To: (Multiple email addresses may be specified by separating them with a comma)
BY The Editors
Benedict, James and Trig
The Oct. 12 column “Down, Hero Dad
and Palin” reminded me of Pope Benedict’s visit last April.
Before Pope Benedict came to America
to celebrate Mass in New York and Washington, it was revealed that as a young
boy in Germany he had a cousin with Down syndrome. One day a Nazi doctor came
and claimed his cousin for the Third Reich. Taken to be “cared for” at the
“hospital,” young Joseph Ratzinger never saw his cousin again; he was one of a
host of “useless eaters” marked for extermination by that brutal regime.
My wife and I operate St. Joseph’s
House, a day care and respite care home for handicapped children. As it
happened, one of the children we care for, a wheelchair-bound young lady, was
chosen along with three other handicapped folks to carry the gifts up to the
altar before the consecration at the Mass at Nationals Stadium in Washington, D.C., on April 17. One of those was James, a
30ish man who works at the Officer’s Club at Andrews Air Force Base. James has
Down syndrome. He was chosen to carry the large host, which would become the
body of Christ lifted up before the assembly. As James, with great ceremony,
advanced toward the Pope, his native enthusi-asm overcame his reserve, and he
started to run.
Simultaneously, the Holy Father
leaped from his chair and walked toward James with his arms out-stretched. We
have a picture of this moment which I cannot look at without tearing up.
What did he see as he gazed so
lovingly at James? I believe he saw his cousin. I believe he saw the face of
Jesus. And I believe that his great prayer as he elevated that host on that
impossibly beautiful day was: “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers
of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40).
The next day, April 18, a boy was
born to, of all people, the gover-nor of Alaska. They named him Trig.
The Next 40 Years
Regarding “Catholic Voter Poll”
(Oct. 26), the results of the poll are appalling, but not really surprising. So
many Catholics are either ignorant or in denial of Church teaching. This is the
result of very poor catechesis over the past 40-plus years, particularly from
the pulpit, and also in Catholic schools and catechism classes. St. John Fisher
reminds us, “Pastors are necessary in the Church of God to watch diligently
over the instruction of the Christian flock.” We pray that a new
generation of more diligent, truth-telling pastors will correct this
situation in the 40-plus years to come.
note: Polls that merely ask respondents to identify their religion
end up counting as “Catholic” many people who never go to Mass, but will say
they’re Catholic because their family was. The best way to identify Catholics
is to ask if they meet the minimum requirement of the Ten Commandments and the
precepts of the Church, which is Mass every week. The Knights of Columbus poll
did better than most by counting as Catholics those who say they go to Mass at
least twice a month. But it’s hard to tell what Catholics are thinking based on
the poll. First of all, by regularly skipping Mass, the poll’s respondents have
shown that they don’t inform their consciences according to the Church in the
first place. Secondly, if we haven’t made an every-Sunday commitment, we tend
to inflate our attendance numbers both in our own minds as well as in what we
report. We wouldn’t be surprised if a significant number of those polled don’t
even meet the poll’s arbitrary twice-a-month threshold.
Pray With Love
I was speaking with someone who has
been a fighter for the unborn baby since the ’70s. We were discussing how
disappointed we were with our own Catholic brothers and sisters in our own
parish who feel it is okay to support a pro-abortion candidate. The Register
also reminded me of the 40-plus percent of Catholics who also believe that it
is okay to be pro-choice (“Catholic Voter Poll,” Oct. 26).
Instead of anger and confusion, God
has enlightened me to pray with love for my fellow Catholics, and I hope that
those of you who have also experienced this attitude will do the same.
Wake Up, America
“Who are you voting for?” my friend
asked. Quickly I responded, “I’m voting for life and that means for McCain and
Palin.” Although my friend said she was pro-life, I was saddened when she told
me that our country most needs change, and so she said she was voting for
As the years go by, there is a
growing separation of faith from life. Many have come to think that economics,
health insurance, war and poverty rank right up there with life. Like the
bishops (“The Shepherds Speak,” Nov. 2), I don’t believe this.
