In the Tracks of Blessed Frassati


In a letter titled “Motherhood or the Mountains” (March 5-11), Register reader Emily Harrison criticized Olympian Rebecca Dussault for pursuing elite athletics while raising a family. The letter was a response to the page 1 story “Mom Is Racing With God” (Feb. 5-11).

I found this rather harsh criticism greatly disturbing, as I am the sister-in-law of Rebecca and can attest completely to the incredible nature of her motherhood. Rebecca has done none of this for personal gain, but rather simply to magnify the Lord through the talent he blessed her with. The hidden charity and great sacrifices that Rebecca and her family have made for their own son and others can truly testify to a “life embodied by the ‘fiat’ of the Virgin.”

Needless to say, Rebecca has been an extraordinary example of how to “live in the world and not of it.” Certainly she has not buried her treasure in the ground, but rather returned it to the Lord with interest: a beautiful family and a powerful witness to the world.

Rebecca made it clear that her decision to return to skiing was on the sole condition that she would be able to take her husband and child with her everywhere. If this had not been possible, she would not have reentered the sport. Also, her husband encouraged her and gave his total blessing and support. If he had objected, she would not have entertained the thought of continuing in the sport. What more needs to be said about Rebecca’s understanding of authentic Catholic marriage?

In the end, throughout her Olympic experience, it was the Church, Blessed Frassati, marriage, NFP, family priority and faith that received glory in light of Rebecca pursuing her skiing. She has not been a second-rate mother in the midst of it, I assure you, as her little son Tabor has been given the highest priority and the blessings of being home educated.

I wish that people such as Emily would read through the website that Rebecca and Sharbel have put together ( Rebecca is the perfect example of true feminine freedom, as she has chosen to be a mother over and above everything else — but, at the same moment, together with her husband, she has testified that family and faith can go anywhere and remain fortified in truth amid the pressures of the athletic world. The Lord needs his ambassadors for the family and faith everywhere.


 Chantal Howard

Woodland Park, Colorado


Exit Strategy

Regarding “In Adoptions, Rome Sides With Kids” (March 19-25):

The board’s vote to exit its adoption program is an extremely sad decision for Catholic Charities and each of its board members. While this decision has been difficult, our intent and commitment is to carry forward the broad mission of Catholic Charities, which serves more than 200,000 children, teens, families and elders throughout the diocese.

To be clear, the board’s action is not a protest against the Church and its teachings; nor is it a protest against the state and its non-discrimination laws and regulations. Throughout the process of discussion, the board maintained an unwavering commitment to the agency’s non-discrimination pledge, as well as an unwavering commitment to the welfare and safety of the children entrusted to the agency.

During the exit process, the agency is committed to ensure an orderly, planned transition so that the children we have been entrusted with will be cared for, supported and will find permanent homes. The board is also committed to ensure the future health of Catholic Charities and the success of all of its programs to serve those in need.

Our goal, as always, is to help serve the common good of our society.


Jeffrey J. Kaneb

Chair, Board of Trustees

Catholic Charities,

Archdiocese of Boston


Single-Mom Mugs

I’m a young adult, 22-year-old Catholic who subscribes to the Register. I love your paper and am glad there is a newspaper so faithful to Church teaching.

I have one suggestion. I noticed that all your Baby Mugs pictures are of children of married parents. What about photos of babies from single moms (or dads)? They’re the babies who had a much better chance of being aborted, so their pictures are more meaningful than pictures of babies from comfortably married parents.

I’m speaking from experience. I am single and recently discovered that I am pregnant. I’m now at eight weeks, and I’ve chosen life in the face of vigorous opposition.

I know how difficult this decision is. And, in a year or so, when my baby is old enough, I would love to have his or her picture in the Register so as to show everyone the little person who could have been killed.

Maybe you don’t get submissions from single moms. But, if you do, you should include them, too.


Buffalo, New York


Priestly Persecution 

Is there anyone surprised about the fact that Carol Shakeshaft, as a result of a federal study conducted under the “No Child Left Behind Act,” estimates that “the physical sexual abuse of students in public schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests” continues to be covered up by the media? (“Archbishop: ‘Don’t Neglect Secular Abuse,’” March 12-18).

All you have to do is dig inside the news section of your local paper to find out that Catholic priests are hardly ever the ones accused of sexual abuse. But you have to dig: Stories about non-priests don’t fit the media’s agenda of maligning the Church, so they tend to be buried.

