Volume > Issue > Letter to the Editor: December 2007

December 2007

Print Edition Only, Please

I went online briefly this morning at my office to glance over your online edition, and I was impressed. You folks have done a fine job.

That being said, I will state frankly that, should you move to an exclusive online edition, I will not re­subscribe.

This is particularly difficult for me because the NOR was instrumental in my conversion to the Church. I began subscribing in the late 1980s; my wife and I were received at Easter 2000.

We have eliminated the Internet from our home, and we have never had cable TV, because of the raunchiness that is almost ubiquitous to these media. We are in our early 40s and are both white-collar professionals with Master’s Degrees, and use computers extensively in our work (to give you an idea of our demographic.)

I will enthusiastically support almost any reasonable subscription increase for the print edition of the NOR. God bless your apostolate.

Keir Derek E. Gray

Sydney, New South Wales

Fort Mill, South Carolina

Ed. Note: We have no intention of becoming an online-only publication. Our website has become an important part of our apostolate, but not, as we see it, the most important. We regard it as an adjunct to our primary apostolate, which will always remain our print publication.

Personal Compassion, Not Public Policy

Thank you for the wide range of interesting and provocative articles. It’s clear from Fr. Kenneth G. Davis’s article, “Is Immigration Prolife?” (June), that he is a compassionate defender of the oppressed. But Fr. Davis, like current Church policy, seems to equate personal, Christ-like compassion for the poor and oppressed with broad-based, legally constituted policies dealing with national responsibilities, economics, and the migratory flow of large numbers of people.

Fr. Davis states that the Church “does not support illegal immigration or amnesty” but rather “a more sane and humane approach to immigration.” However, it’s not clear what he sees as inhumane about current immigration policies. The U.S., I believe, still accepts immigrants, just as it always has. While not stating such, Fr. Davis and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, whose policies he references, leave the impression that they would support abolishing all national borders. Perhaps that is the Church view as well. This may work in the next world, but there is little evidence it can work in this world.

Whatever happened to the “render unto Caesar” admonition of Christ? Are immigration laws — democratically debated, approved, and implemented by a lawmaking body representing millions of people — to be ignored because individuals from other countries don’t agree with them? Is it alright that even the governments of these other countries may actively help their citizens thwart U.S. immigration laws?

What about governmental and Church responsibility in those countries from which illegal immigrants flow? Why are their citizens fleeing in the first place? Should not the Church in these countries, many of which have predominantly Catholic populations, be loudly calling for government reforms to justly provide for their people rather than asking other countries to do so? Fr. Davis cites one principle of Catholic social teaching as “The Common Good Must Be the Goal of Any Commonwealth” — but he seems to apply it only to the United States.

Where is the social justice in supporting an unlimited flow of people relegated to lower-level jobs, inadequate education, and failure to integrate due to little incentive or means to learn English? Indeed, Fr. Davis notes that “Many researchers indicate that the jobs undocumented workers tend to acquire are ones that simply will not eventually pay more money.” Is the Church not helping to foster the continued development of an underclass of people?

Where is the outcry from Fr. Davis or the Church against the greed, oppression, and rampant crime that causes people to flee their countries? Where is the outcry about the breakdown of families when fathers leave their countries to come to the U.S. and work for years? In many cases, the father sends his earnings back home to the family whose children may eventually not recognize him. I fail to see how family values are being promoted here.

It’s puzzling to me why Fr. Davis (and perhaps the Church) seems to blindly ignore the limitations of our imperfect worldly systems as if there is no limit to what the U.S. can provide. He states that “there is considerable evidence that our country has the capacity as it always had to absorb immigrants driven by poverty.” Does he actually believe that, if the U.S. simply opens its borders to any who wish to enter, all will work out well?

Lest my comments be dismissed as those of a dispassionate xenophobe, I volunteer as a tutor of adult illiterates, and my wife and I operate a food-donation pantry through our parish. We have no knowledge of the legal status of those we serve. It would make no difference to us if we knew one to be an illegal immigrant.

While the Church should certainly foster the idea of compassion of one individual for another who is in need, I’m not convinced that this should translate to large-scale operations by the Church that seem to encourage illegal immigration by creating more and more support programs and sanctuaries. Left unchecked, it seems that “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses” would eventually be such a significant percentage of our population as to be unsustainable.

It would be better for Fr. Davis and the Church in the U.S. to take a stronger stand on the responsibilities of all countries, rather than join the tired old chorus of blaming the U.S. for the struggles of immigrants.

Michael F. Audet

Silver Spring, Maryland

The Sect-Like Traditionalist Mentality

Although some of the letters in the September issue critical of my article, “The Gnostic Traditionalist” (June), made some good points, none of them persuasively argue that my basic point is wrong. On the other hand, the letters supportive of my article suggest to me that my basic point is right. I do admit that other points I make in the article, and the way I make them — not the least of which being my use of the term “gnostic” — might very well be quite off the mark. But I don’t think my basic point is.

If my “Johnny-come-lately” status distracts one from seeing any truth in my words, then perhaps it would help to read the words of Romano Amerio, who made a point similar to mine over 10 years ago. He writes: “It is obvious that uncertainty about the law, which has become something very changeable and which is in practice applied diversely in accordance with the differing opinions of differing people, has had the effect of increasing the importance placed on private judgment, and of producing a multiplicity of individual choices in which the organic unity of the Church is eclipsed and disappears” (Iota Unum: A Study of Changes in the Catholic Church in the 20th Century, Angelus Press, 1996).

Allow me to reiterate the basic point of my rather profuse article. What I would add to Amerio’s insight is that the emergence of the availability of a choice for or against traditional liturgy and doctrine, made possible by the Vatican II event, produces adverse consequences — regardless of which choice is made. If someone chooses to remain loyal to Tradition, even if the choice is made with the deliberate goal of placing oneself in an ecclesial environment in which private judgment is not paramount and in which liturgical, doctrinal, moral, and devotional choice is no longer a pertinent issue, it is still the case that the very exercise of this choice is psychologically and spiritually damaging, for the reasons I try to articulate in my article. To me, this dynamic indicates the gravity of the evil that seeped into the Church at Vatican II.

The only sure way to counteract some of the evil and avoid the worst of the damage is, I think, first to be aware of it, and then to realize that one cannot altogether counteract or avoid it. As it seems to me, and this is my main point, being a traditionalist — and precisely the kind of traditionalist I try to describe in my article — can have the effect of rendering one impervious to this awareness and realization (and it is certainly not only sedevacantists who fall into this category). Of course, being a non-traditionalist can render one even more impervious to this realization, but that is not at issue here.

My essential point is that being a traditionalist does not necessarily render one impervious to the evil, and that there is something about the post-Vatican II ecclesial context in which the traditionalist identity is formed that can make one think it does, and even worse, preclude awareness of any spiritual and psychological danger to one’s soul in this regard.

In short, I think that traditionalist Catholicism has become something of a sect (I could have titled the article “Sectarian Traditionalism,” gaining in accuracy what I lose in provocativeness), whether indult traditionalism or not. Of course, the sectarianism is intensely worse in the non-indult traditionalist milieus, as Christopher Ferrara (letter, Sept.) rightly notes, being present among a relative few in the indult chapels, becoming much worse within the SSPX environs, and finally becoming downright pathological among the sedevacantists. But this is not the fault of the good, loyal, non-sect-like indult traditionalists or traditionalism per se. Rather, the danger of becoming sect-like, with all the spiritual ramifications that go with it, is the price we had to pay to remain loyal to Tradition, and not seeing, or being able to see, that the price paid is the greatest price. I say it is a price we “had” to pay, because Pope Benedict has now “marked down” this price by officially “de-secting” traditional Catholicism with his great motu proprio freeing up the Tridentine Mass.

