Want Priests? Have Kids
Several recent letters have dealt with the subject of large families. Perhaps one of the major reasons for a shortage of vocations to the priesthood and the religious life is a shortage of young Catholic men and women. It is a fact that most young couples today are limiting themselves to one or two children. This will not even replace the population. Perhaps there is an element of selfishness in this trend, even greed.
The United States' population is growing mainly due to immigration.
God, who is never outdone in generosity, will certainly bless young couples who trust him to provide all they will need.
FATHER LEO SLATTERIE
Islam and Its Infidels
Regarding “Catholic Expert: Islam Is a Religion of Violence, Not One of Peace” (Nov. 30-Dec. 6):
Robert Spencer describes Islam as “unique among the world's religions in having a broad and highly developed theology, law and tradition mandating violence against nonbelievers.” This frank description surely terrifies some and is written off as prejudiced falsity by others. However, given the author's credentials and the serious nature of the issue, further consideration and analysis of the issue and its validity are certainly prudent.
What does history have to say about Islam? By what means has Islam grown since its inception? What are the common characteristics of societies and nations that are mainly Islam? The greatest testimony to the Catholic faith is a saint, because a saint lives the Church's teachings. Who are the “saints” of Islam and what are they like? In general, what kind of fruit has Islam produced?
If the answers to these questions testify to Spencer's claim, then we must take it seriously and begin to prepare for the possibility of Islam spreading or attempting to spread throughout Europe. In doing this, I think it is important to remember that one of the few nonbelievers Muslims have respected and perhaps the only nonbeliever they have admired is St. Francis of Assisi.
I applaud the Register for printing this article on Islam and hope it continues such research in the future.
It was nice to read that the bishops have resolved to establish guidelines on how to respond to Catholic politicians who mock the teachings of the Church on great moral issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage (“Bishops' Plan: Engage Public Pro-Abortion Catholics,” Nov. 23-29).
Nice, until we're told their resolution will not be ready by the 2004 election. Why will it take a year for the bishops to make a moral decision?
In their 1998 declaration “Living the Gospel of Life,” the bishops made a brave statement: The gospel of life cannot be lived simply as a private belief but must be lived “vigorously and publicly.” They singled out as “seriously mistaken” Catholic public officials who claim they are personally opposed to evils such as abortion but cannot impose their beliefs on others. But when it comes to acting upon that statement five years later, [the bishops] seem timid and uncertain.
ERNEST J. AMENT
Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan
I read with interest Cardinal Walter Kasper's comments in which he stated, “There can be an Anglican rite, but this would presuppose that a whole province or diocese comes to the Catholic Church” (“Anglican and Episcopalian Unrest Follows Bishop's Consecration,” Nov. 16-22).
According to the Web site of the Catholic Information Network, Pope John Paul II granted a pastoral provision in 1980 for the establishment of parishes composed of former Episcopalians permitting them to use a modified liturgy from the Book of Common Prayer.
There are a number of Anglican-use parishes in the United States, and several have Web sites. Our Lady of the Atonement has a particularly good site at www.atonementonline.com. These parishes apparently use a book of divine worship that has received an imprimatur and is based upon the Book of Common Prayer.
I wish there was an active parish in my area, but they are apparently clustered in the south-central United States.
Woe to Curay-Cramer
Michele Curay-Cramer, the teacher at Ursuline Academy in Delaware who signed a pro-abortion ad in a newspaper, should be ashamed of herself (“Free Speech for Teachers vs. School's Freedom of Religion,” Nov. 30-Dec. 6).
High-school girls are very impressionable and are influenced by the opinions and beliefs of their teachers. She has quite possibly, by her example, led girls away from the Catholic Church's teaching on this issue. She has potentially put not only her own soul but also the souls of the girls she teaches in jeopardy.
Our Lord addresses the danger of scandalizing children quite clearly: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of things that cause sin! Such things must come, but woe to the one through whom they come” (Matthew 18:6-7).
