Letters to the Editor

Score One for Faith Over Filth

Regarding “Good, Bad and Ugly on Satellite Radio” (Jan. 22-28):

I originally subscribed to Sirius satellite radio about a year ago in anticipation of Howard Stern’s move. Around that same time, for reasons I won’t go into, my wife started her return to the Catholic Church. I received my new satellite radio and, while surfing through the all the new stations available to me, stumbled across someone discussing his conversion to the Catholic faith.

Interesting, I thought, and I listened for a few minutes. I kept returning to that show each week.

That show was “The Journey Home” on EWTN and those minutes I listened each week quickly turned into hours each day (basically my commutes to and from work). Then my wife and I realized we also had ETWN on our cable TV service! I started watching EWTN as well as listening to it on satellite radio.

Long story short: I fell in love with the Catholic Church and am now enrolled in RCIA. I am in awe of the richness and fullness of the truth of the Church. With God’s grace, I will become a Catholic this Easter. (I was baptized Lutheran, but my family never attended church. I am 45 years old.) 

I no longer listen to Howard Stern and can call myself an EWTN and Relevant Radio junkie. I admit I listened to his new show here and there during his first week on Sirius just to see how this new “freedom from the FCC” would manifest itself, but the profanity and constant barrage of debasing sexualized humor was depressing to me. I can’t even say I was offended; I just thought it was sad. Poor Howard — no wonder he’s in therapy.

So I guess you could say Howard Stern and Sirius Radio brought me to the Catholic Church. The presence of Howard Stern on Sirius is no reason to cancel your subscription. God does work in interesting ways.

Daniel Peterson

Wauconda, Illinois

Readied by Reviews

Regarding the letter to the editor titled “Why Give Offensive Movies Any Ink At All?” (Jan 22-28):

I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the in-depth movie reviews that you publish. I do not have to go out and see Brokeback Mountain, yet I am equipped to discuss it with my colleagues at work in hopes that I can bring the light of truth to bear on the culture of our times. We are to be “in the world but not of it.”

My husband and I have raised our three sons to know what they are up against in their efforts to evangelize their generation. We believe that, to present the truths of the Catholic faith to those trapped in darkness and deception, you must have some basis of understanding or you will not be able to reach hearts and minds. All three of our sons (19 to 25) are in active ministry to one degree or another.

Please continue running these reviews so we can know how people are being influenced by the movies — and so we don’t have to subject ourselves to immoral entertainment in order to convincingly respond to it.

Sharon Poppleton

Granada Hills, California

Brokeback Talk-Back

Several readers have recently voiced disdain for the publishing of movie reviews in our fine National Catholic Register. The film Brokeback Mountain seemed to ignite this disdain particularly well (Letters, Jan. 22-28: “Why Give Offensive Movies Any Ink At All?”).

I, for one, applaud the Register for publishing a well-written and thorough review of this film. One might ask: How could these words leave the mouth of a devoted Catholic?

The average movie consumer would never have known, prior to the media buzz, that the film in question was the story of two young cowboys involved in a homosexual relationship. Marketing is sly! The trailers for the movie nod to a cowboy romance, but the particulars are definitely not clear. I pity the individual who buys a ticket to this film hoping to enjoy a classic-style western. In fact, Larry McMurtry, the Pulitzer-winning author of Lonesome Dove, co-wrote the screenplay for Brokeback Mountain. This alone would suggest that the film would be styled similarly to McMurtry’s novels. A concise movie review, written well and from a Catholic point of view, can tell you what the media buzz is leaving out. You can save your money and your soul.

Similarly, a wonderful film like The Exorcism of Emily Rose might be written off as a Wes Craven-style horror film. In fact, as the Register has pointed out, it is an incredibly moving portrait of a possible saint struggling with demonic possession. This is a pro-Catholic film! Again: A concise movie review, written well and from a Catholic point of view, can tell you what the media buzz is leaving out. You can spend your money and nourish your soul.

Evelyn Henderson

Ellicott City, Maryland

Stop Roe-ing; Start Healing

On Jan. 22, 1973, Roe v. Wade promised to stop “back-alley butchers” from performing dangerous abortions on desperate women. Have 33 years of legal abortion made it “safe” and “rare?” (“Prolifers Coast to Coast Mark Sad Anniversary,” Jan. 29-Feb. 4).

