National Law and Marriage

Regarding “Immigration Bills Coming Up” (April 29): Kevin Appleby is correct to point out the limitations of the House Bill, H. R. 1645. There is a need for a reform of our immigration laws that would be both family based and yet safeguard the nation’s right to protect its borders.

Most of these immigrants are Catholic and look to the Church as a community to be trusted. This places the Catholic Church in a unique position. The Catholic Church established by Jesus Christ to continue his work in the world also has two thousand years of historic experience and wisdom in balancing the rights of families and the sovereign rights of nations to protect their borders. This has been done sometimes against seemingly insurmountable odds.

Pope St. Nicholas the Great was a resolute defender of the sanctity of the marriage bond (and this is where all pro-family attitudes must begin). King Lothair of Lorraine wanted to divorce his wife, Theutberga. The queen appealed to Pope St. Nicholas and he courageously upheld her side. The King was ordered to return to his legitimate wife and queen. Lothair appealed to his brother, the Emperor Louis II, who marched on Rome to lay siege to the Pope. Nicholas, facing starvation and possible death, held his ground and protected the rights of a friendless woman. The emperor relented and Lothair acknowledged Theutberga as his wife.

This historic experience of the Church both to recognize legitimate national law and also come to the defense of marriage and family could be a rich resource for our legislators if they would have the sense to use it. The clergy and laity involved in the New Sanctuary Movement rightly seek to come to the defense of immigrant families. Unfortunately, some who would work to see that immigrant children are not separated from their mothers and fathers are inconsistently also pro-abortion.

Indeed, the killing of the unborn is the most savage of separations of children from their mothers and fathers. Perhaps their apropriate patron saint should be Pope St. Nicholas the Great.

Deacon John P. Coffey

Brooklyn, New York

Losing Our Culture?

Regarding “Immigration Bills Coming Up” (April 29): As a 78-year-old son of Portuguese immigrants to America in the early 1900s I would like to offer some insight. I am also a Korean Service veteran and have three other brothers (deceased) who served in the military; two were vets with South Pacific combat experience, and one a Purple Heart recipient.

When my parents came to America they, as did all other legal immigrants, had to learn to read and write English, and learn the basic tenets of the Constitution before they could become naturalized.

I believe that attrition through enforcement should be the only alternative. The 1986 amnesty resulted in more illegals. When a person illegally steps across our border with the intent of staying, he is, in my opinion, an invader. It pains me to hear my Church say it will grant sanctuary to invaders of our nation. First and foremost, they are lawbreakers who seek to circumvent due process. How can we realistically believe that they will become good citizens?

They do not wish to learn our language but insist on keeping theirs. Most do not show or profess allegiance to our nation. On the other hand, they are very willing to obtain all the largesse available.

To feel sorry for those who are caught and deported and have to leave legal members of their family is to feel sympathy for someone caught in criminal activity.

To me it is very obvious that our multiculture policies are not working. The difference between the America I grew up in and the America of today is very obvious.

In my parents’ era, immigrants were thrilled to be here and could not wait to assimilate into our culture. Today, we are losing our culture as the illegals keep striving to make us adhere to theirs. God bless and save America.

Adelino R. Lorenzo

Tigard, Oregon

‘Catholic’ Politics

The April 22 interview with Joseph Cella, “Breakfast With Bush,” very accurately pointed out one of the great hypocrisies in the practice of “Catholic” politics in this country.

For an event focused on bringing the Catholic faith into social, political and cultural context, avoiding a serious discussion of the war in Iraq is shameful. The initiation and prosecution of this war has run counter to Catholic just war doctrine, a fact that has drawn painfully little attention from Catholics in this country. When asked, “How do you reconcile this discrepancy?” Joseph Cella responded, “As a public policy issue, the war issue doesn’t come up for our purposes at the breakfast.”

How many more casualties must we suffer before people like Cella begin to pay attention? It is time for Catholics to ask more of their leaders.

