National Catholic Register


Letters to the Editor

BY John Lilly

July 16-22, 2006 Issue | Posted 7/17/06 at 9:00 AM


High Mass Hits the High Notes

In “What Happened to the Music at Mass?” (Commentary & Opinion, June 25 - July 1), Webster Young seems to call for a wholesale review of post-Vatican II hymns for musical taste and suitability, similar to the Church hierarchy’s review of such hymns for liturgical and theological suitability. Hallelujah!

The Register is just the paper to do it, and Webster Young should be enlisted to help.

As one raised in the Episcopalian music tradition, I am constantly tempted to enroll my daughter in the local Episcopalian choir because she would probably learn to sing a far higher caliber of music with more musical precision and expression than in our Catholic parish youth choir. The 20th century gave rise to a treasure trove of modern Anglican church music by composers such as Benjamin Britten and others.

I pray to God that we will see that kind of flourishing in Catholic modern music in the 21st century.

Katharine Santos

Garden City, New York

Webster Young wonders if any professional association of Catholic musicians was available to provide guidance during the chaotic years following the Second Vatican Council.

In 1971, following a revisal of the 1964 translation, a meeting of all responsible church musicians was convened by the Church Musicians Association at St. Paul Church in Cambridge, Mass. An important leader in this convocation was the late Theodore Marier, founder of the St. Paul’s Choir School.

Not long into this three-day meeting, it became apparent that two schools of thought were emerging — conservative (those who wanted to follow closely the directives in the document on the sacred liturgy) and progressives (who more or less felt that Vatican II had issued carte blanche to church musicians). Heated and divisive words were bandied about. I believe these set the stage for what has followed.

One bright light appeared with the founding of the Composers Forum by the late Robert Blanchard. Here, leading Catholic musicians were commissioned to compose new works that would be guided by the motu proprio of Pius X, which stated that Church music should be fine art, having the character of holiness and universality. I was honored to be one of those composers chosen.

Unfortunately, commissions began to dry up as the wave to sacro-pop began to usurp the market. The project went defunct. The results are now history.

We can only hope now that the newly emerging conservative tone being set by our present Pope will set the stage for a renaissance in our sacred music.

J. Gerald Phillips

Fitchburg, Massachusetts

Mr. Phillips is a composer, organist and choir director. He was associate editor of McLaughin & Reilly, church music publishers in Boston. His Mass in the Vernacular (1965) was the first published Mass in English in this country.

Monitor MySpacers Meticulously

Regarding “Young, Catholic and Connected” by Eric Scheske (July 2-8):

Let me start out by saying my family loves your paper. We have been blessed for years reading your articles.

I write today because, over the last several weeks, we have been checking out Our children have been on it for a few months. In Mr. Scheske’s column on blogs, he tries to paint hope for My husband and I don’t want any parents to let their guard down after reading this.

Mr. Scheske states that their are currently 75 million members on and that he got 200 hits when he searched the site for profiles and blogs mentioning G.K. Chesterton. Well, aside from the 74,999,800 profiles that don’t mention Chesterton, in my calculations this would mean that, if I searched one MySpace profile daily from the time Christ was born, I would by now have found two that mention Chesterton.

I write today also because I love your paper and want you to watch over all your articles. This is a very important subject. There are many hidden dangers besides what the media have been covering. All our children on are just one click away from pictures that are pornographic, horrible music lyrics, blatant satanic messages, more subtle sexual deviances and any other depraved thought a person could have to rob our children of their innocence and endanger their immortal souls.

Mr. Scheske’s readers deserve a warning to go along with his comment, “You might want to consider browsing through and see what you find. It’s not all poison.” My husband thought the Scripture “Woe to thee who lead these little ones astray; better that they had not been born” was a very fitting close to my letter.


Mrs. Erin Kladar

Rockton, Illinois

Catholic-School Chagrin

Having had children in Catholic schools and now a dedicated home schooler, I would like to explain our decision to home school (“He Who Home Schools Teaches Twice,” May 28 - June 3). When I was working outside the home, I was grateful to be able to have my children attend Catholic school. However, as the years went on, we became increasingly disillusioned by our Catholic school for the following reasons:

 1. The school was not teaching traditional Roman Catholic doctrine, but watered down Christianity.

2. We did not see the Catholic faith being interspersed throughout the school day. There was no discussion of the saint of the day based on the liturgical calendar, no rosary and so on.

