Letters to the Editor

New Jewish Hope in the Holy Land

Regarding “Holy Land Christians Applaud Election of New Palestinian President” (Jan. 30-Feb. 5):

Reporter Michele Chabin reflects the Jewish hope for peace when she reports that Christian leaders urged newly elected Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to do what is necessary to stop the cycle of violence.

There are two issues, however, with which I take exception.

Ms. Chabin reports that “Bishop Munib Younan, who heads the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jerusalem, insisted that Abbas will not be able to succeed unless Israel gives him the power to do so.” History shows clearly that Israel has stood ready to embrace every opportunity for peace, be it the giving back of Sinai to Egypt or the Camp David Accords.

Bishop Younan also mentions “Israel’s continued refusal to allow Palestinians to travel freely,” the security barrier and that living in the Palestinian territories is “like being in a big prison.” May I remind your readers that the travel restrictions and the security barrier exist as a means of saving innocent life by stemming the flow of suicide/homicide bombers into Israel?

Nothing will go further to alleviate this situation than Mr. Abbas’ success at ending Palestinian violence against Jews, which we support completely.


Rabbi John Crites

Los Angeles

Non-Catholic Allies for Life

I wish to clarify a few facts regarding “City Wants to Help Priest Say Mass in Public” (Jan. 9-15).

Mike Gamble first appeared at the Planned Parenthood facility as a counselor in November 2003. He first displayed the large posters of aborted babies in March 2004. On Oct. 26 and 27, Gamble staged a protest at Palmer High School in Colorado Springs while school was in session to protest the presence of Planned Parenthood in the classrooms with their sex education. Gamble parked his truck with the posters on a nearby public street and distributed pamphlets to students. The police were called, and the press also made an appearance. The next day, an article appeared in The Gazette about this protest. The following Saturday, Oct. 30, activity by the pro-aborts at the abortion facility escalated in response to this article.

Eric Christen, a District 11 school-board member, held a press conference on Monday, Nov. 1, at Palmer High School to announce that he would seek to have Planned Parenthood ejected from all District 11 schools. The response to this event was even more intense, as more supporters of Planned Parenthood turned out at the abortion facility on Nov. 6. The aggression escalated considerably, with hostile interference to Father Carmody’s rosary group, whose members pray across the street from the clinic to avoid being associated with the posters. On Nov. 13, the aggression toward Father Carmody heightened and finally culminated with him calling the police.

I have stood with Mike Gamble at the abortion clinic since March 2004. We speak the truth in love because we care about both victims. The posters are not intended to bring peace. An abortion facility is not a place of peace; it’s a place of violence and death. We know that we are effective because we have had women come out of the clinic and tell us they have changed their minds because we were there with the truth.

I have prayed at the abortion clinic in Richmond, Va., with the posters and our auxiliary bishop present. I have prayed at Planned Parenthood in Dover, Del., where we prayed the rosary and carried the posters at the same time with our priest, youth and entire families, including children, present. I have been on the March for Life in Washington, D.C., approximately 10 times. The pro-life apostolate is not new to me.

Incidentally, I am a member of Holy Family Church, and Father Carmody is my pastor.

Mike Gamble and the other counselors at the abortion facility may not be Catholic, but it is the consensus of our group that we are on the same side and we intend to remain fully united in Christ on this issue.

Lou M. Hopkins

Fountain, Colorado

Editor’s Note: The Register’s story focused on Father Bill Carmody’s desire to celebrate outdoor Mass in a city that forbids open containers of alcohol, Communion wine included, on public property. An account of the connection between sex education at Palmer High School and unruly pro-abortion protests by Planned Parenthood supporters — which led Father Carmody to call the police — would have added context and perspective to our story. The fact is, until now, the Register was unaware of the connection. We were also unable to contact pro-life demonstrator Mike Gamble. Thank you for filling us in, Mr. Hopkins.

Beware Biblical Freelancers

While I appreciate the gracious tone of Legionary of Christ Father Thomas Williams’ response to the criticizing letter writer Russell Blaylock (“What’s at Stake in the Gluten Debate,” Letters, Jan.16-22), I was rather stunned by Blaylock’s letter itself. Perhaps there’s such a thing as being too gracious.

Blaylock’s letter, which seeks to address the gluten controversy, simply transforms itself before our eyes into a wholesale attack on the Catholic Church and Catholic theology — with a gratuitous reference to child molestation thrown in for good measure.

Yes, Dr. Blaylock, the Gospels say to “do this in remembrance of me.” Christ also says, though, that “This is my body” and that “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” Also, St. Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians declares that “anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself” (1 Corinthians 11:29).

Doesn’t look good for a theology of symbolism, does it?

What Blaylock fails to understand is that Christ founded a Church, not a book of Scripture. The Church comes first and Scripture flows from it, not the other way around.

The New Testament writings do not explicitly address every detail of every subject, but we have a teaching, magisterial hierarchy that has the divinely endowed power and authority to hammer out the necessary details, such as the definition of bread and the presence of gluten.

And having such a wonderful teaching authority also spares us from the hordes of self-appointed, theological freelancers, such as Blaylock, who think they can just pick up a Bible and decide for themselves what constitutes Christianity.

Robert Barnett

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Exoneration Excitement

Thank you so much for publishing “Priest, Cleared in Trial, Offers Forgiveness” (Jan. 16-22).

How refreshing to learn of Father Estrada’s total abandonment to the Lord despite the terrible accusations against him.

 If only the secular media would inform us of such positive news!

 Mary Lou Monsour

 Akron, Ohio

The Immigration Impulse

Regarding “Mexican Archdiocese Criticizes Arizona Law” (Jan. 30-Feb. 5):

I was extremely disappointed to read that Archbishop Cardinal Norberto Rivera of Mexico City has recently condemned an Arizona law designed to deny illegal immigrants certain welfare services. His premise was that illegal immigrants are “not criminals.” By his statement, it seems he is effectively declaring U.S. laws on immigration to be invalid.

Since when does an official of the Church see fit to unilaterally abrogate a law passed by democratic process? Doesn’t this completely violate the obvious intention of various New Testament exhortations to Christians to be obedient to civil authority?

St. Peter wrote: “Be subject to every human institution for the Lord’s sake” (1 Peter 2:13). St. Paul admonished: “whoever resists authority opposes what God has appointed, and those who oppose it will bring judgment upon themselves” (Romans 13:2).

I understand illegal immigration is a difficult issue and that something should be done to remedy the problem. However, I am certain that the solution is not for our ecclesiastical leaders to advocate disobedience and opposition to the law, even if it is that of another country. When they exhibit such disobedience, how can they expect the laity to be obedient to Church law and doctrine?

Perhaps the real issue is more political than anything else. The United States has become the whipping boy of nearly the whole world. It is the biggest, easiest target and, rightly and wrongly, gets blamed for a dizzying variety of international social ills. It is probably much easier for politicians and churchmen, unfortunately, to blame the United States rather than to examine the shortcomings of their own national institutions and systems. (Please remember that Mexico’s problems likely stem more from 70 years of socialism and cronyism than the “social selfishness” of various U.S. policies.)

If the politicians and bishops of Mexico wish to resolve the issue of illegal immigration, perhaps they could begin by examining ways to alleviate the economic suffering that forces desperate Mexicans to illegally enter the United States in the first place. I am confident that the bishops, by promoting the culture of life and the dignity of each person, can contribute positively to such an effort.

Trey Hoffman
Peachtree City, Georgia

Teach Bishops Spanish

Holly Dutton should not be too concerned about immigrants failing to learn English (“Local Language Liberates,” Letters, Feb. 6-12).

According to the most recent U.S. census, 74% of Spanish-speakers in the United States said they speak English “well” or “very well” — and only 8% indicated that they spoke no English at all. English is alive and well in our immigrant communities.

Nor is there a lack of desire among immigrants to acquire English, as Dr. Lucy Tse points out in her book on this topic, Why Don’t They Learn English? (Teachers College Press, 2001). What adult immigrants often lack are opportunities to study English in their communities, where they frequently encounter long waiting lists to enter classes in English as a Second Language.

Having our bishops learn Spanish will not discourage any immigrant from acquiring English-speaking skills. Instead, such a move allows immigrants to stay more closely connected to the Church and to their faith, and respects their freedom to worship in the language of their choice.

Jeff McQuillan, Ph.D.

Loyola Marymount University

Los Angeles