Letters 12.1.13

Contract Priests

Thank you for the story about the contract priest in Georgia ("Mass Unchained," Nov. 3 issue):

Out here in Washington state (we call D.C. the other Washington), we also have the same situation at the Naval Base Kitsap, and, thanks be to God, we now have our dear Father Henry back! Yesterday, he was able to say a daily Mass and will be back in his vestments on Sunday.

The story doesn’t really end happily ever after. You see, now Father is contracted to say only one daily Mass and one Sunday Mass, with the other chapel in the area, which is located in the Jackson Park housing area, now relegated to a "community center," with neither Catholic Mass nor Protestant services held there, due to the sequester and the decision that extensive cuts need to be made in the already meager OPTAR funding.

If this is the only income a priest has, it is impossible for him to live on these contracts. There has been a pattern of slowing defunding the chaplaincy over the last 20 years, and it not only involves the lack of active-duty priests and Protestant ministers, but the rapidly degrading regard for Christians in the military to have their rights limited to worship and not to allow free speech or freedom-of-religion views being expressed, under penalty of captain’s mast — for example, for expressing that he or she believes in traditional marriage.

There are other hidden issues in the military, including the dramatic increases in abuse of females in all the services, and our senator, Patty Murray, stated that this is a good sign that women are not afraid to report abuse. My concern is that if a woman conceives during a rape, the only help she gets is counseling to abort, due to lack of a priest being available at the hospital.

The Navy medicine view has always been: What form of birth control are you wanting to use? When do you want your tubal ligation or have your husband have a vasectomy (after the birth of every child)? I was, unfortunately, not catechized well about these issues as a Navy wife and only learned later about Humanae Vitae and the wisdom of our dear popes about these evils, which are not just encouraged, but are the only choices offered, on naval bases.

We are currently having confirmation here at the Bangor Chapel (named the Prince of Peace community), next week, with Bishop Buchon, from the Archdiocese for the Military Services, coming to officiate. My husband and I have been instructing two active-duty and one dependent wife, who will also be confirmed as adults, along with young people.

If the chapel continues to be defunded, these ministries will cease to be. The fact that there is no priest paid to do any marriage counseling, personal counseling or to provide spiritual guidance on a daily basis (unless he volunteers his time, as Father Henry was doing) shows a lack of concern for the spiritual needs of servicemen, including those who have been deployed on ships, submarines or in war zones, or for servicewomen or dependents who have been abused and need not only medical and psychological help, but spiritual guidance to help them through these crises. Approximately 25% of all service personnel indicate that they are Catholic, but have less and less opportunity to receive the sacraments, in a blatant disregard for their religious freedom.

Please ask Mother Angelica, her sisters and the staff at EWTN and the Register to pray for all servicemen and women and their families, as it appears the upper echelon is determined to take religion out of the military.

Laurie Coykendall

Poulsbo, Washington


Simple Question

Regarding "Loyola Marymount Insurance Will No Longer Cover Elective Abortions" (Education, Nov. 3 issue), I have a simple question: Will the unborn babies killed by the optional third-party administrator insurance plan be less dead because they are killed without expenditure of university money?

Mary Hill

Austin, Texas


Warning Sign

Ralph Martin’s article, "Why Are We So Afraid?" (Culture of Life, Nov. 3 issue), has given me a lot of food for thought.

Teaching people about hell is not a scare tactic, but a warning sign, like: "Do Not Enter — Bridge Out Ahead."

How can people accept salvation unless they know what they are saved from? Don’t we realize that the whole world was on its way to hell, led by Satan, because of the sin of Adam, and that Jesus is our Savior because he came to lead us back to God and away from hell?

He saves us from evil, slavery to sin and hell. People need to know where we will end up without Jesus — they need to know about hell. People need to know they need a Savior!

Jesus taught, "Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do" (Matthew 9:12). I don’t think Jesus was saying, "Some people are sick and need a physician — a savior; and some people are well and have no need of a savior." I think he was saying that everyone is "sick" — in need of a savior — whether they keep the Ten Commandments or not. (Scripture says, "The Law cannot save.") But only those who know they need a Savior can be saved — those who accept salvation.

To repent is to turn away from sin — from hell — and to follow Jesus into the Kingdom of God, by entering into him and becoming like him. Unbelief is the greatest obstacle to repentance and to salvation. Unbelief causes us to ignore the warning sign and drive right off the cliff.

Vatican II tells us that some may be saved, even though they are not Christians, if they have not heard the Gospel or have heard a distorted version of it. They are saved by their hunger for the Truth, their search for God, and their response to the leading of the Holy Spirit, which enables them to love God and their neighbor.

Hell is not a punishment for not following Jesus — it is the wages of sin, our sentence. Jesus paid the price to set us free — if we want to be free.

Lenora Grimaud

Indio, California


Sign of Hope?

Regarding your coverage and clarification of Pope Francis’ interviews:

The trademark of Christianity is that it practices love and compassion, self-giving, forgiveness, hope, charity and justice, thus fostering peace, inner happiness and joy to the world.

Secularism and materialism breed strife, lust for power and possessions, greed, selfishness, jealousy, hate, killing, war, atrocities, persecutions and martyrdom, as seen on TV.

Pope Francis’ peace formula of evangelization is the right and only choice — by believers becoming disciples and missionaries, taking his peace plan to the streets and nooks and crannies of society.

"Go, and spread the Good News to all nations. Do not be afraid. I am with you till the end of time, says the Lord."

George Verstraete

Winnipeg, Canada 


Heed Canon 915

Your Oct. 20 edition included the article "Cardinal Burke to Pelosi: Heed Canon 915."

The cardinal indicated that "House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s repeated public support for abortion is a grave sin" that means she should not be admitted to holy Communion, out of concern for her spiritual state, and that Canon 915 of canon law "must be applied" in Pelosi’s case.

That canon states that people who are "obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin" should not be admitted to Communion. I fear for Congresswoman Pelosi if she does not come to understand how gravely in error she is.

But more is at stake here than the salvation of the soul of Minority Leader Pelosi. Pelosi is only one of dozens of "Catholic" members of the U.S. Congress who are individually responsible, on a daily basis, for the legal killing of 3,000 unborn children a day. Each refuses every day to support a constitutional amendment that would legally protect the unborn. (We know that some woman will have abortions whether they are legal or not, but research indicates that when abortions are made legal, their numbers dramatically increase, and when they become illegal, their numbers dramatically decrease by as much as 86%.)

These "Catholic" pro-abortion members are blocking passage of a constitutional amendment to stop the legal killing. However, when their bishops admit them to Communion, they are conveying to them that their positions/actions are morally acceptable; for regular reception of Communion in the Catholic Church conveys that the person is a practicing Catholic, in the state of grace, in good standing and in communion with the Church.

At the same time, these legislators’ reception of Communion conveys to Catholic citizens that their support of abortion is not morally unacceptable. These citizens feel then that they can, in good conscience, vote for a pro-abortion candidate. A significant number of practicing Catholics do so, permitting many persons to be elected and re-elected to office who otherwise would not be. This prevents obtaining sufficient votes to legally protect the unborn.

We can expect the legal killing of the unborn to continue (now at 55 million) until the bishops withhold Communion from pro-abortion "Catholic" legislators, conveying that it is morally wrong to support legal abortion and for citizens to elect individuals who do so.

Mark Gallagher

Ocean City, New Jersey


Mother Cabrini

Relative to the Register’s story on the National Shrine of St. Frances Cabrini in Chicago (Travel, Nov. 3 issue):

I would love to see a story about the Mother Cabrini Shrine in the Rocky Mountain foothills above Golden, Colo.

When I was a young boy growing up in northwest Denver in the late ’40s and early ’50s, my dad and mom took us to the Mother Cabrini Shrine, which was 10 miles west of our house. At that time, there wasn’t much there — no big chapel with retreats and conference facilities; no "Stairway of Prayer," with 373 steps adorned by the Stations of the Cross, the Mysteries of the Rosary and the Ten Commandments.

What my father wanted us to see was "The Spring." I read that, in 1912, Mother Cabrini discovered a spring of water, and to this day, water still flows from it. Many pilgrims believe the water has brought healing and peace to their lives.

Dad explained what happened and said this was a miracle. After I graduated from high school, there was a campaign to raise money for the Stations of the Cross, to which I contributed.

If you perform an Internet search for "Mother Cabrini Shrine, Colorado," you can explore all of the links and view the YouTube video with a trip up the Stairway of Prayer with many views.

Harold O’Hayre

Glendale, Arizona

Cistercian Father Thomas Esposito says of discerning one’s college choice, ‘There has to be something that tugs at you and makes you want to investigate it further. And then the personal encounter comes in the form of a visit or a chat with a student or alumnus who communicates with the same enthusiasm or energy about the place. And then that love of a place can be a seed which germinates in your own heart through prayer.’

Choose a College With a Discerning Mind and Heart

Cistercian Father Thomas Esposito, assistant professor of theology at the University of Dallas (UD) and subprior (and former vocations director) of the Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Dallas, drew from his experience as both a student and now monastic religious to help those discerning understand the parallels between religious and college discernment.

Representing the Holy Spirit that descended “like a dove” and hovered over Jesus when he was baptized.

Bishop Burbidge: The Pandemic is Our ‘Pentecost Moment’

This “21st century Pentecost moment” brought on by the pandemic, Bishop Michael Burbidge said, has underscored the need for good communication in the Church across all forms of media, in order to invite people into the fullness of the Gospel.