In Honor of Our Priests
As the "Year for Priests" announced by Pope Benedict XVI approaches, NOR readers might consider honoring their priests in a very special way by marking the anniversary of Father's ordination to the priesthood with a commemorative Mass on the appropriate date and encouraging as many parishioners as possible to attend. The intention of the Mass could be "To thank Almighty God for Father's vocation." The participants could also sign a special anniversary card beforehand in the vestibule as they enter the church to be presented to their priest at the end of the Holy Mass together with a tiny memento to mark the occasion, such as the book True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary by St. Louis-Marie de Montfort. Why not arrange with Father for a photograph taken on his ordination day to be put on display? It would delight all present and remind him of the enthusiasm he felt for the holy priesthood on that never-to-be-forgotten day in his life.
Free Scapulars & Rosaries
I am offering free rosaries and brown scapulars to NOR readers. Please send requests by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, and include "NOR" in the subject heading, or write to me at: A-2D City Haitsu Castle, 234-1 Toyoda, Kawagoe-cho, Mie-gun, Mie-ken, 510-8122 JAPAN Thank you.
The NOR Is a Jewish Propaganda Rag
Since reading your New Oxford Note "Pope Benedict's Tightrope Act" (Mar.), I am unable in good conscience to continue as a subscriber. When in all of history has man not been allowed to question "history"? The vicious demonization of Bishop Richard Williamson of the Society of St. Pius X for speaking out regarding "the holocaust" is the equivalent of silencing any questioning of said "event." Four or so years ago, the Polish government reduced the number of deaths at Auschwitz to 1.5 million, but with a most significant addition "of all peoples." Thus the "six million" figure doesn't fit. Also check out The Leuchter Report; Fred Leuchter was hired by "holocausters" to verify use of gas chambers. When he reported that gas chambers weren't used, the "holocausters" vilified him, their own hired man. History is an open subject to be challenged without fear of prison, reprisal, or smears. Thus your magazine shows itself to be a propaganda rag pushing something that is very much in doubt.
Maybe the NOR should try putting forth Catholicism's true mission, which is to convert others, instead of defending others' faiths -- especially those that denigrate, abuse, ridicule, and smear the Church through constant acts via the mass media they own and manipulate. What they truly want is total submission of the Catholic Church to their beliefs. Your advertisements claiming to be a defender of Catholic beliefs are nothing but a falsehood. Reimburse the remainder of my subscription immediately.
Cancel my subscription. I did not realize that you are so in love with the damned Jews.
Albert j. LeBreton III
THE EDITOR REPLIES:
We hope our readers will agree with us that the two foregoing letters are, at the least, distasteful. The reason we have chosen to print them -- and it was not an easy decision -- is because they are representative of the correspondence and numerous cancelations we have received in response to our New Oxford Note "Pope Benedict's Tightrope Act" (Mar.), in which we criticized the Holocaust-denying comments of Bishop Richard Williamson of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) and pointed out the anti-Semitism infecting other ranking members of the SSPX. We have frankly been astounded that so many "traditionalist" Catholics would be so quick to defend denial of the Holocaust and anti-Semitism. Not even Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the SSPX, approves such warped thinking (see the Associate Editor's reply to the "SSPX & Anti-Semitism" letters in our May issue).
For anyone to claim, as Mr. Moreschi does, that questioning a bishop's ill-advised rants about the Holocaust is tantamount to "defending" the Jewish faith is simply absurd. To equate our unwillingness to look the other way while Bishop Williamson sullies the image of the Catholic Church -- and the SSPX -- at a critical historical juncture with failing to put forth Catholicism's true mission of converting others is the logic of the brain-dead. Do Bishop Williamson's defenders truly believe that minimizing the suffering of the Jews during the Holocaust will aid their conversion to the Catholic faith? Here's your news flash: Holocaust-denial in no way serves the Church's evangelizing mission, especially to the Jews. As Pope Pius IX said, "God forbid that the sons of the Catholic Church ever in any way be hostile to those who are not joined with us in the same bonds of faith ."
We stand by our advertising claims to defend Catholic beliefs. Here's your wake-up call: Holocaust-denial and hostility toward the Jews are not Catholic beliefs -- and every trace of them should be expunged from Catholic traditionalism and the Church. Its presence among us does nothing but repel people from the Catholic faith. A Catholic bishop, above all others, has no business whatsoever engaging in this type of behavior, which serves absolutely no constructive purpose.
