To: (Multiple email addresses may be specified by separating them with a comma)
BY Jim Cosgrove
Kudos for your well-written home-schooling article (“Home-Schooling Phenomenon Shows No Sign of Slowing,” Aug. 23-29). There are [more than] 60,000 Catholic families home-schooling and more than one million total American home-schoolers. Yet, this “phenomenon” is still unknown and misunderstood by many parish priests as well as by well-intentioned Catholic family and friends.
Although it is true that many Catholics opt for home-schooling due to declining standards of religious education in parochial schools, that is not always the case. There are still many very good “loyal-to-the-magisterium” parochial schools. Home-schooling, though, allows the prime educators of children — their parents — to build character and imbue in them the virtues necessary to bring Christ to the world. We are striving for strong, well-lived Catholic vocations, whether it be the religious, married, or single life.
Home-schooling children are not isolated. On the contrary, they have more opportunity for interaction with children of different ages, faiths, and economic status. Attending class with 30 other children does not ensure this. It is the ability to charitably interact with others who are different from you in one way or another that constitutes well-rounded socialization.
Some Catholic families feel that home-schooling is an “attack” on the parochial school system or on their own option for traditional schooling. That is not the case either. Home-schooling is not viewed as the one and only best option. It is only one option and it is not for everyone. I truly believe that home-schooling is a calling from God, it is a vocation.
I commend parents who do opt for traditional schooling at their parochial school and become actively involved. They are there to ensure a true Catholic sacramental education for their own and other children. They too are fulfilling a vital duty in our Catholic community.
I hope that many religious as well as lay Catholic families read your article. It served to inform and perhaps lessen the “stigma” of home-schooling among our Church brethren.
Sandra de Quesada
Please help me to understand a statement that was made in “Into the Millennium and Beyond,” Aug. 9-15 issue. Father Avery Dulles said “I wouldn't want Catholics to become sectarian, cutting themselves off from the rest of the world and hoarding salvation as if it belonged to them alone.”
It is with the last part of this statement that I am confused. Is salvation not best sought after by faith in Jesus Christ and receiving grace from him by way of the sacraments administered by the holy Catholic Church? Even then, are we not to work out our salvation with fear and trembling as St. Paul said he would do? If salvation is for those outside of the Catholic Church as well, then why evangelize, why not attend a Presbyterian service next Sunday or join a Universalist Church? I think that this is a case of ecumenism gone too far.
Editor's Note: Father Dulles was asked if there wasn't a tendency among some Catholics who are otherwise supportive of Church teaching to adopt “sectarian” attitudes toward other Catholics; for example, those who belittle or shun others who don't share their particular devotions or interests. Father Dulles agreed that there was such a danger.
BY Jim Cosgrove
Mother Angelica: Two Thumbs Up!
I just started my subscription to your paper three to four weeks ago and I recommend it highly. I would like also to tell all Catholics in this nation that I also just had a box added to my cable TV and I can now get EWTN. It is great. Words can't describe how much it offers. Daily masses two to three times a day, Divine Mercy Novenas, daily rosary. One of the greatest programs is Bob and Penny Lord's “Visionaries, Saints, and Mystics.” And Sister Angelica is a gem — even her sense of humor is a great pick-me-up for a shady world!
Please encourage all Catholics to try to get the station. It is a breath of fresh air.
Kansas City, Kansas
I am deeply concerned about the ramifications of the survey question asked and paid for by the pro-life Secretariat of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops which stated: “Should a person be able to take a minor girl across state lines to obtain an abortion without parents’ knowledge?” ("Parents’ Rights ‘Reasserted’ with House Passage of Child Custody Bill,” July 26-Aug 1).
Why is a representative of the Catholic Church even asking whether or not anyone should have the authority to take a minor across state lines to kill a child/grandchild created in the image and likeness of God? Does this question imply that if the parents agree to the slaughter of their grandchild, then the act is permissible?
