National Catholic Register


Letters to the Editor

BY John Lilly

April 2-8, 2006 Issue | Posted 4/3/06 at 10:00 AM


Lenten Light for Life

Relevant to “Guide for Lent: These 40 Days” (Feb. 26-March 4):

During the Holy Season of Lent, those of us who believe in the absolute right to life urge all members of our Church to take advantage of the many penitential opportunities and services afforded us in our parishes to offer our individual prayers and penances to further the end of all anti-life activity.

We should at this time also offer our prayers and good works for the election of political candidates who are pro-life. In this way we can be hopeful that legislation favorable to life will be passed and that federal judicial candidates who are pro-life will be confirmed without having to be subjected to the shameful process inflicted upon Justice Samuel Alito.

In these last days of Lent, let us take advantage of the opportunity to use our Lenten observances for the cause of life.

Rudolph D. Parson

West Islip, New York

Legal Limitations?

I was very interested in “All Victims Not Equal to Lawyers Seeking Cash” (Inperson, March 19-25), in which you interviewed Attorney Micheal Collins Webb as to the lawsuits coming after vacating various “statutes of limitations” and those likely to come if more such changes are made in the laws of several states.

You might wish to go back to Mr. Webb and ask him if such changed laws are a violation of the prohibition against ex post facto laws and, therefore, invalid on those grounds alone (as to cases that would have otherwise and, in fact, did, pass out of the jurisdiction of the courts).

James Pawlak

West Allis, Wisconsin

Be Still and Know

I am not a scientist, but as an artist I do know something: The beginnings and ends of things are not in man’s power to comprehend (“Design and Evolution,” Letters, March 12-18). And when in his hubris man conspires to do so, the most grievous offenses result.

Only God was present at the creation of the universe and of man, and only he can tell us of its, and our, origins. We cannot contrive awareness of that which precedes our very existence, our very consciousness, except to our destruction. (Is this pride in speculation of origins not linked to the horrors of contraception, abortion, cloning and killing embryos and creating human chimeras?)

Yet the Lord has conveyed something of this to us. He has given us his Word, spoken by the prophets. This is what he would have us understand of that which is beyond our ken. And could we have a better witness than Moses, to whom God spoke “face to face, as one man speaks to another” (Exodus 33:11)?

It is not for us to question and doubt what God has written, as if we could better describe the ways of the Lord than he himself. If we are men of faith, we will come to God’s Word as children in wonder before our Creator and listen to what he has to say.

The Jews did not question the Lord; nor did the apostles or the Fathers of the Church or the saints and martyrs. Yet man today would presume to step from the wonder of God’s presence and relegate his Word to the status of the gods of the nations. Scripture is not as the myths fabricated by peoples who served mere idols. It is the Word of the living and all-powerful God of heaven and earth. Still your tongue in his presence! O proud soul. Listen and understand. And the blindness will flee your vision.

“We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,” wrote St. Peter (2 Peter 1:16), “but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty.”

Recognize your limitations, and you will then see God’s hand at work — in his Word and in his universe.

James Kurt

Jersey City, New Jersey


Against Incrementalism

How sad is Mark Stricherz’ commentary “The Case Against South Dakota” (March 19-25), especially the parts about Gov. Mike Rounds and State Rep. Roger Hunt.

I’m tired of hearing from pro-life people and their opinions. I would rather hear the truth. If you can find something wrong with the way the bill is written, prove it. If most people knew what an abortion was, and actually witnessed the killing of an innocent baby in the womb, they might be convinced that it is horribly wrong and than maybe do something about it. Doctors can’t even describe the horrendous procedure, and yet you people who depend on opinions and polls and judges and politicians for the remedy are goofy! Why don’t you give credit to the first state — and I know you are headed that way in your next issue — for doing the right thing?

It’s obvious, Mark, that you’re not 100% pro-life; otherwise, you would give a reason why rape and incest are poor exceptions.

