National Catholic Register


Letters to the Editor 04.15.2007

BY John Lilly

April 15-21, 2007 Issue | Posted 4/10/07 at 10:00 AM


GOP Grand No Longer

Your recent editorial, “No Deal, Rudy,” (March 11), reveals an obvious platform change within the Republican Party.  No longer does it appear to be the once proud pro-life organization of years past. Instead, for the sake of expediency, it embraces a pro-abortion candidate to carry its standard in the next presidential election.

The Democratic Party’s victories in the recent mid-term elections have convinced the Republican leadership that a strong pro-life stand would be more of a liability when trying to attract the “moderate” vote for president. Hence, we have a win-at-all-costs position that has been affected by society’s view that human life is nothing more than a commodity to be destroyed, altered or replicated for personal gratification.

The pro-life voter is now viewed as a nuisance whose support is welcomed — but not necessary — for a Republican victory.

It appears that that many rank-and-file Republicans consider the thrice-married, pro-abortion Giuliani as a man of character that will deliver in his promise of nominating pro-life judges to the Supreme Court if elected president.

A Giuliani nomination ensures the defection of many pro-life voters to third-party candidates or not voting at all.

Humberto J. Brocato

Monument, Colorado

No Deal on Abortion

When I read the letter “First, Limit the Harm” (March 25) that referenced Judie Brown’s letter “Life, Absolutely” (Feb. 25), I set it aside in disbelief.

Please read the writer’s conclusion: “Perhaps it’s time to abandon the pro-life absolutist tactics that have gotten us nowhere over the past 34 years.” Every informed pro-lifer knows that the primary pro-life strategy has been incrementalism, and as the writer admits, it’s not working. The so-called absolutists believe that incrementalism is inherently flawed because it contradicts logic and plain common sense. Its claim to saving babies is flawed because it adds years to the practice of abortion, and each additional year kills millions more of our unborn children. 

The writer says “according to her (Judie Brown’s) logic, if a law were proposed tomorrow that would ban all abortions except in cases of rape and incest, the truly moral choice would be to oppose it.”

This statement is unrealistic hypothetical nonsense.

It gets worse, the writer says. “Using Judie Brown’s logic, we should allow these 47 million to be killed until we can pass a law that will save every single baby.” This statement is outrageous and insulting in that it distorts her pro-life position radically and discounts Judie Brown’s years of saving unborn life. 

Finally the writer says, “Pope John Paul II clearly and emphatically disagreed with Judie Brown’s pro-life strategy when he wrote: ‘When it is not possible to overturn or completely abrogate a pro-abortion law, etc ...” Here, again, the writer! He assumes that it is not possible to overturn or completely abrogate a pro-abortion law. I think Judie Brown believes, as I do, that the law can be overturned without compromising the principle of non-contradiction.  

Incrementalism builds the strength of abortion advocates. Consider what we’re up against today: Thirty-four years of abortion on demand has slaughtered more than 45 million babies through the choice of an estimated 35 million women. Add to those numbers families, relatives and friends, and you end up with millions of sympathizers.

Pro-lifers must be fully committed to every single unborn life. Otherwise, our opponents can say, with some credibility, we are quasi-pro-choice, or if you prefer, quasi-pro-life.

Charles N. Marrelli 

Irvine, California


Moral Keys to Healing

Regarding “Dissenters Denied” (March 25): Archbishop Harry Flynn was right to forbid the celebration of Eucharist at the New Ways Ministry symposium in his diocese, lest such a celebration be perceived by Catholics as an approval of dissent from the magisterium of the Catholic Church.

Apparently the symposium featured speakers who spoke in dissent from authentic Catholic teaching. New Ways Ministry is notorious for this. There are times when the cafeteria needs to be closed.

There is no doubt that homosexuals need to be ministered to with compassion. However, so should we minister to heterosexuals. We all struggle with our sexual appetites, and quite frequently without success. Since there should be no sexual activity outside marriage, and only in a marriage between a man and a woman, the difficulties for all of us to be chaste are obvious.

Moral teaching combined with deep pastoral sensitivity is the key to healing. The way to justice and mercy, to the law and compassion is a narrow road through the sacrament of reconciliation and the penitential rite at the beginning of Mass. Nevertheless, in no way should we compromise Catholic moral teaching. Can New Ways subscribe to this stance?

Its prior history of dissent causes me to be doubtful.

Vice, whether homosexual or heterosexual, is a hideous poison; it begins with pride as the soft hissing whisper of a serpent in the gardens of our fantasy. As Alexander Pope said:

“Vice is a monster of so frightful mien, 

As to be hated needs to be seen;

Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,

We first endure, then pity, then embrace.”

Deacon John P. Coffey

Brooklyn, New York

Real Crisis Missed

Regarding “Bishops Warn on Global Warming” (Feb. 25): Last February, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops urged Congress to address moral and environmental implications of climate change. They underlined the “priority for the poor” and the importance of “ensuring that the needs of the poor and vulnerable around the world are not forgotten.”

Many respectable people with authority on the issue doubt not only that man is the primary cause of “global warming” but warn that the proposed remedies for the problem will destroy economies and cause worldwide recession. This will not help the poor.

A major world recession has happened before. The OPEC oil embargo of the early ’70s caused the first reversal of economic growth in the poorest countries in modern times. This direct fall in incomes meant malnutrition and related epidemics.

The number of Africans and Asians who died in consequence of Arab oil policy in the decade after 1973 must be calculated in tens of millions (Historian Paul Johnson, Modern Times, 1983).

Further, Cardinal Giacomo Biffi in a Lenten retreat he preached to Benedict XVI and the members of the Curia on March 3 stated that the Antichrist presents himself as a “pacifist, ecologist, and ecumenist.” The Pope praised him for his “precise diagnosis of our situation today.”

Currently, Christian Europe is facing devastating depopulation of native peoples and cultures while at the same time Muslim populations in the EU are experiencing explosive growth through birth and immigration.

The numbers are clear: Before the middle of this century, Europe will no longer be predominantly Christian. This is the crisis of our age that our Church leaders should be addressing, not global warming.

Larry Rutherford

Black Forest, Colorado

Conserving Our Resources

I agree in principle with Father Robert Sirico, in his commentary “Blessing the Waters” (Feb. 25) that drinking bottled water is not immoral, and that claims by the National Council of Churches that water “should be free for all” are not just impractical, but would lead to greater inefficiency and waste.

However, I do believe that the excessive use of bottled water reflects our society’s culture of excess, disposability and choice of personal convenience over the common good.

The cost of bottled water — especially in the smaller sizes — is exorbitant when compared to water from the tap. And when you consider that much bottled water is just that — water from a tap connected to a municipal water system — it makes little economic or ecological sense to buy and discard many small plastic bottles filled with water.

Even if the plastic is recycled, the energy and materials used to create and recycle the bottles is substantial. And many people don’t make the effort to recycle the bottles, so they fill up our landfills — a complete waste.

If more people would take the small steps of using their own sports bottles — or the water bottles they already have — and refilling them from their own faucets, the savings in material and energy would be significant. And if, like me, you don’t like the taste of your local tap water, then invest in one of the many filter systems; your water will still only cost a few pennies a liter, and won’t waste material and energy.

Either way, the cost savings would be significant, and could be donated to the Church for use in bringing the water of life to people around the world.

Robert G. LeMay

Downers Grove, Illinois