In Michigan, parents of a 12-year-old incest victim, 29 weeks along in her child's uterine life, were granted permission to take the two human beings across state lines to Kansas so that one of them could be murdered. Is that acceptable to the proponents of the Child Custody Act?
Where is the heroic leadership that heeds neither polls, surveys, nor majority views, but only the moral law that presents an absolute prohibition of any act or action that results in the death of even one of our tiniest brothers or sisters?
President American Life League, Inc.
Your report about the effectiveness of the Creighton Method of natural family planning ("Study Confirms Creighton Method's Reliability in NFP,” August 9-15) quoted Sister Hanna Klaus as noting that informed choice pregnancies are not included in the Creighton Method way of doing NFP statistics and that therefore the user effectiveness rate appears higher than for other NFP methods. This is a significant observation.
One of the five studies included in the five-state analysis was first published in 1985.
Written by Mrs. Joanne Doud, it claimed a very high user-effectiveness — 96.2%. However, the author also provided the raw data for independent analysis. Applying a commonly used standard to the 68 pregnancies that were unplanned according to the intention of the couple, yielded a user-effectiveness rate of 67%; another analysis yields a user-effectiveness rate of 80%; both are a far cry from the figure claimed by the Creighton Method way of doing statistics.
Your article said that Dr. Thomas Hilgers claims that there aren't many people who know how to do NFP effectiveness statistics. It also needs to be said that no one else in the entire NFP movement, to say nothing of the birth control industry, accepts the Creighton Method way of doing statistics. Everyone else thinks that it is important to include what the other statisticians call “imperfect-use” or “informed choice” pregnancies.
Some say that no question should be asked. However, co-author Dr. Joseph Stanford said he was looking forward to discussion of the controversies. The NFP movement is not made more credible to the rest of the world by unquestioning acceptance of questionable statistics.
Director, Couple to Couple League
BY Jim Cosgrove
I think the Aquinas Mutual Fund is playing a strange game investing in companies whose policies they disagree with in order to change behavior (“Catholic Mutual Fund Managers Keep Corporations on the High Road,” Feb. 15-21). Even as a tactical measure, I think this is unethical since to some extent the invested money will benefit the objectionable behavior. Also, playing games with investment money is not productive and does not help the economy however “noble” the motives.
Reading further into the article, I see this firm is playing the affirmative action game as well. I have to ask myself the question, what does the nonsense of affirmative action have to do with Catholic teaching? The Aquinas Fund was able to get five women promoted to senior management level at one particular company. So what! Maybe some of these women were unfairly promoted over men who were the sole support of their families. Discrimination in employment is wrong, yes, but so are attempts to remedy discrimination by using the injustice of affirmative action.
Montague, New Jersey
I enjoyed the editorial musings on God vis-‡-vis athletic contests (“Post Super Bowl Musings,” Feb. 22-28).
There is, I believe, a logical answer to the alleged conundrum. An athletic event is a human contest with human ability—and sometimes chance—deciding the winner. Were God to take sides, there would no longer be a contest, and the loser would have just cause to complain about God. There will be no such complaints, at least not just ones, for he will not make our contests unfair. The same principle applies to any sort of human competition and games of chance.
Does God care which team wins the Super Bowl? No, but he does care how each participant conducts himself. Does he care whether Notre Dame wins? No, and despite Mr. Holtz, his mother would never ask him to stack the deck to please her.
Just a thought on Mother Angelica's alleged cure. If God cured her, why did she only “gradually” get better? One of the marks of a genuine miracle from God is its instantaneity. When Christ cured the man lame from birth, he got up without hesitation, fully able to walk and run. So if Mother is indeed cured, there is a human explanation for what happened.
Editor's note: Sometimes God chooses to heal instantly and at other times progressively. See the account of Jesus healing the blind man in Mk 8:24.
