When Children of Homosexuals Grow Up

As an adult daughter of a homosexual man, I read with interest “The Forgotten Voice in the Adoption Debate” (May 7-13). I related to much of what Dawn Stefanowicz shared in her interview and I wholeheartedly echo her concerns.

My father left our family after 16 years of marriage, revealing his secret “alternative lifestyle.” While my mother retained primary custody of the children, we were still exposed to the gay subculture during visitation. My father died a few years later.

Out of a sense of loyalty to my father, I initially voiced support for the gay agenda, not realizing the huge scope of the issue which Mrs. Stefanowicz outlines so clearly. I rationalized: “If only Dad were free to be himself he would not have had to hide behind the cover of a wife and kids.” Along with that line of thinking, I concluded that my whole existence was a lie.

It took years of counseling for me to work through relationship issues related to my father’s lack of affection, affirmation and at times outright hostility toward the female members of our family. And it was not until after I married, had children and studied the teachings of the Catholic Church that I began to discover the truth about the marriage covenant. Participation in a Familia Family Life Team was an instrumental part of my healing process.

Now, 25 years after his death, I have come to realize that Dad’s greatest legacy (whether or not it was his intent) was to father seven children with his wife in the context of a sacramental marriage covenant. By God’s grace, my mother was able to offer up her suffering, remain faithful to the Church and pass on the Catholic faith to their children — who have, in turn, passed it on to all the grandchildren.

I strongly commend Mrs. Stefanowicz’s courage in speaking out openly about her experiences, especially since I am not there yet. I appreciate her support of a marriage-protection amendment and I look forward to her autobiography.

Name withheld

Who’s Mending Mexico?

Regarding: “A Humane, Comprehensive Solution” (May 14-20):

Bishop Barnes’ statement regarding his charge to help formulate and articulate the Church’s position on immigration seems artificially constrained and unnecessarily limited by addressing the issue from a U.S.-centric vantage point.

Although the bishop does represent the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Church’s ultimate position and role in this epochal matter must not be restricted by the same national boundaries and borders — and thus, national interests — of the United States and Mexico. On immigration, the Church in North America and the Western Hemisphere must be vocal and active in both countries — in a word, borderless.

It is an unnatural phenomenon for millions of people to migrate from their homelands with little more than the clothes on their back. A terrible collective failure of all aspects of Mexican national society — economic, political, social — has prevented the vast majority of Mexican citizens, both past and present, from experiencing the same opportunities for fulfilling and rewarding lives in their country as is possible in the United States. Conditions in Mexico “push” its citizens to illegally migrate northward as much as the potential for a better life “pulls” them to the United States. Thus, no solution set for the immigration issue will be truly comprehensive unless it includes measures to address the root causes of such mass flight from Mexico.

If the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops can actively and vocally prescribe policy for immigration reform in the United States, then the group can also help immigration-reform efforts by conveying to the Mexican government — as a third party — corresponding concerns over conditions in Mexico that undermine basic human dignity and drive illegal immigration. There is added urgency for this generated by the absence (or unawareness) of a similarly vocal and active Mexican Conference of Catholic Bishops that speaks as loudly to the Mexican government as U.S. counterparts do in Washington.

Just as Bishop Barnes rightfully reminds Catholics in the United States to “welcome the stranger,” so it is just as important for the Church to similarly admonish Catholics and politicians in Mexico to “speak out against laws and conditions undermining basic human dignity” that compel the migration of millions from their homelands.

Chris J. Krisinger

Colonel, USAF

Burke, Virginia

To Slow Immigration, End Corruption

Regarding “Catholics and the Immigration Debate” by Carl Anderson of the Knights of Columbus (April 23-29):

I reject the notion that Catholics who oppose illegal immigration are not compassionate. I believe that Mr. Anderson and a large number of Catholics do not understand that millions of people from impoverished countries are in the process of legally trying to immigrate to the United States. Many of these families have been waiting in our visa system for more than 20 years. Many of them work honest jobs every day to save money to afford to move here, along with their families, for a better life.

