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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
December 8, 1989     The Message
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December 8, 1989

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4 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana December 8, 1989 Editorial -- By PAU[, ,: ' LEINGANG  Message Editor It's dark at 4:30 in the morning. That may not seem like much of a revelation, this opening thought of mine, about darkness. But there is more to the story. It is a late November darkness that I want to tell you about -- the darkness that seems so much more powerful because the longer nights of winter are still coming. It is the darkness of an unfamiliar place that I want to tell you about; the darkness of night is thickened somehow by a sprinkling of uncertainty. It is the darkness of waiting, waiting alone. These thoughts had their beginning in my car, parked along a residential street, where I waited for a son to complete a portion of his early morning paper route. He had taken with him enough papers to finish deliveries along the first half of his route. I was waiting for him to come to the car to pick up the rest of the papers needed for the completion of his route. The route, just recently undertaken, covers an apartment complex, a major thoroughfare and a residential street. At 4:30, even major thoroughfares are almost empty. I was waiting along the residential street, with my back to the light of the larger street. I waited Waiting in the darkness for someone special to come for what seemed to be a long, long time. Several passes up and down the radio dial brought brief distraction but no lasting attention, in the slow minutes which always come before the quickness of early morning drive time. A slow shadow moved across the rear view mirror. It was only a car on the street, moving through the dimness of a distant street light, brief- ly catching my attention. A quick movement on the sidewalk caught my attention. An early, early jogger, it was -- wearing reflecting clothing that found little light to make his venture more visible. I realized I did not remember what my son was wearing, the color of his coat -- but in the darkness it would make little difference. Colors had no value. I was waiting on the right street, I assured myself. A bit of uncertainty crept by. We had agreed to meet at this spot, I was sure. Almost sure. I waited. There came a thought: Is this a kind of advent? Inside my car's hard shell of metal and steel, alone, in the darkness, I was waiting for someone to come. I shared an experience of a whole world full of people who were isolated from the one for whom they waited, the one who was promised. How hard was the shell of those who had been hardened by a lifetime of waiting? I was waiting for someone to come, but I could not have explained to another what he was wearing or how he could be recognized. I was waiting with hope and expectation, but doubt and uncertainty soon came to be my compa- nions. They did nothing to ease my isolation. Distractions and shadows filled my senses, but not my soul. My early morning meditation quickly ended, with the arrival of my paper boy son, but Atvent had become quite real for a moment -- a dark mo- ment in the early morning on an unfamiliar street. Advent is not darkness; darkness is just its location. At least it was for me. There are moments of darkness in all of our lives. That may not seem like much of a revela- tion, but there is more to the story. There is always more to the story of God's in- volvement with his people. Washington Letter While Congress rushed to go home, pro-h'fers chalked up wins .By LIZ SCHEVTCHUK Catholic News Service WASHINGTON. (CNS) -- As Congress savored its holiday adjournment, abortion foes savored legislative victories -- won with a little help from the president. Just before Thanksgiving, by sustaining presidential vetoes, right-to-life forces defeated abortion-related provisions in the foreign operations funding bill, the District of Columbia budget, and the appropriations bill for the departments of Education, Labor and Health and Human Services. Bush's help was essential. He signed versions of the bills ac- ceptable to anti-abortion forces Nov. 21. "We would have lost on all three issues had it not been for four pro-life vetoes by President Bush between Oct. 21 and Nov. 20," noted a Nov. 21 memoran- dum to pro-life officials from Douglas Johnson and Susan ;mith. The two are legislative - Th:/V[ ESSAGE 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 47724-0160 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Published weekly except last week in December hy the Catholic Pre of Evansville. Publisher .... Bishop Gerald A. Gettelflnger Associate Publisher .... Rev. Joseph ZIIlak Editor .................. Paul Lelngang Production Mgr ............... Phil Boger Cir.lAdv. Mgr ........... Paul A. Newlsnd Addreu all communications to P,O. Box 418g, Evanlvllio, IN 47724-0169. Phone (812) 424-5538. Subscription rate: $1 7.50 per year Single Copy Price: 50 Entered as 2nd class matter at the post of- lice In Evansville, IN 47701. Publication number 843800. Postmaster: Return POD forms 3579 to the Office of Publication. Copyright 1989 Catholic Press of Evansville director and associate legislative director, respective- ly, of the National Right tO Life Committee. Backers of legal abortion have geared up their political efforts following the Supreme Court's July Webster ruling, which upheld a Missouri abortion restriction law. In the last few months, right-to-life forces have lost majority votes in the House by tallies of 219-206, 216-206, and 207-200, and in the Senate by 52-48 and 52-44. But abortion supporters have lacked enough votes -- a two- thirds majority -- to override a presidential veto. Capitol Hill's ability to find majorities for some abortion provisions is part of the "over- whelming evidence of the dramatic and unprecedented turnaround among elected of- ficials on this issue," said Kate Michelman, executive director of the National Abortion Rights Action League, in October. Congress originally approved a $14.8 billion foreign opera- tions appropriations bill con- taining an amendment that would have provided $15 million to the U.N. Fund for Population Activities, provided the latter kept the U.S. money separate from the funds it donates to China, which has long been accused of coercive abortion policies. Bush vetoed the bill Nov. 19. Unable to override his opposi- tion, the House deleted the population agency allocation, and approved the revised ver- sion. So did the Senate, and Bush. A 1985 law denies U.S. population assistance funds to groups that support programs of coercive abortion or steriliza- tion. On the domestic front, Bush vetoed two bills that allowed the District of Columbia to use local money to fund poor women's abortions. The district has its own government and ad- ministers its own budget. But the budget must be channeled through Congress as an ap- Letters to the editor I Anglican To the editor, In response to the letter of Nov. 24 on Anglican Relations by Viola Weaver: I noticed some errors in your letter. For example, Catherine of Aragon was not beheaded. She died of natural causes three years after the marriage was an- nulled. Henry the VIII had six wives; only two were behead- ed. On the scaffold, Thomas More said that he was dying "in the faith and for the faith of the Catholic Church, the king's good servant and God's first." To "have a better perspective what the revolution was all about" and "know the past in order to understand the pre- sent" you should study the issue from all sides. Also study the individuals involved -- their motives, positions, situa- tions -- and piece the many parts together, to get a com- prehensive view of a com- plicated, many-side issue. I encourage your study of history. You will find many books in the'library that will aid you in your study of the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the many characters who played a part in both. Gary Myers Evansville, Ind. See LETTERS page 5 propriation, and Capitol Hill and the White House can tinker with it. In 1988, Congress forbade the district to fund any abortions except those needed to save the lives of pregnant women. This year, it opted for what one pro- lifer called 'open-ended" abor- tion funding with local money. The version of the district budget approved by House and Senate would have permitted "congressionally appropriated local funds to be used for abor- tions on demand, with no restriction whatsoever," Bush complained in his second veto of it. "As a nation, we must protect the unborn" but the district's bill lacked such pro- tection, Bush said. "I am therefore compelled to disap- prove it." House and Senate backed down, and the final version of the approximately $4 billion district budget prohibits use of public funds for an abortion unless it is needed to save the life of the mother. A $156.7 billion appropria- tions bill for the departments of Education, Labor and Health and Human Services prompted another legislative battle. Since 1981, under the Hyde amendment, federal law has forbidden Medicaid funding of abortion except when the life of the mother is in danger. Medicaid is the government health program for the poor. This year, the Senate ap- prove d a version of the bill that allow6d abortion funding in cases of rape and incest, as well as when the woman's life is en- dangered, and the House -- abandoning its opposition of previous years -- concurred. So Bush vetoed the bill. The House then voted 231-191 to override the veto -- falling short of the required two-thirds majority. Eventual- ly, House and Senate both ap- proved the $156.7 billion bill, once again banning Medicaid funding of abortion except to save the life of the mother. See WASHINGTON page 15 Bishop's schedule The following activities and events are listed on the schedule of Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger: