Letters 01.01.12

Singed by the ’60s

Thanks for the great article about Anita Caspary (“Anita Caspary: Dissenter or Pioneer?” NCRegister.com, Oct. 24).

We were not Catholics then, but we were singed by the ’60s and can recognize the last ashes of “free love” in the Catholic Church. Among the worst, of course, are the in-your-face nuns in street clothing who are still fighting the women’s lib wars all by themselves.

As the great ship of the Catholic Church rights itself, with the help of this very good Pope, it is good to examine these things with the distance of a few decades. Great article — thanks.

Bette Solomon

Pasadena, California

2 Takes on Terrorism

Relevant to “9/11 — 10 Years Later” (Sept. 11):

Let’s compare two acts of contemporary terrorism. Osama bin Laden oversaw the murders of 3,000 Americans in one day on 9/11 via airplanes. America’s elected leaders oversee the continuing murder of 3,000 Americans every day via abortion.

What has killed more Americans: bin Laden’s choice to attack on 9/11 or America’s “choice” every day?

We had Osama killed for what he did.

We pay our leaders with tax money for what they do. I don’t get it.

Joe Marincel

Flower Mound, Texas

Shea Appreciation

I wanted to drop a note to let you know how much I appreciate the columns written by Mark Shea in the “In Depth” section of the Register.

As a dedicated reader of G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis and Peter Kreeft, I see in Mark Shea a worthy successor to these wonderful writers.

His style is easily understood, and he is not hesitant to take on controversial subjects with wisdom, insight and humor. His writing gift lies in exploring sensitive areas with much more light than heat, a feat most remarkable in these polarized times.

Shea’s is the first column I look for, upon receiving my Register, and I suspect I’m not alone in my disappointment when I discovered its absence from the most recent issue.

I would be most grateful for a weekly column.

Thank you for a dependably most-excellent publication!

Bob Geiger

via email

Protecting Parents’ Rights

I am responding to “New York Parents Mobilize Against Sex-Ed Mandate” (Nov. 20).

Just as public schools are not permitted to teach religion, at the same time, they should not be allowed to provide lessons in sex education that violate the religious and moral values of many of their students and their students’ parents.

Many parents teach their children the value of chastity and abstinence and encourage them to save themselves for marriage. And, when lived out, these principles guarantee protection from sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies.

The unfortunate and tragic reality is that when children are given information and points of view that are not compatible with the religious and moral values of their parents, they might be tempted to experiment with a variety of solitary and mutual sex acts. It is no wonder that so many parents are opting to home school their children.

Sex education should not be mandated in the public schools. The right of parents to educate their children on this sensitive subject should be protected.

Jill A. White

Hamilton, New Jersey

Reaching Youth

This letter to the editor is in response to “The State of Catholic Youth Today” (Nov. 17 at NCRegister.com and Dec. 4 print edition).

I cannot express how much I agree with Thomas McDonald’s article.

As a teenager who was very active in my church’s Life Teen program in high school, I know how important it is to get young people as excited about the faith as possible.

I have watched many teenagers veer away from the Church because of adults not doing what this article talks about: talking to them, not at them, and engaging their hearts before their brains.

I found that some adults focus on what a young person is doing wrong and what the Church is against instead of what they are doing that’s positive and what the Church is for. This is what happened to one of my friends who turned away from Life Teen completely.

It is also correct that teenagers are looking for the truth and for real and intimate relationships.

By the end of the confirmation retreats my Life Teen program runs, almost all of the soon-to-be confirmed eighth graders are on top of the world. We always end with adoration, and you can tell just by being in the room and looking at their faces that these young people are changed for the better.

Whether they took this experience and started getting more serious about the faith or didn’t give it a second thought after they woke up the next morning, a part of them would never be the same.

This is because of exactly what Mark Hart said: “Teens really desire depth.”

Hannah Pettit

via email

To Kneel or to Stand?

Relevant to “Altar Rail Returning to Use” (NCRegister.com, July 2):

So often, even just in the wake of a simple reflection on my real intentions for doing things, I am forced to conclude that I am subtly driven by pride. However, I am not upset over these sobering discoveries of my true self. Instead, I have learned to beg the Lord to slowly make my heart a little bit similar to his, so meek and genuinely humble.

These habitual reflections based on self-doubt have somehow trained my heart to detect pride in unlikely places and under seemingly fool-proof circumstances.

One of the conclusions that I reached is the one that Satan would refrain from suggesting to the more devout to do something evil because that would be too obviously wrong. He opts instead for encouraging them to choose by themselves something clearly praiseworthy, over and above what would be the norm.

Pride (1 John 2:16) might indeed hide itself also in something as sacred and vital as the reception of holy Communion.

It should be beyond contention that the norm for the correct reception of holy Communion is the one of walking up to where the Eucharist is distributed to show that we are God’s pilgrim people.

In the many years I spent in Italy, I recall only one daily communicant who wanted to receive Communion kneeling. Upon talking with the pastor, he changed his mind. In Thailand, where people are naturally inclined to reverence overtly the sacred, to my knowledge, not a single person received holy Communion kneeling. In the United States, those who desire to do so prefer parishes with a more traditional flavor. Yet, generally speaking, the total number amounts to a mere fraction of 1% of the faithful.

Presumably, most pastors discourage this practice because they would like their communities to act and worship with one accord without some members following personal preferences over the norm. I firmly believe that nothing in this world happens by coincidence or chance, but all within God’s mysterious plan. It is, therefore, my acquired tendency to pick the surer path of obedience to my pastor over personal preferences. The sacrifice of Christ is a sacrifice of obedience.

If I were to insist on receiving holy Communion kneeling, I would ask myself the reason for this choice. It couldn’t be out of more reverence, for that would be presumptuous and proof that pride rules me. If I were driven by a praiseworthy intention, I would have no trouble, occasionally, to receive It standing in front of those who know me well and are quite aware of my piety.

Father Dino Vanin

Pontifical Institute

for Foreign Missions

Detroit, Michigan