To: (Multiple email addresses may be specified by separating them with a comma)
BY The Editors
I searched for an appropriate “thank
you” line to include in my note for an associate pastor’s 25th anniversary
Mass. This was the first time I’ve visited the NCRegister.com site,
and I’m so glad I did. The editors’ “Thank you, Father” (June 14)
is a beautiful and timely homage to our “fathers.” Thank you so much! And
thank you, fathers!
Another Priest Movie
Regarding the publisher’s note “Year
of the Priest” (June 14) and the reference to the “Top 10 Priest Movies”: What
about the Otto Preminger film The Cardinal? He only
becomes a bishop in the last third of the film and the film ends before he
receives the red hat. The film is based on the book of the same name by Henry
Morton Robinson. It’s a great film that shows a good bit of liturgy — and, now,
no one should be “gun shy” of glimpses into the Extraordinary Form of the Roman
Rite. After all, it had been the only show in town for 1,500 years.
Really, it’s a great story and a
fine film — made in 1963. Tell your readers about it. It’s more “real” than Going
My Way, though that was a wonderful film, too. God bless.
Michael W. Magiera, FSSP
pastor, Holy Rosary Church
“U.S. Catholic Population Rises”
stated a Register Daily Blog on June 5. Christianity and our country’s ideals
seem to go hand in hand with the early history of the United States.
Around the Fourth of July last year,
my wife and I attended Mass at our parish church. The recessional song was
“America the Beautiful,” a very moving, patriotic song which more times than
not moves me to tears. As I sang the verses I began thinking, “Why is this
patriotic song in a religious hymnal?”
Two of our country’s other treasured
songs were on the pages preceding this one — but again, why in a church worship
Later, at home, I read through all
three of these hymns, and it was quickly apparent that these were not written
purely as songs of patriotism, but as songs of prayer — prayers of asking,
thanksgiving and praise.
“Praise the power that hath made and
preserved us as a nation.”
“And this be our motto — ‘In God is
“Our fathers’ God, to thee, Author
of liberty, to thee we sing.”
“Protect us by thy might — Great God
“God shed his grace on thee.”
“God mend thine every flaw, Confirm
thy soul in self-control.”
“Til all success be nobleness and
every gain divine.”
After spending a little time
researching the authors, it was evident that the hymns were formed from
Christian roots. For instance, “The Star Spangled Banner,” our national anthem,
was written by Francis Scott Key, who was an ardent Episcopalian and known to
live a pious life. There is an obvious connection between God and country.
“My Country, ’Tis’ of Thee,” another
beautiful song written by Samuel Francis Smith, was our de facto national
anthem for much of the 19th century. Smith was a Baptist minister and wrote
these lyrics while attending Andover Theological Seminary. Again, this song
speaks of God and country.
Back to “America the Beautiful,”
written by Katharine L. Bates, who was not known to be connected to any
particular denomination, but her father was a Congregational minister and she
was known to be deeply religious. She doesn’t wait for the last verse to bring
God into the picture. He is there throughout the entire hymn.
As the movement proceeds on to
remove God from our schools, public places, coins, pledge of allegiance and
even Christmas — how do you have Christmas without Christ? — we would do well
to highlight excerpts from these three songs and then ask ourselves: “Is this
what our forefathers intended?”
Don’t Give Up
Regarding the letter “Notre Dame:
The Last Straw” (June 14): Please, Mr. David Widdoes, do not give up on the
Catholic Church. The devil loves it when a daily Mass participant no longer
participates. I have heard Father John Corapi emphasize many times that the
Mass is the most powerful weapon we have. We must use the weapon of the
Mass, and the Rosary, too, to combat the evil one’s influence in the world
today. Please remember that the priests and bishops are human and need our
prayers very much. What an appropriate time to pray for them even
more with the Year of the Priest starting.
We need to pray for each other’s
strength and perseverance to “fight the good fight.” The
beautiful painting of “The Last Vision of Fatima,” based on Lucia’s vision
in 1929, shows how Christ suffered and fought the good fight. It also shows how
much God loves us, by the graces and mercy that are flowing out to us
and Christ’s blood flowing onto the Eucharist and chalice.
We are so very blessed to be able to receive this life-giving gift of
Christ at the Mass.
The letter entitled “Words Mean
Things” in the Register’s June 14 edition by Richard L. Johnson made me
I agreed with the author’s premise —
words give the speaker power, and by referring to 17-year-old girls as women in
regards to Plan B distribution, it gives the pro-choice argument an advantage.
However, I found his portrayal of 17-year-old women (yes, women) to be
insulting and dismissive.
Mr. Johnson defines a girl as
someone who is “not completely independent or capable yet of making major life
decisions without advice or counseling.” As a 19-year-old woman, I don’t think
that I am capable of making major life decisions without advice or counseling.
As a 50-year-old, I also do not feel that I will ever reach that point. Not
only should prayer inform all of our decisions, but “no man is an island unto
himself.” Seeking help and advice is what makes us human.
