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November 18, 1988     The Message
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November 18, 1988

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4 Editorial The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana November 18, 1988 By PAUL LEINGANG Message Editor In spiritual, human matters bishop has touched our lives Bishop Francis R. Shed was only 73 when I first met him. Now he is within days of 75, and within an uncertain time of near retirement. I know very little of those 75 years, and just a bit more about the last two. I know a few facts about his nearly 50 years as a priest -- his life in Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville where he served as pastor and school principal. I know a few of the details about his almost 19 years of service to the Diocese of Evansville -- his life as shepherd, teacher and bishop. It is not fact or detail which we will celebrate this weekend with Bishop Shed. It is the man whom we honor, because he has somehow become involved in our lives. "I remember when you confirmed me," reads a typical letter of thanks from a student who took the time to write a note to the bishop on the occa- sion of this weekend celebration. Such a letter con- tinues, with the writer commenting on a sermon or a smile from the bishop -- remembered now and appreciated as the time the bishop somehow was a part of another's life. "Thank you for approving our building," reads another letter. "Thank you for our school." Perhaps one of the thoughts comes from some- one who does not know what to write, or perhaps it comes from someone more perceptive than all the others: "Thank you for being bishop." It is in thanks for this man who is our bishop that we celebrate this weekend. My appreciation for this man who is bishop comes from a relatively few months of acquain- tance. From a conversation at lunch. From a prayer. From a story. For some, he is a figure of authority. This man is a bishop who made the right decision or the wrong decision or no decision at all. Such is the hope and the hazard of almost 19 years -- that what is done is at times for the best, and at times not; and that some things are always left undone. For others, especially those who have written their thoughts and their feelings, this bishop is a man who has touched their lives with his humanity. So it is for me. This man may be a bishop, but this bishop is a man-- one who cares for other people. I remember the first time I met him. After a five hour drive from the Iowa border on Friday night and a few hours with relatives near St. Louis on Saturday morning, I drove to Evansville to meet the bishop on a Saturday afternoon. We talked for hours. That conversation and others -- With the bishop and with other people in the diocese -- led me to make a drastic change in my life and in the life of my family. It was a change in jobs for me, a change which led to a new job for my wife, and a change in school for my children -- it was a life uprobted and transplanted. Such changes may be more dramatic, on the surface, than the changes wrought in the lives of others who have been in contact with Bishop Shea, but all of us in the diocese have been changed in some way. In matters spiritual and in matters human, this bishop has touched our lives. The spiritual and the human in this man are one and the same. For being teacher, priest and shepherd, we thank you, Bishop Shea. Thank you for being bishop. Washington Letter JFK's CatholMty: walking apolitical tightrope By LAURIE HANSEN NC News Service WASHINGTON (NC) -- Twenty-five years after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Catholic scholars says his election both allayed suspicions about Catholics and contributed to an overly strict interpretation of the separation of church and state. Kennedy's election in 1960 and subsequent 1,000 days in office are still considered to be a momentous juncture in the history of U.S. Catholicism. His afficionados worldwide, from the United States to Ireland, from Spain to Colum- bia, have named parks and libraries, barrios and scholar- ship funds for the first Catholic U.S. chief of state. At campaign time, local, state and national political can- didates of both parties quote him with abandon. An unen- ding stream of Kennedy books and movies, some more com- plimentary than others -- can- not satiate the public's appetite. rhoMESSAGE 4200 N. Kentucky Ave Evansville, IN 47724-0,60 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Published weekly except last week in December by the Catholic Press of Evansville Publisher Bishop Francis R Shed Associate Publisher Ray Joaeph Zihak Edftor Paul komgang Clrculatlorl Mgr Mrs Rose Momrastelle' Production Mg, PPlll Beget Advertising Mgr Dan Hort'l Address all communications to P L; Bo 4169, Evansville, IN 47724-0169 Pnon (812) 424-5536 Subscrlptlo,, rat0: $15 per year Entered as 2no class mallei at the posl of- hco in Evansville, IN 4770 , Pu01icaUorl number 843800 Postmaster: Return POE) torm 3579 to the Office of Publication Copyright 1988 Catholic Press of Evansville Kennedy proved to the nation that catholicism was "no im- pediment" to doing the job, said Jesuit Father Avery Dulles, a Catholic theologian at For- dham