Letters 06.14.2009

‘Answering’ Logic

Regarding “Answering Notre Dame” (May 31): Excellent editorial! Thanks for giving us the logical arguments we need to evangelize those pro-choice people we all know. Many of them are mesmerized by President Obama’s charismatic words and demeanor and can’t see the truth. Our task is to wake them up!

At Mass in honor of Memorial Day, I thought of our many fallen heroes and those still fighting for our freedom. Then as I prayed for them and thanked God for them and for our nation, I realized how much I have always loved my country; I realized how sad and concerned I am for its future.

We are Christian soldiers on the front lines who must die to ourselves in order to win this battle. Prayer is vital. But we must also take action. Most of us are doing just that, but we must inspire others to join us.

Victory will not be easy, but with God’s help, we can win. Yes we can! Blessings and Godspeed to us all.

Nancy Gail Jordan

Mercer Island, Washington

Finding Common Ground

Regarding “Where Is the Middle Ground?” (June 7): At Notre Dame, President Obama called for all to try to find common ground on the issue of abortion. As a first step in that direction, let’s ask him to agree that late-term abortion is torture.

 Daniel J. Kelly

Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

Regarding “Institutional Hypocrisy” (May 10): Could it be a coincidence that I happened to be reading about John Paul II’s ad limina visit with Polish bishops who were flustered by their communist government’s accusations that they were trying to “ram their old Catholic rules” (in this case,  forbidding abortion) down everyone’s throats? They were afraid (understandably so) and wanted John Paul to help them find common ground so the Church could survive. 

John Paul took this as a teaching moment and encouraged them to remain firm, because the communists could not find common ground when it involved taking away the fundamental right to life — there was no middle ground. 

He reminded them of Jesus’ words: “Do not be deceived” (Luke 21:8) and “You are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself will give you wisdom in speaking that all of your adversaries will be powerless to refute” (Luke 21:14).

Obama’s ploy to find “common ground” succeeded admirably. God help us.

 Joseph Callagher

Shingle Springs, California

Notre Dame: The Last Straw

Only 10 years ago I was a Catholic filled with the Spirit, going to daily Mass and weekly exposition of the holy Eucharist.

This Notre Dame scandal is the last straw; I can no longer bring myself to step into a Catholic church, and it is all over the issue of abortion. Why isn’t Father Jenkins’ bishop or the Pope hauling him in? You refer to “bishops’ increased engagement” (“10 Signs of Hope,” May 24). To me, the bishops’ issuance of “letters” and “strong letters” is a sham.

My downslide started in the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Fla., during the Terri Schiavo case, when I was there protesting and the local bishop was nowhere to be seen. I saw how he issued a letter on his website that was in contradiction to what the Vatican had issued.

Terri was a Catholic; haven’t we always been told we are all family?

If so, where are our shepherds, the bishops? They are so afraid of offending everyone that they are afraid to pronounce the truth and actively defend children being killed.

And then there’s the scandal of Pelosi teaching Catholic untruths on national TV, yet she continues to receive holy Communion (implying unity with the Church).

I am now a lost sheep. I have a deep faith in God, Jesus Christ and his Mother, Mary. The Catholic Church may have the vicar of Christ, but I have no doubt that if the Church goes astray Jesus wants souls to join him in heaven, so he will get them however (through whatever church) he can.

I don’t know how I can come back until the Church stands up and becomes a shepherd again. And I see no sign of that happening; the Church seems to be heading the secular route, along with many other Christian denominations.

I still have stuck in my mind an incident from a few years ago in Colorado, where parishioners refused to return church property that was in question of who owned it. They were subsequently and quickly excommunicated. I wonder if that bishop considered the hypocrisy: Take the Church’s money, and you are excommunicated; but kill children, and we will slap your hand. Money is more important than human life? Dear Jesus, help us and the Church!

David Widdoes

Tampa, Florida

Editor’s note: If “the bishops’ issuance of ‘letters’ and ‘strong letters’ is a sham,” then St. Paul is in trouble. So is St. Peter. And St. John. And Christ himself, in Revelation. Take heart! The Church has always issued letters and strong letters — and the sins and errors of prominent Catholics that those letters spell out have always been here, too.

Words Mean Things

A notice in my parish bulletin was a perfect example of a serious problem we pro-lifers have had in discussions with others since 1973: Words mean things. And the other side has known it all along.

The headline of the bulletin notice read: “Calling Catholic Men Ages 10-18!” The article invited boys between those ages to join Squires, the youth group of the Knights of Columbus.

I understand the psychology, but we all know that a 10-year-old boy is no more a “man” than a 10-year-old girl is a “woman”; and a 17-year-old girl is no more a “woman” than a 17-year-old boy is a “man.” 

Yet that is how girls were con-sis-tently described in the May 17 article “Judge Forces Plan B for Minors.” The article discussed a U.S. district court judge’s decision: “Women as young as 17 are now able to purchase Plan B — the ‘morning after pill’ — without a prescription.” The other side owns the vocabulary, and we have joined them in its misuse.

The article uses the word “women” 16 times and the word “girl” once. Proponents on both sides of the issue are quoted.

The battle is lost before it’s joined when we accept the rules of our opponents. “Woman” connotes a mature, thoughtful person of the female sex (I won’t cede them “gender,” a word pertaining to grammar, either), whereas “girl” connotes a person of the female sex who is not completely independent or capable yet of making major life decisions without advice or counseling.

We’ve finally learned that “freedom to choose” is a meaningless sentence frag-ment, “fetus” is a baby, not a clump of undifferentiated cells, and “interruption of pregnancy” is an ugly euphemism for the intentional, violent killing of a helpless human baby by an adult.

Why, then, do we begin this discussion about allowing 17-year-old girls to purchase Plan B, an oral means of introducing an excessive amount of human hormones into their bodies with the intention of preventing or aborting a pregnancy, with two strikes against us? We not only allow the other side to set the vocabulary, but also adopt it ourselves.

Words have meaning; don’t give the opponent the verbal edge.

Richard L. Johnson

Kirkland, Washington 

Really Catholic

If the University of Notre Dame scandal does nothing else, it should cause us to question Notre Dame’s purported role as the national Catholic university, as you discuss in “Is Notre Dame Catholic?” (Daily Blog, May 23).

There is a real national Catholic university, but it is not Notre Dame. It is The Catholic University of America in Washington.

Acclaimed by the Cardinal Newman Society for its faithfulness to Catholic identity, there is no question of its loyalty to the magisterium. CUA draws a national and international student body that is bright and committed to our faith. CUA’s many graduate and professional schools, its theological seminary, as well as undergraduate liberal arts college, are excellent and highly ranked.

Kudos to the president of CUA, the Very Reverend David O’Connell, C.M., for not abiding infidelity.

Dr. Eugene J. Cherny

Des Moines, Iowa

Deacons’ Role

We get several subscriptions sent to us at the parish for our bookshop sales. I read the Register, as does my wife.

Most of what you print is dead-on and solid, of which I am very grateful, but I have one small complaint.

In an article in the May 17 issue entitled “Teaching the New Missal,” it states: “There are other ways to get the word out. For instance, in the Archdiocese of Hartford, Conn., the Office of Divine Worship plans to have Msgr. Sherman speak at a workshop for clergy, deacons and lay leaders …”

You must know that deacons are clergy. To separate them in this way further confuses the general public as to what a deacon is: a member of the clergy. The diaconate, unfortunately, struggles for an identity within the Catholic clerical community. We ask nothing more than proper recognition and consideration as clerics.

Deacon Gilbert R. “Gil” Nadeau

Clark Mills, New York