Akin’s All Right
Regarding “Israel: Whose Land Is It?” (July 18):
Considering the relative brevity of the article, Akin’s coverage of the subject was very comprehensive and very enlightening.
Perhaps the only idea not totally included was that either if Israel had initially defeated the Palestinians in a war and then claimed the land as Israel or if the Palestinians had been, at least, fairly compensated for their lands that were effectively stolen from them, the current animosity of the Palestinians toward the Jews might be significantly less than it is.
Frank W. Russell
Responding to Matthew Warner’s blog post “Don’t Run Your Parish Like a 2nd Grade Fundraiser” (NCRegister.com):
It just so happens I was just involved in a discussion with a group of fellow parishioners about how to get more church members involved. We all agreed that there is a lot of talent, ideas, wisdom and money in most parishes that is underutilized.
Our conclusion was simple: The pastors keep the producers on a short leash wanting to control everything. Idea people need space and cooperation from the parish and the diocese, which we rarely get. Access to the microphone is usually a no-no. Ditto for the schools. Going hat in hand begging, jumping through a maze of hoops, turns them off. They haven’t the time for it. So we take our gifts elsewhere. People who run successful industries are not going to be subjected to those who don’t.
The editor responds: Your blanket assessment of parish priests leaves out the dioceses and parishes around the world that are utilizing the latest technology to reach the faithful. The Register’s website recently profiled a number of priests who have embraced specifically the new media in response to Pope Benedict’s exhortation “to be present in the world of digital communications as faithful witnesses to the Gospel, exercising their proper role as leaders of communities which increasingly express themselves with the different ‘voices’ provided by the digital marketplace.” Perhaps all your pastor needs is some charitable nudging in that direction.
I was positively impressed by your editorial “No Right to Remain Silent” (Aug. 15) as to the St. John’s Catholic Newman Center participation in the defense of Professor Kenneth Howell at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I also approve of your publication of letters from readers who maintain the position that the U.S.A. has the right to determine who enters into and resides in the U.S.A.
West Allis, Wisconsin
Prop. 8’s Danger
Regarding “Californians Already Fighting Back” (NCRegister.com): Americans should feel passionate about the argument surrounding Proposition 8. It is a vital civil-rights issue in this country.
But not the way the argument has been cast so far.
Proposition 8 is not about same-sex civil rights. There may still exist cultural and religious mores against same-sex “marriage,” but by California law, we already have freedom of sexual preference.
Homosexual domestic partnerships have all the legal rights and privileges of heterosexual marriage (Family Code 297.5).
What Proposition 8 protects is freedom of choice to not only believe that homosexual unions are morally wrong, but to act on that belief without being accused of and legally liable for discrimination.
If homosexual unions are given the same legal name as heterosexual marriage, then how is it not discrimination for churches to grant marriage licenses to heterosexuals but not to homosexuals? How is it not discrimination for public schools to teach heterosexual marriage in social studies but not homosexual?
It’s not a stretch to see that orthodox religious churches, hospitals, schools and even traditional secular organizations like Boy Scouts of America will be inundated with lawsuits if Proposition 8 is not restored.
On Sept. 15, 2008, a California court ruled against two doctors who refused to artificially inseminate a lesbian woman because of their religious beliefs, although they had made an appropriate medical referral to other providers without these conflicts of conscience. On May 11, 2006, Catholic Charities of Boston, a respected organization that had placed more orphans in homes than any other organization in the state since its founding in 1903, decided to shut down its adoption agency rather than comply with state law requiring that homosexuals be allowed to adopt children.
According to The Boston Globe, “The bishops had considered launching a court challenge, but … it would cost too much time and energy without any certainty of victory.”
Striking down Proposition 8 strikes down the civil rights of proponents of exclusive heterosexual marriage to act according to their religious and traditional cultural beliefs. Wake up, Americans, to the truth about what this debate is about.
Belief in exclusively monogamous heterosexual marriage is a deeply held value for the majority of Californians.
Proponents of same-sex “marriage” may see that belief as discrimination, but that point of view should not be made the law of the land. Proponents of homosexual “marriage” also need to be tolerant.
Joyce Show, M.D.
La Canada, California
Regarding “Thanks, Archbishop!” (Letters, July 18):
Catechism, 2241: “Subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption” and “to obey its laws.”
Two questions: Is an illegal immigrant considered “adopted by this country”? Is entering this country illegally considered “obeying its laws”?
Catechism, 2433: “Help citizens find work and employment.”
Question: Is an illegal immigrant considered a “citizen”?
Your front-page story “Immigration: Sharing America’s Blessings” (July 4) rings so hollow for Catholics who see the hospitality of our nation as something to be freely given, not a spoil to be grasped at by a potential recipient.
One doesn’t demand hospitality or cheat, mislead or defraud to obtain our hospitality to get “their fair share” of America’s blessings.
And there is no spiritual merit in the government forcing the governed to forfeit to aliens what is rightly only to be given as hospitality to those legally here.
This ploy of muddling the meaning of immigration and illegal immigration is not done mistakenly, and it isn’t purely semantics. The politicians and the Church leadership are intelligent enough to understand the concept of illegal border crossings.
Consider what is reasonable hospitality. True hospitality demands that those who can, when the opportunity avails, extend care and comfort. But one doesn’t extend hospitality to a thief breaking into one’s home, a gun-flashing robber holding up a store, a guest that comes for a weekend and begins to move his furniture in as a permanent guest, or by one who makes demands upon the good will and charity of the giver. The one receiving the hospitality has some responsibility to quietly receive, with a thoughtful gratitude and a thankful heart, not to make demands or insist on deliberate impositions. And the receiver should comply with reasonable rules of the house, which would be our immigration law.
The back-page pie charts used in the article are meaningless when considered against pie charts that could easily show that nearly 60% of Catholic voters voted for a presidential candidate in 2008 who was clear about his intention to extend the practice of abortion, a chart that could show that as few as 30% of all Catholics believe in the reality of transubstantiation, and other situations where the Catholic population is a bleak indication of the “faithful’s” misunderstanding of the issues and the truth.
Facts are so clear that this is all about people breaking the law — 20 million people. Whether we are willing to speak the truth or not, every illegal entry involves a disregard for our society’s rule of law, our way of life and our hospitality as a people. And you are calling this lawbreaking chaos immigration? If only our politicians and our bishops were truthful about what is going on.
Skaneateles, New York
Morality of NFP
The July 4 letter by Joan Hosek on lack of Church authority stressing natural family planning is timely. It is apparent many Catholics are sticking something on or in themselves to limit number of children and without consideration that in some cases conception-fertilization does take place anyway with a “silent abortion” of the unborn following.
However, I have not seen it stressed that even if NFP is used in marriage, it is also morally wrong if used in a selfish manner, e.g. to limit the number of children in favor of a shiny car and pretty house.
Russell S. Pond
Nashua, New Hampshire
In “Paws for Patients” (July 18), Cottage Hospital’s location was wrong. It is in California, not New Hampshire. The Register regrets the error.