Letters 01.13.13

Our Time of Visitation


It is the time of our visitation as a nation.  We are grieving the brutal murders of the children in Newtown, Conn.  Who could refrain from crying at seeing their beautiful pictures? Even the president cried; yet consider this terrible irony:

After the federal Born-Alive Infants Protection Act had passed the Senate 98-0 and the House by an overwhelming majority and was signed into law on Aug. 5, 2002, then-Illinois state Sen. Barack Obama voted against an identically worded act in the Illinois Senate (S.B. 1082) in March 2003. From 2003-2008, Barack Obama dishonestly insisted that he would have supported the federal act if the Illinois version had been the same. Obama refused to back down from this falsehood until it was irrefutably proven that the bills were identical.

What makes a child a child? Why is it okay to let babies die — or, worse, to directly murder them by abortion?

We don’t have the "right" to kill any child, no matter how hidden he or she is from our view. On Jan. 22, 2013, we will mark the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. Since then, we as a nation have murdered 50 million boys and girls through abortion. Each one of us is guilty because there is no one who could not have done a little more — at least by way of prayer, sacrifice or witness — to help defend these children. We have more blood on our hands than Nazi Germany, and yet we wonder why there is so much violence, unhappiness and lack of peace.

"The judge is standing at the door" (James 5:9). This Christmas season we opened our hearts to the Prince of Peace. He is hidden within the womb of the pregnant young mother and her poor workman husband. They are knocking at our door looking for a place to stay. Is there any room within?

Sister Mary Rose Reddy, DMML

Rochester, New Hampshire


Lamenting the Children


Every single person I have observed reacting to the recent murder of 27 human beings in Newtown, Conn., has expressed profound shock and sorrow at such a diabolical destruction of life. What provoked a grief so markedly intense in this case, however, was that most of the victims were innocent young children. The common attitude, whether of private citizens or public figures, and regardless of special interest or ideology, was an absolutely sincere and agonized feeling of loss.

We always rue the loss of life, but that so many "beautiful little kids," as President Obama put it, were killed all at once was unbearable. Although we are all the imperfect progeny of Adam and Eve, young children are without guile. They are simply true to their nature, uncorrupted and disarmingly good. They are lovely to the eye and pleasing to the ear, charming, really, and funny. Even their misbehaviors lack deliberate malice and can make us smile. They epitomize life for us. So we cherish them; we assiduously protect them; we dreadfully regret any harm they suffer, and we mourn beyond telling their deaths.

Within hours of this appalling tragedy, the explanations and analyses had already begun; and most speculations about its meaning, its causes and effects, have been, I think, either inadequate in comprehending its evil or beside the point. I am concerned that any reflection I might now offer might be taken as untimely, irrelevant or insensitive as a probing of the wound, so to speak. I must, however, raise a question.

Why do we not every day, as we did on Dec. 14, gasp in disbelief, weep heartbroken tears and bitterly lament over the daily slaughter of the most innocent, the purest and most defenseless of humanity: the unborn? For, in our country alone, 20 babies are wantonly killed before birth every 10 minutes — well more than 3,000 a day — almost 1.4 million a year.

And more than 50 million little lives have been aborted since the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision in 1973.

Where is our anguished grieving — our moral outrage — over this extermination of tender new life, over this mass murder of our youngest children, who huddle — unlike the victims of the Newtown massacre whose names we know — never to be seen, never to be heard, in their mothers’ wombs?

Alfred Hanley, Ph.D.

Lewes, Delaware


Vatican II and the Liturgy


I appreciate the Register’s various articles addressing Vatican II. I grew up knowing only the Novus Ordo Mass. I don’t question it was a valid Council, but I’m left wondering why changes were made in the Mass itself. Vatican II encouraged the laity to evangelize and bear fruit in the world, and I’m grateful for that, but could someone please explain to me why so many Novus Ordo Masses throughout the country resemble Protestant services?

Let’s start with the music that we hear at most Sunday Masses. We are exposed to guitars strumming, rhythmic clapping and, yes, drums beating. Instead of the music orienting my thoughts to God, it pulls my thoughts away.

Why is it that we don’t hear homilies about hell and how we can all end up there? Instead, there is an underlying, false notion that we are saved by "faith alone," like is believed in Protestant circles. Homilies today almost always focus on the merciful God and not the just God, who does punish and condemn souls to hell.

To this day, I don’t quite understand why the priest is now facing us instead of everyone looking in the same direction, focused on God. One gets the sense that the priest is the center of the Mass and not Jesus. Please help me understand why we don’t have to kneel when receiving Communion anymore. Or why Eucharistic ministers are used when not needed. Or why these ministers can pounce up to the altar and open the tabernacle like it’s a refrigerator. It just seems to me that reverence has diminished since the changes to the Mass, and I am still confused why the Council felt changes had to be made. When females felt they were no longer required to wear veils during Mass, what happened? Their clothes got tighter and blouses lower. Not only are they sinning, but they are leading men into sin during Mass. When women had to wear the veil, they knew well enough to dress modestly, unlike today. After reading Pope Pius X’s encyclical on modernism, one can’t help but think that modernism has slithered into the Mass.

Thank God for the televised Mass on EWTN. I learned my faith from it, and the priests do talk about the reality of hell and do boldly speak about abortion, "gay marriage" and voting duties. They are authentic and not afraid of being politically incorrect, like so many today. The EWTN Mass reminds me that we go to Mass to glorify and worship God. We are not there to socialize and have fun, like is the scene in so many parishes throughout our land.

Michael Rachiele

Pittsfield, Massachusetts


A Cancer in Society


The national frenzy focusing mainly on gun control in the wake of the Newtown school rampage ignores an underlying cancer destroying our society. Perhaps the best way we can honor the innocent victims of that tragedy and avert others is to get on our knees and ask God to awaken in our country a respect for human life.

We should have heeded the words of Mother Teresa, who said in 1994, "The greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child. … Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want." We are all rightly horrified at the senseless murders of those beautiful children and brave faculty members in Connecticut; the media is all over it, as they should be.

Every day in America, 3,000 unborn children are killed — not by guns — yet we are silent. For 40 years, we’ve had legalized abortion, and, in 40 years, we’ve seen violence increase, tearing our hearts and our country apart.

Gail Besse Ryberg

Hingham, Massachusetts


State Religion of Secularism


In response to "Cardinal Warns Against Secularization of U.S." (Nov. 4 issue).

Cardinal Francis George’s comments should make us all pause.

I am surprised that I do not hear more from defenders of religious freedom that the government, through its actions of eliminating the presence of other religions, is attempting to impose a state religion — secularism. Secularism, like atheism, still represents a view about God, and its adherents are just as devout as members of any other religion. I think that the point should be made clearer that we are having a state religion imposed on our citizens, and that is clearly contrary to the First Amendment of the Constitution.

Jacqueline Buhr

Alameda, California