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November 27, 1987     The Message
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November 27, 1987
 

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CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF EVANSVILLE VOLUME 18 NUMBER 13 NOVEMBER 27, 1987 General meeting of U.S. bishops WASHINGTON (NC) -- Here at a glance are some of the items approved by the U.S. bishops at their Nov. 16-19 general meeting in Washington. -- A Central America policy state- ment which opposes military aid to the Nicaragua contras but also criticizes the Sandinista government's human rights record. -- A statement opposing on both moral and practical grounds the dispen- sing of contraceptives by school-based health clinics. -- A new national collection to ease the retirement burdens of religious orders. The first candle Sister Tess Duenas lights one candle on the advent wreath for the first week of Advent as Adam Ralph watches. Sister Duenas is a first grade teacher at St. James School, Gibson County. Adam is a first grader at the school. The first Sunday of Advent is Nov. 29. ' -- Message Photo by Mary Ann Hughes -- A national pastoral plan for Hispanic ministry. -- A new rite for use in celebrations of marriage between persons of dif- ferent faiths. -- Establishment of Dec. 12 as the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the United States, but not a holy day. -- Norms for the retirement years of diocesan priests. -- Formation of a joint commission of bishops and female and male members of religious orders and establishment of a separate bishops' Committee on Religious Life and Ministry. National Conference of Catholic Bishops Bishops back C. America statement, oppose contraceptive clinics NC NEWS SERVICE WASHINGTON (NC), U.S. bishops , ,. at their fall general meeting approved a Central America policy statement op- posing U.S. military aid to the contra rebels in Nicaragua and expressed their opposition to school-based health clinics which distribute contraceptives. Meeting at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington Nov. 16-19, the approx- imately 300 bishops attending the meeting of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and U.S. Catholic Conference also approved: -- A new national collection to ease the retirement burdens of religious orders. Y -- A national pastoral plan for Hispanic ministry. -- A new rite for use in celebrations of marriage between persons of dif- ferent faiths. The rite still needs ap- proval of the Vatican before it can be us- ed. -- Establishment of Dec. 12, the date Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared in Mexico in 1531, as a feast day -- but not a holy day of obligation -- in the United States. -- Norms for priests' retirement years that call on bishops to recognize the "value and dignity" of aging priasts and their retirement. The bishops delayed action on pro- posed guide|ines for bishop-theologian relations when they ran out of time on the final day of the meeting. They also heard glowing accounts of the success of Pope John Paul II's September pastoral visit and received reports on such varied items as the pro- gress,.of a t co nmitte.e examining the moramT ox nuctear deterrence and the stU, S of their investment portfoli o in the wake of October's stock market drop. The bishops' new Central America statement, updating a statement issued in 1981, calls military aid to the contras "legally doubtful and morally wrong." It also repudiates human rights abuses by any side in the Central American conflict and endorses regional peace in- itiatives. Their position on school-based health clinics came in a statement which ex- presses what the bishops say are both moral and practical reasons why such clinics should not distribute contracep- tives. The statement said federal and state laws as well as local school board policies should be amended to exclude contraceptive services from public schools. In approving their pastoral plan for Hispanic ministry, the bishops sought to respond to what one of them warned was the potential loss of up to 50 per- cent of Hispanic Catholics to other denominations or to no religion at all. The plan calls for small parish-based communities, youth ministry, promo- tion of family life and leadership forma- tion adapted to the Hispanic culture. The new national collection ap- proved by the bishops to meet the rising retirement costs for religious orders -- particularly orders of nuns -- will be conducted annually for 10 years "unless the need is met before then." The retirement need, estimated at $2.5 billion, includes the cost of meeting health care and living expenses of cur- rent and future retirees. Delayed until their next meeting were the bishops' proposed guidelines for improving relations with theologians and resolving disputes over theological O r ' doctrinal matters. Although the guidelines had been criticized by some bishops for  being theologically "lacking," a motion to send them back to committee failed. But further action was suspended with amendments still pending when depar- tures of bishops at the end of the meeting led to the lack of a quorum. Information reports to the bishops also made up a large part of the meeting. In one report the bishops were told the NCCB-USCC suffered paper losses of $6.7 million in the October stock market drop. The conferences' total portfolio at the end of the month -- $69.7 million -- was still worth more than their original investment, but most of the profits they would have gained were eaten up when stocks fell. They also were told Nov. 18 by Car- dinal John Krol of Philadelphia, a member of a special council advising the pope on Vatican finances, that the financially strapped Vatican for the first time will soon release an annual state- ment on its budget and finances. Reporting on the progress of the bishops' ad hoc committee examining the morality of nuclear deterrence policies, Cardinal Joseph L. Bemardin of Chicago said Nov. 17 that his com- mittee's report next spring also will deal with the morality of modern defense systems, such as President Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative. He said the committee also is examin- ing the effect of spiraling arms costs on programs to alleviate poverty. The bishops heard two separate reports on Pope John Paul's U.S. visit. Archbishop John L. May of St. Louis, NCCB-USCC president, opened the meeting Nov. 16 by saying that those who thought the pope was coming to scold the U.S. church were proven wrong. And Archbishop Thomas C. Kelly of Louisville, Ky., who headed a commit- tee which coordinated the trip, said that as a result people are returning to the sacraments. Archbishop May also reported on Oc- See NATIONAL page 2 On the insid00 Recruiting -- Evansville Catholic high schools work to increase enrollments. See page 3. St. John the Baptist, Vincennes -- Feature parish on pages 8 & 9. Bulletin Board -- Coming events in the-diocese on page 6.