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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
July 11, 1997     The Message
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July 11, 1997

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The Message m for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana --- Taking the time to make a difference --- It takes a parish ... By PAUL R. LEINGANG EDITOR It was a remarkable conversa- tion. We talked for a little less than 30 minutes, but we could have con- tinued for hours. There were three of us, a Catholic, a Muslim and a Jew, and we were discussing faith, family and society. The conversation was video- taped, as one edition of a series of television programs on a wide range of interfaith issues and concerns. Our topic was broad enough to explore some of the human dimen- sion of growing up within a faith tra- dition. I mentioned that I was a "born Catholic" and that, as I grew up, I slowly became aware that there were people in my home town who were not Catholic. The others had similar experiences. Marwan grew up in Kuwait, and learned when he went to school that there were some Christian Arabs who had a tradition very different from his own Islamic family. He grew up in a society where his faith was in the majority --just the same as it had been for me. When I grew up, almost everyone I knew was Catholic. Jean learned very soon in life about religious differences. She told us that she was warned by her father, very early in life, not to attract attention to her Jewishness. While I was in the majority when I was growing up, she grew up as a member of a minority which suf- fered from hatred on the part of some and disrespect on the part of many more. Times have changed in many ways. Jean says she no longer has, to keep quiet about her faith. Mar- wan is now in the United States, in a community where Islam is a minority faith. And Christianity is not nearly as wide spread as I used to think it was. Immigration continues to bring us new cultures, new tradi- tions and new people of a faith dif- ferent than our own. What has remained the same, we three agreed, is the importance of family and community in sup- port of our faith. As different as our traditions may be, what we found in common was the need to have others give us strength in times of weakness. We need the example of our leaders and clergy and elders. We have come to realize that the pressure of our peers is not always bad -- especially when we see the strong, clear faith of someone who is very much "just like us." * * $ When did you first realize that you were a Chris- tian? Or perhaps, the question to ask is this, when did you first learn that there were people who did not have the same beliefs and practices as you did? If there are children in your home, talk with them about their friends and acquaintances at :. school. In many instances, our children are expend: encing a broader range of cultures and traditions than their parents found when they gr ew up.. _ Talk with someone from an oldergenerawn :i::: about their experiences of other faiths Didthey i face discrimination? Take the time today to learn more own faith and tradition. The more the tenets of your own religion, the able to see the differences with others. a b o u tTkneo :hh:r t f=t; :d aYut:urg: ti tyk:; ::h;g " Perhaps the best way wold be to getto knOW a person of another faith. Consider the standard and readily ways of learning more about some one mail. Become a "pen pal." Welcome an exchange student. Host a foreign visitor. Share your own faith with a child. Celebrate a feast from another ..... tion. Invite some one to a celebration of your ow*:. : Pray for international understanding .... : Take the time to make a difference. Comments about this column are welcome t l bi or the Christlan Farn y . : P.O. Box 272, Ames, Iowa 50010. ; :; Supreme secrets: Washington's only leak-proof st By PATRICIA ZAPOR Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) m In a city where being "in the loop" depends on how long you know something before everyone else, the Supreme Court remains a bastion of kept secrets and unleaked details. There inevitably remain a few major cases that are the focus of rampant speculation, wishful thinking and some peculiar rit- uals in the last weeks of the court's term each summer. One week before the court was scheduled to adjourn this year, the justices had yet to rule on assisted suicide; the Reli- gious Freedom Restoration Act; the Brady Bill; the Internet decency law; the line-item veto and remedial programs in reli- gious schools. The last-minute wait means daily monitoring of the court's schedule because the clerk's office often announces that opin- ions will be released only a day The MESSAGE 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 47711 I Weekly newspaper :(ca, of the Diocese of Evansv,le Published weekly except last week in December by the Catholic Press of Evansville Putiisher ............. Bishop Gerald A. Gette;finger Edger ......................................  R. Leingar Production Technician ............... Joseph Dietrich Advertis ................................... Paul Newland Staff Writer ............................ Mary Ann Hughes Address all communications to P.O Box 4169, Evansville, IN 47724-0169 Subscription rate: $!7.50 per year Single Copy Price: $.50 Entered as peeilical malW at e ix't office in Erdtts]le, IN 47701. PtMcali numbe 843800. Postmas: Return POD forms 3579 t0 Office of Coht 1997 Catholic Pros of Evansvie ahead. Which cases are coming is never announced. That means reporters and $500-an-hour attorneys clear their calendars in case tomor- row's the big day  trying to get into the courtroom themselves, arranging for someone to line up for copies of printed opinions. If the hoped-for case isn't released, they scramble to do it again two days later. Among the press, the ritual takes on a clubby competitive- ness. Some go into the courtroom, but most journalists gather downstairs around two desks in the press office. Writers from wire services and networks dus- ter near the two doors; daily papers, law journals and every- one else at the farther desk. At 9:55 a.m. a buzzer announces the imminent start of the session and the press office staffsolemn- ly carries in closed file boxes filled with that day's opinions. Wisecracks and random guess- ing about the boxes' contents break the nervous tension. As the number of each opinion is read by the chief justice upstairs, a clerk phones the press room and the printed version is handed to" or rather, grabbed greedily by  waiting reporters. Ifthe case is a biggie, reporters run to phones in the next room, trying to decipher in 50 words or less a ruling that took nine Supreme Court justices and their law clerks perhaps six months to research and write. If it's some obscure case, the crowd merely shifts a bit as stacks of rejected opinions are returned tothe desk. The two huddles reshape, and tension builds again until the phone rings. The other ritual of final opin- ions season is the speculation game. Anything can fuel it -- a com- ment from a justice's secretary about his plane tickets; the report that another justice's office was brightly lighted into the wee hours. But nobody ever knows ahead of time what the court will do or when. "It's been this way for 200 years," said Toni House, the court's press secretary. She added that the court's small staff and high professional expecta- tions there, as well as the last- minute rush of writing, make it unlikely that leaks will occur. Take the Washington and New York assisted suicide cases. Although all nine justices upheld state laws banning such assis- tance, the rulings took the form of several interconnected concur- ring opinions, which read like a written debate. It likely wasn't even printed until the night before it was handed out June 26. "And as a practical matter, the opinions are not final until they're announced from the bench," House added. She and her staff don't know until they arrive at work what cases await release that day. "We make it a point not to know until we come in in the morning," she said. "And then we practice our poker faces" The poker faces hold up well as reporters make their guesses, hanging on anyone's insight into something they'll all know with- in minutes. For instance, on June 25, one i iii ,,,, i ii The Word of Life n I For me, life is the most beautiful gift of God to mankind, therefore" people and nations who destroy life by abortion and euthanasia are the poorest Mother Teresa of Calcutta TV/radio network reporter sound- ed like the wisest man in the building as he speculated about the box's remaining opinion Not assisted suicide, he said. We know there's only one opinion in the box and the New York and Washington cases will surely be addressed separately, he said. It also couldn't be the Inter- net decency case, he reasoned, because "if the court's term ran three years long, they still wouldn't be able to come to a consensus on that before the last day of the term." No, he told the rapt audience of reporters, it's probably the Brady Bill case -- newsworthy, but not as important or as juicy a story as the other two. Minutes earlier, opinions were released overturning the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and in three less-interesting cases The Wise Man reasoned that the gun law were suited on what he second-to-last daY l The big ones : tomorrow. Thirty l ment with his log1 court's Ninety Man of the press ! another interpret insider trading lawsuits or tising? By the 16 major . ions were keep track they The June 27, the st day of the term" : la So much for insight" : A reminder: Comments are welcomed for the Bishop i' Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger continues h, this week on the sacraments of Marriage The first column in the series was pu was headlined, "HELP WANTED!" "Here is how you can help me to be a better : ..... Gettelfinger wrote. "Please write your specific concerns about tht Marriage to me at the Message so that I an integrated fashion rather than Several responses have been sent to ments, suggestions and concerns are Letters.may be sent to Bishop's Forum, Box 4169, Evansville,'IN 47724o0169. Diocesan Finance Council, day, July 16, 3:30 p.m. Vacation, July 17 through July 31.