Letters 1.11.15

Catholic Voting

Regarding “Election 2014: Pro-Life Wins Big,” as well as some other entries in your Nov. 16 issue:

It was a good day for Catholics and all Christians and Jews. While I might be uncomfortable with mixing religion and politics, I have to ask a question: How can anyone these days in the Catholic faith vote Democrat?

This question would have been strange in the older days of Roosevelt, Truman, JFK and the like. However, in today’s Democratic Party of Obama, Pelosi, Holder and Reid, it is a very timely question that might have been somewhat answered in the election, although we all know that political corruption doesn’t solely exist on one side of the aisle.

         Charles Lopresto

         Phoenix, Arizona


Remembering Strat

Relative to “Notable Departures” (page 2) in the Dec. 28 issue of the Register:

I heard last fall that the wonderful Stratford Caldecott had passed on. I met him when I was a student at Platter College, Oxford, about 16 years ago. He gave two classes there, which I enjoyed immensely. I can still remember them today and the beautiful calmness and knowledge that he brought to each of them.

I remember one in particular that included discussing an icon that the college had recently commissioned. He will certainly remain in my memory and his family and friends in my prayers.

I love writing little poems, and with God’s love and guidance, I have put a few words together about him.


Wonderful Stratford,

A man of high ideals;

Wherever he went,

He made people happy feel.

He brought the joy of God

To many a place,

Helping people along the road,

With a smile on his face.


His lovely words of wisdom,

His knowledge divine,

Helping us realize

That with God’s love everything is fine.

We met at Platter College

Many years ago,

And to all his classes,

He brought a beautiful, spiritual glow.


His body has gone,

But his spirit lives on.

This is a little poem;

Perhaps it should be a song.

A wonderful husband,

And father, too;

In his company,

You were certainly never blue.


I thank God that I met him

And for hearing his words so wise,

Helping me connect with God,

Surely the ultimate prize;

Now, he’s with Him,

Radiating peace and sunshine,

Helping us on our life journeys,

Making them easier and fine.


God bless him and his family.

         Dennis Ealing

         Oxford, England


Church Teaching

Regarding last fall’s Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family and the Register’s coverage of it: Since when are Catholic teachings decided by a “majority” or a “super majority”? When did the Holy Roman Catholic Church become a democracy, similar to that of the United States or the Episcopal Church?

I am very confused on this. What would have happened if Pope Liberius had called a synod on the divinity of Christ and our bishops had voted (by super majority) in favor of Arianism?

Would the Church have changed her teachings on the divinity of Our Lord just because most Churchmen had fallen into the error of this heresy? Truth is truth. The ancient, timeless truths of Holy Mother Church cannot be changed — not even by a super majority.

         Faith Ballesteros

         South Padre Island, Texas


The editor responds: Church teaching was not being defined by the synod fathers at this synod, confusing as it may have seemed at times. The synod fathers were deciding on the points that will be discussed at the 2015 synod in October.


All Lives Matter

Pertinent to “Ferguson’s Fallout” (page one, Dec. 14 issue): We are seeing a deluge of protesting crowds in city after city carrying signs that read, “Black Lives Matter,” and the messages are correct, because all human lives matter.

However, the messages imply that only certain lives matter — and only if those lives are taken by a particular method in a particular circumstance.

Where is the outrage when reports show that in excess of a million unborn lives are taken each year in the United States through elective abortion, with the majority of these deaths being black unborn children?

Statistics show the black population in the United States stands at 13%, but more than 40% of children aborted are from black families.

In the year 2011, in New York City alone, 78% of the abortions destroyed black and Hispanic babies. Community organizers ignore, tolerate and approve the millions of unborn lives taken, but their anger is aroused by lives taken as long as abortion is not involved.

If those lives are determined by the parents to be aborted, it is approved and never contested. How crazy is that? All aborted babies go to their deaths unarmed and defenseless.

Peaceful protesting is, and should remain, a part of our democracy and among our rights and privileges, but those rights and privileges do not include looting, stealing, burning and destroying property and businesses, and they should not be used as an excuse to commit such crimes.