It’s time to get our nation, and especially our Church, on her knees in prayer, because we have failed miserably for 33 years. I think your commentary hurts the cause, and it’s similar to the senator from South Dakota, who called himself pro-life [yet] got this bill defeated because he and his big pro-life organization did not like the way the bill was worded. I’m sure you know the rest of the story.

This column gave more info about the pro-aborts and their opinions than the pro-life cause. I hope you do better the next time around. St. Gregory the Great once said that “true righteousness has compassion, but false righteousness I scorn.” The righteous show scorn without being scornful; they despair without despairing; they stir up hostility, but they do it out of love.

Matt Ulrich

Shoreline, Washington

Biological Imperatives

I believe Dwight Longenecker has his biology in error (“The Biology of the Annunciation,” March 19-25). First of all, Christ was a man. To become a man, an XY chromosome must have been present in Christ’s cells. The Blessed Mother had no Y chromosomes. Thus when she was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, he miraculously had to fertilize her ovum with the male sex chromosome. It seems unlikely that this would have been done without introducing other genetic material, though anything is possible with God.

Nevertheless, Christ could not have been solely the flesh of his mother, if God allowed biological science to have sway. Since God created a whole universe and applied the physics of motion, mass, movement and attraction, why couldn’t he utilize biological principles in the procreation of his Son as man?

It gets more complicated than that. First of all, the Y chromosome contains 78 genes that, in turn, code 23 distinct proteins. This only represents 0.38% of the total DNA in cells. Nevertheless, ultimately every cell in Christ’s body would contain this 0.38%. One could say that the Holy Spirit provided only the Y chromosome.

Another problem then presents itself. Mary’s eggs carry only one-half of the chromosomes (an ovum is haploid). A sperm usually provides the other half at fertilization. Thus it is probable that the Holy Spirit provided the other half; otherwise, fertilization would not occur. If he instead duplicated Mary’s haploid genes, it would be tantamount to inbreeding. It is perhaps best if the divine fertilization occurred with the most unique haploid set of genes ever created.

Again, I believe anything is possible with God, but this suggests that biology might indeed have had sway. The bottom line is that it is unlikely that Jesus is 100% genetically Mary, as the author wants to believe. I don’t believe his thinking is necessary to realize the unique relationship that exists between Jesus and his Blessed Mother Mary.

Yes, it is true that Christ’s genetic inheritance came from only one human being: his mother. What part of his body or genetic make-up came from divine, miraculous intervention is unknown. This does not deny the intimate bond between mother and Son. Certainly it is spiritually more than sufficient to know that Mary is blessed of all women, full of grace, chosen especially by God Almighty, carried Christ in her womb for nine months, and had a most significant role in his upbringing with the help of St. Joseph.

 Nicholas E. Barreca, M.D.

Midland City, Alabama


Some years ago, and ad on television declared, “Come to the Netherlands and have an Amsterdam good time.” Legalizing drug abuse and perversion wasn’t enough of a “good time”; soon Dutch boys and girls will be legally exterminated to end their suffering (“Netherlands to Officially Sanction Baby Euthanasia,” March 19-25).

There won’t be much left to bury or burn if Groningen University Medical Center uses the bodies of its young murder victims for its most lucrative business: body parts.

Groningen claims to be “one of the very few hospitals worldwide that perform all organ transplants.”

It’s hard to imagine the Dutch doctors just throwing away a child’s perfectly useful and profitable skin or cornea or kidneys or bone or lungs or heart …

On top of all that, the head of Rotterdam’s health department wants to force abortions on teenage mothers, drug addicts and the mentally handicapped of Antillean and Aruban descent. Hitler and his SS could have not asked for a more racist, anti-human Nazi Netherlands than that.

Next time you travel to Europe, skip Amsterdam and the Netherlands altogether. There are many other places where you can really have a good time.

 George A. Morton

Hopewell Junction, New York