If saying so makes us "Judaizers," "neocon Catholics," "Jew lovers," "Zionist dupes," or any of the other epithets hurled at us, so be it. We are content to stand with Pope Benedict XVI -- and Bishop Fellay -- on this issue, in spite of the scorn and insults and canceled subscriptions. We affirm the words of our Holy Father when he said on February 12, "It is beyond question that any denial or minimization of this terrible crime [the Holocaust] is intolerable and altogether unacceptable."
I am so grateful for the fabulous work of the NOR. There is no place I know where I feel I am among true kindred spirits, except here. For so long I have struggled alone with the myriad structural problems in the Church. The writing in the NOR is very helpful and oriented toward a return to tradition and conservative values, while at the same time not an exercise in extremism.
Let us always remember that the love of God is available to all.
Bloomfield, New Jersey
Targeting the Rich
In response to your New Oxford Note on the Legionaries of Christ ("The Self-Destruction of a Cult of Personality," Apr.), I believe it was more than 25 years ago that a good, holy, and wizened Msgr. Alphonse Popek of Milwaukee pondered as to what exactly was their mission or charism. To this day, I have no idea what their "reason for being" is. Just what do they do, besides attract the rich and famous to their "cause"? Seriously, do you know of any poor Catholics who are part of their communities?
If I recall, there was (and perhaps still is) a private, and very expensive, school for young, wealthy Mexican children in the Madison, Wisconsin, area run by the Legion. It was rumored that tuition at that school was as high as $30,000 per year!
The Legion has $650 million "budget"? That's outrageous. How much of that money found its way into the coffers of various factions in the Roman curia? I suggest someone "follow the money" from this order, and we may then realize why the Vatican was so lackadaisical about the reports of abuses in the Legion. Why should it have been any different from what we have seen in the U.S., and now Ireland, regarding the abuse of children by priests?
The world can do without the Legionaries of Christ. I agree with Germain Grisez that the order be terminated. How does one go about cleaning out this institute and "salvaging" the faithful and their assets?
Nancy R. Evers
Ed. Note: The school in question is the Oaklawn Academy in Edgerton, Wisconsin, a private boarding school (grades six through eight) operated by the Legion of Christ. Tuition for the 2009-2010 school year is $32,333. (We have also heard rumors that it caters to children of the Latin American elite.) Why has the Legion given such a bland, undescriptive name as "Oaklawn" to an ostensibly Catholic school? According to Gerald Renner, writing in the National Catholic Reporter (Nov. 3, 2000), "[Legion founder Fr. Marcial] Maciel has explained to Regnum Christi members that the Legion does not want the school's name to be a possible deterrent to potential students or contributors who could be put off by religious affiliations." Indeed, other Legion-run schools have names such as Woodlands Academy, in Dublin, Ireland; Overbrook Academy, in Warwick, Rhode Island; The Highlands School, in Irving, Texas; Royalmont Academy, in Mason, Ohio; Blue Mountain Academy, in Lewiston, Idaho; and so on. One yearns for a St. Mary's or a St. John's or even a Blessed Sacrament School. But Renner's insight might go a way toward explaining the motive behind the Legion's methods.
Personhood Already Possessed
I praise Judie Brown of the American Life League for her constant and unconditional advocacy on behalf of God's innocent unborn babies. However, I disagree with her article "Toward a Personhood Amendment" (NOR, Feb.). Unborn babies, along with all humanity, are "endowed by their Creator" with an "unalienable" right to life. Thomas Jefferson did nothing more than declare a reality with this phrase from the U.S. Declaration of Independence.
Sir William Blackstone, the famous English jurist, knew very well in the 18th century that "man considered as a creature must necessarily be subject to the laws of his creator. This law of nature dictated by God is binding in all countries and all times."
Alexander Hamilton, one of our more influential founding fathers, declared, "The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for among old parchments or musty records. They are written as with a sunbeam in the whole volume of human nature by the hand of divinity itself and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power ."
It's a bad idea to leave the impression that we are seeking to bestow personhood upon unborn babies by amending the Constitution. The Constitution bestows nothing on unborn babies that they do not already possess at the time of conception.
Sadly, in the 19th and 20th centuries, we have drifted away from the truths and reality expressed by Blackstone, and confirmed by our founding fathers, including Hamilton and Jefferson. Rather, we have come under the deadly influence of pragmatic jurists such as Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. Holmes was a bad philosopher. He once observed: "When one thinks coldly, I see no reason for attributing to man, a significance different in kind from that which belongs to a baboon or a grain of sand." One sees this godless kind of thinking in Roe v. Wade.
