Letters 09.27.2009

Mourning the Murdered

Relevant to “Pro-Life Advocate Shot in Michigan” (Daily Blog, Sept. 11):

Friday, Sept. 11, 2009, was a very tragic day for Owosso and for Shiawassee County, Mich. On behalf of St. Paul Church, Owosso, I wish to convey my deepest sympathy and prayers to the family and friends of pro-life activist James Pouillon and businessman Mike Fuoss, the victims of the violent murders.

I also want to express my solidarity with the students of Owosso High School, innocent bystanders at this tragic crime. James Pouillon was deliberately targeted for his fervent pro-life beliefs. While many in the Christian community in Owosso strongly disagreed with his approach, they admired his passion, zeal and determination to protect and preserve human life at every stage, from conception to natural death.

Jim was adamantly opposed to violence and to killing. Although Jim wished that many in the Catholic community, and, indeed, in all of the Christian churches, shared his unwavering views on abortion and dignity of human life, he remained a good Christian and a faithful Catholic.

Father John Fain

Pastor, St. Paul Church

Owosso, Michigan

Stark Contrast

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

A few weeks ago, a high-school classmate of mine died in Florida. I knew him from Northeast Catholic High School in Philadelphia, Class of 1955. He was very active in pro-life and anti-euthanasia issues and was also a faithful supporter of Church teaching on all moral issues.

I wondered if he had five priests and a cardinal at his funeral Mass? Did he have that Mass in a great cathedral or basilica? And was another cardinal present at his gravesite to read those prayers for the dead before he was buried? Or are these privileges reserved for U.S. congressmen who are Catholic, whether they support Church teaching or not?

My classmate’s name is Robert Schindler. He was the father of Terri Schiavo.

Michael F. Gallagher

Abington, Pennsylvania

Kennedy Question

It was my understanding that the Church does not perform public funerals for members who, like the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, publicly support abortion. Is this an option for the bishop to decide in each diocese?

I was asked this question by several non-Catholic friends who wondered why the Church celebrated someone who opposed the Church on abortion. This, no doubt, was a challenge for the cardinal.

Al Wunsch

The Villages, Florida

More Offense, Please

Relevant to “Keep Christ in Iraq” (Sept. 6):

When will our religious and spiritual leaders step up and ask President Obama to explain his continued support for the war in Afghanistan and his sluggish follow-up on the campaign promise to immediately begin removing troops from Iraq?

Countless Christians, including myself, slammed Bush and Cheney for their war policies and yet we have given Obama a virtual “pass” when it comes to the continuation of those same policies. While the president takes advantage of photo-ops at the Vatican, American troops continue to die in Afghanistan. While the president receives honorary degrees from Christian colleges and universities, American troops continue to die in Iraq. President Obama needs to clearly and succinctly tell us why.

The great Christian martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer, executed for opposing Adolf Hitler, said that “Christianity stands or falls with its revolutionary protest against violence, arbitrariness, and pride of power. Christians are doing too little to make these points clear rather than too much. Christians should give more offense, shock the world far more, than they are doing now.”

Perhaps in regard to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is time for our Church leaders to start giving more offense to President Obama.

Keith G. Kondrich

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tyranny and Totalitarianism

Regarding “Health-Care Battle Is Shaping Up” and “Health Care at Both Ends” (Aug. 23):

“ObamaCare” is another federal power grab that violates subsidiarity (decentralization), which is the foundational principle of Catholic social teaching and of our constitutional Republic. Despite the skillful rhetoric, the end game is single-payer, socialized medicine.

This quote from Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Centesimus Annus is pertinent: “By intervening directly and depriving society of its responsibility, the social assistance state leads to a loss of human energies and an inordinate increase of public agencies, which are dominated more by bureaucratic ways of thinking than by concern for serving their clients, and which are accompanied by an enormous increase in spending.”

