National Catholic Register


Letters to the Editors 05.27.2007

BY John Lilly

May 27- June 2, 2007 Issue | Posted 5/22/07 at 9:00 AM


A Stab in the Back?

I am very disappointed with regards to the article on page 3 of the April 15 issue of the Register. The article, “A Marine’s Story,” can very easily be interpreted as support for Bush’s war in Iraq.

Need I remind anyone that the Catholic Church was dead set against any invasion of Iraq? Pope John Paul the Great vehemently spoke out against such an invasion. Priests and nuns have sacrificed themselves and gone to jail because they participated in demonstrations that opposed military action against Iraq.

For a Catholic newspaper to support this war is stabbing the Catholic in the back.

As for supporting our troops, there is only one way to do this, and that is to demand a complete and immediate pull-out of all the troops now. Bring them home.

I would suggest the Register be careful. You may lose some of your subscribers if you stab the Church in the back like this.

Bob Barattini

West Palm Beach, Florida

Editor’s note: There are two things to distinguish here: The justice of the cause of war is one question; the question what to do now is another. The Register has consistently explained, supported and promoted the wisdom of the Church on the war in Iraq. Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI and all the world’s bishops who have written about it say that there was no just cause of war in Iraq. At this stage, however, justice requires that the occupying force do all it can to restore peace, order and autonomy to the nation it invaded — which is what the Marine in our story is doing so honorably.

Location, Location ...

Regarding “A Marine’s Story” (April 15):

Kevin mentioned specific needs for the service men and women in Iraq. I would enjoy sending a few articles, but you did not mention an address. Please be so good as to send me a location of the much needed supplies.

Margaret Hickey

Ocala, Florida

Response from Judy McCloskey of CatholicMil: On a spiritual level, check out the offers available at From the home page, click on “care packages.” Don’t miss the “for chaplains” link on the care packages page.

Each individual kit includes the following items and can be personalized with a note from the person “sending” it, typically a loved one:

Fulton Sheen Wartime Prayer Book,” “Pillar of Fire/Pillar of Truth booklet, a durable “ranger rosary,” pamphlets on how to pray the Rosary and the Divine Mercy chaplet, a Miraculous Medal (or Fatima medal), DVD of “FrontLine Families,” as seen on EWTN, the CD “In God We Trust.”

Soon, it will also include the National Catholic Register’s Guide to the Rosary, military version. While these items are free to the recipients, considerable financial support is needed to keep these CatholicMil programs running. Additionally, readers can sponsor a chaplain — various donor levels are available through CatholicMil.

On a local level:

n Ask your pastor if you can invite a CatholicMil speaker to come to your parish or group — highly recommended. Involve the parish and the Knights of Columbus.

n Ideally, every parish would remember to pray for our military. Some parishes pray for their military by name during the Mass intentions, and don’t mind Mass going over five minutes because of the reading of those names.

n Invoke Servant of God Chaplain Father Vincent Capodanno in your daily prayers (see

n Establish a weekly holy hour for the military

n Hold a military families appreciation day picnic.

Find more suggestions at AmericaSupport-s

God Is Our Judge

I am unsettled by some of the references in “NBC Does the Killer’s Bidding” (April 29) to Virginia Tech shooter Mr. Cho and to the “suicidal maniacs” who did murder at Columbine. Yes, popular culture aids and abets disturbed young people.

But must we refer to probably mentally ill people as “maniacs,” and such?

And why did Father Owen Kearns’ article, “Praying With Virginia Tech” even decline to mention Mr. Cho’s name?

Shouldn’t we, as Catholic Christians, be praying for him — not casting his very name out of a news story? God alone is our judge.

I agree that evil resulted from these terrible acts. But didn’t Jesus tell us, “Do good to those who hate you?” And Father Harden’s comment that NBC gave Mr. Cho what he wanted — attention — because “no one else cared,” is very revealing. Maybe if this young man had gotten help he obviously needed, 33 Virginia Tech students wouldn’t be dead now. I know it’s hard in our society, which values freedom and privacy, to compel someone to get care.

