Letters To The Editor

Where's My Alma Mater?

Regarding “Catholic College Survey '05” (Sept. 25-Oct. 1):

I find it unfortunate that you fail to include my alma-mater, Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., among your list of recommended colleges (as viewed on your website). I would like here to offer reasons why Saint Anselm is a worthy choice for potential Catholic collegians.

First, Saint Anselm does meet several criteria used on your list: numerous Catholic faculty and staff, an organization for life, single sex dorms and opposition to any pro-abortion mentality.

Second, I believe it would be wise to incorporate a wider understanding of collegiate life so as to make the best possible recommendations. A good college (for anyone, but Catholics in particular) should be academically sound, with a variety of courses so as to give its students the best education possible. Organizations that foster community service, spiritual growth, intellectual development and recreational opportunities are also essential. The presence of religious serves likewise to benefit a collegiate experience.

Third, and finally, because of both the first and second observations I make an unmitigated endorsement of Saint Anselm College. Saint Anselm possesses an almost unparalleled [experience of] academia, offering myriad majors and a wonderful core curriculum. Included in this curriculum is a nationally emulated humanities program, and mandatory philosophy and theology courses.

Furthermore, the Knights of Columbus, the ecumenical Bible-study group, the intramural sports program, the Meelia Center for volunteers, the campus ministry, the philosophy club and the theology society are some of the numerous extra-curricular options at Saint Anselm. With monks living on campus, Saint Anselm students see and meet everyday powerful witnesses to Christ. I myself lived this reality during four years at Saint Anselm College, and I hope many other young Catholics have the chance to do the same.


Rexford, New York

Editor's note: We've had several requests for more information about how our survey was compiled and how we chose which schools to cover. We sent surveys to the presidents’ offices at all Catholic colleges and universities, and followed up with the ones from whom we received no initial answer. We included all the universities that responded.

Complexity and Creation

Two letters under the heading “Let's Be Intelligent About Design” (Letters, Nov. 20-26), responding to the Oct. 30-Nov. 5 article “Design or Dumb Luck,” require comment.

One letter stated that intelligent design (ID) could not be considered as science because it is not testable. Well, neither is macroevolution (the transformation of a species into an entirely different species). Species transformation has never even been demonstrated, let alone tested; nor can it be found in the fossil record. Therefore ID and macroevolution are in the same boat.

The other letter claims that ID isn't needed because macroevolution “postulates a primitive earth teeming with single-cell life forms … with “increasing complexity.” This “postulating” was fine science 50 years ago, but advances in microbiology (through technological improvements in microscopes) have shown that all cells, primitive and modern, are all highly complex.

This is exactly why Antony Flew, the darling of atheists of the late 20th century, recently threw in the towel. He now says that such complexity demands some sort of God or intelligence.


St. Paul, Minnesota

Royal Order of Churchgoers?

I read the Register from cover to cover each week, but I had overlooked an interesting statement in the wire story on “Switching Churches” (Nov. 27-Dec. 3) until just today. It says that “a general principle of the ecumenical movement is that dialogue partners don't seek “conversion’ of each other's members.”

It would seem from this statement that the Church is no longer in the business of saving souls but counting the numbers. One should not wonder why the average Catholic now believes that it doesn't matter what church one belongs to so long as one believes in “something.”

Anyone who has been following the dissolution of the Anglican/Episcopal Church as a Christian institution would see that it is plagued with heterodoxy that, in another age, would be considered heretical by all denominations.

If souls are being lost while we observe these political niceties, then we are being irresponsible by not encouraging evangelization regardless of the source. And if orthodoxy or salvation is no longer an urgent matter, then we have totally lost the point of the Incarnation.

It would seem the Church has become a temporal fraternal society rather than a transcendental, salvific institution.


Colorado Springs, Colorado

Weird Science

Relevant to “Design or Dumb Luck?” (Oct. 30-Nov. 5):

Science has rules. One could consider the “scientific method” a rule of science. This method includes a hypothesis, experiments, results and conclusions. The experiment's results could support, be inconclusive or contradict the hypothesis.

