U.S. Notes & Quotes

The Human Environmental Movement

SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, Sept. 26—What if you worked a few minutes from your home, walked to Church when the weather was nice, and knew the name of virtually every person you saw in your neighborhood each day?

Christian and Jewish leaders have an answer: your spiritual and moral life would be healthier, strengthened by a community that would notice — and care — if you began to go astray.

Many religious groups want to improve the "human environment" in just that way, said a story published in the San Jose Mercury News by a Dallas Morning News reporter.

It said a Cleveland program begun by Archbishop Anthony Pilla is being mirrored across the country as religious people long to see their understanding of the human person reflected in the communities in which they live.

Nancy Eiesland, a religion sociologist at Emory University in Atlanta, told the reporter that Churches see firsthand that modern commuter living damages the basic building blocks of society.

"Religious organizations realize this style of life that combines longer work hours with longer commutes creates less time for care of self and community and family," she is quoted saying.

The Cleveland program is designed to ensure that parishioners — and diocesan neighbors — have an opportunity to meet and develop relationships with each other, in an admittedly limited attempt to address the problem, said the report.

Democrat's Human Rights Principles Make Him Pro-Life

WALL STREET JOURNAL, Sept. 30—The character education work of Catholic layman Thomas Lickona has been praised in the New York Times and in other national publications. But when he saw himself quoted on page one of the Wall Street Journal recently, he was not happy.

"I was pleased to talk with your reporter… [but] I was surprised to find that my comments ended up in your front-page story on 'Clinton Loyalists' and how they are 'distraught' but still 'supportive of the President,'" he wrote in his published letter to the editor.

"Your article correctly identified me as a practicing Catholic and lifelong Democrat, but as a matter of conscience I have never supported Mr. Clinton or any other Democrat who believes that citizens should have the right to kill children as long as they have not yet been born."

Lickona went on to quote a passage from Pope John Paul II's encyclical The Gospel of Life: "Civil law in a democracy," wrote the Holy Father, "must ensure that all members of society enjoy respect for certain fundamental rights which innately belong to the person. First and fundamental among these is the right to life of every innocent human being."

Cardinal and Parish say “Shanah Tovah” to Jews

PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, Sept. 27,29—Two Philadelphia news articles reporting on the Jewish High Holidays this year focused on observances not just by Jews, but two extraordinary observances by Catholics as well.

Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua's lecture at the Temple Sinai on Yom Kippur was highly unusual, said the first. Jewish officials quoted in the article could not remember any comparable precedent. The article, written before the lecture took place, showed the high praise Temple leaders had for the Cardinal's willingness to address them on the Vatican's document about the holocaust.

The second article reported that on the two Sundays falling closest to the Jewish New Year and the Day of Atonement, St. Agnes Catholic parishioners were given cards to deliver to Jewish neighbors. Each side of the cards contained a message by a Pope.

On one side, a prayer by Pope John XXIII is quoted saying, in part, "Forgive us for the curse which we have unjustly placed on the name of the Jews. Forgive us for crucifying you a second time," according to the report. On the other side is a 1987 quote of Pope John Paul II wishing the Jewish people, "Shanah Tovah," Hebrew for "good year". Monsignor Thomas Craven told the paper he created the cards because his father taught him to fight anti-Semitism when he was 9, in 1937.

Alan Miller, who has suffered from anti-Semitism in his own life, received a card from an employee, and was so touched he made copies of it for family and friends. "Everybody is stunned," Miller told the paper. "My wife was almost moved to tears. She said, 'I can't believe how beautiful this is, and how thoughtful this is.'"