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September 18, 1987     The Message
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September 18, 1987

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4 Editorial The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana September 18, 1987 r By PAUL LEINGANG Message Editor Amateur mistakes and reflections on ordinary times I bought the wrong paper cups the other day. If you have ever made such a mistake in your life, you will recognize immediately what a burden it places on your psyche. We were preparing for a gathering of several families at our house, with a range of guests from infants to grandparents. Preparations for such an occasion are more difficult when the host family is relatively new to the area, without the accumula- tions of stuff a long established family always seems to have. Buying the wrong paper cups was not the only mistake I ever made in life. It was not even the on- ly mistake I made that day. It was the most signifi- cant mistake of the moment, maybe even the most important new mistake of the week. I bought the wrong containers full of soft drinks, too -- plastic bottles instead of aluminum cans. Not as significant as buying the wrong cups, but pretty serious. When you think about making mistakes significant, important mistakes -- you may well skip over the ordinary kind I am writing about. Ex- cuse me for saying it, but if that is what you are thinking, you are mistaken. Significant, important mistakes do not have to be running the wrong way in the football game, using salt instead of sugar in the recipe, flying the plane to the wrong airport, or arresting the victim of a crime. Even taking the wrong exit on the freeway and driving 37 miles to the next exit and 37 miles back to the correct interchange -- as powerful a mistake as that may be -- does not qualify as a truly significant and important mistake. Buying the wrong paper cups tops the list, because I knew they were wrong when I bought them. I would never have bought small, wax- coated paper cups for use by several families. I knew kids could crush them in a fraction of a se- cond. I feared grown-ups would have to refill the cups after a few swallows. The printed design on the sides of the cups matched the printed design on the paper plates we planned to use, but that was not my reason for making my significant, important mistake. My mistake was made because of a significantly er- roneous presumption. I presumed my wife would want to have paper cups matching the paper plates. My mistake was the presumption. And not on- ly the presumption, but the abandonment of all thought of my own. With full knowledge that what I was doing was buying the wrong thing, I bought the wrong thing. Buying the wrong cups, in the circumstances I described, is not very different from all other mistakes of prejudging people. Examples are easy, and I am sure you can add to the list: -- I know what the pope is going to say and I disagree; I am just not going to listen. -- I know that my child breaks things, and since this thing is broken, I know who did it. -- I know mom always liked you better than me. Abandoning all thoughtful responsibility and buying the wrong cups anyway is the same as a thousand other mistakes on another list: -- I know I am driving too fast, but they expect us to be on time. -- I know I should not have another drink, but the bar is still open, so it is what is expected. -- I know I should do my homework, but nobody told me to. It may be a mistake to try to wring any more meaning out of the simple and ordinary event, temporary stupidity of buying the wrong paper cups. It would be a greater mistake to ignore it. Ignoring mistakes is probably good enough for the competition in "Mistake of the Month." It takes a real pro to get into such a league, and I am still an amateur. Washington Letter Nicaragua: Reagan, the pope and determiningpolicy By LIZ SCHEVTCHUK NC News Service MIAMI (NC) -- When Presi- dent Reagan and Pope John Paul 1I met Sept. 10 at the Viz- caya estate in Miami, one of the things on the president's mind was his opposition to Nicaragua's Sandinista govern- ment. A Reagan administration of- ficial, briefing reporters after the meeting, said the president used "discreet diplomatic language" to appeal for the pope's help in pressuring Nicaragua to make democratic reforms. And in Washington, Secretary of State George Shultz was telling Congress the same day that Reagan plans to ask for another $270 million in new military and other aid for the contras fighting the Nicaraguan government. Though Reagan apparently did not attempt to enlist the pope in his campaign to con- tinue funding the contras, his 00l00,o88aGe 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 47711 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Publkl weekly except It week in December by the Catholic PreM of EvwWIle. Publllher ....... Bhzhop Frcl$ R. She,, Associate Publisher .... Rev. Joseph Zlliak Editor .................. Paul LelnWmg Circulation Mgr... ,Mr=. Roee Momrutelle Production Mgr ............... Phil Beget Advertising Mgr ............... Dan Hon'y Addrus Ill communications to P.O. Box 41(, Evansville, IN 47711. Phone (812) 424-6536. Subscription rate: $16 per year EnterlKI as 2nd clmm matter at the poet of. rice