National Catholic Register


Letters 05.04.2008

BY The Editors

May 4-10, 2008 Issue | Posted 4/29/08 at 4:42 PM

Knee-Jerk Response

In response to the letter from Sister Simone Campbell, “Serious Questions” (April 6) regarding her apparent opposition to John McCain, I would agree that Catholics should not be single-issue voters.

First of all, I thank you for the generosity of acting on the gift of your vocation. I also commend you on your obvious concern regarding important social issues.

The mistake that Sister Simone makes (along with many others) is the assumption that if one does not see government as the solution to the many ills of society, one does not care about these issues. This is plain wrong.

Perhaps Mr. McCain recognizes that, after 40 years and trillions of dollars taken from taxpayers at the point of a gun, the big-government war on poverty has been an abject failure. And the knee-jerk response to that failure on the part of many is more of the same.

Mr. McCain should be commended for recognizing that more of the same failing policies might not be a good idea, at least not if you really want to help people.

I would also suggest that Mr. McCain recognizes that, regardless of the merits of our prosecuting this war with Iraq, we have to remain engaged.

There is little doubt that if we abandon the Iraqi people at this critical junction that between Iran and the jihadists hundreds of thousands of Iraqis will be murdered.

What is the social justice of that decision?

And finally, her comment about his supporting economic policies that favor the rich over the poor and vulnerable ignores the fact that the top 10% of income earners carry 90% of the federal tax burden.

What is fair about that? What is fair about people who don’t even pay Federal taxes but will receive a rebate?

There is much wrong with our tax system but I dare say that Sister Simone and I are on opposite ends of the spectrum as to the solution.

The fact is that a great many Catholics would support Mr. McCain for many of the same reasons she apparently doesn’t support him.

In addition, for many Catholics, they see abortion as a much greater moral evil than whether we extend a government-run health insurance program meant for children to adults (especially since we recognize it as a step toward universal, socialized medicine).

To not place an overwhelming emphasis on the murder of more than 1 million babies in favor of opposition to a war, the expansion of a failed government program and the further redistribution of wealth beyond what is already done is in my view having the wrong priorities.

There is no doubt that Republicans have flaws. But I will accept a great many flaws if they are ardently opposed to the legal genocide of babies.

I can easily live with myself voting for John McCain but would rush to confession if I ever voted for a pro-abortion candidate. That is how my conscience has been formed and while I recognize that each of us will be judged according to our actions, I just find it hard to believe that Christ would find fault with my priorities.

It appears that Sister Simone might, and that is a shame.

Earl H. Scott

Marietta, Georgia

Wrong Answer

Regarding Sister Simone Campbell’s “Serious Questions” letter (April 6) bashing McCain is strangely silent about Obama and Hillary supporting the intrinsic evils of abortion, euthanasia, human cloning, embryonic stem-cell research and homosexual unions.

In “Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion — General Principles,” then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said, “There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not, however, with regard to abortion and euthanasia.”

“On Our Civic Responsibility for the Common Good,” by Archbishop Raymond Burke, says, “One cannot justify a vote for a candidate who promotes intrinsically evil acts that erode the very foundation of the common good, such as abortion and same-sex ‘marriage,’ by appealing to that same candidate’s opposition to war or capital punishment. ... These elements are so fundamental to the common good that they cannot be subordinated to any other cause, no matter how good.”

Pope John Paul II makes the same point in Section 38 of Christifideles Laici (The Vocation and the Mission of the Lay Faithful in the Church and in the World).

Voting for the party of death and its candidates who promote intrinsic evils, bigger government, class envy/hate and socialism does not serve the common good and is definitely not the faithful Catholic’s answer.

Paul Rosenthal

Augusta, Georgia

Deo Gratias

Thank you so much for the coverage of our beloved Holy Father’s visit. We are cloistered contemplatives, and do not own a TV, but we did make visits to your Pope2008 site to keep up with the different events and news of the visit. What a blessing! We enjoyed the blog immensely and just wanted to thank you for all the hard work and love that went into pulling this all together. With an assurance of our prayers for your wonderful work,

Mother Dolores Marie

Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration

St. Joseph Monastery

Portsmouth, Ohio

Cherry-Picking the Issues

I continue to be amazed by the Catholics who try to convince themselves and others that it’s okay to vote for one of the Democratic presidential candidates.

