LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Skating Away on the Thin Ice of a Godless Day
Relevant to “The Shroud: Turin’s Other Attraction” (Feb. 26-March 4):
The opening ceremonies of the Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy, were spectacular, weren’t they? Wonderful music and dancing and acrobatics. A wonderful mixture of solemnity and frivolity. Do you remember the waltzing cows, and the girl singing Il Canto degli Italiani, then being dramatically joined by the choir? True, there were some bewilderingly uncreative and uninspiring moments. The disco music during the grand parade of the athletes stands out. Still, it was a great program. The acrobats forming the dove of peace was brilliantly conceived and executed. The lighting of the Olympic Flame was the most spectacular that I have ever seen in any Olympics. Bravo! Grazie a Italia!
But what about Grazie a Dio?
No, there were no public thanks or prayers to God to be heard from this stadium, which shares a homeland with the leadership seat of Western Christendom, and all of Christendom. There were no thanks for the prosperity that makes leisure and athletic training possible, no prayer for peace to the source of peace. In their place, hopes for peace were addressed to ... an absence. They were addressed to that which is in the human heart in the absence of God, in the impossibility of God.
And what better backdrop could there be than John Lennon’s anthem to atheism, “Imagine”? According to the inverted understanding and value system that is contemporary popular culture, God is not what he tells us he is; nor is he what any intelligence can discern him to be: “The Way and The Truth and The Life” — the source of everything that is good and true and beautiful.
No, instead the seemingly ubiquitous purveyors of popular perversion instruct us that God is the source of all that is evil and false and ugly. If only we can get rid of God, then, in peace and harmony, the world can be as one.
The English (and Piedmontese) name for Torino is Turin. Before these Olympics, if someone had asked you for what that city is most famous, what would you have answered? Nearly all of you thought first of the Shroud of Turin, did you not? I know I did.
The world needs to understand what made Christendom develop into its various societies that the rest of the world’s peoples clamor to come to: Christianity.
David O. Chinofsky
Rice’s Cockeyed Christology?
Regarding “Anne Rice’s Jesus is Our Jesus” (Feb. 19-25):
Is “Anne Rice’s Jesus Our Jesus”? A Jesus who, as a child, “doesn’t quite know why” he is able to work miracles? Who doesn’t know what he’s doing in Egypt? Whose “divine consciousness” “unfolds” — in other words, who isn’t totally conscious of his divinity from the moment of the Incarnation?
Recent magisterial teaching has been very wary, to say the least, of such a Christology. Pope St. Pius X in 1907 condemned, as an error of modernism, the teaching that “Christ did not always possess the consciousness of his Messianic dignity” (Decree Lamentabili, No. 35). And a decree during Pope Benedict XV’s pontificate says that statements like the ones above, which call into question Christ knowing the mind of God from the beginning of his earthly life, “cannot be safely taught” (Decree of the Holy Office, June 5, 1918).
Finally, Pope Pius XII, in the encyclical Mystici Corporis Christi, paragraph 75, teaches us that, “from the first moment of his Incarnation,” all the members of Christ’s Church “were continually and unceasingly present to him, and he embraced them with his redeeming love.”
I guess Ann Rice’s Kid Jesus is sitting there in Egypt, saying to himself, “Who are all these people constantly present to me in my mind, whom I embrace with such a redeeming love?”
Thankfully, Anne Rice’s Jesus is not Dan Brown’s Jesus. Careful, however: He’s not yet Pius XII’s Jesus, either.
Father Michael J. Woolley
Woonsocket, Rhode Island
Design and Evolution
Regarding “Creationists Hijack Intelligent Design” (Feb. 26-March 4):
We were passing The Cat and Cage, a drinking establishment in Dublin, when the taxi driver says to me, “Can you construct a sentence with five ands in it?”
“Sure,” say I. “The space between Cat and and and and and Cage is the same.”
Most letters and articles regarding intelligent design and evolution appear as intelligent design versus evolution. Try using the both/and approach rather than the either/or one: faith and reason, Scripture and tradition, faith and good works, man and beast, rich and poor, light and darkness. And so on.
