National Catholic Register


Letters 11.15.2009

BY The Editors

November 15-21, 2009 Issue | Posted 11/9/09 at 1:18 AM


Fight Immorality

Like Mary Ann Kuharski (“No More No-Tell Hotels,” Oct. 25), I’ve noticed a disturbing trend: Christian ministries booking reservations and scheduling banquets, conferences, etc. at hotels that carry pay-per-view porn! People who visit pornography sites, via Internet, phone sex lines or the relatively anonymous pay-per-view porn movie channels, quickly become desensitized and then addicted to this prurient material.

So, what can a Christian do to fight against this rising tide of immorality?

For starters, be more aware of the subtle ways you are aiding and abetting the pornography industry. Don’t do business with any business that profits from pornography. All it takes is one question to management: “Do you carry pay-per-view porn?” Most will answer, “We have ‘adult movies,’ but you can put a block on your television.” How does that help protect you from the serial porn viewer in the adjacent room? We are all called to be our brother’s keeper.

Ann Redding

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Tea and Protest

Regarding “Tea-Party Catholics” (Nov. 1): I am having a hard time seeing just what the concern is about Catholics participating in a legal, respectful forum in order to express our concerns about the threats to American liberties by the current administration. I attended one such event in my area and was pleased to see that pro-life views were prominent.

As Catholic Americans, we need to take advantage of these opportunities to express concerns about the way our Christian culture is being threatened: for example, by health-care legislation that seeks to promote abortion and impose government authority over health-care decisions.

These are serious matters, and I applaud our bishops and faithful Catholics who are willing to respectfully speak out on these matters, whether at “tea parties” or other forums. I see no contradiction between attending these events and practicing our Catholic faith.

Barbara Johnson

Brookfield, Wisconsin

Additional Info

I recently read an article by Rich Daly in your Sept. 20 edition entitled “Home-Invasion Threat: ‘Voluntary’ Visitation Program Draws Family Fire.” The article said that home-visitation “programs have functioned with a variety of purposes, but they are frequently touted as a way to prevent child abuse and neglect by parents.”

I have never heard of such programs. The article did not say how they work. For example, who initiates a request for such a visitation, and why? Where can I find out more information about them?

My family and relatives have never requested anyone to visit our homes to check on child abuse. Why would anyone voluntarily do that? What am I missing here? Are visitation programs just for people receiving government aid?

I am certain that most people are not in favor of any unnecessary government intrusion into their lives. I am not criticizing Daly’s article. I just want some additional information on how these programs work before I share any concerns with my congressional representatives. Can you or your correspondent help? Thank you.

Joe Randall III
Swartz Creek, Michigan

Rich Daly responds: The programs generally function at the county level and operate through state and county funding.

People are referred into the programs by a number of sources: public health services, welfare offices and private health-care providers, for instance. They are usually voluntary. The main danger exists in the fact that all of these employees are “mandated reporters,” which means they are required to report the vaguest concerns of abuse or neglect (which regularly includes such “offenses” as a nonfunctioning stove) and that initiates involvement of often aggressive child protective services agencies that have permanently removed many children for violations many would see as minor (two different color shoes on a child).

Mandated reporters also receive blanket immunity under all state and federal CPS laws for filing what many families see as fabricated or vindictive reports.

The income for the agencies or private contractor companies that employ these home-visitation workers also will depend on their ongoing presence in people’s homes once they start coming. This gives an incentive for them to use their considerable coercive power to intimidate parents to remain in the “voluntary” program.

Little is known about the specific experiences of families in these programs because of privacy concerns for the families; however, researchers have found that at least one program resulted in a greatly increased number of reports to CPS agencies compared to families in a control group (i.e. you are more likely to be reported for neglect if a mandated reporter is in your home observing you for months and years at a time; the programs generally try to retain the family from birth until the youngest child is 6 years old).

The provision in the Democratic health-care overhaul bill (it is in all of them) would create the first federal-funding stream for these programs.

These programs are described as being for low-income people in need of help. However, that was the same justification used to create a federally funded national CPS system 30 years ago that has evolved to become squarely focused on middle-class families. In fact, the academic advocates for these programs emphasize that all families could benefit from home visitations, regardless of income. And at least one prominent research psychiatrist told me he wished it could be mandatory for all families to submit to home visitation, but he doubted there would ever be enough tax dollars to support that.

Abortion Healing

I must speak up to give direct evidence to support what has already been voiced by Michelle Krystofik in her recent letter to the editor (“Post-Abortion,” Nov. 1). 

Without a doubt, Rachel’s Vineyard retreats absolutely help those men who attend, whether they come alone or as the male half of a couple. I know this from personal experience. 

Having attended my first retreat in November 2007 and my second in June 2009, that one as a step toward joining the Rachel’s Vineyard team here in Oregon, I can tell you that my growth and healing experiences during both retreats were gifts from the Father to a man who failed as a father. Men who have been affected by abortion need healing, too. The difficulty is whether we men are willing to acknowledge our need. In my case, it took 32 years before God led me to finally understand the true impact of my actions that resulted in the abortion of my only biological child.

Having also experienced the “Healing a Father’s Heart” program, I can testify that it is also a wonderful program for healing. In structure, it differs from a Rachel’s Vineyard weekend in that its duration is 10 to 12 weeks and in its structure in that it is presented to a male-only group. I value the experiences gained during “Healing a Father’s Heart,” as they allowed us to grow in our understanding of God’s presence in our lives and especially his forgiveness.

Men, in closing, there are quite a few programs available to us to aid our recovery from the trauma we do experience related to abortion. Please don’t think that you are the only one out there — and don’t think that you can go it alone. Seek out a program in your area.

Graham Rintoul

Portland, Oregon

Accessible Philosophy

On the truth about love and philosophy and the Donald DeMarco commentary in the Nov. 1 issue (“Without Truth There Is No Love — and Vice Versa”), many students have difficulty not in loving the truth, but rather in loving philosophy because its truths are sometimes so complex or just plain difficult to understand.

Having been a student of DeMarco’s for several different philosophy/theology courses at Holy Apostles College and Seminary, I can attest that DeMarco has the ability to make philosophy understandable, relevant and, yes, interesting.

Joseph P. Nolan

Waterbury, Connecticut

Climb Aboard!

Regarding “Anglican Return?” (Nov. 1): I commend the Pope for making it easier for disaffected Anglicans who feel their church has become too liberal to convert to Roman Catholicism.

Radical Anglicans who support women bishops and the evil of homosexuality [homosexual acts] misinterpret the Bible and are guided by a false sense of freedom. They seek not God, but their own selfish desires of power and lust.
Freedom does not rest in one’s ability to do as one pleases: “Ye shall be as gods.” This promise is quite clearly behind modernity’s radical demand for freedom. Such anarchical freedom does not redeem, but makes man a miscarried creature, a pointless being.

Those who live like this very soon clash with others who want to live the same way. The inevitable consequence of this selfish concept of freedom is violence and the mutual destruction of freedom and life. This is the direction in which the worldwide Anglican Communion is now headed.

Sadly, some people want to measure the truth of the faith by modern society’s standards. They mistakenly believe that divine revelation must adapt itself to the current mentality in order to be credible, instead of the current mentality converting in the light that comes to us from on high. The result is a stripping of the Redeemer of Man of his radical uniqueness, and classifying him as someone who can be managed and domesticated.

Traditionalists should take heart: They are always welcome back to the fullness of truth that resides, with all its pristine beauty and splendor, inside the Catholic Church.

I encourage Anglican traditionalists and others, including atheists and dissenting Catholics, tossed about by the waves of false doctrines, to climb aboard the Barque of Peter, for it will be their only safe haven in these troubling times.

Paul Kokoski

Hamilton, Ontario