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July 12, 1996     The Message
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July 12, 1996

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:4 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana July Taking the time to make a difference- Faith on the hilltop, faith in the valley It was easy. Easier than I ex- pected. "It" was finding the Catholic church building in an unfamiliar town. Shortly after amiving in south- western Indiana, I set out to do a feature story on every parish in the diocese. Some of the articles were better than others. The process took more than a year-and-a-half to complete. Some parishes already had well-researched histories, hand- somely bound as hardback books. Such a history is easy to read and full of fascinating information. In other parishes, the information was harder to find. But in most cases, the church building itself was easy to find. When I first started to travel around the area, I would ask for detailed directions from someone who was familiar with the location of my next parish ar- ticle. Later, after gaining some confidence, I found out that I did not need a lot of direction. The process of finding the church was easy in the middle- and small-sized cities: Go there, look for the highest hill or area, and find the church steeple. That didn't always work. Usually it did -- and for good reason: People of faith want the sign of their faith to be visible to all the world. Their light is not By PAUL R. LEINGANG EDITOR under a basket. It is proudly dis- played. Churches are harder to find amid the tall buildings of a large city. Some times, the church is pre- sent, not as a building, but in the faith of the people, in the lowest parts of the city -- where other peo- ple most need some sign of God's love. The church building is only one such sign -- in big city or rural com- munity. Whether their worship is in a cathedral or a chapel, the sign of the church should be expressed in the Gospel words of Matthew 11. The question is asked by John the Baptist: Are you the one? The answer from Jesus is clear: Tell John what you see and hear, that the blind see again, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life and the Good News is pro- claimed to the poor. Happy is the person who does not lose faith in me, says Jesus. What are the signs of faith in your life? Talk with members of your family about how you found the church. Or how the church was a visible sign in the home where you grew up. How is the church present in your neighbor- :% hood? Do the people who live near you know that you are Christian? In what ways is the church visible in or town? Where do believers today continue of the Messiah? Where do the lame walk? Where isl the Good News being preached? ; The family is identified as "the church of the home," where most of us first experience home is where the hungry are fed, whe God. In the hurts are healed, where ordinary life is a sign ol, extraordinary presence of a loving God. Take the time today to make your faith more visible to those around you. At times, that may mean standing tall and proud, with the sign of your faith clearly visible from the outside. At that may mean helping a toddler walk or bathing a family member too young or too old to do it alone. Faith is public. Faith is private, too. Take the time to acknowledge the faith you have witnessed in others -- parents or friends, a spouse or a child, those who preach in the church the hillside, and those who preach in the church the streets. Find a way to help them continue to l blessed, and to bless each other, with signs fast faith in daily life. Comments and suggestions are welcome at the Christian Family Movement. Send e-mail to or write to CFM, P.O. Box 272, Ames, Iowa 50010. : Washington Letter Moral vs. political issues: Is there a difference? By NANCYFRAZIER including environmentalism to welfare reform. In between and vision that ought to guide said they should O'BRIEN Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) When is an issue a moral ques- tion and when is it a political one? That distinction, made in a report on a study of religion and politics by The Pew Re- search Center for the People and the Press, raised some hackles among those who try to bring a moral perspective to all the political questions of our day. "We've banished God to one room of the house, and made him into a sort of bedroom cop handing out citations for bed- room behavior," said the Rev. Robert J. Brooks, director of government relations for the Episcopal Church. Rev. Brooks was disputing a part of the Pew center's report that contrasted attitudes on what the poll called "moral is- sues such as abortion, laws re- garding homosexuality and family issues" to their stands on "a range of political values The MESSAGE 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 Publisher ............. Bishop Gerald A, Getlelfinger Etor ...................................... Paul R. Leingang Production Technician .............. Joseph Dietrich Advesing .................................. Paul Newland Staff Wnter ............................ Mary Ann Hughes Address all communications to P.O. Box 4169, Evansville, IN 47724-0169 Subscription rate: $17.50 per year Single Copy Price: $.50 Entered as periodical matter at the post office in Evansville, IN 47701. Publication number 843800. Postmaster: Return POD forms 3579 to Office of Publication C 1996 Catholic Press of Evarv, and beliefs about international security." The U.S. Catholic Confer- ence Administrative Board, in its quadrennial statement on political responsibility, clearly sees moral content in a wide range of political questions that go far beyond the "bed- room issues." Its latest version, issued in November 1995, lists 20 key areas of concern from abortion are such issues as disarma- ment, capital punishment, racism, housing, environmen- tal justice, refugees, human rights and violence. "The religious community has important responsibilities in political life," the bishops say. "We believe our nation is enriched and our traditions of pluralism enhanced when reli- gious groups join with others in the debate over the policies Letters to the edit our nation." Respondents to the poll com- missioned by Pew seem to agree. Conducted between May 31 and June 9, the survey in- volved 1,975 adults. The mar- gin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points. Asked whether churches should "keep out of political matters" or "express their views on day-to-day social and political questions," 54 percent T'ue Christian charity To the editor: How wonderful of Bishop Gettelfinger to share his story of true Christian charity con- cerning his visit with the Jeho- vah Witnesses The Message, May 24.) I too answered a knock at my door on that Saturday to find two ladies from Jehovah Wit- ness. I knew immediately where they were from by their quiet manner and the way they were dressed, as if they were on tleir way to church, just like what we Catholic's used to call "proper church clothes." How that has changed. I, unlike the bishop, did not invite them in, but did greet them with a smile on my face. After they introduced them- selves and spoke of their mis- sion, I informed them I am Catholic and a member of Na- tivity Parish where I am very satisfied. I also added that I admire them for evangelizing for their faith. I think they left my home as they did the bishop's, feeling very good about their work, even thought they didn't convert anyone. I have been embarrassed in past years by some of my Catholic friends when they told me how they handle Jehovah Witnesses who come to their door. I was chairperson of a group of our parishioners a number of years ago who participated in doing a census of our parish boundaries. We asked if there were any inactive Catholics or unchurched people living there. I'm happy to say that we were mostly welcomed the way the bishop's guests were. Many quickly announced their church affiliation and I re- sponded, "That is very good." We were not trying to change the religion of those who were happy where they were, only to offer a place for thosewho needed a place to come. Again, I say "thank you, Bishop Gettelfinger." I believe you are saying if we treat all people we come in contact with in our daily life in a Christ-like manner, we are true Christians. Marilyn Singer Evansville Thanks for Scripture Search To the editor: Just a note to tell you how much I enjoy the Scripture Search by Patricia Kasten. I look forward to it each week. First of all, I read the scrip- ture, meditate on it, then work the word search. To me, it is really helpful in the Sunday Mass, and my scripture readings all week. Please continue it, as I'm sure there are a lot of people who enjoy it as I do. May the Holy Spirit continue to bless you. Thanks, Stephen Howard Jasper views. The number higher among white cal Protestants (70 and black Christi cent). '" On another questiorl, 661 cent of the res 70 percent of the spondents -- said it "right for clergymen political candidat from the pulpit." cent of white ew Protestants and 40 black Christians be OK. Eighty-seven perC those polled churches had the issue of poverty. Majc they had about abortion 0 world trouble sp( Bosnia or cent), and prayer 1 schools (56 percenJ' Only 21 percent' had heard from th specifically about c! and elections. Younger AmericaJ often than seniorS, churches should views on politics 42 percent). were more school graduates ticking from the cent to 26 percel See Bishop's sche The following activities and events are listed o tll :e schedule of Bishop Gerald A. Gottelfinger: Ordination of Kenne Church, Huntingburg, Installation of tor of St. Joseph Church, Princeton, 10:30 a.m. Vacation, July 16-31 .........