House Husbands and Working Wives

I just read Phil Lenahan’s response to the reader who asked, as the headline put it: “She Makes More. Should He Stay Home?” (Family Matters, Feb. 26-March 4).

While I completely agree that the financial details have to be measured, there are also numerous emotional and relationship issues that must be addressed.

My husband and I made the decision nine years ago, after our second son was born, that he would quit his job. It was extremely important to us that we were the ones raising our children and that we not use daycare. This decision has allowed us to add two more children to our family, foster three, take care of invalid parents at the end of their lives and to home-school our four children.

While it has been an enormous blessing, there have been many periods during which I struggled greatly to respect my husband and have had to deal with my resentment that he was with the kids while I was away providing for our family. The key to our success has been the openness of our communication, the primacy that we place on our marriage, my commitment to seeing that he gets “guy time” — for us that has been Knights of Columbus and a great Christian sports league — and our mutual understanding that each of us is making a sacrifice. Neither of us is in an optimal situation (per our preferences), but for our children’s sake we are both putting our desires aside.

I would also strongly encourage the couple to develop an exit plan. It may not work for your marriage to continue this arrangement, but if you have trapped yourself by not having a contingency plan or a pre-set time for reevaluation, then you both could end up very unhappy. Continuing to reevaluate your arrangement at pre-determined times — for example, when the youngest enters school — makes you feel like you have a choice and facilitates more enjoyment of each of your roles.

In looking at the fun, joy and love we have shared as a family these last nine years, I can only conclude that having my husband quit his job was the best decision we ever made for our family. Good luck.

Danna Gomez

Chino, California

Paganism Pales in Comparison

Joanna Bogle’s analysis of the inroads of paganism (“Does Paganism Matter?” March 5-11) is a wakeup call. We ought to be aware of how far-reaching such incursions are — not only in our culture and politics, but even in certain elements of our beloved Church, although I question whether such elements can truthfully be called “Catholic.”

I refer to the exaltation of the goddess figure “Maia” by certain members of religious congregations of women, and the organization of conferences and “spirituality” centers that promote pagan ideas and practices, often sandwiched among other presentations given by legitimate Catholic speakers, and sometimes offered at colleges or universities “in the Catholic tradition.”

Have these people so lost their bearings as to miss the one inexhaustible truth: that Jesus Christ, son of our Eternal Father and our divine brother, became man and gave up his last drop of blood to redeem them? The adventure of following him, of being crucified with him out of love for those who reject him, has no comparison among the rituals, fads and incantations of pagan earth-worship.

The Christian adventure is living testimony that gives meaning to our own rituals. But if we are not striving for holiness, renouncing ourselves to give witness to our loving Father, we run the risk of emptying our rituals of their vital meaning for ourselves — or, rather, emptying our lives of their meaning. And because human beings are structured by God to seek meaning, we can easily end up looking for it in pagan rituals or other forms of materialism, none of which can ever satisfy our longing for the only Absolute Love.

Elaine R. Schenk

Catholic Campus Minister

College of Staten Island/Wagner College

Staten Island, New York

Book Still Blooming

In “Does Paganism Matter?” the distinguished British writer Joanna Bogle made the observation that one of her sources, The Persecution of the Catholic Church in the Third Reich: Facts and Documents, is out of print. Not so. This extraordinarily valuable volume is listed in the Winter 2006 catalogue of Roman Catholic Books. You may want to check out their website: BooksforCatholics.com.

Bill Loughlin

Glendale, California

Adoptive Joy, Amplified

Bringing a child into your home through adoption, foster-parenting or biological birth does not take away from the love (or joy) already present — the love is multiplied (“Joy Multiplies: Adoptive and Foster Parents are Icons of God’s Love,” Culture of Life, Feb. 19-25).

Large families understand this. I must admit, my wife and I did not always know this. We now have five biological children and are soon to pick up our adoptive son from Guatemala. However, when we were pregnant with our second child, we asked my mother (a mother of eight): “We love this first child so much, how can we love another one as much?” My mother did not hesitate. She answered: “Love is unlimited. Bringing another child into the home will not take away from love you give the first child. The love will be multiplied.” And she was so right.

Mother Teresa knew this when she said, “Saying there are too many children is like saying there are too many flowers.”

Bill and Sarah Petro
Toledo, Ohio

Hurtful Hip Hop

Thanks to Legionary of Christ Father Andrew McNair for “Faith, Not Rap, Fueled Great Black Leaders” (Commentary & Opinion, Feb. 19-25). I always enjoy reading his opinions and his discussion of “gangsta” versus Christian rap was very pithy.

As a musician and a Catholic, I feel very strongly about the decline of good music in our culture and the “baptism” of hip hop and rap by Christian artists. I appreciate this issue being addressed.

Becky Panayiotou

Fort Pierce, Florida

Truthophobia 

Regarding “Experts Debate Impact of Intelligent Design Ruling” (Jan. 15-21):

There is a book worth reading titled Darwin’s Black Box by Michael J. Behe, a professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University. The book is about discoveries in molecular biology that make Darwin’s theory of random selection unrealistic. Darwin, like many experts throughout history, had insufficient information to come to the correct conclusion. He did not have the technology that we have today.

Unfortunately, many in our society are attempting to build a culture and a lifestyle around an idea that eliminates the need for an intelligent being’s involvement in the development of creation. If an intelligent being whom we call God is necessary, then these individuals are going to have to change the way they think. This has created not only a “theophobia,” as Richard Thompson stated in your article, but also a “Christphobia,” an unreasonable fear of Christianity, as exhibited this past Christmas.

It has also created an unreasonable fear of “truth,” as exhibited in the spread of relativism in our cultural institutions.

Beverly Ann Thewes

Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

Help for the Hooked

As a member of an organization that deals extensively with pornography addiction, I read with interest “How to Say No to the Online Siren’s Song” by Tom and Caroline McDonald (Family Matters, Feb. 19-25).

We offer Internet-based resources to help people deal with the debilitating effects of this widespread problem. In addition to the spiritual guidance that a clergyman can offer, our website links to several sites that may offer professional-level therapy, including Porn No More and the Catholic Support Group for Sexual Addictions Recovery.

For all our resources and links, visit moralityinmedia.org. I hope this may be of service to any who need help.

Ryan C. Reeves

Morality in Media

New York

You Can’t Legislate Sanctity

Relevant to “Court Ruling on Abortion Hard to Score” (Jan. 29-Feb. 4):

To be serious about eliminating abortions, we must realize what must be done. No government, state or any other of society’s laws will do this. Sinful actions must be addressed by the Church. Christ commissioned it. It is the duty and obligation of Christ’s Church leaders. To pass the buck, the responsibility of eliminating this sin to the courts, is foolish folly.

If all the time and effort used to pass manmade laws were used by bishops and priests to preach abortion sinfulness and the result of this sinfulness, we would see a significant decrease in this sin. If all facets of sexual immorality were vigorously preached from the pulpits each Sunday, if the knowledge of what is sinful and the consequences of sin were preached in addition to God’s love, we would soon see a decline in abortions as well as the decline of all sin.

It is crystal-clear that morality has been on a decline since sin and its damning results have been ignored by our Church leaders. What will it take to see the change in the way they teach and preach? No matter what the Supreme Court does, abortions will continue. Punishment from society will do little to deter abortions. Only the knowledge of serious sin, loss of salvation and the eternal punishment in hell, as described in many Biblical Scriptures, will eliminate abortions. The threat of punishment does not diminish love. The threat of punishment actually shows love.

Andrew B. Williams

Roach, Missouri