Volume > Issue > Letter to the Editor: July-August 2004

July-August 2004

God Bless Sean Salai

As an employee of the Diocese of Lafayette, Indiana, I was delighted to see Sean Salai’s article “An Inside Report on Diocesan Journalism” (April) about our Diocese. God bless the NOR for printing such articles, and God bless Sean Salai. Someone asked me what good would result from writing such an article. My answer: some useful information.

Let those interested in serving the Church think twice about coming to this Diocese. Nothing good can thrive under this administration. Anyone with a vocation to the religious life or priesthood would do well to steer clear of the Diocese of Lafayette and the Most Rev. William L. Higi.

(Name Withheld)

Lafayette, Indiana

You Smart Alecks

I have a bone to pick with you. In your New Oxford Note “Evangelization as if It Doesn’t Matter” (Feb.), you say that “because the Catholic Church possesses the fullness of truth and grace, you stand the best chance of avoiding Hell by becoming a Catholic. There are other reasons to evangelize, but that’s the bottom line.” Really? That’s the bottom line?

Wait a damn minute. Let me see if I can find a top line reason to evangelize.

A few days ago, in a tiny chapel where 40 or so of us celebrate daily Mass, a young mother attends, often with her three children and a baby. At the Sign of Peace, her little boy went to his mother and lifted his arms. The young mother bowed her baby down to him. The boy reached up, took the baby’s head in his hands and kissed her fat cheek.

“Suffer the children.” There were white-haired oldsters like me who shook hands or hugged one another, but the boy and his mother had the reason we have to evangelize: that the sea of God’s love may pour out to you and me, and to the people of God. God’s love, not our fear, surpasses all understanding or human love; God’s love reaches out and embraces Baptists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Episcopalians, and even the smart-alecky bellicose journalists at the NOR.

That little boy and his mother maybe didn’t realize it, but they were evangelizing, drawing all into the church.

Raymond J. Schneider

Apex, North Carolina


The boy took the baby’s head and kissed her fat cheek. Is this an expression of God’s love? Maybe, maybe not. But it’s certainly an expression of normal human love. Neither the boy nor his mother would need to be a Catholic or even believe in Jesus for such a touching scene to occur. You could see such scenes in Shinto families, Voodoo families, even atheist families. Moreover, the boy’s kiss took place in church, where everyone is presumably already a believer. So is this really evangelization?

You don’t like fear. But the Psalmist famously said, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Ps. 111:10). When evangelizing, Jesus made many outright appeals to fear. For example, “unless you repent, you will…perish” (Lk. 13:3). The fear of the Lord causes the Church to grow. Consider Acts 9:31: “So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was built up; and walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit it was multiplied” (italics added).

Why Endanger Souls?

Ought Catholic politicians, publicly at odds with Church teachings on serious matters such as abortion and stem-cell research, be allowed to receive Holy Communion or not? This is not a political question. The questions are, “Ought God to be given reverence and love?” and “Ought a shepherd of souls to be concerned about the eternal salvation of those in his care?”

Is Jesus, the Divine Person, who is truly, substantially, and really present in the Holy Eucharist, being given due reverence and love if one in a state of mortal sin receives Him? Or is the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity instead being shown just the opposite — irreverence and contempt? Does a secular shepherd show care and love for his sheep by allowing them to repeatedly endanger their very lives? Doesn’t he, rather, do just the opposite — prevent them from repeatedly doing so? What, then, ought a shepherd of souls to do as regards those in his care? He ought to prevent them from committing the more grievous mortal sin of sacrilege each time they receive Holy Communion while in mortal sin. He ought to protect them from removing themselves further from God each time, increasingly jeopardizing their eternal salvation and, by their bad example, that of others.

Our bishops, along with our priests, need to re-focus our attention on what ought to be the chief priorities for each Catholic — reverence for God and the good of souls. We are to “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness…” (Mt. 6:33), putting other, more mundane, concerns aside.

When Karol Cardinal Wojtyla first ascended to the papacy, he told us, “Do not be afraid…” (Lk. 12:4). These of course were the words of Jesus to the Apostles. Now is the time for our bishops, priests, and all who profess to be Catholic to take these words to heart and act accordingly. Will we be persecuted for doing so? Most certainly. But St. Paul reminds us, “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). But Jesus instructs us, “In the world you will have trouble, but be brave: I have conquered the world” (Jn. 16:33).

Michael McBride

Brooklyn, New York

"They Will Expel You From Their Synagogues"

I was struck by the letter “Women Feeling One Another on the Way to Holy Communion” (Feb.). The writer commented on how she can no longer stand going to a typical Novus Ordo Mass and co-operating with the behavior of those who do. In this case, she refers to four women expressing their intimacy with one another (and to everyone else) while going to the altar to receive the Lord. She couldn’t take it anymore.

Hers is essentially my experience. That’s what I finally realized in the “Greater American Catholic Church.” Like a pearl diver, each time I found I had to hold my breath for greater and greater lengths, trying to put up with things no one should: the incessant talking and thoughtlessness within Christ’s House of Prayer (Lk. 19:45); the complete “marketplace” atmosphere; the homilies relativizing immortality; the weekly impromptu “rewritings” of the Sacramentary by the celebrant; the smug, self-satisfied “we-are-saved-already” attitude; everyone receiving Communion, nearly no one going to Confession; and many other really bad things, but you get the idea.

One day, there came the final straw — the day the deacon in our fine Jesuit parish ended the Gospel this way:

Deacon: “The Gospel of the Lord.”

People: “Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.”

Deacon: “AND SO WHAT!” (in a brazen shout). [People confused, turning their heads around, “Did I really hear that?” And then he repeated it again, for added impact.]

Deacon: “AND SO WHAT!”

Everyone was shocked. They were even gasping for breath. The deacon then preached, saying, “So what about the Gospel you heard. Your faith has to change.”

Here it was, this great Vatican II parish insulting the Christ in a deliberate, shock-jock way.

Needless to say, the outcome of all my complaints simply got me expelled by the fine (publicly) smiling Jesuit pastor of the parish. For me, a decade of work, financial support, and service — all counts for nothing. But hey! “They will expel you from their synagogues, they will hail you into their courts” (Mk. 13:9).

If you think that you can talk with these people, as Lisa Lavadores in her letter (May) seems to think you can, you simply don’t understand. These people have fangs. The priest-abuse scandal is not the only problem in the U.S. Catholic Church. The faith-abuse crisis is even worse.

Since I was literally expelled in writing (and warned with a court order not to return), I started looking where I could go. So I started going to one of the several thriving Tridentine Latin Mass parishes here in Phoenix. I had gone once or twice before, but couldn’t decide. Now, this was the only place open to me. So, here is what I see at the Tridentine Mass.

The women dress modestly — even the teenage girls. No bare hips, no chasmic cleavage. Here, the priest is concerned with the solid traditional Catholic moral teaching: “This is sin, avoid it; this is virtue, seek it.” Here, the revealed Catholic wisdom of the ages is knowable, not obscured. Here, the liturgy is conducted with paramount reverence. You take home spiritual food from this encounter. My daughter likes it, too. There are a lot of lovely young people who attend. Fear this, Amchurch! And I never have to gasp for breath anymore.

Steve [last name withheld]

Phoenix, Arizona

"Man" Isn't "a Man"

I am confused by David Vincent Meconi’s review of Thomas Weinandy’s book Jesus the Christ (March). If Fr. Weinandy uses the same language as Meconi, then I won’t understand the book either. For example, Meconi says, “it is truly the Son of God who is man….” Don’t we need articles in English? I could understand, “it is truly the Son of God who is a man,” but how can the Son of God be an abstraction like “man”? What does that mean? That the Son of God is mankind? I don’t know where the abstraction “man” came from, but “a man” for sure isn’t “man” in English, my native language. Neither is it in Russian, which I now speak.

