Pertinent to your story "Kidnapped Bishops’ Whereabouts Unknown" (World, May 19 issue): Please keep reporting on the two kidnapped Orthodox bishops in Syria. Your article not only highlights the horrible plight of Archbishops John Ibrahim and Paul Yagizi, but also of many Christians in the Middle East who are targeted for their beliefs. It is a sad commentary that little or next to no information regarding the bishops’ abduction has been reported in the secular press.
Aiding the Persecuted
I probably am not the only reader who is appalled by the suffering of Catholics and other Christians in Iraq and Syria ("Iraqi Christians’ Anguished Exile," page one, May 19 issue). The problem is: What do we do about it?
There are charities that care for various earthquake and hurricane victims, but who is able to receive donations on behalf of these Middle-Eastern Christians who literally fit the biblical definitions of believers "persecuted" for Christ’s sake?
Can you provide the name of the right organization and a P.O. box? Thank you.
Chairman, Discovery Institute
The editor responds:
There are several organizations, some of which are: Aid to the Church in Need (AidtoChurch.org), Caritas International (Caritas.org), the Franciscan Foundation of the Holy Land (FFHL.org) and the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem (HolySepulchre.net).
The article "Stay Catholic at a Non-Catholic University" (Education, June 2 issue) offered some wonderful advice, but I wonder if a follow-up article shouldn’t be published, perhaps titled, "Staying Catholic at a Catholic University"?
I began my graduate studies two years ago at one of our nation’s oldest Catholic universities. The institution boasted of its centuries-old Catholic roots, tracing them back to a noteworthy individual who is well known in the Church in the United States.
The university also publicized its dedication to social-justice issues and the recognition it received as this nation’s first "compassionate university." So when I applied for admission, I thought I would be pursuing my degree in a thoroughly Catholic environment. Unfortunately, just the opposite is true.
First, let me admit that I am receiving a first-rate education, but, sadly, it is not a Catholic one. It did not take long for me to realize that the university’s definition of "social justice" means "secular," devoid of Catholic values.
At this university, commitment to social justice means embracing, defending and promoting a morally relativistic lifestyle, including the homosexual lifestyle, "gay marriage," free access to abortion and limitless sexual promiscuity.
My university not only accepts and endorses values contrary to the Catholic faith, but openly and actively promotes them. In addition, the campus is entirely devoid of anything vaguely resembling Catholicism; there are no Catholic groups or campus ministries, there are no Masses celebrated on the weekends (students who wish to attend Mass must travel many miles to the closest church), and there is no prayer or other public acts of Catholic piety.
In addition, the university’s president is not only non-Catholic, but also actively lesbian. There are no crucifixes anywhere on campus, no acknowledgement of God in "prayers" at university ceremonies such as graduation, and no Catholic speakers in any forum. When religious programs are organized, these are always non-Catholic and often non-Christian.
Simply put, there is nothing on the campus of this university to support the faith of its Catholic students, and it appears that this is by design.
I wonder if we’re worrying too much about how Catholics will remain faithful at non-Catholic universities, when it seems that the greatest threat to the faith may be on many Catholic campuses. Perhaps this phenomenon hints of a sad truth — we’ve lost the majority of our Catholic colleges and universities to secularism.
How can a college or university retain the "Catholic" designation when there seems to be so little of the faith professed, encouraged or practiced within its borders? Is there not some type of routine review of these universities, as there is for accreditation? Are there no standards? If not, then how shall someone desiring to live his or her faith choose a university or college?
Finally, how can those responsible for universities and colleges continue to promote themselves as "Catholic" when they disavow the faith with the same breath?
We address this topic and highlight colleges and universities that are faithful to their Catholic identity in our annual "College Guide." Stay tuned for the special issue this fall.
In 1972, when President Richard Nixon declared the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day, I suspect it was his intent to honor and promote the responsibility of "fatherhood."
But, sadly, the research indicates it is not working. Bill Clinton, in 1994, attempted to promote "Parent’s Day," but it did not catch on. It is unfortunate, because there is a drastic difference between fathers and parents.
