To: (Multiple email addresses may be specified by separating them with a comma)
BY John Lilly
I have enjoyed your publication
since I converted to the Catholic faith five years ago, and yet I
sometimes get a nagging feeling that something’s not quite right. Steve Weatherbe’s recent article “He Who Home Schools Teaches
Twice” (May 28-June 3) is an example. I’m still choking on the quote
from the man who graduated from Catholic school: “Most of our classmates at the
10th anniversary of graduation were divorced, sterilized or using
contraceptives. Their spiritual formation was pretty darned weak. We want our
children to go to heaven.”
Yuck. Shame on
him for such a presumption — and shame on you, the Register, for allowing
such a statement in your publication.
I come from a family of
fallen-away Catholics and never went to Mass once until I graduated from
college. I attended public school from kindergarten through high school and
graduated from a private Protestant college. By the grace of God, I
converted to the Catholic faith in my 30s. I frequent the sacraments
and have completely changed my views on contraception and abortion. Like
all of us, I’m surrounded by Catholics described in the quote above. And yet
they are still part of the Church. We, and our children, cannot turn our backs
on them or forget that God is always with us.
As a mom with children in Catholic
school, I find myself picking up your publication for some kind of support in
the imperfect world I live in and find something lacking. Is it possible to
present more articles on Catholics living their faith within the context of
public or private school? Obviously, we struggle, but many of us struggle
in that manner for a reason and are tired of feeling like we are not part of
the pretty picture of the Church drawn by publications such as yours.
I enjoyed “He Who Home Schools
Teaches Twice” (May 28-June 3).
When my wife and I were blessed
with our first child, we agreed that our child would either attend Catholic
school or be home schooled. Fortunately, we live in close proximity to a very
faithful, private Catholic school. We’re grateful that Catholic education is
available to us and understand that this is not the case for all Catholic
However, when Catholic education
is a feasible option for a family, I’m left with a question that Steve Weatherbe’s article does not contemplate. What is the role
or purpose of home schooling when Catholic education is a feasible option for a
family, in light of what the Second Vatican Council proclaimed in the
Declaration on Christian Education?
“The Council also reminds Catholic
parents of the duty of entrusting their children to Catholic schools wherever
and whenever it is possible,” the Council fathers wrote, “and of supporting these
schools to the best of their ability and of cooperating with them for the
education of their children.”
I was so happy to see your feature
on Maryknoll Father Vincent Capodanno,
who now bears the title Servant of God (“He Died with His Men,” May 28-June
3). As an eight-year veteran of the U.S. Navy, I always enjoy reading
military stories and history with a Catholic/spiritual aspect to them.
I read the book by Father Mode, The
Grunt Padre, two years ago and was deeply touched
by Father Capodanno’s life story. I gave the
book as a Christmas gift to my friend who is also a Navy chaplain. (He will
actually become the chief of chaplains in June when he is promoted to a
However, there were two minor
errors in the Register’s story. The first error is that you referred to
Father Capodanno as “winning” the Medal of
Honor. It is improper to refer to the Medal of Honor and its recipients
that way. The correct phrasing is to say someone was either “awarded” or
“received” the Medal of Honor. An easy analogy to help readers
understand the difference is this: We don’t “take” holy
Communion; we receive it.
The second error was the
picture of the Medal of Honor itself in the story. That is the
Army Medal of Honor. Father Vincent would have received the Navy Medal of Honor
(pictured above). The difference lies in how the Medals are attached to the
ribbon. With the Navy medal, there is a ship’s anchor attaching the ribbon
portion to the medal portion of the award. Both errors are completely
I encourage all Register readers
to pray for the cause of Father Capodanno’s
sainthood, especially those readers who are veterans or are on active duty. My
son is so impressed by Father Capodanno’s story that,
right now, he would like to be a priest in the military. He’s only 9,
though, and several months ago he wanted to be a firefighter like me. So who
Relevant to “He Died with His Men”
(May 28-June 3):
The Catholic War Veterans of the USA are
recruiting new members to continue their service to God, country and home.
Would you publish our web address to allow potential members to visit and learn
all about our organization, headquartered in Alexandria,Va.,
and chartered by Congress? It is cwv.org.
Your cooperation would be
appreciated and long remembered. God bless.