All of us need to be concerned about
our current economy and other social justice issues that are pressing our
nation. These issues are important, but there is a hierarchy of priority many
are casting aside. Social concerns require prudential (cautious) judgment only,
while the right to life is a natural law, God-given, and must always come
first. If we put life first, all other issues and their remedies will fall into
place. Our salvation is not going to come from our banking systems, but from God.
As creations of God, we are called to be loyal to him and respect life, from
the moment of conception until natural death. Life is a human rights issue; it
is right and good to vote solely on this issue. There can be no compromise. Our
day-to-day choices must be inspired by God (the Gospel) — not by secular
culture. In voting for life, we are voting against intrinsically evil issues
and against people who support these issues: abortion, homosexual “marriage,”
embryonic stem-cell research, euthanasia and cloning.
Wake up, America.
Greydanus in the Gray
I am so glad you have a Catholic
film critic that writes for your paper, but I was so disappointed to see Steven
Greydanus miss the point of the film An American Carol. His
review (“Maher, Zucker Provide Equal Opportunity Offense,” Oct. 12) paired
David Zucker’s film with Religulous and
basically denounced both movies.
Religulous stars Bill
Maher, a notorious Catholic-basher. Religulous calls
itself a documentary, indicating a serious attempt to educate viewers
about its topic, but it makes every attempt to portray any faith-oriented
individual as lost or unintelligent. Bill Maher has repeatedly taken potshots
at Catholicism, referred to the Holy Father as a Nazi, and the bishops’ film
panel rated this movie “O” (morally objectionable).
David Zucker is a respected director
in Hollywood, despite his conservative leanings in a strictly leftist industry.
American Carol is a comedy and doesn’t mislead the viewer into
“teaching” anything, except to point out the hysteria of the left and its
notions of peace, even in the face of gross international atrocities. The final
line of the film, “Don’t even go there,” regarding stem-cell research is a big
plug for the culture of life, a wonderful ending to a highly entertaining — not
necessarily Christian-themed film (Zucker is Jewish) — about patriotism and
real-world foreign policy.
Follow the Money
Thank you for your news analysis
regarding the economic crisis (“From Gordon Gekko to Investing With a
Conscience,” Oct. 5). Unfortunately, as was so common during this past election
period, the article left out the essential body of facts about the underlying
cause of the current crisis.
The formation of Fannie and Freddie
in their hybrid form under Presidents Johnson and Carter, and then the
draconian government regulations under President Clinton, which forced banks to
lend huge amounts of money to totally unqualified buyers (now called subprime)
or face severe government sanctions, are obviously the start of the current
Following federal guidelines and
regulations, and in order to avoid charges of discrimination or redlining with
criminal and civil penalties, those banks gave loans to those with poor credit,
no income verification, no down payment, or worse — and often based on high
Having been in finance for more than
30 years, I know from personal experience that the great majority of the
originating lending institutions never had those poor lending standards before
those regulations were imposed on them. Unfortunately, those same banks are
being criticized for being “greedy and reckless.”
Often, those loan packages were
managed and processed by ACORN and other community activist organizations that
were paid many millions in fees for doing so.
Those loans were part of a noble
attempt to extend home ownership (as well as provide benefits to a political
base of support). Unfortunately, those trillions of dollars of loans are the
real source of the underlying financial problems the financial institutions and
our country currently face.
In order to not repeat the mistakes
of the past, it is essential to study them, but accurately.
“1st Choice for Voters: Which
Guide?” (Sept. 28) misquoted James Salt, organizing director of the political
group Catholics United. Referring to “Forming Consciences for Faithful
Citizenship,” the 2007 statement from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops,
Salt’s quote should have been: “‘Faithful Citizenship’ says life is a
preeminent concern, but ‘Faithful Citizenship’ also says that it’s a distortion
of the Catholic faith to neglect our other obligations to other threats to
In the Books & Education page
article “Feminists for Life Rolling Out College Pro-Life Videos” (Oct. 26), the
Register mistakenly included “a woman who became pregnant right out of college
and placed her child up for adoption” as part of a new video series the
organization is producing. The Register regrets these errors.