Relative to your page-one story "Pope Francis Shakes Up the Church" (Oct. 6 issue):
I think that Pope Francis’ heart is in the right place. But I don’t want to suffer through the confusion that we had under Pope Paul VI again.
Not that Paul VI wasn’t personally orthodox. For instance, in 1965, when then-Father Joseph Ratzinger circulated a petition among the bishops attending Vatican II claiming that it wasn’t necessary for the Council to reassert that the Bible was without error and that the Gospels were historical, Paul VI insisted on inserting Sections 11 and 19 into Dei Verbum. But that didn’t stop "Catholic" educators from insisting that the Council taught that the Bible contained errors and that the Gospels were only midrash (made-up stories).
Then, in 1968, Paul VI released "The Credo of the People of God," a short summary of what the Church believed. If it was inserted into religious textbooks as a supplement, it might have cleared up some of the confusion that religion textbooks in the 1970s caused. But it was ignored.
And, in 1973, Paul VI released Jubilate Deo, a collection of basic Gregorian chants that he requested that every choir in the world learn. But instead of being inserted into every Catholic hymnal, they were ignored, and liturgists continued to insist that Latin was forbidden.
The revolutionaries who tried to change the Church to fit their own image of the faith are still in place: For instance, the recently released Image Books edition of the essential texts of Vatican II is "inclusive" and carries a forward by James Carroll, the author of Constantine’s Sword, which alleges that Christianity was a political maneuver by the emperor to unite his kingdoms, not a supernatural event that transformed the world.
If Pope Francis doesn’t deal with such revolutionaries, we’re in for more confusion.
Regarding "The Catholic Case Against a U.S. Military Strike on Syria" (page one, Sept. 22 issue), there were some viewpoints that strike me as confused and simplistic.
Several authorities cited seem to equate "deterrence" and "punishment."
Punishment normally follows an event. While deterrence may entail punishing a transgression, effective deterrence normally persuades a would-be transgressor not to transgress.
In fact, a case may be made that the Obama administration’s failure to effectively deter has placed it in the position of having to consider punishing.
And, while one may reasonably argue against the morality of individual cases of punishment, to proceed from there to attack the concept of deterrence is to undermine a nation’s ability to effectively defend itself.
It simplemindedly renders warfare more likely, all in the name of reducing warfare.
Patrick J. Lally
Increase of Mercy
"Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little" (Luke 7:47).
As a devout Catholic and pro-life woman, I advocate increased mercy and unity within the pro-life movement. In my experience, pro-life events have often been places where one overhears judgmental and hurtful words directed at the mothers who have suffered the sin of abortion.
The comments are not malicious as much as ignorant and insensitive. I know of Catholic mothers who have endured such remarks for years, with shame and fear of discovery. We need to make it easy for the mother of an aborted child to authentically rejoin her spiritual community, obtain healing and speak her story. The stories of these deeply wounded women will prove powerful. "The Truth will set [us] free" (John 8:32).
In order to move toward mercy, we must realize that "There but for the grace of God go I" (John Bradford). Without proper education about one’s body, one’s gender, the virtue of purity and life itself, how can any person navigate the tide of moral decay and disinformation without making grave errors?
If you have not committed a mortal sin yourself, it is because God has protected you. Be grateful, and do not humiliate those who did not receive the same graces. If God forgives the mother of an aborted child, who are you to withhold forgiveness from the same mother?
If you do so, you will be like the man forgiven a great debt who rushes out into the courtyard to strangle someone who owes him a small sum (Matthew 18:21-35). Sadly, you will be choking the life out of the very story that might force the secular world to hear the truth about abortion.
Abortion is a symptom. If one confronts a woman who feels she is without choices by pointing out that abortion is not an option, one says too little, too late. We need to address the disease: a lack of proper education. Each girl needs to know who she is, what sex is, what a woman is, that she is loved and the gift that life is before she encounters the temptations of teenage America.
Additionally, we need to be the bringers of choice, true choice. We need to empower women to have their children.
Jesus says, "Do not judge, lest you be judged. ... The cup with which you measure will be measured out to you" (Matthew 7: 7).
Let us take the words of Christ to heart and, rather than judge any given woman, strive to help and love her where she is.
Photos of dead Syrian babies, as well as dead adults, are being regularly shown on TV and in printed news. These deaths are reported to be the result of nerve gas being used in the conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic.
This mainstream media’s coverage is to expose the disastrous violation of human rights in Syria. It is an open demonstration of what happens when the basic right to life is ignored.
