National Catholic Register


Letters 12.23.2007

BY The Editors

Dec. 23, 2007 - Jan. 5, 2008 Issue | Posted 12/18/07 at 2:37 PM

Tickets Wanted!

Our family subscribes to the Register and my question is: Our family of 10 wants to attend the Mass that Pope Benedict XVI plans to say in Washington, D.C., this April. Please advise if attendance is first-come, first-served, or will there be some other selection process. Thank you for a great newspaper!

Linda S. Mays

Girard, Pennsylvania

Editor’s note: An excellent question … here is the CNS piece we ran on the subject last week.

“To answer the question that is increasingly being asked of officials with the archdioceses of Washington and New York — and pretty much anyone else who works for the Catholic Church in the region — you can’t yet get tickets to any events during Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to those cities in April.

“The two archdioceses don’t expect to have information about how to get tickets for the few public events of the April 15-20 visit until after the first of the year. And what tickets are available will likely be distributed according to formulas that will give priority to people from Washington and New York and neighboring dioceses.

“Unlike previous papal visits, when Masses were held at the National Mall and Central Park — wide-open venues with space for hundreds of thousands of people — opportunities to see Pope Benedict will be more limited. Pretty much the only chances the general public will have will be at Masses at the Washington Nationals’ new baseball stadium, with a capacity of about 45,000, and Yankee Stadium in New York, which has a capacity of perhaps 65,000.”

Reversing the Condom Lie

Thank you for the story, “UNAIDS Attack on Church Is Unscientific, Scientists Say” (Dec. 2). It’s very relevant and speaks mountains.

The truth about HIV/AIDS cannot be compromised forever. It’s now that the long overdue truth must be revealed to the world. Failure to admit that condoms do not mean life in the era of HIV/AIDS is like sentencing the world to the death penalty.

If condoms were the answer, everybody would be going for and using them without being told. If A[bstain] and B[e faithful] have not fully served their purpose and stopped the pandemic, it has been largely due to the negative bias against them. HIV infection can only be permanently addressed through intensive teaching and promotion of faithfulness among married couples and abstinence for the unmarried with condom promotion only to those who continue to have more than one partner.

The current tendencies by UNAIDS and other foreign donors are to rotate around the HIV/AIDS pandemic without attacking the problem directly. The truth must be sought and told in order to save millions of lives.

The Rev. Evatt M. Mugarura
Executive Director,

Africa Youth Leadership Development

and Health (AYLDH) Initiative
Kampala, Uganda

Righteous Anger

A few moments ago, I caught a glance at the fine Register article titled, “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Less Like Christmas.” I must confess to feeling angry about what it reports; but what I will not confess is to being ashamed of feeling angry, because that wouldn’t be true.

Anger is a natural passion given to us by the Creator himself, and it is an interesting one. One thing it can do is help us “cut to the quick” in moral judgments that we should be able to make without difficulty. The article notes that officials in Ypsilanti “are worried that [a Christmas display] could be unconstitutional.” (My emphasis.) Let them worry. … But if they choose to be so foolish, we might do best to acknowledge to ourselves that such a worry is pure nonsense. The U.S. Constitution says, in plain English, the very opposite of what the “officials” fear, namely: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech.”

Perverse readings of the Constitution, readings diametrically opposed to what it actually says, are unlikely to come about otherwise than because its plain sense is deliberately perverted.

But a failure to grasp elementary logic may have something to do with it, too. Our society is deeply democratic, and we believe in the virtue of tolerance. But if we unwittingly concede that “atheism” is a religion, we will draw false conclusions about how it ought to be tolerated.

It would be very good if all Christians who understood this felt some anger about it. This isn’t the same as recommending that we give up reason and discretion, or cease to show respect toward those who do not share the Christian faith.

But a little moment of interior anger might help us to remember that the suggestion that we should suppress religion and Christmas is not only harmful to everyone but ridiculous.

