“Poster Child” for Moral Crisis

I commend you for your balanced, insightful front page story on the Clinton crisis and thank you for providing faith-based parameters for examining the issues. There is a strong need for such anchors amid the sea of issues swirling in the secular arenas of our nation.

Mr. Clinton has become the “poster child” for the moral crisis that has become prevalent in our nation, resulting from our ambivalence about taking clear-cut stands and our urge to succumb to our collective addictions. As your article stated, all of our actions, private or public, have an effect on our national soul. While it has been grotesquely painful to see the raw details laid out before us, I believe that Mr. Clinton has forced us as a nation to “hit bottom.” Maybe now, as our President walks his own road of recovery, the nation can begin its own 12-step program. Perhaps it is time to admit “we are powerless,” and that “a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity.” Our nation's hope lies in the ability to look again to a Higher Power for answers; ethical and moral issues cannot be voted on in a democratic process, using spin doctors, polls and elections.

Maura Walsh

Sierra Madre, California

EWTN not “mainstream”?

The article on the new Catholic Radio Network ("Catholic Radio Network Prepares to Hit Airwaves,” September 20–26) left me mystified in a few of its statements. The first of these statements: that EWTN represents “solid” Catholic audiences, but that a network for “mainstream” Catholicism is also needed. Really? Does the Church have two catechisms? Didn't Mother Teresa say that there is no “new” Church or “old” Church, but only one holy Roman Catholic Church?

Another concern: the comment that Mother Angelica made an inopportune remark concerning Roger Cardinal Mahony's pastoral letter on the Eucharist (for which she later apologized) could have been balanced by mentioning the fact that the 18-page treatise by the Cardinal makes reference only once, in a brief footnote, to the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist!

M. J. McLauchlin

Livermore, CA

National Catechism and 6th Grade

I want to voice my own personal “Hooray!” for Kelly Bowring's article ("The Case for a National Catechism,” Sept. 6—12).

I occasionally substitute in 6th-grade CCD. One day, two weeks before the end of term, I gave them a test, consisting of two questions:

1. How many Commandments did God give Moses? Name them.

2. How many Sacraments do we have? Name them.

Working in groups of three, using their notes, their textbooks and their Bibles, they all knew that there were Ten Commandments, and most even knew that there were seven Sacraments. As for naming them, nobody was quite so successful (although one boy said there was a Sacrament that “makes some guys into priests"). The answers were in the textbook — mentioned once, in a chart on the back page.

I'm all for a new catechism — and a new set of textbooks. How can I help?

Lois Manning

Visalia, California