In Evansville, IN 47701. Publication number 843000. PoetmmBter: Return POD forms 3879 to the Offioe of PublW, atlon. determination on the issue may be unmatched -- unless one looks at the determination from the other side of the issue by the U.S. bishops. Just as Reagan has consistent- ly sought military support for the contras, the bishops have rejected military aid, terming it "immoral" and "illegal." In a late summer legislative alert to its diocesan constituen- cy, the u.s. Catholic Con- ference noted it "has repeatedly opposed the ill-conceived policy of waging undeclared war against Nicaragua through the funding, arming and train- ing of the contra forces." The USCC is the public policy arm of the U.S. bishops. "The policy has clearly violated laws and treaty obliga- tions -- and thus can be termed illegal -- and fails on most criteria required to justify arm- ed aggression -- and can thus be termed immoral," said the USCC. SUCH STRONG language is not new. In 1985, the bishops, represented by Archbishop James A. Hickey of Washington, told Congress that "direct military aid to any force attempting to overthrow a government with which we are not at war and with which we maintain diplomatic relations is illegal and in our judgment im- moral and therefore cannot merit our support." Reagan, meanwhile, has sounded just as emphatic over the last several years. "As you know, I am totally committed to the democratic resistance -- the freedom fighters -- and their pursuit of democracy in Nicaragua," he said in a major policy address Aug. 12. Congress has gone both ways, at one point forbidding such assistance, only to turn around later and authorize it. Now, as business resumes in September on both Capitol Hill and at the White House after summer recesses, the centre aid issue is back again. This time, however, the late summer appearance of a Central American peace plan adds new questions to the old debate. On Aug. 7, leaders of five Central American nations, in- cluding Nicaragua, agreed to a peace plan that calls for an end to U.S. aid to the contras, a cease-fire by Nov. 7, and democratic reforms by the Nicaraguan Sandinista govern- ment, which has been criticized by U,S. church officials and others for human rights viola- tions. The contras likewise have been criticized for human rights violations. Like their Central American counterparts, the U.S. bishops have called for "political, negotiated settlements of the conflicts" in Central America. "Continued U.S. fueling of the contra aggression frustrates and may doom such efforts," the USCC summer alert stated. Meanwhile, the fiscal 1987 allocation of $100 million for the contras is scheduled to run out by the end of September. Initially, the White House had requested some $105 million in support for the con- tras in fiscal 1988, which begins Oct. 1. But in mid- summer the Reagan administra- tion announced it might seek as much as $140 million, to be provided over an 18-month period. Conservatives, however, want the president to increase the contra aid proposal to $310 million. Reagan, who had earlier said he welcomed the five-nation Central American peace plan -- as long as it is "consistent with our national interests and our commitment to those fighting for freedom in Nicaragua" -- promised to not abandon the contras in another address two days before meeting the pope in Miami. "If the recent peace agree- ment does not work, let's resolve that they will be able to count on our continuing assistance until Nicaragua is a genuine democracy," he said that day. "We will not accept a mere semblance of democracy. Let's be clear about one thing: We will not abandon our friends in Nicaragua." Letter to the editor i EWTN and local cable TV To the editor: All readers of the Message should be informed about a campaign in the Wabash Cablevision area. All local parishes have been working to try to add EWTN to the list of local cable TV programming. Eternal Word Television Net- work is available to the cable company at no cost, so that it can be offered to basic cable subscribers at no extra cost. EWTN's foundrass is Mother Angelica, a Poor Clare nun from Cleveland who built a monastery to fulfill a vow she made when a severe fall threatened her with never being able to walk again. Mother Angelica walks with a brace now, and the monastery has been built at Birmingham, Ala. She has also built a network of quality television programming available to cable viewers nationwide. Since Sept. 1, EWTN is a 24-hour a day source of infor- mative and wholesome televi- sion: Scripture Scholars, family theater, teen music and more. There is 'Mother Angelica Live," a question and answer program with telephone com- mments from all over the country. The Pope's visit to the United States is being covered live, morning, afternoon and even- ing, on EWTN -- significant coverage of a religious event with modern television satellite technology. Wabash Cablevision has just expanded its basic cable ser- vice, but EWTN was not made available to the thousands of Catholics in Knox, Daviess, Lawrence and neighboring counties. I hope and pray that EWTN will be added, at the next possible opportunity, by Wabash Cablevision and by every cable company in Indiana and in the nation. God bless us with EWTN viewing. Patricia Traylor, Vincennes, IN