Traditionalism is now free. If we traditionalists keep up a sectarian attitude now, then it will be our fault.

Thaddeus J. Kozinski

Barry's Bay, Ontario

I Was Not Aware that the NOR Does Investigative Reporting

When I became a subscriber to the NOR a short while ago, I did so because of your reputation for publishing excellent articles, which I have enjoyed reading. I was not aware, however, that your magazine does the type of “investigative reporting” that is more often done by the secular press. You made damaging remarks about the Legionaries of Christ and its founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel (New Oxford Notes, June, p. 18), as did the letter from one of your readers (Sept.) thanking you for “exposing” the Legionaries and Maciel, for “unmasking” Scott Hahn, and for “giving us the heads-up” on Deal Hudson.

The Legionaries of Christ, a priestly order of fine young men (over 700 ordinations since the 1940s and currently having 2,500 seminarians in formation for the priesthood, requiring a minimum of 12 years of study) does not deserve such a bad rap because they are guilty of nothing. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all forgive one another for our transgressions and let God do His work, achieving His purpose with and through the most unlikely, the weakest, and yes, the great sinners; for example, St. Augustine and St. Paul, to name just two.

As for Scott Hahn, I have known and admired him through EWTN for years. I can’t imagine what he, and Deal Hudson, have been found guilty of, unless perhaps it was something that did not precisely follow the rubrics of the NOR.

Please cancel my subscription.

Mary Foley

Marlboro, Massachusetts

Ed. Note: For a primer on what precisely Deal Hudson is “guilty” of, see our New Oxford Note “Once a Prima Donna, Always a Prima Donna?” in this issue. As for Scott Hahn, see our New Oxford Note “A Little Bit of Gnosticism” (Feb.) and the letter from Kathryn L’Esperance and the Editor’s Reply (Jul.-Aug.), in which we quoted St. Paul: “take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness,” “rebuke them sharply,” etc. For more on Maciel and the Legionaries, see our Editorial, “Fr. Maciel Is Disciplined by the Holy See: What Will the Legionaries Do Now?” (Sept. 2006). For the complete scoop on Hahn, Hudson, and the Legionaries browse our Topical Dossiers, “Dr. Scott Hahn — Theologian,” “Crisis Magazine & Deal Hudson,” and “Legionaries of Christ & Regnum Christi.”

Anything But Dull

Since subscribing to the NOR, it’s been anything but dull! I was at first put-off when the first issue I received criticized Scott Hahn. But since then I’ve grown to see the clarity and precision of your arguments, and appreciate your courage and persistence in the truth.

Matthew Susanka

South Jordan, Utah

Fatima: Rumors, Speculation & Doubtful Inferences

In his letter (Oct.), Willard King states that the true third secret of Fatima foretells of apostasy in the Church, and because the Vatican failed to release the real secret, a great chastisement of all mankind from God, including the annihilation of billions of people around the globe, is both inevitable and imminent. Really now, how can King possibly know the complete story behind Fatima and predict what God may allow to happen, much less its timing?

He states that the true third secret has not been released and thus tacitly admits that he does not have a definitive document as his source. As a matter of fact, if he were to read Documents on Fatima & the Memoirs of Sister Lucia by Fr. Antonio Maria Martins, S.J., he would not find any mention of apostasy or annihilation in its over 500 pages of documentation. Moreover, if he were to view the recent film documenting Fatima with interviews of people who personally knew Sr. Lucia (The Call to Fatima; for information, see www.thecallto­fati­ma.com), he would hear about prayer (the Rosary) and repentance of sins, not apostasy and annihilation. These are just two sources that show that not every serious student of Fatima has bought into the third secret belief embraced by King.

Apparently, the main source of his statements is a different, lesser-known Marian event, along with rumors, speculation, and doubtful inferences about Fatima. Some of this comes from Catholics upset with the Church’s decline in the West and a belief that there must be a heavenly explanation for this in the Fatima event. (Aside: For individuals, the Fatima message is to stop offending God, repent of one’s sins, and pray the Rosary. The apparitions occurred in 1917, well before Vatican II, and are an indication that there were also big problems back then.) Buying into a Fatima conspiracy theory, with its focus on mystery and some terrible secret, can easily diminish the known truth about Fatima and lead to an unfounded pessimism. Even if subsequent developments show machinations around the third secret, it would not surprise a Church that has had major schisms, several anti-popes, and the Protestant Reformation in her history; as such, faithful Catholics would continue to live the Gospel, trusting in Jesus, the Savior.

I pray the Rosary daily. I start­ed and continue this practice not out of fear of a great chastisement, not because I understand why God chose to emphasize this devotion at Fatima, not because it gives me any pleasure, but simply because this requested practice is consistent with the Gospel that Christ gave us and seems to be the right response to my silent inward prayer life.

Philip Lehpamer

Brooklyn, New York

Pope John Paul II Was No Saint

In the first paragraph of your October Editorial, “Opportunity & Crisis,” you state that you prayed that Pope John Paul II’s successor would be “more traditional, a much better administrator, and more insistent on orthodoxy in the Church…but no less saintly than John Paul.”

The “saintly” Pope John Paul publicly kissed the Koran, received the mark of Shiva (the Hindu goddess of death and yoga) on his forehead from a Hindu priestess, and invited false religions to Assisi to pray for world peace. Certainly no saint has ever committed such scandalous public acts in his role as the Vicar of Christ.

Michael MacLachlan

Petoskey, Michigan

Liturgical Dog & Pony Show

As I read the New Oxford Note “The U.S. Catholic Church Is Sinking Fast — Part II” (Oct.), statistically showing the present condition of the Catholic Church in America, I became shocked and dismayed. I knew things were getting bad just from the amount of unoccupied pews at Sunday Mass, and the liturgical dog-and-pony show it has become, but I had no idea our Church was in the condition presented.

We should compliment our bishops for their determination to stay the course, year after year, in their long journey to “really update” the Church, in spite of the obvious fact that their “great program” was, and still is, a dismal failure. Evidently, they are either unaware of the disastrous effects of their actions, or they are still unwilling to face the fact that some 40 years ago someone took the wrong fork in the road.

As the once-staunch faithful leave the Church in droves, I can’t help but remember a passage in Proverbs (26:11) that reads: “As is a dog that returneth to his vomit, so is the fool that repeateth his folly.”

Jerome Gleason

Green Bay, Wisconsin

Why Take the Big Step?

Regarding the New Oxford Note “‘The Reform of the Reform’ Is Going Nowhere — At Least Not Yet” (Sept.), I find the whole situation regarding the “reform” of the Traditional Mass very odd. I was raised evangelical, but I have spent the past 18 years as an Episcopalian, reading the entire time trying to decipher the Reformation controversies. I have concluded that, historically speaking, the Protestant Reformation has been an unmitigated disaster for Western Civilization.

About three years ago I finally came to accept the teachings and dogmas of the Catholic Faith, but I have not yet taken the big step. It is confusing to me — having accepted the authority of the Pope and the Magisterium — why so many Catholic clergymen, including some bishops, are trying to circumvent the Church’s authority and accommodate Modernism. If so many leaders in the Catholic Church in the U.S. are flirting with Protestantism, why should I convert?

M. Craig Kincaid

Glasgow, Kentucky

There is an unclarity in the expression “reform of the reform,” both in then-Cardinal Ratzinger’s remarks and in general use, that needs to be addressed. What exactly is the reform that needs to be put right? Is it the proposed reform of the liturgy in the Vatican II document Sacro­sanctum Concilium, or is it the New Mass of Pope Paul VI? On the former interpretation, the proposed reform of the Council went wrong with Paul VI’s New Mass, which was not in fact an implementation of it at all; and what needs to be done is to in fact implement that reform — which means introducing some changes to the Traditional Mass as codified in the 1962 missal, which would not amount to change of a more significant sort than what it has undergone since the time of Pope St. Gregory the Great.

On the latter interpretation, the reform that is to be reformed is the New Mass of Paul VI. On this view, this Mass was in fact a reform, and did implement the reforming intentions of the Council, but went too far, or was deficient, in some respects. What needs to be done is to fix up the New Mass and go with that, leaving the Traditional Mass in place for an old-fashioned minority.

Commentators may be right in saying that the latter interpretation is the current official policy of the Holy See, to the extent that it has a coherent policy. Whether it is what Cardinal Ratzinger had in mind is not clear; his views can be interpreted in the former sense, especially given his remarks elsewhere that explicitly acknowledge the fact that the New Mass is fundamentally defective and was not at all an implementation of the conciliar directives for reform (this last point is made very clearly in his memoirs).

No doubt most ecclesiastical personages aside from the Holy Father are only willing to accept the “reform of the reform” in the latter sense, and that places political limitations on how clear he can prudently be in discussing this subject at present.

John Lamont


I don’t view the Holy Father’s recent motu proprio as an impediment to the “reform of the reform” movement. Rather, I believe that, in time, the freedom to offer the Tridentine Mass will have a positive influence on the New Mass — through healthy “competition.”

It has often been said that if the New Mass had been well engineered, the SSPX schism would not have occurred, and that there would have been no need for John Paul II’s Ecclesia Dei Adflicta, establishing indult Tridentine Masses, and Bene­dict’s Summorum Pontificum that liberated the Tridentine Mass from its indult restrictions. I am of that school.

There is much to be said for the New Mass, especially its increased emphasis on sacred Scripture. I would not want to see the Church take a step backward in this respect. But if we can get rid of the nonsense that plagues the New Mass — e.g., the versus populum position, the “campfire” music, and perhaps Communion in the hand — much can be drawn from the Tridentine Mass to restore a passionately desired “sense of the sacred” to the New Mass.

F. Gregory Walsh

Ronkonkoma, New York

Ed. Note: The New Mass was not “well engineered.” As a result, our past two Popes had to salvage the Tridentine Mass with their respective motu proprios. There’s no sense in dwelling on what-ifs. The damage has been done; it is now water under the bridge. The “competition” is more likely to further polarize the two Masses, as each seeks distinction from the other. When more people go to the Tridentine Mass, no doubt many New Mass priests will up the ante and be even more freewheeling, and will not restore a sense of the sacred.

Women Have a Superior Capacity to Love

Jim Coop’s article, “Two Marys Who Are Quite Contrary” (Oct.), paints a grim picture of the damage militant feminists in their “ungodly rage” can do to the Church and to their own sex.

I notice that feminists fight shy of quoting the Bible, a book written by “patriarchal men.” They realize that they cannot win on this pitch, so they lean heavily on secular sexual politics.

We must not be tricked into conducting this debate purely on the world’s terms and in its context, the playground of the Prince of This World. For the Christian, “our conversation is in Heaven” (Phil. 3:20), where the world’s values are turned upside down, the humble are exalted, and the first are last.

If you compare this language with that of a strident feminist, the contrast is striking and throws much light on the conflict. But when, as often happens, the two languages get mixed up, there is babble and the confusion that the devil loves to spread.

However, the good Lord has endowed women with a talent that transcends all human achievements — a superior capacity to love. If women love more than men, they therefore have a reasonable claim to superiority on that account alone — and not only in natural love alone but in supernatural devotion as well; simple Mass attendance figures show that women are well ahead of men in this area and consequently more likely to reach Heaven.

Will feminists continue to insist on trading this priceless talent in exchange for male leadership roles? They would be fools to do so.

We must not forget Mary, the indispensable champion of women’s welfare. The feminists’ outright rejection of Mary puts them out of court before they have even started. For leadership, our Lady is light years ahead of any man!

