Don’t Bother at ND

Regarding “Easter Identity Crisis” (March 30):

In the section headed “Hiring Targets,” it says it is now difficult to achieve a 50% Catholic hiring goal for professors at the university. It is Father Jenkins’ policy to permit these performances at Notre Dame that makes these goals fail.

A close friend of mine was recently a part of a committee for interviewing and selecting a professor for one of the major departments at Notre Dame. He said the only candidates for the position who really qualified were non-Catholics.

If I were a young and orthodox candidate, I would not even bother to apply at Notre Dame, particularly since there have been so many new and strongly orthodox universities opened in recent years.

If you want to have a majority of orthodox professors, you must be a truly orthodox university.

Buzz Scofield

Denver Colorado

Tired Shell Game

In the letter, “Serious Questions,” (April 6), the letter writer criticized John McCain on various social justice issues and claimed his positions should give Catholic voters pause.

Since McCain is the only pro-life candidate en route to nomination, her implied thesis is that because no candidate is perfect, Catholics can, in good conscience, vote for pro-abortion politicians like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Indeed, many Catholics who vote for such candidates cite their concerns for “social justice,” yet they apparently believe the term only applies to people already born.

Of what benefit is government-supplied health insurance to a baby who has been torn limb from limb?

How can educators help children who have been burned to death with saline?

Is a compassionate immigration policy of any value to infants whose skulls have been punctured as they crossed the border of the womb?

As an attorney, the letter writer ought to understand the linear reasoning that proves the right to life is the foundation on which all other rights depend.

For instance, she was able to obtain her law degree and pen her letter because she was first given a chance to live. Yet rather than defend the right to life — the first unalienable right listed in the Declaration of Independence — she selectively quoted the U.S. bishops, failing to mention how they have emphasized abortion is a grave evil that can never be considered just one of many issues.

Likewise, she quoted Pope John Paul II’s opposition to the Iraq war, but doesn’t include one of his numerous pro-life statements.

Of course, that’s what good attorneys do when arguing a case, so her strategy can’t be faulted. Yet with all the scientific data now available about life in the womb, and with all the unequivocal pro-life teaching from the Vatican, not to mention the Catechism of the Catholic Church, it’s increasingly difficult to find any merit in the writer’s tired old shell game.

The verdict is in: Life is the foremost social justice issue in the United States, and one day voters will have to answer to Jesus, the Eternal Judge, for how they treated the defenseless unborn, those who were, without a doubt, the least among them.

Don Himmelspach

Saginaw, Michigan

Thanks, Professor DeMarco

I would like to thank professor Donald DeMarco for his wonderful article, “Vindicated” (March 30) on Pierre Duhem.

I found his brief biography quite inspiring. As a fellow academic, I agree with DeMarco that humble role models are hard to come by in our profession, and I fear I fail myself too many times in the humble combination of solid critical thinking and strong faith.

Msgr. Rutler may be right: From a professional point of view, academia is the crucible in which we seek sanctity by the transforming grace of our Lord.

Readers of the Register who are interested in additional reading in this topic, especially the challenge of secularism and of the blurring of distinctions between Christianity and other world religious through reductionism to the same common denominator, may consult Rodney Stark’s The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism and Western Success (Random House, 2005).

Andrew L. Minto, Ph.D.

Steubenville, Ohio

Barack’s Bigoted Mentor

I read with interest the editorial “We’re Waiting, Barack” (March 30) on Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and the valid criticisms of his political views.

It is my hope that you would see fit to publish a subsequent editorial between now and the general election on the hateful remarks made by Obama’s confidant, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and the relative downplay of them by the secular news media.

The hateful diatribe by Wright against our nation defies rationale. He has accused the United States of being responsible for the spread of AIDS in the black community and for the tragedy of 9/11, among other things.

The relative silence of our secular, daily, major newspapers toward these ugly allegations is reprehensible.

Specifically, individual groups have been consistently maligned by the venom spewed from Wright.

In addition, Italian-Americans have been described by Wright as “garlic nose[s],” a demeaning and despicable reference. Fortunately, Italian-American leaders have publicly criticized Wright and his supporters for such mean-spirited and bigoted slurs.

 Thomas E. Dennelly

West Islip, New York

Catholic Questionnaire?

In consideration of the editorial, “‘Fear Not, Little Flock’” (March 9) relating to the Catholic “head count”: Would you think that a professionally composed survey/questionnaire should be given to all graduating seniors of Catholic high schools (perhaps also of the grade schools too), and also the parents to determine the extent to which they have received (and learned) Catholic teaching and, separately, whether they in fact believe and practice what the Church teaches?

Perhaps this would have to be reserved to the authority of individual ordinaries of dioceses but could not some diocese pilot such a project?

The “head count” is well and good but what is the knowledge and belief content of the flock?

Particularly, what is the effectiveness of our Catholic educational systems at the level of primary and secondary?

Would bishops dare to do such a survey annually much as our public school systems are beginning to require comprehensive exams of students at certain grade levels (Ohio)?

Isn’t it important to validate what we seem to believe are the shortcomings in Catholic education and take steps to improve?

Or are we, as Catholics, afraid to face up to the apparent reality of increasing loss of faith in our children — and parents alike?

Bernard J. Schlueter

Dublin, Ohio

The Better Candidate

In reply to the letter to the editor, “Serious Questions” (April 6): While Sen. McCain cannot “take up the Catholic mantle” and Catholics aren’t “single issue voters,” defense of the lives of the unborn must be the most important social justice issue of our day, just as the abolition of slavery and “universal Negro citizenship” were the important social justice issues of their day.

And, Just as the Dred Scott v. Sanford and Plessy v. Ferguson were immoral and unjust, so Roe v. Wade is immoral and unjust. And, just as Dred Scott and Plessy were overturned, so Roe must be overturned.

I respectfully ask the writer which of the candidates will work for the overturning of this manifestly immoral and unjust ruling — Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, who have both voted against even the most mild of restrictions on the slaughter of the innocent unborn or John McCain who has voted for every restriction and has stated he would vote for a ban on all of these killings except those needed to save the lives of the mothers or in cases of rape and incest (fewer than .02% of all abortions)?

Michael Sweeney

West Hollywood, California

McCain Comes Closest

Regarding the “Serious Questions” (April 6) letter to the editor: I do agree with her that there is not one candidate or party that lives up to the demanding criterion of our Catholic social condition and that both parties have significant work to do in that regard.

I can also agree that Catholics are not single-issue voters, as there are five primary issues that would morally define who a Catholic should vote for: abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem-cell research, cloning and same-sex “marriage.”

War, government health insurance for children and possible policies favoring the wealthy do not carry equal weight to those five and would only be important if the candidates of both parties agreed on the five primary issues, which they do not.

As regards the war, at this point, Sen. McCain is opposed to a precipitous withdrawal from Iraq, something that the Vatican also opposes.

With regard to the SCHIP bill, that bill was not only a reauthorization of insurance but it also included abortion funding for women (which was not included in previous versions).

As far as pushing economic policies that favor the rich (I guess this would refer to tax policy), I am sure that Mr. McCain believes that economically, the policies he believes in are better for all Americans, not only the rich.

Besides, nothing in Catholic doctrine states that the government must support the poor — we are all obligated out of charity to do so for our brothers and sisters. I would rather donate that money to local charities than to have the government tax me in order to distribute it and most likely waste it.

In summary, I would think that John McCain is the candidate who comes closest to the ideal on the most important issues that Catholics should be weighing (as per Church teaching), even if he is not perfect in all regards. Certainly, his potential opponents fail outright in all five categories.

Nicholas Picini

Kearny, New Jersey