Make it harder to marry in first place

It should not be tougher to divorce, it should be tougher to marry ("No-fault divorce fractures U.S. society," April 26).

Divorce is a way of admitting an error. It's far better to avoid the error in the first place. Far better to equip marrying couples with a solid grasp of reality and the difficulties of married life after the romance of the wedding wears off and parenting and other challenges set in.

Perhaps one reason Catholics divorce less often is due to a more realistic and shared understanding of the nature of married love and the role of God in a marriage. Pre-Cana counseling and the natural family planning training required in many dioceses could have saved my first marriage, which died when lack of respect gradually led to sexual abuse. Being forced to talk about married sexuality, mutual respect and how to communicate about difficult topics would save so many marriages before they even start -- like marriage insurance!

You can't plant a garden and then punish the seeds for not growing -- the soil must be properly prepared in order to yield good fruit. It's much the same with marriage, I think.

-- Suzanne Lehman, via e-mail

Remember your roots

Very interesting report supporting fathers (Openers, April 12). I think, however, that the greatest need is among single mothers. There are more than 2 million men in jail or prison. There are countless young women who would like a traditional family with a loving husband and children and a nice house. However, as the old song says, "Nowadays, a good man is hard to find."

Our newspaper carried a picture of a lesbian couple from Iowa and their two little girls. I don't know how the girls were conceived, but they are very much here now. Can the Church say to them, "You do not have parents or a real family. You should not have been born"?

It's time for OSV to move away from coddling harsh rightists and take a more humane look at the people of the world. You are way too young to remember, but when I first started reading OSV, it was devoted to bettering the lot of poor people. The OSV hero of the time was César Chávez, who was trying to organize Latino farmworkers. Then OSV forgot all about Chávez and lauded Ronald Reagan.

"Pro-life" is an ongoing theme in OSV. Are the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan what someone who is "pro-life" would advocate?

-- Ed Dwyer, via e-mail

Catholic franchisees

Re Msgr. Owen F. Campion's column on the setup of Catholic colleges ("Bishops and universities," April 12).

Universities touting themselves as Catholic institutions are, in effect, licensed by the Church -- franchisees, if you will. If a franchise exhibits non-Catholic deportment and strays from the Catholic faith's views as espoused by the pope and our bishops, it is Catholic in name only and its franchise (ability to call itself Catholic) should be revoked. Bishops are not absolved of stating the truth to the flock, and the truth is that many colleges that use Catholicism as a recruiting tool are not truly Catholic institutions and should not receive our support.

I firmly believe that the Cardinal Newman Society is doing God's work in bringing such institutions to our attention. The secular Catholic institution is a latent threat to the Church's teachings and the formation of the young. Bishops must lead and vociferously disclaim wrong and discourage attendance at such schools by Catholic students until change is seen. I cannot believe that Thomas Aquinas would condone the actions of such schools.

-- Thomas J. Kelleher III, Kennett Square, Pa.

Opportune time

Re Msgr. Campion's column "Bishops and universities." There has been a lot of conversation about President Obama's visit to Notre Dame. It is a great honor and privilege to have a sitting president come to your place of work or to your educational institution.

As for Catholics and the students of Notre Dame, I would like to remind all of them of the patroness of this place of education. She was the No. 1 witness of the birth, life, death and resurrection and Mother to God's only Son, Jesus. By her own example, we are united in the family of God.

As Christians we are often reminded through Sacred Scripture that Jesus did not want our sacrifices, he wanted us to show mercy. Remember, also, "They will know we are Christians by the way we love each other."

If we are ever to turn the tide against abortion, then this visit could be an important instrument in helping this commander in chief see more clearly our concerns and reasons. Notre Dame's years of tradition, honor and respect for high standards and human dignity are an integral part of its basic promise and is a symbol for its students and alumni to share in a proud history of integrity, honesty and truth.

It would seem to me an excellent opportunity to present to our president a crystal-clear image of our moral views against the holocaust of abortion and why Notre Dame is what it is.

-- Les Johnson, Akron, Ohio

Problem faculty

In regard to the articles written in Our Sunday Visitor and elsewhere concerning the appearance of President Obama at Notre Dame, I think that many, if not most, Catholics do not realize that this is just the tip of the iceberg of a much larger problem.

In many so-called Catholic colleges, many of the faculty do not believe and do not teach what is consistent with the Catholic faith. I discovered this when my children began attending one of these schools. It is not just that these views are presented as one among many, but that students are expected to accept these views as the best position of the modern world.

I do not object to arguing in the classroom as to the truth of Catholic positions and looking at views contrary to the faith. What I object to is insisting that students be required to give back these wrong answers in order to get a good grade. What needs to be done is to find a way to let parents know which colleges are Catholic in name only and which ones really expect their faculty to adhere to Church teachings.

-- Evelyn Mazzucco, Des Plaines, Ill.