Letters 10.04.09

All for Catholic Care

With all the discussion regarding national health care (“Health-Care Battle Is Shaping Up,” Aug. 23), it is important that we ensure certain ethics are in place.

First of all, taxpayer money should not be used to fund abortions (in or outside our country); in our economic situation, we certainly cannot afford any more bailouts. Secondly, a health-care bill must include conscience clauses that ensure medical staff can excuse themselves from performing abortions; there is a current push to force anyone to assist in an abortion. Doctors took the Hippocratic Oath to protect life, not to kill it.

One thing that will be important: If Congress thinks socialized medicine is so great, members of Congress and the president must not be allowed to excuse themselves from the program. It is important to note that Sen. Ted Kennedy chose to use Duke University Hospital in North Carolina for his brain surgery. He represented Massachusetts, which provides socialized health care. His selection demonstrates that socialized health care was not good enough for him.

There is truly a health-care issue. Perhaps the need is greater for legislation to ensure procedures and policies than for a universal system paid for with taxpayer moneys. The Catholic Church has been involved in health care regardless of ability to pay for centuries. Maybe President Obama should listen to Church authorities for a change and not those who claim to be Catholic (such as Nancy Pelosi, Joseph Biden and Kennedy) but undermine Church teaching.

Father John Zimmerman

St. Anne Catholic Parish

Florence, South Carolina

Catholic Charities’ Deal

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

Without opining on the lofty nuances of Catholic Charities’ contracting with the government for $100 million, we might yet ask a question. Once a tax-exempt institution (Catholic Charities and, by extension, the Church and each benefiting diocese) buys into the federal public trough, is it then forever accountable to walk in lockstep with secularist culture — even after a single grant is expended and even if never renewed? (A possibly relevant analogy: Once a noncommercial airport accepts a federal grant from the Federal Aviation Administration, it is legally required to admit commercial air traffic whenever this might be requested by the airlines, even decades later.)

Instead of [diluting the Catholic identity of] Catholic Charities over the long run, the day-to-day direction of influence should be in the opposite direction: “Even if the specific expressions of ecclesial charity can never be confused with the activity of the state, it still remains true that charity must animate the entire lives of the lay faithful and therefore also their political activity, lived as ‘social charity’” (Catechism, No. 1939; and Deus Caritas Est [God Is Love], No. 29). Catholic Charities should be witnessing to and fostering an unambiguous counterculture of charity in the truth.

Are those dioceses that are aided by Catholic Charities individually vulnerable? Diocesan bishops should not spend a dime of their “grant” share until they are individually convinced that the funding passes the slippery-slope sniff test.

Peter D. Beaulieu

Shoreline, Washington

Strings Attached

I don’t know what Father Larry Snyder is thinking in accepting a contract from the federal government reportedly worth $100 million (“Catholic Charities’ Deal With the Feds Scrutinized,” Sept. 6).

The federal government never, ever gives any organization money without strings attached. This simply means, at the very least, that the government will expect Catholic Charities to obey all federal laws, i.e., all employment laws, including providing health benefits that include abortion and contraceptives, etc.

In short, his organization will be targeted by federal agencies and the American Civil Liberties Union to be sure it is in compliance with federal laws and regulations that are counter to Church teaching.

In addition, President Obama will be able to add to his campaign rhetoric when he runs for re-election that he is a friend to the Church and use at least two examples to show this: one, the now-infamous invitation to the University of Notre Dame and two, this rather large sum of money given to Catholic Charities.

Peter Gioe

Surprise, Arizona

Talk We Can’t Believe In

Regarding “When ‘Rights’ to the Pill Trump the First Amendment” (Sept. 13):

Becket Fund’s president, Kevin Hasson, says President Obama and those in his administration are “talking a good game” at Notre Dame and at the Vatican in support of conscience protection for those in the medical profession, but he and his administration act differently “when the rubber meets the road” in an effort to defile Belmont Abbey College’s medical-benefits program.

Mr. Hasson’s disturbing observation is a reminder of the litany of duplicity that first surfaced with Obama’s inaugural address. In it he condemned terrorists for “slaughtering innocents” and later declared in that speech that “a parent’s willingness to nurture a child” is a courageous act “that finally decides our fate.” In the days that followed, he signed an executive order to use tax money for abortions to slaughter innocents developing in the wombs of mothers in the Third World. Not even his ancestral homeland in Kenya is exempt from the U.S. Treasury’s lethal largess.

In July this year, Obama pledged to Pope Benedict XVI that he would reduce the number of abortions. Then he returned home to ramrod health-care reform proposals through Congress that would fund not only abortions, but also would withhold medical treatment from those elderly citizens whom government bureaucrats decide are not worth the expense of letting their lives continue.

One could chalk all this up to typical political hypocrisy were it not for the enablers in his administration, like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She attempted to cobble funding for artificial birth control onto the financial stimulus package. The House speaker rationalized in a television interview that her attempt to amend the bill would forestall future financial crises by using taxation to curtail expenses that would come from polluting America with more children.

From “Change We Can Believe In” comes not merely deception, but the sulfurous whiff of eugenics.

Edward A. Burke

Roseland, New Jersey

Political Bullies

About seven or eight years ago, when my athlete son was in high school, the California legislators were attempting to pass a law whereby Christian schools not buying into the homosexual agenda would be punished: Their athletes would not be allowed to participate in local and regional meets or the state championships.

I was a Protestant then; my son was in a Baptist school, and our administrator was on the state athletic regulatory board. The administrator thought schools under a big religious umbrella — Baptist, Catholic, etc. — would be protected, but worried about nondenominational, stand-alone schools, of which there are many all over the state.

This worst-case scenario did not come to pass, but this is the way these bullies operate. They will not hesitate to punish kids for political reasons.

Now the feds are going after a Catholic college for resisting contraception coverage (“All Eyes on Tyrannized Belmont Abbey,” Sept. 27). Sure, we can have religious beliefs; we just can’t practice them. I am afraid for the future of this country. Even the Russians have more freedom these days.

Shirley Amdisen

West Hills, California

Men for Maryknoll

Regarding “No Lay Superior for Religious Communities” (Sept. 6):

There are many American men who would love to join the Maryknoll missionary society and become priests if only age restrictions could be lifted. Americans are living longer today and are generally healthier and better educated than 50 or 60 years ago. Maryknoll would not have to worry about appointing non-priests as regional superiors if older men were allowed to become seminarians and, eventually, priests.

Maryknoll has changed the rules in so many other aspects of faith organizations. Why not age requirements? Maryknoll has fallen behind in attracting vocations to the priesthood. It is almost as though they are discouraging American men from joining.

On a related issue, although I respect Ray Bourgeois, he, no doubt, crossed the line in participating in the women’s ordination ceremony (“Waiting for an Answer,” Sept. 20). Maryknoll should have cut him loose yesterday.

Joseph P. Nolan

Waterbury, Connecticut

You Can’t Legislate Love

Relevant to “Health-Care Battle Is Shaping Up” (Aug. 23):

Whatever happened to the idea that we follow the cross and freely make the choice to support our brothers and sisters in need? Government control or partial control of health care reduces care to the body alone; it ignores the health of the eternal soul.

The last I heard, America is a free republic, not a socialist oligarchy.

Ralph Benware

Carlsbad, California


“An American Pilgrimage” (Sept. 6) incorrectly attributed the battle cry “Let’s roll” to Thomas Burnett Jr.; it was said by another hero of United Airlines Flight 93, Todd Beamer. The Register regrets the error.