Letters to the Editor

‘Father’ Rosanna’s Reach

Regarding “Virginia Diocese Expands Permission for Altar Girls” (April 23-29):

Several years ago, I celebrated a Sunday Mass at which all the liturgical ministers were women. There were eight extraordinary ministers of holy Communion, six altar severs, two lectors and one cantor. After Mass, one of the servers, a girl around 13 years old, went to the presider’s chair and began to playfully “celebrate Mass.” When the pastor noticed what she was doing, he smiled and said in an audible voice: “Not yet, Rosanna — but hopefully soon!”

Besides being theologically incorrect about “hopefully soon,” the pastor was setting the young girl up for future frustration and disappointment when she realizes she will never be a Catholic priest. Let’s make no mistake. Female altar servers who believe they have a vocation want to be priests, not nuns.

I know two former altar girls who mistakenly believed they were called to Catholic priesthood. Disillusioned with the Church, they are now members of denominations that ordain women.

Unfortunately, many of these problems are a direct result of an ongoing attempt to feminize the liturgy of the Catholic Church in order to conform to a particular agenda of political correctness.

As Sunday liturgy is viewed more and more from the pews as “women’s work,” fewer men with authentic priestly vocations will be inclined to enter the seminary and study for the priesthood.


Father David G. Taurasi

Sinton, Texas

Advertising Apology

The Register apologizes to readers for an advertisement in our May 7-12 issue for a conference called “Mysticism, Empowerment & Resistance.” The event it promoted features a prominent Catholic dissenter and an ex-priest scholar who is well known for his campaign to debunk the Gospels. The Register’s mission is to promote the New Evangelization and support the magisterium of the Church. It is our policy not to accept advertisements that contravene that mission. We published the ad in error, because of the sponsoring organization’s name: It’s very close to the name of an organization we know and trust. We regret any confusion the ad caused, and we assure readers that this advertiser will not reappear in our publication.

—      Editors

The Da Vinci Load

I read with interest your insightful editorial “The Da Vinci Moment” (March 19-25).

What simply has to be totally confusing to many of the book’s readers (and, soon, the movie version’s viewers) are the efforts by major promoters of this book claiming that it is both fact and fiction. This is certainly a stretch that further denigrates the book’s credibility. One plausible explanation might be that Brown had never initially anticipated his financial success with the book, thus paying little attention to its veracity.

Brown certainly has his share of critics. One such critic has been Salman Rushdie, who described the book as “a bad book that makes other bad books look good.”

Brown goes off the deep end when he erroneously alleges that the divinity of Jesus Christ was realized until the fourth century. The author overlooks certain indisputable facts. For example, the epistles of St. Paul cite no fewer than 17 times the divinity of Jesus Christ. Moreover, Jesus’ divinity is referenced more than 100 times in the whole of the New Testament. There is nothing historical that contradicts these factual references.

Still another “historical” observation in this book is the misuse of the term “Vatican” — a term Brown uses hundreds of years before it even came into existence. At best, this fluke constitutes a radical chronological distortion.

What is thoroughly astonishing is that Brown attempts to replace both St. Peter and St. John — in their traditional Christian leadership roles — with Mary Magdalene. These are two of the most prominent apostles in terms of being individually referenced within the New Testament. St. Peter is cited 195 times and St. John is mentioned roughly 29 times in the New Testament. The remaining 10 apostles are mentioned about 100 times collectively.

It is unbelievable that such a demotion could be applied to the two most frequently mentioned apostles in the New Testament.

As a practicing Roman Catholic, I would be remiss if I failed to make any reference to the anti-Catholic component within this book and, presumably, in the forthcoming movie. In fact, the co-producer of the movie, John Calley, stated publicly that it is “conservatively anti-Catholic.” Need I say more?


Thomas E. Dennelly

West Islip, New York

Both Sides Now

Thank you, Mark Shea, for pointing out that advocates of intelligent design do not, by any means, want evolution dropped from the public-school curriculum but rather merely want the controversy taught. And, by “controversy,” they mean pointing out to the students the documented scientific criticism and shortfalls of the evolution (“Lack of Intelligence on Design,” April 30-May 6).

But it is not the least bit surprising that this fair-minded request is met with such hysteria and outright vindictiveness. For the neo-Darwinists know that an open discussion on evolution would severely undermine the hold their atheistic “creation story” has on society and our culture. And just so there’s no mistake, the neo-Darwin creation story is nothing less than that all life sprang forth completely from materialistic causes, unaided by any intelligence, and then diversified and become ever more complex, again unaided by intelligence or design. This is the neo-Darwinists’ belief, even if at times they try to disguise it for expediency’s sake. 

It is both good science and good education to teach the pros and cons of evolution in the public schools. Anything less is one-sided indoctrination.

 Peter Skurkiss

Stow, Ohio

‘Too Many’ Children? 

Your article on the proposed legislation in the Philippines to show preferences to the children of one- or two-child families fails to consider an important point (“Philippines Debates 2-Child Policy,” March 26-April 1).

Since small families are more likely to be found among those with education and money than among the lesser-educated and the poor, this legislation could have the effect (intended or otherwise) of making it easier for the children of the upper levels of society to obtain the education and other benefits they need to be successful. Meanwhile the children of the poor may end up having a more difficult time getting ahead because their parents had large families.

This reminds me of the proposal in India to deny political positions to those who had “too many” children. Is the Philippines going to do this also?

Julie A. Robichaud

San Antonio, Texas

Words to the Wise

The idea that the teaching of Humanae Vitae was “authoritative, but not infallible,” described in “Europe Ends With a Shrug” (Commentary & Opinion, March 12-18), got my attention.

I wonder if those who embrace this approach have thought this through. How many of the Catholic Church’s teachings are “authoritative, but not infallible” — and, thus, need not be followed? It would seem most of them. Can we then disregard any teaching that is not formally decreed as infallible? Can Latin Rite priests disregard their vows of poverty, chastity and obedience?

Maronite Rite priests can marry. Can a married couple overlook the “until death do we part” vow, then get divorced and remarried as often as desired without an annulment? Where does it stop? Does it stop, or can it?

The Church will not make a person follow its teachings. God will not make someone love him. In both cases we can exercise our freedom of choice. If we are not faithful in the little things (authoritative teachings), how can we expect great rewards from the big (infallible) things (Matthew 25:21, 23 and Luke 19:15-27)?

Joe Marincel

Flower Mound, Texas

Don’t Play the Blame Game

Regarding “Preventing Abuse: Is Virtus Virtuous?” (April 30-May 6):

What’s the point of the Virtus program if its only purpose is to catch priests, coaches or teachers — and only in the Catholic school or parish system?

Despite the fact that sexual abuse is rampant throughout the country, crossing all lines of religious affiliation, professions, financial status and ethnic origins, the inference in the Virtus program when the scandals broke was to maintain its suspicions mainly about priests. Thus, with the help of the media, it became a “Catholic problem.”

Of course, the media were delighted and we let them run with this story line, powered by latent anti-Catholicism, while totally ignoring the wider problem. No one, not even the bishops’ conference, called our attention to the fact that most sexual abuse cases, by far, occur in the home. Our local county’s sex-abuse unit has a caseload of 30 to 40 instances of sex abuse a month — none involving Catholic clergy.

The point is that we as Catholics are called to serve the Kingdom of God. We need to become “catholic” by awareness of what ails society and what we as a Christ-filled community can do about its problems without playing the blame game. We have to get over our embarrassment as Church for our failures and quit trying to recreate our image for the media. We have only the image of Christ to live by.

Lawrence Petrus

Rocky River, Ohio