Relative to your coverage of Mother Angelica’s passing: I would like to say that Mother Angelica was wonderful, God’s gift to me and to many. When I first saw Mother Angelica, I was surprised at her warm humor. She touched my heart and moved me to tears when she read from the Bible and explained with real compassion. I believe deep down that she is a saint. God has blessed each and every one of us with this wonderful nun. May the light of Our Lord shine on her soul, and may her soul rest in peace in the Lord.
As a lifelong Catholic and a gay man, the proclamation [of Pope Francis in his apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia] is deeply troubling, because it dodges any discussion of gay marriage based in evidence. When Pope Francis writes that “there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family,” it reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of what constitutes a marriage and/or family. The Church claims that “every child deserves a father and a mother.” There is no evidence that kids with straight parents have better outcomes than those with gay parents. You don’t get to make a claim that has no evidence to support it — that’s what we call a lie. It will not stand. Pope Francis and the Catholic Church are wrong on this one. Nobody gets to hide behind his or her idea of “God’s plan for marriage and family” as an excuse for hurtful rhetoric and discrimination. It’s dishonest. This kind of teaching discredits the moral authority of the Church and anyone (clergy or layperson) that stands in line with it. Unless it comes around, the Church (and its people) will continue to be an agent in the discrimination it claims to seek to prevent.
Iowa City, Iowa
The editor responds: It is God himself, not man, who ordained marriage (see Genesis 2), which by its very nature (until recent governments changed the definition) denoted a man and a woman. “Sacred Scripture,” according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1602), “begins with the creation of man and woman in the image and likeness of God and concludes with a vision of ‘the wedding-feast of the Lamb.’” And, in 1660, the Catechism says, “The marriage covenant, by which a man and a woman form with each other an intimate communion of life and love, has been founded and endowed with its own special laws by the Creator. By its very nature it is ordered to the good of the couple, as well as to the generation and education of children. Christ the Lord raised marriage between the baptized to the dignity of a sacrament.”
Parable of the Goats
Pertinent to “Mother Teresa to Be Canonized on Sept 4” and “Notre Dame to Honor Another Pro-Abortion Politician” (April 3 issue): The Parable of the Goats and Sheep (Matthew 25) immediately came to mind regarding two of the front-page stories: Mother Teresa’s canonization and verbal disapproval with Notre Dame honoring pro-abortion politicians. Those mentioned by Jesus in the parable went to heaven or hell based upon what they did (not said) or did not do to combat injustice and evil. Mother Teresa did something regarding the injustice of poverty. Only saying something against the injustice and scandal of Notre Dame’s implied support of abortion is ineffective, especially when doing something to stop it is necessary.
Let us pray that those who have the responsibility, power and authority to do something in combating the evils of this world actually will, and thus take steps toward their own growth in sanctity and heroic virtue.
Flower Mound, Texas
When Ideology Fails
Regarding the letter “Trumped by Faith” by Jorge Diaz in the Jan. 24 issue: Donald Trump has gone on the record to state that he is pro-life, believes that Christians are being persecuted in our country and around the world, and knows how to create wealth and bring jobs back to America. If we look at the record of pro-abortion politicians (mainly Democrats), they have brought the highest unemployment since the Great Depression, government funding of abortion, promotion of gay marriage, loss of religious liberty and a total lack of protection for Christians around the world. We are supposed to believe that they care for the poor and care for immigrants and are good Catholics.
As a grandfather of 20, I have been to many confirmations and baptisms. The oath that we take is to reject Satan, his evil works and his empty promises. When we start believing the empty promises of pro-abortion politicians, we sell our souls to the devil. Does anyone believe that a politician who is willing to fund the killing of innocent babies would somehow care about the poor or the plight of immigrants? The only politician that ever provided legal amnesty to immigrants was a Republican named Ronald Reagan. He did it after the Democrats promised that they would secure the border. You can’t fight poverty by redistribution of wealth or having 7 billion people from around the world immigrate to this country [Pew Research estimates there are between 11 and 12 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S.]. You fight poverty by creating an environment that creates wealth. That means a stable government, the rule of law and allowing people to keep what they earn.
St. Bernard said, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Mr. Jorge Diaz may have good intentions, but if he wants to help the poor, he needs to research what causes poverty and wealth. Calling pro-life politicians and their supporters “non-Christians or bigots” is not helpful.
Regarding “Gender Identity vs. Catholic Identity,” (Books & Education, Feb. 7 issue): How did we arrive at this stand-off?
God created the human mind to process information in a logical manner — whether consciously or subconsciously. If every woman has the choice to abort every pregnancy, then, logically, pregnancy and babies are unnecessary in the first place, which makes heterosexuality unnecessary. It has fomented so-called ideology. We’ve always had good, fundamental choices — to have the baby, die a natural death and uphold traditional marriage. But the Supreme Court legalized deviant, alternative, non-fundamental choices — abortion, sodomy, euthanasia and same-sex “marriage.”
Legalization is supposed to make deviant, non-fundamental choices “good” choices. “To have the baby” or “to have an abortion” are both supposedly good choices [in our world]. It is a contradiction, pitting good, fundamental choice against deviant, non-fundamental choice. It creates conflict, and the Supreme Court enforces its deviant, legalized choices over and above our existing fundamental choices. The court needs to be stopped. The Bill of Rights protects our fundamental individual rights against usurpation and interference by the federal government.
Our first fundamental right is our birthright — our right to birth. At the moment of conception, each human life receives a surname, race and sex. It is a human identity that the individual will use throughout his/her life. Whether big or small, young or old, black or white, male or female — in the womb or in the Supreme Court — life that possesses a human identity is life that must be recognized. That which is intrinsic to human nature cannot be changed, and no human, no government branch has the authority to usurp or interfere in these intrinsic fundamentals. These individual human rights are protected by the Bill of Rights.
Regarding “What Catholics Should Know About the Spike in Suicides” (May 15 issue): It may not be just coincidence that the new rise in suicides since 1999 correlates to the implementation of the first physician-assisted suicide law in Oregon. In Oregon’s own 2012 report “Suicides in Oregon: Trends and Risk Factors,” one key finding showed that, by 2010, “the age-adjusted suicide rate among Oregonians of 17.1 per 100,000 was 41% higher than the national average.” This is the “regular” suicide rate. Since then, four more states (California, Oregon, Vermont and Washington) have legalized physician-assisted suicide, with California’s law taking effect this year. Is physician-assisted suicide, especially its increasingly positive portrayal in the media, a factor in this newly reported rise in suicides, due to the well-known “suicide contagion effect”? This must be seriously considered.
I am the mother of a physically healthy 30-year-old daughter who killed herself in 2009 using a technique the medical examiner called “textbook Final Exit” — the title of a book she read by assisted-suicide supporter Derek Humphry. I am also an R.N., with 46 years of experience, who has cared for terminally or seriously ill people considering physician-assisted suicide who changed their minds after suicide prevention and treatment interventions. There is a well-known and recognized suicide contagion effect after reported suicides. Both national media guidelines and the World Health Organization guidelines warn against media glamorization or normalization of suicide by the media. Yet, since the legalization in Oregon, the media has increased positive reporting on physician-assisted suicide. For example, the media incessantly promoted cases like Brittany Maynard and her Compassion and Choices-funded foundation to raise money to get physician-assisted suicide legalized throughout the U.S.
That’s not just glamorizing or normalizing assisted suicide. That’s advertising suicide as a solution.
And that is dangerous for vulnerable people.
Nancy Valko, R.N., ALNC
St. Louis, Missouri