National Catholic Register


Letters 02.24.2008

BY The Editors

February 24-March 1, 2008 Issue | Posted 2/19/08 at 1:46 PM


Examining Our Priorities

Referring to the article, “Bishops Oppose Personhood Amendment” appearing in the Feb. 3 Register:

When the contents of this article were announced in the Georgia papers, many pro-life people were both disappointed and shocked. As a member of one of the most actively pro-life Catholic parishes in Georgia and a member of Georgia Right to Life since 1985, I feel it is essential that I offer my comments.

The true strength of the pro-life movement is at the grass-roots level, not among our national pro-life organizations or politicians. This strength is largely attributed to unwavering concepts and values that exist in the minds and hearts of their citizens and their willingness to become involved.

The totality of these values can be largely attributed to traditionally strong family structures and uncompromising values offered by their respective churches. We in Georgia are blessed with a variety of denominations that assert pro-life, pro-family and moral values strongly supported by Scripture. This, fortunately, has placed Georgia in a unique position among the top of seven states that are attempting to pass a Personhood Amendment in 2008.

Why would a bishop feel it necessary to go on record as opposing a particular piece of pro-life legislation that would expand pro-life values and the knowledge and sensitivity that life begins at conception? Where or how would they acquire accurate and unbiased guidance?

Opposition to the Personhood Amendment serves no useful purpose and simply garners unnecessary criticism for the Catholic Church.

Many believe Catholics are uniquely pro-life. Experience has caused me to question the uniformity of this concept.

The need for bishops, priests and laity to become knowledgeable, supportive, outspoken, prayerful and involved in a positive manner relative to these issues is crying out. I believe there is a serious need to examine our priorities.

With 4,300 abortions a day, business as usual in many dioceses is simply not the answer.

Vern J. Simon

Augusta, Georgia

Pro-life Candidate

In reference to “Super Tuesday Picks” (Feb. 3): I have been doing some research lately, determining who I wish to vote for in the upcoming election for our next president. I attempt to vote in a pro-life direction at every election. This year, I am perhaps the most confused as to who to vote for.

I do not wish to single out one particular candidate, but isn’t it time that we look carefully at the voting records of each person who wishes to run for the presidency? After careful consideration, I personally choose Mike Huckabee as the “pro-life” candidate.

Russell Joy II

Batavia, New York

Numbers Tell Tragic Tale

Relevant to “Rebound” (Feb. 3):

It is sad that so many well-meaning people have no shame in publicly supporting legal abortion during the full nine months prior to birth. Furthermore, a number of them also support partial-birth abortion, a truly barbaric procedure.

The magnitude of this carnage has resulted in roughly 50 million unborn babies being legally destroyed, since the Supreme Court handed down the infamous Roe v. Wade decision on Jan. 22, 1973. Couple this number with the overall figure from 17 states that had liberalized their abortion laws (2-3 million babies legally destroyed), prior to Roe v. Wade. That brings the cumulative number to between 52 to 53 million children legally destroyed.

To put this tragedy into some type of context, military historians estimate that the overall fatalities on both sides (Allies and Axis) during World War II is somewhere in the neighborhood of 55 million deaths, a figure that includes combatants, non-combatants, concentration camp victims, etc.

It is plausible to believe that the babies legally killed by abortion in our nation will soon surpass the overall fatalities of World War II.

It is for the above stated reasons, among others, that legal abortion should be given the highest priority as an issue in the upcoming presidential election.

Thomas E. Dennelly

West Islip, New York

LifeTeen Is Effective

Your article, “Diocese Warns Catholics About Priest’s Ministry” (Jan. 27) about Msgr. Dale Fushek was accurate but disappointing. Four times you referred to him as the founder of LifeTeen Ministry. That is true, yet incomplete.

Msgr. Fushek, however, is no longer with LifeTeen and has not been for several years since his suspension from active ministry. Your organization knows how innuendo about a person can have negative effects. Even if true, one’s personal failure does not mean his or her work is without value or truth.

