To: (Multiple email addresses may be specified by separating them with a comma)
BY Father Paul Marx
Re: “‘We Have Sinned,’” March 12-18. The Holocaust was one of the most tragic events in the history of mankind and the hideous murder of 6 million innocent Jews must never be forgotten. There is no conceivable way, however, that the Catholic Church can be held accountable for this tragic event. The papal Mass of apology celebrated March 12 at the Vatican is a blatant insult to millions of Catholics throughout the world, and especially to the memory of thousands of Catholics who gave their lives trying to stop Hitler and the Nazis. To suggest that Pope Pius XII could have prevented this event by being more vocal is ludicrous. Hitler had a large army with a lot of weapons and the only thing that was going to stop him was a bigger army with bigger weapons. To apologize for the Inquisition and the Crusades is actually laughable. These are historical events and must be looked at in their context.
John Foley Springfield, Pennsylvania
Celibacy in the Eastern Churches
Although I strongly support clerical celibacy in the Latin Catholic Church, Fr. Mullady does a disservice to Eastern Catholics and the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches (“Celibacy, More Ancient Than Many Think, Is Also Surprisingly Popular,” March 12-18).
Regardless whether the Council of Trullo's decision was “novel” or not (many of its decisions were certainly binding until recently), the current Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches a.) allows for the ordination of married men and b.) does not require them to abstain from sexual relations with their spouses. Thus, to say “It was totally against Tradition that a priest could have conjugal relations and also celebrate the Eucharist” is not true, for they may certainly do so now.
I beg Father Mullady not to implicitly overstate his case. This is a legal, not doctrinal, matter.
Finally, a correction. The phrase “conjugal chastity” includes sexual relations between spouses. There is nothing “unchaste” about it! Father Mullady might have better employed a term like “abstinence” to make his point.
Cat Clark Steubenville, Ohio
The Barring of Father Marx
I have before me a copy of an article you recently released, “Father Marx Is Barred From Saying Mass” (March 5-11). If I may, I would like to make several clarifications. Hopefully, this will not be regarded by my superior as a breach of my vow of obedience.
The “facts” stated about my retirement are not quite right. My abbot informed me of his decision to retire me. The point is, I did not retire, but was retired by my abbot. In adherence to my vow of obedience, I submitted to the abbot's request that I retire from HLI (Human Life International).
Does one ever retire from being pro-life? I don't think that's possible. I shall continue to defend life-until I draw my last breath, though it need not be under the HLI banner. I well recall Pope John Paul telling me in 1973, “You are a courageous fighter; never give up.”
I have been accused of making “counterproductive allegations about the current and legally established leadership of HLI.” I have indeed questioned positions they are now taking on issues such as sex education, which do not reflect the “former” mission of HLI. I do not see how this has anything to do with my vow of obedience!
I do hope that Father Welch will reconsider his decision to use our good donors’ dollars to pursue more legal action. I don't see this as being an efficient use of time or money.
The canons you list in reference to my suspension befuddle me. I have been in full communion with the Catholic Church all of my life. I can honestly say that I have never violated any of these canons.
Father Paul Marx, OSB Mount Morris, Illinois
As a former Human Life International [HLI] “disgruntled” employee, and one who has remained by Father Marx's side throughout this entire charade, I feel both qualified and compelled to make certain clarifications.
It was always Father Marx's intent to abide [by] the transition plan of the HLI Board of Directors. He hoped to continue his fundraising efforts (he has always been HLI's premier fundraiser), assist with two HLI conferences and eventually “bow out” at a gala retirement symposium in Minnesota in 2001.
However, just before Father Marx was “resigned” on Aug. 15, he wrote to the HLI board of directors and informed them that he would “not actively participate in HLI's fundraising efforts.”
He went on: “As I have stated repeatedly in the past, I am simply not comfortable making representations to potential donors that their money will be used wisely and efficiently.” Please be aware that this letter was written on Aug. 10, before his alleged “retirement.”
