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Evansville, Indiana
April 5, 1996     The Message
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April 5, 1996
 

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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 5 op's Forum-- spring those of our dio- in Gibson, Posey, or Vanderburgh SOme relief from-the split per- because of Zones. To avoid [1 the time I have a times on it. If the five- set it to the "dual" day. In truth, it my problem. matter of L a mere inconve- to the is- are daily before us. As I write on the radio that Nevada has just exe- ; human being in many years by the in- s while others are barri- insisting that they will respond sion by government officials. reports of the renewed efforts of (I cringe even acknowledging to insure a woman's "right" child. news of today, March 30, 1996, of a triple killing in the ur Catholic parish in Red Brush. ByBISHOP GERALD A. GETTELFINGER Change of times The two women and man who were killed lived in the environs of our Catholic parish in Newburgh. Only a few days ago the infa- mous medical doctor in Michigan was acquitted of criminal charges for having assisted many persons to commit suicide. The explanation is a sharp reminder as to how we human beings can "reason" our way into or out of anything. His total ef- fort was not to kill, but to relieve pain, he said. The same argument is used for using lethal injection in- stead of a firing squad, a scaffold for hanging, or an electric chair, or, in- deed, crucifixion. Intentional killing is a violation of human life. Despite history and its gruesome accounts of "holy wars," we Christians no longer live by what was ac- ceptable in the Old Testament. Those who were so insistent that the Mosaic Law be enforced literally in the case of Jesus the Christ were not able to hear that the Messiah brought with him a change of time. All of us who are endowed with the gift of faith in Jesus Christ are called to respect human life, even though there are those who would kill us in the process of defending it. Jesus did not have to die to redeem us. God the Father called Jesus, the Son of Man, to obedience. No, Jesus was not preserved from the pain of death, He was, in fact, obedient even to the pain of death, the slow and torturous death of the cross. Not only that, he was to die a "disgrace to humankind." Why did God the Father demand such an awful end for Jesus? The answer is simple. Parents know itl Martyrs know it. Jesus taught it. "No greater love than this" is the giving of life, even to death, for those who are loved. GOd wanted to demonstrate through Jesus' death the unimagin- able and immeasurable love God has for each one of us -- no matter how sinful we might be. Look at the cross. Ponder the pain it inflicts. Dare we even harbor the thought of taking the life "of another for any reason?! Time has changed many things. Time has taught us little it seems. What has not changed is the fact that each of us will die. When we die, we will give an accounting of our lives. What has not changed is the fact that Jesus has promised us that human death will be followed by resurrection of the body from the dead. He promised that if we remain true to him and his teachings, we will join him body and soul, to share eternal life. Have a blessed Easter filled with the hope that only Jesus can give us! history of priests' compensation in the Diocese of Evansville COtTt- by over a t. in a se- COmpensa. this it is neces- terms which atedly in this term refers One's state in rendered. It to do with done or the Oae works. Is the of circum. term refers to Work accom- a Specified [lees amount re- ds in over- or triple, term is reimburse." for the total Spent on e excess n Working candi. In 1992 the 104th expanded inted that addresses and about Said. said or Welfare, :ap goes in, to year is taxable income. • Benefit: This term de- scribes a donation or advantage provided for the present or fu- ture well-being of an individual at the cost of the parish or in- stitution. In the Diocese of Evansville, priests have always been paid a stipend, not a salary. Even though priests were compensated after the'founda- tion of the diocese in 1944, the first record of priestly compen- sation is dated 1947. A letter was sent to all priests contain- ing this information. 1947 The annual stipend was $1,000. If a particular parish could not afford the full amount the priest was to re- ceive, only as much as the parish could pay was required. If a particular parish could not pay the full $1,000 in a given year, the priest could not re- cover the shortfall in the next year. In 1947, there was no extra pay for the operation of a car. If a priest had the respon- sibility for a mission church, he could discuss the possibility of a car allowance with the bishop. Room and board were benefits provided. The priest was entitled to keep for himself the Mass stipends ($1 per Mass) and Stole Fees received from wedding, funeral and bap- tismal celebrations. 