V. Rev. Myron Effing, C.J.D. Pastor

Most Holy Mother of God Catholic Church

Vladivostok, Russia

The Principal of Central Catholic Replies

Martha McGrew’s letter demeaning Central Catholic High School (May) shows just how important it is to know what one is talking about before writing on any subject. It has been several years since A Prayer for Owen Meany was used (for one quarter) in our school, and the teacher who introduced it was nonrenewed.

On the other hand, we have had The Catcher in the Rye on our English reading list, as have many orthodox Catholic schools, since at least the time I was a freshman at the school 44 years ago. If no “controversial” book was read by our students, and discussed in the light of Catholic moral teaching, our boys would not be prepared for college, let alone for life. Holden is one of the great anti-heroes of 20th-century literature, and his character, although profane in speech, exhibits the kind of orientation toward selfless service that we value highly as Catholics. In fact, it was to become a “catcher of kids” that I and many other educators abandoned everything else in order to work as Catholic teachers.

We have worked exceedingly hard over the past several years to strengthen our commitment to our Catholic, Marianist mission. If McGrew wishes, she can come some Tuesday and observe 40 percent of our students participating actively in prayer, the study of the faith, and apostolic/service work through our two-year-old revival of the Sodality of Our Lady of the Pillar.

Are we perfect? No. Are we listening to the Holy Spirit through the Magisterium of the Church, discerning our shortcomings, and striving to improve? Yes. Our enrollment is turning up, and it is precisely our Catholic character and strong academics that is attracting new faces to our campus, particularly from state schools. For the seventy-plus years that our 152-year-old school has been on this campus, we have given the Church several dozen priests and brothers. By God’s grace, over the next seventy we will give more, in addition to hundreds of active laymen and deacons to serve the Church.

W. Patrick Cunningham

Principal, Central Catholic High School

San Antonio, Texas

Blow 'em Up!

In reference to “Protecting Our Children From Catholic Schools” by Charles James (Dec.), which has spawned many letters: In 2000 I spoke with the Principal of Christ the King Catholic elementary school in Tampa, Fla. I asked her if all of her teachers were Catholic. She said no. I asked her if all of her teachers were Christian. She said no, but all her teachers believed in the basic dignity of the child. Don’t all public school teachers believe this?

Since becoming Catholic in 2002, I have been asked if I would pull my children out of the evangelical Christian school they attend. My reply is always no; I want them to have teachers who love Jesus and who seek to follow Him. Teachers are guides and models to my young children. Why would I want to put my children in a Catholic school if the teachers are not Catholic or even Christian? I suspect there may be a Catholic teacher for religion, but doesn’t that teach a compartmentalization of our faith, making it irrelevant to the rest of learning?

A few months ago I went to a talk by Fr. Joseph Fessio, who quoted a study showing that Catholic youth are more likely to leave the faith if they attend a Catholic university than if they attend a secular university. Fr. Fessio concluded (“jokingly”) that it would be better for our children’s souls if our Catholic universities were blown up.

Dave Watson

Tampa, Florida

Interior Participation, Not Exterior Participation

I would like to comment on your New Oxford Note (May), “Can the Pope Overrule a Vatican II Document?” You seem unaware of the controversy over the word active in the phrase “full, conscious and active participation” of the faithful in the Mass (Vatican II, Sacrosanctum Concilium [SC]). That word active was in reality a faulty translation from the original Latin.

Michael Davies, in his book Liturgical Time Bombs in Vatican II (TAN, 2003), explains that the Council in Article 11 of SC used the Latin word actuósus, which means a “sincere interior participation.” It did not use actívus, which means a “lively exterior participation.” Davies shows that the misinterpretation of actuósus — which was the basis of so much of the liturgical abuse — was the doing of Annibale Bugnini, a prelate whom two popes finally learned to distrust. Bugnini was in charge of implementing the liturgical mandates of the Council for 12 years after the Council closed. He took virtually no action against “unofficial innovators” who ran amok with the idea of “active” external participation during all that time.

But why did the Church not denounce Bugnini’s misinterpretation of actuósus? This is strange since, as Davies points out, Pius XII himself had used the word actuósus to mean that the faithful should unite themselves with the priest at the altar to offer our Lord to His Father. The Vatican was surely remiss in failing to stem the tide of abuse based on a willful misreading. It’s not too late.

Anne Barbeau Gardiner

Brewster, New York


Actually, we are aware of the controversy over the word active. As for the word actuósus, if you consult the Dictionary of Ecclesiastical Latin by Leo F. Stelten (Professor of Classical Languages at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Ohio), here’s what you will find: Actuósus is not defined as “sincere interior participation.” For its definition, the Dictionary says “see actívus or actuális.” And the Dictionary does not define actívus as “lively exterior participation.” Actívus is defined as “active, practical” (and actuális is defined as “actual, practical, active”). Since actuósus is a synonym for actívus, it looks like someone is trying to make a distinction without a difference.

Let’s look at what Sacrosanctum Concilium (SC) says: “Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that full, conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations…. Full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else…. Pastors of souls should energetically set about achieving it through the requisite pedagogy” (#14; italics added). If active only meant “sincere interior participation,” why would SC call on pastors to “energetically set about achieving it through the requisite pedagogy”? Under the Tridentine Latin Mass, there already was “sincere interior participation.” Clearly, SC is calling for something new, and we can easily prove it. SC says “pastors of souls must promote the liturgical instructions of the faithful and also their active participation, both internal and external…” (#19; italics added). Like it or not, there you have it.

Five Good Things That Have Come Out of Vatican II

In his letter (May), John Peacock makes a legitimate plea: “Would someone please show me one really good thing that has come out of Vatican II?”

For the benefit of Peacock and the thousands of others who undoubtedly have asked themselves this same question, let me pass on not one, but five such good things:

1. Through an increase in the importance assigned to the Bible, our renewed liturgical rites have become much richer with biblical texts.

2. A sustained effort to translate the various liturgical texts into the language of the people, and to face the challenges of adapting liturgical celebration to the culture of each people, is well under way.

3. The increased participation of the faithful by prayer and song, gesture and silence, in the Eucharist and the other Sacraments, has been promoted.

4. The ministries exercised by lay people, and the responsibilities that they have assumed in virtue of the common priesthood into which they have been initiated through Baptism and Confirmation, have proliferated.

5. The radiant vitality of so many Christian communities, a vitality drawn from the wellspring of the liturgy, has developed.

Before you decide whether to laugh or to cry, be aware that these five “positive results” of Vatican II were set forth by Pope John Paul II himself. They are taken from his apostolic letter Vicesimus Quintus Annus of December 4, 1988, commemorating the 25th anniversary of Sacrosanctum Concilium.

Does John Paul II really consider the above five points to be positive results? Or is he merely trying to justify the Council in which he had participated? And if he does consider them to be positive results, does he seriously believe that they outweigh the disasters that have otherwise befallen our Church since Vatican II?

Willard King

Escondido, California

I began serving the “old Mass” as an altar boy in 1939. I am now 73 years old, 45 years a priest. As a kid, knowing the perfect recitation of all the Latin Mass responses, we dealt with the mumbled prayers of too many priests. In the old days there were parishes known as “whiz churches”: Sunday Mass in 20 minutes. Young priests were given the motto: Get Them Out Fast! In college I was too embarrassed to invite my dormitory roommates to Mass — the blatant lack of piety was a scandal. Rarely do I remember edifying experiences as being the norm — but, yes, there were some.

In my experience, the gains today outshine the losses. Yes, I know craziness exists and horror stories are a fact. But the gains are tremendous. Yes, we are still growing, becoming what we should be. Change begets excess, the pendulum swings from one extreme to the other, yet eventually resting in the middle.

Would I go back to pre-Vatican II days? No way!

Fr. Andre J. Meluskey

St. Patrick’s Church

Carlisle, Pennsylvania

John Paul the Great?

Congratulations for your courage in publishing David Palm’s article “Catholic Confusion at the Very Top” (March). It was factual and measured in tone, and an opportune corrective to George Weigel’s hagiographical biography and to the uncritical adulation of some of John Paul’s admirers, who have already been speaking of John Paul the Great.

G.H. Duggan, S.M.


New Zealand

Regarding David Palm’s article: It lacks balance insofar as it ignores the stupendous achievements of John Paul. It would take volumes to mention them all — a near martyr, the catalyst in the collapse of political Marxism, the writer of pivotal encyclicals, the most traveled pope in history, the greatest canonizer of saints, the most well-known and one of the three longest reigning popes, the most Marian and most Eucharistic pope, the corrector of liturgical abuses, the nemesis of priestesses, the restorer of Catholic devotions, the corrector of Mass forgeries, and that’s just for starters.

If a pope does say strange things or do bad things, we must use prudence and recognize that these are not formal authoritative pronouncements — and we must not publicly condemn them.

Kevin McManus



An Accredited Institution?

In your May issue, a letter from Prof. Austin Hughes of the University of South Carolina categorically tells us that “global environmental problems are… caused by…environmentally irresponsible behavior in wealthy, under-populated countries such as the U.S.” One appropriately wonders: Is the University of South Carolina an accredited institution?

I read the response by Maria Briggs, and this long-term reader is looking forward to another piece by her.

Jerry O'Halloran

Littleton, Colorado

I am so glad to read that the Catholic Environmental Correctness Police (CECP) are on the job with their evaluation of the vehicle Mrs. Briggs has selected to get her family from point A to point B. I hope though, that the CECP doesn’t stop there. Someone also needs to pull her records to make sure she has had unmedicated homebirths (keeping herself out of the insatiable jaws of the health-care industry), that she uses cloth (re-usable) diapers rather than disposable (cut-down trees, untreated human waste in the dump). Mrs. Briggs’s garbage needs to be examined to satisfy the CECP that she recycles and composts. Does she buy hormone-free, organic, free-range, pesticide-free foods, taking her own bags to the store? Check also to see if she is wrapping her kids’ sandwiches in waxed paper (biodegradable) instead of plastic baggies. Her house should have solar panels to decrease dependency on hydroelectric or nuclear power. And surely someone needs to check the tags on her clothes to make sure they are not made in China or other countries that employ child labor.

Alice Bolster

Nashville, Tennessee

If Maria Briggs would trade in her SUV for a used spacious minivan, perhaps she could quit her job, act like a mother, and stay home and take care of her children.

I wonder what Mrs. Briggs’s reaction would be if she should make a driving error and send her hulking Chevy Suburban crashing down on the occupants of a Chevy Cavalier. Would she smugly look on as the emergency crews pry the mangled bodies out of the crushed car, and feel good about “the safety of my family…my first concern”?

With all the “stuff” Mrs. Briggs appears to need to raise her three children, I hope she will not have any more children, as I would hate to meet her on the highway when she’s driving her new Greyhound bus.

Bill Miller

Erie, Pennsylvania


An interesting suggestion Bill Miller makes regarding a used minivan; however, he read my response (May) too hastily, for it was stated that I could not drive a minivan because it could not pull the used boat we purchased to take our family on day trips to the lake over the summer.

Miller is worried about some smaller car my SUV might possibly hit in the future. He surely must be lobbying Congress to have big-rig trucks and semi-trailers made illegal on U.S. roads — Greyhound buses too.

Miller is also losing sleep over whether or not I am a good mother to my three children. He would like me to quit my job and stay home with them.

Yes, I do work part-time. The reason I do so is to be able to afford to send our children to a Catholic school. But now you’ve opened another can of worms, Mr. Miller.

