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August 30, 1996     The Message
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August 30, 1996

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::::::::::::::::::::::::::::-'::::: ::A:::: ' ......... :.:?--: -': 4 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana August 30, 1996 --- Taking the time to make a difference-- A requirement for communication It was exactly the opposite of what I had expected. But it made perfect sense. It was a bit of truth that I learned while carrying a piece of electronic equipment through a muddy field in southern Illinois. I was in high schGol at the time, and one of my teachers, a man who had a great love for the out-of-doors, had invited me and several other students to accom- pany him on a series of canoe and cave adventures in Illinois, Mis- souri and Arkansas. All of the trips were exciting, and we students had a lot of fun. Some of the trips had a more serious purpose -- but that was fun, too. On one of the trips, the one which came to my mind recently, we were testing some new equip- ment the teacher had invented. One of his serious purposes for cave exploration was to survey some of the passageways and caverns in the vast limestone deposits beneath the farms and forests of the mid- west. That was difficult work, in little or no light, to use a transit and a surveyor's chain through small rocky openings and over slippery ledges. The teacher-inventor-explorer had devised a set of low-frequency radio transmitters and re- ceivers. With this set-up, a signal could be sent By PAUL IL LEINGANG EDITOR from a spot below the ground, and a receiver could pick up the signal above the ground. The signal could lead an operator to a spot exactly above the underground transmitter. Using this device, ownership of the land above a cave could be de- termined. A commercial cave devel- oper could pinpoint the place to drill an airshaft for extra ventila-. tion. But back to the bit of truth, learned in the early days of testing the system. I expected that the radio opera- tor above ground to track the signal the way they do in the movies. You put the head- phones on and you walk toward the signal as it gets louder and louder. Not so. The way the system worked was exactly the opposite. When the top radio was directly over the underground radio, there was no sound at all. The truth is, the radio inventor told me, that it is almost impossible for a human ear to tell which of many sounds is the loudest of them all. It is rela- tively easy, though, to tell when the sounds com- pletely stop. The most successful communication, in this case, is silence. Think about the times you and others in your family have been silent. Silence can be awkward in a group of strangers, yet silence can be wonderfully comfortable, even intimate. Where do you find silence, or perhaps peace and quiet, in your neighborhood? How is silence used in your worship service? John's Gospel (Chapter 8) describes a crowd calling loudly for the punishment of a woman caught in sin. Jesus writes on the ground, tells the crowd that the one who is without sin should cast the first stone. Then he is silent again, until the crowd goes away. When is silence an appropriate response? * * * Take the time today to evaluate the sound lev- els in your home or workplace, from television, com- puter, CD players and other sources. If you find lit- tle or no opportunity for real communication because of such distractions, take action to correct the situation. Evaluate your neighborhood, or your commu- nity. If you discover a need, work for establishment of a place of safety and quiet, or for a reduction in the noise levels. Take the time to make a difference. Comments about this column are welcome at or the Christian Family Movement, P.O. Box 272, Ames, Iowa 50010. -----Washington Letter Dogmas take on dinosaurs and apes in nation's public schools By CAROL ZIMMERMANN Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- As students across the United States go to their science classes this fall, they may get some mixed messages about di- nosaurs and fossils. That's because a growing num- ber of school board members and lawmakers who call themselves "creationists" have been hard at work attempting to discredit evo- lution as a scientific theory. This school year, for example, all biology textbooks in Alabama will include a pasted-in dis- claimer warning that evolution is a controversial theory and shouldn't be considered fact. And earlier this year, bills downplaying evolution reached the state legislatures in Geor- gia, Tennessee and Ohio. Al- though none of the bills passed, they each added a little more fuel to the controversial fire. The Georgia Legislature de- feated an amendment that would have allowed teachers to present alternative theories to 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 h. Gettelfinger Eddor ........................... , .......... Paul R. Leingang Production Technician .............. Joseph Dietrich Advemg ................................... Paul New4and Staff Writer ............................ 