?Why Not?'? Cont.

I found the writer?s letter gives clear evidence of the poor formation so many Catholics are plagued by today.

With rising healthcare costs, one can understand the allure of nationalized medicine. However, the writer is glossing over the negative aspects of such policies. Sure, it sounds great on paper: health care for rich and poor alike. The sad truth is that whenever the government takes over anything, choices are restricted, and bureaucracy runs rampant. What good is universal health care if you don?t live long enough to reap the benefits? The wait for services is horrendously long. Just ask any Cuban citizen, for example, how they like their abysmal ?health care? system. Even if such policies did work, how can health care mean anything if you aren?t guaranteed the right to life? It?s hard to take advantage of such a wonderful program if you don?t make it out of your mother?s womb alive. How is the ?choice? to extinguish the most vulnerable of lives in line with the ?justice, liberty and equality? the writer holds in such high regard?

The writer also mentions (or perhaps ?harps on? is a better expression) the ?celibate clergy? and how they are ?obsessed? with sexual issues. If only we heard more from the pulpit about these most important issues! The reason the Church may seem ?obsessed? to some regarding sexual matters is because of their grave importance.

The more important the matter, the louder the Church must proclaim the Gospel in that regard. Almighty God shared his power of creation with the human race, made in his most holy image. Therefore, sins of this nature are the gravest of all. Aborting the life he has willed into existence, or preventing it and separating the procreative and unitive aspects of this precious gift, are most grievous offenses to God ? a slap in his face, if you will.

A celibate priest is a beautiful example of self-giving, just as spouses are. I know I am very grateful for the sacrifices of my faithful parish priest, who gave of his whole self, to bring Christ to us every day in the holy Eucharist and his healing mercy in confession. Does the writer also think St. Paul was ?unnatural? because he was celibate, and says it is better to be like him (1 Corinthians 7:8; 7:32-35)? Or, more importantly, that Our Lord is unnatural? He also was celibate, and recommended celibacy if possible (Matthew 19:12). This is something the Lord calls someone to, and he cannot call someone to do or be something that is unnatural. If our culture weren?t so obsessed with sexual matters, perhaps it would report on the many other important issues the Church speaks to on a regular basis.

And finally, yes, it is possible to follow your conscience and still commit an intrinsically evil act, whether you know it or not, if your conscience is not properly formed. When the Church speaks of the primacy of conscience, it is speaking of a well-formed one.

Educating yourself on this matter is crucial, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church is a great place to start (No. 1783-1785; 1790-1793). I would urge our writer to dust off his Catechism, and get his priorities straight, so he may truly pursue the goods of ?justice, liberty and equality,? as Jesus, teaching through his Church, wishes us to do.

Jennifer Brannon

Maricopa, Arizona

So, a celibate lifestyle is not natural? But then why call yourself Catholic? After all, the Church?s teachings originated in a celibate man and were first proclaimed to the world through such celibates as Paul of Tarsus, and continue to be proclaimed through such ?unnaturals? as John Paul the Great and Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

And, if life is equally precious to a 90-year-old and a 14-year-old, then why does Barack Obama maintain that the life of a newborn who has miraculously survived an attempted abortion does not have the same value as that of a 9-month-old? ?Justice, liberty and equality? for whom? ?Specious logic? indeed.

Alexis L. Mazzocco

Oak Hill, Virginia

Regarding Michael O?Neill?s letter, his comments seem to reflect the blindness that has taken hold of society, and unfortunately, many Catholics.

Mr. O?Neill states that justice, liberty and equality make a greater claim on his conscience than abortion. 

What about justice, liberty and equality for the unborn children, millions of whom are sentenced to death by abortion every year? He talks about the right of a wife to ask a philandering husband to use a condom. This is not even a political issue, and does not compare to the tragedy of the deaths of millions of children who have been silenced before they can even speak. This is the important issue that pro-life voters are concerned about, not philandering husbands. Are there millions of philandering husbands out there from whom wives need to protect themselves? I hope not, but if there are, it is probably the result of the widespread use of contraceptives, which in the form of the pill and other devices don?t protect anyone from the numerous sexually transmitted diseases out there. Even the much promoted condom has too high a failure rate when the consequence of failure is death from AIDS or a lifetime with an incurable STD.

