National Catholic Register


Letters to the Editor 04.08.2007

BY John Lilly

April 8-14, 2007 Issue | Posted 4/3/07 at 10:00 AM


Third Party in Order

Thank you for speaking out against the willingness of some social conservatives to support Rudy Giuliani in your March 11 editorial “No Deal, Rudy.”

There has always been a dispute between those who think political compromise can be fruitful and those who believe the short-term gains made by such compromise are outweighed by the gutting and undercutting effect of such compromises upon our witness and our own integrity, but as you perceptively, and, I would go so far as to say prophetically, point out, the long-term effect of a Giuliani nomination would be the end of the current Republican/social conservative coalition as we know it. 

That some would even consider supporting a man who is on his third wife, who supports homosexual “marriage” and who betrayed a previous pro-life position for the sake of political ambition shows how far the damage wrought by compromise has already proceeded.

I, for one, could not vote for Giuliani and would instead vote for a third-party candidate or write in a name. It is simply wrong to think that someone who supports the legality of the mass murder of the innocent is fit to hold the most powerful office in the land.

What of those of us who will never vote for an abortion supporter? Despite the grave difficulties involved, social conservatives need to start thinking about how to run a third-party candidate if Giuliani succeeds in gaining the Republican nomination. The argument that Americans will not support such a candidacy is false, it all depends on circumstance and the skill of the candidacy. I have no doubt that someone like Rick Santorum, for instance, could put together such a candidacy should the Republicans nominate Giuliani. The key question would be where the deepest loyalty of those like Santorum would lay, to the Republican Party or to their moral convictions. 

Mark Gronceski

Warren, Ohio

Paradox of Atheism

After reading “Answering the Attack: The Incoherence of Atheism” (Feb. 4) by Mark Shea, I wished to extend a thought or two ... or three.

First, the immediate contradiction between the two arguments posed by atheists appears to go without mention. That is, if we say “bad stuff happens” we are saying that “everything (does not) seem to work fine.” Or, if “everything seems to work fine” than we are saying “bad stuff” (does not) happen.”

So, for example, if there is no God because everything “seems to work fine” without him (besides this being poor circular reasoning as well as a non sequitur), than all theism is simply the natural result of evolution. But the moment we start arguing that theism is “bad stuff,” we start arguing that everything is not working fine. The two positions becoming mutually exclusive fall because they are divorced.

Yet many people neither believe in God nor free will. Free will without the existence of God is a much more tenuous position to hold, mind you, and is almost impossible to defend. But it is surely not outside of the limits of reason.

Free will, on the contrary, can detach itself and still exist, as a philosophical idea anyway, from a dependence on the existence of God.

Spinoza’s Determinism, for example, is not without a requirement of self-responsibility. Which begs the question, how, if we do not have free will, can we be responsible for our actions? But my point here is simply that philosophers, just by arguing like philosophers, are admitting of some kind of “free will” even as they argue tooth and nail for determinism. The obvious paradox of this endeavor aside, what the philosophers mean by “free will” is simply different by degree from what Christians mean by the same term.

Patrick M. Heffron

 Silver Spring, Maryland

Rosary Rediscovered

In response to Paula Traverzo’s letter (March 18) concerning the apostle’s Creed, I came across a prayer book of my mother’s published before 1900 that stated that the Apostle’s Creed, Our Father, three Hail Marys and the Glory Be preceding the decades were considered introductory prayers and not the Rosary itself. This was completely new to me.

I hadn’t said the Rosary in many years. One morning when I was watching the “Today” show, I turned to local programming for news and weather. During the break, I turned to the cable stations to see what was available and I happened upon EWTN showing “The Holy Land Rosary” with Father Mitch Pacwa, which takes you to the very sites depicted in the Rosary of the day or the church built over the site.

I had been to the Holy Land many years ago but this was so inspirational. The next morning at 7:30, I said the Rosary with this show. I can’t explain it, but the experience made me so happy. I decided that I’d like to do it again the next morning. The next day, I had the same experience and the thought came to me that I ought to be doing this every day. That was a year ago and I’ve never missed except for illness. On those busy days when I have to take a ferry from my island home to the mainland, I find that the 20-minute ferry ride is exactly the right amount of time to say the Rosary.

Alice O’Hara
Islesboro, Maine

Married or Not?

I was happy to see the various articles on St. Joseph in the March 18 edition of your excellent paper.

I was, however, dismayed to see in the article by Lorraine Murray the inadvertent perpetuation of the idea that our Blessed Lady and St. Joseph were not married at the time of the Annunciation.

That is, it is incorrect to say merely that they were fiancé and fiancée at the time of the Annunciation, or that St. Joseph married our blessed Mother despite the fact that she was pregnant, without also saying that according to Jewish law they were considered married already at the time St. Gabriel came to Our Lady.

Our Lady was not an “unwed mother” as I often hear from my fellow Catholics. In fact, Servant of God Pope John Paul II speaks of this in his 1989 apostolic exhortation Redemptoris Custos, No. 18 (The Person and Mission of St. Joseph in the Life of Christ and of the Church), saying that Mary cannot be considered an unwed mother.

Thank you ahead of time for clarifying this, and may the good God bless this great Catholic paper always.

Keith Brant Berubé

Columbus, Ohio

Poem to St. Michael

In your March 11, issue, “St. Michael in Song,” in a letter J. Gerald Phillips suggested paraphrasing the St. Michael prayer poetically. Here is my offering:

“Archangel Michael, defend us we pray,

when snares of the evil one endanger our day.

The fight against wickedness rages around.

Lead us in battle ‘till all’s safe and sound.

We ask in humility, O Lord hear our plea,

Rebuke the old murderer, please make him flee.

Yes, Michael be strengthened by God’s holy arm,

Drive Satan to hell so there’ll be no more harm.

Oh prince of the heavenly host, hear our cry,

Cast all of hell’s minions away, lest we die.”

John J. Kozub

Natrona Heights, Pennsylvania

Information Withheld

Relevant to “The New York Times Won’t See Their Pain” (March 4): I am a medical researcher with a special interest in premature-birth risk factors and breast-cancer risks. Genetic counselors do not tell women that induced abortions:

1. boost their risk of a future premature and handicapped baby; and

2. elevates their risk of breast cancer.

Brent Rooney

Vancouver, Canada

‘Common’ Mistakes

Welcome to the Common Era. In case you haven’t been paying close attention, the intellectual elite, some books, magazines and newspapers, and even the World Almanac have written Christ out of our history. Rome was founded in 753 BCE and Hannibal crossed the Alps in 218 BCE — Before the Common Era. St. Patrick’s Day fell on March 17, 2007 CE — the Common Era.

God may soon be dropped from the Pledge of Allegiance and from our coins.

Ed Lynch

West Nyack, New York



A recent article we published about Portugal and abortion contained several errors. Following is the item we intended to run.

Voters in Portugal decided Feb. 11 to make an abortion easier to obtain. But at least 50% of eligible voters needed to cast ballots for the results to be legally binding, reported The New York Times, and only 44% did.

Portuguese Prime Minister José Sócrates vowed to persuade Parliament to change the law anyway, the paper reported.

The prime minister is headed down a tragic path, according to José Ribeiro e Castro, head of the Partido Popular. He said, “Sócrates will be responsible for this sad chapter in Portugal’s history for insisting on a political move that has split Portuguese society.”

Update: On March 16, Portugal Parliament passed legislation that would allow abortion up until the 10th week of pregnancy. The new legislation removes it from a small list of Catholic European countries who still refuse to legalize abortion. Poland, Ireland and Malta are the only remaining European nations in which unborn children are protected.