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December 4, 1987     The Message
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December 4, 1987
 

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4 Editorial The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana December 4, 1987 By PAUL LEINGANG Message Editor During Advent we have time to examine workings of how we wait I wait for a red light to turn green. It is a minor event of sometimes major emotional proportions. I wait on the bleachers for a seventh grade son to finish basketball practice. I wait in the car for a freshman son to finish wrestling practice. I wait for the dog to accomplish what needs to be accomplished in the walk the dog must take. I wait in the line at the grocery store, occupy- ing my time reading wrappers on candy bars, razor blades and batteries lining the pushcart path toward the cash register. i wait for payday. I wait for my turn -- in the parking lot, in the lunch line, at the post office, in the bathroom. I wait for my turn in church, for Reconciliation and for Communion. Waiting seems to be so much a part of life, we ought to be good at it. We seldom are. Many times, it seems, waiting causes something relatively unimportant to become ex- tremely important -- until we get what we have waited for and find it is even less than we ex- pected. There was.a wonderful toy train I wanted badly as a boy. In the waiting, week after week, i the train grew in wonder and power and beauty. The longer the wait, the more wonderful became the train, until not even a real steam locomotive would have lived up to my expectations. The toy that arrived was only cardboard. Better it would have been, if it had never come. Some times, at the other end of the scale, we wait so long for something that it slips from our thoughts completely -- then it arrives and turns in- to a useless surprise. Allowing six to eight weeks for delivery may sometimes lead us to wish we had never ordered the thing in the first place. Some times we direct our pent-up energy in the wrong direction -- toward the driver in the car in front of us who has been waiting just as long as we have. Some times we wait in the wrong line, learn- ing at the last minute "you are in the line for peo- ple who already bought their tickets." Advent is a time of waiting. We do it every year, it ought to be easy to do it well. It seldom is. It seems easier to ignore the pleasure of waiting in a culture which celebrates Christmas in the months before it happens. The same day we celebrate what we have been waiting for, many others are throw- ing out the tree and the decorations. The pleasure of waiting? Yes. There is pleasure in the anticipation of Christmas, waiting for someone to come to us, waiting for the gift of God's love to us. Waiting can take so many different forms. Not all of them are pleasant, but our spiritual ancestors have experienced all of them before. Perhaps we can find meaning in the ways we wait; perhaps we can find that we are sharing in the experiences of a chosen people. Perhaps salvation history is reenacted in each of us. We come from a people who expected too much -- a worldly ruler for a savior. We come from a people who forgot what they were waiting for. We come from a people angry at others who also waited for redemptiom We come from a people who found difficulty acknowledging that the one awaited had already come. We live out such experiences, constantly. In Ad- vent, we have time to examine the workings of how we wait. And time to pray for the coming of the Kingdom, to us and to all who are waiting for an expression of love. Washington Letter School health clinics: the contraceptive controversy By JULIE ASHER NC News Service WASHINGTON (NC} -- The U.S. Catholic bishops' Nov. 18 approval of a statement oppos- ing birth control services at school-based health clinics cap- ped a year of growing debate over using such clinics to ad- dress an ever increasing rate of pregnancy among unwed teens. Statistics show that the percentage of teen-age mothers who are unmarried has more than tripled in the last 25 years, from 15 percent in 1960 to 56 percent in 1984. How to address the dilemma has pitted the bishops and pro- life groups, which promote chastity and the need for a fun- damental moral approach asthe answer, against those who ad- vocate using school-based clinics to dispense or prescribe contraceptives for teens. The ,controversy led the bishops to begin work last year on a statement opposing pro- viding birth control services at I 00esaaoe 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 47711 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville PuUhQd  t lt w December by the Cathollo Pre of Eye.lie. Publlllher ........ BIIhop Franols R. 8hNI Publisher .... Rev. Jouph ZJliak Edhot .................. Paul Lelnglng Clmulatlon Mgr.... MrS. Row Montrutkl Production M" ............... Phlt BoOer Adveiling Mgt ............... D HoRy 4169, Evlulsvllle, IN 47711. Phone (812) 424-&.B. Subscrlptlon rate: $15 per year Entered as 2nd  matter st the post of. fk In Evlmwllle, IN 47701. Publication number B43B00. Postmter: Return POD forms 3679 to the Offloe of Publloatlon. the clinics, and it was approved this year at their Nov. 16-19 meeting in Washington. In the 7,400-word document, they objected, on both moral and practical grounds, to pro- viding such services and called for federal and state laws as well as local school board policies to be amended to ex- clude such services from public schools. The bishops said dispensing contraceptives promotes sexual promiscuity and ignores the roots of the problem -- family life problems, economic