No Fan of ACLU, But …

To be very concise, I am in no way a fan of the ACLU (“ACLU Stops Muslim Teens Form Praying,” Dec. 17 – 23). They are perhaps the most repugnant of all the so-called American civil-liberty protectors. Even many liberals with the ability to think for themselves feel the same. Lets not forget that Michael Dukakis may have lost the presidential election when he was foolish enough to announce that he was a card-carrying member of the (Godless) ACLU.

In reality, though, it may be a taste of their own medicine when Muslims encounter this type of treatment. Let's not forget the Muslim intolerance for Christianity. We need not go much further than the many news reports in the Register over the last year depicting the slaughter of Christians in Africa and Asia by Muslims. Let's not forget that it is illegal for Christians to practice Christianity in many Muslim countries, even when American Christians are in that country fighting a war for them. I have a difficult time feeling sorry for Muslim teen-agers in Brooklyn, N.Y., not being able to pray during school time. I do pray for the Christians who are repressed in a country founded by Christians who wanted to worship in their own way.

STEVE NOGUEIRA Christiansburg, Virginia

Dutch Watch

I was wondering if you would be able to keep an eye on the situation in the Netherlands and see how many people take advantage of that law (“Netherlands Backs Euthanasia, Even for 12-Year-Olds,” Dec. 10 – 16). I'm especially interested in the number of people who are too incapacitated mentally to make a euthanasia request. How many of them will be euthanized under the law, and what will the effect be on the Netherlands'health budget?


Just Another Smiley Face?

Several years ago I purchased three gift subscriptions to your newspaper and one for myself. There was never an invitation to renew from your newspaper and I never renewed. Since then I re-subscribed for myself, but I find your paper to be another “smiley-faced” Catholic publication.

This isn't the kind of Catholic paper that I want. And I won't renew my subscription. I am sure that your publisher will never see this letter. That is one reason your paper will not improve.

JOHN BRADEY Yankton, South Dakota

Publisher's Note: Readers?

Bible's Table Of Contents

I am puzzled by Mr. Douglas Wilson's letter about Karl Keating's column on the Bible when he uses the phrase, “a table of contents.” (“Sola Roma,” Dec. 10 – 16). I am surmising that he means a teaching on a list of just what books are to be in the Bible. But he seems on the other hand to be in a quandary about finding any authoritative Catholic “table of contents” which can identify the boundaries of authoritative and infallible tradition.

I shall offer several “tables of contents” in the Catholic tradition, starting with the most authoritative. There are “several” because Catholic tradition has many aspects. In my library I have a book called Enchiridion Symbolorum, a list in itself of definitive statements of popes and Church councils starting with the creeds of the first century and various statements by the early popes. One interesting entry is that of the declaration of the Council of Carthage in 397 A.D. regarding the canon of Scripture. It is followed by a declaration by Pope Innocent on the same subject but adding a list of apocryphal works. One can say therefore that the Bible itself is a part of authoritative Church tradition.

The Enchiridion continues with Church declarations through the centuries, right up to 1939. Add to these a list of all the encyclicals mostly of recent history that rest in some cases on the infallible authority of the Church. As Mr. Keating suggested, there is most recently the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Next, one might consider lists of works of considerable authority by the Church Fathers, starting with the Didache of the first century and continuing through the centuries with St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Catherine, St. Thérèse of Lisieux and so on. They are all consistent with a single Catholic tradition.

Lastly the scale of authority for Catholic tradition are works of religious art. Mr. Wilson need only consult an art-history book on religious works and see graphically a witness in glass, carvings, paintings and edifices reflecting what the Church has taught through the centuries, obviously with enough authority and conviction to inspire great works of art.

These in my mind constitute the Tradition of the Church. So now with divine revelation and inspired Scripture, the Church stands on unshakable ground for its teaching authority.


Hermana Nirmala

Please tell me the name of the publisher of Sister Nirmala: In the Shadow of Mother Theresa by Cristina Ansorena (“‘God Thirsts for Our Love,’ Says Sister Nirmala,” Dec. 17 – 23). Where to buy? How much is the work?


Editor's Note: We reported on a Spanish-language book which is not yet translated into English. For the Spanish version, try this Web site (ignore the hyphens when you type it in): www.archimadrid.es/alfayome/menu/pasados/revistas/2000/o ct2000/num231/lavida/lavida1.htm

Unwise Investment?

I continuously find myself impressed with the journalism poured into every issue of the National Catholic Register. However, I must add a caveat regarding Phil Lenahan's recent column regarding “own your own home quickly,” which appeared in the Dec. 17 – 23 issue. Being employed in the world of finance, I found his misstatements too egregious to remain silent. And so I write…

In the second to last paragraph Phil makes a comparison between two families:

1) those who prepay their mortgage and

2) those who do not. He concludes that the family which prepaid their mortgage, and then invested, after 30 years will have accumulated a larger asset. What he forgets to point out is that this family has been paying $285 more per month over 30 years, and so the comparison is mathematically flawed. If the family which did not prepay their mortgage was to have set $285 aside in an investment, and continued paying their mortgage for the full 30 years, in the end their assets would be identical to the first family. This is basic time value of money.

