Mother Teresa Stamps

Pertinent to “Stamped With Faith” (, June 30):

I am sorry I cannot provide to you which issue you published a letter [with the writer] stating that the post office told them that it no longer carried the Mother Teresa postage stamps because it would soon be discontinued due to lack of interest. Even though individual post offices are no longer carrying it, the Mother Teresa stamp is still available from an official U.S. postal source called USA Philatelic.

I hope that Catholics will be more proactive by ordering this beautiful stamp of such a holy and blessed future saint.

Eva E. Clark

Scottsdale, Arizona

What About the Victims?

Regarding “Letters to the Editor” (Nov. 6):

You responded to the letter of Paul L. Turner regarding “Vatican Official Decries Troy Davis’ Execution.” You began that response by stating: “The Church is very sensitive to all the victims of senseless killing ...”

Please allow me to directly contradict you on the basis of 34-plus years of professional work within a Department of Corrections — with many contacts with crime victims and their families.

I have noted that many dioceses (and some parishes) have prison ministries. But I do not recall any having “victim ministries.” Victims of crimes have been ignored or even abused by the criminal-justice system and, in some cases, by a justice-denying Church.

Although we are encouraged to “visit the prisoners,” I do not recall any commandment to ignore or abuse the victims of crime. I also maintain that the Church is currently fixated on mercy to the abuse of justice.

James Pawlak

West Allis, Wisconsin

Not for All Catholics

I read through the article “Collects Receive a Rich Translation” (Oct. 9). Under the photo on page 9, it states: “Starting the First Sunday of Advent, Catholics will hear priests praying a very different kind of prayer after the Kyrie and Gloria — thanks to the new translation of the Roman Missal.”

That statement isn’t entirely true. My parish will not be changing over to the new usage; in fact, if my parish tried, our bishop would be very upset, the reason being my parish is Maronite. Perhaps the caption should have read that “Latin-rite Catholics will be using the new translation,” therefore not insinuating that only Latins are Catholic and the rest of us are not.

James Davis

via email

2 Concerns

I’ve been meaning to write for a while, happy that EWTN is now one with the Register (a blessing). Two problems I’ve noticed, though. 1) Letters space has been cut in half. 2) The Pope’s weekly message is now just summarized. You are limiting the voice of the two parties you should be most concerned about.

I’m particularly grieved at not being able to read in the paper the whole text of the Pope’s message. It was the only chance many of us got to really dwell with the mind of our Pontiff for a while. This loss is a real shame. You may have it online; I don’t know. But I do not tend to go there. Please reconsider. Even if many don’t read it — it can be a challenge — it should still be there as a challenge to the reader.

James Kurt

via email

Steve Jobs and Truth

Regarding the article: “Steve Jobs: the Edison of Our Times” (Oct. 23): One has to agree that he was commendable for barring pornography from his amazing tech products. Still, one may wonder, what in the world led him to turn away from Jesus to Buddha? (Did no Catholic or Christian who knew him care enough to ask him?)

Then I read the excellent editorial “The True Hope That Does Not Disappoint.” In sum: “Jobs represents the more appealing face of secularist ideals.” But still, how sad: from Christian to secularist.

And then one more article: “Send My Roots Rain” by Father Dwight Longenecker. The analogy of the tree, its trunk and the branches was excellent, and the deepest “root” is the conscience: “the interior voice of a human being, within whose heart the inner law of God is inscribed” (definition in the glossary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church). How terribly sad that someone who was obviously searching for God would turn away from the God-man, the “Word made flesh,” to Buddha for “enlightenment”!

Pam Haines

St. Petersburg, Florida

The Virtue of Creativity

Very seldom do we read or hear about the awesomeness of creativity in the context of our Christian calling. Frankly, I was hoping for a little more than the mere mentioning of it as a needed ingredient for “Cooking Up a Healthy Portion of Conscience,” so cleverly presented by Dr. Donald DeMarco in his article (In Depth, Oct. 9).

After reading what John A. Sanford wrote about it in his book The Kingdom Within, I became a firm believer that creativity is not an optional attribute found in the personality makeup of a chosen few, but an essential virtue implanted in us by our creator God.

Creativity is arguably the best proof we are expected to give of having been made in the image of God. Yet the notion of carrying within us God’s image tends to be a vague concept to be relegated to the storage room where we put most of what we hear in church on Sunday because it resonates little with our real life and its unrelenting challenges.

Creativity, if given a chance, will find a way to free itself from the confinements of a safe, risk-free lifestyle, of conformism, of trite, common loci, of false facades, of the stale venues of disengagement.

It springs up unexpectedly from the field where the seeds of the Gospel have found fertile soil. It grows best with the help of improvisation, spontaneity and child-like imagination, provided that it is not held back by the menace of crippling mistakes and is totally free of fear of embarrassment.

Creativity reminds us that we cannot play it safe when it comes to exercising stewardship of God’s plentiful talents entrusted to us.

A conscience that is bogged down by an unhealthy sense of guilt and stifled due to the depletion of those energies that are drained by obsessions and compulsions is ill-equipped to overcome the doldrums of life, the grinding of the daily routine and the temptation of putting off anything daring and bold.

What is life without the spice of creativity? Creativity makes the gift of ourselves to others that much more attractive and appreciated. With creativity, we can transform birthdays into unforgettable events, make one feel truly special, impact an otherwise flat life with a unique compliment; we can light up the shadows stretching over the gloomy outlook of a depressed friend; we can dispel boredom and improvise a celebration for some wild reason or no reason at all. What is there that creativity cannot handle?

With creativity, a mom can even find clever ways to disguise loathed vegetables into something yummy for her kids’ dinner; she can spruce up the living room with old stuff from the attic, and turn anything burdensome into a fun game. We should give free rein to our creativity to see it grow doing good. “For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him” (Matthew 13:12).

Father Dino S. Vanin

Detroit, Michigan

Prayer Unconstitutional

Columnist Gerard Russello (“The Blaine Amendment Is Alive and Well,” Oct. 9) speaks of the Blaine amendment of 1875. Little known is that the inspiration (if you will) for this amendment was very likely from the “demagoguery and priesthood” speech of then President Ulysses S. Grant to an encampment of Civil War veterans in Iowa in 1875.

Prejudice and bigotry die hard, as attested by the following examples. The Oregon school case of 1925: Judge Kavanaugh, appearing for the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (of fond memory), stated: “Now, people in this country have certain natural and inherent rights. Those rights existed before constitutions were made and will exist after constitutions are dissolved. They are not created by the Constitution, but they are secured by the Constitution; and among these rights are the inherent and natural right of a parent to direct the education of his own child in a private school that conforms to all the regulations of the state.”

In the Lee v. Weisman case, ruled on in late June 1992 by the Supreme Court, a 5-4 majority agreed to ban prayer at public-school graduation ceremonies. They argued prayer violated the constitutional separation of church and state. Within the public-school system, virtually any form of protest, vulgarity and attack on the deeply held beliefs of the community are protected under the umbrella of free speech. The one activity, however, that is deemed so odious that it loses the protection of the First Amendment, which is banned outright even in its most innocuous form as unconstitutional behavior, is prayer.

Aubert Lemrise

Peru, Illinois