National Catholic Register

Opinion

Letters 08.15.2010

BY The Editors

August 15-28, 2010 Issue | Posted 8/6/10 at 7:18 PM

 

Secure Our Borders

We need only call the Statue of Liberty to mind in order to set in motion a whole memory of immigration in this country. This country takes all legitimate comers because that is our nature as Americans. It is why, in large measure, this country is so great.

Our Judeo-Christian heritage subscribes to all the concerns raised by Archbishop Wenski in “Why We Defend Migrants” (June 20) — concerns that have been addressed in one way or another over most of the life of this country. That is, until recently. The issue at hand is not immigration. The issue at hand is illegal immigration.

This country is based on a system of laws. If laws are bad or new ones needed, we address the issue. Sometimes we’re good at it, and sometimes we are not. That is the nature of the interaction of two or more human beings trying to make the best of any given situation. Most of the time we are good at it. The one thing we Americans do not tolerate, though, is ignoring the law of the land. More so, when it is a mass ignoring of the law.

At the outset of the archbishop’s essay, he makes reference to the increasing globalization of the various economies of the governments of the world. I agree with his assessment. But that does not change the manner in which we address issues within this country. We may get to a single global government one day, though I doubt it. At least not in the next hundred years or so. History does not suggest it.

We are the most giving country in the world. And we Catholics are the most giving of the Americans. All that needs to be done is put access across our borders back under control. All the other problems existing because we were lax in the recent past will be fixed.

Richard Irwin

Wolcott, Connecticut

Anglo-Lutherans

I am a bishop in the Anglo-Lutheran Catholic Church (ALCC), a group who has petitioned to be reunited with the Roman Catholic Church in full communion with the See of Peter. On behalf of the ALCC, thank you for Tim Drake’s enlightening and truthful article “What’s an Anti-Catholic Catholic?” (NCRegister.com, July 15). I’m also an administrator and adjunct instructor at Saint Leo University, the oldest Catholic university in Florida.

Regarding your own experience, you wrote:

“Coming into the Church meant believing that which Christ and his Church propose to teach and believe. It meant being humble enough to admit that I do not have all the answers, but being willing to submit to a higher authority. It meant being part of a community, a vast communion made up of that great cloud of witnesses who have gone on before, the saints and angels, the Holy Father and the magisterial Church, the College of Cardinals, bishops, priests and deacons that surround him.”

This is what coming into the Church means for all in the ALCC as well; and what we look forward to with hope as we await the Holy Father’s approval.

Again, thank you for your witness, and may the blessings of God the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit be with you.

Most Rev. Edward J. Steele, OSA

Bishop of Florida

Director, Office for the Doctrine of the Faith

Anglo-Lutheran Catholic Church

Academic Tyrrany

Regarding “Fired for Teaching the Truth” (NCRegister.com): I am writing to support Kenneth Howell, Ph.D., who has been so grossly mistreated for doing his job. One may ask: Who is protecting his freedom of speech? This form of liberalistic lunacy, which deliberately misuses and misinterprets our law, is corrupting our society at its very core.

My question is: Why does the university have this course in the first place if they chose to terminate Professor Howell for presenting the factual content (i.e. doctrine of Catholicism) in an introductory course? They contradict themselves to say the least.

These actions are incomprehensible and possibly unconstitutional. I hope Professor Howell finds himself a good labor attorney to represent him for a wrongful termination. In the meantime, I will pray for him and for all of us. When did doing the right thing become wrong in America?

Marilyn Bartoli

Cheshire, Connecticut

The editor responds: Your prayers, and the prayers of many others, paid off. On July 29, the University of Illinois reconsidered its position and offered Howell the opportunity to return for the fall semester. Our editorial in this issue looks at the development, as well.


It’s Israel’s Land?

Regarding “Israel: Whose Land Is It?” (July 18) by Jimmy Akin:

According to Akin, “God made it clear that Israel’s sins could cost it the land (i.e. Israel), at least for periods of time.” That’s not what the Lord said (Genesis 15:17-21). The Lord’s grant “(To) your (i.e. Abraham’s) descendants” was clear, unequivocal and without condition — in other words, “simplistic.” The fact the Israeli people subsequently sinned and were driven from that land for a time is a totally distinct issue from God’s unconditional grant of title to that land to only “Abraham’s descendants.” The issue here is “title to the land,” and God gave it unconditionally only to Abraham’s descendants.

Thus, Akin’s statement “God made it clear that Israel’s sins could cost it the land” is both wrong and without foundation. Indeed, God never made unconditional promises, only later to impose new conditions to a previous promise — not only with regard to the unconditional and unequivocal grant of title to the land of Israel to “only” Abraham’s descendants, but also in any other context. In other words, God isn’t a liar. That “title” extends “from the wadi of Egypt to the Great River, the river Euphrates” (Genesis 15:18-19). Thus, the Israelis are entitled to immediate possession and title to even more land than they currently occupy.

William E. McCormick

La Canada-Flintridge, California

Jimmy Akin responds: Your position articulates one that is permitted within the realm of theological speculation, but it is far from the only position permitted by the Church. One will search in vain to find any magisterial documents supporting it. Indeed, the historically dominant Catholic opinion on the matter is that the promises made in the Old Testament have been fulfilled in Christ and do not entail the Jewish people having a present right to occupy the Holy Land.

The language of “unconditional promises” in this regard is more commonly found in Dispensationalist Protestant circles. This method of interpreting Old Testament promises fails to do justice to the nuanced nature of such promises. It is clear that both promises of blessing and cursing often contain implicit conditions.

Thus Jeremiah 18:7-10 declares that if at any time God promises to build up a kingdom and it turns to sin, he will tear it down. And if he announces a kingdom will be torn down and it repents, it will be built up. This is specifically applied to Israel (18:6) in context of the imminent Babylonian Exile, when Judah lost its land.

Conversely, Jonah announced the destruction of Nineveh (now Mosul, Iraq) with no conditions mentioned, yet when the city repented, God spared it — much to the prophet’s chagrin.

Israel never occupied territory “from the wadi of Egypt to the Euphrates” — that would have pushed its bounds from mid-Egypt to mid-Iraq. The supposition that it has a right to occupy that territory right now — this very day — is quite open to challenge.

One can maintain that the Jewish people still have a right to the land on biblical grounds, but this view must be tempered with a recognition of the subtleties of how the biblical text works, the fact it can contain unstated conditions (like losing blessings through sin), that it contains hyperbole, and that prophecies can be fulfilled in unanticipated ways.


Ordaining Women

I commend the Vatican for reaffirming the attempted ordination of women as a “grave crime” (“Vatican Revises Abuse Norms,” Aug. 1):

At first sight, it may seem that the demands of radical feminism in favor of a total equality between man and woman are extremely noble and, at any rate, perfectly reasonable. However, this kind of emancipation of women signifies that sexuality is no longer rooted in anthropology; it means that sex is viewed as a simple role, interchangeable at one’s pleasure. Logically, this means that the whole being and the whole activity of the human person are reduced to pure functionality. Women, who are creative in the truest sense of the word by giving life, do not “produce,” however, in that technical sense valued by a society that worships efficiency. Ultimately, the emancipation proffered by radical feminists results only in women conforming themselves to a culture of production that seeks nothing but profit and power.

The Catholic Church holds that it is not admissible to ordain women to the priesthood for very fundamental reasons. These reasons include: the example recorded in the sacred Scriptures of Christ choosing his apostles only from among men; the constant practice of the Church, which has imitated Christ in choosing only men; and her living teaching authority, which has consistently held that the exclusion of women from the priesthood is in accordance with God’s plan for his Church.

In calling only men as his apostles, Christ acted in a completely free and sovereign manner. In doing so, he exercised the same freedom with which, in all his behavior, he emphasized the dignity and the vocation of women, without conforming to the prevailing customs and traditions sanctioned by the legislation of the time.

There are countless other ways that women might serve the Church which are no less faithful to the Gospel. In fact, Pope John Paul II stated in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, “The greatest in the Kingdom of heaven are not the ministers but the saints.”

Paul Kokoski

Hamilton, Ontario