“Catholics aren’t single issue voters” is usually their rallying cry, and then they trot out their list of other issues like the war in Iraq, health care, immigration and other social justice concerns.

These Catholics seem to be reading the U.S. bishops’ “Faithful Citizenship” document the way many people read the Bible, picking and choosing the verses that fit their own perspective and agenda. The document might say that Catholics are not single issue voters, but it also emphasizes that “temptations in public life can distort the Church’s defense of human life and dignity: The first is a moral equivalence that makes no ethical distinctions between different kinds of issues involving human life and dignity. The direct and intentional destruction of innocent human life from the moment of conception until natural death is always wrong and is not just one issue among many. It must always be opposed.”

In Sister Simone Campbell’s recent letter, “Serious Questions” (April 6) she notes that John McCain has received a rating from the Children’s Defense Fund as the “worst senator on children’s issues.”

What a farce! Apparently the intrinsic evil of abortion isn’t even a factor in the determination of this ranking. Abortion is a non-issue for the Children’s Defense Fund.

“Faithful Citizenship” also reminds us: “It is important to be clear that the political choices faced by citizens not only have an impact on general peace and prosperity but also may affect the individual’s salvation.”

Pro-abortion candidates and the people who vote for them should be worrying about that day when they meet Jesus face-to-face and have to answer for how they did or did not defend his little ones — all 50 million of them, and counting.

Maris Stella Bentley

Omaha, Nebraska

Clarification & Correction

Explanations are in order for our article “Hijacked? (March 2-8, 2008).

1. The article uses the verb “routed” to describe what happens to pregnant callers to the suicide hotline. This is an error. Calls are not “routed” to Planned Parenthood from the suicide hotline.

Callers are given referrals to agencies and organizations that answer the needs they have.

2. There is apparently no national policy for the hotline on how to handle pregnant callers. Those decisions are made by the counselors working at each call center.

It is reasonable to assume that pregnant callers are referred to Planned Parenthood because it is an international, socially respected, and partially taxpayer-funded organization that exists ostensibly to help pregnant women.

However, we should have made clear in the article that the main point of contention isn’t that there is a policy of referring to Planned Parenthood, but that there is no policy prohibiting such referrals. No research has been done on the pregnancy status of hotline callers or the results of their calls.

3. The story should have made clear that the original hotline, when under Butler’s control, also had no national policy about how to handle pregnant callers.

However, it does report on H. Reese Butler efforts to build a suicide hotline whose policy is to refer callers to pregnancy crisis centers that don’t make money from abortion, as Planned Parenthood does. We regret the errors. But insofar as the article alerts the National Suicide Hotline to the needs of pregnant callers, it can be of great value. Mothers need to know the pain and horror that can be caused by abortion.

As the Supreme Court’s opinion in last year’s Carhart vs. Casey said, the federal government has an interest in ensuring that pregnant women know the facts about abortion, and not be left at the mercy of those who might pressure her into a decision that she will later come to regret:

“The [Partial-Birth Abortion Ban] Act also recognizes that respect for human life finds an ultimate expression in a mother’s love for her child. Whether to have an abortion requires a difficult and painful moral decision (see Casey, 852-3) which some women come to regret. In a decision so fraught with emotional consequence, some doctors may prefer not to disclose precise details of the abortion procedure to be used. It is, however, precisely this lack of information that is of legitimate concern to the State. The State’s interest in respect for life is advanced by the dialogue that better informs the political and legal systems, the medical profession, expectant mothers, and society as a whole of the consequences.”

Additional Info

To order the CD “Praying the Rosary with St. Alphonsus Maria Liguori,” featured in our April 27 Arts interview with musician Ray Herrmann, go to or call (800) 231-1207.