I have used the LifeTeen program for almost 15 years and have found it to be engaging, orthodox, Eucharist-centered, with a strong devotion to Mary. There are almost 1,100 parishes around the world using this resource. It has some of, if not the best, training programs for youth ministers available.

The summer camp programs touch hundreds of youth. LifeTeen serves young people and accepts the mission of leading teens to Christ. Parishioners of mine called me to alert me to the Register’s putting LifeTeen in a bad light. I do not believe you meant to do that, but the implication was made.

The Register should have made it clear that Msgr. Fushek is no longer associated with Life Teen. It would have been the better choice.

Msgr. William Young

St. Thomas More Catholic Church

Houston, Texas

Refuse to Compromise

In your Feb. 10 issue, Sen. Sam Brownback in “Pro-Lifers Can Trust McCain” claimed that pro-lifers can trust his colleague, John McCain, whom he described as “the best pro-life candidate to win in 2008.”

What he failed to mention is that McCain supports federal funding for the destruction of life via embryonic stem-cell research.

Having contributed to Brownback’s own presidential campaign, I am particularly offended by his misleading column. If he wants to defend his colleague, that’s fine, but he needs to be forthright in doing so.

Ironically, the same day many of us were reading this abridged version of McCain’s record, Mike Huckabee was defeating McCain by a 3-1 margin in Brownback’s home state. Apparently pro-lifers in Kansas also read between the lines. Can Huckabee win the nomination? Yes, if all pro-lifers refuse to compromise their values for candidates they “think” will bring victory in November.

Don Himmelspach
Saginaw, Michigan

The Real McCain

I read the “Dr. Dobson: ‘I Cannot, and Will Not, Vote for McCain’” article just before reading your article, “Pro-Lifers Can Trust McCain” (Feb. 10) on Brownback’s support of John McCain. Which is the real McCain? James Dobson cites specifics, while Brownback’s is mostly generalities. When I hear conservative, pro-life commentators such as Ann Coulter say McCain is more liberal than Hillary (infamously pro-abortion) Clinton, I can’t help but not vote McCain.

Ken Canning

Ajax, Ontario

Irreconcilable Difference

In response to Sen. Brownback’s article, “Pro-Lifers Can Trust McCain” on Sen. John McCain in the Feb. 10 issue:

I am aware of McCain’s long-standing pro-life voting record, especially as it pertains to abortion issues. However, Brownback failed to acknowledge in his article that, to my knowledge, McCain has voted in favor of federal funding for embryo-killing stem-cell research.

How does Brownback reconcile with this inconsistency, and does he know something that the rest of us don’t with regard to McCain’s reasoning for his position on this very important pro-life issue?

Keith M. Shonnard

Carson City, Nevada

Disappointing Senator

Regarding “Pro-Lifers Can Trust McCain” (Feb. 10): Sen. Sam Brownback has disappointed many of his most devoted supporters, including me, with his endorsement of John McCain for president.

McCain has vigorously promoted taxpayer funding of embryo-killing stem-cell research. But Brownback has opposed this research for years. Indeed, Brownback is probably the most forceful and articulate opponent of embryonic stem-cell research in the whole U.S. Senate. Why he would endorse McCain, who has an anti-life stance in this particular area, is a question for cannier political minds than mine.

Kathy Scharplaz

Minneapolis, Kansas

Candidate Inconsistent

In reference to “Pro-Lifers Can Trust McCain” (Feb. 10): Although McCain has voted to oppose Roe v. Wade and funding for partial-birth abortion, he has voted in favor of funding embryonic stem-cell research, which is not consistent with a pro-life ethic.

Linda Riva

Newport News, Virginia

Editor’s note: Without taking sides, we would remind readers of Sen. Sam Brownback’s comments in the Feb. 3-9 Register about Sen. John McCain and embryonic stem-cell research.  “I talked with him a lot about the issue and was pushing him on it,” said Brownback. He noted that McCain has been making statements about not needing to research embryonic stem cells.