Regarding “Keating Rebuked for Counseling Catholics to Avoid Church and Not Donate” (Aug. 25–31):

Just what kind of Catholic is Mr. Keating? Judging from his statements in this article, he is not a Catholic. Mr. Keating's statements as a public official lead Catholics away from the Church, its teaching and away from Christ himself. This type of dissent, brought on by our own bishops' failure to deal with the root causes of the scandal — i.e., dissent among the clergy and homosexuality among the clergy and in seminaries — is the very reason Catholics in America either leave the Church or live their faith cafeteria-style.

Our Church is not a democracy, thanks be to God, but God's instrument on earth to be obeyed. Or would you lead us down that broad road called disobedience, Mr. Keating?

SCOTT AND KATHERINE TRAUBITZ St. Louis

Grace-Filled Grotto

Many thanks for your continuing “Travel: History and Saints” section published weekly in the Register. Many years ago, I purchased a copy of Catholic Shrines and Places of Pilgrimage in the United States, which goes into detail on many such shrines and churches. Since that time, my family and I try to attend Mass — or at the very least, visit — one or more such sacred places of Catholic worship during our travels.

You can imagine my family's surprise then, after returning from a road trip that took my family (husband Andy, and children Kate, Danny and Jacqueline) from Seattle to San Francisco, when we returned home to find two copies of the Register, one of which highlighted the National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother in Portland, Ore. (“Marian Magnificence in the Pacific Northwest,” Aug. 11–17). It's affectionately known by the locals as simply “the Grotto,” and we were fortunate enough to attend Mass at this sacred sanctuary on the previous Sunday, Aug. 4.

Your readers may be interested in knowing a little of the history of the Grotto that was not included in your article. To quote from Catholic Shrines and Places of Pilgrimage: “Servite Fr. Ambrose Mayer, OSM, founded the shrine as an act of gratitude to God for an answer to a prayer for his mother. She was close to death as a result of childbirth. Fr. Mayer, a boy at the time, promised to do something great for God, if his mother survived.”

The actual building of the National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother was truly built, then, as the way of a Servite friar fulfilling a promise that he had made many years ago as a young child. The result is a truly awe-inspiring Catholic worship site in which all can find peace and comfort.

LINDA A. GRIBLE Akron, Ohio

The Biggest Scandal

Much has been written and said about the clerical sex-abuse scandal, but there is a much larger scandal in our country that is aided and abetted by Catholic lay people in positions of political power doing the bidding of Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.

Planned Parenthood has for decades opposed all forms of parental involvement in their daughters' sexuality. They have promoted immoral sex education, contraception and abortion to youngsters. They want to divide parents and children, and the reason became obvious through the Life Dynamics Inc. survey you featured (“Campaign Targets Alleged Planned Parenthood Abuses,” Aug. 18–24).

Life Dynamics Inc. has documented evidence that abortion providers are profiting from the sexual abuse of young girls by adult men. Life Dynamics called abortuaries around the country and found out that more than 90% of them cover up the crime of statutory rape and provide abortions to minors impregnated by adults. Among girls 15 and younger who become pregnant, as many as 80% of them are impregnated by adult men. To protect their profits, Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers are covering up the sexual abuse of minors on a much broader scale than that found in the clergy. Very conservatively, abortion providers are themselves committing the crime of failing to report statutory rape as many as 20,000 times a year. Planned Parenthood receives hundreds of millions in tax dollars to ply their trade and commit thousands of crimes, while the Church is reviled with negative publicity.

Planned Parenthood is currently working through the Democrat majority on the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), to defeat the nomination of the extremely well-qualified Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen, President Bush's nominee as judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals (“Senate Democrats Dragging Feet on Bush's Judicial Appointments,” Aug. 4–11).

The reason Planned Parenthood wants to defeat Judge Owen is that she upheld the Texas State Parental Notification Law, which requires that a minor's parents must be notified before she can obtain an abortion. An almost identical law has been declared constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, so Ms. Owen upheld what the Texas State Legislature enacted and what the Supreme Court declared constitutional.

Yet many Catholic Democrats, such as Leahy on the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote against Judge Owen, as they voted against and defeated the nomination of another judge who dared to sponsor a pro-life measure when he was a legislator.

The Catholic clergy sex-abuse scandal, as bad as it is, is dwarfed by the cover-up of sexual abuse by abortion providers and the detestable actions by Catholic politicians, such as Leahy, who vote to continue the large-scale sexual abuse of girls, some as young as 10 years old.

CAROLYN NAUGHTON Silver Spring, Maryland

Reading the Koran

Should the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill use government funds to require incoming students to study a santitized, abridged version of the Koran (“Campus Watch,” Aug. 25–31)?

We should learn about other people. But the book might be misleading.

For one thing, there is no one “authentic” version of Islam. The Koran states that “whatever communications We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring one better than it or like it.” (Surah II:106) Some Muslims believe that the parts of the Koran about doing good abrogate the parts about killing the Infidel, some believe the opposite, and there are shades of opinion in between.

And if it's important to have an understanding of bin Laden's religion, shouldn't students also study our own? More than four-fifths of the United States is Christian, and worldwide there are twice as many Christians as Muslims and 55% of those Christians are Catholic. The Church is the soul of Western civilization. You can't understand our own art, literature or history without an understanding of Christianity and the Church.

Yet the same people who want students to have a sympathetic understanding of Islam think that it's unconstitutional to expose them to Catholicism. Why is that?

DON SCHENK Allentown, Pennsylvania

Correction

Our story “Zero Tolerance Turmoil: Dioceses' Mixed Results” (Aug. 25–31) uses the TITLE “Msgr.” when quoting Michael Higgins, founder and current chairman of Justice for Priests and Deacons.

Though he has been widely quoted with that TITLE in the press, the Diocese of San Diego has informed us that Higgins was dismissed from the clerical state in March 1999 in a decision by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that was confirmed by Pope John Paul II. The Register regrets the error. Our online version of the story, at http://www.ncregister.com does ,not include the quotes by Higgins.