‘Monks’ R Us
Regarding “Irish Treasures That Dispelled the Darkness” (Travel, Jan. 25-31):
I thoroughly enjoyed Marie Whitla O'reilly's article on her day trip to Dublin. Although a “cradle Catholic,” I have only recently been learning of our beautiful Catholic culture as expressed in paintings, music, sculpture and architecture.
(My great-great grandfather was Augustus Welby Pugin, a Catholic convert who designed the neo-Gothic cathedrals in England in addition to hundreds of ecclesiastical pieces, furnishings, wallpaper, etc.)
The article affirmed my reasons for home schooling four of our eight children. Like the Irish monks I, too, am attempting to preserve and pass on our Catholic culture in an effort to thwart the invading secularism that has permeated our parish schools.
Dear bishops, take note: Today's home-schooling families are the “Irish monks” of the 21st century.
Thank you for a beautiful article and for the Register! May God bless all your staff for your fine publication.
Diane Thunder Schlosser
Elm Grove, Wisconsin
More Mass for America
I hope I am not too late to bring John Naughton's wonderful idea to the forefront and encourage all readers to do what he suggested (“Mass for America,” Letters, Jan. 11-17): Pray for unity and offer daily Mass and holy Communion up to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, that they will protect and bless our country.
I am a daily communicant and was thinking along these same lines for quite some time. I would even go so far as to add that we, in union with one another, offer and consecrate our country to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Patroness of the Americas, in light of the promises she made at Fatima and the great role she plays in world history.
Whoever has the time could add the daily rosary. It would be wonderful if our bishops would make this call to all Catholics, but we cannot wait and rely on them. Let's start with a small group. You, the editor, could invite others through your paper to join and keep this idea alive.
May America become a beacon for pro-life and Christ's teaching in the world. I am sure our country will be blessed and prosper.
Agnes H. Pilot
Thanks for Franciscan
I am writing in response to Tim Drake's article on the mandatum and Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio (“Taking an Oath,” Feb. 1-7). I have one daughter who graduated last year (Ellie), and a son, Lucas, who is currently a junior at the university.
Orientation Weekend for the freshmen is when the faculty takes the oath of fidelity to the magisterium of the Church. We have attended three orientation Masses at Franciscan University. These Masses have convinced us that we have made the right decision.
As parents we are so impressed with Steubenville's focus on the truth that we make the huge financial sacrifice to send our kids there. Last year, we spent one-third of our pre-tax income in tuition and room and board for two students. We passed up “Catholic” colleges in our area that would have cost us much less because we could not trust them to strengthen our children's faith. They could have lead our children away from the faith and asked us to pay for the privilege.
We thank you for highlighting Steubenville and the great gift they are to our country.
Our Kennedy in Washington
Regarding “Bringing the Rosary to Capitol Hill” (Inperson, Dec. 14-20):
Tim Drake's interview with U.S. Rep. Mark Kennedy, the Minnesota Republican who lives the Catholic faith without shame or hesitation and with much courage, was simply extraordinary.
This interview was enough to make me feel very proud to be Irish — and to feel overwhelmed with the four-generation history of this particular Kennedy family.
I am a recent convert to the Catholic faith — so recent, in fact, that I am not yet confirmed. Upon reading some of the letters and articles in the Register, I am eternally grateful that we started at the parish we did, St. Isidore's in Grand Rapids, Mich. It is an old Polish church. In physical beauty and in many other ways, St. Isidore's is a very orthodox parish.
For Mr. Skuba, who laments that many priests seem afraid to mention God's justice along with his mercy, there is Father Don. He is not afraid to give a good, old-fashioned homily.
More than once he has asked the congregation when we are going to put Christ at the head of our lives.
For Mr. Aiello, who fears that the issues are not being addressed, well, I can't remember a specific homily, but I am quite certain that those issues have been addressed and addressed well. I certainly don't feel as though I have a lack of knowledge about many issues facing the Church.
And as for the renewal, our RCIA director has told us that she has never had as big a group as us in 15 years. That seems to me a good sign.
I realize parishes like those described by Mr. Skuba and Mr. Aiello do exist. I've been to a few, and it is depressing. I would even agree that some priests are afraid of emptying the pews, which are already sparsely populated. They needn't worry. At St. Isidore's, the most traditional and orthodox parish I've been to (the only one in the area that might still perform the Latin Mass), the pews are packed at virtually every Mass.
Preach the truth and the people will listen. I certainly did.
Grave Family Matters
I write in response to the Family Matters column in the Jan. 25-31 issue titled “Sneaky Conceptions?”
I find the case for the use of natural family planning by many Catholics today to be less than virtuous or substantially grounded in the Church's teaching on such. What I have very often found presented as legitimate grounds for regulating births boils down to a rather self-centered, anti-child mentality — much the same as that of the contraceptive user.
Anyone who has a basic understanding of marriage from the Catholic standpoint recognizes the purpose is twofold: union and procreation. To enter into the marriage covenant without full openness to the child component “right now” indicates that the couple isn't ready for marriage unless, of course, one of the grave reasons listed in Humanae Vitae is truly present. To say, however, that as a newlywed couple you prayed about having children and “felt God was asking you to wait” because of graduate studies and high rent boggles the mind as to the gravity of the situation and is very misleading. Perhaps it is marriage that should have waited until the couple could fully embrace its rights and responsibilities.
While nobody can judge the motives behind a couple's choice for the use of natural family planning, accountability to the guidelines established by the Church must go beyond the legalism of its objective morality and truly weigh the gravity issue seriously. A couple in poverty or under a one-child regime as in China or dealing with serious health issues can necessitate NFP use. But the ultimate question at hand is: Has the couple truly surrendered to God's will for marriage or is there a conscious or unconscious clinging to one's own will instead? Natural family planning isn't meant to be the Catholic version of birth control in the negative sense but rather a resource for exceptional situations that warrant its use.
South Brunswick, New Jersey