Fair and just immigration policy

If Archbishop Jose H. Gomez would like a “fair and just solution” regarding immigrants to the United States (“Archbishop: Catholics’ role in immigration reform solution,” May 2), then let us act in compassion, and also present our facts and law without all of the codependency. If we use Jesus as the archetypal migrant, then we must look to the Gospel of Matthew, where we read in Chapter 2 that St. Joseph is to take his family to Egypt because, “Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.” Archbishop Gomez stated, “They were forced into Egypt by the bad policies of a bad government.” 

So, we are to imply that Mexico, therefore, has bad policies and a bad government that is driving Mexican nationals and nationals from many other Central and South American countries into the United States? Most illegal immigrants from the south come to the United States to find work, some are escaping prosecution and some few come due to political reasons. 

I happen to live in the largest border complex in the world (El Paso, Texas, and Juarez, Mexico) and can tell you that there is no lack of compassion or hospitality for immigrants, illegal or otherwise. Yet, we all know that there is a legal process for entering and working in the United States. Just because most illegal immigrants are Hispanic does not give them a pass to break the law because we are blood. It is unjust for Catholics to play any nationality card if we are to have a sound and fair and just immigration policy. 

— Thomas Doyle, El Paso, Texas 

Contraceptive sins

God bless Msgr. Owen F. Campion for addressing contraception (“Confess contraception,” April 18). 

As he stated, the Church teaches artificial birth control is seriously sinful. Why do we not hear this more often? Every diocese should require some form of natural family planning be taught at pre-Cana classes. NFP is a conscious, ongoing, prayerful decision to either abstain from or engage in sex at a time when a baby can be conceived. It is the age-old concept of action/consequences. If we feel that for grave reasons we shouldn’t have a baby at this time, we deny ourselves during the time our body shows fertility signs; all the while being open to new life if it should be God’s will. 

We do not do any favors by not telling God’s truth for fear of losing Church members. We are allowing members to persist in a grave sin that is dangerous to their soul. 

— Karen Pline Pewamo, Mich.

Slanted reporting? 

With respect to Sandro Magister’s defense of Pope Benedict XVI (“Decoding accusations against the pope,” April 18), it seems to me Magister is guilty of some of the same sleazy reporting that he criticizes. For example, he cites Archbishop Rembert Weakland’s book “A Pilgrim in a Pilgrim Church” and says that the archbishop blames then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger for his (Weakland’s) own peccadilloes. I am wondering if we read the same book. Archbishop Weakland blames no one but himself for his failure. His relations with Cardinal Ratzinger, while not warm, were not hostile. 

Magister further states that until 2001 cases of pedophilia did not fall under Vatican purview. That may be true, but it was impossible to defrock a priest without Vatican approval. If a local bishop wanted to get rid of a priest, it was virtually impossible to do because of Vatican resistance. So, in a real sense, there was Vatican complicity. 

None of this should be taken to mean I do not agree that the secular press is unfairly condemning Pope Benedict, but my point is that in defending our pope, does it not ring a bit hollow to use the same false interpretation and innuendo used by the press to condemn us? 

— Michael Collins Myersville, Md.

Editor: The letter writer confuses two kinds of “defrocking.” He correctly notes that a priest’s own petition to be dispensed from the obligations of the clerical state must be granted by the Vatican. But until 2001 (when the Vatican took direct control of all child sex abuse cases) local dioceses — not the Vatican — had the responsibility and authority to administer the canonical punishment of dismissal from the clerical state.

No grounds 

Re “Grounds for Annulment” (In Focus, April 11). Do you have a source for the examples noted in the article? I am distressed that Catholics can feel justified in pursing an annulment if they married “believing in the possibility of divorce.” How are Catholics different from any other denomination if they can pursue annulments claiming they married and didn’t plan to divorce, but always knew that possibility was there? Basically, your article implies that just about any grounds enables Catholics to obtain an annulment (really, a divorce in God’s eyes) and seems just a fancy way of allowing something that is disallowed (“What God has joined together, let no man [even the pope] put asunder.”). We are changing the “rules,” just like the Protestants! 

— Ann Rushfeldt Wayzata, Minn.


Fabulous essay by Jennifer Fulwiler (“Encountering Christ in evil,” May 2). Very disturbing in the best possible way. The prayer from Father Benedict J. Groeshel was a good addition. Thanks for a great newsweekly. 

— Suzann Corral Tampa, Fla.