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June 7, 1991     The Message
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June 7, 1991

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4 i Editorial The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana June 7, 1991 By PAUL LEINGANG Message Editor Taking giant steps: Process of children leaving home I remember when I could hold a son of mine in one hand. Now one is about to graduate from high school and the other is about to get his driv- er's license. The process of children leaving home takes two giant steps. That process began at birth, so slowly at first that we hardly noticed it. But it was already certain and necessary, even in those days 16 or 18 years ago. It seems to me there was more time to think back then, in days and years past when a baby boy could be carried so easily, carefully but casually. Perhaps there was not really more time to think and reflect back then, but it seemed that way. There was time in the long hours of the night sometimes spent providing the only comfort that was possible -- a walk at a steady pace through i darkened rooms, trying not to sleep or stumble or to alter the rhythm which brought peace. Then there was time to think and to reflect. Then there was time to do neither. After all, it was not the thought or the re- flection that provided the comfort. It was only being together, being safe and secure in the darkness of the night. It was the consistency that brought calm. Children grow up and parents grow older. Comfort and calm are more complicated, but I have no desire to return to earlier days. As we race towards graduation now and the prospect of another teenage driver in the family, I realize that in many ways I am still called to a similar path. I am still trying to proceed at a steady pace, trying not to sleep or stumble through different darkened rooms. I realize that I have not always been consistent along the way. I realize that at times I have stumbled, and even slept. The one who is constant is the model for all of us. The God who holds us in the palm of his hand is consistent and steady, and to the extent that any of us provides such comfort and calm to another, we share in God's goodness. With God and within the family, there are times for thought and reflection. There are occa- sions that demand conversation and communica- tion. But just as in the family, so it is with God, there are times when what is required is only the presence of another, no matter how dark the room or uncertain the steps Vatican Letter Religious belief of all kinds flourishes in Soviet Union By AGOSTINO BONO Catholic News Service VATICAN CITY (CNS) While a new religious free- dom law allows the Catholic Church to start planting roots in the Soviet Union, the law already has produced a flow- ering of the Russian Orthodox Church. Russian 'Orthodoxy, the country's main religion, has seen the number of its parish- es grow by 63 percent since 1985 while Catholic parishes have grown by 30 percent. In absolute numbers, there are 11,118 Orthodox parishes as compared to 1,385 Catholic. What both churches have in common is that recent changes in the communist government's attitude toward religion have reversed the trend of diminishing parish- aS. Government figures on state-recognized religions were made available during a May 22-24 Catholic-Marxist dialogue in Moscow, co-spon- sored by Vatican and Soviet organizations. The recent upswing in church activity was preceded by a period of decline. In 1966, there were 7,523 Orthodox parishes compared vh:MESSAGE 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 47724-0160 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Published weekly except last week In December by the Catholl Press of Evansville. Publisher .... Bishop Gerald A. Gettelflnger Associate Publisher .... Rev. Joseph ZUiek Editor .................. Paul Lelngang Production Mgr ............... Phil Boger Cir./Adv. Mgr ........... Paul A. Newland Address all communication. = to P.O. Box 4169, Evansville, IN 47724.0169. Phone (812) 424-5536. Subscription rate: $1 7.50 per year Single Copy Price: 50 Entered as 2nd class matter at the post of. rice in Evansville, IN 47701. Publication number 843800. Postmaster: Return POD forms 3579 to the Offioe of Publication. vflQht 1991 Catholic Pr of Evansville to 6,806 in 1985. The Catholic figures are 1,116 for 1966 and 1,068 in 1985. Fig- ures for Muslims, Jews, Bap- tists and Seventh-day Adven- tists show the same trend of steady declines between 1966 and 1985 and then a sharp upturn. The trend upwards has re- sulted from a steady loosen- ing of restrictions on religion culminating in the 1990 law, according to Yuri A. Rosen- baum, member of the Soviet legislative committee which wrote the law. Secret decrees which clamped down on believers and restricted public worship are no longer obeyed, he said. "The number of religions has grown. Denominations previously interdicted can now practice their religion," added Rosenbaum. The state now accepts the idea of religious conscien- tious objection to military service and is working on a law for alternative service, he said. Things are so good, accord- ing to Rosenbaum, that non- believers might consider themselves discriminated against. Non-believers are not rec- ognized in the law and the state is ceasing atheistic pro- paganda, he noted. Despite the new attitudes and law, however, decades of state persecution means that it will be some time before many organized religions can take advantage of the new possibilities. The basic short- ages are of money and trained personnel. Restrictions have been lift- ed on church social work and religious books, and liturgical items can be imported, he said. Church schools are allowed and religion can be taught in public schools as an optional subject, said Rosenbaum. I ,, Letter to the editor Responding to VOCARE To the editor: You seemed able enough to respond to my letter which you printed in the May 24th (issue of) the Message, but you gave no response to the letter on VOCARE. You could, and I feel that you should have, as the editor of a Catholic paper responded with a statement such as, al- though we print all letters to the editor we do not endorse or agree with the position of VOCARE. Apparently you agree with the VOCARE as you printed an article sup- porting the same viewpoint the following week. As you fail to show support for established Catholic dec- How do you set up a school system without teachers and financing to construct or rent buildings? Given the practical situa- tion, it is no surprise that the Russian Orthodox Church has profited most from the situa- tion. It has the longest and strongest roots in Soviet soci- ety. Historically, it has had the inside track under good trine I am requesting that you cancel my subscription and refund the $15 which I paid for it. Yours in Christ, William R. Morris Chrisney Letters published in the Message are selected from those submitted, to provide a forum for a wide range of thoughts and ideas. Publica- tion of a letter does not indi- cate endorsement or support of the view expressed. All let- ters submitted for considera- tion must be signed by the writer and must include a daytime telephone number. times and bad. Before the 1917 communist revolution, it benefited from centuries as the state church. Links to the Russian czars where so close.that rulers supplied tons of gold to cap church domes. Catholicism was generally considered a suspicious Western influence and often subjected to dis- crimination. After the communist takeover, the Orthodox Church lost its power and prestige, but it was allowed to survive. Critics say the survival was in exchange for subservience to the state, including sup- port of government policies. Orthodox officials have de- nied this, saying their church also suffered heavily under communist rule. Although restricted, the Or- thodox were allowed to main- tain churches and operate seminaries and other basic in- stitutions to assure continu- ity. In contrast, the Eastern-rite Ukrainian Catholic Church was made illegal in 1946 and is just now emerging from the catacombs. Many pockets of Latin-rite Catholics in far- flung regions were without priests and are only now being rediscovered by Catholic officials finally hav- ing the freedom to travel. Currently, there are 52.4 million Orthodox and about 12 million Catholics. The following activities and events are listed on the schedule of Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger Bishops schedule