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Evansville, Indiana
November 4, 1994     The Message
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November 4, 1994
 

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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Taking the time to make a difference--- Finding grace in the school cafeteria Jenny is only in the first grade, but what happened to her one day not too long ago taught her mom and dad a good lesson. Jenny's morn wrote from the family home in Texas to tell the following story." Jenny takes her lunch to school each day. Jenny has accepted some new responsibilities this school year, and preparing her own lunch is one of them. Jenny is supposed to make her sandwich and chocolate milk each night, and place them in plastic containers in the refrigerator. The next morning she only has to place the containers in_her lunchbox be- fore heading off to school. One recent Monday morning Jenny was running late and couldn't find her tumbler of milk. She asked morn for help. Mom spotted a tumbler in the refrigerator door, threw it into the lunchbox and closed the top. Jenny was rushed out the door and off to catch the bus. The school bus came and Jenny left. The school day came and went, and Jenny returned home again. But it was not quite an ordinary day. The next day -- Tuesday -- Jenny said nothing about what had happened on Monday. But the as- ] PAUL R. INGANG EDITOR sistant principal called to talk with Jenny's Mom, to ask her if Jenny had told her about the incident in the cafeteria. That's when Jenny's mom finally learned what had happened. It seems as though there had been good reason Jenny could not find her chocolate milk on that Monday morning -- Jenny had forgot to fix it the night before. And the tumbler her mom found in the refrigerator door, the tumbler mom sent off in Jenny's lunchbox, was a tumbler full of wine left over from a picnic on Sunday. At school, the cafeteria staff poured the wine away and rinsed out Jenny's tumbler. They gave her some milk for her lunch. Such an event might have embarassed a promi- nent family in town. Perhaps it is even more em- harassing for Jenny's family -- who moved into their new community just a few months ago. * * * Jenny's morn deserves a lot of credit for being able to tell this story, and to be able to laugh at her mistake. Everybody makes mistakes -- especially in the morning rush which is so typical among fam- ilies today. Jenny deserves a lot of credit, too -- not for for- getting to fLX her chocolate milk -- but for able to do what many of us have trouble -i She was able to accept the help of others. Many people -- I am among them -- want hide our mistakes. We feel stupid, We don't want other people to know what we done -- or have not done. I did not get a chance to talk with can't be sure of what she got to lunchtime on Monday. even though she had made a mistake fore, and even though mistake that morning, Jenny still received needed. Would that we all had such faith, confidence in God would let us accept takes, then accept and enjoy the help tance of other people, and go on with our Blessed are they who give little child. * * * Talk with others in your home about takes you have made. When have you barrassed? Talk about the times others have helped you after you made a wrong acted in haste. Take a good look at the people you a daily basis. Decide today that you will someone who has made a mistake. Or that will let some one else help you. I By MARK PATrISON Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Anyone who's not going to vote in the Nov. 8 elections can skip this article. That leaves only about a third of us, if the last midterm elections in 1990 are any indi- cation. The prospects for 1994 don't look much better. Voter apathy is running rampant, although "running" may be too strong a term. Clearly, adults are absenting themselves from the political process in larger numbers with nearly every election. How, in what is so often called the greatest democracy in the world, could such a malaise settle in? The U.S. Catholic Confer- ence Administrative Board wrestled with the issue in its 1991 statement, =Political Re- sponsibility: Revitalizing American Democracy." It saw "increasing public cynicism which too often dis- misses the role of government The MESSAGE 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 47720-0J 69 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Published weekly except last week in December by the Catholic Press of Evansv#le Punisher .............. Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger Editor ........................................... PI Lengang Cculaon .................................. Amy Housman Production Manager ........................... Phil Boger Advertising .................................... Paul Nsand Staff Writer ............................. Mary Ann Hughes Address all communications to P.O. Box 4169, Evansville, IN 47724-0169 Subscription rate: $12.00 per year Single Copy Price: $.50 Entered as 2nd class matter at the post office in Evansville, IN 47701. Publica- tion number 843800. Postmaster: Return POD forms 3579 to Office of Publication C,py lg94  Press of Evamvb , Washington Letter Voter apathy: When you don't care enough to send the very and ridicules public officials in sometimes understandable but often misguided frustration with all politics." John Carr, director of the USCC Department of Social Development and World Peace, sees a number of ills. "There's a lot of cynicism about campaign financing," whose reform was stalled in the waning days of Congress this fall, Carr said, and about "the power of political money" that put health care and other issues in gridlock. Nor is the media spotless in all this. "Scandal crowds out the substance," Cart said. "We know a lot more about White- water than welfare reform." Prospective voters them- selves bear some responsibil- ity, too, Cart said. He cited a poll of Virginia voters who said they cared about the issues in the Senate race between Chuck Robb and Oliver North -- but couldn't say where the candidates stood on them. "I think there's enough blame to go around for every- body," Carr said. Eugene R. Declercq, chair of the political science depart- ment at Augustinian-run Mer- rimack College in North An- dover, Mass., said negative campaigns are a turnoff. "I don't think we have decid- edly worse candidates now than we did 20, 30 years ago," Declercq said. "Voters might think so because that's all they hear." The belief that one voter can make a difference was fre- quently cited by sources inter- viewed by Catholic News Ser- vice. "I look at two candidates, and I don't like either one of them, or they don't make that much difference," is a common voter sentiment, Declercq said, which reduces the incentive to vote. The sense of alienation is most acutely felt by the old, the poor, and minorities. But it's their votes that make a dif- ference, said David Bositis, se- nior research assoc"ate at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. Becky Cain, president of the League of Women Voters, is mindful that a few votes cast the other way in 1960, "and John Kennedy would not have been elected president." In Texas, decreasing num- bers at the polls were evident in last year's special election to fill the vacancy created by Lloyd Bentsen when he be- came secretary of the treasury. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson beat her Democratic challenger by a 2-to-1 margin but still got nearly 1 million fewer votes than did Beau Boulter in the 1988 election for the same Sen- ate seat. And he was swamped by a 3- to-2 ratio by Bentsen. Bositis sees the irony of a nation that sends monitors to virtually every controversial foreign election -- with huge majorities swarming the polls -- and then is so apathetic about its own elections. "There are many illusions ... people have with the United States about their system of government," he said. The sys- tem as it currently practiced, Bositis added, is "fairly dys- functional." How to fLX it? Bositis is skeptical about the effect of suggested solutions. "Motor voter" registration, by which people can register as they're getting their driver's li- cense, will have "barely an im- pact," although the League of Women Voters' Ms. Cain says it's been a success in states that adopted it ahead of the federal government. Recent revisions in the Hatch Act allowing federal government employees to par- ticipate more broadly in politi- cal activities may help, Bositis said, but "it's never been done .before," so there's no accurate way to measure how much it will help. Making Election Day a holi- day "would probably help," Bositis admitted, but for oth- ers, "it would be one more good day to go fishing." "Some state will take it up on an experimental basis,  De- clercq said. "Then, as other states try it, it'll be like motor voter,  which the federal gov- ernment adopted after several states had. Declercq also favors federal financing of campaigns as one way to reduce attack ads and to get big-money interests out of elections. The abysmal voter tell only part of the cording to Ms. Cain, Americans remmn She suggests to register ment services are sam.e-day polling sites. * "It may be that changing their pation into Carr said, said, legislative networkS. one such network with abill that would have the number of welfare benefits. Political advertising policy All political advertising in the Message is fled as such, and includes identification of the paying for it. Political advertising is pre-paid. All advertising must meet editorial standards line requirements. Acceptance of political advertising is not imply endorsement or support of a candidate or issue. Bishop's sched The following activities and events are schedule of Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger