Letters 02.08.2009

‘Pink Sisters’

Thank you to Kimberly Jansen for the travel story about “‘The Pink Sisters’” (Jan. 4) in Lincoln, Neb. I spent much of nine years in Lincoln in college and working and was introduced to the cloister’s adoration chapel through a University of Nebraska Newman Center apostolate that took students weekly to spend time in prayer. I have to say that some of my best time was spent in that chapel for visits, Holy Hours and Mass. When passing through Lincoln on travel, I try to stop for a visit with my family.

The story brought great memories and reminds me that prayer is our greatest tool for life. I’m anxious to get to Lincoln again to make a visit!

Terry Radke

Overland Park, Kansas

Obama’s ‘Legacy’ Begins

“Look to Your Legacy” (Feb. 1), you challenge President Obama. Hardly had the echoes of President Obama’s inaugural address faded on the National Mall before he was in the Oval Office giving his stamp of approval for the “culture of death.” In rapid succession, Mr. Obama removed the ban on giving federal dollars to international groups that perform abortions, allowed the Food and Drug Administration to approve a private firm to conduct the first human clinical trials using embryonic stem cells, and just days later, reaffirmed his support for abortion rights on the day after the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

One has to wonder, with our economy in shambles, a terrorist attack always a threat, and the continuing feud between Israel and its Arab neighbors, why the president puts the destruction of innocent human life at the top of his agenda. I should not be surprised, because as a candidate, Obama stated that if his daughters were to make a mistake, he did not want them “punished with a baby.” Mr. Obama’s views on innocent human life are no different from other pro-abortion supporters; life can continue — but only under strict guidelines.

Convenience and economics top the restrictions, closely followed by physical maladies that would hinder the lifestyle of prospective parents.

The innocent human life is viewed with disdain if it falls outside of these parameters, only to be discarded or used as a laboratory specimen in the search for “alleged” cures by embryonic stem-cell factories.

Not to be outdone by other pro-abortion advocates, Mr. Obama wants to eliminate the right of each state to place constitutional restrictions on the sin of abortion with the passage of the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA).

This attack on states’ rights would virtually eliminate all restrictions, from partial-birth abortion to parental notification, that any state’s citizens might have passed.

It is ironic that on the day President Obama so eloquently called for an end to oppression, a new hope for all those in need, and “the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness,” the most vulnerable among us would be the first to be eliminated.

Humberto J. Brocato

Monument, Colorado

Omitting Life

You mentioned how CatholicVote.org’s pro-life commercial features Obama (“Obama vs. Life,” Feb. 1). But his statements continue to omit the subject of life. According to President Obama, “The time has come to reaffirm … the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.” This sounds like the famous phrase “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Perhaps it is no mistake that President Obama omitted “life” in his reiteration of this phrase.

Clearly his definition of “all” does not include the annual loss of more than 1 million people in the U.S. who will be burned with acid, poisoned or ripped to pieces from an abortion procedure. Who can argue with any credence that the child in the womb is not alive? They are not only alive; they are fully human with the genetic information required to fully identify them as separate and unique individuals.

Later in his inaugural speech, President Obama said, “… for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger … ” President Obama, perhaps you should take a good long look in the mirror.

Laura Jones

Yorba Linda, California

Abortion and Slavery

Now that the historic inauguration of our 44th president is over, we can put down the Kleenex and rejoice that the sin of racism is over for our nation. Or can we? You should keep an eye on Obama’s administration because of his policies (“The New President,” Feb. 1).

When half of all American blacks end their pregnancies by abortion, according to Anne Hendershott’s The Politics of Abortion, the sin of slavery in America is alive and well. What saddens me the most is that our first black president is a strong supporter of abortion, and thus, slavery. You would expect the opposite from him and all black Americans.

What makes abortion the ultimate form of slavery is that it denigrates the child in the womb by only recognizing him or her as a piece of property that can be destroyed at will by its owner. In our past, slaves were bought and sold in our nation as property, but at least they were afforded the legal protection of not being killed at the whim of their master/owner.

Like Martin Luther King Jr., I too have a dream. I dream of a day in our nation when every child is recognized and welcomed as a child of God. I have a dream of a great American president leading the just cause of ending slavery and oppression in our great nation for all our citizens, born and unborn. I dream of the day when abortion is ended and we are truly free.

Keep the Kleenex handy: Our 44th president isn’t a part of that dream!

Msgr. Edward D. Lofton

St. Theresa the Little Flower Catholic Church

Summerville, South Carolina

Never Lose Hope

You note that pro-lifers must do “Damage Control in Obama’s D.C.” (Jan. 25). The election of the most pro-abortion chief executive in history marks an end of Christian culture in the United States. You now join Catholics living in Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Mexico and elsewhere as being strangers in your own land.

But never lose hope. Our Lord started out his human existence as a refugee and endured death at the hands of religious persecutors. The Republic might fail, but Christ’s Kingdom never will.

D. W. Atwood

New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, Canada

Abortion, By the Numbers

The Guttmacher Institute, Planned Parenthood’s research affiliate, helped promote President Obama’s eventual election when, in January 2008, it released a report alleging that the United States abortion rate had fallen from 1.31 million per year in 2000 to 1.21 million in 2005. This cheery report was picked up and spread in pro-life circles, including by the bishops’ Office of Pro-Life Activities. It resulted in the abortion issue becoming less of an impediment for Obama among pro-life Catholics and, at the end of the day, he even got a majority of the Catholic vote, as mentioned in “Catholic Pro-Life Politics” (Jan. 18).

Unfortunately, the report was a fraud, and pro-lifers should have known better than to accept it  so readily. Guttmacher does not agree that life begins at conception, and, therefore, early abortions caused by “contraceptives” are not counted as such by them. The surgical abortion rate has indeed fallen a bit, but this has been more than made up for by the increased availability and popularity of medications and devices which, although called “contraceptives,” can and do act as abortifacients.

Pharmacists for Life has studied this issue and estimates that for every American child born, two babies are killed in the womb by either surgical abortions or abortifacient contraceptives.

Thus, as about 4 million babies were born in 2005, this would mean that an estimated 8 million would have been aborted that year, rather than the 1.21 million claimed by Guttmacher.

In his homily at his inauguration Mass nearly four years ago, Pope Benedict XVI said, “Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary.” Pro-lifers need to take that teaching to heart by giving as much recognition to those human beings killed stealthily shortly after conception as we might to an infant murdered in a late-term partial-birth abortion. Unfortunately, we are now in the absurd position where we depend on an organization which does not count early abortions as such for data critical to our pro-life mission. A genuinely pro-life replacement organization needs to be found as soon as possible.

Charles O. Coudert

Sherborn, Massachusetts

Music for Today

Not meaning to diminish the work done on The St. Michael Hymnal, which is very commendable, there were places in “‘Music Clothes the Text in Beauty’” (Jan. 18) that caused me some concern. In one of those, Linda Shafer’s comments on the phrase “pride of place” might lead one to conclude that we should only be singing chant at Mass and that all other forms of music, folk styles in particular, are somehow contrary to what the documents suggest and perhaps not in obedience to them.

The music guidelines from Vatican II and after are very general, and purposely so. As clearly stated in the Roman documents, it is up to the bishops to provide more specific guidelines for their particular dioceses. The most recent bishops’ document we in the United States have been given is called “Sing to the Lord” (2007). It is a wonderful document balancing traditional Church music with the realities inherent in a multicultural society.

Steve McManaman

Music Director, St. Gertrude Church

Cincinnati, Ohio