Band of Brothers

Relative to your recent coverage of flooding in the Philippines, which mentioned Cardinal Luis Tagle’s assistance:

Cardinal Luis Tagle of Manila visited our parish church of Our Lady of the Assumption for Mass and to bless the newly renovated church.

The walls of a church, it has been suggested, store within themselves the prayers of the faithful; and in time, I am sure that’s true.

In the beginning, though, they are cemented together with toil, sweat, sacrifice and pain. I am referring, of course, to one of the major fundraising events, where the 1,500 "volunteers" in the inappropriately named "Fun Run" gave their all.

In his homily, the cardinal warned against arrogance and lifting oneself up, saying it is better to wait for God to lift you up. Similarly, he spoke against competitiveness, especially in the Church.

Perhaps more than a few of us took that to heart. While the Fun Run probably was enjoyable for the youngsters and the old ladies walking their dogs, for the men of a certain age, it became a bit more serious. While the glory of first place would certainly not be attained, the humiliation of last was to be avoided. Thus, as the theme to Chariots of Fire rose to a crescendo (in my head), we were off.

The wind was howling through thinning hair, as an overweight pack of aging warriors pounded the tarmac to dust — all the while being shadowed by a private ambulance hoping for a customer, as blood pressures rose, arteries constricted and cartilage and bone grinded.

The outgoing mayor of Manila, Fred Lim, presented the prizes at the event in May; the incoming mayor, former President Joseph Estrada, attended the celebration Mass; the laurel wreath of glory fades quickly for politicians, as for runners, as we too acquired (painfully) a sense of our own mortality.

But it was good to be part of it. The lesson learned: Generations will worship there now, live and die under the new roof and sturdy walls.

It’s not so much about the building, really, but community. It’s a poor parish, but everyone participated somehow in this massive project of rebuilding; even the parish priest was offering to take in laundry to stress the need for participation, and all responded. At least for this moment in time, all stood together, a band of brothers and sisters.

Stephen Clark

Manila, Philippines


Points Missed

Although I love your newspaper, the article "Bishops Seize ‘Best Chance’ for Immigration Reform" (Nation, Sept. 22 issue) was primarily one-sided and missed key points.

This is a complicated issue, and both sides have valid points. On one side, most illegal immigrants may already be contributing to society, and we need to be compassionate. On the other side, they broke the law while getting in front of others who are pursuing citizenship the legal way, and many have committed felonies.

But the biggest issue with complete amnesty is giving illegal immigrants immediate voting rights. Polls have shown that 5-to-1 or 8-to-1 are expected to vote Democrat. (A couple million votes one way would decide all national elections.)

Assuming there are 15 million estimated illegal aliens, a Republican would never be elected president again, and we would have no chance to overturn Roe v. Wade if this happened. To me, the No. 1 issue we have in this country is the need to eliminate abortion, the most intrinsic evil of our time.

God will not continue to bless our nation if we continue down this path.

Our bishops should think and pray about the entire consequences of the political issues that they promote.

Bill Haney

Brunswick, Ohio


Matter of Control

I’d like to respond to the article on Common Core ("Common Core Commotion," page one, Sept. 22 issue).

Doesn’t anyone see that the more the federal government gets into our Catholic schools the more they will control them? Also, the Bill Gates Foundation was mentioned. Are the bishops of America aware of the millions and millions of dollars he is using in Third World countries to promote birth control (many times they are abortifacients) for poor women? Why are we cooperating with evil?

Virginia Dolajak

Bismarck, North Dakota


More Memories

Regarding the letter "Register Memories" (Sept. 8 issue), the writer, Mary Eisenman Carson, says that she was recruited by the Register at Loretto Heights College in Denver in June 1942.

I was born in July 1941 in northwest Denver. I went to Regis College, also in northwest Denver. Regis was an all-men’s college, and Loretto Heights was an all-women’s college. When I was a freshman, the seniors at Regis made the freshmen run and walk the several miles to Loretto Heights in southwest Denver. My parents subscribed to the Denver Catholic Register, which is now the National Catholic Register. I believe that I have been subscribing to the Register ever since then.

