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Evansville, Indiana
November 4, 1988     The Message
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November 4, 1988
 

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4 Editorial The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana November 4, 1988 By PAUL IINGANG Message Editor God's word is alive and must be lived each day of our lives "Final Notice" was printed boldly at the top of the small rectangle of paper. Such words are almost guaranteed to attract some attention, to cause concern or to frighten. Even on a small piece of paper, "Final Notice" looks big. The notification was in our mail box at home, Monday. It provided only a slight amount of infor- mation -- particularly discomforting late in the evening when we checked the stack of mail for the day. All we had were just a few written words, a few check marks in boxes of categories, and and a lot of uncertainties. It was certified mail that was being held for us at the post office a few blocks from home. One of the boxes checked off on that notification form in- dicated that what was waiting for us was a letter, not a package. Another check mark indicated that our letter was flat. It must have been foolishness which had led me to presume that all letters were flat; with information so scarce, I was grateful to learn about anything I could about the shape or condition of our letter. A visit to the post office at the time we discovered the notice would have been useless; a stamped message on the side of the small piece of paper indicated that the post office hours were from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Even a phone call would not help us learn more about what awaited us. Modern communications were of no use; today's technology was as useless as sending smoke signals, blowing on a conch shell or yodeling to the next mountain top. It could be a bill of some kind, we thought. Or formal notice of some dreadful event we could not or would not name. Maybe it's a scam, some kind of trick to get us to buy space at a camping resort, we thought. " Now, long after the initial puzzlement, I wonder why no one thought our certified, flat let- ter might contain good news. No one spoke such a thought. A Tuesday trip to the post office (within minutes after it opened) ended the uncertainty. As soon as I saw the return address -- that of a local lending institution -- I knew the thick, flat envelope contained something to do with our recently purchased house. Inside the sturdy manilla envelope I found insurance and real estate information, our title and abstract -- the compila- tion of materials which traces ownership almost to the beginning of recorded time (1833, in our case). Hours of reading would provide quite a history about the few square feet of land which were once part of an 80 acre tract sold by the U.S. govern- ment to a man named Ambrose Kelsey. Many stories about life and death, sales and purchases and inheritances are contained in the words printed on page after page of the legal document. How much different -- and yet how similar -- I thought, is the way God communicates to his people. God's word is written in the humanity of his son, to be read by everyone who wants to share in his divine origin. No waiting is necessary, no trip to the post of- fice a few blocks away. God's word is written in each of our neighbors and in ourselves, and in the total experience of humanity from the begining of time. God's word is not a bill, not announcement of a dreadful event, not a scare. It is truly good news. God's word speaks of our salvation, in stories of life and death, sales and purchases and inheritances. Even good news will turn yellow with age and crumble around the edges if it stays inside its envelope of paper or humanity. God's word is alive -- to be written, spoken, proclaimed and lived each day of our lives. Washington Letter The 100th Congress: 'admirable job ' for Catholic schools By STEPHENIE OVERMAN NC News Service WASHINGTON (NC) -- The 100th Congress did "a pretty admirable job" of assuring that Catholic school children receive the benefits to which they are entitled, a Catholic of- ficial said in an end-of-term evaluation. Major education legislation passed included the reauthoriz- ing and amending of the elementary and secondary School act, several school health hazard containment News stories in the' Message relating to na- tional, state or local political campaigns are reported for their news value and are not intended to constitute statements of endorsement or of opposi- tion to any candidate. rhoMESSAGI,; ] 4200 N. Kontut:ky Ave Lvansvillo, IN 4TT2.-u. t0 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Published weekly except last week in December by the Catholic Press of Evansville. Publisher ........ Bishop Francis R. Shea Associate Publisher .... Rev. Joseph Ziliak Editor ......... Paul Leingang Circulation Mgr, Mrs. Rose Montrsstelle Production Mgr ........... Phil Boger Advertising Mgr ............... Dan Hetty Address all communications to P O Box 4169, Evansville IN 47724-0169 Phone (812) 424-5536 Subacript0on rate: $15 per year Entered as 2nd class matter at the post of- rice m Evansville, IN 47701. Publicahon number 843800. Postmaster: Return POD forms 3579 to the Office of Publication. Copyright 1988 Catholic Prose of Evansville measures, and the Civil Rights Restoration Act. "Overall I have to compli- ment the 100th Congress. It had a huge task to perform and it ac- complished it rather well," said G. Patrick Canan, assistant director of the U.S. Catholic Conference Office of Govern- ment Liaison. Canan's assessment was that, "with what it faced," Congress did "a pretty admirable job" of assuring that Catholic school children receive the same benefits as public school children. Canan said in the reauthoriza- tion of the Augustus F. Hawkins-Robert T. Stafford Elementary and Secondary School Improvement Amend- ments of 1988, Catholic schools maintained benefits they already had, plus, "of the seven or eight new initiatives, we are written into most of them." However, he added, "few programs were fully funded" by Congress to meet public or private school needs. Richard Duffy, USCC representative for federal assistance to education, agreed that "we did quite well in the reauthorization. We got ourselves into a number of pro- grams." One key program for Catholic schools is Chapter 1. which provides remedial instruction for disadvantaged and low- income children. Both public and private school children are entitled to remedial education, but since the 1985' Supreme Court Aguilar vs. Felton deci- sion public school teachers have not been allowed to in- struct students in Catholic and other religious schools. Students from religious schools have had to find neutral sites for their reading or math in- ' struction. Canan said the 1988 reauthorization bill "clarifies and strengthens provisions for participation of private school children." He said Congress considered two ways to make sure the needs of students from religious schools were met. One was a parental certificate or voucher program, but "the political reality was that neither the House or the Senate was ready to take it up." Instead members voted addi- tional funds to cover the in- creased cost of transporting students to neutral sites or to set up mobile classrooms. Additionally, ways of assur- ing that private school officials would be consulted and that their complaints would be dealt with were incorporated into the law. Congress also passed laws calling for the identification and containment of asbestos, radon and lead in schools but appropriated little money to the problem, Canan said. "No one is arguing that we don't want a healthy, safe en- vironment for kids," he said, but "Congress needs to assess the real costs" schools face in identifying and removing hazardous materials. For example, while Congress appropriated $40 million for asbestos removal, he said the Environmental Protection Agency has estimated it will take $3.2 billion to remove the cancer-causing material from schools. Other estimates go as high as $6 billion or $7 billion. The problem "is going to be with us for a while and some are suggesting a one-time superfund to go after it ... and clean up once and for all," Canan said. A superfund was set up to clean up toxic waste sites. "Our greatest resources cer- tainly are our children," he said and it makes sense to "clean up sooner rather than later." Another major education- related bill that passed the 100th Congress was the Civil Rights Restoration Act, which overturned the 1984 Supreme Court ruling in the Grove City College case. The court had rul- ed that only the federally fund- ed programs in institutfons, not the entire institution, could be penalized for civil rights viola- tions. During the four-year fight over the bill the USCC original- ly expressed concerns but later supported the measure after it was amended to include a pro- vision to prevent it from being used to demand abortion coverage and a "religi9us tenets" exemption to prevent religious organizations from be- ing unduly burdened. Catholic schools also will be able to receive grants to fight drugs through the omnibus drug bill, which provides fun- ding for treatment and educa- tion programs. The USCC op- posed a provision of the bill that would permit a federal death penalty for drug-related murders. Some important battles were not resolved in this Congress, including the child care bill, which could have repercus- sions affecting education and social service programs. The bill was defeated but is expected to come up again. Duffy'said the USCC hopes that changes in this year's bill removing sections that would have eliminated participation by church-sponsored child care agencies will carry over next year. Canan agreed that child care legislation "is going to come right back" in the next Congress. Voters' supplement corrected Two errors have been call- ed to the attention of the editorial staff, in the 24-page Voters' Education Supple- ment to the current issue of the Message. Slates of candidates (page 12, 13) were compiled for publication from lists pro- vided by county election of- ficials" Due to the use of a list compiled before the final fil- ing deadline for candidates, the name of Glen W. Songer was omitted. Songer, a democrat, seeks the office of Dubois County treasurer. The Message regrets the omission. Due to an error in the source material of an article, the salary of the vice presi- dent was incorrectly reported (page 13). The vice president's annual salary is $115,000, plus $10,000 for expenses. The Message regrets the error. w