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August 21, 1998     The Message
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August 21, 1998

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21, 1998 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 5 The clock is ticking. In 1995, Indiana enacted welfare reform, aimed at moving persons off the welfare rolls and into work limits. : ' COMMENTARY Provided by JUDITH NEFF Diocesan Coodinator Indiana Catholic Conference Some have made the transition But of the more than half million Hoosiers living in poverty, many lack the educa- ti0n, work experience, and other to become self- before government runs out. Others ready work at low-paying jobs ctical guide offered to respond to the poor public policy advocate for the more than 700,000 Roman Catholic Hoosiers. Response to the Poor in Our Midst details how church con- .gregations and individuals can Improve conditions that prevent people from suc- ceeding in the work world. Suggested actions include de- veloping affordable day care, providing jobs, speaking out on public welfare poli- cy, and becoming one-on-one "coach- es" to job seekers. Another part of the Christian response to the poor is being losophy did not lessen society's concern for the well-being of poor parents and their dependents. Public and private assistance sys- tems must cooperate to assure that the transition from public assistance to self-sufficiency is fair The ICC board addressed this problem in an open letter "Crit- ical Needs of the Poor," sent to Governor Frank O'Bannon and the 150 members of the Indiana General Assembly in 1997. The letter advocated welfare reform ggested actions include developing affordable day care, providing jobs, speaking out on public welfare policy, and becoming one-on-one "coaches" to job seekers. and functional." Response to the Poor in Our Midst is the latest project in a ments to assisting the poor," the letter concluded. O'Bannon responded that he shared the Catholic Conferem'e's concerns. "Welfare-to-work is not just about spending fewer tax dollars," O'Bannon said. "It is also about helping our fellow Hoosiers break the cycle of dependency and lift themselves up to fulfill their potential as human beings, as citizens and as models for their children." In summer 1999, the ICC plans a statewide confer- ence where model pro- that promotes personal respon- grams of community assistance sibility by participants and to the poor can be studied. Ryan chances for productive work, explained, "We want to look at with minimal benefits. These honest about the helpers' limi- two-year effort by the ICC to "while offering concrete help." how we partnered in the corn- "Working poor" may have tations. The brochure proposes increase awareness of the poten- Citing the $14.6 million in ser- munity to assist persons in tran- depended on food stamps, med- that parishioners learn about tial human fallout from welfare vices provided by Indiana sitioning from public or private ]!cal coverage and other aid to state or local government pub- reform. In October.1997 the iCC Catholic charities in 1995, thelet- assistance to work. And, we | lust make ends meet. Loss of that lic assistance programs in order brought together directors of ter noted that the new welfare want to see if work offers them | help will leave them desperate, to work with them and refer Indiana diocesan charities and system could "rely on increased adequate compensation and ] The Indiana Catholic Confer- when a people to them parish family and social service agencies involvement" by the Church. It benefits for themselves and [ .ence (ICC) has published a cannot respond to certain needs, to discuss welfare changes. Par- called for similar participation their dependents." | brochure outlining practical The Catholic Church has ticipants predicted that, as gov- by other religious institutions, | Steps to help these most vulner- always been a public voice for the ernment funding to individuals community groups, corpora- To obtain a co of Response to able of the needy Response to the disadvantaged, especially chip and support agencies dwindles, tions and nonprofit organiza- the Poor in Our Midst contact the Poor in Our Midst will be dis- dren and their families, said ICC the number of requests for help tions. "But these (private efforts) ICC Diocen Coordinator, }udith I tributed to parishes in the state s Executive Director M. Desmond will swell beyond their organi- should never be seen as a sub- Neff(812) 424-5536 or toll-flee in t five dioceses by the ICC, the Ryan. "This shift in welfare phi- zations"capability to respond, stitute for government commit- Indiana (800) 637-1731. Magazine issues special report on 'Humanae Vitae" NEW HOPE, Ky. (CNS) -- the Vatican magazine has !Publlshed a 52-page special sup- Plement called "A Prophecy for commemorate the anniversary of Pope Paul 1968 encyclical "Humanae ("Human Life"). encyclical, which con- married love and pro- reaffirmed church that artificial contra- is morally wrong. A news release from the Rome-based magazine's U.S. office in New Hope said the supplement focuses "on how many of Pope Paul's predictions in the encyclical have come true with devastating consequences for the modern world in the 30 years since its release." The magazine includes: a pas- toral letter on the document by Denver Archbishop Charles J. Chaput; an article by Bishop James T. McHugh of