To: (Multiple email addresses may be specified by separating them with a comma)
BY The Editors
Regarding “Federal Study Confirms
Contraception-Breast Cancer Link” (Daily Blog, Jan. 8):
recall that in the ’60s, probably about 1967, some studies were done at a
university that “proved” this same hypothesis with the drugs for this purpose
that were being used then. My aunt started taking them, and I warned her not to
— but she went ahead with it and did develop breast cancer of a very aggressive
kind and passed away a short time later.
have always believed it was the use of “the pill” that caused it. So why has
this research been hidden for years? Do you know of those studies I am speaking
of? The university involved may have been George Washington University. We have
too much untruth prevailing in our nation today. Our history is also being
seriously corrupted and debunked. I hope someone is keeping track of all of
this. I feel sure there is a purpose in it and that the purpose is not a good
Context Is Everything
read with interest yet concern Melinda Selmys’ article “Pride Cometh After a
Blinding Embrace of Legalism” (Jan. 3). She slams as “legalism” the following:
“Catholic women on the pill should be refused Communion, but it’s legitimate to
use natural family planning for the first five years of my marriage in order to
advance my career.”
take serious issue with that. Does Selmys not know the difference?
pill acts to abort after conceptualization to do its work, while natural family
planning still keeps the couple open to fertilization. There is a huge
difference between the two methods, and we hope that this young lady will do
the research that will lead to a better understanding of what she is thinking
and Kenneth Clarke
Selmys responds: I’m not talking
about the difference between natural family planning and the pill — I’m very
aware of the difference (I use NFP; I think the pill is a crime against
humanity) — I’m talking about hypocrisy. The woman who uses NFP frivolously is
not actually, in any meaningful sense, “open to life.” Although the acts are
very meaningfully different, on the level of intention both are committing sins
of sexual selfishness: Both are trying to escape from the maternal vocation
implicit in their fertility. Someone who is struggling to be open to life, who
uses NFP without the best of justification but who at least isn’t using
artificial birth control is definitely doing the right thing versus someone who
contracepts. The problem is when that person mounts her high horse, charges for
the moral high ground, smugly plants her flag upon its peak and sits there
waiting for God to rain fire and brimstone down on those one step below her. At
this point she is committing a sin of legalistic pride: She assumes that her
adherence to the letter of the law puts her in a position to harshly condemn
those who do not adhere.
Regarding the letter
(“Indulgence Requirements,” Dec. 20) commenting on my letter on plenary
indulgences (“Under Indulgent,” Dec. 6):
response quoted a document from 1986. There is a more recent document from the
Apostolic Penitentiary (January 2000) that specifies “20 days” in
parentheses next to the word “several” regarding the number of days within
which one should confess to receive the plenary indulgence.
for clearing up this matter. It is obvious that the subject could use more
exposure by all. There are souls at risk.
I recommend the indulgences calendar published by Bridegroom Press? It is handy
and thorough. The publisher there has been my guide in understanding the
City, New Jersey
found some of the conclusions reached in the John Jay Study about sexual abuse
(Dec. 20 article) rather curious.
me, saying that the sexual abuse should not be linked to homosexuality in spite
of the fact that 80% of the abused were boys vs. 20% girls is kind of like
saying that “Although 80% of the victims of lung cancer are smokers, this
should not be a reason to link lung cancer to smoking.”
then they make the strange statement, “It’s important to separate the personal
identity and the behavior.” Seems like this is distorted thinking to claim that
homosexuality is “personal identity.” Isn’t homosexuality defined by homosexual
behavior? Otherwise wouldn’t that be like trying to define the alcoholic apart
from the alcohol which drives his actions?
they were paid $1.8 million to conduct this study? Amazing!
noticed that they did mention sexual abuse in other institutions. Did they
point out anywhere in this study that the frequency of child sexual abuse in
places such as public schools has been reported to be as high as 100 times that
alleged to have been done by Catholic priests? (That was in your paper.)
Why the Investigation?
your coverage of the apostolic visitation of U.S. women’s religious communities:
I would like to commend the bishops of California and the leadership of the
Conference of Major Superiors of Men for its public statement of support for
the religious women of the U.S.
find it puzzling to understand why the Vatican sees the necessity to
“investigate” our religious women, who have sacrificed so much and contributed
selflessly to the growth and beauty of the American Church, from St. Elizabeth
Seton to the present dedicated women of our time. Teaching, working in
hospitals, orphanages and other social ministries, visiting the sick, engaging
in religious and sacramental education, etc. since the beginning of our
country, they have had an immense impact on our Catholic Church’s place in our
the sometimes caricatures of the nun with the ruler, they are held in great
esteem by most Catholics and a good number of non-Catholics.
applaud the statements of California bishops and leaders of male religious and
would very much like to see a grassroots movement among both clergy and laity,
individuals and parish organizations writing to the apostolic nuncio in
Washington to let him and the Vatican know the esteem and honor in which we
American Catholics hold our religious women. They deserve our support and
Rev. Xavier Colavechio, O. Praem.
responds: Cardinal Franc Rodé,
head of the Vatican office overseeing religious orders, holds U.S. religious
women in esteem and honor, as shown on numerous occasions, including his talk
at the Symposium on Consecrated Life held Sept. 27, 2008, at Stonehill College
in Easton, Mass., available at Zenit.org on Oct. 13, 2008, and his comments
about the visitation on a CNS news story Nov. 5, 2009.
Confusing the Issue
“When Human Life Begins” (Dec. 20), Maureen Condic of The Westchester Institute
for Ethics & the Human Person explains that “(T)here’s no argument about
the fact that embryos are human beings from a scientifically well-defined
‘moment of conception.’”
the article becomes imprecise and confused is in its wording of when
society “assigns” or “confers” rights to the human being as a person.
Evangelium Vitae, Pope John Paul II wrote: “What is at
stake is so important that, from the standpoint of moral obligation, the mere
probability that a human person is involved would suffice to justify an
absolutely clear prohibition of any intervention aimed at killing a human
embryo.” He goes on: “The human being is to be respected and treated as a
person from the moment
of conception (emphasis added) …”
as a presumed “unity of body and soul.” The probability of this unity
in the embryo — and the moral obligation it entails — remains
distinct from the scientific unity, however valuable, appealed to by
Condic (that of a new cell working to “carry on the activities of life”) or any
other “scientific debates and (those) philosophical affirmations to which the
magisterium has not expressly committed itself.”
rights are prior to society and intrinsic to the person. Condic’s
reference to our conditional and civil rights “to drive cars, vote or
drink alcohol” is beside the point and, unfortunately, confuses the
issue. It is an abuse of power for society to destroy concrete human
persons — including the probable body/soul unity of the embryo — by presuming
to “assign/confer,” or not, the unconditional human right simply to
“Catholic Campaign Scrutinized” (Nov. 29): Besides groups like American Life
League and Human Life International, five bishops are not supporting the
Catholic Campaign for Human Development. It is most unusual for bishops not to
be united. These bishops, Bishops Fabian Bruskewitz, John Barres, Robert
Morlino, Robert Baker and Victor Galeone should be commended for their courage.
Campaign funds organizations that support abortion and homosexuality. “Faithful
Catholics” should help those in need directly, such as
contributing to food pantries.