Letters 11.01.2009

Heroic Bishop

It appears to me that the Catholic News Service story about the early retirement of Bishop Joseph Martino of Scranton, Pa., was subtly slanted to denigrate him (“Bishop’s Early Retirement,” Sept. 13).

For example, the article said that Bishop Martino’s “outburst” during his “unannounced appearance” at a parish forum in Wayne County “created dismay among many of the forum’s attendees.”

Bishop Martino’s “outburst” (“There is one teacher in this diocese”) was a blunt but accurate statement of Catholic doctrine regarding the status of bishops’ conferences. These conferences have no inherent authority, while a bishop in his diocese has God-given authority.

So what if his appearance was “unannounced”?

Does the pastor of his diocese have to ask permission to speak?

St. John the Baptist was also known for some “unannounced appearances” and “outbursts.”

This forum was one in which some Catholics openly supported pro-abortion candidate Barack Obama. However, the audience was divided: Bishop Martino’s justified “outburst” generated applause as well as “dismay” in the crowd.

Then there was the contrast between Bishop W. Francis Malooly of Wilmington, Del., and Bishop Martino. Has Bishop Malooly’s “active engagement and dialogue” with Joe Biden been effective?

Biden has never made a retraction of his public statement, on national television, that Roe v. Wade was “a good compromise,” allowing abortion in the first trimester. This statement is both scandalous (How is any allowance of abortion “good”?) and a bald-faced lie, since Roe v. Wade made abortion available at any stage of pregnancy.

From the start, Bishop Martino faced enormous opposition in the Scranton Diocese, an ostensibly Catholic area that, in one election after another, has consistently backed the pro-abortion candidate.

I regard his departure from Scranton as a chastisement permitted by God for the sins of the people.

May Our Lord reward him for his heroic fidelity.

John J. Banick

Dunmore, Pennsylvania

Go Army!

It was with joy that my wife and I received the Oct. 11 issue that featured the article “Hudson Highlands,” along with a photo of the Most Holy Trinity Catholic Chapel at the U.S. Military Academy.

Having two sons attending West Point, we frequently make trips from Texas to West Point to visit.

Most Holy Trinity Catholic Chapel is an icon as well as an inspiration for us. It is a really gratifying experience to attend Mass at West Point and experience the Army Catholic family. We would highly recommend it for anybody who has the opportunity.

We are glad that the writer of this article found Most Holy Trinity Catholic Chapel as special of a place as do my bride and I.

Go Army! Beat Navy! 

Jim and Mary Cashion

Bryan, Texas


“Project Rachel Celebrates 25th Anniversary” (Oct. 11) was a fine article on Vicki Thorn, who is to be commended for 25 years of work in the post-abortion ministry, but something she said at the end of the article gave me pause.

While speaking about men and abortion, Vicki said, “We’ve put men into women’s models. It’s likely that a men’s model will be more of a one-to-one ministry.”

The Archdiocese of Newark, N.J., has been involved in post-abortion healing for the last 13 years, through Project Rachel and offering Rachel’s Vineyard retreats. (We will be having our 50th in January 2010.) I have to tell you that unless you have experienced a weekend with both men and women you really can’t judge the effectiveness of the retreat experience on both men and women.

While Project Rachel is just recently (and thankfully) coming to see the pain that men suffer and ministering to them, Rachel’s Vineyard weekends have always included men — and have seen the great benefit in the interaction between men and women on the weekend.

It is so healing for the women to see men grieving: to hear their stories, whether they tried to stop the abortion or were complicit in the act. And the men: They are so moved by the intensity of the grief in the women and themselves, something I don’t think can happen in any one-on-one counseling.

I just thought some clarification was needed, as I would never want to see a man turned off to coming on a weekend retreat because someone as well-known in post-abortion healing as Vicki Thorn might think his healing was better served in a one-on-one model; rather, I think men’s healing greatly benefits from both models. My heart is in the post-abortion healing ministry, and I’m all about getting people to come for the healing and reconciliation that the Lord so wants to give!

