The Aug. 4-10 Register arrived today and I could not put it down. The articles on the Holy Father were absolutely great.

Please consider sending a complimentary copy to Bill O'Reilly at Fox News. He is supposed to be a Catholic, but is not a fan of our dear Holy Father. On his program he criticized Pope John Paul for his “silence” on the priest scandal while in Toronto. Please send this man a copy. I would send mine, but I want to share it with others in my family and circle of friends.


Coralville, Iowa

Bush's Broken Promise?

A report in your July 21-27 edition quoted Doug Johnson of National Right to Life to the effect that President Bush had no alternative last May other than to approve a National Institutes of Health grant request for research on the tissues of aborted fetuses (“Broken Promise? ProLifers Disagree on Bush Fetal Research Funds”). Mr. Johnson parroted the White House position that the president was constrained by a 1993 law and had to approve the grant request despite his publicly stated opposition to such research, which your reporter, Celeste McGovern, quoted verbatim.

Family Research Council respectfully disagrees with both Mr. Johnson and the White House. President Bush could have, and should have, denied the grant. In our view, there are serious issues as to whether the law violates the separation of power provisions of the Constitution. Furthermore, the law, designed to circumvent a presidential ban on transplanting tissues from aborted fetuses, arguably does not cover research on stem cells, which the NIH grant proposed. The existence of such cells was unknown to science in 1993 when the law was passed. There is serious doubt, therefore, as to whether the research at issue is even covered by the statute.

Mr. Bush had ample grounds to deny the NIH research grant had he chosen to do so. Such a denial would have been consistent with the position he advanced in his campaign when he told the Catholic bishops that he was opposed to fetal-tissue research. The grant applicant then would have been compelled to bring a lawsuit to test the 1993 law. The administration should have welcomed the opportunity to challenge the law in court and to mount a sustained effort to persuade the public of the horrors of this gruesome research. If the president prevailed, all the better. If he failed, the predicate would have been laid to urge Congress to change the law.

This was a missed opportunity. The president's rhetoric on this issue is welcome, but presidential actions speak louder than a candidate's empty words.


Washington D.C.

The writer is president of Family Research Council.

Planned Parenthood's Racist Roots

The Register's July 28 -Aug. 3 article “Planned Parenthood Initiatives Take Root Across the Country” brought to mind the deepest Planned Parenthood root that has occasioned the most damage – that done to black families.

Planned Parenthood began pushing condoms on black families in the 1920s as a genocide measure. Their attack on black families went into full swing in 1939 with Planned Parenthood's “Negro Project,” which seduced many black leaders into promoting condoms to blacks as a way of improving their lot.

Black families were socially and economically discriminated against. Unemployment for blacks was very high. It is understandable that, with the discrimination, poverty and leaders telling them contraception was good for them, black families began to accept it.

Now some seven decades later, we see the tragic results of Planned Parenthood's black initiative: Black families are fractured. More than 70% of black children are born out of wedlock. Many families without fathers are factories for more social ills: more poverty, more abused children, inadequate education, more school dropouts, more convicted criminals, more capital criminals on death row, more teen-age pregnancy, more abortions, more out-of-wedlock births, more abused women and more sexually transmitted diseases. These problems are increasing with each generation.

Planned Parenthood is still making huge profits from the “Negro Project.” Seventy-eight percent of Planned Parenthood abortion facilities are located in black neighborhoods and black women undergo 35% of the U.S. abortions while only comprising 12% of the population.

For the good of all people, the effects of the “Negro Project,” Planned Parenthood and the contraceptive approach to life must be reversed. As you mentioned in the June 30 issue, recently, the National Black Catholic Apostolate for Life and the National Right to Life's Black Americans for Life have teamed to inform the black community about the horrors of abortion and the disproportionate number of abortions being inflicted on black women.

A major development that has contraceptive/abortion promoters squealing is President Bush's emphasis on abstinence education. They say it is an “unproven” approach, but there are many examples of very successful abstinence programs. Since the government started emphasizing abstinence, the number of teens remaining virgins has increased by 19%.

The foregoing activities will make a big dent in Planned Parenthood's profits and activities. However, we need to continue to ask God to make these initiatives successful. If people will add the spiritual adoption prayer to their daily prayers, it will help a great deal: “Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I love you very much. I beg you to spare the life of the unborn baby I have spiritually adopted who is in danger of abortion.”


Silver Spring, Maryland

Getting Raphael Right

Greetings! Regarding “(Photo) Credit Where It's Due” (Letters, July 28-Aug. 3):

Staying in the “correction” mode, I don't think the central mural depicts the Ascension (as the writer says), but the Transfiguration by Raphael. The original is in the Vatican Museums, a (mosaic) copy – very famous – in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.

Keep up the good work. Blessings on you!


Great Falls, Montana

The writer is pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes parish.

And Again

In response to “(Photo) Credit Where It's Due” (July 28-Aug 3): Having been a free-lance photojournalist, I can understand the surprise of Mr. Craven when Father Klores and parishioners recognized his photo of their beloved St. Patrick's in New Orleans without reference to its name or location (or the photographer).

But, in the Christian spirit of forgiveness, let us also recognize that the central mural is not a depiction of the Ascension, as stated by Mr. Craven, but of the Transfiguration by Raphael. Onward and upward.


Laurium, Michigan

Execution Exceptions

I really appreciate your publishing the exact quotation of our Holy Father's statement from The Gospel of Life (“Dissenting From Scalia – Again,” Letters, July 14-20). In its absence we often hear opinions and interpretations reflecting people's opinions and interpretations. If we Catholics are ever to form correct consciences on this issue it is essential that teachers of the faith stop contradicting each other. There can be no doubt that the Pope teaches that reverence for life applies to each and every person at all stages of life.

However, I believe honesty demands acknowledgement that the Pope did not reject traditional teaching that, given the proper criteria, governments have the authority to execute certain individuals. The Pope says that, given modern conditions, the need for executions is rare, if not practically nonexistent. If his position allowed no exceptions, what would happen to the Church's tradition allowing taking life in self defense or just war?

But the fact is he did not state a position allowing no exceptions. If he did, he would have to say something like: “Given that today's governments can absolutely guarantee that further crimes will be prevented, execution is never justified.” He did not say that. In practical terms (at least under U.S. law), he leaves it to a jury to determine whether, in a particular case, execution is absolutely necessary to prevent further crimes, however rare that possibility might be.

Cardinal John O'Connor personally wrote an editorial defending people who thought that execution could be justified in an individual case. He said people who accused them of not being pro-life were misinterpreting the Church's teaching and were being uncharitable.

If I were on a jury and was convinced by the facts that a properly convicted murderer would be a very serious threat to the lives of prison guards, I would have no difficulty voting for the death penalty. On the other hand, I thought that the execution of Timothy McVeigh was unjustified according to the Pope's guidelines.


Bakerfield, California

Wingless Flight of Fancy

Regarding “Under God's Wings” (Letters, Aug. 4-10): The letter-writer refers to the story of the dead mother bird sheltering her chicks from the Yellowstone fires. The letter, however, is lifted from an old Internet rumor. The link below demonstrates both that the letter is derived from the Internet rumor, almost word-for-word, and that the rumor is false.

While the image of God's protective wings is indeed beautiful, it is, in this case, based not on fact but on urban legend. Go to



Dublin, Ohio

Atomic Echoes

Thank you for your interview with Sister Lucia Akie Aratani (“A Bright Light in Hiroshima,” Inperson, Aug. 11-17).

Aug. 9 is the anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Nagasaki. Ground zero in Nagasaki was the persecuted, but still largest, Christian community in the Orient – wiped out in a few seconds. Also, with macabre irony, the United States wiped out Hiroshima and Nagasaki and set a dangerous precedent for “total war” and the survival of humanity. Though no other country or group has used nuclear weapons yet, civilian casualties were 5% in World War I, 50% in World War II, and have been 90% of 45 million casualties in wars since 1945. Also, as U.S. military leaders of World War II and Steve Benson have pointed out, a clearer and earlier proposition of American willingness to retain the emperor would have produced an earlier and less tragic end to the war.

My friend and spiritual mentor, Lutheran minister John Peterson, was wounded in the Pacific during World War II. He thought the mass bombing of civilians undercut the moral basis for his sacrifice.