National Catholic Register



BY Jim Cosgrove

September 8-14, 2002 Issue | Posted 9/8/02 at 1:00 AM


Pray for Mental Health

Regarding “Coping with Depression and Mental Illness, the Catholic Way” (Aug. 25-31):

Thank you for your thoughtful coverage of the problem of mental illness. I have to disagree with some of Dr. Mango's comments on Catholics. He seems to believe that Catholics think if they just pray, then “everything would be fine.” In fact, the opposite seems to be true. Today Catholics, along with the rest of society, are too dependent on the medical model for psychiatric care. And often it doesn't work!

I am a registered nurse and the mother of an 18-year-old son who suffers from schizophrenia. Medications definitely can be a part of God's plan for us, but we must remember that God is the only true source of healing. I also believe that we are just beginning to learn how spirituality plays a major role in many illnesses. But illness can be our greatest gift from God if it leads us into his arms, and sometimes that's the only way he can get our attention!

So let us have faith and pray more, knowing that Jesus offers his healing graces through prayer, and especially holy Mass and the sacraments.

BARB JOHNSON Carmel, Indiana

The Pope and I

I am greatly heartened by your editorial concerning the Pope's leadership (“Blaming the Pope,” Sept. 1-7). I wish you had mentioned more specifically, however, that his primacy of jurisdiction must necessarily be in tension with the jurisdiction of the local ordinary. Bishops do not receive their authority to preach, teach and sanctify from the Holy Father, but through the episcopal ordination, which, among other things, makes each a vicar of Christ in their local church.

Great will be the number of retrospectives written about this particular Pope. He will be hailed as “the champion of Vatican II” and as “the wrecker of Vatican II” — depending on the writer's perspective. In the meantime, all of us can ask not what the Pope can do for us but what we can do to further the mission of the Church.


Jews Need Jesus, Too

The recent media attention given to the U.S. bishops’ document on evangelization of the Jews is a further tragedy for the American bishops and for the Church.

The tragedy is not only this recent statement about evangelizing Jews, but, more fundamentally, the failure of most American bishops to take responsibility for the priests in their dioceses — especially regarding sexual morality, practice and teaching. We must pray for all the bishops: for the holy, faithful bishops who work courageously for the Church and for the other bishops also.

The duty of bishops is to teach. The media are reporting that the bishops are now teaching that Jews can be saved without Christ. This is a grave scandal. Most faithful Catholics and almost all non-Catholics believe the erroneous media reports.

The document is not a statement from the bishops. Most bishops did not see the document before it was released. The document has no doctrinal authority; it is merely the opinion of a small panel of Jews and Catholics. It does not say that Jews can be saved without Christ. On the contrary, it affirms the Catholic teaching that no one can be saved without Christ. Jesus’ command to proclaim the Gospel to all people most certainly includes the Jewish people.

However, the document was released by the bishops’ office. It is time for the bishops to take responsibility for what happens in their dioceses and for documents released from their office. Jesus warned us that scandals will come. He also said, “Woe to those through whom the scandals come.”

While we must continue to pray for all bishops, to encourage and support our faithful bishops, the bishops must teach. And we all share this responsibility to proclaim the truth.

MARK DROGIN New Hope, Kentucky

The writer, a Jewish convert, is executive director of Remnant of Israel.

Luther's Loss

For the first time I have read the Register. I did not know of its existence until yesterday, when I came across a front-page article on Gov. Frank Keating (“‘Luther was Right,’ Says Bishops’ Point Man,” June 30-July 6).

Keating, if he really understands his comments, should just become a Protestant. At least his problem would be solved and the laity, or what I suspect, politicians can now control religious thought. That too was part of Luther's teaching and look where it landed the civilized world — chaos, crime, hate, world wars. Keating ought to know, as a Catholic, that taking control of the Church and her decisions has been an ongoing aim of Protestants, atheists and others who despise the Roman Catholic Church because it cannot be controlled for the gain of politicians or others with personal agendas. It has withstood these attacks for 2,000 years and will continue to do so.

BILL FORREST Mount Laurel, New Jersey

World Youth Day Memories

Regarding “When an Assignment Becomes a Pilgrimage” (Aug. 11-17):

Tim Drake, I was at that fence at Morrow Park with my daughter. How long was it — three or four minutes with the Pope so near? I was also at Downsview and discovered those confessionals, which you write of, about midnight on the Saturday, as bongos and tambourines filled the warm night air. Unforgettable moments, both of them. Thanks for sharing them with many readers.


Marriage Mobilization

There is a Web site ( that allows for a simple way to create a petition and get the word out to people to have them sign it.

With regard to your recent article about the marriage amendment (“Proponents Fight for Marriage Amendment — Before It's Too Late,” Aug. 18-24), there is a petition to stop the amendment with 440,000 signatures. Could [one of your readers] get a legal-minded person to create a counter-petition and get the word out for people to sign it? Here is a link to the anti-marriage petition: God B.less!

SANDOR GYETVAI Oceanside, California

Voice of Fidelity

I totally agree with Father Andrew McNair in his column TITLEd “Voice of the Unfaithful? New Group's True Colors” (Aug. 18-24).

This is what I say to the Voice of the Faithful: Instead of trying to take over the Church, buy each of your members a four-volume set of the Liturgy of the Hours and read it daily like all the shepherds of God's Church do every day of the year.

This intercession, for Aug. 21, is very appropriate for my response to your group. Under morning prayers on the feast of Pope St. Pius X, there is this: “Christ is the Good Shepherd who laid down his life for his sheep. Let us praise and thank him as we pray. Nourish your people, Lord. Christ, you decided to show your merciful love through your holy shepherds, let your mercy always reach us through them. Through your vicars you continue to perform the ministry of shepherd of souls, direct us always through our leaders. Through your holy ones the leaders of your people you served as physician of our bodies and our spirits, continue to fulfill your ministry of life and holiness in us.

“You taught your flock through the prudence and love of your saints, grant us continual growth in holiness under the direction of our pastor. Followed by the Our Father…”

In conclusion, may I suggest that instead of spending your money to usurp the authority of the Pope you should make a contribution regularly to one of the faithful groups in the Church that are doing so much?

JOSEPH R. J. BIRT Ashland, Massachusetts