National Catholic Register


Letters to the Editor 04.01.2007

BY John Lilly

April 1-7, 2007 Issue | Posted 3/27/07 at 10:00 AM


Justifying Giuliani

Regarding “No Deal, Rudy” (Editorial, March 11):

Rudy Giuliani is a candidate with presidential timber. This much is clear after hearing George Will introduce him at the Conservative Political Action Conference in early March, summing up Giuliani’s record with compelling clarity. We also heard the candidate himself speak amid the sound of spontaneous, boisterous and sustained applause throughout and at the end of his remarks.

It is also clear that he is not “pro-life.” However, nor is he a “pro-abortion” candidate.

He most as---suredly has “pro-life” sensibilities and sense enough to respect those of his GOP brethren.

As Congressman Peter King told me after Mr. Giuliani’s remarks at CPAC: “I am 100% pro-life and that’s a difference I would have with Rudy. But, reality is, over the next several years the abortion issue’s going to be fought in the courts. He has pledged to appoint judges like Scalia, Alito and Roberts, and I am confident that he will do so. So as far as getting results, I think we would get as good results from Rudy Giuliani as president as anyone else because of the people he would put on the Supreme Court.”

And, significantly, Mr. Giuliani, during his tenure as mayor of New York City, helped remove the very conditions that militate against strong families and discourage “pro-life” decisions, including high taxes, bulging welfare rolls and burgeoning crime.

In a world that will demand toughness in dealing with very real threats here at home and abroad, Rudy Giuliani is one tough hombre and, maybe, just maybe, the right man at the right time. Time will tell. To discount him at this early stage because he doesn’t call himself “pro-life” misses the bigger picture.

Mary Claire Kendall

Bethesda, Maryland

Best Bad Option

Regarding “No Deal, Rudy” (Editorial, March 11):

I am very much a pro-life Catholic. I am a lector at, and very active in, my church community. I believe it would be asinine not to go vote for Rudy should he win the Republican nomination for president. Do you think Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton would nominate judges like Sam Alito or John Roberts?

Do you really believe a Democrat who receives help from the pro-abortion lobby will not pay them back as president?

Rich Bieglmeier

Chicago, Illinois

Stay Steadfast

Regarding “No Deal, Rudy” (Editorial, March 11):

Thank you for your courageous stand against the possible nomination of Rudy Giuliani as the Republican candidate for president. Please stick to your guns no matter how much evil attacks you. I truly believe that the very survival of this country depends on the courage and faith of true Catholicism. God bless you for your steadfastness.

Marc Shea

New Brockton, Alabama

Playing Politics?

Relevant to “No Deal, Rudy” (Editorial, March 11):

I get our diocesan paper, so I have not read your paper. I’m curious. Did you also tell Catholics not to vote for Kerry in the last election?

Mary Ann Glach

Pueblo, Colorado

Editor’s note: You can see what we wrote on the subject by visiting on the Internet and typing the title of our editorial into the search field (without quotation marks): Bush vs. Kerry: The Conscience Issues. Our editorial cited Church teaching on the “five non-negotiable” issues of abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem-cell research, human cloning and homosexual “marriage” and compared the candidates’ records on each.

New York Nonsense

I noted with interest the ill-conceived policy initiated by the New York City Health Commissioner, Dr. Thomas Friedman, in distributing free condoms for St. Valentine’s Day (“New York Bishops Hit Condom Giveaway,” March 4).

 The failure to have any meaningful discussion on this giveaway is unfortunate. Sadly, a major city newspaper, the New York Post, cited a quote by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg alleging that this policy is not a “moral” concern but a “health” one. Such a definitive statement by Bloomberg demonstrates his ignorance toward a policy of the Catholic Church, which is inexcusable since I understand there are more Catholics in New York City than any other religious denomination.

 Moreover, it is a strong likelihood that such a program will increase promiscuity, since the additional use of condoms clearly promotes a false sense of security.

