Comments, Please

I’m a practicing Catholic, bringing up my daughters in the Church. I also know a lot about climate change, having been a participant in the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiation process for some time.

I was angry and appalled by “Thought Experiments Gone Bad” (Daily Blog, Oct. 19) castigating Andrew Rivkin for his pretty middle-of-the-road take on the impact of population growth on climate change. My question is: Why don’t you permit comments on your blogs, especially when they are spectacularly uninformed, as this one was? This type of thinking will ultimately doom the Church (and not just from the climate-change impacts).

Peter Murtha

Silver Spring, Maryland

The editor responds: Beginning with our first issue in 2010, we will be allowing readers to respond to blog posts at

Bravo, Melinda

Thank you for Melinda Selmys’ article “Is Your Secret Life a Lonely Internal Wasteland? Postmodernism, Part 3” (Oct. 18).

Nowhere have I read a more concise and insightful description of (and antidote to) the nihilistic postmodern ideal. Bravo for making a religious-oriented periodical timely, topical, deep and interesting.

Anita Veyera

Charlotte, North Carolina

Catholic Health Care

In regard to your editorial “First Principles” (Oct. 18), history teaches us that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

If we nationalize health care, we will be centralizing health care in government and giving government absolute power over health care and guaranteeing corruption.

I would like to remind you that the Good Samaritan did not receive care from any government. He received care from an individual. Taking this into consideration, I would like to make a suggestion: Since there are so many Catholic hospitals in this country and since the bishops want to provide health care to those without coverage, it would set a good example if the bishops provided a program in Catholic hospitals whereby those without coverage receive any treatment needed.

The various dioceses throughout the country could support the programs in hospitals in their diocese.

It has been my observation that many people vote to take everyone else’s money to give to the poor and then pat themselves on the back for being generous. I don’t consider this a very Catholic attitude.

Beverly Thewes

Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

The New ‘Acorn’

Relevant to “After Acorn” (Oct. 11): As a parishioner of a church in the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, Va., I was astounded to discover a planned Nov. 22 collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development in my box of 2009 collection envelopes.

The campaign was widely discredited last year for funneling millions of dollars to Acorn (the Association of Community Organizations Reform Now).

Though funding of Acorn has ended, the Catholic Campaign is now supporting a lesser-known community-organizing entity called the Pacific Institute for Community Organizations. Founded by yet another Chicago community organizer, Father John Bauman, Pacific Institute is actively supporting the president’s health-care reform agenda through so-called “faith and health-care Sundays” and prayer vigils featuring the likes of Rep. Loretta Sanchez, a “pro-choice” Democrat from California.

It has also partnered with the liberal group Sojourners and the George Soros-funded Catholic Alliance for the Common Good to provide “health-care tool kits” to promote Obama’s proposed health-care reform — while downplaying the fact that such reform will fund elective abortions with public tax dollars.

For those bishops who were ignorant of the real Catholic Campaign agenda, it is not too late to pull the plug on this year’s collection. For those bishops who continue to shill for the campaign in spite of these findings — Lord, hear our prayer.

Jeffrey E. Knight

Washington, Virginia

Vatican II Divisiveness

Regarding “True Vatican II Spirit” (Nov. 1):

Just wondering: Is this pre- and post-Vatican II divide a common phenomenon worldwide or are there places that have been spared the division? Or is the ripple from Vatican II less strong perhaps in developing countries?

My family has priest friends from Ghana who say that language barriers are a prominent problem in their churches and society as a whole. Are the so-called faithful less faith-filled everywhere or not?

I realize that Bishop Nickless is targeting his own diocese, of which I am a member, but does this problem affect faithful everywhere?

Susanne Reding
Cylinder, Iowa

Faithful Nuns

Regarding the “Holy Nuns” letter from Barbara Levich of Seattle, Wash. (Oct. 25):

Take courage! There are more and more faithful orders/communities of nuns and religious sisters. I can name four without even stopping to think: the Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor, Mich., the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia in Nashville, Tenn., the Sisters of Mary Mother of the Church in Spokane, Wash., and the School Sisters of Christ the King in Lincoln, Neb.

Over the last four years, I have met sisters from several other groups, but, unfortunately, I cannot remember specific information on names. They are out there, even if perhaps difficult to pick out of the pack.

While currently our daughter is a professed sister with one of the above communities, I would not hesitate to recommend any of the four I mentioned to your young friend if she is discerning a call to religious life. These groups are all faithful to the magisterium, live a traditional community life of prayer and apostolate, wear a habit and are truly inspirations and excellent examples for all of us as they strive to live holy lives dedicated to Jesus and his Church.

Yes, the apostolic visitations for vowed religious may well help to bring about good changes where change is needed. But don’t lose heart: The good Lord is still at the helm.

Voni Pottenger

Redmond, Oregon

Citizenship & Health Care

In the Oct. 25 issue of the Register (“Bishops vs. Health-Care Bills”), it was reported that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops promised to oppose the health-care bill “if changes were not made to bar public funding of abortions and provide universal access to care, including for immigrants.” Supposedly, this includes illegal aliens. 

This appears to me to be a very Catholic position and one which I wholeheartedly support. However, while it is not the bishops’ responsibility to delve into positions outside the “render unto God the things that are God’s,” Congress is responsible for identifying those things which are Caesar’s.

For this reason, I would suggest to Congress that they require everyone who wishes to partake of our universal health-care package to provide proof of citizenship. Failure to provide proof of legal entry into the United States would entitle one to free transportation to one’s originating country, after receiving emergency health care, courtesy of the United States of America.

Julian Bauer

Columbia, Maryland

Federal Power Grab

Regarding “Bishops vs. Health-Care Bills” (Oct. 25):

Is it too late for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to recognize that “ObamaCare,” by whatever name, is another federal power grab that violates subsidiarity (decentralization), which is the foundational principle of Catholic social teaching and of our constitutional republic?

President Obama has made it clear that his end game is to kill private insurance and have single-payer socialized medicine. I have not seen the USCCB or the Catholic Health Association demand, request or even suggest that health-care reform be consistent with the principle of subsidiarity.

As No. 1885 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “The principle of subsidiarity is opposed to all forms of collectivism. It sets limits for state [meaning government] intervention.”

John Paul II in No. 48 of Centesimus Annus says: “By intervening directly and depriving society of its responsibility, the social assistance state leads to a loss of human energies and an inordinate increase of public agencies, which are dominated more by bureaucratic ways of thinking than by concern for serving their clients, and which are accompanied by an enormous increase in spending.”

See also No. 79 of Quadragesimo Anno (Reconstruction of the Social Order) and No. 47 of Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth).

Short-term victories on abortion and conscience protection are at the mercy of activist judges and future legislation. Bishops should heed the Catholic Medical Association’s comments at

Paul W. Rosenthal
Augusta, Georgia