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Arkansas Catholic
Litlte Rock, Arkansas
September 12, 1998     Arkansas Catholic
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September 12, 1998

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CATHOLIC September 12, 1998 Page 11 n Labor Day Gov..M ke Huckabee Iced his inttntibn to give in tax credits for employers someone on welfare. The would have to be approved by state Legislature when it meets in The idea is part of the plan get more Arkansans off welfare and t0 full-time employment, thus not to be supported by the gov- tn the announcement, Huckabee said of those on welfare last year It was expected that only one would be at this time. this labor Day it would have been for our state government to think current and future employees in- of thinking about giving a tax to companies. In this market of low unemployment, employ- need much incentive to hire people. They have jobs to fill and need workers. Of those who are on welfare, there is a percentage who will not find jobs re- gardless of the factors. They are unmoti- vated and will take any handouts given to them. Most, though, need assistance as they make this transition. To understand how the new welfare program is working one year later, we need to look at some statistics. Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families has been a leader in examining the welfare program and looking after what's best for their clients. They are reporting their find- ings to the state, which hopefully will spur legislators to make changes. The organization polled 37 organiza- tions, such as Head Start and "commu- nity action programs" to see how their clients are faring. They said only 24 per- cent reported being "better off" and 8 percent actually are 'Morse ofF' in terms of their financial condition. That leaves about 69 percent, or more than two-thirds, at the same level. The popular theory is that the unem- ployed are not motivated to work. The or- ganization said only 15 percent would be placed in that category. The biggest detri- ment to those on welfare is the lack of transportation. The organizations reported 73 percent have no cars or tides to work. Our state has a lack of buses, especially in small communities, and taking a cab would not be financially feasible. Other hin- drances are lack of child care (47 percent) and lack of jobs or only low.paying jobs (52 percent). Lack of jobs? While most of the state does enjoy low unemployment, those living in the Delta find it hard to find jobs paying living wages. The welfare program is supposed to help remove some of these hindrances. Those services include money tor trans- portation, mentoring, job-related ex- penses, child care and job training. None of those areas is adequately met by the state, the organizations say. What can ordinary Catholics do to as- sist those in moving to full-time jobs? First, we can urge our state senators and rep- resentatives to make reforms to the wel- fare program so the clients have an op- portunity to be successful. Second, par- ishes can join the diocesan mentoring program and adopt a family who is on welfare. The adoption is not for food or money; it's for practical advice and sup- port. Unfortunately, only 19 parishes are in some stage of the program. There is no reason why the mentoring program can't be implemented in each parish or cluster of parishes. This program is a tan- gible example of a parish living out the social gospel. rent source chimes in on the Clinton-Lewinsky crisis !/ili: ....... you call your children to walk in Free us from darkness the radiance of your lmth." benefit from the moral crisis of presidency is a spurt of tary in the media. Some COmmentators have done since Clinton admitted to "inappro- behavior is jokey and aimed only audience reaction. But some to useful moral purpose. Baker led off an Aug. 21 col- The New York Times with an old an Englishman in America: "I watching the most powerful on earth making an ass of itself." lead to an article by a colum- about the 1954 Army-McCarthy also, as Baker pointed out, "fits moment to perfection." was this sharply appropri- by Cal Thomas in a col- last week: "When what to call 'sin' is lightly tolerated, : ore of it. Like cancer, it must be and dealt with or it will l's generation has indulged TO THE EDffOR in Arkansas dressed for Mass Hemrick's article, "Be- for Mass shows reverence 's h " ouse, Aug. 29, is so true. often wondered why Catholics children -- show up at Mass in their worst clothes -- jeans, shorts, backless tops --- House of the Lord is the most place (party) they go. they do not show up dressed at the country club, a friend's banquet, etc. three doors from the Methodist and I have never seen, in over 50 ally adult or child wearing anything best. It is a real pleasure to watch. in and tolerated in others the most out- rageous behavior, and so we get more of it. His generational contemporaries are reluctant to tell him he is a bum because they would have to confront their own immorality." We Americans have sometimes made it appear that tolerance is the greatest vir- tue. We think it most "inappropriate" to judge any person as wrong. As the presi- dent expressed it in his speech to the nation, "It was wrong," not q was wrong." He understands his generation and his time perfectly. But there has been enough of l~litical analysis and judgment of the Clinton behav- ior and its consequences. Let's look at it in the light of a few themes from the Bible. Did the president come clean? Con- fess his faults, open up to the truth and bring peace to the body politic? The