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Evansville, Indiana
October 18, 1996     The Message
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October 18, 1996

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4 The Message m for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana --- Taking the time to make a difference --- That's entertainment? I wish I had never seen it. It was a "comic book," one of [ several dozens some family friends had given us, but it was the only one that did not contain the charac- ters familiar to me in my childhood. It was a "horror book." I don't remember how old I was. Maybe I was eight or nine or 10. I do remember that it was a winter day, and that there was a fire burning in the heating stove in the "front room" of our family home. I remember my reaction to the illustrations I had seen that day. In stead of cartoon characters, there were drawings rep- resenting real people. Instead of humor, there was horror. This "comic book" was filled with blood, violence and death, depicted in grisly detail, but in comic book style. And for a while, I felt as if the heat of the stove would never again warm me. A chill had set- tled in. I still recall that story, but I will not write about it. I struggled with what to do, as I recall, and finally told my mother about it. She must have seen the fear in my face, when I told her the only words I could find. By PAUL R. LEINGANG EDITOR "I don't want this," I said. And seeing what it was that I did not want, she took the "comic book" and put it into that fire, in the stove that was supposed to give warmth in winter to a portion of our house. The sudden flame brought only a shiver to me. I was a child and I had discov- ered evil. Violence and death are part of life, of course. And most people would agree that such matters are appropriate elements of literature and art. A few years after the incident I remembered, I could enjoy the well-crafted horror of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, or a story by Poe, or a Hitchcock movie. By that time, I could dismiss the gross draw- ings of a cheap horror comic book. But not then. Some comic books are "classics," at least that is the view of their owners, or would-be owners. Comic strips in a newspaper produce strong loy- alties, I am told. Removing some one's favorite comic strip from the newspaper can bring about more reac- tion than many other editorial decisions. There's something about comic strips and comic books that connects with many people. believe, some of the Take the time today to take a look at read, or watch -- what you and your family entertainment. Find out if your friends or the people with have a favorite comic strip. favorite comic book. Talk about what you have seen in the times you were surprised by the film. If there are children in your home, ask about their reading habits, or perha[ viewing habits. Find out if they ever wonder the topics in cartoons. Find out if they ever prised by anything they read or saw. Take the time to examine the themes that are displayed in comic strip form. with members of your family, or with You may want to make new decisions own home about when a form appropriate for some members of the family. You may want to pay more attention reviews before you go, or before you take the dren. Comments about this column are welcome! or the Christian Family P.O. Box 272, Ames, Iowa 50010. :: Catholics not right with God on mon By JERRY FILTEAU Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) Catholics, like other Christians, are taught that everything we have we owe to God. What do we return to God in thanks for the many gifts God has given us? Awfully little, it turns out. Three new national studies serve to highlight again how poorly U.S. Catholics do when it comes to stewardship -- the generous use of what we have to thank God and help our neigh- bor. And they indicate that there is a deeper spiritual crisis behind Catholics' inability to get right with God on money -- a crisis that goes to the heart of Christian life and mission. This October, Independent Sector released its fifth biennial study on giving and volunteer- ing in America. It found again that Catholics gave far less of what they earned to their churcIi and to charity than members of any other U.S. reli- 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 Pulsher ............. 8sb00 Gerald A. Gettelfinger Edaor ...................................... Paul R. Leing Production Technan ............... Joseph Dietrich Advesg ................................... Paul Newland Staff Writer ............................ 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, |N 47701. Publica- tion number 843800. Postmaster: Return POD forms 3579 to Office of Publication C_ 1996  Press of Emve gious group. A quote from the Independent Sector report: "Over the survey years, we have noted that respon- dents with a religious affiliation generally report a higher per- centage of household income con- tributed (to all charitable activi- ties) than those with no affiliation. The exception to this trend has been among Catholics." Here are the specifics: If you were an average Protestant, you gave 2.9 percent of your household income to the church and other charities. If you were an average non- Christian believer, you gave 3 percent. If you were an average Catholic, you gave 1.4 percent. Do Catholics give less because they're poorer? On the contrary, "Catholic respondents reported a higher (1995) household income, $45,702, than Protes- tants, $38,427, or. those of other religions, $35,331." There's more: Independent Sector found direct correlations between giving and volunteer- ing. So to the extent Catholics aren't giving, they also aren't doing for others. If you want a quick measure of your own giving against that of the average non-Catholic believer in the nation, answer this: For every $10,000 a year you earn, do you give $4 a week to church and $2 a week to other charities? " A second new study on giving is the forthcoming book, "Money Matters: Personal Giving in American Churches," by Dean Hoge, Michael Donahue, Patrick McNamara and Charles Zech. In an article Sept, 14 in the Jesuit national magazine, Amer- ica, McNamara and Zech laid out some of the study's findings on the huge gap between Catholic giving and that of the other four denominations stud- ied w Lutheran, Presbyterian, Southern Baptist and Assem- blies of God. No other issue should take preference To the editor, 1993 World Youth Day in Den- An open letter to Jonathan Weinzapfel: Sunday, Oct. 6, in the St. Benedict parking lot, a cam- paign flyer was placed under by windshield wiper. Checking with the parish office, no per- mission was given. Are you still using Catholic sources to gain votes as you claim to be a believing Catholic and yet side with Clinton on abortion? Your stand on abortion was not mentioned in the flyer. Pope John Paul II said at the ver, "American, defend life so that you may live in peace and harmony. Woe to you if you do not succeed in defending life." Prayer groups are praying regularly for your change of heart. Remember, "Thou shalt not kill." Period!!! Let this open letter to you remind Christians voting for the Eighth District Represen- tative (Catholic) Weinzapfel is nbt against abortion, Christian Hostettler is for life. No other issue should take preference. Mary Flake Evansville The study focused on what is called congregational giving the actual amount received in a parish from its members. In Catholic parishes, the average yearly contribution per house- hold was $386. In Lutheran parishes it was $746; in Presby- terian, $1,085; in Southern Bap- tist, $1,154; and in Assemblies of God, $1,696. But one of the most interest- ing things in the McNamara- Zech article is their analysis, from surveys of Catholics, Pres- byterians and Lutherans, of why Catholics give so much less. They found only two variables that would make a difference. Both were matters of religious commitment -- commitment to Christ and conviction that a Christian's first duty is to bring others to Christ. "If all else were equal, but Catholics resembled Protestants in these Commitment measures, Catholic giving would rise markedly," tle cluded. The third study published Glass Windows: ics in the Church" Sylvia Ronsvalle, a years of national site consultations local congregations. In an interview Sylvia Ronsvalle wasi American Christians less to their churches, Christian giving is somewhat, though the decline Among factors a failure of the mulate "a corn for affluence" and a pay-the-bills a raising instead of approach that em thanksgiving and But the short said, is: See Bishop's sched The following activities and events are listed on ule of Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger: urday, Oct. 26, 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Mass, St. Joseph Chur 26, 6 p.m. Mass, with US!