 Significantly, certain contraceptives are in fact not primarily contraceptives but abortifacients. They cause early-term abortions by preventing the fertilized egg from implanting itself in the uterus.

 Thomas E. Dennelly

West Islip, New York


Register Rewards

I find the new format of the National Catholic Register attractive and challenging. It’s an invitation to explore new insights about the dynamic life of Augustine’s Totus Christus.

The recent article “St. Odd: The Catholics Who Love Dean Koontz” (March 11) introduced the wider Church to a promising literary talent. Although I have not yet read any of his works, the National  Catholic Register’s article has been set aside for future reference.

Cardinal J. Francis Stafford

Rome, Italy

The writer is head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, one of the three tribunals of the Roman Curia.

The Rosary, Rightly

I just read Paula Traverzo’s March 18 letter accusing the Register of watering down the faith by omitting the Creed from the beginning of the Rosary (“Liberal Leanings?”).

Mrs. Traverzo may wish to know that, in point of fact, the older way of saying the Rosary is without the Creed and the Our Father, Hail Marys and Glory Be at the beginning of the Rosary. The Rosary is a very old prayer; it has changed and developed over the centuries. During the Middle Ages the Rosary was considered “Mary’s Psalter,” thus 150 Hail Marys for the 150 Psalms.

The “Dominican way” of praying the Rosary doesn’t include the Creed. We begin it as we do the Office: “O God, come to my assistance. Lord, make haste to help me.” Then the Glory Be and so on, just like we begin each hour of the Divine Office.

This is the way all Dominicans pray the Rosary. An 800-year-old tradition is hardly a “liberal Catholic agenda.”

A devotion as old as the Rosary has many traditions. One must be careful not to point an accusing finger when the real problem is a lack of knowledge of history and tradition.

Sister Mary Catharine Perry, OP

Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary

Summit, New Jersey

Vocation Notation

As a faithful subscriber to the Register, I would respectfully suggest that the front-page headline “Vocations Surge” (Jan. 14) was at best highly misleading.

Much in the article itself is true and useful, particularly its emphasis on how some dioceses are more successful in attracting men to the priesthood. Sad to say, however, the nationwide facts on U.S. theologate or graduate-level seminary enrollments and total priestly ordinations continue to be dismal.

Also, nearly one-fourth of last year’s graduate-level seminarians were foreign-born, with 16% of them preparing to be ordained for a diocese or religious order outside the United States. The average age of priests ordained in 2006 was 37.

These statistics are from The CARA Report, the quarterly newsletter of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University. Information on this year’s seminary enrollments will appear in the Spring 2007 issue and on ordinations in Summer 2007.

Gerald H. Early

Washington, D.C.

The writer was executive director of CARA from 1993-98 and has been principal writer of The CARA Report since 1998.

Tim Drake replies: We wrote the article to show that seminary numbers have increased over the past decade. Your own numbers demonstrate this, and the article’s sub-headline explained further: “The priest shortage isn’t over, but seminaries are filling up.”

 Of course, the more significant point of the article — and the headline — was to show how vocations have grown especially at those seminaries that have demonstrated a faithfulness to the Church and the magisterium. It is undeniable that, at many individual seminaries, seminary numbers have increased dramatically since the first half of the 1990s.

 According to CARA’s own numbers, Mundelein Seminary in Chicago had 204 priesthood candidates enrolled during 2005-2006. That’s more than a 100% increase over what the seminary had in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when enrollment hovered between 72 and 90 candidates. St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver didn’t exist 20 years ago. CARA’s statistics show St. John Vianney’s 2005-06 enrollment at 90.

Similar figures can be found elsewhere. In 2005-2006, Mount St. Mary’s in Baltimore had 164, and the North American College in Rome had 147 according to CARA’s data. St. John Vianney Minor Seminary in St. Paul currently has 142 seminary students enrolled. While none of these numbers approaches the highs from four decades ago, they are still an increase over the numbers seen at those same institutions even 20 years ago.