Volume > Issue > Letters to the Editor: January-February 2019

Letters to the Editor: January-February 2019

Shocking!

It’s been a long time since I’ve laughed so much and so hard as I did when reading the letter from Kenneth J. Collins of Asbury Theological Seminary (Nov.) in response to Casey Chalk’s review of a book Collins co-authored (Jul.-Aug.). Collins is shocked — just shocked! — that Catholics are still Catholics. Collins can’t get his mind around the fact that Chalk believes that the Catholic Church is “nothing less than ‘the true inheritor of the fullness of divine truth communicated by Christ.’” My, oh, my, what these Catholics do believe! Do we not realize that “neither Eastern Orthodoxy nor Protestantism” accepts “the claim that the bishop of Rome is the center of the unity of the Church,” and therefore that claim must be “an empty one”? Well, gee, thanks, glad to be clued in on that, Professor. Of course, we Catholics have had a thing or two to say on that issue over the centuries — you just might want to look up some of what we’ve said when you get a chance.

And how about the shocking fact that “in Rome’s view it’s okay for a Protestant to become a Roman Catholic, but it’s not okay for a Roman Catholic to become a Protestant.” How “aberrant, divisive, and wall-building” that is! We Catholics should just be happy that Prof. Collins grants that although Catholicism is merely “one Christian theological tradition among many,” it is “an important one.” How nice of him to allow us to be an important voice among the welter of competing, contradictory voices of the heirs of the Protestant Revolt.

The truth is that at one time, pretty much each Protestant denomination fiercely claimed that it had the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Then, at some point, they began to abandon such claims as “aberrant, divisive, and wall-building.” Now, in our pleasant ecumenical atmosphere, there are merely differing theological traditions. Having abandoned their own claim to theological truth, such Protestants resent the fact that we Catholics haven’t done likewise.

Well, despite all the troubles that presently afflict God’s Church (by which I mean, Professor, the Catholic Church), we’re not about to give up our claim that, as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith put it in the declaration Mysterium Ecclesiae (1973), “Catholics are bound to profess that through the gift of God’s mercy, they belong to that Church which Christ founded and which is governed by the successors of Peter and the other Apostles, who are the depositories of the original Apostolic tradition, living and intact, which is the permanent heritage of doctrine and holiness of that same Church. The followers of Christ are therefore not permitted to imagine that Christ’s Church is nothing more than a collection (divided, but still possessing a certain unity) of Churches and ecclesial communities.” That’s no doubt a difficult truth for non-Catholics to swallow, but God grant that we Catholics will profess it and proclaim it more clearly and more firmly.

Thomas Storck

Westerville, Ohio

Revolting! Disgusting!

This will sound strange, and in the earthly sense it is, but I consider myself as having received a sign from God not to renew my subscription to the NOR. As one of the more seemingly intractable peccatoribus, it amazes me whenever something like this occurs. Of course, it could be Old Scratch trying to confuse me, but I don’t think so.

It began when I received notices that my subscription was about to expire. I was surprised by my hesitancy to renew: The price is not excessive, nor was my historical view of the NOR negative. But I had the gnawing feeling that the NOR was increasingly muddling the crisis in the Church: the destruction over the past half century, the loss of faith among her members from the lack of clear teaching, the nearly constant “gaslighting” from Pope Francis, the debauchery of her leaders, the cover-ups of corrupt and evil men that reach up to and include the papacy itself. No, I am not leaving the Church. That would make me complicit in her humiliation. Our only salvation is through Christ and His Church.

That gnawing feeling I had turned into a clear sign when I received the October issue. The magazine neatly opened to your interview with Karl A. Schultz on the canonization of Pope Paul VI. It was revolting. To see so many pages devoted to a positive review of such a terrible leader — one who oversaw such destruction in the Church, on whose watch countless souls were lost from the faith — was too much. Paul VI was the leader tasked with preserving and transmitting the faith for the salvation of souls. Your decision to allow Schultz to excuse him from his dereliction of duty, on the one hand, and his direct contribution to the Church’s destruction, on the other, with the pathetic excuse that Paul was being “discerning” and “prudent,” was disgusting.

To add insult to injury, Schultz implied that those who state the facts regarding the destruction of the Church, and the continuing loss of faith from the destruction, and Paul’s active role in it, are being “ideological or personal,” which is either ignorant or itself ideological.

The facts of the destruction of the Church speak for themselves. Yet you allowed Schultz to state these things without vigorously challenging or correcting them, and worse, you knowingly gave him copious space in your magazine to promote his view!