Our oldest son received First Holy Communion this year. However, for all but maybe four of the communicants, it would more correctly be called “First and Last Holy Communion” as those children have not returned to church. Our reason for sending our children to a Catholic school was for them to receive a solid Catholic education and to be surrounded by Catholic children, and by families who want to give their children a solid Catholic foundation. This has not been the case. I have been in one too many conversations with other school mothers who are pro-homosexual (“they can’t help it, they deserve to experience love and happiness too”), pro-abortion (“we can’t presume to make decisions for others”), anti-Church (“I can’t stand Mass and try to keep it to once a year”), and anti-God (“I don’t pray”). We are surrounded by the enemy in our own school! And worse, these enemies look like friends. (To add insult to injury, the education my children have received is simply not up to par.)

So, Mr. Miller, I have made the decision to take my children out of this “Catholic” school and homeschool them. We are planning to use the Kolbe Academy Home School Curriculum for its Ignatian method, classical course content, and its loyalty to the Magisterium. With the money I save on tuition, I can send my children to enrichment courses.

Oh yes, and about my job: I telecommute. Sometimes I go to the office in Oakland, pick up my work, complete it at home, and return it to the office.

So, we’ve covered my car, we’ve covered my children, we’ve covered my job. Would you now like to talk to my husband to make sure he is being adequately cared for?

A Fundamental Lack of Integrity

Regarding your New Oxford Note (“Better an Honest Episcopalian Than a Dishonest Catholic,” April) about liberal Catholics leaving for the Episcopal Church, I would like to suggest a few reasons that more liberal Catholics do not take this path.

Most of them couldn’t stand Episcopal liturgy. The Novus Ordo Masses they are used to are far more Protestant affairs, celebrated with less dignity and beauty than even low-church Episcopal services. Episcopal priests are expected to pretty much follow the Book of Common Prayer, and in my experience they generally do, no matter how liberal they might be. Most liberal Catholics would be driven to distraction by the notion that the liturgy ought to be celebrated according to established rubrics rather than being a celebration of their own personalities.

In my experience, many liberal Catholics have a very elastic notion of personal integrity. They see no problem accepting a paycheck (in the case of the professional Catholic) from an institution they obviously do not actually believe in and which they seem to be doing their level best to undermine. People suffering from this fundamental lack of integrity will see no reason to move toward a greater harmony between their outward religious identity and their internal religious faith.

I have some personal experience in this area. I am a former priest who left the Roman Catholic Church for the Episcopal Church for exactly the reasons the article describes. I found I could not live a lie. (I have since wandered even further afield religiously, but that, as they say, is another story.) I continue to have an academic interest in traditional and conservative Catholicism. It is hard to feel much beyond sad contempt for those who can’t muster the moral courage needed to leave the fleshpots of Egypt.

Lathe E. Snyder

Cincinnati, Ohio

Rash Judgment

The New Oxford Note, “Impressive Sacrifices” (May), is unfortunate. The Note recalls the Gospel for Ash Wednesday. This cannot be used as a warrant to ridicule fellow Catholics. These men and women were responding to a question from a Catholic newspaper on their individual Lenten penances. It is true that Christ teaches against hypocrisy, but it is also true that the Church proclaims this Gospel precisely at a Mass in which everyone is invited to accept a visible mark of penance. Christ does not enjoin us to refrain from teaching by example, but from acting from motives of self-love and inordinate desire for praise. In the passages quoted in the Note, our Lord says, “Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them” (my italics).

The persons mentioned answered a question put to them. It is uncharitable to accuse people of the caliber of Fr. Frank Pavone and Dr. Janet Smith of blowing their own trumpets to win the praise of others. This is rash judgment and denies the role that the Church has always accorded to teaching by good example.

Deacon James D. Scheer




Jesus says in the Ash Wednesday Gospel (Mt. 6) that our penances should be “secret” and “hidden.” We do find it rather ridiculous when high-caliber Catholics broadcast their Lenten penances to the world. That would seem to be blowing your own trumpet, and high-caliber Catholics, above all, should know that.

St. Paul says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable…for correction…” (2 Tim. 3:16). What we would call “correction,” you call “rash judgment.” We don’t mind being accused of rash judgment, but those who make such accusations should perhaps wonder if they are making rash judgments themselves.