What we truly need is an enlightened judiciary, more influenced by the wisdom of Blackstone and our founding fathers than by the nihilism of Holmes and his ilk, a judiciary that will come to recognize the long-held reality and truth of an unborn child's right to life.
Daniel B. Gallagher
I commend the NOR for publishing E. Christian Brugger's excellent article "On Denying Pro-Abortion Politicians Holy Communion" (Apr.), which explains that, in accordance with canon 915, pro-abortion politicians, since they persist in manifest grave sin, ought not to be given the Eucharist.
The reason for this canon can be found in the Summa of St. Thomas Aquinas (III, q.80, a.6), in which the Angelic Doctor raises the question of denying Communion to a sinner. He points out that there is a difference between one whose sin is hidden and one whose sin is manifest. A priest who knows the serious but hidden sin of another may not deny him Communion because by such an action the priest would commit the grave sin of defamation. If, however, the sin is manifest -- e.g., the public pro-abortion voting record of a congressman -- then Holy Communion ought not to be given to the sinner, even though the sinner requests it.
If a bishop, priest, or Eucharistic minister knowingly gives Communion to a pro-abortion politician, he cooperates in the sinner's sacrilege.
Fr. James Buckley, F.S.S.P.
The April NOR was, as usual, a superlative issue. Indeed, Dr. Brugger's article "On Denying Pro-Abortion Politicians Holy Communion" was the most succinct and cogently written piece on the subject I have yet read.
Alas, then, forgive two minor quibbles. Fr. Jay Scott Newman is the pastor of St. Mary's parish in Greenville, South Carolina, not North Carolina. More importantly, Fr. Newman never stated that "those who support pro-abortion politicians should be denied Holy Communion," but rather admonished those who voted for the wretched Obama that they should refrain from receiving the Eucharist until they have availed themselves of sacramental confession. This none-too-subtle distinction was ignored, and the error perpetuated, by the diocesan administrator, Msgr. Martin Laughlin, in his ill-judged public rebuke of Fr. Newman.
Please pray that the newly installed Bishop of Charleston, Robert E. Guglielmone, values Fr. Newman and his courageous stand.
Kier Derek E. Gray
Fort Mill, South Carolina
After reading the article by E. Christian Brugger and agreeing with every word he said, the question still remained: Just how is this refusal to give Communion to be accomplished? The answer could very well be as follows.
All bishops should mandate that all pastors tell their flock that if and when a notorious public politician presents himself to receive Holy Communion, the priest giving out the Sacrament will, at the moment of the politician's approach, turn away, cease from further distribution, and go back to the altar. The parishioners will have already been warned, during homilies or in parish bulletins, that if such a politician should present himself for this purpose, Holy Communion will be temporarily deferred.
Those people who appreciate the holiness of the Sacrament will surely react in a most positive way -- and the onus of their not receiving will be on the head of the politician. Furthermore, everyone will be edified by the dignified way in which Our Lord was saved from the impending sacrilege. The word should get around to everyone, especially to politicians, that receiving Holy Communion is a very serious matter and, incidentally, a potentially very serious occasion for personal embarrassment.
Any refinement of this suggestion I leave up to those who are in a much better position than I.
John C. Bushong
Sierra Vista, California
As the Shepherd, So the Flock
Regarding your New Oxford Note "Return Volley" (Apr.): I am disgusted by what the bishops are not doing to make Catholic politicians understand they are not exempt from the laws of the Church. Christ went into the temple, overturned the tables of the moneychangers, and drove them out to stop the sacrilege taking place in His Father's house. When are the bishops going to get some steel in their backs and stop the sacrilege taking place in God's house today?
Since when has Nancy Pelosi received her doctorate in sacred theology, qualifying her to lecture on what the early Fathers of the Church did or did not think as to when life begins? It's no wonder we have an increase in cafeteria Catholics who pick and choose what they want to believe. They feel that if these politicians can promote abortion and embryonic stem-cell research and still receive the Eucharist with no sanctions from their bishops, they can do the same.
When Pelosi was made Speaker of the House, Fr. Robert Drinan, S.J., said a celebratory Mass. I am sure he gave her Communion. He should have been brought to task for this by his superiors. His bishop should have made a statement speaking against what Fr. Drinan did. But I guess the Jesuits will be Jesuits.