Why, then, does the media in the U.S. refuse to show photos of babies dead by abortion? For more than 40 years, it has been public knowledge that more than a million babies each year are deliberately put to death by the abortionists’ tools and with the consent and approval of not only the parents, but consent and approval of the president and his administration, as well as approximately half of all American citizens and the Supreme Court.
Death by abortion, legal or illegal, is just as real as the deaths in Syria. When will our media expose abortion for what it is and publish photos of our aborted children?
Deterrent or Atrocity?
In your Oct. 6 issue, Sister Mary Rose Reddy, in her letter "Love Stops Violence," mentioned the U.S. dropping two atomic bombs and killing 150,000 innocent people.
What she didn’t mention was that, in one of those two cities, there was a large torpedo-manufacturing plant. Are people who make torpedoes who kill our sailors innocent? Are the people who support them innocent? Is the population who supported the evil rulers innocent?
The purpose of dropping the atomic bombs was to stop the killing. The Japanese killed more civilians in Nanking, China, in 1936 with bullets and swords than we killed with the atomic bombs.
Even after the surrender, they continued to kill people in China.
If we had invaded Japan, we would have killed more civilians with military action than we did with the atomic bombs. In one of my military magazines, I read a story by a naval officer whose ship was stationed in Japan shortly after the war ended. He went to a Japanese shop to have something made for his ship. The owner thanked him for the U.S. dropping the bombs.
The reason was that his son was alive and would have probably been killed if we had invaded. Ken Burns, in his report on the war, had a picture in his book of a Japanese officer training high-school girls on how to use bamboo spears to defend Japan.
I was told by a POW who was imprisoned at the start of the war in Japan that every civilian was armed with bamboo spears, and they were trained to fight to the death.
Paul J. Driscoll
Fort Pierce, Florida
Pound of Cure
Regarding "Pope Francis Shakes Up the Church" (page one, Oct. 6 issue): Justice and mercy: I probably understand neither.
Is the Blessed Mother virgin or mother, is Jesus God or man, are human beings mortal or immortal, is God infinitely merciful or infinitely just? Yes to all. Mercy is very important (Divine Mercy Sunday). Yet justice also deserves its day.
It is difficult to mercifully live the beatitudes without first observing the Ten Commandments. Can one consistently live in the illuminative or unitive stage of the spiritual life if, due to sin, one is entrenched in the purgative stage?
In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, St. Paul lists those who will not enter the Kingdom of heaven. This is forever "stuff."
Even seemingly small indiscretions can have serious repercussions and "justice." For example: God forbade Moses from Promised Land entry because he did not follow just one small directive.
All sin has unseen serious repercussions. Adam’s sin only temporarily closed heaven’s gates to humanity, but it also forever opened the gates of hell to us, Adam’s offspring.
In childrearing, an ounce of prevention (rules and why they exist) may be worth a ton of cure (mercy after committing serious sin). We have lost our once of prevention on abortion and are about to lose it on "gay marriage."
The Church’s "battlefield hospital" may be growing. It is time for a lot of mercy. In any war, it is beneficial to teach soldiers how to recognize a minefield, machine-gun nest or snare in order to avoid these traps (ounce of prevention) vs. picking up the pieces afterward (ton of cure).
The Church will continue to be a "battlefield" hospital until the end of time. But we must also teach/show our children how to avoid Satan’s noose of serious sin, so in the "battlefield hospital" our children can be workers and not patients.
To the woman caught in adultery, Jesus was both merciful (saved her from certain death by stoning) and just ("Go, and sin no more"). May the God of mercy help us all to be more like our Holy Father and be merciful to all, both in "prevention" and "cure."
Flower Mound, Texas
Pertinent to "Common Core Commotion" (page one, Sept. 22 issue): All of this hullabaloo about the "federal government intervening in education" with the Common Core in public education is missing one very important point: The United States is no longer the agrarian nation it was in the 18th century, when local school districts and parishes could determine what should be taught in "their" schools.
We now have students who move with the crop cycles, from Texas, to Florida, to Michigan, to California and back to Texas, all within a single school year. Common Core seeks to address that. What worked pre-WWI isn’t the same in the 21st century, with a global economy.
Our children need to be leaving our schools on an equal footing with the children in other nations, no matter what local district, city or state they were educated in. Common Core is the first step in recognizing that issue for the United States as a nation, with plenty of room for local standards as well.
We as a nation — and as Catholics — in educating our children, need to step out of our localized thinking and begin to think about what is best for our children on a global scale in the 21st century.
Los Angeles, California
"Pray the Rosary With Children" (Culture of Life, Oct. 6 issue) included conflicting dates for the Fatima feast. It is Oct. 13. The Register regrets the error.