In a letter dated Aug. 30, Father Welch responded: “Regretfully, but under the circumstances, I must also inform you that you are no longer authorized to speak, act or write as a representative or agent of HLI. You are no longer authorized to use HLI letterhead, donor/supporter lists, staff or other HLI assets. Any HLI assets or materials you may have should be returned immediately.”
Many of Father Marx's close friends continue to hear exaggerated stories concerning his health. ... Father Marx received extensive testing at the Mayo Clinic last year, and their report indicates that he is totally competent and should maintain a high level of participation in all areas, including the professional. ...
Clearly you have produced a one-sided perspective in your article. You have barely grazed the surface of this masquerade, and if you seek the entire truth, I encourage you to expand your interrogatories beyond the sphere of HLI's headquarters in Front Royal. This is, above all, a crisis in leadership. The HLI board knows the problem and they must act to rectify it.
Evelyn M. Kerr Former Executive Assistant to the HLI President Flint Hill, Virginia
I have not read or heard of a bishop in the United States stating that any Catholic legislator who voted against the partial-birth abortion ban cannot receive communion until they reconcile with the Church. Why would the small offenses of Father Marx be judged more harshly?
John DeMaio Hoboken, New Jersey
I am a Register subscriber. It is an excellent publication and I look forward to each issue. In fact, it has totally replaced my local secular newspaper for my free-time/lunch-hour reading. Thank you for this excellent weekly snapshot of important news from around the world and in the Church.
“Assisi Grunge,” a critique of the 1989 movie Francesco (March 12-18), mentions a list of 45 noteworthy films as compiled by the Vatican's commission on social communications. I have heard of this list before, but I am having trouble finding it on the Vatican's Web site or anywhere on the Internet. I was hoping you might be able to let me know how or where I can get this list.
Ed Chichirichi Wilmington, Delaware
Editor's note: A listing of the films, along with brief descriptions of each, can be found on the U.S. bishops’ Web site at http://www.nccbuscc.org/fb/vatican-films.htm The Register will soon conclude its series of reviews of the 45.
BY Jim Cosgrove
After reading your Aug. 29-Sep. 24 issue, I was quite concerned with what I consider error in the [Indepth column] “Our Story: Facing the Moral Dilemma of an Ectopic Pregnancy,” written by Kelly Bowring. I have been an avid reader of the Register for some years now and have found your articles not only informative, practical and fair, but I've considered them authoritative also.
My wife and I are both retired from the practice of medicine, having accumulated about 70 years of experience therein. We are Catholic.
I cannot escape the conclusion that the concepts utilized to “tell the story” were quite unclear, even to the extent that they were misleading from the biological (medical) standpoint. But my greater concern is the appearance of what I can only judge as fraud or vincible ignorance in emotionally and repeatedly referring to a moral dilemma. The only “dilemma” I noted, even on re-reading, was that generated by the author. [This] seemed to have genesis in erroneous biology, excessive emotionalism and a gratuitous, overarching stretch to achieve. Stated otherwise, I can see no reason for the [piece] except to [satisfy the writer's need to] write.
From the standpoint of biology, I believe it is safe to say that a tubal pregnancy has never resulted in a viable infant. Conversely, it has taken the life of many young women. We have seen it! When a fertilized ovum implants itself in a tissue or structure, it instantly and energetically commences to obtain support and nutriments on a grand scale. The reason for the structure and function of the womb is to provide these. A fallopian tube cannot.
The net result, then, of the presence of an early pregnancy in a tube might be compared to a stick of dynamite. It has never been known not to “go off” at an unannounced and unpredictable point in time and, conversely, has been known to kill the mother if it is not removed prior to rupture.
Biologically the destruction or removal of fetus and tube would not be referred to as a miscarriage in medical parlance. It must be obvious by now that the whole article distresses me. If there is in reality no moral dilemma, and I do not see one, it is specious to allege one and appear to laboriously conquer it.
The solution the story presents, i.e., salpingectomy, which the author's protagonist seems to have found and suggested to the doctors in charge, is the same one that I have used in medical/surgical practice for 40-plus years and the only one. Again, I cannot imagine the “fact” of the statement attributed to “the doctors” that salpingectomy was, in their opinion, “archaic and unnecessarily harsh to the mother's body.” I'd characterize those doctors as “off the wall” and studiously avoid ever sending my patient or family to them for care.
I must, in all honesty, tell you that more than a little of the same attitude of author Debra Haberhorn is exhibited in the article on page 16, “Priest Ordained After Brush With Death.” I have no quarrel with “the medical story.” It is only with the time frame related between the existence of an otherwise healthy young man — going to the hospital with pain in his hip — and then, within 48 hours, his condition was declared fatal and doctors recommended “turning off the machines.” So then “the doctors” drained the hip abscess, left in a pack and expected all to be well. Two days later the pack was removed, clinical observations were made and doctors declared the patient's condition fatal! Again the doctors said to turn off the machines, but the family did not allow same. After indicated spiritual exercises were employed, the patient fully recovered. Now, really, this repeated, flighty flip-flopping of “the doctors” on their opinions and recommendations makes me want to verify the location of the hospital. Was it St. Paul, Minn., as the article states — or was it Uganda?
Comment: There are many and weighty topics for so-called medical writers to relate in order to inform or discuss with people in the popular press topics of health and spirituality, but the goal of such authors (and publishers) can certainly not be furthered by such emotionalism — such nonsense. Can it?
Mark T. Cenac, M.D.
Editor's note: The article dealt with the principle of double effect. A current medical practice, as described in the article, involves the direct killing of the fetus — a clear violation of Catholic moral principles. Another procedure, which is allowable, is the removal of a section of the fallopian tube in order to save the life of the mother; a secondary and unintended effect is the death of the unborn child.
McCain on Abortion
[The LifeNotes item] “McCain Changes Position on Roe v. Wade” (Register, Sep. 5–11, excerpted from the Aug. 24 Washington Post) contains his comment that he wouldn't want abortion to be illegal now because that would force “women to undergo illegal and dangerous operations.” This is nonsense! It doesn't matter whether abortion is legal or illegal; either way it has attendant risks.
Sen. McCain's comment is obviously based on the myth that “thousands of women died as a result of illegal abortion prior to Roe v. Wade.” Abortion advocates began the canard that 10,000 women died annually from illegal abortions in the 1960s as a public-relations ploy.
Dr. Bernard Nathanson, who is now an internationally renowned defender of the pre-born child and has converted to Catholicism, was a cofounder of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League. He confessed that he made up the figure of 10,000 women dying of illegal abortions each year as a total lie. Data from the National Center for Health Statistics show that 39 women died from illegal abortions in 1972; 35 died in 1973 and 37 in 1974 from legal abortions.
Deaths due to abortion decreased markedly after the 1940s due to the introduction of new antibiotics, advances in medical technology and the skill of the physician, not because of [a court decision] in 1973.
Contemporary maternal deaths and injuries due to legalized abortion are underreported. A pro-life organization, Life Dynamics Inc., has proof that more than 450 women have died as a result of legal abortions. They say this is only a partial list, and that it is very difficult to uncover these tragedies because the cover-up of deaths and injuries by the abortion industry is commonplace.
In addition to immediately apparent negative medical effects such as death, hemorrhage and uterine perforation, abortion brings many latent medical complications. Life-threatening conditions in future pregnancies include a 600% increase in the risk of placenta previa and 50% increase in the risk of tubal pregnancy after one abortion, and 160% after two abortions. There is an increased risk (200%) of miscarriage after two or more abortions.
The medical evidence and legal ramifications of the abortion-breast cancer link were comprehensively analyzed in the Wisconsin Law Review (Volume 1998, No. 6). The conclusions include: “there is no doubt that the abortion providers have a duty to inform women considering the procedure about this significant health risk before an abortion is performed.”
