National Catholic Register

Opinion

Letters to the Editor

BY John Lilly

January 15-21, 2006 Issue | Posted 1/16/06 at 10:00 AM

 

Interview With the Erstwhile Vampire Writer

I was disappointed to see “Catholic convert” Anne Rice score yet another Catholic publicity coup (“Literary Convert of the Year,” Jan. 1-7). If her fantasy-filled book about Christ’s infancy brings anyone to the true faith, it will be over Ms. Rice’s dead body.

Anyone can call herself Catholic, but one who actively opposes the Church’s teachings on contraception, homosexual “marriage,” and abortion is not alive in Christ, but dead in sin.

The article downplays Rice’s un-Catholic views on such crucial moral issues and even omits any mention of her “pro-choice” position. It is dangerous to promote, and even glamorize, such dissenters and their works. Certainly the Register would not treat a dissenting theologian so favorably. Why applaud, then, an immensely popular fiction writer — one who stands a much better chance than any theologian of misleading the multitudes?

In recent e-mail exchanges with Ms. Rice, she affirmed what can easily be learned on her website: She firmly advocates abortion “rights,” gay “marriage,” and generally favors “repeal of the old sexual laws.” She “sense[s] that Christianity is wakening from a nightmare of sex obsession which has caused much harm in the last few hundred years, especially in America.”

I sense that Ms. Rice found that her vampire books were losing popularity, and so jumped for the Passion of the Christ bandwagon; or rather, perhaps, having made her millions, she decided that her anti-Church activist impulses were wasted on readers of vampire books, and required a Catholic audience. If her new Out of Egypt book contains no positive evil (if spinning elaborate false yarns about Our Lord’s hidden life is not indeed itself evil), we should expect that her future missives to her new-found Catholic readers will reflect, and attempt to impart, her un-Catholic beliefs.

 

Laurence D. Behr

Buffalo, New York

Contraception Deception

In his very interesting column “A Visit Inside an Abortion Clinic” (Dec. 11-17), Father James Gilhooley writes: “There has been a drop in abortions in the past 15 years among teens and educated, affluent women. This is owed to their easier access to increasingly sophisticated forms of contraception.”

Actually, contraception (preventing the conception of a new life) does not decrease abortion; contraception increases abortion (preventing the birth of a new life). Contraception and abortion are two tines of the anti-life pitchfork. Dr. Malcolm Potts, past medical director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said, “As people turn to contraception there will be a rise, not a fall, in the abortion rate.”

The Alan Guttmacher Institute reported that 58% of the women who had abortions were using contraceptives in the month they became pregnant.

A British study showed that 50% of teenage girls who were prescribed the oral contraceptive pill became pregnant. Even the so-called “emergency contraception” does not reduce the abortion rate.

The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy reported: “Remaining abstinent is a tough challenge but using contraception carefully and consistently is an equally tall order, because most contraceptive methods require both motivation and a constancy of attention and action that are difficult for even married adults to maintain let alone teenagers.”

Contraceptives have high failure rates and abortion becomes the “backup contraceptive.” Further, the more sophisticated contraceptives often function as abortifacients, killing new life before it implants in the womb. They have all been readily available for decades, often putting women’s health at greater risk. No new sophisticated contraceptives have been developed in decades.

The decrease in surgical abortions is the result not of contraceptives, but of the prayers of many, the works of active pro-lifers offering help to abortion minded women, sonograms, fetal surgery and an increase in the number of women shunning the many abortion risks to their physical and psychological health and the health of their progeny.

John Naughton

Silver Spring, Maryland

 

Clarifying Christmas

I wish to commend you for publishing “A Day-by-Day Guide to the Season” by
Joanna Bogle (Dec. 18-31). It was a fine article, fulfilling an urgent need among Catholics today to be reminded that the Church’s Christmas starts on Dec. 25 and lasts until at least the Epiphany, or the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. It does not begin the day after Thanksgiving; nor does it find proper expression in all the “Christmas” parties and concerts during Advent. Neither does it come to a screeching halt on Dec. 25, just because nobody can make money off of it.

Most of our neighbors take down their lights before New Year’s Day, but ours will stay up until Jan. 15. Our five children will receive some of their gifts on the Feast of the Epiphany (benefiting not only from a more proper Christmas perspective, but all the half-price “after-Christmas” sales on the second through 12th days of Christmas as well).

