Where’s the Support?
I want to thank Deacon Davis for his excellent In Depth article, “An ‘A’ Plan For Plan B” (Nov. 11). Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could get widespread Catholic support for Church teaching?
I have lived in eight communities in various states in New England, and I, for one, have very seldom heard any homily on any of the hot-button items facing the Church. When you approach a priest about this they always seem to have the excuse that they have to base their homily on the Gospel or that there is more than one issue to be concerned with.
In addition, I believe the majority of Catholics don’t believe in the Church’s teaching on contraception, and I have personally heard two priests at two different Bible study groups say that they believed the Church would have to change her teaching on contraception; it was only a matter of time.
Another point: If a Catholic is not reading something like the Register or watching EWTN, where are they going to hear anything from the Vatican or the [U.S.] Bishops’ Conference on Church teaching?
Vatican and USCCB documents seem to be almost secret documents to the average Catholic except for what they might read in the local newspaper. Effective communication is not what is said but what is heard.
If the Church wants to enlist support from the average layperson they are going to have to do a much better job in her teaching responsibility.
Canaan, New Hampshire
I have long enjoyed Mark Shea’s writing, including his book By What Authority and his recent series of columns regarding the proper understanding of Church teaching.
I write to take charitable issue with Shea, though, on one point of his Nov. 4-10 column, “Which Dissenters Are Correct?” Shea is correct in saying that the Catholic Church opposes discrimination on the basis of man’s human dignity and his rights flowing from it.
However, the Church does allow for just discrimination regarding man’s practice of religion to advance the common good/welfare of society, including giving the Church special support to advance her God-given mission as well as maintaining the “just public order” of society (cf. Vatican II, Dignitatis Humanae, Declaration on Religious Freedom, nos. 2-3, 6-7, 13).
Such just discrimination is not contrary to the mind of Christ. It has been implemented in historically Catholic countries in which church and state were closely allied, and thus the Church received advantages in advancing her mission, and, more recently, via concordats with secular governments that continue to have large Catholic populations.
In addition, the Church supports just discrimination against those religious practices that violate basic human rights, whether the human-sacrificing practices of the Aztecs of old or the contemporary advocacy of abortion or “homosexual marriage” by various groups of dissident Christians today.
Thomas J. Nash
Mark Shea responds: I appreciate Mr. Nash’s letter and have no disagreement with it. As Mr. Nash no doubt knows, the passage I quoted in my article was from Nostra Aetate (The Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions). It was not intended by the Second Vatican Council to contradict other Church teaching, but to be read within the particular context of the issues being discussed by that document. I was writing within that same context and not addressing the entire length and breadth of the Church’s teaching on all forms of discrimination.
Standing Up for Cecelia
Regarding “Saving Nathans: Bill Might Reduce Abortion of Down Syndrome Babies” (Nov. 25):
In the fall of 2002, I came across Bishop Fulton Sheen’s prayer for spiritual adoption. In February 2003 I found out I was pregnant with my fourth child.
Early in my pregnancy my obstetrician found markers for Down syndrome. He sent me to a specialist, where he found many more markers for Down. I refused an amniocentesis. I told the doctor it would endanger my daughter’s life.
From there, she proceeded to paint a very bleak picture of our unborn daughter’s life and offered to “interrupt” my pregnancy. I asked her why she would suggest such a thing. I had just refused an “amnio” because I didn’t want to endanger my little girl. She told me by law she had to.
I have a strong faith and support from my husband so I was able to stand my ground. However, there are many women out there who don’t have those blessings, and out of desperation do as the doctor tells them.
I am filled with joy to not only to be able to spiritually adopt my child but also to bring her into God’s Kingdom. Seeing this article brought me to tears.
Finally, someone is standing up for Nathan and our precious Cecelia. The joy they bring to our family and the world is immeasurable. A far cry from the bleak existence the doctor tried to hand my family.
Epsom, New Hampshire
Regarding “Will Brownbackers Back Huckabee?” (Nov. 18):
I have been following the Register, and other media, regarding the quandary of Republican Party pro-life voters, among whom my wife and I count ourselves.
At 50 years of age, I am convinced that pro-abortion politicians will always live down to their promises to uphold the “right to choose.” Yet I have become deeply skeptical, even to the point of cynicism, of believing that self-proclaimed pro-life politicians are deeply convicted of the necessity of protecting the innocent unborn.
“Pro-life” politicians, once in office, quite often exhibit merely a milquetoast, pro-forma passivity in “supporting” marginal changes rather than pro-actively, militantly initiating vigorous measures to dismantle, once and for all, the culture of death.
Witness the politicos’ support for funding Planned Parenthood to the tune of billions of our tax dollars over the decades. Witness the nearly total, abject lack of support for school choice, coupled with passive acceptance of radical in-school sex education and secret provision of even middle-schoolers with condoms and birth control.
Witness the failure of prosecutors all over the nation to go after and imprison Planned Parenthood directors and workers for their complicity in procuring abortions for minors who have been statutorily raped by older men, or who have been transported across state lines for abortion.
Witness the cynical appointment of questionable nominees to the Supreme Court even by Republicans who ostensibly are on our side and ought to be highly vigilant about such things but instead manifest curiously convenient blind spots whenever a Supreme Court vacancy occurs (see Sandra O’Connor, David Souter and the near-appointment of Harriet Miers).
Where is the vigilance? If there is any, it’s to be alert to opportunities to sneak weak “moderates” onto the court and thereby subvert the pro-life cause for another generation or two.
Sorry, I can’t help but being cynical about the true motives of the illuminati who have governed this nation for more than 50 years.
When I, a Catholic and a Republican, approach the candidates for the nomination in 2008, I can’t help but be extremely skeptical about all of the self-proclaimed pro-lifers running for president — Mike Huckabee included among them.
A pro-life voter can no longer accept most politicians at face value. Show me the politician who has marched outside of abortion businesses. Show me the governor of any state who’s been willing to “go to the mat” and veto — repeatedly, if need be — any and all legislation that provides any public monies whatsoever to school sex clinics and to Planned Parenthood. Show me the governor who is willing to speak out repeatedly about the greatest crime of the age.
At the least, I can tell you that the top priority next year is going to be to defeat the Democrat, whoever is nominated. Even Giuliani will be far better than any of the Democrats.
John Gerard Boulet, M.D.
Owens Cross Roads, Alabama
Vote Your Faith
Regarding the story in your Nov. 18 issue “Will Brownbackers Back Huckabee?”:
Catholics can make a difference in the upcoming presidential election. We don’t have to sit back and watch the numerous assaults being launched on our faith by so many Democrats of today.
Abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem-cell research, same-sex “marriages” and the many attempts to remove God from our country are issues that we Catholics cannot tolerate.
We need to back pro-life candidates. And it is my opinion that Gov. Mike Huckabee is the best defender of life and delivers on the previously mentioned issues. He is making a pretty big leap in the polls lately and we don’t have to concede the Republican Party nomination to Rudy Giuliani just yet.
If Catholics all vote with the faith we have been taught in mind, then Huckabee can beat Giuliani. If we are complacent, Giuliani will come out.
Abortion and euthanasia should be the top issues for all Catholics. All you need to do is go to priestsforlife.org and look at abortion photos and you will see why this holocaust must stop.
If Hillary Clinton becomes president, our pro-life movement will face a major setback, and we can’t have that no matter how good she might be for our country in other issues. We need to vote the way our faith demands us to vote. Vote for life.