Family Fashion Faux Pas

“Modesty Rocks!” (Oct. 3-9) was an excellent article. I think it may be time to put out a similar reminder to us women in our 30s, 40s and 50s. Too often, I see women in my age group doing the cleavage thing. Meanwhile, there are flattering swimsuits that cover us up and styles that are very attractive, no matter how many kids we've had.

I honestly think we don't ask ourselves, “Would I wear that to church?” I've even seen it in church. Women with short shorts and halter tops — serving as lectors and extraordinary ministers of communion, too. Anyway, as a 43-year-old wife and mother of five, I thought it was a great reminder that how I dress myself is important and how I allow my children to dress themselves is important, too.


Moorhead, Minnesota

Teens and Free Will

As a mother of five teen-agers, I wanted to comment on “The Road to Chastity” (Aug. 15-21).

My husband and I have done a lot of things right to help our children live chastely. We pray together, are active in our parish and have spoken to our children about real love and the love the world offers. Each carries around a signed card promising to keep pure. We haven't had television in our home for more than 10 years, and we eat together as a family nightly. If we go to a movie, we discuss the good, the bad and the ugly. Our Internet access is very limited, and the computer is located in a central part of our home.

I have been praying and sacrificing for my children. I feel that my husband and I have done as much as we can to “proof” them against the worldly pull. Certainly we haven't been perfect, and we've had our challenges.

However, God has given each person free will. Our 17-year-old daughter has chosen to go against the values that we have tried to instill in her. We are devastated because it wasn't supposed to turn out this way. I somehow want to warn parents that there are no foolproof methods to keep your children chaste. I thought that my husband and I made a great team in parenting.

If I could do anything over again, I would work on my marriage. I would learn how best to blend spouses' different backgrounds, ideas, strengths and weaknesses. I would be more docile to the role of my husband as the head of the house.

We can't change what has happened with my daughter, but we can learn to love more, deeper and better. We can exercise more faith that God has a perfect plan for all of us and, ultimately, all we can do is to let go and let God.

Name Withheld

Prenatal Parenting

Regarding “Prenatal Screening Reconsidered” (Sept 5-11):

My fourth child is now 18 years old. I was 35 when I became pregnant with him. The doctor told me that, because of my age, “We will do amniocentesis and then decide whether to terminate.” I very emphatically told him, “No, we will not!” and found another doctor. Seven months later, we had a perfectly healthy baby boy.

I never had any fears about “something being wrong with the baby.” He was our gift from God, healthy or not. Abortion was not an option under any circumstances. And I refused to let anyone take away our joy at welcoming new life.


Bay St. Louis, Mississippi

To Translate Truth

Regarding “New Mass Translation: Not Stalled, But No Final Text Yet” (Sept. 5-11):

I don't believe the issue is that a “new” but stalled translation is on the way. We need a correct translation. I cringe every time I hear the celebrant begin the Credo with “We believe.” Yes, I know that a council of the Church originally promulgated its creed with “We believe,” but the prayer of the Church in fact begins with “I believe.”

The translation “And also with you” completely misses the point. The response of the congregation is intended to recognize the charismatic spirit of the ordained priest or deacon. As a matter of fact, that's why a lay cantor must bypass those words when singing the Exsultet.

The article presented some comments by Father Allen Morris, secretary for the Department of Christian Life and Worship of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales. I hope that Father Morris does not have a contributing function in the translation project. He is quoted as saying, “No one was sitting on their hands” and “Each have their own opinion.” It seems the reverend father does not have an understanding of formal English grammar. Perhaps he is part of the problem.


Richmond, Virginia

Missing: 19 Million

Regarding “The Roe Effect: Aborted Voters” (Commentary & Opinion, July 25-Aug. 7):

Did you really mean to say that abortion is a means to an end to rid ourselves of abortion? It was almost congratulatory.

To suggest that the “missing 19 million” voters would be up to no good anyway denies the redemptive power of Christ and his promise of salvation he made on the cross. It also suggests someone doesn't read the news.

Faith-based news media (including yourselves, I believe) have, in the past couple of years especially, chronicled Gen-Xers bucking their boomer parents' and grandparents' “pro-choice” attitudes and habits. If this is victory, I'll take the mixed-up kid going to the polls over an abortion every time. At least there is a chance he'll ultimately choose redemption over death some time in his life.


Boise, Idaho

Who's Minding the Site?

At the end of his otherwise unobjectionable article “My Computer, the Bookkeeper” (Oct. 31 - Nov. 6), Brother John Raymond includes a list of his favorite charitable organizations. Giving Brother Raymond the benefit of the doubt as to the depth of his knowledge of these “favorite” groups, I must voice strong objections to at least two of the organizations he lists.

The Catholic Worker is essentially a socialist organization that embraces a wide variety of far-left agendas, including socialized medicine and attacks on the “military-industrial complex.” If you search its website very thoroughly, you can find a rare reference to Jesus, though almost none to “Jesus Christ.” But the website does include essays favoring clean needle-injection sites for drug addicts and blaming America for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The sympathies of the Catholic Worker are further illustrated by its favorite links section, which will take you to radical sites such as the Noam Chomsky Archive, Pax Christi and the anarchistic Jesus Radicals. The Catholic Worker site also includes a link to the “Church Reform” organization Call to Action.

Brother Raymond also includes among his favorite organizations Catholic Charities USA, which uses charitable contributions to lobby for a wide range of extremely liberal economic and social policies. Its site links to a number of far-left organizations, including pro-abortion groups such as the Leadership Conference for Civil Rights. Worse yet, Catholic Charities itself is a member of the Leadership Conference; their fellow members include pro-abortion groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and Feminist Majority. Perhaps worst of all, however, is that Catholic Charities includes a link to the pseudo-Catholic publication the National Catholic Reporter.

If your readers are inclined to contribute to charitable groups, it would be far better to give to organizations that focus on helping people, as opposed to hating the Church and America, or joining with those who do. I would urge your readers to take a look at both Catholic World Mission (catholicworldmission.org) or the Padre Pio Shelter, in the Bronx, N.Y., which is run by Father Benedict Groeschel and the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (franciscanfriars.com).


Cheshire, Connecticut