Paul VI was a weak man at best. When the Church desperately needed a strong leader, he failed miserably in the task given him. Your interview with Schultz solidified what I had begun to sense earlier regarding the NOR. You are half-hearted in responding to the terrible crisis in the Church and the Pope who initiated it, and you give voice to those who defend the indefensible.

The Lord will rightly vomit us out of His mouth if we continue to try to steer some middle ground in this crisis. Be either hot or cold. Shout the problems from the rooftops. Awake the slumbering ignorant. Expose the wicked. But do not give quarter to those who defend and promote this mess. I don’t pretend to know the way to restore all things in Christ. But I do know that the time for seeking middle ground is over.

There are, Deo gratis, more and more organizations, newspapers, and websites awakening to the severe crisis in the Church, and they are shouting from the rooftops. To them goes my patronage.

Rob Bestgen

Rochester, Minnesota

THE EDITOR REPLIES:

We’re not certain where we went wrong in Mr. Bestgen’s eyes. The NOR has been “shouting from the rooftops” about the crisis in the Church for decades. If you don’t believe us, you can peruse our many online Dossiers (now known as “Topics”) devoted to aspects of the crisis: The American College of Louvain, Ecumenism & Ecumania, Fanatical Feminism & Women Religious, Fr. Marcial Maciel & the Legion of Christ, Goodbye, Good Men & U.S. Seminaries, The Lavender Mafia Files, Pope Francis, The Priest Sex Abuse Scandal, Universal Salvation, and Wacky Theologians.

Our “shouting” has continued in the same October issue (“At Last, a Reckoning?” by Pieter Vree, “Humanae Vitae: A Manual for Better Sex?” by Casey Chalk), in our November issue (“Ecce Papa Franciscus!” by Pieter Vree, “Dante’s Divine Comedy & the Viganò Testimony” by Joshua Hren, “Catholic Dreamers’ Failed Dialogue with Islam” by Anne Barbeau Gardiner), in December (“Is Francis’s Revised Teaching on the Death Penalty a Development of Doctrine?” by Monica Migliorino Miller, “An Outcast Among Organization Men” by Pieter Vree), and in the current issue (“Are Revelation & Modernity Compatible” by James V. Schall, “Letter to a Friend on Church Scandal” by Frederick W. Marks).

We’re not sure what more we’re supposed to do, or what more we can do.

For Mr. Bestgen, however, it seems that all that has been undone because we interviewed somebody about the canonization of a controversial figure without first coaching the interviewee about giving the “correct” answers or hitting him over the head when he answered incorrectly. We have news for you: that’s not how interviews work. In this format, we come up with the questions, and the interviewee provides the answers. End of story.

Karl Schultz, one of the foremost English-speaking Paul VI scholars, was gracious enough to consent to an interview, and he actually encouraged us to ask him “tough” questions, which we did, and to which he responded. We hardly think that amounts to “giving quarter to those who promote and defend” the crisis in the Church. On the contrary, we thought our questions were challenging and pointed (e.g., about Paul’s “silence” in the face of dissent, whether he had become “gun shy” after the criticism of Humanae Vitae, why he would meet with Saul Alinsky, the allegations of his homosexuality, whether the Mass of Paul VI can be seen as a “disaster,” etc.).

If we wanted Schultz to provide canned, ready-set answers that we deemed “acceptable,” why would we have gone to the trouble of interviewing him? We could much more easily have said by ourselves what we wanted him to say. But that wasn’t our objective. Our objective was to see what possible and plausible explanations a so-called expert could give about the controversies swirling around Paul VI. We don’t have to like or agree with his answers, and neither do our readers; that much should be obvious. But we thought it important to give space to a consideration of the Church’s highest-profile new saint.

And, in the end, Pope Paul VI has been canonized by the legitimate authority of the Church. Mr. Bestgen, you say you won’t leave the Church. Bravo! We commend you. But how do you reconcile the Church’s canonization of the man who you say “initiated” the present crisis? If you’re willing to leave the NOR because we interviewed a man who didn’t tear down Paul VI’s good name, would you also be willing to leave the very Church that raised Paul VI to the altar? If you reject Paul’s canonization, isn’t that a rejection of the legitimate authority of the Church? And if you reject the Church’s legitimate authority, how can you say you haven’t already left the Church? Depending on how you answer these questions, you might want to consider whether it is indeed God, or “Old Scratch,” who is influencing your thinking.

