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June 23, 1995     The Message
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June 23, 1995

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4 The Message-- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana -- Taking the time to make a difference--- &apos;1 did it without thinking' A guy walked past the window, you feel a little silly -- when you judged as "the sloppy one?" Or one who is alwayS Why was that a surprise? Be- cause I was upstairs, at home, in a bedroom. We had hired a company to re- place the roof of our house. Even though my wife and I had spent hours and hours going over the de- tails with the contractor, it was still a surprise to see someone walk past the second story window. There were trucks parked out- side. There were ladders leaning against the house, and Scaffolding in place. The sound of scraping and hammering echoed through the neighborhood. Yet I was surprised. How many thousand times had I looked out of that window, I wondered. Never before had anyone walked past it. Habits certainly are more powerful than knowl- edge, I thought. On the road as well as on the roof. There are days my wife and I have to share a car. Some times she takes me to work. Some times I take her. On more than one occasion I have con- tinued to drive toward my office. Then, I have to double back to take her to work. One morning's de- cision has been negated by years of habit. Such are the examples of a common, truthful apology: "I did it without thinking." Such behavior is acceptable -- even if it makes By PAUL R. LEINGANG EDITOR are dealing with the ordinary ac- tions of daily life. Such behavior may not be acceptable, however, when you are dealing with your family and friends. But the hazard of habitual familiarity remains. We have a son who is 20 years old. It is easy to treat him -- as we habitually and sensibly did for many years -- as a child. That may be understandable, but it's not right. It is as if we were looking out of the window expecting to see a boy, as we had for so many years and suddenly, a young man appears. Of course, we know that he has grown up, but that does not negate the habit of almost a lifetime. Or, it is as if we set out on the journey as a young family together -- and forget that all of us at some point have to go our own separate ways. * * * Talk things over with the people in your home. If you-have children, ask them if there are times when you surprised them by making decisions for them. If you live with other adults, discuss the habits each of you has -- especially the habitual ways in which you view each other. Is there one person in the house who is always pected to be late for all events? Or one who posed to clean everything up? What are the habits in your home? What about your co-workers? Has anyone, everyone, at work become so predictable in mind that you no longer have to think about , * Jesus must have surprised a lot he not a carpenter's son? Where did he big ideas? A man who collected taxes, and knew nothing else but how to fish for a suddenly called to be disciples. Because of Jesus, a man who was born could suddenly see. A leper was made could such things happen? A woman who lived with one man after after another suddenly became a witness ple in her community. She told them that who knew everything she had done in her come to offer love and salvation. :: Take the time today to examine how you judge people according to or ability. Allow yourself to be surp grant the same gift to your neighbor. :: Questions and comments are welcome Christian Family Movement, P.O. Box Iowa 50010." i  Washington Reviewing religions role in Cairo and looking to Beiji By NANCY FRAZIER O'BRIEN Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) The strong Vatican role at the U.N.'s 1994 Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, Egypt, may have marked a turning point in the importance of religious groups to such international gather- ings, according to experts in the field. "In the past, international conferences have ignored reli- gious beliefs altogether or treated them as a problem to be dealt with," said David Devlin- Foltz, deputy director of the Pew Global Stewardship Initiative, which is working to increase awareness of the need for better use of the earth's resources. Events at the Cairo confer- ence will affect religion's role at the Fourth World Confer- ence on Women, scheduled for Sept. 4-15 in Beijing, and on similar international gather- ings for years to come, said participants in a May 31 brief- The MESSAGE 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 47711 Weekly newspaper of the )ioc..=se of Evansville ubli<hed weekly except last week in 9eceFqber t,y the Catholic Pn3ss of C. vans ville ublish3r ............. BishoP Ge,'ald A, 3ettelfinger "ditor ........................................ P,ul Leingang roduc'ion Manager..,..: .............. Amy Housman Advertising .................................... Paul Newiand Staff Writer ............................. Mary Ann Hughes Address all communications to P.O. t3ox 4" 69, Evansville, IH 47724-0169 Subscription rate: $15,00 per year Single Copy Price: $.50 Entered as 2nd class matter at the post office in Evansvitte, IN 47701. Publica- tion number 843800. Postmaster: Return POD forms 3579 to Office of Publication Cop,ptg 1995  Press of Evansvile ing sponsored by the initiative. As religious groups prepared for Cairo, a nine-day confer- ence in September 1994, they found a "remarkable" amount of 'common ground on popula- tion and development issues, despite some "profound differ- ences on abortion," Devlin- Foltz said. Working with delegates from several Muslim and Latin Amer- ican countries, the Vatican suc- ceeded in revising parts of the 98-page "Program of Action" dealing with abortion, birth con- trol and homosexual unions. In the end, the Vatican supported the document's call for improved health care, economic develop- ment programs, empowerment of women and support for the family, but withheld its full ap- proval because of problems with other sections. The Rev. James B. Martin- Schramm, a Lutheran minister who teaches at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, saw the con- ference workings firsthand in Cairo. As a board member of the Religious Consultation on Population, Reproductive Health and Ethics, he took part in a parallel forum for nongovernmental organiza- tions and participated in preparatory and follow-up ses- sions to the conference. "The Vatican has been a con- sistent voice for the poor and a critic of callous, capitalistic eco- nomic systems," said Mr. Mar- tin-Schramm, who nonetheless criticized the Vatican's position on women's issues. Describing the Vatican's role at the conference as that of a "prophetic gadfly," he praised the Vatican delegation for re- maining faithful to its "bedrock theological assumptions." "It is vital for the religious community to uphold its cen- tral moral convictions," Mr. Martin-Schramm said. t3ut there also must be a willing- ness to "respect differences" on issues like abortion, on which people "can disagree and still move ahead." Although the Vatican has a unique role in international af- fairs because of its dual position as a city-state and the world headquarters of the Catholic Church, other religious groups need to follow its lead in being "up front, challenging the inter- national community" on issues of moral importance, said Mr. Martin-Schramm. "Any document is only as good as the paper it's written on unless a group of people lives its vision," Mr. Martin- Schramm added. "The religious community knows what it's like to nurture a value." Faith Mitchell viewed the Cairo conference -- and the Vatican's role in it -- from a different perspective. Now director of the Division Of Social and Economic Studies at the National Academy of" Sci- ence, she was the Clinton ad- ministration's most visible spokeswoman during Cairo as senior population coordinator for the Department of State's Bu- reau of Population, Refugees and Migration. She said the "No. 1 lesson" she learned before and during Cairo -- "although I guess I was naive not to have already known it" -- is that "religious views cannot be overlooked in reaching major international agreements." But, Ms. Mitchell added, it was equally clear that "it is not possible for any one religion to carry the day" at an interna- tional conference. "The religious voices had to reach consensus." Before the Cairo conference, representatives of various Catholic women's organiza- tions charged Ms. Mitchell with anti- Catholic bigotry be- cause she said the Vatican op- position to the conference's draft document had to do "with the fact that the conference is really calling for a new role for women, calling for girls' educa- tion and improving the status of women." Those comments showed "re- markable ignorance of the church's contribution in educa- tion" and of its "advocacy and ministry on behalf of poor women," the Catholic church- women said in a letter that ap- peared as an advertisement in The New York Times. At the Washington briefing, Ms. Mitchell predicted that in the future Islam might be the religion with the greatest in- fluence on international con- ferences. While Islam remains "very powerful at the national level" in many Muslim coun- tries, she said, some tradition- ally Catholic ing to more secular ments." As Beijing, the nity seems likely many of the same cussed at Cairo. inevitable, with draft plan of action ( "bracketed" or an international But the religious certainly be heard" "Three-qua: world's world through religious wc Martin- Schramm. "And certain key the international are realizing ligious times been an past," he added, have to be in Bishop's sche The following activities and events are schedule of Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger ! ": i !i  ;:ii: