Hope in the Priesthood

I was deeply moved by your article on Father Richard Dyer and his father (“Priest Ordained Early to Fulfill Father’s Wish,” Culture of Life, March 25).

It truly has given me renewed hope in my own priesthood: I will be celebrating my 17th anniversary this May. It also gave me some homily ideas for Mass on Holy Thursday evening, when we celebrated the priesthood.

Lastly, I receive many publications, and wonder why I didn’t renew my subscription to the Register. This gives me a desire to receive the paper once again. Ask your readers to pray for Bishop Paul Loverde.
It is no wonder why dioceses like Arlington (Va.) continued to be blessed with vocations, while some remain vocation poor. Keep up the good work!

Father David M. Misbrener
St. Peter of the Fields Church
Rootstown, Ohio

Pro-Life President

Certainly, the legal and political situations in Mexico with reference to abortion are very complicated. However, the Feb. 24 article online and March 11 issue (“Latin America on the Brink?”), by Matthew Hoffman, could easily leave the reader with the impression that Mexican President Felipe Calderón has not been staunchly pro-life. Such an impression is simply untrue.

Since his candidacy and throughout his presidency, Calderón has distinguished himself by his strong, unwavering pro-life record. Laws decriminalizing abortion in cases of rape have been on the books in Mexico since 1931, but

Calderón’s government has not caved on this issue.

In February 2009, there was a revision by Calderón’s government in the form of health regulation 046. That regulation was forced to take into account the 1931 decriminalization of abortion in the case of rape because that law had not been rescinded, and it was unlikely to be rescinded by Mexico’s parliament.

One important aspect of this regulation was that it added a conscience exemption — not present in the previous regulation. As the social doctrine of the Church recommends, one must temper the existing laws when it is not possible to revoke them.

Also, it is notable that Calderón’s health minister has publicly stated that there were no abortions in federal hospitals during his administration, which confirms pro-abortion activists’ complaints denouncing private indications from the Calderón administration to those hospitals that they need not follow the regulation. Pro-abortion groups in Mexico did not see the regulation as a gain for the abortion-rights cause in Mexico.

Given the president’s strong pro-life leadership, it is unfortunate that people may interpret this article in a way that undermines Calderón’s pro-life credentials, since such a conclusion is unfair both to the president and to the policies he has advocated in favor of human life.

Jorge E. Traslosheros Hernández
professor, Historical Research Institute
National University of Mexico

Reverencing the Sacred

Regarding “To Kneel or To Stand” (“Letters to the Editor,” Jan. 1): Father Dino Vanin suggests that a reason people kneel for holy Communion is pride. I would say that when it comes to receiving the amazing gift of Our Lord’s body and blood, any thought of others in the congregation is tertiary to giving our King a worthy reception.

Perhaps a tip of the head is enough humility for one to show God as he is about to come into his body and soul.

Perhaps others would prefer to genuflect or kneel, as is the right of all the Catholic faithful and custom of the universal Church. The norm states that one may receive while standing or kneeling (GIRM 160, 2011).

As one, holy, catholic Church, we are called to be of one heart — believing that the Eucharist is truly the Son of God and being free from mortal sin. It is a superficial understanding to think that being of “one accord” means standing in line order, with hands out.

What is wrong with reverencing the sacred? Our Holy Father himself has repeatedly encouraged his priests and the faithful to receive Our Lord’s body and blood while kneeling.

The insinuation that Satan encourages reception of the holy Eucharist while kneeling is appalling and discourages others from showing Our Lord such a simple gesture of love and humility.

Emily Johansen
Earling, Iowa

Miraculous Intercession?

Regarding “New Evangelization? Look to Fulton Sheen” (NCRegister.com, Dec. 7):

There are no adequate words to express my joy while reading this and watching relative coverage on EWTN.

Archbishop Sheen was my chosen mentor when I converted in 1949. I never missed an episode of Life Is Worth Living, and he has been one of the most admired people in my 63 years as a Catholic. He ranks right along with Pope Pius XII and Padre Pio among those who lived in my lifetime.

Our nation desperately needs the great saint I know he will become, and I pray for his canonization at least twice a day.

I have a special reason for that: When I was in a coma and not expected to survive quadruple bypass surgery in 2006, at 79, my wife placed a small picture of Archbishop Sheen in my almost lifeless hand and called her friends and a

Benedictine mother superior to have them pray for his intercession for my recovery.

After several days of her vigil at my bedside, not knowing whether I would live or not, she was shocked to look across my bed and “see” Archbishop Sheen (who died in 1979), in his customary attire, standing there looking down at us. He didn’t say a word, but my wife was encouraged to believe I would recover.

Much to the amazement of my doctors, I did fully recover and returned to my writing job. I have since retired, and I lost my devoted wife last April, but, after five years, I am still in good health, and my cardiologist calls me a mystery.

For some time we were very reticent (to share), and only a few knew about my miraculous recovery. But, in time, I wanted the world to know what he has done for me. I can never repay him for that, but I can acknowledge and pray for his speedy canonization.

Bob Rowland
via email

Poignant Reflection

Thank you for Tom and April Hoopes’ poignant reminder and reflection in “Passion Week in an Election Year” (“User’s Guide to Sunday,” March 25 issue).

Every faithful Roman Catholic and Christian should keep this in mind during this election cycle. It’s so easy to get caught up in hoping that the political process or some candidate is going to somehow end all of our social and political woes. All of us at one time or another have slipped into this mode, and this article and reflection definitely puts it all back in the right perspective.

John McGrath
Oxford, Michigan

CHA, Stop the Hypocrisy

At last, a comprehensive article on Sister Carol Keehan (“Who Is Sister Carol Keehan?” page one, March 11 issue), by Ann Carey, on the sister’s background and how she came to wield so much power.

Needless to say, from her support of Obamacare and her defiance of our Church’s bishops and teachings, it is well past time that she be removed as CEO and spokeswoman for the Catholic Health Association. The fact that she remains in this position seems to indicate that she has the complete support of the CHA, and I should like to recommend that they stop the hypocrisy and drop the “Catholic” from their identity!

Guy A. De Gagné
Pismo Beach, California

God’s Glory, Not Ours

Regarding your article on Sister Carol Keehan (“Who Is Sister Carol Keehan?”), specifically the part that reads: “Some writers observed that a ‘magisterium of nuns’ had asserted itself against their bishops and Sister Carol emerged as their champion.”

Champion of what? Breaking up the Catholic Church more? Disrespecting the bishops’ authority?

Are they overlooking, with all the knowledge they acquired, that the Church is the body of Christ? He is the head — and always will be — and the gates of hell shall never prevail against it.

My sister, Sister Cor Marie of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, is 82 years old. She had her cancerous breast removed about two months ago and is still full of cancer. She is undergoing treatment.

Sister is back behind her desk in her school working with disadvantaged and mentally handicapped children. She celebrated her 61st anniversary as a sister. Another sister, a close friend, died last week at 91 years old. She celebrated her 65th year as a religious sister working in the school and with a diocese until she died at her desk.

When I asked them if they wanted to be priests, they said, “No” — they followed God’s will as a bride of Christ. Thank him for all the knowledge you have and use it for his glory, not yours.

Frank Cielocha
Machesney Park, Illinois 

Mass Gratitude

Reading “Why We Need Kids at Mass” (Culture of Life, March 25 issue) prompted me to express my gratitude to all those attending Mass in the Augusta deanery.

I have been taking my children to frequent daily Mass for more than 13 years, and I have been met with only one or two disturbing responses.

During holy Mass, my husband and I have tended to emotional fallouts, sibling tiffs, quick bursts down the center aisle, pew climbers, crashing kneelers, potty trainees, playful chatter, etc. Some loud and disruptive behaviors have sent us temporarily to the narthex.

Although these testing moments would strike at my own embarrassment and frustration, fellow Mass participants would display great mercy. Several have complimented my children after Mass (even one priest — from the pulpit).

Years ago, when my oldest four were ages 3 and under, I felt in shambles near the end of a weekday Mass.

Assuming our presence ruined everyone’s prayer time, I asked God if he really wanted me at Mass with my kids. His affirmative response gave me strength at a time of great weakness. At the end of Mass, five people came up to me and thanked me for bringing my children to Mass and actually wished more mothers would do the same.

Just this past Friday, as Mass was being celebrated, I stood at the entry of the chapel with my 3-year-old, who was pouting in a hiccup rhythm, while my 8-month-old began crying out to be nursed. As I discerned what to do, two men saw me and kindly offered me their seats. These displays of patience have been reassuring and have helped me to seek to grow in patience with my own children. Thank you, thank you for your kindnesses. May God reward you. We young families are so blessed to be among you at holy Mass.

Rosemary Bernard
Augusta, Georgia

Kateri’s Example

As a member of the Cherokee Nation and a Catholic deacon, I am very excited about the canonization of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha on Oct. 21 in Rome, as you reported recently. Kateri Tekakwitha is the first Native American to be canonized by the Roman Catholic Church.

Kateri is the patroness for our 15-year-old summer camp. She has blessed the children of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas with her example and intercession. Kateri has been an especially powerful example and source of strength to our young women, who face so many pressures to meet the expectations of a commercial society.

We have been able to teach respect for Indian nations, the natural world and Catholic tradition to nearly 20,000 young people. Many of our young women choose Kateri as their confirmation saint. Kateri inspired my wife and I to commit our lives to the faith development of adolescents. In April, I was ordained as a permanent deacon of the Church. My wife is director of faith formation at St. James Academy in Lenexa. We plan to travel with a pilgrimage group to Rome for the canonization.

Archbishop Michael Sheehan from the Archdiocese of Santa Fe visited our camp this fall and told wonderful stories about “Kateri Circles” and the widespread devotion to Kateri in New Mexico. Kateri lived in upper New York and lower Canada, but she has inspired Catholic Native Americans and Catholics of all backgrounds around the United States.

Deacon Dana Allen Nearmyer
Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas


Due to errors in editing, an article that appeared in the April 8 print edition of the Register, “Re-Evangelizing America 101,” by Steve Weatherbe, misrepresented comments made by R. Jared Staudt, Ph.D., academic dean of the Augustine Institute in Denver.
Staudt did not say that the Second Vatican Council was the source of the decline of the missions; the problems, he said, resulted from the influence of theologians after the Council.
Furthermore, while an addition to the original article was meant to show where the Second Vatican Council spoke of the possibility of salvation for those who are not Catholic and that elements of truth are found in religions other than the Catholic faith, the published Register article could be interpreted as suggesting that Staudt himself pointed to passages in Council documents as problematic. In fact, he did not cite any such documents in his interview with the reporter.
The article also mistakenly misrepresented Staudt as saying that the work of the Jesuits in India was problematic for initiating religious dialogue. On the contrary, he said that many missionaries had fostered religious pluralism. Religious dialogue is a genuine practice of the Church.
The Register regrets the errors and has corrected the online versions of this article.