Acute grief and emotional and psychological disturbances are noted in 77% of women who have had abortions. Anecdotally, Gloria Swanson wrote in 1992 that she felt guilty all her life about an abortion she had 65 years earlier, in 1927.
In Finland between 1987 and 1994, women who had undergone abortions committed suicide 6.4 times more frequently than did mothers who gave birth to their babies and 3 times more frequently than the general population.
That abortion for all nine months of pregnancy, and partial-birth abortion (the extrauterine procedure akin to infanticide), are legal has tremendously undermined our once-civil society by reducing respect for human life, undermining the family and engendering violence.
Sen. McCain is terribly misinformed regarding maternal mortality and morbidity resulting from abortion, and he ignores the substantial deleterious sociological effects of legalized abortion. Women and society in general would be much healthier if abortion were illegal.
William J. Hogan, M.D.
In the Aug. 22–28 issue, the Register quoted the World Wrestling Federation's spokesman Jim Byrne calling professional wrestling “raunchy.” Byrne actually said “naughty.” We regret the error.
BY Jim Cosgrove
Moscow Martyr's Real Death-place
Thank you for your front page coverage of the book Sentenced as Vatican Spies (Jan. 3-9). It is wonderful to see a sign that the silence which surrounds the sufferings of these martyrs to the Catholic faith in our own time might end. Ours was indeed a time worse than the “new age of Diocletian” that the Russian Catholic Exarch, Fr. Leonid Fedorov, foresaw at the very onset of the communist terror.
However, it is important to correct a major factual error in the article: Anna Abrikosova, who as co-founder and prioress of the Moscow Dominican sisters suffered so heroically at the hands of her tormentors, was not shot at the Solovki Camp, where in fact she was never imprisoned (as were some other sisters of the community). She died of breast cancer in the Butyrki prison in Moscow, on July 23, 1936. I am citing Sister Philomena, a member of her community who was imprisoned with her at various times; but there are numerous other witnesses, among them a total of six sisters from the community, who encountered her in prison shortly before her death. It seems likely that her body was cremated in secret in the basement of the prison, since her captors hoped — in vain — that knowledge of this heroic witness to our Faith would die with her.
Professor Joseph Lake University of Massachusetts
Thank you for your article, “18 Top American Retailers Sued by Overseas Workers” (Jan. 24-30). How shameful of other nations not to maintain a fair, minimum wage legally enhanced and maintained — as well as enforced. One day, hopefully, Pope Leo XIII's wonderful encyclical about working mankind's fair and just wages may come to fruition.
G.D. Bones Southeastern, Pennsylvania
I would like to thank you for your wonderful article on the Helping Hands Medical Missions. I am a volunteer with the organization and was excited to see the work of the missions being highlighted in your paper. It is truly an inspiration to work with others on the missions. We are always in need of volunteers to help us. I noticed that there was no mention of how to contact the mission team if anyone was interested. The person to contact is: Lupita Assad RN, 3405 Dartmouth Drive, Irving, TX 75062, e-mail: email@example.com, Fax: (972) 650-9101.
Karen Robinson Irving, Texas
Editor's Note: The Register has received many requests for information about how to contact this group.
BY Jim Cosgrove
Graphic Abortion Images: For?
In response to Maria Clare's letter (Register, Dec. 2026, 1998, regarding the article “Graphic Abortion Images,” in the Nov. 29-Dec. 5 issue): I admire her deep concern and compassion for the poor women who have had abortions and the effect which gruesome pictures have on their healing and reconciliation. I do remind Ms. Clare that the pictures, graphic as they may be, are, in reality, the results of this horrible evil! Since 1973, more than 35 million legal abortions have taken place in this “Christian” nation.
I respect Ms. Clare's sound reasoning and concern for those who have been traumatized by abortion, but I pray she shows the same kind of concern for the unborn, for whom the burden of guilt, shame, and despair is not an option—but for whom death is a reality.
