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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
April 28, 1995     The Message
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April 28, 1995

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S The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 3 (CNS)- In the 1994 appeal, Catholics gave a million to religious in the will pay for and other critical religious, are es- o fall $6.3 billion ; need. continue to be Said Baltimore Car- Keeler, presi- onal Confer- athlic Bishops. see a need to our faith, olics give record amount to support aging religious "Millions of us have been cared for by religious in Catholic schools and hospi- tals," he said. "A response like this shows our gratitude." The seventh annual collec- tion for the Retirement Fund for Religious was sponsored late last year by the U.S. bish- ops' conference, the Leadership Conference of Women Reli- gious and the Conference of Major Superiors of Men. In 1986, the three organiza- tions founded the Tri-Confer- ence Retirement Office, in Washington, to address a fi- nancial crisis created by rising health care costs, declining membership in religious or- ders, and the inability of reli- gious who served in past decades to save i:or retirement because they were unsalaried or received only small stipends. Last November the U.S. bishops approved expanding the tri- conference office to in- clude the Conference of Major Superiors of Women Religious, which represents about 10 per- cent of all women religious. The annual collection, in which 167 of 188 U.S. dioceses participate; began in 1988. The remaining dioceses operate their own fund drives or had already begun local collections before 1988. Sister Janet Roesener, tri- conference director and a mem- ber of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Medaille, said the collection not only helps offset the finan- cial crisis but also tells 45,000 retired religious how valued they are by the women and men they served and continue to serve. "Our older religious pray daily for the needs of the church and the people who ask to be remembered in their prayers," she explained. Msgr. Dennis M. Schnurr, general secretary of the U.S. Catholic Conference, said the Retirement Fund for Religious is the church's most successful fund-raising effort ever, noting that 96 percent of the collec- tion goes directly to men and women religious and only a small percentage to adminis- tration. The collection is distributed to retirement funds of religious institutes according to a for- mula based on the ages and number of members and the level of need. Grants to indi- vidual orders have ranged from $300 to $600,000. In addition to meeting criti- cal financial needs, grants are used to fund projects to cut re- tirement costs and plan for fu- ture needs through Social Se- curity, facilities assessment and intercommunity retire- ment projects. ics see Earth Day as call to, faith responses Service (CNS) __ As the silver )f Earth Day, in environ- responsibil- is a clear part t teaching. ask them- lrapact their their brothers is-developed ;Y Payne parishioner at Alcala. is to change added. a contributing et Terra, a of culture mt addresses and of a nnaental ac- Catholics many environ- mental movements or projects because they see them backed by such groups as Zero Popula- tion Growth, New Age reli- gious movements, or heterodox "creation spirituality" move- ments like that of the former Dominican priest Matthew FOX. At San Diego's Earth Fair '95 celebration April 23, for ex- ample, exhibitors included the National Organization for Women, Planned Parenthood and Zero Population Growth -- all groups well known for tak- ing stands that conflict with Catholic teaching. But, for the first time, the pro-life organization Feminists for Life also had a booth. To those who may wonder what environmental protection has to do with Catholic teach- ing the U.S. bishops' 1991 pas- toral statement, "Renewing the Earth," offers a succinct an- swer. "At its core," the bishops aCC00m;W, . . . appointed at Abbey Press a Haubstadt native, has been ap- Manager of Abbey Press, succeeding Carl Deitchman. The appointment Archabbot Timothy Sweeney April 20.. Officer, with responsibil- of the Direct Marketing, Management, Advertising and Systems Services, Order Process- and Warehousing, Printing, Manuractur- and Purchasing divisions. In his new will also be responsible for long-term than 15 years experience with in a variety of positions from 1970 returning as chief operating officer in as group of successful catalog businesses Vice president, non-store retailing at Louis, Me. an M.B.A. from Washington Univeristy is Wife Laurie and three children live in Iious education and family will be the featured speaker at the Dinners, May 8 at the Van- Gold Room in Evansville and May er, religious educator, and work- will speak about religious education at $10,50 per person, are required. The is May 1. said, "the environmental crisis is a-moral challenge. Our tra- dition calls us to protect the life and dignity of the human person, and it is increasingly clear that this task cannot be separated from the care and defense of all creation." The new "Catechism of