1956 The first change in the 1947 policy came in 1956. The an- nual stipend became $1,200 for pastors and $800 for assistants. With the exception of the spe- cial circumstances identified in 1947, there was no car al- lowance. Room and board were still provided as benefits. Mass stipends (now $2 per Mass) and Stole Fees could be kept by the priest. 1969 The next significant change in clergy compensation oc- curred 23 years later. A Dioce- san Synod was held in 1969 and the following changes re- sulted from that gathering. • The annual stipend was set at $1,740 for pastors and $1,500 for assistants. • For the first time, a car al- lowance was to be given to all priests in the annual amount of $480. • Room and board continued as benefits. However, since at this time priests began to pay social security taxes, the value of room and board was stated to be $1,200. The purpose Of this figure was only necessary for computing the amount of Social Security tax owed the federal government. • Mass stipends ($2 per Mass) were still retained by the priest. Stole Fees were to be turned over to the parish's gen- eral operating budget, and no longer kept by the individual priest. 1974 Five years later, in 1974, other changes were made in the ways priests were compen- sated. • The annual stipend for all priests, pastors and assistants, was set at $2,515. * In addition to this base pay, an increment was added for years of service as a priest. Each priest received an addi- tional $50 for every two years of service, up to a maximum of $500 annually. • The annual car allowance was raised to $1,020. • Room and board, medical insurance, Social Security re- imbursement and provisions for retirement were the bene- fits given at this time. • Mass stipends were to be turned over to the parish. Stele fees were not to be asked for baptisms. The diocese assigned a $10 stole fee for weddings and funerals; these fees were to be placed in the parish trea- sury. Cost of living adjtmtments After 1974, the annual stipend and car allowance were adjusted according to the gov- ernment cost of living index (COLA). However, this was by way of a general principle. Some years, no increase was given, even though the cost of living may have gone up. Other years, a larger gain was posted to catch up for the years when no increase was given. 1995-1996 In the fiscal year 1995-1996, the following items were in- cluded in clergy compensation. • The annual stipend for all priests was set at $7,108. • The $50 increment for every two years was also part of the compensation, with the maximum amount lifted. • Each priest is entitled to $4,217 in allowance for profes- sional needs. Included in the Professional Allowance is the allowance for his vehicle. A priest is also entitled to 25 cents per mile for 80 percent of the business mileage over 10,000 miles in a given year. • Benefits that continue are medical insurance, Social Secu- rity reimbursement and retire- ment. • Each priest is to have his annual retreat funded by the parish or institution to which he is assigned. • He may receive a maxi- mum of $200 annually from the parish or institution to defray the expense of professional re- sources. • He may receive up to $125 annually from the diocese and $125 annually from the parish II or institution to which he is as- signed to pay for approved workshops and seminars. Each priest may also request a sab- batical. The new plan The Diocesan Synod in 1993 established Goal 7.3: "The Council of Priests will present to the bishop, after consulta- tion, recommendations for doc- uments from the Third Synod concerning priests and priestly life and Mass stipends by Sept. 1, 1994 for processing in accord with the Fourth Synod." In mid-1994, the Priests' Council commissioned an ad hoc committee, composed of priests and laity, to study the priests' total compensation package in the Diocese of Evansville. After completing its work in the fall of 1995, this committee submitted a proposal to the bishop, priests and people of the Diocese of Evansville. The Council of Priests recom- mended ratification of the pro- posal by Bishop Gettelfinger. The Diocesan Finance Council and the Diocesan Pastoral Council gave the bishop an identical recommendation. Bishop Gettelfinger ratified the proposal in late 1995. The new diocesan policy for clergy compensation becomes effective on Sept. 1, 1996. Next week: A comparison of clergy compensation in other dioceses. Stewardship by the Book Very early in the morning after the sabbath, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb to anoint Jesus' body with precious oils. The reward of this good and conscientious steward was to be among the first to know that Jesus had been raised from the dead! Alleluia! I I II