Barry Kiernan Fort Lee, New Jersey
I support Maria Clare's letter on “Graphic Abortion Images” (Dec. 20-26) for its compassion and care for human dignity, but I would like to add something.
No one in human history ever saw so many gruesome images of death as we can see today at the dinner table: Holocaust footage, TV war reports, slasher movies, Dr. Kevorkian killing someone on 60 Minutes. Do we have more respect for life, because of this?
The only way to change this is to respect everyone's dignity—including those poor, dismembered, mutilated infants in the “prolife” images. Those babies deserve our prayers, our love, even our tears. They do not deserve to be put on public display to make a point, no matter how valid that point may be.
Far from healing the wounds of abortion, these pictures are just another offense against the dignity of the unborn.
Think of it this way: if you had a friend or a loved one who died, would you want their picture used to make a point?
My mother died of lung cancer last year; I spent my whole life trying to get her to quit smoking. Would I want a picture of her body on an anti-smoking poster? Not on your life.
John Williams Baton Rouge, Louisiana
BY Jim Cosgrove
Iprotest, in the strongest possible manner, the article “Do-it-Yourself Churches Won't Get You the Truth,” from the pen of Karl Keating.
First, Martin Luther had no intention of starting a church and, to this day, the churches that bear his name regard themselves as (and indeed are) part of the “one holy, catholic, and apostolic church,” only too eager to discuss what is correct doctrine with anyone. It was Leo X who sent Luther and those who agreed with him “packing,” shattering Catholic unity.
Second, regarding “purgatory,” Lutheran churches affirm that the entire universe must be “purged” before the Kingdom of God comes. What is denied is the “intermediate state.” The question has to do with the word “temporal” when applied to the eschaton. What can the word temporary [or temporal] possibly mean in this context?
The Lutheran churches do have a place for good works in the order of salvation. They are the fruits of justification, upon which God's judgment of us all will be based, but Christ is our justification. Misinformation is of no help in relationships among churches! For example, I have constantly opposed those who say Roman Catholics have no Gospel, the Roman Catholics worship Mary and save themselves, etc. I expect members of the Roman Catholic church to oppose inaccuracies, too. That the polemics persist in 1998 is tragic.
Rev. Jerry Myers
Pastor, Trinity & St. Thomas Lutheran Churches
Karl Keating writes in response:
I noted that “Martin Luther determined that there is no purgatory (good-bye Maccabees!) and that works play no role in salvation.”
Purgatory is precisely an “intermediate state,” and Rev. Myers notes that today's Lutherans (as did Luther) reject such a belief. The term “purgatory” never has meant merely that “the entire universe must be ‘purged’ before the Kingdon of God comes.”
By saying that good works “are the fruits of justification” — and apparently nothing more than that — Rev. Myers confirms my comment that, according to Luther, “works play no role in salvation.” For Luther, good works were signs that justification had been achieved, but they did not assist in maintaining that justification.
Few men who ended up starting churches of their own intended at first to do so. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, never thought of himself as splitting off from the Anglican Church. In Luther's case, Pope Leo X merely ratified what already had been accomplished by Luther, who had severed himself from the Catholic Church and had become the head of a new ecclesial body.
BY Jim Cosgrove
“Poster Child” for Moral Crisis
I commend you for your balanced, insightful front page story on the Clinton crisis and thank you for providing faith-based parameters for examining the issues. There is a strong need for such anchors amid the sea of issues swirling in the secular arenas of our nation.
Mr. Clinton has become the “poster child” for the moral crisis that has become prevalent in our nation, resulting from our ambivalence about taking clear-cut stands and our urge to succumb to our collective addictions. As your article stated, all of our actions, private or public, have an effect on our national soul. While it has been grotesquely painful to see the raw details laid out before us, I believe that Mr. Clinton has forced us as a nation to “hit bottom.” Maybe now, as our President walks his own road of recovery, the nation can begin its own 12-step program. Perhaps it is time to admit “we are powerless,” and that “a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity.” Our nation's hope lies in the ability to look again to a Higher Power for answers; ethical and moral issues cannot be voted on in a democratic process, using spin doctors, polls and elections.
