Letters 02.01.2009

In response to “What ‘Doubt’ Is About” (Daily Blog, Jan. 1), increasingly I am reminded of how few of our nuns and priests today wear religious habits and collars. This is sad because I remember a time when nuns and priests wore their habits and collars everywhere, even in public. Some of my grade school teachers were nuns. Many of my high school teachers were priests. I found it both comforting and reassuring.

I read often of how our Catholic schools are losing their Catholic identity and how there are so few priests and nuns to run them. I often wonder if this is not because there has been no visible presence of our nuns and clergy in the world in the past 40 years or so. As the saying goes, “Out of sight, out of mind.”

It’s as if they were trying to hide their religious calling or make it something not all that different from other professions or vocations. But a call to religious life or the priesthood, wherein one vows to dedicate one’s entire life in the manner of Jesus, is not like any other vocation.

Actress Meryl Streep recently said that when she put on her nun’s habit to film Doubt she felt clothed in God and was convinced that real nuns who wear the habit must also share the same incredible feeling every moment because their day is being dedicated to God.

It is said that actor Alec Guinness’ conversion to Catholicism began when he first put on a collar to play a priest (Father Brown) in the movie The Detective. One evening, Guinness, still in costume, was on his way back to his lodgings. A little boy, mistaking him for the real thing, grabbed his hand and trustingly accompanied the “priest.”

That incident affected Guinness. “Continuing my walk,” he said, “I reflected that a Church that could inspire such confidence in a child, making priests, even when unknown, so easily approachable, could not be as scheming or as creepy as so often made out. I began to shake off my long-taught, long-absorbed prejudices.”

I hope our bishops, priests and nuns will reflect more deeply on the importance of and need for clerical dress — especially in these troubling times where secularism and atheism are gaining ground in obscuring Catholicism and its mandate to evangelize.

J. Bajeani

Toronto, Ontario

Don’t Go Away

I just want to say thank you, Register! As a post-abortive woman who joined my sisters and brothers last month, shivering in the cold, to witness to the destruction that abortion has brought to our lives, “We Won’t Go Away” (Jan. 18) is exactly what I want to say to America!

God in his gracious mercy has restored me and brought his healing love into my life. It is his grace and mercy that calls me to defend the defenseless, stand for the weak, and refuse to go away.

Praise God for your newspaper! Thank you for not going away! You are all in my prayers.

Terri White

Beloit, Wisconsin

Editor’s note: Thanks. To find the editorial, scroll down to “Hot Topics” on our homepage.

Good ‘Shuns’

Regarding your Daily Blog post “Barack Shuns Catholic Prayers” (Jan. 13), well, if the bishops are not making any enemies, they are probably not being very effective or they are corrupt.

I am much more afraid of a bishop who is friends with the media and certain politicians than of a politician who does not invite the bishops to his parties.

If you are not angering the secular media, you are either not very influential or you are influencing the world in a bad direction. Thank God for those bishops who anger the secular media and secular politicians!

Brandon Jaloway

Cumming, Georgia

Life-Changing Article

I can’t explain the feeling except to say that it felt “against nature.” How stupid was I? I actually paid a doctor to go in and damage a vital organ system in my body, one that is key to my self-image as a male. And make no mistake about it: A vasectomy is an attack on your body. 

After much prayer and tears, I was led — by God, no doubt — to your article “One More Doctor’s Heart” (Oct. 12). From your article, I learned about Dr. Cary Leverett, who does vasectomy reversals. The kind doctor put me back together.

What did I take from this experience? Altering significant parts of your body can have an impact on your psyche that you never intended. Also this: The older I get, the smarter the Church gets.

Joseph Rodrigue

San Dimas, California

Pro-Life Change

I do not currently subscribe, but I wanted to share important information with you to help the pro-life movement.

President-elect Obama had a website open to all Americans: Change.gov. (This site has been decommissioned since Obama became president. Now visit WhiteHouse.gov.) On the website, he shares his views on many issues, and we are invited to share our views with him on the issues he discusses. He wants to know what we want for the country, what we envision for the country, and what we want him and his administration to do for his country. He has said that he wants to be president of all of the people. He has also said that “change happens from the bottom up, not from the top down.”

We in the pro-life movement need to get to this website by the millions and urge President Obama to protect, defend, and uphold the right to life. He is giving us the chance to be heard. The door is wide open to us. If we walk in and speak up for life in vast numbers, our new president might just give us “change we can believe in” — protection of life from conception to the grave.

Cheryl Boyd

Coconut Creek, Florida

Mother Teresa vs. Obama

In light of “What FOCA Really Does” (Jan. 11), there are words and ideas borrowed from a woman known more for her saintly, unselfish actions than her words: Mother Teresa. They would go a long way in helping President Obama win over the pro-life Americans that he lost by these anti-life words and actions as a senator: rationalizing his vote that denied abortion-surviving babies medical assistance by referring to them as “pre-viable fetuses who were temporarily alive”; equating a baby as a “punishment”; promising pro-abortion groups that the first thing he will do as president is sign FOCA, a bill that would effectively kill all current anti-abortion legislation along with an estimated 125,000 additional unborn babies each year; ducking, during the campaign, the question as to when a baby deserves human rights. (Now that he’s reached a higher pay grade, he may answer that question.)

When Mother Teresa spoke of fighting abortion with adoption, she said, “Please don’t kill the child. I want the child. Give me the child. I’m willing to accept any child who would be aborted and to give the child to a married couple who will love the child and be loved by the child.”

Imagine if President Obama were to say, “Bring the child to me at the White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C., and I will make sure the child is taken care of.”

Richard A. Carey

Needham, Massachusetts

‘Secular’ Pictures

In the Dec. 21 “Culture of Life” section, “A Guide to Living the Catholic Basics” about the precepts of the Church was a smart idea.

But the gift box representing Christmas and the basket of eggs for Easter, even the Santa hat, take away from the words and what they convey. A picture is worth a thousand words.

How difficult is it to stay free of our secular culture?

Rosemary McNulty

Marathon, Florida

Editor’s note: Thanks. An excellent point. Keep in mind, though, that with these guides our hope is to help readers reach people who aren’t currently active in their faith. We tried to choose images to attract them.

Double Talk

When Obama took his “Oath of Office,” he pledged to “uphold the Constitution,” right?

How can he “swear” to something that he doesn’t believe in? Does not the Constitution give us all the “right to life”? If it obliges the president to uphold the Constitution, how can he be in favor of abortion, which is taking the lives of unborn babies?

Science tells us that life begins at conception — how does he reconcile that he “upholds the Constitution” but believes killing is okay?

He is already committing perjury. Is that legitimate? No one else would attempt such disregard for our country’s laws.

I believe we will have to protest his election if he persists in such “double talk.”

I have subscribed to your Catholic newspaper because ours was so lax in standing up for truth in this last election.

Mrs. Charlotte Frederick

Madison Lake, Minnesota


A photograph used with “She’s Not New to Hollywood,” the Inperson column on page one of the Jan. 25 issue, was not that of Siobhan Fallon Hogan but of the subject of a forthcoming Inperson interview, Peggy Hartshorn. Here is a photograph provided by Lionsgate Publicity, showing Hogan, at right, with actress Renée Zellweger, in the new movie New in Town.