April 1998

Episcopalian

Hurrah for the ad for the NOR headlined “Does St. Bozo’s Parish No Longer Amuse You?,” which I saw in another periodical. I’m an “Episcopalian,” but I’m with you in spirit. My husband is the Episcopal diocesan Bishop of Washington, D.C. Keep me in your prayers! I’m on the Lord’s team. Enclosed is my two-year subscription.

Mary Haines
Silver Spring, Maryland






As for those ads you place in other periodicals: Bravo! Yes, blast the modernists! Let ’em have it! We tried to, but are now ancient and infirm. We are what was once known as Anglo-Catholics.

We could curl your hair by telling you some of the things we’ve seen in the Anglican Communion worldwide. But the main thing now is to advance upon our common enemy, which is what you are doing. May the Lord of Hosts arm you and sustain you in battle.

The Rev. & Mrs. Burket Kniveton
Citrus Heights, California




Jewish

I’m an observant, religious Jew. What you talk about in that ad for your magazine headlined “Does St. Bozo’s Parish No Longer Amuse You?” is going on, with a twist, in much of Judaism: Emotionalism has replaced guidance. The Mosaic Law is no longer relevant. God is dead.

Evil and religious ignorance are rampant in the Western world. If the Catholic Church, for which I’ve long had warm feelings, and Torah-observant Jews could work together, we could enlighten a very troubled world.

David Kohen
Gainesboro, Tennessee




Ex-Episcopalian

Two years ago, in response to one of your ads, I subscribed to your publication. At the time I was a waning Episcopalian who had for several years been considering entry into the Catholic Church.

The articles in your publication were invaluable in crystalizing my thoughts, none more so than Kimberley Manning’s “My Road From Gender Feminism to Catholicism” in your September 1996 issue. After much prayer and reflection, I began taking instruction in the Catholic Faith in December 1996 and was confirmed and received First Communion at the Easter Vigil in March 1997. You are truly doing the Lord’s work.

Dan Troop
Scottsdale, Arizona




Ex-Lutheran

I relish reading the NOR — sometimes I read an issue two or three times over. Indeed, you are singly responsible for converting me from Lutheranism (Missouri Synod) to Catholicism. After reading the NOR for one year, I opted for Catholicism and have never looked back. I’m now an unabashed evangelist for Christ’s Holy Catholic Church, and I’m convinced that eventually all orthodox Christians will return to Rome.

William Mann
Libby, Montana




Almost Ex-Catholic

My husband and I were raised Catholic, had a Catholic education, were married in 1952 in the Catholic Church, and had five children.

There’s a moral crisis in our country today, but the Catholic Church — at least in our diocese, New Ulm — has turned a blind eye to it. We do not hear any preaching against abortion or homosexuality. One nun flatly dismissed biblical sexual morality by saying, “the Bible is not in tune with the times.” And we all know that priests across the country are violating their vow of celibacy.

We have stopped attending the Catholic Church — we feel betrayed and cheated, and are starved for moral instruction — and so we’ve been looking around for a non-Catholic church, one that stands with Jesus and is unafraid and willing to proclaim Christian morality.

Imagine our amazement, then, when in another periodical we stumbled across your ad headlined, “Why Are Catholics Such Cowards?” Boy, you said it! Perhaps you, with others like you, will be able to save the day. Maybe we’ll have to give the Catholic Church another chance.

Elaine Dieter
Benson, Minnesota




And Brand-New Catholics

I was saddened by the letter from Alden and Misti Crow (Dec.) regarding the heterodox RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) process they had to endure in becoming Catholics. I am painfully aware that there are parishes where RCIA bears little resemblance to what it ought to be, where authentic doctrine and support for the Magisterium are in short supply. I anguish along with Alden and Misti that their entry into the Church was accompanied by perversions of Church teaching.

