Letters 12.24.17

Readers respond to Register articles.

(photo: Register Files)

Religious Bias

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., was roundly criticized — and justly so — for grilling Circuit Court of Appeals judicial nominee Amy Barrett about her Catholicism (“JFK and Amy Coney Barrett,” Editorial, Oct. 1 issue).

Critics included the presidents of Notre Dame and Princeton universities, who lambasted her unconstitutional attempt to use religion as a test for government office.

At Barrett’s judicial nominee hearing, Feinstein opened her questioning of Barrett by congratulating her on raising a family of seven children and proceeded to say, “Many of us who have lived our lives as women really recognize the value of finally being able to control our reproductive systems, and Roe entered into that, obviously. I listened to your answers to Sen. Grassley’s questions, and it leaves me a bit puzzled because you have a long history of believing that your religious beliefs should prevail” — meaning that, since professor Barrett is a Catholic who opposes abortion, her religious beliefs will compel her to oppose abortion in her judicial rulings.

Feinstein could have said the same about a nominee of a different religion with the same personal views as Barrett, because the primary issue for her is not religion, but unrestricted abortion.

Yes, Catholicism and other Christian denominations oppose abortion, but abortion is also a constitutional, moral, health and civil-rights issue for judges to rule on, no matter their personal views. 

Feinstein and most other Democrats are members of the “abortionist” religion, whose chief tenet is that women have the right to the unrestricted, barbaric killing of their children through all nine months of pregnancy.

She is showing her religious bias by attempting to keep pro-lifers off the judiciary. 

         John Naughton

         Silver Spring, Maryland

Editor’s note: The Senate confirmed Barrett to the judiciary Oct. 31.


Political Word Games

Italian Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the newly reconstructed Pontifical Academy for Life, comments on the revision of the John Paul II Institute (“What Is the Future of the John Paul II Institute?” page one, Oct. 15-28 issue). He paints Amoris Laetitia as a progression in continuity with Pope John Paul II’s Familiaris Consortio, rather than for what it is more likely — a mutating contradiction enabling access to the Eucharist for those who are divorced and remarried without a declaration of nullity. Regarding the John Paul II Institute and possibly much else, Archbishop Paglia appeals to broad “anthropological-cultural change.”

What, then, of Veritatis Splendor, which is mentioned not even once in Amoris Laetitia? And as for the outreach now extended to the overreaching social sciences, also dismissed is the foundational Rerum Novarum — issued as moral guidance for entry into the 20th century — and even Centesimus Annus, which authentically developed this same guidance for our entry into the 21st century.

Both of these encyclicals — and the entire sequence in between — take pains to ground the developing Catholic social teaching broadly and deeply: “Christian anthropology [not anthropological-cultural change] therefore is really a chapter of theology, and for this reason, the Church’s social doctrine, by its concern for man and by its interest in him and in the way he conducts himself in the world, ‘belongs to the field … of theology and particularly of moral theology’” (RN, 143; CA, 55).

I write as a mere and “rigid” layman, but am consoled by the words of Cardinal John Henry Newman (and his unmutilated development of Christian doctrine).

When asked, “Who are the laity?” he recalled that many bishops once became Arian, and then replied, “The Church would look foolish without them.”

So, from the pews, this “Yes” to greater “accompaniment” under Amoris Laetitia, but a higher “Yes” to drawing the line on sacrilege of the Eucharist.

Instead of freeing the Church of careerists, it’s almost as if our outsider Pope Francis has been colonized by those now in favored positions. On their word games now divorcing pastoral actions from moral teachings, the magisterium from the fictional play My Fair Lady now seems to apply: “The French [read: German or Italians] don’t care what they do actually, so long as they pronounce it properly.”

         Peter D. Beaulieu

         Shoreline, Washington



Unfortunate Error

Regarding your article “Notre Dame’s ‘Stunning’ About-Face” (Nov. 26 issue):

The Notre Dame administration has, by assuring employees of the university that they will not lose contraceptive insurance coverage, even though the use of contraceptives is not an accepted method of birth control by the Catholic Church, made another unfortunate mistake.

Again, because of the university’s stature and notoriety, we have a pronouncement that may be used by those not affiliated with the Catholic faith to misinterpret its meaning for purposes not beneficial to the Church.

The administration, headed by Father John Jenkins, must know that such actions are often represented to the world outside of the university as “Catholic-based,” even though the administration may not intend them to be used as such.

Those at the university who make decisions that are related to matters of faith and morals should be guided solely by Catholic faith and teachings.

But, in decision after decision, they seem to resist or ignore such guidance.

These actions continue to be of great concern for the Catholic alumnae and alumni of Notre Dame who feel that the present administration is unknowingly using the university as a platform for spreading untruths and misrepresentations about the faith and teachings of the Catholic Church.

          William A. Dodd Jr.

           Notre Dame Class of ’62

           Clearwater, Florida



The print version of “The Difficulty of Canonizing Popes” (Vatican, Nov. 26 issue) incorrectly stated the year Pope St. Pius V was canonized — it was 1712. The Register regrets the error.