National Catholic Register



BY Jim Cosgrove

Dec. 19, 2004-Jan. 1, 2005 Issue | Posted 12/19/04 at 1:00 PM


Mob-Family Values

Regarding the letter titled “Shoulda Been an Anti-Catholic Contenda” (Oct. 10-16):

I was disturbed by the letter writer's pronouncement upon The Godfather as an anti-Catholic, if not the anti-Catholic movie. He mentions the last and most intensely revealing scene of the movie as the ultimate proof. The calculated killing spree cut with the scene of the baptism of Michael's nephew and godson (not child) is horrific, but this is not an attack on the Catholic Church.

There are many disturbing acts of violence in The Godfather. Having family roots in the culture of Sicily and the Mafia, I felt that the movie was brilliant in showing the hypocrisy and evil of the Mafia tradition. If the Church or its members are involved with this kind of evil, by all means, don't sweep it under the carpet and only produce movies and write books about the good ol' days and the perfection of the Church! Does being anti-Catholic mean recognizing our faults and need for improvement? I hope not; I would have to call myself anti-Catholic.

We should be aware that the Mafia is still very strong in our world. The Holy Father has spoken in strong language to the Catholics of Sicily about this, and there are individuals who are bravely standing up against the institution. The story told in The Godfather is very real. Those people were Catholic — but, unfortunately, the truth of the Gospel was not lived. All of us should take this to heart, especially at this time in our country's history.


Steubenville, Ohio

Think-Alike JFKs

While I agreed with much of Tim Drake's column “The President and the ‘First Lady’” (Nov. 28-Dec. 4), I was surprised that he drew a sharp distinction between Sen. John Kerry and President John F. Kennedy. Remarking that, in “matters of faith, they were miles apart,” Drake implied that Kennedy was a more serious Catholic.

In the 1960 campaign, Kennedy opposed any aid to parochial schools and was against establishing diplomatic relations with the Vatican. Speaking before a group of Protestant ministers in Houston shortly before the election, Kennedy told them that he believed “in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute.”

Kennedy's statements on the campaign trail led some Protestant observers to warn voters against him on account of his secularity. The Lutheran scholar Martin Marty described Kennedy as “spiritually rootless and politically almost disturbingly secular.” The theologian Robert McAfee Brown similarly thought him a “rather irregular Christian.”

On matters of faith, these two JFKs from Massachusetts seem to have much in common.


Middletown, Rhode Island

An Opportunity Missed

Your editorial “Judge Casey: Pro-Life, Pro-Law?” (Sept. 5-11) lauded Judge Richard Casey for the record he is giving the Supreme Court. But Judge Casey failed to take advantage of the golden opportunity provided him. He should have declared the partial-birth abortion procedure unsafe for the mother, as it is. Also, he should have challenged one of the tenets of the Roe decision, that first-trimester abortion is safe for the mother. In fact, it is not.


Bethesda, Maryland

Third-Party Plan

I am very curious why so many good people are silent on the concept of the formation of a third political party and the nomination of a morally solid and unapologetically Christian candidate for president in 2008.

Is it not time to re-Christianize today's “Roman Empire”? Are we Catholic Americans timid hand-wringers? Are we totally indifferent to the peril of the slippery slope we are on? Are we fearful of “rocking the boat”? Are we so enamored of our playthings that we have no time to be concerned for our collective souls? Where is our faith?

The Catholic Church has an unbeatable organization of parishes across the 50 states. Other Christian groups have the same. I'm sure the numbers add up. It should attract all good Democrats who have been disenfranchised by flaming liberals taking their party to oblivion. It should attract those who held their collective noses as they voted Republican in November.

I feel strongly that there may be a short window of opportunity to exert a Christian influence on our nation and that window would be open in 2008.

Let us not forget the lesson learned at the battle of Lepanto! Armed with Mary's rosary, strengthened, guided and nourished by the sacraments, possessing the three theological virtues of faith, hope and charity — and the four cardinal virtues of fortitude, temperance, prudence and justice — God's will may be done.


Port Townsend, Washington

Continuous Christmas

Regarding “Think Christmas” (Letters, Sept. 26-Oct. 2):

Thank you, fellow Virginian Lauren Hall, for sharing your use of Christmas Madonna stamps throughout the year. What a wonderful idea! This Scripture came to mind: “We must consider how to rouse one another to love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24).


Virginia Beach, Virginia

Divorce and the Reformation

I would like to make some additional observations regarding the column by Jennifer Roback Morse titled “What Straight Divorce Has To Do With Homosexual Marriage” (Commentary & Opinion, Oct. 10-16).

I totally agree with Mrs. Morse that no-fault divorce has been devastating to Americans' understanding of marriage. However, I believe it needs to be pointed out that, until the Protestant Reformation, divorce was considered impossible — as is still the teaching of the Catholic Church today. The (post-Calvin) reformers, having jettisoned the sacraments, no longer regarded marriage as sacramental; they considered it no more binding than any other legal contract. As such, it could be rescinded. This, I believe, is where it all began, and we are facing the fallout. No-fault divorce is merely the law drawing to its logical conclusion.


Dallas, Texas

For a Catholic Catholic Mass

Are they still at it? In “New Mass Translation: Not Stalled, But No Final Text Yet” (Sept. 5-11), you mention three objections to providing an accurate translation of the Mass texts.

Some critics say that using “And with your spirit” instead of “And also with you” is “theologically rigid and a movement away from natural English expression.” And there's the complaint that the new translation should be “ecumenical,” which is to say, in accord with the changes that Protestant denominations put in their translations to fit their theology. Finally, feminists want to replace accuracy — not to mention “natural English expression” — with “inclusive” language. So what if one survey pointed out that 68% of Catholics oppose castrated English, while only 9% “strongly” support it? The shrillest wheel gets the most oil.

Here's an idea: Let's translate the Mass prayers in accord with Catholic theology instead of Protestant theology or feminist ideology.


Allentown, Pennsylvania

Feeding-Tube Normalcy

I was pleased to see the explanation and diagram of a feeding tube with the article: “Terri's Life In the Balance: Florida Supreme Court Overrules Feeding-Tube Law” (Oct. 10-16). I'd like to expand on that.

A feeding tube can be “normal” to many people. The man in the drawing was lying in bed. But if a person is able, he can perform his regular duties while still dependent on this specially prepared formula. How do I know?

Our son, Bob, was born 21 years ago. He had numerous medical problems and surgeries. His early special-education teachers told us he was severely retarded. His therapists told us he would never run or ride a bike. His doctors told us his adult height might reach five feet tall, if he even survived his endocarditis, collapsed lungs, heart failures and several other medical situations.

Today our son still depends on this artificial feeding for 80% of his daily nutrition. He hooks himself up to his feeding tube for 8 to 10 hours during the night. Our doctor told us that this “formula” is the perfect food. At 6 feet 2inches tall, Bob plays on his college baseball team, lives in a dorm and is a senior studying a double-major at Franciscan Universtiy of Steubenville.

Terri Schiavo has the right to be loved. Her family has the right and duty to help her reach her potential, whatever that may be. God has a purpose for every life, no matter what the age or condition. Let's continue to pray for those who try to protect life.


Cleveland, Ohio