strains, poor educational skills, and a negative perception by teens of themselves and their future. Clinic proponents have said many teens do not use health care services currently available in the community, especially teens from poor families, They also have said that bringing bealth care to teens in a hool setting improves 'access and that problems of depression, drug and alcohol abuse and sex-; nat activity gets needed early attention. Father Edward Bryce, direc- tor of the U.S. bishops' Com- mittee for Pro-Life Activities, said that for advocates of.teen contraception "the desire that pregnancy not ruin teens lives ,iS,'g:enuine, but their methodology is flawed" Richard Doerflingar, assistant director of the bishops' pro-life: office, said, Nov. 25 that an "agenda" by family planners to promote contraception and abortion services through center's support program for clinics showed that in 1984 23 such clinics were operating across the country, and in 1985 it had increased to 35 with another 35 to 40 in the planning stages. By the summer of 1986, the report said, there were 61 with another 100 being developed. Funding comes from private foundations as well as state agencies and federal health block grants. Julia Lear, co-director of the School-Based Adolescent Health Care Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Founda- tion, a major funder of clinics, said clinics' "comprehensive approach" to health care, which includes birth control services or referral, is sound medical practice. "There are a variety of bad things going on in adolescents' lives," Ms. Lear said. "I'd like to think such services can in- tervene. No one argues that the high rate of sexual activity among teens is a good number, or the number of abortions is good." The foundat.ion, based in Princeton, N.J., has awarded more than $16 million in start; up funds for clinics in 16 cities across the country. In the last year bishops in Los Angeles, San Diego, Boston, Denver, Miami, Minneapolis as Well as state Catholic con- ferences have issued statements against clinics' birth control services as a violation of parents' rights and a threat to the dignity of young people. school,basa&.clinics begam to ......... Archbishop -J Franois:-Staf- .... . emerge in the early 1980s. , ford of Denver in a recent state- He said the Center for Popula- ment asked parents of Catholic tion Options held the first na- tional meeting of school-based clinic practitioners in 1984 in Houston and by 1985 besan to "mainstream" its agenda. A 1986 report from the students attending three public high schools not to permit their children to take part in soon-to- be-opened clinics. He said he objected to the clinics' emphasis on "counsel- ing students in areas of moral behavior" and the clinics' ex- clusion of parents in decision- making on health matters. The California bishops, in a Thanksgiving statement, said they recognized the need for in- creased and improved routine health care for children, especially accessible and after- dable programs for the poor. But they said using clinics to dispense contraceptives en- courages promiscuity, ignores  teens' sense of hopelessness ' and worthlessness, and sells children short by "implying that they are incapable of understanding and growing in the spiritual and moral dimen- sions of human life." Violence hits churches PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (NC) -- Haitian churches and a Catholic-run radio station were among targets of election-day violence in which more than 30 people died. Observers said at least three churches, including the main cathedral, were attacked Nov. 29 in" the capital,, Port-aU- Prince, and at least two war- shipers were killed inside the churches. Haiti's first free national elec- tion in 30 years was canceled as armed gangs -- believed to be allies of former President Jean- Claude Duvalier -- shot and hacked voters and journalists. "There has been a planned assault on the churches," said the Rev. Leslie Griffiths, a member of the Caribbean Con- ference of Churches delegation in Haiti to observe the elec- tions. More than 40 armed men forced open the locked doors of Sacred Heart Church in Port-au- Prince where several dozen popl,:Ware attending early polling place, eventually opened for a short time. Late Nov. 28, Radio Soleil, the Catholic radio station, went off the air after its transmitter .was hit with grenades and firebombs by uniformed soldiers, said the station's director,. Missionhurst Father Hugo Triest. The station, which had criticized Duvalier before his February 1986 overthrow, was still off the air Nov. 30. Father Triest also said the soldiers burned the homes of two of the station's night watchmen, one of whom suf- fered critical gunshot wounds and severe burns. The previous day, a Canadian film maker was wounded in the neck by Tontons Macoute -- supporters of Duvalier -- who had been besieging a Catholic church in the town of Dassalinas_. In Washington, the U.S. State Department announced that all non-humanitarian aid to Haiti was being cut off immediately. morning Mass. The attackers Congressional Rap. Walter E. beat. two.vernon  with" machete ..... Fi1hfrby'/"D:D:C. :id 'haii- - butts, climbed on the altar and man of the Congressional Task destroyed several fixtures, said Force on Haiti, said that during Father Nicholas Christian, the parish priest. The incident occurred about 15 minutes before the polls were scheduled to open. The church courtyard, a designated fiscal year 1987, the U.S. pro- vided Haiti with $1.6 million in non-lethal military assistance and $100 million in develop- ment, econom support and humanitarian aid.