Thank you for all that your newspaper does to bring light in the darkness where all life issues are concerned, especially post-abortion healing!

Michelle Krystofik

associate director

Respect Life Office

Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey

Rejecting Life

We are witnessing a great division along political lines within our nation, and similarly within our Catholic Church. Father John Jenkins, president of the University of Notre Dame, is an example of this dichotomy.

Having awarded our pro-abortion president a law degree, he will now attend the March for Life to show that he is still pro-life (“Pro-Life Initiative,” Oct. 18).

Within the Church there is a polarization between “life issues” and “social justice” issues. This goes back to the rejection of Humanae Vitae in 1968, when a majority of the world’s bishops argued against this traditional teaching that one may not use artificial means to regulate births. This opened a door to all sorts of abuses, as Pope Paul VI had foretold. (If one may artificially become “sterile” to prevent births, there can be “homosexual unions,” which are naturally sterile. If one can reject a baby by contraception, one can also reject a particular baby by abortion.)

Thus, abortion was legalized — within five years of acceptance of the idea of contraception. Those priests and bishops who had accepted contraception also chose to find excuses to ignore the evil of abortion on the grounds that it “helped” women.

Now, many nations are dying off due to very low birthrates because they have refused to honor God’s first command: “Be fruitful and multiply.” 

Grace Harman

Columbus, Ohio

Proudly ‘Roman’

In a letter in the Oct. 18 issue, one of your readers bemoaned the use of the term Roman Catholic (‘Simply Catholic’), claiming that it is scorned by some, resented by others and causes division. He wishes its use would go away. This is not likely to happen, and here’s why.

In February of 2006, 55 of 73 Catholic members of the U.S. House of Representatives signed a carefully crafted “statement of principles” that effectively declared their independence from the Catechism of Catholic Doctrine and from spiritual leadership of the pope. They claim the right to define their own morality. This group represents 75% of the Catholics in the House.

The leader of this group and speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, was among the first to greet Pope Benedict upon his arrival in Washington last April, kissing his ring as he stepped off the airplane. She took advantage of this photo-op to demonstrate to 70 million American Catholics that she was first among equals — “Ms. Catholic.” Yet, she denies him.

We have a democratically elected government, which means that our representatives speak for us.

To the extent that Catholic members of government represent constituencies that are in a Catholic majority, we can conclude that a vast number of American Catholics have also broken from Rome. Therefore, the name “Catholic” is nondescript at best and renegade at worst.

I accept the Catechism of Catholic Doctrine in its entirety and remain loyal to the bishop of Rome. Therefore, I am Roman Catholic by definition. It is a title of which I am proud, and I shall not abandon it. Possibly 25% of American Catholics feel the same way.

William Stimson

Charlottesville, Virginia

Register’s Mission

It seemed ironic to me that at the same time your article (“Faith Is the New Countercultural,” Sept. 13) is encouraging Catholics “to be countercultural,” you illustrate the article with a happy, smiling, zero-population-growth, two-child family.

Doesn’t Shutterstock have a standard happy, smiling four or five-child family? 

I am reminded of a classic U.N. Population Fund campaign from the ’90s aimed at Turkey. It had two drawings of a family. One drawing portrayed a happy, well-dressed, three-child family sitting at a table full of food and showing a television, a refrigerator and a computer in various parts of the background. The other portrayed the same family in the same room, but with six children. Everyone was sad, their clothes were shabby, the appliances were gone, and the plaster on the walls was cracking. 

I think the message is clear. If the United Nations uses these types of illustrations to attack multi-child families, they understand that illustrations make a strong impression.

Doesn’t the Register have an obligation to practice what it preaches and promote the Catholic family visually at the same time that it is promoting counterculturalism in print?

Patrick Lahey

Krakow, Poland