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Evansville, Indiana
November 27, 1987     The Message
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November 27, 1987
 

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4 Editorial Tile Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana i November 27, 1987 By PAUL LEINGANG Message Editor You may be the only picture of Jesus some people ever see I took pictures last week of several permanent deacons, in an effort to complete a project which was begun long before I came to the diocese. Photographs are not only useful to the ones who take them, they are important to the people pictured. Diocesan offices are located at the Catholic Center. In the Center is a display area, and in the display area is an incomplete composite, designed to show the photographs of all the permanent deacons ordained for the Diocese of Evansville. Many of the pictures are there, not all of them. Not yet. Photographs of the permanent deacons will also be valuable in presenting features and stories in the Message, to provide a more accurate "pic- ture" of the Church in Southwestern Indiana. During the mid-October "Convocation '87" at Kentucky Lake, I took pictures of many of the priests in the diocese. Current photographs are im- portant, perhaps essential, in any effort to com- municate the news within the diocese. Outdated pictures are somehow untrue. The reality they communicate is historical, not current. For this issue of the newspaper, we took pic- tures of priests at a parish, a housekeeper, a Washington Letter secretary; we took pictures of essay contest win- ners, a school principal, some students. Many issues presell[ pictures taken to commemorate an- niversaries and significant events in people's lives. All of the pictures communicate something, reveal something, to those who see them. Sometimes there is distortion of reality, viewing the world through a wide-angle lens, but sometimes distortion allows us to see things we have never seen before. Sometimes there is revealed in a photograph a facet of a personality unfamiliar to family and friends: ".You don't look at all like your picture." No matter how distorted, by lens or by un- characteristic pose, there is still a near-miracle of communication accomplished with a picture that is "taken." Portraits are painted, statues are sculpted and words are written; in all such expressions, it is the artist or author who creates the portrayal of a person, place or thing. Not so with a photograph. A photograph is taken. Perhaps part of the near-miracle of such a means of communication is the fact that nothing is lost by the person whose photo has been "taken." It is as if a person may give himself or herself to another, and not be diminished. In the lobby at the Catholic Center are these words on a poster: "You may be the only gospel some people ever read." The thought expressed is arresting, but even more striking may be the com- panion thought: you may be the only picture of Jesus some people will ever see. To accomplish such a representation of divini- ty in our humanity, we have to allow our picture to be taken. There may be some distortion, either in the lens of the viewer, or because of an un- characteristic posture or pose on our part. Even so, reality is communicated -- Christ is revealed in the lives of Christians. One of the joys of Advent with its emphasis on preparation for the coming of Christ is the joy of realizing he is already here -- in the loving presence of wives, husbands, parents, children, brothers and sisters. The picture of Jesus in the people who love him is a current picture, not historical. And even as it is given, it does not diminish the one who gives it. With such preparation in Advent, Christmas could be the time we might say to Jesus, as we look at members of our Christian family, "You ,i. look just like your picture." Central American statement, a tradition of concern By LIZ SCHEVTCHUK NC News Service WASHINGTON (NC} -- When the U.S. bishops' new "State- ment on Central America" was, passed, labeling U.S. support for Nicaraguan rebels "morally flawed" as well as "legally doubtful and morally wrong," it became a part of a tradition going back to the early 1980s. The American hierarchy has been worrying about Central America and calling for peaceful resolution of its pro- blems throughout the decade, the statement points out. The blood spilled in that period has included that of their episcopal colleague, Arch- bishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador, El Salvador; and fellow American Catholics -- Maryknoll Sisters Maura Clarke and Ita Ford, Ursuline Sister Dorothy Kazel and lay worker Jean Donovan, in El Salvador; and Father Stanley Rother and Christian Brother James Miller, in Guatemala. 00088a00 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 Press of Evansville. Publisher ........ Bishop Francis R. Sims Almociate Publisher .... Rev. Joseph Zilllk Editor .................. Paul Lolngang Circulation Mgr .... Mrs. Rose Montractalle Production Mgr ............... Phil Boger Advertising Mgr ....... ........ Dan Horty Addreas all communications to P.O. Box 4169, Evansvllla, IN 47711. Phone (812) 424..5538. Subscription rate: $15 per year Entered as 2nd class matter at the post of. rice in EvansvlIM, IN 47701. Publication number 843800. Postmaster: Return POD forms 3579 to the Office of Publication, In the early 1980s, much of A year later, the bishops, at issued a brief update that the bishops' focus, like much of their general meeting in quoted their Central American the American political focus, Washington, ratified a "State- brethren. Making the Central was on U.S. aid to El Salvador, ment on Central America" that American hierarchy's words then under control of a military criticized as "profoundly their own, they urged '"an junta, mistaken" the concept that honorable and civilized "Violence visited almost dai- Central America's problems dialogue' between and among ly upon the poor and suffering could be met by "military the (region's) contending par- people of E1Salvador is an ever- responses, arms transfers" and ties," free elections, and growing source of grief to us," other such martial approaches. "withdrawal of all 'outside then-Bishop Thomas C. Kelly, Noting that Nicaragua was powers'" engaged in military U.S. Catholic Conference then officially at peace and E1 and other interference. general secretary, said in Salvador at war, the bishops Later, Nicaragua -- and November 1980. specifically referred to the latter allegations of human rights The American bishops' con- when they emphasized that abuses by both the Sandinistas ference "continues to oppose , "we have opposed and con- and the contra forces -- came to all military aid to the govern- tinue to oppose military aid prominence. ment of E1 Salvador and any from all sources" and "support As the 1987 "Statement on further intervention by our political measures to prevent Central America" notes, "there government in the internal af- the flow of arms from other is no issue of U.S. hemispheric fairs of El Salvador," said the nations." policy that has so sharply and bishop, now archbishop of Two years later, again at their bitterly divided the American Louisville, Ky. general meeting, the bishops people as has the policy of our ii ] Letter to the editor Lay response To the editor, After reading the articles in the Nov. 6 issue of the Message on "Vocation Awareness" I feel inclined to express the following: Father Dave Fleck deserves accolades for his article on this subject because he pointed out, "Vocation means that call which comes to each of us in Baptism to live the way of Jesus Christ...through marriage, single life, ordained ministry and religious life." Thanks, Father Dave,. for emphasing that all of the people of God have a vocation! There is deep concern evi- dent throughout our Church because of the lack of aspirants to the priesthood and religious life. Also, {as evidenced by the recent Synod on the Laity), there is a prevalent perplexity regarding the role of the laity in today's Catholic Church. As a member of the laity, I want to say, in as loving and supportive way as possible, to you our brother and sister priests and religious: "Our need for you has always been, and will continue to be, great. Daily, we pray with you, that Our Father will send increased vocations to your honored way of life. Do not feel threatened by this "awakening" of the laity -- God knows it's long overdue! "Lead us, and we'll followin love and devotion, Decide which ministries are worth your lives; train lay replacements so you are part of the restructuring, rather than abandoning the ministry to poorly trained, or hesitant suc- cessors. Inspire us, challenge us, lead us, listen to us, follow us, catch up in those areas where our insights may be dif- ferent from yours. Share not on- ly your ministry, but also your wealth of spiritual resources. Is it too presumptions to think we can learn from each other?" I recently heard an atheist state that his main reason for rejecting the Good News was "because I looked all around me and could find no 'authen- tic' Christians such as is described in the Gospel," and thereafter he decided, "God must not exist, for I do not find Him reflected in His followers." Granted, most of us would have to admit ,to the necessity of personal scrutiny in this regard. As the People of God grow more genuine in their particular area of God's vineyard, the reflection of God's love in us will not only attract, but also, we surely hope, will challenge government to arm and train ... the contras." The statement says that "on],J, a political solution can finali  be successful in Nicaragua as in Central America generally; there is no politically or moral- ly acceptable military solution." "We have argued that direct military aid to forces seeking to overthrow a government with which we are not at war and with which we maintair,- diplomatic relations is at least legally doubtful and morally wrong," it says. Thus, it says, the bishops "believe the policy of support for the contras to be morally flawed, however sincere the in- tentions" of those who back it. our younger Christians to Come forward to collaborate in the  work of transforming the world lla by filling the empty spaces in states of life. The gift of the Second Vatican Council was to help us see that all of us are the Church, and that together we have the responsibility to continue the mission of Jesus Christ. It goes without saying, and gratefully so, that major efforts are being made in our diocese to enlist all members of the faithful, by bringing to their at- tention the responsibilities they share as a Priestly People. We are going in the same direction: let us go hand in hand. Connie Shafer Washington, Ind.