To: (Multiple email addresses may be specified by separating them with a comma)
BY The Editors
Thank you for the beautiful article in your Oct. 28 issue,
“For all the Saints,” by Kimberly Jansen. The pictures especially drew my
attention to the article and what was happening.
Webster, New York
Evangelization in Prison
I’m writing to comment about the new postal rates, “Postal
Hike” (Oct. 28):
This could potentially have a grave impact for me and many
others in my position. I’m an inmate in a federal prison and we have no access
to the Internet.
With the many publications switching over to Web-based only
format for cost reasons, both for postal increases and cost of paper based
printing, this will stop our ability to receive Catholic news and information.
I think for us to be able to read about our faith and
perhaps find some inspiration to lead better lives than our past has great
benefits for all. And let’s face it: My experience with Catholic evangelization
in prison is a far cry from our Protestant brethren. My plea is for you to try
and maintain your publication in print for the benefit of all of us that are in
prison and I would like to see more Catholic prison ministries.
Gregory J. Marcinski
Otisville, New York
Relevant to “The Human Ecology” (In Depth, Dec. 16):
There are irresponsible members of the media who are
misleading people on Pope Benedict’s position on environmental issues. For
example, the Daily Mail has published an article called “The Pope Condemns the
Climate Change Prophets of Doom” when in actuality Benedict did not do anything
of the kind.
If one reads the actual document, it becomes clear that
Benedict is actually concerned about mankind taking care of the environment. He
thinks we should all be working together to protect, it with the more fortunate
countries taking up the slack when poorer countries cannot help out.
This can all be read in paragraphs 7 and 8 in Pope
Benedict’s message, found in its entirety at this link:
Obviously, there are members of the media who are trying to
mislead Catholics who care about the environment into thinking that Benedict is
an ideologue. They would rather attack the Church than enlist his help as an
ally who has the respect of one-sixth of the earth’s population.
As faithful Catholics, we should do everything we can to do
our own fact-checking and make sure we are not being misled by anyone trying to
establish their own agenda. We should be making sure that we let Pope Benedict
speak for himself and not repeat the slander of others who are trying to put
words into his mouth.
I pray that we all do our part to combat these lies and
promote the Truth.
With the help of St. Michael, I’m confident we can succeed.
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Learn Church Teaching
The hundreds of individuals who undersigned the “Sisters
Witness Against War” advertisement (In your Jan. 6, 2008 issue) seem intent on
publicly proclaiming their ignorance as to the teachings of our Church,
especially regarding killing and war.
n The Fifth Commandment is properly translated as, “Thou
shall not murder” (emphasis added), using a very different Hebrew word than
that/those used for other forms of killing.
n St. John the Baptist did not instruct the soldiers who approached him to give
up their killing trade; But, only to not practice extortion.
n Jesus the Christ noted the great faith of the centurion, without condemning
his deadly profession.
n Later, that great Doctor of the Church, St. Bernard of
Clairvaux, noted (In his De Laude Novae Militae) that it was sometimes
necessary to strike deadly blows for Christ (and his people) against their foes
— at that time and in these times, the followers of the false prophet Mohammed
(or the secular equivalents as Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao and those other
agents of the Evil One).
n Without acts of war, those ignorant signers would have
ended up in Muslim harems or as “comfort women” for the Imperial Japanese Army
or sent up the smoke stacks of Nazi death camps.
n Evil continues to exist in this world, and it is up to
right-thinking and right-acting and armed persons (as individuals or such
armies as now combat Islamic terrorists in the same spirit as the Crusaders
praised by St. Bernard) to combat it as a duty to God and his people. To
paraphrase: Such advertisements as you published subtract from the sum total of
West Allis, Wisconsin
Doctrine vs. Discipline
Your 2007 summary of stories, “The Register’s Scoops of
2007” (Jan. 6) included the repeated accusation of Voice of the Faithful’s
(VOTF) demise into doctrinal dissent. Since the primary point of the VOTF
article focused around its call for a review of mandatory clerical celibacy,
how can you falsely accuse them of doctrinal dissent for this? You know the
difference between doctrine and discipline.
Asking for a change of discipline is not a doctrinal issue.
As a Catholic who is part of VOTF, I would not belong if
there were doctrinal positions contrary to the Catholic faith. I also disagree
with the organization’s call on the celibacy issue, but that is a minor part of
the overall organization.
Editor’s note: After years of insisting that it would take no
position opposing doctrines of the Church, the Voice of the Faithful called for
a Vatican review of celibacy. Yes, celibacy is a Church discipline, not a
formal doctrine, and is therefore open to discussion among faithful Catholics.
But this isn’t a scholarly group organizing an academic
symposium; it’s an activist group targeting the Vatican in a press-release
campaign that would seem to tie a centuries-old discipline of the Church to
sexual abuse. As Russell Shaw said in our article, “If it isn’t dissent, it’s
first cousin to dissent. I don’t see much difference.” The bottom line: The
organization once claimed it only wanted the Church to change the way it deals
with abuse accusations and the like. Now it wants the Church to change the way
it interprets the Gospel.
Morality of ‘Discovery’
Thank you for the highly informative articles on stem cells
you have printed since the discovery that embryonic stem cells can be produced
from skin cells. There is, however, a statement in the article, “‘Historic
Discovery’” (CNS Dec. 9), which needs another view: “The success of this
approach, which the Japanese and U.S. researchers followed for scientific and
not primarily for ethical reasons ...”
Actually, the Japanese researcher, Dr. Yamanaka, the first
to reprogram skin cells to embryonic stem cells, was motivated by moral
concerns over human life, saying: “When I saw the embryo, I suddenly realized
there was such a small difference between it and my daughters. I thought, ‘We
can’t keep destroying embryos for our research. There must be another way.’”
President Bush ordered that an ethical way be found to
produce embryonic stem cells and provided funding for such research after he
vetoed funding for the research that kills embryos (new human beings) to
produce embryonic stem cells.
The December 2007 Our Faith In Action (ourfaithinaction.org)
cites the work of morally driven Dr. Markus Grompe, director of the Oregon Stem
Cell Center, in finding an alternative to cloning and killing embryos; and
Wisconsin University’s Dr. James Thomson, who discovered embryonic stem cells
in 1998, duplicated Dr. Yamanaka’s breakthrough and said after the discovery,
“If human embryonic stem cell research does not make you at least a little
uncomfortable, you have not thought about it enough.”
Which is tantamount to saying all thinking people, including
researchers, are uncomfortable with embryonic stem-cell research that kills
That is because God has instilled in our hearts that we
should always have the utmost respect for his magnificent gift of human life.
Catholics can be particularly proud that the Church has
repeatedly, in the face of criticism and derision, condemned research that
requires the taking of human life. And now we hear that even people engaged in
such research are disturbed by it.
The Church is right because it teaches what God commands:
that we “love one another,” not kill one another, including the youngest
members of the human family.
The vast majority of researchers prefer to avoid the ethical
controversy surrounding the killing of embryos for research, whether it is
because of the ethical issues or to obtain federal funding.
Contrary to “Historic Discovery,” morality was a huge factor
in the discovery that embryonic stem cells can be produced from skin cells.
Silver Spring, Maryland
In the Dec. 9 issue of the Register, we incorrectly reported
that Best Buy, Toys R Us and Eddie Bauer were on the Liberty Counsel’s annual
list of non-Christmas-friendly stores. Best Buy was, in fact, on the list of
pro-Christmas stores, and Toys R Us and Eddie Bauer were not on either list.
The Register regrets the error.