Thanks for Your Support

Enclosed please find a check for $100. I am grateful for your excellent coverage of the Pope?s visit last week. Congratulations on a great job!

 Margaret Pickard, Virginia Beach, Virginia

Casey?s Betrayal

Regarding ?Hook, Line and Sinker? (May 4):

I was shocked that [Pennsylvania] Sen. Bob Casey Jr. supports radical pro-abortion candidate Barack Obama. The Democratic candidate even refused to support the ?Born Alive Infants Bill,? which would save infants who survive botched abortions.

Many believe Casey is as pro-life as his father, the late Gov. Robert Casey. He isn?t. He voted to rescind the pro-life ?Mexico City policy.? A recent letter I received from him says he supports Title X, the national family planning program, because it reduces the number of unwanted pregnancies and abortions.

I can give him statistics proving the program has caused the rate of abortions and unplanned pregnancies to increase.

Casey knows if Obama is elected, he will appoint pro-abortion Supreme Court justices who will perpetuate the mass killing of unborn babies. We should all pray for Casey so that he will return to his Catholic faith and show respect for his father?s memory.

 Colleen Reilly, Lebanon, Pennsylvania

Post-Abortion Aids

Thank you so much for the article, ?Abortion Evidence Mounts? (May 4), which addresses the effects of abortion on men and women.

I am the associate director for the Respect Life Office in the Archdiocese of Newark, N.J., and the site leader for Rachel?s Vineyard in our archdiocese. We have been running weekends since 1997 and will be having our 44th retreat this fall.

I just wanted to make one correction to the article written by Celeste McGovern. Project Rachel is a wonderful outreach to post-abortive men and women that we also use in this archdiocese, but it is not the retreat model referred to in your article.

Project Rachel is one-on-one counseling with a priest or professional counselor. Rachel?s Vineyard develops the retreats referred to in the article. You can check out the vast outreach on its website ( Project Rachel has indeed grown from 18 retreats held in 1999 to the more than 600 annually in 48 states and 17 countries.

It would be very beneficial to those hurt by abortion to make the distinction so that those searching for post-abortion healing weekends will be able to connect to the right ministry.

 Michelle Krystofik, Clark, New Jersey

4,000 Every Day

Relevant to ?Abortion Evidence Mounts? (May 4): I have trouble understanding how some people can claim that they are for peace and against our involvement in Iraq, citing the sad statistic of 4,000 Americans killed in five years, and yet at the same time turn a blind eye to the 4,000 Americans that are murdered every day at the abortion mills in the United States.

Mother Teresa said that the greatest threat to peace is abortion, because it is the mother killing her own child.

 Terry Hornback, Wichita, Kansas

Benedict?s Balm

Regarding ?N.Y. Holy Ground? (April 27):

With words of faith, hope and love he came to bind up many of our wounds by reaching out: to the victims and survivors of 9/11, to individuals who were sexually abused by priests, to those with special needs, to our youth and their educators, to our bishops, clergy and religious, to the Jewish community and many other faiths, to President Bush and to the world through the United Nations.

He spoke words meant to heal the brokenhearted. And he spoke words meant to be medicinally taken as a call to greater responsibility to uphold the faith. Truly, God?s grace came to us all in abundance last month through Pope Benedict?s unwavering faith, hope and love.

 Julie Schuerger, Rockville Centre, New York

Pope?s Piercing Gaze

Regarding ?Benedict?s Hope for America? (May 11): Pope Benedict XVI poured himself out for us. Each day of his five-day visit he gave us Our Lord?s holy presence, Our Lord?s truthful words and Our Lord?s guidance and counsel.

As a Roman Catholic in the United States, I had grown so used to being spiritually starved, lied to and betrayed by Our Lord?s anointed ones that, while I heard the Holy Father?s words radiate with truth for these very same brothers at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, I was struck dumb.

I didn?t understand what I was witnessing: his gentleness with them, his tenderness for them and his humility before them.

I listened to every word our Holy Father said. I watched his interaction with every person and the whole group. My mind was a blank slate before him. My body perched on the edge of my chair in rapt attention. My eyes and ears opened to receive whatever he offered.

Finally, insight came during holy Mass at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. I came back to myself when my heart was pierced. There, on the screen before me, was our Holy Father leaning in to hear and to touch the person who was bringing to him the offertory gifts. Another person, the same leaning in to hear and to touch.