Catholic War Veterans of the USA
Concerning “Defending Thomas”
(Commentary & Opinion, April 23-29):
I would like to side with the
traditional Christian disapproval of his lack of faith. I think some of the
points about the lack of stellar faith in the other 10 apostles are valid, but
the conclusion is not. Thomas, it is argued, “only
asked for what all the others had received a week earlier before they were able
“[But] later, as the eleven were
at table, he appeared to them and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness
of heart because they had not believed those who saw him after he had been
raised” (Mark 16:14).
Thomas is unique as correctly
noted by “historical Christian scorn” (scorn seems too condemning to me) in
that he disbelieved the witness of not only of the first witnesses to the Resurrection
but also the witness of the other 10 apostles as well. One can speculate if the
missing apostle had been someone other than Thomas — say James or Andrew —
would he have said, like Thomas, “unless I put my fingers into the nail marks
and my hand into his side I will not believe”?
We cannot know, but we do know
that Thomas did speak those words. Therefore we can speak only of his unique lack of faith in this
instance. We can learn from it if we do not excuse it. Then, maybe, like
Thomas, we will someday become a witness to the Resurrection and an inspiration
of faith as he did.
Sacred Heart Catholic Church
In reference to Joseph Pronechen’s article “St. Joseph Works Above
Ground” (April 30-May 6):
I agree with Fathers McSweeney, Pacwa and Linck, who were quoted as saying that homeowners seeking a
fast sale should not bury a St. Joseph
statue in the yard. Whatever the good or misunderstood intention, or however
the legend goes, I believe that such a practice is disrespectful.
Icons of saints should be
reflected upon for veneration, inspiration and intercession, not buried for
good luck and treated as casually as a rabbit’s foot or a horseshoe. As the
article correctly noted, a line can be drawn between praying for intercession
and practicing superstition.
Having once been stranded and
virtually homeless between a home sale and home purchase, and seeing friends
and family members suffering the same stressful dilemma, I can certainly
understand and appreciate the desperation some homeowners feel. I nevertheless
do not believe in praying for money or material possessions. In my situation, I
simply prayed for strength and a speedy resolution to my predicament within
I have also seen that a proper
intercessory prayer to St. Joseph
is a worthy endeavor. When I was a child, my mother gave me an old, yellowed,
tattered piece of paper that was passed down by my maternal grandmother. On
that paper was a prayer to St. Joseph.
Supposedly, it was to be said for nine consecutive mornings, and it was never
known to fail. I have recited that same prayer daily for the past several
months for a family member with cancer. That family member went through major
surgery with little to no pain and a speedy recovery that even shocked her
St. Joseph should be prayed to with forethought, faith and reverence.
The placement of any icon bearing his likeness should not be underground, but
above it — preferably on a high shelf.
Beacon Falls, Connecticut
False Accusations, Real
A priest is falsely accused and
finally exonerated. It doesn’t make the news. Even in Catholic newspapers.
Except the Register (“False Charges Ousted Priest for 2 Years,” May 7-13).
The story about Father Charles
Murphy, a priest in Weymouth,
Mass., who was vindicated from a
30-year-old sexual abuse claim, is one of the few such stories I have ever read
about falsely accused clergy. Why, oh why, won’t our bishops fight for these
most precious resources of our Church? One accusation with little investigation
and a priest is put out to pasture, separated from the flock that desperately
A few months ago I approached a
respected reporter for our local archdiocesan newspaper. I requested that she
and her editor think about doing some stories about our priests who have been
falsely accused. I told her that, in 1998, I was falsely accused of sexual
crimes by a student I had taught 12 years prior. Even after my exoneration, I
related, the mental anguish still hangs on and I am sure the same trauma exists
for priests who have also been so accused and had to go back when
vindicated and face their congregations.
Both she and her editor were
supportive of my request and thought it would be a revealing insight to the
readers about how these clergy dealt with their nightmare. I anxiously awaited
such an article, but in vain. In a later conversation with this reporter, I was
told that the bishops control all articles printed in the archdiocesan
newspaper and their reaction was not to print such articles.
According to what I have learned,
a group known as Snap (Survivors Network of Abuse by
Priests) place such pressure on our hierarchy that the bishops would rather
remain silent on these issues than fight any allegation. When will our bishops
wake up and know that we in the pews really want them to stand up to the
Michael F. Gallagher
In “Bottomless Mine of Motherly
Love” (Travel, May 14-20), we identified Passionist
Father Cassian Yuhaus as
rector of St. Ann’s Cathedral in Scranton, Pa.
We have since learned that Father Yuhaus was
succeeded in that role in 2002 by the basilica’s current rector, Passionist Father Richard Burke. We regret the error.