Happy Women

The May New Oxford Note titled “Why (Most) Women Will Never Again Be Happy” struck a chord. The points are well taken: As long as married women with children think they must be part of the workforce, or think they will find fulfillment through a job outside of the home, they will be in permanent conflict with their primary roles as wife and mother. It is a lose-lose situation for everyone: the woman, the husband, and the children.

On the brighter side, however, there are women who are happy in their lives, and I have stumbled across this fact in a most unusual way.

I have twice attended the annual conference of the National Association of Catholic Home Educators in Manassas, Va. This event brings in large families, great speakers, and vendors who supply the homeschoolers with all of the materials and books used to educate their children. The parking lot outside looks like a minivan dealership.

It was only after attending the second conference that I made a startling observation: The women at this conference, many of them swollen with pregnancy and with several small children in tow, were radiantly happy. These were the happiest women I have ever seen. They smiled, they laughed, their disposition and countenance was that of joy. These women radiated inner peace. Why?

The answer lies in the fact that these wives and mothers were fulfilling their roles as wives and mothers. They were bearing children, maintaining a home, teaching their children at home, and being full-time wives. They were following God’s plan for their life, and it showed in their happy faces.

Yes, it is true that part of the happiness that they expressed came from the fact that they were out of the house for a couple of days, meeting and talking with fellow homeschoolers, listening to talks on subjects near and dear to their hearts, and absorbing new information and ideas.

But despite circles under their eyes, and the extraordinary planning and preparation that is required to carry a family of young children many miles from home and attend two full days of events at the conference, their joy was still readily apparent. Nothing could disguise it.

We have all been sold a bill of goods regarding the working mother. We men don’t like it, mothers don’t like it, and as a result, the marriage and the children suffer. I recall reading about a couple that decided that with each new child they were blessed with, they would become materially poorer but spiritually richer. They had their priorities in order.

Our mother is the most influential force in our life. Take her away from the home, distract her with problems of the business world or an outside job, fill her with worry and guilt, and leave her physically and emotionally too exhausted to be fully a mother, and an entire generation of children will be left adrift. The individual and social consequences of the working mom are all too apparent.

There is no more important profession for a woman who is a mother than to be a full-time mother to her children. We must never forget the age-old axiom — the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. In this wisdom, women will find happiness.

Timothy Ehlen

Petoskey, Michigan

Are Holy Communion & The Collection Equal?

Some current reflections on the state of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass:

They don’t want any genuflection when coming to Holy Communion. I guess they want to get that part of the Mass over with. As one priest wrote last year in a Sunday bulletin (circulated throughout the U.S.): “All parts of the Mass are equal.” That would include the collection, wouldn’t it?

The new “General Instruction of the Roman Missal” requires silence before and during Mass, except for responses. I bet we won’t hear anything more about that.

Why is the use of the words “man” and “men” anathema to many priests and bishops? Except of course when they say, “and He was delivered into the hands of evil men.”

Why is it proper to say “altar boys,” but not correct to say “altar girls”?

Ulysses De St. Germain

Diamondhead, Mississippi

Are Some More Innocent Than Others?

Sobering Statistic: The death toll of innocent human life taken on 9/11 approaches 3,000 souls.

Public Response: Horror, sorrow, shock, moral outrage, indignation, hunger for justice, legislation quickly passed to address the injustice; the “issue” is talked about from the pulpit; flags and bumper stickers are displayed; we go to war.

Conclusion: The reaction to this evil is understandable, justified, praiseworthy.

Sobering Statistic: The death toll of innocent human life taken on any given day in the U.S. by legalized abortion approaches 5,000 souls. The total death toll since 1973 approaches 40,000,000. Each year more souls are taken legally in the U.S. through abortion than the total of all Americans killed in all of our wars.

Public Response: Indifference, cowardice, compromise, silence in general, and from the pulpit no demand to address this injustice.

Conclusion: The willful act of abortion must be very different from other acts of violence in which the full force of civil law is brought to bear upon the perpetrators. By our lukewarmness and timidity we make the case for the “pro-choice” argument.

Robert & Martha Drake

El Paso, Texas

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