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May 6, 1994     The Message
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May 6, 1994

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:4 The Message m for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana ..... Perspective Some fears The acquittal of Dr. Jack Kevorkian on assisted suicide I charges is one of the scariest news items I have ever heard. And one that threatens me. It should threaten you, too. But more than I threaten you, it should push you to take action. I Assisted suicide is illegal in Michigan. Dr. Kevorkian assisted in the suicide of a man suffering with Lou Gehrig's disease. If I un- derstand the news reports cor- rectly, the members of the jury ac- quitted Kevorkian, even though they believed that he had assisted in the suicide -- which is against the law. The jury acquitted the doctor because they believed that he did what he did in order to alleviate the man's suf- fering. That scares me for several reasons. First of all is what appears to be a judgment on what Doctor Kevorkian intended, not what he did. Is this the kind of justice we want? Think about another news item recently the story about a man who wanted to save the lives of the unborn, who intended to do good, by shooting the doctor who performed abortions. The IB PAUL R. INGANG EDITOR tP --and a step forward " ....... man was judged rightly for what he make way for the final argument did, not for what he intended, the one that says, in the face of a The second reason Kevorkian's easy and only answer is death. acquittal scares me is that I fear I The third reason I am scared have heard this kind of story before. Kevorkian is accurate in his I fear that what is happening in the meaning of the jury's decision, and area of assisted suicide is what hap- next. pened in the area of abortion. Catholic News Service quoted Those who argued in favor of le- tion, as he announced that he galizing abortion seemed always to other medical doctors to set up use examples of innocent victims of guidelines. gang rapes and incest, or life-threat- "We need medical input on ening medical conditions. Who could Kevorkian said. "We're going to set not feel compassion for such vic- done correctly and the public is .... rims? Who Could not seek to comfort not legislators, but the public." innocence wounded by depravity? What I fear is what we all should Yet, today, who are the babies being aborted? laws do not control us. Kevorkian Are they the children of rape victims? Or the chil- islators who tried to control his dren of Women whose lives are threatened? By far what he did illegal. the greatest majority of abortions are performed Acknowledging my fears allows me not under such horrible circumstances -- but for step ahead toward doing something convenience. urge you to choose life. I urge you ness to your choice for life. I urge you tc Surely we must feel compassion for a victim of Lou Gehrig's disease, and for others whose lives cate others on the complex issues are filled with pain, who have little hope, or per- defense of life. haps no hope, of recovery. Changing laws will not be enough I am afraid that too soon the twisting and tug- ging feelings of wanting to alleviate suffering will not change the hearts of those who choOSe the answer. ----- Washington Letter Wanting childhood to be more than a survival test By NANCY FRAZIER O'BRIEN Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) =To me, childhood is a survival test. That's what being a kid is all about. If you can survive childhood you can survive any- thing, especially with so much stuff that kids haveto put up with today." That grim assessment came from Scarlett Arias, a 14-year- old reporter with Children's Express News Service in New York. Her interviews with her fellow teens are part of "Kids " Voices Count: Illuminating the Statistics," a companion to the i,i Advertising Policy Acceptance of political ad- vertising by the Message does not indicate endorse- ment of or opposition to a candidate, political party or i a matter brought before the people in a referendum. i i ii|i 7 i The MESSAGE i 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 47720-0169 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Pub#shed weekly except last week in December by the Catlolic Press of Evanlle PCw ........... SopA GmCer ........................................... Pat Leingang uarer .......................... P oer ................................... Paa Nea Stamr ........................... ttWnH= Address all communications to P.O. Box 4169, Evansville, IN 47724-0169 Subscription rate: $15.00 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 Ccpydgllt 1994 Cardlc Prom el' Evansvle 1994 Kids Count Data Book, a statistical survey published by the Annie E..Casey Founda- tion. The survey found that nearly 4 million U.S. children live in "severely distressed neighborhoods" characterized by high rates of poverty, fe- male-headed households, high school dropouts, unemploy- ment and reliance on welfare. "We can no longer be sur- prised by the terrible outcomes experienced by young people who grow up in environments where drugs, violence, welfare and teen pregnancy are far more prevalent than safe schools, high school diplomas and good jobs," said Douglas W. Nelson, executive director of the Casey foundation. "These neighborhoods offer no real choices; we need to change that." In many neighborhoods, churches offer the best hope for turning a community around. The ongoing Catholic Cam- paign for Children and Fami- lies tries to help achieve that goal in a variety of ways: Proceeds of last year's ribs and chicken dinner at St. James Parish in Grand Rapids, Mich., went to a housing cen- ter, a health clinic and the "Feed the Kids" before-school breakfast program. The Social Justice Com- mittee at Santa Maria de la Paz Parish in Santa Fe, N.M., recruits hundreds of lay volun- beers to work with youths, pris- oners and AIDS sufferers and to assist at a food co-op and projects for the needy. When a parish advocacy group spoke after ass at Cor- pus Christi Church in Ro- seville, Minn., about a pending proposal to provide state fi- nancing and child care for mothers on welfare to complete their education, parishioners mailed more than 400 post- cards in support of the pro- gram. The talk was just one part of the legislative network set up in the parish to influ- ence policy decisions affecting children and the poor. m The "Celebrating Youth" programs at St. Augustine Parish in Washington include weekly discussion groups, an after-school care program, African cultural awareness and a mentoring program for at-risk teen-age boys, in addi- tion to CYO, choir and more conventional church programs. The Kids Count Data Book found that nearly half of the children in severely distressed neighborhoods live in six states California, Illinois, Michi- gan, New York, Ohio and Texas. The study measured the con- ditions facing American chil- dren by looking at 10 key indi- cators of children's well-being. They included the percentage of low birth-weight babies, in- fant mortality rate, child death rate, percentage of births to single teens, juvenile violent crime arrest rate, high school graduation rate, percentage of idle teens (those not working or in school), teen violent death rate, percentage of children in poverty and percentage of chil- dren in single-family homes. Six of the 10 indicators showed a worsening of condi- tions nationwide. Only four factors -- infant mortality rate, child death rate, percent- age of idle teens and percent- age of children in poverty improved nationwide. Other studies released in April paint a similarly gloomy portrait of American children today. The General Accounting Of- rice, the congressional inves- tigative agency, found that the number of poor children under the age of 3 rose 26 percent during the 1980s -- from 1.8 million to 2.3 million. Those most likely to be poor were toddlers in immigrant families where English is not spoken well and those who come from single-parent, poorly educated or unemployed families, the report said. A study by the Carnegie Cor- poration of New York of the same age group found what it called a "quiet crisis," with as many as half the nation's in- fants and toddlers affected by a lack of medical care, poverty, violence or disintegrating fami- lies. "If a poor start leaves an en- during legacy of impairment, then high costs follow," said David A. Hamburg, Carnegie president. "They may show up in various systems: health, ed- ucation, justice. We call them by many names: disease, dis- ability, ignorance, incompe- tence, hatred, whatever na I comes involve and social tire society " But no trate the pr( America's cally as can the now approa( As 15- Angeles press "Every up, I be to say or 'Wh because, they just Can't Sometime thinking, own Bishop's The following activities and events schedule of Bishop Gerald A. Gett