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October 11, 1996     The Message
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October 11, 1996

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4 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana --Taking the time to make a difference-- A funny thing happened ... It was disconcerting. I had driven up to the re- cycling center, and stepped out of my car carrying an armful of corru- gated cardboard. Two men, proba- bly volunteers, were sorting a large jumbled assortment of bags, boxes, newspapers, cans, corrugated card- board and other items dropped off by other people. It looked like a lot of work, and I did not want to add more work to their effort As I pproached the workers across the parking area, I held up the armful of cardboard and asked where I should take it. One of the workers held up his right arm and pointed back in the direction I was coming from. The vigor of his pointing seemed somewhat threatening. I looked around, and saw no place to put the cardboard. I looked again at him, and he was wav- ing his hand in the air, with an index finger pointed somewhere behind me, and I had no idea What that signal was supposed to mean. So that was the question I asked, admittedly in a tone of frustration. "What's that supposed to mean?" I shouted. The man who was pointing gave me no answer. Instead, he looked somewhat puzzled at me. By PAUL R. LEINGANG EDITOR So I repeated my question, and the second man answered. He recog- nized what had happened and explained it to me. The first man was waving at a friend who was passing by. He wasn't even looking at me, or gesturing to me. I felt foolish. Here was a man waving to a friend, and I took it to mean a hostile signal to "take that stuff over there." * * * Maybe I am still guilty of a cer- tain amount of unnecessary self-con- sciousness -- a kind of unrealistic fear that everybody is looking at me. I should reflect on my experiences to the contrary, I know. I've come home after a long day at work, to discover that a button-down shirt collar was unbut- toned all day. Either no one noticed, or no one cared. When it comes to responsibility for the world created by God, however, it is time to take notice. It is time to care enough to take action. Within the Catholic Christian tradition, the teaching is clear. We are to have "respect for the integrity of creation," as the new Catholic Cate- chism says. Animals, plants and inanimate beings are by nature destined for the common good of past, present and future humanity. Faith in God means making good use of God's created things. * * * Take the time to look at the created your home. Are they bringing you closer to turning you away? That's a judgment you may to make in private -- or in confidence with of your family or friends. Ask others -- and yourself-- if the hold in your arms is the occasion hostility. If you are unfamiliar with the places and people who help recycle consumer goods, take time today to learn more abotit the in your neighborhood or community. If there are children in your home, take with you to the recycling center. (Or perhaps, them take you, since they might be ahead of learning to respect the integrity of God's Take the time to learn more about the the items you use. What impact on the world is caused by the manufacturing of the paper or plastic products you use? Promise yourself the future generations -- that you will be more responsible in the use of God's created things. Recycling is a sign of friendship. Comments about this column are welcome or the Christian Famil P.O. Box 272, Ames, Iowa 50010. -----Washington Letter Fighting persecution: Two parts resolution, one part com By Patricia Zapor Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) Religious persecution around the world may be on the brink ofbecoming an important issue in Washington -- if only it can avoid becoming politicized. Both the House and the Sen- ate passed nonbinding resolu- tions in the final days of the 104th Congress that decry per- secution of Christians through- out the world and call for efforts to pressure governments to end attacks on Christians, including the appointment of a White House special adviser. Meanwhile, the State Depart- ment is expected to announce within the next few weeks the creation of a long-planned advi- sory committee on religious freedom It will include mem- bers of various faiths and will be charged with advising the administration on how to address persecution of all reli- gions. The two measures may well turn out to be complementary, but there is some concern that pressure from evangelicals 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 Catholk: Press of Evansville Pubher ............. shop Ca A. Cin t= ..................................... Paul a. LanO Producon Techncian ............... Joseph DieYich S ................................... Paul Nedand Writer ............................ Mary Ann Hughes Address all communications to P.O. Box 4169, Evansville, IN 47724-0169 Subscription rate: $17.50 per year $ingte Copy Pdce: $.50 Entered as periodical matter at the post office in Evansville, IN 47701. Publics- tion number 843800. Postmaer: Return POD forms 3579 to Office of Publication  tree ca Pa Emvee i I i i focused only on persecution of Christians could result in watered-down efforts from the international political, busi- ness and religious communi- ties whose cooperation will be needed. Bleak reports of religious oppression come from all parts of the globe. Most widely report- ed are strict codes in some Mid- dle Eastern and African nations that forbid all non-Islamic reli- gious practices, and the decades- long persecution of Buddhists in Tibet. In addition, Catholics loyal to the pope are particular targets throughout China; Catholics and Buddhists are arrested and killed in Sri Lanka; and teach- ing about Christianity or Btd- dhism often leads to arrest in Vietnam. Bahais, Mormons, ani- mists, Muslims, Sikhs and Sci- entologists are victimized in var- ious countries. Early this year, the National Association of Evangelicals pub- lished a statement of conscience during a conference on Global Persecution of Christians. In it, the association, which repre- sents 42,500 U.S. Protestant congregations, pressed for a "public diplomacy commitment to openly condemn anti-Christ- ian persecution." The congressional nonbinding resolutions echo many of the association's points, including the call for a special adviser to the president. But they don't address religious persecution of anyone except Christians. i i i Catholics and others who take a more interfaith approach to it want to encourage any work to protect religious freedom. But they don't want all the attention to go toward what they see as just one part of the problem, however substantial persecution of Christians is. Yet they also want to look out for the interests of their own faith groups, without creating an atmosphere that says, "My people are more persecuted than your people." At the conference on global persecution, Jesuit Father Drew Christiansen, director of the Office of International Peace and Justice for the U.S. Catholic Con- ference, noted the Vatican's his- tory -- and Pope John Paul Irs advocacy -- of a broad approach to battling religious persecution. That means addressing persecu- tion through diplomatic, eco- nomic, personal, domestic and international channels as well as attending to the problems of all faiths. "We are bound by a special tie to Catholics and we make spe- cial efforts on their behalf," Father Christiansen said. "But our struggle is essentially for religious liberty. "We make our general aim . a plea for religious liberty for all," he continued. "We are ready to make appeals for those who belong to other traditions, for Islamists in Tunisia, evangeli- cals in Latin America, Buddhist monks and nuns in Tibet and Muslims in our own country." iii ii Message policy regarding political activity The Message is the official newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Evansville. The policy of the Message is to observe the rules forbidding 501 (c) (3) organizations from engaging in partisan political activity. The Message continues its long-standing policy of publish- ing news reports and commentary about political dandidates and issues, and about their relationship to morality and Catholic social teaching. Political advertising is accepted at the Message from all bona fide candidates on an equal basis. i i ,, i i i iVl i ii i Trinitarian Father Stan DeBoe, who works part-time for Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., on issues including religious perse- cution, said the resolution Smith co-sponsored is only a begin- ning. "I was personally disappoint- ed they weren't trying to include other religious groups," Father DeBoe said. "But it all happened so quickly." Partly because of a desire to approve them in time for the Sept. 29 International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church promoted by the National Associ- ation of Evangelicals, the resolu- tions were draid and approved rather quickly, with little time to seek input from other concerned groups. Tim Crater, a special repre- sentative in the National Asso- ciation of Evangelicals govern- mental affairs office, said his organization's focus on persecu. tion of Christians is a reflection of "increasingly hostile" atti- tudes toward Christians and a "family first" mentality among evangelicals. "We're making the biggest to- do about this because 'family,"' Crater said. quently is interpreted ss on others." His association State Department's on religious lesser effort than the House special "I'm not sure a ment commission done," Crater said. something higher up, the president." The commission is include 15 to number of faiths as experts in conflict interfaith dialogue, an administration has worked on the more than a year. studying religious itself; how it is used as to a political or economic causes of persecution; role of reli flicts, for example. It staffed out oft rity Council's cy See ishop's sched The following activities and events are ule of Bishop Gerald A Gettelfinger: