National Catholic Register


Letters 03.14.2010

BY The Editors

March 14-27, 2010 Issue | Posted 3/8/10 at 10:00 AM


Light in the Darkness

Regarding “Baby Claire Hits the Jackpot!” (Feb. 24, Register Exclusives):

Thanks for writing this story. The Truth shall set us free. The importance of writing this truth about the saving of a baby against the best of the devil’s advocates trying to kill it brings light into the darkness.

The whole world needs to know what is going on in the abortion mills and in the minds of those who do not desire to do God’s will and knowingly offend him.

We need all the Truth to be heard and seen.

May we continue to pray for the conversion of the world.

Sister Anne Sophie
The Society of the Body of Christ

Corpus Christi, Texas

Prayers Answered

Regarding “Baby Claire Beats the Odds in Vegas” (, Feb. 20):

For at least a year, my family has been praying a prayer every day to save a baby from abortion. I can send you a copy of the prayer card we used. We decided to give our baby a name, so we called her “Baby Claire.”

You cannot imagine the emotions that went through our minds when I opened my e-mail … a baby named Claire was saved from abortion in miraculous fashion.

It took only maybe 10 seconds a day to pray for Baby Claire. To have this prayer answered in such a miraculous fashion is awe-inspiring!

Thank you for sharing this story with us.

Dave and Mona Cattapan

Chicago, Illinois

Saints’ Intercession

In his first essay on the Eucharist (“Source and Summit,” Feb. 14) Mark Shea mentioned the Protestant accusation that we Catholics “worship Mary.”

When I hear that complaint, my response is: “Well, you know that when you kneel before the televised image of your favorite televangelist he might be dead, don’t you?” (And, in fact, the people who broadcast the sermons of the late D. James Kennedy have quit his church in protest over the current pastor.)

“But we don’t worship him!” is the usual reply. 

And we Catholics don’t worship Mary. But if you read 1 Timothy 2:1-6, you can see that praying to saints to pray for us isn’t inconsistent with believing that Christ is the one mediator.

Don Schenk

Allentown, Pennsylvania

‘Personhood’ Priorities

I have to disagree with Dr. William Johnson’s letter in the Register’s Feb. 14 issue (“Re-evaluating Roe”). While a state personhood amendment may express the truth about humanity and personhood, it will have no effect on the U.S. Constitution. Abortion law is controlled by the federal Constitution, as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court. The federal Constitution supersedes anything to the contrary in state constitutions or state laws. Thus, a proposed amendment to a state constitution will neither change the governing law nor stop a single abortion.

The court said in Roe v. Wade that it would not allow Texas, and by extension any state government, to overcome the federal constitutional right to abortion by adopting a certain “theory” of human life (Roe, 410 U.S. at 162). The court knew the facts of human development at that time; the evidence was in the record of the case. Therefore, if the amendment is meant to be a direct attack on Roe v. Wade, it is poorly advised. The court has already heard and rejected the argument on “personhood” under state law.

Dr. Johnson is in error when he asserts that Roe has been left alone since 1973. In at least four separate Supreme Court cases, the Justice Department, under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and other parties, argued that the court should overrule Roe as bad law. The court refused.

In the last one, the Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision of 1992, the court reaffirmed what it termed the core ruling of Roe. Who wants to see the court reaffirm Roe yet again and set back the cause of life even longer?

Since a personhood amendment will have no effect on abortion law, then we have to wonder what its point is. Does it regulate the behavior of a single abortionist? No. Will the amendment give a boost to worthy pro-life candidates on the ballot in the same election as the proposed amendment? No. In the states where a similar amendment has been put onto the ballot in recent years, it has had the opposite effect.

It seems to me that despite the good intentions of the sponsors, the effort to enact state personhood amendments serves only to divert scarce donations of time and funds away from effective legislative efforts that actually save babies’ lives, such as enacting laws to compel abortionists to make ultrasound images of their babies available to women before they decide to have an abortion.

James S. Cole

General Counsel

Missouri Right to Life

‘Reproductive Autonomy’

I am a 21-year-old biology student at the University of Western Ontario.

After reading “Canadian Tiff Over Abortion Overseas” (; “Northern Fights” in the Feb. 28 print edition), I felt very strongly against the Tories’ dismissive attitude towards the possibility of including contraception and abortion in foreign aid.

The exclusion of contraception and abortion in an initiative aimed at improving women and children’s health is tragically ironic. This motion is a pathetically unambiguous reflection of conservative Christian beliefs. In fact, women’s health and maternal health are not exclusive, and offering reproductive autonomy is critical in maintaining female well-being.

The implementation of contraceptive education and provision should be reason enough, as it directly improves quality of life by reducing the spread of HIV and STDs. Moreover, households in many developing countries do not have the economic capability to support additional children. By offering contraception, we are providing measures to counteract this overpopulation.

In addition, it is a misconception that abortions cannot improve a child’s health. There are overwhelming health challenges faced by mothers and their fetuses during pregnancies. Often in these cases, abortion is the only preventive method that decreases both child morbidity and maternal mortality. Furthermore, without sufficient funds, women will continue to seek covert operations that offer unsafe abortions.

This will ultimately contribute to the rising concern of infections and deaths. The negligence of the Harper government lies in its insistence that their ideology be imposed on others, at the expense of essential health care.

Elena Shen

London, Ontario

Inappropriate Film

Your review of The Princess and the Frog (“Southern-Fried Fairy Tale,” Dec. 6) was misguiding or, at best, wishy-washy.

One of the many inappropriate aspects of this film is the portrayal of the voodoo woman “Mama Odie” in a positive light. And, although portrayed negatively, the film showcases detailed tarot card reading and other occult practices for young, impressionable eyes. This is a long way from the general “boiling cauldron” witchcraft shown in classic Disney fare.

Rather than describing the aforementioned scenes as a “morally mixed depiction of voodoo” or the wishy-washy “too much for sensitive youngsters,” the review should clearly state that the film is harmful to children and, in fact, to any Catholic of any age who wants to advance in their Christian lives.

The Catechism clearly states in Nos. 2116 and 2138 that “all forms of divination are to be rejected.” Why was this important information not included and emphasized in the review? Similarly, Scripture is replete with condemnation of the occult, such as Galatians 5:20-21 or even just the simple “refrain from every kind of evil” from 1 Thessalonians 5:22.

The perspective of a reliable Catholic reviewer should be informed by the principles of our faith: “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8).

Patrick S. Simons

Laguna Hills, California

Steven D. Greydanus responds: For an extensive examination of the morality of magic in fiction in light of the Catechism’s teaching and Catholic moral tradition, I refer Mr. Simons to my essay “Harry Potter vs. Gandalf” at While I have often referred to that essay in Register reviews, I can’t recapitulate the Church’s teaching for every movie with magic in it. I assume most Register readers have a working knowledge of Church teaching.

I do agree with Mr. Simons regarding the morally problematic portrayal of Mama Odie, and said so. Regarding the tarot cards and such, I find it positively praiseworthy to occasionally balance the “general ‘boiling cauldron’ witchcraft” Mr. Simons speaks of with a frank acknowledgment of the actual dangers of the occult world. How “young” and “impressionable” are the eyes that see it, as always, is a matter for parental discernment.

Too often Philippians 4:8 is glibly cited against any narrative element people dislike. In his “Letter to Artists” Pope John Paul II wrote, “Even when they explore the darkest depths of the soul or the most unsettling aspects of evil, artists give voice in a way to the universal desire for redemption.” Was the Holy Father wrong? A more appropriate Scripture here might be Ephesians 5:11: “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” The portrayal of Dr. Facilier exposes works of darkness for what they are.


Our special message “Lord, Hear Our Prayer for Haiti” (Feb. 14) was inadvertently labeled “Paid Advertisement.” The Register staff decided to run the full-page display as a free, goodwill gesture of solidarity with Catholic organizations providing direct aid to the devastated country. We feel it’s the least we can do, and we’ll look for an opportunity to re-run the message — minus the erroneous label.