Parents should trust their teenagers

With respect to Teresa Tomeo’s article about raising awareness on kids and cell phones (“Calling on all parents,” May 16). I disagree with the method that was described when monitoring your child’s social networking. 

As a teen myself, I must say that society limits the amount teens can do. To volunteer at many organizations (hospital, food bank, animal shelter, etc.) you really have to be 16 or older. Kids turn to social networking so much because there’s nothing to do. 

Parents should undoubtedly talk to their children about cell phones periodically. I think checking your kids’ phone history, as stated in the article, is a violation of trust. It also has the opposite effect than desired. If you treat your children like they can’t be trusted, they’ll act like they can’t be trusted. 

When a kid initially receives a cell phone, the parent should set the rules and boundaries, and ask questions like “Who are you talking to?” “What’s up?” and “Is everything all right?” Tell your child that you care and that you trust them to make the right decision. Trusting your child is the first step with any major responsibility you hand them. 

— Julia Ruiz, Spotsylvania, Va.

Reflecting on marriage 

The title “theology of the body” (“Making a gift of self,” Aug. 29) seems an unfortunate misnomer. Pope John Paul II’s conferences should be called the “theology of nuptial love.” Basically, they are a beautiful reflection on marriage. The pope’s own original title was “Man and woman he created them.” 

— Father George Carlin, SOLT via email

Question of location 

In regard to your article “What JPII would say about mosque plans at ground zero” (Openers, Aug. 15), I am in total agreement with Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. 

I especially appreciate the sentence, “The time for double standards that allow Islamists to behave aggressively toward us while they demand our weakness and submission is over.” 

But I do not understand why the Carmelite nuns had to move. The nuns hadn’t done anything evil. In fact, by their daily sacrifices and prayer life they would have done reparation for the many sins committed there in Auschwitz. 

— Christine Gullow, Onconta, N.Y.

Keep the state out 

This is in response to “Lessons from California same-sex marriage case” (News Analysis, July 25)

Because marriage is a sacrament and sacraments are within the realm/jurisdiction of the Church, no secular government (federal, state, county, city, etc.) should have any legal authority to issue marriage licenses. 

However, the state does have a responsibility to govern legal contracts. Therefore this problem would be resolved if the states or any secular government conceded it has no legal authority over the Sacrament of Matrimony, but should instead be issuing contracts of domestic partnership. 

Persons who sign these contracts would all be covered by the same legal protections married persons enjoy (insurance coverage, survivorship, etc.). 

Those who had signed these contracts could then — if they chose to do so — present themselves to their religious leader, request a sacramental union, if allowed by the tenets of their specific faith, not the rules of any secular government. The Church would be the guide concerning sacraments. 

In trying to impose their beliefs on others or preventing others from following their consciences, some people forget that it is God’s place to read hearts, not ours!

— Patricia Bock, Newcastle, Wyo.

Well-formed conscience 

In your articles on conscience formation (“Path to a clear conscience,” June 20), I wish one of the authors had included the often-forgotten fact that one cannot use conscience to deny Church doctrine, as so many want to do these days, particularly in matters like abortion, premarital sex and same-sex marriage. The crux of a good conscience is to be well formed, which is one of the main things that separates it from opinion. 

A well-formed conscience will never contradict Church doctrine because it will see the truth of it. 

— Jerry Mack, San Jose, Calif.

A slap in the face 

Re “The mosque” (Editorial, Sept. 5): 

Although your article was well written, I disagree and take offense comparing the marble placed at the Washington Monument with the Sept. 11 attacks as somehow similar. 

This was a deliberate attack on my beloved America by extreme Muslims, and, although I believe the majority of Muslims are not extremists, to allow a mosque to be built so close to the sacred ground where so many were murdered is disrespectful, in poor taste, a slap in the face and incredibly insensitive. 

It makes me think of ambulance chasers, abortion providers who build across the street from Catholic hospitals, ex-spouses who have affairs with each other after remarrying and so many other examples of self-focused people making horrible decisions that hurt people and continue to cause pain that ripples for years. 

Religious freedom is paramount in America, but what about common decency and compassion? All I can really do is pray for wisdom for those who are making the decisions and that God’s will be done. 

— Jakki McDonald via www.osv.com