I would also point out that most solid investments have a higher yield than the interest rate paid on a mortgage. Therefore if the family, in his example, which did not prepay their mortgage were to set the same amount aside in an investment and let the $285 per month compound over 30 years at a higher yield, they would most likely have the larger nest egg.

In the finance world it is commonly known that many people tie up capital in their home's equity which would yield a much higher return if properly invested.

Phil's column only serves to further that myth.

PAUL DEEMER Columbus, Ohio

Whose Churches?

The Orthodox bishop of Lviv and Galacia had no grounds for complaint when the Ukrainian Catholics of that area took back the churches and cathedrals in 1989 and 1990 that had been stolen from them in 1946 with the help of Joseph Stalin (“Ukraine Headache,” Dec. 10 – 16). Books published later state that the Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral of St. George in Lviv was returned with due pomp and ceremony. What probably bothers that sniveling prelate is that 350 of his priests and parishes defected en masse to the Ukranian Catholic Rite (parishes that had been Catholic before 1946).

As for the Russian Orthodox Patriarch in Moscow, Catholic Eastern rites are not permitted to operate in the Russian Federation, and Roman-rite parishes (mostly among non-Russian ethnics) are permitted to operate publicly only if licensed by Russian Federation bureaucrats. Tell me how Catholics can be proselytizing? Ukraine is no concern of the Russian Orthodox, because the Orthodox Christians in that now-independent nation organized themselves into two Ukranian Orthodox Churches, one with some slight connection with the Moscow patriarch.

The Soviet decree of tolerance for Catholics covered only Ukraine, but not Russia at that time. The Ukranian Catholics posed as the patriots fighting for an independent Ukraine and made good use of the then-rebel Ukrainian blue and yellow flag, so that the Orthodox Christians decided that they were no longer Russian Orthodox although they were not as enthusiastic as the Catholics in waving the blue and yellow flag. Ecumenist Catholic prelates here are a bunch of sellouts of Catholic interests abroad, and that is especially true of Israel!


Rosary Campaign Clarified

Regarding the letter from the individual who assumes the Lepanto Rosary pledge was to pray for “ballots to be counted a certain way” (“Rosaries for Chads?” Letters, 12/17 – 12/23), please let me set you straight.

The Lepanto rosary pledges were for the election of a president who would lead this country away from the present culture of death to a culture of life and a new morality; for a president who would appoint

Supreme Court Justices with moral and not political agendas; for a president who would ban partial birth abortion and embryonic stem cell research and last but not least, that God would not give this country what we truly deserve. Shame on the Catholics who did not choose to vote for life, the most fundamental right, without which all other benefits or rights are meaningless.

Had the Catholics voted their faith, there never would have been a Lepanto pledge. But perhaps that was part of God's plan all along — to get this country to unite in prayer!

DEBRA VINNEDGE Clearwater, Florida

The Naive Catholic Register

Your conclusion that it is the fault of the laity for not communicating differences between Catholic and Democratic Party positions on major issues so that Catholics vote in sync with their ethics is incredibly naïve (“The Blame,” Dec. 3 – 9).

For example, as a citizen of Chicago, what would you consider the chances of Mayor Daley telling the party headquarters that his support base is voting Republican from now on based upon a conversation he had with me about abortion? And in Massachusetts, a similar outcome from a layman talking to Sen. Ted Kennedy?

In fact, you reported earlier this year of a dialogue between a Pennsylvania bishop and the state governor concerning critical issues that obtained a response from the politician and must have aroused the attention of the faithful in that state. So, don't you agree that an effective outcome would more likely result from a dialogue of Cardinal George with Mayor Daley? And a similar outcome with a dialogue by the cardinal in Boston with Sen. Kennedy?

Which raises a more fundamental question: Where is the Catholic leadership on the anti-Christian policies of the Democratic Party leadership? Issuing a policy statement with no follow-up action accomplishes little. Do you think this is all that Pope John Paul II would do if he were a bishop in the U.S.?


Shoe On the Other Foot

Since the election I have been thinking, like you, about the position our bishops and Catholic political leaders took. I ask, what would their position have been if the Republicans had a party plank advocating the murder of 1 million Jews or blacks? Would they have put out a laundry list of other concerns that should be considered?

Would we have heard that the Church can't be an advocate of one party without losing the tax-exempt position we have? Would any Catholic politician have said that he didn't personally support murder of Jews or blacks but it was the law of the land? Why, then, weren't they just as strong in condemning the Democrats' position on abortion, the murder of innocent unborn children?

FRED HOLT Englewood, Florida

Dear President-Elect,

Regarding “Dear President-Elect Bush …” (Dec. 17 – 23): Did Father C. John McCloskey really send that to President-elect Bush? If he didn't, I'd love to clip my copy and send it right away! Excellent letter! Kudos to Father McCloskey!

CAROL NYPAVER Middletown, Kansas

Editor's Note: We understand that arrangements have been made to deliver the column to the president-elect.

Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, April 17, 2014.

Recalling the Unlikely Ginsburg-Scalia Friendship

Justice Antonin Scalia’s love of debate was one of the things that drew him to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a woman with whom he disagreed on many things, including many aspects of the law.