Letters 06.06.2010

Blogs’ Catholic Presence

I want to comment on the letter to the editor which called for shutting down the comment boxes on the blogs (“Combox Contempt,” May 9).

Pope Benedict has called for faithful Catholics to blaze the trails of the Internet. We have to bring a faithful Catholic presence there. If some are discourteous or uninformed, we should not “shut down” because of it.

Would missionaries of the past refuse to have gone to some country because of the barbaric behavior? I hope not.

I am a longtime subscriber of the Register, and I get so much information and facts about the Church that are distorted in the mainstream media.

Please do not shut down the blog commentary. I post there, and it is a practicing ground for me so that when I discuss with friends and acquaintances, or write letters to the editor for a local paper, I’ve already been well tested and informed on the different facets of the issue.

Thanks, Register, for the blogs.

Mary Ann Wenske

Moulton, Texas

Flesh-and-Blood Church

Regarding “A Brief History of Abuse” (April 25):

The sexual scandals still festering in the body of Christ globally remind us that the Church in via is not a Church of elite and unerring saints, but a flesh-and-blood Church of frail and failing disciples, an imperfect vessel.

This sentiment of striving toward future perfection is forcefully expressed in a wonderful passage from the Second Vatican Council: “Even now on this earth the Church is marked with a genuine but imperfect holiness. However, until there is a new heaven and a new earth (see 2 Peter 3:13), the pilgrim Church in her sacraments and institutions, which pertain to the present time, takes on the appearance of this passing world. She herself dwells among creatures who groan and travail in pain until now and await the revelation of the Son of God (Romans 8:19-22).”

From the above observations, we can understand that in the Church there will always be imperfection, sin, scandal and shocking indifference. That is not a situation that one glories in; it is, however, a fact that needs to be stated.

People are often scandalized by the unworthiness of Church members (and rightly so). The credibility of the Church and its efficacy have often been harmed by such behavior.

At times, it has been of such a magnitude as to take on a deeply symbolic meaning for large numbers of people outside the Church. The manifest weaknesses of the Church and its members can be viewed as a kind of anti-sacrament, which reflects our imperfection and our groping toward the “not yet” of the future.

The blemishes of the Church, some very deep indeed, remind us with stunning force of our need for grace, our need for mutual concern, support and compassion, and our need for trust in the goodness of God.

The weakness of the Church is, paradoxically, a guarantee of the continuing relevance of faith and trust.

Aubert J. Lemrise

Peru, Illinois

Pro-Life Hypocrisy

Relative to “OK for Life” (Briefs, May 9), if a physician deliberately withholds information from a patient about something going on in regard to his body, I suspect that would be considered medical malpractice, if not something in outright violation of the law.

However, Oklahoma’s so-called “wrongful birth/wrongful life” bill (H.B. 2656) seems to allow doctors to not only withhold information about the condition of an embryo or fetus from a pregnant woman, but also prevents them from being held accountable for their actions. If withholding information from a patient is considered wrong in a non-pregnancy situation, how can it be right in a pregnancy-related situation?

Given that this bill seems to deny women equal protection from medical malpractice in pregnancy-related situations, I have to wonder if this bill will not be struck down on equal-protection grounds.

I also find it hypocritical that the anti-abortion movement should be fighting so hard for women to be told the risks associated with abortion, while at the same time fighting to deny information to women that might lead them to choose an abortion. Such hypocrisy can only damage any claim to moral high ground that the anti-abortion movement may make.

Julie A. Robichaud

San Antonio, Texas

The editor responds: According to the National Right to Life Committee, “H.B. 2656 disallows the ugly practice of ‘wrongful life’ lawsuits, which start from the premise that a baby with disabilities would have been better off aborted.”

Confronting the Problem

Regarding May 9’s “Making the Church Pay”: What Catholic cannot be affected by the media’s relentless coverage of the sex-abuse scandal, some diocesan bankruptcies and continuing revelations? Now, the National Catholic Register’s report of attorney Anderson’s claim of $60 million in settlements. Holy smokes. This stuff hurts.

