Letters

Ignore Bad Movies

I recently picked up the Register and was dismayed to see so many immoral movies being reviewed — most of them with nudity, profanity, sexual seductions and violence.

By receiving these movies you are indirectly recommending them.

EUGENE CHATELAINE

Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota

Editor's note: We never recommend films with offensive content. On the contrary, one of our aims in reviewing popular movies is to advise our readers of the ones that present serious problems for Christians. Our reviews should not be confused with our Weekly Video/DVD Picks, which synopsize movies we can recommend (though sometimes with minor reservations, which are always noted).

Imprecise Insignia

I smiled when I read the article “Detroit Catholics Call Foul” (Oct. 5-11). Tim Drake was describing an underground women's Eucharist group that celebrates Mass without “an ordained male priest.” I hope there is no other kind of priest that celebrates Mass.

Perhaps the descriptor is taken directly from the group's promotional material, but it does seem odd to use that wording. Are we all getting dulled to today's language?

JOHN HUGHES

Woodbury, Connecticut

Mandatum Seekers

Since 1991, when my son chose to attend Notre Dame University, I have been intensely concerned about the content of theological studies there. I remembered Bishop Fulton Sheen's advice that parents should send their children to secular campuses where they would learn to fight for their faith rather than send them to Catholic colleges where they would have their faith systematically undermined. His words certainly applied to Notre Dame, following the Land O' Lakes conference, and with Father Richard McBrien as head of the theology department.

But what about today? We all yearn for the “New Springtime” the Holy Father foresees in the Church. Yet its wheels of change turn slowly. Tim Drake reported in the July 6-12 Register feature “Notre Dame to Parents: We Won't Tell” that the mandatum for teachers of theology has been required by canon law since 1983, yet the U.S. bishops did not begin requiring it until 18 years later, in 2001.

I have done some investigation on my own and discovered that 35 of the 45 theology professors at Notre Dame have the mandatum and that, following the leadership of Professor John Cavadini, theology department chairman, newly recruited theologians are highly inclined to seek it. The school is not perfect, but surely buds of life are there, welcome signs of springtime in the Catholic Church.

I hope that readers of the Register will take a careful look at Notre Dame and that faithful Catholic students will consider this school, while remaining cautious and discerning. They can certainly ask theology professors whether or not they have a mandatum from the bishop. Those who have it will be glad to say so.

JUDY MINAHAN

Fort Myers, Florida

Paris-Bound

My mother Dorothy and I are some of the Register's most ardent readers. I was delighted to read the article on staying near the Sacre Cour in France (“Paris When it Spiritually Sizzles,” Travel, Aug. 31-Sept. 6).

We usually stack our Registers to give them to other readers once we're done. Recently I went to check on them and found that issues have “gone missing.” Help! Could you give us the contact info for the convent or can I get a copy of the article or another copy of that issue? I'm hoping to go to Paris in a few months and this would be a big help.

MARY GULDEN

Jermyn, Pennsylvania

Editor's note: The convent's guesthouse, Maison d'Accueil Ephrem, can be reached via its Web site: sacre-coeur-montmartre.com. For extra copies of a back issue of the Register, call Vivian at (800) 356-9916.

Contraception in the Cafeteria

Kudos! Finally, info about natural-family planning that the people can read about on the front page (“Natural Family Planning Still Missing From Marriage Prep,” Sept. 21-27). I call that progress!

However, the writer, the bishops and priests refuse to put into print the most important part of the message. We are not getting it from the pulpit. Contraception is not allowed in the Roman Catholic Church, according to the final authority, the magisterium. For any diocese to “see what they think is right” is way off base.

Now, so many years after Humanae Vitae (On Human Life, 1968), it is finally brought to the forefront that the wrongness of contraception must be presented to the people honestly and completely, with no reservations. So what if couples will not be prepared for such “foreign teaching”? What are they, reluctant to ask “too much” of couples? It was not too much to ask Jesus to suffer. Why the kid gloves? Yes, it does take nerve and involve risks. Yes, the whole congregation might leave a parish. So what? Trust in Jesus.

We are asking our politicians, pharmacists and doctors to take big risks, but they cannot do it without the absolute backing of the Church. Father Moreau has it right when he states: “We have given couples what they need, not what makes us popular.” The popularity and monetary comfort of a diocese, bishop or priest is irrelevant. They will be held responsible for the salvation of each and every soul they are in charge of. They must take a stand, not wait for “directives.”

If the Catholic bishops and priests continue to be cafeteria Catholics, then it goes without saying that the people will feel very comfortable about being cafeteria Catholics, too.

THERESA KULICK Waterford, Michigan

Galileo's Gumption

Your front-page story on Galileo could stand more precision on the topic of Galileo and the threat of torture (“Man of the Church: Challenging the Galileo Myth,” Sept. 21-27).

First of all, the threat was made by Pope UrbanVIII himself, not by “the Church” as such. Secondly, the occasion was not in connection with his recanting, as one might gather from your story, but he did hold to the Copernicus theory. How did this arise? It was because Galileo, from the beginning of his trial, steadfastly refused to admit that he ever held to the Copernicus theory after the initial warning of Cardinal St. Robert Bellarmine in 1609. (Consequently the document supposedly dating to that era is not essentially important.)

The commission in 1633 concluded that, in his dialogue, Galielo did hold to the Copernicus theory with a moving earth. But he refused to admit it, despite his text.

Hence the final adjunction of Urban VIII: Threaten him with torture and, if he continues to refuse to admit, then go ahead with his abjuration. He would have had to abjure as a heretic, had he admitted; because he would not, he was convicted as “suspect of heresy.”

FATHER PIERCE CONWAY Washington, D.C.