Volume > Issue > Letter to the Editor: March 2008

March 2008

Mary, Undermined

Deacon John Bradley, who defends Scott Hahn’s proposition that the Holy Spirit is feminine (letter, Jan.), sounds like a Protestant! He argues that girls and women would “have a role model in the Holy Spirit: good, kind, hidden, and behind the scenes, merciful, the Giver of life — the heart of the family.” The true Catholic must respond that girls and women already have a role model. Her name is Mary. She is good, kind, hidden, behind the scenes, merciful, the Mother of life — the heart of the family.

The Church teaches that Mary is the spouse of the Holy Spirit. How can the Holy Spirit be female if He is the spouse of Mary? This sounds blasphemously close to modern ideas of “marriage” and “family.” Mary is also the Mother of God. Does God have two mothers? Again, this sounds dangerously like the “modern family.”

We know that God could have effected the Incarnation without Mary. But He chose, in His infinite wisdom, to use Mary as the perfect vessel to deliver the Redeemer to the waiting world. How dare a Catholic deacon or an influential lay theologian try to usurp the rightful place of Mary. In an age when offenses against the Immaculate Heart of Mary abound, we should support and promote devotion to Mary, not undermine her.

By defending the authentic view of the Trinity and its relationship to Mary, we are also upholding the authentic view of the family.

Michelle Fierro

Salud Corporation

Vermontville, Michigan

Another Battle Lost

Serious study of the actions surrounding San Francisco Archbishop George Niederauer at the October 7, 2007, Mass at Most Holy Redeemer Church (New Oxford Note, “Archbishop Niederauer’s Eucharistic Moment,” Dec. 2007) can only result in one conclusion: In his arrogance, Archbishop Niederauer figures he can fool those he wants to, and the heck with the rest of us. The truth is, the Archbishop and many other bishops and priests in this country are promoters of the sodomite agenda.

Earlier in 2007, Most Holy Redeemer Church was in the news because the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence were holding “gay” bingo nights in the parish hall. When this information became too hot, the bingo was canceled. On February 20, 2007, I wrote Archbishop Niederauer the following letter:

Your Excellency,

I acknowledge that you have a very difficult position there in San Francisco — Sodom by the Sea — and that you are probably surrounded by individuals who will not follow the teachings of the Church. Empirically, however, it would seem to be impossible for you to continue to allow the sodomite influence at Most Holy Redeemer Church as if you were not aware of it.

While the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence may no longer be allowed to have “bingo” nights there in Ellard Hall, the “gay” California Men’s Gathering will be having an Academy Awards Night there this coming Sunday.

Is there nothing you will do to stop these sacrileges at Most Holy Redeemer?

The Archbishop’s response to this letter? None.

Catholics must wake up and realize that we are in a war for our Church, and the sodomites are winning the battles — so far.

Laurette Elsberry

Leeds University

Sacramento, California

Communion for the KKK

Regarding the incident at Most Holy Redeemer Church in San Francisco, in which Archbishop Niederauer gave Holy Communion to two homosexual activists dressed in drag nun’s costumes: Would the good Archbishop have given Holy Communion to two men dressed in Ku Klux Klan regalia — or would he have called the police?

Joseph de St. Germain d'Aquin

V-24868, Cell 8360

Metairie, Louisiana

Theft & Osmosis

In all this discussion of Mexican immigration — legal or otherwise — into the American Southwest (“Is Immigration Prolife?” by Fr. Kenneth G. Davis, June 2007; and various letters, most recently, “Personal Compassion, Not Public Policy” from Michael Audet, Jan. 2008), no one seems to mention that the U.S. stole that area from Mexico as a result of the war of 1846-1848. Oh, I know, Texas was a special and more complicated case, and we paid the Mexicans $15,000,000 in conscience money. But the end result was the same. As the Mexicans are apt to say, “You drew the line through us.”

But, one might reply, the Spaniards originally stole the land from the Indians. Fine, but the fact that the two groups proceeded to intermarry at a rate that produced the most homogenized nation in the Western Hemisphere seems to deflate that argument.

Besides, as it stands now, both sides benefit: the Mexicans are providing much needed labor (I know of no monstrous Mexican-American unemployment problem) and in return are sending remittance money back to help their native land (while, of course, easing its unemployment problem).