Where is the compassion for the families who are following the rules? Is it fair to them that the rule breakers get the prize of U.S. residence or even citizenship before they do? Essentially, those who agree with Mr. Anderson are in support of the injustice of millions of people cutting in line before those who have been patiently waiting.

While I do agree with Mr. Anderson when he wrote that those of us who live in the comfort in the United States easily forget the abject poverty that plagues a large percentage of the world’s population, poverty does not give one the right to break the law. In fact, it is lawlessness and corruption that cause the majority of the poverty that I have seen while living in such countries as the Philippines and Paraguay.

In my opinion, all compassionate Catholics should be working to end the systemic root causes of poverty: greed and corruption. Opening the flood gates to illegal immigrants will not solve the world’s poverty. Yet ending the corruption that afflicts most impoverished nations will prevent the need for legal or illegal immigration by providing an economic means for families to support themselves in their home country.

Eurona E. Tilley

Asuncion, Paraguay

Dignifying Dependency

Regarding “A Humane, Comprehensive Solution” by Bishop Gerald R. Barnes (May 14-20):

Why do the bishops never instruct the immigrants, illegal or otherwise, that they also have obligations? How about an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay? What about adhering to the laws of the country they were so eager to enter?

There are too many people coming in who, following their homeland’s customs and practices, have one foot in the United States for its benefits and the other foot back home. We are heading toward the Balkanization of our country, with a divergence of languages and customs, and with pandering to peoples who refuse to assimilate (unlike immigrants of the past, who did assimilate).

We risk lowering our standards as a thriving economy and a leader of nations in order to accommodate Third World ideas and the resultant corruption. Mexafornia, indeed.

Finally, as a practicing Catholic of 62 years, I am sick unto death of bilingual liturgies, even at daily Mass, where the parish we have attended for years is now insisting that the Spanish-speaking shouldn’t have to learn English. This is insulting both to the English-speaking and to the Hispanics. It says to them: “If your last name is Garcia or Lopez, you must be poor and incompetent; therefore, you must be taken care of.” Again, how insulting.

We only have Eucharistic adoration once a month, with Benediction in the evening. Long-time parishioners, including myself, have stopped attending Benediction because it is all in Spanish — and some is made-up liturgy, rather than the traditional, established liturgy.

 

Margaret Friedrich

Patterson, California

 

Let the Pictures Go Forth

It is no wonder that Americans don’t know that the Supreme Court 1973 decisions, Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, legalized abortion (killing the baby in the womb) for any reason for the entire term of pregnancy (“Poll: Decisive Majority of Americans Pro-Life on Abortion,” May 7-13). The reason is that they have been told, for more than 33 years by a biased and/or ignorant media, that the court legalized abortion only for the first three months of pregnancy.

Most media and pollsters continue to promote this myth. The good news is that only 12% of Americans agree that it is morally permissible to kill a baby at any point in pregnancy — even when pollsters continue to ask erroneous and misleading questions.  For example, a recent Harris poll asked this: “In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that states’ laws which made it illegal for a woman to have an abortion up to three months of pregnancy were unconstitutional, and that the decision on whether a woman should have an abortion up to three months of pregnancy should be left to the woman and her doctor to decide. In general, do you favor or oppose this part of the U.S. Supreme Court decision making abortions up to three months of pregnancy legal?”

The Harris Poll also showed Americans are equally divided about legalized abortion and support for legalized abortion is the lowest ever. The polls indicate that the culture of life regarding abortion is advancing in the United States. Prayers and the sacrifices of many are the spiritual reasons. One of the practical reasons is the utter revulsion of many on viewing depictions of the partial-birth abortion procedure.

The conversion of many more to embrace the culture of life and undermine legalized abortion can be achieved by distributing animated videos of the partial-birth procedure. This needs to happen in advance of the Supreme Court hearings on the constitutionality of partial-birth abortion this fall.

John Naughton

Silver Spring, Maryland