         Mabel Ryan

         Ocala, Florida


Sacramental Marriage

It was with interest that I read the column by Benedict Nguyen “Asking the Right Questions on Annulment Reform” (In Depth, Oct. 19 issue).

I say of interest because within my family the issue has been raised by a son-in-law who was “subjected” to a tribunal examination of a previous marriage. Unfortunately, his experience was not the highlight of his introduction to the Church.

I bring this up because, recently, I listened to a DVD presentation by Bishop Joseph Perry entitled Catholic Teaching on Marriage and Annulments. In it, he explains in great depth why the Church goes through the process when a previous marriage has taken place by one of the parties to the desired sacramental marriage.

In the column, the author uses the term “presumption of validity.” Then later, “The question must be asked: If we truly believe in the dignity and indissolubility of marriage and the presumed validity of each marriage, how would we proceed to investigate fairly whether, in truth, a particular marriage was not entered into validly?”

The problem, as I see it, with the broad misunderstanding of the Church’s position and required procedure is perhaps the failure in the tribunal process to explain that the Church holds the union of a woman and man in marriage at the same level of esteem, spiritual depth and permanency as Christ’s union with his Church, one being as indissoluble as the other.

Therefore, the tribunal must determine if a previous marriage was valid, in terms of either performance or intent, on the part of the couple who were previously married.

         John P. Therrien

         Kirkland, Washington


Living Faithful Lives

We are thankful for the closing words of Archbishop Joseph Kurtz on the synod (“Archbishop Kurtz on the Synod: ‘Mercy Without Truth Is Not Mercy,’” page one, Nov. 2 issue).

He said: “There are many people out there who are living very faithful lives, and they’re the silent majority right now. We need to acknowledge them and call them forth.”  There are three things that can be done that will enable us to do this.

First, proclaim to the world that there are two sacraments in marriage: the sacrament of creation for the procreation of human life in the original grace of creation; and the sacrament of redemption, in which — through periodic continence — there is a “new gracing of man,” which, “above all,” is for “the remission of sins” (Pope John Paul II, theology of the body).

Secondly, restore awareness of the two orders through which the Word is made flesh in each and every cycle of the universal biorhythm of life. As the instruction Dignitas Personae states, “By taking the interrelationship of these two dimensions, the human and the divine, as the starting point,” we are “called to share in the Trinitarian love of the living God” (8). Contraception has erased this awareness of the biorhythm.

Finally, establish formation of the family-life apostolate (Humanae Vitae, 26) and consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, through which those “living very faithful lives” can bond together in prayer and sacrifice, fulfilling the “two meanings” in marriage, procreative and unitive (12); and obtaining the grace that is needed to nurture true love in our families and in the families of our fallen world. We are called to “the new gracing of man” through which the espousal of Christ and his Church is fulfilled. And, with Archbishop Kurtz, we pray that the synod in 2015 will be “a strong affirmation” of that call and provide the way to fulfill it.

         Ruth Kavanaugh

         Kalamazoo, Michigan


Questions Answered

Regarding “Synod’s Final Report Released” (Nov. 16 issue):

Cardinal Francis George of Chicago has said that he would like to travel to Rome and ask Pope Francis a few questions about his intentions.

Paragraph 4 of the Italian version of the synod’s final report ends with “fondata sul matrimonio tra uomo e donna.” Why does the English version report leave out what comes after family (fondata) — marriage is between a man and a woman?

Paragraph 55 of the synod’s final report quotes from “Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith). Missing is the section between the two quotes, “Sacred Scripture condemns homosexual acts ‘as a serious depravity.’” Our Catholic Catechism affirms this, in Section 2357, “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture ... Tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’ They are contrary to the natural law.”

I would like him to ask the following questions:

Pope Francis, do you believe that marriage should only be between a man and a woman?

Pope Francis, do you believe that homosexual acts are sinful? When you talk about these issues, will you state that marriage should only be between a man and a woman and that homosexual acts are sinful?

         Joel Fago

         Hereford, Arizona


The editor responds: One needn’t go to such lengths to find the answers. A quick search of the Holy Father’s own words on marriage should put to rest any doubt that he believes in true marriage between one man and one woman.

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.