In short, I cannot get excited (except in a positive way) about Mexicans’ getting back through osmosis what they lost through conquest.

Wallace Spaulding

Col. (Ret.), U.S. Army

Arlington, Virginia

Spiritual Food

When each new issue of the NOR arrives in my mailbox, I always promise myself that I’ll read it “in spurts.” But I always end up voraciously reading the entire thing in half an hour! It’s that good. Your magazine provides excellent references to counter the anti-Latin Mass priest at my parish, and to defend my Catholic faith against other “Catholics,” Protestants, Muslims, Jews, agnostics, atheists, etc.

I subsist on Social Security Disability — it’s rough living on a fixed income with three chronic diseases. But I figure that I can give up two Wendy’s value meals and give that sum to you. So enclosed please find my $10 donation.

If you are forced to increase subscription rates, I will sacrifice by eating less Wendy’s value meals! I hope the NOR lasts until the end times.

Larry B. Holmes

Col. (Ret.), USAF

Chicago, Illinois

Kidnapped for the Cause

This past summer, one of my well-heeled sons flew me to Siljan­snas, Sweden, for his wedding. I was so taken by the church and customs that I returned the next day for Sunday service. The reverence of the priest and people, the muted pipe organ alternating with a transcendent choir, the people waiting with patience and respect for their turn at the altar rail — all this and more at a Lutheran service!

From that moment I resolved to travel the 150 miles from my home to Phoenix each month for the Tridentine Latin Mass. The experience has been priceless. It gets me to Reconciliation at least once a month, and I get to “kidnap” others who express interest in the journey.

I would like to suggest that a fund of sorts be set aside to provide for subscribers who cannot afford a potential increase in the annual NOR subscription rate, one that would make up the difference. I would gladly pay double the annual rate — and I am sure there are many others who would do the same — to aid such a fund. Those subscribers on fixed incomes and the like might then be covered without risking the loss of their subscriptions.

May God continue to guide your magazine, and know that you remain in our prayers.

David Brooks, M.D.

Col. (Ret.), USMC

Blythe, California

Ed. Note: We do have a fund that operates on a similar principle. Our Scholarship Fund pays for subscriptions for those who cannot afford one on their own, primarily prisoners and retired religious. We may, however, expand it as you suggest. For more information on our Scholarship Fund, see the notice on page 35 of this issue.

A New Lingua Franca

Regarding Mark Cole’s article “Where Has All the Latin Gone?” (Nov. 2007), I agree completely with the underlying premise that the Church needs a universal language to convey her profound doctrines without error. I also agree that the lack of a universal language (with the decline of the de facto Latin standard) has allowed egregious abuse in the liturgy.

At the risk of earning heaps of righteous ire, however, I must ask: Why Latin? Granted, there is tradition, but instead of trying to “revive” a “dead” language (as some have called it), why not simply select another “live” tongue to be the new official lingua franca of the universal Church? My humble suggestion for the new universal Church language is English, for the same reasons Latin was originally selected — Roman political preponderance may now arguably apply to the U.S., or at least to English-speaking democracies as a whole.

This is not meant in any way to take away from or diminish the profound sense of reverence that accompanies the Tridentine Latin Mass. But I suspect that the source of that reverence is not in the Latin language itself.

Craig Rideout

Rochester, New York


I am a Jewish convert to Catholicism. I agree with your New Oxford Note “Do Not Make Me a Gentile” (Dec. 2007) that prayers for conversion in the Tridentine Good Friday liturgy are not condemnable per se, whatever religious traditions are involved. And there are issues to be raised about the traditional Jewish prayer thanking God for not having created one a gentile (although remember that this was composed when “gentile” properly referred to polytheistic idol-worshipers, who had not been shaped by Jewish-inspired monotheism).

My objection is that the Tridentine Good Friday prayer for conversion of the Jews is offensively phrased. Not only does it single the Jews out for special mention, it says that the mercy of God extends “even” to them — as if, despite being peculiarly sinful, they still have a chance of being redeemed. This shows disrespect — disrespect all the more condemnable since it does not register that so much of the content of Christian tradition is derived directly from Jewish sources.

The Novus Ordo Good Friday prayer that, by contrast, invites the Jewish people to partake in the fulfillment of Jewish hopes, is far better judged, since it does not invert the relation of indebtedness outlined above, and what’s more, it has a far better chance of not alienating a Jewish audience. If Jewish converts to Catholicism are desirable, then the Tridentine Good Friday prayer is not.

