My wife and I wanted to drop a brief note complimenting the high quality of your newspaper. So impressed have we been that we gave subscriptions to the Register to all five of our married children as Christmas gifts. To our pleasant surprise, all five, as well as most of their spouses, have volunteered to us how eagerly they look forward to each weekly issue.
As the state director for the American Family Association of New York, and the only Catholic state director in this largely evangelical Protestant organization, I am encouraging our Catholic members in New York to consider reading your fine paper as well.
FRANK RUSSO JR. Port Washington, New York
Mary's Birth Pangs
I don't know if this might shed some light on the question of whether or not Mary experienced pain while giving birth to Jesus (“Virgin Birth a Mystery,” Letters, Jan. 21-27 and Feb. 4-10), but Revelation 12:1-2 (New American Bible) seems to be referring to Mary and the birth of our Savior. It reads: “A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth.”
Mary, our mother, experienced many pains and sufferings in her life — I don't think she was immune to these just because she was born without original sin.
In America today, the politically correct spinmeisters who control the vast majority of our mass-media outlets would have us believe that morality has given way to hedonism. Out of this has come forth an exemplary voice, Sean Hannity, who strongly upholds basic Catholic values. It is refreshing to hear how much his love for his wife Jill and 2-year-old son Sean Patrick are manifest — not only in your fine article (“Speaking his Mind — and His Catholic Faith,” Feb. 4-10), but also in the way he conducts his highly rated radio and TV programs.
Hannity's strong pro-life stance is hard to come by in today's media, which is such a prominent example of “the culture of death” that surrounds us and chokes the very soul from our great country. Your many fine articles following the 28th March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 22 exhibited a great enthusiasm for life.
I would take issue with Sean Hannity, however, as he makes exceptions [to his pro-life convictions] for rape, incest and the “health” of the mother. Was it not these limitations that decriminalized abortion in the decision of Roe. V. Wade under the guise of a woman's right to choose to take the life of an innocent human being, the preborn child residing and developing within her womb?
As a result of extensive scientific investigation, utilizing the disciplines of genetics, embryology and advanced DNA studies, in conjunction with human obstetrics, it is a fact that at the moment of penetration of an egg by a sperm (fertilization), a distinctively new and unique human being has been created. From day one until birth, the newly formed human being residing within his or her mother is in a continual state of human growth and development. With God's interest and part in every human being created “in his own image and likeness,” we have no right to take the life of any human, before or after birth. We must be there to support and care for every woman in a difficult and unplanned pregnancy. Our Christianity and humanity demands this!
ARTHUR N. HOAGLAND, M.D.
Florham Park, New Jersey
I was a prospective student o f the University of San Francisco, but, after observing recent actions taken by the school's president, Jesuit Father Steven Privett, to fire the senior staff at the St. Ignatius Institute (“Alums Pull Donations,” Feb. 4-10), I had a drastic change of heart.
His decisions have been so clearly manipulative and divisive that I am skeptical of the judgment of USF's board of trustees in selecting a leader dedicated to intellectual integrity.
San Clemente, California
I am writing in regard to the Richard Barnes column “The Inauguration, Roe's Anniversary, And A May Afternoon” (Jan. 21-27).
I agree with the entire column and especially the events of Cardinal O' Connor's funeral and what President Bush observed that day as to our pro-life commitment. I am sure the president-to-be confidentially felt he had each person in St. Patrick's Cathedral voting for him during the upcoming election (excluding a couple of rows).
Given his pro-life position, I would assume he also thought he could count on a large portion of the Catholic vote outside of [those people in] St. Patrick's. However, Bush found that a large [percentage] of Catholics did not see it the same way as those in St. Patrick's that afternoon in May.
The president has told this country that he will support the unborn and, so far, has shown it. It is now time for that Catholic majority who seem to be lost to come home and support him. Without that support, the president might be a single voice in Washington against a large majority that also found it difficult to stand that May afternoon.
