Letters 11.30.14

St. Benedict’s Light

What a great article about St. Benedict’s School in Newark, N.J. (“Playing by The Rule,” Culture of Life, Nov. 2 issue). The Dark Ages, my foot. Benedict shines the Light even today.

Thank you. God bless you and yours.

         Ted Wartman

         Erlanger, Kentucky


Rotten Core

Thank you for your recent article on Common Core (“Jindal vs. Common Core,” page one, Sept. 7 issue).

As a mother, grandmother and a retired educator, I’d like to address three concerns.

First, ELA (English, language arts) being my field, contrary to much of what I’ve seen with writers workshops, I agree with Sandra Stotsky’s research: Writers are the end result of developmental maturity, reading, reading and more reading; hence, modeling and accumulation of knowledge are the readiness for writing.

It is impossible for young children to have necessary experiences and grammatical mastery in order to be peer editors. And no teacher has the time to individually supply each child with either the knowledge and/or skills needed to meet the needs of each child who is being asked to exercise higher levels of learning.

It’s far better to teach them phonics, reading and grammar. When they have accumulated knowledge and skills, then they are in a position to share their thinking via writing.

Teaching very young children to write, with peer review, rather than teach through adult interaction, is like the “blind leading the blind.” Trying to teach higher levels of thinking without maturation, along with the accumulation of knowledge and skills, is simply inappropriate, not a higher level of thinking.

My second concern is math. At a Wisconsin congressional open hearing on the Common Core, James Milgram, a mathematician from Stanford, talked about “fuzzy math,” where there can really be no mathematically correct answer because “nothing” is defined. He explained why students who had only Common Core math mastery would not be prepared for any STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs.

And my third concern has to do with testing. After listening to Gary Thompson, a clinical psychologist from Utah, I completely agreed with his statement on testing: “Anyone in my profession who would administer an unpiloted test without clearly informing the parents and getting their consent would lose their license.” He also warned against negative effects on the very young and the very vulnerable with the unpiloted computer tests.

In closing, I quote Pope Francis, while addressing the members of the International Catholic Child Bureau on April 16, 2014: “At the same time, this implies supporting the right of parents to decide the moral and religious education of their children. And in this regard, I would like to express my rejection of any kind of educational experimentation with children. We cannot experiment with children and young people. The horrors of the manipulation of education that we experienced in the great genocidal dictatorships of the 20th century have not disappeared; they have retained a current relevance under various guises and proposals and, with the pretense of modernity, push children and young people to walk on the dictatorial path of ‘only one form of thought.’”

         Ann Kowalczyk

         Waukesha, Wisconsin


Poisoned Pen

I read with interest your article (“Report Confirms Obamacare Warnings,” Oct. 5 issue), confirming that federal dollars are indeed being used to pay for abortions, despite the assurances we heard from some Catholic leaders that this would not be the case.

As your article points out, one of those leaders was Sister Carol Keehan, president of the Catholic Health Association. As your readers may recall, Sister Carol defiantly endorsed Obamacare, despite steadfast opposition by American bishops to the bill due to its funding of abortion.

Sadly, her support helped clear the way for passage of the bill, and, in return, the White House gave her one of the 22 pens President Obama used to sign the landmark legislation.

Although Sister Carol’s open defiance to the bishops was hailed by many as a victory for social justice over an oppressive and sexist patriarchy, it was a stark reminder to others of an incident recorded in Matthew 26:6-16.

According to St. Matthew, while Jesus was visiting the house of a leper in Bethany, a woman anointed Jesus with expensive perfumed oil. Seeing this, Jesus’ disciples became indignant and said, “Why this waste? It could have been sold for much and the money given to the poor.”

Upon hearing this, Jesus admonished his disciples, asking, “Why do you make trouble for the woman? She has done a good thing for me. The poor you will always have with you; but you will not always have me. In pouring this perfumed oil upon my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. Amen, I say to you, wherever this Gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be spoken of in memory of her.”

“Then,” according to Matthew, “one of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?’ They paid him thirty pieces of silver, and from that time on, he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.”

Two lessons may be drawn from this: First, bad things can happen for the sake of “social justice.” Second, the more things change, the more they remain the same.

For defying authority, Judas was paid 30 pieces of silver. Sister Carol only received a pen.

         Joe Walsh

         Chicago, Illinois


Catholic Identity

Regarding “Ruthenian Renaissance” (World, Oct. 19 issue):

Your article, while optimistic, was equally thought-provoking. Unfortunately, that branch of our Catholic Church has suffered not only by the actions of the Orthodox Churches, but also by the actions of Latin-rite Catholics, both lay and hierarchical.

While the article mentions the defections of many Ruthenes to the Orthodox Church, it glossed over the fact that a great many others were and still are being absorbed into the Latin branch of the Catholic Church. 

It is especially ironic that the same issue contained an article about now-Blessed Miriam Teresa Demjanovich, who was a Ruthenian Catholic but was absorbed into Latin-rite Catholicism as well as into a Latin-rite religious congregation for women.

Note that the article makes no mention whatsoever of Miriam’s Ruthenian Catholic roots — a sort of bittersweet irony there.

         Deacon Edmund Gronkiewicz

         Chicago, Illinois


Bad ‘Bloods’

Relative to Tom Nash’s blog post, “Blue Bloods Runs Cold on Church’s Treatment of Homosexuals” (NCRegistger.com, Oct. 13):

Thank you so much, Tom, for your article.

I hope you sent it to the producers of the show. You are right: They didn’t do their homework or they have an agenda to put forward. I have caught this many times, especially when bishops and cardinals come into the script in full regalia on a weekday.

Another episode a few months back also disturbed me: It shows Erin counseling her teenage daughter on when to have sex (marriage does not come into the discussion). Essentially, you have to be sure you really love the other person, and then it’s okay. Erin’s one-liner: “You’ll know when it’s time.”

And, like the religious sister in the Oct. 10 show, she admits with no shame that that is what she herself did.

God bless you for all your good work.

         Patsy Edinburgh

         Dallas, Texas


Pro-Life Voting

Regarding your midterm-election coverage:

Two years ago, the Register, just prior to our national elections, featured an article defending the right to vote for the lesser of two evils. In response to that article, I offer the following two questions:

If a woman conceives a child as the result of a rape and then aborts her baby, does she have to go to confession? And, secondly, by my contributions and voting, how many babies can I enable to be aborted and still call myself pro-life?

                        Edward A. Hummel

                              DePere, Wisconsin