Letters to the Editor

'Non-negotiable' voting issues

What a grave disservice Angelus News does by leaving readers with murky conclusions over how to vote in “The homeless...
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Thoughts on 'Catholic thinkers'

I like your idea of the series by what you call “Catholic thinkers.” Aren’t all of us Catholics called to be Catholic thinkers, applying faith to life? That takes thinking and discernment.

I think you’re thinking of “thinkers” as in “think tanks.” I don’t think you mean “Catholic intellectuals,” an older, perhaps too elitist phrase, though, for example, wonderful Father Ronald Rolheiser is exactly that, and a theologian, too.

I think you need a better description, something like, “Catholics with special experience or expertise,” or “Catholics in thought and deed.”

- Phil Argento

'Non-negotiable' voting issues

What a grave disservice Angelus News does by leaving readers with murky conclusions over how to vote in “The homeless Catholic voter.” By framing the upcoming election as a presidential contest between two equally worthy sets of ideas, the article miserably fails to communicate Catholic teaching.

Church wisdom proclaims that there is an objective moral order which determines a hierarchy of values. In the political sphere, this translates into non-negotiable issues superseding issues that allow for a diversity of opinion. And what are those non-negotiable issues?  

Although cursory attention is given to “Forming Consciences through Faithful Citizenship,” the author omits the bishops’ emphatic statement that “the threat of abortion remains our preeminent priority because it directly attacks life itself, because it takes place within the sanctuary of the family, and because of the number of lives destroyed.”

So, rather than make Catholics feel like they must wrangle over a myriad of issues, why not begin at the most basic and fundamental right — the right to life? After all, everything else flows from that.

Testing a candidate’s worthiness by studying his/her stance on non-negotiable issues simplifies the choice. 

By pushing positions that directly oppose the Catholic Church’s teachings on life — not to mention the teachings on marriage and religious freedom (also non-negotiables) — Joe Biden has forfeited the chance to be considered a worthy candidate.

- Elizabeth Ebiner, Pomona, CA

No such thing as a "homeless Catholic voter"

In response to "The homeless Catholic Voter":

To be as short as possible: I am not a homeless voter!

You say the bishops state the “responsibility to make choices in political life rests with each individual in light of a properly formed conscience.” OK. Forming consciences in accordance with God’s truth? Is that what they think their document does? It is a farce, just as the comment of Bishop Rhoades that there are no easy answers? There is an easy answer: There is no future without life!

Religious freedom is at stake. We are at the potential threshold of total socialism. How can anyone justify voting for anyone who is an apostate Catholic and teamed up with a partner who is the most radical and anti-Catholic he could have chosen? Your statement that good Catholics can disagree on the issues today is wrong. In this case, a good Catholic cannot possibly agree with a bad Catholic.

Your column is not helpful, but rather misleading by justifying a vote for intrinsic evil to the uninformed and undecided voter. You have failed in your responsibility as a Catholic publication.

-Hilmar Rosenast
Valencia, California

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Rest in Peace and Bring us Peace

The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg brings a sharp focus to the primary political, economic and moral issue that consumes our country. We can camouflage it with many distracting current events, but the issue of abortion is the epicenter of all the important current political seismic shocks. It continues to fracture what little is left of political collaboration. It is a life or death issue and there is nothing in between.

Abortion is not a new issue nor is neonatal death, nor sex selection to determine who is eligible for life. Hippocrates addressed this long before Christ. We however live in an era in which abortion procedures are much safer for the mother, even though not for the child. We have indeed become used to what many assume is a necessary procedure.

Many years ago as a teenager I remember speaking with an older woman in her late 30s who was a young teenager in Germany during World War II. I asked her how her country could allow the destruction of so many Jews. She replied that we just had gotten used to it. It took a World War to bring us to our senses.

This, of course, was not the only time and place where we were used to things that we should never become used to. We were used to slavery until a Civil War brought us to our senses. We were used to taking land from Native Americans and called it Manifest Destiny. Turkey did the same with Armenians, China is doing the same today with Uyghurs, while Africa is littered with intertribal destruction. When trying to improve our place in life, we humans often try to appropriate what others have as their own.

When trying to recover from personal or national disasters, it becomes especially alluring to seek a weaker scapegoat from which we can extract some hope of recovering a better life.

Whether it’s a genetic or religious class of people such as Jews, Armenians or Uyghurs, a financial class of people such as all the Bezos of the world, an unwanted class of people such as immigrants or an ‘obstructing’ class of people such as Native Americans, we always seem to find someone.

An unwanted pregnancy could be viewed as the worst disaster, the pinnacle of oppression. Every plan, hope or dream that had ever entered the mind of a mother is immediately placed on the endangered list by a pregnancy. Everything could succumb to the power of a child.

I am an old white male and still doubt that I could ever grasp the power of that feeling. It seems immediate, inescapable, overpowering and suffocating. It is no wonder that we could get used to doing anything to relieve us of this feeling.

But we should never resort to, nor get used to the taking of innocent human life. When we do, no one is safe. The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg as with the Indian Plains Wars, Tiananmen Square, and the Battle of Gettysburg should make us rethink what we’ve gotten used to. Hopefully this will not take a metaphorical war that could rupture the fabric of our Democracy and cut the heart out of our soul.

Tim McNicoll MD, MA Bioethics (Loyola Marymount University)

Simi Valley, California

What I had in common with Fr. San Juan

Dear Editor,

Thank you for this wonderful article (9/24/2020) about Fr. San Juan. I didn't know him, but I was deeply touched by his story, in particular this line: "His birth was welcomed as a miraculous surprise, coming 11 years after the family's next oldest child."

This struck me because I have never thought of my birth as a miracle, although my situation was somewhat similar. My brothers were 12 and 14 when I was born, and my mom was also at what was considered an "advanced age" at that time for childbearing.

Because of her age, her doctor offered her an abortion. I know this because, when I was a teenager, she told me that she wished she had accepted that offer!

Consequently, I always had a feeling of being a "mistake," an unwanted surprise. It wasn't until reading your article just now that I realized that my birth was also miraculous. I am a miracle!

Thank you for giving me a new perspective on my history. It's a gift bequeathed to me by a holy priest I never even met!

Blessings,

Marilyn Boussaid
St. James Parish
Redondo Beach, CA

When Black Catholics speak up, we should listen

It’s difficult for me to think of a time when I did not feel welcome in the Catholic Church. I was raised Catholic and have attended Mass every Sunday my whole life, and I have always felt a sense of belonging when I step into a Church. I also happen to be white, of European descent.

I’ll never forget the day that one of my African American friends made a joke about how there are no Black Catholics. She said this very casually. Her tone of voice did not indicate that this comment was meant to be provocative. But it provoked something inside of me. I don’t think I said anything in the moment, but when I thought back to her comment later on, my first reaction was to defend the Church, listing every Black Catholic I knew in my head. I came up with a list of about five people. But what I realized much later is that it doesn’t matter how many Black Catholics I, as a White Catholic can name. If my Black friend does not feel welcome in the Catholic Church, that means there is a problem and we must address it.

The problem is not with my friend’s perception, as I wanted to believe at first. I wanted to point out why she was wrong, and that she had misperceived and misjudged the Church. And while the simple fact may not be accurate, because there are Black Catholics in the world, her feeling of not being welcomed is her truth, not something I get to argue against. Hopefully, nobody in the Church intended to make her feel that way, but the fact remains that she does feel that way. And it is now the Church’s responsibility to be more inclusive so that our Black brothers and sisters don’t feel unwelcome anymore.

-Teresa Hull

Mundelein, Illinois

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