Reverent Catholics Rock

The music review in your Christmas Gift Guide asks, by its headline, whether Father Stan Fortuna and Marie Bellet are truly “The King and Queen of Catholic Pop?” (Nov. 5-11).

I answer: It’s a bit premature to proclaim them the king and queen.

I write a music column for the Catholic Register in Canada ( and have seen an explosion of talent in recent times in the Catholic music scene. Artists like Matt Maher, Rachael Lampa, Critical Mass, Mars Ill, Righteous B, Ceili Rain, Cheer Up Charlie and Marie Miller are pushing the boundaries of Catholic-themed music in genres such as modern rock and rap/hip hop.

There are a multitude of talented artists that the Catholic laity is simply not aware of. The best place to sample this music is at

It is time now for your readers to realize that there is relevant music being made that can compete with the secular music scene.

Thanks for your great article.

David Wang

Kitchener, Ontario

Why Santorum Fell

Regarding “Culture of Life Takes a Beating in Pennsylvania” (Nov. 19-25):

I believe your puzzlement at the loss by Rick Santorum to Bob Casey Jr. in the Senate race can be explained by Santorum’s support of pro-abortion Sen. Arlen Specter against a pro-life conservative, Pat Toomey, in the 2004 Republican primary.

Conservative Pennsylvania voters were well aware of this. The Casey name seemed a palatable magic bullet to send a strong message to Republicans who stray off the pro-family reservation. Others just stayed home.

Specter didn’t get the message, though. Confident in his power, he said that Republicans had to become “more progressive and less ideological.”

Christopher C. Braun

Fairburn, Georgia


Food and Faith

As a single, lay 44-year-old Catholic woman, I commend “Poundage Problem, Part 2” by Tom and Caroline McDonald (Family Matters, Oct. 8-14).

I also want to share with your readers that food addiction is a very real issue in the United States, as evidenced by the rising obesity rate in men, women and children. I have myself lost more than 70 pounds through Overeaters Anonymous, a 12-step recovery program, which covers this illness and epidemic on all three levels — physical, emotional and spiritual — by applying the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Please also be informed and educated that there are many orthodox Catholic woman in Overeaters Anonymous, as the group has chapters throughout the world. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop eating compulsively.

Many of these moms are Catholic home-schoolers with extensive recovery — recovery that has even saved a few marriages because of the emotional healing and spiritual growth that occurs. We also are growing in membership with men.

To any woman or man who is struggling with food addiction, I exhort and encourage you to take begin your journey of healing because, as a child of God, you are worth it. 


Name Withheld

Illegals and Us

Relevant to “Exploding Myths About Illegal Aliens” (Commentary & Opinion, Sept. 3-9):

Many Mexicans who have been born in this country are finding themselves displaced by illegal immigrants. My son is a good example. He was released from employment and replaced by two illegal immigrants.

Any argument that illegals are doing work that other Americans do not want is fiction. I know of many Americans who have lost their jobs because illegals were hired at cheaper wages. Examples are carpenters, bricklayers, concrete workers and others.

Illegals have also brought in drugs and sold the drugs to “stupido gringos.” Many other crimes are committed.

I find that your newspaper is somewhat leaning to the left, toting Democrat philosophy.

Gonzalo Rodriguez

Kansas City, Kansas

Shea Nails It

Regarding “Satan’s Ecumenism” (Commentary & Opinion, Nov. 5-11), about the Episcopal Church feting Mohammed Khatami, former president of Iran, at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.:

Very good and well put. Mark Shea’s insight on today’s world and what’s taking place is enlightening — and, unfortunately, right on the money.

Jeffrey Jaroski

Choteau, Montana

Weapons of Mass Dissension

Relevant to “God and War” (Commentary & Opinion, Sept. 24-30):

Weapons of mass destruction were never found in Iraq, even through extensive searching has not stopped. Many weapons of mass destruction can be easily be found in the Catholic Churches in the United States. Pastors and priests have removed crucifixes, moved sanctuaries to remote areas — some completely out of sight. There have been too many changes to enumerate. Catholic churches have been Protestantized by these changes and the changes in the sacrifice of the Mass, with little or no objection from bishops.