It was heartening to read the article by William Murray on the University of Notre Dame making a spiritual comeback (“For Tradition-minded Catholics, Notre Dame is Making a Comeback,” Feb. 8-14, 1998). As a wife and mother of Notre Dame graduates I find this news very encouraging. It also shows what a difference a few holy individuals can make to change the atmosphere around them. Mary Kloska is certainly to be commended for promoting eucharistic adoration on campus. Where Jesus is adored in the Blessed Sacrament you will always find holiness.
Jim Gallagher's article for the Catholic Traveler (“An Afternoon with the Martyrs of Tyburn”) was also most interesting. My husband and I travel to London quite frequently and will certainly stop by the Tyburn Convent on our next visit to pray at that hallowed place where the English Martyrs shed their blood.
Thank you for publishing such a fine Catholic newspaper. We look forward to our copy each week.
The “U.S. Notes and Quotes” (Register, March 1) features excerpts from a Columbus Dispatch article about how his Catholic faith guides the daily policy-making life of Ohio Gov. George Voinovich.
“He doesn't check his faith at the door,” begins the article cited. Quotes from the governor include: “I do not think that one can separate who they are or what they do from their basic religious faith…” and “A lot of this stuff that we do is tough. It's redemptive.”
In the interests of filling in the thumbnail sketch of Voinovich, let me add just two facts that may be of interest to his fellow Catholics. First of all, as governor, he has long supported abortion rights in cases of rape and incest—a policy that potentially condemns to death (without benefit of baptism) the innocent offspring of those heinous sins. Secondly, in running for reelection in 1994, he eagerly chose abortion rights supporter Nancy Hollister as his running mate.
I hope Register readers take this information into account as they evaluate Governor Voinovich's public and political life.
Columbus Ohio Mark Higdon,
The telephone number published for the Mercy Foundation in the video review “Three Giants From Poland” (Feb. 22) was incorrect. The correct number is 888-286-3729.
In the article “Light from a Holy Man” (Feb. 8), the word “not” was omitted twice due to a transcription error.
“Gandhi was ignorant of Christianity” should read “Gandhi was not ignorant of Christianity.”
“As man has been given the power to create…” should read “As man has not been given the power to create…”
The Register regrets the errors.
BY Jim Cosgrove
Molly Mulqueen's front page article, “… Catholic Web Sites Offer a World to On-Line Users” (Jan. 18-24) lists valuable Website sources of reliable Catholic information, available now on the Internet. Please add us to your roster: We're Catholic, pro-life and proud to be!
The Catholic Medical Association is a national federation of Catholic physicians' guilds—and now, we're on the Web. Check out our Website at http://www.cathmed.com.
Please let other pro-life folks know where to find us.
Richard Watson MD
Mountainside, New Jersey
God Before Man
I found George Sim Johnston's column (“Inner-Child Need Nurturing? Here's Just the Program for You,” Jan. 17) to be very informative. He showed why many converts to Catholicism may he disillusioned by our RCIA programs that are often weak on dogma and truth, but strong on feelings and self-esteem.
He closes the article with “RCIA programs are not the only casualty of the therapeutic culture's invasion of the Catholic Church. Whole orders of religious have been decimated. A spotlight ought to be turned on this problem.”
I am sure his analysis is close to the truth; especially the spotlight part. But the problem is far more extensive than just RCIA. The permeating problem throughout Catholicism today is the inversion of our Lord's two greatest commandments. The spotlight has been cast on the wrong actor; the supporting cast rather than the star of the show. We have raised “love thy neighbor as yourself” to be more important than “love thy God with thy whole heart and with thy whole soul.”
This error has crept into the Church—which for nearly 2,000 years knew better—only during the past 50 years. When we reverse these commandments we end up with a form of secular humanism; a pseudo-religion that appears attractive because it is the second greatest good. It is, however, actually a form of idolatry, placing the importance of humanity above the importance of God.
John Paul II's “Threshold of Hope” will not come to fruition until the spotlight is redirected to shine on God first, and then humanity will bask in the glow of his grace.
St. Paul, Minnesota
With particular interest I read your guest editorial of Dec. 14 (“The New Population Problem”). I've been at the United Nations more than 10 years as a journalist-columnist for a small Manhattan publication and was impressed with your comments from the Cairo conference, which had tremendous impact here, as did the Vatican-Islamic temporary alliance on the issue of family values.
In the interests of environmental and sustainable development already there is advocacy and some consensus on reducing world population to about two or three billion, and arguments are prepared to justify this.
Besides the revolutionary social, political, cultural, future impact of the coming population implosion, it has been my experience that esoteric political cults are active in the population control, environmental organizations, and NGOs. Today we would call them New Age … but they are essentially old hat to a Church historian.
A rational argument on population imbalances, pension bankruptcies, etc. would not deter such international operators, as they essentially see human life as “pollution” itself to be reduced and eliminated. I believe Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger was involved in esoteric beliefs that abortion and suicide frees a spirit to roam the universe and contraception prevents a spirit from being entrapped in an “evil” body. As a priest or priestess in such cults they see no nobler a pursuit than to eliminate human life from this planet. This, of course, would be a cult(ure) of death.
Brooklyn, New York
BY Jim Cosgrove
Popes and Anti-Semitism
“John Paul II Calls Anti-Semitism an ‘Offense Against God’” (Nov. 16-22) was a fine article, but contained a factual error.
The statement that Pope Pius XI was the first Pope to condemn anti-Semitism is clearly false. Pope Gregory the Great, who reigned from 590 AD to 604 AD, found it necessary to protect the Jews from persecution and loss of legal rights at the hands of the anti-Semites of that era.
I believe it is essential to point out that the Church has condemned anti-Semitism throughout history and not just in this century.
Richland Center, Wisconsin
We ought not to be surprised by your report (“In the Giving Game, the Rich Give but the Poor Don't Gain,” Dec. 21-27) that some colleges and universities, are among those which have benefited the most from the increased giving by the wealthy, while the truly needy have languished with scarcely any increase at all in the amounts given them.
After all, the colleges and universities have the means to hire professionals who know well how to coerce contributions from their patrons by humiliating those who do not give, or do not give as generously as others. Is there anyone who does not receive annually a booklet from his alma mater in which are published the names of the donors to it, classification based upon the relative size of the gift, so that those who do not give will be humiliated that their classmates and fellow alumni find their names conspicuously absent?
Those who allow themselves to be coerced by these tactics ought to ponder Jesus' advice concerning almsgiving: “Therefore, when thou givest alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and streets, in order that they may be honored of men. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward” (Mt 6:2).
George Barrett Johns
Spring Grove, Pennsylvania
Capitalism and Cuba
I read the recent article on Cuba (“Marxist Makeover: Avoiding a Capitalist Invasion of Cuba,” Dec. 7-13) with interest. I also had access to a more complete version of the Vatican report on this subject that I believe merits comment. It shows that the liberals of this world, and some of our bishops, won't let go of their naive economic ideologies.
The terrible failure of the communist system in Cuba forces them to admit change is needed. However, a later paragraph gave away their agenda; they still believe in socialism. It says the Cubans need a free market “but make sure its mechanisms remain controlled by the state.”
Let's look at a few of the inconsistencies in their thinking. One prelate wants us to charge less for our goods and pay more for theirs. Ask anyone in business how long he or any company and its employees would last using this approach. Another Church official said “the Cuban economy will need huge investments of capital.” Where does he suppose it will originate? Surprise! It will come from the savings, investments, and profits made in capitalistic countries.
We also read that they feel “the Cubans have a basically nonconsumerist society.” Let's be honest, this is not by choice, it is because their wretched socialistic system has no goods for them to buy and their citizens have no money to pay for them. Does anyone think that Cubans don't want better clothes, more food, a new bicycle, a nicer home, etc.?
As has been said before, “Capitalism may not be the perfect economic system, but it is better than all the others.” The sooner our Church leaders learn this the better we all will be.