There must be a better way to define
when girlhood stops and womanhood begins.
Perhaps it begins too early in our culture. But that doesn’t change that
I no longer identified as a girl once I reached 16. Many women reach that point
sooner. To then call them girls is dismissive and insulting, accidentally
demeaning their value to the world. As pro-lifers, we do need to watch our
words. But we also need to have hearts
overflowing with love and respect for women. Otherwise the battle is already
lost. No woman wants to subscribe to a morality in which she feels
Diaconate Blesses Many
I am responding to Deacon Gilbert R.
Nadeau and his June 14 letter: “Deacons’ Role.” I am a wife of a permanent
deacon. My husband was ordained May 23, 1998, by the bishop of the Diocese of
Cleveland along with his classmates after their schooling at the seminary.
Becoming a deacon is not an easy
road, but these are dedicated men who are also called to serve God and his
people as clergy. The frustration that Deacon Nadeau feels is felt by many such
men because very little is ever said of their roles in the Roman Catholic
Church and the good work they do. The majority of them have full-time jobs to
support their families, but spend most of their time doing what they were
called to do in the vineyard of God.
I have seen firsthand how people
respond to my husband and his ministry. He has married couples, baptized their
children, visited those who are ill, whether they are in a hospital or at home,
to bless them, pray with them and bring the word of God to them. When the Lord
calls one of his children home, my husband also helps to preside at the funeral
Deacons do so much more; the list is
long. Deacon Nadeau is right in what he is saying. I pray more men would join
the priesthood because the Church does need them in the United States, but I
also pray for men to think about becoming permanent deacons, too. Seeing my
husband prostrate himself on the floor of the cathedral on the day of his
ordination as the Litany of Saints was being sung by a packed cathedral holds a
very special place in my heart and always will. The day God called my husband
for a vocation in the permanent deaconate I was so happy he heard the call. He
has touched the lives of many, especially mine.
‘Ida’ and the Church
In the article “‘Missing Link’?”
(June 7), Kenneth Miller, Catholic professor of biology at Brown University,
states, “Scripture tells us God made us from the dust of the earth, and science
tells us we emerged from non-human life forms through natural processes.” To
those who dispute these “natural processes,” i.e. human evolution, he further
states, “The conflict is entirely unnecessary … Catholics should be allied to
the truth above all, and that includes scientific truth.”
Perhaps professor Miller has never
heard of the dogmatic statement from Lateran IV (1215), called the Firmiter
decree, which states, in part: “God … creator of all visible and invisible
things, of the spiritual and of the corporal; who by his own omnipotent power
at once from the beginning of time created each creature from nothing,
spiritual and corporal, namely, angelic and mundane, and finally the human,
constituted as it were, alike of the spirit and the body” (Denz 428).
My comment would be to note in line
two the words “at once” and “created each creature from nothing.” It is my
belief that this dogmatic statement (which agrees with virtually all doctors
and Fathers of the Church, including St. Thomas Aquinas) requires the assent of
faith, which would disallow believing in some mistaken scientific evolutionary
I will end with a simple syllogism,
noting that evolution requires mutation/disorder: Before the Fall, there was no
disorder in creation. Adam, the first man, existed before the Fall; therefore,
Adam is not a product of disorder in creation.
With the new hype evolving from the
discovery of “Ida,” I believe it would be a great service to your faithful
readers to reiterate the bottom line in Catholic teaching regarding the
creation of mankind. The article points out, “The Catholic Church has long
stated that there is no conflict between some form of species development and
the Catholic faith.” This is correct, since, ultimately, true science and true
faith can not contradict each other, as both have the same Author.
However, the Church teaches that as
Catholics we must believe as a matter of faith: 1) God is the first cause of
all creation, both physical and spiritual by a direct act of his will, and he
continues to be active in that creation. 2) Man’s creation was likewise a
direct action of God’s will and not an accident of evolution, and any theory
that excludes the direct will of God in the development of man is to be
rejected. 3) Each person has a unique, rational and eternal soul that was/is
immediately and directly created by God, and any theory that claims the human
soul is a product of evolution or subject to future evolutionary development is
to be rejected. 4) It is the human soul which separates us from the brute
animals that do not have such a soul and thus gives man a dignity that animals
do not possess. 5) All persons
regardless of ethnicity are directly descended from the one pair of original parents created by God that
we historically call “Adam and Eve”; hence, there is an inherent unity in all
humanity, and any theory that claims that the different peoples of the world
evolved from different branches or groups and have not one and the same human
origin is to be rejected. 6) Through the act of procreation God permits man and
woman to freely participate with him in creating new individual human life;
hence, the act of procreation is a participation with the divine and should be
treated as such.
As Catholics this is what we must
believe. Any “form of species development” that conflicts with these truths is
not free to be believed.
By the way, this type of news
coverage is exemplary of the depth and variety that makes the Register such a
valuable and enjoyable publication. Keep
C. Marrero Jr.