Catholic Is as Catholic Does
“Catholics Are Key, Protestant Activist Says” (July 4-10) well expresses the barometer of where we are at as the people of God in the United States. Referring to the reception of holy Communion by Catholics who are pro-choice on the issue of abortion, politician or otherwise, as an “in-house issue” is quite weak. Since when is truth a private matter?
The facts are, some American bishops rise to the occasion of challenges to the Gospel and some do not. When we look at the facts of weak faith in the Eucharist and tolerance toward abortion and contraception by U.S. Catholics, one has to wonder: Just how Catholic is the Catholic Church in the U.S.A. today?
FATHER WILLIAM C. KEEBLER JR
Saint Lawrence Catholic Church
By failing to proscribe Communion for pro-abortion politicians at their June meeting, the bishops have left many lay people wondering if they are serious about protecting the Eucharist from sacrilege and the laity from scandal, but they may have inadvertently provided the road map to quickly solve the problem (“ Bishops Will Approach Abortion's Lawmakers Individually,” July 4-10).
The bishops said, “We commit ourselves to maintain communication with public officials who make decisions every day that touch issues of human life and dignity.” Since the controversy is over publicly pro-death public officials such as John Kerry, they should get public counseling.
The next time Mr. Kerry comes to church with his entourage and a gaggle of news people and photographers to make a political event out of attending Mass, the priest should do something rarely done in America: segue from his reflection on the Gospel to a pro-life homily.
The homily, prepared by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, should explain why abortion is wrong, that it is human sacrifice for convenience, that women are treated like bozos in that critical information about abortion is withheld from them, that minors are aborted without parental consent, and that those who promote abortion are terrorizing the souls of our young people. The priest should then explain the requirements for receiving Communion as prescribed by Canon 916 and written in our missals.
On hearing such a homily, the majority of people will opt against those who promote abortion. When Mr. Kerry sees that trying to use the Church for political gain actually loses him votes, he will change. Hopefully, he will repent, but at least he will stop using the Eucharist for political gain.
When other pro-abortion politicians see that the bishops are determined not to let them redefine Catholic teaching on the sanctity of life, they will begin to get the message that you can't be both pro-abortion and Catholic.
This is an easy way for the bishops to keep the promises they made in June to begin teaching the faithful and counsel pro-abortion politicians. If we don't soon see some public action on the part of the bishops to stop Mr. Kerry from making a circus out of the sacrifice of the Mass, we will know for certain the bishops don't take abortion or the Eucharist seriously.
Where is Prayer?
It was quite surprising to read, in “Bishops Will Approach Abortion's Lawmakers Individually” (July 4-10), that prayer was not among the points the bishops listed. The bishops won't accomplish much in the fight to stop the advance of the culture of death without a call to prayer and sacrifice.
I find it incomprehensible that it is standard to attend Mass and rarely hear a supplication for life during the Prayer of the Faithful. Pro-life homilies are also rare. This is the reality despite the millions of killings and injuries in our rapidly declining society.
Without prayer and a call for pro-life homi-lies, the bishops' points look more like a smokescreen to cover up their inaction on the life issues that have followed their past pronouncements.
RICHARD A. RETTA
I just wanted to thank you for the series of articles on the mandatum. I consider myself an active and faithful Catholic. I am frustrated to no end how the American bishops have done everything they can to blunt the effect of the mandatum. I have two kids in college. I have to admit that we did not look very hard at Catholic universities — most of them scared me. I'd rather take my chances in Christian or public schools. At least there the kids will have their defenses up. But if someone feeds them a lot of bad theology in a Catholic school, they will be far more inclined to believe it. As a Catholic parent, I've entrusted the most precious thing I have, my kids, to these schools. I have a right to know if the teaching they receive is consistent with Catholic teachings. This is not a “private agreement.”
Please keep it up! Maybe you can shame a few more bishops into doing the right thing.
After reading Jennifer Roback Morse's column “What We Learned in Massachusetts on May 17” (July 4-10), I was indeed nonplussed as to your motive in publishing it. Discussing homosexual unions being legitimized by recognition of them as marriages belies rationality. What is, is; what is not, is not. In this case, marriage is a union between a man and a woman. A relationship between homosexual men or women is not, and can never be a marriage, discussion of the various pros and cons therefore, or state laws thereto, notwithstanding.
The issue is not whether we want a national policy of marriage as the sexually exclusive union of a man and a woman or a national policy of marriage as the union of any combination of consenting adults with no particular expectation of sexual fidelity, as Morse says, but rather whether we want to retain sanity in the laws that govern this country.
ALBERT C SCHULTZ
San Antonio, Texas
I was surprised by Mr. Joseph A. D'Agostino's statement in your issue of August 15-21 (“ Will Marriage Votes End Senate Careers?” ): “The amendment would write the definition of traditional marriage into the U.S. Constitution, thus forbidding same-sex ‘marriage,’ polygamy and other alternatives to the family.”
It is quite clear from the text of The Federal Marriage Amendment that this amendment would only define marriage.
The Federal Marriage Amendment reads: “Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution or the constitution of any State, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.”
It would not prevent in law “other alternatives to the family” such as Vermont-style civil unions, domestic partnerships, and the like and their granted benefits.
The Amendment would simply prevent legislators and courts from labeling these “alternatives” as marriage.
I sure hope that Catholics and others will not be given false hopes after reading Mr. D'Agostino's article that this amendment is a panacea to the “non traditional union” problem in law.
I understand that the U.S. bishops can support this amendment because they can support the language that is used. However, as it is currently written and proposed it falls far short of protecting the family in law.
I notice that the questions mentioned in the Aug. 22-28 front-page article pertain to issues of the platform of the Democrats.
Fifty years ago, no one would have dared denounce God and traditional marriage, approve of the killing of pre-born babies, or argue against U.S. sovereignty, but in recent years Democrats have done all of that (and booed the Boy Scouts besides). Yet some Catholics blindly follow and continue allegiance to that party, and skew the issues, trying to make abortion and “homosexual” marriage seem less important or equal to something like “farm subsidies.”
Is America being judged on its lack of compassion for the helpless pre-born babies? We are in the hands of God now and the upcoming election may tip the scales.