National Catholic Register


Letters 04.10.11

BY The Editors

April 10-23, 2011 Issue | Posted 4/1/11 at 4:39 PM


Bothersome Revelation

This is in response to Father J. Brian Bransfield’s March 13 essay, “Product of a Concerned Pastor” (Theology of the Body Symposium, Part 1). He said, “It can be intimidating for Catholics to turn to Genesis. We sometimes feel embarrassed, hesitant or even apologetic about the creation accounts. Ever since we learned that the creation accounts of Genesis are myth.”

Where was I when the magisterium of the Catholic Church declared Adam and Eve myth?

If Father Bransfield was offering a popular opinion, that’s one thing, but to come out and say the creation account is a myth is bothersome. If it’s a myth, then does that mean when Genesis 5 traces the genealogy from Adam to Noah that all those names are myth, or just Adam? Is Noah a myth, too? “The first man Adam became a living soul; the last Adam became a living spirit” (1 Corinthians 15:45). Is Paul speaking of a “mythical” Adam?

Now, if males are born with Adam’s apples and have one fewer rib than females, it seems to me that the creation account may not be a mere myth.

Father Bransfield is entitled to his opinion, but he shouldn’t make a statement like he did if the Church has not ruled it doctrine.

Michael Rachiele

Pittsfield, Massachusetts

The editors respond: “Myth” doesn’t imply “falsehood” when Scripture scholars use the word, but a form of language which is “an archaic way of expressing a deeper content,” as Pope John Paul II put it in his catechesis on Genesis (Nov. 7, 1979). As he explains, there is no conflict between myth and truth. (For what it’s worth, men and women have an equal number of ribs, 12 pairs.)

Hope for the Press

It was great to read your “Forging Ahead” publisher’s note (March 13).

It gives me great hope for the Catholic press. For years I’ve been trying to influence the Catholic press to take a stronger stand as the watchdog of our Church leaders, and, except in a few cases, I’ve not been very successful; some of them have become what I call religiously correct (the cousin to political correctness that we all know is a form of censorship). The greatest scandal in the Catholic Church is the fact that abortion on demand has lasted for 38 years and counting, spilling the blood of millions of our unborn citizens.

The U.S. bishops’ conference tells us that there are 67 million American Catholics in America; considering the persistent nature of abortion and the deterioration of our faith, it follows that the Catholic laity of America is a body of bears not asleep for the winter, but for almost five decades. And the slaughter of our innocent unborn will continue for decades more if our bishops don’t kick them awake with some straight talk. Only the USCCB, as a body, can revive Catholics to once again become the Church militant.

I wish you the best of luck in your new relationship with EWTN. We have supported Mother Angelica for decades, and we hope her spirit and grit spill over into the Register.

Charles N. Marrelli

Irvine, California

Where’s the Justice?

Thanks for your excellent article by Joan Frawley Desmond in the March 13 issue entitled “Unions and the Church.” Joan cites comments made by the bishops of Wisconsin and Ohio regarding public employee union protests in both states. In the case of Wisconsin, the bishops “acknowledge the rights of workers, but included a caveat: It does not follow from this that every claim made by workers or their representatives is valid.” The Ohio bishops were less direct, simply encouraging civility but discouraging the elimination of collective bargaining.

I fear that our bishops fail to understand the economic facts surrounding public unions. Only 11.9% of all workers in the U.S. are in unions, but more than 50% of state and local government employees are unionized (BLS data). In many instances, the public-sector unions represent a monopoly on the labor supply, and this has resulted in wages and benefits that far exceed those received by the other 88.1% of non-union workers. In particular, benefit and pension plans demanded by public unions are far richer, and employees pay far less for benefits that are simply no longer available in the private sector. Health care and pension costs are so high that private employers have had to share more of the cost with employees to avoid bankruptcy, the way they are now bankrupting state and local governments. Yet, private sector workers are called upon to pay the taxes for these excessive benefits and pensions.

Finally, I must point out that teachers in the public sector have average salaries greater than $54,000. I believe this is at least 30% more than the average wage we pay our Catholic, non-union teachers, and I’m sure the benefit and pension plans of our Catholic teachers pale in comparison to their public-sector counterparts. Yet, these same Catholic teachers will be asked to pay the taxes to support the demands of the public-sector employees. Where’s the social justice in that?

Joe San Filippo

Westerville, Ohio

Covering the Bases

The number of abortions in the Soviet Union “makes modern America look like a life culture” (“Sins of the Father,” March 13).

This fails to take into account abortifacients, which chemically kill human life in America at its earliest stage.

And what dilemma would face Catholic warriors engaged in D-Day deception tactics preceding the Normandy invasion (“Is It Ever Permissible to Lie?” March 13)?

In what increasingly looks like a 100-year war, beginning in 1914, the 50 million unborn Americans slain so far should be added to the body count. And sophisticated seminate war techniques have always been the approach of powerful anti-life political strategists and their Catholic dupes.

So when Cardinal Donald Wuerl advises “Words Have Meaning” (March 13) and “we must be careful how we use them,” we also should take into account that our Catholic youth are increasingly bombarded with slogans and misinformation maliciously designed to twist their minds and hearts. It would be an abdication of civic responsibility and a dereliction of duty if we sacramentally gifted Catholic adults failed to adequately overcome these challenges.

Robert Bonsignore

Brooklyn, New York

Time to Teach

“DOMA Defense” (March 13), just another of previous articles that have articulated the devious agenda of the current executive branch of our federal government, has prompted me to remind our bishops that now, not 2012, is the time to begin instructing the voters on the many reasons to vote in a Christian, responsible manner on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November 2012.

That can be done without mentioning names. “By their fruits you shall know them.” “A tree that bears bad fruits shall be cut down” (Matthew 7:15-20).

Peter Hahn

Hampshire, Illinois

Marriage Motivation

Pertinent to Joan Frawley Desmond’s article “Maryland Lawmakers Reject Same-Sex ‘Marriage’” (March 27):

While the position of religion in this debate is certainly valid, I think what is often missing from both sides is an attempt to recognize and promote the anthropological motivation for the institution of marriage.

Society demands that a man and a woman make a public commitment to each other before beginning an intimate relationship. The reason for this probably has something to do with the facts that such relationships tend to result in the birth of children, children are best raised by both parents, the time to educate a child enough that he can be turned loose in the world is significant, and the inherent incompatibility of men and women suggests that, absent some such public commitment, few of them could be expected to stay together long enough to complete the task.

We call this commitment marriage. Not only does the motivation behind marriage make no sense at all where same-sex unions are considered, I have yet to witness any attempt to illustrate a commensurate or even reasonable motivation for society to expect that two people of the same sex should make a similar commitment.

Kevin Rahe