Two meanings in marriage

Re: “Catholics respond to the revised HHS regulations” (News Analysis, Feb. 24). 

The the most effective response may be for us to examine our own conscience. How well have we ourselves supported Humanae Vitae, in which Pope Paul VI tells us there are two meanings in marriage: procreative and unitive?  

In his theology of the body, Blessed Pope John Paul II defines these two meanings or two sacraments in marriage. The sacrament of creation is for the procreative meaning, and conception of human life. The sacrament of redemption is for the unitive meaning, for the regulation of birth, and “above all” as a means of obtaining grace “for the remission of sins.”  

The very sacrament that is under attack can provide the grace that is needed to restore a culture of love in the chaos of our fallen world. There is only need for us as Catholics to fulfill it.  

Ruth Kavanaugh, Kalamazoo, Mich. 

Recommended reading

Re:“Lessons from Mali” (Editorial, Feb. 17). 

You opine that “Islamic extremists will ultimately be defeated because they will be rejected by other Muslims.”  

Might I suggest that each member of the editorial board obtain and devour William Kilpatrick’s latest book, “Christianity, Islam and Atheism” — especially Chapter 13, titled “The moderate-Muslim strategy.”  

This should then give you a more realistic assessment of what our struggle is/will be. 

Tom Bobrowski, Comstock Park, Mich.

Flexible hours needed

Re: “Easy way to make confession more available” (Letters to the Editor, Feb. 17). 

I would like to comment on the letter by Joseph Liss, M.D., regarding making confession more available. 

For years, the confessional in our small parish has been “manned” for 20 minutes before daily Mass, and the priest has never been lacking for penitents. Sometimes he is unable to get to them all. 

Also, many times I have observed people coming to confession on their way to work, but unable to stay for Mass, and leave following the saying of their penance. 

Other parish faithful continue to be berated from the pulpit that they should all be going to confession more frequently, yet the clergy continue to keep “bankers hours” in this regard.  

I firmly believe that if our priests would only conveniently provide penitents the opportunity, they will come. 

Guy A. De Gagne, Pismo Beach, Calif.

Column misquote

Re: “Drifting away from our roots” (Guest column, Feb. 17). 

In his pro-life effort to apply Lincoln’s conception “that all men are created equal” to the rights of the unborn, guest columnist Donald DeMarco misquotes the Declaration of Independence. 

University of Wisconsin professor Norman Risjord, in his seminal “Jefferson’s America,” points out that the “equal rights” as understood by the Founders applied to the relationship between England and the colonies, but that philosophically they considered “all men created evil.” 

Lincoln’s Republican Party was later founded in 1856, mainly by European refugees after their failed 1848 revolution. They mainly were tradesmen and farmer settlers who did not want to compete with slave labor. 

The Declaration of Independence reads it is self-evident “that we are endowed by our Creator” with rights no person or government can legitimately take from us, and among these is “the right to life” and to be born. 

So, DeMarco’s main point is well taken. 

Robert J. BonSignore, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Restoring culture of life

Re: Catholics weigh in on gun control legislation” (News Analysis, Jan. 27). 

My elderly patients have often told me of riding horses to school and bringing their firearms, which they would use to hunt rabbits and rattlers on the way home. No one but the truly criminal or insane ever thought of shooting another person. Yet now in Chicago, which has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, people shoot other people for so little as a perceived insult. 

Clearly, restrictive gun laws do not curb gun violence any more than lax gun laws over a century ago promoted it. The difference between then and now is not so much in law books as in hearts. Back then, the culture of life prevailed. Before we had legalized abortion, human life was valued and sacred. “Thou shalt not kill” was obeyed. 

The answer is not in restrictive gun control but in self-control. Absent gun laws, the violent criminal will resort to knives, clubs and chain saws. Until we restore morality and the culture of life, so destroyed in Roe v. Wade, the violence will continue, and restrictive gun laws will be as futile elsewhere as they are in Chicago. 

Gary Yarbrough, M.D., Parsons, Kan.

Corrected motto

Thanks for the great coverage of my brother’s life and death (“Diocese, OSV mourn death of Bishop D’Arcy” and “Bishop D’Arcy, RIP,” Feb. 17).  

There is one correction to the full-page tribute in the Feb. 24 issue. His motto is: His Steadfast Love Endures Forever. 

Sister Anne D’Arcy, via email