I have some small background in chemistry and, using reason alone, I can easily see purpose and design in the natural world, including the world of living things. For instance, you own a three-pound computer that contains a hundred trillion bits of information: your own brain. Every brain is far greater than all the computers of the world put together. Trying to deny evidence of design in biology is an offense against science and ’tis equally offensive against science to dismiss the possibility of creation as a myth.
From a faith perspective, we use the word myth to convey truth, not dismiss it. The Biblical myth of, say, Cain and Abel conveys a universal moral teaching — “Thou shall not murder.” What part of “Thou shall not murder” do we disagree with or fail to understand? The Adam and Eve myth tells us we have a congenital weakness of body and spirit. We experience fear and frustration, shame and blame, and then we die. What part of “ashes, ashes, we all fall down” don’t we understand?
The creation myth is a story that makes use of the primitive science, stories and legends of its day and conveys a revelation of one transcendent God, existing before the world that he created. The creation story deals with “Who” created the universe and all things visible and invisible. It is not at all concerned with the dynamics of creation, evolutionary or otherwise. That’s the business of science.
So, even if one dismisses or does not believe the Judeo-Christian revelation of Creator and creation, man — by the use of reason alone — can come to know the reality of the Uncaused Cause, the First Mover, the Originator of the species, the God of the Scientists.
We scientists, philosophers, theologians and Bible scholars are made for co-operation, like feet, like hands, like eyes and ears. To act against one another is contrary to nature.
Father Patrick J. O’Doherty
The Feb. 5-11 edition contains two complementary items on abortion and the disintegration of social and family life in our present culture: “What I Saw at the March” by Cathy Ruse (Commentary & Opinion) and Father Alfonso Aguilar, LC, “Helping the Family Navigate the 21st Century” (Vatican View).
Both speak hopefully about signs of change in our anti-family, anti-baby society. In fact, those signs of change are mostly illusory. According to Mrs. Ruse, “Roe’s detractors are growing in number. You can see it everywhere, in the press, in the polls, in election returns.” Take a deep breath here, Mrs. Ruse. Let’s not get carried away.
To the extent that liberal Democrats have now, finally, figured out that — nationally, at least — Roe has destroyed the broad and inclusive political coalitions that had made Democrats the dominant political party for decades prior to 1980, then, yes, Roe’s detractors have increased. We should not, however, mistake the desire of these Democrats to be rid of this political albatross with any conversion to the pro-life clause.
Similarly, Father Aguilar quotes the Register’s own Jennifer Roback Morse, who sees in Europe’s collapsing birth rates an opening to induce European governments to “create a family-friendly milieu and help young people marry and have children by offering them institutional and financial support.” Try to picture an army of young French pro-lifers demanding an end to France’s dominant secular lifestyle. It is not something that will happen anytime soon.
The truth is that, if Roe and Doe and all their judicial progeny disappeared tomorrow, this country would be no closer to ending abortion than it is now.
The pro-life movement has been so focused on overturning Roe that it has overlooked how deeply heretical and secular American — indeed, all Western — society has become. If there was an election tomorrow in each of the states on whether abortion should be outlawed or allowed, and only people who claimed to be Catholic could vote, the outcome in many, if not all, states would be in doubt.
Abortion is not the only or even the worst evil to plague us. Contraception — which most pro-lifers refuse to discuss — was one of the earliest blows to draw blood from the Christian family. Contraception not only leads to abortion, but also to no-fault divorce, which in turn leads to spouse sodomy and a host of other anti-social behaviors generally connected to unsupervised or government institutionalized children.
David R. Kluge
In our interview with Catholic singer-songwriter Valerie Von Fange (“Full-Time Music for God, Who Never Sleeps,” Feb. 19-25), we identified the man in the accompanying photo as Valerie’s producer. Wrong. He’s backup singer Dan Schneible. Meanwhile we ran the same photo as a teaser on our front page — and inadvertently cropped Valerie out of the teaser shot. Apologies all around.
- March 12-18, 2006