BY The Editors
October 26-November 1, 2008 Issue | Posted 10/21/08 at 11:04 AM
Better Catholic Heroes
Relevant to the letter to the editor “Catholic Hero? Not to Me” (Oct. 5): I completely agree with the author of the letter! There are much better Catholic heroes than Hellboy.
More importantly, I am not a big fan of the comic book and video game reviews. As far as video games are concerned, they are very expensive. A video game system, together with a few games, can easily cost $500. By contrast, I received a letter in the mail a while ago regarding a charity, which stated that $10 can buy clothing for 10 needy children in the third world. So can we as Catholics justify spending $500 to amuse ourselves, when that money could clothe 500 poor children?
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Catholic parents would tell their children, “Kids, instead of buying $500 worth of video game merchandise, we’re going to give it to charity so that 500 poor children can have clean, new clothing”? And then they can spend the time they would have spent on video games playing board games, volunteering, doing pro-life work, saying a family Rosary, taking the dog for a walk, playing outside, or any number of other family activities.
This reminds me of the saying “Live simply so that others may simply live.” We should take seriously Jesus’ warning in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. We are the rich man. We need to learn from his mistakes and be generous, so as to avoid his fate.
Buffalo, New York
Apples and Oranges
Homosexuals should be insulted by the recent court rulings allowing so-called same-sex “marriage” (“Connecticut Marriage Fight,” Oct. 19). Clearly and simply, men and women are designed with a complementarity which serves a purpose: the procreation of children. Marriage serves to protect the offspring of this union.
To “dumb down” the definition of marriage so that an adult can pretend to have that which is impossible for him or her to have — thanks to nature’s design — is to rob that person of his or her God-given human dignity. Our homosexual brothers and sisters deserve better than that.
You can call an apple an orange, but it is still an apple.
Mary K. Mulligan
Your recent addition of Leticia Velasquez to your contributing journalists is an excellent choice. Her articles like “Down, Hero Dad and Palin” from the Oct. 12 issue are beautifully written, personal and informative. The topic of Down syndrome is one she covers particularly well. It is high time this important issue came to the forefront.
Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller
Ridge, New York
Political Views vs. Lives
Like Brother Terrence Lauerman (“True Family Values,” Sept. 28), I think it is a moral tragedy that divorce among Christians and Catholics is so common and that our Christian leaders have done relatively little to reverse the acceptance of divorce and eliminate it for those who enter the sacrament of holy matrimony. I also think it is sad that the good work that Catholics and other Christians do to help people overcome same-sex attraction is so little known and savagely disparaged by homosexual advocates.
But, a moral myopia seems to affect Brother Terrence. First, not only have we had U.S. presidents and presidential candidates who have been divorced, but we have had U.S. presidents who had never been divorced, but who repeatedly committed adultery: John Kennedy and Bill Clinton come to mind. Second, how can we hold divorced presidents or presidential candidates to a standard of no divorce when the churches they were married in do not see divorce as immoral? Finally, there are other evils elected officials can commit that are just as — or more — immoral than adultery, such as abortion, homosexual “marriage,” fornication, cohabitation, and contraception.
Since Brother Terrence is concerned about adultery through divorce, he should be relieved to know that Republicans have generally punished their adulterers: Rep. Robert Livingston resigned as Speaker of the House, and Rep. Newt Gingrich resigned as well, when their adultery became public. But Democrats Barney Frank, who lives with a homosexual partner who ran a homosexual escort service from Frank’s home, continues to serve in Congress, as does Sen. Ted Kennedy. And, I wonder if Brother Terrence would have voted at all had the choice been between McCain and revealed adulterer John Edwards, had the latter gotten the party nomination.
A candidate’s marital history is indeed important to me, but his support for a host of other issues, including his comfort level with racists and former terrorists and support for legislation that forces widespread social acceptance of homosexuality, divorce, contraception, fornication and abortion throughout our social institutions, concerns me a great deal more.
