National Catholic Register


Letters to the Editors 06.10.2007

BY John Lilly

June 10-16, 2007 Issue | Posted 6/5/07 at 9:00 AM


Redefine ‘Just War’

Regarding the letter “A Stab in the Back” (May 27) and your response:

In matters of faith and morals, I certainly and wholeheartedly accept “the wisdom of the Church.”

In matters of foreign policy, I make my own decisions based on the evidence available to me.

A) Virtually every intelligence agency in the world and all of our political leaders, including all the leaders of the Democratic party at the time, were convinced that Saddam Hussein was in the process of developing weapons of mass destruction, and that it was essential that his regime be removed.

B) While no weapons of mass destruction have been found — yet — the fact, shown often on television newscasts and reported in newspapers, that our forces unearthed mass graves containing the bodies of some 300,000 Iraqis, men, women and children, murdered by Saddam seems quite enough to me to justify a war against him. Add to that some other well-known and well-publicized facts: that his two sons made a practice of pulling young ladies out of their college classes and off the street to rape, torture and kill them; and that he used chemical weapons to murder many thousands of Kurds.

I am not impressed with “the wisdom of the Church” on this matter. I think the Vatican and the bishops ought to redefine the notion of what constitutes a just war.

We’re in a sticky muddle in Iraq. A lot of Islamofacists are bent on killing everyone who doesn’t agree with them, and we ought to be supporting those who are trying to deal with the situation instead of condemning the effort.

John G. Hubbell

Minnetonka, Minnesota

Editor’s note: It is true that Catholics are free to disagree with the Church on the question of the justice of a particular war. But Catholics should approach any war with great regret. Says the Catechism (No. 2307-8): “Because of the evils and injustices that accompany all war, the Church insistently urges everyone to prayer and to action so that the divine Goodness may free us from the ancient bondage of war. All citizens and all governments are obliged to work for the avoidance of war.”

Devil’s Bargain

Regarding “Everyone Has the Right to Health Care” (May 27):

Father Andrew McNair, LC, should be careful with his “rights” talk when discussing health care and the justification for socialized medicine. It is a tragedy when a child dies from a preventable disease or an accident. But the nature of a society based on liberty means that people have the opportunity to make bad choices.

The parents did not have dental insurance, which is unfortunate, but neither does my family. Father McNair mentions that the procedure to save the life of Deamonte would have cost $100. I’m sure that the parents, had they known that this infection would lead to his death, would have found a way to make that payment or raise the money.

The Church can not advocate for socialized medicine without accepting the devil’s bargain of supporting and subsidizing the immoral and so-called health care practices currently made legal by our government: abortion, contraception, sterilization, artificial reproductive techniques, assisted suicide … and the list goes on. Nor can it realistically expect its Catholic health care professionals and institutions to be exempt from performing these procedures in conscience — notice the Church’s developing experience in Europe and even in the United States with our eroding “free-market” system and emergency contraception, for example.

Socialized medicine is a bad idea on many levels. Perhaps what the Church can do is follow the principle of subsidiarity and form local foundations to subsidize Catholic dentists to work with low income patients.

Rian Girard

Portland, Oregon

No Fleeting Fad

Regarding the Editorial “Catholic America” (May 20):

Capitalism is a fleeting fad? Your editor combines Marxism, other ideologies and capitalism in a grab bag of isms to be decried. In fact, capitalism is as old as the first two cave men cooperating together to hollow out a shelter as quickly and cheaply as possible. Free markets of capitalism have done, and are doing, more than all the other economic isms together to feed the poor, heal the sick, and tend the sheep.

