Letters 12.16.2007

Liturgical Clarity

What a wonderful description of the difficulties in translation and the reason for some of the choices made by ICEL translators in the new Roman Missal (“Liturgy Expert on the Roman Missal,” Nov. 25).

The explanation by Bishop [Arthur] Roche that the awkward (to us) sounding “Grace to you and peace from God” greeting is biblical and traditional was interesting and informative. It gives even more depth and meaning to our understanding of the new translation.

And it provides even deeper irony to the contrasting “Liturgical Guidelines Get Updates” article in the same issue. It seems that the Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy, under the leadership of Bishop [Donald] Trautman, saw need to update not only new guidelines for the use of music in worship, but, deeper in the article, revised the Sunday and weekday Lectionary readings for Lent. The committee found problems, “of too-lengthy sentences that are difficult for liturgical proclamation; pronouns without a clear antecedent; and problems with poetic expression, grammar and vocabulary.” 

Richard L. Johnson

Kirkland, Washington

Scholastic’s Betrayal

Thank you for your Nov. 18 article, “Anti-Catholic Compass,” detailing the anti-Catholic/anti-Christian themes in the upcoming movie The Golden Compass. As you state in your article, this movie is based on the first book of the Philip Pullman trilogy entitled His Dark Materials. The second and third books of the trilogy are The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass.

We were highly disappointed that Scholastic, the children’s book publisher that appears to have near-exclusive marketing domain in our schools, chose to co-produce this movie. Given that Scholastic’s credo asserts a desire “to help build a society free of prejudice and hate,” its affiliation with this movie and distribution of these books amounts to a betrayal of parental trust, as well as Scholastic’s stated purpose.

Parents should be aware that the monthly Scholastic brochures sent home with their children will contain books related to the movie, including the books on which the movie is based. Moreover, these books are also likely to be prominently featured at the semi-annual book fairs that Scholastic sponsors at schools, including our Catholic schools. Although the movie may water down the anti-Christian themes, the three books that comprise His Dark Materials do not.

As the reviewer stated in your article, and as made clear in the Catholic League’s analysis (“The Golden Compass: Agenda Unmasked”), the books become progressively more vile as the reader moves through the trilogy. Pullman makes no secret of his hatred of Christianity, in particular the Roman Catholic Church, so it is not at all surprising that his animus pervades his books.

Parents, beware. Scholastic is selling books at your Catholic school designed to undermine your child’s faith. As for me and my family, we’ll be buying books elsewhere.

Mary Dugan Wood

Wooster, Ohio

Creation’s Conductor

I found the Register editorial, “6 Myths of Atheism” (Nov. 18), critical toward atheism to be very informative.

Further, it is repugnant to allege that overall creation created itself. When one observes the beauty, purpose and harmony highly evident throughout all creation, it stretches credibility in maintaining there is no higher guiding intelligence.

No one put this more succinctly than Albert Einstein, who observed the following: “The magnificent universe is like a symphony, and every symphony needs a conductor.”

Thomas E. Dennelly

West Islip, New York

Fortuitous Date

Regarding “Our Readers’ Newspaper” (Nov. 8):

Though I was too young to be aware of the Register’s birthday on Nov. 8, 1927, it was indeed a fortuitous date being a mere three months after my birth, Aug. 9, 1927. There are two reasons to celebrate the year that even — in all modesty — overrides Lindbergh’s ocean hop to France in May of that year.

Msgr. Smith’s foundational formula certainly did serve the Register well as evidenced by its revival from the sagging of the 1960s and early ’70s; not to speak of the Holy Spirit’s perennial presence.

Aubert Lemrise

Peru, Illinois

Negative Example

The Nov. 4 Register front page article, “Bishop Crossed” relating to Holy Cross College’s recent allowance of a Planned Parenthood/NARAL affiliated teen pregnancy conference on campus might well have been titled: “Double Cross College.”

Parents sending their child to Holy Cross College expecting Catholic teaching are being betrayed, or double-crossed, by the most subtle and effective of education methods, that is the method of teaching by example.

The example in point being set here is that when Holy Cross graduates go out into the world, how many will now feel comfortable in inviting Planned Parenthood/NARAL into their communities, into their high schools, etc., to peddle their culture of death services? After all, a supposed Catholic college where they went, and their president, Father Michael McFarland, SJ, had no problem in doing the same, even ignoring the bishop and the Catholic Church. Why shouldn’t these students now ignore their own bishop and the official teachings of the Catholic Church?

The Register does a service to Catholic parents by publishing information on the many fine Ex Corde Ecclesiae truly Catholic colleges, available to them.

In time, enough word will get out and the Planned Parenthood/NARAL-affiliated, culture of death colleges will be exposed for their scandalous falsity and recede into oblivion.

Frank Strelchun, Ph.D.

Canaan, Connecticut

Loud AB, Quiet C

Regarding Sue Ellin Browder’s story “UNAIDS Attack on Church Is Unscientific, Scientists Say” (Dec. 2), kudos on a job well done.

I want to clarify only one point regarding the ABC message we used in Uganda. Our successful prevention message — the one that lowered our national HIV-infection rates from 21% to 6% — was officially known as the “Loud AB and Quiet C.”

“Abstinence” and “Being faithful” were the primary messages all over the place: in schools, government buildings, offices, and churches. The “Condom” message was spoken in hushed, quiet tones because while the state wanted to provide condoms to those who wouldn’t abstain or be faithful, it did not want to promote the message that promiscuity was okay.

You can ask many African AIDS officials about this, and they’ll say the same thing: The “Loud AB and the Quiet C.”

That is why we did not have condom billboards until after 1994, when outside “experts” came in and demanded them.

Martin Ssempa, Ph.D.
President, Global AIDS Prevention (GAP)

Committee Member,

Uganda AIDS Commission

Useful Resource

I was given a copy of “How and Why to Return to Sunday Mass” from the Culture of Life section in the Dec. 2 Register. It was fantastic. So much that I would like to use it for the parish at which I am a director of religious education.

Gail A. DeFrancisco

Director of Religious Education

Holy Family Parish

Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin

Editor’s note: The “How to be a Catholic” guides were designed with readers in mind. You can copy and hand out as many copies as you would like. You can download all the guides on ncregister.com. Click on “Resources” and then “How to be a Catholic.”

Uncovering Abuse

I read with interest the story by Wayne Laugesen, “Teachers vs. Priests” in the Dec. 2 issue.

A couple of years ago, I found a huge amount of information about the abuse of students in public schools on the U.S. Department of Education website.

Search for “Educator Sexual Misconduct: A Synthesis of Existing Literature.” It is filled with details, charts and data.

There is so much sexual abuse in the public sector that is never mentioned. Often it is hidden by the adults in the schools because they want to protect the schools and school district.

Also, John Stossel of ABC News did an investigation into sexual abuse a couple of years ago. The New York City schools were housing hundreds of accused sexual offenders in a building, away from children. The length of time for them to come to court was so long that many continued to receive their salary and benefits up until retirement.

Just do a search for John Stossel ABC, then search for Sexual Abuse in Public Schools. You will find more information to help you get the message out.

Bob O’Neill

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Nothing Left to Offer

In response to letters “Send a Message” and “Weighing Certainty” (Nov. 18): If we give an inch this time, what do we give in to the next time? Is a Republican win more important than the culture of life?

Remember: The frog put in boiling water will immediately jump out but if you put him in cold water and gradually bring it to a boil he will cook to death. Let us not be the frog gradually being boiled. If the Republican Party gives up on the culture of life, it has nothing left to offer us.

Don Daudelin
Canaan, New Hampshire