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BY The Editors
In regard to “The Abolition of Man
(and Woman)” of Nov. 1:
Benjamin Wiker seemed to portray the
old “guiding assumption that a boy becomes a man precisely in becoming a
husband and provider for his family” as a great blessing.
Yes, it may be better than the new
“entirely indistinct, androgynous image of a large boy making money by himself,
for himself, and for the satisfaction of his own pleasures,” but I still think
it’s a gravely flawed “assumption.”
I’m discerning a call to the
priesthood in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Yes, I’ll be married to the
Church and provide spiritually for my parish family, but Wiker seemed to imply
a physical marriage. Does this mean I’ll never be a man? And what about those
God calls to be single or consecrated religious?
The proper and good goal of boys and
girls should not just be marriage, but discerning and fulfilling whatever God
desires for them. Quite frankly, I think it’s time for a new “guiding
assumption”: A boy becomes a man precisely in joyfully fulfilling
A. Ignatius Girard
Health Care a Power Issue
Regarding your coverage of
health-care reform: While very few deny the moral imperative for assisting our
fellow humans, why are we turning to the government for a solution?
The Catholic Church is and has been
in the forefront of providing health care as a ministry. What do we gain,
what moral goal is achieved, by handing control of many aspects of health care
to a central government? Will our moral imperatives/principles be respected by
the federal government?
The fact is: Reforming health care
is not the goal of this political effort; power is. Why is this so hard for so
many Catholics and others to see? How can any bishop endorse such a massive
overhaul of health care, with so much at stake for our Catholic hospitals,
without taking a serious amount of time to understand the legislation and, more
importantly, the intent of those who propose and craft it?
A legislator can strip/change a
pro-life amendment easily enough, but can we easily regain control of our
health care from the government once we allow them to take it?
View Built on Sand
Regarding “Friar Pluck” (Nov. 22): I
was struck by this comment from Father Groeschel, “Well, I was at a Catholic
college recently, which is sort of edging recently toward becoming a secular
school, and the students were totally against that.”
I thought about that, and also the
information I learned that the religious orders that are growing are those that
have a traditional orthodoxy. It does seem, to my hopeful eyes, that the
liberal/progressive streams of thought are dying out in the Catholic Church,
but it did make me wonder why.
I think it is systemic. In the end,
those attempting to argue from a liberal/progressive view find it difficult to
take a firm position and espouse that position. A teacher may find he or she
can’t tell you “Here is what we believe” because they don’t feel any particular
tie to what they believe. What they believe in amounts to doubt, and doubt is
When asked a question, you may get
answers like “Some believe this; others believe that,” but to the question
“What do you believe?” there is no answer. They feel morally wrong in pushing
what they believe. Not because, as they might suppose, of some ecumenical
sensitivity. Rather, because they do not have the courage of conviction. And
that lack does not translate into a living and vibrant worldview and does not make
for a compelling argument. For, if you are not orthodox, what can you teach?
Vocations Coverage Rocks!
I have gone through several issues
of the Register where I found articles regarding vocations to the priesthood.
The stories you ran regard the use
of psychology in the admission process to the seminary to how to mind their
whereabouts (“The Priest Game”/new Internet video) and also how to go about
them when they are found (the pastoral care of altar boys).
It is very rare today to read about
such issues — even in Church publications — as if the vocation to the
priesthood has become sort of a taboo. In fact, the priestly vocation is a call
from God, and, therefore, it is a gift from God to the person who receives it and
to the Church.
Many thanks to the Register for
giving this service to its readers.
Scientific Fact of Life
Your “Promoting Personhood” (Dec. 6
issue) was interesting and encouraging. But those who wish to establish
personhood at the moment of conception need only look to science and the
The Fifth and 14th Amendments to the
Constitution require states to provide equal protection of the law to “all persons
within their jurisdiction.” I have been a person all my life, and according to
science — repeat, science (not religion) — a new, individual person exists from
the moment of conception.
Hence, all persons must be protected
by the Constitution — irrespective of the Supreme Court’s irresponsible Roe
v. Wade decision — from the moment they exist.
Webster’s Dictionary and
Encyclopedia defines a person as “an individual human being.”
We must continually point this out
in conversations, letters to the editor and all discussions about when we
become persons with constitutional rights.
Regarding “Tea-Party Catholics”
(Nov. 1): I found the tenor of this article to be rather strange. When the
administration/Congress acts are so egregious regarding the tenets of our
country and also of our Church teachings, it should not be strange to find the
people responding in diverse and activist ways, as the current tea parties have
These people are not of one organization
or background, but all recognize that what is happening in Washington is
antithetical to American and Catholic beliefs that they feel obligated to act —
some for the first time ever. This is neither anti-American nor contrary to
Catholic teachings. Yes, it can get out of hand, but it is also necessary
sometimes, and these people should be congratulated for standing up for the
It should also be noted that the
march on Washington, not covered by the mainstream media, was very orderly and
the day after found the grounds in very good shape. I’m not sure what the
author’s point was.
I believe you need to correct Rich
Daly’s article on what could happen in the Senate version of the health bill.
He makes a statement that, under the House version, the Stupak amendment would
allow one to purchase a rider for abortion coverage. I believe this is
incorrect. The thinking was that buying such a rider on the back of the
insurance plan would simply confuse the difference between private and federal
funds for abortion. Any abortion would have to be paid entirely out of
pocket, with no insurance.
Rich Daly responds: It’s a confusing
question because there are so many fine points involved. The clearest
explanation I could find is from the nonpartisan PolitiFact.com that addresses
the rider question. Note the last sentence: “Essentially, the Stupak-Pitts
amendment bars abortion coverage for those who choose the ‘public option,’
which is the House bill’s federally administered, but privately funded,
insurance plan. (Cases of rape, incest or a danger to the life of the mother
are exempted.) The amendment also prevents anyone who accepts federal subsidies
for health coverage from purchasing a plan with abortion coverage on the
“However, the amendment does allow people
purchasing insurance on the exchange to choose a plan with abortion coverage if
they pay for it without federal subsidies. Those who do accept subsidies can
purchase an abortion ‘rider’ — that is, a separate policy covering abortion —
as long as they pay for it entirely with their own money.”