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 a s periodical matter at the post office in Evansville, IN 47701, Publica- tion number 843800. Postmaster: Return POE) forms 3579 to Office of Pubiication 1996  Press of Evans-etie evolution in their classrooms. In Tennessee, the Senate voted down a bill that would have al- lowed schools to fire any teacher who teaches evolution as fact. And Ohio's Legislature defeated a proposed bill requiring teach- ers to present evidence chal- lenging evolution whenever ori- gi.ns of life were discussed. Since 1994, one Louisiana school district has required teachers to read a disclaimer be- fore presenting evolution lessons The Call to Hospitality To the editor: Not often enough, meone from our faith community openly ad- dresses a controversial subject in a way that challenges all of us to re-think our understanding and behavior in regard to the matter. In a July issue of the Message, Jim Cavera described such an experi- ence in an article headlined, ''he Call to Hospitality." We can expect this openness to be rewarded with warnings of heresy and unfaith- fulness to the Holy Father... and we vil] not be disappointed. Personally, I'm encouraged when anyone is inspired to fol- low Jesus to society's fringe and walk with those who are misun- derstood, alienated and dis- criminated against. Thank you, Jim Cavera, for calling our at- tention to a ministry that has long been avoided in our Church. And thank you, Mr. Ed- itor, for publishing Jim's article. Mary Ann Sehultheis Evansville Candidate Weinzapfel To the editor: I would like to comment on Candidate Weinzapfel's letter explaining his position on abor- tion.He makes several excellent suggests that would represent a very positive approach to illegal abortion, if abortions were still illegal. However, as the only ap- proach to unrestricted legal abortion, they are woefully in- adequate. There is no indication in his letter that he intends to seek any form of legal protection for the unborn. If there were no legal restrictions on murder of the already born, of any age, would he use the same approach to that situation that he now proposes for the unborn. If not, he has accepted a double stan- dard that to say the least is ex- tremely questionable morally. I'm sure that Mr. Weinzapfel understands Church teachings that man is created in God's image, fully human at the mo- ment of conception. The Holy Father often characterizes abor- tion as an abomination and as playing a major role in the rapid expansion of the 'culture of death' so prevalent in our soci- ety today. Perhaps I do Mr. Weinzapfel an injustice, but from his own stated position, my personal perception of him as a candidate could best be summarized by an unfinished sentence: another po- litically correct Catholic politi- cian personally opposed to abor- tion, but, etc. I pray to God that the people of southern Indiana deserve bet- ter representation in Washing- ton, D.C.; the unborn-certainly do. Robert P. Wiehman Washington See LETTERS p.age 5 and another district allows'stu- dent-led discussions concerning alternatives of life. origins. Even national politicians are getting into the discussion. In an interview with Sam Donaldson on ABC's "This Week," one-time Republican presidential candi- date Pat Buchanan said parents "have the right to insist that godless evolution not be taught to their children or their chil- dren not be indoctrinated in it." Just how to teach life's origins is both an old and new debate. The 1925 "Monkey Trial" in Ten- nessee convicted John Scopes of the crime of teaching evolutidn. But in 1968, the U.S. Supreme Court in Epperso n vs. Arkansas ruled that states could not ban evolution teaching on religious grounds. And in a 1987 case, Edwards vs. Aguillard, the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional a 1981 Louisiana law requiring public schools teaching evolution to grant equal time to creationism. But a dissent written in that case by Justice Antonin Scalia said Christian. fundamentalists in Louisiana were "entitled, as a secular matter, to have what- ever scientific evidence there may be against evolution pre- sented in their schools." His opinion gave many the opening they're still using to discredit evolution and introduce alter- native theories, such as cre- ationism, in class. Such intense resurgence of a debate that's older than Darwin himself is "a real crisis to edu- cation," according to Jesuit Fa- ther James Skehafi, a professor and director emeritus of geology at Boston College. The priest -- who said he be- lieves in the Bible as a religiout document, but not as a scient! fi' textbook -- is afra'id that today'S students will come out of school "not knowing the basics of sci" ence or how to distinguish sci" ence from religion." That dis" turbs him "as a scientist ald also as a Catholic." But those who, like Frank Sherwin, profess unswerving be lief in the biblical accounts 0 creation and the flood are even ' S more dmturbed that today s ;u dents might not be given the t ]i picture, and therefore will never be able to think critically. Sherwin, an assistant to the president of the InstitutefOr Creation Research in Santee, Calif., says "today's students have to tolerate everything. But on the volatile issue of human rights, a steel door comes doW Students are indoctrinated tha they came from hydrogen gas. Sherwin, who taught biologY at a Christian college, told" Catholic News Service he has .no problem with what he sees in the living world "and what the Bible teaches about where eV" erything came from." j See WASHINGTON Page ' I Bishop's schedule The following activities and events are listed on the sched" ule of Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger: Labor Day, office closed, Monday, Sept. 2. Agenda Meeting, Sept. 5, 1:30 p.m. St. Meinrad, Mass, social, program in support of archabbey friends, Sunday, Sept. 8, 4 WNIN Directors' Meeting, Monday, Sept. 9, 4 Churc: plies t tion i, issue. vhat To t In r,e, .apfel Plaine( Vould !fOon r. W Uma cal car