Recommended romance

In reference to the review of the "Twilight" movie and books ("Vampire romance: pure love or disordered passions?," Dec. 21): I am 52 and proud to be Catholic and I love Jesus, and not one time in the three weeks it took me to read these romantic novels did I ever think of anything but the reminder of the intensity and the fervor of young people. She was a young insecure little thing and he was mythological creature, but the story was about "romance" and dignity and trying to do what's right. Even with the burden the vampires carried they showed loyalty to the laws that were not really for them, but they claimed them for their own. There was no porn, only passion; and God gave us the gift of passion for many reasons, even unto His death. These are excellent books. I would recommend for any teen or young person interested in chastity, passion, romance and true love that can overcome any obstacle.

-- Kathy Crumley, Via e-mail

Or not...

It's so obvious. Just sit back and look at advertising of the movie. It comes out when? During the Christmas season. And what is that? The birth of Jesus; and the movie describes just the opposite of a holy time of the year.

It takes away from the meaning of the season when families let their children go see it after midnight and then go to school the next morning.

-- Mark Warns, via e-mail

No culture war

In the Dec. 14 issue of OSV, Russell Shaw writes that the culture war is not over, and references Obama's pro-abortion position. But no president has the power to end abortion in America. Nor does the Supreme Court.

Even if Roe v. Wade were overturned, the legality of abortion will be determined by each state. In November, the people of South Dakota overwhelmingly rejected an abortion ban that included an exception for the mother's health. If the conservative voters of South Dakota refused to ban abortion, probably no more than seven or eight states would outlaw the procedure. Obtaining an abortion would simply be a matter of living in or traveling to a state that permitted it.

The only way to end abortion is with a Human Life Amendment, which has no chance of passing and which no Republican president has ever championed. The culture war may rage on for Shaw, but abortion will remain legal in America regardless of who is elected president.

-- Bill Chappell, Montgomery, Ala.

Dangling bones

While the arguments put forth by some Catholics who supported Barack Obama are truly an embarrassment, it is difficult to excoriate sincere Catholics who once again found themselves between a rock and a hard place in having to choose between the economic and social welfare policies of the Democrats and the anti-abortion promises of the Republicans.

The Republican Party has unfortunately turned abortion into a single-issue political bone which it dangles in front of orthodox Catholics and conservative Protestants every election, with no attempt to link the having of children with the very necessary resources to raise children and promote stable families.

Let's face it -- with the exception of a very narrow definition of the abortion issue, how "in communion" are Republican politicians with the rest of the teachings of the Church?

-- Jeffrey M. McHale, Scranton, Pa.

Telling it straight

The reference of Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony to "dedicated and generous homosexual Catholics" in your Dec. 21 issue ("Cardinal: No offense to homosexuals") seems to condone the homosexual lifestyle. Persons prone to same-sex attraction are no different from persons attracted to other kinds of sinful behavior. As do heterosexuals, they need to struggle to be chaste, to avoid occasions of sin, to not flaunt their propensities as appropriate and good lest they give scandal. They should not be identified as a special group within the Church and society anymore than adulterers, fornicators or thieves should be.

The cardinal should not implicitly normalize disordered desire. He should issue a call to openness to Church teaching, to the proper formation of conscience, to personal holiness. His apparent capitulation to the homosexual agenda is most discouraging to this struggling pilgrim who looks to sound leadership from his bishops.

-- Arthur Lavis, Montvale, N.J.

Stop the torture

On Jan. 20, President-elect Obama will finally have the opportunity to bring the change he has promised by signing an executive order that bans torture and cruelty. In doing so, he would end the ambiguity clouding U.S. interrogation policy and send a clear message to all Americans that torture and ill-treatment of detainees will not be tolerated. Immediate presidential action would also signal to the rest of the world that the United States is making a clear break with the mistakes or the recent past.

-- Sister Angeline Walczyk, Huntington, Ind.

Doing marriage

My parish in New Jersey provides your newsweekly which I thoroughly enjoy.

Regarding the good reverend's advice of "if you said I do, then do it" (This week in quotes, Dec. 7), I much prefer Pope John Paul II's advice in an address during a 1979 wedding ceremony in Rome:

"May Christ be with you always. Never take your eyes off him. Seek him in your thought, in your heart and in your prayer, so that he may guide your young love toward these great tasks, the responsibility for which you assume from today onward. And may new men -- your children, the future fruit of your union -- bear witness that you are carrying out faithfully the eternal plan of love of the Creator himself; and subsequently may they find, through you, the way to Christ and to his Church. In this way you will give thanks to God for the love which he has brought forth in your hearts and which he permits you today to express and confirm with this great sacrament."

-- Tom Babcock, Via e-mail