When President Obama lifted research restrictions on embryonic stem-cell research, "Catholic" Ted Kennedy lauded the move. Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of Housing and Human Services, has been identified as a "Catholic" and an abortion advocate. These politicians seem to have their respective bishops running scared. Even Vice President Joe Biden's bishop said he would not refuse him Communion.
There may be other bishops who stood firm and did not allow these politicians to receive Communion. I have heard two openly say they would not allow the Eucharist to be given: Archbishops Charles Chaput and Raymond Burke. I do not believe a matter as serious as this should be left to each bishop to decide.
I would like to see the names of cafeteria Catholic politicians and their bishops listed in the NOR, as well as a list of the bishops who have openly declared that the Eucharist should not be given to pro-abortion politicians or those who favor embryonic stem-cell research. Cafeteria bishops are the reason we have cafeteria Catholics.
Michael W. Vaughan
North Palm Beach, Florida
After all the hubbub about Nancy Pelosi and Holy Communion ("Return Volley," New Oxford Note, Apr.), the question is this: Has she been receiving Holy Communion since her visit with the Holy Father? If so, has the priest who has given it to her been chastised? If she still is receiving, then why not just get it over with and make her excommunication a real deal? Then we can move on and we can pursue the same avenue with all the other pro-abortion Catholics out there.
Dana Point, California
Lately we have been exposed to a slew of scientists hailing Barack Obama's executive action loosening restrictions on stem-cell research, thus allowing the use of live fetuses as harvest material for such experiments. They are scientists, so we can trust their learned opinion, right?
Well, our society did just that when people supported the eugenics movements of the late-19th and early-20th centuries. Some of the victims of that monstrous effort are still alive. I am surprised that few people are aware that right here in the U.S. thousands of people were sterilized simply because of their economic status, mental incapacity, or ethnic background. It was common "knowledge" then that certain races and ethnic groups were inferior.
American eugenicists had the backing of the crème de la crème of society -- the wealthy, highly educated, and politically entrenched. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes was the force behind the decision to slap down the petition of a woman who did not want to be sterilized. His brief contained the odious opinion: "Three generations of imbeciles are enough."
During that time, 30 of our 48 states had eugenics laws that prohibited mixed-race marriages, which were used to justify sterilization of the ill (epilepsy qualified) and mentally retarded, as well as minorities, especially "Negroes" and "Indians." Also targeted were the poor in slums and in the boondocks because they were allegedly mentally deficient, the proof being that they were poor.
Those American eugenicists were then counted as our best scientists, medical doctors, psychologists, lawyers, and sociologists. They communicated often with their German counterparts and even sent a commendatory award to Hitler for his efforts to promote "genetic hygiene." The American and German eugenicists even had a somewhat friendly rivalry as to who could sterilize more deficients. The Racial Integrity Act of 1924 served as a model for Hitler's racial purity laws when he came into power in 1934. Truth to tell, the methods used by the Americans were openly copied by the Germans; the former worried that the Nazis were beating them at their "own game."
Now our scientists allege that fetuses are "not fully human," so it doesn't matter if they are killed when they are "harvested." Many supporters of the eugenics movement lived to see the horrors that resulted from their ideology with the Nazi extermination of minorities during World War II. I fervently hope that all those who advocate the production and harvest of "fetuses" (infants, I prefer to call them) would live long enough to witness the social disintegration that would result from their experiments. As for me, I would prefer not to survive that long if we cannot stop this dreadful nonsense now.
Crescente C. Villahermosa
Verginia Beach, Virginia
Don't Use His Name
The Editor's reply to the letter titled "Pray for Obama's Intentions?" (Apr.) needs further discussion. I completely support our Christian duty to pray for our elected officials. Prayer intentions should be stated as such. However, mentioning the name Obama is a free political advertisement for this pro-death politician, and we should respectfully request that Church leaders refrain from mentioning his name at Holy Mass or other liturgical functions. Personally, I have never heard a request to pray for President Bush by name. I have, however, recently heard several times Obama mentioned by name at Mass, which prompted me to write a tactful letter to the pastor. Why are our clergy unafraid to get political with a politically correct name yet they seem to flee from getting political with those names that might get them into trouble?
Ed. Note: As we suggested in our April reply, when Mass is offered for President Obama the intention should be for his conversion to the truth and the sanctification of his soul. To publicly pray for Obama in such a manner by name might stir the congregation to recognize that a good deal of his beliefs, policies, and actions are contrary to the Catholic faith. An unspecified prayer "for the President" might not accomplish that. For the sake of the nation and the preservation of the faith, specifying this intention might prove efficacious. What say you, dear readers?