Singing the Blues

Regarding “L’Osservatore Discusses The Blues Brothers” (June 15,

In condoning The Blues Brothers movie, L’Osservatore Romano makes yet another silly attempt to be “relevant” to an international pop culture that is increasingly decadent. The movie is laced with profanities and obscenities.
While L’Osservatore Romano is published by the Vatican Press Office, not everything in the paper — including editorial comments — necessarily reflect the “official” opinion of the Catholic Church. Statements from the Holy Father and magisterial documents carry authoritative weight. Articles such as those about The Blues Brothers reflect the opinions only of the writers.

It behaves today less like a faithful papal defender and more like a rebellious teenager.

Paul Kokoski

Hamilton, Ontario

Fighting Porn in Minn.

Relevant to “New Report Confirms Smut’s ‘Devastating Impact’” (May 23): A word of encouragement to those fighting against pornography in your community. Some friends and I started an anti-pornography coalition called the Christian Action League of Minnesota. One of our goals was to persuade businesses to discontinue carrying a trashy tabloid that is replete with ads for pornography.

A Christian Action League member sent an e-mail to the marketing director of Bruegger’s Bagels, who is the decision maker for 38 Bruegger’s bakeries in Minnesota. Within 24 hours, he wrote back saying that after receiving the e-mail, he took a look at the current issue. He agreed that the ads were offensive. He explained that he had already contacted all of his bakeries informing them that they would no longer carry the tabloid because it was not the image their restaurants wanted to project. So, when, (not if, unfortunately) you see porn in your community, speak up!

Ann Redding

Christian Action League of Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Grieving Mother

Relevant to “The Pill Turns 50” (May 9):

My name is Marilyn Frances Prouty. I am 70 years old. At the age of 33, I had three abortions. I am here to speak to you about my contraceptive abortions in the hope you will not make the same mistakes I did.

I regret the deaths of my babies, and have endured over 31 years of pain, guilt and sorrow caused by the violence I perpetrated against my own children. I was ignorant of how “the pill” and the “IUD” work.

When my doctor prescribed the pill and later the IUD, I thought I was choosing responsible birth control. I realize now that I had chosen a contraceptive death sentence for my children.

I was inconsolable in my suffering when I realized what I had done. I spent years in the pro-life movement learning as much as I could about the deaths of my children. I learned conception was not prevented — the lives of my children were taken.

In 2006, I finally found help and forgiveness at a weekend retreat of Project Rachel. The other retreatants, the counselors, the psychotherapist and the priest confirmed that my babies are real. They helped me to get to know them as Suzanne Clara, Mary Beth and Frances Marilyn.

I am silent no more because I believe men and women need to learn early in life that the life of an unborn baby is truly precious — and in danger from a contraceptive death.

Doctors, Planned Parenthood and our pro-death culture have lied to us. We need to obtain a fuller working knowledge of human reproduction and development of the unborn child. And with that knowledge, we learn the pill and the IUD may often not prevent pregnancy. They may kill an unborn child as surely as a surgical abortion. When I prevented their implantation with an IUD, my babies starved to death inside my own womb.

Marilyn Prouty

Sacramento, California

Arcane Knowledge?

Melinda Selmys’ column of June 6 is baffling. The headline, “Resistance to Acedia,” got my attention. I had never heard of “acedia.” She used the word several more times in the piece without defining it. The column itself did nothing to help us comprehend what she was talking about. It wandered about, was vague, clueless and was not at all helpful. I looked in my desk dictionary (Webster’s II, New Riverside Dictionary, 1984) and it did not even have the word in it. I later found a definition on the Web: “boredom” or “apathy.” Does a column in a Catholic newspaper deserve an article on this subject? It sounds like the author was more interested in showing off her arcane vocabulary while going off in rambling depth on a very unimportant subject.

It actually proved her thesis, being the most boring and apathetic thing I have read in a long time. The Catholic Register could do better by leaving that space blank.

