Courageous Priests

Pertinent to “You Are a Priest Forever” (Nation, June 29 issue) about the murder of Father Kenneth Walker:
I am a retired nurse who has been living in the Phoenix area for the past 14 years. I used to work in a hospital near 14th Street and Van Buren Avenue. It is a truly economically depressed area, with many homeless persons, as well as a high-crime area.
I commend these two devoted priests who chose to live in this area in a rectory attached to the church. Anybody with any concept of a priest affiliated with a religious order knows that these men followed a rule of poverty. What mindless individual could have thought that he would find something of monetary value in a small Catholic church in a poverty-stricken area of Phoenix?
Is the life of a human being, especially one who felt called to help his fellow man through dedication of his life to God, of such little value?
Father Joseph Terra, you pulled yourself to Father Walker’s dying side and gave him the greatest gift a Catholic priest could offer — the last rites. Get well soon. Our prayers are with you.
Father Kenneth Walker, you were a young, zealous priest who served and loved God and his holy Church. Rest in peace. Pray for us sinners.
Julie Natalio
Phoenix, Arizona


Good Samaritans

Relative to the writings of columnist and blogger Mark Shea:
I very much appreciate Shea’s ability to acknowledge that potential virtues lie buried in the heap of ashes of the cheap vices in those who oppose God’s right ways. I would like to point out one thing that I had heard earlier from someone else: As human beings, our real enemy is not other human beings, but Satan, who is trying to destroy us and is hurting the core/soul of those who oppose the righteous and righteousness.
There is only one and the same enemy for every human being: Satan. The practitioners and promoters of sin are spiritual patients bearing the heavy yoke of Satan and sin; and we may be the Priest, the Levite or the Good Samaritan.
The Lord Jesus asked us to do as the Good Samaritan did to the human being who had fallen prey to the thieves. He treated the wounds, lifted up the victim, brought him to the inn where the victim could rest and heal and paid for it. Wasn’t it the same that the Lord Jesus, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, St. Padre Pio and the apostles did?
Pradeep Thomas
Kerala, India


Bravo, Bishop Barber!

Regarding “Bishop Barber: A ‘Career Classroom Teacher’” (In Person, June 29 issue):
As a retired public-school teacher and a practicing Catholic, I support the bishop on his stance regarding teacher behavior in and out of the classroom.
Rosemary Cortez
San Joaquin, California


Pope on Marriage

Relative to “Pope Francis: Choose Children Over Pets” (Opinion, June 15 issue):
I have come to expect it when the secular media “misinterprets” Pope Francis, but I am, frankly, disappointed in the Register’s take on the children vs. pets comment by Pope Francis. Quite simply, His Holiness does not suggest “choosing” children over pets, and your trivialization of his comments is disheartening.
Marriage and, hence, childbearing were not part of God’s plan for me, but by his grace, I was raised in a household with both children and pets and parents (one man and one woman) by whose example we all learned to appreciate and respect all of God’s creation. I would not trade any of my “critter companions” for anything.
By the way, Pope Francis would love them!
Lucille O’Keefe
Mount Ephraim, New Jersey

The editor responds: The Holy Father’s comment and our editorial focused on the fact that there are plenty of healthy, fertile couples who choose to own pets instead of bear children. We believe that the Pope’s, and hence our, intent was not to disparage couples who are/were unable to conceive.


Frustrated Educator

I am curious as to how a Catholic school should deal with parents who have little education and are not Catholic or marginally Catholic and want their children to go to a Catholic school.
They have no interest in following Catholic teaching and seem more interested in the social aspects of being at a school rather than the academic aspects.
As a Catholic-school teacher who has multiple degrees in my area of expertise and has studied theology and takes my faith seriously, it is really discouraging to have these parents and parent groups take over a school and degrade years of work and experience. I am tired of raising money for the school only to see it spent on everything but classroom supplies, teachers and aides.
I am also concerned about the use of new models of education that come out of anything but Catholic teaching. Should any new model be used just to gain more students vs. teaching the faith that has come of centuries of Catholic teaching?
Joan Zishka
Centennial, Colorado


Chastity and Purity

I am a subscriber already and am very impressed with how you are emphasizing the importance of chastity. I have been doing a lot of research into the Church Fathers on this, along with the Catechism, the Council of Trent and the writings of Anne Catherine Emmerich — also of Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen and now St. John Paul II.
I feel inspired to begin classes at our parish that would be an extension of the confirmation classes and would prepare the students for their vocation to either marriage or religious life. I believe there is a great need for education on what is permissible by the Church and what is not — and why.
Chastity in marriage has all but been forgotten and needs to be re-emphasized. Pope Pius XI, in his encyclical Casti Connubii (Chastity in Marriage), explicitly called for pastors and bishops to address this issue with their flocks. He already saw the infiltration of the mass media coming, and it concerned him greatly.
I hope to bring awareness to the sanctity of matrimony and the dignity of the human person within it.
Judy Ceja
La Mirada, California


Just-War Justification

The Sept. 19, 2013, online edition of the Register reported George Weigel as saying: “Anyone who thinks that the world or the Middle East would be better in 2013 with Saddam Hussein in power in Baghdad, having re-ramped-up his WMDs [weapons of mass destruction], is living in a fantasy world.”
Given the current conditions in Iraq, one wonders if Mr. Weigel still believes that.
Or perhaps he would join the chorus of those who say the problem was not the war, but how President Obama handled things afterwards. But even if that is so, it merely illustrates the point here: Administration and policy change are facts of life in American politics, and any war not completed in four or eight years faces this possibility; it is simply one among numerous other factors that make the outcome of any war exceedingly unpredictable and which further necessitate that war be never other than a means of truly last resort to an immediate (not a hypothetical) threat.
Should he comment on recent events, perhaps he would also like to clarify exactly what “weapons of mass destruction” he was referring to, since none were found by U.N. inspectors before the war or by occupying forces afterwards.
What Catholic intellectuals should learn from this is to approach just-war discussions in a more realistic way than by merely making tedious Scholastic distinctions between “moral obligations” and “prudential deliberations,” as Mr. Weigel and others did. That merely obscured the real questions Americans should have been asking before invading Iraq in 2003. Much ink was spilt making the case that the U.S. has a technical right to a pre-emptive war under some conditions and little on whether this particular war was necessary or wise.
John Uebersax
San Luis Obispo, California


Another Chance

I read your article about transgender reversion with interest and openness (“Psychiatry’s New Normal,”
I am 67 and had the male-to-female surgery in 2007. Living as a woman suits my nature, and there has been no sexual activity ever, other than with my original wife when we were married.
It has been painful to see how my deluded actions have hurt my family in such a devastating way, and I have tried to revert several times, but without support; and in the end, it would have been suicide or give up. I have felt that “transgenderism” is some form of poorly understood delusional state, perhaps brought on by stress, failure, the inappropriate use by professionals of psychotropic drugs and other issues.
One aspect is that I have not been able to establish any conversation with my ex-wife, who has remarried, or with my two girls, the youngest of which is now 31.
I would like another opportunity to resume living as a male and help in solving the obvious issues presented.
Name, city and state withheld

Editor’s note: The national conference for Courage, the apostolate that treats people with same-sex attraction in a compassionate, Christlike way, will be held July 17-20 in Philadelphia. For more information, go to