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October 11, 1991     The Message
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October 11, 1991

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4 Editorial The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana October 11, 1991 { By PAUL LEINGANG Message Editor "As far as Vatican officials are concerned, Noah should have left his two doves behind when he loaded the ark," was the opening line in a news background report on the pigeon problem at St. Peter's. It was a good sentence, a clever opening writ- ten by John Thavis of the Catholic News Service. The article provided details about the wiring which had been installed and the mild shock which was delivered to pigeons who tried to roost on the basilica. The birds have learned to stay away. The first line in a story or an article is ex- tremely important. We often make our decisions on the basis of the first line, whether we will read the rest of the story. Some opening lines are better than others. So are some headlines and titles. "When You Look Like Your Passport Photo, It's Time To Go Home," is the title of the latest book by Erma Bombeck. A review of the essay col- lection began, appropriately, "Reading Erma Bombeck is a little like sucking a lollipop -- it's a pleasant enough experience but most of the time neither the taste nor the memory is likely to Opening lines can attract or dismiss linger." One of the books that recently Came to my attention is the Collins Dove Dictionary for Young Catholics, published in Melbourne, Aus- tralia. The first line of the preface, written by an Australian bishop, caught my attention: "In my experience, an altar server asked to bring the crosier may be expected to return some minutes later looking awkward and bear- ing anything from the cruets to the lectionary." The bishop laments the disappearance of religious terminology that was familiar to most Catholic people. "It reflects the degree of our secularisation that the mission entrusted to the server.., is more likely to be successful if I ask him simply to bring my stick!" wrote the bishop. Another book on my desk is boldly titled, "God's Diary: Some excerpts selected by H.J. Richards." The first line of the book sets the stage for the tone and the content of what is to come: "What a week this has been!" is the first entry. It is a line that makes you want to read more. "God's Diary" provides a wry view of world events from creation until the present. In the process, the publisher promises, "There is much here to offend many, as well as to amuse and challenge everyone." A good example may be the diary entry from Dec. 8, 1965, which concludes some comments about Vatican II with what is described as a cur- rent jingle: Vatican One, for good or ill, Declared the Pope infallible. Vatican Two, the recent sequel, Made pope and bishops more co-equal. And that is why, twixt you and me, The Pope's not calling Vatican Three. First impressions are important. Opening lines have the power to attract or to dismiss. The best opening line of all is one that ap- peals to the head and to the heart, to all of the senses and beyond to all of one's sensibilities: "In the beginning... " If you read the lead line, it's time to get on with reading the rest of the book. It certainly lives up to its promise. Washington Letter Father Aristide's Haiti: A land that cannot forget By LAURIE HANSEN Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In the eyes of beleaguered Haiti, Uncle Sam hasn't always acted the part of sympathetic kin. Buried not deep at all in the tiny impoverished na- tion's memory are 19 years of U.S. military occupation at the beginning of this century. More recently, U.S. policy toward Haiti has been "at worst, fully supportive of, and at best, negligent in the face of cruel dictatorships," Holy Ghost Father James K. Healy, one of the founders of the Washington Office on Haiti, told Catholic News Ser- vice Oct. 3. As a result Haitians tend to be "somewhat skeptical and suspicious" of U.S. policy, "said John Kozyn, associate di- rector of the Washington Of- rice on Haiti. The office was founded by the eastern province of the Holy Ghost Fathers after The-MESSAGE 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 47720-0169 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville P ubfished weekly except last week in December by the Cathofic Press of Evansville Publisher .............. Bishop Gerald A. Gettellinger Associale Publisher ............... Roy. Joseph Ziliak Editor ............................................ Paul Leingang Production Manager ........................... Phil Boger Circulation .................................... Susan Winiger Advertising .................................... Paul Newland Address all communications to P.O. Box 4169, Evansville, iN 47724-0169 Subscription rate: $17.50 per year Single Copy Price: $.50 Entered as 2nd class matter at the post office in Evansville, IN 47701. Publica- tion number 843800. Postmaster: Return POD forms 3579 to Office of Publication Copyright 1991 Catholic Press of Evansville members of their religious order were expelled by Haitian dictator Francois "Papa Dec" Duvalier. Its aim was to carry to policymakers, the public and the press the plight of the Haitian people. Haitians' mistrust of U.S. policy surfaced recently when Haitian exiles in New York and Miami protested a Sept. 30 coup in their home- land that resulted in the ar- rest and subsequent exit from the nation of Haiti's presi- dent, Father Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a 38-year-old Catholic priest. L Angry demonstrators marching down the streets of Miami's Little Haiti and in front of the United Nations complex carried sign bearing anti-U.S, slogans and ex- pressed concern that the U.S. government might have played a role in the coup. President Bush allayed some fears when he acknowl- edged past heavy-handedness in the region and said that while he strongly opposed the coup, he had no plans to send in the military. "We've got a big history of American force in this hemi- ! Letter to the editor [ Living with diversity To the editor: This week we will be cele- brating the arriving of Christopher Columbus in the Americas. Next year it will be the 500th anniversary. This is a special celebration. This is a special time to give thanks. Recently I talked to some people that live on the island where Columbus landed, San Salvador. I live oi1 another is- land about 50 miles away. They spoke of him in a differ- ent light. I thought of him al- most like a saint, they spoke of him as an insensitive con- queror, who took all without any appreciation of those who lived there and their families. He stole their family heirlooms, he brought gonor- rhea and syphilis to their women and children, he sold all of (hem into slavery even though the native Americans had heen here for 12,000 years, he decimated their country. The Arawak Indians bad a population of about 10,000 when he arrived in 1492. After his fourth voyage just about 10 years later that had decreased to about 1,000. There were about 500 tribes of native Americans here at the time of Columbus's ar- rival. They spoke 500 differ- ent dialects, and they got along with this diversity quite well. There was enough for all. The Europeans tried to make them into one tribe. The very lesson of diversity that the native Americans could have taught was lost on them. They did not listen. It wasn't Columbus's fault and we don't want to put him down. That's the way it was in 1492. Today we should re- think about discovery and maybe discover what the na- tive Americans tried to teach us in the first place: LIVE WITH DIVERSITY. May the spirit of reconciliation be in our hearts as we, look torward to the 500th annive.rsary. Rev. James Lex Harbour Island, Bahamas sphere, and so we've got to be number of reasons given f0! the U.S. occupation, amens ! them to stave off German 1 fluence. It was World War'i careful about that," Bush told reporters before an Oct. 2 emergency meeting on Haiti at the Organization of Ameri- can States. Two days later, Father Aristide, at a Washington news conference, made it clear he was not looking for military intervention to help him regain power. Haiti, which shares an is- land with the Dominican Re- public, was once a slave colony, the jewel in the crown of the French empire. Eighteenth-century Haiti generated, more wealth for France than all of its other colonies combined. The French were thrown out by a Haitian revolt in the 1790s. In 1804 Haiti declared itself an independent nation, but the slaveholding United States and European colonial powers refused to recognize the new republic. The Marines moved into Haiti in 1915. "There were a and there were some Get: mans in Haiti at the tim e, said Kozyn. In reality, however, KozY  Lre contends, the move was p ly economic. "Citibank lab bought from France the de0' levied against the Haiti government by France. land# the pretext of wartime ro' sons, we moved in 1 Marine to consolidate tle U.S. hold on Haiti and gtl I antee that Citibank would its money," he said. During the 19 years tb followed -- despite armed r sistance from a segmerl  the Haitian populace I :11 Marines reorganized 11 Haitian army, collected t a and, in essence, ran the cotJ try. Dr. Paul Farmer, tru at Harvard Medical who works at the See WASHINGTON Bishop's schedule - The following activities and events are listed on the schedule of Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger Discover Catholic 'Schools Float, Fall Festiv parade, Evansville, Saturday, Oct. 12, 1:30 p.m. , ,. Confirmation for St. Peter Church, Montgomery, St. Patrick, St. Michael and St. Mary churches, Daviess County; and All Saints Church, Cannelburg, at St. Peter Church, Montgomery, Sunday, Oct, 13, 7 p.m. Meeting of Church Women United, Evansville, Monday, Oct. 14, 10 a.m, Bishop Gettelfiner will speak on "the role of women in society an in the church." Diocesan Finance Council, Catholic Center, Wednesday, Oct, 16.3:30 p,m, Southwestern Indiana Close-up, Vanderburgh. Auditorium, Evansville. Thursday, Oct. 17.9 a.m. Grandparents Day, St. John School, Newburgh, Friday, Oct, 18, 9:30 a.m, i I l