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Evansville, Indiana
August 6, 1993     The Message
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August 6, 1993
 

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2 The Message Monthly -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana August 6, 1 The world around us Commentary by DEACON JIM CAVERA During the last few weeks I have been cleaning out some files that I have had at home for many years. I came across a series of articles written by a former classmate, Father Tom Schindler, Ph.D., on Catholic social teaching. I found them to be very rele- vant to my own recent search for the meaning of social jus- tice and so I thought I would share some of the highlights with you. In this series, Father Schindler discusses the large number of major documents outlining the Church's posi- tion on social issues going back to Pope Leo XIII's en :t cyclical Rerum Novarum in 1891. His premise is that in spite of a wealth of teaching, the majority of Roman Catholics have very little ac- tual knowledge of where the Church stands on most is- sues, with the exception of abortion and birth control. He feels the major cause of this is society's presumption about the proper sphere of re- ligion, namely that religion should limit its attention to the personal life of the indi- vidual and to the affairs of heaven. In fact, those who work to inculcate the Church's social teaching into today's world are often seen as "different." I confess that for many years when I would catch a glimpse of a'priest in a crowd of protesters on the evening news, my first response was that he didn't belong there and should be back at the parish where he belongs. I have come to realize that this was the same way many peo- ple saw Jesus and His follow- ers some 2,000 years ago. Father Schindler goes on to say that since we are ignorant of our Church's social teach- ings, we in this country tend to presume that what Amer- ica is and stands for in gen- eral agrees with the position of the Church -- and vice versa. In actual fact, this is far from the truth. The Church does not con- demn our country but it does offer serious questions and challenges to many dimen- sions of our society. As a Catholic I cannot expect the Church to proclaim an offi- cial stance on every issue that comes my way. For example, I am not looking to Rome to give me direction about the issue of riverboat gambling -on the Ohio River but I cer- tainly have a right and an obligation to question and challenge this issue and .many others in the light of the gospel values. For over 100 years since Pope Leo XIII we Catholics have been invited and chal- lenged to get involved in bringing about social, politi- cal, and economic change. It took me a long time to get the message. I am grateful for Fa- ther Schindler's insights and I am a bit curious about what else I might find in my old files! Health Continued from page 1 parishes in the diocese. The term "Diocese" is sometimes used to refer to the diocesan central offices lo- cated at the Catholic Center, Evansville. Using the term in this way may lead to a misun- derstanding of the activities of the diocese and the costs involve& The term, "diocesan lay employees," for example, does not refer to the lay per- sons who work at the Catholic Center. "Diocesan lay employees are the more than 700 lay persons who work for the parishes, schools, and other entities throughout the diocese. The current situation The current insurance pro- gram for lay employees is partly "self-insured," accord- mg to Ron Baumgart, dioce- san treasurer. "When we don't collect enough to pay insurance claims, it's not some outside agency or insur- ance company that takes the loss. We all do," The diocese is not com- pletely self-insured, Baum- gart explained. "Stop-loss" insurance is purchased for the program so that the loss will never be greater than a specified amount. Purchasing the stop-loss insurance is part of the expense of operating the program. Some additional expense is also incurred for management of the program. The greatest expense, how- ever, is for paying out the claims. Other factors have also con- tributed to the current situa- tion. Inflation is one such fac- tor. Another is the decreased participation in the current insurance program. Baumgart described the "current situation with some facts and figures showing that the claims paid out have been greater than the money in premiums taken in, for two of the last three years. On Aug. 31, 1990 m the end of the 1989-90 fiscal year, the loss was $275,949. At the end of the fiscal year 1990-91, the shortfall was $333,270 for a total loss of over $600,000 in just two years. The fiscal year 1991-92 was already underway when ac- tion was taken to make sure that there would not be a third year of losses. Following the recommen- dations of an insurance con- sulting firm, the diocese made cost-cutting changes in the Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurance coverage. Manage- ment of the program was transferred to Acordia of Evansville. Effective in Janu- ary 1992, insurance premi- ums were doubled. For the fiscal year ending Aug. 3i, 1992. the diocesan insurance program had a sur- plus of $86758' The increase in premiums solved one problem but led to How yOU can make a How to change the world for the better, starting at home Following are suggestions from various sources for "making a differ- ence" at home, in the parish and in the civic community. ! 