National Catholic Register


Letters to the Editor

BY John Lilly

August 20-26, 2006 Issue | Posted 8/21/06 at 9:00 AM


At What Cost, Faith Nights?

I would like to point out one important fact about “faith nights” that I feel Catholics should be aware of before attending (“God, Country and Baseball,” July 2-8).

I need to preface my comments by explaining that I work for a Catholic radio station that broadcasts throughout the Buffalo, N.Y., area. We were approached by Third Coast Sports, the organizer of faith nights, this past winter about sponsoring three faith nights they are holding this summer at Buffalo Bisons baseball games. (The Bisons are the Triple-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians). We were initially interested in sponsoring these events to better promote our radio station and foster Christ’s teachings to many individuals who otherwise wouldn’t have heard the Gospel. However, just prior to the first faith night in Buffalo, we were informed that one of Third Coast Sports’ national sponsors for these events was World Vision.

To those of you don’t know, World Vision is one of the largest Christian relief organizations and, while they do a great deal of good, they openly promote the use of artificial contraceptives. Realizing this, our radio station opted not to sponsor the faith-night events in Buffalo.

While we fully commend Third Coast Sports on their mission and ingenuity for bringing Christian values to professional sporting events, we cannot support an event that is also sponsored by an organization that promotes values contrary to Catholic teaching. As a Catholic apostolate charged with fostering the truths of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church, we must uphold these teachings, no matter the situation. Although it is probably not the intention of Third Coast Sports to promote the use of contraceptives, they are indirectly encouraging this immoral practice by their relationship with World Vision.

Catholics should be cautious about attending faith nights. Think twice about purchasing those minor-league tickets this summer. Think twice about what you are supporting. Sure, you may be fostering a nondenominational Christian ethic, but at what cost? Today more than ever, as Catholics, we need to stand firm on issues of morality.

Matthew Tremblay

Director of Community Relations

The Station of the Cross

101.7FM — Buffalo

1460AM — Rochester

750AM & 1550AM — Scranton-Wilkes/Barre

Triumphant Veto

Regarding “A Courageous No” (Editorial, Aug 6-12):

The first veto by President Bush of a Senate bill expanding federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research beyond existing stem-cell lines was not only a promise kept but a triumph of science and morality over emotion.

Bush announced his veto surrounded by 18 families who “adopted” so-called “leftover” embryos not used by other couples. Their children have come to be known as “snowflake babies” because they were once frozen embryos stored in fertility clinics.

In May, 2005, President Bush went before the cameras holding a month-old baby named Trey Jones. He had been one of those leftover frozen embryos coveted by researchers until he was implanted in the womb of his mother. Maybe someday he will grow up to be president. At least he will grow up.

“These boys and girls are not spare parts,” Bush said. “They remind us of what is lost when embryos are destroyed in the name of research. They remind us that we all begin our lives as a small collection of cells. And they remind us that in our zeal for new treatments and cures, America must never abandon our fundamental morals.”

Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., one of the House co-sponsors of the bill expanding federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research, said Bush had “snuffed out the candle of hope” for Americans suffering from a number of diseases who could benefit from this research. But Bush has done no such thing. He is the first president to federally fund this research. He has not banned private research or funding.

Since 1998, when researchers at the University of Wisconsin discovered how to isolate and develop human embryonic stem cells, no human disease or condition has been successfully treated with them. There are almost 80 therapies using adult stem cells — actual treatments, not theory or research. There have been more than 250 adult stem-cell clinical trials. There are zero treatments using embryonic stem cells and there have been zero clinical trials.

Everyone wants cures for disease and disability. Not everyone thinks the end justifies the means.

 Daniel John Sobieski


Those Astounding Stem Cells

I was really astounded by the article “Saved by Stem Cells” (July 2-8). Since stem cells have that divinely given capacity to become whatever tissue in our bodies, then the more stem cells in our blood stream, the greater the healing that can take place in our system. 

I really believe that God, having placed stem cells right within our own bone marrow, has designed the body not only to entropy, but also with a built-in mechanism for the renewal and rejuvenation of our different organs and tissues.

I am happy to be alive in these exciting times. I thank God that we have available today technologies that can enhance the release of our own bone-marrow stem cells for our healing and the maintenance of optimal health without transplantation, and therefore without fear of rejection.

These discoveries of using our own bone-marrow stem cells, I believe, proved President Bush right in vetoing the last bill to lift up the restrictions on embryonic stem-cell research. 

Rey Valleser 

San Francisco, California

Well-Chosen Words

I read the letter to the editor from Mr. Richardson titled “A Poorly Chosen Fight” (July 23 - Aug. 5), in which he takes issue with and criticizes the timing and wisdom of (former Maryland political appointee) Robert Smith’s words on a TV cable program referring to homosexuals as “persons of sexual deviancy.”

I was then further enlightened by the column on the opposite page by Mike Johnson, “Four Words That Can Get You Fired,” which, in effect, defended Smith’s choice of words. Essentially, Johnson makes clear that Mr. Smith “spoke words that accurately communicate the identity and ambitions of those practicing homosexual behavior. And he spoke those words on his own time, in a context not related to his job.”

I hope that Mr. Richardson and anyone else who thinks Mr. Smith spoke out of order will read Mike Johnson’s very intelligent and enlightening column in the July 23 - Aug. 5 edition of the Register — a paper that can always be counted on to spotlight the Truth.

Steve Blubaugh

Parma, Ohio

Post-Boomer for Truth

In a letter titled “Lost in Translation” (July 9-15), Register reader Dick Taber asks why, “with Mass attendance declining, the priest shortage, church closings and loss of trust of the clergy,” the bishops are treating a new English translation of the Mass as a “top priority.”

The Church is not a democracy, molding its practices and doctrine to the will of its members. It would appear, though, that recent debates about the Mass (inclusive language, modern music, female priests) reflect a segment of people who wish majority ruled. Some may argue that the way to combat the problems Mr. Taber identifies is to make the Mass more appealing, less dogmatic, more pleasant to the ears. If we only soften the Church’s message, that will fill up the pews.

But perhaps the reason we have the problems listed above is precisely because the American Church waters itself and its truths down. When I hear fuzzy theology during Mass, I find it sad and patronizing — as if laity cannot fathom the truth and must be spoon-fed feel-good language. The Church is the pillar and foundation of truth (1 Timothy 3:15). We want this truth declared, not modified and distorted to try making it more marketable.

The reactions of Register readers to Webster A. Young’s recent columns on Church music seem to confirm my point. Last week’s recessional music told me that Jesus — the Word through whom the entire universe was created and the one God whom made himself like us to save us — is the “Lord of the Dance.” Many Americans in the Church today think that the truth is too difficult to grasp and instead give us lessons like “it’s hard to dance with the devil on your back.”

Witness the millions of youth who flocked to John Paul the Great. Why? Because he represented a “modern” Church? No, because he reminded us that the truth is immutable and fascinating, yet also warm and loving. For us post-baby boomers who have lived through the moral relativism our parents’ generation praised, it is refreshing and attractive to hear and know the truth from a trustworthy source, not because it won an opinion poll. If you think democracy will fix the Church, remember that Barabbas was democratically elected.

Let us pray that the new, more accurate English translation brings us closer to encountering true Christian theology, and thus as close to God as Christ intended when he instituted the Mass for us.

Tim Shaughnessy

Bossier City, Louisiana

Calendar Clippers

Our family wishes to thank you for including the Holy Family Fest at Catholic Familyland in Bloomingdale, Ohio, in your New Evangelization Events calendar (July 23 - Aug. 5).

We learned of this tremendous place solely through this notice. Your listing led us to register and attend this event. We were blessed beyond words by this holy experience.

The Apostolate for Family Consecration is indeed a great blessing to today’s Catholic families. We are the parents of six children, ages 17, 15, 13, 10, 6 and 4. Our teens were so validated in their faith by the apostolate’s leadership and the children of like-minded families that they have deemed this “our best vacation ever” and have begged us to return next year.

Recognizing the authentic Catholic teachings of Pope John Paul II and desiring to be obedient to the magisterium, we immediately registered for the upcoming Totus Tuus Family Conference in October.

Thank you again for leading us to this life-changing journey of faith.

Danny and Colleen Milburn

Lexington, Kentucky

Billings Backer

We have good news for Nicole Syed (“Planning Families, Naturally,” (July 9-15) and writer Greg Watts.

With nearly one million hormone assays in Australia alone, the Billings ovulation method is the most scientifically researched of all natural and artificial methods. It is also the most widely used.

Particular thanks goes to the Chinese government for its requirement that the Billings method be one of their approved methods. China all by itself gives the world more than four million users and close to 40,000 teachers with an effectiveness rate of 99.5% in postponing pregnancy. (See for studies.)

As Syed’s fellow Aussies say: Crikey! If this isn’t enough evidence to back off from calling natural family planning methods other than the Creighton model “a bit too vague and fluffy,” I don’t know what is.

While we congratulate Ms. Syed in her efforts in London, we would encourage her to look beyond some of the propaganda she has bought into.

 Sue Ek

Executive Director

Billings Ovulation Method Assn./USA

St. Cloud, Minnesota