Letters 11.16.2008

Bear the Cross

I received peace in knowing that our next president may not champion Judeo-Christian values when I recalled the Scripture “You will be persecuted” (Matthew 5:11 and John 15:20). As Catholics, we are called to heaven, not to earth.

Our grandparents’ generation had the privilege of living in a society that supported and encouraged a good, Christian lifestyle.

However, looking around the world, many European nations are already years ahead of America in supporting cultures without Christian values. When did Jesus tell us that this life would be easy, that we would be praised for following him? Look at the saints: How many suffered and died for following their beliefs? How many are dying this day for following Christ?

Though the greatest sin of killing infants and the elderly is unforgiveable for man, I pray that God receives their souls into heaven.

For the rest of us living (especially the young who are just starting Catholic families), we will take on the burden of witnessing to what St. Paul calls a “crooked and perverse generation.” That may challenge us to work harder so that we can educate our children outside an atheistic public school system and work harder to support the Church we believe in, which loses popularity and tax exemption.

We are called to love the sinners who attack us, turn away from media (perhaps all media) that no longer represents Judeo-Christian values.

I am confident that one can still get to heaven and raise a family, or become a holy priest — as long as he or she is willing to bear the cross.

Benjamin Fratto

Merchantville, New Jersey


Post-Election Opportunity


Barack Obama, perhaps the most pro-abortion candidate in history, has won the 2008 election.  At first blush, this is a tremendous defeat for the pro-life movement in America. However, the movement has never been merely about winning elections — that’s the job of political parties. The pro-life movement is rather about building a culture of life — as your recent blog posts indicate — which must include political action as a component of a much larger effort. Pro-lifers view all disrespect for innocent life as a threat to human dignity. Abortion is a large and grievous offense against life, but it is not the only one; the pro-life movement stands staunchly opposed to other violations of life, such as euthanasia, and it is right to do so. 

In recent years, however, there has been a disturbing drift in the pro-life movement toward identification with one political party. Given the positions of the two major parties on most life issues, this is understandable. It is dangerous, however, if it means focusing on some life issues at the expense of others. Unfortunately, this is just what has happened with the Iraq war — an unjust war according to Catholic just war teaching — but which many pro-life Catholics feel compelled to support out of loyalty to a political party. Just war is possible, of course, just as saving a mother from an ectopic pregnancy is morally licit, but waging unjust war involves the death of innocent human beings just as much as abortion does. 

Recent Democratic election victories are a direct result of dissatisfaction with the Bush administration, which has waged a disastrous Iraq war that has cost the lives of more than a million Iraqis. It is vital to recognize the opportunity to work with our fellow citizens toward a culture of life and influence them as best we can toward a full vision of what that entails. In the short term, we can work together to end a viciously anti-life war. When others see us as reasonable and as authentically concerned about life rather than just narrow partisanship, we earn their respect and are in a position to persuade them. 

The election of John McCain as president, while seemingly a panacea for the pro-life cause, would have only furthered the isolation of pro-lifers as we continued the betrayal of our principles in supporting an unjust war. We are better off for his loss in the long run. 

Philip Harold
Steubenville, Ohio


Is God a Republican?


On the one hand, it was refreshing to hear the term “religious left” in the media for a change.  Logic might suggest a God who creates would be right-leaning; sharing with others would be more left-leaning.  

However, on the other hand, if God was “political,” God would be independent: independent of the lack of integrity of any political party, independent of just thinking in one particular color of truth, and independent of the flawed thinking of human philosophies that at times can rationalize the irrational.

It becomes obvious mankind has not evolved very far; it’s still trying to put God into a political box that separates God from reality.

Caesar J. B. Squitti
Thunder Bay, Ontario


Raw Nerve


Mr. Paul Kengor comes very close to the central reason “It may be bitter guilt that is fueling the breathtaking viciousness” against Sarah Palin in his commentary (“Palin, for Posterity,” Nov. 2). You don’t engender instantaneous hatred as she did without stepping on a very raw nerve.

