Fight for Peace

I would like to respond to Leszek Syski's letter to the editor titled “War on Salvation” (April 25-May 1).

Contrary to Syski's assertion, Saddam Hussein was indeed a sponsor of terrorism, as demonstrated by the fact that he gave money to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. He also gave safe haven to notorious terrorists Abu Nidal and Abul Abbas, the latter being responsible for the hijacking of the Achille Lauro in 1985, which killed one American. Of course, the greatest victims of Saddam's terror were the Iraqi people themselves, who had to deal with torture chambers and rape rooms.

While no one wants war, people such as Saddam who terrorize citizens worldwide need to be stopped. It is unfortunate, but sometimes we must fight in order to preserve true peace.

SHAWN GRUBBS, Fort Wayne, Indiana

Shakespeare and Henry

I read the article “Did William Shakespeare Die a Papist” (May 2-9) and it hit my suspicions.

Henry VIII asked for permission to divorce Catherine of Aragon because she was his dead brother's wife. Henry VII arranged a political marriage between his son James and Spain. When James died they asked the Pope for a dispensation for Henry to marry Catherine to keep the alliance with Spain alive.

Hamlet's father dies (killed by his uncle) and his uncle assumes the throne and marries his dead brother's wife (Hamlet's mother). I wonder if Shakespeare used this as part of the plot to remind the people of the shakey basis of the Church of England.

BILL DEVLIN, Jasper, Arkansas

Kerry's Conscience

Regarding “Faith in the Spotlight” (April 25-May1):

Despite Sen. John Kerry's assertion regarding abortion that the Catholic Church “allows for freedom of conscience for Catholics with respect to these choices,” the Catholic teaching on abortion is not drawn in misty half-truths and evasions, such as the claim to be “personally opposed” to abortion.

It is clear, complete and proudly promulgated. Catholics are obligated at all times to advance a culture of life instead of a culture of death. Pope John Paul II himself reaffirmed this ancient teaching in his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life).

In a November 1998 statement, “Living the Gospel of Life,” the National Conference of Catholic Bishops issued this exhortation to American Catholics in pursuit of the Pope's encyclical: “The gospel of life must be proclaimed, and human life defended, in all places and all times. The arena for moral responsibility includes not only the halls of government but the voting booths as well.”

The Holy Father recently issued the “Doctrinal Note on Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life.” In this document, Catholic laity are instructed that “a well-formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political program or an individual law that contradicts the fundamental contents of faith and morals.” Neither can a well-formed Catholic conscience permit a voter to vote for someone who holds such views.

The Pope reaffirmed to Roman Catholic politicians that when they take positions opposing “the basic right to life from conception to natural death” they are outside the doctrine of faith. Kerry, as an American citizen and politician, is free to hold and express any views he so chooses, but you simply cannot claim to be a faithful Catholic and support pro-abortion laws or a political candidate or party that supports pro-abortion policies. Nor should you receive or be allowed to receive holy Communion if you do. There is no wiggle room.


The Scandalous Candidate

Regarding “Vatican Warns of Scandal Regarding Kerry” (April 18-24):

Contemplate three hypothetical cases, all involving self-professed Catholics. One is an unrepentant rapist, another is the grand dragon of the Ku Klux Clan and the third is a vocal and ardent neo-Nazi. Would our bishops be silent if any of these three boldly presented themselves, with hands or tongue outstretched, to receive the Body and Blood of Christ? Would not the faithful openly weep and cry out in protest?

We have, at present, self-professed Catholics who boldly and persistently support what is a far more evil crime — the killing of tiny, innocent, defenseless, unborn babies in this country, often painfully and sometimes right up to the moment of birth.

Many bishops, priests and deacons are silent or give us pious platitudes such as, “This is a matter between a person and his God.” This failure to protect the Eucharist from sacrilege must be an abominable crime against the Holy Spirit, as it is aiding and abetting presumption on the part of pro-abortion politicians and sending an unholy message to the faithful.

JOHN F. O'BRIEN, Ocala, Florida

On God's Palms

Why don't Sen. Hillary Clinton, Sen. John Kerry and all the pro-choicers call their choice by its right name — pro-death?

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, addressing the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C, on Feb. 3, 1994, very well said as I wish to say: “I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of an innocent child, murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can even kill her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?”

God says: “Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you. See, upon the palms of my hands I have written your name” (Isaiah 49:15-16).

SISTER MARY MARTIN, SA, Garrison, New York Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement

What the Bishops Said

For an interesting study regarding the majority of bishops' silence with regard to Catholic politicians' pro-abortion stances, perhaps the bishops could reread their own adopted 1998 statement in contrast, “Living the Gospel of Life: A Challenge to American Catholics,” specifically paragraphs 24 (elected officials), 25 (Catholics in general), 29 (bishops themselves), 31 (political leaders), 32 (Catholic officials who depart …) and 33 (voters).

I suppose Catholics might question how their diocesan bishops publicly proclaim their own teaching.

FATHER JOHN J. MCCORMACK, Chaplain, Little Sisters of the Poor, Kansas City, Missouri

Let's Make Muscular Catholics

We've had enough of weak Catholicism. Let's make our Catholic faith the driving force in our private, political and social lives, and give full and true Catholic teaching to our children.

Since Catholic schools are fast becoming too expensive for the average Catholic parent, would it be possible to make arrangements with elementary public schools for Catholic teachers to be granted a certain time each day to instruct Catholic students? Or perhaps Catholic instruction could be given in the “after-care” programs? Maybe Catholic parents themselves could get together and share the instructing of their children.

If anyone has a good suggestion on how to improve this bad situation, I'm sure our dedicated Register would be glad to hear it.

CONNIE DERRICK, Nashville, Tennessee

Sinful Rights

God sent his Son to awaken man, to found a Church and to teach us the laws he established to give natural and spiritual order to the earth. We needed a universal church, a central depository for the spiritual, moral and historical knowledge acquired in 2,000 years. We needed a base for the training of leaders, essential for the continuity of Catholic education dedicated to those beliefs.

Today we are ignoring the teachings of that Church and its saintly Pope. We are allowing our political representatives to pass legislation that overturns our God-given laws of nature. We are killing our own offspring, using the special gifts he gave us for the procreation of the race he created, for nothing but our own pleasure. And now is coming the decimation of the human race.

Maybe The Passion of the Christ will make us think of how it all fits together in a pattern of natural and spiritual law — an orderly plan, a way of living for fathers, mothers and children that he intended us to follow (not the way of judges ignorant of God's real plan for freedom). There is no freedom in sinful behavior — and sinful behavior has no place in civil rights.

DELPHINE MCCLELLAN, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin