Letters 11.4.2007

Letters 11.4.2007

Freed to Choose What?

Related to “Shut Down” (Oct. 7):

A man who seems to be pro-abortion was reported to scream about a woman’s choice. Whenever I hear someone (especially politicians or journalists) say “freedom to choose” in support of abortion, I would like to ask the person the following questions: “How about freedom to choose robbery?”

We are not free to choose whatever we like to do, if there is a possibility to harm another person. Every action is not justifiable, because someone exercises his freedom to choose.

This is different from the case in which a choice does not involve harming a person, such as choosing between a white shirt and a blue one. So, I suggest that we challenge politicians who claim a woman’s choice to support abortion.

Gemma Droual

Turlock, California

True Hospice Philosophy

Regarding “How We Die Today” (Oct.7):

I am hoping that you include in your investigative series on how we die today some accurate research on the withholding of artificial food and fluids at the end of life. As a practicing Catholic hospice RN, I have witnessed hundreds of deaths — both natural and invasive.

I truly believe that there is a point of allowing nature to take its course, and that God created us in such a way, that this wonderful machine we inhabit, can wind down in a peaceful, comfortable manner. In the end, it becomes burdensome to have fluids hydrate, when the body can no longer process these fluids appropriately.

The pressure of hydration impinges on tumors, causing more pain. It also can fill the lungs, either passively, or by regurgitation, once peristalsis is slowing down — as it must — and patients will naturally have suppressed appetites. At the end of their journey, when their spirit is readying to leave its earthly “tent,” this “dehydration” that follows allows pain-relieving chemicals, mild euphoria and sense of well-being. To interrupt this natural process only prolongs the dying process.

There is a season for living and for dying. I believe strongly that in hospice care, it is possible to live each day in the presence of God and family until a good death is ordained by God. This has been a final gift and blessing to many who have witnessed it. I would hate to have your many readers distrust the true hospice philosophy and intention.

Donna Graeser RN, CHPN
Jackson, Michigan

Clip-Worthy Publication

As a mother of four and grandmother of two, I usually save each issue to read during leisure time later, sometimes on an airplane. I clip articles on books, movies and topics to pass on to Catholic friends and my children. Campus Watch is always of interest to me, as my youngest attends UCLA.

Now I am clipping the World Youth Day articles that I send to her, since she is thrilled to be going to Sydney next summer.

Thank you for the political coverage also that keeps me informed. I am also devouring the recent talks by the Holy Father on the early Church fathers — very interesting.

I appreciate that you include many uplifting, faith-building articles, not just the bad-news coverage.

Mary Curtius

Carlsbad, California

Proper Perspective

Regarding “Register Experience” (Oct. 14):

I just had a particularly difficult week at a new job. When I saw my Register copy, I practically kissed it because it always helps me to re-balance and keep proper perspective on life: feeling loved by my universal Catholic family and, in turn, being able to love back.

Oh Lord, thank you for the gift of your Church.

Barbara Lenard

Lafayette, Indiana

‘Where Are They Now?’

Regarding the letter “Chipping Away” (Oct. 14):

Father Benedict Groeschel, CFR, in his very fine book, The Virtue Driven Life, cites a large photograph displayed at the Dachau Concentration Camp Museum of a group of smiling German SS officers with their large German shepherd having a grand old time hoisting beer steins after a very successful day about 63 years ago. They all look so happy! Below the photo, an inscription in six languages reads:

“And where are they now, where are they now?”

I can imagine 63 years hence a similar photo in another museum showing the clinic staff hoisting martinis at a then-new abortion clinic just opened, beaming with satisfaction at the first successful day of operation. The happy faces are totally oblivious to the nascent lives they have taken that day and the nagging, lifelong hurt they have inflicted on the easily duped young women who so trusted them. Once again an inscription in six languages below the photo reads:

“And where are they now, where are they now?”

 Bill Hartford
Gibson City, Illinois

Happy Development

Relevant to “1962 Mass’ New Day Dawns” (Sept. 9):

It is with great joy and profound gratitude that I welcome the latest apostolic letter of the Holy Father. It permits the celebration of the holy Mass either in the ordinary form (i.e. the current post-Vatican II form) or in the extraordinary form (i.e. the Mass promulgated by Blessed John XXIII and used in 1962, referred to below, for brevity, as the “Old” Mass).

As one who decided to become a Catholic after attending daily Mass for 40-some consecutive days in 1954, I am in a unique position to share with your readers some thoughts on this happy development and some personal observations.

The one disadvantage of the “Old” Mass is that it must be prayed in Latin. I did not know Latin, then or now, but that difficulty can be easily overcome by acquiring a copy of the 1962 Latin-English Missal. The “Old” Mass has a distinct advantage over the post-Vatican II ones currently in use in that it is simpler and more attuned toward spiritual growth. Let me explain.

The “Old” Mass is structurally very simple, because it consists of a “common part,” which remains essentially the same in all Masses, and a changeable part which varies from day to day. Since the Gospel and the Epistle will be read in both Latin and in the vernacular anyway, it is possible to follow most of the “Old” Mass without investing in a copy of the updated 1962 Missal. Indeed I understand one can get a free copy of the common part of the “Old” Mass by downloading from sacred-texts.com.

A more significant difference between the “Old” Mass and the post-Vatican II forms currently in use is their difference in emphases. For the “Old” Mass, the Holy Sacrifice is the sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus Christ, offered to God and led by the priest, on behalf of the people; the word “priest” is used in the classical sense of the term.

While this remains true now as always, including all the Masses offered today, the prevailing opinions in the years of Vatican II are to enhance the communal aspects of the Holy Sacrifice, ostensibly to promote a more active participation of the laity. To this end, the Holy Mass is celebrated in the vernacular at the expense of the past universality of the language of the Mass. The manner of the way Mass is celebrated has also changed. No longer is the Mass offered with the priest and the people facing the tabernacle, where the Lord resides, as well as towards the altar. Instead, the altar is now moved to the center of the sanctuary, with the priest and the people facing it and, thereby, one another, as in most public meetings. The special role of the priest as a sacred minister is now taking on more the appearance of a “presider” in a public meeting.

More serious is the drastic revisions of the prayers of the Mass, with the pronouns “I,” “my” and “me” formerly used by the priest in his prayers at Mass, largely eliminated and replaced. This led to the loss of many beautiful and inspiring prayers that have withstood the test of time.

In summary, while the ordinary forms of the Mass currently in use are more communal, the “Old” Mass is more devotional and, in its quietness, provides many opportunities for contemplation.

As the Holy Father has noted, they are two uses of the same Roman rite.

James B.T. Chu

North Haven, Connecticut

No Way Means No Way

Regarding “Pro-lifers on Rudy: ‘No Way’” (Oct. 7):

‘No way’ should mean ‘No way.’ Pro-lifers have to send a strong and firm message to the Republican National Committee. Pro-life organizations should unite and declare that if Rudy is nominated we will vote for the Democratic nominee. Forget the ‘no vote’ and the third party. It’s time for ‘tough love’. Maybe the RNC will get the message.

Don Daudelin
Canaan, New Hampshire


“The Catechism, 15 Years Later” (Sept. 30) stated that a publisher brought a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. Susan Gibbs, director of communications for the archdiocese, said that there was no lawsuit. A publisher threatened to sue the archdiocese, but did not actually sue.

“Fatima at 90” stated that Francisco and Jacinta Marto were canonized in 2000. They were beatified in the year 2000.