Prof. Tom Angier

West Yorkshire, England

Ed. Note: As this issue goes to print, Pope Benedict XVI is weighing whether to modify — or eliminate entirely — the prayer for the conversion of the Jews in the Good Friday liturgy in the 1962 Tridentine Missal.

Irrational Attack

What could have induced the NOR to launch a sustained, irrational attack on that most solidly Catholic publication, the venerable Wanderer? As a professional journalist, I can find no acceptable answer, only obvious ones, as endemically juvenile as the chutzpah of the new kid on the block flexing his puny muscles at the leader of the neighborhood pack. The appeal of this sort of Darwinian challenge to determine the fittest may transpose well from the playground to the boxing ring, but not to the halls of responsible, adult journalism. Above all, it is deadly for Catholic fraternity.

After paying for a subscription to The Wanderer, it is justifiable to pay for the NOR, if only to have access to Anne Barbeau Gardiner’s book reviews. It will cease to be justifiable when the orthodoxy of the NOR develops into full-blown Donatism. This penchant for denigrating orthodox publications — The Latin Mass as too “professional” and The Wanderer as the work of “amateurs” (Tom Bethell, Last Things, Dec. 2007) — points ominously in that direction. Then, if not before, I shall let my NOR subscription lapse and stick with the “amateurish” 140-year-old standard-bearer of Catholic journalism, The Wanderer.

Michael D. Hull

Enfield, Connecticut


Here’s your history lesson. In its August 24, 2006, issue, The Wanderer published an attack piece by George A. Kendall titled “Is New Oxford Review Becoming a Protestant Publication?” in which Kendall labeled us “a Protestant, fundamentalist periodical, with a strong Calvinist cast.” Kendall was upset with our reply to his letters (NOR, April and June 2006), in which we explained that, yes, God hates unrepentant sinners. Kendall also took exception to our criticism of some of Pope Benedict XVI’s appointments (e.g., Cardinal Levada and Archbishop Niederauer) and his signing of dubious documents (e.g., “Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations With Regard to Persons With Homosexual Tendencies”). We saw fit to defend ourselves against Kendall’s hit piece in a New Oxford Note in our October 2006 issue titled “You Can Criticize Bad Bishops, But Don’t You Dare Criticize the Pope Who Appointed Those Bad Bishops.”

But by then The Wanderer had banned our ads — something we have not done to them. Yet you claim we were the ones who launched a “sustained, irrational attack.”

But The Wanderer wasn’t done yet. They published another hit piece by Kendall in their December 7, 2006, issue titled “More on New Oxford Review,” in which Kendall said the NOR and its Editor are “evil” and “demonic.” He also accused us of “a hint of Pelagianism” — something quite contrary to Calvinism. (And now you accuse us of approaching Donatism. We’ve been called just about every name in the book.) We again felt it necessary to defend ourselves, which we did in a New Oxford Note in our February 2007 issue titled “Embarrassing & Contradictory.” Now you decide who’s doing the attacking.

As for The Wanderer being “amateurish,” Tom Bethell (Last Things, Dec. 2007) says quite plainly, “Please note that when I say ‘amateur’ I don’t necessarily imply ‘bad’….” He says of Wanderer contributors: “They love their subject — which is the Catholic Church.” In Catholic journalism, there aren’t many better compliments one can receive. We simply don’t see how this could be considered part of a “sustained, irrational attack.” We would think that, as a professional journalist, you would have read Bethell’s column a little more closely.

Book Hunt

Dear fellow readers of the NOR:

I am searching for a copy of the 1972 edition of The Book of Christian Prayer in soft cover. It is an abbreviated form of the Divine Office. Might anybody out there be able to instruct me on how to obtain a copy? (Needless to say, as a prisoner I do not have access to the Internet.) My thanks in Christ.

Patrick Seaton

San Luis Obispo, CA 93409-8101

The Whole Mystery of the Incarnation

Mrs. Doris Martyr (letter, Jan.) says that the Church’s “New Order liturgies…wrongly give Christmas as the beginning of our Lord’s life.” The life of the Church in liturgy is in accord with the meaning of the word “Catholic”: Kata (“according to”) and holon (“whole”). Therefore, any feast of the Church year should be regarded in relationship to the entire year.

