Overcoming Evil

I read with interest the article by Tim Drake, “Everything Changes When Christ Moves In,” in the June 17 issue. He reports that the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in a home that sits next door to the abortion business, with the approval of Archbishop Flynn of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Under the leadership of Father Stephen Imbarrato, we here in Albuquerque set up a chapel dedicated to the Holy Innocents right across the street from Planned Parenthood where abortions are done.

Mass is held regularly through the apostolate of Project Defending Life, and I go several times a year to offer Mass there too for an end to abortion. We also have frequent occasions to go in procession around the abortion business and to pray the Rosary across the street from it, next to the Chapel of the Holy Innocents.

The idea of having the Blessed Sacrament and Mass near an abortion clinic to offset the evil done inside is a powerful witness to the dignity of human life. I hope that throughout our country there will be many more chapels in places where the Blessed Sacrament might give witness to life to offset pro-abortion activities.

Archbishop Michael Sheehan

Archbishop of Santa Fe

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Open Letter to Sudan

Regarding the letter “No Justified Reason?” (June 17):

Please be advised that, as a Catholic, I can no longer consider supporting military intervention to stop the genocide occurring in your country.

Understand that it is not that we are not concerned for your welfare. It is just that just war theory, which has for centuries provided a reasonable moral and ethical framework for confronting evils such as those being perpetrated on your people by your fascist Sudanese government, has been deemed obsolete, supplanted by a species of Seamless Garment Doctrine, which holds that “war is never just.”

In fact, since “all life is sacred,” genocide and war, along with abortion, euthanasia and capital punishment are now to be viewed through a lens of moral equivalency, thereby eliminating any distinction between perpetrators of evil and their victims, and, in your case, precluding any military response.

But we have not given up on you, Darfur. Oh no. We will continue to forcefully advocate for a diplomatic solution through such exemplary organizations as the U.N. Human Rights Council, convinced that if we keep talking, the leaders of your government will experience a miraculous conversion.

Meanwhile we will make every effort to alleviate your problems of disease and starvation by rendering humanitarian assistance. Of course all of these efforts take time, so please remain patient, taking comfort in the knowledge that we will persevere, even to the last survivor.

In closing, please remember that you will remain in our prayers. And I further pray that should we in the Christian West have the misfortune of experiencing similar acts of atrocity first-hand, that I personally find the courage to refuse to intervene as I witness the slaughter of my family and friends.

Douglas Merkler

Blairstown, New Jersey

Editor’s note: Thanks. The problem is, there are many human rights-abusing countries to whom you would have to send such a note — or troops — to: Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Venezuela, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, China, Cuba and Myanmar, for starters. We prefer Pope John Paul II’s method in Poland: Vigorously support the positive forces that exist within the country itself, and build an authentic understanding of human rights. War left Poland in the hands of the communists — but the Holy Father and the Solidarity movement built a society that very much identified with its Catholic heritage. We greatly admire President Bush’s second inaugural, which embraces the approach with which John Paul found success:

“It is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.

“This is not primarily the task of arms, though we will defend ourselves and our friends by force of arms when necessary. Freedom, by its nature, must be chosen, and defended by citizens, and sustained by the rule of law and the protection of minorities. And when the soul of a nation finally speaks, the institutions that arise may reflect customs and traditions very different from our own. America will not impose our own style of government on the unwilling. Our goal instead is to help others find their own voice, attain their own freedom, and make their own way.”

Fatal Decision

Relevant to “Amnesty’s Fall” (June 24):

While it is possible that a ban on abortion may put a few women at medical risk, it is positive that an abortion will result in the death of an infant.

Ed Lynch

West Nyack, New York

Immigrants’ Vibrant Faith

Regarding “July 4th at the Border” (July 1):

I would like to thank you for your latest editorial. I have just completed a year of volunteer service in the overwhelmingly Mexican Little Village neighborhood in Chicago. I have seen first-hand the fruits that the incredibly vibrant faith of immigrants can bear, and how necessary a loving ministry is for that community, which often suffers hardships that citizens have a difficult time imagining.

I agree whole-heartedly with your assertion that our churches have a duty to serve the immigrant population; I would like to add that all members of the Church have a duty to support those agencies that offer different forms of ministry. Many lay volunteer programs send volunteers into the immigrant community.

My own position was with a Family Education Center, which provided support services and classes for women facing loneliness and depression, as well as a pre-school for children aged newborn to 5.

As it turned out, my volunteer year was much more challenging than I had expected, not because of the population I was serving, but because of the relativist spirituality of my own “Catholic” program. The immigrants I was serving quickly became the only people I knew who were willing to talk about their faith in the Blessed Sacrament, their devotion to the Church, or their love for Our Lady.

During my senior year of college, I felt an unmistakable call to volunteer — one that I passionately wanted to follow, spurred by Matthew 25 and Deus Caritas Est (God Is Love).

In searching for the right program, however, it became clear that I would have a hard time finding what I was looking for: a program designed for young laypeople and committed to full-time service, yet unashamedly faithful to the truths of the Church.

A truly good volunteer program would be an incredible witness.

Thank you for your work at the National Catholic Register. Every issue holds extremely valuable articles that I relish reading. I can only hope that you can bring the same level of thoughtful analysis to this issue as I’ve seen it bring to countless others facing the Church and the world today.

Mary Ashley Burton

Lexington, Kentucky

Control the Borders

Regarding “July 4th at the Border” (July 1):

Christian charity does demand that we open our doors to those who want to take care of their families. The Irish, Poles, Germans who came here did just that. However, in this day of the threat of terror, how do we know that those illegal immigrants among us have the motivation the Register applies to them? Are any of them criminals? Are any of them terrorists or potential terrorists? How have we screened them?

If I were a dark-skinned terrorist, do you think it would be difficult to pass myself off as a Mexican?

The first order of priority is to establish control of the border and to control who comes in. We have enemies ready to blow us up. Maybe we deserve such a threat considering how we have let our moral standards decay in the United States.

Lee Love

Minneapolis, Minnesota

No ‘Guilt Trip’ for Me

Your editorial “July 4th at the Border” (July 1) attempts to justify an “open borders policy” on the basis of the poorly managed and corrupt misgovernment of Mexico and other Latin nations, which do not use their considerable wealth to provide health care to the poor and to create such employment, as would make illegal immigration into our nation unnecessary.

I will not accept that “guilt trip,” as I have the authority of the Gospels and of history to assure me that, as in the time of Christ and St. Paul, citizenship was a thing (res) that belonged to the Roman state and could only be granted to foreigners at the will of Senate and of Caesar. Such citizenship, or (in today’s world) residency, is one of the things that are of Caesar (the state) and, today, given only with the democratic approval of the people.

St. Paul also and very carefully denotes the supreme authority of the State in such civil matters as the use of deadly force. Therefore, I see no reason to doubt the will of the people (today’s Caesar) in discouraging illegal immigration.

James Pawlak

West Allis, Wisconsin

Dazzling Review

I was dazzled reading the amazing review of Ratatouille, “4-Course Feast” (July 1). In Steven Greydanus, you have a film reviewer to rival Leonard Maltin. Yet another reason I eagerly await the Register.

Gord Wilson

Bellingham, Washington