Not One Book, but Many

In his article “The Futility of Trying to Derive a Religion from a Book” (Nov.), Howard P. Kainz establishes and solidly defends his central point that “religion based on a book — even a book as great as the Bible — generates anything but clarity and consistency.” He names several hot-button issues of discord swirling within the Christian denominations, as well as in today’s political arena, such as the questions surrounding marriage, abortion, the priesthood, and even the Trinity. None of these can be solved with the “book” because even if the book did have specific references to these topics, questions of interpretation would be inevitable. After all, strictly following the letter of the book leads to fundamentalism.

The Orthodox and Catholic Churches have survived throughout the changing and challenging times of every age not by holding to every word of the Bible but, as Kainz says, by successfully “coordinating Scripture and Tradition” in an “ongoing balancing act.”

As much as Catholics are not “people of the book,” as Kainz argues rightly, there are many “books” involved in the practice of our religion. The Roman Missal is our key liturgical book and contains all the prayers, rules, guidelines, and protocol for Catholic worship. This book, which establishes how Catholics can worship God, is on the altar at every Mass.

Likewise, the Liturgy of the Hours is prayed by men and women religious, all ordained men, and laypeople around the world in every language imaginable. Every morning, mid-morning, midday, midafternoon, evening, and night people reach for their “book” to provide them the daily hymns, psalms, readings, and prayers for that particular day or feast. A key motivation for saying these prayers each day, whether alone or with a group, is that the prayers and psalms uttered are the same prayers the worldwide community is saying. The act of prayer is a uniting of the living Church, the people of God, in worship.

Moreover, in old monasteries, the choir lofts have massive three-way book holders in the center of the U-shaped choir designed for very large chant books to be placed and read from as the monks or nuns chant the prescribed psalms of the day.

The point is that as much as Catholics are not “people of the book” (as in the Bible), we still rely heavily on carefully chosen elements of that book, arranged in an intentional order, enhanced with precisely worded prayers, and used for the coordinated and unified worship of God by the community.

Every functioning and peaceful society has its book of laws. Every organized sport has its book of rules. Every institution has its book of guiding principles, customs, and regulations. For humanity to “live and move and have being” peacefully, we must have accepted books with agreed-upon guiding principles. When it comes to the Catholic Church, I agree with Kainz that Catholics are not “people of the book,” and the Catholic Church certainly does not derive from a book. Rather, the Catholic faithful are living proclamations of the Gospel! Though not bound to any book, the Church relies on her books, developed through the ages by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, woven from the traditions, and interpreted by the Magisterium. The Bible and the liturgical books give structure that allows for personal and communal encounter with the living God. The books are the “how” for the Catholic community’s worship and, ultimately, for its salvation.

Christopher Krall, S.J.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Howard P. Kainz’s article was interesting, but it attempted too much and, in the process, succeeded in too little. Kainz should have divided his article into two separate articles, one on Islam and the Qur’an, and the other on the Catholic understanding of Scripture and Holy Tradition. He could also have written a third article on Protestantism, sola scriptura, and Catholic authority. But he did not.

Kainz devoted only six paragraphs to the nature of authority in Catholicism — a paucity of analysis. Furthermore, he made the historical error of stating that the Catholic Church canonized the Bible in the fourth century. The historical truth is that the undivided, one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church of East and West canonized the Bible in the fourth century. At the time, there were no such things as a Western Catholic Church and an Eastern Orthodox Church — until they excommunicated and anathematized each other in A.D. 1054, the year of the Great Schism (some historians date the final schism to the Council of Florence in A.D. 1438).

It is my considered opinion that Sacred Scripture is foundational to Catholic authority, and that all the rest — Tradition and the Magisterium — is commentary. Evidence? The Church Fathers were superb expositors of Sacred Scripture. The Creeds are expositions of the Gospel — in the Gospels. The writings of the saints are undeniably dependent on Sacred Scripture. Even the encyclicals of the popes read just like the epistles of the New Testament, surely testimonies to the essential and fundamental apostolicity of the Church.

Hampton Tonk

North Fort Myers, Florida

G.K. Chesterton was as prescient about Islam as he was about so much else that was not even on the radar in his time. One of his comments about Islam concerns a trait that is often denied today: Islam’s constant fight for supremacy. “A good Moslem king,” Chesterton observed, “was one who was strict in religion, valiant in battle, just in giving judgment among his people, but not one who had the slightest objection in international matters to removing his neighbour’s landmark” (Illustrated London News, Nov. 4, 1911).