The devil started his production of weapons of mass destruction in the 1960s, after Vatican II. Dissension — it is not a new weapon. He has used it since the beginning of mankind. Dissension from God gave us our original sin. Dissension from true interpretations of Vatican II gave us doubtful Christians, not Catholics, because Catholics are united in their faith.

The mission of Catholic discipleship will never be accomplished as long as we accept and ignore dissensions. When bishops and Church leaders speak out about the evil of dissension and set an example of faith unity, then will their vows to God be fulfilled.

Andrew Williams Jr.

Roach, Missouri

Magnify the Moderates

Thank you for your very informative reporting on the recent misunderstanding between Pope Benedict XVI and the radical element in the Islamic world (“Conflagration,” Sept. 24-30).

From your analysis and the explanation of Cardinal Bertone, it is evident that the Holy Father’s remarks have no need of an apology, and that the violent reaction from some quarters of the Islamic world proves that there is a serious need to consider facts rather than let emotions govern our thinking.

It would be nice if there were some central Muslim authority (similar to our Church’s Holy See) that could define the official Muslim teaching regarding making converts, tolerance towards people of other beliefs and so on. Throughout Mohammedanism, there is a radical minority that favors bitter coercion, even death, for those who resist. A theology of intolerance has come to dominate Muslim thinking in many parts of the world.

What has gone unnoticed is the vast multitude of Muslim believers who have no part in such an interpretation of the Koran. Many lead lives of sound ethics, lives of tolerance and kindness toward their neighbors of differing beliefs. Unfortunately, they are unable to influence the thinking of their more aggressive fellow Muslims.

It is those radical believers who have responded to the Holy Father’s remarks with an attitude that indicates they have not paid honest attention to what he truly stated. Some have let their emotions rather than their intellects govern their reactions.

Rather than expect an apology from the Holy Father, they might consider how, by their reactions, they have proved his point. There are indeed issues that need resolution through sincere dialogue.

John Barry

Torrance, California

Aggressive Ad

I am writing to you about the paid advertisement headlined “Abortionist Yogendra Shah wants to put a pro-life Christian family of 13 out on the Street” (Nov. 19-25), seeking to raise money to help David and Angela Michael and their children fight the lawsuit Yogendra Shah has filed against them. I am very pro-life and I agree that the lawsuit should be fought. They need all the help they can get.

I disagree, completely, however, with the manner in which the ad was written. The exaggeration in the ad, especially, the declaration that Shah is spiritually dead, is un-Christian. Declaring someone to spiritually dead just by looking into his eyes is like declaring someone in a coma brain dead. This is certainly not something a good Catholic should be doing.

We are called to love our enemies, yet the hatred in this writing weakens the love one should have for any man, good or bad. Yogendra Shah needs our prayers, not hatred!

Of course I believe what he is doing is wrong, and asking for donations, in a kind way, is perfectly legitimate. I will be praying for both the Michael family and Yogendra Shah.

Jane Clukey

Portland, Maine

Clarification and Correction

An article on page 2 in the Nov. 5-11 issue carried the headline “Priests Alone May Purify Communion Vessels, Pope Says.” Pope Benedict XVI did not restrict the liturgical cleansing of the vessels used in Communion to priests but did say that, in the United States, extraordinary ministers of holy Communion will no longer be permitted to assist in that ritual purification. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal directs that the sacred vessels are to be purified by the priest, the deacon or an instituted acolyte. In the United States, instituted acolytes, who must be male, generally are seminarians preparing for priesthood or men in formation for the permanent diaconate.

Also: Most of the letters we receive come in via e-mail, but many arrive typed or written out longhand on good ol’ paper. For those, we must copy the letter-writers’ words into our computer system. When it came to keying in the letter we titled “Wise Priest” for our Nov. 5-11 issue, we fumbled the writer’s very name. Our “David” V. Murray is, in fact, Donald V. Murray of New York. We regret the error.