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Evansville, Indiana
April 26, 1996     The Message
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April 26, 1996
 

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4 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana --- Taking the time to make a difference- A cave, a castle, a place of shelter We called it a cave. Or a fort. Sometimes it was a castle. It was a natural formation. Two large rocks jutted upward, a large flat section of stone was on top. If I had been older, I might have described the formation as looking like an altar, or the Greek letter, pi -- two downstrokes and a crossbar. When I was 10, it was a cave, on a wooded hillside near my home. It was a great place to play. A good friend used to come to visit, andoften, we woulcl go to the woods, to the creek, or to this rock formation. The cave became a castle, to be fought over with swords made from sticks and spears cut from saplings. It was a fort, protecting the occupant -- there was room for only one -- from arrows launched by the outside attacker who could hide be- hind trees. More often, though, the cave was not a place of war. It was a place of peace. One kid could sit inside of it, another could be on top, and both of them could just feel good about being there. It felt safe. It was a place to go, to be away from home and school. It was a place to sit and think, to talk, to By PAUL R. LEINGANG EDITOR plan, to look at the trees and the sky. $ , Childhood experiences often contain -- and at times, conceal -- the central truths of our Judeo- Christian faith. So, at least, it seems to me. My cave, my fort, my castle, my shelter, my childhood experience -- it is the same experience expressed by the Psalmist thousands of year ago (Psalm 27): One thing I ask of the Lord; this I seek: To dwell in the Lord's house all the days of my life. To gaze on the Lord's beauty, to visit his temple. For God will hide me in his shelter in time of trouble, Will conceal me in the cover of his tent; and set me high upon a rock. God is my rock, my refuge. I learned that from the Psalmist, but long before I read it in the Bible, I learned it on a wooded hillside when I was a child. $ $ The story of all humankind is told and re-told in the individual life-story of each child -- unless that child's childhood is stolen by adults who inter- rupt the ordinary journey of life and Every child needs a place to go, to ] from home and school, a place to sit talk and to plan, and to watch the world.:: Take the time to find out about for children in your home or If you have children, talk with places they go to find shelter, to Examine the pressures put vertisers. Where do children experience being How do organized sports family life and childhood play? ,:: Take action in your home or Help a child -- or perhaps a better idea a child -- to find a place of safety. , Examine the ways adults unfairly 1 childhood. Do what you can to intrusion. Organize against ing. Take a hard look at the: on children to perform in sports If you find programs to be benefit of adults instead can to make a difference. Comments about this the Christian Family Movement, Ames, Iowa 50010. Washington Letter The Catholic role in public life: Not just a political By NANCY FRAZIER O'BRIEN Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Do Catholics have a specific role to play as a church community in the nation's politics? Are Catholic voters morally bound to support all the judg- ments on political issues made by the U.S. bishops? What unique contribution does the Catholic Church have to bring to the political debate? In this election year, those questions and others are aris- ing more and more frequently, as the media and political lead- ers look to the estimated 30 million Catholic voters as a key swing vote. But at a recent panel discus- sion in Washington on "The Catholic Role in Public Life," speakers reminded those politicians and journalists that they cannot look at Catholics strictly from a political point of view. Documents from the Second Vatican Council, as well as the more recent "Catechism of the Catholic Church," tell Catholics 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 Publisher .............. Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger Editor...: ................................... Paul R. Leingang Production Technician ................ Joseph Dietrich Advertising .................................... Paul Newland Staff Wnter ............................. Mary Ann Hughes that their role in public life should be guided by "love of God and love of their fellow human beings," said Helen A1- vare, director of planning and information in the U.S. bishops' Secretariat for Pro-Life Activi- ties. Especially on such issues as abortion and euthanasia, "Catholics are treated like reli- gion belongs (only) in the home," she said. Catholics must speak out on "the right not to be kille.d" because those life and death issues affect "the most vulnerable among us," Ms. Alvare added. "How odd that in America now you can only legally kill people if they are related to you -- your (unborn) children, your parents or grandparents," she added. Abortion and eu- thanasia "are no longer being called crimes, but rights. And people are demanding that the state assist in this," Patrick Fagan, senior fellow in family and cultural issues at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, agreed with Ms. Alvare on the primacy of life is- sues and the need for Catholics to support church teaching in those areas with their votes. But he said the U.S. Catholic Church sometimes dilutes its message by not distinguishing between issues "of grave moral substance" and those on which Catholics "are free to disagree and work against." He cited support for an increase in the minimum wage as an example in the latter category. "It is an abuse of Holy Mother Church to bring her into specific political debate unless they are about grave moral evils" such as abortion and assisted suicide, Fagan said. In the latest of their qua- drennial political responsibility statements, the U.S. bishops outlined their positions on a wide range of issues that in- cluded crime, abortion, com- munications policy, peace, so- cial and economic justice, health care, immigration and violence. Robert Royal, vice president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, said the U.S. Catholic community -- like American society as a Whole -- is "in a kind of limbo" as a new form of government and politics is evolving. Catholic voters who once looked to "the unions, the politi- cal machines and the chanceries" for their political guidance no longer have any institutions of- fering easy answers, Royal said. "Catholic social teaching has to step to the fore and articu- late some new solutions to American problems," he said. A key Catholic contribution might be based on the princi- ple of subsidiarity, the idea that problems should be solved at tbe most local level possible, he added. Royal predicted that the United States will soon experi- ence "a tremendous cultural reconstruction that I believe the Catholic Church will lead." He said polls show that Catholics support third-party candidates by larger percent- ages than other voters do, rais- ing the possibility of the forma- tion of a Christian Democratic Party in the United States sometime in the future. Carl Anderson, vice presi- dent for public policy of the Knights of Columbus, said Pope John Paul II's encyclical "The Gospel of Life" offers a "blueprint for Catholic identity as a people of life and for life." Saying that many Ameri- cans are on "a search for com- mon moral ground," he said politics "cannot create this moral ground." "Any recognize the value of Anderson a violation treat The most panelists wal Devine, U.S. Office agement Republican: dential C)lling "block fare growth pie the one, far See Bishop's The following activities and events are schedule of Bishop Gerald A. Message policy regarding political activity The Message is the official newspaper of the Catholic Dio- cese of Evansville. The policy of the Message is to observe the rules forbidding 501 (c) (3) organizations from engaging in partisan political activity. The Message continues its long-standing policy of publish- ing news reports and commentary about political candidates and issues, and about their relationship to morality and Catholic social teaching. Political advertising is accepted at the Message from all bona fide candidates on an equal basis. Center, ,:. 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  1995  Press ol Evamvtle