Mandatum Datum

Regarding “The Pope’s ‘Mandatum’” (April 27): I was happy to see positive reaction of the educators from Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, Thomas Aquinas College and The Catholic University of America, to the Holy Father’s address to Catholic college and university presidents, but where are the others?

Much, maybe most, of higher Catholic education in North America is in a state of open dissent, if not outright rebellion, and it will not be resolved by good will, wishful thinking, or appeals to reason.

I am a great admirer of the Holy Father, as I was of his predecessor, but more must be done.

Simple appeals not to use academic freedom to contradict the teaching and faith of the Church will not do. Action is needed; it may be painful, but it is essential.

Teachers of the faith must either sign the mandatum and live by it, or lose the license to teach in a Catholic institution of learning.

Jim Roth

Ridgefield, Washington


Papal Coverage

Thanks for your outstanding coverage of our Holy Father’s visit to the U.S. It was great to be able to read his remarks to all the various groups he met with. We are so blessed in this gentle shepherd who leads us with the voice of Christ. I look forward to my paper every week, which is the best publication that comes into my home.

Martha Condit

Bloomfield Hills, Michigan


Pope’s Picture Placement

The panoramic picture of Pope Benedict XVI overlooking the filled-to-capacity Nationals Stadium should have been on the front page.

Our family, especially the teenagers, were impressed that tens of thousands of people stopped to get off the merry-go-round of everyday life to take the time and effort to see and listen to the Pontiff in person, when they could have easily had a better view on their big screen TVs at home.

Perhaps you should add a parent to the team that makes photo placement decisions.

Margo Klosterman

Robins, Iowa


Editor’s note: The photo decisions for that particular issue were made primarily by three staff members who between them have 14 children at home.


Cat Defender

Regarding Mark Shea’s column, “Benedict, the Cat Person” in the April 20 edition:

He seems to be confusing his perception of what a cat is like vs. a dog with that of the people who prefer one over the other. I’ve heard it said that those who love dogs enjoy all the adoration heaped on them by such an animal, whereas a cat’s personality is more subtle.

You need to be more open to the subtlety of a cat. Pope Benedict knows well how to read the audience he is addressing, which reveals not only his intelligence, but also his appreciation and understanding of the subtleties of human nature. This may well be the reason for his preference for cats.

Barbara Karg
Riverdale, New Jersey


Shea’s no Hep Cat

Regarding “Benedict, the Cat Person” (April 20):

Although this has little to do with our beloved Catholic Church of which I have been a grateful member for 54 years, I felt I must respond to Mark Shea’s article.

First of all cats are not snooty, aloof or proud (thinking they are gods). Obviously, Mr. Shea has never had or gotten acquainted with a cat. They are lovable, especially when they purr and snuggle up to you.

It is peculiar but true that cats can tell who likes them and who doesn’t. I also love dogs, but cats more.

Hurray for our Holy Father!

Nellie Irizarry

Brownsville, Texas


Seussian Stand for Life

Regarding Steven D. Greydanus’ verse review “Against All the Odds, This Horton Stands Tall” (March 16):

Election time is here again,

Sometimes it feels like it’ll never end!

Hill and Obama are on the stump,

Looking to give their campaigns a bump.

They talk economy, healthcare and war,

Handing out pamphlets and knocking on doors.

It’s ironic, they speak of the weak, the poor,

When the unborn are the most defenseless of all.

Listen you two, for the call of their voice,

Their plea is for life;

Though they have no vote.

You argue for change and hope for the nation,

But “personhood” for you depends on location.

Hear this: If you say you’re for rights,

We won’t give up the unborn without a fight!

On this you’ll be judged at the end of it all:

“A person is a person, no matter how small.”

Cindy Northon

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


Hooked on HIllary?

Regarding “Hook, Line and Sinker” (May 4):

Paul Kengor’s article on Hillary Clinton’s pep rallies at Catholic colleges was aptly aimed. Mr. Kengor hit the nail on the head.

