'Crazy' pro-life supporters show ugly truth of abortion 

Oh geez-louise! In regard to the interview with Abby Johnson (“Ex-abortion clinic director offers insight into industry,” Jan. 16). Johnson says, “Then you have these crazy people outside on the sidewalk with big signs of aborted babies...” 

We have been involved with “showing” the truth of the ugliness of abortion for more than a decade (my family and friends volunteer with Pro-Life Action League). So, according to Johnson, we’re those “crazies.” (Smile) We, out on the streets of Chicago, shrug and turn the other cheek when we are spit on and cursed at. 

In all the years we’ve held these disgusting aborted baby signs (yes, we hate them, too!), we have met some of the most loving, kind, common-sense, humble pro-life folk ever. And we realize the angrier the tirade against “us” is nine times out of 10 coming from a post-abortive person. We pray harder for them. 

So, though we initially rolled our eyes at being called crazy (again), and from a pro-lifer, we rejoice in being fools for Jesus. 

— Luann Bloom, Blue Island, Ill. 

Define ‘to teach’ 

Archbishop Timothy Dolan correctly identifies the primary mandate of the Church is “to teach,” but he fails to define what the Church is “to teach” (“Why Catholic schools matter,” Jan. 30).  

Catechesis is the teaching of the Faith in order to form disciples of Christ. Is the Catholic school system the most effective means to achieve this goal? Considering a majority of Catholic children are now in the public-school system, is the investment in a small minority of families making a difference in our mission to make disciples of all people? 

Furthermore, the archbishop challenges the faithful “to regrow the Catholic school system.” Perhaps the bishops should be asking a more fundamental question: How can we support and form all Catholic families in strengthening their own domestic church, parish and community?  

I’m jealous of my Protestant friends whose church community embrace their educational choice and help them lead their children to Christ through multiple age-specific and family-oriented programs to support their desire to pass on their faith to the children. Catechesis is not limited to what occurs in a classroom setting one hour per week. 

I’m a Catholic-educated mom of three public school children. 

— Kelly Lipp, Loveland, Ohio

Both sides are wrong 

Re “Why pro-lifers vote for pro-choice politicians” (Essay, Jan. 30). 

It is very disappointing to see the same recycled reasons and no actual evidence of critical thinking is allowed to take up so much space in your otherwise fine news magazine. Pro-lifers vote for the best of what is available in an imperfect world. This is overly simplified, but, generally speaking, the current crop of politicians labeled pro-life are for capital punishment, cutting programs for the needy, cutting funding for educational programs and for wars of choice. The pro-choice group is wrong on abortion, but is for feeding the hungry, ending the death penalty, not going to war because we can, and looking for ways to educate our children in new and better ways. 

When looked at critically, neither of these two groups offers a practical Catholic much to go on. Neither vote is truly reflective of the Catholic social justice positions on a consistently reliable continuum. And the congressional record of the pro-life House, Senate and White House during six of the George W. Bush years never passed a significant legislative document changing the course of the abortion debate, so the real question becomes, are they really pro-life or just want election? 

Finally is the most important insight that Russell Shaw should be addressing. From my perspective, legislating morality is the evidence of a failed message — the Gospel of Jesus Christ changes people from the inside while the majority of “pro-life” money is spent on legislating a morality from the outside. Where are the articles lamenting the lack of a Gospel standard of living? What about the higher than national average divorce rate among Catholics? Until the Gospel is lived faithfully, all the legislation in the world is worthless ink. 

— David Stanton, New Brighton, Minn.

Eucharist matters most 

I have read with interest the reaction to Msgr. Owen F. Campion’s “Catholic Conundrum” (God Lives, Dec. 26), and it reminded me of something a parish priest said to me several years ago. As an adult convert to Catholicism, I’ve always been amazed at how long-winded Protestant ministers are compared with Catholic priests. When I mentioned this to the priest, he told me that it was because for Protestants, every thing revolves around the sermon, while for Catholics, everything revolves around the Eucharist. We have Jesus Christ present to us: Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.  

That’s the most important thing, the only thing, and you don’t have to “parish shop” to find it. 

— Carrie Bowler, Springfield, Mass.

Priests’ commitment 

JoAnn Fuir’s Jan. 2 letter challenged the celibate priest’s qualifications for conducting marriage counseling. 

The goal of marriage preparation/counseling is to discuss the meaning of commitment. And we celibate priests know something about that! 

— Father William Kosco, Buckeye, Ariz.