National Catholic Register


Letters 07.06.2008

BY The Editors

July 6-12, 2008 Issue | Posted 7/1/08 at 12:23 PM


Hidden Statistics

Relevant to “For Humanae Vitae, Life Begins at 40” (May 25):

“Viva Vitae” (May 25) reports on the Pope’s defense of the Church’s teaching against contraception. His remarks were made in anticipation of the 40th anniversary of the encyclical Humanae Vitae (The Regulation of Birth), which takes place on July 25.

Contraceptives, of course, are intended to prevent conception. In many instances, however, they fail in their primary task, but in the case of the birth control pill, this failure can subsequently be made up when the pill causes the death of a newly conceived child.

Birth control pills are intended to prevent conception by suppressing ovulation. They also can act to prevent conception by reducing the ability of the sperm to reach and fertilize the ovum. Both of these mechanisms can and do fail.

Even when this happens, the pill is designed with a third function, which is to affect the lining of the uterus in a way which prevents the fertilized ovum from implanting there. This last function can be designated a chemical abortion.

The Guttmacher Institute, a Planned Parenthood affiliate, is the primary source for abortion statistics. They have a strong bias against acknowledging that contraceptives ever cause abortions, and so the vast number of abortions induced by birth control pills do not get recorded as such by Guttmacher.

In its reports covering the most recent 10 years, it says there have been about 13 million abortions of all types. In comparison, the American Life League calculates that birth control pills and similar products, by themselves, have caused 70 million chemical abortions over the 10-year span, which is more than five times the Guttmacher figure for all types of abortions.

In January this year, pro-lifers celebrated reports that the abortion rate (as announced by Guttmacher) had fallen to 1.2 million in 2005. 

While Guttmacher did acknowledge that some types of chemical abortions (i.e. RU-486) were gaining in popularity, nothing was said about chemical abortions induced by birth control pills, which each year kill additional millions of pre-born babies.

Charles O. Coudert

Sherborn, Massachusetts

Platform Divides Voters

Regarding “DNC Response: Democrats Are People of Faith” (May 25):

Are the core values of the Democratic Party really in line with key Catholic teachings as John Kelly says in his article? Meeting the needs of the poor, caring for the sick, supporting families and promoting peace certainly are, but core values must also include how these ends are to be accomplished.

The Democratic Party’s solutions are government hand-out programs that historically have destroyed people’s willingness to work, paid for by high taxes; free health care for all citizens and non-citizens, wealthy and poor alike, paid for by high taxes; military unpreparedness; forced unionization; and punitive restrictions on the profit-making sector of our nation, the driving force behind our economy. These solutions are less those of the Catholic Church than they are of the completely secular ACLU, which began its existence as an arm of the Communist Party.

I believe the Catholic Church prefers social policies that foster jobs and the dignity of work allowing strong unified families to stay together and care for each other, strong religious and other private charitable institutions willing and able to provide needed care, a nation’s right to defend its citizens from aggression, and the proper use of all natural resources for the benefit of all.

Kelly looks back to the ethnic Catholics of the ’60s and previous generations and says they were Democrats, and to a great extent he is correct. Which of the above solutions did they support? If you’re old enough you know it was not the currently espoused positions of the Democratic Party.

Kelly denies the soul of the Democratic Party is secular. How then does he describe its denial of the most basic right of all — the right of life? How then does Kelly describe the Democratic Party’s welcoming of sodomy, basic to male homosexual relations? I dare say these are the “few issues” that Kelly says is “part of a dwindling movement to use religion to divide voters.”

If you have read the Democratic Party platform you know that it promotes abortion and promotes homosexual “marriage.” If you have read the Catechism of the Catholic Church, you know that it condemns both. Since the Catholic Church has always condemned them, as did most other Christian religions until only recently, it seems to me that the Democratic Party’s fairly recent espousal of them, not religion, is what has divided voters.

John F. Oppie

Georgetown, Texas

‘Moral Equivalency’

Thank you for publishing John Kelly’s article, Regarding “DNC Response: Democrats Are People of Faith” (May 25), regarding positions taken by the Democratic National Committee on Catholic faith and teaching, and the upcoming election and its issues.

Kelly makes it sound so easy to support the Democratic agenda, and still remain a faithful Catholic, that we are left to wonder why this isn’t such an obvious choice for all. And yet, by the words that he left unspoken, it is rather simple, and obvious.

All of our rights — the right to clean water, reasonable health care, the freedom to do what we ought — begin with the right to life. No faithful Catholic can spin this any other way, though as we see through the illuminating story of John Kelly and the DNC, they will still try.

Neither political party has attained perfection, and never will. Yet by supporting the current Democrats running for president, Kelly tacitly supports the unlimited right to take the most vulnerable and precious of human lives — the loved and unborn. How can one look in the mirror, much less face God when confronted with this?

According to Kelly, it seems there is a moral equivalency that other issues, when collected and quantified, equal or surpass the right to life. Catholic teaching does not agree, as Kelly should know.

There are other denominations that will take in those who find the “moral equivalency” argument persuasive and appealing. “Thank the Maker,” as my wife would say, that the Catholic Church is not one of them.

Mike Acheson

Port Angeles, Washington

Shortsighted View

Regarding “DNC Response: Democrats Are People of Faith” (May 25):

Unfortunately, Kelly reflects the shortsightedness of too many Catholics who claim allegiance to the Democratic Party. Kelly cannot see the forest any longer for the trees.

He dismisses Mark Stricherz’s comments in the April 6 issue that the soul of the Democratic Party is still secular by stating Stricherz attempts to reduce the values and concerns of people of faith down to only a few issues is part of a dwindling movement to use religion to divide voters.

Kelly states that the Democratic Party realizes that life does not end at birth. Well he seems to have forgotten that life begins at conception!

All the feel-good issues Kelly mentions: creating a society that meets the needs of the poor, caring for the sick, supporting families, promoting peace, sustaining our environment, economic social justice, and health care coverage for all, are common beliefs of all major religions and even beliefs of people with no religious affiliation.

The Catholic faith has no monopoly on these issues. What sets Catholicism apart is the Church’s unending/unchanging belief in the infinite value of each and every human life from conception to natural death.

The Catholic Church’s five non-negotiables mean just that. Candidates and governing parties only deserve a vote from a Catholic if they adhere to the culture of life. Otherwise all is lost and of no value.

This is not just my opinion but the opinion of our popes, bishops and the entire teaching history of our Catholic faith.

So be very careful who one votes for if they sponsor or have voted for legislation that approves of: abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem-cell research, homosexual “marriage” or human cloning.

Jim Hamel

Chicopee, Massachusetts

Holiday’s Meaning

Relevant to “They Paid the Ultimate Price” (May 25):

Two Memorial Day prayers without a passing reference to God must be difficult to do, but apparently it was accomplished at the recent televised Memorial Day ceremony at Washington, D.C.

Memorial Day was established to commemorate the dead, especially those killed in wars, and was not meant to be a festival or a barbeque. We probably would not be allowed to call Memorial Day a holiday if atheists were to realize the word holiday is the politically correct word for holy day, days designated by the Church years ago to honor saints and give peasants days off.

Ced Lynch

West Nyack, New York


In the June 15-21 issue of the Register, the article “The Rule of the Father” stated incorrectly that the Eastern Church allows priests to marry. The Eastern Church does not allow priests to marry, but allows married men to become priests. Married priests may not become bishops. The Register regrets the error.