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October 25, 1996     The Message
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October 25, 1996

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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana -- Taking the time to make a difference -- Seeking answers By PAUL. It. LEINGANG EDITOR E-mail makes communica- tions easier. Right? Maybe. A co-worker told a good story the other day. It involved commu- nicating between morn and daugh- ter, between home and the college dorm, over a distance of several states. E-mail is quick. In this case, it was a little too quick. Mom wrote to her daughter, telling her of the news from home. She also asked a series of ques- tions, and sent the message via computer and modem across the distance to the college. The response came from the daughter who was in the midst of mid-term exams. She had taken only enough time away from her studies to respond quickly to the four questions her mom had asked. The answers were clear and direct, as her mother described them. "Yes, yes, no and yes." It's too bad her mom did not remember which questions she asked, and in what order she asked them. And she had not kept a copy of the electronic mail message she had sent. * * * Questions and answers are certainly at the center of every relationship we have with each other and with our God. And yet the result, even of honest and straightforward answers, is often not the expected outcome. Recall the classic story of the parents trying to answer a child's question about, "Where did I come from?" After a straightforward answer about human reproduction, appropriately couched in age-appro- priate language, the child appeared more confused. He only wanted to find out where he came from, so he could talk about it to the new kid at school, the one who "came from Cleveland." ,, * Our sacred scriptures are full of questions and answers. Often, it is the question that comes more easily to mind than the answer. Jesus asked his friends, "Who do you say I am?" And on the cross, he asked, "My God, why have you forsaken me?" I am not a scripture scholar, but I don't recall ever seeing "yes, yes, no and yes" coming from Jesus to answer questions. More often, the answer to a question seemed to be another question. Are you the Son of God? Do you ask that ques- tion of yourself or did it come from others? Or an answer comes in the form of a story. Who is my t neighbor? "A man fell victim to robbers answered, beginning a story. * * * Talk with others, your children or your1 about how they get answers to the have. Who provides answers to your Do you rely on television, newspapers,1 other sources to find out what's going world? Your city? Your neighborhood? Is there one sister or cousin who informed about your extended family? Where do you find answers about your ( Take some time to pick an area of your, life, where questions are asked and haps it is a daily newspaper, a parish radio talk show, an inquisitive child. Select one area and work to improve to the editor, volunteer your skills, give the Christian source of the answers Food and shelter are essential for and Jesus assures us that whatever we least ones among us, we do it for him. thinking, human communication is spiritual life. Who answers the questions hungry? When the body is satisfied, who will the soul? Will you? Comments about this column are or the Christian Family P.O. Box 272, Ames, Iowa 50010. ----- Washington Voters hear political responsibility message; do the cand By PATRICIA ZAPOR Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Mil- lions of AmericanCatholics are hearing the church's message about political responsibility this year, although election-year public debate doesn't seem to have been affected much by it. The question among the bish- ops, priests and lay people behind the church's largest-ever voter education program is: Will all those issue-sensitized Catholic voters succeed in influencing either this year's poll results or the ongoing political process after the election? Thanks to a massive parish- based education effort, Catholic voters across the country are considering this year's political issues from the perspective of church teaching, as outlined in , the bishops' quadrennial state- ment on political responsibility, published last November. The 32-page statement.'. "Polit- ical Responsibility: Proclaiming the Gospel of Life, Protecting the Least Among Us and Pursuing the Common Good," summarizes The MESSAGE 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 47711 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Published weetdy except last week in December by the Catholic Press of ' Evansville .............  Gerald A. Gelfmger ................. : .................... Paul R. Leingang Pr0 Technici ............... Joseph Dietrich Ad .................................. P Nd Sta Whtm ............................ 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, IN 47701. Ptblica- tion number 843800. Postmaster: Return POD forms 3579 to Office of Pubcation  19 Caex Prem ot EmvZe church positions on more than 20 issues in the context of Catholic social teaching. The size of the effort to spread the word about political respon- sibility is unprecedented for the U.S. Catholic Church. More than 560,000 single- sheet brochures of its highlights have been distributed, most through parishes or diocesan organizations. Another 135,000 copies of the statement itself are. in circulation, as are 1,400 copies of a videotape. Dozens of diocesan newspapers have car- ried the text or its highlights, many in pull-out sections. Record numbers of Catholics nationwide have been gathering this fall to study and discuss their obligations as citizens using the political responsibility statement as a guide. Churches are sponsoring voter registration and candi- dates' forums. Parish bulletins for weeks have been including excerpts from the statement; and priests and deacons are using it as the basis for Sunday homilies. Nevertheless, that doesn't seem to have translated into any perceptible effect on political rhetoric. Attention to the needs of the poor and to the obligations of cit- izens to contribute to their coun- try, in particular, seem lacking in the presidential campaign and in other major races, accord- ing to the staff of the U.S. Catholic Conference Office of Domestic Social Development. "People are saying they're happy to see the bishops raising these issues, but that they don't Reader questions 'life! stance To the editor. A vote for John Hostettler is not "choosing life" as past letters to the editor have suggested. Congressman Hostettler voted to add more than ten billion dol- lars to the Pentagon budget over and above what the Pentagon leaders themselves had asked for. This money is to be spent on weapons that have bne purpose: to kill people. This is not choos- ing life. Congressman Hostettler is in favor of the death penalty. This is not choosing life. He also voted against a ban on assault weapons. These guns have no other purpose besides killing human beings. His vote in favor of the selling of these weapons was not choosing life. Congressman Hostettler has a zero percent environmental voting record according to the well respected League of Con- servation Voters. This means that he voted against protection of clean air and clean water, and wilderness and even National Parks whenever he had the chance. Nature is God's won- derful creation and his blessings flow to us through it. Without a healthy natural environment we are dead, John Hostettler's anti- environmental voting record is not choosing life. Congressman Hostettler has voted against social programs of all sorts which were well-meant attempts to help the poor and unfortunate. He does not cham- pion the poor and oppressed as Jesus would have us do. The Congressman seems to be the champion of money and of greed rather than of life. A vote for him is not choosing life. You have before you a choice. Choose life! Don't vote for John Hostettler. Tom Ballard Ne,wbuTgh hear candidates speaking to them," said Nancy Wisdo, direc- tor of the social development office. For instance, candidates may talk about the newest welfare reform bill, but they don't men- tion the need for a systemic approach to tackling the prob- lems of the poor, said Tom Shellabarger, the USCC policy adviser on urban issues. "We do hear candidates talk about particular issues, but we don't ever hear them discuss a philosophical approach to how they will make decisions," said Patricia King, the USCC's advis- er on health and welfare. "They need to articulate their criteria for how to cut budgets, not just say they're going to cut this or that." "It's :not so much the issues that are missing from the debate as the process and the principles behind how we deal with the issues," said Daniel Misleh, who covers rural issues for the social development office. And there's little or no refer- ence to individual responsibili- ty to help improve' the country, either. "There's been no talk at all (from voters) about 'what I : should do, ' Wisdo said. "It's all 'what will you do for me." That was ent in the two President Clinton can nominee Bob ] third between Vice: Gore and Re idential nominee noted Shellabarger. "Nobody said class 'this is what do " to keep the while addressing lems, he said. "Part of the aren't responsible as King said. "We have lence We talk about citizens, but in for Wisdo and speaking a-0und about political and the 1996 found a lot framework the in their statement, t But they tain how to make reflect their beliefs  church the available to come close on issues included agenda. "People are' See Bishop's The following activities and events ule of Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger: