Marriage Matters

Archbishop Chaput has taught in a very clear manner by describing the many valid reasons for not enrolling a child from a home with adults in a same-sex union in a Catholic school (“Denver Stands Its Ground,” March 28). 

Another issue that I believe Catholic families and educators need to understand is the serious harm done to children in such unions. The Holy Father has written that to place such children in these unions does violence to them. 

The Holy Father’s statement is supported by psychological and medical science. An extensive literature exists on the severe damage caused by fatherlessness in children. Deliberately depriving a child of a mother is even more traumatic to children.

In the Catholic Medical Association’s pamphlet on homosexuality, “Homosexuality and Hope,” our last statement relates to the danger to children from same-sex unions.

“Question: Should same-sex unions be recognized or treated as ‘marriage’? 

Answer: Research on same-sex unions demonstrate that they are markedly different from marriage in that exclusivity and permanency are not present or desired in the vast majority of these unions. Same-sex unions suffer a significantly higher prevalence of domestic abuse, depression, substance-abuse disorders, and sexually transmitted diseases (D. O’Leary, One Man, One Woman: A Catholic’s Guide to Defending Marriage (Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press, 2007): 149-68).

Physicians should caution their patients about the dangers of same-sex unions and advocate against children being placed in such unstable relationships. The overwhelming body of well-designed research demonstrates that the healthiest environment for child development is a home with a mother and father who are married (G. Rekers, “An Empirically Supported Rational Basis for Prohibiting Adoption, Foster Parenting and Contested Child Custody by Any Person Residing in a Household that Includes a Homosexually-Behaving Member,” St. Thomas Law Review 18.2 (2005–2006): 325–424).

Children have the need for and the right to a father and a mother.

Richard Fitzgibbons, M.D.
Conshohocken, Pennsylvania


First Conference

It was interesting to read about the history of the Worcester, Mass., Catholic men’s conference in your March 14 issue, which is one of many to be held throughout the United States. However, it is not the first conference. The conference that started this movement was the Greater Cincinnati Catholic Men’s Fellowship, which had the first conference in 1995. This was organized by a great group of men, led by Kevin Lynch, with the primary purpose of starting Catholic men’s groups in every parish. In the greater Cincinnati area we now have about 180 parishes with active groups.

My parish, St. Timothy’s in Union, Ky. (near Cincinnati), has a tremendous group of my brothers in Christ who meet on a regular basis as a result of this movement. Thank God that Kevin and his group answered the call.

Deacon Tom Nolan

Union, Kentucky


The editor responds: We salute you for being the first men’s conference. The Worcester conference is the oldest associated with a particular diocese.


Sister’s Smile

Reading your article “Haiti Presses On” (March 14-27, 2010), I was struck by the picture on page 12 in which Archbishop Timothy Dolan is pictured speaking with “members of the Missionaries of Charity.”

I recognized one of the sisters, the one in the background with glasses, as a sister I had met in Rome while visiting the Missionaries of Charity there. Trying to remember her identity, it dawned on me that this was not just any Missionary of Charity. She is Sister Mary Prema, the current superior general of the Missionaries of Charity. Her infectious smile gives her away.

Brother Christopher Gaffrey, O.F.M.
St. Joseph Friary
Winsted, Connecticut


Study in Contrast

In reading the two front-page articles “D.C.’s Hand Forced” and “Beginning of the End for Church-Backed Hospitals?” (March 14), I was struck by the contrast of the actions taken by the respective archbishop and bishop in each instance.

In the Washington Archdiocese’s case, the archbishop ended the Catholic Charities’ city contracts for child-placement services, but “only” dropped spousal benefits for new hires at Catholic Charities or for staff who might marry in the future, thereby enabling Catholic Charities to continue to receive about $20 million from D.C. for a spectrum of social services, including homeless shelters and soup kitchens.

I have to wonder if money drove this latter decision as, in my mind, the ethical and moral thing to do was simply end the Catholic Charities’ pertinent city contracts.