BY Jim Cosgrove
Jars of Clay
Thank you for publishing Steve Rabey's article about the contemporary Christian music group Jars of Clay (“Christian Music Without the ClichÈs,” Dec. 7-l3). The Catholic media, as a whole, should probably devote more attention to this genre of music, which the secular media largely ignores. Unfortunately, most Catholics I know are unaware that this type of music exists. Contemporary Christian music has great potential to positively affect our youth, and I will spare no expense making sure that my children have access to as much of it as they want.
Scarsdale, New York
Mr. Al Luongo's letter (“Not Really Gay,” Jan. 4-10, REGISTER) states that he experienced eight years of a completely happy marriage and then abruptly wanted to “hit the center divider.”
Hearing this, I would have to question whether during the course of therapy, he had truly come to an understanding of his homosexual feelings. Had he simply learned to repress his unmet male love needs—or had he genuinely understood their origins, and then learned to meet those needs in a healthy manner?
When my own clients terminate therapy, I advise the following:
• After leaving therapy, they must take responsibility to put into practice the insights and techniques they have learned during the course of treatment;
• They must continue to maintain intimate, satisfying, non erotic male friendships;
• They must keep communication open with their wives;
• They must maintain an honest relationship with their spiritual director and/or confessor;
• They must be careful to monitor their stress levels remembering that anxiety and depression make them especially vulnerable to a recurrence of homosexual temptations;
• They must remain continually honest with themselves about their feelings.
The National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) recently completed a survey of more than 850 individuals and 200 therapists and counselors specifically seeking out individuals who claim to have made a degree of sexual-orientation change, and the therapists who have counseled them. Among the findings: Before counseling or therapy, 68% of the respondents perceived themselves as exclusively or almost entirely homosexual. After treatment, only 13% so perceived themselves. Thirty percent had had homosexual sex “very often” before treatment, while only 1% did so afterwards. The respondents to this study told us that counseling greatly raised their self-acceptance, self-esteem, self-understanding, emotional stability, and maturity.
Clearly, a major orientation shift will not be achieved by everyone; and some remaining degree of struggle may persist over the client's lifetime—as with alcoholics, overeaters, and clients struggling with self-esteem issues. Also, it is to be expected that some clients will change their minds and decide to go back to a gay lifestyle.
A female respondent to NARTH's survey said, “I never expected this much recovery. My relationships with men have greatly improved—I am able to relate sexually to men in a way I never was before. I'm learning to leave behind the familiar protective emotions of contempt, arrogance, pseudo—self-sufficiency, anger, and self-indulgence, and practice the emotions of love instead.”
Said a male respondent, “Change is extremely difficult and requires total commitment. But I have broken the terrible power that sexuality had over me for so long. I haven't been this light and happy since I was a child. People can and do change, and become free.”
As for Mr. Luongo's suggestion that I only work with clients who are genuinely motivated to change, indeed that goes without saying. The work of reparative therapy would never be possible under any other circumstances.
Joseph Nicolosi PhD
National Assn. of Research and
Therapy of Homosexuality
BY Jim Cosgrove
Laity & Priesthood
The REGISTER's excellent article on the new Instruction on Certain Questions Regarding the Collaboration of the Non-Ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of Priests (“Role of Laity Spelled Out by Vatican,” Nov. 30-Dec. 6), neglected to mention the provision of the document that will have the most dramatic impact on American parish life: It orders the end of the habitual use of extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist at Sunday (and daily) Mass.
After stating that extraordinary ministers may be used “at Eucharistic celebrations at which there are particularly large numbers of the faithful and which would be excessively prolonged because of an insufficient number of ordained ministers to distribute Holy Communion,” the document declares that one of the three “practices [that] are to be avoided and eliminated where such have emerged in particular Churches” is “the habitual use of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion at Mass, thus arbitrarily extending the concept of a great number of the faithful” (Practical Provisions, article 8).
This provision (and the others in the document), if implemented, will go a long way towards dispelling the neoclericalism of the priests who tell the laity that they are not really participating in the Mass unless they are greeters, lectors, or extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist.
‘Not Really Gay’
I will give Dr. Nicolosi (“You Are Not Really Gay,” Dec. 7-13) the benefit of the doubt and assume that he sincerely wants to make people's lives better by “repairing” their homosexuality. But let me share one person's story.
Thirty years ago, after extensive psychotherapy, I considered myself “cured” from my homosexual impulses, and I met and married a wonderful woman, with whom I had a son. We had frequent and enjoyable sex, and during our entire time together I did not have a single homosexual encounter.
Then after eight years of marriage, one morning on the way to work I aimed the steering wheel at the concrete abutment of a bridge crossing over the express-way, released my seat belt, and floored the accelerator. I swerved at the last minute, but I got the message.
To make a long story short, a few years later I had become the first president of the Lesbian and Gay Parents Coalition International, which now numbers over a thousand members.
I had also become what no therapist was able to make me, a truly loving person—happy, healthy, outgoing. Eventually I even returned to the Church, although not in a way that Dr. Nicolosi would approve of.
Over the years I have heard many, many stories like mine, of men and women who were “cured” enough to marry and live as outwardly cheerful heterosexuals for many years, fooling themselves, their spouses, their clergy, and maybe even their therapists.
Here's a suggestion for Dr. Nicolosi: Why not limit your treatment to lesbians and gay men who can prove that they somehow escaped the overwhelming and unrelenting hatred, condemnation, disgust, and scorn still heaped on them even today by family, Church, and society. If they can really demonstrate that they are not being pressured from outside, but that the desire to change really does come from within, then work with them.
But as for the vast majority of us, please—as a real act of Christian charity—leave us alone.
New York, New York
This morning I read in the REGISTER a paragraph, “Clearly, if we want Catholic culture, we are going to have great Catholic art and it isn't going to be plaster models.”
Bishop Myers of Peoria said that (Inperson interview with Bishop Myers, Dec. 7-13). And if you think art will contribute to a Catholic culture, I ask you to think what art has done for the cultures of the world. All the art in Rome, Paris, London, and Vienna didn't create a culture that stopped World War II. In fact, the War was started by a “nobrainer” painter who somehow thought he had a “divine right” of some kind.
After the great Depression, Joseph Schlarman, then bishop of Peoria, redid St. Mary's Cathedral into a showcase of liturgical art: rose window, Lady Chapel, and all. Schlarman died Nov. 10, 1951 (Bishop Myers was only 10 years old then). The next dignitary thought the Lady Chapel was too dark so he sent a painter in who painted and covered the black, red, and gold with a light pastel, even the pews. Then there was plenty of light, but where did the “art” go? It certainly would have been cheaper for everyone if the first curator had used “plaster of Paris.”
If we really want a true Catholic culture we have to eliminate the “spirit of the world” as far as that is possible. What is the “world”? Those who seek sensual, intellectual, and artistic pleasures of this life. The “world” despises and considers secondary the things of the supernatural. The spirit of the world conflicts with the spirit of Christ. Ask St. Bernard of Clairvaux.
Perhaps a new time is coming into the life of the Church. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said in the July issue of Inside the Vatican, “Perhaps we must abandon the ideas of national or mass Churches. It is likely that there lies before us a different epoch in the history of the Church, a new epoch in which Christianity in the situation of the mustard seed in tiny groups apparently without influence which nevertheless live intensely bearing witness against evil and bringing good into the world. I see a great movement of this type already underway.”
Stuart Michael Karl
Santa Maria, California
BY Jim Cosgrove
I would like to make some comments in reference to your article titled “Despite Growing Environmental Threats, ‘Green’ Catholics Remain Few in Number” (Nov. 2-8). This article measures the activism of Catholics against the “environmental justice” movement only. I find this to be a poor measure of what Catholics are doing in this area.
