Letters 04.02.17

Readers respond to Register articles.

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A Tale of Two Marches

I received the copy of the Register that came out on the same day that the 2017 March for Life was taking place. Your publication had several articles on the planned event, and now as it has taken place, some significant “takeaways” are to be noted.

Coming one week after the disturbing Women’s March — featuring celebrities like Madonna and Ashley Judd and obscene signs — one had to wonder: What message were these folks trying to convey? And yet, it is a message that the left and its supporting media deemed important enough to their narrative of “pro-choice” and Planned Parenthood support to cover extensively. In contrast, the March for Life had families, signs that would not be banned in Boston, a generally happy and upbeat atmosphere all around and a clear-cut message, including goals, such as obviously stopping abortions — late-term ones, for sure, and those that are proven to cause the unborn baby pain — and a plea for the continued goal of the Trump administration’s election of Supreme Court candidates sensitive to pro-life viewpoints and public defunding of the aforementioned Planned Parenthood. What it may lack, of course, is a lot of media coverage, as the mainstreamers remain loyal to the previous administration that totally ignored it.

And as Vice President Mike Pence, in a historic first, made an appearance — giving a fine speech about the return of a culture of life, compassion rather than convenience, and President Trump’s undeniable support — one had to think: You would have never seen this from a Vice President Joe Biden or a potential Vice President Tim Kaine. I leave with this question:

Do those Catholics and other faith-based people who still chose to vote for Hillary Clinton, because a man speaking with questionable rhetoric and a rather glamorous lifestyle was more of a concern than the madness represented in the earlier Women’s March, still think that vote was a better choice?

         Charles Lopresto

         Phoenix, Arizona


Heart of the Matter

Regarding “Apostasy and Ambiguity,” (Arts, Feb. 19 issue): Steven D. Greydanus is quite abstract in his thoughts. Give us your final answer — what is in your heart. It is the heart of the matter, so I go back further in Scripture to help find the answer: Eleazar in 2 Maccabees. In his heart, he realizes and testifies that he should not cause the young to lose heart. In Silence, the five who will die if Father does not give in will, in fact, die another day, as Eleazar. But will they lose heart by the Father’s actions and give up and die? I would say that he raises the risk, rather than lowering it, by giving in. St. Polycarp was showing the way — others would die, but needed to be shown the way. Giving into little things makes way for worse, the slippery slope as it were — or, as a saint once said, thousands of spider-web strands cause others to trip into hell. Courage, fortitude, etc. It ain’t rocket science.

         Dennis Wichterman

         Naples, Florida

Steven D. Greydanus responds: Courage and fortitude are highly relevant qualities when you are being tortured for your beliefs. Not so relevant, in my opinion, when other people are being tortured for your beliefs. Callousness would serve you better there. My view at the moment is that Rodrigues does not apostatize and does not reject or deny Christ by stepping on the fumie, but he does harm the Catholic community of Japan (and the non-Catholics, too) by empowering the government to present him as an apostate. I think stepping on the fumie is both an act of self-abnegating love and compassion for the torture victims (whom I doubt are more likely to make a bad end due to Rodrigues’ act, which they all did, too, and well understand) and also a failure to bear public witness to Christ in a way that his priesthood especially obliges him to do.

The “hidden Christian” culture Rodrigues embraces for the rest of his life is deficient — but so is the European Jesuit culture that formed him, in other ways, and these deficiencies are partly responsible for his failure. 


Unnatural Emigration

With respect to “US Bishops Concerned Over Trump’s Border Wall Plan”: To more completely address the current crises of mass immigration and refugees, the expressed concerns of Bishop Joe Vasquez, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Migration, and other Catholic leaders must extend well beyond U.S. policies on illegal immigration and President Trump’s current executive orders to increase immigrant-detention centers and build a border wall.

True solutions must go to the origins and causes of these modern civilizational phenomena.It is a grossly unnatural societal aberration that thousands — if not millions — of Mexicans, Latin Americans and other emigres believe they must leave their native homelands — at great personal risk — to migrate north, to only then think they will have opportunities for prosperous, productive and happy lives. Conditions in their home countries, brought on by oppressive and autocratic governments, corruption, conflicts, persecutions, prejudices and the like, drive them to these extreme actions.

They cross “illegally” — not obeying the laws of a sovereign country — to enter the United States because they do not believe these opportunities for a “better life” exist, or will ever occur, in their native homes.

Catholic leaders who reprove the U.S. administration about possible harmful actions of its immigration or national security policies and who remind the U.S. faithful of obligations to emigrants and refugees must also speak with similarly strong voices and authority to admonish leaders and governments of those nations where heavy emigration is occurring about their own harmful societal conditions that drive so many from their native homelands. That, in reality, would take the greater amount of courage, effort and leadership.

Our prayers and petitions should not be limited strictly to solutions for immigration policy reform here in the U.S. It can be — indeed, it must be — similarly voiced that Mexico, Latin American nations and other countries producing large numbers of emigres and refugees can and should work and strive to all be nations where societal conditions can offer the same uniquely American opportunities for “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” so that this large modern-day unnatural emigration from native homelands can end.

         Chris J. Krisinger, colonel, USAF (Ret.)

         Burke, Virginia


Presidents Change Lives

We celebrate America’s greatest presidents by remembering their birthdays in February. In Colorado, we really celebrate: by riding the snows with a free spirit seldom experienced outside our winter sports of skiing and boarding, an experience of wonderful physical freedom in God’s beautiful country of snow-covered mountains, snow and gravity working their magic.

Lincoln and Washington are the two presidents best remembered for their roles in preserving the most important political statement ever conceived in the annals of human history. But Presidents Jefferson and Adams were also the Founding Fathers responsible for the creation of the Declaration of Independence, enshrining the principle of freedom of the individual for the most profound world change in the history of man. Listen again, as their wonderful words inspire us in today’s dangerous world: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men [and women] are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

President George Washington was the indispensable leader who, because of his courage, strength and wisdom, brought this miracle of God’s gift of freedom of the spirit (our free will as individuals) to build the great nation America was to become. He was a president and humble man of action and powerful, world-changing deeds.

President Abraham Lincoln was also a man of great humility. He was self-educated, mainly from the Judeo-Christian Bible and classical literature, but a great leader of our young nation. He wrote and spoke the American creed for all peoples in his Gettysburg address:

“It is for us to be here, dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

In our Civil War, almost 400,000 people of one ethnic group freely gave their lives for the freedom of another enslaved ethnic group. Skin pigment did not matter.

Americans have been blessed by their presidents. We can celebrate these great men and thank God for them and their gifts of freedom. We pray and hope they will lead our great nation back to a culture of life for all humans, in all ages and conditions. And we can still find, thanks to God, the beauty of the mountains, snow and gravity.

         Don Chisholm

         Dillon, Colorado