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September 27, 1996     The Message
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September 27, 1996
 

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4 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Se -- Taking the time to make a difference -- Sunlight and shadows, seasons in family life By the time I got to the garage to get the lawn mower, it was too dark to cut the grass. My plans for a weekday evening after work had to be canceled. The gradual shift in autumn toward shorter days seemed sud- denly abrupt. Was it not just a week or so ago that the days were warmer and much, much longer? :' This is a great time of the year. for many people in the midwest. Days are cooler, the sun seems brighter. The contrast between light and shadow seems sharper. The line between summer and fall is usually not quite so clear -- not day by day, at least. The difference becomes more noticeable when you measure across a week or so. At least that was my experience with the lawn at home. A week ago, there was time after a day at the office to cut the grass when I got home. Today, the sunlight available at the end of the day is too short for the tasks of summer. * * * Measuring the course of time, from season to season or year to year, has been a challenge for humankind, for as long ago as anyone can remem- ber. From Stonehenge in England to "Woodhenge" -- a series of posts set in the ground by native By PAUL R. LEINGANG EDITOR American mound-builders -- we members of the human race have devised various means to mark the passage of time. We look at the sun, and the shadows cast by its light. We look at the moon and the stars, and mea- sure the places along the horizon where they rise and fall. We feel the breeze on our faces, and note if it comes from the north or the south. We watch the rains turn fields into flower beds and dust into mud. But whether we use stone or wood, the wind or the rain, or even the light left at the end of a day at work, we rely on something to mark the passage of time or the change of seasons. One of the treasures of our Judaeo-ChHstian culture is the poetry that captures the universal human struggle to come to grips with time -- the time for planting, the time for reaping, the time for being born and the time to die. * * * What are the signs of time passing in your family? A mixture of pleasure and sadness comes to my eyes as I recall seeing pencil marks on the wall of a home once occupied by members of a young family. Each pencil mark was noted with a name and a date, measuring the height of a growing, child on the unchanging wall of a family It always takes something stable or measure what is changing. We need the peak to be unmoved, to mark the changing when the sun rises at just that spot. We need a where pencil marks will not be erased or over. What are the signs Take the time today to talk with others in home about what has changed in their lives what has remained constant. How did your family of origin mark the of time? The progress from school year to year? The changes in family status, j How does your parish or congregation the changes of a year or a lifetime? How does your neighborhood celebrate and departures, weddings, funerals, holidays holy days, significant events in each If you find events slipping past kind of attention you think they deserve -- at home, church or in the neighborhood -- take time to change that situation. You can make a ference. Comments about this column are welcome prleing@cfm,org or the Christian Family P.O. Box 272, Ames, Iowa 50010. Washington Candidates draw line in the sand over school cho" By MAUREEN E. DALY Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Presidential candidates Bob Dole and Bill Clinton have given the issue of education a high pro- file in their campaigns. But there is little agreement between them on how to improve the nation's schools. Republican Dole has proposed a federal voucher program which could be used for private schools. President Clinton, a Democrat, opposes any voucher system, but has endorsed school choice with- in public school systems. The interest in education should come as no surprise. After all, one in five Americans is a student in elementary or sec- ondary school. U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley, in his com- ments at the opening of the 1996-97 school year, announced that there are 51.7 million stu- dents in public and pr!vate schools this year, a national record demographers are calling "the baby boom echo." 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 Pubsher ............. Bishop Gerald A. Getteffinger Editor ...................................... Paul R. Leingang ProduclJon Technician ............... Joseph DieYich ,misin O ................................... Paul Newland Staff Writ ............................ 