And there’s the matter of throwing the rules of evidence and liability out the window whenever a priest, but only a priest, is accused. (That’s why you never read about school districts filing for bankruptcy as a result of decades-old memories “recovered” under hypnosis.)

And did you notice that, while priests are accused of being “pedophiles,” abusers of pre-pubescent children, the real problem is the homosexual seduction of teenagers — something that Brokeback Mountain and The Vagina Monologues promote, and which supposedly only “homophobes” oppose?


Don Schenk

Allentown, Pennsylvania


Not the Time for Fragmenting

Mark Stricherz’ arguments in support of the incremental pro-life strategy and in opposition to the sort of approach taken by the South Dakota legislature (“The Case Against South Dakota,” March 19-25) are well-made and coherent, as are other arguments advanced in defense of the “frontal assault” approach of South Dakota’s ban of abortion.

Considering, however, that the bill has already been passed and signed by the governor, the very public attacks on the bill and its approach by fellow pro-lifers are serving only to fragment the pro-life movement and offer abortion-rights supporters “quote fodder” to use against all of us.

In fact, the media in South Dakota is already doing just that: Quotes from “incrementalists” are being used to attack not just this bill, but also the pro-life position in general.

There is a time to debate the best pro-life strategy, but at this particular point in the battle against pro-abortion activists, perhaps it would be better to save such discussions for a less public forum.


Dr. Chris Burgwald

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Where’s Carl?

I enjoyed Carl Olson’s column in every issue of the Register, until all of a sudden it disappeared. I was always impressed with his writing ability, as well as his devotion to the beauty of our faith.

Is there any way you could reference me to Carl’s current position, where, hopefully, his great writing craftsmanship is still available?

Of notable memory is Mr. Olson’s column in the the Register of March 21, 2004, which I could not discard, for his excellence of thoughts titled “Seeking vs. Believing.”

Thank you in advance for this contact for Mr. Olson, and please accept my sincere prayers and best wishes for the entire Register staff as the newspaper enhances our ongoing awareness of the current activities occurring in Holy Mother Church, worldwide!


Bill McCuen

Doylestown, Ohio


Editor’s reply: With occasional exceptions, the regular schedule for Carl Olson’s Spirit & Life column is once a month. You can get a more frequent dose of his outstanding work at, of which he is editor.


Lasting Lessons

Uncharacteristically, I am behind in reading my Register, so I have only just read Robert Brennan’s column “Catholic School Confidential” (February 12-18). Many of Mr. Brennan’s columns strike a chord with me, and this one was no different. Although my Catholic grade school had only a few nuns as teachers, and by the middle grades their habits were gone, we were still blessed with solid Catholic teachers who somehow managed to control and educate 50 students per classroom.

But what struck me about his column wasn’t directly school-related. In passing on his Catholic school “horror story,” he comments on how many of those with such stories use their experience as a rationalization of why they “no longer go to Mass or receive the sacraments.” He doesn’t understand how the line is drawn between supposed maltreatment by a nun and “questioning the divinity of Christ, the Real Presence or the overall teaching authority” of the Church.

I fear that the various “crises” in the Church today will lead more to abandon their faith instead of seeing that the Church has been through many such challenges in her history. It is the work of the Holy Spirit, through the ongoing commitment to the eternal truth by the faithful, which will lead us through these times.

 Robert G. LeMay

Downers Grove, Illinois


Half-Cocked Correspondent? 

You had best check as to what your correspondent, Mr. Edward Pentin, is actually doing in Rome. He reported, in “Debunking Da Vinci Over a Pint” (March 12-18), that he was in an Irish pub there where the clients were drinking “ice-cold pints of Guinness.”

I have never heard of anyone Irish or sane serving that most excellent beverage at the taste-destroying temperature of ice.

James Pawlak

West Allis, Wisconsin


Editor’s reply: Edward Pentin assures us that, while he can’t speak for every quaffer in Rome, his Guinness at Theology on Tap was served cold enough “to be an effective anesthetic for post-tonsillectomy patients.”



In “Debunking Da Vinci, Over a Pint” (Mar. 12-18), we misidentified the title of the Amy Welborn book that explains what’s wrong with Dan Brown’s bestseller. The Welborn book is De-Coding Da Vinci: The Facts Behind the Fiction of the Da Vinci Code.