National Catholic Register


Letters to the Editor 05.20.2007

BY John Lilly

May 20-26, 2007 Issue | Posted 5/15/07 at 10:00 AM


Society’s Barbarism

Regarding “After the Ban” (May 6): After the recent Supreme Court decision to uphold the law banning partial-birth abortion, I’m still looking for the media to completely expose (no pun) the “pompous naked king of abortion.”

Compared with the alternative late-term abortion procedure, whereby a child is still legally cut-up in the womb and removed by pieces, tragically PBA is “safer” for the mother.

All this controversy succeeds in revealing is how barbaric we’ve become when we’re compelled to debate killing babies using subtext — and the womb — as a shield against the truth.

Patricia Hershwitzky
Las Vegas, Nevada

A.D.: It’s Unanimous

Regarding “Campaign for A.D.” (May 6):

Check it out: “Anno Domini” appears and consent was “unanimous” in the Constitution of the United States: “Done in convention by the unanimous consent of the states present the seventeenth day of September in the year of Our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty seven.”

Christ is honored in both “BCE” and “CE”: CE — Christ’s Era; BCE — Before Christ’s Era. It is reassuring that from all eternity God the Father knew his Son would be thus commemorated, even in the efforts of some to ignore him.

Guy McClung

Spring, Texas

Forewarned Is Forearmed

Relevant to “Marriage Bait and Switch” (April 22):

I live on Beacon Hill in Boston, Mass., and I am in need of intellectual ammunition — from the Bible to the Constitution — to debunk the prevailing Gov. Deval Patrick’s myth that gay “marriage” doesn’t hurt the sacrament, sacredness or institution of marriage in society.

Rather than reinvent the wheel, I write you, who champion marriage, to give me the best arguments in descending order — best to worst.

I was subjected to Deval’s “gay right to marriage” propaganda in his speech before the annual dinner for the Boston Bar Association in April (to the cheers, I might add, of the most lockstep body of profiteers in the name of civil rights and homosexual support assembled on this planet), and it was then that I knew my arsenal was incomplete.

I intend to challenge Deval’s plan to export “gay marriage” throughout the country, and for that I could use your help.

John Herbert Sullivan

Boston, Massachusetts

Sweet 16

Editor’s note: Regarding “Marriage Is Designed to Teach You How to Love” (May 6), a reader wrote: “What a wonderful story, but all you showed was an old wedding photo. That was nice, but why didn’t you show us what that marvelous couple and their family look like now?” Here is a current photo of the Santucci family assembled for the parents’ 50th anniversary. All 16 children are included.

Transforming Poem

On April 24, 2007, Americo DeMarco was interred at Notre Dame cemetery in Fall River, Mass. His great-granddaughter, Marion, who is named after Marion DeMarco, the deceased’s wife of 70 years, stepped out of line to pick dandelions. She then presented the flowers to her 102-year-old namesake, who, without her eyeglasses, mistook the dandelions for something nobler.

I thought that this tender and meaningful moment should be captured in a poem, the way a picture is captured by a camera. The following poem has several levels of meaning, not the least of which is resurrection:


To a 3-year old,

a cemetery is not a grave-site

but an Elysian field

where flowers bloom

for gathering and presenting,

one by one,

to antiquated folks who wrongly view

dandelions as weeds


plucking them on solemn occasions

as violating sacred protocol.

And yet, if one is old enough,

she can journey back to joyful childhood

and join her youthful benefactor

on a plane more real

than where most people dwell.

Thus, wheelchaired and unbespectacled,

great in years and ultra-grand in motherhood,

she fittingly mistook her present

for something far more precious.

Love transubstantiated our gifts,

both in giving and receiving;

The heart sees deeper and more truly

than what our rules allow.

Donald DeMarco

Cromwell, Connecticut

Real Consolation

I am writing to you about your publisher’s note “Our Mother’s Day” (May 13):

In it you write: “Pope Benedict XVI not only loves Our Lady of Fatima as much as his predecessor did, he finds great consolation in her.”

You quote Pope Benedict XVI:  “Although there is no lack of anxiety and suffering, and although there are still reasons for apprehension about the future of humanity, what the ‘Lady in White’ promised the shepherd children is consoling: ‘At the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.’”

I am having trouble in my mind reconciling this with a news report out of Brazil from Catholic News Agency.

Excerpt: “The Holy Father explained that before being pope, as the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, we tried to free ourselves from false millenarism and politization. Millenarism is a heresy that believes in the imminence of the end of the world and the coming of a reign of peace and justice.”

Most students of Fatima believe an era of peace representing the triumph of the Immaculate Heart is to occur in the future, yet the Pope appears to refer to this belief as heresy.

I was hoping you could clarify this for me and for other interested readers.

William Zambrano

Miami Lakes, Florida

Editor’s note: He himself provided the answer, before he became Pope Benedict XVI. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith concluded his theological commentary on the message of Fatima by associated Our Lady of Fatima’s promise not with the false millenarism he spoke of in Brazil, but with the promise of Christ in the Gospel. His words point to the real depth of the consolation of Fatima:

“I would like finally to mention another key expression of the ‘secret’ that has become justly famous: ‘My Immaculate Heart will triumph.’ What does this mean? The Heart open to God, purified by contemplation of God, is stronger than guns and weapons of every kind. The fiat of Mary, the word of her heart, has changed the history of the world, because it brought the Savior into the world — because, thanks to her Yes, God could become man in our world and remains so for all time.

“The Evil One has power in this world, as we see and experience continually; he has power because our freedom continually lets itself be led away from God. But since God himself took a human heart and has thus steered human freedom towards what is good, the freedom to choose evil no longer has the last word. From that time forth, the word that prevails is this: ‘In the world you will have tribulation, but take heart; I have overcome the world’ (John 16:33). The message of Fatima invites us to trust in this promise.”

Stop the Attack

Regarding “House Passes Hate-Crimes Bill” (May 13): This article is offensive and illogical. Even the Church teaches that violence against a person based on sexual orientation is wrong. How is it bad to provide law enforcement funds to keep all people safe? As for ‘using previous speech’ against a violent offender, well, if someone commits a violent act, shouldn’t he or she be prosecuted?

The Church’s attacks on homosexual persons are against the Gospel truth. Some of you really have a problem accepting the truth Jesus offered in salvation to all. Stop your attacks and instead focus your energy on serving the needs of the poor and sick.

Dave Chambliss

Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Editor’s note: Every violent crime is a hate crime. Each should be punished fully and equally, regardless of the reason — whether out of hatred of the person’s skin color, religion, sexual preference, or simply out of an unspecified hatred. What disturbs critics of hate-crime legislation is that, in order to enforce it, the court must punish something that was in the perpetrator’s mind — making “hate crime” synonymous with “thought crime.”

That’s why a national group of prominent black pastors — who know what it’s like to be the victims of hate crimes — united to oppose the U.S. House Hate Crimes Bill. They didn’t want to see established in law the principle that to hold the Bible’s opinions about homosexuality is wicked, in any circumstance.