Thus, March 25, Feast of the Annunciation, and December 25, Feast of the Nativity, belong together as God’s creative biology. What Mrs. Martyr overlooks in her analysis is that Christmas as liturgy accents what Christmas Preface I — Christ the Light emphasized: “In him we see our God made visible.” When such emphasis on Christmas is honored, then all her quotations fall into a liturgical perspective in accord with God’s creative biology, whereby December 25 and March 25 are the whole of the mystery of the Incarnation.

Fr. Robert Buholzer

Stoughton, Wisconsin

Alternatives to Pants

Many women (including myself, 15 years ago) who are not convinced by mere decree, parental imposition, or arguments of custom that pants are an immodest clothing choice for women would likely be persuaded by Gerrie Goguen’s succinctly expressed reasoning (“Church, Women & Pants,” Jan.). At last, a real argument!

Yet a question arises: If pants on women in a holy place like church is tempting to men, isn’t it even more so in profane places — that is, anywhere else in public? If it is incumbent upon women not to tempt men in holy places, it is even more so where there are no holy distractions. I do not think women should wear pants even in their own homes, where they are supposed to be setting an example of modesty to their sons and daughters (and where the UPS man may show up unexpectedly!).

I won’t say that it is easy to live up to, but I can’t think of any situation — hiking, horseback-riding, bicycling, tennis — when a woman absolutely has to wear pants or shorts, especially at the risk of leading a man to improper thoughts or urges. There are always alternatives: skorts, culottes, jumpers over leggings, and saris over pajama pants are modern and modest. You can even wear skirted swimsuits when going swimming.

Some women may protest that they cannot afford to change their whole wardrobe, and often use their poor, struggling husband’s meager paycheck as an excuse for wearing pants. First of all, their husbands would very likely support the choice for modesty, even if it means cutting back on other things. It doesn’t cost a penny to stop wearing pants. Second, a woman does not need more than a few items. Third, there are many secondhand stores, even in the most remote areas, where a wardrobe can be replenished or even replaced for very little money. Fourth, sewing is a great skill and is very creative. Finally, a real woman would love an excuse to revamp her closet!

In any case, compared to the price on someone’s soul, even Neiman-Marcus may be a bargain.

Mrs. Jeffrey Bond

Greeley, Pennsylvania

Speak for Yourself

Gerrie Gougen may speak for her husband and his personal obsessions (“Church, Women & Pants,” Jan.), but she doesn’t speak for me. Nor, I imagine, does she speak for many other men. She seems to believe that all men, by virtue of being men, suffer from a “disorder” that programs us by our “fallen nature” to stare at a woman’s backside and divide the woman up into consumable body parts. Yes, we have a fallen nature, but that does not necessarily mean that men are bound hopelessly to overpowering sexual obsessions with female body parts. Let me be frank: I have not ever found myself staring at women’s buttocks at Mass, no matter what a woman may or may not be wearing, or how tight it is. Nor do I think of women’s clothing as “presenting” body parts for my inspection. These are insupportable generalizations that Gougen makes, and they do not help her argument. Rather, they weaken her credibility.

Dressing modestly and presenting oneself in a respectable manner, especially at Mass, is certainly an important and noble message — one that has been effectively made in the NOR many times in the past — but Goguen’s article is riddled with fallacies and false assumptions based on her own ostensibly limited perception of the world and misunderstanding of male sexuality. And I don’t care how many children she has, how many years she’s been married, what her husband’s name is, or whether or not she homeschools — none of that lends any credibility to her authorship. Her article is condescending in its tone, self-righteous in its style, lacking in logic, and Calvinist in its argument.

Michael S. Rose

Cincinnati, Ohio


In reference to the letter from Louis J. Mihalyi (Jan.), who said he would cancel his subscription to the NOR because he protested the article by Fr. James Anderson on Fatima (Jul.-Aug. 2007): Mihalyi said he would renew his subscription when he saw the sun descending from the sky and dancing as witnessed by some 70,000 “simpletons” in Portugal in 1917. Wow! Seventy thousand against one. I guess we are fortunate to have among us an enlightened being like Mihalyi. I wonder what his views are on the Holocaust, or Rwanda, or indeed, the shape of the planet. Since he canceled his subscription, I’ll renew mine.

Robert M. Olesnevich

Somerville, New Jersey

Various Nations Will Be Annihilated

In my letter on the Third Secret of Fatima (Oct. 2007), I stated that that Secret foretells apostasy in our Church, as well as a great chastisement upon all mankind from God Himself, consisting of wars, persecution of the Church, and the annihilation of billions of people around the globe. In his response (letter, Dec. 2007), Philip Lehpamer takes issue with my letter, essentially asking the not-unreasonable question: How can I know the events contained in the Third Secret of Fatima, much less their timing, when it is my position that that Secret has yet to be released? Permit me to respond.

Sister Lucia committed the Third Secret to writing in January 1944. Although specifically requested by the Mother of God to make it known to the world by 1960, the Church has still not done so. But, in the intervening years, a few within the Church have been privileged to read it. And although committed to secrecy, some have made public statements that clearly suggest its contents:

–  “In the Third Secret it is foretold…that the Great Apostasy in the Church will begin at the top” — Mario Luigi Cardinal Ciappi (papal theologian to five popes)

–  “Things contained in the Third Secret correspond to what has been announced in Scripture” — Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

–  The Third Secret concerns “the importance of the last things at the end of the world” — Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

–  “The Message of Fatima is a call to conversion, alerting humanity to have nothing to do with the ‘dragon’ whose ‘tail swept down a third of the stars of Heaven [i.e., priests, bishops, and cardinals fallen into the service of Satan] and dragged them to the earth'” (Apoc. 12) — Pope John Paul II

–  “It is enough for you to know that entire regions of the earth will be inundated, with water overflowing large regions of the earth, and millions will die from one moment to the next” — Pope John Paul II

–  The Third Secret “is in the Gospels and the Apocalypse, read them” — Sr. Lucia

–  “The Third Secret is contained in Apocalypse 8-12” — Sr. Lucia

–  “There is something terribly horrifying in the Third Secret, and yes, there will be a world war and a great disaster in which many people will die” — Fr. Malachi Martin

–  “I shall come to ask the Consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated” — Our Lady of Fatima

No open-minded person can read these statements, much less Apocalypse 8-12, without knowing that the Third Secret foretells apostasy in the Church, and chastisement from God, including wars, persecutions of the Church, and the annihilation of billions of people around the globe.

But even more compelling than these statements is a 1998 Inside the Vatican interview with Howard Dee, former Philippine ambassador to the Vatican (reported in Catholic World News, Oct. 11, 2001). In that interview, Dee said that Cardinal Ratzinger confirmed to him that the messages of Fatima and Akita are essentially the same. Akita is, of course, another Marian apparition approved by the Church. In it, Our Lady of Akita said to Sr. Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa (Oct. 13, 1973), “Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful. The survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead.”

With regard to timing, I will grant that here we enter a more speculative area. There are several things that point to the imminence of these events, but in the interest of brevity, I will cite only two. First, in referring to the timing of these events, the above-quoted Fr. Malachi Martin stated in 1997 that “everything will be finished in less than twenty years.” You will note that 20 years from 1997 is less than ten years from today. Second, the words of Sr. Lucia herself to Fr. Augustine Fuentes: “But believe me Father, God will chastise the world and this will be in a terrible manner. The punishment from Heaven is imminent.”

Like Lehpamer, I do not pray the Rosary out of fear of a great chastisement. But that does not prevent me from being greatly concerned that a message from Heaven intended to aid us in our salvation is, in direct disobedience to the Mother of God, being concealed from us by our own Church. I fear that, when the chastisement comes, it will be much worse as a result of this disobedience.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

Willard King

Escondido, California

Expect No More Warnings

I have wondered for years why our current pope and his predecessor have failed to clean up our Church. We are overrun with liberal priests, bishops, and cardinals who do not follow and do not allow others to follow our treasury of doctrine and dogma. These wayward clerics do not even follow our General Instruction of the Roman Missal, and instead do their own thing. One priest at Boston College’s St. Ignatius Church starts the Mass with the homily and changes the Eucharist rite.

I believe that the holiest popes are spoken to by our triune God, the saints, and the angels. I also believe that God has given us more than sufficient warnings. He has given us many, many apparitions of our Blessed Mother — all to no avail. I believe He may be through with warnings and is now giving us what was predicted by our Blessed Mother in all of her apparitions and warnings of the past century. As she has predicted, there will be weather events that have not been seen before and wars throughout the world — and I don’t believe that our Father will lift a finger to stop it.

