Letters to the Editor

VITAL DISTINCTION

Your back-page article “To Give and Not Count the Cost” (July 17-23) was truly inspirational and almost the epitome of Christian Charity. The act of donating a non-vital part of one's body is a heroic display.

However, the article might imply that it is moral and ethical to donate any part of a human body. It is not. It is neither moral nor ethical to donate vital organs, those without which a person cannot live. To be of value to another person, a vital organ must be taken from a vital (living) person. There is no problem with donating certain tissue or non-vital parts so long as the procedure does not disable or mutilate the donor.

The removal of a vital organ from a “[brain-] dead” person will kill him or her if he or she is not already dead. If the donor is truly dead, then the organ is truly dead; thus, it is useless. No person can know for sure when another person dies — when the soul departs from the body. God has reserved that to himself. Therefore, the removal of a vital organ [from a living person] is futile — if not manslaughter.

I, for one, hope that I will accept a dysfunctional vital organ as a clarion call from God. I will never ask another person to donate his or her life so I could add a few more years to my terrestrial life.

PETER J. HAHN

Hampshire, Illinois

Life and Taxes

In your July 10-16 issue, a letter by David and Elizabeth Maier titled “Dems With a Difference” calls Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., “the most faithful and effective pro-life leader in the Senate.”

Unfortunately, I cannot consider Sen. Santorum to be pro-life. On Sep. 13, 1995, he voted to require that states have family caps in their welfare policies, and to require that states deny support for minors who bear children out of wedlock. However, such provisions will tempt the woman to abort the baby, and are therefore pro-abortion. The fact that they were requirements makes them all the more clearly pro-abortion.

During his 1994 campaign, then-Representative Santorum also said that the federal government ought to require states to include family caps in their welfare reforms. That means he stopped being pro-life before he was even elected to the Senate.

The abortion issue ought to make it clear that the problem of unmarried sexual activity will have to be solved by some other means other than punishing the woman after she is pregnant. The fact that a pregnancy occurs out of wedlock is absolutely no excuse for abortion. When it comes to out-of-wedlock pregnancies and childbirths, avoiding the further sin of abortion simply must have priority over punishing any prior sexual sins.

At the very least, child and dependent tax breaks for the middle class need to be made available to welfare recipients. The simplest way to do that would be to convert the dependency exemption from a tax deduction into a 100%-refundable tax credit, and to make the child tax credit 100% refundable. Indeed, all tax breaks for children and dependents need to be made 100%-refundable tax credits.

Child and dependent refundable tax credits could also be an alternative to raising the minimum wage. Unlike a higher minimum wage, employers would not bear the entire cost. Therefore, there should not be the same problem of employers refusing to hire people. Yet low-wage employees would still get more take-home pay, which is the purpose of a higher minimum wage.

PAUL D. WHITEHEAD

Falls Church, Virginia

Politics Prevails

With reference to “Pushing Her Party to Protect Life” (Inperson, June 26-July 2), I wish Kristen Day all the luck in the world in trying to change the Democratic Party to be more pro-life. However, if she is relying on Sen. Charles Schumer to be a catalyst in this movement, she is living in a dream world. Next to Ted Kennedy, Schumer is probably the most pro-abortion senator. He is the one who started the filibuster against President Bush's pro-life judicial nominees, and who will lead the Democrats to deny Bush's nominees for the Supreme Court if they are, in any way, pro-life.

If he is backing pro-life Democrats for Senate seats, it is only because he sees that this may be the only chance the Democrats have to win these seats. He is trying to get the Democrats into a majority position in the Senate. If he is successful, it will be back to the policy of catering to the abortion industry and killing as many innocent, unborn babies as possible. It will also be back to the policy of not listening to pro-life Democrats, including the two he is backing.

The only way the Democratic Party will change is if Kennedy, Schumer and the rest of the pro-abortion Democrats are voted out of office — or at least enough of them are voted out so that pro-lifers will be in command of policy decisions.

