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Evansville, Indiana
October 29, 1993     The Message
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October 29, 1993

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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana ---: Perspective-- day. Seeing your breath: Promises of inner war I saw my breath the other That&apos;s what we used to say, By PAUL R. LEINGANG EDITOR anyway, when I was a child. It was an exciting time, that first. day of fall cool enough to let you see the warm moisture from your breath condense in the air in front of you. Perhaps you remem- ber such a time too. As I walked to the car early one recent morning, a rush of memories piled into the car with me; and the drive to work was filled with things I had not thought about since my child- hood. Back then, on the first cold and sunny morning in September or October, with the memory of hot summer days still fresh in mind, it was fun to see your breath. The first long sleeved shirt of fall cov- ered the tee shirt tan of summer. It made sense to change to darker clothing -- the leaves of sassafras trees had already turned to red and patches of or- ange and gold gleamed brightly on the sunlit side of the trees. A walk in the sun felt wonder- ful then. The heat of the summer sun would drive you to seek shelter in shade -- but at this time of the year, when you first could see your breath, it was the sun that gave shelter from the chill of shade or shadow. Then the walk to school was fun -- blowing out the warm air that you must have somehow stored at home overnight, and watching your breath turn into a cloud. You had to be careful, be- cause if you tried too hard or blew too fast or too often, it wouldn't work. But if you did it right, the walk to school was quick and easy and over too soon. The same walk a week earlier would have been slow and uneventful. The bag of school books would grow heavier at each step, pressing the cold sandwiches Morn had made for your lunch against the side of the canvas bag. wiches would get warm along the way, enough for the smell of whatever they were to drift between the folds of the waxed paper out into the morning air. The same walk a week later would fortable. It's no fun to see your breath when face feels cold and you can't wear a everybody else will think it looks stu wind blows dark leaves out of the your path, you try to keep inside of you warmth that you have. You don't waste it ing it out just to see it. But seeing your breath for the first time fall is exciting -- even though will surely follow. It is as if nature offers us ment of playfulness before the seriousness arrives. Seeing your breath is to me a gift from who breathed order into a formless wasteland life into a lump of clay. Seeing your breath is a promise of an warmth that will survive somehow into spring. Washington Letter Poverty, hunger, lack of health care America's triple By MARK PATTISON Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- From sea to shining sea, there is yet another sea -- of faces -- battling against the undertow of being in the underclasz. While some decry the use of statistics to avoid seeing the faces behind them, there are some statistics that give church-based public policy ad- vocates cause to worry: Thirty million Americans hungry, 36.9 million living below the poverty line, 37.4 million without health insur- ance. The only thing hunger feeds on is a vicious cycle of poverty and ill health. An undernourished child tends not to pay attention in class. Inattention in class re- sults in poor grades. Poor per- formance in school usually means a low-paying job, or no job at all. And poor nutrition, exacer- bated by poverty, leads to pre- ventable diseases and condi- tions that strain the nation's health care system and its hos- pitals, which are ever more re- luctant to care for the poor be- cause of tighter federal Medicaid rules. The MESSAGE 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 47720-0169 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Published weekly except last week m December by the Catholic Press of Evansville P,;t,sr)er &shoo Gerald A Ge.qeifmger ECllor ............. Pad{ Lelngang Prc:Klu-':.t'0q Manage'. ................... Phil Beget C':ulat,or: Amy .,0u$ar ..r,g Paul Newiand Sta!  ,r%r Marv Ann Hughes Address a!l comrq, dnlcatons to P 0 B,3x 416. Evans4me IN 47724.0165 Subset ,"jfor; rate 12 f; c-  y(:-k" Or take this vicious cycle: Mothers receiving Aid to Fami- lies with Dependent Children won't take a job because it won't supply the kind of health benefits provided with AFDC. It's an uphill battle. Or, as public policy advocates at the U.S. Catholic Conference call it, an "upstream" battle. "Downstream" policies are akin to "catching every baby befi)re it drowns," said Patricia King, USCC adviser on health and welfare issues. By going "upstream," the idea is to "find out who's toss- ing all those babies in the river," Ms. King said. The USCC favors an up- stream approach, but Ms. King and Nancy Wisdo, director of the USCC Office of Domestic Social Development, said today's political currents don't favor it. This "common good" ap- proach has few takers. For in- stance, the Bread For the World Institute hunger report released in October said, "Anti- hunger activists can no longer afford the dreamy idealism that the simple virtue of their cause will attract media atten- tion." When we seek change To the Editor, A few years back Evansville residents cut off the tops of their trees. A tree surgeon no- ticed and complained. I kee t ) thinking about the absurdity of us Catholics who always want to change some- thifig. At one' time it was the. t.,atin in the .M,a: tt w:L< changed And th,::lt t,,a-v ,iI, d l.]:a :,,q::fvd. , !lt.- T F;, ?F;,'I','2:," m Special interest groups nar- rowly focus Their priorities, and the Senate increasingly shares the House's legislative tactics of "micro-managing" is- sues, Ms. King and Ms. Wisdo said. And with an upcoming round of recisions -- budget cuts of previously authorized spending  even the $25 bil- lion of the Children's Initiative bill signed by President Clin- ton could be in jeopardy. This despite a Commerce Department report in Septem- ber that said government cash transfers are more effective than tax-rate adjustments in reducing poverty. In fact, it said, were it not for AFDC, Supplemental Security Income, veteran's benefits and the like, the number of U.S. poor would soar from 36.9 million to 57.3 million. The numbers of poor are the highest since 1964, just before President Lyndon B. Johnson launched his Great Society ini- tiative and War on Poverty programs. "Even at the height of the Great Society programs, there was an attitude among policy- makers that you couldn't ere- mmm be scrutinized. The Catholic Church has seen many blissful springs and has endured many cruel win- ters. These experiences have established stability as well as greatness. I hope the members of the Synod will recogmize the inherent wisdom in the princi- ples of Theology and morality that have marked Catholic teachings. [ hope the Synod will not succumt) to the argu- ments ,)f those wh',) have aban- d,,m-d (;od and ali,vne4 th-m- <c!', '- wit}', i_ t'l t ,,it':'F',..F' .... i,.:I.,."- I' modcr:) }}I(, V!,,' ;..},.,,!, - L!" _JN, .. ate a full- employment econ- omy," said Marc Cohen, Bread for the World Institute re- search director. "The Great Society programs did reduce the poverty rate (to) considerably below what it is now," Cohen said. Whites have always avoided poverty more than blacks and Hispanics. But the Commerce Department report said that now whites, once they are in poverty, find it much harder to escape it than before. Ms. King said a parallel ex- ists with health care. Whites who once had easy access to health care now find it harder to keep because of employers trying to shift costs to employ- ees, or if they lose their jobs. Because these matters are now affecting whites in greater numbers, they now occupy much of the public debate. It gives a chance, Ms. Wisdo said, to show the common thread among all Americans regard- less of race or class. The issue, Ms. Wisdo said, is not welfare alone. Nor is it hunger alone. Nor is it health care alone. Or the economy. Or jobs. It's poverty. "The real challenge is to get people to look at how to over- come poverty," she said. If Americans are then many care of the But a comprehensive! is needed to see how affects the others. "The difficulty is address every singR Ms. King said. things, remarkab] lined in the ( nomic pastoral" "But the poor, said, "don't have clout to grams." ".Is it possible we much in terms of baskets and not ix eliminating Edward R. MurroW of the 1960 CBS "Harvest of picted the grant workers. Murrow conclu people you have strength to harvest: and vegetables. have the strength to! legislation. night, Thirty-three ye Murrow's words And in numbers " -- rivaling those Bishop's sc The following activities and events are listed schedule of Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger. ! ; United States Catholic Conference sion on Certifieation and Accreditation nio, Texas, Thursday through Saturday, Oct. Mass at Deacon Retreat, DioceSe Sarto Retreat House, Saturday, Oct. 30. 7 p.m Mass, Closing of 125th tion, St. John Church. Daylight, Sunday, a.m. CST Mass, Feast of All Saints, at All Saints Cannelbm'g, Monday. Nov. t. 8 a.m. EST. Council of Priests Agenda Meetin (;(,ntey. Wedne(iay, Nov, 3, 1:30 p m CST. l{ishop's staff, ('-d.h<)iic (:(,hie- "Fir -.',',r:, '93. }i,,,a i/ d*.:- .,  ,;rc}