In the United States, 41% of our children, percentages vary by race, are born to unwed mothers. These children have "fathers," defined as being fertile and capable of copulation, but lack a parent. These mothers, if they send Father’s Day cards, will most likely address them "To Whom It May Concern," and research indicates it is concerning fewer and fewer men each year. It is no surprise that professional athletes face the camera and say, "Hi Mom." Too many fathers are not around!
Parenting is a conscious decision that you will love, care for and support one of God’s most precious gifts, a child. These 41% of our children of unwed mothers, from these so-called "fathers," end up as 90% of the homeless, 85% of the behavioral disorders, 80% of the rapists, 75% of the high-school dropouts, 71% of children involved in chemical abuse and 63% of the suicides.
Because of the "fathers" responsible for these children, Father’s Day is a day of mourning.
For those men who are loving, caring and supporting your children, take special pride not in your "fatherhood," but your parenthood. Fatherhood is a short-lived, physical act, with little or no responsibility. Parenthood is a lifelong commitment, one that only real men can commit to.
Michael G. Rom
Dade City, Florida
Wages of Abortion
Relevant to "Gosnell: Tip of the Iceberg?" (page one, May 19 issue):
On May 13, New York State Senate’s majority co-leader, Dean Skelos, issued this bold statement which accurately describes the greatest new threat to life in New York:
"Today’s guilty verdict in the Kermit Gosnell trial in Pennsylvania highlights the potential danger in passing the so-called Reproductive Health Act, sponsored by Senate Democrat Conference leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, that would greatly expand late-term abortion in New York and open the door to similar horrors.
"Rather than pass an unnecessary and extreme measure that would allow non-doctors to perform abortions right up to the day of a baby’s birth, I believe we should be doing everything possible to protect the health, safety and economic well-being of every New York woman."
Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, described convicted murderer Gosnell’s facility and practices as "a peek into the world before Roe v. Wade made legal a woman’s right to make her own choices" (CNS).
Thanks to courageous young women with video cameras, we are actually seeing into the world after Roe v. Wade, where doctors and staff eagerly and happily kill born and unborn children and even counsel their desperate mothers not to go to the hospital.
Hogue boasts that "justice was served to Kermit Gosnell, and he will pay the price for the atrocities he committed" (CNS).
But justice is never served by the promoters of abortion, nor by their bosses. Why does America need millions of illegal immigrant workers? Count the number of our abortion-war dead.
Let us pray that Gosnell has a conversion of heart, so that, when the Author of Life judges him, mercy will save his soul.
George A. Morton
Hopewell Junction, New York
After reading the interview with Russell Shaw, "What Is the American Church?" (In Person, June 2 issue), the big question remains: "How can the American Church be renewed?"
Certainly, regular, weekly attendance at Mass and frequent reception of the sacraments is essential.
But knowing our Catholic faith — what we believe, as well as who we believe — is necessary. The study of the Catechism of the Catholic Church needs to be offered by our parishes and promoted by our pastors. Otherwise, we Catholics are at a high risk of becoming more and more enveloped in the "culture" that is all around us that lives "as if God does not exist" — and that Blessed Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI and now Pope Francis have warned us about.
To encourage study of the Catechism, during this Year of Faith, a plenary indulgence has been attached to attendance of at least three group sessions studying the Catechism. Once we start studying, the "soul benefits" become apparent.
In addition, how can we "always be ready to give an account of the hope that is in [us]" today (1 Peter 3:15) if we are ignorant of the teaching in the Catechism?
As you note in the interview, Shaw just published an informative book: The American Church: The Remarkable Rise, Meteoric Fall and Uncertain Future of Catholicism in America.
St. Petersburg, Florida
Regarding "Checklist for Catholic Dads" (Culture of Life, June 2 issue):
I agree with the article. I am 12 years old, and I look up to my dad a lot. I don’t think I would pray as much as I do without seeing my dad so devoted to praying. He always sits us down whenever we have time to say the Rosary. He is also thinking of becoming a deacon.
I think it would be really cool to say my dad is a deacon. My dad also loves my mom very much. He spends time with us. He used to take me golfing, which I miss, but he still spends a lot of time with us doing other things. My dad and I just finished putting an extra storage shelf in the garage. I really like your article.