The underlying reason for the hatred is Post-Abortion Syndrome. Palin’s decision to give birth to a Down child steps very hard on the nerves of women who have aborted their own Down syndrome children, of men who forced their wives or girlfriends to abort a Down syndrome child, and of couples who aborted a child that some physician thought might be at risk for a disorder. These people live with a persistent grief from their abortion decision, made all the worse by our society’s denial of that grief.

For decades the medical establishment, liberal feminists, the mainstream media, and other pro-choice allies have denied with unusual certainty that Post-Abortion Syndrome exists.

This election proved in a most unique way how wrong that mantra is.

Richard Wetzel, M.D.

Author of Sexual Wisdom

Huntington Beach, California


Truly Catholic


It is wrong for a Catholic university to honor anyone who advocates and supports abortion (“Fordham to Honor Pro-Abortion Justice,” Oct. 19). I hope the university rescinds this decision or, if they’ve found they cannot, then that they’ll find another way to apologize for this egregious error.

A year or two ago, Pope Benedict XVI made a pronouncement that Catholic universities, in order to remain truly Catholic, would have to denounce some of their more liberal stands. Notre Dame’s decision to air the “V Monologues” and now Fordham University’s decision to honor Justice Breyer are two examples of why it is imperative that the Pope’s decree must be enforced.

Clergy from the Vatican should visit each university that calls itself Catholic and find out if that’s true, or if it’s just in name only. And if it is just in name only, then the school should no longer be permitted to call itself Catholic.

It isn’t right for a school to call itself one thing and then act diametrically opposite of that which it calls itself. Sometimes it seems like North and South America are too far away from the Vatican to get the required supervision needed. I’m not calling for an inquisition — just respect for what is Catholic and putting an end to the obvious hypocrisy that has beset our universities — both Catholic and non-Catholic.

The ones who will suffer most if this isn’t done are the young minds who go to school seeking an education and who, too often, get far less than what they sought — and far more than what they need in the way of immorality, evil and sin.

Rosemary E. Lloyd

Elberon, New Jersey


Left Wondering


I was shocked to learn the Catholic Campaign for Human Development has funded ACORN (“ACORN’s Collection Plate Money,” Oct. 26). In the past, I assumed my donations to the Catholic Campaign were helping appropriate organizations and, most likely, Catholic organizations.

Your article left me wondering how the rest of the Catholic Campaign money is allocated. I will not be donating any money to the Catholic Campaign this November. Thank you for your reporting.

Helen Tine

Buffalo Grove, Illinois


Rosary Revelation


Angelo Matera, publisher and editor of GodSpy.com, sent me an e-mail about how you just blogged (“Rosary vs. Pornography”) on my essay about the Rosary. First, I wanted to say thank you. That was very kind of you to notice it. The whole reason I wrote the essay was because I’ve felt Mary nudging me to write it for some time. My prayer is that my essay will help as many people as possible who are struggling with prayer.

Second, I wanted you to know that when I wrote in the essay how I stink at contemplating the mysteries and how the best I can do is visualize pictures from one of my Rosary booklets, it was the Register’s Guide to the Rosary booklet that I was referring to. How funny is that? And how ironic, given what you wrote at the end of your blog entry.

Brian Pessaro

Temple Terrace, Florida


Wii Are Family


I wanted to respond to “Better Catholic Heroes” (Oct. 26).

We do own a Wii gaming system and have purchased several games for it. My six kids gather around and cheer on whomever is playing.

I understand Iuranich’s point about the amount of money going to help the poor of our world, but we do that, too. We are monthly donors to several organizations, one of which works specifically for the poor. And we teach our children to tithe 10% off the top of their earnings. We don’t see this as an “either-or” issue; we see it as “both-and.” 

We pray as a family, read as a family, school as a family, and work as a family. And now, we play Wii as a family!

Tracy Spenst

Langdon, North Dakota