But you know what? If we admit the problem, we just may wind up a better Church when these dark days are behind us. Let’s pray this is so.

Joe Hickey

Harbor Springs, Michigan

Courageous Colorado

In “Troubling Implications,” (Letters, April 25) regarding the March 28 article “Denver Stands Its Ground,” Peter Francis DeFazio said the reason given for not allowing the child of a homosexual couple to attend Catholic schools was because the parents are not living in a manner consistent with the Catholic faith. He went on to ask: Why not disallow the thousands of children of sinful parents in general?

All the sins he enumerates damage the body of Christ, but redefining marriage takes sinning to a whole new level. Homosexual “marriage” restructures the basic bedrock of society given to us by our Creator and redesigns a sacrament instituted by Jesus Christ.

Most Catholics practicing birth control, cohabitating with a member of the opposite sex, or living in an illicit marriage etc. don’t usually see what they’re doing as uplifting and morally acceptable. Deep down, they know better, don’t try to make it acceptable to the world, and, in fact, often try to keep it hidden.

Unfortunately, homosexual couples claim that their coupling, which they call marriage, is wholesome and morally justified. By accepting this lie, the school community would tell the students that it is equal to a sacrament of the Church. The impact of normalizing this form of marriage in the eyes of young, impressionable children would be dire. That would occur when the homosexual parents join the PTA or become room mothers (how would they decide which is the mother?), or have their child’s classmates over for birthday parties, playtime or sleepovers.

I feel badly for the child of homosexual parents who has to miss out on a Catholic education, but reserve most of my concern for the eternal future of all his classmates.

My congratulations and thanks to whomever in the Denver Catholic schools had the courage to make the decision. The body of Christ in Denver will be stronger for it.

John F. Oppie

Georgetown, Texas

Erasing the Virtues

Relevant to “‘Under God’ Upheld” (March 28):

Faith, hope and charity: What reasonable person could find fault with those comforting words? But it seems they are being quietly and effectively erased from our language.

The crucial need for charity has long been replaced by entitlement. Those who might have been grateful to a society that helped them in their time of need now claim charity as their right; only the U.S. government labels this charity as entitlement, as though they earned it the old-fashioned way.

There are many who are trying to eliminate faith. An avowed atheist in California, Michael Newdow, has for years tried to ban the Pledge of Allegiance from our public schools because it contained the words “Under God.” Now he is trying to remove “In God We Trust” from U.S. coins.

So, without faith and charity is there any reason for us to have hope? And if there is no hope, there is nothing left for us but despair.

Priests, ministers and rabbis, once a traditional part of school graduations and other celebrations, have long been banned from events even remotely connected with our government. Even at school disasters, there are no reports of priests, ministers or rabbis being called to comfort the afflicted and the sorrowing.

In their stead, we are told that grief counselors are at the scene. At one time, it would be the clergy, of all faiths, who would be called upon to comfort the afflicted and the sorrowing. But the clergy are no longer allowed in the schools: not to give a blessing at a graduation or other ceremony; not even allowed, evidently, in moments of severe tragedy. So it was left to the newly created category, grief counselors, to offer solace in times of distress.

When was the last clergy allowed into the schools? And when did grief counselors appear on the scene? Probably they slipped in unannounced: the way “Happy Holiday” replaced “Merry Christmas,” and the way spring break replaced the Easter break.

Ed Lynch

West Nyack, New York

The Pill’s Consequences

Regarding “The Pill at 50” (May 9): Isn’t it important to warn people of the extreme consequences of use for the “pill” users, like medically documented information of up to 50% increased risk of breast cancer from the pill usage and also available information demonstrating increase in incidences of cases of heart attacks and strokes for women 35 years or younger from use of the pill?

(Sadly, this information seems to have been suppressed or denied by the mainstream media.)

Terry Hornback

Wichita, Kansas