kind of act that Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch had said he looked for? No. If Mr. Clinton had read his Bible rather than surrounded himself with lawyers he would have been better advised. Consider Proverbs 28:13: "Conceal your faults and you will not prosper; confess and give them up, and you will find mercy." Or James 5:16: "Confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, and then you will be healed." This pas- sage also reminds all of us that we are all involved not only in a circle of sin but that we are called to be involved in a circle of prayer--which includes the president. The Lord's Prayer has a pertinent pas- sage all of us are familiar with --- "... for- give us ... as we forgive" others --- but do we look at the emphatic verses immedi- ately following that prayer in the Gospel of Matthew: "If you forgive others their failings, your heavenly Father will forgive you yours; but if you do not forgive oth- ers, your Father will not forgive your fail- ing either." Does this mean we should stop riding the horse of judgment about President Clinton and get busy trying to forgive him? But that is so difficult when he doesn't appear suffidentlycontrite. He did not, like Peter in the Gospel, recognize his failings so deeply that he ' vent out and wept bitterly." Nor did he speak the truth plainly, in the manner of someone ready to live in the light. He should have read Matthew 5:37: "Plain 'yes' or 'no' is all you need to say; anything beyond that comes from the devil." The next useful thing to come from Clinton's crisis will be soul-searching by more of us who pass judgment on the president to see whether the truth, which seemed so difficult for him to face, is always in us; and whether our integrity as moral agents is compromised or threat- ened by any of our habits. A roving eye is a danger to marriage, obviously, and we recognize that easily. But what of the roving eye for consumer goods that all of us practice more or less diligently, heed- less of what it might be doing to the in- tegrity of the environment, the possibility of justice for the earth's poor peoples, or the trajectory of our souls. these people going to worship in the House of the Lord. I also attend Mass in other states and never see people in anything but their best. julia Mae Campbell Little Rock Vatican Council I addresses dissent After reading about the details of Pope John Paul's apostolic letter, "Ad Tuendam" (To Defend the Faith), and an accompa- nying commentary by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, I wondered why our Holy Father didn't follow the procedures as defined in the documents of the First Vatican Council, an established process by an ecumenical council. Following the procedures outlined in the documents of the First Vatican Coun- cil, several teachings relating to faith and morals could be finalized preventing any grounds for heretical dissent by anyone, including our most distinguished theolo- gians. Even though the existence of original sin has been treated in sacred Scripture and, as a matter of fact, in documents of numerous ecumenical councils, a sepa- rate infallible document defining the Church's teaching on original sin would silence obedient Catholics. Even though the dogma of transubstan- tiation pertaining to the Eucharist was defined infallibly in the documents of the ecumenical Council of Trent, another separate infallible document defining the details of the dogma pertaining to the LETrE TO THE BISHOP Having tile Diocese of Little Rock as faithful friends and supporters of Catholic Relief Services means a lot to our staff and to the thousands of people whose lives will be improved through the generosity of your diocese. Thank you for your gift of $15,233.67 received on July 13, in support of 1998 Operation Rice Bowl. Congratula- tions. The level of your diocese's contribu- tion has increased by 65 percent. Catholic Relief Services currently oper- ates development projects in over 80 coun- tries around the world, all based on the needs of the people in the area. One such project, "Women, Health, and Develop- ment (WILD)," in Ecuador has positively affected both mother and children in 11 rural communities. With funding from Operation Rice Bowl and the efforts of the local people of the Diocese of Ambato, this project provides income generating opportunities and preventative health edu- cation to many women living in rural ar- eas. As a result of this project, mothers are given the opportunity to provide more for their families while learning valuable les- sons in nutrition and the use of food. This is only one example of how projects supported by ORB bring hope and hu- man dignity to so many people around the world. Please share our heartfelt thanks and appreciation with all those in your diocese who sacrificed so that others can live with greater self-respect and a better quality of life. Kenneth Hackeu Executive Director Eucharist likewise would silence obedient Catholics. Even though the moral issues of abor- tion, euthanasia and fornication have been treated repeatedly in sacred Scrip- ture and in papal documents, an indi- vidual infallible document on each moral issue would silence obedient Catholics. It is important to note that the same infallible document of the First Vatican Council clearly and distinctly states that matters of discipline and policy can never be defined infallibly. Controversy and disagreement on matters of faith and morals can be re- solved by our Holy Father exercising the provisions of the documents of the First Vatican Council. Charles Sippel Horseshoe Bend