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October 17, 1997     The Message
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October 17, 1997

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4 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana October IIIII i " Of songs and passages a 00eart00c,eswereshortand00othepo0000t T00ee minutes was a very leisurely amount of time to spend with each one. Typically, the reading took less than a t minute, but Father Keller's comments could provoke work the other day. Computers, telephones and lights suddenly stopped working, in the middle of the day. Work was interrupted on a very busy day. The outage was irritating. I told some co-workers, walking down the hall, that I was going out to curse the darkness. That was supposed to be funny. My comment presumed that everyone, or almost everyone else, at least, knew the scriptural quotation, "Better to light one candle than to curse the darkness." That passage is one of the sets of words and phrases that will never leave me. It is so much a part of me that sometimes I think the words must be printed somewhere inside my head, probably in Hel- vetica italic type. That passage was imprinted over and over in the days of my youth, in a daily newspaper feature enti- tled, "Three Minutes a Day," by James Keller. I read it faithfully. Each installment of the feature told a real-life story, about a person or an event. Father Keller drew something positive from the story by way of conclud- ing the article. at least two minutes more of reflection. The series was produced by the Christophers, whose motto was the oft-repeated passage about lighting a candle. The Christophers practiced what they preached. We often hear people complain about a song. "I just can't get it out of my head," someone may say. Lyrics or a melody return to haunt us. We often hear, too, about a person who has had a sudden, severe health problem such as a stroke. When new words fail to come for such a one, the words of memorized prayers may serve to bridge the gap between patient and visitor. What are the words and phrases that come to your mind? Jumbled up in my own mind are odd collections of memorizedprayers and poems, along with assort- ed verses of songs sacred and profane. My seminary years are the source of a such a mixture. Coming from my spiritual reading in those years was the comment from St. Augustine, that "Restless are our hearts, O Lord, until they rest in thee." Coming from the radio at that same time, the .......................... I .............................. 7--- ...... LL ........... Rolling Stones were singing, "I can't get no tion." It seems funny now that the messa similar. Take the time today to help a child find a or a passage or a song or a prayer -- will provide a good and positive foundation filled with messages from uncountable Teach a child a prayer. Read the Scriptures with your family. Emphasize the importance of good poetry, the fine arts -- all things which seek to ture truth and beauty. The search for truth ty, is after all, a search for God. Help your church community as it cational and formational opportunities for and individuals. Teaching is one wa) teering to help with hospitality is another. ing money is yet another way to assist the Christian community. Your participation in the teaching of the will be an outward sign to others m a amidst the darkness, to help others to find who dwells among us. Comments about this column are welcome at or the Christian Family Box 272, Ames, Iowa 50010. Who's investigating the human rights police? By PATRICIA ZAPOR Catholic News Sen,'ice WASHINGTON (CNS) -- When it comes to protecting human rights, people in the United States probably think of their country as the global police force, not one of the bad guys. But how the United States handles human fights within its own borders has been called into question recently over cap- ital punishment, the treatment of refugees, police brutality and prison conditions. This year, for example, the continuing U.S. support for the death penalty has been in stark contrast to the direction being_ taken internationall): In September the Vatican issued a revised edition of the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" that narrows even fur- ther thelef'mition of when the 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 47711 church considers it acceptable to impose the death penalty. The revision seemed in keep- ing with the March vote by the U.N. Human Rights Commis- sion encouraging all nations to do away with capital punish- ment. The United States found itself allied on the losing side of that vote with China, Iraq and Iran, among others. The United States also bucks a trend toward industrialized nations doing away with the death penalty and is one of just five countries that continues executing for crimes committed by juveniles. The others are Iraq, Iran, Yemen and Pakistan. But when a U.N. investigator toured the United States in early October to study the application of the death penalty; it particu- larly riled Sen. Jesse Helms, R- N.C., the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The visit by Human Rights Commission investigator Bacre Waly Ndiaye of Senegal both- ered Helms so much that he wrote to U.N. Ambassador Bill Richardson, asking, "Is this man confusing the United States with some other country, or is this an intentional insult to the U.S. and our nation's legal system?" Jane Henderson, coordinator of the Equal Justice USA project of the Catholic-run Quixote Center, was so struck by Helms' attack on Ndiaye that her grass- roots human fights organization denounced the senator. Ndiay "is not 'confusing the United States with some other country,"' Henderson told Catholic News Service. "Indeed, he need look no further than U.S. borders to hear similar concerns regarding savage disparities in the death penalty's application." She added, "There clearly is precedent to these investiga- tions." Ndiaye is far from the first investigator to look into how the United States rates in pro- tecting human rights. In 1991, the Geneva-based Human Rights Watch issued a report critical of U.S. prison con- ditions. Last year the international Commission of Jurists, alsR based,in Europe, criticized dis- parities in how the death penal- ty is applied in the United States. This summer, the American Bar Association recommended a moratorium on all executions until steps are taken to ensure the death penalty is adminis- The Word of Life I can never forget the experience I had in visiting a home [for the elderly]. I saw that in that home these old people had everything  good food, comfortable place, television, everything, but everyone was looking toward the door. And I did not see a single one with a smile on the face. I turned to Sister and asked: "Why... are they not smiling?"... And Sis- ter said: "... They are expecting, they are hoping that a son or daughter will come to visit them. They are hurt because they are forgotten." Mother Teresa of Calcutta tered fairly and impartially. And Amnesty International annual reports on human rights abuses worldwide regularly include sections on U.S. treat- ment of refugees and inequities in application of the death penalty. Further, new Amnesty Inter- national reports in the works will look into police abuse and the conditions at a maximum security prison in Indiana, according to the group's Wash- ington office. ' Curt Goering, deputy execu- tive director of Amnesty Interna- tional USA, said his organization weighs the practices of every nation against UN International Human Rights Standards. The issues of concern about the Uited States vary some- what from year to year, Goering said, but since the death penal- ty was reintroduced more than 20 years ago, inequity in its application has been a consis- tent theme. Goering said he understood Ndiaye's investigation would focus on cases where death sen- tences seem to have been imposed arbitrarily, a frequent complaint about the varying standards for the use of capital punishment in the United States. In other countries, his ' i!i Diocesan-wide Ministry Day, Good Shepherd Evansville, Saturday, Oct. 18, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Confirmation at St. Mary, Shoals, Sunday, Oct. Provincial Meeting, Indianapolis, Monday, Oct. Diocesan Finance Council Meeting, CatholiC Wednesda); Oct. 22, 4 p.m. Catholic Education Foundation An Center, Thursday; Oct. 23, 3:30 p.m. ............. Bishop Cal A. Gettetbager ,_, .................................. a R. L Pnx Tect.Oan .............. Jo D.r ................................ Pa New Addres an convnuntcatJo to P.O. Box 4169, Evansville, IN 47724-0169 Subscdption rate: $17.50 per year Single Copy Price: $.50 F.mmd as ;noda mawr at te t oe a r  Weekty newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Published weekly except last week in December by the Catlx)lic Press of Evansville investigation would at summar cutions, such as without a trial. The unwavering the death penalty, in can be embarrassing tot ed States when it is international ing said. "In certain q Human is deeply United States to be with these kinds said. For instance, the sion vote on the death [ this March in the position of all China and Iran moments before, been criticizing them." The United States isn't the onl) geted for havin dard when it comes rights, however Police brutality is in many countries African immigrants ! ed in France, parts of the world by police in And refugees are welcome mat rolled places. "The refu See WA