I would like your readers to know that RCIA can function in full accord with Catholic orthodoxy. Such is the case here in our parish of St. Mel’s, in Fair Oaks, California. Since Alden and Misti wrote from Fair Oaks, where they currently reside, the impression could have unwittingly been given that their comments pertained to St. Mel’s, which is the only Catholic church in Fair Oaks. I have spoken with Alden on the phone, and he confirmed that their unfortunate experience did not occur at St. Mel’s. Indeed, Alden and Misti have begun attending St. Mel’s, and I hope to assist them in their continued pursuit of Catholic truth.

Don J. Harrison
RCIA Director
Fair Oaks, California




The Trash That Refreshes?

I was delighted to read Kenneth Whitehead’s article, “The Nothing Sacred Affair…” (Feb.). I’ve been disheartened by certain Catholic leaders who assert that the trash offered by Disney’s Nothing Sacred television show is a refreshing portrayal of parish life. I was particularly distressed by the remarks by the Editor in Chief of Our Sunday Visitor in support of Nothing Sacred. Perhaps if those who have applauded Nothing Sacred cared more about the Faith than about appearing hip and politically correct, they’d be able to smell the garbage they’re trying to push down the throats of loyal Catholics.

Whitehead didn’t mention this, but it should be noted: Not only faithful Catholics, but large numbers of Protestants from numerous denominations have been boycotting Disney because of Nothing Sacred and other assaults against Christianity.

Charlene Luther
Augusta, Georgia






After reading Kenneth Whitehead’s article refuting Our Sunday Visitor’s excuses on behalf of Nothing Sacred and Dale Vree’s critical review of Our Sunday Visitor Inc.’s book promoting the Common Ground concept (Feb.), I canceled our parish’s subscription to Our Sunday Visitor, which we’ve been receiving for many years. We no longer want it in our rack.

Msgr. John M. Galyo
Holy Trinity Church
Pottstown, Pennsylvania




OSV Bought Out?

Putting together the pieces from your February issue, I see that the Editor in Chief of Our Sunday Visitor (OSV) in effect sides with the liberal-Jesuit America in opposing the Catholic League’s attempt to get advertisers to boycott ABC/Disney’s Nothing Sacred, and also that OSV sides with America in boycotting ads for the NEW OXFORD REVIEW. From this I deduce that OSV and America regard the Catholic NOR as downright offensive but the anti-Catholic Nothing Sacred as essentially inoffensive.

Astounding! I’m not surprised that America would see things this way. But OSV? I’ve assumed that OSV is a reliably Catholic publication. So, what happened? Did America recently buy out Our Sunday Visitor? Or did Disney?

F. J. Murphy
New Orleans, Louisiana






I enjoy reading Our Sunday Visitor, but was miffed by its decision not to print NEW OXFORD REVIEW ads. Yes, those ads of yours have punch, but then it’ll take some kind of shock to restore the Faith. I hope Our Sunday Visitor wakes up and reconsiders its position.

L. Conrad Bearer
Bartlesville, Oklahoma




Contacting the Censors

In regard to your Editor’s Note (Feb., page 4) informing us that ads for the NEW OXFORD REVIEW have been banned from America, and from Our Sunday Visitor and all its sister periodicals: It would be helpful if you would supply the addresses and FAX numbers of the wimpy periodicals that have shrunk from printing your ads. I’m sure many of your readers would like to contact those censorial publications to express their feelings about the matter.

Anthony J. Sireci
Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania






I seldom look at Our Sunday Visitor since I think of it as superlatively vapid and dull. But I do pick up the National Catholic Register in church from time to time. The Register seems to be repositioning itself in a “centrist” mode, and I would describe that paper as existing on a more intellectually pretentious level of insipidity than OSV. Regarding the problem of NOR ads being censored, you didn’t mention the Register. Does this mean the NOR has had no censorship problems with the Register?