WILLIAM G. MCKAY
Mamaroneck, New York
Ashcroft: Failed Racist
Regarding your editorial “Fearing John Ashcroft” (Feb. 4-10): Mr. Ashcroft, who voted for 26 out of 27 appointments of black jurists, whose wife teaches at a black university and who, on being confirmed as attorney general asked a black man to administer his oath and then appointed a black man as his deputy, is not worth his salt as a racist.
If he does nothing he will be a much better attorney general than he is a racist. Democrats, in their selection of Terry McAuliffe as party chairman over a black candidate for the job, exhibited the racism and insensitivity of which they falsely accused Mr. Ashcroft.
Hearing Sudan's Cry
Today I'm entertaining as my guest another spinal headache. Disabled permanently from a car accident and chronic back pain, I often wonder how people cope with pain who have little or no material comforts.
Marjorie Dannenfelser's column “Sudan Cries for Our Care and Our Prayer” (Jan.28-Feb. 3) allows me not only a glimpse of what it would be like but also yet another cup unto which I can offer my relatively “comfortable” suffering.
For the cup of suffering from which the Christians of Sudan are asked to drink is filled with the blood of many unheralded martyrs. It is a deep and bitter cup, but these beautiful fellow Catholics/Christians sip fully and lovingly by God's grace and his gift of courage. Our Sudanese brethren have my respect, love and heart-felt admiration.
After watching a couple of interviews with Bishop Macram Max Gassis on EWTN, I would have taken my body to Africa to help — if only my body could travel. Instead, I took myself to the Internet site which Bishop Gassis mentioned (http://www.petersvoice.com) and was able to make an on-line donation as well as write letters to legislators decrying the horrors of the religious and human rights persecutions in the Sudan. (The Web site provides all the necessary addresses, which can also be done right then and there via e-mail.)
After a couple of weeks, I received responses from my legislators. It was amazing to read the differences in their facts, which led me to realize that our political leaders need even more letters which state the realities of what is going on in the Sudan, as with the more accurate facts that Mrs. Dannenfelser states in her column.
They need to be encouraged (and pressured) to bring national attention and action upon this horrendous situation.
Editor's note: Sudan Relief and Rescue can be reached by postal mail at P.O. Box 1877, Washington, DC 20013-1877.
Guess Who Else Was At the Inauguration?
In his column “Guess Who Came to the Inauguration?” (Feb. 4-10), Donald DeMarco identified Mother Teresa of Calcutta as the source of President Bush's quotation in his inaugural address:
“Sometimes in life we are called to do great things. But as a saint of our times has said, ‘Every day we are called to do small things with great love.’ The most important tasks of a democracy are done by everyone.”
I enjoyed this column. However, Dr. DeMarco did not mention that Mother Teresa was quoting St. Thérèse of Lisieux. In the book Words to Love By, Mother Teresa says:
“We all want to love God, but how? The Little Flower is a most wonderful example. She did small things with great love. Ordinary things with extraordinary love. That is why she became a great saint.”
In the actual writings of St. Thérèse, we find that doing “small things with great love” is a foundation of her spirituality. In the General Concordance of her completed works, we find that she writes many times that she was “too little to do great things.”
Surely one of the delights of heaven that St. Thérèse and Mother Teresa are now discovering is that God is continuing to use them to proclaim the Gospel in the most unexpected situations — why, even in an American president's inaugural address!
FATHER DONALD KINNEY, O.C.D.
I'm [writing] to confirm my thanks for the exceptionally positive front-page articles about President Bush's initiatives to block U.S. aid for abortions overseas (by re-instituting President Reagan's 1984 Mexico City policies), and about his current faith-based, community-assistance initiatives.
The accompanying photo from the dining room of Cardinal-Designate McCarrick's residence in Hyattsville, Md., showing President Bush accepting an icon and medallion from Papal Nuncio Gabriel Montalvo and the three other local bishops present, is nothing if not an answer to millions of prayers.
That a sitting Methodist president and his wife would accept, for the first time in the history of our country, a dinner invitation from the Roman Catholic bishop of Washington, D.C., within days of his inauguration, is for me a very humbling reality.
May God reward President Bush's long-promised efforts to affirm life, and guide his faith-based initiatives to strengthen our communities, and may he find the support he deserves in these matters from Catholic Americans of good will.