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Evansville, Indiana
September 11, 1987     The Message
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September 11, 1987
 

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4 Editorial The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana I SeT)temher 11, 1987 By PAUL LEINGANG Message Editor Preparing for company: Some last minute thoughts about a visit We are preparing our house for company. Such preparation is vastly different than preparing it simply for living in it. When you prepare a house for company, you have to do in days or hours what should really take months. It is really not dishonest -- convinc- ing others that you really live in an immaculately cleaned home, with artistically arranged furniture and decorations, and with well-dressed and well- behaved children who are always polite. The reason it is not dishonest is that no one really is convinced that you live that way; every one knows that you have to prepare -- according to certain conventions and expectations -- for company. All company is divided into three kinds -- friends, relatives, and business. Preparation for business company is easiest. With luck, you only have to prepare one room. Anything and anybody not appropriate can be stashed in some other part of the house. Friends are easy to prepare for -- depending on the depth of the friendship. For very, very good friends you don't even have to prepare. You can let them see how you really live. Relatives are the hardest to prepare for, especially the ones who believe an invitation to your home means an invitation to every part of your home -- even to the top shelf in the utitity room closeL If the relative coming to your home is power- ful or rich or famous for some reason - the pressure is so much greater. Not only do you have to prepare the house; you also have to prepare for the conversation. How do you talk to such a one? What does he like to eat? Will he be comfortable? The Catholic Church in the United States is having company this week and next, company of the third kind. A relative. A powerful and famous relative. Preparations for the papal visit began months and months ago, and millions and millions of dollars ago. Cathedrals have been refurbished and ball parks will be beaten into basilicas, temporarily at least. Along the route from Miami through the South and West and back toward Detroit, questions about food, comfort and security have been asked, and the best answers have been given. But what do you say to such a one? Months and months of preparations have led to planned presentations from priests, deacons, bishops, laity, religious, educators, health care providers, representatives from Catholic Charities, Native Americans, Black Catholics, Hispanics, and other members of the Catholic family. Certainly, some groups and individuals who have not been chosen' to speak will also want the pope to hear their views. Call it a "demonstration" if you like; it is really just an expression of disagreement ir: the family. All families seem to have factions; some factions even isolate themselves from other fac- tions. Just because it is part of a normal family does not make it less painful. Some Protestant brothers and sisters are also coming together with the leader of the Roman Catholics; some Jewish cousins, and some distant relatives -- Moslem, Hindu and Buddhist leaders -- will participate, too, during the visit of Pope John Paul II. How do you talk to such a one? Many speeches have been prepared for months, by family representatives chosen in advance -- priests, bishops, deacons, religious, laity, educators, Black Catholics, Native Americans, Hispanic leaders, representatives of Catholic Charities, and health care providers are among the ones chosen to speak. Some who have not been chosen will also try to get the attention of the Pope, to communicate their thoughts and feelings to this powerful relative of ours. Call such an effort a "demonstra- tion," if you will. Have you ever seen a family gathering at which everyone agreed with everyone else? The impact of it all may take years to assess. If you ever heard someone talk about "the time Un- cle So-and-so came all the way from California to visit us," you begin to realize hqasting the ef- fect of this papal visit may be. The memory could be about the gift he brought, or the fight we had, or countless other reactions to the visit of a relative. If you haven't prepared yet for this papal visit, there is still time. Even though the trip has begun, you can still try to learn all you can about this family of ours. You can still read and watch and listen to the reports of the travels. And you can pray for a successful journey. Washington Letter' The Title X proposals: new and not-so-new By LIZ SCHEVTCHUK NC News Service WASHINGTON (NC) -- New proposals from the Department of Health and Human Services to sever abortion connections in the Title X federal family plann- ing program reflect some old ideas. Pro-lifers for years have been trying to tighten the rules on Ti- tle X programs to remove any vestiges of pro-abortion ac- tivities. Their complaints are that medical clinics receiving grants from Title X, the government- funded birth control program, sometimes exist virtually "under the same roof" as abor- tion services or routinely make abortion referrals. Similar reforms were propos- ed in 1982, with some of the 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 4771 1 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Published weekly except last week in December by the Catholic Press of Evansville. Publisher ........ Bishop Francis R. Shea Assectste Publisher .... Rev, Joseph Ziliak Editor .................. Paul Leingang Circulation Mgr..., Mrs. Rose Montrastelle Production Mgr ............... Phil Beget Advertising Mgr ............... Dan Hetty Address all communications to P.O. Box 4169, Evansville, IN 47711, Phone (812) 424-5536. Subscription rate: $15 per year Entered as 2nd class matter at the pcet ol- flos in Evarmville, IN 47701, Publication number 843800, Postmaster: Return POD forms 3579 to the Office of Publication. same provisions as the new pro- posals -- such as requirements that family planning agencies and abortion services at the same site have separate person- nel, offices, equipment, exits and entrances. That attempt failed. In fact, staff members at na- tional pro-life organizations say they have heard such changes proposed -- either publicly or internally by Reagan ad- ministration officials -- so often that they can't remember exactly who or what shot down the 1982 initiative. "It's really ancient history," said Douglas Johnson, legislative director of the Na- tional Right to Life Committee, when asked what happened five years ago. Such efforts have been pro- posed "time and time again," he explained. "And somewhere along the line they'll get derail- ed." Federal law already demands that "none of the funds ap- propriated under this title shall be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning." But right-to-lifers want all vestiges of pro-abortion activity removed from Title X opera- tions. FOR EXAMPLE, existing regulations, which would be changed if the newproposals take effect, tell family planners to give women with unwanted pregnancies "counseling ... and referral upon request (for) prenatal care and delivery; in- fant care, foster care or adop- tion; (and} pregnancy termina- tion." By comparison, the proposed regulations would prohibit Ti- tle X agencies from making abortion referrals and taking any action "which encourages, promotes or advocates abortion as a method of family plann- ing." Whether these proposals, made public the first week in September, will ever be im- plemented is unclear. A final version must be published, after a 60-day period for public comment. Already, abortion rights groups have threatened lawsuits to block implementa- tion of the changes. IT'LL BE LITIGATED to death...to a conclusion," predicted Johnson of the Na- tional Right to Life Committee. "It's not unlikely it'll go to the Supreme Court." Court cases aren't the only possible obstacle. As Johnson noted, in September 1986 Secretary of Health and Human Services Otis R. Bowen attempted to revise the rules and tell family planners they would no longer be required to provide abortion information. Pro-lifers applauded the change. However, Congress rejected the proposal and warned it must-be consulted before any such changes in application of Title X were announced. Over the years, Congress also has scuttled attempts to change the Title X program by law. For example, a 1985 measure to deny Title X funds to groups that perform abortions or offe; - abortion referrals died after spirited lobbying and press conferences by pro-lifers on one side and abortion rights groups on the other. "There've been lots of false starts," said Richard Doerfl- inger, assistant director of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops Office for Pro-Life Ac- tivities. And, as he wrote in a column for the Catholic Star Herald, ,Camden, N.J., diocesar newspaper, "pro-lifers' en- thusiasm is justifiably guarded, because the same promise was previously made ... and came to naught. But while overdue, the new proposal is certainly welcome." Lawsuit is filed for column that 'insulted' pope ORLANDO, Fla. (NC)- A Catholic woman has sued the Orlando Sentinel newspaper and one of its columnists for more than $11 million because the paper published an article she says insulted Pope John Paul II and the church; Mary Burns, a member of Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Goldenrod, Fla., filed the federal class-action lawsuit in mid-August after the Sentinel ran a column by Bob Morris Ju- ly 31 that said the pope would be appearing on the television show "Miami Vice." Ms. Burns wants $11,000 in punitive damages from Morris and $11 million from Sentinel Communications Co., claiming the column is part of a "consis- tent anti-religious" editorial policy" exhibited by the paper. Morris wrote that "the pope will play a simple holy man who gets caught smuggling co- caine under those baggy vestments" and that he would marry two of the show's characters. Morris noted that both the pope and Sonny Crockett, one of the characters, were "really snazzy dressers." "I find it extremely vulgar," Ms. Burns told The Florida Catholic, Orlando's diocesan newspaper. "There's a line of common decency, and he cross- ed mine. I don't know of any reputable newspaper that would do this.!' She wants the money award- ed to Catholic Charities and Catholic Relief Services. Morris responded that the column was written in jest and was "clearly parody." "I didn't mean any disrespect. Everything in that column was off the wall," he said. The article indicated the papal news item came from a "different news service than the rest of the paper." Morris received several other complaints, but said he was surprised to find that some peo- ple took the column seriously.