Letters to the Editor
Thanks, Kid. We Needed That!
I am an 11-year-old Catholic home schooler and I think your newspaper is wonderful. My favorite part is Umbert the Unborn. I read Umbert every week and he always makes me laugh. I am his biggest fan!
I also like Facts of Life. The information is really neat.
Your articles are really interesting and I also enjoy Baby Mugs.
Keep up the good work and God bless you!
While I agree with much of Ben Wiker's comments in “God and Matter: The Evolution of the Evolution Debate” (Commentary & Opinion, Aug. 14-20), I think he constructs a straw man of neo-Darwinism by describing it as necessarily including a materialist philosophy.
Of course all Catholics should oppose atheistic philosophies. But neo-Darwinism need not include an atheistic philosophy; it can simply be a non-metaphysical scientific theory attempting to explain biodiversity from within the limitations of contemporary empirical science by way of chance genetic mutations and natural selection.
The reality of contingency and chance in nature is not incompatible with the Catholic faith or absolute divine providence. Given Cardinal Schönborn's clarifying comments, there is no indication that the cardinal thinks either that there is no non-metaphysical form of neo-Darwinism or that the non-metaphysical form of neo-Darwinism is incompatible with the Catholic faith.
Saint Louis, Missouri
Regarding “Christian Churches Not Together Yet” (Media Watch, June 19-25):
I'm no fire-breathing traditionalist, but sometimes I read things that make me really wonder what's going on in our episcopate. Last week's edition had an article about ecumenical efforts with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, Calif., said it was “very painful” to not be in full communion with the Lutherans and that he was going to join them in mounting a campaign to “combat fundamentalism.”
I too am sad that we are not in communion with Lutherans, but wouldn't the best way to overcome that consist in convincing them to become Catholic? How else is the issue going to be resolved? I hope that resolving our differences over the Eucharist, for example, doesn't mean we as Catholics have to budge one iota on the meaning and theology of that most blessed of sacraments. If it does, then count me a staunch opponent of ecumenism.
Then there's that shared commitment to combating “fundamentalism.” First, to the Register, please instruct your journalists to do the most basic of tasks: Define your terms. There was no description of what that term means or why it was necessary to combat it.
But, given that the term probably refers to those Christians who are “fundamentalist,” why would the Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopal, and Orthodox churches want to spend their precious time fighting against their brothers and sisters who, if anything, are guilty of being a little too zealous in their faith? After all, most fundamentalists at least have the sense to acknowledge, as St. Peter did, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
I think our time would be better spent combating people and movements on the other side of the spectrum, those who would further dilute our theology, make Christ into a little more than a great teacher and relativize the faith.
Peachtree City, Georgia
Hiroshima and Mary
Thank you for your excellent editorial “After Hiroshima” (Aug. 21-27). In response, I would like to clarify that I would have been satisfied with the Pakaluks’ commentary (“Effects of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Still Being Felt,” August 7-13) if only they had called for a “World Atonement Day” rather than declaring the bombing of Hiroshima “Our National Sin.” Again, the Second Vatican Council and the Catechism are clear regarding “collective guilt,” which cannot be imputed to future generations (No. 597).
May I suggest reading Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen's The World's First Love, Chapter 22, “The Woman and the Atom.” Not once does Bishop Sheen single out America for special condemnation, but always refers to the sin of “man” or “humanity” as the true cause of the atomic conflagration. This is also true of the apparition of our Blessed Mother revealed at Fatima in 1917. She said that, if men repented, a great era of peace and prosperity would come to the world. But if not, another world war (WWII), worse than the first, would begin. This war would be the means by which “God would punish the world for its crimes by means of war, of hunger, and of persecution of the Church and the Holy Father.”
The only country Our Lady singles out for spreading its errors is Russia. Bishop Sheen is careful to explain that it's not the Russians themselves but “communism that must be crushed.”
The Pakaluks’ column utterly failed to show the moral difference between America and Japan during the Pacific war. The “After Hiroshima” editorial did a much better job of putting everything in context.
May I suggest that we follow Bishop Sheen's lead in the following prayer which ends his book: “Advance, Woman, in thy assault upon Omnipotence! Shame us all into enlisting thy warriors of peace and love!”
Thank you for your excellent editorial “After Hiroshima” (Aug. 21-27), which provided an eloquent defense of Church teaching in response to the criticism you received for printing Catherine and Michael Pakaluk's commentary “Effects of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Still Being Felt” (Aug. 7-13).
I, too, am startled and amazed that you received such an angry response from many of your readers (even to the point of canceling subscriptions), and so I wanted to send you a letter of support. None of the other Catholic publications I receive has written a clearer and more forceful explanation of what the Catholic Church teaches on the evil of nuclear war.
I am sure that most, if not all, of your readers accept the teaching of the Church on the immorality of targeting the unborn by the act of abortion. How is it that some of these same people cannot accept the teaching of the Church on the immorality of targeting civilians by a nuclear weapon?
Perhaps some people defend the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki out of a misplaced sense of patriotism. However, while love for one's country is good, we must nevertheless remember that God's laws come first. We also must keep in mind the words of St. Paul: “As you well know, we have our citizenship in heaven.”
Please continue to bring the light of truth to our troubled world by your unwavering fidelity to Jesus Christ and his Church. In some small way, I want to help you to do that, and so I am going to immediately renew my subscription and send along an extra donation to help make up for the subscriptions you lost. I hope that many of your readers will do the same.
Elmwood Park, New Jersey
Regarding “After Hiroshima” (Editorial, Aug. 21-27):
I am not angry and I do not wish to cancel my subscription. I did write a letter in defense of the bombing but I in no way believe freedom has no boundaries and no limits. Catholics always believe in boundaries and limits. I do believe that our dropping of the bomb in no way was saying that we wanted no boundaries and no limits. War is hell and all we wanted was to end it, which we did. I believe that you had to have lived at that time in history to understand how the average American citizen felt.
I also believe that not even our scientists — let alone the average American citizen — knew of the awful effects and consequences of the bomb. Had they known, they might have just continued with the firebombing of Tokyo, which incidentally killed more Japanese than both of the A-bombs, along with the fire bombing of other Japanese cities.
Yes, looking back it is easy to see that our leaders of that time made a morally bad decision but I in no way believe that I, or the average American citizen of 1945 through 2005, should be held morally responsible. What we are morally responsible for is to see that it does not happen again. That we, as a nation, are doing.
ADELINO R. LORENZO
The Inbrief section of our Sept. 4-10 issue misstated the situation in which the Little Sisters of the Poor found themselves when they evacuated from New Orleans. Mother Paul did not institute the community's first evacuation plan, as we reported. One had been in existence for about five years, as required by the state. Mother Paul added to it by arranging an agreement with another nursing-care facility so that the residents would have a place to go other than a shelter. This was indeed providential, as it brought the sisters to a Franciscan-run nursing home in Baton Rouge, normally just 75 minutes away. The original evacuation site was in Mobile, Ala., which was further away and was hit by the storm.
Also, a graphic on page 1 of our Sept. 11-17 issue reported that 30% of New Orleans was Catholic. Actually, more than half of the city's residents are Catholic.
Finally, our driving directions to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi in Santa Fe, N.M. (“La Conquistadora's Home Quarters,” Travel, Sept. 4-10), should have instructed visitors to drive north on I-25 from Albuquerque, not south.