Letters to the Editor
Beware Dolls Advancing Agendas
American Girls was originally a product of the Pleasant Company. For my daughter, the dolls were a wholesome, educational alternative to the hyper-sexed fluff of Barbie. Imagine my dismay when Mattel, the manufacturer of Barbie products, purchased Pleasant Company in 1998. I knew then the end of innocent American Girls was inevitable. Therefore, I am not at all surprised to hear the brand has aligned itself with a pro-abortion group like Girls, Inc.
The boycott of American Girls may not change the corporate culture of Mattel. However, it will be a powerful pro-life witness by parents to their children.
Several years ago, General Mills was a contributor to Planned Parenthood. At that point, I completely stopped buying General Mills products. This included Cheerios cereal, which had been a staple for my four young children. My boycott did not harm the General Mills bottom line. But it did provide an unforgettable lesson for my children.
Now they are teens on the verge of adulthood. They understand that being pro-life isn't something you do only when it is convenient. They know it is something you live, day in and day out. They also tell me that giving up General Mills cereals helped them understand the sacrifices their principles sometimes require.
Parents should consider the powerful pro-life statement they will make to their daughters by boycotting American Girl dolls. The corporate financial impact of the boycott may seem insignificant, but the impact on their children's moral development is immeasurable.
DENISE J. HUNNELL
Fairfax Station, Virginia
As a mother of six girls, I would like to comment on “Shopping Wars: American Girl Dolls Boycott” (Nov. 20-26).
The alternative source you suggested, “A Life of Faith” dolls from Mission City Press, includes a doll patterned after a character named Elsie Dinsmore. The first book in the series seems innocuous enough, drawing the reader entertainingly into the life of the young Elsie. However, the following books in the series feature self-righteous, evangelical-Protestant characters who are fearfully anti-Catholic.
We stopped reading these books and would not recommend them for young Catholic readers.
Evolution Doesn't Add Up
Regarding “Design or Dumb Luck?” (Oct. 30-Nov. 5):
I have two questions re Darwin's theory.
1. Why is there absolutely no evidence of this evolution? If it took billions of years for species to develop one into another, then there would be virtually unrecognizable differences between species; one could not draw a line between them, except in the most arbitrary fashion. It seems to me we are missing much more than a link because we would not be talking about a chain or links at all, but a virtual unbroken line of minute differences between creatures along a continuous spectrum. Why is it impossible to mistake one species for another today (and through all of history)?
Which leads to the second question.
2. If species developed from lower forms gradually over time, why are lower forms not developing into higher forms today? What caused the obvious cessation of evolution from lower form to higher forms? When did it happen? Why? If we say that this occurred during “prehistory,” are we not saying that all of what history testifies to is contradicted by prehistory? And on what basis do we make such an anti-evidentiary assumption? The most minimal and indefinite signs? Is this science or science fiction? How is it we use the mind to so freely contradict the mind itself?
I cannot help but be in the party that sees every reason to believe in microevolution — changes within species determined by environment — but absolutely none to put faith in macroevolution, defined as environmental determination of species themselves.
Also, contrary to the claims of some scientists that intelligent design is not science, it is, in fact, more scientific than the theory of evolution, since what it posits can be observed even this day, and, in fact, every day in clearer sense — since the more we learn of the universe, the more complex and wonderful it becomes. And the more inexplicable.
Jersey City, New Jersey
Priests and Marriage
I noticed right away that Raymond Cleaveland seemingly confused the issues, as many Roman Catholics do, as to the two separate issues of ordination of married men on the one hand and allowing priests to marry on the other (“Why Married Priests Aren't the Answer,” Commentary & Opinion, Oct. 30-Nov. 5).
Maybe he didn't mean to, but there it was, in the fourth paragraph: “But if the Catholic Church allowed priests to marry…”
If the issue is simply about returning to the custom of ordaining both married men and celibate single men, this business about “allowing priests to marry” has no place in the article. Separate issue!
Like the Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Catholic Church has held since the original seven ecumenical councils that, once ordained, a priest may not marry.
DANIEL JOSEPH BARTON
Fayetteville, North Carolina
U.S. Army (Retired)
Eye on Elections
The mid-term elections of 2006 will be upon us within the next 11 months. That's just around the corner. Those of us who are pro-life realize that, with all that is going on in American politics, pro-life issues may not be a major concern with many American voters.
I believe it is our responsibility to begin our prayers, our acts of mortification and sacrifice, and other works for life right now for the intention of the promotion of an intensified awareness of the danger surrounding pro-life work.
Now is the time to pray for the success at the polls next year of all candidates for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives who support the right to life. Life needs fervent supporters in the Senate and House to protect our unborn brothers and sisters from further anti-life legislation and to foster laws that support life.
RUDOLPH D. PARSON
West Islip, New York
Bravo, Brother Principal
Regarding “’Far From What Is Expected In a Christian Institution’: Why a Catholic high-school principal canceled the prom” (Nov. 20-26):
Thank you, Brother Kenneth Hoagland, principal of Kellenberg High School in Uniondale, N.Y.! You are a voice of truth in the tangled web of choices and peer pressure our children are exposed to.
Our oldest child is a senior at a local public high school after having been home-schooled through ninth grade. I am very aware of the spiritual warfare these children are exposed to daily. Even though they are almost adults, they certainly are still in their formative years and need guidance from their parents. The problem is, the parents sway just as easily to the temptations of this world because their intellects are not educated in Catholic doctrine and their hearts not evangelized to the truth.
It takes one person, like you, to stand up and not “sell out” to pressure. Then conversations begin. Parents talk to other parents, children talk to their parents and students talk among themselves. Such conversations have the potential to begin changing minds and hearts.
May God bless you for your obedience to the truth, Brother Hoagland. You are an affirmation to me to persevere in raising our children, as difficult as it can be in this secularized world — and to continue to discuss with them the reasons behind decisions we make with and for them. The next time I feel weak-kneed from the “battle,” I will certainly think of you and your courage to speak the truth. Thank you.
Fifth Commandment, Clarified
Regarding “Shalt Thou Kill?” (Nov 27-Dec 3):
Many of us would like God to change so as to meet our moral and/or political views. But God does not change. What was true yesterday is true today — and shall be true tomorrow.
As Roman Catholics, we must always be in search of the truth.
We must also thank Father Frank Pavone for pointing out the error in translation of the Fifth Commandment as handed down to Moses. He states that this commandment refers to the taking of innocent life directly and deliberately.
G.J. WERNETTE, M.D.
Girls on Steroids
Regarding “For Girls Only: The Steroids Double Standard” (Nov. 27-Dec. 3):
Dan Kuebler's commentary about the use of steroids by young women in the form of hormonal contraceptives is right on. Giving steroids to women is not good medicine. Health means not destroying the intrinsically good physical nature of our bodies, which were made in the image of the Triune God.
Since becoming director of a diocesan natural family planning office, I have become more aware of the damages done by the use of oral contraceptives in young women. Many are also on antidepressants.
Could it be that one thing leads to another? Might the encouragement of promiscuous behavior linked with contraceptives plunge one into despair?
Natural Family Planning Office Diocese of Wichita, Kansas