Sierra Madre, California
EWTN not “mainstream”?
The article on the new Catholic Radio Network ("Catholic Radio Network Prepares to Hit Airwaves,” September 20–26) left me mystified in a few of its statements. The first of these statements: that EWTN represents “solid” Catholic audiences, but that a network for “mainstream” Catholicism is also needed. Really? Does the Church have two catechisms? Didn't Mother Teresa say that there is no “new” Church or “old” Church, but only one holy Roman Catholic Church?
Another concern: the comment that Mother Angelica made an inopportune remark concerning Roger Cardinal Mahony's pastoral letter on the Eucharist (for which she later apologized) could have been balanced by mentioning the fact that the 18-page treatise by the Cardinal makes reference only once, in a brief footnote, to the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist!
M. J. McLauchlin
National Catechism and 6th Grade
I want to voice my own personal “Hooray!” for Kelly Bowring's article ("The Case for a National Catechism,” Sept. 6—12).
I occasionally substitute in 6th-grade CCD. One day, two weeks before the end of term, I gave them a test, consisting of two questions:
1. How many Commandments did God give Moses? Name them.
2. How many Sacraments do we have? Name them.
Working in groups of three, using their notes, their textbooks and their Bibles, they all knew that there were Ten Commandments, and most even knew that there were seven Sacraments. As for naming them, nobody was quite so successful (although one boy said there was a Sacrament that “makes some guys into priests"). The answers were in the textbook — mentioned once, in a chart on the back page.
I'm all for a new catechism — and a new set of textbooks. How can I help?
BY Jim Cosgrove
My wife and I read many Catholic and secular publications. We are pleased to discover that your paper provides excellent reading and stimulating news which we had not been getting from other sources.
Edward Waterbury Clearwater, Florida
Good Theater, Good Paper
I am writing in belated appreciation of Peter Cameron's insightful and inspiring review of The Sound of Music in the May 17-23 issue. It was the best example of delight and instruction that I have seen in years. The review was as ennobling as the show itself. Broadway and journalism both at their best.
Frederick Marke Forest Hills, New York
When I studied and lived in the United States in the 50s and 60s. I always read your excellent paper.
Earlier this year I wrote to a priest-friend who was kind enough to locate your March 8-14 issue and send it to me. It took me many, many years to relocate you, but finally I succeeded.
I especially enjoyed your news and the articles on Islam and St. Bernadette in that issue.
Best regards to you, your associates, and your readers. U.S. Catholics do not know how lucky they are to have some intelligent Catholic periodicals.
Jose Guzman Quito, Ecuador
Jane Roe's Conversion
Kudos on all the recent coverage of Norma McCorvey, or “Jane Roe,” as most of this country knows her. After following the occasional stories about her in recent years, I believe your coverage — especially “Living With the Ghosts of Roe,” the lengthy “inperson” interview with her, Register June 21-2, gave a more complete picture of the woman who has most often been portrayed as an unwitting pawn of forces bent on legalizing a woman's so called “right to choose.” Then, I vividly recall a few years back when she became a born-again Christian, the Los Angeles Times did a profile of McCorvey that made her seem like an unsophisticated bumpkin who was now going to be used as a “we told you so” poster child of the pro-lifers. Well, judging from your interview with McCorvey, she reveals, with her own words and ideas — instead of the L.A. Times reporter's obviously skewed rendering of her — that she's no dummy. She knows where she's been and just who's used her, and she's more than capable of articulating it. If once she was a pawn, it now seems she's a woman who knows her own heart and mind. When I think of her journey from drug-poisoned dupe of the abortion movement to ardent pro-lifer and future member of the Catholic Church, I can't help but think of Mary Magdalene.
I. Matias via e-mail
Fax: (203) 288-5157; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org