National Catholic Register


Letters 04.24.11

BY The Editors

April 24-May 7, 2011 Issue | Posted 4/15/11 at 4:47 PM


Unanswered Questions?

Pertinent to your stories on the Defense of Marriage Act (“President Obama’s DOMA Outrage Will Backfire,”, Feb. 28; “Is DOMA Really Dead?” March 4):

A number of questions were not even mentioned, let alone any answers offered. Among them:

Where is the evidence that anyone is trying to outlaw the institution of marriage? Nobody has offered even a shred of evidence that this is going on, so what is really being defended here?

If this measure is actually an effort to keep in place discrimination and second-class status against same-sex couples, why is this not being acknowledged openly? Also, why in the world should anyone, let alone the president of the United States, defend a measure with this kind of purpose?

Why is it right for same-sex couples to be kept in second-class status where marriage rights and its automatic attendant legal benefits are concerned?

Julie A. Robichaud

San Antonio, Texas

The editor responds: The institution of marriage between one man and one woman has been shown in anthropological data to predate the earliest religions and governments. The suggestion of “marriage” between two men or two women is against natural law, as well as God’s law. Second, there is no second-class status or discrimination. If anything, it is giving preferential status to men or women who want to “marry” another person of the same sex where none is called for. Since taking office, the president has shown his misunderstanding of natural law. Lastly, there are legal processes in place for those who aren’t married to obtain legal benefits for a close friend or relative. Marriage between one man and one woman is a societal good for the raising of families that should be held in high esteem. That’s why Christ instituted it as a sacrament.

Never Permissible

Regarding “Is It Ever Permissible to Lie?” (March 13 issue):

The Catechism of the Catholic Church gives stated exceptions to killing (self-defense, just war). There are no such stated exceptions for lying. Which father are we following when we lie? Is not Satan the father of all lies? Don’t play with fire; you might get burned.

If we think we need to lie to end abortion (or any other evil), we are not trusting God, our true Father. Everyone’s life on earth is short; heaven is forever. Trust God. Don’t lie — ever.

Possible “rule of thumb”: If you have to ask the question, “Is what I am going to say/do a mortal or venial sin?” don’t do it. If you have to ask, “Is what I am going to say a lie?” don’t say it, or say something else.

Example: Question, “Are there any Jews in your house?” Answer, “Do you see any Jews here?”

Joe Marincel

Flower Mound, Texas

Recurring Issue

First of all, I want to say how glad I was to receive, once again, the Register, thanks to EWTN. My subscription expired just as the transition was taking place and, consequently, regrettably, I lost out on about three or four issues.

Yesterday, I received my first “new” subscription: March 27-April 9.

Reading the article “Maryland Turns Down Same-Sex ‘Marriage,’” I’m thankful that the “vote” to legalize same-sex “marriage” did not pass; but, sad to say, this problem is likely to come back again. I ask myself: “How did this take hold in the Catholic population?” And I am inclined to think it goes back to the rejection of Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae by a lot, if not most, of the Catholic laity, and even many priests and some bishops. … Combine this with the emergence of technology and the concerted advance of the virulent homosexual community’s agenda, the outcome is alarming for the Church going forward, considering the proclivity of sin.

As the number of Catholic churchgoers on a regular basis diminishes (polls indicate that attendance is now something like 25%), it should give pause for serious and concerted endeavors on the part of all the faithful in every single diocese in the U.S., from top to bottom and vice-versa. (It appears in at least some dioceses that the laity sees more clearly than most of the clergy — or have most of the clergy become so disheartened that they have grown silent?)

In 1971, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger saw the situation rather clearly. In Faith and the Future, he wrote in sobering words of what is coming to the Church: “From the crisis of today the Church of tomorrow will emerge, a Church that has lost much. She will become small and will have to start afresh, more or less from the beginning. She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity. … But … the Church will find her essence afresh and with full conviction. … In faith and prayer she will again recognize her true center and experience the sacraments again as the worship of God. … It will be hard going for the Church. … One may predict that all of this will take time.”

Pope Benedict XVI continues to write and speak to us today of the evils that afflict us. … “He who hears you, hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me” (Luke 10:16).

Oh, that today we would hear God’s voice and harden not our hearts.

Pam Haines

St. Petersburg, Florida

Calumny and Detraction

Regarding “Father John Corapi on Leave” (April 10):

I do not think that I have been this disappointed in quite some time. To my utter astonishment, it is not at the fact that Father John Corapi has been accused of gravely disordered conduct (although, to be sure, that is a very disturbing thing in and of itself). No, my disappointment stems from the coverage of this situation by many of the mainstream Catholic commentators, bloggers, writers, etc.

I have repeatedly found comments like the following concerning Father Corapi:

“We don’t really know him …”

“Look at his past, before he was a priest …”

“Don’t put a priest on a pedestal …”

“But here’s the thing: That’s exactly what happened with accusers of the great and saintly and unquestionable Father Marcial Maciel. Turns out, all the people who rallied to him without actually knowing a damn thing about him were disastrously and horribly wrong …”

“Father Corapi recently had a Hollywood makeover for his TV shows, having his hair colored and donning a tan.”

What use are these statements, these platitudes, unless you intend to subtly — or not so subtly — imply the real possibility of guilt?

If you don’t like Father Corapi, fine. If you think he is guilty, fine. But at least have the courage of your own convictions and say so plainly. There is no virtue in hiding behind your pen and hollow words. We should not be so ready to risk the sins of detraction and calumny.

Do we no longer consider the accused innocent until proven otherwise? Do we now treat those accused of disordered conduct no different than those found guilty of their transgressions? Does the veritable exiling of our brother in Christ while tearing down the very vestige of his public persona preserve human dignity or serve justice?

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). We should exercise great charity to everyone involved in such matters. So, before you pick up your stone … before you join the crowd and cast it at the large and easy target named Father Corapi, I would encourage you to look deep into your own heart and ask yourself if you are indeed without sin.

Please keep Father Corapi, his accuser and everyone involved in this matter in your prayers. May God’s truth prevail.

Tom Dowler

Midway, Kentucky

Ethics Enforcement

Your Feb. 13 “Catholic Hospitals and Bishops” article was timely and informative. But this failure-to-adhere-to-ethical-directives problem is far more extensive than the walls of St. Joseph’s hospital. St. Joseph’s is run by Catholic Healthcare West, a multibillion-dollar entity that operates 42 hospitals. I believe that almost all are at least nominally Catholic. Are they all adhering to the directives? Who are the secular executives really running these Catholic hospitals? Have they received full and complete “Ethical and Religious Directives” training? Thankfully, Archbishop Niederauer will initiate a dialogue with CHW, but that dialogue should be preceded by a thorough investigation of ethical-directive enforcement at all the other Catholic hospitals being run by the same CHW team.

David Young

Supply, North Carolina


Our March 27 travel feature on Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York incorrectly spelled the name of the church’s rare organ. The Erben organ was built in 1852. The Register regrets the error.