Alleviating the needs of orphans

“Non-negotiable” (Editorial, June 12), about the recent efforts of the Church in Catholic aid, touched a particular chord in our hearts. My husband and I are currently in process of adopting two children from Ethiopia and have just returned from our first trip of two to bring them home. The quote from Father Raniero Cantalamessa — “We need to let our defenses down and be overwhelmed by a healthy anxiety in the face of the fearful misery there is in this world.” — echoed in our hearts because since returning home what has remained with us is an anxiety about all that we saw. We have no idea about all that we have been blessed with in this country until you see the extreme poverty of others and their pure and simple humility.

Combined with this issue for us is the issue of life. There are so many Catholic or Christian couples that are adopting. In our journey, we have become aware of the need to become advocates for all the orphans without a home.

— Michele Erla, via email

Would Jesus gamble?

Is gambling wrong?

Phil Lenahan’s article, “Rolling the dice with your livelihood” (Family, June 5), quotes the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and he states “it’s clear that gambling is not inherently wrong.”

I beg to differ.

I submit that gambling, whether in the form of “just doing it for fun” or doing it while enslaved as a compulsive gambler, is morally wrong. Gambling is an attempt to get something for nothing.

Would Jesus have gambled? Would Jesus have entered a casino, had one existed back then, to gamble? Perhaps to cure a leper, but certainly not to gamble! Did Jesus ever try to get something for nothing?

— Joe Schrantz, Villa Park, Ill.

Paving the way

Re: “Uncovered World War II note adds to Pius XII debate” (News Analysis, June 12). If the author took a few seconds to visit our website,, he would have observed that we DID NOT form Pave the Way Foundation to defend and promote the pope’s legacy. Our nonsectarian foundation promotes historic gestures between all religions and identifies obstacles between the faiths, and works hard to resolve them.

— Gary Krupp, founder and president of Pave the Way, via email

Saving lives

Your informative and congratulatory article on Heartbeat International (Openers, June 5) recalled fond memories of my mother’s many years of volunteer services to Heartbeat in Toledo, Ohio. It was in her senior years that she felt “called” to such counseling. Many were the blessings of giving life alternatives to young pregnant women. My mother held her stories close to her heart. But once she shared this “triumph” with me: Thanking my mother for her counsel, a mother-to-be asked for my mother’s first name. “If my baby is a girl, I’m naming her after you.” That “Marie” is somewhere today, living because her mother sought the help of Heartbeat.

— Bretta (Blayz) Ribbing, Manchester, Mo.

Determining death

Re: “Experts still debating exact moment of death” (News Analysis, June 12), ethicist James DuBois is quoted as saying that “Brain death is actually not that hard to determine in a reliable fashion,” an assertion not supported by facts or authoritative medical opinion. While Catholic ethicists may disagree about whether “brain death” criteria (of which there are more than 30 variations) or, 1993 “cardiac death” criteria, indicate death of the human person, determination of death, according to papal statements beginning with Pope Pius XII, is the responsibility of medical professionals rather than others, including the magisterium. Pope Benedict XVI has emphasized that “The principal criteria of respect for the life of the donor must always prevail so that the extraction of organs be performed only in the case of his/her true death.”

It’s increasingly apparent that authoritative medical opinion regarding brain death does not even approach the moral certitude about death determination required by the magisterium for unpaired vital organ removal.

— R. E. Hurley, M.D., Alton, Ill.

Catholic students’ faith

Your article on home schooling sometimes being at odds with diocesan administration was most eye-opening (News Analysis, June 5). Reams of paper have been published showing how wrong Father Peter M.J. Stravinskas is about home schooling.

Rather than address any of that, I’d like to highlight a quote of his in order to put the ball back in his court. Father Stravinskas bemoans, “On the same property where they go to church on Sunday is a school where the parents don’t wish to send them.” Rather than dwell on what message he thinks home-schooling parents are telling their children about how priests pass on the Faith, I wish that the executive director of the Catholic Education Foundation would address why it is that on the same property where kids go to school Monday through Friday, there is a church where parents don’t wish to take them on Sunday.

— Colleen Sollinger, via email


Credit for two photos in “Catholic liturgy: Many rites, no wrongs” (In Focus, June) should have been given to Gabriel Delmonaco/CNEWA/ONE Magazine.