University in New York. "He maintained a correct at- titude toward the church in the sense of public acknowledge- ment of his faith, but when it came to making policy he also tried to keep his distance from his own Catholic Church," Msgr. John Tracy Ellis, a promi- nent church historian, said. According to Msgr. Ellis, the 35th president's views on church and state were in line with the U.S. tradition of keep- ing the two separate -- a tradi- tion, he said, that has been in- voked "from the dawn of the republic on." But a televised campaign speech by Kennedy before the Greater Houston Ministerial Association in 1960 during which he tackled church-state issues head-on" gave the wrong impression of the connection between religion and politics," in the view of Father Dulles, a convert whose own family of Presbyterians included several noted statesmen. His father was John Foster Dulles, secretary of state under President Eisenhower and a Presbyterian elder. Allen Dulles, his uncle, was director of the CIA. A great-grandfather, John Watson Foster, was secretary of state under Presi- dent Benjamin Harrison. And a great-uncle, Robert Lansing, held the same post under Presi- dent Woodrow Wilson In his speech to the Houston association. Kennedy assuaged the tears of Protestants concern- ed that his church would have undue influence on his policies by speaking at "an Amerma where the separation of church and state is absolute." Precisely as a result of the church-state separation, said Father Dulles, there is "room for a wide spectrum of philosophies about the human person and society, room for people in public life who stand within a variety of religious traditions." He urged Catholic officials to walk a political tightrope -- not ignoring that a majority of their constituencies may be non- Catholic, but at the same time acknowledging that many values based on church social teaching and reason can be "made broadly acceptable." He cited the church's "just war" theory and opposition to slavery as examples. In principle, said Father Dulles, this is also true of abor- tion. Though controversial in many circles, the church posi- tion against abortion is based on natural law and a respect for life, which find sympathy from many Protestants and Jews, he said. But today, said Father Dulles, statesmen are discouraged from allowing religious values to af- fect their decision making. In- terpreting the separation of church and state as "denying the church a prophetic role" has created a vacuum in the public forum, he said. At a time when the U.S. bishops have analyzed from a moral perspective and then boldly spoken out on issues of the day, from war and peace to the economy, the Catholic laity has been reluctant to follow suit, said Father Dulles. Yet numbers of lay Catholics m public office are on the rise. In 1961. when Kennedy became president. 100 of the 535 members of the House and Senate were Catholics. The 100th Congress, which ended in late Ocotber, included 141 Catholic senators and + representatives. "lf you were to ask where did Catholics break through on the U.S. national scene, it would be Richard J. Daley of Chicago in the realm of politics," said headed the Midwestern city's Msgr. Ellis. Democratic machine and was Why politics? "Catholics considered one of the most seemed very skilled in politics, powerful Democrats in the especially the Irish bosses in nation. the big cities -- Mayor Daley in In this respect, said Msgr. Chicago, others in Boston and Ellis, "JFK's election was the New York," said the church culmination of what had been historian. The late Mayor See WASHINGTONpage16 Outstanding To the editor, Your Election '88 Supple- ment was an outstanding exam- ple of excellence in journalism. You provided your readers with a wealth of reliable information to assist them in voting from a base of knowledge. And you clearly demonstrated the link between faith and politics, without ever telling anyone how to vote. Letters to the editor ] Dr. M. Desmond Ryan Executive Director Indiana Catholic Conference The Message readers are blessed to have such a skilled and dedicated staff of jour- nalists to serve them. We at the Indiana Catholic Conference appreciate your efforts. Commended To the editor, You and the Message staff are to be commended for the outstanding work on the Voters' Education Supplement. Responses to the questionnaire were enlightening for what they revealed and for what was left unspoken. There aren't enough superlatives to convey my gratitude and thanks. BRAVO! Jan Steftenagel Jasper, Ind. A letter to Bishop Shea Dear Bishop Shea, Thank you for enabling Sister Emma Jochum to organize listening sessions for the first draft of "Parteners in the Mystery of Redemption." We ap- preciate being able to have the opportunity to respond to this pastoral as the people of the Evansville diocese. We are grateful for the ar- ticles that have been written in the Message. They have given insight and informa- l tion to educate us concern- ing the issues covered in the pastoral. We hope this is just the beginning and not the end in our journey to become true "partners in the mystery of Redemption." Your Sisters in Christ, Members of the Personal and Spiritual Development Committee Sisters of St. Benedict Ferdinand, Ind.