Passionate Performer

Thank you for the truly inspiring interview with Jim Caviezel (“How The Passion Changed Him,” Inperson, Dec. 21-Jan. 3).

Recounting his physical suffering playing Jesus in Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ would have been enough to move anyone deeply. But the way he humbly expressed his determination to attend daily Mass and receive Communion reflected well Our Lord's parable about the leaven.

He said, “It always comes down to that — what does the Lord want?” Perhaps we can see a prophecy of the magnificent results of this film in the months to come.

George Herman

Deerfield, Illinois

Be Not Afraid of Galileo

Regarding “Excommunicated for Scientific Beliefs” by Dermott Mullan (Commentary, Nov. 30-Dec. 6):

Galileo, or at least his followers, were wrong. Why has no one said so? Oh, I don't mean on the astronomical point of the Earth revolving around the sun. I'm referring to the far-greater issue of the Earth being the center of the universe.

Nor do I need to rely on what is obvious only to Catholics, that the Earth is central because it was and is home to Christ, for whom the universe was created, and was home to Mary, his mother, Queen of the Cosmos. Is there a Catholic ready to say there is another Christ or another Queen of the Cosmos?

Instead, I will point out for believers and unbelievers alike the obvious fact that creation, or, if you will, evolution, reaches its zenith in complexity, not simplicity. The stars, from largest to smallest, are little more than clusters of hydrogen atoms.

If one of those stars had a carrot growing on it, it would be quantum leaps ahead of all the others, evolutionarily. The Earth has far more. It has man, an intelligent, free-willed and eternal creature — the most complex in God's creation.

There's more. As the center of creation and evolution, the Earth and its inhabitants came to be only because the remainder of the universe unfolded exactly as it did. The chance for life as we know it was so remote that had there been a shimmer of some star a trillion light years away, a trillion years ago, Earth would likely not have been. The universe had to develop exactly as it did in order for man to show up. In that sense, the entire universe has its meaning in setting the stage for the emergence of life on Earth.

Yes, Galileo was right — but only regarding an astronomical detail. The Church was wrong, but only insofar as she, like the Apostles during the storm on Lake Galilee, panicked, in this case thinking that the truth of the Earth's centrality was threatened. It was not. The Holy Spirit is still with us. Earth and man are central and will remain so. Let's not be afraid to say so.

Hugh McGrath Jr.

Metairie, Louisiana

Deliverers of Death

It is a tragedy that Charles Cullen, the “Angel of Death,” has admitted to killing 40 or so patients who were under his care (“Killer Compassion,” Jan. 4-10). Cullen became a nurse to help people, not kill them.

As tragic as this is, Cullen is a piker compared to the doctors who are sworn to do no harm yet kill millions of innocent, unborn babies through abortion.

Gerard P. McEvoy

Coram, New York

Coffee Conundrum

In “Catholic Relief Services' 'Coffee Project' Strives for Global Justice in Every Cup” (Dec. 14-20), you admitted the overproduction of low-grade coffee was what had driven down coffee prices.

Given that, would it not make more sense to help farmers get out of coffee and into something that offers better prices?

Julie A. Robichaud

San Antonio, Texas

Silence vs. Salacious Stories

Regarding “Christmas Means 'Skin' at Abercrombie & Fitch” (Dec. 14-20):

I am disappointed with the Register's article. Since the underlying premise is that Abercrombie & Fitch thrives on the bad publicity from their scandalous catalogs, why is the Register giving front-page coverage and a free advertisement — one-third of page 10 — to this commercial purveyor of immorality?

The vivid descriptions are not necessary to promote a boycott. One does not have to visit Abercrombie & Fitch or page thorough its magazine to get a full sense of the naked truth — one can read all about it in the Register! Was there nothing more newsworthy?

My sons (10, 12 and 15) grab the Register before I have time to peruse it. Their first comment was “yuck.” Please be more careful about the content. Reading those descriptions in a national Catholic publication can be far more damaging to your readers than you realize.

Mary Camara

Houston, Texas

Mass for America

To all daily communicants in the Roman Catholic faith:

You read in the paper today about what is going on in America and the world. Things are very scary and I have often thought about what could be done. This thought came into my head the other day.

I am a daily Mass-goer and communicant. There must be millions of Catholics attending Mass and receiving holy Communion daily and I wondered if we could become of one heart and one mind.

For instance: Before Mass, offer the Mass and holy Communion up to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary for this great country, America. For one thing, pray that we remain “one nation, under God.”

We could pray for an increase for priestly vocations and then include our personal intentions.

Can you imagine the millions of Masses being offered up daily in the country? We will be of one heart and one mind!

If we do this to protect this country, you will see the results in the national elections in 2004. Copy this letter and send it to your bishop.

John L. Naughton

Brick, New Jersey

Premature Symposium?

While admirable in its intent, I found your symposium (“Did The War In Iraq Secure The Peace?” Jan. 4-10), entirely premature and below the journalistic standards I have come to expect from the Register.

Conferring a symposium of any sort on whether peace has been secured in Iraq in less than one year ignores the abundance of historical evidence that meaningful impact (and equally meaningful assessments) in “similar” global conflicts take years, not months. Thus, devoid of any reasonable quantity of facts, you left your authors in a position to merely speculate and add excessive interpretive reasoning to substantiate their positions.

This less-than-desirable approach was especially evident with the anti-war authors, each of whom left out material facts in an effort to appear more resolute in their conclusions. As we stare at the next decade of battling this new breed of foe, it will be increasingly important to examine just-war theories, international peacekeeping effectiveness and the principles we apply to assure we strike the right balance between prudent precaution and excessive aggression.

I can only hope that, in the future, the Register allows sufficient time for the collection of meaningful facts before attempting this type of analysis.

Rich Beckman

Newnan, Georgia

Editor's Note: Certainly, once all the facts are out about Iraq, it will be much easier to assess the war. But we don't think it's a good idea for Catholics to hold off their discussion of important national questions until the discussion has passed into the history books. Yes, waiting would prevent Catholics from saying the wrong thing — but it would also prevent them from saying anything at all until it is too late.