3. There were increasing discipline issues. There seemed to be almost no difference between the Catholic school and the local public school.

4. The school did not have the facilities to deal with children with mild learning problems.

5. The school was obligated to have “Family Life” classes. While we were able to have our children opt out, they were somewhat stigmatized by their classmates.

6. The children would get exhausted being in school all day followed by any extracurricular activities and homework. Additionally, we were obligated to give volunteer hours and participate in fundraisers. In short, we had no family life.

7. Even with tuition assistance, tuition costs would have made it practically impossible to have a large family, which is what we wanted.

There are probably some very fine Catholic schools out there, but that was not our experience. There is no perfect school; however, the blessings of home schooling, in my opinion, outweigh the benefits of Catholic-school education.

God bless all teachers, including home-schooling moms and dads, for their dedication to try to pass on the Catholic faith to future generations.

 Mary Zaepfel

Westminster, Maryland

Reparations Due? 

Relevant to “Fire Thunder vs. the Tribal Council in Pro-Life South Dakota” (July 9-15):

If abortion is bad for women — leading to numerous lifelong psychological and medical maladies — wouldn’t it be possible to get a group of talented pro-life lawyers together to sue Planned Parenthood into oblivion?

I for one believe every woman in this country who has had an abortion deserves a $1 million settlement paid for by the abortion providers and abortion clinics of this country.


Scott Ramsay

New Albin, Iowa

Nutritional ‘Miracles’

“Drug Revives Comatose Patients” (June 25 - July 1), about a drug that temporarily awakens people from a coma or a persistent vegetative state, is indeed a sign of hope for the pro-life community. But the news could have been even better.

Imagine what a miracle it would be if there were something that would stimulate a patient’s body to create its own stem cells and provide nutrition so that the body can repair and heal itself. Such a miracle exists today in the form of a new technology called glyconutrients.

As an example of the power of glyconutrients, consider a boy named Cole who, at the age of 1½, suffered brain damage as a result of smoke inhalation in a house fire. His condition was stabilized, but his only sign of life was a heartbeat and the ability to breathe. For years he was in coma and fed through a feeding tube. At the age of 4, glyconutrients were introduced to his diet. After one month he moved his finger for the first time since the fire. After six months he was doing much better, and he has now begun school. Cole is not a unique case.

Glyconutrients have the potential to help anyone who can be helped with stem cells. By providing nutrition at the cellular level, they can help many more people. The public, and even the medical community, needs to be made aware of this technology so that people like Cole and others can be helped to good health.

Greg Hildebrand

Middletown, Connecticut

God Bless Our Bishop

Thank you for the excellent article on our good Bishop Robert Finn, “Kansas City: Bishop Finn Gets It Done” (July 2-8).

He and Catholic Radio KEXS are the best things to happen to this diocese in a generation. They are teaching Catholics what it means to be Catholic.

 Phyllis White

Blue Springs, Missouri

Why Weren’t You There?

Why did the Register not cover the recent World Union of Catholic Women’s Organization conference in Washington, D.C.?

More than 600 women from 44 countries and some island nations journeyed to our nation’s capital for this conference, whose theme was “Women Peacemakers: United in Faith and Action.” We gathered to secure justice and peace in our universe through prayer, study groups, liturgical celebrations, meals and sharing our stories, thoughts, ideas and hopes with one another. The United States National Council of Catholic Women was the host organization.

Also, it might interest the Register to know that Karen Hurley, from Harrisburg, Pa., was elected president-general of WUCWO for a five-year term.

More detailed information can be found at and

Eileen White

Fairfield Glade, Tennessee

Editor’s note: With rare exceptions, we don’t cover conferences, meetings or retreats as news events. But we do list the cream of the crop in our monthly New Evangelization Events calendar. Look for it the last Sunday of each month.