Readers respond to Register articles.
From our July 18-31 issue
Relative to “Archbishop Cordileone Rebukes Abortion-Supporting Legislators’ Take on Communion Debate” (NCRegister.com, June 25):
I am 31 years old, and I chose to join the Catholic Church as an adult a few years ago. In many respects, I read my way into the Church. I studied Scripture and archaeological arguments and eventually came to the conclusion that God did indeed come to this planet 2,021 years ago and established a Church with St. Peter as its leader. I was drawn not only to the truth, but also the sacraments and the authority of the organization as a whole.
I find the idea of Catholic Democrats signing a “statement of principles” against Archbishop Cordileone an absurdity.
I find it awkward as a recent convert to state the obvious, but if you are Catholic, then your principles are given to you from the Church and given to the Church from God through revelation and hierarchy. The chain of command does not work the reverse way; laypeople do not have creative license to come up with principles that contradict the Church. Neither do groups of laypeople nor groups of laypeople who happen to hold elected office. I did research on the 60 names signed to the memo, and it appears all or virtually all of the signers are cradle Catholics and many received Catholic schooling. I hope I am not the first person to tell these lawmakers that they are holding a private judgment against an archbishop who holds doctrinal authority over all of them as laypeople. What is even more absurd is now each of these 60 Democrats have said to all priests they should not present themselves for Holy Communion anymore.
Sudden Grace From Pope
The Pope’s response to the letter of resignation from Germany’s Cardinal Reinhard Marx (“Pope Francis Declines Cardinal Marx’s Resignation,” Vatican, June 10 issue) is a sudden grace. In his letter of refusal to Cardinal Marx, Pope Francis says the temptation to misunderstand his response is a real one.
The Pope writes, “If you are tempted to think that, by confirming your mission and not accepting your resignation, this Bishop … does not understand you, think of what Peter felt before the Lord when, in his own way, he presented him with his resignation: ‘Depart from me, for I am a sinner,’ and listen to the answer: ‘Shepherd my sheep.’”
The devil’s purpose is to cause sin and division. Evil wants to isolate us. Christ counters Peter’s desire to retreat from his appointment as leader of the Church with an almighty command: Serve my souls with love.
The Pope says further to Cardinal Marx, “the whole Church (not only the Church in Germany) is in crisis because of the abuse issue and the only fruitful path is to assume the crisis, personally and communally.”
Nothing to date has more plainly stated our condition as Church in relation to the sex scandals while at the same time pointing the way for our return into the light.
As Pope Francis suggests, the sex crimes in the Church are an affliction we must put on as Christ did his cross. This sin and its consequences have been the gated fence in the sheepfold. Most preferred to jump over it with denials and secrecy, instead of following the call of their Master’s voice. As we stagger through a second decade of woundedness from continual revelations of abuse, cover-ups and our inadequate responses to them, the enemy’s spiritual and psychological impact continues to steal our peace.
Survivors have little recourse to inner healing, and the accused go on without timely justice.
Whether we are survivors in need of restoration or repentant offenders who have turned to the Lord in truth, or one of the many non-offenders who pray and sacrifice in reparation for those who hurt or cause hurt, we each have a part in Christ’s plan for healing.
As we accept our call to holiness and call others to join us, we are living our restoration instead of wailing for want of it. The saving action of Christ in us will complete our mission. We have only to begin and keep believing.
Professor Gerard Bradley’s article “Revisiting Roe: Why Mississippi Case Will Likely Ditch Viability” (In Depth, June 20 issue) is a most extraordinary treatment of the “viability issue.” It certainly deserves some special dissemination — perhaps in a jacketed copy delivered to each of the U.S. Supreme Court justices.
I’m sure that the Honorable Clarence Thomas would be most grateful, if he has not already had the opportunity to read it.
Addressing the vital questions of “continuity of development” (as did Justice Sandra O’Connor) and a realistic assessment of viability can lead to no other conclusion as to the evil of the actions espoused by the pro-abortionists. It is almost amusing that those “justifying” termination of pregnancy warp the meaning of the term “viability.” It doesn’t take a Nobel-winning scientist to conclude when a tomato plant is alive or dead, nor that the newly conceived human being is a living entity. The object of this note is only to encourage the EWTN staff to disseminate jacketed copies of professor Bradley’s article to SCOTUS. It might also be enlightening to other politicians, Catholic or not, who, as prospective parents or grandparents, may, in their minds and hearts, actually have belief in and respect for prenatal developing human beings.
Edward J. Singer, Ph.D.
Saving Unborn Children
I believe that Catholics who are anti-abortion and those who support women’s rights would be able to find a common ground if dialogue occurs and funding is provided. Catholics strongly believe in the value of life, and I believe that life begins at conception, when the sperm cell meets the egg cell.
Thus, aborting the zygote or even preventing it from attaching to the uterus through contraception is already killing a living being. However, there are also arguments about the impact on the life of the mother who may have engaged in irresponsible sex, or, worse, may have been a victim of rape.
A solution may be found with the government and the Church funding centers for unwanted children who may otherwise have been aborted. These children may be given a chance to live and surrendered to these centers tended by priests, nuns and lay Catholics who are staunchly pro-life.
By providing their services and also donating funds for the upkeep of this center, pro-lifers would be able to concretely save the lives of otherwise aborted babies and even have a role in their formation to becoming responsible Catholics raised in a community of love and care. Mothers, who may later on regret leaving their children, would also have the chance of repentance and have the opportunity to readopt their children subject to the mother’s financial capacity, psychological well-being and the agreement of the child left behind, among other considerations.
I believe that, through dialogue, other solutions more creative than this can be discovered, allowing for Catholics to practice their pro-life beliefs and promote evangelization through these centers, while helping mothers with traumas or unplanned pregnancies recover from their ordeal.
The solution would involve much funding and commitment from both dioceses and the government, but this may be a step in saving unwanted babies and giving them a new chance in life, safe from evil, bad influence and neglect. This also provides a concrete way for Catholics to exercise their faith: by participating in the care of these children through volunteering of time and resources for this cause.
I have been watching the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops struggle with a fundamental truth of our faith, Communion for those in sin. The canon law of the Church is, “Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion” (915). To let anyone, not just a political figure, receive in sin is wrong.
St. Paul teaches, “Whoever eats the bread and drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are ill and infirm, and a considerable number are dying” (1 Corinthians 11:27-30). The bishops need to stand strong with Christ; no one can serve two masters, and not one political figure or rich person can offer the gift of eternal life. Only Jesus Christ can.
It’s sad to see that these shepherds who are to teach Christ’s flock and feed Christ’s flock are scared and, in my opinion selfish, looking out for their own interest in money, notoriety, power. Nothing can compare to the power of the Holy Spirit. I pray for these lost souls and remind them that a priest goes to heaven or hell with 10,000 souls behind him. This is a truly sad time for Christ and his appointed shepherds. May God guide you back from your sinful ways.
Bon Aqua, Tennessee
- letters to the editor