Proper pro-life language

Jim Graves’ article “Crisis pregnancy center in L.A. offers safe haven” (News Analysis, Sept. 12), describes a beautiful and compassionate pro-life approach toward women who are in “crisis” pregnancies. Such centers are a perfect answer to those in the pro-abortion-choice camp, who frequently maintain that we are simply “anti-abortion,” rather than “pro-life,” a semantic difference formalized in The Associated Press’ required glossary. 

The only criticism I have is that the doublet “abortion clinic ” is used throughout, whereas it is, surely, more accurate to refer to them as “abortion facilities, ” as the latter removes any warm feeling of good outcome associated with the word “clinic.” The culture of life has been semantically co-opted by the culture of abortion on demand in the former’s uncomplaining acceptance of the word “clinic” in association with abortion, just as with “abortion doctor ” (an oxymoron!) rather than abortion ist , or “pro-choice” without “abortion” in the middle. 

— W.A. Krotoski, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H. via e-mail

Running the numbers 

I, like you, enjoy demographics and statistical charts and numbers. Your Openers column (“More evidence of the browning of American Catholicism,” Sept. 12) talked about the latest CARA analysis of adult Catholics separated into four distinct age groups. On the way to your point of Hispanics increasing exponentially you mentioned, “Sunday Mass attendance for U.S. Catholics has remained at ... 22 percent for the past decade.” That got me thinking:  

CARA estimates that there are 62 million Catholics in the United States. If that’s true, then there must be an interesting breakdown for this number. I’m guessing here, but I would think that at least half (31 million) of those calling themselves Catholics are Catholics in name only. Of the remaining 50 percent, I’d say that another half (15.5 million) are once-a-year Catholics. 

The remaining probably attend “Mass at least once a month.” Unfortunately, about 75 percent of those are pick-and-choose Catholics, who rarely if ever go to confession, skip Mass on occasion, sometimes attend holy days of obligation. This group (11.5 million) is what is widely seen by the media or the secular world as representing the Church in America. That leaves about 3.75 million. 

So, what’s my point? I think the bishops need to shepherd their flocks and our pastors to teach, especially from the ambo. If some leave, so be it. 

— Dennis Babson, Grass Valley, Calif.

Disrespect to survivors 

The focus of “The Mosque” (Editorial, Sept. 5) was totally off track. Instead of the usual, “Why can’t we all get along?” the focus should have been, “Why do the Muslims want to build on this particular site?” After all, there are more than 100 mosques in the New York area — some within blocks of this site. Why are they so insensitive to the feelings of victims’ families as well as the feelings of a vast majority of Americans? 

— Tom Bobrowski, Comstock Park, Mich.

Cardinal’s offense 

In a recent issue (In Brief, Aug 22), Cardinal Keith O’Brien of Scotland was critical of the American reaction to the release of the Lockerbie bomber. 

The cardinal is quoted as saying that the United States has a “conveyor belt” approach to capital punishment, and further characterized the United States as a country where “vengeance and retribution are the norm.” 

It is obvious that the cardinal knows very little about the American judicial system, or if he does know, he prefers to express his feelings in rather intemperate and irresponsible language. 

There is significant opposition to the death penalty in the United States, and the number of executions has declined in recent years. 

In the case of the Lockerbie bombing, the murder of hundreds of innocent civilians, there was undoubtedly a desire on the part of most Americans to see the perpetrators punished. This, in my opinion, does not qualify as “vengeance and retribution.”  

— Michael F. Clearly, M.D., FRCPsych. Scottsdale, Ariz.

Foul play 

I don’t wish to gloat as a non-Catholic Reform Baptist when it was recently discovered that football star Wayne Rooney was having sex with a prostitute seven times over a four-month period, starting when his wife, Coleen, was five months pregnant. 

But Our Sunday Visitor staff must not be very avid soccer fans, unlike myself, who happens to be a Manchester United supporter, the team for which Rooney plays. 

While he is a great player, he has been less of a role model then what OSV suggested in “Cup runneth over with Catholic references” (Culture, June 27): “A more positive representation has come from English star Wayne Rooney, a Catholic who is often seen with his rosary. His witness is all the more powerful considering the secularism that pervades his country these days.” 

Over the years I have witnessed Rooney’s constant foul language on television, and while I’m certain that there are many Protestant players on Manchester United who display the same disgraceful behavior, I think it is unwise for religions to use athletes as a means of getting converts into their churches when history has proved over and over again that athletes make the worst example of Christians. 

— John Clubine, Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada