Volume > Issue > Letter to the Editor: July/August 2005

July/August 2005

Terri Schiavo & Catholic Bishops

As I write this letter, Terri Schiavo has been dead for several weeks, following 14 days of deliberate starvation reminiscent of St. Maximilian Kolbe (although the Nazis at least afforded Fr. Kolbe the compassion of carbolic acid). Her real family, the Schindlers, were forced to stand by and watch their lovely daughter die a horribly painful and lonely death.

Terri Schiavo was a Catholic, but every Catholic politician stood by while she was murdered. None of these politicians (most notably the Catholic convert Jeb Bush) was willing to exercise extraordinary means to aid the Schindler family. Only Randall Terry, dismissed by our secular media as a publicity-hungry fanatic, called directly for either Governor or President Bush to act and simply order the rescue of Terri Schiavo from her vile captors.

Liberal lawyers proceeded to advance the position that the courts are always right and are the final arbiters of the law. Conservative lawyers, no doubt with an eye to future fundraising letters, argued forcefully that the Schiavo case was emblematic of the dominance of left-wing judges. This latter was a tactic long utilized by the Republican Party to exploit conservatives and garner funds from decent citizens. How long have we heard from the Republican Party that it is prolife, appealing for funds to bring about the eventual outlawing of abortion? Over 30 years later, abortion-on-demand is established law, and we have slithered down the slippery slope of death to include the harvesting of children’s body parts, stem-cell experimentation, and we are now but a few inches from the actual forcible death of innocent “born” human beings.

Though much has been made of the need for living wills, it was then-Governor George W. Bush of Texas who signed into law legislation allowing (two) doctors to overrule parents in the decision of crucial life support.

Still, in the end, the responsibility for the death of Terri Schiavo can be laid right at the dusty and often closed doors of our American Catholic bishops. This gaggle of selfish, self-centered little men dropped the ball in the clerical sex abuse scandals, and was featureless in the passion play of Terri’s death and the torment of the Schindler family. As Mel Gibson observed, Terri’s own bishop fled the state. It was left to the rather disparate efforts of Fr. Frank Pavone and a few weary monks to attempt to call Catholic politicians to do their duty.

My 10-year-old son asked a very simple question that remains unanswered. “Dad,” he said, “I know the Pope is too sick, but why don’t all the Catholic bishops fly to Washington, go to the White House, and refuse to leave until the President does something?” This suggestion would have embarrassed the President into action or (after a phone call from Washington to Florida) his brother into action. But nothing effectively was done to help Terri.

Our Catholic bishops are moral cowards. This putrid behavioral pattern stands in disrepute when compared to Protestant Pastor William Rice, who openly criticized Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge George Greer, the initial author of Terri’s death warrant, his then-parishioner. Greer has since severed his relationship with that church. It is more than saddening for a Catholic to have to admit that a Protestant minister has behaved in a manner superior to one’s own Church leaders.

Matthew M. O'Connell

Veterans Affairs Medical Center

Topeka, Kansas

What Is to Be Done?

The recent spectacle of Terri Schiavo being starved to death by court order, with police guarding her, raises the question of whether we have any moral duty to obey this oligarchic tyranny any longer.

A government is legitimate to the extent that its laws reflect God’s Law. Our government has legally murdered a helpless woman, and legally butchered millions of babies, legalized sodomy, pornography, indecency, and countless other evils. It has lost its authority.

Therefore, we are justified in rebelling, if the good would outweigh the evil. However, if that is so, we must decide whether a rebellion would succeed.

A people may be infuriated or roused by an atrocity, but to follow through on this and wage a rebellion requires conviction. We Americans are not that kind of people. We are a nation of spineless cowards, slaves to pleasure and money and bosses. Such a people may grumble, but will never rebel.

There is no lack of brave, stubborn, masterful leaders, and there are many decent and religious people, but not enough. Even if we rebelled, we would lose heart easily, crumble in battle, and flee for home.

On our side we would have a core of brave fighters, from the homeschoolers to prolifers to devout Catholics.

The enemy would have the law and the police, and the authority these command over people. They have SWAT teams, high-tech weaponry, spy gear, gas, and bombs. And then there’s the Army; some in the Army might defect, but the rest would perceive us as “terrorists.”

I conclude, therefore, that a rebellion of this sort would perhaps be able to make a stand, but would never unseat the government or do much good.

Now we get into the question of divine aid. A miracle would, of course, ensure our victory, but we cannot tempt God. And would a rebellion be morally just enough to have His backing?

I would welcome input. This is a time of drastic crisis.

James Farrell

Meriden, Connecticut

Ultrasound Images

None of the letters on “How to Protect the Unborn” (April) discussed the role ultrasound images have played in turning the vast majority of Americans against late-term abortions. I think an important part of the struggle to end abortion-on-demand is for pictures of human life in the womb to become ubiquitous in our culture. Philanthropists generous to Catholic education would spend their dollars more effectively if they also supported fetal life images on the Internet, billboards, and television. What would it take to get a gigantic image of a baby in the womb sucking her thumb up in lights on a Times Square billboard?

In the earliest days of life, however, images show only undifferentiated cells, not a human baby, and this poses a challenge to convince people that embryonic stem-cell research and early-term abortions are wrong. I believe that something like time-lapse photography could be used, showing the development of those early cells into a viable human. Photos of humans in the womb at various time intervals already exist in textbooks, as do ultrasound videos. What would it take to produce a 30-second video of human fetal development with appropriate captions and music and run it as a commercial for life on primetime television?

Philip J. Lehpamer

Brooklyn, New York

The Papal Encyclicals Do Warn About the Dangers of Wealth

I was both surprised and disappointed to read Tom Bethell’s article “The Spiritual Hazards of Wealth” (April). The NOR is a journal that prides itself on faithfulness to Catholic teaching. Yet Bethell spends much of his article criticizing the papal social teaching of Leo XIII, Pius XI, John XXIII, Paul VI, and John Paul II.

Bethell is displeased with the popes’ concern in their writings for the poverty of the working class and with their alleged lack of concern for the spiritual dangers of wealth. But he is simply wrong about the latter point. I could cite a number of passages from the social encyclicals to show this, but for reasons of space I will instance only two, the first from Pius XI’s great encyclical of 1931, Quadragesimo Anno. Here Pius speaks of “the excessive solicitude for transitory things, which is the origin of all vices” (#129). In Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (1987), John Paul warns that “True development cannot consist in the simple accumulation of wealth in the greater availability of goods and services, if this is gained at the expense of the development of the masses, and without due consideration for the social, cultural and spiritual dimensions of the human being” (#9).

In addition, Bethell seems unable to understand Catholic social teaching except as a manifestation of leftist political thought. He calls Paul VI’s Populorum Progressio “a socialist document through and through,” and says that during “the 20th century, the Catholic Left has basically controlled the substance of Catholic social teaching.” Apparently, Bethell is unable to comprehend any question unless he can classify it as either Left or Right. He would do well to try to understand Catholic social doctrine on its own terms without trying to fit it into his familiar ways of thinking.

Bethell thinks that he can identify the Church’s “true mission,” which is simply the “salvation of souls.” He is one of those whom Pius XII condemned when he said, “This task of the Church [i.e., the social apostolate] is indeed arduous, but they are simply unwitting deserters or dupes who, in deference to a misguided supernaturalism, would confine the Church to the ‘strictly religious’ field…” (Address to Members of Rinascita Cristiana, Jan. 22, 1947).

Interestingly, although Bethell rightly identifies capitalism as one of the causes of materialism and the loss of religious faith, he still wants to preserve it. Here again he errs, for he understands the only alternatives to capitalism to be “based on coercion, or the threat of it,” apparently meaning some form of socialist or totalitarian regime. He should be aware of the distributism of G.K. Chesterton or of the solidarism of Fr. Heinrich Pesch. The shallow journalistic either/or of capitalism or socialism hardly does justice to the richness of Catholic thinking on this matter and only indicates that the author has little familiarity with traditional Catholic economic thought.

Then Bethell ends by seemingly agreeing with the Popes he has just criticized by saying that economic poverty is not necessarily “ennobling nor…conducive to virtue.” But for him this is only the “poverty that collectivism creates.” Perhaps the poverty that capitalism often creates — that identified by Popes Leo and Pius, for example — Bethell does consider “ennobling” and “conducive to virtue.”

Actually, Bethell’s approach is the classic Protestant one, to contrast the supposed teaching of Jesus Christ with that of the Church, to the detriment of the latter. He writes, “Note the underlying oddity: Jesus warned us about the danger of riches. Papal encyclicals have warned us about the dangers of poverty.” Thus, the root of Bethell’s problem is, as with dissenters from Martin Luther to Hans Küng, an unwillingness to submit to authentic Catholic teaching and an insistence on making his own private judgment supreme.

Thomas Storck

Greenbelt, Maryland

Abortion & Republican Presidents

In your New Oxford Note “Now They Tell You!” (April), you come up with the notion that “as long as prolifers settle for rhetoric rather than results, nothing essential will change,” in regard to Presidents Reagan, Bush Sr., and Bush Jr., implying that these Presidents have not produced results for prolifers. However, President Reagan issued a book, on the 10th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, titled Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation. Before leaving office, he issued on January 14, 1988, the “Personhood Proclamation: National Sanctity of Human Life Day.” And on January 20, 2002, Bush Jr. issued a second National Sanctity of Human Life Day.

Edward L. Peffer

Cypress, California

Ed. Note:

You just proved our point. That book and those proclamations are no more than rhetoric.

The Machiavellian Critics of Fr. Maciel

I am saddened by your accusations against Fr. Maciel and his order, the Legionaries of Christ (May). You have adroitly set the scene for this explosion in a previous issue with your reference to the great wealth of the Legion. If that will not arouse the blood lust of some lawyer sharks, I don’t know what will.

What you published in May about this topic — one article by Cecilia H. Martin, one review of the Berry-Renner book Vows of Silence, and two letters to the editor plus a reply to one of them — leaves me with more questions than answers. The fact that three U.S. bishops have forbidden the Legion to operate within their dioceses is supposed to have tarnished the Legion’s sterling reputation. Really? Could it be that what these bishops actually are afraid of has to do with the Legion’s energy and discipline, which might reflect unfavorably on the manner in which the bishops are running the show? Several U.S. bishops have not played an honorable role in the priestly sex scandals of very recent memory.

The Legion is criticized for its mind-controlling tactics, resulting in the “cunning” recruitment of young seminary students who end up being “totally owned” by the Legion. This causes “heartbreaking woes” to their “devout” parents. I do not understand what is so bad about dedication of “body, mind, and soul” to the service of God as a Legionary. Isn’t that exactly what one expects from a priest? Didn’t John Paul describe himself as totus tuus — “all yours,” Mary’s and through her, belonging all to Christ? Why then are those supposedly “devout” parents so incapable of letting their children go? Isn’t that the hallmark of a normal, healthy relationship between parents and children? And how about “cunning” methods. If one were to characterize those methods as “intelligent” — which they surely are — the connotational value would change completely from one word to the other. What is “Machiavellian” here, the tactics of the order or the tactics of its critics?

And what is so terrible about the Legionaries’ ability to attract some wealthy sponsors? From the ado made over it by the critics one would think that this constitutes the eighth Deadly Sin.

The heaviest volleys are aimed at the Legion’s founder, Fr. Maciel. The Berry-Renner book about Fr. Maciel is reviewed at length by Michael S. Rose. There one learns from “those who knew him at the time” that Fr. Maciel was “a self-absorbed, spoiled, and sissified man, who was kicked out of seminary after seminary, and who literally made his teachers ‘recoil.'” Not in a hundred years can I believe that such a man founded an order based on military-like discipline.

When did Fr. Maciel find time to study for the priesthood when he was continuously on the run from one seminary to another? Why was he even accepted and ordained as a priest if so many found him to be so loathsome?

Aside from the luxurious lifestyle Fr. Maciel is said to cultivate, his “well-substantiated” sexual abuses arouse the strongest criticism, which is well deserved if indeed verifiable. It seems to me that all these cases boil down to what the accuser said versus what the accused says. A third person, a reliable witness of what actually went on, is most of the time not available. I certainly believe that priestly abuses have happened in the past, but I also cannot help suspecting that some of the accusers are standing on shaky ground and are in it for monetary gains. The nine (minus one who has since died) men who have accused Fr. Maciel of wrongdoing are supposedly not doing so for the sake of any monetary compensation. That may be so. I’ll believe it when I see it, in case a cunning lawyer can wring a hefty sum out of the Legion.

There exists, however, a third person who caught Fr. Maciel in flagrante, so to say. One Federico Dominguez, a former secretary of Fr. Maciel and now an ex-Legionary, attested that he went one evening “to Fr. Maciel’s bedroom and found him there already in bed — in the dark with an adolescent boy, Juan Vaca.” What was so important that Dominguez absolutely had to see Fr. Maciel? Why did he not wait until the next day to talk to Fr. Maciel at a reasonable time, while it was not yet dark, and in an appropriate place — i.e., the padre’s office and not his bedroom? Was he never taught that good manners forbid one from simply popping into another person’s private realm, especially when it is already time to go to sleep? And why was the bedroom door not locked? Any dyed-in-the-wool pederast would have taken good care to do so in order not to be unpleasantly surprised and exposed.

Much is made of Fr. Maciel’s non-appearance at some major gatherings in the U.S. at which he was expected. From my point of view, it looks like a commonsensical decision, since there was already a witch hunt on. Why should he have exposed himself to that? Equally commonsensical appears to me the “unexpected refusal to talk” by Fr. Bannon, the Legion’s National Director, when Gerald Renner, a certified liberal Catholic, wanted to interview him. Fr. Bannon must have received information about Renner’s real agenda and realized that whatever he might say, Renner would adroitly twist around so as to make the Legion show up in a negative light. For this has become the preferred Machiavellian tendency of the Legion’s critics: not so much to fabricate stories, but to depict facts with a choice of words — or even a choice of cartoons (May NOR, p. 42) — that are heavily loaded down by negative connotations.

A few observations seem to be in order about another article in your May issue. The author is Theresa Marie Moreau, who describes in detail the perverted actions of Paul Shanley and their devastating effects on one of his victims. Shanley is a defrocked priest who is already serving his well-earned sentence in prison. Placed immediately after the criticism of the Legion and its founder by Martin, the Moreau article seems to have a specific purpose: Look here, readers, in case you are still inclined to be lenient toward the aberrations of priests (such as Fr. Macieb| get stirred up and angry! Clever, clever, clever!

I am an old lady, out of touch with the computer world. All my statements and questions are home-grown. I have not yet read a single pronouncement of the pros and cons — outside of what you have offered. I will continue to contribute to the Legion. Will I cancel my subscription to the NOR? Of course not. You need someone who throws a few obstacles your way so that you will not trample the good underfoot together with the (supposedly) bad. Keep stirring my pot, and I’ll stir yours!

Lisa Taylor

Mesa, Arizona


You make an interesting “home-grown” argument on behalf of Fr. Maciel.

Regarding the “blood lust of some lawyer sharks”: The investigation of Maciel is by the Church, so no lawyer sharks will be “wringing a hefty sum out of the Legion.” The accusers are not seeking monetary gain — believe it or not.

It is one thing for a priest to be “totally owned” by Christ and His Church. To be “totally owned” by a religious order is something else. That’s why the Legion has been accused of being a cult.

You ask: “What is so terrible about the Legionaries’ ability to attract some wealthy sponsors? From the ado made over it by the critics one would think that this constitutes the eighth Deadly Sin.” We don’t need an “eighth Deadly Sin,” for Avarice is the second of the Seven Deadly Sins. Moreover, those belonging to orders in the Church take a vow of poverty. It arouses suspicion when an order targets rich people. In Mexico, the Legionaries of Christ are often called the Millionaires of Christ.

You ask: “Why was he [Maciel] even accepted and ordained as a priest if so many found him to be loathsome?” Because of good connections. Maciel was sponsored by a family relation, Bishop González, who assigned Maciel private professors. Bishop González ordained Maciel at age 24. Bishop González also appointed Maciel as “Permanent Director” of the Legion.

You ask why Federico Dominguez went into Maciel’s bedroom. Dominguez was Maciel’s secretary, who took dictation; according to Vows of Silence by Berry and Renner: “One night Maciel excused himself from dictation, saying that he had to read the breviary, the text priests were expected to read an hour each day. Dominguez needed clarification of a figure in a letter; he went to Maciel’s room.” That’s when Dominguez found Maciel in the dark with the adolescent boy, Juan Vaca. Dominguez said: “I got the figure and got out of there.” Dominguez thought Maciel was reading the breviary; little did he know Maciel was otherwise preoccupied. Moreover, we don’t know if Maciel had an office and a bedroom, or just a bedroom where the dictation was taken.

It is interesting that you would shift the focus away from Maciel and onto Dominguez, taking Dominguez to task for his lack of “good manners” in intruding on Maciel. It appears that you blame Dominguez for having invaded Maciel’s privacy. Talk about killing the messenger!

You do raise a good question: “Why was the bedroom door not locked?” Maybe Maciel forgot to lock the door. Or maybe the door didn’t have a lock (this was in Comillas, a small town in Spain in 1949). Or maybe, as with Paul Shanley, he knew he could always say, “If you tell, no one will believe you.”

We can understand why Fr. Bannon wouldn’t want to talk to Gerald Renner about the seminary in Connecticut. But, given that that seminary has had a secretive aura, we can also understand why Renner’s interest was piqued. If Bannon had talked to Renner, maybe the Legion wouldn’t have come under such close scrutiny.

You credit us with being so clever. But you give us way too much credit. Had we wanted to get our readers stirred up and angry with Maciel, we would have put the article on Shanley right before the article on the Legion, not after it.

You say: “I am an old lady…. All my statements and questions are home-grown. I have not yet read a single pronouncement of the pros and the cons, outside of what you have offered.” We find this hard to believe, for earlier you say: “Fr. Bannon must have received information about Renner’s real agenda and realized that whatever he might say, Renner would adroitly twist around so as to make the Legion show up in a negative light. For this has become the preferred Machiavellian tendency of the Legion’s critics….” If you have not read anything against the Legion or Maciel, how would you know that “this has become the preferred Machiavellian tendency of the Legion’s critics…”? But the clincher is this. You say: “Not in a hundred years can I believe that such a man [Maciel] founded an order based on military-like discipline.” You say you have not read any of the pros and cons outside of what the NOR has offered. But nowhere in our May issue — or in any issue — did we say that Maciel “founded an order based on military-like discipline.”

Something is fishy here. This does not appear to be a home-grown letter. The Legion is known far and wide for its deceptive methods. We do wonder if someone in the Legion (or Regnum Christi) put you up to writing this letter. Machiavellian indeed!

(For more on the Legion, see our New Oxford Note “A Machiavellian Misfire?” in this issue.)

Family & Vocation Go Together

The article on the Legion of Christ by Cecilia H. Martin (May) was great! I have always disliked the Legion’s method of recruiting priests, the presumption being that would-be priests must be snatched at young ages and separated from normative family life lest they lose their sense of vocation. God can certainly call good men to the priesthood in natural, normal ways — not by coercion or heavy-handed tactics.

Mitchell Kalpakgian

Warner, New Hampshire

Fr. Thomas Doyle

Thank you for your box item on Fr. Thomas Doyle (May, p. 20). Fr. Doyle was our parish priest at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma from 1997 to 2000. He encouraged my husband through the RCIA process and eventually gave him Communion and Confirmation. Fr. Doyle’s faith-amid-many-trials was instrumental, if not crucial, to my husband’s conversion to Catholicism.

What happened to Fr. Doyle back in 1985, with his report about the growing homosexual culture in the priesthood, is not over. As recently as 2003 Fr. Doyle was removed from his position as Catholic Chaplain of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, but allowed to assume new duties at the base as a drug counselor. The courageous Fr. Doyle is still being punished for his outspoken challenges to the American Catholic hierarchy concerning the homosexual culture in the priesthood.

And thank you for daring to write pieces on the Legion of Christ, which make me weep with shame for our Church, but also pick up my Rosary and go down on my knees.

Cathleen A. Lees

Midwest City, Oklahoma

No Class

Although I currently work in Philadelphia, I am a priest of the Archdiocese of New York for 20-plus years. I grew up in the Bronx during the 1950s through the 1970s. I mention this as a prelude to assure you I am not a prude.

But, in the article by Theresa Marie Moreau on ex-priest Paul Shanley’s sexual sins (May), was it necessary for her to be so explicit in the sordid exploits, with the millstones attached?

I expect such prurient details from the New York Post, the Daily News, or the Enquirer. I feel you have cheapened yourselves to allow this.

I can hear the cries of “literary freedom,” already.

I say it’s a matter of class. Either you have it or you don’t.

Fr. Michael A. Lipareli

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


The NOR has never claimed to have “class.” Yes, we know the expression, “So-and-so has real class.” We assiduously avoid that phrase because it’s a slur on the working class and the poor.

I was born in Compton, but I probably am a prude.

The NOR would never appeal to “literary freedom.” In the Editor’s Note preceding the Moreau article, we said: “This article contains graphic descriptions of sexual depravity and will probably cause you to lose your appetite. You are hereby forewarned: If you don’t like to read such accounts, DO NOT READ THIS ARTICLE.” So why, oh why, did you read it?

Was the article “prurient”? We can’t imagine that it would excite lust in any of our readers. Actually, it was a sickening article. In the Editor’s Note we also said: “We are printing it because priestly pederasty — which certain people, especially bishops, like to gloss over — must be known for the horror it is.” One lady phoned and said she cried when she realized what Shanley’s victim went through. One man from Oregon wrote saying that he appreciated the story on Shanley because in The Oregonian newspaper there’s a news blackout on the specific deeds of homosexuals and pederasts, and the true human impact upon victims is missing. Yes, we know, some Catholics don’t want to know what pederast priests do to little boys. Not to know is not to empathize, not to be outraged.

