Letters 11.06.11

Death Decried

The problem I have with an article like “Vatican Official Decries Troy Davis’ Execution” (Oct. 9) is that I don’t recall seeing an article titled “Vatican Official Decries Officer Mark McPhail’s Murder.”

I cannot remember the last time I heard any priest in a homily, any bishop or anyone else in the magisterium speak about the effect of crime on victims; that’s usually left to secular law enforcement. But let there be a death-penalty case, and there’s all sorts of Catholic reaction defending the convicted, including the mistaken belief that the Catholic Church forbids execution.

Of course, the family of Mark McPhail will always have to deal with his death sentence, not to mention the shameful silence of the Church.

By the way, did I miss some Vatican official protesting the execution of Lawrence Brewer, convicted of the dragging death of James Byrd in Texas?

Paul L. Turner

Sparks, Nevada

The editor responds: The Church is very sensitive to all the victims of senseless killing, but the Church doesn’t teach that the death penalty is an intrinsic evil like abortion or euthanasia. Specifically to this case, Cardinal Peter Turkson decried the execution because, as he said, “My wish in the case of Troy Davis was that it would be a case that aimed at saving life and working on conversion, reintegration and change, rather than elimination.”

The Church and the SSPX

In “The Holy See and the SSPX” (Aug. 28), Pius X Bishop Williamson summarizes that the positions of both sides are “absolutely irreconcilable.”

But have we really sunk so low that this secular paradigm of irreconcilability (from John Rawls who would remove “irreconcilable” moral issues from the public forum) now applies to internal discourse within the Church?

How much of the doctrinal impasse between the Vatican and SSPX traces back to a few key lapses in document wording in the Vatican II documents — selectively viewed and to their later exploitation (hijacking) by the so-called hermeneutics of discontinuity?

For want of a nail, a horse is lost. … If the set-in-concrete grievances of SSPX actually turn on such precision points as these, in documents that are solid yet complex, then there is hope that the dialogue is still engaging and fixable and not “a conversation between the deaf.”

Peter Beaulieu

Shoreline, Washington

Moral Relativists Win

Regarding “9/11 — 10 Years Later” (Sept. 11):

At Ground Zero, the atheists and moral relativists have already won. The cross stood on the World Trade Center site, overlooking it, easily accessible by the workers and readily visible to visitors. Its “return” puts it underground and out of sight. In fact, none of the authentic artifacts of the WTC that remind us of the attacks will be restored to the site and included in the memorial in order to ensure that visitors are not reminded of the attacks.

In fact, the 13-member jury that selected the memorial and dictated its concept, rejecting all that Americans did in commemorating 9/11, said that nothing that spoke to the history of Sept. 11 may be restored “to protect the integrity of the design.”

The memorial will not include the terms FDNY, NYPD and PAPD. It will not include the words “firefighter” or “police officer.”

It will not identify Fire Chaplain Father Mychal Judge as “Fire Chaplain Father.”

It will not identify Christine Lee Hanson — murdered with her parents when UA 175 slammed into the South Tower — as “age 2.”

That would testify to the innocence of the American victims and the guilt of the Islamic terrorists who struck. That would tell us what to think.

The point of the design is to “clear out” — in the architect’s words — all traces and reminders of 9/11 and impose a meaning of moral ambiguity upon Ground Zero.

So the atheist group suing to stop the WTC cross should save their money. They’ve already won.

Michael Burke

Bronx, New York

Courage Offers Hope

Regarding Matthew Rarey’s “Courage Continues Mission of Its Founder, Father Harvey” (NCRegister.com, Oct. 17):

Excellent, excellent article. I have emailed it to a dear friend because it offers hope that true help exists.

Thank you for this article I find so full of truth. I am finally surrendering and subscribing to the Register. Thank you to EWTN, your editors and Matthew in particular.

Peter O’Reilly

Bozeman, Montana

Mass Attire

My husband and I were pleased to see the article “Modesty at Mass Is a Must” (Sept. 25).

We regularly see flip-flops, soccer uniforms, tennis skirts, spaghetti straps, low-cut tops, bare backs, short shorts, miniskirts, torn jeans, sloppy T-shirts, etc. worn at Mass by parents, teens and even extraordinary ministers of Communion and lectors.

We hope standards of decent dress are established at all churches in the very near future — perhaps in conjunction with the upcoming changes in the Mass.

The Barton Family

St. Louis, Missouri


In the Oct. 9 issue, the letter “To Care About Life Is To Care About Everything,” the “Editor’s Note” incorrectly identified Deal Hudson as a former chairman of the Republican National Committee; he was formerly chairman of Catholic outreach for the Republican National Committee.

Also, Hispanics comprise approximately 40% of the 68.5 million Catholics in the United States, which is about 27.4 million total, not over 45 million, as was noted in our July 17 issue story “Where Are the Priests?” The Register regrets these errors.