Sean Collins

Santa Paula, California

Too Much Variety

Relevant to “Implement Latin Mass” (Dec. 2):

My wife and I travel by car to many locations around the country. As a consequence, we attend Mass at many parishes in the course of the year.

Due to this attendance at Masses in places from California to Colorado and Texas to Minnesota to our home in Virginia, I have noted a great range of sanctuary design, parishioner conduct and priestly roles.

This widespread variance makes it much more difficult to pray and to reverently participate in the sacrifice of the Mass. I leave it to others to speculate on the effect of this on vocations, tolerance for social customs that are sinful and the edification of young minds into Catholic beliefs.

For my part, I only observe that it is not conducive to prayer, reverence and the devotion necessary to live a righteous life. I believe it is reasonable for a humble parishioner to point these variances out and to request that our Catholic bishops, especially, consider what these variances may be bringing about.

I do not pretend to be anything other than a struggling Catholic that wants nothing more than to please God and help as many others as I can to please him, as well. I believe that many of these things I have mentioned impede our journey to holiness and salvation.

Mentioning them is appropriate for me; addressing them or explaining them is appropriate for bishops, priests, deacons and those parishioners that exercise so much authority in many of these sterile churches conducting what I have honestly characterized as secular sacrifices of the Mass.

Jim Beers

Centreville, Virginia

Population and Nature

Regarding “The Human Ecology” (Dec. 16):

World population doubled between 1960 and 1999. If it continued to double at this rate (exponentially) it would reach 12 billion in 2040, 24 billion in 2080, 1926 billion in 2200. In 2760 it would reach 3,000,000,000,000 billion.

But, I think you would agree that that will not happen, because the earth simply could not support 3,000,000,000,000 billion. So what is going to stop it reaching those figures? Nature’s way is brutal: In nature, population crashes are typically of the order of 50% to 80% in a season. Is this what you would wish for humanity?

We have been given the intelligence to foresee the problem and to devise a means of countering it, and we should act accordingly.

Roger Plenty

Gloucestershire, England

Editor’s Note: Don’t fall for the myth of overpopulation. God has provided well for all the people he has created. If we housed 4 people per 8,000 square foot lot, we could house the entire world’s population in 370,000 square miles. Alaska is 663,000 square miles. So, if we moved everyone in the world to the United States with their own yard and home, they wouldn’t even take up all of our largest state. The problem isn’t too many people; it’s too little of the virtues of generosity and justice.

Romney a Cut Above

Regarding “Romney vs. JFK” (Dec. 16):

I am appreciative of the article, for we should be talking about our prospective president of the United States. I subscribe to the Register because I enjoy the high level of discussion that I usually read. I want to be informed on a level that is informative, that cuts through the prejudices, that crumbles the biases, that uncover the bigots that spotlights the intolerant minds.

As Americans, we want to communicate effectively to help with our weaknesses and misunderstandings.

I am disappointed that this article did not take the high road. Why? The correct information is all available, so easily available, to elucidate the issues.

How can you start an honest editorial by calling the subject a prosecutorial name, “Mormon.” Then, you don’t identify the name of the church correctly, you call it the “Church of Latter-day Saints.” The correct name of the church is “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” The members of the Church call themselves “Latter-day Saints,” or for short, “LDS,” not “Mormons.”

They are persecuted so incessantly, that they sometimes call themselves Mormons. However, that is their privilege, it is not the privilege of an outsider to call them “Mormons.”

Few of us can walk in the footprints of our Lord Jesus Christ. However, all that I have read about Mitt Romney has been very impressive. He would make a very excellent president of the United States of America, in my opinion.

How many good choices do we have among the presidential candidates? I think Mitt Romney towers above them all. Let’s us not shoot ourselves in the foot, please. Investigate, analyze and evaluate, yes, but let us not do the bigoted thing and destroy a promising candidate.

I appreciate the Register being active — it is one of the reasons I subscribe.

Please, let us be above the “Mormon haters.”

Ivan Rutherford

Vancouver, Washington