Edward I. Carbone

Exeter, New Hampshire

The Copenhagen Syndrome

Jeanne Kirkpatrick, the late, great U.S. ambassador to the UN, is remembered for, among other things, coining the now-famous phrase, “blame America first.” This tendency frequently turns up in the NOR’s implacable spin of the war on terrorism, a.k.a. Islamofascism. The terrorists don’t hate us for what we are, you say, but for what we do, chiefly our support of Israel. The NOR has simply come down on the wrong side of the debate.

Cite Pat Buchanan all you like — he is, in my view, just wrong in his brief for isolationism, although he’s spot-on about almost everything else. Any number of respected experts, David Gelertner among them, disagree with the NOR on terrorism. They hold that even if Israel didn’t exist, the U.S. would still be a prime target of the Islamic radicals. This is because of Islam’s time-warp perspective of history. Still furious, centuries later, over Islam’s humiliating defeat by the Crusaders in attempting world conquest, today’s wahabbi radicals and those of like mind are trying for another bite of the apple. All the talk about Israel and our sins against family values is simply a red herring. The terrorists also attack other Muslims and non-Westerners on a regular basis, having nothing to do with Israel, our sins, or our presence in the Middle East.

The NOR, hopefully, is not in the same camp with strident anti-war groups, all of which display the same flaw. It’s called the Copen­hagen Syndrome: Whenever a Western individual, newspaper, or group goes public with anything offensive to Muslims, the radical Islamists get tough. People, places, and things throughout the Western world are killed or bombed in retaliation. To the extent that this intimidates civilized people into refraining from further “offenses,” the terrorists’ aim has been achieved. The response of our pampered elites — our entertainers, media, and universities — is a pretense of appearing bravely high-minded while seeking a more tractable bull’s eye, one that won’t hit back. And who emerges as Choice No. 1? That’s right — good old Uncle Sucker, Ferdinand the Bull of world affairs, known as America. Attempting to appear courageous by slandering the world’s top superpower (while giving Muslim fanatics a free pass), these revered “thinkers” are actually showing their true colors of sophistry and cowardice. Whenever these two factors — blaming America for every crisis while ignoring the real villains — are consistently displayed, serious questions arise about motive and integrity.

Your editorial opinions are all well and good. But the NOR should shun like the plague any appearance of affiliation with the craven Blame-America-Firsters. I think Jeanne Kirkpatrick would agree.

O.M. Ostlund

Altoona, Pennsylvania

President Bush Is Not Stupid

I enjoy reading the NOR and look forward to every issue. However, I am grieved at what I consider to be your animus against President Bush. It is certainly legitimate to express disagreement with the war in Iraq. But once you have made your position known to your loyal readers, refrain from giving the impression that this is a private vendetta. Your prose drips with rancor.

Let the bitterness be the mark of the Democratic Party. They have wielded it against President Bush with such ferocity that it has become an obsession. From the first they have indulged in the most base defamation of his character. They have endeavored to make the name Bush synonymous with “stupid.”

And yet this “stupid” man has frustrated them at every turn. Even when their Party gained ascendancy in Congress, they did not succeed in blocking his goals. President Bush is a good Christian who does not return their slander with slander. He ignores their vituperation. In fact, it seems to be his moral stance that infuriates his enemies, like the devil exposed to Holy Water.

When the Vatican declared the Iraq war “unjust,” it asserted that its insights into the political intrigue of the country is more profound and more thorough than that of any other country, including the vast intelligence network of the U.S. In so doing, the Church has exceeded her competency. However, the Vatican’s position is not surprising since it invariably echoes the liberalism of its European confrères.

The world in general believed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Clinton reached the same conclusion, as did the UN. President Bush acted on the moral principal of “pre-emption.” If history proves him right, then you are wrong. If peace and tranquility reign in the Middle East, if Christians are no longer threatened, the world will owe the President a debt of gratitude.

Yet I have the impression that you will not acknowledge any positive results from the President’s decision. Would you concede that he is responsible for the fact that we have not had a repeat of 9/11? Only time will give a true evaluation of the President’s courageous decision to pre-empt possible horrifying destruction. He recognized a danger which heretofore the human race had never encountered — the willingness of a people to destroy themselves to achieve their goals.

It took perspicacity to see this impending danger, and heroic courage to react to it. It is possible that President Bush made the wrong decision, but if so, he made it from a religious conviction that he was confronting evil and had no choice. The future will give us that answer. If he should be right and you consequently wrong, will you rejoice in the good that ensues? Your tone tells me that you will not.

Chuck Steer

Clearwater, Florida

Ed. Note: Hold your horses, cowboy. Did you just equate President Bush with Holy Water? Whoa! That might be the funniest thing we’ve ever heard. But if the Democrats are “the devil” to Bush’s “Holy Water,” where does that leave al-Qaeda? By this reasoning (if it can be called that), the “good Christian” Bush made war on the wrong group.

I Don't Have to Agree With the Pope

I admire your magazine and your devotion to our Faith. But I object to your stance against the war in Iraq. I do not agree with you, despite the many reasons you and many of our fellow Americans advance. I am not happy when you include in your argument what our last two popes have said. I respect and love them both. I am a convert and a daily communicant who values our faith above all things in this world. Yet, nothing in my faith says I have to agree with the popes on this war. I have fought in two wars, was wounded twice, and am the most decorated officer in my West Point class. I hate war, as the popes do. But without it, sometimes evil will triumph.

I am in basic agreement with President Bush. The Middle East is vital to American security and our way of life. A democracy in Iraq, spreading throughout the region, offers a better life for the Muslims and for our own country. I believe it offers a better chance for Christianity to flourish in these Muslim countries. I grant that numerous mistakes in the prosecution of the war have happened, but that has been the nature of both wars I participated in.

J. Ross Franklin

Pensacola, Florida

General Petraeus: Selfless, Not Careerist

I am at a loss to figure out why you chose to print — not once, but twice in the same issue (Jan., pp. 15, 22) — the quote from Admiral Fallon impugning the character and motivation of Gen. Petraeus. It appears that you believe the quote is evidence that undercuts Gen. Pet­raeus’s congressional testimony that the surge is working — i.e., that he lied about the success of the surge in order to further his career and political ambitions.

While I doubt the accuracy of the quote — or, if accurate, its value as a true assessment of Gen. Petraeus (Adm. Fallon may have spoken out of anger or in jest) — I am writing to attest to my personal knowledge of Gen. Petraeus. I am a recently retired Air Force judge advocate who had the honor of working on the same staff as Gen. Petraeus from November 2001 to June 2002 for the Stabilization Force (SFOR) Commander, Lt. Gen. John Sylvester, in Sarajevo, Bosnia. Then-Brigadier General Petraeus was the Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations on a multinational staff consisting of many nations contributing forces to maintaining the Dayton Peace Accords. He served in that capacity for approximately one year before he was promoted to Major General and given command of the 101st Airborne Division.

During my time in Bosnia, I worked closely with Gen. Petraeus and found him to be a selfless, tireless general officer totally committed to the success of our mission and the well-being of those in his care. He did not show the slightest signs of being careerist or self-serving. He was truly concerned with the plight of the Bosnian people, and pushed our staff and SFOR to create conditions for lasting peace.

As the 101st Airborne Commander, he led his soldiers into combat in Iraq. Shortly thereafter, he was placed in charge of training and equipping Iraqi forces. Finally, he was chosen to fix, as you call it, the “great blunder.” All the while, he was away from his family.

I am greatly disturbed that you, who obviously have no idea of the sacrifice and personal cost involved in serving as a general officer with troops in harm’s way, would resort to detraction (at best) and calumny (at worst) to seek to bolster your position on the war in Iraq.

Rocco J. Lamuro

Frankenholz, Germany

Quit Trashing Petraeus

Oh puh-leeze! Climb down off your high horse and quit trashing Gen. David Petraeus for trying to be a good soldier and striving to accomplish the mission! Your New Oxford Note “The Woeful Plight of Iraqi Christians” (Nov. 2007) and your arm-waving reply to Col. Basil Hobar’s letter (Jan. 2008) about Gen. Petraeus’s aspirations for a fifth star are simply ludicrous and show a stunning ignorance of the U.S. Armed Forces. There have only been nine men who have held a five-star rank — and four of them were admirals, not generals. The last was during World War II when the U.S. had over ten million men and women under arms and was allied with Great Britain and Russia, whose armed forces already had five-star equivalents. To suggest that Petraeus or anyone else in the U.S. Armed Forces of today aspires to a fifth star is ridiculous.

Pulling up some news-jackal’s purported quote by Adm. Fallon doesn’t help make your case. Petraeus isn’t the Antichrist, whether his boss likes him or not. Your Berkeley roots are showing — big time.

Walter Breede

Jupiter, Florida


Please accept this donation for all the “knuckleheads” who cancel their subscriptions because of your stance on the illegal war on Iraq and the useful information you have provided on the Legionaries of Christ and its lay affiliate, Regnum Christi.

I wonder if those same people have canceled their subscriptions to their daily newspaper or local cable television company — those that sell filth and misinformation on a continual basis.

Robert Downs

Louisville, Kentucky

What 'Courage'?

Regarding your New Oxford Note “Archbishop Burke Has Courage” (Jan.): So St. Louis Archbishop Burke is “courageously” disciplining two radical feminists for being “ordained” priestesses. Whoop-dee-doo! Are we supposed to be in awe that a bishop is merely doing his job over a ludicrous novelty, one that is unlikely to cause him any backlash?

In your promised follow-up report on Archbishop Burke, perhaps you could comment on his apparent tolerance of Catholic pro-abortion Representative William Clay for four years and Senator Claire McCaskill last year. Both reside in his Archdiocese and have consistently voted for abortion and other anti-life issues.

Archbishop Burke could set a sterling example of real episcopal courage to his brother bishops by publicly rebuking both these public dissenters, who vote to perpetuate legalized abortion, which has caused the death of over 50 million unborn babies since 1973, and is arguably the worst tragedy in U.S. history.

Robert J. Kendra

Putnam, Connecticut

I Believe in Moderation

In regard to your New Oxford Note “‘Be Fruitful & Multiply’ (Gen. 1:28)” (Jan.): I was born in 1930 and raised in a Catholic neighborhood. The people were very “fruitful.” One woman died in childbirth after bearing her 22nd child. My paternal grandmother died following the delivery of number 11. My maternal grandmother had 13 children. The large families of my youth were for the most part poor, at a time when no government program existed to help the poor. I happen to believe in moderation.

You say that “in the wake of the Western world’s widespread use of contraception, we have experienced an increased prevalence of pornography, abortion, homosexuality, adultery, divorce, women’s lib, etc. By its fruits it is known.” (You left out the consequences of AIDS and widespread STDs.)

Another serious “fruit” is that our white Christian race is declining to extinction. This is starkly evident in Russia, western Europe, and America. A culture that does not replace itself has no future. It is a reason why we need high levels of immigration. We have legislated ourselves social benefits but have failed to create future taxpayers to finance these benefits. We are essentially selling our country to aliens for benefits in our lifetime with wanton disregard for the future of the few progeny we are begetting.

In my lifetime, we have gone from a norm of 10-13 children to a norm of about two. Neither is moderation. I like Teddy Roosevelt’s idea of four children per family. Two offspring to replace the parents, one in the event a child should die, and one for healthy population growth.

Warren E. Boisselle

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Abortion's True Malice

January 22, 2008, marked the 35th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s infamous Roe v. Wade decision. Fifty million innocent babies have been murdered by legalized surgical abortion since that hateful ruling in 1973. Most tragically, such unbaptized infants are deprived of supernatural life in Heaven; they enjoy only the natural happiness of Limbo. This is the traditional teaching of the Catholic Church as found in her infallible ordinary magisterial pronouncements.

The Council of Florence stated, “There is no other remedy available to these [infants] except the sacrament of baptism, which…makes them adopted sons of God.”

The Catechism of the Council of Trent declared, “Infants, since they are not capable of this desire, are excluded, faith teaches us, from the kingdom of heaven…if they die unregenerated by Baptism.”

In Auctorem Fidei in 1794, Pope Pius VI condemned as false the Jansenists’ assertion that Limbo was a fable.

In 1951 Pope Pius XII said, “There is no other means [except sacramental Baptism] of communicating this life [sanctifying grace] to the child who has not yet the use of reason…. In an adult an act of charity may suffice to obtain for him sanctifying grace and so supply for the lack of Baptism; to the unborn child, or newly born, this way is not open.”

Make no mistake about it. Abortion’s true malice is that it keeps innocent souls from Heaven.

Vincent Ferro

Milton, New York

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