Letters 08.26.12

Uplifted by God’s Grace

In reference to “By Their Labels Shall You Know Them?” (In Depth, July 29 issue), I’d like to thank the author for bringing these issues to our attention. This subject is one I’m quite passionate about.
I personally prefer the usage of “same-sex attraction” for describing my sexual desires.
In my opinion, the terms “gay” or “queer” or even “homosexual tendencies” are unsuitable for my situation. The term “gay” seems more appropriate for someone who embraces the “lifestyle.” The term “queer” can be used to draw attention to a person’s “issues,” and, to me, this reflects a desire for somebody to pay attention to these issues because the soul is not at total rest with the issue. The terms “homosexual” or “homosexual tendencies” might imply that a person feels he or she was born with homosexual desires.
It is my understanding, based on The Courage to Be Chaste by Father Benedict Groeschel, that most people with same-sex attraction are not born that way. He calls this group “pseudo-homosexuals.” I believe I fall into this category because at a very early age I was sexually attracted to women.
Later, in my youth (10- to 12 years old), I started a fantasy about one of my classmates who was more physically developed than I. As I learned one day on an EWTN program, I sexualized my deep desire to relate with men. A desire for a man’s (usually a father’s) love by a boy (or girl) is certainly normal. I believe it was only because I sexualized this desire for my unmet need that I grew more and more “man hungry,” eventually to the point that, at about the age of 23, I grew focused on a dramatic “coming out.” I did not have a dramatic “coming out” scene, however, because I grew in knowledge about God through my frequent and late reading of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
I began to fill my sexual desires with knowledge of God and his Church; my prayer life began to flourish, and I finally gave God credit for being all-knowing, loving, understanding and a wonderful counselor. I have gained clearer focus on my vocation in life, I am more content than ever, and I owe it to God’s grace — and God’s grace alone.
Perhaps the retention of the identifying terms “gay,” “queer” or “homosexual” by some is a reflection that they are not at complete rest with the issue of being same-sex attracted.  Or perhaps they choose to use these terms as indicators of the types of struggles they’ve been through in life, almost like a good battle scar.
Whatever the reason, I agree that this topic is worthy of in-depth reflection.

Luke Schlag
Rugby, North Dakota

Wages of 1-Child Policy

Pertinent to “Chinese Gather in New York to Discuss 1-Child Policy; Chen Guangcheng to Speak” (May 31, NCRegister.com):
The policy is resulting in a labor shortage in China, and, in the coming years, there will not be enough young workers to form a safety net for the elderly.
That will certainly happen, and the elderly will suffer greatly. Many nations now have a growing elderly population, with fewer persons in the next generation. Japan is an outstanding example. European countries are following suit.
This situation is already a strong element in the present European crisis. The U.S. Social Security Administration is already in trouble, but it is being greatly sustained by a surprising savior — illegal immigrants.
There are some 12 million illegal immigrants paying into Social Security because they need a Social Security number to get a job; but because their Social Security number is false, they cannot ever get benefits. This is not a sustainable system, and it is very unjust to the illegal immigrants.
Our immigration system is in urgent need of reform. The many problems affecting our economy today are complex, intertwining and confusing. There is no easy solution.

Father Gerald Biron
West Hartford, Connecticut

Capitalism and Stewardship

The June 17 issue featuring the commentary “Price vs. Value: Capitalism and Catholic Social Teaching” by John Grondelski asks a fundamental question: “How does one achieve the common good if everybody is driven by his own self-interest?”
He then goes on to recap the mortgage meltdown as an example of market failure.
As I see it, this is not the real question because, as the trite saying so clearly states, “To err is human.” And because of original sin, man is also weak, self-concerned and overly prone to making self-centered decisions and actions.
Given the above stated human conditions, the reality recognized in the article is that the market-driven system is the most productive. It also produces freedom when executed by man, as Christ admonished us to.
The real question: How does man use his created wealth? Is it for his own personal and too-often selfish ends, or for the common good? Both is the answer.
Blessed Pope John Paul II, in Centesimus Annus, admonished man to use the gains from production for the common good, while acknowledging capitalism as the most effective means of wealth creation. Yet the other side of the coin, seldom mentioned, is the abuse of the welfare system often exercised by many of its recipients.
Because it is politically correct, a means test is never administered in order to determine who is truly eligible for support.
Politicians are constantly promising to clean up the widespread fraud that occurs in our welfare system. I guess both sides are fraught with the human condition.
Our Creator instilled two attributes in our nature: free will and the intrinsic knowledge regarding right and wrong. So, while I agree with the author in terms of the questions raised, I believe the good coming from the market system has not been adequately acknowledged, because there are countless individuals and organization that, prospering from capitalism, make tremendous contributions to the common good.
The earnings from the market system are not evil; how they are used can be.