Camden, N.J., a member of the Vatican delegation to the U.N. world population conferences; a state- ment on human cloning by the Catholic Medical Association; and a two-page section titled "Choose Life!" with news items on contraception and popula- tion control. It also has interviews by U.S. contributing editor John Mallon, who 'talked about "Humane Vitae" with, among others, Jesuit Father Joseph Fessio, head of Ignatius Prr,; lknedictine Father Paul Marx, founder of Human Life International; Father Frank Pavone, international director of Priests for Life; and Janet Smith, a philosophy professor at the Uni- versit 3, of Dallas. Mallon is former editor of the Sooner Catholic newspaper of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma Cit; Okla. He won two awards from the Catholic Press Associa- tion for a special supplement to that paper put together for the 26th anniversary of "llumanae Vitae," Regular subscribers u're to receive the Inside the Vatican sup- ph, ment along with their regular August/September issue. Others can order an issue for $4 by calling (800) 789-9494. Bulk rates are atilable. ,: Despite reports, school violence not showing steady rise VqASHINGTON (CNS) heavy media coverage of school shootings might otherwise, the number is not steadi- tg and was actually in 1998 than five years says a new study. study, called "School " said the media's on school shooting inci- taken out of con- causing public poll- and politicians to the root of the problem. more pressing issue lued from page 4 pointed out that the premise behind Catholic that all people are image and likeness us the ability to effective." the gap between the educational philosophies it difficult for public to emulate Catholic unlt,s they work togeth- local levels, as in Chicago. schools, dubbed by for those concerned about the safety of children in America is the threat of everyday gun vio- lence," said the study conduct- ed by Justice Policy Institute, a criminal justice research group. The study was paid for by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which supports juvenile justice efforts. It collected data on fatal school shootings from several federal agencies and the Nation- al School Safety Center at Pep- perdine University in Malibu, Calif. The data showed that the some to be the worst in the nation with their low test scores, budget deficits and lagging school maintenance, have under- gone a complete overhaul under the direction of Mayor Richard Daley. As part of the revamping effort, members of the mayor's appointed schools' management team met with Chicago's arch- ditxxan school officials includ- ing Elaine Schuster, superinten- dent of Chicago's Catholic hools. 'q'here was no system-wide number of school shootings has fluctuated in recent years, but has still remained lower than the number of shootings earlier this decade. According to the data, there were 55 school shootings in 1992-93, 51 in 1993-94, 20 in 1994-95, 35 in 1995-96, 25 in 1996-97 and 40 in 1997-98. The study also cited data from the National Safe Kids Cam- paign which said unintentional shootings among children are most likely to occur at times when children are unsuper- model for turning our system around, so we looked for non- public school models," Blondean Davis, deputy chief education officer, told Catholic News Ser- vice in a previous interview. They liked what they saw in Catholic schools  and made changes to imitate them, such as limiting curriculum to the basic subjects and writing a character curriculum. "We certainly won't be teach- ing religion," said Davis, but we will teach moral values such as ttspect for others and the impor- vised. Peak hours for such shootings are not during school hours but between 4 and 5 p.m. Other statistics showed that school shootings make up a small minority of all killings of and by juveniles, and children are three times more likely to be killed by adults than by other juveniles. Yet despite such findings, the images of school shootings in Paducah, Ky., Jonesboro, Ark., and Springfield, Ore., continue to stand out as part of a growing trend, according to the study. tahoe of family. Since the overhaul, test scores and enrollment have gone up and Davis is optimistic that other changes will occur over time. During ne of the public school officials' visits to a neighboring Catholic school, Davis said "a And the proposals for stopping this trend are missing the boat, according to the study's authors. Responses such as discontin- uing after-school programs, providing more school police officers, increasing school sus- pensions and trying youths as adults, are not solutions, the authors argued. Instead, they recommend more after-hours school pro- grams, the restriction of mass gun sales and looking at the bchool shootings from a broad- er perspective. "The recently publicized school shootings could provide a long overdue call to action fo America to productively occu- py our children and keep them away from guns," .the study concluded, "but only if our elected officials look in the fight place for solutions." Bishop's Forum sense of order permeated." '00ere were no to return 4 guards either, it was because the students were serf-motivated BishopA, Gettelfmg and d, which i_ definitely the Oq. bishops" national liason what we want. We needed to with Catholic scouting, is par- return to what public schools ticipating in a scout trek at were initially." PhilmonL