I pray for Michele Curay-Cramer's soul and those of her students. As for her claims of sexual discrimination, I think she needs to look up the meaning of the word in the dictionary. She should accept her termination and not put the school and diocese through a court battle. She was wrong, needs to accept responsibility for her actions and should print a retraction to her original support in the newspaper.
It is a sad statement of our society when a schoolteacher so flagrantly shirks her responsibility as a moral example to her students.
BETH A. MARTIN, M.D.
Coeur D'Alene, Idaho
Finally you had an article on one of the most beautiful churches in our nation and in the world: Our Lady of Victory Basilica in Lackawanna, N.Y. (“A Basilica to Give Thanks For,” Nov. 23-29).
I'm so glad you finally featured the basilica and just had to thank you. I was born and raised in the parish, made my first confession and Communion, and received the sacrament of confirmation there. I still visit the church at least two or three times a year when I return to visit my family. I never tire of its beauty.
Your paper is one of my favorite publications. Keep up the good work.
FATHER EDWARD SZYMANSKI
Sacred Heart of Mary Church
From Altar to Priesthood
I was pleased to see an article regarding altar servers (“Boys Only? Vatican Rumors and American Doubts Surround Altar Servers,” Nov. 9-15). I do believe that having all-male altar servers will foster more vocations.
I belong to Sts. Cyril and Methodius in Sterling Heights, Mich. In this parish of about 650 families, we have 111 altar boys. Within the last two years, six young men have entered the seminary and one man was ordained to the priesthood this past June.
I believe this vocational success comes from prayer and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament as well as a pastor who is completely faithful to the magisterium and all that our Holy Mother Church teaches. But I also believe that promoting the priesthood through the altar-boy program has had a great influence in fostering vocations.
There is nothing discriminatory about doing everything possible to promote the priesthood. And with the success we have been blessed with in our parish, I would hate to see anything changed. As a matter of fact, I would like to see more parishes following suit.
West Bloomfield, Michigan
Take Back the University
The series of articles in the Register concerning the 1990 apostolic constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae (From the Heart of the Church) is very informative; however, it is difficult to understand the issues until you actually attend a resisting university.
In my case, my son, my wife and I all attend the same university, which makes a concerted effort to mitigate the Catholic faith. Homosexuality is supported openly through the distribution of homosexual newspapers found in the library foyers and student gathering points to “gay pride” flags and stickers adorning professor's offices to “coming out” parties in the dorms. We found out the hard way that low morals follow weak academic standards. Relativism is the religion of this university.
The question is what can be done if an archbishop refuses to do anything. One could stand outside the grounds and carry a sign in protest, but without a sizable crowd, nothing will come of it.
Nevertheless, an area that concerns universities more than anything else is their coffers. If the Catholic laity started to withhold money and actively worked to discourage donations and admissions, universities might start concerning themselves with the will of the faithful.
We all can do something no matter how close to a university we might live. E-mail alumni groups. All universities post the e-mail addresses of alumni and chapters in various locations. For example, look in alumni magazines and on university Web pages. Let the alumni know about the issue and ask them to write the university.
Recommend withholding contributions until compliance transpires and tell them the faith is more important than football or basketball. Also, find out who the big donors are and write to them.
Write the Knights of Columbus and tell the grand knight that you want the Knights to give scholarships only to universities that have signed the mandatum. Every year the Knights of Columbus gives thousands of dollars to universities that are actively subverting our faith. Why should the Knights of Columbus support universities that are in opposition to the Holy Father and the faith? This should stop.
Hopefully, this will curb the number of Catholic children applying and will help those universities that are faithful. Once a month gather the Knights from the local council and anyone else willing to help and protest in front of the university. Find out when parents weekend and high school spring vacation are and target those dates. This is normally the time when the university gets the most external exposure.
Lastly, talk to the kids outside the university and evangelize. It is amazing how little these kids understand the faith.
The weird thing about these tactics is that it sounds like the same tactics used in protest of abortion clinics. Maybe there is a connection.