Behind Closed Doors

Ellen Rossini's front-page report about an “off-the-record” meeting in Washington, D.C., (“Dissenters’ Secret Bishops Meeting,” July 27-Aug. 9) brought to mind another closed meeting also held in Washington some years ago and reported in the Washington Times (May 28, 1999).

This year's secret meeting was on “the future of the Church in America,” while the 1999 secret meeting was on the “moral dimension of environmental issues.”

So, presumably, for example, you might not be a good Catholic if you didn't support the Kyoto Treaty. And as early as the 1960s, secret meetings involving influential dissenting Catholic theologians, funded by the pro-contraception Ford Foundation, eventually resulted in inestimable damage to Pope Paul IV's encyclical Humanae Vitae. Catholics who would like to start taking back this part of their history would do well to start with the book John Cardinal Krol and the Cultural Revolution by E. Michael Jones.

By the very nature of these get-togethers, we know little about them because the participants agree not to divulge what goes on. Yet they evidently touch on issues central to our day.

The main point being raised here is just how many of these secret meetings, involving influential Catholic hierarchy or their representatives, have been going on?

Neither dissenters nor environmentalists can be expected to have at heart the teachings of Christ through the Church he founded.


Annandale, Virginia

Questions and Answers

“Dissenters’ Secret Bishops Meeting” (July 27-Aug. 9) raises many questions and explains much at the same time.

First, doesn't this add some fuel to the fire some bishops are trying to build to convene a special plenary meeting of all U.S. bishops? The last I heard just a few (eight or so bishops) were asking to convene the first such conference to be held in 100 years or more.

Secondly, don't our bishops realize the Church is on fire? Many lay people do. It should not be necessary for the sheep to point out to the shepherd the fire that is so obvious either from the heat of the flames or the smoke filtering through the sanctuary.

Is this secret meeting another attempt to organize an “American Catholic Church?”

We heard about this a few years ago and then it died down. Sounds to me like another attempt to revive it. The lay “moneybags” who attended add credibility to this thought.

How did attendees Bishops Gregory and Skylstad ever get appointed to such high posts in the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops? Isn't anyone out there minding the watch-tower?

What this explains is how a person like Leon Panetta was appointed to the commission monitoring child abuse. It also explains the problems some dioceses seem to be causing the committee.

It is time for our good pastors (read bishops) … to stand up and get the show on the road. It seems the opposition has been preparing for years.

Why is it necessary to wait until the fire has destroyed the roof of the church before we can organize a council to begin fighting it? If we take 10 years to organize an opposition, the dissenters will have used the present crisis to complete the schism.

Maybe it is time for the aware lay people who love the Church to call the attention of our bishops to the urgent need to promptly and forcefully address this issue.


Longmont, Colorado

Future of the Church?

In “Dissenters’ Secret Bishops Meeting” (July 27-Aug. 9), it was reported that Kathleen Kennedy Townsend attended the secret meeting of bishops planning the future of the Church in the United States, which was arranged by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington, D.C.

Townsend served as lieutenant governor of Maryland. She had the task of managing the state's juvenile judicial system. During that time the system was riddled with scandals and investigations. Juveniles were brutalized and sued Maryland, winning millions of dollars in retribution.

Townsend served in an administration that gave a football team more than $600 million to move to Baltimore while schools in Baltimore were overcrowded and falling apart. During her tenure overspending was rampant — the state budget increased by 60% — leaving the new leadership with a billion-dollar shortfall for the next fiscal year.

Townsend was the Democratic candidate for governor in 2002. She started the race with what appeared to be an insurmountable lead in the polls. Instead of selecting one of many capable and deserving black Democrats as her running mates, she picked a white Republican political neophyte, an unknown. This move left seasoned political observers with drooping jaws, as they felt the selection of a black running mate would have ensured her victory.

Townsend was endorsed by all the pro-abortion groups; they contributed heavily to her campaign. Whenever she was asked any question about abortion, she would say, “I trust women”: Do you support partial-birth abortion? “I trust women.” Do you support notifying parents of minors before they have an abortion?“I trust women.” Do you support informing women about fetal development and the risks of abortion? “I trust women.”

There is no reason to trust Townsend or the bishops who would seek her counsel to plan the future of the Church.


Silver Spring, Maryland

Worth 1,000 Words?

Today, I am writing to encourage you not to be afraid to publish photos of aborted babies. From my own perspective, I was at first afraid to look at the photos that are available on many pro-life Web sites. I was afraid because I did not want to look at what I knew were such ugly sights.

When I realized that I was being called to return to school to study nursing, however, I decided that I had to get over my squeamishness. Seeing these photos did not make me sick to my stomach — they made me sick at heart. I could not see the blood, or the blackened, dead tissue.

All I could see were the babies — babies torn to pieces by human beings calling themselves “doctors,” babies torn to pieces because someone thinks that this is a constitutional right.

As I wept — for a long time — I realized that I may have had a glimpse of the pain that Christ must have felt on Calvary. Since my first visit on June 24, I have returned to look at these photos many times because I think it is necessary not to forget. I believe in my heart that if every adult in America looked at these photos, abortion would end by popular consensus the next day.

Why should every adult in America look at these photos? Because they would quickly realize that these are not photos of “tissue.” These are photos of the remains of human babies. The liberal press screams at us daily about “dignity.” They obviously have not looked at the torn-up remains of a human baby, nor have they considered the indelible wound given to the mother. These are true assaults on human dignity.

No, it is definitely not pretty, but neither were the photos of the emaciated remains of the Jews killed by the Nazi's; neither were the photos of the acts of genocide in Bosnia or Rwanda.

As Christians we must be concerned with what is happening in the world outside of the United States, but we must also be concerned with what is happening in our own neighborhoods.

Before we can tell our brother of the mote in his eye, we must remove the beam from our own.

We must strike out against the candy-coated voice that tells us that it is okay to kill. We are allowing the murder of innocent human babies to continue unabated in staggering numbers.

We must speak out — logically, compassionately, and with these photos.


Wellington, Colorado

Sodomy Laws Then and Now

It's amazing how laws change over time (“Encouraging Sodomy,” June 6-13,), as I discovered when I visited an old prison, now a museum, and had chance to view case histories.

One man caught in the act of sodomy was sentenced to seven years in the penal colony in Australia.

By today's standards the sentence probably seems severe to the more liberal-minded, but it does strike me that it may have been mild by comparison, in severity and duration, to the possible eternal consequences of persistence in that area of sin.

The pendulum has swung full arch now and as the laws of the state stray further and further away from God's laws, the people do, too, and sadly in the case of the Episcopalians in America the church, too, is being evangelized by the world instead of the other way round.

Whether the force of law was a deterrent or not in the past, one can only guess but with this week seeing another “Celebration of Diversity” or Mardi Gras in Manchester (UK) attracting thousands of- people, will there be anyone to speak the truth?


Manchester, England