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BY John Lilly
Christ Develops Dads
There are two important stories on
the front page of the Dec. 17-23 Register. “Scorn for Porn” points out the
widespread availability of pornography and the danger of its leading to
addiction. “The Father Factor — Crime on the Increase in ‘Dad-Free’ Zones”
discusses the effect of fatherless households in leading youths to what often
becomes a life of crime. These issues are strongly connected and have wider and
The rise of fatherless families is
the result of the widespread acceptance of recreational sex, which leads many
to explore pornography, which further increases the incidence of recreational
sex. Too often this cycle leads to deeper irresponsibility as people choose
between the two evils of fathers abandoning the children they conceive or
mothers resorting to abortion.
But people’s attitude toward
recreational sex is even further harmed by the mistaken belief that
contraception is permissible, even within marriage. This practice leads one or
both partners to value the sensations of sex above caring for their spouse,
especially when it would involve self-sacrifice. And it often leads the husband
to pursue pornography.
All three evils — contraception and
pornography and the acceptance of recreational sex, which underlies both the
others — must be confronted simultaneously. Success here could lead to a
reduction in violent crime by enabling the growth of healthy, fruitful
“The Father Factor” refers to
researchers who say that marriage and religious conversion are important
factors in reforming an adult criminal. But religious conversion must be
grounded in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, in which the
appreciation of, and gratitude for, his sacrifices for us become strong
motivation for one’s own willingness to sacrifice for him. This is the attitude
that can lead people to overcome their impulses to engage in recreational sex
and its consequential evils, and thereby strengthen themselves and their
families for both this world and the next.
I write regarding your Dec. 17-23
issue. I refer to your article “The Father Factor — Crime on the Increase in
I have volunteered at a homeless
shelter now for many years. My job is to interview new residents and make an
assessment of their situation. I do not have any statistics, but I can say
without a doubt from my experience that a vast majority at this shelter are
from broken families: single-parent families with no father.
In the family section there is only
one father for every 50-plus families with two or three children. The same is
true for residents who have just come from prisons and for those living on the
street. I will frequently ask residents if they can get help from their family.
That is totally out of the realm of possibility.
Family life as God planned it is so
important in our society. If we are to improve our society, our effort begins
with the family.
Regarding “Mel Makes a Spectacle of
Suffering” (Dec. 10-16), Steven Greydanus’ review of Mel Gibson’s movie Apocalypto:
Greydanus obviously did not see the
message that I saw throughout the film: Fear not.
One man’s spectacle of suffering is
another man’s reality check. If Greydanus objects to Mel’s presentation of
man’s cruelty to man, then he should also take issue with pro-lifers who
display pictures of burned and mutilated babies to show what is really going on
in abortion businesses.
I believe the film challenges you to
contemplate and compare man’s inhumanity to man — yesterday, today and
tomorrow. It reveals man’s never-ending struggle for survival. Of paradise
gained, lost and begun again. Throughout the film we hear Pope John Paul II’s
message, “Be not afraid.” A message that needs to be internalized by the men of
all generations who endure persecution and derision.
In the Dec. 16 issue of India
Bulletin, there is analysis of a recent UNICEF report on the
abortion and infanticide of 10 million girls killed in the last 20 years in
India. Some 7,000 fewer girls are born in the country every day than the global
average, largely because female fetuses are aborted after sex-determination
tests, but also through murder of newborns.
The publication’s editors do not
hide behind euphemisms. “The minute the child is born and she opens her mouth
to cry, they put sand in her mouth and her nostrils so she chokes and dies,”
the article states. “They bury infants into pots alive and bury the pots. They
put tobacco into her mouth. They hang them upside down like a bunch of flowers
to dry. You have a whole society that ruthlessly hunts down girl children.”
Shame on India.
I would not be offended if Mel
Gibson made a reality film showing this brutal murder of baby girls.
Unfortunately, I don’t think it would change very many hearts and minds
regarding abortion. I think we have so dulled our consciences that only a
God-sent catastrophe will bring man to his knees and repentance.
Of ‘Many’ Things
Your Dec. 3-9 Inbrief item “For the
Many” erroneously stated that Pope Benedict has directed that pro
multis is to be translated as “for the many.” Not only is that not
the case, it is an inaccurate translation anyway. Rather, the Holy Father
directed that the Latin phrase be translated “for many.”
Latin has no articles, as I am sure
you know, but Greek does — it has definite
articles — and the Latin is a translation of the Greek, which was the language
of worship in Rome for a couple of centuries. Moreover, all translations
of the phrase (until Paul VI’s new Order of the Mass translations) in all
churches East and West, including the Protestant ones, have over the centuries
translated it as “for many.”
The present translations in various
languages are simply wrong, though not invalidating, and it seems the reason
for that error is simply a cavalier attitude toward Tradition: The modern
tendency is to reject what is not understood on its own terms from the past,
i.e., an insufficiently reverent religious sense owing perhaps to a shallow
intellectual rationalism and an undue thirst for freedom to just change what
one does not like or feel. Like inclusive language.
Thank God we have a Pope who knows
how to be a pope!
Robert L. Finnegan
Note: According to a Dec. 5, 2006, Vox Clara press
release: “Cardinal Arinze also recalled the most recent decision of Pope
Benedict XVI that a more precise translation of pro multis be
included in the translation of the Order of the Mass. He emphasized the
importance of a common English-language rendering of this text, noting that it
remains to be seen whether the translation will eventually be formulated as
‘for many’ or ‘for the many.’” Cardinal Arinze is the head of the Vatican department
that oversees liturgical translation.
Regarding “Not as Flashy as Some,
But She’ll Do” (Dec. 24 - Jan. 6):
Steven Greydanus either doesn’t have
a sweet tooth or hasn’t spent much time in the South — or he wouldn’t have
found the question to the Zuckermans so mystifying in the new version of Charlotte’s
Web. “Divinity” is the name of the fudge-like candy he was offering
them in that scene. Apart from that, I heartily concur with his review.
I have recently received requests
for financial support from various worthy organizations. I decided to send a
check to support the National Catholic Register.
The media is very important in
today’s society. Newspapers have the responsibility and duty to tell the truth.
I hope the Register continues to serve as a light in our country and our
God bless you and your staff. May
you have a blessed New Year.