And the fear of stigma may also hinder parents from seeking mental health services for a son or daughter. Are we as Catholics sensitive to these factors?

Even if we feel Mr. Cho was “self-aggrandizing” in his video materials, we must recognize the reality that he was ill — that the destruction he caused was brought forth from complete desperation.

Don’t we, as Catholics, make a distinction between truly ill people who are not responsible for their actions, and non-ill people who do heinous things, who are responsible for them? Can you enlighten me on the Catholic position on this?

I expected to read the Register and find encouragement for us all to pray for ALL of those affected by these horrible events, including the person who perpetrated them. Thank you.

Virginia Daley

Rockville, Maryland

Editor’s note: Thank you for your note. You make an excellent point. Especially in the Easter season of mercy, we must pray even for the killer. We denied publicity for the killer not to be unforgiving, but because in order to act in the best interest of potential mass murderers and their victims, we must deny killers the fame they crave. In an excellent essay in Time magazine, David Von Drehle points out that it is narcissism — the belief that no one matters but the self — that is at the heart of such crimes. “We must stop explaining killers on their terms,” he said. “Minus the clear context of narcissism, the biographical details of these men can begin to look like a plausible chain of cause and effect — especially to other narcissists. And they don’t need any more encouragement.”

Leaders or Followers?

The Catholic Church has always been consistent on matters of morality and crimes against humanity — against abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem-cell research and cloning.

But how can we lead the world if we follow the world? More and more Catholics are teaching their children that abortion, etc. are perfectly acceptable means to solve their problems. They don’t, however, teach them to have faith in God, who is the very foundation of our Church.

It’s not easy today to follow the Catholic Church, since almost everyone and everything we see and hear contradict our beliefs. But we must be strong and lead this morally-starved world back to God.

The world is in no condition to be rid of abortion, because of the way women are viewed as mere sexual objects to be had and thought of no more. In our media, they are repeatedly seen with hardly any clothes on or none at all, having sex on TV, in movies everywhere. I think we get the message loud and clear that sex outside of marriage is perfectly fine. It is encouraged all the time.

We are Catholic; we can change the world, we are strong in number, but weak in faith. We must look to God for our leadership now, not this world which is destroying itself one person at a time, one woman at a time, one child at a time.

Jeanette Ibrahim

Mamaroneck, New York

Inside Job

Thank Mark Shea for his article on “The Sons of this World” (April 22). Finally I understand (at least at some level) that parable of the Dishonest Steward.

I’d like to add that the characteristics of the  brilliant business people who use their skills to distort truth also exist in people who are active in the Catholic Church.

In my business, house cleaning, I discover anti-Catholic books such as The Da Vinci Code, in the homes of Catholic laypeople who teach marriage preparation, head the “music ministry,” head the RCIA programs and among those who attend daily Mass. They are different, highly intelligent people who undermine the Church from inside the Church. They do not all claim to be ex-Catholic. In such homes the Bible seems to be missing.

Katie Sloan Jurado

Duluth, Georgia

Cultural Conditioning

In your April 22 article, “Where Have All the Girls Gone?” author Joseph Meaney writes, “Abortion, in fact, is the key to the unprecedented and disproportionate fall in female births in the last few decades.”

However, I think he is confusing the symptom of a disease with the disease itself. He should bother to take a look at the status of women in societies that have a high rate of sex-selective abortions, as well as any other custom or law that has the effect of discriminating against women and girls.

If sex-selective abortions are really to be brought to an end, then societies are going to have to regard their females as equal to males instead of their inferiors. I know it will mean going up against hundreds if not thousands of years of cultural conditioning for both sexes, but why not give it a try?

It might also be interesting to find and expose the roots of this attitude of male superiority/ female inferiority. Once that is out in the open, maybe this disease of discrimination and violence against females by males will have a chance to be cured.

Julie A. Robichaud

San Antonio, Texas