The historical reality of an Islam that conquers those who do not believe as prescribed is a corollary of Howard P. Kainz’s statement that Muslims believe that their Qur’an is the direct word of Allah. There is no way to modify or interpret their book as other religions have done. All is set in the solid stone of the seventh century. Everything that is not abrogated in the Qur’an must still stand in its literalness, including orders to conduct jihad against the unbeliever.

Mary Brittnacher

Illinois/Wisconsin Stateline Chesterton Society

Roscoe, Illinois

HOWARD P. KAINZ REPLIES:

Hampton Tonk is correct that my stating that the Catholic Church codified the Bible could be considered ambiguous, as the term Catholic was used by early Fathers such as Ignatius of Antioch and Polycarp and was the term officially given to the Church at the Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325 — before the development of later divisions and schisms. Now we tend to distinguish the Catholic Church from all the various “denominations.”

Fr. Krall nicely brings out that Catholicism is the most “bookish” of all religions, without being bound to any book.

G.K. Chesterton warned us, as Mary Brittnacher mentions, about the intents of world domination ensconced in the Qur’an. Others could be mentioned — Hilaire Belloc, Winston Churchill, John Quincy Adams, et al. They would now be considered “Islamophobic.”

Antidote to a Depraved Society

Thomas Storck’s article “I Am Not White” (Nov.) has merit. Some geneticists, anthropologists, and other scientists agree that human races do not exist. The DNA of Homo sapiens is too interrelated to be segregated into subspecies, categories, or breeds — a conviction endorsed by the American Anthropological Association. This beautiful union of science with Jesus’ Gospel solves many of the problems of race theory. It even obliterates the need to defend races because once racism is defined as “the belief in human races,” the genetic evidence discredits the pseudo-science. Christians should realize that, as sacred creations of God, they cannot be subdivided by unsubstantiated generalizations based on characteristics or traits.

Yet Storck’s article draws concern. He writes that U.S. Catholics “regard Latin American Catholics as alien, as other, even as enemies,” as “this is what happens when we make use of the shallow categories of skin color or race or blood.” Where can such anti-Catholic Catholic belief be found?

Barack Obama twice won a plurality of Catholic votes as he secured leadership of the nation. His administration distributed U.S. tax dollars to finance the struggling abortion industry in Latin America. Do the majority of U.S. Catholics think Catholics in Latin America are the enemy? Most Latin American countries have strict pro-life laws.

Last year, an undocumented, underage Central American girl crossed into this country through Texas, found out she was pregnant, and then demanded an abortion. While the Trump administration denied her the right to destroy her child, the courts ruled in her favor, and the powerful Satanic sacrifice was fulfilled. Maybe the minority of American Catholics who support their Latin sisters and brothers in the struggle to preserve the sanctity of all human life should help build a wall around this Sodom and Gomorrah and pray that God will grant pardon to Lot’s family, the fading race of the American Church Militant. That baby would have had better odds of surviving south of the border!

Storck says he is “quite proud of [his] European cultural heritage.” One could also say, without alluding to deadly sin, that it is a blessing to inherit the knowledge and written wisdom of Greece, Rome, and Jerusalem. Nonetheless, a substantial Catholic introspection fused with a belief in a single, divinely conceived human family would be an antidote to a depraved society.

Craig McEwan

Portal, Arizona

When I began reading Thomas Storck’s article, I laughed. Surely, this was some kind of Chestertonian joke! But I soon realized that Storck was serious.

White, Caucasoid, Indo-European, and Aryan have been used for the past 200 years to describe peoples from the Atlantic to the Urals, and also groups in the Levant and Iran (which is the word Aryan transmitted into a noun), the Armenians (descended from the Hittites), and other groups of mixed racial or ethnic origins who inhabit “Atlantic civilization,” if that signification is inclusive enough. White or Caucasoid or Indo-European could also describe the peoples of the Indian subcontinent, Afghanistan, and other areas with some European admixtures. White includes other groups that have settled in Europe but were originally from Asia — for instance, the Magyars and Finns.

Therefore, white is simply an arbitrary selection. Caucasoid might be better. Aryan was discredited by Nazi theorists who used it to describe only those Nordic/Celtic types similar to Germans (Britons, Dutch, Flemings, et al.).

Race or ethnicity is a factor that can neither be ignored nor belittled. Unlike Hilaire Belloc, whom Storck cites, I believe that race has created numerous religions, cults, movements, and, of course, wars. This does not mean we abolish the reality of race and cravenly bow down to the idols of political correctness.