the Catholic Church," an official compendium of church teach- ing approved by Pope John Paul II, says those who do not care for the environment vio- late God's commandment against stealing. The catechism says: "The Seventh Commandment en- joins respect for the integrity of creation .... Man's dominion over inanimate objects and other living beings granted by the Creator is not absolute;.., it requires religious respect for the integrity of creation." Pope John Paul struck a similar theme in his 1990 World Day of Peace message, in which he said the "reckless exploitation of natural re- sources" is immoral. "The seriousness of the eco- logical issue lays bare the depth of man's moral crisis," the pope said. "Many ethical values funda- mental to the development of a peaceful society are particu- larly relevant to the ecological question," he added. For the record, although the church would make no claim to have been on the leading edge of environmental issues, it was already making a clear case for environmental responsibility before the first Earth Day in 1970. The 1969 world Synod of Bishops, for example, issued a statement condemning poilu- tion and inadequate protection of the environment. The Vatican played an active role in the 1972 U.N. Confer- ence on the Human Environ- ment, and the following year the Pontifical Justice and Peace Commission issued a 70- page booklet analyzing the Christian, religious and ethical dimensions of environmental issues. In 1979 Pope John Paul II declared St. Francis of Assisi the patron saint of ecology. Despite a clear and growing record of church teaching, there is "a dearth of Catholics" involved in the environmental movement, said Steve Saint of St. Johrt of the Cross Parish in Lemon Grove, a San Diego suburb. Saint, who has been active in social justice and environ- mental issues for more than a decade, is currently forming Mission Greens, a group of local Catholics dedicated to en- vironmentalism. He said Catholics should not shun the environmental move- ment or let groups with other ideologies push them out of their rightful place in it. "We are facing at this time in human history an ecological crisis," he said. "What does our faith tell us we should do?... How should we respond to this?" Echoing a frequent theme of church statements on the issue, he said the most basic environmental problem is the disproportionate consumption of resources by the affluent. "Some of us get everything and the rest of the world gets nothing," he said. Or, as Pope John Paul put it in his 1990 peace day message, "It is manifestly unjust that a privileged few should continue to accumulate excess goods, squandering available re- sources, while masses of people are living in conditions of mis- ery at the very lowest level of subsistence." Juliette Mondot, a mother of three who lives in Barrio Logan, a heavily industrial neighborhood in downtown San Diego, said the rich-poor disparity is not just between nations, but within the richest nations. "People don't realize we have virtual Third World pockets in Arnerica,. she emid. :: r Ms. Mender became an envi- ronmental activist in 1993 when the Port of San Diego in- stalled a produce-fumigation center near the inner-city school her children attend. The fumigant, ethyl bromide, posed "an unacceptable risk to the health of the children," she said. She and others formed Envi- ronmental Health Coalition, a local nonprofit group partially funded by the U.S. bishops' Campaign for Human Develop- ment which forced the port to install new equipment this year to reduce the toxic effects of the fumigant. She cited their victory as an example of the principle spelled out by the U.S. bishops in 1991, "Solutions must be found that do not force us to choose between a decent envi- ronment and a decent life for workers." Special olympics held at St. Meinrad St. Meinrad Special Olympics were scheduled April 26 on grounds of the Arch- abbey in St. Meinrad, Ind. The twenty-third annual Special Olympics were sponsored by Cooperative Action for Com- munity Development, a social action program run by stu- dents of St. Meinrad College. Students from St. Meinrad, under the leadership of Darvin Winters, a senior from Indi- anapolis, organized and coordi- nate the Special Olympics. Benedictine Father Gregory Chamberlin, pastor of St. Benedict Church, Evansville, was the grand marshal of the parade of athletes and volun- teers. The CACD program is in its thirtieth year of serving people in Spencer, Perry and Dubois counties. Father Chamberlin was an early director Of the'or- ganization, More than 300 mentally and physically challenged children and young adults were ex- pected to attend and to partici- pate in the games. Approxi- mately 100 volunteers were expected. Nine events were heduled, including the 50-meter dash, 400-meter relay, soRball throw and standing long jump. Other events were scheduled for those who need the assistance of a wheel chair. Sponsors include WBDC Radio and TV-27 of Jasper; MacDonald's of Jasper, Tell City and Boonville; Coca Cola of Jasper, Frito-Lay of Jaaer; Discover Credit Card Corp.; South Spencer Jaycees of Rockport, Ideal Dairy of Hol- land; St. Meinrad Archabbey Food Services. and many indi- vidual donors.