Consider a hypothesis: “Dry newspaper burns when held to an open flame.” If the newspaper always burns, the hypothesis has merit. If it never burns, it is an unsupported hypothesis. Consider another hypothesis: “Inorganic matter attained life on its own, and we (humanity), evolved from this basic life form.” Is there merit in this hypothesis? Show me a repeatable experiment where inorganic material becomes alive. If it never occurs, even with humanity's assistance, can it be expected to have occurred out of chaos and on its own?

After decades of not being able to make inorganic matter alive, scientists should acknowledge this as an unproved hypothesis. I wish scientists would follow their own rules and be more scientific. Scientists do not need to become creationists, but they should admit they cannot prove how life began and stop pushing unsupported theories as scientific “gospel truth.”


Flower Mound, Texas

Moving McDermott

What a gift to the Body of Christ is Scott McDermott. His strength, bravery, charity and humility bring me to tears. In his commentary titled “Why I Thank God I Couldn't Be a Priest” (Dec. 11-17), he says that, in his search for his calling, he desired to “do something beautiful for God.” This he truly has done — not only in his writing, but in his powerful personal testimony to God's grace.

His witness is an inspiration to all people who seek to find their true calling, understanding their God-given gifts and talents while not despairing over their personal obstacles.


Bloomfield, New Jersey

Let's Step Up and Stop the War

As our nation anxiously prepares for the December independent elections in Iraq, and as political tensions heighten regarding public opinion and the presidency, it is time for Catholics to respond to the war in Iraq (“Shalt Thou Kill?” Nov. 27-Dec. 3).

Our faith empowers us to have a voice in this conflict, to share our beliefs and to engender political change. To accomplish this goal, we must have an informed Catholic conscience. We must turn to our Church's best-kept secret: Catholic social teaching.

One of the fundamental tenets of the Church's social teaching is that of just war. Just War Theory is presupposed by the assumption, laid forth by Pope John Paul II and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, that war is always an aberration and the presumption should always be on the side of peace. With this as their foundation, the bishops wrote a challenging document challenging modern warfare, “The Challenge of Peace,” in which they laid out the conditions of the just-war tradition.

They contend that, if all peaceful means of negotiation and diplomacy have been exhausted and force is only sought in cases of self-defense and humanitarian aid, then the following conditions must be met if a war is to be considered just and morally permissible: Jus ad bellum (criteria for justly declaring war) are just cause, competent authority, comparative justice, right intention, last resort, proportionality and probability of success; and jus in bello (moral norms for conducting war) are proportionality and non-combatant immunity.

According to just-war theory, all conditions must be met if a war is morally permissible. If we closely study the Iraq war with the criteria of non-combatant immunity in mind, we, as Catholics, must come to the conclusion that the war in Iraq is unjust.

It is painfully obvious, in light of Catholic social teaching, that the war in Iraq is not just; nor is it morally acceptable. As informed Catholics, we need to extend our voices into the political sphere, help to end the war and to invest our time, talent and treasure into the restoration of peace.


University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, Indiana

Women Pay the Price

Many thanks to Daniel Kuebler, Ph.D. for watching out for American women (“For Girls Only: The Steroids Double Standard,” Nov. 27- Dec. 3).

As one watches such social policies develop as those mentioned in this commentary, one cannot help but feel that women are being abused and sacrificed in the name of “women's rights,” which is just parlance for “sexual liberation.” It becomes more obvious that, at the heart of every issue, you have belief in God's plan in a pitched battle against the belief of uncompromising pursuit of pleasure.

It is truly ironic that, while society shields young boys from destroying their bodies, young girls are taught to wreck themselves in secret so that society can somehow, in its mind, justify contraception and the lifestyle that the use of such drugs is supposed to make possible.

There goes America.


Central Texas