Readers respond to Register articles.
Undermined From Within
Regarding the Register’s coverage of the current crisis in the Church: In 1954, Bella Dodd, a high-ranking defector from the U.S. Communist Party, stated publicly that the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA) operates by infiltrating and subverting social institutions like the churches. Stalin, soon after he came to power, ordered his proxies to invade Catholic seminaries with young men that had neither faith nor morals. Now, the ideal cases were homosexual.
A new book, The Secret World of American Communism, based on newly opened Kremlin archives, confirms that CPUSA was a puppet of Moscow. Dodd revealed that she herself had 1,100 members enter Catholic seminaries in the 1930s. Alice von Hildebrand, the Catholic philosopher, stated that these men were completely amoral and so superbly trained that it was almost impossible to detect them.
In his book The Fragility of Order, George Weigel presents evidence that communist infiltration into the Roman Catholic Church continued well into the 1970s. It is not entirely credulous, therefore, to believe that the current scandal in the Church may be the result of a protracted communist conspiracy to destroy the Church from within.
Tip of the Spear
My wife and I are converts to the Catholic faith and are co-directors of religious education (DREs) at two parishes on the Olympic Peninsula. We read copious amounts of Catholic-related stuff, and we are on the ground floor of faith in our community.
We are disgusted with the leadership of our Church, from our Holy Father on down, with regard to issues that we, as Catholics, hold sacred. Occasionally a voice rises up, a bishop perhaps, with a complete call for truth. And then it seems to die in the wind, as more people find an alternative to the Catholic Church.
Bishop Robert Barron had it right when he and others said the Church is losing credibility. We teach and speak to many children and families, and our own zeal has not wavered. But it would be nice to have someone in charge be the tip of the spear. Where is the voice of Cardinal Timothy Dolan from New York City? All we know is that his own mother is embarrassed to admit she is a Catholic. That is cute, and so sad.
Ronald Reagan long ago remarked that the “truth is stubborn,” meaning eventually we will know the truth. It would be nice to get to this sooner rather than later. Capuchin Father Thomas Weinandy speaks for many people when he says, “For me, what is presently most troubling is the vague, uncertain and often seemingly nonchalant ecclesial response to the evil. ... Likewise, there appears to be little awareness of or concern for the suffering that this mentality has inflicted upon the Church, especially upon the laity.”
We love God and the Church Jesus founded too much to not be joyful. Go to Mass, pray as if everything depended on you, and in the words of an awesome priest I had the pleasure of speaking with, “God knows what he’s doing.”
Having said that, we cannot summon the strength nor listen to another letter from our bishop apologizing for another round of mega-sin. We need action, combined with truth and fearlessness. We are here during this time for a reason, and God calls all of us.
Mike and Mary Kay Acheson
Port Angeles, Washington
Doctrine, Not ‘Ism’
Pertinent to “A Call to Action” from Paul Kachinski (Letters to the Editor, Oct. 28-Nov. 10 issue): The letter asks some questions of the writer who responded to “Empowering Women.” I offer some answers. The Democratic National Committee chairman has declared there is no place in the party for anyone not supporting abortion. This party also supports “LGBT” activists, who lobby for immoral sexual laws. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ voter guidelines, however, seem to say it is all right to vote for this party, providing you don’t do so to specifically support these positions.
Many among the Catholic clergy are silent on these positions of the Democratic Party. At times, when many of our clergy speak only on immigration, welfare and climate change, they seem to be parroting the Democrat Party. The clergy are currently divided. Cardinal Timothy Dolan has declared the Democratic Party has abandoned the Church.
Based on this, I offer the USCCB leadership as the “powers that rule the organization.” There are, however, many in the USCCB and Church that support preaching the 2,000-year-old doctrine of the Church. I believe the Catholic Church, including all the congregation, is split 50/50. It might be 60/40 or 70/30, but unity is no longer our credible claim. I believe that the Church leadership has long been promoting socialism and ignoring the growing sexual culture. The current sex-abuse scandal in the Church is just one symptom. I hope it is a wake-up call. All of us form the mystical Body of Christ. I believe the Gospel reading about plucking out a body part that offends God also applies to this body. Please pray that saints arise for the purification and sanctification of our Church.
Regarding “Should Laypeople Investigate Cardinals?” in the Oct. 28 issue (page 8): Philip Nielsen, the layman behind the group, says the group has consulted with canon lawyers about their activities. “We are simply working to compile known data, investigate the question marks and then make readily available to all accurate information about the actions of Church leadership according to objective standards of scholarship, journalism and investigation,” he said. “Right now, rumors and accusations are rife, and ordinary Catholics are losing confidence in the Church’s integrity. If we Catholics can’t come together to take responsibility and restore trust, secular authorities will do it for us, as we are already seeing in the attorneys general investigations across a dozen states.”
I, for one, am inclined to give this group the benefit of the doubt — certainly at least for a while — in the hope they will operate in the best tradition of competent laymen as authorized in the Code of Canon Law and also encouraged by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen: “According to the knowledge, competence and prestige which [the laity] possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful” (Canon 212 §3). “Inherent in this right, and explicit in various canons, is the right of the laity to freely form associations” (Canon 298 §1). As Archbishop Sheen said, “Who is going to save our Church? Not our bishops, not our priests and religious. It is up to you, the people. You have the minds, the eyes and the ears to save the Church. Your mission is to see that your priests act like priests, your bishops act like bishops, and your religious act like religious.”
Palm Harbor, Florida
The credit for the Gov. Jerry Brown photo on page 8 of the Nov. 11 issue left out the first name of the photographer, Josh Edelson. The Register regrets the error.
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