I am an environmental engineer with a multinational company. I can think of many in San Diego who are also environmental engineers with major corporations that are also Catholic. We work for these companies, and in our work we bring our beliefs and convictions. We sponsor programs in our companies that directly affect the environment. We educate the employees by announcements and training programs through these companies. We have been CCD teachers together and have answered questions from our students. We work with the city, state, and federal governments by providing comments and testimony on legislation.
For example, I spent more than a year on the San Diego mayor's committee for strategic water supply. Some of us have been to other countries on environmental programs. In this category, I was on the Citizens Ambassador Program to Russia, Uzbekistan, and Ukraine in 1993, the first group from this program to go to these countries.
Environmental justice is only one aspect of stew-ardship of the earth. We must start to focus on sustainability of our resources—air, water, and materials—and on sustainability of our economy, employment, culture, and freedom.
‘Always Our Children’
With one exception, I think Father Harvey's critique of the bishop's statement on homosexuality (“‘Always Our Children’: A Critique,” Oct. 19-25) clearly carries the day. The one exception would be the question of the orientation itself. I don't think the bishops can be faulted for coming down on the innate or given side with regard to homosexuality. Without clear scientific evidence showing the possibility of orientation change, which does not exist, the logical presumption is that the homosexual condition is something innate.
On every other point and most especially with regard to chastity, Father Harvey is right on. I am especially upset with the bishops'reference to the objective mortal sin of the young in this predicament as “experimentation.” What could pierce the heart of our Savior more than impurity among the young? Nothing!
It is also necessary for the bishops to make clear that there is only one type of sexuality in God's created design and that is heterosexuality. The fact that God allows homosexuality to exist has to do with his permissive will and to the reality of the effects of Original Sin.
Does this mean that the homosexual person is someone less valued in God's eyes? Of course not! Although God does deny to the person with an unchangeable homosexual condition the possibility of sexual love between man and woman in marriage, they are not denied the greatest love of all. A homosexual person who picks up his or her cross and embraces celibacy will experience the love of God a hundredfold.
What other cross can be so completely turned around?
Paul Trouve Montague, New Jersey
Rating USCC Ratings
We would both like to commend you for the excellence and quality both in content and layout of the Register, our favorite newspaper. We have only one complaint, namely your regular printing of “Film Clips” by the U.S. Catholic Conference Office for Film and Broadcasting.
In your Oct. 26-Nov. 1 edition, the USCC office remarks that several of the movies therein rated contain scenes with “brief” or “some” nudity, “numerous sexual situations,” “comic treatment of adultery,” “many perverse sexual references,” and “implied sexual encounters.” The USCC rates all these films as either A-III—adults or A-IV—adults, with reservations.
The Office claims that A-IV rated films are “problematic,” but not “morally offensive in themselves.” This is an insult to our Catholic sensitivities and also to our plain common sense. Our Lord, who warned that even deliberate lustful thoughts are gravely sinful, would surely consider “comic treatment of adultery” as an offense against God.
If only the USCC would have the moral courage to rate such films as 0—morally offensive, maybe today's Catholic youth and young adults would not be so confused in moral matters. But apparently the USCC office itself is confused morally. And to a certain extent we as future Catholic parents feel the failure of the USCC in this matter contributes to the general decline of morality in the Church and in contemporary secular society.
We are not prudish, we are two young university students ages 22 and 32, who enjoy good movies, the theater, and even a lot of modern music. We appreciate tasteful and respectful nudity even in religious art—such as one sees in the Vatican—but “perverse sexual references” and “comic treatment of adultery” are clearly offensive to us.
Two questions we would pose to the USCC office: Would you invite our Lord to watch a film with you that intended the audience to laugh at adultery? What do you believe our Lord would think about such a movie?
Samuel and Melissa Sinner
BY Jim Cosgrove
This is in reply to Capt. Kevin McIver's letter to the editor (“School of the Americas”) in the Sept. 29 issue of the Register. Capt. McIver is Public Relations Officer for the U.S. Army School of the Americas.