Storck’s article impels one to ask, Is this disquisition of any use? Europe is a big stewpot, and at various times each European nation has melted into other nations by invasion, peaceful settlement, amalgamation, or imperial absorption. Whiteness or Europeanism will continue. And racism will continue too. But the scholarly study of race and ethnicity must also continue so that the truth about the role of race in each polity can finally be defined. Will this please the Thomas Storcks of the world? No. But it will allay ignorance posing as righteousness.

Michael Suozzi

San Diego, California

THOMAS STORCK REPLIES:

Craig McEwan apparently thinks that when I wrote favorably of our Latin American Catholic brethren, I was implying a position on immigration. This was a reasonable conclusion on his part, but actually I wasn’t thinking of that at all. I was thinking of the all-too-common tendency to paint our Latin American Catholic brethren in the worst colors instead of seeing them as fellow human beings, indeed fellow Catholics, who have a rich and historic culture, one that is too little known or understood in the U.S.

Immigration is a complex issue, and, like Mr. McEwan but unlike almost everyone else, it seems, I am concerned about the effect on Latin Americans entering the U.S. who become acclimated to our secularized Protestant culture and thereby lose their own imperfect but genuine Catholic culture. Build a wall to keep people out in order to save their souls? Now that is an interesting idea! In addition, and more seriously, the U.S. should stop its meddling in Latin American affairs — a meddling that historically has been undertaken mostly on behalf of corporate profits.

With regard to Michael Suozzi’s assertions, I do not deny that there are physical differences among the peoples of the earth. But these differences are irrelevant with regard to the Church and the civilization of Christendom she created. Our Lord told His disciples to go into the world and baptize every nation. For a Catholic, this must mean sharing with them not only our faith but our Catholic culture, the culture of Christendom. In any case, this is how Catholics usually behaved in the past. Therefore, to characterize oneself, or one’s culture, by something as superficial as skin color strikes me as silly. Even in Europe, people’s appearances differ greatly between, say, Norway and Sicily. Such differences were not a problem for Catholics in the past, and I don’t see why they should be a problem today.

Enough Already!

The inaugural columns by Casey Chalk (“Humanae Vitae: A Manual for Better Sex?”) and Jason M. Morgan (“Emblem of an Exhausted Era”) in your October issue were interesting. But after reading them back to back (they were presented consecutively), I thought, Good grief, even the NOR has gotten on the bandwagon. Let’s talk about sex over and over again. Two columns in a row on sex-related topics was a bit heavy.

Do you have any celibate persons on your editorial board? Certainly a percentage of your readers are celibate. I would venture to say that none of us was educationally enriched by reading Mr. Morgan’s description of the sexual sins committed by one of the “more progressive” characters in the movie Novitiate, no matter how mild he might have thought they were.

The New Testament reading at Mass on the day I am writing this letter was: “Immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be mentioned among you, as is fitting among holy ones, no obscenity or silly or suggestive talk, which is out of place” (Eph. 4:3-4). It is disappointing that you allowed such suggestive descriptions in your discourse and disregarded your celibate readers.

Patrice M. Ward

Pasadena, Texas

Super Natural Family Planning

Fifty-two years ago I married my childhood sweetheart, right after she graduated from high school. I was working part-time at a McDonalds in Southern California for $1.43 an hour. Virtually all the employees were high school- or junior college-age kids. My and my wife’s mindset regarding children never included any option other than what I would call Super Natural Family Planning (SNFP).

A year after our wedding, we were blessed with our first precious gift from God, a girl. With a home breech birth, I beheld in awe my wife’s experience of the “agony and ecstasy” of childbirth. We were overwhelmed by feelings of gratitude for the safe delivery of an eternal entity, entrusted to us by our Lord. Our joy of being parents continued, or by today’s Catholic standards, snowballed. We have been blessed with ten children, although the tenth was called home prematurely, five months before his due date.

By choosing SNFP as a way of life, we chose the “yoke” of Jesus, which He promised would be a “light burden.” We look back and thank God continually for His magnificence and magnanimity in giving us so many eternal blessings, as well as overwhelming love, admiration, and entertainment from 43 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren and one of each on the way. Our “treasures” will not rust, as they are eternal beings, made in the image of God.

Contraception, abortion, NFP, and recreation instead of procreation have greatly inhibited the building of the City of God. Statistics show a self-inflicted genocide. High school kids no longer man the fast-food joints or gas stations. The number of clergy has decreased along with the number of altar boys. Our supernatural leaders are pushing a natural family planning, further decreasing the City of God. NFP is touted as being 96 percent effective, with a “failure rate.” The births of eternal beings for the glory of God are referred to as failures! How low can we go?

Replacing the building of the City of God with the building of the City of Man has resulted in a great increase in alienation, discord, neglect, depression, suicide, drug abuse, alcoholism, and loneliness. Are there any spiritual leaders, lay or clerical, capable of instilling trust in our benevolent, magnanimous God for our fertility? Is it foolish to trust God with our fertility? Are we to second guess His wisdom in timing the arrivals of our progeny? Why do we choose to execute these eternal entities, or block them from entering into time? Where is the fiat when it comes to the eternal bliss of our own children?

Peter Dornay

Mercer Island, Washington

It Could Have Been Worse

The situation that threatens Humanae Vitae today could have been much direr. As John Julius Norwich puts it in Absolute Monarchs: A History of the Papacy (2011), had John Paul I remained pope longer than his short 33-day reign, Humanae Vitae might have been abrogated. John Paul I was the first pope to refuse coronation, the tiara, the gestatorial chair, swaying ostrich feathers, and the papal reference to “we.” He truly wanted a return to simplicity, honesty, and the poverty of Christ. And he was no friend to traditionalism. He found the Vatican to be a hotbed of petty hatred, rivalries, and jealousies.

In 1968, as bishop of Vittorio Veneto, Albino Luciani (later John Paul I) shared an opinion with his predecessor as Patriarch of Venice, recommending that the contraceptive pill be permitted. A decade later, he was offered a chance to speak at the tenth anniversary celebration of Humanae Vitae, but he refused to go. Within days of his election to the Throne of St. Peter, Luciani said to U.S. Congressman James Scheuer and Jean Marie Cardinal Villot, his Secretary of State, “We cannot leave the situation as it currently stands.”

It took the Pontifical Commission on Birth Control and Pope St. Paul VI years to come to a conclusion regarding contraception. The commission’s majority approved “the Pill,” which leaked through the ranks and convinced many Catholics to anticipate a papal blessing; this increased the use of this contraceptive prematurely. But then Paul VI reversed the commission’s approval and maintained the Church’s traditional stance in Humanae Vitae. Now, the encyclical is being challenged again. However, had Pope John Paul I lived longer, the Church would now be facing many more profound issues than those created by Vatican II.

Raymond J. Mattes Jr.

Norfolk, Virginia

Bolstered by Truth

Thank you for again renewing my scholarship subscription. Upon reading Casey Chalk’s column “Humanae Vitae: A Manual for Better Sex?” (Oct.), I experienced joy. Joy! In prison, happiness comes in moments, but joy can carry a man through the day.

Mr. Chalk recommended Why Humanae Vitae Is Still Right, edited by Janet Smith. This book was given to me by a Catholic man, since deceased. I use the essay in it by Elizabeth Wojcik as an evangelization tool. My joy comes from finding myself bolstered in my effort by the truth, God’s gift to men, along with all the angels and saints, the NOR, and all the Church Militant.

Thanks to all for the subscription.

Paul Spataro

Hardee Correctional Institution

Bowling Green, Florida

I am truly blessed to receive my copy of the NOR. As a new Catholic here in prison, it is a great way to keep up with the Church, my Church.

I converted to the Catholic faith after coming to prison, thanks to some wonderful volunteers from Good Shepherd Parish here in North Texas. Then the NOR blessed me with a one-year subscription! It is great to know that the Church cares so much. Most people do not realize that we don’t make much money in prison. I earn about $19 a month, which I use for stamps, coffee, and some toiletries. There’s not much left after that.

I share my copy of the NOR with others in our small Catholic community. I’ll be praying for y’all!

Raymond Vallia

Federal Medical Center

Fort Worth, Texas

I am writing to say “thank you” for the 25 copies of the NOR you sent me. They were gobbled up quickly at Tomoka Correctional Institution. Plus, I saved a half-dozen copies and sent them to inmates at other locations (Marion Correctional Institution and South Bay Correctional Facility). The inmates pass around and share the magazines. I estimate that at least eight people read each copy.

The feedback from the prisoners who received a copy has been overwhelmingly grateful — that is, they asked for more! They and I thank you for your generosity and for your content, especially for your defense of the faith.

Richard Anthony

DeLand, Florida

Ed. Note: The NOR has established a Scholarship Fund to pay for gratis subscriptions for people who can’t afford them. Most of the recipients are prisoners (or prison ministers like Mr. Anthony), and some are retired religious. For more information about our Scholarship Fund, including how to contribute to it, see the notice in this issue.

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