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 as periodical matter at the post office in Evansville, IN 47701. Publica- tn number 843800, Postmaster: Return POD forms 3579 to Office of Publication  1996 cac Pre= d Evamv In recent years well-publicized legislative proposals at the state level, including some endorsed by organizations of Catholic school parents, have heightened public awareness of the school choice issue. A recent Gallup survey, mean- while, reports that opposition has decreased to tax dollars being used to fund private edu- cation. Clinton and Dole appear to have chosen this as one defining issue of their differences. Public school teachers' unions, which oppose voucher programs, have been vocal in their support of Clinton. In response, Dole in his acceptance speech at the Repub- lican convention, coupled his proposal for a federally financed voucher program with a direct attack on teachers' unions. "To the teachers' unions I say, when I am president I will dis- regard your political power," Dole said. "I plan to enrich your vocabulary with those words you fear -- school choice and compe- tition, 'opportunity scholarships' for low- and middle-income fam- ilies -- so that you will join the rest of us in accountability while Protecting God-given right to life To the editor: I am so pleased candidate (Jonathan) Weinzapfel had a chance to express his political stance on abortion, because it certainly solidifies exactly where he's at and what we could expect from him. He states he "accepts" the Catholic Church's teaching on abOrtion and he wants to "radically reduce" the number of abortions. Notice he doesn't ever say he will vote to eliminate abortions. (Have I missed a change in the Church's teach- ings?) Typical politician, he attempts to lose and confuse the public by couching the issue in a sea of complexity, then blame the public for not being clear on the direction to choose. Then, Weinzapfel talks about avoiding abortions. To avoid is to stay away from something that exists. Last I knew the Catholic Church's teaching was clear that it does not want abor- tions to exist. Oh yes, he's very concerned that making abor- tions illegal would simply bring on abortion mills, Why not apply this same nonsensical thinking to robbery, illegal drugs, murder (other than abortion) and all criminal laws? If we eliminate these laws, the crime rate will surely decrease dramatically. Weinzapfel has made his posi- tion very clear when he states, "legal prohibition of all abor- tions is not a plausible solution." So while he knows the Catholic Church's teaching on abortion, he does not agree with it. Instead, Weinzapfel would soothe our consciences with pro- grams to promote the quality of. life. Well let me say, economic policies and welfare policies and all the other policies, no matter how great, will not make any difference to those millions of babies who are deprived of the basic right to life guaranteed in our Constitution. John Hostettler may not be Catholic, but there is no doubt that he stands firm on voting for any legislation that protects the God-given right to life and saves lives of millions ofbabies. It's as simple as that. Bernard Kazyak Newburgh . others compete with you for the commendable privilege of giving oar children a real education." In contrast, the Democratic Party platform says, "We should expand public school choice, but we should not take American tax dollars from public schools and give them to private schools." Clinton reiterated that stand in his acceptance speech at the convention. "We must give all parents the right to choose which public school their chil- dren will attend," he said. The decline in opposition to using tax dollars for private and religious schools was found in the annual Phi Delta Kappa- Gallup poll on issues in Ameri- can education, released in August. When pollsters asked whether parents should be allowed to send their children to private schools at taxpayer expense, 61 percent of respondents said no and 36 percent said yes, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. In 1993, 74 percent opposed the idea. "The decrease in opposition indicates that people have come to realize that the child comes first," said Msgr. Thomas J. McDade, U.S. Catholic Confer- ence secretary for education. "We can't let a system drive educa- tion." Regarding federal funding for Catholic school education, Msgr. McDade said, "The bishops believe every the right to choose the cation for their child. ops support the vouchers. But, he added, opposed to any compromised the character of a Catholic They would be limit on the teaching of or participating in ments." Msgr. McDade said history of federal aid education. "The GI other forms .of federal higher education can any school or college," "The GI bill was even students to pay for training." Two proposals for vouchers that would vate school students rently under first is Dole's $5 give 4 million students r ly "opportunity attend public, private gious schools. Under Dole's arships would be to 4 million low- and: income elementary ondary school students.i gram would be annual $2.5 program matched b in state funds. would be $1,000 per Bishop's The following activities and events are listed on the i ule of Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger: