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May 8, 1998     The Message
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May 8, 1998

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4 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana :1.7' Acknowledging what is broken By PAUL R. LEINGANG * Editor He was only five or six years old, but he was proud to be helping. Proud, and happy. Then it hap- pened. He was carrying a floor lamp up unfamiliar stairs. The lamp was taller than he was -- and some of the grownups were talking loud, the way they do when they're excited. Several families were helping another family move into a new home. Everyone was helping. The lamp wasn't very heavy, but it was big and awkward. The little boy was trying to be careful, but the top of the lamp swung sideways and the light bulb in it crashed against the wall. The grownups suddenly got quiet. The young boy salvaged his pride, as much of it as he could, and gave the lamp to some taller person, who probably told him not to worry. That was advice he could not take. Grownups and children have vastly different sen- sibilities. While the big people picked up the broken glass, and knew the light bulb was just a minor casu- alty of a family's move to a new home, the small per- son went away to pick up the pieces of what felt like his whole life. Away from everybody, as far away as he could go, behind the house, his face betrayed the heart-felt sorrow of life's unfairness. He tried to set his face like flint -- that's how the Hebrew Scriptures might have described it -- but his lower lip would not obey. It quivered, and would not hold still. I did not mean to do it, he must have said to him- self -- but perhaps for the first time in his few years of life, he knew that what a person intends to happen is not always the same as what does happen. And at five or six years old, such a truth is too heavy to carry. It's hard not to cry. Some of this story was told to me by some friends, about their young son. I have added my own reflections to it. Things have broken because of me, too. Once as a child, I remember, I had been told to stay off the floor of the kitchen, which had been scrubbed and freshly waxed. I stayed off the floor by climbing onto a chair, jumping from the chair to the table, crawling across the table on hands and knees to reach the other side, to get to another chair and con- tinue my journey. Later, I found out that the weight of my body had broken a phonograph record, newly purchased by one of my sisters. An older person would argue immediately that a valuable item should not have been left on the kitchen table. A sibling might question the sanity of a child who would be crawling across the kitchen table. But none of the arguing would make the record whole again. What have you broken in Take the time to examine your own ing up, and reflect on the thing s that because of you -- or in spite of yc intentions. If there are children in you household, to remember a time when they i What was the result? , Take the time today to imperfection. And then, let somebody else fect, too. Help a child be aware of low the accidents of life, life. :: If someone in your family c given for something wrong or something: 5 reconciliation. Examine the way you and to the mistakes and errors made by response -- is your response  ,. ,: Jesus would respond? Take the time to examine and and local system of "corrections. the sin, but love the sinner. Forgive some one. : :; Comments about this column are or the Christian Family Box 272, Ames, Iowa 50010. Irish-American groups supporting Northern Ireland • By NANCY HARTNAGEL Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) Several Irish-American groups expressed strong support for the Good Friday agreement on Northern Ireland, but said it is just the first step toward peace. "It's the best possible com- promise," .said Father Sean McManus, founder and preM- dent of the Irish National Cau- cus, a human rights lobby in Washington, "The immediate obvious strength is that it gives something to everyone." Dennis Lynch of New York, who is general counsel to the Washington-based Hibemian Civil Rights Coalition, a group focusing on civil rights and pro- life issues, said the coalition finds some parts of the agreement troubling but "is pleased at any 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 Pu0rher ............. ashop GeaU A. GettarOer Ea ...................................... Pa g. Le0ang PmOucnT .............. =ph 0a /atang ................................... Paul Nevaand Sta WrtZer ............................ Mary /nn Hug, Address all communications to P.O. Box 4160; Evansvifle, IN 477240169 Subscription rate: $18.50 per year Single Copy Price: $.50  as period matter at Ite st offce in Evar, IN 47701. Publication number 843800. Postmaster: Return POD Iorms 3579 tO Office of Publicatio 1998 Catholic Press of Evansvine agreement that ends violence." Mercy Sister Michele O'Leary, executive director of the Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh, which in nine years has provided job training and continuing educa- tion for 800 young adults from Northern Ireland, said, "We fully support a yes-vote on the gree- ment .... It's not the peace set- tlement, but it's the beginning." Gavan Kennedy, legislative director of the Irish American Unity Conference, a human and civil rights lobby based in Wash- ington, said his 4,000-member group has taken "a iosition of cautious optimism." But the accord "should be looked on as a stepping stone," he added. Ed O'Hearn of Louisville, Ky., a member of the U.S. national board of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, said, "The AOH does support it, though it's a compromise." He said the fra- ternal and service organization sees the agreement as "a posi- tive first step toward the reuni- fication (of Ireland)." The agreement was reached April 10 after lengthy negotia- tions among the British and Irish governments and political parties of Northern Ireland. Among other things, it pro- vides for a 108-seat elected Northern Ireland Assembly; a North-South council of minis- ters to work on environmental, tourism and transportation issues; and the Irish Republic's removal from its Constitution of a territorial claim on Northern Ireland• People in both the North and South will vote yes or no on the entire agreement May 22, when citizens in the Irish Republic also will vote on amending their Constitution. Father McManus, who was born in Fermanagh, one of the six counties of Northern Ireland, said the agreement gives the nationalists, generally Catholics, "a structural connection to the Irish Republic" and takes away the fear of unionists, generally Protestants, "that they're going to be absorbed into the republic." He said Catholics in Northern Ireland are twice as likely to be unemployed as Protestants• "What this agreement means," the priest continued, "is that the nationalists have committed to nonviolence. Now the unionists must commit not just to nonvio- lence but to equality." Though some unionists will never accept equality, he said, progressive forces must keep moving for- ward. "Eventually the people who will not accept equality will be so marginalized that they will not be able to stop the progress," he said. Lynch, who represents the Hibernian Civil Rights Coali- tion, said "a lot was left unde- cided" by the accord. His group's "focus is the right to life," he said, and one fear is an expansion of legal abortion now secured for British sub- jects-- because of mandates in the agreement to enact equiva- lent rights for citizens in the North and South. He said the coalition also has reservations about the exercise of a veto in cross-border councils in which one participant could block any proposed action. O'Hearn, of the AOH, said he sees the British aim of extend- ing equivalent rights as a weak- ness in the agreement that could lead to the promotion of both abortion and a gay agenda. But he said, "We know the Irish will work to overcome that when the time allows it." He said the accord's strongest point is that "Irish constitution- al changes will introduce an ele- ment of consent." O'Hearn said the latest figures he had heard regarding the May 22 votes indicate the accord will be approved -- by a 62 percent majority in the South, and "in the North above 70 percent." The Unity Conference's Kennedy said it's very impor- tant that the London govern- ment sees the agreement as "a train• building particularly Northern the Royal police force, the civil service; human esteem for North; root cause last 70 end to par British i away. See !i: if: ¸ i: Ordination of Anthony Ernst to the Church, Jasper, Saturday, May 9, 10 a.m. Senior visitation, Rivet High School, May 11 12:30 p.m. Senior Visitation, Washington Carl Monday, May 11, 2:15 p.m. Confirmation at St. Mary Church, May 11, 8 p.m. Provincial Meeting, Indianapolis, Tuesday, Indiana Catholic Conference meeting, , i Wednesday, May 13. Bishop's staff, planning meeting, day, May 14, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 l?.m. Confirmation at St. Anthony Church, day, May 14, 7 p.m. • • ( Semor visitation, Memorial Htgh, day, May 15, 9:35 a.m. Senior visitation, Mater Dei High School, day, May 15, 11:15 a.m. Diocesan Pastoral Council meeting, urday, May 16, 8 p.m. to 3 p.m. Mass, Scout Family Jamboree, Holiday May 16, 6 p.m. /