I found it disturbing that so-called Catholic colleges invited to their campuses a candidate who supports partial-birth abortion. I live in northeastern Pennsylvania, and the local Catholic colleges did the same thing. I think all these colleges bring scandal to the Church.

By providing a platform for Hillary Clinton, the colleges present confusion to its students as well as the public. I am sure Clinton was thrilled that Catholic colleges allowed her to have a platform. She needed the Catholic vote to win big in Pennsylvania and thus create a sense of momentum for future primaries.

Bishop [Donald] Trautman deserves a great deal of support for standing up for Catholic values. His refusal to attend the graduation ceremony at Mercyhurst College was a true act of courage. He provided good leadership and was a good shepherd for his diocese.

Catholic colleges have a real opportunity to provide leadership. This begins with having a strong Catholic identity.

 Richard Sherrick

West Nanticoke, Pennsylvania


The Non-Negotiables

In your editorial, “McCain and Pro-Lifers” (March 2), you list about seven or more things (bad things) that would most probably happen if Clinton or Obama were elected. They all had to do with the five “non-negotiable” issues that must always be opposed by Catholics, the things that would happen if either of these candidates were elected are directly opposite to what our Church teaches. It would be disastrous for our nation and any hope of moral improvement in our country and the world.

We need black-and-white teaching. This editorial was excellent. Please repeat, as least the list of what probably would happen. Our Church teaches that all issues are not always absolutely right or wrong. But these “non-negotiables” are always wrong.

Thank you for strongly presenting true Roman Catholic teaching.

Margaret Isaack

Morgantown, West Virginia


Editor’s Note: Both Obama and Clinton have records that are, for all practical purposes, 100% pro-abortion. Obama wouldn’t even protect children born alive by mistake during abortion attempts. If either of them wins, as one pro-life blogger pointed out, we will get:

• two more Supreme Court justices who consider abortion a right, plus more than a hundred Federal court appointments to foul our justice system for another 50 years,

• federally funded embryonic stem-cell research,

• federally funded cloning and “chimera” research,

• federally funded abortion on demand,

• abortion in military hospitals,

• federally funded abortion overseas,

• vicious regulatory attacks on pro-life doctors, nurses, clinics and non-profit groups,

• the repeal of conscience-clause exceptions for doctors and pharmacists,

• efforts to reclassify churches and pro-life activities, threatening their tax-exempt status,

• “the Freedom of Choice Act” (FOCA), which is like the Human Life Bill in reverse — a federal statute mandating abortion on demand in every state,

• the end of abstinence education, and

• the end of the highly successful approach to AIDS in Africa that stresses abstinence and monogamy.


Latin Mass’ Beauty

Relevant to “Where Latin Lives” (May 4):

I have heard it said that sometimes you have to take a step back to move forward.

Having been born after Vatican II, I had never heard of the Latin Mass until only recently when our beloved Pope began to encourage more people to attend it. Having inquired as to its whereabouts I decided to attend the traditional Latin Mass for my first time. Though somewhat skeptical at first I was actually blown away by its awesome beauty. My initial reaction was: “Why have the local bishops been hiding it for so long?”

To me it is like a totally different Mass. The priest seems more dedicated taking great care in what he is saying and doing. This is especially true during the consecration as well as when he alone distributes holy Communion, ensuring that exceptional care is taken to properly honor and protect the sacred Host.

Another thing I noticed was the air of reverent silence that permeates the church. One immediately senses being in the midst of a prayerful community. The music seemed to come in at the appropriate time and sounded compatible with what was happening. It heightened my awareness of the mystery. This was also my first contact with the rich and reverent rhythm of real sacred music. Along with the scent of holy incense one could almost visualize the peoples’ prayers at times rising in a cloud of worship to God.

Thank you, Holy Father, for encouraging wider use of the traditional Latin Mass, which I now attend regularly. In doing so I am becoming more and more familiar with the Latin language and its profound classical beauty.

My one wish is that the Latin Mass will be said in every church and in every diocese so that all Catholics can experience the same epiphany of awesome beauty and holiness that I experience each Sunday at the Latin Mass.

Mark Nelson

Toronto, Ontario