William J. Tighe
Allentown, Pennsylvania




Ed. Note:

We have received numerous and various such expressions of concern from our readers about the matter of banned NOR ads. While we do not want to sponsor a campaign of harassment, we see no reason why readers should not be enabled to express their feelings — civilly, of course — directly to the pertinent parties.

Because we don’t attempt to reach new subscribers by means of so-called junk mail or telephone solicitation or other “advanced” methods, advertising in other periodicals is the only means whereby we’re able to bring in new subscribers, and fewer new subscribers means less influence and lost revenue for the NOR. But there are loftier concerns: Do satirically forthright ads on behalf of orthodoxy deserve to be banned in Catholic periodicals? Why do Catholics need to be protected from such ads? If hypersensitive people are “offended” by them, is that sufficient grounds to squelch free speech, truthful speech? Have people become so thin-skinned that satire has become an illegitimate form of communication? Do humor and religion no longer mix?

If sanctimonious people find ads “intolerant,” is it an act of tolerance to censor them?

So here’s the requested information on the periodicals that have banned our ads: (1) For Our Sunday Visitor and all its sister periodicals (New Covenant, Catholic Heritage, et al.), write to: Greg Erlandson, Editor in Chief; Our Sunday Visitor Inc.; 200 Noll Plaza; Huntington IN 46750. FAX 219-359-0029.

(2) For America, write to: George W. Hunt, Editor in Chief; America; 106 W. 56th St; New York NY 10019. FAX 212-399-3596.

(3) Our ads have also been banned by the National Catholic Register — for being too controversial, too critical of the state of the American Church. We haven’t mentioned this heretofore because we’ve been hearing repeatedly that that paper is on the verge of folding and is fighting for its life. So it didn’t seem worth the bother to mention the banning. But we mention it now because it has become obvious to us that our readers are quite interested in the issue of banned NOR ads, and because if the Register were to hear from you, perhaps it would learn what orthodox Catholics really want from a Catholic newspaper and it would be able to thrive. The common complaint we hear from current and former Register readers is that, with too few exceptions, that paper avoids taking strong stands on the controversial issues dividing the Church — indeed, seems to want to ingratiate itself with the powers-that-be responsible for business-as-usual in the American Church — and is therefore aloof, tepid, bland, and uninspiring. (The Register’s editorial and ad policies would seem to be identical.) If you contact the Register, perhaps, hope against hope, you’ll help that paper (which has been under new ownership since mid-1995) develop a backbone, which many observers friendly to the Register feel is the only thing that can save it from collapse. Write to: The Rev. Owen Kearns, Publisher; National Catholic Register; Circle Media Inc.; 33 Rossotto Dr.; Hamden CT 06514. FAX 203-288-5157.

What we’ve said about the Register also pretty much goes for Our Sunday Visitor, which, although not about to go under, is doing none too well either, having lost almost two-thirds of its circulation in the last eleven years.




“From Peter to Petrifaction”

I regret I cannot, in good conscience, renew my subscription to NOR.

Your opinions violate too many of my most cherished convictions and, moreover, manage to erode whatever respect and affection I feel for the Catholic Church. Here are a few examples:

I find Jesus, whom I admire as a rebel with a heart, turned into a stuffed shirt. According to the Pope and you, He would withhold a morning-after pill from a woman raped. And He would withhold a contraceptive from a woman dying of the exhaustion of too many births, too many miscarriages. You take from Him His charity.

Then there is the ban on dialogue. No wonder you lose your young people. Let them open their mouths to question one of your verities and lay siege to Rome and, presto, they risk excommunication.

But the dialogue of faith and reason is one of the nobler traditions of your Church. I would bet that St. Augustine, St. Anselm, and St. Thomas would have been happy to debate with me the function of reason in understanding the Christian faith, and other topics.

If the Pope and NOR are to be believed, the intuitions, inspirations, and revelations of certain chosen people, accumulated over the last two or three thousand years, have now become the incontrovertible and only Truth, which must no longer be examined in the light of reason. The trend is old, but it seems to have reached new heights. From Peter to petrifaction in 2,000 years.