Then I looked into his face and saw how he was looking at each person in the procession. I recognized the same look in his eyes that he had offered earlier to his brothers. There on the screen before me was the face of love.

Tears began to well up and wash over me. My heart began to breathe within me. I was falling in love again with one of Our Lord?s anointed ones. The words, ?Lord, I am not worthy to receive you,? came alive in me.

Finally I understood. As a father, His Holiness exposes his heart for us when he reveals our sins and calls us to repent. Pope Benedict?s presence and words invite each one of us, from his brother apostles to his simple souls in the pews, to repentance and prayer and to an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.

When the holy Mass concluded, I realized that I had time to make it to my local parish for the conversion in confession and Mass and back again before the next live broadcast of ?Christ Our Hope.? As I left church, I imagined the bishops going off two by two to a quiet place where they hear each other?s confession and then pray as icons of Jesus Christ as they consecrate the bread and wine together.

I see them processing out of Mass in sackcloth and ashes and into the streets for a public pilgrimage that takes them into each town in their dioceses as they demonstrate their intimacy with Jesus Christ, reveal to us their accountability for their sins and witness to their Roman Catholic faith. I can imagine the new Pentecost of which Pope Benedict prayed for the United States being sent in the Person of the Holy Spirit by the Father through the Son as hundreds and thousands of us join them.

 Ruth Marie Francis, Port Townsend, Washington

Give Us the Bottom Line

I read the letter ?Serious Questions? (April 6), regarding Sen. John McCain and the good responses resulting from that letter. But this leads me to believe we need absolute clarity on the evil of abortion and a Catholic?s role in exercising his or her civic duties. Fifty-million dead babies are enough! Why can?t the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops state in plain, straightforward English that Catholics in good conscience cannot support abortion, euthanasia, human cloning and destructive research on human embryos, period? Haven?t the bishops said this understanding, or formation of right conscience, is a grave matter for salvation? 

The bishops? conference has issued a document on ?Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship? to help Catholics, but it fails the clarity test on abortion. Yes, the document says intrinsically evil acts must always be rejected and never supported but then it goes on to cloud this position by adding other assaults on human life and dignity, such as genocide, torture, racism and the targeting of noncombatants in acts of terror or war.

The document confuses when it links abortion with racism as reasons for denying a voter?s support and then gets murkier when it adds Catholics are not single-issue votes and veers off with the ?basic right to life implies and is linked to other human rights ... including food, shelter, health care, etc. ... that challenges our consciences and requires us to act.? 

Okay, I?m a simple guy. What do I need to know to save my soul?

Can I support a pro-abortion candidate whose past actions are obvious or can I disregard a culture of death position for possible future good deeds, such as child health care, food stamps, low interest home loans and the like?

What?s the bottom line here?

 Cort Freeman Butte, Montana

Democratic Party Left Us

Regarding ?Serious Questions? (April 6): It was with extreme sadness that I read Sister?s response to the Register?s article on McCain. To have such an esteemed member of the Catholic faith attempting to obfuscate the truth and core principles we must adhere to, was not only saddening but also quite frightening.

Her quotes from the U.S. bishops? conference ?Forming Consciences? document do not go to the heart of our immediate need for the end of the slaughter of our children in the womb.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, current canon law, the magisterium, Pope John Paul?s encyclical Evangelium Vitae and many of Pope Benedicts recent pronouncements all tell us that with abortion there is no room for equivocation by true Catholics.

While we can form our consciences with appropriate information and faithful discernment on such things as just wars or capital punishment, we are not free to justify the murder of our most innocent victims. This must be the overarching principle that any true Catholic must use in their presidential decision and the election of pro-life judges is an imperative.

The hideous new ?reproductive rights? bill, that was supported by Sen. Obama and Clinton the week after the Supreme Court upheld the partial-birth abortion ban would have expanded the rights to abortion or infanticide at any time of gestation for any reason.

The Democratic platform is well-built and fully-funded to promote abortion both at home and abroad. I can not envision any true Catholic voting for a pro-abortion/murder candidate.

Maybe if Sister read David Carlin?s book Can a Catholic be a Democrat she would realize that Catholics didn?t leave the Democratic Party, the party left us and our beliefs and principles way behind. Certainly her leadership in the social justice lobby starts with the protection of the innocent. If not, why not? 

 Richard Newhouse Phoenix, Arizona