Petition to Mary
Relevant to “Catholic Contributors to Independence” (Culture of Life, June 21 issue):
The United States was first consecrated to the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1792 by Bishop John Carroll of Baltimore.
He was the younger brother of Charles, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, a devout Catholic, and a close friend of George Washington.
Author Janice T. Connell believes that Washington knew of this sacred consecration and its meaning and may have participated personally.
During the frigid winter of 1777-1778, when his sick, starving and ill-equipped army was encamped at Valley Forge, Connell recounts in Faith of Our Founding Father: The Spiritual Journey of George Washington, in Washington’s own words spoken to his friend Anthony Sherman, how, sometime between Dec. 18-23, 1777, a beautiful visitor accompanied by a bright angel appeared to him.
He was shown visions of three great perils, but the republic would survive. The last words of the visitor were, “Let every child of the Republic learn to live for God, the land and the Union.”
These words are included in the oral testimony preserved in the Library of Congress.
Not long after the apparition, the tide of war began to change.
On Feb. 23, 1778, the Prussian military officer Baron Friedrich Von Steuben, arrived.
He initiated sanitation, training and the provisions needed for an effective fighting force. Subsequently, the French joined the cause. Then, among others, came the Polish engineer Thaddeus Kosciuszko, who designed West Point. Washington gave Kosciuszko a sword on which was engraved Mater Dei, ora pro nobis (Mother of God, pray for us).
Today we face a new existential threat from the coronavirus, which threatens to divide us and weaken our nation’s defense. May we today heed the words of Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles and “ask our Blessed Mother ... to help her children in this time of trial, when many are dying and our faith is being tested. We ask her to intercede with her Son, to protect us from this evil of the coronavirus.”
Richard J. Burkhardt
Morality Over Politics
It is well that the Register reports on current events related to our Catholic faith, even if some topics touch on the political future of our country. And the Register realizes that it is important not to take a political position for a specific candidate or party.
However, it was certainly appropriate to point out in the May 24 edition that persons in high places of government, some wanting to be president, publicly assert that they are Catholic but oppose the Catholic bishops and the Holy See on the subject of abortion.
It is a position taken by many Catholics, and it should be a part of the discussion of where Catholics stand on individual dignity and the value of human life.
However, you published a letter, “Politicizing Abortion,” in the June 7-20 issue that takes a political position and attempts to take the moral high ground of superiority for the candidate in a specific political party.
It is inappropriate to assert that the current president has “neglected his obligations” and “shows no respect for life.”
Surely the social problems and the criminal elements in our society are not the result of actions or failures of one person or one political party.
Perhaps it is because of individual choices not to respect the life and dignity of other people. It is certainly true that we must address the reasons women make the terrible choice to have an abortion, but we must also provide every desperate woman the resources to help her choose life.
To be sure, a robust economy with good jobs lifting people out of poverty would alleviate one reason women get abortions.
But government cannot help the many other combinations of reasons that women cite. For that we must turn to community activism at many levels.
Let us Catholics all work together for the dignity of every human person and for respect of life in all its forms and circumstances. And let us start with respect for one another in opinions of how to best shape the future of the country for the good of all of us together.