The more one considers Mary’s silence in the New Testament, the more she reveals to all women where their true power lies. Her main preoccupation was in “pondering all these things in her heart” (Lk. 2:19) — that is, in loving. Loud, aggressive feminists have long lost the power to penetrate into this mystery of femininity.

Jim Allen

Torquay, England

I Don't Get It

Regarding your New Oxford Note “Western Christianity & Muslim Societies on Morality” (Oct.): What disturbs me is the NOR’s laudatory citing of Islam’s condemnation of abortion, homosexuality, and other sins, which you claim renders rational Islamic hatred of the U.S.

Indeed, the NOR’s disgust with our over-the-line liberalism, plus your intense scorn for the neocons, comes uncomfortably close to the hatred displayed by the Islamofascists. While the NOR eagerly joins the radicals of the academic Left in berating neocons and Christian Zionists for “murdering Iraqis” and supporting Israel, I never see a word in the NOR about the elephant in the living room: Islamic suicide bombings; the willful slaughter of women and children; the routine resorting to beheading, torture, and rape; forcible conversions to Islam; the demand for Sharia law throughout the world; etc.

Sorry, but I just don’t get it.

O.M. Ostlund Jr.

Altoona, Pennsylvania


In our New Oxford Note “Western Christianity & Muslim Societies on Morality” (Oct.), we reported that Islamic societies condemn abortion, homosexuality, and other sins. Catholics should commend them for that. How many “radicals of the academic Left” do you know who would say the same?

Moreover, we quoted from an article in Modern Age, a traditionalist conservative magazine, written by Anthony Sullivan, whose mentor is the late conservative icon Russell Kirk, author of The Conservative Mind. Sullivan wrote: “Muslims do not hate America for what it is, but for what it does….” We also quoted Patrick Buchanan, a paleoconservative who ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 1992 and 1996, and earlier worked for the Reagan White House. He wrote in his book Where the Right Went Wrong: “Pre-marital sex, homosexual unions, and abortions are considered normal and moral by our cultural elites. Islamic societies reject them as immoral.” Sullivan and Buchanan aren’t attempting to “render rational Islamic hatred of the U.S.,” they are explaining why the Islamic worldview is opposed to the West.

Neither Sullivan nor Buchanan has a kind word to say about neoconservatives or Christian Zionists (nor, we suspect, would Kirk). It is absurd to suggest that by citing these men, the NOR is “eagerly joining the radicals of the academic Left.” Moreover, you say that the NOR “eagerly joins the radicals of the academic Left” but the NOR is disgusted with “over-the-line liberalism.” That’s a contradiction.

As for that “elephant in the living room”: In our New Oxford Note “Delusions of Grandeur” (Oct.), which appeared right after the one you cite, we said: “What’s the difference between abortion, wars of aggression, and terrorism? They’re all murder.” Did you happen to notice the word “terrorism” in there? In fact, we have condemned terrorism many times in the past (e.g., see the NOR, Dec. 2004, p. 11; March 2005, p. 7; Dec. 2005, p. 4; Nov. 2006, pp. 20 & 21). It goes without saying that every Catholic must condemn terrorism — suicide bombings, beheadings, torture, rape, forced conversions, etc. But we will say so again, for your benefit: The NOR condemns terrorism, Islamic and otherwise.

But it’s not enough to simply condemn Islamic terrorism. One must have the courage to confront its causes. That’s what Sullivan, Bu­chanan, and the NOR have tried to do. Islamic terrorism doesn’t occur in a vacuum; it is by and large a reaction. What is it a reaction to? It is largely a reaction to our failed foreign policy in the Middle East and our coddling and exclusive support of Israel. If we were to have a more evenhanded foreign policy in the Middle East, then Islamic terrorism worldwide would dwindle.