A not so minor case is homosexuality. Mention its widespread occurrence in the animal kingdom, mention the mounting evidence of genetic predisposition, and the eyes of the faithful glaze over, their ears turn deaf. It’s a fair guess that your three saints, on the other hand, would have pondered the facts and tried to reconcile them with their beliefs. In those early days facts mattered.

And then there is the question of Evil. It is one thing to be puzzled and awed by the mystery of its presence in a divinely appointed world. It is quite another to consider the mystery solved, the divine power vindicated beyond doubt, as you do, if I read you right.

You pretend to a conviction of which — as intelligent human beings — you must be deeply suspicious. You deny your spontaneous experience of unjust misery and suffering (such as the murderous 20th century, the slums of Calcutta and L.A., the 30,000 children dead each day of malnutrition and disease, etc.) by forcing it into the straitjacket of the doctrine of a just and loving God. You betray your reason rather than come to terms with it.

You say that the ways of God, forever inscrutable to man, are wise and well-intentioned. I learned as an undergraduate that ends do not justify means, that both have to be weighed in the balance together, if we are to judge the value of any action. If God needs evil to realize His projects, need we not question the value of these projects along with the quality of His morals?

In my better moments I feel a little sorry for you. You will never know those wonderful clear-eyed highs when you — unencumbered by that shadowy Presence — might have simple, direct, intimate encounters with nature, bravely conscious of the possibility that there is nothing else, nothing beyond.

But enough said. The Magisterium disposed of all such silly notions long ago. Faith now conquereth reason not by dialogue but by benign, or not so benign, neglect.

Frank A. Wolff
New York, New York




Saving Souls

In no small part because of what I’ve read in the NOR, I found myself in a confessional this past Christmas season for the first time in 10 years. Your work saves souls. Thank you!

Michael Poulos
New York, New York




Truly a Messed-Up Country

Joseph Collison’s article on the “culture of death” (Jan.) was most intriguing, especially his comparing it to organized crime. It is supremely ironic, then, that the U.S. Supreme Court has decided that federal law concerning organized crime should be applied to those fighting the culture of death — namely, prolifers protesting in front of abortion mills. This is truly one messed-up country.

Christine Murray
Mt. Pleasant, Michigan




What?

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read in Preston Jones’s article (“When the Gospel Seems Like Bad News,” Feb.) that the Blessed Virgin Mary was unmarried at the Incarnation. This must have been inadvertent ignorance, as the NOR would never participate in the smear against her which is gaining currency among heretical priests. Under Jewish law, a betrothed couple were considered married, just not yet living together. St. Joseph could not have considered divorcing her if they were not already married.

Pamela Houston
Tucson, Arizona




The Evil Empire of Godless Condomism

Thomas Storck’s article on “The Americanization of the Globe” (Feb.) reflects the thinking of many of us who have come to realize that we can no longer consider ourselves “Americans” in the popular sense of that term. Up to a couple of generations ago, the culture and politics of the U.S. were something a believing Catholic could, albeit with a good deal of friction, live with. This is no longer true.

Today a real, as distinguished from a nominal, Catholic must stand resolutely opposed to the theory and practice of the American State. We are seeing increasingly harsh treatment doled out to prolife Catholics (and other Christians) by that State, nullifying the once-sacred First Amendment as far as they are concerned. Abroad we are witnessing the replacement of expansionist Russian-backed Communism by expansionist American-backed Condomism. The “Evil Empire” did not fall; it simply transferred its capital to Washington.

Recently I attended a funeral for a prolife stalwart. Outside the church after the Requiem Mass, I was talking to a retired U.S. Navy Captain and a staunch Catholic prolifer. He told me that he is no longer willing to fight for his country, although he is ready to die for his Catholic Faith. It may come to that — for him and for us.

Joseph P. Wall
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania



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