BY Jim Cosgrove
October 21-27, 2001 Issue | Posted 10/21/01 at 2:00 AM
The Evolution by Night
The most amazing characteristic of the recent PBS series “Evolution” was the absence of a single scrap of evidence in support of this fantasy (“You Say You Want an Evolution,” Sept. 9-15).
Despite a multimillion-dollar budget, and participation from evolutionary propagandists all over the world, the show's producers failed to demonstrate even one sequence of transitionary fossil forms; even one example of a mutation increasing the information content of a genome; even one speculation on the formation of the first single-celled organism to emerge from the ooze; even one example of an ancestor to the multitude of invertebrates from the so-called Cambrian explosion; or even one credible ancestor to humans.
They did succeed, however, in editing out interviews detailing the scientific fallacies of evolution, encouraging young viewers to emulate sexually promiscuous apes, and ridiculing God and the Bible. Just once in my life I'd like to meet an evolutionist who is interested in facts instead of propaganda.
DAVID STONE Hancock, Michigan
The writer is an engineering professor at Michigan Technological University.
Apt Angelic Invocation
Regarding “Angels’ Protection in the Battle” (Sept. 23-29): What a timely reminder!
When I was a child during World War II, we said the prayer to St. Michael at the end of every Mass. Sometime during the years, it was dropped. I hope everyone (churches, individuals) will once again adopt it. It was very comforting as a child to know — even if I didn't understand the extent of the evil of Hitler's Nazism or Mussolini's fascism — that God was sending his army of angels with St. Michael at the forefront to protect our military and us.
It's also very comforting to know when we are fighting against evil way beyond our human comprehension that God is in charge — if we so choose! And once again, we have seen the face of evil. We are all in this battle together. Maybe we can't all arm ourselves and fight physically to defend our country. But we can arm ourselves and spiritually fight the evil that has attacked our nation. True peace will come at a cost.
I'm a firm believer in the power of prayer and I know God's power is dynamite. And God can change hearts of stone bent on evil destruction. I hope this prayer gives you strength and comfort and you'll join me in our fight for real peace:
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do thou, O prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.
Let freedom ring!
JO MASON Fairfax, Virginia
The Register Rediscovered
A visitor to our parish wanted to give me a Register subscription as a “thank you” for the care his mother received from the parish. I gasped as I recalled reading this paper a few times some years ago, when I was not impressed. He pleaded that it had changed and I might like it and find it informative. Well, I must admit, he was right.
Going to college in the late ‘60s, and avidly reading the National Catholic Reporter for many years through the ‘60s and ‘70s, I was influenced by that style of journalism and reporting. Later on, I became disillusioned with all extreme Catholic newspapers — the liberal and conservative ones.
They were all one-sided and their lack of charity and blindness to the whole truth seemed to be a common thread. The only thing that distinguished them from each other was their ideology; their biases seemed to be narrow and self-righteous. Anger seemed to be the underlying tone in most of the reporting — anger that the Church was not the way they wanted it to be.
Well, I have found a paper that is inclusive, compassionate and one that makes me proud to be a Catholic. Its scope is universal and it is not hesitant to share stories of those who love their faith and their Church.
Thank you for this refreshing publication. I never thought I would ever say that about the Register, but I have become so disheartened by publications that constantly are tearing at the seam of the Church. I look forward to receiving each issue.
God bless you, and may you continue this wonderful evangelization and create a growing love for our Church
FATHER WAYNE CAMPBELL San Leandro, California
Abortion Pictures: Scared Straight
In “Anti-Abortion ‘Choice’ Ads Keep On Trucking” (Sept. 16-22), you quote a person stating: “‘I have never believed we should show gory pictures’” because “such pictures appeal too much to emotions and not enough to reason.” I do not want to state her name, because she speaks for many.
I state that it is “emotions” and complacency that have allowed abortion to remain an acceptable policy in our society. In specific, it is what psychologists have catalogued as the “psychological defense mechanism” of “denial”: People refuse to contemplate reality (the one of abortion, in this case) because it is too disturbing for them to deal with in a rational way.
That is why we should show “gory” pictures — to break through people's complacency, to force them to deal with what abortion is about, and to force them to reason through the consequences of current societal policies and personal beliefs.
NELSON D. CARO Swissvale, Pennsylvania
Bishops and Vocations
I read with interest the recent article on bishops and vocations (“Synod Priority: How Bishops Can Encourage Vocations,” Sept. 30-Oct. 6). It is becoming increasingly obvious that the attitude of the bishop toward vocations, and the actions and statements that embody that attitude, can increase the numbers of young men responding to God's call.
This important point is being made in academic circles. Two recent scholarly articles, both in the Review of Religious Research, document the differences in ordination rates across U.S. dioceses, and attribute part of those differences to the theological attitudes of the bishop.
Late last year Rodney Stark and Roger Finke, in “Catholic Religious Vocations: Decline and Revival,” show that more recently ordained bishops, who tend to be more theologically traditional, have higher ordination rates. This spring I published “Do Bishops Matter?” which confirms Stark and Finke's findings, and presents additional evidence that the theological attitudes of bishops, measured by their contributions to religious periodicals, affect ordination rates.
For example, bishops who contribute articles to the magazine America, whose editorial positions are, to say the least, non-traditional, have much lower than average ordination rates. In contrast, bishops who contribute articles to the magazine The Catholic Answer have much higher than average ordination rates.
Of course, there may be competing explanations for differences in vocations across dioceses. Nevertheless, it is becoming increasingly clear that the successful recruitment of priests need not be an aberration, limited to a handful of dioceses. Bishops are not helpless in the face of sociological trends that discourage young men from responding to God's call.
A bishop must want more priests; those who see in the decline in vocations an opportunity to create a new model of “Church” may not want to reverse the trend.
ANDREW YUENGERT Malibu, California
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