If you despise Islamic terrorism, then you too should harbor “intense scorn for the neocons,” for they are the ones who helped get us into this mess and exacerbated the radical Muslims’ ire, increasing exponentially the incidents of terrorism and murder both in Iraq and the world over. “Islamofascists” are excoriated daily in the neoconservative press. The real elephant in the living room is the cause of Islamic terrorism: our failed Middle East foreign policy, driven by myopic, bloodthirsty neoconservatives hell-bent on empire-building.

God Will Repay

Regarding the guest column by D.A. Davis (Oct.) about historical and present-day holocausts: Ungodly dictators could not have murdered millions of souls without the help of many people. Tyrants could never commit such atrocities alone.

We would do well to remember Scripture’s admonishment: “If you remain indifferent in times of adversity, your strength will depart from you. Rescue those who are being dragged to death, and from those tottering to execution withdraw not…. He [God] will repay each one according to his deeds” (Prov. 24:10-12).

Donovan Dunn

Brockport, New York


Since the 1960s and Vatican II, there has been a multitude of changes, new ideas, and actions initiated by bishops and priests thinking they would invigorate the faith of the people. It is a fact that most have failed tremendously. Today there are a multitude of ideas to correct these failures.

For over 40 years, while chang­es were tried and implemented, bishops and priests failed to see or address dissensions that were arising among the people. Some even encouraged them. These dissensions were causing sin and creating a disunity of faith that destroyed the distinction between Catholic and Protestant.

Sinful and immoral acts were not strongly addressed in homilies. Catholics formed their own Protestantism by believing their dissensions from Church teaching were justified. If a Church teaching was too difficult, they believed they could follow a false conscience. Was this not what some Jews in the Gospel did when they walked away from teachings of Christ they felt were too hard (Jn. 6:60)?

Some confessors have become so compassionate that they do not instruct the penitent on the serious consequences of sin. They must not realize that they are committing a sin of omission. One of our good bishops said, “If you want to be faithful to your vows, you will think of how you can solve this problem of dissension.”

Pray the Holy Spirit will give our Church leaders the strength and wisdom to know that dissension is the foremost problem facing their discipleship to bring Christ and His Church’s teachings of salvation to His people.

Andrew B. Williams

Roach, Missouri

Deep Concern

October 13, 2007, marked the 90th anniversary of the key historic apparition of our Blessed Mother at Fatima, Portugal — a town named for a royal Muslim lady who converted to Catholicism. It is significant that Mary chose a location with the name of the favorite daughter of Mohammed, the Prophet of Islam, who ranked Fatima as second among all women, while recognizing Jesus’ virgin mother Mary as the first a­mong all women.

It is also extremely significant that Mary at Fatima and at Lourdes asked that we pray the Rosary. How wise Mary was with the goal of world peace, for the Rosary’s meditations — especially the Sorrowful Mysteries — shine the light of truth on the major error of Islamic teachings, the denial of the crucifixion of Christ and Christ’s divinity.

It is amazing that Muslims have large families and regard USAID campaigns promoting condoms and abortions as coming from “Satan,” while Jews in Israel admit their high rate of abortions, and major Christian countries promote contraception, and their populations decrease precipitously. Russia averages about six abortions per marriage, and Vla­dimir Putin is trying to think of incentives for couples to have children as his population plummets — except among Russian Muslims. There is yet no triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Russia.

The Pope faces a major dilemma from the American Church hierarchy in two major ways. First is the rejection of Pope Paul VI’s prophetic encyclical Humanae Vitae (available free on the Internet at the Vatican website, www.vatican.va), which promotes awareness of infecund periods so married couples know when human life can best be conceived, postponed, or avoided for a valid reason. The second is that 90 years ago this year, Mary appeared at Fatima and promised a period of peace rather than wars if people would pray the Rosary and practice their faith by attending Mass.

How, by whom, and when will the truth be told — to hasten the promised triumph of the Immaculate Heart of truth and love in Mary? Apparently not enough people are praying the Rosary and both living and defending the Roman Catholic faith. Why does the U.S. hierarchy ignore Fatima?

Edward L. Peffer

Cypress, California

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