To date, doctors have legally killed 48 million pre-born babies in the United States. That’s hardly “rare,” and the procedure is always fatal to the baby.

What about the mother’s safety? Only 26 states regulate abortion clinics to ensure a sterile environment and trained staff, as is required of other kinds of medical facilities. The National Abortion Federation complains that such costly measures would close most clinics.

So Eileen Roberts paid $27,000 to treat injuries to her 14-year-old after a secret, botched abortion. She testified before Congress: “Some of these so-called physicians do not even have medical degrees.” After 33 years of legalized abortion, women are still being butchered.

Are abortion pills safe? Rep. Mark Souder, R-Ind., is heading a House sub-committee investigating RU-486. At least four American women have died from infections associated with its use since FDA approval in 2000. The New England Journal of Medicine states that RU-486 abortions are 10 times more likely to cause death of the mother than surgical abortions performed at the same point in pregnancy. The pills have caused hundreds of women to experience life-threatening hemorrhaging.

Research has also documented the psychological toll on parents who abort: lifelong grief, guilt, substance abuse, suicide. The number of women and men speaking out that they regret their abortion is on the rise. It is time to stop Roe v. Wade — and to start healing our society.

Annemarie S. Muth

Bluffton, Indiana

Energize Us!

The “Inperson” interview with Bishop Fred Henry (“Bishop to Canadians: Vote Your Faith,” Jan. 22-28) made some very interesting points, particularly in placing much responsibility on the laity to act and respond according to Church teaching relative to such issues as abortion, euthanasia and same-sex “marriage.”

He stressed that the “laity must be energized,” which is so true. The secular media has essentially taken over the development of values and consciences of most Christians and many are, at best, indifferent to these critical issues.

Church teachings must be uniform in content and offered in a unified voice from the bishops.

Vern J. Simon

Evans, Georgia

Evolution Evolves

George Sim Johnston in his Jan. 15-21 column “The Evolution Wars Continued” makes the excellent point that evolution and Darwin’s explanation of the origin of species are not the same thing.

The difficulty with Darwinian theory is not with the proposition that we evolved, but rather how we evolved, i.e., through random mutation.  Read any three molecular-biology articles today and what jumps forth is that human beings are microcosms of a complexity that approaches infinity.

That’s before we even enter into nanophysiology and picophysiology, which will multiply the possible permutations by another cosmic number.

It is inconceivable that, in 3 1/2 billion years, the time since the first amino acids showed up, that we have evolved into the species we are, through the excruciatingly slow process of random mutation. 

Random mutation explains how, in 30 to 40 years, one of many billions of bacteria becomes resistant to an antibiotic.  It also works to explain how a parrot develops a stronger beak a century after it is introduced to a harder nut to crack. It does not explain the evolution to what man is today, because man is more than the sophisticated Tinkertoy that those of Darwin’s time perceived him to be. 

There is a near-infinity of permutations making up the microcosm within, a world possibly more complex than the macrocosm without. Even factoring in a few quantum leaps that may have been previously overlooked, random mutation cannot begin to account for our evolutionary passage into what is a quasi-infinite microcosm.

 Perhaps the theory fails most glaringly alongside the evidence issuing forth from today’s molecular biologists, which shows that this quasi-infinity of permutations are ordered and not in disarray awaiting random mutation for direction.

The theories of Darwin, like those of Marx and Freud, are melting into a significance that is primarily historical.

Hugh McGrath Jr., M.D.

Metairie, Louisiana

The Death of ‘Daniel’

Regarding “Complaints Dog NBC’s ‘Book of Daniel’” (Jan. 15-21):

I know that there are lots of complaints by Christian clergy leveled at this new TV series for not accurately portraying Christian morals.

I, on the other hand, think it accurately shows what can happen and does happen under the influence of Protestant beliefs, when we break with authority and become our own authority. Life becomes an immoral free-for-all, as is shown within the Protestant family in the series. That the family is Episcopalian fits well with many of the deviances portrayed.

Diane Sulpizio

Friendswood, Texas

Editor’s note: Due to poor ratings, NBC has already canceled “The Book of Daniel.”