Letters 06.17.12

Who Is Waging the War?

The article “Sandra Fluke and Georgetown’s ‘Neutrality’” (Nation, May 20 issue) was, to say the least, interesting.
I agree that there is a “war on women,” but I disagree as to who is waging it.
I have been reading a little booklet, “Breast Cancer Risks and Prevention,” put out by the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute and written by Drs. Angela Lanfranchi and Joel Brind.
On page 15, the booklet states, “It is now well established that birth-control medications (contraceptive steroids) increase breast-cancer risk, especially if they are taken before the first full-term pregnancy, when breast cells are still immature. Birth-control pills are very commonly used by young women. In one study, women who took birth-control pills before the age of 20 had a more than tenfold increased risk of breast cancer. The longer the pill is used, the higher the risk.”
It does not seem, to me, to demonstrate a lot of intelligence to insist that something that increases the risk of breast cancer is necessary for women’s health.
The so-called “war on women” is being waged by those who want to force health-care plans to cover contraceptives that are known to
increase the risk of breast cancer and to keep young women like Sandra Fluke ignorant of the fact of their danger.

Beverly Thewes
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

A Child’s ‘Viability’

Regarding the comment of U.N. Secretary Ban Ki-moon (“U.N. Leader Calls for Greater Access to Abortion,” page one, May 20 issue) that millions of girls should have the right to kill their unborn child: Abortionists like to use the word “viable.”
When I was asked to appear on TV in Chicago with a pro-abortion U.S. senator from Oregon, I asked him: “What is the difference between taking the life of a child the day before it is born and the day after?” He replied: “It is viable the day after.”
I pointed out that it is viable the day before. He made no reply, but as we left the studio, he admitted: “I don’t know the answer to that.”
Of course not! There isn’t any answer.

Daniel Lyons
Bloomsbury, New Jersey

Social Justice?

In the May 20 issue of the Register, there is a large column by Rep. Paul Ryan (“Applying Our Enduring Truths to Our Defining Challenge,” In Depth), claiming that his budget is in accord with Catholic social teaching.
However, he fails to mention the fact that he has received letters from four bishops, including Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, Calif., who is chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and also Bishop Richard Patis of Des Moines, Iowa, who is chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace. Both bishops state clearly that “the House-passed budget resolution fails to meet the moral criteria of Catholic social doctrine.”
Ryan’s response on Fox News was that “Bishop Blaire did not speak for all the bishops, and we respectfully disagree.”
After this, the bishops’ conference clarified that committee chairs represent their fellow bishops, who elected them into leadership positions.
He also did not mention the fact that he had received letters from more than 90 Georgetown faculty and administrators rebuking his interpretation of Catholic social teaching. They challenged the House Budget Committee chairman’s “continuing misuse of Catholic teaching to defend a budget plan that decimates food programs for struggling families, radically weakens protections for the elderly and sick, and gives tax breaks to the wealthiest few.”
In his article, he claims that his budget preserves the safety net for the poor. However, it does so by passing it back to the states, most of whom already have difficulty in keeping within their budget.
I hope that your readers will not mistake his article as presenting the full truth.

Father James Conner
Abbey of Gethsemani
Trappist, Kentucky

The editor responds: Dear Father Conner, despite Bishops Patis and Blaire’s words to the contrary, there is a legitimate diversity of opinion regarding Ryan’s grasp of Church social teaching. His own bishop, Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison, Wis., called Ryan “a fine Catholic gentleman,” a “very responsible lay Catholic” who “makes his judgment very much in accord with all the teachings of the Church” in an interview with Raymond Arroyo on EWTN’s The World Over. The Georgetown faculty you allude to are among those who often advocate opinions that dissent from authentic Church teaching on artificial contraception, abortion, primacy of Church teaching over conscience and women’s ordination to the priesthood, for example. Those faculty members who so vigorously protested for social justice in Ryan’s budget were curiously silent when pro-abortion Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, a self-professed Catholic, came to speak during Georgetown’s commencement weekend.  

Indulgence Requirement

In the article “Adoration Begins at Easter” (Culture of Life, April 8), the article states that there is a plenary indulgence granted to those who spend at least a half hour in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament. Does this mean the Blessed Sacrament exposed as in a monstrance, or would it include adoration simply before the tabernacle?

Kathleen Kein
Kansas City, Missouri

The editor responds: Adoration can take place before the Eucharist either exposed or reposed.

Home Evangelization

Pertinent to “Knock, Knock: Catholics Evangelize Door-to-Door” (front page, March 25):
There is a way that Catholics can evangelize from home. Members of the St. Francis Xavier and St. Thérèse of Lisieux Society mail double postcards to people in parts of the country that have a small Catholic population, so most of the recipients will be non-Catholic.
The cards have a brief message (about 350 words) talking about Jesus, which can inform non-Christians about him and tell Protestants that the card is from a Christian. They then discuss briefly the Catholic Church and invite recipients to request a free correspondence course in the teachings of the Catholic Church.
The course is one of nine given by the Home Study Service of the Association of the Miraculous Medal (AMM.org/chss.htm).

Martin W. Helgesen
Malverne, New York


Conscience Rights

Regarding the article “Conscience-Rights Ruling Appealed” (Nation, April 22) about protecting pharmacists’ conscience rights in not being forced to sell Plan B, the abortifacient:
According to the article, “Luke Goodrich, deputy general counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represented the plaintiffs in the case” said that “plaintiffs willingly refer patients to a nearby store when Plan B or any other drug is out of stock.” That is like saying; “I don’t believe I should help you murder your child, but I’ll readily give you the name of someone who will” or “I won’t help you rob that bank, but here’s the name of a safe-cracker who has no problem at all helping you.”
How can the conscience of the pharmacist be free if that’s the case? If one is going to defend freedom of conscience, then they should do it right.

Mary Lark Corbett
Wichita, Kansas

Enthronement Resource

It was with great joy that I saw Joseph Pronechen’s article “Open Your Home to the Sacred Heart of Jesus” in the June 3-16 issue of the Register. Devotion to the Sacred Heart, particularly the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart, gives glory to Our Lord by acknowledging him as King and Friend of our hearts and of our families.
I was surprised, however, that despite Mr. Pronechen’s extensive qouting of His Eminence Cardinal Raymond Burke in the article, he neglected to mention Cardinal Burke’s book, The Enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, published by the Marian Catechist Apostolate (MarianCatechist.net). In this 106-page book, His Eminence explains how the Sacred Heart devotion helps us to live “always in the company of our Lord Jesus.” He further explains the centrality to this devotion of enthroning an image of the Sacred Heart. In a step-by-step fashion, he explains how to prepare for the enthronement, whether in the home, parish or other Catholic institution, including the triduum of prayers for the three days prior to the enthronement. The book also includes the actual Rite of Enthronement. The failure to mention Cardinal Burke’s book was a disservice to those who want a user-friendly resource for living well the devotion to the Sacred Heart.

Theresa A. Knothe
national coordinator
Marian Catechist Apostolate

The editor responds: We featured that book, which Cardinal Burke edited, in “Lenten Reads for 40 Days” this past Lent.