Supporting instant or incremental federal takeover of health care also violates the doctrine that no good end justifies evil means. Consider the loss of human dignity and loss of lives that will result from the inevitable rationing of health care at the hands of bureaucrats, particularly for the elderly, handicapped, disabled and others who are, to apply Ezekiel Emanuel’s Nazi-like ethics, “prevented from being or becoming participating citizens.”

Removal of abortion coverage and insertion of a conscience clause will be short-lived gestures. Do you have any doubt that such concessions would soon be reversed either by future legislative action or by a left-wing activist majority on the Supreme Court? Socialists are satisfied with incremental change.

For sound information see the Catholic Medical Association (CathMed.org) and Arthur Laffer’s suggestions at LafferHealthCareReport.org/media-kit.

Recent history proves that violating subsidiarity inevitably results in tyranny and totalitarianism.

Paul W. Rosenthal

Augusta, Georgia

Town-Hall Passion

Regarding “Whose Health Care Is It?” (Sept. 20):

At the town hall meeting in Sierra Vista, Ariz., on Aug. 31, I listened to my neighbors speak with their minds and their hearts. They were intelligent and passionate. I am proud to live in Sierra Vista.

Due to people speaking out, President Obama is shifting his strategy from a public option to nonprofit cooperatives. This is the proverbial camel’s nose under the tent. With government subsidies and regulations, nonprofit cooperatives will drive the private system out of business.

If we let government have any more power and control over our health, we will live — and die! — to regret it.

Joel Fago

Sierra Vista, Arizona

Photographic Provocation

Relevant to “Bishops Offer Principles” (Sept. 13): I recently had the experience of viewing online photos posted by an organization called Priests for Life on their website. They are a pro-life national group dedicated to ending abortion. The photos were stark, absolute, and not for the timid. I am an 80-year-old pro-life anti-abortionist, and I cringed at these displays of unborn infants actually torn from the safety of their mom’s womb, many pulled apart piece by piece, some actually beheaded.

One video shown was especially powerful. It depicted an adult hand caressing an infant’s hand; it was entitled “Raise Your Hand If You’re Against Abortion.” As the image slowly rises on the screen to dramatic background music, it becomes all too apparent that the infant hand is not connected; it was from an innocent victim of that terrible act of abortion, sometimes masked under the title of a “woman’s right to choose.”

All my life I have been active with youngsters through my parish. I worked with altar boys, scout troops, basketball teams, even a boys’ choir. I did love and enjoy every minute of it. Today these youngsters are sanitation men, policeman, firemen, all useful citizens of our society.

My wife and I raised seven children ourselves, and we have four grandchildren. I’m concerned: Why doesn’t the Catholic media do more to alert Catholics to the evils of abortion? Why not print these images for people to see and realize what is happening out there? It has been documented that many young women actually canceled their planned abortions after viewing these images and chose an alternative instead. The images do have a profound effect.

Your paper would be doing a great service to all involved, but especially those confused women seeking to terminate their pregnancies. You would also be conveying the message that abortion is no exercise in innocent family planning as some would have us believe.

John J. Burkard

Brooklyn, New York

Feeling the Love

I feel that I have been remiss in that I have not frequently expressed my gratitude to the National Catholic Register for being such a great paper for the truth and for the faith.

I am especially pleased with numerous recent articles giving us the truth: President Bush’s true legacy, including all the lives he quietly saved in Africa, his ongoing worldwide pro-life efforts, and the many other great things he did that have been ignored or lied about in the secular media, the hypocrisy of pro-abortion Catholics, the myth of the so-called “gay gene,” President Obama’s health-care debacle and the facts about so-called “global warming.”

Thank you, and may God forever bless you!

Terry Hornback

Wichita, Kansas

Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, April 17, 2014.

Recalling the Unlikely Ginsburg-Scalia Friendship

Justice Antonin Scalia’s love of debate was one of the things that drew him to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a woman with whom he disagreed on many things, including many aspects of the law.