parochial opportunities congregatio] icy issues report said. frequently solicit on their behl church tial d election The respon leaders "the church's partisan Catholic informed between report added' "If, as is Catholics are the religious Democrats an, especially make are Bishop's sc The following activities and events are schedule of Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger: Diocesan voter education efforts questioned To the editor:. The Criterion (Indianapolis Archdiocesan paper) reported in its March 15 issue that the Indiana Catholic Conference and the newly formed office for Public Information are plan- ning deanery meetings to in- form voters on issues and can- didates. Some people are confused by the Christian coalition, think- ing that it represents Catholic teaching. Many of the positions taken by our United States bishops challenge the coalition to greater sensitivity to the poor and marginated. What efforts are being con- sidered by the diocesan offices or by the Message to alert vot- ers to areas of Catholic social justice teaching which may be See LETTERS page 5