In my naiveté I wanted to believe him but I have since learned his statements are not true. Areport published in TheWashington Post, Sept. 22, 1996, stated that “the U.S. Department of Defense has admitted training Latin American military leaders in the arts of torture, execution, blackmail and other forms of coercion from 1982-1991.”
Capt. McIver mentions “human rights” throughout his letter. These are brutal soldiers who come to Fort Benning and they are returned brutal soldiers with added training in torture and assassinations. The local people fear them: Aknock on the door at any time could mean abduction, torture and killing.
He says a small percentage have been accused of these crimes—that is, the small percentage who have been caught. That democracy has returned to Latin America is another one of his points. Is being ruled by a dictator who is kept in power by the military an example of democratic rule?
Why should our government be involved in such negative and murderous activity? Peace and justice and democracy are not promoted by such training. It's time for a congressional investigation and a closing of the School of the Americas.
In the 1930s our family lived in an Irish Catholic neighborhood. As a pre-school child, I learned about anti-Semitism. Older girls (wearing their Catholic school uniforms) would chase us. They would call us “Christ killers” or worse. Their parents weren't much better.
My parents listened to Father Coughlin's radio broadcasts because they knew the neighbors who cursed at them were also listening. Probably like a black family watching a cross burning down the street, knowing their neighbors were under the white robes and hoods.
This Easter will mark my 15th year as a Catholic. I've learned about love and forgiveness through the Church, but I still can't understand centuries of Jewish hatred by Catholics and other Christians. When calling us “Christ killers,” didn't they understand that, in the garden, when Jesus wanted to let the cup pass by him, God wanted to express his love for us through the injustice and terror of the Cross. God wanted to show his closeness to us in our pain and separation and failure. The power of the resurrection is our unending hope in the midst of failure and death.
Ultra conservatives pine for the beautiful Latin Mass with its three mea culpas, but all the words and actions during that Mass didn't make Catholics better people. Father Coughlin spoke words of hate—period.
An article (“British Church Leaders Hail New NFP Device”) in the Nov. 10-16 Register tells about a new natural family planning device that has gone on sale in England, called “Persona.” Twice in the article, Persona is compared with “other contraceptives.” This inaccuracy could lead to confusion. Natural family planning is not contraception. It involves some abstinence while contraception does the exact opposite.
I write to commend you for the article “At Long Last, Young Adults Get Serious Attention” by David Finnigan in your Nov. 10-16 issue. The article deals with “Sons and Daughters of the Light: APastoral Plan” that was approved by the bishops at their November meeting.
As a member of the steering committee for the writing of the pastoral plan, I also want to point out that a quotation attributed to me in the article is not accurate. It reads: “If you just take the issue of cohabitation and zero in on that, you're going up a one way street that's a dead end.” In response to Finnigan's question about cohabitation, I pointed out that the pastoral plan does not deal specifically with that issue but that it supposes and supports the teaching of the Church. Secondly, and more importantly, I pointed out that if the issue of cohabitation is raised in the context of marriage preparation, the priest or pastoral minister would need to sensitively present the authentic teaching of the Church to the couple.
Father Charles Hagan
Representative for Higher Education and Campus
The United States Catholic Conference
Your Dec. 1-7 issue of the Register has me wondering why someone like Bill Murray, obviously uninformed as to why Congressman Robert Dornan (RCalif.) lost his bid for re-election, was given space for his comments (“A Leading Pro-Life Congressman Receives a Rude Awakening”).
To claim that the bishops identified abortion as the most important moral issue today is wrong. They placed welfare concerns first of all, with abortion mentioned hardly at all. American Catholics were led to believe that a continuance of big government was of greater importance than putting an end to the destruction of innocent human life.
If the words of Pope John Paul had been heeded, as they should have been, the outcome of the 1996 election would have been different; Dornan would have been reelected. I doubt that we should be called Roman Catholics when our leadership appears to ignore the Pope's leadership in matters of faith and morals.
Albuquerque, New Mexico