Friend and Believer of Archbishop Sheen

I wish to comment on the article headlined “Miracle Report Advances Archbishop Sheen’s Canonization Cause” (Aug. 13-19).

I am the state trooper mentioned on page 195 of Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s autobiography, Treasure in Clay. I am also a historian and I would like to share a few things about Fulton Sheen for the benefit of those who have not read his autobiography.

For 60 years, he devoted one hour a day to adoration before the Blessed Sacrament. He did not count time spent in celebration of the Mass. Archbishop Sheen faithfully kept watch for 21,900 hours during his life. Jesus Christ asked his lead apostle, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour?” (Mark 14:37). Christ’s own apostle could not keep watch for one hour without falling asleep.

The definition of a saint is a holy person, a person officially recognized as having lived an exceptionally holy life — and thus as being in heaven and capable of interceding for sinners. Proof of Archbishop Sheen’s holy life is found in the books he wrote honoring Christ, in his radio and television programs, in his sermons, in his retreats and in his works of charity.

In his letter to me dated June 16, 1979, he wrote, “I am happy that the Good Lord has used me as an instrument in bringing you back to him.”

This one sentence sums up Archbishop Sheen’s time on this earth. Christ used Archbishop Sheen as an instrument to bring thousands of souls to the Good Lord. Pope John Paul II embraced Archbishop Sheen and told him that he was a loyal son of the Church.

At the end of the day, which may not be in my lifetime, I believe that Archbishop Fulton Sheen will be declared a saint and a doctor of the Catholic Church.

lt. col. John F. Hall

Cadiz, Kentucky

Language Arts

It was St. Augustine who said that truth is like the chastity of the mind, where one rebels against the assault of lying, for example. The abuse of language, so well explained by professor Donald DeMarco (“‘Inclusive’ Is the New ‘Exclusive,’” Commentary & Opinion, August 27 - Sept. 2), is basically lying to the mind in order to seduce it to different and perverted ways of thinking. The pro-abortionists do this all the time by using deceptive words to obfuscate the truth of abortion.

That this phenomenon has spread abroad is alarming, and the basic malice of it all is that it makes discourse difficult if not impossible. Clarity of truth is so shrouded that no longer can we speak the same language in the same tongue. It’s like saying, “My significant other” or “my partner” referring to wife or husband, when it’s not clear who she or he actually is in the relationship. As in other cases, there may be a deliberate effort not to confront the truth for whatever reason.

Thankfully, the dictionary continues to be the “bible of truth.” For example, I’m having difficulty determining exactly what the word, “skinny” means. Sure, it means thin and frail. But one will hear occasionally, “I have the skinny on such a person or issue.” What does that mean? There’s sort of a lie here if people in the case of many words would quit insisting on using adjectives or verbs or nouns apart from the reality.

Be that as it may, as Christians we may with this growing phenomena find it difficult now to communicate our faith if we have to explain exactly what we mean — and know exactly what the other person understands by certain words so that a misunderstanding results. We may have to stop and ask for a definition of terms even before we start.

More seriously, the problem often starts when some cannot face or accept self-evident truths. If we can get them to accept that, then we’re on the way to spreading the Gospel more effectively.

Lawrence Petrus

Rocky River, Ohio

Party of Change? 

In the article “Democrats Woo Religious” (Aug. 6-12), Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., seems to be in a quandary as to how the Democrats can “woo” the conservative voter back to the Democratic party. If Mr. Obama is the thoughtful person that Father John Neuhaus says he is, one would think he would have figured out the answer — which is to change the party of death into a party of life.

I know that sounds like an arduous task, but as the old Chinese proverb says: “A journey of many miles begins with one step.”

Bob Dalton

Parker, Colorado

Either Way, It Was Too Many

In Angelo Matera’s essay “Benedict, the Peace Pope” (Commentary & Opinion, Sept. 3-9), the following was reported as fact: “On July 30, after an Israeli air strike on an apartment block in the biblical town of Qana killed 54, including 37 children, the Holy Father pleaded …”

This is untrue. The actual number of dead was 28 people as recognized by Human Rights Watch, the BBC and others.

I’d appreciate you correcting this error in the article.

Julian Fitzgibbon

London, England


Lamenting Lieberman

I noted with interest your recent editorial “The Tragedy of Joe Lieberman” (Aug. 20-26), especially the reference to the Connecticut senator’s ongoing support for partial-birth abortion — a fact not readily known by the public at large.

After reading that editorial, I happened to recall that, during the 1970s, Democratic Gov. Ella Grasso from Connecticut consistently raised her voice in defense of the unborn child in a most direct and courageous manner. Sadly, the three major candidates seeking victory this November to the U.S. Senate from Connecticut are all strongly pro-abortion. What happened during the past three decades to so politically weaken Gov. Grasso’s pro-life legacy in her beloved home state?

There are a number of major reasons for such a political flip-flop in a relatively short period. One of the main reasons is the indefensible biases in both the reporting and editorial writings toward the overall issue of abortion by the bulk of major secular news publications in support of abortion, which has been documented beyond dispute.

Specifically, in 1990, for example, Los Angeles Times reporter David Shaw did the most definitive research on bias in coverage of abortion news. This research took a full 18 months and contained more than 12,000 words while consistently documenting the deep-rooted pro-abortion biases of our national secular major new publications. That same year David Shaw won the Pulitzer Prize in journalism on an unrelated issue. (Sadly, within this past year, David Shaw went to his eternal reward.)

To add insult to injury, it would be easier to find a needle in a haystack than a major secular newspaper that cited these well-researched conclusions to their readers by a very distinguished journalist. One can only presume it would not have served their purpose to do otherwise.

Thomas E. Dennelly

West Islip New York

Father Klingele Fans

We just wanted to respond to “Plains Great,” the Priest Profile in the Aug. 27 - Sept. 3 issue of the Register. I was in tears by the time I got to the end of the article about Father Brian Klingele.

If we could find more great priests like Father Klingele, the Church would be producing many more vocations. He deserves to be on all our prayer lists.

Mr. and Mrs. William Heft

Kansas City, Missouri

Brides Bedazzle

I’d like to share a personal observation related to “Where Have All the Nuns Gone?” (Aug 6-12).

Sister Carole Shinnick gives several reasons for the decline in religious vocations in some orders, but I have another one. When I was in Catholic schools in the mid-1960s and ’70s, I was terrified that I might have the calling to be a nun, because all the ones I knew were grouchy and frumpy. I honestly can’t remember any happy sisters.

Now, however, I am acquainted with nuns in four different orders, mostly young. They are all obviously in love with Jesus, filled with joy and   — guess what else? All of them are beautiful in traditional habits! Each order is growing.

I think it’s because girls see these happy brides of Christ and say, “I want to be like them!”

Connie Youngman

Effort, Pennsylvania

Prayers Over Politics

In response to the letter titled, “Truthful but Tin-Eared” (Sept. 3-9), may I add: If we don’t pray more, the downward slide of American politics will continue.

This campaign season, I received dozens of letters begging me for money in support of one candidate over another, or good over evil. My response to all of them was to pray and pray and pray some more.

Why? Because this summer, on June 21, to be exact, I fell backwards and broke the end of my spine. I’m 91 years old and I could have broken my neck.

I think God is keeping me alive for a reason. He wants me to use my pen for urging everyone to tap into his almighty power and not depend so much on the power of money.

Prayer changes things. Let’s use millions of prayers asking God to help us elect God-loving men and women who will return our nation back to “one nation under God.”

Mary M. Doering

Fort Madison, Iowa