Letters 09.12.2010

Effective Fundraising

Regarding “Don’t Run Your Parish Like a 2nd Grade Fundraiser” (NCRegister.com, Aug. 12):

I’ve been reading blogs and church fundraising campaigns from across parishes for the past several days. As I am someone pursuing a doctorate in marketing, this is one of my passions which never fails to deliver me anything but disappointment time and time again. I love my Church and my faith, but I am not surprised why people are turning their backs on giving donations and funds. A religious group has approached me for advice on fundraising; it was an informal chat, of course. They need to raise something phenomenal to the million-dollar range. Sadly, the only ideas were effective for the short-term.

I don’t have much time to express my opinion or to occupy your time, but my message is that when fundraising in your parish to carefully think about the image and communication of the Church in the long-term. Don’t focus on short-term gain which could bring long-term losses, such as repelling churchgoers or attendees to your future fundraisers. Focus on long-term communication strategy whilst keeping in mind that the center of communication should be the importance of keeping the “good news” alive to foster a better community. Be open-minded to suggestions; marketing research helps to improve your strategy, planning and response to the public. The great saints of the Church did not oust anybody, but they listened carefully before they responded. Finally, keep in mind that non-monetary donations can be as valuable as monetary.

Mavi Glinoga

Melbourne, Australia

Sexuality and Psychology

Regarding your story “Psychology and Healthy Priestly Formation” (Aug. 29): I am a psychologist who is a faithful Catholic and agree with you regarding the unreliability of psychological assessments for seminarians. This is due to the difficulty in obtaining a philosophical correspondence between the Church’s understanding of sexuality and that of the psychological community, as well as the formal academic limitations in assessing the objective personality factors associated with child abuse.

I believe the views of the Church, psychology and biology are in perfect harmony and have worked for 30 years to establish and defend this view.

Philip Pocock

Canberra, Australia

Truth vs. NARAL

Pertinent to “A Way to Shut Us Down” (Aug. 29):

The referenced article mentions that the pregnancy centers in Montgomery County, Md., were attacked by NARAL Pro Choice Maryland and the County Council. Here is some background.

NARAL claimed that pregnancy centers misled women by informing them of the risks of abortion. Despite testimony showing that the PCs give women accurate information, the council, five of whom are financial supporters of NARAL, voted seven to two to try to shut down four PCs by imposing onerous free-speech restrictions on them.

Two of the centers are medical facilities, with medical professionals operating sonogram machines. Council members backed off when they learned that only the state regulates medical facilities. They also backed off significantly of the First Amendment aspects of their regulations, but still required the non-medical PCs to post a sign stating they are not a medical facility and telling clients to visit one for medical advice. One of the pregnancy centers, Centro Tepeyac, is suing the council over the regulation. The other center, Birthright, has posted a sign telling clients to visit a pro-life physician.

The council accepted, without checking the medical facts, NARAL’s contention that abortion provides no risks to women and, when presented with information to the contrary, council members provided a memo justifying their position. For example, NARAL and the council claimed that abortion does not increase the risk of subsequent preterm birth and in their confusion cited the Mayo Clinic Internet site stating abortion increases the preterm birth risk but it is “rare.” There is no definition of “rare.” It could mean one in a 100 or a 1,000, but that is a sizable number of women with an increased risk, given approximately 1 million surgical abortions annually.

The fact that abortion increases the preterm birth risk with the heavy lifelong burdens it can place on the infant is settled science. The question is how large is the risk. The latest and best information is that one first trimester abortion increases the risk by 30% and two almost double the risk. Second trimester abortions increase the risk by a factor of 12.

All this shows that abortion proponents will deceive women however they can to promote their ideology and profits. Truth and NARAL are adversaries.

John Naughton

Silver Spring, Maryland

Clear Explanation

Thank you for your clear article “Supreme Court Takes Up School-Choice Law” (July 18). I appreciate your clear explanation of the issue at hand, the recent history surrounding the case and the strong supporting quotations. Keep up the good work.

Betsy Rafferty

Columbus, Ohio

Get Thee to Spain!

Regarding “World Youth Day in Madrid — a Year Away” (NCRegister.com): One of the best ways to get the young Catholics on fire with the faith is to get them to World Youth Day in Spain in August 2011. It is disappointing that the parishes in my area and most Catholic newspapers do not promote this at all: But they complain about the lack of 20-somethings at Mass.

The week of events include: all-night sleepover under the stars, many sing-alongs, great Catholic speakers, thousands of priests and nuns with every habit under the sun, and a visit by the Pope. The record attendance was 10 million in the Philippines.

Every parish should help sponsor someone to go to Spain this coming year; or at least have a speaker talk about it. The parish youth directors should be empowered to coordinate a trip or at least refer young people to local diocese contacts.

Ed Smetana

Arlington Heights, Illinois

Man’s Rules vs. God’s

Regarding the article “Vatican Revises Abuse Norms” in the Aug. 1 issue: Putting “attempted sacred ordination of a woman” along with some of the other “more grave crimes,” especially sex crimes — why? Ordaining women in the Catholic Church is, at the present time and has been for a very long time, against the man-made rules of the Church, while sex-abuse crimes are grave crimes against God’s laws and against the natural law; there should be no comparison!

This seems to be discriminatory and demeaning against women. Perhaps I misunderstood the article?

Alvera M. Sams

Findlay, Ohio

The editor responds: Though the Church clearly separates unchangeable divine law from changeable man-made laws, the non-ordination of women is actually considered divine law. John Paul II repeated this teaching in his 1994 apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, and goes on to say that “the fact that the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and Mother of the Church, received neither the mission proper to the apostles nor the ministerial priesthood clearly shows that the non-admission of women to priestly ordination cannot mean that women are of lesser dignity, nor can it be construed as discrimination against them.”

Sue Best Buy?

Regarding “Best Buy Goes After Wisconsin Priest” (NCRegister.com):

Msgr. Thomas Hartman and Rabbi Marc Gellman have written a syndicated column and hosted a TV show for years now, perhaps long before Best Buy came up with its “Geek Squad.” Perhaps the original “God Squad” should sue Best Buy.

Silly comparison anyway. No judge would ever sustain it.

Denis Drew

Chicago, Illinois

The editor responds: Best Buy took issue with the logo infringement more than with the wording.

Church’s Universality

Regarding “How ‘Catholic’ Should You Be Online?” (NCRegister.com):

“Catholicism,” as we well know, is synonymous with “universal.” It should be able to speak to and love sinners (just as Christ was able to speak to and love sinners). Yet too often I hear and see Christians taking the bizarrely anti-Christian practice of hating others in the name of Christ. If you are unable to speak to sinners, you are unable to contribute a genuine Catholic voice. Similarly, on the other end, too many Catholics today have stopped hating the sin. They act as though they know better than Christ and his teachings as transmitted through the Church.

The balance between loving sinners and not budging an inch from facing sins is a great challenge to all Catholics. But without this ability we shall fall short of indeed being the “universal” Church.

J.W. Blakely

Anytown, USA


Peter Sampo, co-founder of Magdalen College and Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in New Hampshire is not retired as “College Merger Canceled” (July 18) indicated. He remains president emeritus of Thomas More. In addition, he is president of the new Erasmus Institute of Liberal Arts in Canterbury, N.H.

In “Mother Teresa at 100” (Aug. 29) we mistakenly listed her date of death. It was Sept. 5, 1997. The Register regrets the errors.