Get Hip to the Music, Register

Regarding “Nun Promotes Christian Music for the MTV Generation” (March 18-24): Such an outdated idea — a nun, in this instance, Sister Gillis, and a Catholic newspaper, in this instance, the Register, failing to promote Catholic music, for Catholic audiences, while promoting passe “Christian” artists. It's time for Sister and the Register to get hip (as in hip-hop) — support Catholic musicians.

TERI SEIPEL Riverside, California

The writer is associated with KUCR radio.

Relics and Commerce

I am writing in response to the article “Crusading Internet Knight Defends the Honor of Relics” (March 18-24). While in large measure I agree with and applaud Mr.

Serafin's efforts to cease the sale of sacred relics for profit, some questions remain regarding the issue of selling and purchasing relics.

For example, there is an antique store near me in which one dealer frequently offers older and obviously authentic relics for sale. I have purchased some of these for my own veneration, some to give as gifts to friends or priests with a special devotion to a particular saint; others I have purchased, at great expense to myself, simply to “rescue” them from languishing on the antique store shelves amid china and knick-knacks.

For the same purposes, I have also bought relics over the Internet.

Has Mr. Serafin himself ever purchased relics out of a desire to rescue them, or for private veneration and, if so, how does this differ from myself, or any individual, doing the same? In other words, while it may be a violation of canon law to sell relics, what about the persons who purchase them?

This is a question which has puzzled me for some time, and for which I have searched in vain for a definitive answer. The only people I know who have ever purchased relics have done so in order to make them available for veneration, either privately or in a church, never for sacrilegious purposes. I doubt anyone with such ill motives would spend the hundreds to thousands of dollars which relics generally cost.

If sincere persons were to cease buying relics, what would become of those which are offered for sale? Is remaining on the dusty shelves of a shop or storeroom a better alternative than being sold to a devout person? I would appreciate any knowledgeable reader's input regarding these issues.

JENNIFER HEATH Greenfield, Massachusetts

Kudos, Brother Raymond

Thanks, thanks for the article on Internet sites (“How to Discern Online Deceit,” March 25-31). I would love to see a regular column by Brother John Raymond, or any other of the many experts in this field, for more suggestions, comments and recommendations. The sites he suggested are excellent, and it is good to know they are also “safe.” Thanks.

S. SCHERER Wilson, New York

Editor's Note: Brother Raymond writes about the Internet for the Register roughly once a month.

Web of Accusations

I read with interest Brother John Raymond's advice on how to discern online deceit. One important element of such an effort at discernment by readers would be the personal possession of accurate information and a commitment to truth-telling.

In Brother Raymond's case, this would require him to understand the current role of the Vatican at the United Nations. He claims [the] Catholicity [of Catholics for a Free Choice] is in question because we are “one of the prime agitators trying to have the Holy See removed from the list of nongovernmental organizations with a voice at the United Nations.”

The Holy See is currently considered a Non-member State Permanent Observer (the same status as Switzerland), not a nongovernmental organization.

Catholics for a Free Choice wants the Holy See and the Roman Catholic Church active in the United Nations as a nongovernmental organization — as a religion, not a country. We think the Church would have more moral authority as a religious, not a secular, voice.

If Brother Raymond had bothered to read our Web site, which provides full details about the role of the Holy See at the United Nations, he would have been accurately informed about the status of the Holy See.

FRANCES KISSLING Washington, D.C.

The writer is president of Catholics for a Free Choice. The organization has retained that name despite its being repudiated by the U.S. bishops.

Editor's note: For the record, the confusion was not Brother Raymond's, but his editor's. We regret the error.

We did check out Kissling's Web site. We quickly came upon a press release that read, in part: “The Catholic church is complicit in interfering with women's reproductive rights around the world. … [W]e call into question the Vatican's status at the United Nations in order to reduce its impact on women's lives.” So much for seeking to give the Church “more moral authority.”

On First Reading the Register

I wanted to write and say kudos on a great paper. I am a converted Catholic, circa 1992 and must admit that I don't necessarily embrace all of the teachings and doctrines as easily as my wife.

We have been getting your paper delivered to our house for many months and I picked up my first paper this evening to read. I enjoyed it thoroughly. It's really nice to read both sides of the story. I will continue to read this paper weekly.

The other reason I am writing is to respond to Michael Barry's comments on Dale Earnhardt (“The Race is Not to the Swift,” Letters, March 25-31). I am by no means a race fan. What I am is an admirer of good human beings — people who have a passion for their calling in life, whether it be priests, accountants, football players or anyone else who puts in a good day's work.

This passion sometimes shows in our actions. Couldn't St. Michael be considered, like Earnhardt, the “Intimidator”?

And his comment about Earnhardt's being “born again” seemed a bit of a put-down and quite petty. Mr. Barry needs to realize that many people do risky jobs every day and sometimes bad things happen. Bad things also happen to many people who don't have risky jobs. Thanks for your time and God bless.

BRUCE MCKINNEY Louisville, Kentucky