Voting for Gospel Values
Regarding “Voter Traps” (Oct. 5), parents have the responsibility to watch over their children who, if they had total freedom, would seek immediate gratification of all that seemed good — candy, TV, games — as soon as they could get it. They would also avoid things that are difficult but important for growth (such as discipline, homework, housework), procrastinating as long as possible. Of course, then there would be consequences for such courses of action: stomach aches from too much candy, poor vision from watching too much television, lower academic scores from more games and less homework, and cockroaches rampant in the dirty bedroom, etc. This is among the reasons why God has given parents to children.
The same is true for children of whatever age. We live in a tumultuous time: uncertainty of gas prices, restlessness over the economy, particularly in the housing and investment departments, insecurity over Middle East issues, and an election that is polarizing a nation between fixing economic issues versus defending life. Children, lacking patience, will want the quick fix, regardless of the moral dimension. For spiritual maturity, we Christians must take a stand for Gospel values — abortion, the sanctity of marriage, the importance of Judeo-Christian values — alongside leadership that has experience, as opposed to leadership that lacks an appreciation for Gospel and family values.
The Israelites were exiled into Babylon when the prophet Isaiah told King Ahaz to be patient, asking him what sign he wanted. The king was in despair and “would not tempt the Lord,” but formed an alliance with another nation that was not in accord with God’s will. As a result, they lost and were exiled for about 50 years. If we Christians fail to stand up for moral values this election year, we will live the consequences of our despair, our impatience, our childish need for immediate self-gratification. Defending life that is not even your own runs parallel to what Jesus said: “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for another” (John 15:13).
If we truly want to be mature, we must be patient and place the Gospel values of life above the sugar-coated speeches of an improved economy, which cannot even be guaranteed.
Father John Zimmerman
St. Anne’s Parish
Florence, South Carolina
“Myth No. 5: Atheist Aid” (Sept. 28) is an interesting but misleading title for the study. The study did not isolate and compare a religious group to an atheist group but religious to secular. Some in the secular group would identify as Christians but didn’t go to church often enough to be included in the religious group. I did read the original report, and the word “atheist” never appears in it. Also, in the latest Pew Research report on religion just a few months ago, only 5% of Americans claim to be atheists. The study had more than 25% of the study group as secular (or atheist if you are Catholic).
I would have to agree with the conclusion that religious people give more than secular people, at least based on the method the study used.
If you do a comparison with Europe, much more secular than the U.S.A., you find that Americans give more per individual than the Europeans. That could be because most European countries have far more social services in place to help people that need help (and a lot higher taxes to pay for it).
The favorable U.S. comparison starts falling apart when you do economic aid by country. The U.S. is only fourth behind the United Kingdom, France and Japan when it comes to total dollar amount given.
Here is a real shocker: When you look at it per capita, the United States is 19th, behind all European countries except Italy. The No. 1 country is Luxembourg, which gives $519 per person. The United States gives $25 per person. You can find all the stats at NationMaster.com.
In all fairness, Father Williams should consider an article entitled “The More Atheist a Country, the More Aid They Give.”
I certainly feel the real reason for the title of the article is the usual Christian approach to paint atheists in the most unpleasant light possible, regardless if it is true or not. One does not want the flock straying.
Father Williams’ response: I must express admiration for this undaunted letter writer. He takes up a tremendously difficult case much like an enthusiastic defense lawyer who knows his client is guilty but defends him tooth and nail nonetheless. And like a defense lawyer facing an uphill battle, he desperately looks for a legal loophole rather than address the devastating evidence that confirms his client’s guilt. The simple fact is: Whether we call them secularists or atheists, the record shows that those who live as if God did not exist are notoriously less generous with their time and their property than religious believers. Bringing up the international question with its myriad complexities serves only to muddle the crystal-clear findings of a careful study done among Americans. Fortunately, Register readers are not as naïve as our letter writer seems to think and can separate fact from rhetorical sleight of hand.
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