Clothing & the New World Order

The recent spate of letters on women wearing pants (Jan., April) all missed the real issue. Clothing represents one of the most fundamental differences in nature — that between men and women. While fashions change, clothing, hairstyles, jewelry, and other accoutrements have always been more varied among women than men. Part of the reason is the physical shape of the woman, which allows for a broader range of ornamentation. (Unbeknownst to most feminists, a woman’s greatest freedom has always been her freedom of form, whereas for men it is his freedom of function.) But, more importantly, the female form represents life itself. It is where life begins and where it is first nurtured. This is why young females are so desirable and noticeable — they exude the life force.

In the past, society understood the significance of this force — female beauty was essentially a spiritual phenomenon because it was a part of Creation. Naturally, a woman dressed to celebrate the totality of her feminine form, rather than simply displaying her body and its various parts. Thus, the problem today is not that women wear pants, rather that most female clothing (or lack thereof) celebrates her physical essence (her body) at the expense of her spiritual essence (her form). The bodies of young women become sex objects, and women’s dignity is diminished.

These shifts in style are part of a broader secular revolution that seeks to replace a spiritual worldview with a materialist one. In the name of radical equality it must also dissolve differences between men and women, age groups, and social hierarchies. The destructive impact of secularism is evident in many ways, but the changes in dress — toward informality, androgyny, and egalitarianism — are the prime indicator of how profoundly it now affects the average person. Few Christians really understand the depth of this social transformation, as most are unwitting participants in it.

In revolutionary America today, the only individuals who seem to understand the significance of dress are homosexual men. Welcome to the New World Order.

Tobias J. Lanz

University of South Carolina

Columbia, South Carolina

I want to comment on Caroline Eccleston’s letter regarding women who wear pants (April). The “crotch and buttocks” comment from Donald Wilcox (letter, Jan.) seems quite brash, and in my pants-wearing days I would have taken offense, but I don’t anymore. I don’t feel Wilcox meant that in a lustful way. I think he meant it in disgust.

I am a 44-year-old mother of five children and I always wore pants because that is what the secular world does.

One of the astounding messages we received from Blessed Jacinta, before she died, was that the Blessed Mother told her, “A time would come when God would be greatly offended at the style of clothing and that men and women would be unrecognizable.” To be unrecognizable, our Blessed Mother must mean dressing alike, women in clothing designed for the male gender — and we could add hairstyles as well.

Had I not listened to God my Father and obeyed His request to forgo pants and wear modest dresses and skirts, I would never have believed the effect it had on the soul. Suddenly, my eyes were opened.

Almost the entire American culture will defend women wearing pants — that is what the world does — but we are Christians, called to be in the world, not of the world.

I have to give a little smile when thinking of daily duties. I wear a jean skirt around the house when I clean, do laundry, scrub floors, paint, garden, and mow the lawn. Women have been doing these things in dresses for more than 6,000 years!

Our winters here in Wisconsin get well below zero. I am very warm in the winter. Slide a pair of leggings on under your skirt and you’ll know what I mean. I testify that a cotton dress in the summer is way cooler than shorts and a T-shirt. If you keep to modest length, there is never a need for nylons.

Joanne Guilette

Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin

As for all the letters about women wearing pants, this is what God says: “A woman shall not be clothed with man’s apparel, neither shall a man use woman’s apparel: for he that doth these things is abominable before God” (Deut. 22:5).

Istvan Varkonyi

New York, New York

Academic Gold

Maria Briggs’s fine article on Kolbe Academy in Napa, Calif. (May), gives solid hope to parents who have long sought a traditional Catholic education and sensible training for their children in northern California.

Gold was discovered not far from Napa, and now a new vein of academic gold is being mined for children fortunate enough to attend this outstanding school. Excellent homeschooling correspondence courses extend Kolbe’s reach across the country and around the world.

Some years ago, I was arrested along with Fran Crotty, a founder of Kolbe Academy, and a few others, for praying in front of an abortion mill near San Francisco (he shared his small supply of trail mix with me during our half day behind bars). From that moment on, I knew Kolbe was in good hands. Its phone number is 707-255-6499. Its website is kolbe.org.

Arthur J. Brew

Mountain View, California

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