Regarding “Confirmation Programs Teens Will Love” (Culture of Life, Sept. 21 issue):
According to Matthew Kelly, author and evangelist, the four signs of a dynamic Catholic are prayer, study, generosity and evangelization. I would like to suggest a fifth sign, and that is chastity. Especially in today’s culture, a dynamic Catholic is one who lives and defends Catholic morality.
St. Francis, Wisconsin
It is breathtaking how quickly our Pope has moved to change the direction of the Church. Pope Francis has criticized capitalism; he quashed the investigation of American women religious and their sometimes leftist heterodoxy; orthodox intellectual powerhouse Cardinal Raymond Burke has been essentially exiled; and accommodation of homosexuality in the Church is being promoted by Pope Francis’ allies. Notably, the replacement for the great Cardinal Francis George in one of the largest dioceses in the United States is an archbishop who would not allow his priests to pray at abortion facilities in his previous diocese and promotes politically correct ideas.
Cardinal George famously said, “I will die in my bed, but my successor will die in jail, and his successor will die as a martyr.”
At the current rate of accommodation to political correctness and to the world, our leaders may not have to worry about not dying in their beds, after all.
Dr. Eugene Cherny
Des Moines, Iowa
Regarding the U.S. bishops’ view of the Senate’s report on the Central Intelligence Agency’s policy on torture (“Bishops Back Release of Senate Report on Torture,” page one, Dec. 28 issue):
I don’t understand the bishops’ buying into the Senate’s report on the CIA’s policy on torture hook, line and sinker. So many people in authority have quickly recognized this document as an obvious political-propaganda document to attack the CIA when the Republicans were in power.
If anyone is unfamiliar with actual torture employed by the communists in their prisons, they only need to talk to John McCain, Everett Alvarez (who was in communist prisons for nine years) or Dr. Tom Dooley (read his books). They will find what real torture is. It’s nothing like the waterboarding that was used by the U.S. counterterrorist agents. The communists used nails pounded into priests’ heads and chopped off the tongues of Catholic teachers; chopsticks were driven into Catholic students’ ears.
The editor responds: The Catechism (2297-2298) teaches, “Torture, which uses physical or moral violence to extract confessions, punish the guilty, frighten opponents or satisfy hatred is contrary to respect for the person and for human dignity. In times past, cruel practices were commonly used by legitimate governments to maintain law and order, often without protest from the pastors of the Church, who themselves adopted in their own tribunals the prescriptions of Roman law concerning torture. Regrettable as these facts are, the Church always taught the duty of clemency and mercy. She forbade clerics to shed blood. In recent times, it has become evident that these cruel practices were neither necessary for public order nor in conformity with the legitimate rights of the human person. On the contrary, these practices led to ones even more degrading. It is necessary to work for their abolition. We must pray for the victims and their tormentors.”
Waterboarding, in which water is poured over a cloth covering the face and breathing passages of an immobilized captive, simulating the act of drowning, is increasingly considered by many to satisfy the definition of torture.
Rend Your Hearts
Relative to “Pope Francis Cautions Against Hardened Hearts” (Vatican, Jan. 25 issue):
The Holy Father is so correct. Hearts hardened out of fear, fear of punishment and fear of eternal damnation is sad.
One takes educational classes of many sorts, but only the love of God is truly able to change a sow’s ear into a silk purse. The Holy Spirit inflames us with divine love to a point where it is not the fear of hell anymore — it’s the loss of heaven. We are living flames, walking in the spirit of Love Eternal. Perfect love does indeed cast out all fear.
Martinsburg, West Virginia
Regarding “Ferguson’s Fallout: Seeking Reform and Reconciliation After the Riots” (page one, Dec. 14 issue):
I find fault with the Register for the biased account of the Ferguson, Mo., shooting involving Michael Brown and Officer Darren Wilson. Articles like these only incite people to overlook the obvious disregard criminals have for property, life, authority and anyone’s personal well-being.
The shooting occurred in August 2014. It was highly sensationalized, and yet, four months after this tragic event, your newspaper still continues to identify the participants by their race, as if that wasn’t already apparent by this time.
Michael Brown deserved to have his day in court, but Michael Brown, on Aug. 9, 2014, forfeited that right to a day in court by trying to disarm and batter a duly-sworn peace officer. If Michael Brown had disarmed Officer Wilson, what do you think the end result of that would have been? Michael Brown did not have a right to a “toe-to-toe, knock-down fight” with Officer Wilson.
Your article calls for ending the practice of racial profiling — easier said than done. Racial profiling only occurs before a crime is committed. After and/or in the process of committing a criminal offense, the criminal self-identifies him or herself. We use his or her racial profile to help us catch the bad guy.
Somehow, as I read through the article, I get this feeling that your newspaper is for advocating more federal government involvement to solve the problems of inequality and injustice.
If you don’t trust and respect the decision of the local grand jury not to indict Officer Wilson, why would I trust and respect the federal government in trying to curtail inequality and injustice, the same federal government that tried pushing the contraceptive mandate down our throats?
retired, Illinois State Police
Fulfilling Our Duty
Elections have consequences, and the pro-life community made huge gains in electing conservative public servants in the November 2014 elections.
What will be the long-range consequences? Well, that’s up to you and me. These “public servants” are our employees — as with all employment, it is up to the employers (that’s us) to supervise, manage, direct and guide. If public servants step out of line, it’s our duty to firmly correct their missteps.
True, they are elected for set lengths of time, so you may have to “direct” them more than once. But nothing gets their attention as much as the fear of not being re-elected. If they were not thinking long term, they would not have stood for election the first time.
So how do we fulfill our duty as employers?
Educate yourselves by keeping up to date on what is happening at the local, state and federal levels. The information is out there, but we must learn to find it and sort it out. Subscribe to online political newsletters, read printed information by responsible reporters and news outlets and tune in to TV and radio broadcasts that give both sides of the story (you will quickly learn which ones do and which ones do not).
We should consider our personal vote a civic duty and prized activity and cast it with care and education. Understanding the issues is absolutely essential to avoid being victims of bait-and-switch politics. Contact them when they need correction, and always thank them when they support the legislation that they promised and which won your vote. For the good of both you and the nation, refrain from the impulse to vote for either political party simply because “our family has always voted this way.” Politics and circumstances change, which is why political education is so important.