Tim Rauch

Brooklyn, New York

Losing Our Faith

Your April 22 article, “Buddhism Boom” is a sad example of the lack of true faith today and worse: the giving up of it.

You speak of Buddhism, and in New Hampshire we have the matter of Hinduism, whereby their yoga “exercises” were advertised widely, taught in at least one school, and even employed by a Catholic hospital. With the door now open, Hinduism is being promoted by name, and the state-wide newspaper has given friendly coverage to a half-naked Hinduism instructor.

Now, we all can use more physical exercise. Unfortunately, if pushed beyond this, it opens the door to Hinduism itself with its multiple demonic false gods.

There is but one God and one true faith and Church. Let us cherish this!

 Russell Pond

Nashua, New Hampshire

Can the Farm Subsidies

Regarding “Catholic Experts Look at Farm Bill Issues” (April 22): Government farm price support subsidies on crops (corn, cotton, rice, wheat and soybeans) and dairy products (butter, cheese and milk) increase the cost of food to everyone, add burdens to taxpayers and distort markets.

For example, the subsidies with respect to ethanol have caused increases in the price of corn, thereby increasing the price of products made from corn-fed animals. We can buy ethanol not made from corn from Brazil without subsidies if we dropped the high tariff on ethanol. Like the typical government redistribution programs, most of the benefits flow to the relatively well-off at the expense of those who are not well-off.

Concerned Catholics should support the elimination of all subsidy programs not just farm and ethanol subsidies. They should support the elimination of tariffs and import quotas particularly on agriculture products. The United States, Europe, Japan and South Korea could dramatically help the people in poorer nations by eliminating tariffs and quotas on farm products. The United States should not wait for any other country before it acts.

Charles W. O’Connor

New Haven, Connecticut

Parable on Apathy?

I, too, have shared the confusion of the Parable of the Dishonest Servant that Mark Shea writes about in, “The Sons of This World” (April 22). Several years ago, good light was shone on the parable that has proven helpful to me. What God apparently seeks in his people is a response to the life being lived, and that response is followed by some sort of action.

Jesus was applauding the dishonest servant for responding at all, not the choice of the action he took. I have come to understand that the story is concerned with the human tendency towards apathy.

Robert Yeomans

Jamesport, New York

Defending Pius — Again

Regarding “Nuncio Reaches Out Despite Pius Slight” (April 29): Sadly, Pope Pius XII continues to be publicly chastised for his so-called silence during the Nazi Holocaust. Listed below are just a few references that demonstrate how unfounded these on-going charges truly are.

On the occasion of Pope Pius XII’s death in October 1958, for example, no fewer than eight prominent Jewish leaders lavished praise on the late Pope for his efforts on behalf of European Jews during the Holocaust. (Their names and statements were published in The New York Times, the day following Pius’ death.)

Moreover, the Israeli scholar Pinchas Lapide thoroughly assessed Pius XII’s wartime role on the Holocaust in his book entitled The Last Three Popes and the Jews and concluded the following: “The Catholic Church, under the pontificate of Pius XII, was instrumental in saving the lives of 860,000 Jews from certain death at Nazi hands. This figure far exceeds those saved by all other churches and rescue operations combined.”

Interestingly, one of the most powerful eulogies on the occasion of Pius XII’s death was expressed by then-Israeli Prime Minister, Golda Meir, who said: “During the 10 years of Nazi terror, when our people went through the horrors of martyrdom, the Pope raised his voice to condemn the persecutors and to commiserate with their victims.”

Having been a history teacher for 32 years before retiring, I’ve written, lectured and taught about the Nazi Holocaust. I also have spoken on this subject before the American Jewish Committee on Feb. 13, 1978, at Hofstra University here on Long Island. I know of what I speak.

There is absolutely no historical justification for the ongoing maligning of Pius XII. But the anti-Catholic bigots will resurface this issue — without one iota of proof — when it serves their nefarious purpose to do so.

Thomas E. Dennelly

 West Islip, New York