What has come over us that we view a baby as a worse ?consequence? of sexual activity than an incurable STD ? so much worse that we need to take his or her life? To quote Barack Obama, who was speaking about his daughters, ?if they make a mistake, I don?t want them punished with a baby.? Would he rather have them punished with an incurable STD, or the emotional trauma resulting from an abortion?

As a grandparent of 12, two of whom are adopted and could have been victims of abortion, I can only shake my head in disbelief at how far we have sunk.

My 8-year-old granddaughter ? with wisdom far beyond her years, or maybe just logic that is not polluted by the world in which we live ? asked, ?Why would anyone want to vote for Obama if he wants to kill babies? And why would he want to kill babies? Those are the people who might vote for him some day.?

Maybe this is what Jesus meant when he said we need to become like little children in order to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.

  Barbara Harmon

Elkhorn, WI

Michael O?Neill?s letter is riddled with contradictions and reveals an underlying ignorance of, and hostility to, the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Blind to the fact that homosexual ?marriage,? abortion, and contraception diametrically oppose the ?justice, liberty and equality? he claims to support, he dismisses such issues as the ?sexually obsessed? fantasies of a celibate clergy.

But all three issues directly impact the rights of men, women, and children, and the stability of the family. The Church has wisely always taught against these evils because they threaten the physical, emotional, and spiritual life and health of all.

Yet, Barack Obama would dismantle these rights. He recently stated, ?Well, the first thing I?d do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act.?

If passed into law, this act would invalidate all the pro-life laws that have been upheld by the Supreme Court since Roe vs. Wade, including the bans on partial-birth abortion and government funding of abortion.

Barack Obama is aggressively pro-abortion. During his tenure in office, he voted in favor of federal pro-life legislation 0% of the time. Contrary to O?Neill?s claim, John McCain voted in favor of federal pro-life legislation 74% of the time between 1997 and 2008.

O?Neill says that his arguments follow the dictates of his conscience. But since he confuses license, which permits us to do whatever we want, with liberty, which permits us to do only what is good, it seems his conscience has been informed by the tenets of secular relativism rather than Catholic ethics.

Instead of Church teachings being ?far-out,? as O?Neill has stated, I suggest that O?Neill is ?far-out? of the Church and ignorant of the issues. He should either learn the issues and his faith or stop calling himself Catholic.

Annemarie S. Muth

Bluffton, Indiana

Michael O?Neill from Wainscott, N.Y., wrote ?As a Catholic, I will continue to support Obama. To me justice, liberty and equality make much greater claims on my conscience and the common good than homosexual ?marriage,? abortion??

Tell me Mr. O?Neill: Mutilated and chemically burned babies are not entitled to justice, liberty and equality?

Are you sure you?re Catholic?

R.G. Crisostomo

Alameda, Calif.

Failing to See

While reading of Mr. Kmiec?s enthusiastic support for Barack Obama (?A Response to Doug Kmiec,? July 13), despite Kmiec?s pro-life views and past service in the Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations, I couldn?t help but think that this may explain why such fine presidents had such bad advice on judicial nominations, resulting in hit-and-miss federal judges (Bork vs. Kennedy, Thomas vs. Souter).

I was also struck by how such a well-educated and morally-informed man like Kmiec seems too nuanced for his own good (and the good of the unborn and the nation), failing to see that the killing of an innocent baby has a higher demand on our consciences than the sin of racism. I thank the venerable Father Richard Neuhaus for his moral clarity in this and other issues.

Paul Caldwell
Vienna, Austria

Voting Life

Regarding ?Vote Pro-life!? (July 13), I would like to remind readers that a vote for any candidate besides John McCain is a direct vote for Obama. God expects us to use our minds, and not just hope blindly that he will miraculously make Alan Keyes or Mark Shea our next president. We are commanded to be responsible ? and remember ? cunning Catholics. 

No candidate is going to be perfect. 

Katie Pecha
Lincoln, Nebraska