National Catholic Register

Opinion

Letters to the Editor

BY John Lilly

May 7-13, 2006 Issue | Posted 5/8/06 at 10:00 AM

 

Immigration Irritation

Relevant to “Thank an Immigrant” (Editorial, April 23-29):

If humans break the relatively mild and democratically passed laws of the United States as to immigration, then what expectations do we have that they will obey the more demanding laws of God?

For you and all of your contributors, it is “illegals,” not “undocumented workers.” You should insist on that as a part of your “style book.”

James Pawlak
West Allis, Wisconsin

I have been debating the illegal immigration issue from both sides and I find it helps to use a different yardstick to measure the problem. If we view or judge it on the basis of a sin or crime, and less or never emotionally, I think we could make a better decision regarding the problem and the solution.

Words make a difference. It is illegal immigration or migration. Is migration a sin? I don’t think so. God didn’t create the world with borders; man did, and they can and have been changed throughout known history. I say this because I have heard some radio and TV talk heads questioning if the Mexican illegals are having the crime of border-crossing being absolved in confession. It was clearly an attack on the Catholic Church.

On the other hand, some of these illegals have been destroying property in their march across the border. Some have been violent, some have stolen, some have been selling drugs — all of which are crimes and sins, no mater who commits them. We get only silence from our bishops on these matters.

Our bishops are supporting the illegal immigrants and giving them sanctuary, which pure and simple is an act of charity. The problem, however, is more complicated than the obvious acts of criminality vs. ungodly acts. These illegals are availing themselves of our social system — a system our bishops have certainly lobbied heavily for. This forced confiscation of funds benefits their charitable organizations. They are no longer charitable houses but Catholic industries.

It is one thing for the bishops to help the poor and needy through the freely given donations of Church members, but is it morally right to actively work to enact laws that forcefully redistribute the wages of individuals through forced taxation? This is not a rhetorical question; I want an answer. Is government-mandated socialism a sin?

Let the debate begin.

Joan Solms

South Lancaster, Massachusetts

Gnonsense 

I enjoyed “New Gospel? Much Ado About Nothing” (April 23-29). In it, Tim Drake exposes the usual gang of suspects including the hip, Jesus Seminar “theologians” who have made a substantial living of recycling the Gnostic gospels.

Just because something is old doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true. Archaeologists may excavate my grandmother’s residence 1,000 years from now and recover her stash of National Enquirer tabloids, but that will not make the information therein true.

Gnostic experts argue the Catholic Church suppressed their “truth” and the validity of the texts has only recently come to light. In reality, those documents were sifted, weighed, discussed and analyzed early on in the Church and found wanting.

The Gnostic “gospels” were simply fads that went the way of three-corner hats, powdered wigs and leisure suits; but like tie-dye T-shirts, they tend to re-surface every once in awhile.

Michael Eversman

St Mary’s, Georgia

A Nun’s Movie

Regarding the recommendation of the DVD of the 1959 movie The Nun’s Story (Video Picks & Passes, April 16-22):

The comment is made that the movie doesn’t offer the positive depiction of religious life common in 1950s Hollywood.

The request of the mother superior to Sister Luke that she fail an important exam necessary for nursing certification was made after another nun complained that Sister Luke lacked humility as the daughter of a renowned surgeon in Belgium. The superior believed that she, Sister Luke, was being offered an extraordinary opportunity to practice humility by this “failure,” which would also grant self-confidence to the complaining nun.

The movie takes place entirely in Europe during the war and reflects the ultra-strict structure of the religious life that was the norm in Europe then. This stands in sharp contrast to the religious life as it’s widely lived in the United States now.

Alice O’Hara

Islesboro, Maine

Outdated Observations

Regarding “Vatican Observatory Head Calls Intelligent Design ‘Absurd’ Concept” (April 9-15):

Your report on Jesuit Father George Coyne reports him as saying that, for life to arrive on earth, a series of chemical reactions over billions of years was required before the first life forms appeared. The microbiologists I have read consider that idea antiquated.

One example: Gerald L. Schroeder, physicist and microbiologist, writes how, in the work of Elso Barghoorn, “to the amazement of the scientific community, fossils of fully developed bacteria were found in rocks 3.6-billion years old. … Overnight, the fantasy of billions of years of random reaction in warm little ponds brimming with fecund chemicals leading to life evaporated. … Life, the most complexly organized system of atoms known in the universe, popped into being in the blink of a geological eye.”

I wonder if Father Coyne knows of Elso Barghoorn? If he wishes to attack intelligent design, I submit he would do well to wrestle with the amazing findings of contemporary microbiology. His critique, if indeed he has one, would have the advantage of being up to date.

Father Thomas Dubay, SM

Washington, D.C.

Monkeys R Us?

Regarding “Vatican Observatory Head Calls Intelligent Design ‘Absurd’ Concept” (April 9-15):

If papal teachings are understood to be infallible, then the concept of “biological evolution of the human species” must be rejected as bad science. One truth can never contradict another truth, and good science can never contradict good theology.

Pope Pius XII taught that Adam was an individual man (Humani Generis, 1950), created in perfection (Mystici Corporis, 1953), superior to other animals, and that he could not have been generated by a brute beast (1941 address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences). He also taught that Adam was the father of the whole human race and that, in some way, the first woman was derived from the first man (which St. Paul also taught in 1 Corinthians 11:8 “Man was not made from woman, but woman from man”).

How is it that one can have faith in transubstantiation, the raising of the dead, a virginal birth and a supernatural end, yet raise doubt about a supernatural beginning? Didn’t the “dancing sun” at Fatima reaffirm God’s awesome power over “natural science”?

God himself told Adam, “out of it [the ground] you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3) — and the very word for “human” originates from the word meaning “earth” (humus). I don’t see any wiggle room in Catholic theology for ape-men.

Marie Annette

Prineville, Oregon

Up With Umbert

I am writing to thank you for carrying the comic “Umbert the Unborn.” It’s pro-life and very clever. It is also funny. I have enjoyed it for years and it still keeps me laughing.

I hope you have no plans to drop the comic.

Thanks and keep up the good work.

 

Peter Hostetler

Boy Scout Troop 401

14 years old

Steubenville, Ohio