Obama: Not a Role Model

I am not entirely sure what to make of the statements by Bishop Holley and Father Jim Goode regarding black Catholics and President Obama in “Black Catholics’ Hopes” (Feb. 15). Some things they said were wise and “right on the mark,” but other statements they made were rather baffling.

It is certainly charitable to pray for the conversion of those ensnared in evil, but how can Obama be described as a “role model” or a true “inspiration to youth” when the numbers of youth — especially black youth — have dwindled so dramatically over the last few decades thanks to contraception and abortion, of which he is so aggressive an advocate?

How can someone who has expressed such strong support for an organization like Planned Parenthood be presented as a role model for black youth?

Is it simply because he got elected?

So the basic message is that might makes right? Or are we still judging people by the color of their skin rather than the content of their character?

Dr. Martin Luther King was on a quest for justice, not “just us.”

Although Obama has compared himself with Lincoln, Roosevelt, King and Kennedy, no one can reasonably claim that any of these great leaders would agree with him on the issue of abortion.

There is only one former president who would agree with him on that: Bill Clinton.

Faithful Christians (and many moral non-Christians) have opposed abortion since the days of the ancient Roman Empire.

If Obama got to where he is now by “selling out” the solid Judeo-Christian (pro-life!) values that could really renew and literally regenerate the black community, how is it that he can or should be viewed as a “role model” for black youth, especially when there are truly moral and inspiring African-Americans around, like Justice Clarence Thomas and Michael Steele?

One other point: The statement was made in the same article that some leaders “feel” that “the Church is abandoning or indifferent to the community” because of the “dwindling number” of priests and religious and the resultant parish and school closings.

The question that needs to be raised is this: How is the Church supposed to staff its facilities when the widespread use of contraception and abortion (even among Catholics) has so drastically reduced the numbers of young people who can answer calls to the priesthood or religious life?

Larry A. Carstens

Castaic, California

Picture Placement

Please do not honor pro-choice Catholics by placing their pictures in the prominent above-the-fold position on your front page (“Pelosi vs. Economists,” Feb. 8).

I understand that U.S. Rep. Pelosi is at the center of very critical and controversial news, but to put her in that place seems like a reward for her stand on issues.

It is disheartening to those of us who are fighting against her disastrous policies to see her displayed in a position that can easily be mistaken as a place of prestige.     

You could easily have switched the pictures of Rep. Pelosi with that of Father Neuhaus on the same page.

 Chris May

Webster, New York

Editor’s note: We have standards of decency and quality in how we choose photos, but they are ultimately chosen for their news value and relevance.

We place our photos according to the importance of the news they convey.

Photographs in the Register shouldn’t imply endorsement or promotion of those depicted.

More Than Crucifixes

As pleased as I am to hear that Boston College is now placing crucifixes in its rooms, I find little hope in the move (“Boston College’s Iconic Gesture,” Daily Blog, Feb. 9).

When I attended Our Lady of the Lake in San Antonio, every room had a crucifix, and, yet, I seldom heard God mentioned. Many teachers were not Catholic, let alone Christian.

The magisterium was not respected, even by our religious studies department, nor was orthodox theology and values.

It could arguably be called a Christian school, but certainly not Catholic, despite the many statues and paintings of Our Lady and other saints. Without a sincere and demonstrated openness to Christ, such things are merely historical remnants.

Holy they may be, but they eventually become like so much wallpaper.

Aaron Miller
Spring, Texas

Open the Books

Father Kearns’ “Justice and Charity” (Feb. 22) will have to be taken at face value in its reasonable request for patience for the Register and the Legionaries to process the recent revelations concerning Father Maciel. 

But Father Kearns should understand that not only the order but the Register itself has a credibility problem at this point, given its refusal in the past to even cover in depth the accusations against Maciel and the corollary implication that the accusations were unfounded slanders not worthy of coverage.

In doing so, the paper questioned the veracity and motives of the accusers, and it appears at least some of those people now deserve heartfelt public apologies from the paper and the order. The true unjust attack on character, it turns out, was in the other direction.

I think the key in watching how the order and the Register deal with this is whether they take a “limit the fallout” approach or whether they truly “open the books” and admit the extent of Father Maciel’s hypocrisies, whatever that extent is, and the possible complicity of other high-ranking members in shielding Maciel, as well as their corporate fault in the blind unreasoning combativeness against what always appeared to some outsiders to be credible accusations from credible parties.

There is tremendous importance in all this — not only for the order but for the ability of readers to trust and respect the Register.

Mark Gronceski

Warren, Ohio 

Editor’s note: Please keep in mind that the paper’s defense of Father Marcial Maciel was limited to two bylined pieces by Father Owen Kearns, our publisher. As he has said repeatedly, he intends to correct the record on those as soon as he can do so with accuracy.

We covered the Holy See’s 2006 communiqué regarding Father Maciel also, with wire stories.

Search our website to see that we have not ignored this story.

Just as judges recuse themselves when dealing with family members, the Register realizes that, going forward, it is best to cover this particular issue by presenting readers with independent journalism.

Rules of the Throne

I believe some elements in “To Crown a Catholic King” (Feb. 22) are in error.

For instance, it’s not true that the Act of Settlement allows any believer but a Catholic to be sovereign.

The Act of Settlement clearly says that one must be in communion with the Church of England in order to rule.

It is, instead, strictly with regard to marriage that one may marry whomever one wants, save a Catholic. (See StatuteLaw.gov.uk/content.aspx?activeTextDocId=1565208)

So, a Muslim or a Mormon could not, under the act, become king; but the king may marry a Mormon or a Muslim, but not a Catholic. As I understand this issue, at least.

Eric Giunta
Juris Doctor candidate,

Florida State University College of Law
Class of 2011

Good Life News

“Ultrasound Saves a Life” (Feb. 8): great article!

I am the director of the Seattle chapter of The Helper’s of God’s Precious Infants. We pray and counsel at the abortion sites in the state of Washington.

Matt Ulrich

Seattle, Washington

Sacred Spaces?

The contribution over generations of the Rambusch Decoration Co. to church architecture is truly heartening (“The Gift of Beauty,” Feb. 22).

But the interior of Sacred Heart Cathedral in Rochester, N.Y., is also a “sacred space,” as you say in the photo caption. 

So where in this sacred space is the tabernacle housing God’s own transcendent beauty and Real Presence?

Peter D. Beaulieu

Shoreline, Washington

Thank You

I have not seen it, but I was told that the National Catholic Register made mention of the upcoming “One Million Rosaries for Unborn Babies” prayer event (“1 Million Rosaries,” Feb. 22).

Please know I am very grateful. The Saint Michael the Archangel Organization is very limited with regards to funding, so this helps out very much.

I hope the best for you.

Patrick Benedict

Saint Michael the Archangel Organization


In a recent edition of the Register, we incorrectly identified Tom Daschle as a Republican from South Dakota. He is a Democrat.

The Register regrets the error.