John Therrien
Redmond, Washington

Repeal Obamacare Outright

We disagree with the narrow focus of “Searching for Mandate Solutions” (front page, July 29 issue).
Yes, “conscience protection” and “religious-freedom issues” violated by Obamacare are important. But solutions that are narrow, tailored only to specific exemptions and special interests, are not acceptable solutions.
They are compromises with bad law.
It is unbelievable that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops can be so oblivious of Catholic teaching on the evils of socialism, which Pope Pius XI, in a 1931 encyclical, called “the great enemy.” Pope Leo XIII described socialism as a “deadly plague that is creeping into the very fibers of human society.”
All Americans will be among the nation’s “poor and most vulnerable” if this socialist “Search for Mandate Solutions” and accommodation with Obamacare stands.
Work for repeal of Obamacare. It’s bad law, and socialism is bad theology — with or without sweetheart deals.

Joseph R. and Therese Fakult
Willowick, Ohio

‘Sacrament of Redemption’

Relative to “Searching for Mandate Solutions” (July 29 issue):
We are seeking Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Blessed John Paul II tells us in the theology of the body that there are two sacraments in marriage: the sacrament of creation for procreation of human life and the sacrament of redemption for transmission of “life according to the Spirit.”
He tells us “above all” the sacrament of redemption is a means of obtaining grace for “the remission of sins.”
Just as “Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, spouses can offer the sacrifice of periodic continence for the salvation of the Church. In this way, there will be a wellspring of grace to combat the forces of evil and to nurture the spirit of Truth and eternal Love in our troubled world.”
Now, there is need to explain the sacrament of redemption, so that what Rep. Sensenbrenner calls “the people in the pews” will understand the sacrament and fulfill it.
The very source of life that is under attack will save us.
And, we must pray: “Jesus, I trust in you!”

Ruth Kavanaugh
Kalamazoo, Michigan

Economic Unity

Thank you for publishing Bishop Stephen Blaire’s (“Keep in Mind Care of Poor and Common Goods,” front page) and vice-presidential pick Paul Ryan’s explanation of the budget (“Applying Our Enduring Truths to Our Defining Challenge,” In Depth) in the May 20 issue.
Both are clearly good men, trying to apply the principles of Catholic social justice to our U.S. economy. But Bishop Blaire’s interview was filled with slogans, while Ryan’s article described specific attempts to limit the share of the economy taken by the federal government while protecting services available to the most vulnerable members of our society.
Ryan’s approach is based on the idea that the huge proportion of the economy appropriated by the federal government acts as a brake on the growth of the economy, while the mounting debt also acts as a brake while burdening future generations with paying back the debt, which is made more difficult with a stagnant economy.
Just rebalancing the share of the budget taken by military and social programs will not address the real economic problems that beset our country.
The discussion reminds me of the debate in the ’90s, when many Catholic bishops predicted calamity if then-current welfare-reform proposals were implemented. Upon their implementation, no calamity occurred. The results have been generally positive, although there remain areas that need improvement.
Keep up the good work. I look forward to receiving each issue of the Register.

John M. Linge
Commack, New York

Prophetic Document

Regarding “Humanae Vitae, the Priest and the HHS Mandate” (In Depth, April 29 issue):
I remember, with great sadness, our local priest’s response to Humanae Vitae. He did not even mention what he was referring to, but began an angry diatribe about large families and “wasted lives.”
It took a while to learn about the contents of Humanae Vitae and what Pope Paul VI was actually saying, but the newspapers quickly printed the statements of “dissenting” theologians, bishops and religious.
Indeed, there was a real firestorm of conflict within the Catholic Church. Many bishops around the world chose to side with population controllers and Planned Parenthood, who wanted abortion/sterilization as a solution to a “population bomb” that supposedly would lead to famine and death for vast numbers of “excess” people.
Within five years of this, our Supreme Court approved Roe v. Wade and started the slaughter of the millions of unborn babies by claiming: “We don’t know when life begins.”
The encyclical was prophetic, warning that chastity and marriage would be attacked and women and children would be victimized. This has come true, with forced abortions, a resurgence of sexual slavery caused by a vast moral breakdown and an imbalance of the numbers of males to females due to sex-selective abortions (especially in China and India).
A final result is the push for homosexual unions and the Health and Human Services mandate that says Catholics must pay for contraception and abortion, which are against our beliefs. This demand violates our constitutional right to follow our beliefs.

Grace Harman
Columbus, Ohio