In the case of St. Charles Medical Center in Bend, Ore., by contrast, the bishop simply revoked the hospital’s privilege to call itself “Catholic” due to its refusal to stop doing tubal ligations to sterilize women, thereby providing a clear message and alert to the Catholic health-care systems nationwide, leaving no unanswered questions about the situation!

K. Dale Anderson

Randallstown, Maryland


Uninformed Opinion

I’m responding to the letter from the 21-year-old biology student (‘Reproductive Autonomy,’ March 14), who made several comments regarding her position on abortion. She seemed to make five main points. These assertions are neither factual nor entirely correct.

While maternal health is about women, abortion and contraception do not (except in rare instances, i.e. cancer) help maintain women’s health. Pregnancy is not an illness and is normal and natural. While complications may occur, abortion and contraception create many more physical problems than they solve, not counting mental and emotional. As a therapist, I work with many post-abortion clients who struggle with guilt and shame, some for years after the abortion.

In the years since contraception education was introduced into schools, instances of HIV and STDs have increased at a staggering rate: 20% of 14-year-olds have STDs, most incurable. If this was a head lice statistic, schools would be closed until a cure was found. Indiscriminate sexual behaviors and “safe sex” cause HIV and STDs.

While it is true that poor families are hard pressed to support their children, the belief that the poor have too many children is bigoted and discriminatory. Poverty, not children, is the problem, fueled by the greed of the haves and entitled. Imposing our selfish materialistic attitudes on them does nothing to combat their poverty. Justice does. In countries such as China that have sought to limit children, the outcome has been catastrophic. Among other problems, this has led to the genocide of 100 million baby girls.

Abortion decreases child morbidity … by killing them? The baby surely is dead, and many maternal deaths occur with abortion. There are many statistics that confirm this. Become informed.

Unsafe abortions can be completely eliminated through adoption. This is a solution. Infections from even legal abortions can also be eliminated in this way. Women don’t naturally choose abortion. Their hormone levels and nature will choose to protect that life. Abortion is an emotional decision made by women who believe that they have no choice but to terminate that growing life within them.

Ms. Shen made other statements, which are red herrings. They make an emotional appeal but are not logical or true. I have no wish to impose my values on others, but I do seek the Truth. A biology student should have some notion of biological facts. Be informed.

Barbara Triska

Lebanon, Oregon


Spanish Mix-Up?

Donald DeMarco refers to a “fascist” leader (read “bad”) who confronted an “eminent professor” (read “good”) during the Spanish Civil War (“Force Is Futile,” March 14). The fascist lived by the maxim “Long Live Death.” The “good” professor told the fascist that he will win because he has more brute force but that he will not persuade because he lacks “reason and right in the struggle.”

Unfortunately, Dr. DeMarco has his heroes mixed up. The “fascists,” or “nationalists,” were fighting the communist-led “republicans” to prevent the communists from enslaving Spain and making it a Soviet satellite. While I know nothing about the individuals referred to in Dr. DeMarco’s article (it’s unknown whether the “good” professor was a communist), I do know that “reason and right” were on the side of the nationalists. Fortunately, the nationalists prevailed, and Spain was saved from communist tyranny. Gen. Franco returned the monarchy to power. (President Eisenhower hailed Franco’s victory.)

Had the “good” professor been a Roman Catholic, he undoubtedly would not have “confronted” the fascist, and instead of being fired would likely have been murdered by the communist republicans. Catholics were nationalists and were systematically murdered by the communist forces, who hated Catholics in their atheistic fervor. (Many of the murdered priests were in recent years beatified.) 

William E. McCormick
La Canada-Flintridge, California


Donald DeMarco responds: My point was strictly a philosophical one, not a political one. It had to do with the futility of power vs. the rational power to convince. Brute power may be effective, but it is never convincing. Philosophy at its best is able to convince because it is in harmony with universal principles. The opposition between the General and the Philosopher in my article is a kind of replay of the opposition between the Sophists and Socrates in Plato’s dialogue Gorgias.