Letters 10.18.2009

NFP’s Message

I read with interest Dr. Mary Martin’s journey toward natural family planning (“One Brave Doctor,” Sept. 27). She, like most couples, needed measured, deliberate and multiple introductions to the NFP message before becoming convicted of the truth about NFP vs. contraception.

I believe this type of an approach is good and necessary in many cases because it provides the best sort of conversion. A slow, deliberate conversion allows necessary undoing, erasing and replacement of a previously misguided worldview and/or conviction; these worldviews are most often “indoctrinated” by a society that explains life through the lens of pragmatism and with rhetoric rather than looking at the world through the lens of God.

He alone is able to show us that it is in sacrifice that we are saved; we are not redeemed by the world or its sense of practicality, expediency, common sense or rhetoric.

Couple to Couple League is pleased to have been one of the first NFP providers to introduce Mary to NFP; as in so many conversion stories, it is often the subsequent introduction which makes the most sense — the way paved in part by previous encounters with a similar message.

We believe that the many natural family planning providers are actually all part of the one body of Christ, striving to help his message take root in married couples. May we always look to each other to help convince another person or couple of the truth about NFP and contraception; sometimes it will seem like an organizations’ initial efforts were at best incomplete only to discover later that it was part of the conversion journey.

These discoveries are energizing and re-convicting. May we always work together without accusing another of having been ineffective or less effective; we just never know God’s plan for another person. We wish Mary the best in her NFP-only OB-GYN efforts.

Linda Kracht

chairwoman, board of directors

Couple to Couple League

Abortion’s Wages

Regarding “Unacceptable ‘Option’” (Oct. 11): For decades the decriminalization of abortion has been justified on the basis of reducing maternal deaths from illegal abortions.

Nevertheless, the International Planned Parenthood Federation recognizes that legal abortion has an alarmingly growing rate of maternal death.

For example, in South Africa, between the years 2005 and 2007, this mortality rate has increased 20 times, exceeding 48 times the same rate on the Mauritius Islands, where the law protects the unborn.

Ireland bans abortion; it has the lowest rate in the world. But in many countries, post-abortion deaths are not recorded as such. In the U.S., legal abortions are the fifth-leading cause of death in pregnant women.

Women who’ve had abortions are twice as likely to develop embolisms, hemorrhages, infections, breast, ovarian or liver cancer, uterine perforation, cervical lacerations and placenta previa in subsequent pregnancies, ectopic pregnancy, preterm birth and risk of abnormal placenta development. All of these complications may cause disabilities in infants. Also, abortions may increase promiscuity, drug abuse and even eating disorders. Politicians who promote legal abortion are truly a threat to the public.

María Catalán

Barcelona, Spain

Feeling and Relating

I appreciate the book/movie review of Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper and the comment that “scientific innovation that directly attacks innocent human life rarely provokes outrage.”

Too true in today’s culture where lie is truth and truth considered discriminatory.

My comment regards Joan Frawley Desmond’s comment that “its sentimentality will prompt some viewers to recoil from the emotional arguments that cloud our ability to scrutinize immoral choices” and the title, “Bioethical Tearjerker Misses the Story” (Aug. 23).

The bioethical tear-jerking is the story.

In 50-plus years of social work and mental-health therapy, I have learned that many people do not relate without “feeling.” What Picoult did was to make the unimaginable a possibility. She also honored the sisters and their individual worth in an extraordinary situation.

Jodi is an exceptionally ambitious writer. Each of her novels has brought to life many of today’s ethical and social problems and allowed the reader to put into meaningful perspective moral realities that contradict today’s “truth.” The devil has turned lie into truth and truth into illegality. We need Jodi, and other authors, to allow people to see, feel and believe the truth. Go Jodi!

Barbara Triska

Lebanon, Oregon

Reject ‘ObamaCare’

In the reports “ObamaCare and the Right to Life” (Aug. 9), we are told that the horrific congressional health-care bills are a “moving target” and the U.S. bishops’ action alerts are being delayed. But the health-care bills have so much wrong with them they all must be rejected now. Federally funded abortion, the elimination of conscience rights and the elimination of state laws such as parental notification are featured in the bills. The Church’s teachings on life are immutable and the goals of culture-of-death pro-abortion groups won’t change, so why the delay?
As written, the health-care bills, combined with a measure passed in the stimulus bill last winter, will certainly drift toward euthanasia and rationing of care for the elderly. There is a provision for Planned Parenthood to establish clinics in schools that are not answerable to school administrators. The bills also include a provision for taxpayers to fund medically necessary and “medically appropriate” procedures that will cost trillions. Finally, the bills abridge our liberties.

The report indicates the bishops have “issued a series of action plans to spur grassroots resistance to an abortion mandate ... and any threats against Catholic health institutions and providers,” but since the bishops’ successful postcard campaign last January against the Freedom of Choice Act, they have not sponsored any campaign to protect human life.

I hope and pray the bishops and all Catholic health barbarizations will soon engage laypeople to reject the current bills and demand reform that leads to health coverage for all while respecting all human life and freedoms.

John Naughton

Silver Spring, Maryland

Simply ‘Catholic’

Relevant to “Evangelical Appreciation” (July 26): One of your recent writers, an evangelical Christian, responding to a column by Mark Shea, wrote that he was “not crazy about the term ‘Protestant.’” I have much sympathy for him.

After several years at an Anglican school, I developed an intense dislike for the term “Roman Catholic.” To my ear, it reeks of arrogance and sectarian bigotry. I have never met anyone with a bias against the Church who does not prefer the term. Not surprisingly, the secular media have developed a preference for it, too. (The BBC has an excessive fondness.)

The pejorative “Roman Catholic,” along with “papist,” “popery,” “Romanist,” etc. came into common usage during the reign of Elizabeth I, at a time of fierce anti-Catholic persecution. It is a particularly English phenomenon practically unknown in other cultures.

Sadly, some authentic Catholics mistakenly believe that its use emphasizes their loyalty to the Holy See. On the other hand, Eastern-rite Catholics perceive the term as exclusionary and resent it. The late author, convert and Una Voce president Michael Davies attacked the phrase in the pages of Christian Order on more than one occasion.

It could be argued that “Roman Catholic” is an oxymoron. Those who defend its use claim it prevents confusion with Anglo Catholicism. With great respect, Anglo Catholics, a shrinking but courageous minority within the Anglican Communion, itself a major Protestant body, cannot be described as Catholic in any true sense.

The Catholic Encyclopedia has this to say about the term: “Its use by Catholics is unnecessary and, having regard to its connotation for many non-Catholics, should be avoided.”

It is difficult to see how anyone could be confused or offended by the simple word “Catholic.”

Kevin Tighe

Los Angeles, California

Can’t Get Away

I subscribed to your newsletter, blog or whatever you call it, because I wanted to get away from the perversion I have come to see and dislike more and more in the mainstream media. So now I have to hear about David Letterman’s sex life here (“Media Morality,” Daily Blog, Oct. 2)? How sad.

Michael Schoneman

Seattle, Washington

86 the End Quote

Regarding “Media Morality”: The article was very good, until it added a quote by a Jesuit priest at the end, which made it seem all priests used to think they were above the law. That should have been clarified at the end, or perhaps before the quote, as statements must be crystal clear on this all-important matter.

Judy Capistrant

St. Louis, Missouri