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October 2, 1987     The Message
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October 2, 1987

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4 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana October 2, 1987 Editorial i I 00.s00.0e000o Conviction of our faith and knowing the basic terms "I think it's 90 days for parts and a year for labor," the salesman said, shifting his weight from side to side. My wife and I had been shopping for a video cassette recorder, and I had asked about the war- ranty on a particular model. The salesman seemed unconvinced about the accuracy of his answer, so 1 asked if he would find out about the warranty and give us a. definite answer. The salesman left us for a few moments, then returned to tell us he had been correct, that the warranty was 9o days for parts and a year for labor. We asked him to demonstrate the "On Screen Display" function of one of the models. He ex- plained that there were so many models on the shelf that he was not completely familiar with the one we were examining. He left again to see if he Could find a manual. After many more minutes of !poking and fiddling, the "On Screen Display" had wet: been demonstrated.  As more time went by, the jumble of uncer- tain, confusing and contrasting terms rose to an uncomfortable level. We had been more sure of our knowledge when we came into the store. An hour- and-a-half later we couldn't tell the difference be- tween "cable ready" and "cable compatible." We couldn't distinguish between "on screen program- ming" and "on screen display." We left the store i i empty handed. Another salesman, on another day, was more certain of his terminology. He was certain about everything we asked. He had more answers than we had questions. If we seemed to gravitate toward a particular model, he could tell us why it was the best. As we shifted our attention to another model, we learned that it, too, was the best. After another hour and a half, we left the store, empty handed. Another store, another day. The VCR we ex- amined seemed to have the features we wanted. The salesman admitted some unfamiliarity with all of the models on display, but he did succeed quickly in demonstrating some of the features. When "On Screen Display" baffled him, he knew what to do; he found another store employee who knew how it worked. He didn't know all the answers, but he knew where to find them. Now we have a VCR. Our purchase was guided by two major con- siderations: the value of the product itself as best we could determine, and the competence of the person who demonstrated it. Faith is not a con- sumer product, but there seemed to be to me a cer- tain useful comparison developing in our experience. We wanted to buy a VCR; certainly we could be considered as ground eager to receive the seed that could be sown; with money in hand, we pro- mised a good yield to the successful sower. The success of the harvest does not only de- pend on good seed and good ground; it also takes a good planter. The first salesman did not have with him a full bag of seeds. The second had mix- ed all types of seeds together in one sack, which he paured on in thick layers. The third had quality seeds to plant, and had the use of all the necessary tools to accomplish his task. How do other people see Christian-Catholic ef- forts to evangelize? How do others see you? Some people seem to be uncertain about their faith. It is hard to !magine anyone becoming a Christian because of the example of a nominal Catholic who knows little about his or her faith. Conviction will never be shared by some one who does not know the basic terms. Some people seem to have all the answers in religious matters. Smugness may overtake surety. Somehow faith is choked by such claims of fre- quent conversation with a God who promises an RCA transmitter to a religious broadcaster, or claims of a message from a God who decides the number of millions of dollars needed in a fund drive. The people who are convincing are the ones who are confident of the importance of their faith. They may not know all the answers, but they are competent to begin the search. Washington Letter By STEPHENIE OVERMAN NC News Service WASHINGTON {NC) -- While other groups take turns blasting and backing the nomination of Robert H. Bark to the Supreme Court, the Na- tional Conference of Catholic Bishops has remained discreet- ly silent. The controvery over Bark began in July, when President Reagan nominated the federal appeals' court judge to succeed Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr. The Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, which began Sept. 15, fanned the flames. Abortion supporters and op- ponents immediately -- and vocally -- took sides over Bark, who has said he sees no con- stitutional basis for the right to privacy,.that was the basis of Roe vs. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision which struck down state abortion laws. 00essaee 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 4771 1 iWeekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Published weekly except last week in D$cember'by the Catholic Press of Evansville. Publisher ........ Bishop Francis R. Shoe Associate Publisher .... Ray, Joseph Ziliak Editor .................. Paul Leingang Circulation Mgr....Mrs. Rose Montrastelle Production Mgr ............ Phil Boger Advertising Mgr .............. Dan Harry Address all communications to P.O Box 4169, Evansville, IN 47711. Phone (812) 424-5536. Subscription rata: $15 per year Entered as 2nd class matter at the post of- rice in Evansville, IN 47701. Pubfication number 843800. Postmaster: Return POD forms 3579 to the Office of Publication. U.S. bishops remain silent on Bork Civil rights and education organizations have opposed the judge, saying he is a conser- vative ideologue bent on deny- ing individual and minority rights. Even current and former Supreme Court justices have joined in the flay. Justice John Paul Stevens announced that he supports Bork's nomination and Justice Byron R. White said it "would be OK" if Bork joins the brethren. In a rare move, former Chief Justice Warren E. Burger testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in favor of the nominee. In another rare move, the Knights of Columbus endorsed Bork. Elmer Von Feldt, director of public information, said the Knights "ordinarily try to stay clear" of appearing to take part in partisan politics. But in Bork's case, he said, "it's a question of public morality and values. We do stand up for values, we do not consider that partisan politics." JESUIT FATHER Virgil C. Blum, Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights president, also has taken Bark's side in what he called "a strug- gle for the soul of America." The judge is a "defender of our most basic civil rights" in- cluding the right to life, Father Blum said. Bark is supported by the Na- tional Right to Life Committee, and the American Life League has undertaken a grass-roots campaign on the judge's behalf. One bishop, Bishop Thomas V. Dailey of Palm Beach, Fla., has expressed support for Bark. In a letter to his diocese published in his diocesan newspaper, Bishop Dailey said he sent letters backing the nomination to key senators. Bishop Dailey, supreme chaplain of the Knights of Col- umbus, said pro-life groups view confirmation of Bark as "a real opportunity to end abor- tion." But no statement has come from the body of bishops. Msgr. Daniel F. Hoye, NCCB general secretary, said Sept. 24 that the silence is in keeping with the "longstanding policy not to comment" on political appointments and elections. That also was the NCCB's response -- or lack of response -- in 1986 when President Reagan nominated Autonin Scalia to be an associate ]ustice But six years ago, when Reagan nominated Sandra Day O'Connor to the Supreme Court, it was a slightly different story. The NCCB conducted "direct and lengthy approaches" to Reagan about Justice O'Connor, Arcbishop John R. Roach of St. Paul-Minneapolis, then NCCB president, said at the time. But he did not elaborate. Archbishop Thomas C. Kelly, then general secretary of the NCCB and its public policy arm, the U.S. Catholic Con- ference, issued a statement say- ing the USCC "is disturbed by reports concerning positions taken by Judge Sanda D. O'Connor ... on such issues as abortion, aid to non-public education and capital punish- ment., "We have no wish to pre- judge the nominee," said the statement of Archbishop Kelly, now of Louisville, Ky. "We are confident, however, that these matters will be closely examin- ed and fully clarifed during the Senate confirmation process. The country is fully entitled to expect as much." According to Russell Shaw, public affairs spokesman for the U.S. bishops, "the conference does not comment pro or con on nominees" and the 1981 state- ment on the O'Connor nomina- tion "was consistent with that policy." In the midst of the 1987 con- trovery over Bork, the policy re- mains in effect and the bishops' conference remains silent. Letters to the editor Father Dilger To the editor, Just a note to inform you the Commentary in the Message by Father Donald Dilger is one of the best I've ever read. It doesn't only give an overview of some pious application but it correlates the Sunday message with other parts of Scripture. The depth of his writing is profound. The Message, in general, is practical and inspiring. We ap- preciate its coverage of local events. Sister Corita Hoffman Director of Religious Education St. Francis Church Poseyville, Ind. Papal message To the editor, Very amusing, but sad to read and hear so many commen- tators including' bishops describe Pope John Paul II's message as "mild and compas- sionate." One headline read: "Pope gently points U.S. Catholics toward core beliefs." To me, his message sounds like: "Get thee behind me Satan" -- behind me meaning "Get in line!!" I How often have we all heard something like: "If the pope doesn't watch out, he'll drive everybody out of the Church!"? This situation is similar to that early time when so many walked away from Christ when he said, "I am telling you the truth. If you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you will not have Life in you!" John 6:53. Christ did NOT say, "Hey, come back! I really didn't mean that." Jerome Schneider Jasper, Ind. Letters welc0me Letters to the editor are welcome. Brief let- ters are preferred. The Message reserves the right to select letters for publication. Letters may be edited according to need, taste and length. Only signed letters will be considered for publication. Send letters to: The Message P.O. Box 4169 Evansville, Ind; 47711