GERARD P. MCEVOY

Coram, New York

Breast Cancer Boondoggle

Not only do cancer fund-raising businesses put money ahead of women's lives by refusing to tell women about the increased risk of breast cancer after abortion (“Simple as ABC,” Letters, June 26-July 2), but one fund-raiser, The Susan G. Komen Foundation, actually donates some of the money it raises to Planned Parenthood — the largest and wealthiest abortion business in the country.

Anyone who is thinking of joining the Komen “Race for the Cure” fund-raisers around the country should realize that some of the money raised to cure breast cancer will actually go to cause it.

CAROL SUHR

Pine, Arizona

The Casey Way

In the letter titled “Helping or Enabling?” (July 17-23) a Register reader says the late pro-life Democratic Gov. Robert P. Casey was a steadfast abortion opponent, but his own muddle-headed use of government to foster supposedly just aid to the supposedly needy ought not to be honored.

Gov. Casey's philosophy of helping the truly needy saved a baby's life outside an abortion mill one day.

I was sidewalk counseling when I approached a young woman who said she was getting public assistance. She already had two small children and had been abandoned by her husband. She had become pregnant by a man she hardly knew. She regretted it and said it was a big mistake. She was going to abort because public officials at that time were threatening to refuse more aid to welfare recipients who had more children.

I told her that Gov. Casey had said publicly that he wouldn't let that happen in Pennsylvania. I also told her about a pro-life agency in her area. She went on to have her son; later, she sent me a picture of him. She eventually met a nice man with a good job who loved her and her children.

Experience has shown me that most women having abortions are not receiving welfare. But on this particular day, Gov. Casey's words saved that baby's life and saved his mother years of guilt and regret.

Gov. Casey was a man of faith and humility, compassion and perseverance. The Democratic Party would do well to abandon its extreme liberalism and follow the example of this dedicated public servant.

COLLEEN REILLY

Lebanon, Pennsylvania

Contemplating Prayer

If Richard L. Johnson, writer of the letter titled “Off-Centering” (July 3-9) would read William A. Meninger's book The Loving Search for God (Continuum International Publishing Group), he might conclude that what is being called “centering prayer” is none other than contemplative prayer, long practiced by the Church.

Father Meninger's book explains the 14th-century book The Cloud of Unknowing, which gives help to those who wish to practice this historical form of prayer.

PEGGY BATEMAN

Franklinton, Louisiana

Japan Had to Be Stopped

We just received your Aug. 7-13 issue. We do believe the National Catholic Register is one fine paper and read it cover to cover.

This issue is amiss in printing an article on what Catherine and Michael Pakaluk call “our national sin” (“Effects of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Still Being Felt,” Commentary & Opinion).

If the authors wanted to comment on the dropping of the atomic bomb, they should have covered all the bases. First is the idea that abortion stems from this. Please give us a break.

Second is the statement that women and children were involved. Nowhere does it mention that women and adult children were being recruited to engage in suicide missions when the Allied Forces were to invade the Islands. They also should have covered the suicide missions of their pilots on our ships.

I, for one, as a veteran, have read many historical facts written by Japanese writers that make me realize that the dropping of the two bombs was necessary. It sure kept many women and children of the Allies from being widowed and fatherless. It was estimated this would have been 1 million. We have heard from many of these women, and they all agree with me. I'm sure that, if Michael would have been there to be a part of the invading force, he would have changed his tune.

J.N. AND LOIS BENDER

Minster, Oho

Democratic Decision

I liked “An Open Letter to Caroline Kennedy” by Father James Gilhooley, with its good advice (Commentary & Opinion, July 10-16). It tells me that there are Democrats who are pro-life. I thought there were.

When I studied American history in my senior year of high school in the 1940s, my history teacher, who called himself “Q.E.D.” in his radio news broadcasts, explained both the Democrat and Republican platforms. I was listening closely and decided to be a Democrat. I am extremely pro-life.

We still have the choice to be either a Democrat or a Republican and to vote as we please.

LORRAINE RIES

Tampa, Florida