The only unfortunate sentence in Ms. Bogle’s article was this: “This feast of the arrival of the Magi — or Three Kings — has often rivaled Christmas, and has its own delightful traditions.” In fact, Epiphany is still Christmas! How can Christmas rival itself?

Thanks for reading this, and, since it still applies, I say — in defiance of
the consumerist society that surrounds us — Merry Christmas!

Larry A. Carstens
Castaic, California

Some Things Are Worse Than War

This is in response to the letter from Molly Powers-Aranda in your Dec. 18-31 issue (“Let’s Step Up and Stop the War”).

It saddens me to hear opinions from fellow Catholics who are so misinformed. The attitude that the Iraq war is unjust is extremely injurious to our finest citizens who put their lives on the line so she can attend classes at Notre Dame in peace.

The Catechism teaches the final decision for war rests with those in proper civil authority. Not only were all diplomatic efforts exhausted over 11 years of hide-and-seek, ending with the U.N. weapons inspectors tossed unceremoniously out of Iraq, but it’s well documented that the devastating attack of Sept. 11 was a result of our non-response to earlier attacks during the Clinton administration. Turn off CNN and listen to the many military personnel who have been there and reenlisted.

Furthermore, you would have to be blind and deaf not to realize that this is a humanitarian mission. To this day you still hear condemnations of those who allegedly didn’t do enough during Hitler’s holocaust. Yet I’m bewildered that torture, rape, murder, religious persecution and deliberate impoverishment forced upon millions of innocent Iraqis by Saddam’s evil regime over 30 years seems not to concern some Catholics. Is their sense of social justice biased?

No one wants war, but some things are worse. C.S Lewis stated that submission to a lower religion or even a lower secular society is much worse. J.S. Mill said that war is an ugly thing, but the person who has nothing for which he is wiling to fight, nothing more important that his own personal safety, is a miserable creature with no chance of freedom except that which is won for him by better men. Archbishop of Military Services Edwin O’Brien says that those serving in the military have an honorable vocation and should be held in high esteem. He lamented those Catholics who have fallen victim to the simplistic sentiments of a “soft pacifism.” Jesus said there is no greater love than to lay down your life for another.

Aggie Joseph-Langschied

Lambertville, Michigan

Notre Hope

Thanks to the guide Choosing the Right College, Catholic and non-Catholic families now have a clear window into college campuses across the country (“So Many Campuses, So Few Catholic-Friendly Choices,” Dec. 11-17). This 2006 guide tells the good, the bad and the ugly of what we parents and prospective students can truly expect from the colleges that interest us the most.

After being interviewed by the Register regarding my enthusiasm for the guide, I left California on the weekend before Thanksgiving and took my three boys to my alma mater, the University of Notre Dame, for a six-day campus tour, football game and a visit to the admissions department. The Golden Dome, the Grotto, the Sacred Heart Cathedral, the stadium, the lakes, the statues, the trees, my dorm — the campus as a whole was just as beautiful as always.

As Notre Dame is a major university, she attracts students from around the world. When I was a student in the early ’70s, the faculty was definitely tilted toward the left and, by graduation-time, many students — myself included — followed suit. Nowadays, after looking at course syllabuses and departmental offerings, the faculty and course content looks basically the same to me (with several tenured socialists from my time still on board). It’s a shame that professors would rather indoctrinate than educate. Parents and students deserve something better, especially after considering the price they are paying for this “education.” 

Alas, all is not lost. Several conservative organizations exist at Notre Dame and they even have an excellent newspaper The Irish Rover. On campus, the public worship of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament was reinstated about 10 years ago, increasing to daily adoration last year. Also last year, for the first time in 40 years, some campus clubs sponsored a campus-wide Eucharistic procession at five locations on campus with the final benediction on the steps of the main building.

On our tour we met the new president of Notre Dame, Father John Jenkins (’76), who greeted us after Mass. At his inauguration, he firmly stated his intention to build up the Catholic identity of Notre Dame. Hopefully, with Our Lady’s help, he will staff, reward and tenure God-fearing theology professors who possess a mandatum (a certificate of doctrinal orthodoxy from the local bishop). It is also hoped that he will make many decisions (whether popular or not) that will make Our Lady and the rest of us proud.

 

Timothy O’Brien

La Verne, California