Harold O’Hayre

Glendale, Arizona


Appalled and Disgusted

Regarding your front-page query, "Are New Standards Catholic-School Friendly?" ("Common Core Commotion," Sept. 22 issue):

It is out of my realm of understanding how any Catholic school or superintendent of such can put a stamp of approval on this dastardly mess. President Obama endorsing his socialist-engineering, one-size-fits-all standard, along with the likes of Bill and Melinda Gates, and all of that which these three promote, is mind-boggling.

Please explain how people proclaiming the greatness of Planned Parenthood and abortion, while spewing anti-Catholicism/Christian vitriol and Obamacare, can get a foothold in our Catholic schools.

This trio has pushed the health-care agenda into our Catholic churches, universities, hospitals and charities, demanding that Church insurance pay for everything we Catholics supposedly stand against and chiding us because of our pro-life stance. This should raise the hair of every concerned citizen. I am appalled and disgusted.

Too many people stick their heads in the sand and let happen whatever will, while the chain of command expects most of us to lay down and roll over. For parents and our Catholic schools to acquiesce to this is shocking.

Deep discernment and delving into the truth about Common Core should be uppermost in the hearts and minds of parents everywhere, not only in Catholic schools, but in public schools as well.

Most do not know the truth of this trickery. Catholic schools have always stood above the rest in educational standards, with teaching based on values and morality and by collaborating with parents to nurture the faith and hearts and minds of children. To take out classic literature and promote an agenda with statistical, mind-numbing, unreasonable squat, under the guise of raised scores for high school and college, is well ... baloney.

"Losing financial backing from the state" is a pathetic excuse. Once federal moneys are accepted, you tow the boat the way the government demands. If our children were in school today, we would not sit idly by. They would be home-schooled. Mine were a long time ago.

Karen Thomas Cronin

Winston-Salem, North Carolina


Grateful for College

I just read the editorial on Catholic colleges in your Sept. 8 edition of the Register, "Course of Catholic Colleges." I totally agree. I went to a Catholic liberal arts college in the ’60s. That education is what enables me to teach/tutor on many levels and subjects. Also, I am the team leader for our parish’s RCIA program. Thank you, St. Xavier University.

Harriet I. Keating

Joliet, Illinois


Church, Be Vocal

Relevant to "Pope Francis Shakes Up the Church" (page one, Oct. 6 issue): In a recent interview with Rome’s La Civilta Cattolica, Pope Francis said the Catholic Church must not be "obsessed" by issues like abortion, homosexuality and contraception. However, I have not seen any evidence of such an obsession.

I can’t recall the last time I heard a Church sermon denouncing any such controversial moral issues. In fact, at the local level of Church life, dogma has been a wasteland since Vatican II. A few of the results of this have been the pedophile scandal and the deconstruction of the liturgy. Hence, I am puzzled by Pope Francis’ desire to de-emphasize dogma in favor of striking a "new balance" that completely favors compassion and mercy over orthodox teaching and justice.

The Pope’s recent off-the-cuff comments — something that is rapidly, and unfortunately, becoming his trade mark — are due to mislead many and further lead to the dissemination of moral relativism.

The Church must remain vocal in promoting the truth on the most pressing issues of the day. Indeed, there has been a failure of catechesis, both of children and young people, that has been going on for 50 years. This has been due to the overwhelming fear among priests to talk about topics that are "politically incorrect." In contrast, the Bible exhorts the Church, "Preach the word; be urgent in season and out of season; convince, rebuke and exhort; be unfailing in patience and in teaching" (2 Timothy 4:2).

Paul Kokoski

Hamilton, Canada



A story in the Oct. 6-19 edition of the Register ("Pope Tells New Bishops: Tend Your Flocks," Vatican) incorrectly identified Bishop John Folda as being from Fargo, S.D. Fargo is in North Dakota. The Register regrets the error.