“Fatima Apostle” (Inperson, Jan. 28-Feb. 3) offered a nostalgic tribute to Father Robert J. Fox's long apostolate promoting the Fatima message. The life-fulfilling inspiration he received from reading the National Catholic Register in the early days revived my own memories of Msgr. Matthew Smith, the paper's founder. I worked for him in the original plant on Bannock Street in Denver in the 1940s — page-proofer, columnist, etc.
MARY EISENMAN CARSON
I want to let you know that I appreciate the efforts of the Register to talk to Catholic role models in the entertainment industry. It is refreshing to know that there are people in Hollywood trying to live out a life of faith and virtue.
However, in your interview with Clarence Gilyard ("Chuck Norris, the Pope and Me,” Jan. 21), Mr. Gilyard shared information about a movie he recently completed called Left Behind.
Apparently neither Mr. Gilyard nor the Register are aware that this movie is based on a very popular series of books that contain very faulty [eschatological, or end-times] theology. Although I have not read the books myself, I have read several reviews by noted Catholics. In addition to the erroneous teachings about the end times that the books (and presumably movie) espouse, there are apparently some anti-Catholic references.
I know that you, as [the editors of] a solid Catholic newspaper, would want your readers to know that you are not endorsing this movie in this interview. It would be good to educate your readers so that they would not be misled into thinking that this movie would be a good use of their entertainment dollar.
Regarding your wonderful analysis “Christians: Unqualified Citizens” by Jesuit Father James Schall (Jan. 28-Feb. 3): It makes me as a Catholic embarrassed to be known as a Catholic when a so-called Catholic, Ted Kennedy, finds the nomination of a true Christian “troubling.”
Why he wasn't excommunicated years ago is very troubling to me as a Catholic and certainly something I cannot defend to my Protestant friends. I quit [reading] the Register during the Clinton administration because of the views expressed in it. One Sunday before the election, I picked it up in my church and, to my surprise, I discovered that I can be Catholic even if I'm not a Democrat.
Catholic Theater Call
I applaud Mr. Macarvage and the students at Temple University who protested the play “Corpus Christi” ("Did University Treat Christian Protest as Mental Illness?” Jan. 21-27). To depict Jesus as a homosexual is shameful and repulsive. Catholics in several cities have protested this play, with little success.
Though anti-Catholic themes on stage and screen seem to be increasing, your readers should not be disheartened. There is an alternative: Catholics can pool their talents and put out their own entertainment. We at Qua Vadis Theatre Co. took that alternative, and founded a Catholic theater company to put on plays about the great historical figures of our faith.
The response of theater-goers to our work has been very positive. Though we struggle financially, the rewards are worth [the sacrifice]. Astonishingly, we have discovered we are the only Cahtolic community theater in the United States.
We at Quo Vadis would like to see a Catholic theater in every city in the land. We will help any group who wishes to establish one. However, it is important for Catholic businessmen and women to lend their support.
Perhaps together we can bring about a new Catholic renaissance in the entertainment world.
San Jose, Calfornia
Christ on the Altar
This is in regard to your article “Parishioners Demand a Voice in Renovations” (Jan. 28-Feb. 3), which concerned the issue of moving the tabernacle to a distant, adjacent chapel during Mass.
I must politely object, with due respect, to Sister Arlene Bennett of the Diocese of Gaylord, Mich., in her mistaken assessment that the body and blood of Jesus is always present on the altar during Mass.
The new supply of hosts brought up for each Mass has usually just been taken from a shipment box stored in the sacristy; therefore, those hosts have not yet been consecrated. Jesus is not present on the altar until the hosts have been consecrated.
In the past, this interim period of Christ's “absence” in the sanctuary was remedied by having the tabernacle, always containing a consecrated host, located near the altar.
This is why Catholics are objecting to the moving of the tabernacle by the new architects of the Church, and rightfully so!
I get copies of the Register passed down to me, so my response may be a little late. Please forgive me. This is in response to the article “How to Kill Christians Without Shedding Blood,” about Mary Ann Glendon in the Dec. 10-16 issue.
The silencing of Christian witnesses by the phrase “Personally I'm opposed to — here you may fill in the blank — but I can't impose my opinions on others” is mostly used to silence Christians on the subject of abortion.
This is a disarming technique that operates in the intellectual dimension, as opposed to being physically disarming or spiritually disarming.
When we hear this, we know there's something wrong with it, but we just can't put our finger on it. Yet, it disarms us all the same, and that's exactly what it's aimed to do — to disarm you, to reduce you to silence, to reduce you to inaction. In order for evil to succeed, good people need only do nothing.
If you look at what a magician does in mis-directing an audience's attention, it's easier to understand. It's pure deception.
Your freedom from this intellectual trap rests in your ability to recognize, and not be distracted from the objective truth of the situation. Blood is red. Red is red.
When someone says to me, “Personally I'm opposed to abortion but I can't impose my opinions on others,” my response is to question: “So what you're trying to tell me is that you're going to stand by and do nothing while these babies are being butchered?”
Regardless of the response, stand your ground and state objective truth. “Blood is red. Red is red.”
Once a person bites down on this idea it will strike them like a rock. There are two primary responses to be concerned about. If they agree in any way, shape or form, the discussion is ended. Do not continue. You've already won. You got your yes, and further discussion can only risk snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
Either way, once someone bites down on that idea, you have nothing more to gain, so stop, leave, extract yourself. They are not going to be able to go back in time, to a point before they faced that truth. Truth does hurt. Having been hurt, the temptation will be to respond in kind. If they disagree, they will be tempted to strike back. Fear is useless.
Bel Air, Maryland
- Feb. 11-17, 2001