 Bruce Rusk

Kitty Hawk, North Carolina

Editor’s note: We were citing Pope Benedict XVI’s remarks to Latin American bishops, where he spoke of the tendencies of both ideologies to reduce the human being to his economic dimension. Said the Holy Father:

“What is real? Are only material goods, social, economic and political problems ‘reality’? This was precisely the great error of the dominant tendencies of the last century, a most destructive error, as we can see from the results of both Marxist and capitalist systems. They falsify the notion of reality by detaching it from the foundational and decisive reality which is God. Anyone who excludes God from his horizons falsifies the notion of ‘reality’ and, in consequence, can only end up in blind alleys or with recipes for destruction. …

“Both capitalism and Marxism promised to point out the path for the creation of just structures, and they declared that these, once established, would function by themselves; they declared that not only would they have no need of any prior individual morality, but that they would promote a communal morality. And this ideological promise has been proved false. The facts have clearly demonstrated it. The Marxist system, where it found its way into government, left not only a sad heritage of economic and ecological destruction, but also a painful oppression of souls. And we can also see the same thing happening in the West, where the distance between rich and poor is growing constantly, and giving rise to a worrying degradation of personal dignity through drugs, alcohol and deceptive illusions of happiness.”

Economic Stabilizer

Relevant to “Vatican as Peacemaker” (May 6):

Pope Benedict’s visit to South America highlighted the call for all Catholics to work in the continuing struggle against poverty in the developing world. Insurance is an overlooked but vitally important part of that fight. Even small microinsurance policies can be critical in helping lower-income families after the loss of a breadwinner. Donors in the United States can help subsidize policyholders by donating to microinsurers that operate for the benefit of lower-income policyholders. A simple Internet search on microinsurance can turn up numerous such insurers in Asia, Africa and Central/South America. My own company has an arrangement with a Peruvian insurer in which we receive delinquent policyholder invoices marked as paid because of our donations. This type of giving is an underutilized but critical part of stabilizing the economic safety net under those trying to escape poverty.

 K.F. Miller

C3KB Solutions, Inc.

Coral Springs, Florida

Rosary’s Evolution

I would like to comment on Paul Traverzo’s letter, “Liberal Leanings?” (March 18), regarding the omission of the Creed at the beginning of the Rosary. In many Catholic countries in Europe, the Creed and pendant beads are omitted in the recitation of the Rosary. In those countries, France and Croatia, for example, the Rosary begins with the first mystery. The reason is that in the formation of the Rosary, the Creed and pendant beads were a later addition, just as the Glory Be was added at the time when devotion to the Holy Name became prevalent. The Rosary to begin with was not a Marian devotion, but rather a devotion to the Father by the recitation of the Our Father using 150 beads, stones, berries, etc., which were often placed in a cup or dish and later separated into decades by those monks who could not read or write.

In the Marian Age, the Rosary became a devotion to the Blessed Mother with the substitution of the Hail Mary in place of the Our Father.

Thus, the entire Rosary evolved in its formation. I, too, was pleasantly surprised during my many pilgrimages to Catholic countries in Europe to discover the recitation of the Rosary without the Creed and pendant beads. During the nightly processions at Lourdes, the Rosary always begins with the first mystery.

Although I was surprised and a bit confused in fingering my beads, I simply adjusted. The Blessed Mother, I am sure, is pleased with any prayer offered to her in faith and devotion.

Msgr. Matthew G. Malnar

Independence, Wisconsin

God Help Us

Relevant to “Crying Out to God” (April 29):

Several weeks ago Gov. Timothy Kaine of Virginia spoke at Virginia Tech regarding the massacre that occurred in their school. In his remarks, the governor used the one word forbidden to be spoken or written in the U.S. schools.

The governor quoted the words uttered by Jesus Christ as he hung on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Where was God when this horrible crime was being committed? Don’t you remember, governor, God was banned from our schools by Congress?

It’s okay to say or write anything bashing Christianity, expressing vulgar, immoral suggestions and engaging in despicable sexual acts in the name of freedom of expression, but lawsuits, expulsions and/or other severe penalties are incurred if one refers to God in our schools.

God help us.

Elizabeth Greek

Reynoldsburg, Ohio