Letters 09.20.2009

Kennedy, Good and Bad

Regarding “Edward Kennedy’s Catholic Legacy: America’s Culture Wars” (Sept. 6):

Sen. Kennedy’s eminently privileged life was dedicated to serving the underprivileged. He skipped the first stone that had a ripple effect upon many of his Catholic colleagues’ efforts to defend the poor. Regrettably, he missed the mark badly; it continues as a shallow response to serve the very least among us.

Jeanmarie Passafiume

Louisville, Kentucky

Cut Ted Some Slack

I just wonder, out loud at times, how would Jesus our Christ have treated Ted Kennedy if he were in our human presence today? I think of Peter, who denied Jesus three times — and eventually found recognition as head of the very human Catholic Church. Jesus spoke kindly of Peter even in his humanity. Would it not behoove the Register to do the same with Ted Kennedy?

Bev Sauer

Marietta, Georgia

Obama’s Word on Abortion

Your tone in “Does Obama Really Want Less Abortion?” (July 26) is one of trying to catch the president in a lie. This is counterproductive. You should take him at his word and push him into living up to it by adopting the Pregnant Women Support Act developed by the Democrats for Life of America. If he’s sincere, there’s no reason he shouldn’t support this bill.

You should hold his feet to the fire by frequent references to the bill (H.R. 3192 and S. 2407) and tracking the number of co-sponsors (more than 40 in the House). Quote Democrats who use language about reducing abortions; ask why they aren’t co-sponsoring the bill.

Brian Yates

Newton, Massachusetts

Scaring the Elderly?

Regarding “Obama Care and the Right to Life: Elderly Patients May Face Pressure to Die” (Aug. 9):

You should recognize that this headline, in a responsible Catholic publication, will automatically turn many of the faithful against health-care reform before they’ve even read the story under the headline. Was that your intention?

I am 82 years old, a Catholic all my life. My oldest son celebrated his 60th birthday July 26. When he was born, we did not have health insurance. No big deal. The total medical bill associated with his birth was $200, and we paid it out of pocket. The $200 included prenatal care, postnatal care, doctor and hospital.

We now live in a different world. I understand these birth services would now cost more than $10,000. Most people could never pay these costs out of pocket. They need health insurance, which is why the country needs health-care reform.

I don’t know how you reach the conclusion that health-care reform, which includes an opportunity for seniors to discuss an end-of-life directive with their doctor, amounts to “Elderly Patients May Face Pressure to Die.”

Only 30% of senior Americans have an end-of-life directive. I think it would be a constructive move for the Register to encourage the clergy to encourage Catholics to prepare an end-of-life directive at an early age and even to offer them counseling on the Church’s position on sensitive matters.

Again, your headline disappoints me.

Gus Delaloye

Murphy, Texas

Condoms by the Numbers

Regarding “Bailing Out Abortionists?” (Sept. 6):

If out of the 100 girls using condoms 15 girls get pregnant within the first year, how many get STDs or AIDS? These 15 pregnancies result from a condom failure that occurred on one of seven days during a woman’s cycle. Meanwhile, she can be infected with AIDS or STDs due to condom failure any day of the year.

Karen Stein

Cazenovia, New York

Eucharistic Emphasis

Relevant to “Loss in Translation” (July 12):

I commend the Vatican and Pope Benedict XVI for their efforts aimed at restoring greater sacrality to the holy Mass through the practice of Communion on the tongue, consecration celebrated ad orientem (facing east) and the use of Latin.

Latin is the official language of the Catholic Church. It is a “dead” language that prevents the translation of words into the vernacular using ambiguous terms that undermine Church doctrine, such as the use of inclusive language. The universality of Latin makes it easier for all believers to experience more fully the mystery of the Mass. It imbues a heightened reverence and sense of the sacred.

In his book The Spirit of the Liturgy, the Pope points out how the “turning of the priest toward the people no longer opens out on what lies ahead and above [but] has turned the community into a self-enclosed circle.” He suggests that both the priest and people should be facing east during the Mass.

Many may also not be aware that the practice of receiving Communion in the hand was not mandated by Vatican II, nor was it introduced in response to calls from the laity. Instead, the established practice of piety — receiving the Eucharist kneeling, on the tongue — was changed improperly and hurriedly, and the new practice became widespread even before it was formally approved by the Vatican.

The ineffable mystery of the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist requires a deeply reverent attitude. Taking the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ in our unanointed hands as if it were a mere piece of bread is something in itself deeply irreverent and detrimental for our faith.

Paul Kokoski

Hamilton, Ontario

Government Money

Regarding “Catholic Charities’ Deal With the Feds Scrutinized” (Sept. 6):

I believe it was a grave mistake on Father Snyder’s part to take $100 million from the Obama administration. This will lead to a large number of pro-life Catholics holding back on their donations to the Church.

In the long run, the charities will suffer more, as the pro-lifers will be afraid that the strings attached to the government moneys will cause Catholic hospitals to be forced into providing abortions.

It’s like accepting 30 pieces of silver.

Bill Dalton

Ocala, Florida

Common Crosses

In regard to “Repairing Same-Sex Attraction” (Aug. 23):

It’s a statistical fact that most teenagers who regard themselves as homosexual go “straight” as adults, so changes in sexual orientation are not only possible, but common (which is why I wonder why GLAAD, the Gay/Lesbian Alliance Against Discrimination, campaigns so hard to put homosexual “role models” on TV shows aimed at teenagers).

Just the same, for those who wish to avoid sin, same-sex attraction must be a cross to bear. But what makes “gay activists” think that heterosexual males don’t go through life resisting sexual temptation? She’s too young, she’s married, you’re married: The temptation to commit sexual sins is why pagan cults practiced prostitution and infanticide as sacraments.

One more thing: We should remember that, if you bear your cross faithfully, you will gain your crown. And so same-sex attraction could be a means to obtain holiness.

Don Schenk

Allentown, Pennsylvania

Enough Obama, Already

Upon receiving my copy of the Register yesterday, I was most disappointed to see yet another photo of our current president plastered across the entire front page. I know you are a strong Catholic publication, but I fail to understand why you continue to publish large, flashy photos of him. The week of the election, you also published a photo of him, larger than life, smiling and waving. At first glance, it appears as if this may be a positive story. What message are you giving to your readers and, more importantly, your non-readers who may see a copy of your paper?

As a loyal reader, I’m telling you, I don’t want to see the man. I don’t want to look at his winning smile. I don’t want to see the Pope smiling with him. I don’t want to have to look at him at all, for all I see is evil. He is a liar and a deceiver, and I don’t understand why well-meaning Catholics continue to give him the benefit of the doubt. He and his staff are liars (many calling themselves Catholic when they are indeed not). They are advocates for mass murders — the killing of unborn children. They continue to shove their agenda down our throats, and I’m tired of the press that I trust giving him coverage.

Why not publish a photo of a person who is going to be negatively affected by his health-care plan: a baby in utero, a disabled or elderly person? I am so tired of seeing this man with the deceiving smile that I have ceased watching all news/TV programs and only listen to Catholic radio. I’m on the verge of cutting out your newspaper, as well.

JoAnn Mendenhall

Carmichael, California

Photo Frustration

Why is it that, whenever there is news involving Obama, we have to see a huge picture of him on the front page of the National Catholic Register? I have to turn it over when I bring it in, so I don’t have to look at him. Every time I see him, I see “his way of seeing babies” — which is as burdens and punishments.

Can’t you just keep a small file photo of him, similar to a passport picture, and use that all the time? I’m sure most of your readers would appreciate it.

Joan Witry

Edina, Minnesota