A teachable moment, but is it too late?

The Catholic bishops have been speaking out against the contraceptive mandate, but they are about 40 years too late (“Line in the sand,” Feb. 12). Their overall silence and lack of catechetical teaching about the ills of contraception and sterilization has come home to roost. Many bishops and priests in the 1960s and onward have not supported or taught this teaching and now we have many Catholics who have used contraception or have been sterilized.  

In Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI warned of what would happen if artificial birth control would be used. He predicted that contraception would lead “toward conjugal infidelity and a general lowering of morality.” That “man may lose respect for the woman and consider her as a mere instrument of selfish enjoyment.” The pope added: “Who will stop rulers from imposing upon their peoples the method of contraception which they judge to be most efficacious?” Now we have President Barack Obama’s administration telling the Church it has to offer and pay for contraception and sterilization! A violation of one of our nation’s founding principles — religious liberty. 

The bishops speaking out against the mandate is a great start, but will Catholics join them and seek to understand the Church’s teachings and the many blessings of abiding by this teaching? This is a great teaching moment that the bishops and priests should expand on.  

Anne Shininger, Fredonia, Wis.

Losing steam

“Divided we stand” (Editorial, Feb. 26) began with a bang but ended with a whimper. It started out by boldly witnessing to the truth that the Church in the United States was initially, albeit briefly, united against the Obama administration’s “astoundingly aggressive new federal regulations that in effect punish adherence to Church teaching.” 

Inexplicably, however, the editorial closed out on a strangely contradictory note, criticizing “obtusely paranoid diatribes ... in ways that would leave the recipient believing that Obama storm troopers were poised to break into Catholic churches.” Call me paranoid, but isn’t the government already breaking into our churches when it purports to regulate religious behaviors and to overrun consciences? 

Brian Tvedt, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 

Keep fighting

Now that President Obama has presented us with his “compromise” to the health care mandate, what do we as loyal Catholics do next? In order that we will not go astray by misleading voices, we want and need directions from our Church leaders [bishops] to know what we should do to help defeat this mandate. Now is not the time to let up or the laity will think that this issue is settled. If this mandate and “compromise” are not totally reversed, it will not only be contraception, sterilization and abortifacients that we will be forced to cover, but abortion and euthanasia will be next. Let us not wait and see, we need to keep up this fight publicly and loudly or we will lose. 

Thomas Pohlen, Hutchinson, Minn. 

Right to work

Re: “Right to work” (God Lives, Feb. 26).  

Msgr. Owen F. Campion seems to believe right-to-work legislation will weaken collective bargaining. It will not! Praise God that Indiana passed the legislation, as it is important to know that it would be far better to be employed than to have made a hefty per hour rate only to be sitting at home for two years on unemployment. 

The popes discuss the dignity of the individual. I believe dignity can be provided by good education and gainful employment, a hand up, not a hand out. The unions of today are by no means the unions of our grandfathers’ era.  

Yes, at one time, our immigrant grandparents would be willing to work for a mere pittance and for many hours, so protection had to be in place. Today, however, the unions are “in the tank” with Obama as he greases their palm and they provide political contributions to him. 

Fran Holmes, via email

Unorthodox column

I have been a faithful subscriber to and reader of OSV since the 1980s. I have always trusted what I have read in your paper. But after reading Msgr. M. Francis Mannion’s column “Observations on hell” (Pastoral Answers, Jan. 15), I know I can no longer trust him. If I were you, I’d worry about continuing to carry him. Your “letters” section doesn’t have room for a point by point refutation of his many errors, but one case in point is that to say a person is guaranteed heaven simply because someone loved him is ludicrous! The good monsignor only quotes modern-day thinkers, no saints, Church Fathers or popes, and only briefly mentions the Catechism of the Catholic Church. In my mind, OSV now has a chink in its armor of orthodoxy. I am very disturbed to see it. 

Sandy Wedel, Great Falls, Mont. 

Contrasting views

Re: “Both sides see 2012 election as defining event” (News Analysis, Feb. 12) 

Russell Shaw’s excellent article was right on target. I would like to suggest, however, that to contrast “the nanny state” vs. “crony capitalism” is in error, for two reasons: 1) There is plenty of so-called crony capitalism on both sides, and 2) the real contrast is the nanny state vs. self-sufficiency. 

Dave Maxwell, Adrian, Mich.