Mission Board Helping Sudan Nurse

I saw the front-page article “Uprooted” (Sept. 12-18), on Katie Gesto, the nurse-practitioner volunteer who has been in the Sudan for the past two years. I would like to point out that she was sent under the auspices of the Catholic Medical Mission Board's Medical Volunteer Program. We provide her travel expenses, a monthly stipend of $350 and full health insurance, in addition to Medivac, malpractice, life and liability insurance coverage. CMMB has even supported her with some medical and other supplies. This information was not included in the article, even though it was quoted that it cost her $4,500 to live there.

I don't mean for that to be made a point of, but was disappointed no indication of our organization's support was made.


Catholic Medical Mission Board

New York City

Fellowship Nurtures Students

I appreciate the college pull-out section about the Catholic colleges and universities (Sept. 26-Oct. 2) who require their professors to have the mandatum and those who take the Oath of Fidelity. I have served in Catholic campus ministry for over 11 years, and it is a critical time of growth (or decay) for the faith in the hearts and minds of our Catholic young adults. It is where the future of our Church and culture are coming of age and choosing whom they will follow. The importance of this battleground can hardly be overemphasized.

I would like to add one addendum to your great reporting and research. Many of your readers may not be able to afford a Catholic university education at one of the faithful institutions that you listed. For them, I would strongly recommend attending a school that has a Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) chapter on campus. The missionaries of FOCUS are fantastic in planting and watering the seeds of the Catholic faith in college students. You can find out more about FOCUS and colleges where they are present at their website: www.focusonline.org.


Our Lady Queen of Mercy Catholic Church

Montgomery, Alabama

Catholic School Enrollment

Regarding “Number of U.S. Catholics, Deacons Up; Priests Down” (Aug. 8-14):

You seem to have counted every aspect of the Catholic population except those children who are being home schooled. Over the past several years, this number has grown considerably, as more parents are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the education their children were getting in the parish schools, particularly in the field of religion.

It would be interesting to know just how many Catholic children are now being home schooled, many through high school, and how this affects the total number of Catholic children no longer attending the parish schools. Incidentally, I know firsthand that these children are being taught extraordinarily well, as they excel in all areas in national competitions — spelling, math and geography, for example — receive high marks by the National Merit Society and go on to do very well in college and in postgraduate studies.


River Forest, Illinois

Don't Take Us for Granted

Regarding “Eerie Silence? Convention Speakers Avoid the ‘A’ Word” (Aug. 8-14): Many issues are politicized and embraced by a particular party, only to be forgotten with the passage of time. While abortion has been widely politicized for over 30 years, it is, ironically, an issue that will not die. It may even determine the outcome of the coming election. Modern technology continues to improve our ability to see the reality of life in the womb, and the results are steadily undercutting the fundamental arguments of abortion proponents and the support of pro-abortion politicians.

The truth about abortion becomes clearer with each new advance in medical technology. For years, parents have listened to the ka-swish, ka-swish of a healthy heart while they waited for the technologist to interpret the fuzzy black-and-white images. Today, 3-D ultrasound technology needs no interpretation. Crisp, clear imaging technology allows parents to see their moving, living baby and answers the age-old question, “Is it a boy or a girl?”

This question, and the technology that answers it, reveals a truth that is irrefutable. The fetus, far from being an indiscernible “mass of cells,” has a sex, heartbeat, head, arms and legs. The fetus also carries its own unique DNA, making it an individual human in every sense of the word. Making this little life within the womb dependent on the mother's body, but not a part of the mother's body.

Truth, having been rejected, is sometimes difficult to see and even harder to acknowledge. Occasionally, our Supreme Court and politicians have failed to recognize truth, as was the case with slavery. Yet, just as the truth about the horror of slavery ultimately prevailed, so will the truth about abortion. Thomas Jefferson eloquently wrote, “We find these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Abortion cannot stand as a woman's right, because it ignores the fact that the fetus is a living human being. With every heartbeat, the fetus cries for the right to be born, just as slaves cried for the right to be free. There is also another truth: Politicians who support abortion cannot win the votes of an ever-growing number of people who recognize that the life within the mother's womb is a baby, a baby who has the right to be born!


Melbourne, Florida

Flynn ‘Overlooks’ Too Much

I read the article “Democrats for Life Had Silent Presence in Boston” (Aug. 8-14) which said, “The group Democrats for Life of America was in Boston for the Democratic National Convention, but members were not inside the Fleet Center as a visible group.”

Then I read that Ray Flynn, the former mayor of Boston and ambassador to the Vatican, was there. The fact that Ray Flynn was being quoted in the article aroused my curiosity. I don't know if I am the only one who caught it, but isn't that the same Ray Flynn that was pictured with his grandkids in Time magazine this month (Time, 8/2/04, page 42). He said, “I campaigned harder for Kerry than for myself. Because of his sacrifice for his country, I could overlook a lot of things.”

I will tell you that Ray Flynn may not have been visible at the Democratic convention, but I'm willing to bet that if Kerry is elected to the White House, Flynn will be visible in the Kerry administration. I was also wondering, if Ray Flynn was ambassador to the Vatican, does anyone think he just overlooked what the American bishops had to say about supporting pro-death candidates like Kerry? Ray Flynn tells the truth, that's for sure. He said he overlooks a lot of things, and he does!


Springfield, Tennessee

Santorum Should Recall

Senator's Vote on Judge Bork

It is always important to look at the facts that someone leaves out when defending a position in a debate, as well as the ones which they use to bolster their case. Hence, it is noteworthy that in Sen. (Rick) Santorum's letter, “Sen. Santorum Replies” in your Sept. 19-24 edition, defending his support of Arlen Specter in the recent Pennsylvania senatorial primary, he tells us that Specter supported the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court. Whether Senator Santorum has a short memory, or he deliberately left it out, it is relevant to note that Specter was a key vote against the nomination of Robert Bork to the same court.


Warren, Ohio