Fred Holzweiss

Englewood, Florida

The editor responds: The column to which you refer was the final installment in Melinda’s thought-provoking three-part series on what the Desert Fathers called acedia and its soul-depleting consequences. Part 1 ran March 14 and Part 2 ran May 23. We regret that we didn’t give our readers a brief definition of acedia — one of the seven deadly sins — in the last two installments.

Mandate NFP

The information in your article “The Pill at 50” (May 9) is well taken. Natural family planning is the best way to space children. But I am perplexed why the Catholic Church does not make it a mandatory class for all contemplating marriage. If our Church is serious about promoting natural family planning and not artificial contraception, it might be wise for dioceses to hire teachers and make the classes available at no cost to engaged couples as well as married couples. Most couples just will not spend the hundreds of dollars necessary for these classes.

Joan Hosek

Placentia, California

Providential Timing

“Bible Study, Catholic Style” (May 23) could not be more timely, corresponding, as it does, with a momentous event in biblical studies: the June 2010 launch of The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament, RSV 2nd Catholic Edition. The “study” part is by engaging Bible scholar and speaker Scott Hahn, while the text is the Revised Standard Version, arguably the best-reading English translation. The RSV had a tireless champion in the late Richard John Neuhaus, editor of the journal First Things, who urged its adoption in the Mass. The RSV is already familiar to many Catholics, as it’s used in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Gord Wilson

Bellingham, Washington

Insufficient Approach?

Regarding “More Than E=MC2” (May 23):

While scientists certainly can benefit from holistic thinking, I am unsure that Daw’s “integrated approach” to physics is truly any different from first-year physics taught at any other institution — any first-year physics student can affirm that there is a cause for every change in the physical world.

While, as a Catholic, one may believe in the supernatural realm or that there are changes without material causes (i.e. miracles), because the material world is all science has to work with, we are limited to that in our realm of understanding and thus our education.

Just because something is immaterial (and thus unscientific) does not mean it is unreal or unworthy of study — theology is a prime example — but if it is unscientific, it does not belong in a science classroom. “Scientifically bright Catholic students who value their faith” would benefit from schools that teach them the best science they can while integrating first principles through separate study of philosophy and theology, which is already required at Catholic institutions. Besides, I feel scientists have a greater grasp of the reality of their studies than Barra is giving them credit for; if first principles are grounded in “common sense,” then any student who has made it to the university level will surely already have explicit knowledge of them.

I agree that scientists greatly benefit from studies outside their discipline, but I am doubtful that the Daw method would be effective or sufficient.

Joanna Scimeca

senior biology major (theology minor)

Providence College

Providence, Rhode Island

Greedy Employers

Regarding “Immigration Integration” (May 26): I am a Roman Catholic reader who is strongly in favor of enforcing federal immigration laws.

Congratulations to you for writing a story that includes an accurate evaluation by Rosemary Jenks about where the real problem lies in the immigration debate: unscrupulous businesses that have no compunctions about preying on helpless illegal immigrants.

As long as the job magnet exists for illegal immigrants, they will continue to come to the U.S. Amnesty, as Jenks implied, is not the answer. It would just encourage more illegal crossings. A better approach would be to criminally prosecute businesses that hire illegal immigrants. Once the jobs dry up, as they certainly would if bosses paid heavy fines and spent some time in jail, illegal immigration would slow down to a trickle.

And by the way, outside of the workplace where their greedy employers take every advantage, immigrants are treated very humanely. For 25 years, I taught English as a second language to adult immigrants in California’s San Joaquin Valley. All of my colleagues and I made extraordinary efforts for them to be comfortable in the classroom so that they would work hard to learn English. Thank you again for a fine story.

Joe Guzzardi

Bradford Woods, Pennsylvania


In the Register’s June 20 article “A Chaplain’s Plea” the secondary headline should have more accurately reflected the archbishop’s stance: “Military Archbishop Comes Out — Against Repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’”