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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
December 13, 1991     The Message
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December 13, 1991

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4 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Perspective By PAUL a LEINGANG Message Editor The first carefully applied paintbrush full of waterproofing soaked quickly into the wood. It was early Saturday morning, with the promise of a warm day, a perfect time to seal the wooden deck- like steps I had built last summer. Perhaps it was not really the perfect time to seal the pressure treated wood. Some time last summer would have been better. But a warm day in December, with the sun breaking through the clouds and no rain in the im- mediate forecast, was as perfect a day as I could expect to find. The second careffllly applied stroke of the paintbrush again proved pleasing, as the sealing liquid soaked deeply into the wood. Another dip into the can and another stroke of the brush com- pleted one small plank. Sealed and unsealed wood were dramatically distinct. It was pleasant work, to see a little effort make such a difference. Three levels of small deck sections make up December 13, Our thirst is not quenched by stingy strokes the steps leading to a screened porch. One by one I covered the upper surface area of the sec- tions, and then the sides. The tops were built of alternating two-by-fours and two-by-sixes. The sides, two-by-sixes. As I sealed the sides, I returned again and again to the end of the one plank at the front of each section. Waterproofing soaked rapidly into the end grain of those three planks. The rhythm of the work quickened as I pro- gressed from surface to surface, the upper faces and the sides -- and again, I applied another stroke of tile brush to the end graim and again it soaked deeply into the wood. My first strokes of the paintbrush were ap- plied with great care. Towards the end of the first coat, as the unsealed surface area dimin- ished, so did my carefulness. And again, with paintbrush dripping, I returned to the end grain. Again, the liquid disappeared into the wood. The second coat, several hours later, re- peated the pattern of the work of the first Finally, the wood had drunk its fill. As Christmas approaches, some of us must drink more deeply of the promise God has given to us all before we reach the fulfillment promised to all of humankind. My thoughts wander among the Christmas images of light coming to darkness, of joyful sounds in a world of silence -- but it is too soon. It is still tile season of Advent, and in this season, the image which captures my imagina- tion is the wood thirsting for salvation -- avail- able to us all in divine abundance. Our thirst is not quenched by stingy strokes. Like the end grain of the wood, we are rough and in need of care, and our thirst will only be satisfied by the one who will pour him- self out for us. Washington Letter Of advent, hostages and listening to 'voices of discontent' By LAURIE HANSEN Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Across the nation yellow rib- bons are already being re- placed with Christmas tinsel and greenery. It seemed appropriate somehow that it was during Advent -- the Christian sea- son of anticipation m that the long wait endured by the last three U.S. citizens held cap- tive in Lebanon finally came to an end. The waiting continued, however, for two German aid workers still held hostage and their families, as it did for 250 Lebanese prisoners who remain captive in Israel. Any kind of permanent peace in the Holy Land and understanding between Arabs and Israelis, between Muslim, Christian and Jew, between Western and Middle Eastern peoples and nations re- mained elusive. A freed Terry Anderson, 44, chief Middle East corre- spondent for The Associated Press, the day of his release said he hoped hostages would never be taken again, but also expressed his convic- The MESSAGE 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 47720-0169 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Published weekly except last week in December by the Catholic Press of Evansville Publisher .............. Bishop Gerald A. Getteltinger Associate Publisher ............... key. Joseph Ziliak Editor ............................................ Paul Leingang Production Manager ........................... Phil Boger Circulation .................................... Susan Winiger Advertising .................................... Paul Newland Address all communications to P.O. Box 4169, Evansville, IN 47724-0169 Subscription rate: $17.50 per year Single Copy Price: $.50 Entered as 2nd class matter at the post office in Evansville, tN 47701. Publica- tion number 843800. Postmaster: Retur n POD forms 3579 to Office of Publication Copyright 1991 Catholic Press of Evansville He maintains such a s.c" nario is unlikely given U; economic constraints coOPl  with the reluctance of t U.S. public to "get involV in military conflicts overS. , tion that the Western world needs to try to understand the message of his Muslim funda- mentalist captors. Asked by his captors to read a statement to the world, Anderson did so Dec. 4 but prefaced it with words of his own. He made clear that the captors' statement -- which invoked Allah and called the United States "the plunderer of the world" -- was not his own and that he disagreed with parts of it. But he called it "important for people to understand what (his captors) think and believe. The language and ex-, pressions aren't familiar to many in the West. It's based on a different culture. We should try to understand it." Anderson's captors, in their statement, said that by taking the hostages they "made the world listen to our voice and the voice of tile oppressed and suffering people." They accused the United States of having "planted Is- rael in the region, then fixed it and then supported it with huge arsenals of weapons and material capabilities." Robert C, Johansen, senior fellow at the Institute for In- ternational Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame, told Catholic News Service Dec. 5 that an important thing to be learned from the hostage-taking episode is the need "to listen to the unheard voices of discontent." "I'm not saying (hostage- taking) is justified. I don't think it's ever justified, but people use desperate tactics" when they feel they can't be heard, said Johansen. He said after World War II for many years hostage-taking was rare. It wasn't until U.S and Israeli policy angered so many in the Arab world that hostage-taking became com- mon, he said. He called for an interna- tional crilninal court for deal- ing with hostage-takers, say- ing such a mechanism would reduce the temptation to take innocent people captive. "This way if there is to be action taken against captors it can be done in a way that isn't perceived as the Chris- tian wealthy West against poorer Islamic Arabs of the Middle East," said Johansen. He said many Arab nations are strongly opposed to ter- rorism and would welcome a way to support an interna- tional effort that would counter the stereotype that all Arabs support hostage-taking. While the United Nations hasn't always been seen as an effective global octet-, Jo- hansen said the Persian Gulf War "left the U.N. with an en- hanced reputation." He backs proposals to ex- pand the number of nations represented in the U.N. Secu- rity Council "to more accu- rately reflect the world popu- lation" by adding Germany, Japan, Brazil and Nigeria. Un- like the United States and four other nations with per- manent seats on the council, these new members would not have veto power, he said. The long-term goal would be that no nation have a veto, he said. Johansen cited a fear among Third World nations that with the fall of commu- nism leaving the United States as "the dominant power, it will assume it can have a free hand" throughout the world. U.S. casualties" of tlae While the collapse ,0 Soviet Union helned sot t,o stage for the freeing of; hostages, Johansen also c .... its "a more pacific form ql.l .... wlll" ternahonal relations .S he sees emerging. He beliey there is a Rrowin realizaOi that "you can't solve pr lems of terrorism" with ru violence, r0S Anderson, at a Dec. 6 P: , conference in WiesbadeJ Germany, seemed to agre0.,o He said the United St.ic i was taking the "right p0,, in warkine hard to imPW], relations in the Middle a. .ArIP" with Syria, with Iran, " 0t,. Lebanon, and trying to b honest broker." Bishop's schedule The following activities and events are listed on the schedule of Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger. Dec 17, 4 aal meeting for san employees. Bishop's staff, Catholic Center, Thursday, 19, 10:15 a.m. Diocesan Finance Council, Bishop's house, Thursday, Dec, 19, 3:30 p.m. CST. " .i Mass at Mater Dei High School, Evansville, Frr day, Dec. 20, 7:40 a.m. CST. Serra Club of Evansville, Friday, Dec. 20, 1oola CST. Installation of Father David Fleck, St. Phil Church, St. Philip, Sunday, Dec. 22, 10 a.m. CST