Families Bear the Brunt

Three cheers for the Aug. 8-14 letter “Women at Work” by Vincent J. Schmithorst, Ph.D., concerning his doubts on the “New Feminism.” As Suzanne Venker's book 7 Myths of Working Mothers points out, children and (most) careers just don't mix. I do not believe there is any way to change that. It is not possible to effectively “serve two masters.” There are only so many hours in a day.

I consider myself extremely pro-life. Having children is one of the most important tasks. At the same time, I cannot help but be irritated by the women in my husband's office who get pregnant and go on maternity leave — and then decide they want part-time work, or leave altogether, after my husband has devoted much time to training them. Guess who has to pick up the slack and work extra hours, delaying his return home at the end of the day and causing him to work on Saturday mornings (so far almost every Saturday this year) and miss time with his own kids? My husband. Why? He is a man. That is reality.

In every family, someone must work in the marketplace to put food on the table, and it seems that men/dads are the best choice to do this — but because of “The Fall,” there is a cost involved. Most people do not seem to understand that men can't effectively serve two masters, either. A man can't be a corporate heavyweight and attend his children's Little League games or soccer practices. Children need their dads around. It has been noted time and again that the children of “great men” are frequently less than great themselves. I know one man who is a “great man” and, as far as I am able to discern, his children and grandchildren are not quite what he expected them to be. They are not bad people, but they are troubled. I am convinced this is so because of his absence during their “formative” years.

It seems to me that the “new feminists,” by insisting that women can mix corporate careers with childrearing, are only succeeding in ratcheting up the cost for the “average family man.”


Midland, Michigan

Lockout Box

Regarding “Eerie Silence? Convention Speakers Avoid the ‘A’ Word” (Aug. 8-14):

Review the list of prominent speakers at the Democratic Party's recent national convention. It's telling that not one single faithful Catholic who believes and publicly supports the Church's long-held teachings on human-life issues was allowed anywhere near a microphone. This, in spite of the fact that Catholics comprise a very large segment of the Democratic Party.

Obviously, the litmus test used to select speakers was designed to filter out loyal Catholics. Has any national gathering ever shown such disdain, bordering on hostility, toward the deeply held beliefs of so many of its own members? Would any other group tolerate such intolerance?


Murrieta, California

Christ Chose Celibacy

Regarding “Stamp Out Celibacy” (Letters, Aug. 8-14):

It was God's will that the sins of man, committed in their human nature, must be expiated through the human nature of the divine Person, Christ. Knowing that Christ had a human nature, we know that he had the will to choose for or against celibacy. Wonderfully for us, Jesus, in his fully human nature, chose to do God's will and went freely to the cross (“not my will, but thine be done”).

The divine Person Jesus, son of Mary, fully possesses two natures — the hypo-static union — the incarnation. To claim that Jesus, in his human nature, didn't (or couldn't) freely choose celibacy or anything else is to deny the incarnation, i.e., the reality of the fullness of human nature and divine nature in the one divine Person, Christ.


Ponca City, Oklahoma

Hours Online

Regarding “Simply Divine Office: The Liturgy of the Hours Makes a Comeback” (August 8-14):

This is a very interesting and informative article. In addition to the website mentioned, www.liturgyhours.org, readers interested in praying from an online page or printing the relevant pages out each day may go to www.universalis.com. It offers a painless way to learn to pray the different hours, including the Office of Readings. This is the most useful overall website I have found on the liturgy, including the readings for the Mass each day and the liturgical calendar.

Although I myself pray from the four-volume set (in French), I often access this site when I am traveling and am unable to carry two volumes during periods of overlap. I also access it to share readings in English with a friend who does not read French. I highly recommend it for ease of use (and thus ease in praying).

Visitors to the Universalis website include priests, laity, the young and the old. They come from all denominations. Some have not heard of the breviary before, some cannot afford the books, and some are blind and cannot use them. The users of Universalis retrieve more than 40,000 pages a week from the site. The core content of the Universalis site is now also available through mobile telephones that support the new WAP protocol for information retrieval.


Arlington, Virginia

Alabama Getaway

In “Going Mobile: Exploring the Catholic Roots of Alabama's Port City” (Sept. 19-25), Lorraine Williams led a very interesting tour of Mobile, Ala.

She mentioned the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and Visitation Monastery, but omitted any mention of Spring Hill College, a Jesuit institution founded in 1830 and an important presence in Mobile. The campus and the chapel are beautiful.

This omission might not have bothered me if she had not ended the article by saying, “to complete the tour.” I am sure this was an unintentional omission, but she did not complete the tour, so to speak.

The article brought back memories of my years at Spring Hill.


Wilmette, Illinois

Canonical Courage

The CNS article “Memo: ‘Obstinate’ Politicians Must Be Denied Communion” (July 18-24) is indicative of the “hide-and-seek” position so often taken by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The point in question is the authoritative guidance from Rome on the denial of holy Communion to those Catholic politicians who promote the continuance of the sin of abortion.

Cardinal Ratzinger is clear on the denial of the Eucharist to those who engage in the public endorsement of grave and serious sins. As he so eloquently points out, “it is not a punishment or the passing of judgment on ‘subjective guilt’ but rather a reaction to an individual's public unworthiness to receive the Eucharist due to an objective situation of sin.”

Clear to you and me, but as before, the USCCB resorts to its escape clause of “pastoral discretion” to muddy the waters of authoritative instruction. The operative word here is “pastoral” — how to present clearly defined doctrine to an ill-informed and vocal minority? The answer for the bishops is twofold: First, address John Paul II's encyclical on the Eucharist (Ecclesia de Eucharistia), in which he declares, “In cases of outward conduct which is seriously, clearly and steadfastly contrary to the moral norm, the Church, in her pastoral concern for the good order of the community and out of respect for the sacrament, cannot fail to feel directly involved. The Code of Canon Law refers to this situation of a manifest lack of proper moral disposition when it states that those who ‘obstinately persist in manifest grave sin’ are not to be admitted to Eucharistic communion.”

Again, clear and concise instruction that, combined with the bishops’ authority, leaves no question on the action to be taken. The next step is the courage to use said authority and prepare oneself for the volley of criticisms by those ensconced in secular theology. In the end, the light of truth must be your guide — not the ease of appeasement.


Monument, Colorado