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November 15, 1996     The Message
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4 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana -- Taking the time to make a difference --- ... and promises to keep By PAUL R. LEINGANG EDITOR Maybe the recent political campaign season prompted my thinking. Or perhaps it was the approach of winter. Whatever the reason, my thoughts lately have been about promises. The biggest promise I ever made was the one I made in front of a church-full of people. On that day, Jane and I spoke aloud our marriage vows. "You should have been there," said one of my relatives to anoth- er, at the wedding reception: She was describing the marriage cere- mony She had witnessed at the church. She was describing how Jane and I had turned to each other, and how we had said what we said without having to repeat it after the priest. "They married each other!" this witness said. Jane and I enjoyed that moment, hearing someone enthusiastically proclaiming what our faith had taught us, that the sacrament of Christ- ian marriage is performed by the man and the woman who "marry each other." It was a graced moment. A member of my extended family had come to know a truth of our Christian faith, and it happened not in a text book or because of a sermon. It happened in the witness of a public promise, made before God and the Chris- tian assembly, in the presence of family and friends, made by two young persons who were ignorant of the future but nonetheless willing to make a life- long commitment to each other. The sacred scriptures are full of promises. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob promises to be the God of the chosen people, and to live with them in a sacred covenant. Jesus promises that, where two or three are gathered in his name, he will be with us. The Spirit -- our Paraclete, our ; advocate, our inspiration -- is promised and present among us. Take a good look at the promises being made at this time of the year. Campaign promises have been made by candi- dates seeking election. Now that the race has been run and the winner has been chosen, who will take the time to make sure the commitment is kept? The one who made the promise, of course -- and the ones who witnessed it, too. At this time of the year, in the part of the world where I live, the sunlight is fading and colder, weather has arrived. My hope is in the promise that I will once again enjoy the surprise of spring. Light will come again to the darkness. Life will conquer death. Even the ordinary change in seasons pro- claims the promises made by our God. What promises have you made? Perhaps you have pledged Or perhaps you have said that, on will do your best. Or you have sworn to uphold Or that you will sin no more. Talk with the people who are close family members, or your friends. What have they made? Have they been kept? Talk, too, about the people promises you have made. How have you keep them? Take the time today to evaluate promises are made in your family. That include everything from a child's promise chore or a spouse's promise to be faithful, time to reflect on that promise, repeat celebrate it and help each other to keep it' How does your church promise made at a Baptism or at a there is room for improvement, take make it happen. ' Work to help an elected offic campaign promise. Take the time -- at your church and in your city -- to make a ( ence. Comments about this column are prleing@cfm.org or the Christian Family P.O. Box 272, Ames, Iowa 50010. ------Washington Letter White House swing vote: How did Catholics By PATRICIA ZAPOR Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The "CathoLic vote" that everyone's campaign strategists were look- ing for this election year once again swung into President Clinton's column. Just under 50 percent of all those who voted Nov. 5 cast their ballots for President Clinton, but 53 percent of those voters who are Catholic chose Clinton. That's up from the 44 percent of Catholics who voted for Clin- ton in 1992, when he got 43 per- cent of the overall vote. For most of this century, no president has been elected with- out getting a majority of votes from Catholics. But since that Catholic vote hasn't necessarily followed one party or the other in recent elections, campaign strategists for Clinton and Bob Dole tried their best to pull it into their column. "The White House had a two- year-long strategy to win the Catholic vote," said Michael Fer- The MESSAGE 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 47711 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Punished weekly except last week in December by the Catholic Press of Evansville Pubtisho' ............. Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger Etor ...................................... Paul R. Leingang Production Technan ............... Joseph Dietrich Advesng ................................... Paut New,and Staff Writer ............................ Mary Ann Hughes Address all communications to P.O. Box 4169, Evsnsvil|e. IN 47724-0169 Subscription rate: $17.50 per year Single Copy Price: $.50 Entered as periodical matter at the post offe Jn Evansville, IN 47701. Publica- tion number 843800. Postmaster: Return POD forms 3579 to Office of Publication t 996 Cathotic Press of Evansvte i i ' : : i t guson, executive director of the Catholic Campaign for America, a nonpartisan organization that" seeks to bring influences of Catholic teaching into politics. "They knew if they were going to win they needed Catholics, because Catholics are significant in all the big states." Clinton won the electoral votes of 32 states, including Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Massa- chusetts, Florida, Louisiana, Illi- nois, Michigan, Maryland where Catholics make up a large percentage of the population. Ferguson believes the Catholic vote strategy succeeded for Clin- ton less because of substance than because of image. "He did a very good job of 'talking the talk,'" Ferguson said, citing a list of"little things" such as Clinton's support a year, ago for uniforms in all schools and White House "photo ops" with church leaders. "I think they were very effec- tive in playing up issues -- per-" ceived or real -- that make him seem sensitive to things Catholics care about," he said. Jim Castelli, a Washington- based author of several books on A vote of thanks To the editor: Thanks to the voters of Van- derburgh County for choosing to return me to a third term on the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation Board of Trustees. Thanks to those who turned beyond the partisan choices in their ballot to the school board and other non-partisan races. Thanks to my family and friends who provided strength to me during the campaign. Thanks those who contributed time and money to my campaign. . Thanks to the Evansville Courier, the Evansville Press, the Central Labor Council of South- ern Indiana, Jobs for Southwest- ern Indiana, and Teamsters 'Local 215 for their endorse- ments. Thanks to the African-Ameri- can voters who realize the importance of their vote. Thanks to parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and all people concerned about the wel- fare of our children. Thanks to the administrators, teacher teachers' aides,,nurm es, counselors, cafeteria staff, secretarial and support staff, maintenance and housekeeping and groundskeeping staff who voted for me. Thanks to those people who came to community forums to hear the school board candi- dates. Thanks to the organizations who sent questionnaires to find out what the school board can- didates believe in. Thanks to those people who have the wisdom to know that it does take a whole village to raise a child and who know that the saying is an ancient African proverb, not a new phrase cre- ated by any political party. I appreciate your support. I pledge to you that during the next four years I will continue to be honest, straightforward, and willing to listen. I will con- tinue to be available to you and do what I think is right for all of our kids. Sincerely, Gerald Eugene Summers , ......... . EvaizsviUe American Catholics and politics, would agree that Clinton's issues have particular appeal.: to Catholics, but he believes they're far more substantive than Fer- guson describes. Four big issues of this cam- paign  protecting Medicaid, Medicare, education and the environment  strike home with Catholics, who traditional- ly want the government to have a significant role in those areas, according to Castelli, who also serves as a free-lance adviser to the Clinton administration on religious issues. "Those were the real motiva- tors," he said. Using the analogy Clinton cited at every opportunity on the campaign trail, Castelli said the difference between Dole and Clinton came down to the ques- tion of "are we going to go over that bridge to the 21st century with everyone on their own or are we going to go over it togeth- er?" Dole did his own share of try- ing to reach out to Catholics by way of frequent appearances at Catholic schools, his own "photo op" with New York's Cardinal John J. O'Connor, a speech in May to the Catholic Press Asso- ciation and an Catholic News before But in the seemed to come old- line Charles R. politics at sity of tive and and Dole is just t Ferguson have succeeded Catholics if he about his su: programs schools to compete of public funds a] ferences b Clinton on Exit polling by Group showed that cited by 12 one of the most in their p] that 12 voted for Dole, Clinton. David O'Steel director of the Life Committee, made a tactical emphasizing on which he extremely Bishop's The following activities and events are li ule of Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger: Brut tiation;  9:30 a.m. to 12:30 ........ Personnel Board [ iili day, Nov. 20, 1:30 p.m,. : Clergy Institute Breakfast, IsraeL, Evansville, Friday, Nov. 22, Council of Priests, Catholic Cente 1:30 p.m.