National Catholic Register


Letters 03.23.2008

BY The Editors

March 23-29, 2008 Issue | Posted 3/18/08 at 3:19 PM


Faith-Driven Decision

Regarding “McCain and Pro-Lifers” (March 2):

Thank you for explaining why this election may require a negative vote. “Who do you vote against?” is the correct question.

The points supporting your conclusion regarding the pro-death Democratic candidates needed some late news to make it complete.

On Feb 27, 2008, The Catholic League reported the truth: “Obama Champions Culture of Death”

The senator said in an MSNBC debate the biggest mistake he ever made in public life was voting to save Terry Schindler-Schiavo’s life!

So if “Senator Death” becomes president, we most certainly must add persons with life-support situations to the death watch.

We also have the text of his speech to the leadership of Planned Parenthood in July 2007 pledging to steadfastly support their killing of the unborn business enterprise.

We know about his opposition to legislation in the Illinois Senate mandating health care for a live baby who survived an abortion. Even born babies will be at risk.

I believe our faith compels us to protect the lives God has created from inception until natural death. The unborn are his creations.

The bishops got it right: Nothing else matters that much. A vote against “Senator Death” saves lives. Chalk up one faith-driven election decision.

Please continue this life or death discussion from now until Nov. 4, 2008.

Joseph Wildman

Claremont, California

No Private Masses

I’d like to suggest a correction to your article “Ite Missa Est” (Feb. 17). The article states that Masses in the extraordinary form are allowed anytime except during the Easter Triduum.

In fact, according to Section 2 of Summorum Pontificum, it is only private Masses in the extraordinary form that aren’t allowed during the Triduum. Private Masses in the ordinary form are also not allowed during that time, so this is nothing new.

As a recent “convert” to the traditional Latin Mass, I am very much looking forward to my first Holy Week participating in the extraordinary rite, especially to Easter Sunday Mass.


Buffalo, New York

Providing the Tools

In short, your three-part series on end-of-life issues, “How We Die Today” (Oct 7), “Life, Death and Politics in the U.S.” (Oct. 14), “The Hour Of Our Death” (Oct. 21), may just have saved a family torn by a hospice “experience” that resulted in the death of my father-in-law (John) in Sept 2007.

My husband and I suspected very unethical/un-Catholic practices on the part of hospice in their “care” of John while the rest of his family trusted the hospice team. One of the confounding components to John’s situation was he resided in a nursing home with a Catholic name but run by a secular medical facility who promised to abide by Church teaching.

As outlined in your articles, we experienced virtually the same chilling feelings described by the son in your article regarding the care of his father. Your article was a great source of information to better convey to my in-laws what my husband and I felt back then and continue to feel: Something was terribly wrong.

Currently, we are pursuing many avenues to have John’s case reviewed and/or to find some avenues to change policies, etc.: contacting the local diocesan/state Catholic conference, contacting local/state right-to-life associations, filing a complaint with the state health department, hiring a legal nurse to review the case, and consulting with an attorney. Coincidentally, even prior to reading your article, we had planned on traveling to Hankinson, N.D., to attend a seminar being presented by Wesley Smith.

After reading your articles, we are even more eager to hear him speak. Again, thank you for providing us with a tool to educate our family and beyond.

I forwarded a copy of your articles to the state Catholic conference. I was searching for many months to find exactly the information you detailed.

Paul Kokoski

Hamilton, Ontario

Explain Conservatism

Please explain your statement in “McCain and Pro-Lifers” (March 2): “‘Conservatism’ is against Church teaching as often as it’s for it.”

I consider myself a devout Catholic with conservative political leanings, subordinate though to matters of faith.

Sean Higgins

Steilacoom, Washington

Clear Explanation

The opinion piece titled “McCain and Pro-Lifers” (March 2) has what I believe to be an error in regard to the following sentence: “To be clear what that means: He wants to force us to pay lab scientists for research experiments in which they clone and kill human beings.”

Please correct me if I am wrong but, according to the National Right to Life Political Action Committee (, McCain supports funding embryonic stem-cell research, but does not support human cloning. Can you please provide the evidence to the contrary.

Bryce P. Hinds

Orange, California


Editor’s note: Fair enough. We think the case can be made that you can’t financially support scientists who do research experiments on human embryos without at least indirectly supporting cloning. But to be as accurate as possible, we removed the word “clone” in the online version. It now reads: “He wants to force us to pay lab scientists for research experiments in which they kill human beings.”

McCain Disqualified


Regarding “Pro-Lifers Out in the Cold” (March 16):

I can see your reasoning in promoting Sen. McCain for president and “protecting lives” in the long run. However, it is ill-formed in that it ignores a bedrock in principle when one votes for a particular politician.

Does this candidate support the destruction of innocent human life?

If the answer is in the affirmative, this automatically disqualifies that candidate.

Your reasoning takes us down the slippery slope of choosing what lives are to be sacrificed in the interim with a hope of ending all deaths.

By endorsing McCain, you give approval to his intention of destroying human embryos for the “possibility” of a cure.

Your position is not unique — I find many well-intentioned Catholics with the same views. However, when challenged if they or their loved ones should be the ones sacrificed in research by a McCain administration the answer is either silence or “Don’t be ridiculous!”

Is your or my life more precious then these silent innocents in the eyes of the Lord? Or shall we just rationalize the sacrifice of a few for the good of the many?

My position here is simple: I see the gradual demise of the Republican Party in ignoring its core principles in an effort to attract those with none.

If we were arguing tax rates, whether the war is just, immigration or national security policies, I could debate such issues with compromise as a possible solution.

The destruction of innocent human life has no middle ground.

Bert Brocato

Monument, Colorado


Editor’s note: No, our position certainly isn’t unique. It’s the Pope’s.


Shortly before he became Pope Benedict, in his letter to Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger explained that “There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty,” he said, “but not, however, with regard to abortion and euthanasia.”

But he added that a Catholic must sometimes vote for a candidate who is not perfect. “When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favor of abortion and/or euthanasia,” wrote Cardinal Ratzinger, “but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.”

Catholics certainly are under no obligation to help a vehemently pro-abortion politician take the highest office in the land because his mostly pro-life opponent isn’t perfect.

As we put it in the editorial: “A Catholic’s obligation is to cast the vote that will best advance the culture of life. When advancing the culture of life isn’t possible, our obligation is to case the vote that would best protect the culture of life. And if that’s not possible, our obligation is to cast the vote that will do the least harm to the culture of life.”

John McCain’s Reality

Referring to “McCain and Pro-Lifers” (March 2) and the people writing in, complaining about the Register’s “support” of Sen. John McCain.
It seems to me, a 16-year-old, that many of the subscribers to the Register are living in denial. They complain when the Register “supports” John McCain. They say that they refuse to compromise.

Well, I don’t have anything against holding high pro-life standards. I am a pro-lifer in all respects. But there comes a time when we have to face reality. The reality now is that Mike Huckabee is not in the race and the match-up for the presidential election is Obama/Clinton vs. McCain.

I am aware that McCain does not have a spotless voting record and that he is not a perfect candidate. However, the decision we face in November is McCain or Obama/Clinton. I suggest we stop living in denial and follow Teddy Roosevelt’s advice and “do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” 

George Misulia
Liberty Town, Maryland