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Evansville, Indiana
November 13, 1987     The Message
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November 13, 1987
 

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4 Editorial The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana November 13, 1987 i " By PAUL '  LEINGANG Message Editor The experience of newness learning about our parishes A very old musician once told me about his travels on a riverboat, on the Mississippi. He played music in a "dixieland band," when I had the chance to hear his story. He had played music as long as he could remember, and his memory stretched back to the turn of the century. His favorite memory was built of an ex- perience repeated year after year, traveling up the Mississippi from New Orleans as soon as the weather warmed and the ice in the river no longer threatened the paddlewheelers. "The IL4apsody of Spring" is what he called it; it would have been the title of his best book, if he had been an author. Every place he visited, travelling upstream, it was springtime. From New Orleans toward St. Louis, he remembered the river journey as a series of spring days, every day a bit farther north. Beyond St. Louis, even toward St. Paul, the slow trip to the north matched the slow progress of the calen- dar. This experience was more than the days of spring one after another; it was the same day of spring over and over for the musician. He did not travel in the spring; he travelled with the spring. The experience was repeated year after year. Spr- ing at every stop, and music. Music was not a diversion or a distraction, for the story teller. Music was his reason for living. Spring was where he lived his music. The thoughts of springtime came to me as I drove to St. James Church in Gibson County last week. It is fall, the grass is brown and dry, and even before winter invades us, I find myself look- ing forward to the new year. What brought thoughts of spring to me was the experience of going to a new parish, to St. James where I had never been before. Since before September, in writing feature stories about the parishes of the Evansville Diocese, I have travelled through much of the diocese. At each stop along the way, there is a kind of springtime, as the infor- mation of a parish unfolds. Parish by parish, the experience is more than a series of beginnings. It is not another beginning, it is always beginning. In and around Vincennes, the beginnings in- volved French bishops and revolutionary times. The stories are filled with strong characters with stronger faith, missionaries in early America. Throughout this area of southwestern Indiana and southern Illinois -- this land across the Ohio from Kentucky -- there are stories of new developments in the Northwest Territory, a place where there is land and freedom. In and around Jasper are stories of Father Kundek and the German immigrants in a new land of black forests. Catholics of Irish origin populate parishes in the diocese, along the routes established for rails and canals. In and around St. Wendel, at St. Joseph and St. James and throughout the German-speaking ter- ritory northwest of Evansville, there are stories of Father Weinzoepfel amid extraordinary events. Everywhere, the stories of new parishes developing are swollen as springtime floods; there is power in a flood, and a strength frequently un- controlled, and murkiness in the churning waters. Spring is not always gentle. As sure as winter is approaching, with spring to follow, so is the experience of newness for me in learning about parish after parish in the diocese. At every stop, it is spring. And there is faith. Faith is not a distraction or an addition to the early life of southwestern Indiana. Faith is the reason for living. The parish is where it is lived. Washington Letter The issue of parental notification laws By JULIE ASHER NC News Service WASHINGTON {NC} -- Whal has become one of the mos| emotionally charged and fervently argued aspects of the abortion debate focuses on whether a state should require parents' involvement in a minor's decision to have an abortion. Proponents of notification and consent laws have said parents have a right to be in- volved in their children's deci- sions, especially when parental consent is required for numerous simple procedures affecting a child's health -- even dispensing aspirin. They also see such laws as the state's endorsement of necessary family involvement in the lives of dependent children, Opponents see them as a violation of a minor's right to privacy and warn that such measures will drive teen-agers unable to tell their parents 00Lo88at00e 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 4771 1 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Published weekly except last week In December by the Catholic Pras$ of Evansville. Publisher ........ Bishop Francis R. Shea Associate Publisher .... Rev. Joseph ZlUak Editor .................. Paul Leingeng Circulation Mgr .... Mrs. Rcee Montrastelle Production Mgr ............... Phil Boger Advertising Mgr ............... Dan Horty Addrese ell communications to P.O. Box 4169, Evansville, IN 47711. Phone (812) 424-5536. Subscription rate: $15 per year Entered as 2nd class matter at the post of- rice in Evansville, IN 47701. Publication number 843800. Postmaster: Return POL forms 3579 to the Office of Publication. about a pregnancy to "back- alley" abortionists. Now under review by the U.S. Supreme Court is the Har- tigan vs. Zbaraz case involving an Illinois law which requires a 24-hour waiting period -- following notification of both parents -- before an abortion can be performed on a girl under 18. The U.S. Catholic Conference in a friend-of-the-court brief fil- ed last December urged the high court to uphold it. "When an abortion decision is to be made by an immature minor, laws facilitating paren- tal involvement, even consent, are not undue burdens," the USCC brief said. It said the law simply seeks to assure "effec- tive and meaningful parental involvement in a serious medical decision by a minor." Richard Mintz, a spokesman for the National Abortion Rights Action League, said he disagrees because "you can't legislate" communication be- tween minors and their parents. "The maiority of teens do tell their parents when faced with unintended pregnancy, and the ones who don't do so for very compelling reasons -- broken homes, unstable family situa- tions," he said. THE SUPREME COURT has ruled that such laws must in- clude a process called "judicial bypass" whereby minors could get permission from aiudge if they felt it was not in their best interests to go to their parents. But Mintz said that was "un- duly burdensome" and could harm a teen's health by causing long delays. Kay C. James, spokeswoman for the National Right to Life Committee, said that by suppor- ting notification and consent measures her organization recognizes that "in any abor- tion situation there are two vic- tims, the woman and the child." "We think parental notifica- tion and consent are important because they really do protect the minor in that situation," she said. Ms. James said it was "totally inappropriate to leave a minor girl to consult with no one but other children or an abor- tionist." She also said , school-based health clinics provide the con- duit for minors' abortions. "While they don't do abor- tions, they do referral for abor- tions in a lot of cases," she said. "These young women are being funneled into abortion clinics .... What parents -- no matter how they feel about abortion -- would want that?" The U.S. Catholic bishops, during their general meeting Nov. 16-19, are to vote on a statement critical of school- based health clinics which pro- vide students with contracep- tives and abortion services. The proposed statement ob- jects to clinics' rule of confiden- tiality barring parents from reviewing their children's records while some laws re- quire "parental consent for the simplest of procedures," such as dispensing an aspirin. Maura Quinlan, chief staff counsel for Americans United for Life Legal Defense Fund, said the laws protect parental rights and "obviously are pro- tective of the minor because they give her some guidance .... Clinics do not provide advice in her best interest." The measures also "clearly reduce the numbers of abortion and teen pregnancy," she said. Diana Traub, a spokeswoman for the Reproductive Freedom Project of the American Civil Liberties Union in New York, said states should not involve parents in "a privacy matter." The ACLU has been in the forefront in the fight against notification and consent laws. "Minors don't always have to get parental consent for surgical procedures. It varies from state to state," Ms. Traub said. "In one state a minor could get a Caesarean section without noti- fying her parents. In many, many states no consent is re- quired for treatment of venereal diseases -- that's a sexually related matter." Pro-life lawyer Paige Corn- stock Cunningham called the privacy argument "ludicrous," and added that situations re- quiring no consent were usual- ly medical emergencies. Mrs. Cunningham is an at- toruey from Wheaten, Ill., and former executive director and general counsel for the Chicago-based Americans United for Life Legal Defense Fund. "If it's an emergency, in most cases there is implied consent. If there is any time at all they usually make every effort to bring parents in," she said. "As a mother myself, I would definitely want to know what is going on in my child's life," she added. "I know more about her medical history and emo- tional status than any judge. It's much more private if the deci- sion is made in the family." I Letter to the editor Deacons To the editor, I look forward each week to the bit of history being provid- ed us via the feature church and parish of the week. However, one thought crosses my mind as I read these articles? Why do those parishes which are being served by deacons not picture their deacon along with the parish staff?. I notice some parishese picture secretaries, housekeepers, principals, directors of religious education, but as yet no parish has pic- tured its dedicated deacon who volunteers time for the people. What silent message is being given by this obvious omission? In speaking of deacons, the Vatican Council said that "strengthen by sacramental grace, in communion with the Bishop and his presbyterate, they serve the People of God in the service of the liturgy, the word and charity." (Lumen Gentium}. Are you aware that when Pope John Paul II ad- dressed the Deacon community in Ford Auditorium in Detroit on Sept. 19, he began with "Dear Brothers in the service of our Lord"? Now. if the pope recognizes the service of our deacons, I feel the Message could do likewise. Surely the Center or Diaconal Office would have on file a picture of our deacons so they could be used in these articles along with other members of parish staffs. Joan Preske I Letters welc0me Lette' to the editor are welcome. Brief let- ters are preferred. The Message reserves the right to select letters for publication.