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September 18, 1987     The Message
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September 18, 1987

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6 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana September 18, 1987 II III II III I I I Pope praises Black Catholic gifts to Church NEW ORLEANS (NC} -- Pope John Paul II, a white Polish pope, hugged 11 black American bishops as 1,800 other black Catholics clapped hands in unison and sang Gospel music composed by Afro-Americans during the papal visit to the New Orleans Superdome. The scene showed the grow- ing importance and impact of black culture on the Catholic Church. "It used to be considered an anomaly to be black and Catholic. The pope buried that myth," said Auxiliary Bishop Emerson J. Moore of New York after Pope John Paul II's Sept. 12 meeting with black Catholics. The symbol of the meeting was the acacia tree, native to Africa and the tree used to build the Old Testament Ark of the Covenant. Throughout the side room in the Superdome red, white, burgundy and yellow banners hung with drawings of the deep-rooted tree known for its ability to survive through drought and famine. The tree is a symbol of Africa. "I urge you to keep alive and active your rich cultural gifts" because "your black heritage enriches the church," the pope said, "You are part of the church and the church is part of you," he added. In off-the-cuff remarks, the pope also noted that he is in daily contact with black Catholicism. He pointed to his personal secretary, Msgr. Emery Kabongo, a black Ugan- dan. "I am at home with black Catholics in America, and even in the Vatican," he said. His speech also criticized the continuing discrimination against blacks in U.S. society and asked U.S. Catholic leaders to fight to overcome the situa- tion. "The black community suf- fers a disproportionate share of economic deprivation, Far too many of your young people receive less than an equal op- portunity for a quality educa- tion and for gainful employ- ment," he said. The pope also praised black Americans for their use of non- violence as the means of over- coming discrimination and the religious motivations behind it. "The response of non- violence stands, in the memory of this nation, as a monument of honor to the black communi- ty," he said. "As we recall those who with Christian vision opted for non- violence as the only truly effec- tive approach for ensuring and safeguarding human dignity, ..."Here I am Lord." we cannot but think of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.," he added. Black bishops also saw the pope's remarks as support for their calls to end racism within the church. "Racism is a major hindrance to full development of black leadership within the church," said Bishop Joseph L. Howze of Biloxi, Miss. Racism is "American as ap- ple pie," said Bishop Moore. He called the pope's talk a "ringing encouragement" to solve concrete racial problems within the church. But the problems within the church are not as grave as those in general U.S. society, said Bishop Moore. "In the church we can always point to the teachings. This isn't always possible in socie- ty," he added. One specific church problem cited by black bishops after the meeting was keeping Catholic schools open in black urban areas despite dwindling populations. They cited papal support for their position. "The church has to meet blacks on their own turf," said Auxiliary Bishop John H. Ricard of Baltimore. "There is a tendency to close churches and schools in black ghettos," said Bishop Ricard. The church needs "creative ways" to marshal its vast economic resources to keep these schools and churches alive, said Bishop Ricard. During the meeting, the pope noted that many blacks have become Catholics because they attended church schools. "Keep your Catholic schools strong and active. Their uncom- promising Catholic identity and Catholic witness at every level must continue to enrich the black communities," the pope said. The number of U.S. black Catholics has grown rapidly this century. Currently there are 1.3 million, a rise of 200,000 in the past 75 years. Much of this is attributed to Catholic primary schools being open to black enrollment way before many public schools. Another reason is the incorporation of black music and culture into Catholic liturgical and parish life. i i im Pastoral Plan: Section Three Last in a series PART I BLACK CATHOLIC SCHOOLS I. Catholic Schools in the Black Community: We af- firm the presence of Catholic Schools in the Black Com- munity and urge their continuance. We affirm the declining number of Catholic schools in the Black community as a grave concern. We affirm Catholic schools have made their contribution to breaking the cycle of poverty by giving Blacks an opportunity to develop skills, information and self confidence which are impor- tant ingredients in life. We affirm Catholic schools have been an important vehi- cle of evangelization in the Black community. We affirm Catholic schools have contributed to the significance of the Church in the Black community. Where Catholic schools no longer exist, the impact of the Church is perceived to be reduced. We further propose a greater involvement of parish and parents in at- tempts to make the educa- tional opportunity open to those in need. We further propose that a preferential option for the poor be expressed in making Catholic education affor- dable to the needy. II. Quality Education in Catholic Schools: We pro- pose special attempts be made to assure quality education within the Catholic schools in Black communities. III. The Financial Development of Catholic Schools: We propose the development of reliable financial resources within the Black community as well as within the Church to pro- vide for the continued presence of Catholic schools. IV. Catholic Schools and the Black Community: We propose the continued finan- cial support of the Catholic schools in the Black community. V. Catholic Institutions of Higher Learning and Blacks: We affirm the need for programs to attract more Black students to Catholic colleges and institutions of higher learning. We affirm the decreasing number of Black students in Catholic colleges and institu- tions of higher learning is of grave concern. We affirm that Catholic colleges should make con- certed efforts to recruit the Black student. PART H NEEDS OF THE POOR & SOCIAL OUTREACH I. Social and Economic Issues: We propose that there should be the con- tinued concern of the church for problems relating to economic issues, such as unemployment, especially among black youth, substan- dard housing, homelessness and general public assistance. H. Issues of Social Justice: We propose specific pro- grams aimed at addressing Social Justice issues. HI. Development in the Black Community: We pro- pose the support of the economic development of Black Americans with special emphasis on the poor and the very needy. PART HI BLACK CATHOLIC PARISHES I. Black Parishes as Beacons of Hope: We call upon the Black Catholic parishes to be beacons of hope to the community. H. The Role of Pastors: We affirm the role of the pastor as essential to the life of the parish. HI. Parish Out Reach: We call upon Black Catholic parishes to reach out to the needs of the community. PART IV COMMUNrrY DEVELOPMENT I. Neighborhood Quality of Life: We propose that a continuing effort be made towards development of the community, especially in ef- forts to enhance the quality of life of neighborhoods and the protection of the environment. H. Networking of Parishes for Social Action: We pro- pose that the parishes demonstrate as models ex- isting and effective programs for coordinators of activities and resources for purposes of addressing local social justice issues. m. Governmental Pro. grams: We propose the con- tinued affirmation of the need of governmental pro- grams to address issues relating to housing, employ- ment, education and affir- mative action. IV, The Parish and the Community: We propose that parishes seek to find ways of developing base communities which provide a positive atmosphere for growth and development of their members. PART V SOCIAL DISORGANIZATION I. Parish and Social Con- sciousness: We propose that parishes develop a sense of social consciousness, which will enable them to reach out to their local communities to address community needs. If. The Parish and Strategies of Prevention and Intervention: We propose that in areas of unmet needs parishes offer their resources as brokers to develop strategies of prevention and intervention, especially in areas of health and family development. HI. Pih and Scoial Sup- ports: We propose that parishes should become the focal point for support systems necessary for com- munity development and cohesion. IV. Parish as Advocate: We propose that parishes make a concerted effort to become advocates for social change and social development. PART VI MORAL DEVELOPMENT I. Moral Values and Fami- ly Life: We propose that special attention be given to the need for parishes to work towards continued renewal of their membership in order to reaffirm themselves as a moral force in the wider community. H. Principals which Pro- mote Moral and Ethical Values: We propose that parishes assume the leader- ship in proclamation of the doctrines of our faith, especially the moral and ethical teaching of the church. HI. The Parish and Com- munity Standards: We pro- pose that the parishes within the Black community become standard bearers of Christian principles .of love of neighbor and protector of the most vulnerable, the very young and the very old, the poor and the marginalized. u I II I I m I II RUXER FORD - LINCOLN - MERCURY I inn u in inl HAUB STEAK HOUSE PRIME STEAKS - SEAFOOD - CHICKEN (1) 768-6462 LARGE PARTY ROOMS Haubstadt, Ind. H i HUNTINGBURG Buehlers I.G.A. "The Thrifty Housewife's Source of Savings" QUALITY FOODS, MEATS HUNTINGBURG III Compliments Nass & Son Inc. FUNERAL HOME Huntingburg, Ind. I