National Catholic Register


Letters 01.03.2010

BY The Editors

January 3-16, 2010 Issue | Posted 12/27/09 at 6:00 PM


Register on the Go

Being a traditional Catholic, I love the National Catholic Register. But, I have precious little time to sit and read it.

However, I have an Amazon Kindle, which I just love. I carry it in my purse, and when I get a few moments, I pull it out and read.

The Register is not one of the few newspapers available for download to Kindle. I was hoping that could change in the near future.

Pamela Jones

Fort Worth, Texas

The editor responds: We hope to be available in most media, Kindle being one of them, in the near future.

Personhood Points

I am American Life League’s senior legislative analyst and expert on language used in human personhood initiatives and legislation. As such, I take issue with two points made in Barb Ernster’s “Promoting Personhood” article in the Dec. 6 issue of the Register.

First, the article expressed concern about the language of the state human personhood initiatives for which ALL has served as a consultant. “Conception,” apart from being neither a legal nor a scientific term, was redefined by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in 1965 to mean “implantation” in order to call abortifacients “contraceptives.” “Fertilization” is not used because any language that defines a human being’s life as beginning “at fertilization” would necessarily exclude all human beings who are reproduced asexually (not by the process of fertilization). That would be arbitrary discrimination. Furthermore, it would be deceitful to knowingly promote language that does not protect all human beings while claiming that it does.

Second, the article focused on the overturning of Roe v. Wade. I submit that it is an error on the broader pro-life movement’s part to be focused on this grossly ill-informed and discriminatory court opinion. Roe was a symptom of the permissive attitude toward denying the personhood of human beings deemed “inconvenient” or “undesirable” by a culture that had already been dehumanizing vulnerable persons. America previously saw this type of bigotry in the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision, which was never recanted or overturned. Citizens took it upon themselves to renew the culture and restore justice by way of a constitutional amendment. Similarly, it is not the goal of the human personhood movement to overturn Roe, but to restore the recognition of personhood to all human beings. We do not need the court’s permission to do that.

Personhood now!

Johanna Dasteel

senior legislative analyst

American Life League Inc.

Abortion’s Consequences

Regarding coverage of the health-care reform debate: Even if one does not hold, as I do, that legalized abortion assaults constitutional protections of life, the ban on abortion coverage in the legislation recently passed in the House of Representatives represents a good development — for reasons wholly separate from either religious identity or constitutional persuasion.

As someone who teaches statistics, I tell students “correlation does not imply causation.” If one wants to show causation, one needs to use techniques of designed experiments. That is exactly what the authors of “The Effect of Abortion Legalization on Sexual Behavior” (2003), Jonathan Klick and Thomas Stratmann, employed, using, in part, Centers for Disease Control data no less! Then, correlation coefficients and coefficients of determination have telling power. The financial consequences of the Klick-Stratmann article quoted in the next paragraphs are ominous:

“Our results attribute a large increase in gonorrhea and syphilis rates to changing sexual behavior, which was induced by abortion law changes. This increase resulted in additional expenditures for the treatment of gonorrhea and syphilis on the order of $300 million per year. If a similar abortion effect exists for other STDs, which we could not examine because of data limitations, additional treatment expenditures might amount to more than $4 billion annually.

“What is clear, however, is that the CDC and medical authorities in general have not considered this abortion effect on STD infection rates, nor have they considered that changes in institutions can cause changes in the relative prices faced by individuals. Instead, the medical community tends to attribute the changes in STD rates to fluctuating social mores, changing demographics, and changing diagnosis patterns. As indicated by our results, ignoring the effects of changing incentives precludes an accurate understanding and modeling of this epidemiological phenomenon.”

Unless pro-choice advocates can show that the spikes in STD rates as a result of legalized abortion are not only not harmful but are, in fact, cost-effective and salubrious, abortion coverage should not be part of any health-care package.

Richard Escobales

professor, Canisius College

Once-Catholic Colleges

I just finished reading the article “Pro-Life School Enhances Its Pro-Life Reputation” in the Dec. 6 issue. The article mentions that “Golisano also gave $5 million to Nazareth College and received an honorary doctorate from that private Catholic school and from St. John Fisher College, both in Rochester [N.Y].”

I would like to correct this. Neither Nazareth College nor St. John Fisher College is Catholic. That title was removed from St. John Fisher in 1968.

In 2003, Nazareth College was removed from The Official Catholic Directory, having been declared to no longer be a Catholic institution by Rochester, N.Y., Bishop Matthew Clark. It was the second time since Pope John Paul II issued Ex Corde Ecclesiae, the apostolic constitution on Catholic universities in 1990, that a bishop declared a historically Catholic college or university to be not Catholic.

Cathy Marchand

Rochester, New York

Protestants’ Disunity

Regarding “Creating Further Disunity” (Nov. 29): In response to Anglicanorum Coetibus, Rev. R. William Franklin said, “If the whole Christian world started to act on this principle, to invite the disgruntled in, to make a place for them, imagine the confusion that would set in to the body of Christ.”

People already do this — they’re called Protestants — while the Pope calls for unity.

Ryan Fernandez

Wahiawa, Hawaii

Climate Scaremongers

The possibility that global-warming alarmists may push for population control (“Warming Up to People,” Dec. 13) is only part of the problem.

Recently uncovered e-mails proved that Penn State global-warming alarmist Michael Mann “hid the decline.” His defense is that the decline that he hid was of the reliability of the raw data he collected — to indicate global warming. And probably the dumbest example of scaremongering was the recent report from ABC News that the snow is melting in the Andes in December — the Andes are in the southern hemisphere, so that news is about as shocking as the snow melting in the Rockies, in the northern hemisphere, in June. 

And follow the money: If “green millionaire” Al Gore II really believed in man-made global warming, would he have 20 times the “carbon footprint” of the average American? If the global-warming alarmists meeting in Copenhagen really believed their own scaremongering, wouldn’t they have found some more “eco-friendly” way of meeting, say teleconferencing, than clogging Denmark with more private jets and limousines than it has ever seen?

There’s something obscene about global-warming alarmists partying in four-star hotels while planning how to make the rest of us poorer.

Don Schenk

Allentown, Pennsylvania

Advent Guides Effective

Regarding your Advent guides: These are wonderful, yet I’m thinking they could be even more effective if updated to reflect our current pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI (photos, “Authors to try,” etc).

Mary Ann Andersen

Crystal Lake, Iowa

Editor’s note: The print edition guides include Pope Benedict in words and pictures.