1. Pray for flood victims. Send money for them to the Catholic Cen- ter, P.O. Box 4169, Evansville, IN 47724-0169. Donations received will be forwarded to Catholic Charities USA for Midwest Flood Relief. 2. Change your summer vacation "trip" to a "pilgrimage." Pray with your family along the way at churches or when you discover breath-taking views of nature. 3. Think about what activities at home wouldprovide you with re-cre- ation or renewal. Do those activities, for yourself, or with your family. 4. Support the Ozanam Shelter for the Homeless, at the St. Anthony Cen- ter for Family Life, Evansville. 5. Help the Resource Agency for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing pay for air conditioning at 1018 Lincoln Av- enue, Evansville, IN 47714. 6. Tour the Evansville Christian Life Center, 509 South Kentucky Av- enue, Evansville, and learn more about ministry to unmarried mothers, SPRED Friends make a difference Smiling faces bear witness to the rewards of working one-on-one with special sPRED friends. Celebrating the achievements and friendships of the special religious education program at St. Agnes Church, Evansville, are from left, Larry Feldhaus, Marge Ford, Barry Schenk, Ann Wargel and Adam Heuck. homeless and hungry. Make an appointment first, with Ann Gries, (812) 421-4686. 7. Contribute to the 1993 Collection for the Church in Latin America. (You may have :: had envelopes in your parish packets back in July.) 8. Contribute to the Black and Indian/Home Mission Collection, which will be taken up this Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 7 and 8, at parishes in the Diocese of Evansville. ' . This collection has been used since 1885 to provide assistance for hundreds of priests, sisters and catechists working in the Black and Native American communities. Last year, the collection provided $6.5 million for evangelization, which was uted for mission efforts in 140 dioceses n but the requests for funds totaled more twice what was available. Requests were made for almost $16 million, according to mation provided by the organizers, distributde to In 1992, an audit showed that 98 cents out of every dollar collected was the missions J the creation of another many employees of the dio- cese turned to other insur- ance programs. As the num- ber of people in the diocesan program dwindled, insurance premiums dwindled and the diocese again faces a loss. Baumgart estimates that the loss by the end of August 1993 will be $144,000. Alternatives Several possible courses of action are being considered. Advantages and disadvan- tages are detailed below. 1. Do nothing. Advantages: Costs for in- sured individuals and fami- lies remain the same. Cover- age remains the same. Disadvantages: The "dio- cese" (all of us) loses money this year and the next -- as much as a half-million dol- lars. Such a repeated loss threatens the soundness of the financial basis of the diocesan structure. dictably decrease, which will lead either to another in- crease in the premium or to the dissolution of the plan. 3. Drop the diocesan insur- ance program Advantages: Diocese will not face increasing risk of fi- nancial loss. Disadvantages: Some em- ployees and covered mem- bers of employees' families may not be able to afford in- surance, and may have to live in a precarious financial situ- ation. 4. Transfer our program to a larger group program. Advantages: Coverage will be available. Costs will be known, the risk of a shortfall will be removed. Disadvantages: Some deci- sions will be removed diocesan structure. will be set by the tor of the larger group. 5. Change to a ance" program with pation of all eligible eP ees in the diocese. Advantages: coverage tinues. Number of par pants makes self-i program viable. Disadvantages: costs for the agencies or parishes ploy them. Members of the str committee are to exa these and all other ties, then make their mendations. 2. Raise premiums. Advantages: Coverage con- tinues for those able to pay the increased premiums. The insurance program collects enough to pay anticipated claims for one year. Disadvantages: Some em- ployees may be unable to af- ford increased premiums and will have no insurance cover- age. The number of employ- ees in the" program will pre-