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December 13, 1996     The Message
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December 13, 1996
 

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4 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana -- Taking the time to make a difference -- Adv,00nt of the third millennium One day is just like the next, unless you take the time to make it different. That thought struck me during a recent conversation about the plans for celebrating the third mil- lennium. The day that begins the next millennium will be a lot like the day before, and hard to distin- : guish from the day afterward. Mathematically correct people will argue about the millennium observance, pointing out quite cor- rectly that we start counting with the number "1" and not with zero. A decade ends with "10" and a new one starts with the eleventh year. The millennium should begin with the year 2001, but I am willing to bet that 99 percent of the people in the world (the ones who use our calendar, at least) will celebrate the beginning in the year 2000. The Catholic Church is among the planners of a millennial observance in the year 2000. I write the word, "observance," with care, because the year 2000 offers us a lot more than a time to "celebrate." Cele- bration is only part of it. Leading up to the millennial observance are three years of preparation. The Church has asked us to consider this current year -- the one which just started with the First Sunday of Advent -- as the By PAUL R. LEINGANG EDITOR Year of the Son. Next year, it's the Year of the Spirit, and the year after, the Year of the Father. The Church has also asked us to consider another set of themes for these three years -- Faith, Hope and Charity -- as we move toward the Third Millennium. The year 2000 -- which starts with Advent at the end of 1999 -- will be observed as a Year of Jubilee. Parishes and schools and church institutions may find quite a few ways to work within the structure of the years honoring the persons of the Trinity and the "three theological virtues." Individuals and families, though, may find a quicker connection to the Jubilee Year. A Jubilee Year was observed every 50 years by the Hebrews. Realizing that we usually count a gen- eration as 40 years, it quickly becomes obvious that the year 2000 will be a Jubilee of Generations! As described in Leviticus, I am told, the Hebrew observance of a Jubilee year had five distinct areas: to let the land lie fallow; set the captives free; forgive debts; in justice, return things to their rightful owner; and celebrate. There is much to think about in those five areas of Jubilee observance, as they apply to us, to our fam- ilies, to our parishes and communities, whole world -- certainly more one column. But we can start. The superpower nations, for asked to forgive the debts of Third .... Families who feel strongly about encouraged to begin lobbying their elei tatives for such forgiveness. Closer to home, the question rises in our family needs forgiveness of a debt? In another area, we easil land can not continue to produce the after year after year without a our family life to stand up under the strain week after week? How can we fallow" in our own homes? Take the time today, during these ration for Christmas, to begin some the Millennium. Like a birthday or may go unnoticed, unless we take the day different. :!: Talk with others in your your friends. Find out who n( out how family life can lie fallow and Act on what you discover. Comments about this coh prleing@cfm.org or the Christian P.O. Box 272, Ames, Iowa 50010. :i ---- Washington. Letter Debaters fail,to resol00,e questions on GOP and a By NANCY FRAZIER O'BRIEN Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Did the Republicans lose the presi- dency because of their support for the pro-life cause? Or did Republican presiden- tial candidate Bob Dole lose because he failed to capitalize on his pro-life support? Questions like those first arose after President Bush's loss in his 1992 re-election bid, con- tinued throughout the 1996 cam- paigns, and will likely come up many more times before the next presidential election in the year 2000. To help find some answers, the National Review in late Novem- ber sponsored a debate on the topic, "Resolved: That Republi- can opposition to abortion hurts the party's political prospects." "There already seems to be a journalistic consensus" that this is true, said Kate O'Beirne, National Review Washington edi- tor, who moderated the debate. But no such consensus The MESSAGE 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 47711 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Published weekly except last week in December by the Catholic Press of Evansville Publisher ............. Bishop Geralci A. GetteSnger Editor ..................................... Paul R. Leingang ProdtCtion Technician ............... Joseph Dietrich Advertising ................................... Paul Newland Staff Writer ............................ Mary Ann Hughes Address all communmations to P.O. Box 4169, Evansville, IN 47724-O169 Subscription rate: $17.50 per year Single Copy Price: $.50 Entered as periodma! matter at the post office in Evansville, IN 47701. Publica- tion number 843800. Postmaster: Return POD forms 3579 to Office of Pub4ication 1996  Press of Ewr, ele emerged among the four pan- elists, and opinion analyst Kar- lyn Bowman of the American Enterprise Institute was able to offer little guidance in terms of statistics. "American public opinion seems to reveal ... profound con- tinuity and deep ambivalence" on the subject of abortion, Bow- man said. Since 1972, opinion polls about abortion show trends =so stable you can balance a glass of water on them," she said. While "strong pluralities" of Americans say abortion is the same as murdering a child, how- ever, some 65 percent also say that the decision on an abortion should be made only by the woman and her physician, Bow- man said. That shows the clash between strongAmerican beliefs in both respect for life and the importance of individual choice, she added. "When such values conflict, most Americans don't want" to continue the quest for a defini- tive solution to the problem, Bowman said. Most Americans now consider abortion "a settled issue in public opinion" and do not want it revived as a nation- al point of contention, she said. But that didn't keep the four debaters  two on each side of the abortion issue -- from their arguments. Jim Pinkerton, a lecturer at George Washington University who has worked in four Repub- lican presidential campaigns, said he has "never met anyone who thought the right to life issue was an asset to the GOP." He was especially critical of the Republican Party platform's call for a constitutional amend- ment to ban abortions, and said the party must "actually come to grips with how we would enforce a constitutional amendment." If such an amendment is deemed unenforceable, he added, the effort to achieve it should be abandoned. But Frank Cannon, managing director of Lehrman Bell Mueller Cannon Inc. and once national coordinator of Students for Rea- gan, said Bush's problem in 1992 and Bob Dole's in 1996 was that they failed to emphasize equally the three linchpins of Ronald Reagan's presidency -- an eco- nomic policy that is pro-growth and for limited government, anti-communism and "the pro- life and values issues." "George Bush took out one of the legs of the stool," by not suf- ficiently stressing the right to life as a key issue, Cannon said, and Dole continued that trend by staying "largely silent on abor- tion and social issues." "It's the combination of issues that is the basis for success," he added. Ann Stone, president of Republicans for Choice, said the GOP's problems with abortion date to the 1989 Supreme Court decision in Webster vs. Repro- ductive Health Services, which opened the door to some state restrictions on abortion, such as informed consent and parental notification. Not coincidentally, it was in 1989 that Stone said she "finally woke up" and founded Republi- cans forChoice. "It's not always about abortion," she said. "It's about whether society trusts women and their decisions, their control over their own bodies." Stone claimed that "the num- ber of people who walked out (of the Republican Party) over the abortion issue cost Bush the election" in 1992. Maggie Gallagher, a syndicat- ed columnist who works with the Institute forAmerican Values in New York, said the claim that abortion is a losing issue for the Republicans fails to take into account the victory of a Republi- can and pro-life majority in Con- gress in both 1994 and 1996. "How could the Republican House and Senate have hap- pened with this terrible alba- tross around our necks?" she asked, claiming that the party "gained two voters for every one it lost" over abortion. Gallagher said the 1996 elec- tion which gave Democrat Bill Clinton a second term but retained Republican majorities in Congress "was about ticket- splitting." The 16 percent of American voters who voted for candidates from more than one party in 1996 were saying that "we want those guys (the Democrats) in charge of the purse strings, but not in charge Bo definitive abortion helped not be found Exit polls consider a to 13 various polls tionately But such "how many polls" over Bowman Pope marks Feast of I Conception, visits statue ROME (CNS) -- Pope John Paul II kicked off pre-Christmas ceremonies in Rome with a tra- ditional visit to a statue of Mary in downtown Rome and a torch- light parade at the Vatican. Marking the feast of the Immaculate Conception Dee. 8, the pope laid flowers and knelt in prayer at the statue near the Spanish Steps. In a brief talk, he urged Romans to take inspi- ration from Mary's spiritual beauty, even as they enjoy the harmony of their own city and its art. Visitors to not onl but also a spirit among i Earlier in flowers was ue, which umn. It was the dogma late in 1854. The a crowd including Bishop's The following activities and events are ule of Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger: CST. Midnight Ma.., Evansville,