Letters 05.05.13

Ultimate Child Abuse


Regarding your coverage of the Kermit Gosnell trial:

In the 40 years since the Supreme Court legalized abortion, approximately 55 million babies have been brutally killed by this so-called medical procedure.

On trial in Philadelphia is Gosnell, who has been accused of running an abortion business that has been described as "a house of horrors," in which he allegedly killed babies who had survived late-term abortions and where a woman allegedly died from a botched pain-killer injection.

Abortions after 24 weeks of gestation are illegal in Pennsylvania, but Gosnell allegedly performed procedures at 30 weeks or later.

Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., got it right when he said, "Murdering newborns in the abortion clinic, it seems to me, is indistinguishable from any other child predator wielding a knife or a gun. Why isn’t that child seen as a patient in need of medical care, warmth, nutrition and, dare I say, love?"

Sadly, far too many in the mainstream media refuse to cover stories like Gosnell’s because they support President Barack Obama’s policies and views on abortion. When he was a senator in Illinois, he voted against legislation that would require medical care be given to babies who survived abortions. The hypocrisy of this president is apparent when, on the one hand, he tells us that "caring for our children must always be our first task," but at the same time he enthusiastically supports abortion.

My message to him and his fans in the media is that every child’s life is precious and deserving of protection — and to kill a child, whether in or out of the womb, is the ultimate child abuse.

Jill A. White

Hamilton, New Jersey


Praise for Weigel’s Book


Relevant to your interview with George Weigel (March 10 issue):

I have not read a more important and informative statement on this country’s current cultural status — in fact, Western society’s cultural status — than Weigel’s Evangelical Catholicism.

While the book’s title speaks a Catholic theme, its discussion takes into account serious cultural, political and religious questions that are floating in the public squares of today’s world.

The interaction between the Church and these questions has, at times, been difficult, primarily for the Church; but the issues Weigel has raised also call the world to task for becoming so lax in its treatment of humanity.

My having grown up from just before World War II to now — and having had the opportunity to see the world from inside and outside this country — has given me a perspective that fits right in with Weigel’s stated purpose of his book.

From helping my mother tend our victory garden in East Helena, Mont., through watching my father’s moving up from being a laborer in a lead smelting plant there to a general foreman of electrical maintenance on a major railroad in Seattle, I’ve had a variety of exposures to life experiences most people can only dream about. Then, on my own, I’ve been able to dip my finger into almost every ocean and sea on the earth and attend Mass in so many churches around the world and from one side of our country to the other that it’s hard to count them.

As I read Weigel’s book, I could reflect back to a period of my life’s experiences and see from where he was coming.

Weigel says, "Evangelical Catholicism is not a way of being Catholic that adapts certain catechetical practices and modes of worship from evangelical, fundamentalist and Pentecostalist Protestantism." He further says, "Evangelical Catholicism is the Catholicism that is being born, often with great difficulty, through the work of the Holy Spirit in prompting deep Catholic reform — a reform that meets the challenges posed to Christian orthodoxy and Christian life by the riptides of change that have reshaped world culture since the nineteenth century."

Then, Weigel indicates that current reform actually began back in 1878, with the election of Pope Leo XIII, who "set in motion a profound transformation of Catholicism."

My mother began my religious education. My formal religious education, however, came from the Baltimore Catechism, which began with the question: "Who made you?"

I now teach catechism using Blessed John Paul the Great’s general audience sermons on the gospel of the body. Between the two came Vatican II, the aftermath of progressivism, the free-speech movement, the sexual revolution and Popes Blessed John Paul the Great and Benedict XVI.

Weigel’s book has set the stage for Pope Francis’ effort to continue the reformation started by Pope Leo XIII, but in the manner exemplified by St. Francis of Assisi. I cannot recommend his book highly enough.

Richard Irwin

Wolcott, Connecticut


Misguided Concern?


President Obama has appealed to the nation to accept some type of immigration "reform" that would allow the 20 million or so illegal immigrants already in the country to pursue an as-of-yet-undefined "path to citizenship."

One of his arguments has been that within this group of would-be citizens are our future scientists, doctors and teachers. To turn them away might be to turn away a future Albert Einstein. There’s certainly some merit to this point. Human capital is our greatest wealth. Every person, hypothetically at least, has the potential to be the person who discovers the ultimate cure for cancer, uncovers an inexhaustible supply of inexpensive and safe energy, authors the next ageless literary treasure or possesses the character and skills to lead the world to lasting peace.

The potential for greatness knows no national, ethnic, racial, religious or gender boundaries. Most all of us would admit that.

But if the tremendous potential of 20 million immigrants is so readily appreciated and of such concern, how can this same president and his party turn a blind eye to the 55 million Americans killed through abortions without a moment of serious reflection for the loss of their potential contributions?

If he appreciates the potential of the 20 million, why is there no concern for having callously discarded the missing 55 million? Why is he not lecturing us on the terrible waste of future scientists, doctors and teachers through abortion? And, more importantly, why does he so zealously continue to advance domestic and international policies that destroy even more of our future geniuses and great leaders?

Loren Pecore

Northfield, Minnesota


War Heroes


Your wonderful article about Medal of Honor recipient Father Emil Kapaun ("For God and Country," April 21 issue) reminded me of another Korean War chaplain and hero, although lesser known.

He was Franciscan Father Herman Felhoelter of Cincinnati, for whom I was an altar boy in the early 1940s.

The priest’s official Army record states:

"Capt. Felhoelter was a member of the 19th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division. On July 16, 1950, he was directing the withdrawal group of men carrying 30 wounded north of Taejon, South Korea. When the unit came under intense enemy fire, he realized he had to leave the wounded in order to escape the enemy.

"Chaplain Felhoelter remained behind to care for the wounded. He and the 30 wounded were massacred by the enemy."

Herbert R. Pahren

Cincinnati, Ohio