Common Good Loses
Regarding Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput’s talk at the University of Notre Dame on April 8 (“Campus Watch,” May 8):
The archbishop rightly suggests that the vast majority of Catholic bishops do not speak out against or censor Catholic politicians who support homosexuality and abortion for fear these politicians will not get elected. They think that once in power these politicians will somehow have an epiphany and reverse their creed. But it never happens. In fact, abortion and homosexuality are the direct result of Catholic politicians.
The fact of the matter is that these bishops have little faith in God, but only in their own perceived ability to be practical and compromise. Rather than do the right thing and let God take care of the rest, they resort to their own means. Voters, perceiving that no party will challenge the status quo on moral issues, like abortion and homosexual marriage, vote for the party who will best represent their own desires. And so our politicians promise everything to everyone. In the end, everyone loses because the common good loses.
“Are you Sue Wuller?” Gerry Fink asked as we ate brunch together in the dining room of our retirement complex, Christos St. Joseph’s Village, in Coppell, Texas.
I said I was, and she said, “I have something to show you.”
She showed me a column that she had clipped out and saved for more than four decades: “Where Are Those Songs We Used to Sing?” — a column I wrote more than 40 years ago for the Denver Catholic Register [the first name of the National Catholic Register].
She cut it out and saved it for all that time. Gerry was living in Melbourne, Fla. I was writing in Arlington, Va., and the Register was syndicated from Denver.
Undermined Since Adam
Pertinent to “Pessimism, Not Despair,” (March 18, NCRegister.com):
Adam was the first king, gardener and protector of the world. “And the Lord took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it” (Genesis 2:15). The word “keep” can mean guard, defend or protect (Genesis 3:24, 30:31; Deuteronomy 4:9; John 17:15; Acts 12:4). Adam was entrusted to protect (keep) both the garden and Eve (his bride) from Lucifer. Adam did not. As a consequence of Eve’s fall, Adam fell (Genesis 3:23-24).
Adam could represent all men. The male is the gardener who carries the “seed” for producing eternal offspring (Genesis 38:9, Leviticus 15:16-17, Wisdom 7:2). The male’s seed is planted in his garden: his wife’s womb (Song of Solomon 4:12, 5:1). Through the planting of this seed in a fertile garden, a child is produced, the fruit of the womb. As Adam, many fathers are not protecting their wives, children and families from the enemy. Women, children and families have begun to fall. Men also fall.
If an Old Testament king followed God’s desires, the entire kingdom’s people did likewise. If the king strayed from what was right, so did the king’s subjects. Today’s “kings” are the “fathers” of countries, churches and families. As the “father” is, so will the children be. Abortion and contraception are labeled as women’s issues. Yet these ills (along with others like pornography, teen pregnancy, etc.) and most of the world’s other problems, are the fault of the “fathers.”
At an abortion clinic someone asked me why I was there. I told him, in part, to pray that the abortionist would stop killing babies. The man’s reply confirmed the power of fatherhood. He gave me a strange look as if I was from another planet as he said, “But abortion is legal.” Something obviously evil is considered acceptable because the fathers or “kings” of our country say so.
Fatherhood in families, countries and churches has been distressed and undermined since Adam. Until fathers, in all capacities, accept their grave responsibility in protecting families, the Garden of Eden (the womb) will remain the Garden of Gethsemane.
Flower Mound, Texas
Steve Weatherbe’s article “Combating Relativism” (April 24) is loaded with dynamite ideas which apply to all adult Catholics who speak with secularists, skeptics, atheists and agnostics.
Waiting five years to implement Vatican-ordered “countermeasures against relativism” would rob the Church of “precise thinkers” who are needed today to “dialogue with everyone incisively, fearlessly — and persuasively.” The time to act is now!
Brooklyn, New York
What makes an event newsworthy? Who decides which of the innumerable everyday happenings merits being brought to public attention — and why? Media coverage of the pro-life movement has been sparse, often inaccurate, and more than occasionally unfair. More often than not, it has been ignored (not benignly).
Thanks to Joan Frawley Desmond (page 2 story, April 24 issue) for calling public attention to the death — and the life — of Ellen McCormack on the news of her recent death at the age of 84. At the 1976 Democratic National Convention, Ellen was the first woman to be nominated for president of the United States. She was also the first woman to be awarded matching federal funds in a presidential primary campaign. She received almost a quarter million votes and had 22 delegates at the convention. The funds raised for her campaign, and the matching federal funds, allowed her campaign to feature pro-life TV commercials viewed by an estimated 141 million households.
It is a pity that so few people know about Ellen and the first pro-life project to break through the mass-media communication barrier, making abortion a campaign issue and presenting accurate information about the reality of human life in the womb. Pro-life people, and especially Catholics, should know something about the courage, resourcefulness and imaginative ingenuity of people like Ellen, Gene McMahon, Mildred Jefferson and Nellie Gray.
The pioneering work of them and many others might be a source of inspiration for the young people who are now in the vanguard of a growing pro-life movement.
They might start with a reading of the newly published book on Ellen’s campaign for the presidency, A Shared Vision by Jane H. Gilroy.
Wantagh, New York
Culture of Death
Donald DeMarco has presented a clear distinction between the pro-choice and pro-abortion positions (“Is being pro-choice also being pro-abortion?” March 27). The distinction is irrelevant, however, since both positions favor abortion, which is intrinsically evil. If one is pro-life, one can be neither pro-choice nor pro-abortion because both favor killing innocent unborn children. Both are anti-life. Both support the culture of death.
Father John Vinsko
Los Altos, California
John Paul’s Major Role
I would like to confirm and underscore Newt Gingrich’s analysis of the end of the Cold War and Pope John Paul’s II seminal role (May 8 issue).
In October 1981, I interviewed in New York City Zygmunt Przetakiewicz, who was Solidarity’s representative in the United States. Shortly thereafter, at the end of the month, the office was closed when Poland’s government under Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski declared martial law and Solidarity was declared illegal. In that interview, published by The Catholic Worker newspaper (December 1981), Przetakiewicz stated, “He [Pope John Paul] has given us the feeling that we are a real nation, that we are something. ... In my opinion, because of his visit in June of 1979, all of these things happened so quickly; within two months of the strike at Gdansk we had organized Solidarity.”
It was Solidarity’s nonviolent resistance and persistence, grounded in Catholic social teaching, that brought elections to Poland in 1989 and then the collapse of the government. The first card to fall in the Soviet empire, and then within two years the complete collapse of the empire, without a shot being fired. Extraordinary!
New York, New York
My name is Father Michael Fugee. I am priest of the Archdiocese of Newark, where I am director of the Pontifical Mission Societies. I also spent eight years on leave after a false accusation that brought me through the whole legal process, from arraignment, indictment and conviction, as well as a successful appeal and dismissal of my case. I was then cleared by my archdiocesan review board and fully reinstated.
I share this with you in response to an article by Joan Frawley Desmond entitled “Priests in Limbo” (NCRegister.com, Feb. 17; as well as sidebar in print story Feb. 27). In it, she states, “Father Michael Maginot, a canon lawyer who works with the clergy support group Justice for Priests, said he knew of no case where a priest that had been tried and cleared by a diocesan tribunal was then fully reinstated in active ministry.”
I come with gratitude to almighty God that there is at least one priest who has been reinstated. If you would ever like to know more of my story, I would happy to share it with you.
Father Michael Fugee
Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey